James Delingpole has found a scientist who’s saying some unexceptional things about promoting climate change awareness. Apparently he’s “evil” and an “arch-fiend” – even more malevolent, that is, than yer average fiend. In his knock-off rant Delingpole employs two errors that sometimes arise in what I’ll loosely term conspiracy theorising (not an irrational practice but one that needs some thought and rigour). It’s ironic that such foolishness arises from a mainstream journalist but – then – each community needs its clowns. (I don’t oppose climate scepticism, by the way – just Delingpole. His writings, that is: the guy himself has a sense of humour and a two-thirds decent taste in films.)
First, Delingpole employs Deconstructiation: the practice of interpreting a statement so as to ensure that it’ll cast the writer in the worst moral light. So, he claims the scientist – Mike Hulme – is slyly employing “pseudo-academic gobbledegook designed to mean whatever listeners want it to mean“. Well, you can wander through and decide for yourself but I think it’s just a waffly piece affirming that supposed climate science can’t determine policy. No, Delingpole insists, it’s an admission that he’s “rumbled [them] on Climate Change“. Mmhmm? Well, if the J-man bothered to do five minutes fuggin’ research he’d find that Hulme’s been saying exactly the same thing since long before Warmergate.
Delingpole moves on to use So That’s Your Little Game!: by which one assumes that one’s rhetorical opponent is motivated by the worst possible intentions. For the winner of Bastiat Prize for Online Journalism that’s “advancing the goals of the liberal Left“. Well, I’ve seen no reason to assume that Hulme’s a lying bastard so that’s vapid from the start. Let’s suppose he is, however. This is a guy who’s netted tens of millions of pounds for his research into climate change – surely those near-boundless big ones would be more of an interest than ideological fervour? Let’s face it, ask yer average Brit if they’d kick a dear old lady for a thousand smackers and they might put boot to bottom. Ask them if they’d spend an hour delivering leaflets for their ideals, however, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a volunteer.
J-Del’s motivated by an “ideological war” that he believes he’s fighting alongside Nick Cohen, Melanie Phillips and Douglas Murray. There’s a threesome who have long-relied on the tactics of the bad conspiracy theoriser and, yet, escaped the universal sneers that others get. Who knows? Perhaps their theories aren’t as inconvenient.