The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 1922
TheBritish philosopher Wittgenstein wrote those words as a philosophical foundation for his larger belief in freedom of speech. His meaning: He who controls the language also controls reality, something that todays left understands brilliantly, even devilishly. America historically hasnt limited freedom of thought and speech, and the resulting clash of ideas has improved our national discourse. The language police make us weaker intellectually by limiting the world in which we live.
The language around climate change is one more area the left wants to control, especially given that trillions of dollars in spending are on the line. Big Tech is now doing its part to protect the Green New Deal and radical green ideology from dissenting views.
Googles and YouTubes recent announcement that they now prohibit climate deniers from monetizing their platforms would have caused Wittgenstein to ask: What is a climate denier?
This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, the announcement answers. And surely there is no hoax about the climate: Data show that since the 1880s, the global temperature has risen 1 Fahrenheit.
But what else can we measure? In that same period, the world population jumped sevenfold, and food production increased even more. Remarkably, the number of people not living in extreme poverty increased at the same rate. The infant-mortality rate fell from 165 per 100,000 to seven. In 1880, more than 80 percent of the global population was illiterate. Today, that number is around 13 percent.
The question is: Why? The answer is simple: fossil fuels.
Inexpensive, abundant, reliable fossil fuels have turned 10,000 years of stagnant human existence into flourishing and prosperity. Illnesses that took the lives of kings and peasants alike are nearly eradicated thanks to medicine and refrigeration and electricity. All of this growth for 1 F of temperature increase. Thats quite the bargain.
Without fossil fuels, humanity would still be mired in misery and darkness. Do we really want to ban that miracle? Do we want to keep it in the ground, as the green movements cry? Thats a conversation we need to have.
It is thus curious that Google in its announcement calls denying the scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change reason enough to get de-platformed.
The evidence of the causes of climate change are far weaker than the evidence of fossil fuels causing the past 200 years of human flourishing, but neither is scientific fact. Could there be any intellectual framework less scientific than consensus?
This discussion now cant take place on the platforms of the Big Tech thought police, and we are all worse for it.
Google also says that claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming will not be allowed. Who is making that claim? The data once again show that the earths temperature indeed warming, but Wittgenstein might ask for a clarification on long-term. One hundred years isnt a very long time. If you look at the last 500 million years, the current trend still has us in a very cool period. The earth spent millions of years 30 to 40 warmer than the current average temperature, and that doesnt come close to covering the earths entire 4.5 billion years of age.
So why did the earth heat and cool so dramatically when there were no humans to cause the warming? After all, the tech language police tell of unequivocal evidence showing that human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global warming. The firms failure to answer that question shows it has no idea what the word unequivocal means.
Darn. Now Im the language police.
Stifling speech doesnt make us a better nation. It doesnt make any truths truer or any falsehoods falser. It does eliminate competing or unwanted ideas from the conversation, which is the real goal here.
Those afraid of language arent looking for a better world. Wittgenstein understood that. Lets hope America does, too.
Daniel Turner is founder and executive director of Power the Future, a nonprofit that advocates for American energy jobs.
See the article here:
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