Until now, Americans have been free to question the intention and the intellect of others. Only if they maliciously made up false claims could they be sued for defamation. It is hard to maintain freedom of speech unless one has a very broad range over which one can oppose the actions and opinions of others. It would have seemed obvious that Mann's lawsuit would have been rejected by the courts. However, the DC Superior Court has accepted the case, saying that
The CEI Defendants' persistence despite the EPA and other investigative bodies' conclusion that Plaintiff's work is accurate (or that there is no evidence of data manipulation) is equal to a blatant disregard for the falsity of their statements.If this opinion is upheld, it will be against the law to disagree with any government agency that claims the umbrella of science. One will not be allowed to claim that anyone on the government's side of the issue is incompetent or is wrapping up his quest for political power in a veneer of science using falsified data. Of course this is just what the catastrophic man-made global warming alarmists are doing, with a close collaboration in the dishonest enterprise between many climate scientists and many government agencies.
As Robert Tracinski has noted in the Tracinski Letter of 10 February 2014:
Mann has recently declared himself to be both a scientist and a political activist. But in attempting to intimidate his critics and suppress free debate on global warming, he is violating the fundamental rules of both science and politics. If it is a sin to doubt, then there is no science. If it is a crime to dissent, then there is no politics.
Mann vs. Steyn may be the trial of the century. It may determine, not merely whether the environmentalists can shut down industrial civilization, but whether they can shut down the independent thinking of skeptical dissidents.I added the emphasis in the quote to a particularly pleasing turn of phrase.
I will remind you that I just made this statement on 8 February 2014:
There is almost nothing in the government-managed record of temperatures that one can believe in any more. The record is highly fudged and the fudgers have no idea themselves what string of changes they made to the data, whether as to how often, how much, or why. But, those changes appear to systematically be motivated by attempts to prove the hypothesis that man's use of fossil fuels was somehow causing a catastrophic global warming.Perhaps I will escape a lawsuit because I did not name one person as responsible for this anti-science and dishonest record. In fact, many people are responsible for this evil activity, so they will have to divide up the defamation if they accuse me of calumny. Will GISS, NOAA, or the EPA sue me for saying that much of what they claim is science is no such thing and is naught but garbage?
Perhaps the next move will be to make any disputant with a government agency subject to defamation claims, at least if they question the competence or the motives of the agency. Since so many of the agencies are incompetent and maliciously motivated, I can see many suppressing lawsuits in our future if the federal courts do not decide to protect those who have disputes with these agencies when they wrap themselves in a thin cloak of "science." The Invisibility Cloak so sought by many government agencies will become a pretense of science and in the name of that, they will wield the Hammer of Thor upon Americans.