William M. Briggs
May 18, 2012
Micha Tomkiewicz is a physicist who tells us he was a child in the Warsaw Ghetto and Bergen-Belsen during World War II when the Nazis (and Soviets) were gleefully murdering millions. He said that the Holocaust “killed most of my family and deprived me of my childhood.”
His is one more awful story from a century filled will awful stories of what happens when people assume Utopia can be had by all-powerful central government. His story and the story of his fellow survivors becomes far worse when we consider that there are some who deny the Holocaust occurred, that there are exist people who actively impugn evidence that is plain to the simplest idiot.
We hear these denials, but all of us know that these statements aren’t denials at all. It is clear that the people who deny that millions upon millions of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, and others who were slaughtered by state power think it a fine thing that these souls died. Holocaust deniers, as everybody knows, don’t deny and instead have a secret (and sometimes and open) desire that the killing should begin anew.
Tomkiewicz knows what we know. He understands what the term denier means; he knows it is a code-word for evil.
But even knowing all this, and living the life he as lived, he cannot stop himself from using this word to describe people who do not fret as much as he does about climate change. He is so consumed with his passion that he was able to write this:
In 1933, very few people believed that Hitler would seriously try to accomplish what he preached and almost no one could imagine the consequences of his deadly reign. Although there was evidence available — Hitler was clear about what he wanted to do in Mein Kampf — why did people not pay attention? These “deniers” might as well have been called skeptics in their day.
This is well worth spending a moment to unpack. He begins with a truth: it is true that in 1933 “very few people believed that Hitler” would become the menace he was to become. Tomkiewicz follows this true by claiming the truth was false and that there was enough evidence for all, or at least a majority, to have predicted with certainty that Hitler would eventually come in third as Leader With The Highest Body Count (Mao still holds the title, followed closely by Stalin; thank you socialism!). With lovely hindsight, Tomkiewicz condemns the world for being filled with “deniers.”
Which makes it strange that he next says,
But what I am suggesting is that even though it’s hard to see a genocide — any genocide — coming. The future is hard to predict, but we can see this one coming. This genocide is of our own making, and it will effect everyone, not just one group or country.
It is hard to tell that climate change will be a genocide, but it is also easy to tell. Just as he claims it was hard to see that the Holocaust was coming but also easy to see. Just as he paradoxically claims that skeptics, whom he calls “deniers”, cannot see as sharply as he can. He says that skeptics pine for “unattainable certainty” about the coming “climate change genocide.” But he also claims to possess this certainty, or enough of it so that he can demand the government “do something.”
To call a skeptic a “denier” is rank abuse, because as we have seen the word is a stand-in for vile intent. To compare “climate genocide” “deniers” with those who—what exactly? Supported Hitler? Enabled the man? Remember Tomkiewicz implied “deniers” in 1933 were responsible for Hitler—ah, the whole thing is asinine.
A far less serious crime to logic is his begging of the question. Skeptics claim, via arguments and evidence, to be less certain about climate change than Tomkiewicz. Tomkiewicz claims to be more than sure; he says he is certain. But he also implies that because he, Tomkiewicz, is sure that everybody should be, when the point at issue is how certain anybody should be. To attempt to bypass this debate by casting foolish aspersions and distasteful comparisons is a sign of weakness.
This article was posted: Friday, May 18, 2012 at 3:12 am