[Note to the satirically impaired: That's a Photoshop, courtesy of the inimitable Blue Gal.]
Right-wingers never seem to understand why people get perturbed when they helpfully compare whatever liberal cause they oppose to Nazis, Hitler, Communists, and that ol' standby, Satan. This evidently is what passes for an intellectual exchange for these folks. And they especially never understand that precisely the same argument can be applied to them as well -- in spades.
Most recently, the Heartland Institute, the noted corporate-backed deniers of climate science, decided that was the kind of discourse they wanted to engage in:
The Heartland Institute has launched one of the most offensive billboard campaigns in U.S. history. The Chicago-based anti-science think tank is comparing all those who accept climate science — and the journalists who report on it accurately — to Charles Manson, the Unabomber, and Osama Bin Laden.
The Institute, after being panned by everyone in sight, eventually took down the billboards. But not before they made it perfectly clear that this was a campaign approved by -- and indeed, seemingly the brainchild of -- their leadership. See, for instance, the statement that they posted on their website defending the campaign:
Billboards in Chicago paid for by The Heartland Institute point out that some of the world’s most notorious criminals say they “still believe in global warming” – and ask viewers if they do, too…
The billboard series features Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber; Charles Manson, a mass murderer; and Fidel Castro, a tyrant. Other global warming alarmists who may appear on future billboards include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).
These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it.
Why did Heartland choose to feature these people on its billboards?
Because what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the “mainstream” media, and liberal politicians say about global warming….
The point is that believing in global warming is not “mainstream,” smart, or sophisticated. In fact, it is just the opposite of those things. Still believing in man-made global warming – after all the scientific discoveries and revelations that point against this theory – is more than a little nutty. In fact, some really crazy people use it to justify immoral and frightening behavior.
The best part was the lame disclaimer near the end:
Of course, not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants.
The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.
This is pretty funny, considering that the vast majority of professional climate scientists are just that -- scientists. The notion that they are somehow the moral equivalent of mass murderers and tyrants is absurd, far-fetched, and obscene.
But if the Heartland Institute wants to play that game, it's an easy one for the other side to join in on. And they'll lose. Because the worst mass killer of the recent past also happens to be a climate-change denier: Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian anti-immigrant far-right nutcase who murdered 77 people less than a year ago. Here's what Breivik wrote about climate change in his nutty "manifesto":
You might know them as environmentalists, enviro-communists, ecoMarxists, neo-Communists or eco-fanatics. They all claim they want to save the world from global warming but their true agenda is to contribute to create a world government lead by the UN or in other ways increase the transfer of resources (redistribute resources) from the developed Western world to the third world. They hope to accomplish this through the distribution of misinformation (propaganda) which they hope will lead to increased taxation of already excessively taxed Europeans and US citizens. The neo-communist agenda uses politicised science to propagate the global warming scam in order to implement their true agenda; global Marxism. Marxism’s ultimate goal is to redistribute wealth from successful nations to failed nations, instead of actually trying to fix these broken nations. Politicised science is being used by the cultural Marxist hegemony to manipulate the unsuspecting masses. They are using our trust and faith in science to spread lies and hysteria that will allow Marxists to implement socialist “solutions” to a problem that never actually existed.
That's exactly what is happening with the Anthropogenic Global Warming scam; too many people are too demoralised to assess true information about Socialism, Communism, and climate change to allow its use for other agendas on the hands of the useful idiots “the leftists” as former KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov calls them. Enviro-communism is a new twisted idea of redistribution of wealth through “environmental” policies and the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference 2009 is the perfect manifestation of it. Environmental Justice is the new Social Justice; Climate Debt is the new Redistribution of Wealth, Anthropogenic Global Warming scam is the Communism.
Crap like this is common among climate-change deniers. Breivik also ardently believed in the fake "Climategate" scandal, which he described as "exposing the eco-Marxist scam":
On Thursday 19th November 2009 news began to circulate that hacked documents and communications from the University of East Anglia’s Hadley Climate Research Unit (aka CRU) had been published to the internet. The information revealed how top scientists conspired to falsify data in the face of declining global temperatures in order to prop up the premise that man-made factors are driving climate change. The documents and emails illustrated how prominent climatologists, affiliated with the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change, embarked on a venomous and coordinated campaign to ostracise climate skeptics and use their influence to keep dissenting reports from appearing in peer-reviewed journals, as well as using cronyism to avoid compliance with Freedom of Information Act requests.
Now, ahem, not all climate-change deniers are crazed mass killers. At least not yet. But it's worth pointing out that, while climate change or a belief therein played no discernible role whatsoever in motivating any of the icons of evil that the Heartland folks trotted out (except perhaps the planned appearance of killer James Lee, the Discovery Channel shooter who in fact was motivated by a paranoid nativist fear of anchor babies, but whose image never made it up onto the billboards in any event), the same could not be said of Anders Breivik: He vehemently denied the reality of climate change and insisted it was all part of a Marxist plot. Immigration was Breivik's focus, but denying climate change was a potent part of the toxic brew of right-wing extremism that made Breivik the madman he was.
Let's just say that one can make a much more reasonable argument that rhetoric and beliefs such as people like the Heartland Institute promote -- especially since these beliefs and arguments are profoundly irrational, anti-scientific, and ultimately have an unhinging effect on mentally unstable people whose contact with reality is already distorted -- can have a powerful effect in fueling psychopaths in their violent acts.
One can argue this point, of course. But when the argument is as profoundly stupid as "This madman agrees with you, therefore your belief is that of a madman," there is no point in discussing it any further. Especially when putting the same shoe on their other foot is so easy and obvious.