A tortured, but not facile comparison: France, Islam, Climate change, skeptics

This is a climate blog, not a political one. My feelings on what happened in Paris will remain private. My wife is from that city–my feelings are strong.

France has a history of not treating Muslims well. They make all the right, politically correct noises. They have Muslim ministers in government and mosques dot the landscape, although not as frequently as castles. But the banlieues of Paris and the slums of other cities are full of Muslim unemployed and almost unemployable. They are completely disaffected and burn bourgeois cars every night in the big cities. They are trapped and they know it. Hence the burning cars.

The white French have never fully accepted them as French. Even now they call them ‘pieds noir’ or similar identifiers that are actually separators. French Muslims who have jobs are far more likely to be hanging off the back of a garbage truck than having anything like a white collar job. And as I said, only a few have any job at all.

The terrorist acts that have occurred in France over the past 5 years have been committed almost exclusively by French Muslims. They were born in France, educated in France, exposed to French culture and media all their lives. They also have been shut out of the better schools, unable to contribute to French culture and have only a token presence in the media.

France has created a fertile field for recruiting terrorists willing to strike at France.

What has happened in France is 100–no, 1,000 times worse than the treatment of climate skeptics by climate activists. There are no bodies to bury in the climate wars, nobody has been falsely imprisoned.

But the mechanism is the same. Climate activists have insulted, harrassed and harmed those in opposition to the point where they have created enemies out of those who were merely opponents.

Activists are still in 2015 defending their right to call skeptics ‘deniers.’ They are still sliming respected scientists like Richard Lindzen, Freeman Dyson, Ivar Giaevar, Will Happer, Willie Soon, Roger Pielke Sr. and John Christy. When they can’t argue with the science presented, they resort to name-calling, labeling scientists according to their age, political affiliation or religion.

The activists have made a concerted effort to censor the skeptics, refusing to debate them, conspiring to shut them out of the peer-reviewed literature, agitating for the firing of editors who do publish skeptic work, all while insisting that the debate is over, the science settled.

They have created a ghetto for skeptics and they work hard to keep them walled in. Even if this were a minor issue, their behavior would be unconscionable. But to act like this in defense of what activists believe to be the premiere challenge of this millenium is horrible.

It is also short-sighted.

I’m not a skeptic, although I correspond in a friendly way with many of them. I hold a position far closer to the consensus than some might suspect, especially those who have been calling me a denier, delayer, pimp and scumbag for the past 8 years. But I’m close enough to the skeptics that I can foresee a possible future. At some point the consensus, if not the activists, will see the need to make peace with the skeptics, to find some common ground.

But the activists have poisoned the soil, in much the same way that right-wing French have made the banlieues a recruiting ground for terrorists. And hence there will be no peace.

The first dictum of conflict is to try and leave a path whereby your enemy can become your friend.

Otherwise conflicts do not end.

War or peace

16 responses to “A tortured, but not facile comparison: France, Islam, Climate change, skeptics

  1. I want to put this in perspective. I used to live in Venezuela, a country where the muder rate zoomed to over 24000 in 2014 under the Chávez regime. Statistics are hard to come by because the government covers up the carnage, but we have some indicators, such as the number of wounded and bodies taken to hospitals and morgues.

    From what I can tell, Caracas (which is quite smaller than Paris) has some weekends with over 60 murders. The dead are usually shot, but lately there have been assaults and battles in which gangsters used hand grenades. Sometimes the corpses are mutilated, beheaded, limbs cut off, or tortured. As far as I can tell the dead are mostly crime victims, but the government seems to be using death squads as well as using political murder.

    I realize anecdotes are somewhat irrelevant, but I want to share what I saw. Several years ago my daughter was visiting me in Caracas, and on two consecutive days we saw corpses on the sidewalk near my office (near Plaza Marti). My cook, whose family is in Maracaibo, had two grandsons murdered. One was shot when he went to buy bread, the other was shot as he sat on a rocking chair in front of his grandmother’s house.

    I’ve seen plenty of killing in my life, so I’m not squeamish. What bothers me most about the hundreds of thousands killed in Venezuela is their anonymity, and the way we see media (like The UK’s Guardian, the USA Huffington Post, etc) and political wonks support the Chávez-Maduro regime. I realize some people count more than others (that’s an ugly truth, but it’s real).

    In this world, the opinions and feelings of the powerful count more. Those who have divergent opinions should understand they are likely to be insulted, ostracized, ruined, and in extreme cases jailed or murdered. To make things worse, when the weak turn the tables they do so all the way. They will usually abuse their power in the same way others abused theirs.

  2. I don’t disagree with any of your article but in some ways it misses the point. Sceptics and luke-warmers are not a minority. Heck, if you include those who act like they don’t believe in CAGW, we’re a crashing majority. Certainly as the costs and hardships of acting on AGW bite, a lot more will come to question the justification and unless the evidence is a lot better, it won’t get very far. The name calling and the bitterness isn’t the reaction of an arrogant and exclusive majority, it’s the bitter desperation of an outnumbered, outgunned bunch of fools. The real threat of terrorism comes from greens pushed to the limit rather than peeved sceptics.

    Far more damaging in the long term is the self selecting membership of the AGW club. I look at the people driving the issue and I doubt I could pick a bigger group of groups that I would naturally dismiss without question. Being the butt of insults from these people might be a new and unpleasant experience for you but for many, it’s just same ol’, same ol’. I’m sure that if they were to stop, my first thought would be ‘what are they up to now?’ To be successful, at some point those people would have to step aside and let some of the people they happily insult, take control. Yeah, like that’s ever going to happen. Many of the solutions to reducing CO2 might also be unacceptable to climateers and all those who hope to ride a new wave of socialism to a greener world are destined to be disappointed. What then?

  3. Tom,
    I’m with TinyCO2 on this one.
    In the case of this attack, it appears the scum coward killers are from outside of France, by the way.
    I hope your wife’s family is safe.
    As for disdain, reflect on this: In US Conservative circles it is the so-called RINO’s (liberal Republicans) who are disliked the most.
    You are hated not because you don’t believe. You are given a hard time because you are not enough of a fanatic for the extremists who control the conversation regarding “climate change”.

  4. Correction: At least some of the scum coward killers are from outside France.
    What is rather pathetic is how those who predicted that opening borders to hundreds of thousands of undocumented, untraceable refugees would be used by ISIS as an opportunity to wage their war on broader fronts are still ignored by tame media.

  5. Tom, while you make a strong points about the alienation of immigrants in France and the marginalizing of non-consensus opinions on climate, at least two of the attackers were from Belgium.

    Frankly, I know little of what is going on there or in most of Europe for that matter but it seems as if the alienation is being driven by forces other than the prejudices of the dominant culture.

    • What’s the degree of alienation in Belgium versus France?

      I’m not an expert in the field, but it seems the Sunni populations in Iraq and Syria feel they have been treated pretty bad since the USA invaded Iraq in 2003. The USA population is exposed to a slanted storyline about Iraq and Syria, possibly because the culture likes to emphasize American exceptionalism? It’s complicated.

  6. ‘France has created a fertile field’


    Or could it be these ill-behaving bastards ARE the fertile field for terrorism?

    I’m poor, I don’t speak French, yet I’m not shooting random customers in a Cambodian restaurant. No. I study, learn the language of my oppressor and do well in IT industry. All your hear from me is I complain the oppressor’s behaviour. Why don’t you learn my language, which is a majority language? Why do these bastards travel from Syria to kill innocent civilians and shout God is great before exploding their bacon in bits?

    Just asking.

  7. “The terrorist acts that have occurred in France over the past 5 years have been committed almost exclusively by French Muslims.”

    This list would appear to indicate otherwise.


    Which is actually quite surprising when you take this into account:


    I am told by someone who was present at the time that even 200 deaths may well have been on the low side. Funny how many people are in fact unaware of the Massacre of Paris, isn’t it? Imagine the outcry if in 1961 the New York police had gratuitously beaten to death a couple of hundred members of a race equality march and chucked their bodies in the Hudson. We would never have heard the last of it. I wonder why the French appear to get a free pass on such activities – because that is by no means the only one,

    The egregious torturer and all round POS Papon was a member of the Milice (French equivalent of the Gestapo) in Occupied France and was subsequently tried and imprisoned for his part in sending French Jews to the death camps. All in all, a thoroughly unpleasant individual.

    Incidentally, the term pieds noirs does not refer to the Algerian immigrants resident in France, but to the French colonial settlers in Algeria, who objected most strenuously to France – Algérie française was their motto – pulling out of Algeria and were responsible for at least one assassination attempt on General de Gaulle. Sections of Frederick Forsyth’s excellent novel ‘The Day of the Jackal’ are quite informative.

  8. A little polemical post, but containing a great deal of truth. The politization of this issue and the science is a shame because it does decrease ultimately the respect for science and blur the line between science and advocacy and downright political polemic. That’s a problem that will come back to bite those doing the polemicized science.

  9. @Tom, your statement that “France has created a fertile field for recruiting terrorists willing to strike at France” is politically correct BS. Countries all over the world have suffered attacks by muslim terrorists: Nigeria, Indonesia, USA, Somalia, Tunesia, Belgium, England, Spain, Thailand, China, Russia, Philippines, India, Pakistan, the whole Middle East. All because of muslims not being treated well? C’mon, you are willfully ignoring the giant elephant in the room: the aggressive and perverse ideology of the “religion of the peace”.

    Here an overview of all terroristic attacks in France, committed in the last 5 years, as taken from your list:
    11-22 March 2012 Toulouse and Montauban shootings, murdering three French paratroopers, a Jewish Rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren) carried out over a period of 11 days by Mohammed Merah.[1]
    23 May 2013 La Défense attack by an Islamist knifeman against a French soldier in the Paris suburb of La Défense.
    20 December 2014 A man yelling “Allahu Akbar” attacked a police office with a knife. He was killed and 3 police officers were injured.
    21 December 2014 A man yelling “Allahu Akbar” ran over 11 pedestrians with his vehicle.
    22 December 2014 A man yelling “Allahu Akbar” ran over 10 pedestrians with his vehicle, killing one, then attempted suicide.
    7-9 January 2015 Île-de-France attacks, a mass shooting at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo office in Paris,
    3 February 2015 3 military men, guarding a Jewish community center in Nice, are attacked by Moussa Coulibaly
    19 April 2015 Shooting Unsuccessful attack against 2 churches in Villejuif by an Algerian jihadist. He killed a woman probably when trying to steal her car but accidentally shot himself in the leg
    26 June 2015 Beheading. An Islamist delivery driver probably linked to ISIS decapitated a man and rammed a company van into gas cylinders at the Air Products gas factory in an attempt to blow up the building.
    21 August 2015. Thalys train attack. An attempted mass shooting occurred on a train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris. Four people were injured, including the assailant who was subdued by other passengers.[21]
    13-14 November 2015 Suicide bombings and shootings: Paris attacks.

    How does this appear NOT to indicate that terroristic attacks in the last 5 years were almost exclusively committed by Muslims?

  10. The Muslims engage in separation. France is high up in trying to assimilate other cultures with Sarkozy wanting to ban the burka and hijab and such. They insist on French speaking. Nevertheless, demographically it looks like France will become majority Muslim before global warming will ever be a problem. Already some 6 million making many neighborhoods of Paris Muslim enclaves. Comebine that with a birth rate of 3.5 per woman or more vs about 1.5 for French non-Muslims.

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