Climate activists rally to urge politicians to stand against climate denial in New York on Jan. 9, 2017. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)
According to various sources, “denialism” is the practice of denying the validity of something for which there’s irrefutable proof.
Wikipedia defines scientific “denialism” as “the rejection of basic facts and concepts that are undisputed, well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a subject, in favor of ideas that are radical, controversial, or fabricated.”
The most odious example of denialism in modern history is the false assertion that the Nazi genocide against Jews was a myth.
“Holocaust denial” is widely recognized as an antisemitic theory that ignores overwhelming proof in the form of physical evidence, captured film, state documentation, eye-witness discovery, and the sworn testimony of survivors.
In Israel and several other countries, Holocaust denial is understandably considered to be a felonious expression of hatred that’s entirely different from honest skepticism. Denying the Nazis’ genocide is rightly regarded as an act of pure evil. “Holocaust denial” has been universally vilified.
George Orwell once asserted that the deliberate misuse of language will corrupt thought, and neo-Marxist intellectuals have mastered the tactic of language corruption through the use of the deceptive metaphor.
The left’s deployment of the term “denialist” to describe anyone critical of the present-day Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Environmental, Social, and Governance, “social justice” narrative is deliberately intended to produce the impression that all critics of progressive policy are like modern-day Nazis.
Progressive activists and politicians have levied specious allegations of “denialism” against their conservative opponents in the United States and Canada. The charge of “denialism” has become a deliberate deception to justify restricting open debate and free speech.
Late in 2015, Newsweek opinion writer Walter Olson pointed out that Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse was coaxing the U.S. Department of Justice to consider filing a racketeering suit against oil and coal companies for promoting “wrongful thinking” on climate change. Mr. Whitehouse was also interested in targeting the activities of conservative policy groups.
Mr. Olson noted that this was “a significant step toward criminalizing policy differences and using litigation and government enforcement to punish opponents in public debate.” He cautioned that “Others had already gone farther than the senator himself, calling for making ‘climate denial’ a ‘crime against humanity.’”
In Canada, Kimberly Murray, an indigenous rights activist appointed to advise federal Minister of Justice David Lametti, recently submitted an interim report on the subject of missing children, unmarked graves, and burial sites allegedly associated with indigenous residential schools.
Writing in The Epoch Times, Barbara Kay pointed out that the Canadian government appears willing to “impose legal sanctions on dissenters to the now received wisdom amongst our intelligentsia and political elites that the residential schools were a form of ‘genocide.’”
Ms. Kay went on to explain that Ms. Murray also recommended a policy of “data sovereignty,” which would place original documentation on indigenous matters, now in government, church, and university archives, under the control of indigenous organizations. Indigenous groups would be given the power to deny access to objective historians. In other words, unaccountable authorities could withhold the tools of research from anyone regarded to be a potential “denialist.” Apparently, there’s little room left for the full examination of evidence and dispassionate judgment in Canadian policy debates.
In America, Mollie Hemingway, a highly regarded American author, produced a magnificently researched book on the 2020 U.S. election. “Rigged” was a powerful reminder that honest attention to detail plays an important role in election analysis. Another book by U.S. attorney Christina Bobb provided a thorough analysis of the election fraud that could imperil the survival of the American Republic. “Stealing Your Vote” was a convincing account of an election that was allegedly filled with cheating by mail, ballot harvesting, and vote dumping that disenfranchised millions of Americans.
Compliant politicians, legacy media journalists, and progressive activists launched an all-out assault on the facts presented in both of these books. Citizens such as Ms. Hemingway and Ms. Bobb are dismissed as “election deniers,” and the United States is suffering the consequences.
During the COVID pandemic, government agencies across North America hurled charges of “denialism” against well-qualified medical professionals and informed citizens who questioned the merits of mRNA vaccine mandates, school closings, and draconian shutdowns.
A 2020 paper in the Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR) scolded “science deniers, including vaccine science deniers” for shilling their “scientifically-bankrupt wares” on the internet. “We, who understand the rigor of science and know the evidence supporting immunization for health and well-being, are often aghast at the falsehoods promulgated,” said the report. We now know that many of those so-called “falsehoods” about COVID vaccine efficacy and adverse events turned out to be true.
Allegations of “denialism” obstruct rational attempts to re-examine any social or scientific consensus protected by our woke global establishment. Such allegations serve only to exclude fresh thinking in favor of tired radical ideas that are often misinformed and dangerous.
Those who are inclined to begin a debate with the proposition that their opponents are “fascists” are more likely to abort thought than to encourage it. Branding people as “deniers” is tantamount to saying they’re morally vile and have no right to join the discussion. It’s hardly a secure route toward truth and reconciliation.
Read another commentary by William Brooks here on free speech.
Rod Clifton discusses free speech on campus here.