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Harold Hutchison / July 2, 2020

Green Apology Draws Fire From the Cancel Crowd

Some apologies are “woke,” but others fly in the face of the leftist agenda.

These days, it’s hard to even honestly reflect on one’s own past positions. Just look at what happened to a former “environmental activist” who issued an apology for the effects of certain past actions. The article, by Mike Shellenberger, was originally published by Forbes. But after a backlash from the mob, the magazine beat a speedy retreat and pulled the piece.

Implications for honest commentary and journalism aside, this is a very disturbing trend coming from the Left. It’s a continuation of a trend that we observed a while ago, notably when a failed school-lunch program was being reformed, but it goes back further.

These days, leftists put forth policy prescriptions. But when they fail, we’re considered racist or sexist for pointing out the failure, or for asserting a better solution. If a new “woke” idea is introduced, we must support it without question. Or else.

When it comes to the environment, the Left’s policy prescriptions would devastate the economy. The case against environmental extremism has already been won — and a lot of the improvements in emissions have come from the growth of fracking. The response from the Left? In 2016, a number of state AGs wanted to use the RICO Act, which was created to crack down on mobsters, against so-called “climate deniers.”

This is an increasingly totalitarian approach from the Left. In one very real sense, it denies the core of the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech. Each of us has the right to look at the issues, to come to our own conclusions, and to speak out as we see fit and perhaps persuade others to our side. This is the essence of the marketplace of ideas.

A good argument is a good argument, regardless of the race, sex, or any other characteristic of its author. Back in a healthier state of politics, we understood this, and we honored it with a sober, thoughtful analysis and counter-argument. Not today.

But over the last few years, we’ve seen counter-arguments met with fury and recrimination — and with a string of abuses of power. The targeting of the Tea Party by the IRS during the Obama-Biden years is one example, as are New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leveraging of financial regulations against the NRA and the efforts by Democrats on the Federal Election Commission to effectively outlaw talk radio and conservative media. These are all bad signs, and they all point toward an increasing intolerance for dissent.

The Left often complains about the norms being violated by President Donald Trump. But the truth is, they’ve been living in a glass house all along.

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