That pesky stratospheric cooling
We all live in the troposphere -- that part of the atmosphere that stretches from the sea surface upwards for about 10 miles. The next big "sphere" as we go upward is the stratosphere. And even Warmists agree that the stratosphere is COOLING. And "spheres" above the stratosphere are cooling too.
So does that not upset global warming theory? No, say the Warmists. Their whole theory is that various gases in the troposphere "trap" heat rising off the earth. So that heat rising off the earth never reaches the stratosphere or higher. So the more the troposphere traps the rising heat, so the stratosphere will cool. It's a reasonable enough theory given Warmist assumptions.
And the big assumption is to conceive CO2 as forming some sort of blanket around the earth. A blanket would indeed keep the heat in and deny it to the stratosphere. But CO2 is NOT a blanket. It is just lots of separate molecules jiggling away doing their own thing. And ANY heated atmospheric molecule will emanate its radiation in ALL directions -- not just downward towards earth. CO2 molecules don't have little compasses in them telling them in which direction to focus their radiations.
So CO2 is not a blanket at all. It will be just as likely to radiate upwards as downwards. It will be just as likely to warm the stratosphere as the troposphere. So once again Warmism is fundamentally flawed. Their explanations are bunk. One could argue that upward radiation is blocked by that peculiar layer called the tropopause but if we argue that way, what do we need CO2 for? The tropopause already does the blocking job that CO2 is supposed to do. CO2 blocking becomes a surplus explanation that is put to death by Occam's razor.
It is true that stratospheric cooling could be due to the fact that most of the ozone is in the stratosphere. Ozone is that great stuff that soaks up most of the nasty UV radiation put out by the sun. I quote Dr. Jeffrey Masters, Director of Meteorology at Weather Underground: "The main reason for the recent stratospheric cooling is due to the destruction of ozone by human-emitted CFC gases. Ozone absorbs solar UV radiation, which heats the surrounding air in the stratosphere. Loss of ozone means that less UV light gets absorbed, resulting in cooling of the stratosphere"
That seems precisely backwards to me. It implies that CFC levels are rising, when the proud boast of the Greenies is to have cut them back. He is talking about a steady process -- cooling -- and explains it by another steady process -- decreasing ozone. But thanks to the heroic framers of the Montreal protocol, ozone levels should be RISING, not decreasing.
An explanation of cooling in terms of a recovery of ozone might make some sense: CFC chemicals had destroyed a lot of the ozone so less of the UV was being blocked. The stratosphere got warmer than it should be. It wasn't blocking as much UV as it once did. So heroic environmentalists created the Montreal protocol which stopped human beings from manufacturing any more of the evil CFC stuff. So the stratosphere has been cooling down from an abnormal high as CFCs diminish and ozone increases.
I don't like that explanation either but let's concede that some way or another ozone explains stratospheric cooling. The big problem is that if we go further up in the atmosphere, the ozone more or less vanishes but we still find cooling.
So what is the explanation for stratospheric cooling?
Can I say that I don't know? What I do know is that the role of CO2 has been misconceived. CO2 is a red herring. It explains neither tropospheric warming nor stratospheric cooling.
Is a confession of not having all the answers troubling? It shouldn't be. Such a confession is the starting point of all research. I was amused by something Carl Mears said on his RSS site: "Climate models cannot explain this warming if human-caused increases in greenhouse gases are not included as input to the model simulation."
He seemed to think that was a decisive argument. Unexplained warming was anathema to him. We MUST have an explanation, he seems to say. But there is no such must. Chemists once had an explanation for combustion that they thought was pretty good. They thought that it consisted of the release of phlogiston. Problem: There is no such thing as phlogiston. So I think Carl Mears is full of phlogiston
In fact, I think I do know what is happening with ozone and the stratosphere. The key is to leave CFCs out of the picture. But I will leave that for tomorrow -- JR.
Britain braces for blackouts and pricey power due to Green energy
Electricity market data published Monday shows that Great Britain could be facing blackouts and extremely expensive electricity this winter because of the country’s reliance on green energy.
The data shows that the U.K. had an extremely hard time keeping the lights on compared to last winter, and was even forced to take emergency measures. A report published Monday by The Financial Times estimates that the price of electricity could be more than a dozen times higher than usual, which would have serious consequences.
During certain times, the report predicts that wholesale electricity prices Daily Caller New Foundationwill rise from a going rate of $85.28 per megawatt-hour to $3,553.37 per megawatt-hour. Official government analysis suggests there could be insufficient electricity on a windless or cloudy days to power the country and that brownouts and blackouts have already impacted the U.K.
“The looming power shortages in Britain highlight some of the unintended consequences of renewable energy,” Travis Fisher, an economist at the Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Flooding the grid with subsidized energy from politically popular but unreliable sources like wind and solar power not only makes it more difficult to balance supply and demand in real time — it also ruins the economics of reliable generators over the long run. But keeping the lights on is a necessity, so Britain is now subsidizing reliable power plants and developing a new transmission line to bring reliable nuclear power from France. Even if Britain avoids blackouts this year, it is important to remember that all of this tinkering comes at great cost to consumers.”
The U.K. will be more vulnerable to blackouts than it has ever been for at least the next four years, the former CEO of one of Britain’s largest electricity companies, told The Times in March. Britain’s energy difficulties are due to the country’s plans to shut down 1.5 gigawatts of conventional electrical capacity and replace it with unreliable wind or solar power.
To make matters worse, U.K.’s government announced it would close the country’s remaining coal power plants. Britain’s ruling Conservative party has repeatedly said it wants to phase out existing coal power over the next 10 to 15 years. Closing the country’s remaining 15 coal plants will take a whopping 24,830 MW of generational capacity off the grid, meaning somewhere between 20.2 percent to 34.6 percent of Britain’s electricity will have to be replaced.
Solar and wind power systems require conventional backups to provide power, because they do not generate electricity at times when it is most needed. Since the output of solar and wind plants cannot be predicted with high accuracy, grid operators have to keep excess reserves running just in case.
“Intermittent power sources [such as wind and solar] put huge strains on the grid that become harder and harder to handle as the number of windmills or solar panels increases,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, told TheDCNF. “Wind and solar require backup sources that can come online and go offline quickly, which increases costs significantly as well as undermining reliability. Britain and several other EU countries are held up as examples; they are indeed examples — of what we should not be doing.”
In order for the power grid to function, demand for energy must exactly match supply. Power demand is relatively predictable and conventional power plans, like nuclear plants and natural gas, can adjust output accordingly. Solar and wind power, however, cannot easily adjust output. Peak power demand also occurs in the evenings, when solar power is going offline. Adding green power, which only provide power at intermittent and unpredictable times, makes the power grid more fragile.
Britain’s attempts to use wind or solar power have also been immensely costly. U.K. residents paid a whopping 54 percent more for electricity than Americans in 2014, while energy taxes cost residents roughly $6.6 billion every year. Green energy subsidies in the U.K. regularly exceed spending caps and account for roughly 7 percent of British energy bills, according to government study released last July.
The unreliability of green energy sources isn’t limited to Britain, as wind and solar run the risk of producing too much or to little electricity, which can overload and ultimately fry the power grid. These surges in wind or solar are why electrical companies will occasionally pay consumers to take electricity.
Other European countries, like Germany, have been minimizing the damage by paying consumers to take excess power and asking wind and solar producers to switch off when they’re not needed. Germany paid wind farms $548 million last year to switch off in order to prevent damage to the country’s electric grid.
Due to the damaging effects green energy has had on Germany’s grid, the government plans to cap the total amount of wind energy at 40 to 45 percent of national capacity, according to a report published last month by the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung. By 2019, Germany will get rid of 6,000 megawatts of wind power capacity.
Polling indicates that 38 percent of British households are cutting back essential purchases, like food, to pay for high energy bills. Another 59 percent of homes are worried about how they are going to pay energy bills. Companies are getting hit by pricey British electricity as well, and some are even leaving the country because of it, threatening up to 40,000 jobs. The U.K. government estimates that green energy taxes attached to peoples’s electricity bills, costs residents and businesses $6.1 billion annually.
UK: National Grid recruits NHS hospitals to help keep the lights on
National Grid is recruiting cash-strapped NHS hospitals to fire up their emergency generators and turn down their air conditioning systems when power supplies are scarce.
The company, which is responsible for balancing UK supply and demand, wants to make more use of “demand side response” schemes, in which energy users are paid to temporarily reduce the amount of power they draw from the grid.
Cordi O’Hara, head of the UK system operator at National Grid, said it believed the NHS had potential to cut its demand on the Grid by up to 400 megawatts (MW) – so freeing up enough electricity to power homes in a city the size of Edinburgh.
Several hospitals are already taking part in the embryonic demand side response industry and National Grid has just held talks with the Crown Commercial Service, which helps manage energy procurement for the NHS, to sign up more.
Ms O’Hara argues that demand reduction represents a cheaper way of meeting peak power demand and keeping the lights on as Britain builds more wind and solar farms which generate power intermittently rather than simply constructing lots of extra power plants that will rarely be used.
“We are in a period of significant change for the energy industry as we decarbonise the energy system. New cost-effective ways of balancing the system will need to be developed,” she said.
“Just continuing to build out generation to meet that peak demand may not be the best use of consumer money.”
National Grid hopes to make use of the fact that hospitals have to have backup generators to use in the event power cuts and that these sit dormant most of the year except for testing.
“Hospitals are very resilient sites,” said Paul Lowbridge, manager of National Grid’s "power responsive" programme to encourage demand side response.
As well using back-up generators, he said NHS managers were interested in adjusting their air conditioning, or 'HVAC' systems, to reduce their demand.
“There are opportunities for them to not turn it off, but reduce it ever so slightly at certain times of the day,” he said, insisting this could be done without affecting patient care.
“An individual hospital might be turning down ever so slightly their HVAC with no impact on their site, but when you pull together a bunch of those doing it at the same time it becomes a sizeable reduction.”
National Grid is battling to change the public image of demand-side response programmes, which have been introduced as emergency back-up measures for recent winters as supplies dwindle and have led to talk of power rationing.
“Hospitals are a really good example because it might be the last sector that you would think would do this sort of stuff,” Mr Lowbridge said. “But when you talk to one, their number one priority is the patients, their comfort and safety. They wouldn’t do it if there was any sort of risk.”
Mr Lowbridge said taking part in demand-side schemes offered “real potential” for hospitals to make money, with one hospital that had already signed up making “more than tens of thousands annually”.
He said NHS managers were receptive to such schemes as they looked to cope with tight budgets. “An energy manager, generally their objective is ‘how do you stop our energy bill going up’. They are looking for ways to do this.”
Flexitricity, a demand-side response aggregator company, said it already had five NHS hospitals under contract with a capacity of 9.2MW, and was working with 25 more on potential projects that could bring another 71.6MW of capacity.
Ms O’Hara said she wanted demand-side response to be seen not as a form of crisis management in “blackout Britain” but a routine way of helping to balance supply and demand.
“The demand-side response history has been associated with poor outcomes for business and the consumer; lower production from factories,” she said. “Actually, technology is enabling seamless interaction with intelligent energy use and that’s really fantastic. Why not embrace that opportunity to innovate?”
House panel turns up heat after states clam up on climate dissent probes
The 17 attorneys general pursuing climate change dissenters for accusations of “fraud” want House Republicans to mind their own business. That’s not going to happen.
Seventeen Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee reasserted their right in a Friday letter to conduct oversight on state investigations that represent a threat to the First Amendment and “the free flow of scientific research.”
The letter to the 17 attorneys general — 16 Democrats and one independent — came after several refused to cooperate with a May 18 request by committee Republicans for information related to the coordinated campaign to pursue climate change dissenters, starting with ExxonMobil Corp.
“The House Science Committee’s authority to investigate the concerns raised in my prior letter are grounded in the Constitution and reflected in the rules of the House of Representatives. The Committee strongly disagrees with your contentions,” said the letter, led by committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican.
“The Committee intends to continue its vigorous oversight of the coordinated attempt to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations, and scientists of their First Amendment rights and ability to fund and conduct scientific research free from intimidation and threats of prosecution,” the letter said.
The committee renewed its request for the 17 attorneys general — sometimes called the “Green 20” — to turn over documents related to their campaign, including communications with 10 environmental groups and foundations, by June 24.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who hosted a March 29 press conference to unveil AGs United for Clean Power, declined last month to cooperate with the committee’s investigation, citing the “lack of congressional jurisdiction over state law enforcement activities and the committee’s intrusion into sovereign state actions protected by the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Climate advocacy groups including Greenpeace, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the RockefellerBrothers Fund have also refused to comply with the panel’s request for information related to their work with the attorneys general.
“The premise of Chairman Smith’s letter is a farce,” UCS President Ken Kimmell said in a May 19 statement. “The attorneys general are not investigating ExxonMobil’s scientific research, but rather whether the company misled shareholders and the public about the dangers of climate change in order to continue profiting from a lucrative product.”
So far, the committee has issued requests only for information, not subpoenas.
In their latest letter, committee Republicans argued that Mr. Schneiderman’s previous statements show that his office will decide what constitutes the “best science” on climate change.
“In essence, you are saying if your office disagrees with whether fossil fuel companies’ scientists were conducting and using ‘the best science,’ the corporation could be held liable for fraud,” said the House committee letter.
“Not only does the possibility exist that such action could have a chilling effect on scientists performing federally funded research, but it also could infringe on the civil rights of scientists who become targets of these inquiries,” the letter said. “Your actions violate the scientists’ First Amendment rights. Congress has a duty to investigate your effort to criminalize scientific dissent.”
The House Republicans also argue that much of the research conducted on climate change under scrutiny by the attorneys general has been funded with federal dollars.
Exxon is fighting subpoenas issued by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude E. Walker as part of their investigation into whether the company committed fraud by misleading the public on the dangers and extent of climate change.
Mr. Walker withdrew last month a subpoena issued to the Competitive Enterprise Institute as part of his investigation. The free market think tank is slated to appear in court June 28 as part of its effort to seek sanctions against his office.
“The fact that AG Walker walked away from his DC subpoena case against CEI only strengthens our case,” CEI general counsel Sam Kazman said in a Friday statement. “His subpoena was groundless from the outset, and he has no basis for violating our First Amendment rights as well as those of our supporters.”
Republican attorneys general have also entered the fray. In a letter last week, 13 of them urged the coalition to cease its campaign against climate change dissent, arguing in part that it would set a precedent for legal action against climate alarmists.
“If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud,” said the June 15 letter.
Vermont AG sued for withholding records on possible investigation of ‘climate change deniers’
Vermont’s Attorney General is being sued for withholding public records related to a multi-state investigation of groups opposed to climate change policies.
On Monday, two nonprofit legal centers filed a lawsuit to force Attorney General William Sorrell and Assistant Attorney General Scott Kline to turn over documents from private email accounts that discuss climate change “deniers.”
The complaint, filed by attorneys for the Energy and Environment Legal Institute and Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, says a request for documents was made on May 10 but not responded to by the extended deadline of May 24 — the longest extension allowable under Vermont law.
According to the complaint, the groups seek discussions with Matt Pawa, an environmental lawyer for the Climate Accountability Institute; Lem Srolovic, chief of the New York Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau; Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general; and John Passacantando, former executive director of Greenpeace USA. The requests contain keywords relating to a possible investigation being led by attorneys general of multiple states.
Records obtained from a prior request made in March show Sorrell and Kline have been working with Schneiderman, Srolovic and anti-fossil fuel activists on launching investigations into ExxonMobil and conservative think tanks generally opposed to climate change agendas.
“When we first submitted a public records request to Vermont in March, they seemed to follow the letter of that state’s freedom of information law, promptly turning over relevant documents in a very timely manner,” David Schnare, general counsel for Energy and Environment Legal Institute, said in a statement.
“The enormous fallout from those revelations has, unfortunately, been followed by slow-walking of other requests in Vermont, and state after state where their attorney general is involved in this conspiracy to stop dissent using RICO statutes.”
The group claims attorneys general from a coalition called AGs United for Clean Power are “facing pressure to not follow their own laws in order to keep secret public documents the public has a right to see.” The prior records reveal employees in the New York Attorney General’s Office pressured Vermont to withhold records from public disclosure, but Vermont employees initially refused on the grounds that it was against the law and could attract lawsuits.
In an interview with Watchdog, Schnare said he thinks Sorrell and Kline are covering up their interactions with environmental groups interested in advancing climate change policies and silencing opponents.
“We don’t know all that we will find once we pry loose the public records the Vermont AG should release, but we believe it will further expose the collusion among the AGs and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and an assorted group of plaintiffs’ attorneys.
“The AGs and the attorneys want to cash in on a pattern of intimidation, while the Rockefeller Brothers and the environmental groups they fund think they will benefit from their attempts to silence scientists and public interest groups that defend quality science and sensible regulation.”
Representatives from the Vermont Office of Attorney General did not return Watchdog’s request for comment.
On March 29, attorneys general from 15 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands met at a climate change conference in New York and announced a coalition called AGs United for Clean Power. The meeting, co-sponsored by Schneiderman and Sorrell, revealed that the attorneys are collaborating to investigate whether fossil fuel companies have misled investors and the public about climate change.
Schnare said the investigations amount to an attack on constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech and free association for leaders from ExxonMobil and various think tanks.
“By squelching the speech of those who disagree with you, you win. That’s a terrible goal for the academy, for those engaged in legitimate debate on public issues, and more fundamentally, for those who both defend and depend on our Constitution,” he said.
“Since the days of McCarthyism, the courts have rejected the notion that the right to associate is open to limitation. By making it a crime to associate with others to discuss issues of the day, or otherwise promote issues and positions on important issues of the day, one destroys the private discussions that can result in new knowledge, breakthroughs in science and, of course, shifts in political action.”
Schnare claims that even “liberal attorneys” find the use of racketeering laws in this situation unconstitutional and “unworthy of a competent attorney general.”
He took a swipe at Vermont’s government, claiming it is not being a leader but “a follower,” and added that Sorrell’s collusion with environmental groups would likely be prosecutable under the same RICO laws the AGs United for Clean Power seek to use against political opponents
“Aren’t you part of a legal conspiracy to harm the constitutional rights of others, making you subject to RICO?” he said, posing a question for Sorrell.
The case is currently pending in Washington Superior Court.
Climate Change’ is California’s official state religion
In a state ruled by a former Jesuit, perhaps we should not be shocked to find ourselves in the grip of an incipient state religion. Of course, this religion is not actually Christianity, or even anything close to the dogma of Catholicism, but something that increasingly resembles the former Soviet Union, or present-day Iran and Saudi Arabia, than the supposed world center of free, untrammeled expression.
Two pieces of legislation introduced in the Legislature last session, but not yet enacted, show the power of the new religion. One is Senate Bill 1146, which seeks to limit the historically broad exemptions the state and federal governments have provided religious schools to, well, be religious.
Under the rubric of official “tolerance,” the bill would only allow religiously focused schools to deviate from the secular orthodoxy required at nonreligious schools, including support for transgender bathrooms or limitations on expressions of faith by students and even Christian university presidents, in a much narrower range of educational activity than ever before. Many schools believe the bill would needlessly risk their mission and funding to “solve” gender and social equity problems on their campuses that currently don’t exist.
The second piece of legislation, thankfully temporarily tabled, Senate Bill 1161, the Orwellian-named “California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016,” would have dramatically extended the period of time that state officials could prosecute anyone who dared challenge the climate orthodoxy, including statements made decades ago. It would have sought “redress for unfair competition practices committed by entities that have deceived, confused or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused or misled the public on those risks.”
Although advocates tended to focus on the hated energy companies, the law could conceivably also extend to skeptics who may either reject the prevailing notions of man-made climate change, or might believe that policies concocted to “arrest” the phenomena may be themselves less than cost-effective or even not effective at all. So, fellow Californians, sign onto Gov. Torquemada’s program or face possible prosecution and the fires of hell.
The new intolerance
Although they target widely different issues, these pieces of legislation reflect a highly authoritarian and illiberal brand of progressivism evolving into something of a state religion. On one hand, California cannot tolerate the autonomy of religious institutions if they refuse to embrace the secularist ideology that dominates the state. Even religious clubs on California State University campuses can no longer restrict their leadership to those who actually are believers.
Similarly, the emerging attack on anyone questioning climate change orthodoxy represents another kind of religion, one that gives officially sanctioned science something close to papal infallibility. Despite the fact that there remain widely divergent views on both the severity of climate change and how best to address it, one has to adhere to the accepted “science” – or else.
Perhaps most shocking of all, this new spirit of progressive intolerance is affecting other institutions, notably academia and the media. Long incubators for free thinking, the academy, as liberal legal scholars such as Alan Dershowitz note, now routinely violates due process.
The University of California even has promoted the idea of “freedom from intolerance” in order to protect students from any speech that may offend them as discriminatory. In the context of today’s campus, this means that not only the lunacy of Donald Trump but even conventional conservatism must be curtailed as intrinsically discriminatory and evil. Yet, at the same time, proudly violent groups like the Black Panthers are openly celebrated.
This cult of political correctness has reached such ludicrous levels that the University of California considers it a “microagression” to assert “America is a land of opportunity,” or to dare to criticize race-based affirmative action. Perhaps more dangerous, such attitudes are incubated in our law schools, which increasingly embrace the notion that the law should be employed specifically to promote certain ideals – whether environmental, race-related or gender-related – embraced by overwhelmingly progressive institutions, irrespective of constitutional limits.
The media, to their shame, increasingly embrace these notions, for example, by refusing to print letters from climate change skeptics, as has occurred on outlets such as Reddit and the Los Angeles Times. Increasingly, mainstream newspaper accounts do not even bother considering skeptical views, including those held by dissenting scientists or questioning economists. What we used to associate only with Soviet-era papers like Pravda increasingly pervades much of the mainstream media.
In such an environment, it’s not surprising that legislators and elected state officials feel free to target churches, conservative think tanks or energy companies such as Exxon with criminal sanctions and penalties. That such approaches are disguised either as being “scientific” or reflective of “social justice” makes them no less heinous, and fundamentally illiberal, in terms of traditional American values of tolerance and respect for dissenting opinions.
Forgetting Madison, embracing groupthink
For the record, I am neither a Christian, nor do I deny that climate change could pose a potential serious long-term threat to humanity. What worries me most is the idea that one must embrace official orthodoxy about how to combat this phenomenon, or question its priority over so many other pressing concerns, such as alleviating poverty, both here and abroad, protecting the oceans or a host of other issues. Similarly, I have always disagreed with holy rollers like Sen. Ted Cruz, who would seek to limit, for example, abortion or the rights of gay people to marry, or would allow school prayer.
But the new progressive intolerance now represents, in many ways, as great, if not more pervasive, a threat to the republic than that posed by either religious fundamentalists or even the most fervent climate change denier. It violates the Madisonian principle that assumed that religious and moral ideas “must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.” To revoke that principle is to reduce the United States to just another authoritarian state, even if the official ideology is couched in scientific research or estimable embrace of racial or gender differences.
It is no surprise, then, that today many Christians – as much as two-thirds, according to one recent survey – feel that they are being persecuted. Indeed, if they dissent from orthodox views, they now can find themselves the subjects of official opprobrium, as seen in the case of Chick-fil-A in New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has urged his constituents, somewhat unsuccessfully, to boycott the popular restaurant. In some cases, you can lose your job by taking the wrong position, as was the case for Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla. The attempt to impose orthodoxy on religious schools, as in SB1146, seems the logical extension of such thinking.
The jihad against anyone who dissents on climate issues also impacts those who are not religious. Couched in the oft-repeated hysterical language that has come to dominate green politics, anyone who dissents on the orthodoxy – whether a moderate Democrat, an energy company or the stray scientific skeptic – faces the possibility of official persecution.
Already, 16 Democratic state attorneys general are actively seeking such action against companies and individuals, which should offend anyone who believes in the ideals of free speech and diversity of opinion. That our own governor and Legislature embrace such repressive views is anathema to the very idea of California, where the “free speech” movement originated and fostering unorthodoxy has been something of a tradition. Slowly, our very essence – born of debate and dissent and the presence of so many ethnicities and world views – is being stamped out in an attempt to enforce orthodoxy. This process, as in so many areas, has been exacerbated by our transition into a one-party state where, increasingly, only the most orthodox views on all issues can be tolerated.
Ultimately, we as Americans – and Californians – will pay a price for this. History is replete with stories of decline brought on by enforced official orthodoxy, from Byzantium to China’s Qing dynasty, the Spain of the Inquisition, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or the current religious autocracies of the contemporary Middle East. As we seek to limit options and ways of thought about everything from marriage and bathrooms to how the planet operates, we don’t just persecute dissenters. We also undermine our ability to innovate, adapt and evolve as a society.
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