Free speech – but only for some

No Right Turn is normally a great champion of free speech. But I was somewhat alarmed to read his attack on the NZ Herald because its editorial lambasted the Government for slowness on climate change policy, while it also ran a column by Garth George which was highly sceptical that climate change was man made.

This is in fact exactly how a newspaper should work. The editorial line of the newspaper should not be used to filter out opinions the editor does not agree with. Garth George is a weekly regular columnist who writes on any topic he wishes. The notion that the Editor should ban his columns whenever they are on a topic the Editor disagrees with, is not what I call free speech.

It is also alarming that No Right Turn compares climate change scepticism to holocaust denial. The latter is a historical fact. The former is a scientific theory. Now I personally accept the consensus opinion that greenhouse gases are playing a major role in global warming, but the day we do not allow scientists to dissent from their peers, is a sad one for free speech and for science.

Incidentally, accepting the consensus position on the occurrence of climate change, does not mean accepting every daft proposal people come up with to deal with it, such as the Kyoto Protocol which could cost hundreds of billions of dollars and only reduce average global temperatures by 0.07 of a degree by 2050. I don’t dispute the science – I dispute the economics.

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