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No Dissent, Please, We’re the LA Times

Feel pity for the letters editor at the Los Angeles Times, Paul Thornton. He says he will not print letters that are skeptical of the human role in climate change because they are objectively wrong. He must rely on "experts" with "advanced degrees" to opine on this subject.

The hapless Mr. Thornton is proud of his self-limiting deference to experts. One wonders if his cap-doffing awe extends to fields such as finance (where he probably also is not an expert), military affairs (is he an expert on that?) or foreign relations. Do you have to have a doctorate to write a letter to the editor on those topics, too?

Or is only the field of science holy?

Leading critics of the current emphasis on a determinative human role in global warming also have advanced science degrees. But they won’t get letters printed in the LA Times, either.

Presumably Mr. Thornton also does not print letters that contradict the truth of Darwin’s theory of evolution or any number of other scientific subjects upon which a progressive consensus has congealed. That is because, as we know (even if, like the LA Times editor, we do not have advanced degrees in science), people described as "scientists" are always presumed right and their wisdom is not overturned by the mere vicissitudes of new evidence. It is an outdated idea, you see, that scientific understanding is always open to criticism and subject to change.

These days the LA Times has learned that dissent on serious scientific subjects must not be tolerated in polite society. Otherwise Progress cannot proceed on its reasoned and inevitable course. If you like your tooth implant or catheterized arterial stents do not doubt the truth that human beings must be regimented more strictly to conform to the latest consensus computer models of climate change.

However, this un-expert wonders if one reason readership at the LA Times has declined even faster than at other papers is the comic, unwarranted smugness of the editorial pages.

Bruce Chapman

Cofounder and Chairman of the Board of Discovery Institute
Bruce Chapman has had a long career in American politics and public policy at the city, state, national, and international levels. Elected to the Seattle City Council and as Washington State's Secretary of State, he also served in several leadership posts in the Reagan administration, including ambassador. In 1991, he founded the public policy think tank Discovery Institute, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board and director of the Chapman Center on Citizen Leadership.