Free Speech Suppressed Everywhere You Turn

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Francis Menton

Free speech today is under assault from the Left everywhere and all the time. You already know about the federal government’s pervasive Censorship Industrial Complex, pressuring all the big social media companies to suppress what they deem “misinformation” about any subject important to the current dominant political narrative (Covid-19, climate change, etc.). And you already know about ex-President Trump getting indicted by both federal and Georgia prosecutors for saying the same things about the 2020 election that Al Gore said about the 2000 election and Hillary Clinton said about the 2016 election and Stacey Abrams said about the 2018 election.

But how about the Left using its widespread control of social institutions to silence dissent. Today, this is literally everywhere. Here are a couple of notable examples for today — both, as it happens, from outside the U.S.:

Alimonte, et al., paper in European Physical Journal Plus

If you wonder why the climate alarm narrative seems so completely to dominate public discussion (even though it is utter nonsense), then you need to understand that there is an orthodoxy enforcement police operating behind the scenes. Most of the time the operation of this orthodoxy enforcement mechanism is invisible to the general public. Climate skeptics can’t get jobs in academia, and go into other careers; when skeptics write papers, they get rejected, and are never heard from again. But every once in a while something happens to bring aspects of the orthodoxy enforcement mechanism momentarily into the open. That has recently occurred with respect to a paper published in a European scientific journal in early 2022.

In January 2022 the European science journal called European Physical Journal Plus (part of the Springer Nature collection of journals) published a paper by Gianluca Alimonte and colleagues with the title “A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming.” The paper is essentially a review of trends in various sorts of extreme weather events since the early 20th century, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, and so forth. The bottom line from the article is that there are no noticeable trends in the frequency or severity of these extreme weather events during recent years. For example, the summary as to hurricanes is “To date, global observations do not show any significant trends in both the number and the energy accumulated by hurricanes.” Here is the graph as to numbers of hurricanes and tropical storms and accumulated energy of same:

Surely no trends are visible there. And here are the key concluding sentences from the abstract:

None of these response indicators show a clear positive trend of extreme events. In conclusion on the basis of observational data, the climate crisis that, according to many sources, we are experiencing today, is not evident yet.

That last observation seems to be the one that just could not be allowed. It appears that a group of orthodoxy enforcers from academia and journalism ganged up to go to Springer Nature to demand retraction of the Alimonte, et al. paper. There followed a lengthy back and forth, which ended with the paper being retracted on August 23, 2023. A whistleblower at Springer Nature leaked the back and forth to Roger Pielke, Jr., who has published two pieces about it on his Substack, the first on July 17, and the second on August 26. You can read those two lengthy pieces for all the details.

From the Pielke July 17 piece, the pile-on began about a year ago:

[E]ight months [after publication of Alimonte, et al.], following some discussion of the paper in the Australian media, The Guardian wrote an article severely criticizing the paper. The Guardian quoted four scientists critical of the paper: Greg Holland, Lisa Alexander, Steve Sherwood, and Michael Mann.

As an example of the nature of the criticisms, Pielke quotes the execrable Michael Mann, whose comments Pielke describes as “scathing and personal.” They are also notably non-substantive, appealing to consensus without disputing the accuracy of any of the data:

[This is] another example of scientists from totally unrelated fields coming in and naively applying inappropriate methods to data they don’t understand. Either the consensus of the world’s climate experts that climate change is causing a very clear increase in many types of weather extremes is wrong, or a couple of nuclear physics dudes in Italy are wrong.

As Pielke documents, there was no allegation of scientific fraud or misconduct of any sort. This was purely a case of Mann and his henchmen demanding a retraction over a matter of disagreement with the conclusion. Alimonte, et al. stood behind their work and declined to retract. And Springer then bowed to Mann’s bullying and retracted the article on August 23.

Meanwhile, go to the (now-retracted) Alimonte, et al., paper, and look at the graphs. It is obvious that there is no trend in extreme weather events. There is no getting around this. But it is not allowed to be said in “prestigious” publications like the Springer science journals.

Or, by the way, you can go to Joe D’Aleo’s excellent website,, where there is a frequently updated section headed “Climate Alarmist Claim Fact Checks” with the latest data on trends in all extreme weather events.

Pielke mildly criticizes Alimonte, et al., for their “editorializing” about the lack of any climate crisis discernible in the data. Meanwhile, he notes that he did a Google search that turned up some 300,000 papers asserting the existence of a climate crisis. A few hundred billion dollars of government money can buy a lot of fake climate alarmism.

Jordan Peterson license to practice psychology in Ontario

On August 23 judges of something called the Ontario Divisional Court upheld a ruling of the College of Psychologists of Ontario, which had ordered Jordan Peterson to undergo what Peterson calls “social media retraining” to punish him for various tweets and a Joe Rogan podcast interview that the College found unacceptable. In a podcast on August 25, watchable at the Neo Neocon website here, Peterson goes through the tweets and statements that the College of Psychologists finds so unacceptable. Here are a couple discussed on the podcast:

  • In a tweet on February 19, 2022, Peterson called Ottawa City Councillor Catherine McKenney, who uses “they/them” pronouns, an “appalling, self-righteous moralizing thing.”
  • Speaking on a Joe Rogan podcast about air pollution and child deaths, Peterson said: “It’s just poor children, and the world has too many people on it anyways.”And here are few more from a piece in the Daily Mail:
  • 2016: Slammed proposed Canadian legislation that would ban discrimination based on ‘gender identity or gender expression’, claiming it would threaten free speech
  • 2017: Claimed that ‘the idea of white privilege is absolutely reprehensible’ because ‘most people have all sorts of privilege’
  • 2018: Told British TV network Channel 4 that men need to ‘grow the hell up’ and ‘adopt responsibility’ while discussing the crisis of masculinity. Also claimed that the gender pay gap was not ‘only due to sex’

You can see how very nefarious this guy is. Clearly he must be silenced.

The punishment for Peterson is that he must undergo re-education until his re-educators are satisfied that he is sufficiently compliant.

The good news is that Peterson has the resources to continue the fight. Perhaps he will take it to the Supreme Court of Canada.