No, We Should Not Arrest Climate Deniers

Mother Jones

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Should politicians and pundits who deny climate change be held criminally liable for the misinformation they spread? Gawker‘s Adam Weinstein—our friend and former colleague—thinks so, and has called for the arrest of outspoken deniers. “Those denialists should face jail,” Weinstein writes. “They should face fines. They should face lawsuits from the classes of people whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by denialist tactics.”

Predictably, the denier crowd isn’t buying the argument. A post on the Heartland Institute’s website links Weinstein to “liberal fascism”: “Liberals who are that soaked in the ideology of catastrophic man-caused global warming are fascists. Full stop.” Even those normally on Weinstein’s climate-change-believing side are pouring scorn in the comments section: “I also want a unicorn. One that shoots rainbow-colored lasers out of its ass. Since, y’know, we’re talking about wish-fulfillment that will never, ever happen.”

So who’s right? Much as we like the spirit of Weinstein’s argument, ultimately, we disagree with its premise. Here’s why:

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No, We Should Not Arrest Climate Deniers

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