Remove All Doubt
Wednesday, January 14
 
Record low temperatures in the Northeast

But Drudge is reporting that Al Gore will give a major address tomorrow about global warming. I am incredulous as to how close this man was to becoming President.

As some of you know, one of my linguistic crusades is that we need objective definitions of "witch hunt" and "McCarthyism" to prevent abuse and differentiate such conduct from run-of-the-mill overzealous prosecutions. For instance, McCarthyism needs to be defined as something like "the reckless accusation of an undefined crime for broad political purposes without regard to the individual suspect's guilt or innocence." A good contemporary example are the sensationalistic accusations of "racial insensitivity" heaped on judicial nominees. On the other hand, "witch hunt" needs to be defined as something like "the hysterical attempt to purge an evil that hasn't been shown to exist." Previously, I had a hard time thinking of modern examples of the witch hunt; only the church-burnings hysteria of the 90s seemed a fit. But now ladies and gentlemen, we have a modern witch hunt: the quest to stop global warming.

Both McCarthyism and witch hunts are sorts of conspiracy-theories-in-action. Both are non-falsifiable, but for different reasons. With McCarthyism, contrary evidence is disregarded because the target's guilt or innocence is wholly beside the point. But witch hunts are more classic -- contrary evidence merely reinforces the notion that the non-existent evil is powerful and sinister indeed.

Gore should get on the highway and deliver his speech in Salem, Massachusetts.
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