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Former Greens candidate Professor Clive Hamilton is furious:

Who would have thought the Melbourne Theatre Company would get into bed with Andrew Bolt?

But here’s the thing. Hamilton is a professional moralist – a Professor of Public Ethics, no less. Standing for goodness, he denounces ‘the highly personal attacks”, “vituperation” , “vilification of individuals” .and “angry ridicule” that he detects from sceptics.

Yet in response to the MTC staging a play with the sceptic as a hero, Hamilton lets fly with a truly extraordinary stream of abuse:

…discredited … rat-bags … denier .. conspiracy theorists … fossil-fuel industry hatchet men … cyber-bullies … shit-spreaders …  shock jocks … bullshit …  insidious … grubbier … distortion …  cowardly … artistic wanking … poison … slippery falsehoods … travesty

Wow. You’d laugh at the hypocrisy – this very epitome of the rabid shock-jockery Hamilton imagines in his foes – if Hamilton didn’t also stoop to the most vicious smearing of the playwright:

Perhaps Richard Bean’s next project will be The Heretic 2, another “funny, provocative and heart-warming family drama” in which the maverick academic David Irving, lone defender of the truth, uncovers definitive evidence that the Holocaust never happened. Sent to Coventry by his fellow historians — a spineless lot who have for years been manipulating the evidence to protect their funding and their reputations — David is in the end vindicated; the Holocaust was a Zionist plot after all.

It’s odd that Hamilton is so very stridently certain of his global warming creed – and so very damning of those who doubt – when he’s previously conceded:

I do not presume to engage in arguments about climate science because I do not have the expertise to do so without making a fool of myself.

But there is a far darker side to such a vitriolic defence of a faith.

Clive Hamilton purports to stand for a kinder, better world. But not for the first time, he reminds me of the danger of the moral zealot – that their conviction of their own good and the evil of their enemies gives them licence to use any means whatsover to crush the opposition. This is an intoxicating and dangerous freedom, the excuse of the commissars of so many bloody revolutions, which CS Lewis brilliantly summed up:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

So it’s no surprise to me that Hamilton is not mere so viciously abusive, but prone to statements such as these:

Hamilton in 2007:

Very few people, even among environmentalists, have truly faced up to what the science is telling us. This is because the implications of 3C, let alone 4C or 5C, are so horrible that we look to any possible scenario to head it off, including the canvassing of “emergency” responses such as the suspension of democratic processes.

Hamilton in his Requiem for a Species:

We all value and benefit from a law-abiding society. Yet at times like these we have a higher duty and are no longer bound to submit to the laws that protect those who continue to pollute the atmosphere in a way that threatens to destroy the habitability of the Earth. When just laws are used to protect unjust behavior, our obligation to uphold the laws is diminished….

A sudden awakening in a decade by governments and the people to the dangers of climate change will be too late; the global climate system will have shifted course and the future will have been taken out of our hands. In such times we have moral obligations other than obedience to the law.

Hamilton on selling global warming theory:

Personally I cannot see any alternative to ramping up the fear factor.