Saturday, May 22, 2010

Christopher Monckton; the lesser-known lies

It's an unfortunate feature of our political discourse that the term "liar" has become debased, with commentators on the right and the left applying the term indiscriminantly to those with whom they disagree -- as if to state something someone else does not believe do be true were the same as being dishonest. Thus "liar" is devalued as a criticism. Although one would think that clear evidence of premeditated deception -- as with the faked temperature graph used by Don Easterbrook at the recent ICCC conference -- would disqualify the liar's assertions from further consideration, but sadly, not so.

The example of Christopher Monckton illustrates another point about liars -- they don't just lie about one thing. Monckton does not just lie about global temperatures, or satellite data, or glacier retreat. He lies early and often -- seemingly compulsively. Here are some of the lies that many have escaped your notice:

* He make up a story about having to sell his family home to pay prize money, in order to sell puzzles. Seriously.

* He called protesters at one of his speeches "Hitler Youth." Then he lied about it, even though the event was caught on video.

* He claimed President Obama was born in Kenya, although one may hold out the faint hope he was joking.

* Monckton is also capable of almost superhuman falsehood density -- in one single paragraph describing the (fictional) ban on DDT, which he (mis)attributes to Jackie Kennedy, and mistakenly blames for the persistence of malaria in Africa, he lies no fewer than eleven times in three sentences.

* Monckton claimed in Febuary to have invented a drug which cures HIV, multiple sclerosis, and the common cold. Really. I guess we'll just have to wait on that one to see if it turns out to be true.

Monckton is not a fringe figure in the denialist community -- he is a star. He has challenged Al Gore to debate, and headlined denialist events all across the world. As far as refuting the science of climate change, he is the best they can do. And that one fact tells you most of what you need to know about "climate skeptics."


  1. Oh, and he claimed that DDT is harmless, and that Rachel Carson was successful only because Jackie Kennedy "tugged on her husbands pajamas," and that Jack Kennedy then came back from the dead in 1970 to appoint William Ruckelshaus to head EPA after somehow changing history and making the Ruckelshaus's old Kennedy-family friends, despite their never having met and living 3,000 miles apart.

    No, I'm not making this up. You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried. See here, for example:

  2. And had I read more carefully, I would have noted you cited that earlier. Ooops.

    Your post is spot on, and thanks for the link.

  3. Thanks, Ed! Appreciate the feedback.