The International Policy Network, one of the U.K.’s most prominent climate-change-denying think tanks, has shut its doors, apparently after an internal battle during which science finally overwhelmed both ideology and the lure of dirty oil funding.
IPN is one of 150 right-wingy think tanks and similar organizations that can trace their heritage to Sir Anthony Fisher, the ideologue and disciple of the neoliberal economist Frederich Hayek. According to documents that The Independent obtained through a Freedom of Information request, the IPN Board was effectively composed of Fisher’s two children, Linda Whetstone and Michael Fisher. It was they who decided to burst the delusional organization’s bubble last year.
The Independent speculates that Whetstone may have been influenced by her daughter, Rachel, now vice president for global communications and public affairs for Google. Rachel Whetstone’s husband, Steve Hilton (inset with British Prime Minister David Cameron) was the strategist who moved the British Conservative Party into the realm of reality on climate policy.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.