The Suppression of Ideas

August 2nd, 2013

Yesterday, Secretary Sally Jewell, head of the Interior Department in the Obama Administration, said in an address to her employees that she hopes there “are no climate change deniers.” One may overlook this statement thinking of it only as a call for a unified message on policy that this Administration has already established. However, that simple quote is a terrifying insight into the minds of our nation’s administrative leaders.

In one sense it is acceptable that many of those enforcing the laws are opinionated to various degrees. After all, many of these administrators are political appointees. The issue is not that they are necessarily politically inclined, it’s the fact that they are imposing their will on the thousands of other government employees that aren’t.

For every federal department in the executive branch, only a select few are appointed, whereas most other employees remain in their position regardless of which party is currently in power. These employees maintain an apolitical nature, focused solely on enforcing the law given to them by Congress. As a result, they are generally considered immune to the volatile landscape of politics. This is where the true nature of Secretary Jewell’s comments begins to show.

Using her position to suggest that one must accept a certain viewpoint is entering a realm of political intimidation seldom seen in this nation. Coercion is now an apparent weapon within the several departments of this Administration. No longer can individuals harbor their own viewpoints on certain issues without interfering with the stated “moral imperatives” of that branch.

Intimidation serves as one of the most powerful weapons in politics. Regardless of the fact that the evidence behind climate change theories is questionable at best, it is the idea that one shouldn’t even consider the alternative, lest they stand in the way of their superior.

It is on energy and environmental policy that this Administration has taken the most unilateral action to support their policies and suppress others. This President has mocked the opposition, referring to them as “flat-earthers,” stated that he will use executive action instead of enacting laws through the legislature, and now allowed his cabinet to suppress alternative views.

We all must continue to be relentless in advocating for the free market to solve the issues facing the environment. At the very least, we should only seek to convince others of our views through an informed, open debate – not through tactics of fear, coercion and intimidation.