A few months ago when I debated 350.org’s Bill McKibben, I was struck by how desperate he was to try to intimidate me instead of acknowledging and answering my arguments. I repeatedly observed that despite his decades of apocalyptic predictions, climate-related deaths have fallen 98% in the last 80 years due to technology powered by fossil fuels. In 90 minutes, McKibben refused to address this point, and instead tried to intimidate me–and the audience with more apocalyptic predictions–several dozen of them in his first 10 minutes.
So I wasn’t surprised when at our Light Brigade counter-education to McKibben’s “forward on climate” aka blackout rally, McKibben’s minions were dispatched to intimidate me and my colleagues at CIP.
Check out their behavior at the event’s pre-party the night before.
I didn’t pay too much attention to the tactics at the time, as I had points to make, but afterward I noticed at least 10 tactics that I was supposed to have been intimidated by. Not very polite, guys.
- Tactic 1: The “troll” insult
- Tactic 2: The silent treatment (lasted less than 2 minutes)
- Tactic 3: The “climate denier” insult
- Tactic 4: The creepy treatment
- Tactic 5: The loud treatment
- Tactic 6: Bunny ears
- Tactic 7: The flash-in-the-eyes treatment
- Tactic 8: The dancing treatment
- Tactic 9: Punching gestures
- Tactic 10: Be a “Close Talker” (Seinfeld reference)
Decide for yourself how well these tactics worked. I thought they bombed almost as badly as the shivering, emotionally empty, and early-vacated “rally” the next day. Oddly, 350.org spread the word of my presence; Bill McKibben’s assistant, Jean Altamore, eagerly retweeted: “Pro-fossil fuel heckler @alexepstein embarrassing himself at #nokxl Guerilla drive-in pic.twitter.com/FBVZ27ZT” She has since taken it down for what I assume is the obvious reason that she eventually watched the video.
On Sunday, at their Blackout Rally, 350.org sent their man Waldo to stalk me all day! I’m not 100% sure his name is Waldo, but I call him that because this guy stalked us so much that we can play a very high-percentage game of “Where’s Waldo?” with our video footage.
Everyone I would try to talk to he would hand an “informational” flyer that said everyone should ignore our beliefs because my former employer once received some unspecified amount of money from the Koch Brothers–whose cardinal sins are refining oil (the material out of which Waldo’s trademark green hat is made) and promoting liberty.
Closing thought: 350.org, while we appreciate the attention you are getting us, what we would really like you to do is pay attention to our actual arguments, so that you stop promoting your homicidal policy of outlawing 95% of fossil fuel energy.