Calling the witchfinder's bluff
I read Mark Steyn's Answer to Michael Mann's Amended Complaint, and I hugged myself with joy when I read that Steyn is countersuing Mann for twenty million dollars and demanding to put the Plaintiff on the witness stand. This is all to the good.
For those of you who haven't been following the news, Dr. Michael Mann is the Penn State climate guru who invented the (in)famous "hockey stick" graph that all the activists use to show that "the Science is settled" -- except that the real climate scientists say the hockey stick doesn't speak for them. At the same time, the thin-skinned Dr. Mann is given to maligning his opponents and threatening lawsuits over daring to question either his conclusions or his credentials (he claims to be a Nobel laureate, among other things). He sued Steyn and National Review
and the case, instead of being tossed as frivolous, has ground on; the original judge has been replaced by one who may know the law a bit better, but still it grinds on. "The process is the punishment" as they say.
Steyn has decided that it's time to raid the game. If he's going to have to go through the wringer and pay to defend himself on a frivolous accusation made by a puffball like Mann, he demands that Mann pay his costs and give damages after a jury decides that the Plaintiff has no case.
We've been here before. In 1692, the witch hysteria swept Salem, Massachusetts. It threatened to leap to other towns and start prosecutions there. In one town, some of the girls who had started it all by "crying out" upon certain people in Salem came to that town and "cried out" upon a local magnate, who promptly said that if anyone there accused him of being a witch, he would sue them in the public courts for fifty pounds' damages. The hysteria passed that town by. Crying out on simple people whose attempts to defend themselves just mired them deeper in the craziness was the game; risking poverty by libeling someone savvy enough and well-connected enough to put you on the stand in a real court was just not in the cards.
And so it is here. The charlatans running the climate scare game have terrified the innocent scientists, the journalists who don't want to be thought a "denier," and anybody who has to run for re-election. Until now. If Mann is smart, he'll settle as fast as he can. His preposterous self-regard and cobbled-together "facts" can neither one stand up to cross examination in open court. Bring it on, little Mann, if you dare.
And a tip o' the hat to Mark Steyn, who has decided that the best defense is a good offense.