Imagine if a former military officer, a traditional-values conservative now an attache at the State Department, wrote for a largely foreign audience to urge an international boycott of U.S. goods. The aim was to ruin the American economy to protest the new policy of allowing open homosexuality in the armed forces. Media outlets and politicians would be screaming for his dismissal. Free speech is one thing, but nobody on the taxpayer dole in a position of responsibility would be allowed to call for the destruction of our economy. One way or another, the man would be forced out.
Now consider James E. Hansen, director of the taxpayer-funded NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Last week, blogger Marc Morano discovered a Nov. 24 blog post by Mr. Hansen calling on China to lead an international effort to impose fees on carbon-dioxide emissions, then lead the World Trade Organization to allow import fees on goods from any county - with the U.S. being the target - without such fees. The goal would be to punish America, causing “continual descent into second-rate and third-rate economic well-being,” until the “fossil-money- ‘democracy’” no longer “rules the roost in Washington.” Mr. Hansen also praised communist Chinese leadership for “tak[ing] the long view … in contrast to the West with its [lamentably] short election cycles.”
This blog-burst followed a Hansen trip to the Middle Kingdom, where he wrote similar columns for Chinese newspapers. This is part of a continuing pattern of behavior that could be in violation of ethical rules for civil servants. On Wednesday, the Environmental Law Center of the American Tradition Institute filed a lengthy Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request suggesting Mr. Hansen’s office has countenanced employment and honoraria receipts, without legally required waivers, outside of taxpayer-funded jobs. The FOIA request also sought apparently missing “statement* of conflicts of interest by James E. Hansen” and “any internal discussion of any cautions or warnings of actual or possible disciplinary action” involving Mr. Hansen.
His anti-democracy disposition is real. Mr. Hansen supports American courts forcing carbon-dioxide limits on the public without presidential or congressional action. A year ago, he endorsed “Time’s Up” by Keith Farnish, who argued, “The only way to prevent global ecological collapse and thus ensure the survival of humanity is to rid the world of Industrial Civilization.” The book considers “razing cities to the ground … along with an (almost certainly necessary) element of sabotage.”
U.S. taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay the salary of an anti-American loose cannon like Mr. Hansen.