"Progressivism" is the modern morph of socialism. And socialism is all about its own power, so it doesn't take too kindly to independence and independent thinking in others.
Much of the higher-education mindset is steeped in such progressivism. Within the academic hallowed halls -- perhaps the largest echo chamber on Earth -- progressive groupthink often trumps independent thinking, no matter how much that independent thinking is reasonably based on application of theory in wide practical experience and objective common sense.
Unfortunately, the concept of man-made global warming emerged from the college campus in the form of high-brow theory and is therefore not to be challenged.
Challenge is met with traditional socialist tactics, such as ad hominem attacks in the form of name-calling and straw-man arguments (like "climate-change denier"), generation of enemies lists (see for example DeSmogBlog.com's Research Database), and even "storm" troopers (like the National Center for Science Education, which used to exclusively hunt down those who dared to question molecules-to-man evolution but has now expanded its crusade to climate heretics).
Climate-change challengers also face exclusion and missed opportunities (since any chance at securing grant money from a government that dictates what is worthy of research is through acceptance of the prevailing humans-did-it hypothesis), and squelched career advancement (if you have any doubts that people are causing a climate catastrophe but want to stand out in the climate field, stay in the closet).
Scientific practice is a kind of social construct with both technical and philosophical aspects; you don't have science in practice without a philosophy of science.
Because philosophy today is generally developed within the college community, the current philosophy of science is based on progressivism riding roughshod through much of the collegiate commune.
Thus, such philosophy applied to the understanding of climate change requires that you conform to the idea that human activity is regulating the long-term global temperature.
Now, every climate-change statistic must be viewed through the progressive lens. Forget the fact that the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming from carbon dioxide emissions has been debunked by the reality of a nearly flat global trend over the past 15 years.
If global temperatures increase (or decrease) by a smidgen this year, humans are to blame. If ice melts at the north pole (or expands at the south pole), curse your internal combustion engine.
If we don't get enough (or get too much) snowfall during the winter, scowl at your neighbor's fireplace. If a drought persists in the Midwest (or the Mississippi River floods), people are fiddling with the weather dials.
If tornado or hurricane frequency or intensity increases (or decreases), batten down the hatches with scorn for fossil-fuel users.
With the imposition of progressivism on climate-science hypothesizing, foregone conclusions are inevitable; woe to anyone who challenges those conclusions or who must live with their outcomes.
Such predetermination produces the socialist classic results of impoverishment and enslavement, which can be seen in the form of higher energy costs and limited economic choices for all.
So, although the academic progressives' actions are rather juvenile and result from arrogance, self-righteousness, exclusivity and narrow-mindedness, they must be taken seriously.
The negative consequences of progressive-socialist thinking can be particularly severe, disseminated by those who presently wield power on campus and beyond to the highest levels of government.
But the freedom of independent thinking is one of the hallmarks and joys of authentic science. This is the kind of thinking that helps science to make great advancements and helps society to truly progress.
Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and author of "In Global Warming We Trust: A Heretic's Guide to Climate Science" (Telescope Books, 2012).