It has long been obvious that the Democratic Party’s assertion that the science of climate change is “settled” is little more than a cheap public-relations ploy masquerading as a monopoly on scientific knowledge. To give the matter a moment’s thought is to recognize that science – that field of inquiry dedicated to testing new theories, challenging prevailing views of the natural world, and overturning the conventional wisdom of the scientific community – cannot be settled.

But for anyone still skeptical that the Democratic Party’s science-is-settled claim is not just a hackneyed platitude but a tool of propaganda, consider the recent statements from the Obama Administration’s top lawyer and head of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

On March 10 Attorney General Lynch told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the DOJ has engaged in internal discussions exploring the possibility of prosecuting organizations and individuals for holding opinions about climate change that she and the other lawyers at DOJ find objectionable. Attorney General Lynch even admitted that she has already referred the matter to the criminal investigative division within the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

So “settled” is climate-change science that fealty to its irrefutable and permanent conclusions must be compelled through the threat of violence by the nation’s top law-enforcement agency.

Outrage and condemnation are the appropriate responses to the Obama Administration’s inclination to deploy the DOJ and FBI to harass American citizens for holding unfashionable opinions.

Initiating criminal prosecution for a private entity’s opinions on climate change is a blatant violation of the First Amendment and an abuse of power that rises to the level of prosecutorial misconduct. That’s why I recently joined four of my colleagues – Senators Cruz (TX), Sessions (AL), Perdue (GA), and Vitter (LA) – in sending a letter to Attorney General Lynch demanding that the DOJ immediately cease its ongoing use of law-enforcement resources to stifle private debate on climate change.

But it’s also important to see this episode for what it really is. Threatening to imprison those who disagree with the Democratic Party’s radical climate-change agenda is not only a stunning indulgence of the authoritarian temptation – it’s an embarrassing attempt, by a lame-duck president desperate for attention, to short-circuit a debate that could not be won fair and square. Like the playground bully who picks up the ball and walks home when he knows he’s going to lose the game, by attempting to stifle free inquiry and debate, rather than engage in it, the Obama Administration is doing what sore losers always do.

So at the same time that we denounce the tinpot bully and resist with unshakeable firmness his attempts to suppress debate on today’s most controversial topics, we must not forget also to mock him.