Yet more Monckton
The House of Lords has taken ‘unprecedented’ action to stop Lord Monckton claiming that he is a member (his closest approach was receiving zero votes in an election among hereditary peers). That’s typically the opening lie in a Monckton presentation that misrepresents everything from the United Nations to the laws of arithmetic. It’s hard to imagine how many cease and desist letters would be required to stop all the falsehoods, or what would be left of his presentation if they were removed.
But, as I said previously, the real point here relates to the Australian political right, who have embraced Monckton with universal (if sometimes feigned) enthusiasm. And not just Monckton, but a long string of conpsiracy theorists, charlatans and cranks, who keep on repeating the same lies despite being repeatedly refuted (Ian Plimer on volcanoes can stand in for a multitude of examples).
As I said previously, it’s hard to tell who is most blameworthy here. Is it the’crazy uncles’ represented by people like Nick Minchin and encompassing the majority of conservative supporters, who actually believe this stuff, the weathervanes like Tony Abbott who will happily say 2+2 = 4,5 or 73 according to what their listeners want to hear, or supposedly serious conservatives/liberals who know it’s nonsense but keep their mouths shut.
In the short term, and aided by some spectacular own goals on the Labor side, this intellectual catastrophe hasn’t had any political costs for the right. But that won’t be true forever. And for any intelligent person of conservative inclinations, the knowledge that political activity on their preferred side requires (at a minimum) tacit acquiescence in this kind of thing must be pretty appalling.
fn1. Indeed, bearing in mind Mary McCarthy’s famous remark about Lillian Hellman, it’s hard to imagine that even prepositions and conjunctions would remain.