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Crusader Monckton

February 13th, 2013

Ever since the Brisbane Institute cancelled my invitation to debate Christopher ‘Lord” Monckton a few years ago, I’ve followed his career with more than usual interest. His ‘Loony Lord M’ character, owing a lot to Screaming Lord Sutch, has been a huge hit here in Australia. By contrast, back in the UK, officials of the House of Lords have taken offence at his claims to be a member of that institution[1]. Some sniffy British Tories also seem to be upset by the claim that the UK government, along with Obama, Merkel and Gillard, are plotting to introduce a communist world government through a $20/tonne tax on CO2, and, of course, Agenda 21. Here in Australia, though, the fans love him for his ability to make the most absurd claims with a (sort of) straight face.

Given his obvious similarities to Sacha Baron-Cohen, it seemed reasonable to expect that Monckton would come up with a new character to keep his Antipodean fans amused. That expectation was proved correct when he turned up in Canberra as Crusader Monckton, endorsing pastor Danny Nalliah’s campaign against the oppressive rule of Shariah law in Australia, and the establishment of a new Judaeo-Christian political party. So far he’s getting rave reviews in advance press.

I’m a bit disappointed, though, that he doesn’t seem to be growing as an artist. Instead of making a clean break, he’s playing it safe, maintaining the previous climate delusionist shtick in parallel with the new one. And there isn’t really a lot of distance between the old character and the new one. Existing fans like Abbott, Albrechtsen, Bolt and, of course, Gina Rinehart will welcome the addition of the new Crusader persona, but there’s no way he can reach new audiences with such tired stuff. He really needs something more creative, like a campaign against gravity, or a claim that cancer is good for you.

Still, for those interested here’s the tour schedule

fn1. He ran at the first opportunity, receiving no votes. In emulation of the Monty Python Silly Party, he ran again, getting twice as many.

Categories: Boneheaded stupidity, Science Tags:
  1. Chris Warren
    February 18th, 2013 at 18:55 | #1

    Garry Claridge :
    @Chris Warren
    “…starve to death…”!!! – Actually they may just happen to go back to subsistence farming!

    How on earth does that work? The numbers are far too great for that. The days when Third World countries could feed their population by subsistence farming are long gone. They more typically resort to crime.

    How would subsistence farming work for the ballooning 17 million hungry in the USA.

    The number of poor Americans who repeatedly ran short of food shot up by 800,000 in 2011 to nearly 17 million compared with 2010, the U.S. government says.

    See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/us-food-insecurity_n_1859206.html

    Naturally, according to the Huffington Post, the capitalists are starting winge about the costs of feeding their hungry, even as billion dollar executive jets fly overhead.

    But this is the way the world ends.

  2. kevin1
    February 18th, 2013 at 20:43 | #2

    @Chris Warren
    “Catholics have supported extreme rightwing regimes in South Vietnam, and Chile and to some extent supported Marcos in the Philippines (but also supported the peoples power movement that booted him out). In general rightwing catholics find democracy troubling, preferring monarchy.”

    It’s a peculiar idea in modern Australia for anyone to perceive monolithic and hierarchical religious “tribes”, including the 3 or 4 million Australian Catholics. (I speak as an ex- by the way.) It’s pretty clear that Pell is a very divisive figure in his own church. While you divide them into two categories of good or bad Catholics – a religions approach! – it explains nothing ex ante: you admit that some supported Marcos and some didn’t.

    And do you really believe rightwing Catholics want to go back to absolutism? For the first 50 years of last century they were commonly identified as potentially disloyal to the Brit throne. Is the Spanish Civil War weighing on your mind? Did micks vote much differently to non-Catholics in the referendum some years ago which decided to stay with a constitutional monarchy?

    I think you confuse officialdom and their activities with how people actually live their lives and what drives them, including how they vote. Broad comments about lefthanders/redheads/wine drinkers/ Collingwood fans are also “in general” wrong. (OK, Collingwood fans is arguable.) Keep working on the nuances Chris.

  3. Jim Rose
    February 18th, 2013 at 20:56 | #3

    Julie, it would be unfair to tar the Left with the PETA brush. do you agree?

    Katz, the plant in question survived an earth quake ten times stronger than its specifications (7.9) and a tsunami twice its specifications. The 2011 quake was a one in 1000 year quake, as I recall.

    People focussed on the nuclear plant as a way of coping with the sheer enormity of it all. The people who might die, rather that the tens of thousands who did.

    I have lived in Tokyo. The annual earthquake drill involves 7 million people. Apartment blocks have a chain of command of 21 in case the first 20 are killed.

  4. Chris Warren
    February 18th, 2013 at 21:26 | #4

    @kevin1

    It is possible that rightwing catholics will want a different form of democracy than we are accustomed to. They certainly have acquiesced to quite rancid rightist regimes in the Third World and will plausibly, do so in the future.

    Comments about particular lefthanders/redheads/wine drinkers/Collingwood fans, cause no problems. Would you want to share a bus with a crowd of rightwing wine-drinking Collinwood fans?

  5. kevin1
    February 19th, 2013 at 00:10 | #5

    @Chris Warren
    I heard some leading figure the other day say or write that a centralisation of doctrinal authority combined with local autonomy was the answer to the Catholic church’s existential dilemma. Er, I think too late…that bird has flown. Social fragmentation is here to stay, demonstrated by the proliferation of subcultures in all institutions in secular societies, including the churches. I put it down to creeping democratisation and devolution, and this is not inconsistent with the evident growth of a strong state in some areas, including the pan-national state.

    It may not be widely realised that while traditional religion’s decline in secular societies continues apace, this is not happening in muslim majority societies despite urbanisation, income growth, more education, consumerism, the full capitalist shebang. It has been noted that religious observance by university educated muslims does not generally decline, which seems quite different to the upwardly mobile in poor, largely Catholic countries. How much of this is due to cultural identity (including less room for the individual to separate from the group/family) rather than religion I don’t know, but for Muslims their religion’s “unitary perspective” provides an alternative worldview about how to respond to the international econ crisis, such as the application of Islamic financial practices. This still seems exploratory and undeveloped, but many Indonesians look to Malaysia (a theocratic state) as the experimental site for progress in this. This may be a bit egregious but it seems that rationalism does not drive out mysticism in muslim countries.

  6. February 19th, 2013 at 03:46 | #6

    Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one!
    It’s on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!

  7. Chris Warren
    February 19th, 2013 at 05:48 | #7

    @kevin1

    Yes, religions often boil down to a “strong state” or at least strong state power as in the rule of Mullah’s.

    When church (religion) and State have combined, savage social crimes against humanity have occurred. The almost unbelievable oppression of women in zealous Moslem countries is a case in point.

    I would look at Islamic financial practices but stripped of their religious halo.

  8. Julie Thomas
    February 19th, 2013 at 06:30 | #8

    @Jim Rose

    The whole left/right dichotomy is a useless way of categorising the divisions between people and their beliefs. It is more complex than that.

    Condemnation and disdain directed toward the PETA people is stupid and means that we, as a society miss out on understanding the ‘truths’ that come from seeing the world through their eyes. All types of people, not just your type, have obviously been valuable for human societies throughout history and pre-history, or they would not have survived and reproduced.

    As I remember, one of the early memes of the neo-liberal/libertarian movement was that the ‘stupids’ and the ‘poors’ were reproducing faster than the good intelligent people and the government was to blame. I haven’t heard that expressed out loud lately but I’m sure the belief is still there simmering away and colouring your judgements about what is good and what is bad.

    The society that you neo-liberal kind of people have constructed, with your ignorant and self-serving ideas about the value of property over the value of a human being, is what creates the extremism of PETA people.

  9. Katz
    February 19th, 2013 at 08:24 | #9

    JR:

    Katz, the plant in question survived an earth quake ten times stronger than its specifications (7.9) and a tsunami twice its specifications. The 2011 quake was a one in 1000 year quake, as I recall.

    So?

  10. murph the surf.
    February 19th, 2013 at 09:51 | #10

    I think natural sequence farming has little to do with organic farming and is a water conservation technique.A farmer may choose to be organic with this as a complementary technique .@Mel

  11. Jim Rose
    February 19th, 2013 at 20:10 | #11

    @Julie Thomas PETA was founded in 1980.

    Ingrid Newkirk, its co-founder has been active since about 1970 after she took some kittens to the shelter where to her surprise they were put down.

    She has been maintaining her rage ever since. She was soon after Washington, D.C.’s first female pound master.

    Katz, the Fukushima incident highlighted the safety of atomic power.

    Accidents in the oil and coal industries have killed and continue to kill far more people than nuclear power ever has both directly and through pollution. fuel economy standards turn cars into lightweight death-traps.

    Why PETA does not picket wind turbines is beyond me. A killer green technology.

  12. Julie Thomas
    February 19th, 2013 at 20:39 | #12

    @Jim Rose

    Thanks for that info Jim. I did not realise how really silly the PETA people are. Eccentrics and irrationals everywhere you look.

  13. Jim Rose
    February 20th, 2013 at 18:57 | #13

    @Julie Thomas PETA goes beyond moral objections to animal testing to claim that this testing is unnecessary for medical progress.

    If you review the history of medical science, every major medical advance has depended on animal experiments

    Obviously, all veterinary treatments have to be tested in animals. Does PEET want veterinary science to be banned?

    I wonder if PETA has a republican caucus?

  14. Fran Barlow
    February 20th, 2013 at 19:23 | #14

    @Jim Rose

    Why PETA does not picket wind turbines is beyond me. A killer green technology.

    Mortality from wind turbines is modest compared with mare more typical usages — motor vehicles, tall buildings, enroachment and loss of habitat.

    It’s also possible to tweak the operation of turbines so as to avoid times of day when bats and raptors for example are airborne in the region — and of course, placement is also improving. The use of larger (but fewer) turbines is also resulting in falling mortality. Picketing wind turbines would be a poor use of their limited resources.

    While I am not a supporter of everything PETA does, there’s no doubt in my mind that their cause is a just one and that even some of their more outlandish claims have helped to focus concern on genuine issues of ill-treatment of animals.

  15. Julie Thomas
    February 20th, 2013 at 20:03 | #15

    Jim

    Do you think you might be developing an obsession with PETA? Are they as much of a threat as the socialists?

    I actually haven’t ‘reviewed’ the history of medical science lately, but I do remember having listened to some parts of a RN program on the topic of drug testing using animals – a week or so ago it was – and there was no mention of any problems or delays in research due to the actions of PETA.

    So I don’t think we need worry that Veterinary science will be banned soon or anything like that. It’s freedom, you know, for people to be able to complain about things when these things are not what they want in their world, even if you think they are stupid.

    But you know, even without reviewing the history of medical science, I’m pretty sure that your claim that animal experimentation has been important in every medical advance, is absolute nonsense and you are making stuff up again.

    The cure for stomach ulcers came from a human being experimenting on himself. And this, after thousands of poor monkeys were experimented, by less ethical – probably neo-liberal – researchers. Many many monkeys were strapped in chairs and deliberately stressed at various levels and then killed and autopsied – with no breakthrough in a treatment or any useful evidence for the role of stress in stomach ulcers.

    There are many more examples Jim but I wonder if PETA have a blog where you could comment?

  16. paul walter
    February 20th, 2013 at 20:32 | #16

    Julie, PETA are worse than the socialists. At least the socialists try to keep the taxation stolen off honest real estate sharks and stockmarket Ponzi-hawkers within the human family, rather than hiving it off to flea-ridden, four-legged undeserving freeloaders, who will feel no more gratitude for the largesse than the average unmarried mother or dole-bludger.

  17. paul walter
    February 20th, 2013 at 20:37 | #17

    Jim, why do conservatives always resort to hyperbole as you did at your post, #13.
    Peta and co respond not so much to science but its misuse or the ignoring of it in the treatment growing and harvesting of animals and the sometimes bizarre uses they are put to, not for medical research, but proving cosmetics etc, by injecting the gunk into the eyes of shackled rabbits, say.

  18. Jim Rose
    February 21st, 2013 at 05:44 | #18

    Julie Thomas, you have neo-liberals killing kittens again.

    Fortunate for you the voter registrations of U.S. researchers can be cross-checked with faculty web pages to exposure their dastardly politics.

    See http://www.aei.org/files/2005/02/14/200502141_klein.pdf showing that in the hard sciences, there were 159 democrats and 16 republicans at Berkley. Similar at Stanford. No registered republicans in the sociology department. For UC-Berkeley, an overall Democrat: Republican ratio of 9.9:1. For Stanford, an overall D:R ratio of 7.6:1.

    Looks like it is registered democrats who kill kittens and torture puppies in the name of medical science. Dan Klein’s work is widely published and is easy to check.

    This left-wing bias of academics is no surprise in light of Hayek’s analysis of the occupational choices of intellectuals in light of the opportunities available to people of varying talents:
    • intelligent people who favour the market tend to find opportunities for professional and financial success in the business or professional world; and
    • Those who are intelligent but ill-disposed toward the market are more likely to choose an academic career.

    Paul W, my points on medical and veterinary science are valid.

    Some NGOs go out of their way to show than people of all parties support their work. Why not PETA? It is a fair question.

    Robert Nozick became vegetarian for ethical reasons. There is an excellent discussion of animal rights in anarchy, state and utopia.

    As for PETA’s world’s sexist vegetarian, she is a registered republican.

  19. Julie Thomas
    February 21st, 2013 at 07:02 | #19

    Jim, Thanks. My hypothesis was that you would respond to the ‘neo-liberal’ quip.

    The thing is, I thought we had agreed that dividing people into left and right is an inadequate way of understanding the differences between people and what they want and there you go again, arguing as if Democrat/Republican is a useful way of understanding the response that some people have to animal experimentation.

    Then, Hayek! Hayek, FFS! Earlier, you used Schumpter as a source for information about ‘eccentrics’ and now you recommend Hayek’s analysis of occupational choices of intellectuals. Have you not noticed that Hayek is only respected as a source of ‘truth’ by one type of person.

    Even for his time, Hayek had a flawed and inadequate understanding of human psychology. He was so wrong about so many things and was really quite a stupid white man, like you, with all the prejudices and assumptions about the world and it’s people and that narrow-minded censure of people and things you don’t understand and don’t like.

    It seems to be, reading Hayek, that he suffered from some significant psychological problems. It is clear that, for whatever reason, he was unable to be ‘objective’, and in fact did not even understand the concept. He lacked any insight into himself and others and hence has no credibility as a source of information about human behaviour.

    Next you’ll provide us with a quote from Ayn Rand about how to raise children, or perhaps how to have a great relationships and how to get along with people and be successful.

    Hilarous really the way neo-liberals ignored or failed to notice that this woman, even more clearly than Hayek, had major ‘issues’ with her sanity and ability to relate to the world in a functional way. It amazes me that so many people, of your ‘kind’ chose to ignore all the obvious signs that she should have received some therapy, rather than being regarded as a ‘genius’.

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