Home > Boneheaded stupidity, Science > Crusader Monckton

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. Newtownian
    February 13th, 2013 at 08:35 | #1

    When I saw the 10 minute interview and beatup on the 730 report the other day I did wonder at the limits to the ABC’s policy of ‘Providing Balance’ and its increasing tendency to give a platform to loons.

    Will they next provide Punxsutawney Phil, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog_Day , with equal time as the weather forecast on Groundhog day?

    Or maybe an analysis of why Scientologists abase themselves or their engrams to the Emperor Xenu following one of the Christian chat shows (are there any of those left? – I cant say I actually notices one lately).

    Hopefully this idiocy will find pride of place on Media Watch sometime soon.

  2. Mark
    February 13th, 2013 at 08:47 | #2
  3. John Quiggin
    February 13th, 2013 at 09:45 | #3

    @Mark

    Amazing. A split in the Silly Party

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Election_Night_Special

    Pass the popcorn!

  4. February 13th, 2013 at 10:06 | #4

    @Newtownian

    I wonder since when does ‘Providing Balance’ the absolute priority to the objective truth in the ABC.

  5. February 13th, 2013 at 10:44 | #5

    Strangely, Monckton’s sudden sideline interest in Australian fringe politics has attracted no post at Catallaxy from his close pal and promoter Rafe. [I also am lucky I have never held my breath waiting for a Judith Sloan post there on her support for increasing unemployment benefits.]

  6. Donald Oats
    February 13th, 2013 at 14:34 | #6

    Rumour had it that the Monk even dained to visit Adelaide, as a purveyor of the finest snake oils. But then, it’s festival time here, so maybe that was why the Monk blessed us with his most august presence.

    Lucky Adelaide.

  7. Katz
    February 13th, 2013 at 14:52 | #7

    No right wing populist movements can have too many raving bible exegetes or swivel-eyed loons.

    I can’t understand what Andrew Bolt is worried about. Surely it can’t be professional jealousy?

  8. Donald Oats
    February 13th, 2013 at 14:54 | #8

    As a slight digression, Brendan Demelle and John Mashey have a couple of timely blog articles on Desmog, highlighting the fact that the US TEA party was in fact a construct much older, and much more aligned with big old money interest, than many/most of the TEA party faithful understand. The TEA party supposedly came into existence in 2009, but in fact it has been in existence since at least 2002, if not earlier. Gotta hand it to the ol’ tobacco boys—they sure know how to manufacture astroturf.

    The TEA party promote disbelief in climate science, Heck, in any science, as a means of attacking resistance to the interests of the founders. The Monk loves ‘em, and they love him.

  9. Tapen Sinha
    February 13th, 2013 at 14:56 | #9

    Danny Nelliah seems to be the Australian answer to Bobby Jindal.

    Tapen

  10. February 13th, 2013 at 15:04 | #10

    his theology is weird speaking from an evangelical point of view

  11. Donald Oats
    February 13th, 2013 at 15:24 | #11

    Eh, “rave reviews in advance press,” or “raving mad reviews…?” I prefer the latter.

  12. Jim Rose
    February 13th, 2013 at 18:14 | #12

    he is an eccentric. get over it.

    “Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained.” John Stuart Mill

    see http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/01/eccentricity-einstein-prince-society which reports that eccentrics tend to be optimistic with a highly developed, mischievous sense of humour, childlike curiosity and a drive to make the world a better place. They are also highly creative. they also are less prone to depression and illness.

  13. Robert in UK
    February 13th, 2013 at 18:41 | #13

    I can’t remember who first sent me to this (I think it was a fellow reader of the blog), but the intro he gives himself, along with Monckton’s costume, is just priceless: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br9imjm1kvk

  14. hc
    February 13th, 2013 at 21:44 | #14

    I agree Jim he is an eccentric. He is also intellectually dishonest and a bit of a fool. Eccentricity is an attractive virtue in some but certainly not in all who possess it. That he repeats arguments that are repeatedly shown to be wrong – and which he knows are wrong – suggests that he has moved on from trying to make the world a better place.

  15. Mel
    February 13th, 2013 at 22:15 | #15

    Jim Rose, Monckton claims to have cured half a dozen diseases and proposed compulsory monthly HIV/AIDS tests for the entire population and the placement of infected individuals in internment camps. He is a gutter dwelling misanthrope and an egomaniac. He deserves to be slapped about the ears with a large frozen snapper.

  16. Katz
    February 13th, 2013 at 23:18 | #16

    Monckton is a command and a fraud. An eccentric doesn’t care what others think about him. Monckton is assiduous in the cultivation of his imposture.

  17. Katz
    February 13th, 2013 at 23:19 | #17

    Command = conman — blame autocomplete.

  18. rog
    February 14th, 2013 at 05:43 | #18

    @Jim Rose You might dismiss Monckton as an eccentric but he is referred to various powerful forces, like the current opposition, as an expert. Get over that one.

  19. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    February 14th, 2013 at 07:20 | #19

    With impeccable timing, the Coalition’s latest policy brain fart:

    http://www.news.com.au/national/tony-abbotts-bold-water-plan-leaked/story-fndo4bst-1226577466336

    coincides with Monckton’s visit.

    The Coalition’s” hundred dams” brain fart is a classic case of a “Zombie idea” in pubic policy, in this case the old tropes of northern development and inland development in Australia which have historically produced virtually nothing in the way of viable development and a long string of economic failures, social dependencies and ecological damage. The basic reality is that intensive development of the kind typical of the global “North” is really only feasible in the south-east and south-west of the Australian continent. The fundamental ecological and biophysical constraints which have made a failure of past grandiose “northern development” schemes are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. Unfortunately the evidence is that much of the Labor Party also does not understand what is wrong with the northern/inland development paradigm, so this silliness will not go away in a hurry.

    See also http://www.theage.com.au/environment/water-issues/water-experts-slam-abbotts-dam-plan-20110107-19iwj.html

  20. John Quiggin
    February 14th, 2013 at 07:29 | #20

    I’m inclined to think of Monckton as a bullsh*t artist, in the Harry Frankfurt sense that he doesn’t care at all about the truth or falsity of what he says, but simply aims to impress his audience.

    As rog says, what’s striking is not Monckton’s silliness but that of the people who are taken in by it.

  21. derrida derider
    February 14th, 2013 at 09:19 | #21

    “[Monckton] really needs something more creative, like a campaign against gravity …”

    My god, John, you seem to have been sucked in by the weight alarmists.

    Einstein proved that everything is relative and in fact so-called “gravitational” Mass cannot be distinguished from mere harmless acceleration. Hence Benedict’s resignation in the face of the Heartland Institute’s exposure of the links between Catholic ritual and the ever-faster moving around of priests who chose to exercise their property rights over the young.

    Its all part of the same One World Government plot do y’see.

  22. Chris Warren
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:16 | #22

    @rog :
    @Jim Rose You might dismiss Monckton as an eccentric but he is referred to various powerful forces, like the current opposition, as an expert. Get over that one.

    Jim Rose was not trying to dismiss Monckton. He was trying to create a pathway by which his insidious claims could be allowed to seep into public discourse as:

    …highly creative way … to make the world a better place.

  23. frankis
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:24 | #23

    Inspired piece! – so the unlovable eccentric does have his uses, albeit all of them comic.

  24. Fran Barlow
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:41 | #24

    @hc

    One person’s ‘eccentric’ is clearly, another’s crank. Monckton is better labelled a crank. I’d call him a con-artist, but I can’t declare with certainty on his state of mind. At the very least, he is the dupe or catspaw of con-artists. Perhaps he really believes his own nonsense, and really is doing the intellectual equivalent of that Indian leader who reportedly drank his own urine each morning for health purposes.

    I can well imagine Monckton doing that literally.

  25. Fran Barlow
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:43 | #25

    @Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy

    The Coalition’s” hundred dams” brain fart is a classic case of a “Zombie idea” in pubic policy, …

    I hate to be a pedant — well know, truthfully, I love being a pedant — but I suspect you mean pubescent;-)

  26. Fran Barlow
    February 14th, 2013 at 10:45 | #26

    It’s always a lovely day when one can combine Skitt’s Law with a pun.

    know, truthfully,

  27. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    February 14th, 2013 at 11:14 | #27

    Fran @25, my @19 was a Freudian^2. :-)

  28. February 14th, 2013 at 11:38 | #28

    crank, con-artist, comic so many cs no wonder he is a denialist.

    No wonder poor old Rafe and modelling wonder boy love him.

  29. February 14th, 2013 at 13:18 | #29

    God knows, if I were Monckton’s wife, I would be very grateful for the all the stupid people in the world willing to put up money to keep him out of the house for weeks at a time. (I hope she has at least once threatened him with violence if she heard one more bit of self aggrandising Latin from his lips.)

  30. paul walter
    February 14th, 2013 at 13:26 | #30

    Well..bless me!
    An English Gentleman Abroad seeks to rescue we primitives and heathen from the consequences of our own Godlessness and caprice, seduced as we are by the ephemeral doctrines of Modernism, in bestowing a blessing on a local Warrior for Christ and all this is greeted with is scepticism bordering on unrepentence.
    “Returneth Thee to the Old Ways.
    Know ye not that the Earth remaineth flatteth,
    That the Sun that circle-eth the Earth”
    More easily travel His Journey ‘cross the sky,
    And Fixed Stars?”
    Thou art a stiff-necked people.
    Puteth down thy Chomsky, here is the esoteric knowledge of a holy Monck-ton.

    Oh ye of little faith

  31. Jim Rose
    February 14th, 2013 at 18:15 | #31

    @hc thanks, 18 characteristics differentiate a healthy eccentric from a regular person or someone who is mentally ill.
    • Nonconforming attitude
    • Idealistic
    • Intense curiosity
    • Happy obsession with a hobby or hobbies
    • Knew very early in his or her childhood they were different from others
    • Highly intelligent
    • Opinionated and outspoken
    • Unusual living or eating habits
    • Not interested in the opinions or company of others
    • Strong moral obligations (against infidelity, strong family values, overly-religious)
    • Mischievous sense of humour

    As hearing anything other the sound of their own voice is not a high priority for them, learning from others to correct errors is not strength for an eccentric.

    On Frankfurt and B**sh** – must avoid the automatic filter – Schumpeter explained in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, it is “the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs” that distinguishes the academic intellectual from others “who wield the power of the spoken and the written word.”

    For Schumpeter, in the intellectual’s main chance of asserting himself lies in his actual or potential nuisance value.

    Why is it OK for the environmental movement to have a few eccentrics, hippies and a few downright the sky-is-falling-in oddballs, yet Monckton does not get a pass?

    How is Paul Ehrlich and his food riots in the 1980s prediction going?

  32. Fran Barlow
    February 14th, 2013 at 18:33 | #32

    @JimRose

    Why is it OK for the environmental movement to have a few eccentrics, hippies and a few downright the sky-is-falling-in oddballs, yet Monckton does not get a pass?

    Allowing for the moment that there are such folk in the environmental movement their lack of connection to policy making would seem to be important. Ehrlich is not making policy, doing TV interviews or being offered as ‘balance’ in any current policy debate. I’m not sure that Ehrlich counts as an environmentalist.

    A second factor might be ‘absence of malice’. The kooky environmentalists — if such there are — aren’t pushing for policies that will seriously harm people. The policies that they want but will be ignored would if enacted make either no difference at all or a slightly positive difference. I suppose we can’t really test this unless you specify who qualifies as an oddball environmentalist.

    Monckton is clearly working in league with some seriously nasty folk and pushing nonsense in the service of such causes. That makes him not merely a crank, but a very nasty one.

  33. Mel
    February 14th, 2013 at 18:45 | #33

    Rose, old bean, Monckton is a misanthrope who deserves ridicule. He used the emergence of HIV/AIDS to whip up hysteria and to demand compulsory medical checks and internment camps for anyone failing the medical checks. If you have a hard-on for this creep, fine, but don’t expect to win any converts here.

    “How is Paul Ehrlich and his food riots in the 1980s prediction going?”

    See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007%E2%80%932008_world_food_price_crisis

    UNdoubtedly we’ll more such riots as the world population climbs towards a predicted 9 billion mid-century

  34. Mel
    February 14th, 2013 at 18:53 | #34

    Food riots were also a causal factor in the so-called “Arab Spring”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring

  35. alfred venison
    February 14th, 2013 at 19:45 | #35

    he’s doing it to head off socialism & protect capitalism as usual. at any cost, if that’s what it takes. in his view any serious international coordinated response to climate change is tantamount to a serious international coordinated slippery slope to socialism. and he’s right, too, imo. so, for him its: “better dead than red”; for me: “socialism or barbarism”. -a.v.

  36. rog
    February 15th, 2013 at 07:06 | #36

    @Jim Rose You are (perhaps deliberately) labeling Monckton as a harmless eccentric. He is neither; he is a liar.

  37. kevin1
    February 15th, 2013 at 09:04 | #37

    Let’s see. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Hey, that sounds like an intelligent rule of thumb!

  38. kevin1
    February 15th, 2013 at 09:05 | #38

    @kevin1
    And saves me from having to think. Now that Hitler fellow, the commos didn’t like him so…

  39. wilful
    February 15th, 2013 at 10:01 | #39

    About those dams, apparently it’s not so much a policy as more proof that the coalition are a forward looking bunch, at least according to Greg Hunt (poor Greg Hunt). It will unlock Australia’s north as the foodbowl of the world. To which there is a simple two word answer: Ord River.

  40. Newtownian
    February 15th, 2013 at 11:36 | #40

    Something in the Guardian today which could explain how the esteemed Count or Viscount gets to fly around the place. Maybe the members of this new party have twigged too that this is a great way to get free trips around the world?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network

  41. Ootz
    February 15th, 2013 at 12:35 | #41

    Apologies all around for barging in on your ambling review of the Moncton Variety Show. There are rather pressing matters on the local front here in regional Queensland in terms of the upcoming local government de-amalgamation polls, with potential disastrous consequences for the particular community I live in. The State Governments handling of this issue is rather murky or haphazard. There have been suggestions of policy on the run by Newman and Crisafulli , who knows. However, there could possibly be a link to federal LNP ambitions eg the 100 dam stuff, since the region I reside in is already a major food bowl with extensive irrigation infrastructure. As there is no suitable open thread available, where would I be able to start a discussion providing anyone is interested at all? Cheers Ootz

  42. Will
    February 15th, 2013 at 13:29 | #42

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network

    From the article:

    “We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise,” she said in an interview.

    Oh wow, me too. So, when will the big polluters exercise their personal responsibility and compensate me for my loss of liberty due to a warming Earth? Is the cheque in the mail?

  43. Mel
    February 15th, 2013 at 14:59 | #43

    Has there been any statistically significant global warming since 1995? http://catallaxyfiles.com/2013/02/11/phil-jones-test-2013/

    Does PrQ have a reply to Davidson’s post?

  44. February 15th, 2013 at 15:19 | #44

    Mel,

    Read one of the posts in my Around the traps.
    It might help.

  45. Mel
    February 15th, 2013 at 15:55 | #45

    This post by James Annan, who is inside the AGW mainstream tent, is also interesting – http://julesandjames.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/a-sensitive-matter.html

    “As I said to Andy Revkin (and he published on his blog), the additional decade of temperature data from 2000 onwards (even the AR4 estimates typically ignored the post-2000 years) can only work to reduce estimates of sensitivity, and that’s before we even consider the reduction in estimates of negative aerosol forcing, and additional forcing from black carbon (the latter being very new, is not included in any calculations AIUI). It’s increasingly difficult to reconcile a high climate sensitivity (say over 4C) with the observational evidence for the planetary energy balance over the industrial era.”

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    The other game in town is of course ocean acidification. I note reports that this is already having a noticeable economic impact in North American lobster fisheries.

  46. Chris Warren
    February 15th, 2013 at 16:08 | #46

    @Jim Rose

    Why is it OK for the environmental movement to have a few eccentrics, hippies and a few downright the sky-is-falling-in oddballs, yet Monckton does not get a pass?

    because of professional, well researched, authoritative, cross-examined, public-funded and refereed science.

  47. David Irving (no relation)
    February 15th, 2013 at 16:12 | #47

    Mel, I know you’re only trolling, but it’s a slow Friday afternoon.

    Prof Davidson has had it explained to him over and over and over and over … (well, you get the picture) why he’s mistaken, to the point where it’s clear that he’s either a fool or a liar and so, by extension, are you.

    Why don’t you saunter over to Tim Lambert’s place? There’s nothing they like better than arguing with idiots, and that’ll leave the rest of us in peace to discuss more useful topics. Who knows, you may even get your own thread?

  48. Jim Rose
    February 15th, 2013 at 16:29 | #48

    Thanks Fran and Mel, there are greens in parliaments in many places. Some have the ear of ministers. A few are or were ministers.

    The population surge means there is only a 10% chance of avoiding a collapse of world civilisation, says Bing professor of population studies Paul Ehrlich in 2011.

    Opposition to GMOs is strike one for the environmental movement.

    The environmental movement are shape-shifters: anti-science or pro-science depending on whether it suits their anti-growth agenda.

    Sir Paul Nurse in his 2012 Dimbleby lecture at http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/people/fellows/2012-02-29-Dimbleby.pdf called for a re-opening of the debate about GM crops based on scientific facts and analysis:

    “We need to consider what the science has to say about risks and benefits, uncoloured by commercial interests and ideological opinion. It is not acceptable if we deny the world’s poorest access to ways that could help their food security, if that denial is based on fashion and ill-informed opinion rather than good science.”

    What about ethanol subsidies, nuclear power (low carbon footprint) and vaccines.

    Ethanol is taking something like 30-40% of corn production. A World Bank policy paper in 2008 concluded that “…large increases in biofuels production in the United States and Europe are the main reason behind the steep rise in global food prices”!

    Is Paul Ehrlich against biofuels because of our fixed carrying capacity for food production? Are you?

    The paralysing precautionary principle is strike 2! The bootlegger and Baptists coalitions with coal, oil and gas companies is strike 3. The large carbon footprint of organic farming is strike 4. Wind power killing birds is strike 5.

    Environmentalists have aristocratic vision of a stratified, terraced society in which the knowing ones order society for the rest of us

  49. Mel
    February 15th, 2013 at 16:35 | #49

    David Irving, you twit, what are you carrying on about? PrQ has responded to Davidson’s stat claims b4 and I’m simply asking him to do so again since right wing blogs have picked up on Davidson’s post. No wonder you have an ISA Brown chicken as an avatar.

  50. February 15th, 2013 at 17:18 | #50

    Sorry, Mel. I should’ve known better.

  51. Mel
    February 15th, 2013 at 17:22 | #51

    Jim Rose,

    Strike One- I think you’ll find that right wingers opposing birth control causes one hundred fold more poverty related deaths than anything done by greens.

    Ball One- Anti-GMO is stupid but probably hasn’t caused a single death.

    Ball Two- Both the left and right are guilty of trade protection that impoverishes third world countries and results in death.

    Strike Two- Right wing parties generally suck up to rural conservatives and this often results in support for rural subsidies. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich are on the record as ethanol subsidy supporters. George W Bush signed the major piece of ethanol subsidy legislation, the $US6 billion Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, into law in 2004.

    Strike Three- Organic farming is driven by the free market. Conservative politicians such as former Coalition Deputy PM John Anderson have championed organic methods such as Peter Andrew’s Natural Sequence Farming.

    Sorry, champ, but you’re out.

  52. Chris Warren
    February 15th, 2013 at 19:27 | #52

    @Mel

    Usual wanton blurb….

    trade protection that impoverishes third world countries and results in death.

    Where is there data on “protection caused deaths”? How does it compare to the sea of premature deaths from Yankee sanctions and war-mongering?

  53. Mel
    February 15th, 2013 at 20:16 | #53

    F off, Warren. I don’t deal with alcoholic Marxists.

  54. Chris Warren
    February 15th, 2013 at 20:38 | #54

    @Mel

    I’ll take that as;

    I don’t know

    and

    I don’t care

  55. John Quiggin
    February 15th, 2013 at 21:45 | #55

    @Mel

    This is just a demonstration that Davidson’s idiot readers don’t understand the concept of statistical significance, and that Davidson (who knows the score) doesn’t care to enlighten them. The question at issue is “how much data do you need to be 95 per cent confident that the observed warming couldn’t have arisen by chance”. With annual data and a simple linear regression, the answer (given by Phil Jones) is that the data from 1995 to 2009 (when he was first asked) wasn’t enough, but the data from 1995 to 2012 is sufficient.

    Davidson’s trick is that, if you allow for autocorrelation in the monthly data, you need a longer time period to get 95 per cent confidence. With the data since 1995, there’s a 20 per cent chance that the observed warming could have arisen by chance. Since we have satellite data going back to 1979, and surface data going back 100 years, that fact is irrelevant except to the morons who comment at Catallaxy, but Davidson is happy to play on the ignorance of his readers.

    Of course, the real shame here goes to Richard Lindzen who originated this utterly dishonest line of argument. Lindzen has trashed a record of achievement that would have had him remembered as a significant contributor to science. Davidson has nothing to lose, and the applause of his idiot followers to gain.

  56. Mel
    February 15th, 2013 at 22:47 | #56

    Thank you, PrQ.

  57. February 15th, 2013 at 23:01 | #57

    Of course, he doesn’t have the (nationally embarrasing) breathless unquestioning ABC platform he had last time. I’m particularly thinking Fran Kelly’s ridiculous performance, but ABC ran it across all forums – ‘news’, radio, TV etc..

    The man is a capital “C” Clown.

    The ABC isn’t doing itself any favours by pretending he doesn’t exist. They did the damage, they owe the public to fix it.

    He doesn’t need to appear on the ABC, he’s had more than enough of that. They just need to tell even the truths about this clown contained in this post – and they owe it to us to do it loudly and often.

  58. Mel
    February 15th, 2013 at 23:18 | #58

    Rabbit, Amartya Sen among others discusses the problem of trade protection by the EU and USA for developing economies. wwwDOTeuronewsDOTcom/2006/04/26/nobel-prize-winning-economist-amartya-sen-talks-about-globalisation-and-european-protectionism/

    It is hardly controversial viewpoint outside perhaps, the communist utopia of North Korea

  59. NickR
    February 16th, 2013 at 02:24 | #59

    @John Quiggin
    I’d argue that Davidson’s work is far worse than that. He effectively imposes a structural break in 1995 but does so with reference to the data. Endogeneously placing a structural break makes the inference he performs with regular t statistics incorrect.

    His argument here is that Phil Jones did it, so if you disagree explain why he is wrong. Incredible chutzpah really as Jones did it and drew the *correct* conclusion while Davidson is doing it to support the *incorrect* conclusion.

    He also corrects for autocorrelation in two ways. Firstly with his AR(1) error (which is not necessary for the hypothesis he wishes to test and therefore a violation of Occam’s Razor) and secondly with Newy West standard errors. He is right to be concerned about the effect of autocorrelation on his inference, but to correct for it twice is to deliberately waste information. He then builds his case on their being insufficient information to establish a trend.

  60. faust
    February 16th, 2013 at 06:27 | #60

    Don’t want to be rude but he is an actual Lord.

  61. Fran Barlow
    February 16th, 2013 at 07:02 | #61

    @faust

    He’s said to be a ‘viscount’ but I’d say he’s better described as a miscount.

  62. Katz
    February 16th, 2013 at 07:09 | #62

    Monckton may also be an “actual” Junior Woodchuck. He is not permitted to sit in the House of Lords and therefore has no more political privilege than any other British subject.

    Thus his title is of less practical value than the merit badge I received as a Cub for my proficiency at tying knots.

    However, if you are impressed by folks swapping meaningless gongs, don’t let me dissuade you from pursuing your awfully interesting hobby.

  63. February 16th, 2013 at 07:48 | #63

    Mel, (sorry to go off topic all) the CSIRO expert panel report John Anderson commissioned on NSF wasn’t a ringing endorsement, raising issues about low biodiversity, affects on downstream properties and it’s applicability on a broader scale, the supportive comments were heavily qualified, the Baramul Linkages Project final report wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement either (which could be why NSF has never released, discussed or endorsed it). And it’s probably best for your sanity to avoid their forum.

    And back on subject, this is the same Monckton who claimed Greenpeace had a bigger fleet than the Royal Navy, same guy who claims he advised Margaret Thatcher to poison the water during the Falklands War so the Argies would get dysentery (and despite his claims of being a top advisor to Thatcher is not mentioned in her memoir at all).

    Given all his spurious claims I think a new title should be bestowed, Baron Monckhausen.

  64. Chris Warren
    February 16th, 2013 at 07:59 | #64

    @Mel

    Your wacko claim was that protection results in … death (!!!???).

    Kapo’s often make dogmatic claims, such as “growth produces jobs”, or “a rising tide lifts all boats” etc. Eventually the economy ends up in a kapo-GFC.

    Then, when al this is exposed in reality, in exasperation we get kapo claims: “protection causes death”.

    When asked for any data to back this up we get everything but.

    You link was not even remotely relevant to your claim. The Internet is full of noise arising from fanciful trade theory. Amartya Sen is no better nor worse than many, many others.

    Where does Amartya Sen say that protection causes death? Where is there the evidence?

    Why run some wacko distraction over North Korea. So, at the level of your discourse, free trade results in over a hundred deaths of workers in kapo-utopia Bangladesh.

    So, based on the evidence, it seems that free-trade + capitalism = deaths.

    This is the opposite to your claim. So when you gaze upon the garments in Western stores, sourced through kapo-trade, please try to think of the charred bones and blood and sweat that underpin free trade.

  65. Fran Barlow
    February 16th, 2013 at 08:03 | #65

    @Katz

    IIRC, the term “lord” in mediaeval times referred to “a warder of loaves (of bread)” (loaf ward). Apparently, in those days, lords did at least some useful things. AIUI, ‘laird’ in Scotland has a similar provenance.

    Now it’s simply an honorific that impresses people of conservative disposition.

    A ‘viscount’ really translates as ‘deputy governor’ from the Old French (conte (count) + vice for in lieu of. cf: ‘viceroy’ (in place of the king) ‘vicarious’ vice versa etc …

  66. Chris Warren
    February 16th, 2013 at 08:27 | #66

    Given the Capo-claim re protection … Here is the evidence.

    Free trade deaths – over 200

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/death-toll-in-pakistan-factory-fires-rises-to-216-8129755.html

    Free trade deaths – over 100

    edition.cnn.com/2012/11/27/business/asia-factory-deaths

  67. Chris Warren
    February 16th, 2013 at 08:35 | #67
  68. Chris Warren
    February 16th, 2013 at 09:02 | #68

    Mel’s free trade …

    … providing jobs to people all over the world, who would otherwise starve to death!

    http://www.humorisdead.com/freezone/index2.html

  69. John Quiggin
    February 16th, 2013 at 09:35 | #69

    No more thread-derailing discussion of free trade, please. I’ll open a new sandpit shortly

  70. John Coochey
    February 16th, 2013 at 09:38 | #70

    So johno if he is such a bonehead why are you afraid to debate him?

    As the post says, and as I’ve told you quite a few times, his side invited me to debate him, then cancelled the invitation. I’m posting this to remind everyone what a fraud you are, but anything further from you will be deleted – JQ

  71. Chris Warren
    February 16th, 2013 at 10:06 | #71

    If there was a tenuous linkage, it was only that, in general such false claims emanate from hired ideological gun-slingers to protect the commercial interests of capitalism.

    Monckton is an example of this, and the same biassed aguments flow through so many other economic issues:

    - cigarettes
    - asbestos
    - land rights
    - free trade
    - History wars

    etc

    It is the rationality underpinning Monckton that is the relevant point.

  72. Jim Rose
    February 16th, 2013 at 10:16 | #72

    John, see http://catallaxyfiles.com/2013/02/11/phil-jones-test-2013/#comments

    “Q: Sinclair, this sample will be denounced as too short, but a hot summer in 2012 is a enough data to prove global warming is real and is happening now.

    A: Jim – yes I know. This post causes all sorts of angst every year. That is why I’m now calling the annual post the ‘Phil Jones test’. He devised the test and initially used a smaller time series. I’m simply replicating (and augmenting with the AR(1) and robust p-values) his test. Mind, the unvarnished annual test provides much the same answer. Sinclair Davidson

    Q: Sinclair, It was very poor judgement of Jones to answer the question, but was it?
    Jones should have pointed out that century long trends are more important as evidence. But that would have been worse because it would have ruled out scare mongering over a few hot summers.

    A: Jim – yes. He answered that question very badly – especially given the story he wants to tell. It gets worse – those were written answers. Sinclair Davidson”

  73. John Quiggin
    February 16th, 2013 at 10:38 | #73

    OK, Jim. I’ll give you equal credit for dishonesty with Davidson. You both know that including even a little more of the data set (a couple of decades, not “century long”) would ensure statistical significance, whatever silly tricks are played, and that including SOI would give even sharper results, but you keep on playing the game.

    I have no idea why your lot keeps on with this. You must realise by now that climate delusionism is discrediting the political right throughout the English-speaking word. Just Google “anti-science” and you’ll see what I mean.

  74. Fran Barlow
    February 16th, 2013 at 10:51 | #74

    PrQ said:

    [I have no idea why your lot keeps on with this. ]

    Don’t be so coy Professor. You’ve read the material. Everyone who has paid the slightest attention knows why their lot keeps on with this.

  75. John Quiggin
    February 16th, 2013 at 10:58 | #75

    @NickR

    Obviously, there’s no reason to think anything changed in 1995, and a test of the full data set would, I’m sure, reject the hypothesis of a structural break. This is just a piece of trickery, playing on the gullibility and wishful thinking of the delusionist audience.

    On yoour other point, I haven’t kept up with the latest in time-series econometrics, but I think you’re right. If you are going to use Newey-West standard errors to correct for autocorrelation, you shouldn’t also impose an AR(1) error structure.

  76. John Quiggin
    February 16th, 2013 at 13:31 | #76

    @Fran Barlow

    Honestly not being coy here. This issue has been a disaster for the political right, with their occasional wins only leading them to dig deeper holes for themselves. Anyone who isn’t totally inside the Fox bubble must see that in the long run, denial is a losing game – between the US temperature record, Sandy and the idiocies of the Heartland Institute, it’s become a huge loser for the Repubs already.

    The fossil fuel lobby is mostly willing to settle, and focus on extracting as much compensation as possible.

    So why do people like Davidson and Rose, who have enough stats to understand a trend line, keep on lying about it? It seems like some sort of “Emperor’s New Clothes” equilibrium, where no one on the right is willing to be the first to admit that the entire movement has been (willingly) sucked in by charlatans like Monckton.

  77. bill
    February 16th, 2013 at 14:05 | #77

    Did somebody really claim Monckton was somehow sort of harmless and lovable? Cuddly, even?

    You’ve got to be kidding!

    How about his endless ‘we’re coming for you’ and ‘bring on the criminal trials’ drivel directed at scientists?

    How about claiming that Greens have killed more people than the Holocaust, that offensive enough – on all levels – for you?

    Well then; how about inviting his fellow *cough* ‘freedom-lovers’ into the UKIP fold?

    Did you perhaps miss his ‘f*scistic organization’ rabble-rousing making life genuinely dangerous for a Background Briefing journalist?

    Yep, what a charming laugh-a-minute character! There’s no historical evidence that the widespread acceptance of ‘eccentric’ ideas like that has ever caused any trouble…

  78. Fran Barlow
    February 16th, 2013 at 15:53 | #78

    Hmm … which word caught the sp#m trap?
    {{{{{
    I suspect the fossil fuel and more general f|lth merchant crowd always knew they were on a loser in the long run. Of course, one of the features of capitalism, especially the bits of it going under the heading “extractive industry” is that the long run doesn’t matter. All that matters is the timeline for the next few years. If you can stymie policy for 3-5 years and maybe even ten, then your assets stay valuable and you get a win for your equity holders.

    After that, with the opposition suitably softened up and a crowd of turkeys begging for Christmas you can cut a deal to protect yourself against loss with public subsidy. Hell, you can even cite the public subsidy to rally even more populist opposition.

    While it is clear that the backbone of this campaign is in the global polluters’ cartel, the campaign has been framed and sustained in culture war-style delusion, so that a large swathe of the supporters, when the time comes, will find themselves like those apocryphal Japanese soldiers in the Pacific after WW2 unaware that the war is over, still fighting the good fight.

    As tempting as it is to assume that even desperately misanthropic reactionaries can act rationally, this is itself something one dare not assume. Few can speak nonsnense with a straight face for a long time without beginning to imagine their own echo speaks the truth. A degree of self-delusion is needed. The Repugs spent a long time imagining that they were onto a way of wedging the Dems and winning power on the cheap. They were freed from the need to develop policy, and they could even map delusion onto their own cultural meme about “small government”. Populists, libertarians, xenophobes, c#nspiracy cranks, social conservatives and even banksters could all march in the same parade.

    None of them really wants to believe the party is winding up. Pathetically, their yappy puppies like Sinclair and here, Rose and Coochey can’t jump ship without accepting they have either been li#rs or d#pes — and neither of these is the least bit appealing.

    That’s why they keep on with it. Full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes! That is, after all, their policy on climate change.

  79. Fran Barlow
    February 16th, 2013 at 15:57 | #79

    Hmmm OK Professor — I have two in the sp&m trap …. not sure why — feel free to delete one as they are identical

  80. Jim Rose
    February 17th, 2013 at 07:23 | #80

    John, rather than blaming vast right-wing conspiracies, use Google searches for “unemployment” and “global warming” in http://www.voxeu.org/article/concern-environment-luxury-good-evidence-google-searches where Kahn and Kotchen’s find:

    • Recessions increase concerns about unemployment at the expense of public interest in climate change.

    • the decline in global-warming searches is larger in more Democratic leaning states.

    • An increase in a state’s unemployment rate decreases in the probability that Americans think global warming is happening, and reduces the certainty of those who think it is.

    As Geoff Brennan has argued, CO reduction actions will be limited to modest unilateral reductions of a largely token character.

    There are many expressive voting concerns that politicians must balance to stay in office and the environment is but one of these. Once climate change policies start to actually become costly, expressive voting support for these policies will fall.

    In January 2010, the Pew Research Center asked Americans to rank the importance of twenty-one issues. Climate change came in last. That ranking will rise back when the economy recovers to trend.

  81. Chris Warren
    February 17th, 2013 at 08:04 | #81

    @Jim Rose

    Why wouldn’t you implicate vast right-wing conspiracies?

    Isn’t this what the DLP and NCC actually are?

  82. Fran Barlow
    February 17th, 2013 at 09:02 | #82

    @Chris Warren

    Isn’t this {vast rightwing conspiracies} what the DLP and NCC actually are?

    No. They were not vast, and probably not c#nsp|racies in the usual sense of the word. They were political movements.

    I’m not even sure that c#nsp|racies can be ‘vast’. Once large swathes of the population are explicitly involved and activity is widely known, it’s not really a c#nsp|racy. If whole sections of the government and the corporate sector were involved in unethical and secret conduct, the activity might be very harmful without being all that vast in scale. Many people might be unwittingly involved but actual c#nsp|rators would be relatively few — probably no more than a few dozen at most.

  83. Chris Warren
    February 17th, 2013 at 10:24 | #83

    @Fran Barlow

    Given that Mannix and others (eg John Wren) secretly funded groupers within unions, who then met secretly and distributed furtive anonymous leaflets, and met privately in unannounced retreats, and tried to link up with ASIO through “Catholic Action”.

    In NCC lingo, their members worked inside public institutions as an “active apostolate” receiving resources as “an ever increasing measure of the gifts necessary for fulfilment of this vocation” in “the common struggle against Communism”.

    Checking the files in National Archives shows this apparatus to have been vast. Mannix + mates in Victoria, Gilroy plus mates in NSW. Just search under: Catholic Action.

    They also popped-up in Canberra but were reduced to a laughing-stock in student politics.

    Example:

    http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/NAAMedia/ShowImage.asp?B=1173703&S=12&T=P

  84. Chris Warren
    February 17th, 2013 at 10:25 | #84

    @Fran Barlow

    Given that Mannix and others (eg John Wren) secretly funded groupers within unions, who then met secretly and distributed furtive anonymous leaflets, and met privately in unannounced retreats, and tried to link up with ASIO through “Catholic Action”.

    In NCC lingo, their members worked inside public institutions as an “active apostolate” receiving resources as “an ever increasing measure of the gifts necessary for fulfilment of this vocation” in “the common struggle against Communism”.

    Checking the files in National Archives shows this apparatus to have been vast. Mannix + mates in Victoria, Gilroy plus mates in NSW. Just search under: Catholic Action.

    They also popped-up in Canberra but were reduced to a laughing-stock in student politics.

    Example:

    http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/NAAMedia/ShowImage.asp?B=1173703&S=12&T=P

  85. Katz
    February 17th, 2013 at 11:55 | #85

    John Wren disapproved of Santamaria and the NCC.

    In fact, towards the end of his life, he was more inclined to associate with old line Protestant luminaries like Menzies and Norman Brookes.

    Wren was far too pragmatic and businesslike to adhere to the ultramontane dreams of the likes of Santamaria. Even though Wren gave millions of pounds to the Catholic Church, he was not an observant Catholic until late in life. And indeed, openly clashed with Mannix over conscription during WWI.

    To add to the contradictory nature of Wren, he backed Theodore, one of the most radical figures in the ALP, though this might have been due to their association as co-owners of a gold mine in Fiji. It is hard to know who was the more complex figure, Wren or Theodore.

  86. kevin1
    February 17th, 2013 at 12:28 | #86

    @Fran Barlow
    I think conspiracy is a fair description. The Sydney priest Edmund Campion confirms they were secretive both towards outsiders and insiders in his book Rockchoppers and Santamaria was charming but ruthless towards internal opponents. The Grouper technique of targeting those Catholics who were anti-communist but not full adherents of the Catholic Action line was something which alienated their less extreme supporters. My recollection from reading that book (about a month ago) was that Gilroy was less inclined to support the whole Santa program of a Catholic reactionary political party than Mannix, due to the extant Catholic influence in NSW Labor.

  87. Katz
    February 17th, 2013 at 13:21 | #87

    kevin1

    Gilroy was less inclined to support the whole Santa program of a Catholic reactionary political party than Mannix, due to the extant Catholic influence in NSW Labor.

    “Extant” is an interesting word here. In 1954 the Groupers, mostly Catholics, controlled the Victorian Branch of the ALP. The Hobart Conference expelled them from the Party. It can be argued that if Evatt hadn’t plotted to rid the ALP of Groupers. Evatt was either unable or unwilling to distinguish between a Grouper and an ordinary Rightist Catholic. He drove those two factions together for mutual protection. Mannix might have been happy to continue to give the tacit support of the Catholic Church to the ALP but for this purge.

    It is quite clear that Evatt was the aggressor in this matter and that the NSW Branch of the ALP continued to have “extant” Catholics because they were not subjected to Evatt’s purge.

  88. faust
    February 17th, 2013 at 20:58 | #88

    He may be a Viscount but means he is still a Lord. He does not have to sit in the House of Lords to be called that. He may be a pompous twit but using inverted commas are Lord is a pretty weak thing to do.

  89. Chris Warren
    February 17th, 2013 at 21:33 | #89

    @kevin1

    There were serious differences of opinion within Australian catholics. Many fervently opposed Santamaria, but he was able to wave support from the Pope’s representative in Australia – Archbishop Romolo Carboni.

    If Gilroy appeared to be less inclined, this has to be understood in the context that the Catholic hierarchy and the majority of bishops supported Santamaria. But that’s life – there are good catholics and bad catholics.

    If a conservative cardinal grabs the now-vacant papacy – bad catholics will emerge from their hiding-places such as the Newman Society and Opus Dei (etc).

  90. kevin1
    February 17th, 2013 at 22:42 | #90

    @Chris Warren
    Not sure of your meaning here. “If Gilroy appeared to be less inclined, this has to be understood in the context that the Catholic hierarchy and the majority of bishops supported Santamaria.”

    Current pope was a conservative cardinal, why will another one make a difference?

  91. Jim Rose
    February 18th, 2013 at 05:42 | #91

    @John Quiggin The Left is anti-science unless the issue is global warming or embryonic stem cells. Remember their opposition to nuclear power, GMO and new drugs.

    To be fair I will not include PETA and the animal liberationists in the anti-science left. Like the religious right, they have moral positions that disagree with science. The religious right has moral disagreements with stem cell research.

    Both the religious right and PETA mix up moral opposition with purported pragmatism based claims of allegedly better alternatives to what they oppose.

  92. Katz
    February 18th, 2013 at 07:53 | #92

    Perhaps JR should remind the tens of thousands of refugees still excluded from Fukushima how safe nuclear power is.

    And while he’s at it he can explain to Japanese farmers why the radioactive particles that TEPCO allowed to be blown onto their land, rendering it uneconomic, really are “ownerless”.

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/360/souteigai/4308310

  93. Julie Thomas
    February 18th, 2013 at 07:55 | #93

    Jim you are a hoot, such a hypocrite. There is a terrific book that you might want to read to understand how such a ‘superior’ person as you, can be an appallingly stupid hypocrite.

    http://www.amazon.com/Why-Everyone-Else-Hypocrite-Evolution/dp/0691146748/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

    You seem to consider yourself and your ‘ideology’ to be the absolute truth. It is received wisdom. You never suffer from doubt and isn’t that just like the religious right and peta? Despite all the objective evidence that science, statistics, facts, rational arguments provides to conclude that the your beliefs and your economic truths, and even your whole worldview, are inadequate to cope with human nature, you continue to ‘believe’.

    Unfortunately, it is clear to me, that your economics and moral judgements about the value of people, are actually dysfunctional in that they create the very thing that you deplore, welfare dependence.

    And you seem delusional in that you totally ignore the specific refutations of your many and varied ‘misunderstandings’ that are provided. It is just good manners, I would have thought, to acknowledge when you have been corrected, repeatedly, about your ‘misunderstandings’.

    You are something like the ugly – intellectually I mean, I’m not making any comments about appearance – Sinclair Davidson, although far less aggressive. Your type of person seems to have no idea about how to behave decently when you are shown to be incorrect. Just can’t wrap your brains around the idea that you are wrong.

    How did you fail to learn to feel shame about such blatant displays of bad behaviour. What sort of an upbringing did you have? Or is your self-esteem so low that you have to be ‘right’ all the time to live with yourself. Does getting it wrong mean you are like the poor people, stupid and lazy?

    Whatever, you are an interesting study.

    Next you say ‘to be fair’ and that’s a good one also. I have seen no evidence that you are trying to be ‘fair’. You try to appear to be ‘fair’, and you believe you are fair – read the hypocrite book – but your primary motivation is to justify your beliefs and to deny the fact that your ideology is fundamentally flawed. Of course there are bits and pieces that are true. So what?

    It is quite clear to anyone who understands the basics of modern psychology that you are not rational or fair, and you are woefully out of date in your understanding of human behaviour. Schumpter is all you need to explain idiosyncratic behaviour?

    As an aside, I think it was insightful of Chris Warren to correctly identify your motivation in trying to present Monckton as lovable and essentially benign. Your admiration for rich ‘eccentrics’ shows what a limited experience of life you have had. If you are amused and interested in eccentrics you can find lots of them among the long term unemployed. Some of these eccentrics are legendary and far more amusing and interesting than your wealthy pampered eccentrics. Very high IQ’s.

    But there we go, eh. People like you with narrow minds and concreted on beliefs, can’t see quality or value in anything that doesn’t accumulate wealth and power.

    Last point, you say; “Both the religious right and PETA mix up moral opposition with purported pragmatism based claims of allegedly better alternatives to what they oppose.”

    Did you read this before you fired it off? I suppose you honestly consider you are dispensing the wisdom about the world that you, as a superior successful white man, have accumulated over the years. You’d have to continue to believe that or what is the alternative for you personally.

    But carry on, Jim, Prof Q is right, your comments are useful. :)

  94. Chris Warren
    February 18th, 2013 at 08:28 | #94

    @kevin1

    yes, Ratzinger was a conservative, and raised opposition from progressive catholics.

    If an African or South American cardinal takes over – then this will be a reversion to a very conservative papacy compared to for example a Canadian cardinal.

    However, it is not automatic that a conservative pope will unleash conservative catholics still fuming over homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, and abortion and all of John XXIII.

    Abbott is an example of a bad catholic, and if the new-Vatican wants to reestablish its theocracy within democracies (the loss of which catholics have never conceded), then as Pell’s minion, this is what could transpire – courtesy of Abbott.

    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. For example;

    A Christian Democracy is just a dream; in fact, a contradiction in terms as will be shown later. The City of God cannot be built but in a Monarchical order because, “such was the form of government established by divine law. For Moses and his successors governed the people in such a way that each of them was ruler over all; so that there was a kind of kingdom.”

    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=5827

    According to one stream of Catholic dogma:

    “Even a monarch of mediocre talents and natural gifts has the advantage of having received an education for his profession; a democratic leader, in most cases, is nothing but a dilettante… “As long as monarchy was a living force, wars were of a relative and restricted nature. No monarch was thoroughly dispossessed and the price to be paid for military defeat was merely a city, a county, a province. There was no such thing as ‘unconditional surrender’. Conscription was an invention of the French Revolution and so were wars on a nation-wide basis… “A monarch and, even more so, a dynasty, can plan policies on a grand scale – for the remote as well as for the immediate future. There can be relatively more mutual confidence in a monarchical world, because the changes in political direction are fewer. Today all of Europe nervously watches every American national election… Burckhardt wrote: ‘Since politics has been based on people’s inner fermentations, all certainty is at an end…’” (Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, “Liberty or Equality”)

    But then it is possible that a conservative pope may emerge without leading to significant change in policy.

    With Pell and Abbott clutching the throat of Australian democracy – I wonder?

    Food for thought? Abbott is a rightwing liberal. Is he Pell’s puppet? This is a matter for judgement, see:

    http://www.independentaustralia.net/2012/politics/the-mysterious-pell/

    .

  95. Chris Warren
    February 18th, 2013 at 08:29 | #95

    @kevin1

    yes, Ratzinger was a conservative, and raised opposition from progressive catholics.

    If an African or South American cardinal takes over – then this will be a reversion to a very conservative papacy compared to for example a Canadian cardinal.

    However, it is not automatic that a conservative pope will unleash conservative catholics still fuming over homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, and abortion and all of John XXIII.

    Abbott is an example of a bad catholic, and if the new-Vatican wants to reestablish its theocracy within democracies (the loss of which catholics have never conceded), then as Pell’s minion, this is what could transpire – courtesy of Abbott.

    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. For example;

    A Christian Democracy is just a dream; in fact, a contradiction in terms as will be shown later. The City of God cannot be built but in a Monarchical order because, “such was the form of government established by divine law. For Moses and his successors governed the people in such a way that each of them was ruler over all; so that there was a kind of kingdom.”

    catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=5827

    According to one stream of Catholic dogma:

    “Even a monarch of mediocre talents and natural gifts has the advantage of having received an education for his profession; a democratic leader, in most cases, is nothing but a dilettante… “As long as monarchy was a living force, wars were of a relative and restricted nature. No monarch was thoroughly dispossessed and the price to be paid for military defeat was merely a city, a county, a province. There was no such thing as ‘unconditional surrender’. Conscription was an invention of the French Revolution and so were wars on a nation-wide basis… “A monarch and, even more so, a dynasty, can plan policies on a grand scale – for the remote as well as for the immediate future. There can be relatively more mutual confidence in a monarchical world, because the changes in political direction are fewer. Today all of Europe nervously watches every American national election… Burckhardt wrote: ‘Since politics has been based on people’s inner fermentations, all certainty is at an end…’” (Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, “Liberty or Equality”)

    But then it is possible that a conservative pope may emerge without leading to significant change in policy.

    With Pell and Abbott clutching the throat of Australian democracy – I wonder?

    Food for thought? Abbott is a rightwing liberal. Is he Pell’s puppet? This is a matter for judgement, see:

    independentaustralia.net/2012/politics/the-mysterious-pell/

    .

  96. February 18th, 2013 at 09:06 | #96

    I see that Watching the Deniers has a good post showing the political kookiness of Monckton over the last few years (birtherism, New World Order, etc.) Andrew Bolt has been studiously ignoring this until Monckton’s recent appearance at the reincarnated One Nation. How convenient.

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/even-andrew-bolt-has-had-enough-of-monckton-yes-andrew-climate-sceptics-are-cranks/

  97. KiwiInOz
    February 18th, 2013 at 10:47 | #97

    @Fran Barlow Perhaps the discount Monckton.

  98. kevin1
    February 18th, 2013 at 12:27 | #98

    @Chris Warren
    “Catholics do this, Catholics think that”, I suggest a more nuanced view is needed to fairly honour the reputations and work of those many Catholics who have struggled for progressive social change while trying to maintain their church membership.
    It’s no revelation that a romantic nostalgia for rural villages with the priest accorded leadership status (think Portugal!) was influential on Santamaria’s aspirations, as well as the conservative Catholic writers Chesterton and Belloc. The activities of the NCC/Catholic Action/National Rural Social Movement no doubt also fed extant papist conspiracy theories and the outsider status Catholics experienced up until that time, resulting in them being seen as a rightwing bloc.
    However, the “social justice” strain of Catholic thinking has always been in the contest, with “liberation theology” drawing on themes of Vatican 2 in the mid 1960s, and the status of bishops and priests sometimes enabling them to speak out (and sometimes be killed), in Timor Leste, Guatemala, Brazil, El Salvador etc. The Vietnam war catalyzed a lot of the Australian internal opposition into political action, including Catholics for Peace, and the publication of radical/pacifist magazines such as Nonviolent Power (started by Roger Pryke) and the Catholic Worker (never available at my local church, though Santa’s Newsweekly was available on request). These publicised the views and work of the Catholic anarchist Dorothy Day (see Wikipedia for her remarkable life), who Fr Val Noone and others brought to Australia in 1970. http://www.cathnews.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=22912 The grassroots organisations they promote challenge power structures, and the work of priests Val Noone, Garry McLoughlin, Brian Gore in the Philippines disproves the idea of Catholicism as an agent of the regime.
    There has long been disappointment in Timor Lest that the vatican didn’t do enough to stand up for the Catholics there, with the explanation being “do the maths”: 20 million Catholics in Indonesia, 1 million in TL. Not only are Catholics heavily represented in the Indonesian ruling circles and ministry, but Indonesia sent a lot of Catholic soldiers to TL, perhaps to test their loyalty and perhaps as an attempt to disarm local support for the insurgents.
    A wildcard in the Aust election will be if Pell becomes the Pope, and there is apparently a chance. This would throw the spotlight back on Abbott and his conservative social views and relationship with Pell, neither of which I think helps the LNP.

  99. Garry Claridge
    February 18th, 2013 at 17:37 | #99

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

  100. Chris Warren
    February 18th, 2013 at 18:54 | #100

    @kevin1

    “Catholics do this, Catholics think that”,

    This is not me. Why rewrite it into this?

    I think I was pretty clear.

    So the nuances are already there.

    You cannot use the work of progressive catholics to apologise for other tendencies that may burst forth and that have corrupted political institutions in the past.

    Pell as Pope. I have heard journalists speculate over this on ABC radio. Richard Dawkins would not be pleased. I would be gob-smacked.

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