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.

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