The right in LaLaRouche land

I just spoke at an event organized by the UQ Greens to discuss emissions trading. There was lively debate over the relative merits, and prospects for success of emissions trading, carbon taxes, and direct regulation (my views here).

Things were made even livelier by the attendance of some LaRouche supporters who explained, as usual, that emissions trading was a genocidal plot by the British Royal Family. On an issue like climate change, LaRouchites represent the extreme fringe of rightwing opinion, taking the usual conspiracy theories about grantgrubbing scientists and environmentalist plans for world government into utterly paranoid territory.

But the traffic isn’t all one-way. On the issue of DDT, a lot of people buy a watered-down version of the LaRouche theory presented in LaRouche’s 21st Century Science by Gordon Edwards back in the early 1990s, according to which the US ban on agricultural use of DDT in 1972 produced a global ban on the use of DDT to fight malaria, costing millions of lives as part of a genocidal eco-imperialist plot.

Tobacco lobbyist Steven Milloy, looking for a stick with which to beat the environmental movement, used his junkscience site (then affiliated with the Cato Institute) to push Edwards’ LaRouchite fantasies, including the claims of genocide, but (doubtless in deference to conservative sensibilities) without the usual LaRouche link to the Royal Family (Milloy’s genocide clock is here). Roger Bate of AEI later took up the same line with great success, though he has backed away from it more recently.

But who would be stupid enough to fall for the second-hand propaganda of a nut group, recycled by the tobacco industry ?

(Answer over the fold)

1. An incomplete list of prominent rightwing commentators and institutions buying the LaRouche line on DDT (I’ll update this and add links as I get time)

Australia: Andrew Bolt, Centre for Independent Studies, Miranda Devine Institute of Public Affairs, Jennifer Marohasy, Christopher Pearson, Ian Plimer, Quadrant

US:

AEI[1], CEI, Cato, Fox News, the Republican Party, the Wall Street Journal etc etc

UK:

Monckton, the Spectator, Spiked/RCP[2]

2. A complete (AFAIK) list of rightwing commentators and institutions who explicitly reject the LaRouche line on DDT and criticise its advocates

(This line intentionally left blank)

I’d welcome any additions to Group 2. Also, rightwingers should feel free to write in explaining why LaRouche is right on DDT, or why your version of the DDT ban myth isn’t really the LaRouche/Milloy/Bate version (which will qualify you for an asterisk). But special rules apply for this post. Real names and country of origin required so your name can be added to the list. Anonymous/pseudonymous comments in support of the DDT ban myth or apologising for its advocates will be deleted.

[1] It’s interesting to compare the 2004 piece linked above, blaming the 1972 US ban on agricultural use for millions of deaths, with this from 2007 which, while still pro-DDT, is more or less factually accurate, noting “Although many believe that DDT was banned after 1972, it actually was not”. Unlike Milloy, Bate has responded to criticism by backing away from some of the more extreme claims.
[2] What is it with the right and crazy ex-Comms/Trots? The Revolutionary Communist Party (now Spiked) showed a parallel evolution to LaRouche from far left to far right, but treated with much more respect for reasons I can’t fathom.

136 thoughts on “The right in LaLaRouche land

  1. It will certainly be great to see some Republican votes for Waxman Markey (only 8 in the HoR and these RINOs copped a furious backlash). he
    last post set a rather higher bar of explicitly repudiating all the main forms of delusionism.

    For the moment lets stick to DDT and look for examples of US or Australian rightwingers taking a pro-science line.

  2. Sorry Fran Barlow, but after technical details will be finalised I should have added ‘at a later date’.

  3. Malcolm Turnbull? Christopher Pyne? George Brandis?

    Then again, they are on the liberal-side of the Liberal Party.

  4. I googled all three of these names + DDT and came up with nothing. That is, Turnbull and the others haven’t spread the DDT ban myth but neither have they repudiated it. The same is pretty much true of AGW delusionism – they “accept” the science, but they don’t defend it against their colleagues.

    Still, it’s broadly speaking true that this wing of the Liberal Party doesn’t import its views from the US, unlike the right wing of the Liberals (Downer was quoted as saying he watched Fox news to get in touch with reality), the libertarian movement (as represented, say, by ALS), the Oz, Online Opinion, the rightwing commentariat, and the main rightwing thinktanks (CIS, IPA and the Evans/WMC front groups like Lavoisier).

    I entirely agree about the European right. This is essentially a cultural/tribal issue for the US/Oz right, not an ideological one.

  5. DDT is not a political issue and it is wrong to think it is. Climate change is a political issue while DDT is an example of climate change activism.

    The problem is that climate change suits big-government and big-state parties of both left and right-wing persuasions. The libertarian streak is more pronounced in the Australia and US right than in the European right.

  6. What I mean by the “political issue” ProfQ, is that it is written by those who disagree with climate change as an example of environmental extremism while those who agree on climate change view it as an irrelevance.

  7. gerard@#23 October 16th, 2009 at 18:24 says

    when it comes to your favorite hobbyhorse, the highest stakes are the comfort of people like yourself in assuming the general inferiority of blacks and women.

    so it might make you feel better as a Right-winger to pretend that there’s some sort of equivalent level of “denial” going on, but in fact the comparison is a pretty pathetic stretch.

    I would like the opportunity to respond to gerard’s comment. I realise that Pr Q wishes to close the subject, so far as intellectual debate is concerned, for the time being. Thats within his rights.

    On the other hand gerard’s comment contains a number of factual errors and personal slanders which grossly misrepresent my position and intention. It is unfair to me to let these stand without giving me the right to correct and rebut.

    I do not play the man, I play the ball. And when I play, I play fair, quoting chapter and verse and always letting the other man have their say.

    That is all.

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