What can you say?

I don’t usually pick on Catallaxy. But I couldn’t resist pointing to this post where Rafe Champion describes Lord Monckton as a “sophisticated commentator”, and the rest of the crew pile in to defend him against the lone commenter pointing out the obvious fact that Monckton is a charlatan, conspiracy theorist, and all around crank. Not by any means the greatest of his follies, but this is someone who claims to be a member of the House of Lords after receiving zero votes(!) in the election for hereditary peers.

Being on the political left hasn’t always been comfortable, but these days I’m really glad I stuck it out. There must be some people remaining on the political right who know how far they have sunk when someone like Monckton can be a leading advocate for their views, but they are all either saying nothing (since speaking up would be politically suicidal), or hypocritically going along with the general applause.

39 thoughts on “What can you say?

  1. I’ll be damned. Homer has yet another new moniker.

    I like Catallaxy because it reinforces my prejudices about libertarians 🙂

  2. There is a fair bit of confusion at Catallaxy. The organizing principle however is libertarianism. Irrespective of logic they do not want government in the economy or people’s lives more generally. Hence no carbon taxes – indeed there is hostility to any Pigovian tax – and arguments for basing economics on Say’s Law. There are some creepy psychotics there as well who joke about torturing animals and burning religious books in faiths they disagree with. As Rog says, the same myths get repeated endlessly but I am also struck with the innovative character of the myth making. Destroy one false claim and another – typically entirely irrelevant claim – bounces back.

    I am not sure many there get their climate science from Monckton. Mostly it is recycled junk from Andrew Bolt who, of course, is a Monckton fan. There are also a few serious climate change skeptics who hang around the site who are well-read in the junk science of climate and the websites that promote this material.

  3. So, while it is fun to laugh at Monckton and the drongo denialism of his cohort the simple fact is that they are winning the debate on AGW among the general public. Worse, I can’t see any way to turn it around either – the media (that which isn’t controlled by Murdoch and thus part of the problem) is addicted to controversy – causing it to give equal time to brash denial and sober rebuttal alike, it is difficult to refute the vapid and shifting mendacity of the deniers (it takes a paragraph to refute a soundbite – which will carry futher?) and any PR infusion of magnitude that threatens to meet that of the pro-carbon camp would be pointed at and decried as trying to spin one past the public.

  4. I don’t recall this

    Davidson tried to show Garnaut’s numbers did not add up however Peter Whiteford showed Davidson could even do simple research.

    or this

    I don’t quite get why Sinclair says openly that Catallaxy is like a bareknuckle fighting ring, yet seems to think that’s okay.

    Perhaps some links would remind me?

  5. Yes John but if he is such a bufoon why are you too cowardly to get into the ring with him? You remind my of taekwondo practicioners who always claim they could take on a karate fighter but would never take them on. If he is such a fake why not discredit him once and for all? An easy kill and worldwide fame. somehow I do not think so!

  6. Dawkins likes to quote Bob May on that sort of debate: “That would look great on your CV, not so good on mine.”

  7. Hey John C, I accepted your offer of $500 if I’d debate him, but you couldn’t/wouldn’t bring him up to scratch.

    https://johnquiggin.com/2011/06/14/families-slugged-by-newscorp-innumeracy-newscorpfail/comment-page-1/#comment-152356

    And Brisbane Institute withdrew their invitation last time around.

    You can donate to the box above for Queensland Cancer Council, since I imagine ACF (my original suggestion) might be a bit rich for you. I’ll post a public reminder shortly.

  8. Pr Q said:

    Being on the political left hasn’t always been comfortable, but these days I’m really glad I stuck it out. There must be some people remaining on the political right who know how far they have sunk when someone like Monckton can be a leading advocate for their views, but they are all either saying nothing (since speaking up would be politically suicidal), or hypocritically going along with the general applause.

    I have totally lost respect for the Anglo Right, which seems unwilling or unable to speak the plain truth or hold fast to traditional values. It wont admit error and rectify where it is scientifically incorrect, preferring the comforts of the partisan echo chamber. And when challenged to defend traditional cultural identity it generally retreats into a posture of abject apologetics.

    If you think the path of a long-time Leftie is sometimes arduous, then spare a thought for someone walking in my odd shoes, whose weltanschauung encompasses aspects of both Old & New Left and Old & New Right. Depending on perspective I am always both ahead or behind the curve of political fashion. To add to my woes, the “shameless ideological opportunist” can never seek the solace of like-minded fellows, since there are none to be found.

    I take some cold comfort from Oakeshott’s ageless wisdom:

    In political activity men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbor for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting point nor appointed destination. The enterprise is to keep afloat on an even keel; the sea is both friend and enemy; and the seamanship consists in using the resources of a traditional manner of behaviour in order to make a friend of every hostile occasion.

  9. You are being a tad disingenuous Sinclair, in your intro “blogging as a fine art” you give authority to “rudeness, sarcasm and indecency” and “being particularly nasty” saying that “to reject the legitimacy of conversation on the basis of tone is to place form above substance.”

    These are your fleas so scratch away.

  10. Very early in the thread the contributor Andrew T made the point that many people had failed to investigate Mockton himsef; his talents, foibles etc.
    Fran Barlow shrewdly reiterated the point later, warning us not to the easy way out and just lampoon Monckton, without knowing where he comes from and what he’s about.
    Istill see him as some what the same sort of person as Cameron, Murdoch and Brooks with their funny, elitist little latter -day Cliveden Set- one of the Born to Rule.
    But yes, he is a funny mixture of talent and utter daftness and am not convinced that his antics help any, anymore than a Murdoch press editorial. He may be the Last of the Brit Aristo Eccentrics, but he’s a straw that breaks the camels back for me.
    Enough with the obstructionism.

  11. @Jack Strocchi

    I wouldn’t say, Mr Strocchi, that there were absolutely no “like-minded fellows” to be found. The fact that you’ve been published in America indicates that your writing and outlook have adherents. For what it’s worth, I sympathise with your attitude towards Anglo “conservatives” (what the hell are they actually conserving?) and your respect for Oakeshott, whose writings will, I’d like to think, become more popular as the bankruptcy of New Right sloganeering becomes ever more plain.

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