Fortunate in my enemies

That’s how Robert Vienneau described me after some of my stoushes last year.

It seems as if my luck is holding in that respect at any rate. While I’ve had plenty of supportive responses after being booted from the Fin, I’m sure not everyone is sorry to see me go. Most of those in the latter class, however, haven’t seen any need to gloat.

I would have been disappointed, however, if Andrew Bolt had not lived down to his usual form on this occasion. Sure enough, as his fans have advised me both by email and in comments here, he’s written a gloating column, expressing the hope that Laura Tingle (a far better journalist than Bolt could ever be, even if he was trying) will be next to go.

Bolt can’t even manage an original line of attack, dragging out the tired misrepresentation of a 2007 blog post that the Telegraph ran last week.

The great thing about having Bolt as an enemy is that you get his fans thrown in as part of the package. There’s something comforting in knowing that, if someone dislikes you, there’s a high probability that they are the kind of person who comments on Bolt’s blog.

Of course, it isn’t much of a distinction to be one of Bolt’s enemies. With the exception of the late Paddy McGuinness (who at least had some style to combine with the vitriol) I can’t think of anyone who is less discriminating in his hatreds.

218 thoughts on “Fortunate in my enemies

  1. Well, you will know, JQ, that you have made a lucky escape when, to follow the readership enhancement trends, they fill your collumn space with raunchy pinup picks.

  2. I wish I could remember where I read this, but it was definitely uttered by Salvador de Madariaga, the 20th-century Spanish political philosopher and diplomat: “In real life there are no victories, only defeats of our adversaries, so let us always hope that our adversaries are stupider than we are.”

    The saving grace of P. P. McGuinness (I speak as one who copped the occasional spray, as well as receiving the occasional compliment, from him over the years) was that he literally did not care what anyone thought of him. In his less-than-couth he was fearless. Whereas Bolt’s antennae are as perfectly calibrated towards political power as were those of any time-server under Stalin. “Lavrenti Bolt”, I sometimes find myself thinking, or at other times “Andrew Beria.”

  3. I wish I could remember where I read this, but it was definitely uttered by Salvador de Madariaga, the 20th-century Spanish political philosopher and diplomat: “In real life there are no victories, only defeats of our adversaries, so let us always hope that our adversaries are stupider than we are.”

    The saving grace of P. P. McGuinness (I speak as one who copped the occasional spray, as well as receiving the occasional compliment, from him over the years) was that he literally did not care what anyone thought of him. In his less-than-couth fashion he was fearless. Whereas Bolt’s antennae are as perfectly calibrated towards political power as were those of any time-server under Stalin. “Lavrenti Bolt”, I sometimes find myself thinking, or at other times “Andrew Beria.”

  4. Oops! My bad. I seem to have ended up posting a comment twice. Apologies for that.

  5. @BilB

    Well, I’m always learning. You say Tingle is a far better journalist than Bolt. I hadn’t known that Bolt is a journalist! Well, I’ll be.

  6. John, I couldn’t say that I agree with every thing you say but on ecomonic matters I trust your expertise. I appeciate you having this blog because it helps me understand issues that can be hard to get to grips with otherwise. I think you do the world a service it doesn’t always deserve. As for Bolt, I wouldn’t p*ss on him if he were on fire.

  7. You’re quite right PrQ. While I don’t always share your opinions, they are at any rate well-informed, thoughtful and honest — which is a good deal harder a thing to achieve than most suppose. The same cannot be said of The Blot. Robert above is onto something when he notes the alignment of Blot with those of privilege. In a more rational world than this one, Blot would have a proper job rather than singing songs of inequity, ignorance, arrant Unsinn and misanthropy for his supper. In a way, Blot is amongst the tragedies of the system he defends. He might well have been a better man, and now he is an ethical and intellectual abyss.

    I think Paul Keating, of all folk, noted that you were nothing if you didn’t have people who hated you. He also noted that the better the quality of those who hated you, the better you were — or something. I’m not sure I agree, which is perhaps as well because by this standard, being hated by The Blot isn’t much of an achievement. I will agree that you deserve better enemies.

    One might add that the true measure of Blot is found in the quality of his acolytes. Blot draws to him all who find an ethical and intellectual abyss the best of all possible worlds.

  8. People might laugh at me, but I find politics globally and locally in particular, depressing.
    I thought we’d ducked the Cameronite/ Merkelite/ Tparty disease here.
    Even Australians would pause for thought, count their blessings and be greatful that, as to austerity, we had avoided the plague. This despite Labor’s shortcomings and the inability of the wider public to grasp the rational, scientific Greens message, but it’s gone wrong, like a bad trip.
    The first inklings of trouble came when Bligh tragically fouled up on privatisation and Rudd and Gillard weren’t able to mend their differences, allowing the hard right factions to interfere on behalf of a reactionary, obscurantist platform closer to Abbott or Kevin Andrews’ thinking than anything one could associate with an ALP outlook and of course the other cancer, neoliberalism, took root as Gillard remained on the defensive and people lost confidence, not because things have been bad, but through the lack of ability of the current government and state governments to offer inspiration, combined with the steady chipping away of optimism from Abbott and Trolls like Bolt.
    The country has been dumbed down exponentially over the last five years and and the refusal of Conroy and his ilk to prevent the destruction public broadsheet broadcasting, has been criminal, although typical of the reactionary lack of imagination of the Labor Right, who could see no more use for public broadcasting than as a source of a few bucks from privatisation.
    The potential of broadsheet msm became nothing better than something to censor, for no better reason than behind closed doors deals between party opportunists and developers be exposed.
    So, the public have remained ignorant and become fear-laden. They still swallow Murdoch, despite its unmasking. For every person watching a Panorama or Newsfront doco, another ten will be watching ACA or TDT and more still preoccupied with celebrity mags, Alan Jones or soap opera ‘reality”shows, if they’re not wasting time with Foxtel.
    Just as Labor is collapsing, possibly permanently, under the weight of its own ignorance, false consciousness and contradictions, the hard right is moving into control of the msm.
    All feels very nineteen-thirties and that marching song we’re not allowed to mention the name of, gets steadily louder.
    I fear,”I am a Camera”.

  9. Now Sam, If you have been self educated and could not afford to go to a proper school, I apologise but… typing here here is particularly stupid… even Fran coud tell you that….
    From Wiki
    Hear, hear is an expression used as a short, repeated form of hear him, hear him. It represents a listener’s agreement with the point being made by a speaker. It is often incorrectly spelled “here here”
    Please don’t let it happen again
    (And tell all your mates who do it all over the internet)

  10. No problem Sam …. It is hardly your fault as grammar and spelling hasn’t been taught for many years…. You only learn grammar if you learn a second language. But it is interesting to be called a prat and a pompous purist to point these things out.

  11. Didactic pedantism rears its ugly head again…and there should be more of it, superfluous redundancies notwithstanding.

  12. Oh Oh Megan, I dont want to be too pompous ,pedantic or a prat ,but you might want to revisit your #21 (or is that You’re)

  13. when are the yanks going to book ’em? before or after the election? will the board move first? or the justice dept?
    a.v.

  14. @chrisl

    I didn’t call you a prat.

    I simply implied that that was what you were habitually called at school.

    I expected one as erudite as you purport to be would know the difference.

  15. @chrisl

    I didn’t refer to you as a pompous purist for correcting Sam. I referred to you as a pompous purist for the way you corrected Sam.

    “…typing here here is particularly stupid…”

    “particularly stupid” – how’s that for a scornful tutorial?

  16. Got him!
    Thanks for kind words, Megan. Am glad these things worry you also, but do hope you have a spare stash of prozac, coz I think you’re gunna need ’em.
    Just coming from FB, someone posts that a new Pennsylvanian law prevents doctors from informing a patient if their ailment is due to gas fracking.

  17. There were probably gentler ways of correcting me, but as a recovering pedant myself, I can’t get too offended. Criticism cheerfully accepted!

    Anyway, my original intention here was to agree with Fran’s opinion of the conservative commentariat in this country. Tribalists like Bolt will use any talking point to attack a notionally progressive government (or to support a notionally conservative one), even if it means reversing the content of last weeks campaign. Tim Blair and Gerard Henderson are no different. All this has been said many times before, so rather than spend 5 paragraphs saying it again, I’ll just save myself the trouble and agree with Fran Barlow and Paul Walter.

  18. chrisl:

    2 things:

    1) …. never mind, it was obviously lost on you;
    2) In your comment @13, could you define your term “coud”?

  19. I rarely comment here but regularly visit, finding Prof Q’s intelligent and articulate posts a great antidote to the nonsense that pervades the MSM. I also enjoy the conversation amongst the commentators.

    My recent Bolt story:
    Rafe Champion linked to a Bolt “article” in a comment at Club Troppo. I checked the paper that Bolt referred to and found that it had been debunked at Judith Curry’s site by sort of skeptic Richard Tol. If a paper is so bad that even “skeptics” find serious flaws in it, then the paper must be particularly poor. Of cause any one reading Bolt’s post would have received no inclination about the shocking quality of the paper he referenced.

    It is clear that what Bolt does is not journalism, it is propaganda.

  20. But that’s what happens when highly opinionated bigoted billionaires own media. With Fairfax under new ownership except it too to become “fair and balanced”.

  21. Stephen Spencer,

    “It is clear that what Bolt does is not journalism, it is propaganda”….

    and entertainment of the Kings Cross strip show variety which appeals to politically perverted minds.

    The term for it is Polliography. “Pollio” is the explicit portrayal of distorted political subject matter for the purposes of ego arousal and public incitement.

    nb Pollio should not be confused with the tragic disfiguring disease Polio, even though Pollio can have similar effects to the minds Pollio addicts.

  22. ….with a little more “research” on the subject I have discovered that for polliographers the experienced is enhanced with self stimulatory Mythterbation, usually engaged in private although public displays of the practice are not uncommon.

    Frankly, I think that the whole thing is digusting and should be banned.

  23. I don’t like Bolt much but this demonising of him as a non-journalist who indulges in propaganda is just as tribal as the worst right-wing nonsense in Quadrant or at Catallaxy. He is not – he is a skilful journalist who writes from a viewpoint in politics that many of us find disagreeable.

    Likewise I enjoyed John’s posts at the AFR and have read them there for years. But the end of his very long spell there might signify something other than a right-wing plot. Maybe just a change. Stutchbury is a top jounalist.

    It’s better to try not to join camps. What I hear repeatedly is the same kind of monotone bleating from both sides of politics – “I barrack for good against the forces of darkness”. Then exchanges degenerate (in blog discussions) into an echo chamber where one only hear’s a simple transformation of one’s own views with the most heated discussions focusing on changes to a well-rehearsed script. The current exchanges an example of this.

  24. Ooh come on. Next you will be saying Windsckuttle is a historian!

    You have gone down in my estimation, Harry.

  25. He may have been a journalist once. But that must have been a long long time ago. Long before he found his current gig as a mealy mouthed shock Jock playing to the lowest common denominator for the applause of the mob and for the affection of his wealthy patrons.

  26. Oops! It’s “Windschuttle”, Freelander, not “Windsckuttle”! Even opponents have the right to get their names rendered accurately.

    Not all of KW’s historical output is worthless by any means. The Killing of History, though its frenetic tone hasn’t worn well, was the product of some serious research. KW’s trouble (I don’t profess to know the origin of Bolt’s trouble) is, I would say, only 10% intellectual and 90% a clear case of bad conscience.

    For many years KW was a slavering apologist for Marxist terror of the most murderous kind (think: Pol Pot; the evidence of his 1970s Nation Review babbling is all over the Internet as well as in any academic library). Unlike Orwell and Koestler when confronted with the consequences of their youthful political follies, KW has never shown the smallest contrition for his own – decidedly non-youthful – follies, or even the smallest ability to explain why he adopted them, though his decision to save his skin during the Vietnam War by avoiding the draft could perhaps be put down to undergraduate peer pressure.

    Overall, for what it’s work, I agree with Dr Clarke.

  27. Ironic to bleed for Bolt’s alleged demonisation, when demonisation is Bolt’s stock and trade.

  28. @hc

    I don’t like Bolt much but this demonising of him as a non-journalist who indulges in propaganda is just as tribal as … he is a skilful journalist who writes from a viewpoint in politics that many of us find disagreeable

    False equivalence and nonsense. You’ll need to define journalist to start making that case.

    Blot is neither a skilled liar nor a journalist. He is a scribbler who scribbles for his supper. A mewling mindless drone, destroyed by his patrons.

  29. @Fran Barlow
    He’s mostly a ideological tool of the right-wing power hitters. Lachlan Murdoch gave him his high profile slot on ten and the Rino saved him from the chop in a poor ratings period. So much for Free Market philosophies eh. If is wasn’t Bolt, Murdoch would’ve just found another propaganda tool to further promote his ideologies.

  30. Murdoch now even has “his” ABC to do his bidding. Talking of ABC who saw Pell’s painfully pompous performance? A self -parody, unintended of course. He accidentally displayed some of his “private” views ..

  31. @Freelander
    Yeah, I watched it. Pell’s reaction to the question of homosexuality was particularly interesting. The way I interpreted it – he virtually condoned it, and even maybe sanctioned it, short of gay marriage. My understandings of the Catholic Church’s position obviously needs recalibrating.
    Unfortunately, I’d much prefer someone like John Lennox to argue the case for religious belief to at least provide some intellectual enlightenment about it.

  32. @hc

    I understand what you mean and I agree with your perspective on demonising the opposite side, however it is one of the issues that is inevitable to blogosphere I believe. I can’t speak on others’ behalf, but the reason why I dislike Bolt other than his biased journalism is because his use of poor standard evidence to support his claims. It might be a little bit too much to ask for a journalist to provide hard evidence backing in their pieces like an academic, but what’s the difference of what Bolt’s doing compared to climate sceptics saying global warming is fake because this summer is not hot enough?

  33. this is the heiress’s(ssss)preferred loudcaster?

    mr-bumbling-bolt-gratuitous-I-can-lie-all-I-want-and-call-it-free-speech?

    how come i have to put up with the power playing political voices of non parliamentary push ins.
    nobody voted for them!

  34. @hc I don’t claim to be a journalist, and obviously I have a strong political viewpoint. I’d say of Bolt that is, like me (and unlike Laura Tingle) an opinion commentator

    The difference between Bolt and me is that he doesn’t care about the truth of statements he makes if they support his cause. That makes him a propagandist. I don’t get everything right, but I try to be truthful.

    If you disagree, maybe you’d like to nominate some piece of good-quality straight journalism he’s written, or even a piece of opinion commentary that isn’t obviously slanted by the inclusions of false/dubious claims or the omission of relevant facts.

  35. Paul Krugman made a similar comment about having certain people as critics being a badge of honour.

    JQ, your own situation aside, I am astounded to hear they want to get rid of Laura Tingle. What did she do to earn their ire?? I have always rearded her as quite independent, having bagged both sides of politics (e.g. many swipes at NSW State Labor) when they deserved it. This seems just another step in the mass media’s march to being a mindless cheer squad for one team or the other. I won’t pretend they are competing ideologies.

  36. @John Quiggin
    I’d say his “just name 10” campaign was a reasonable contribution to the debate. He was more wrong than right even then, but he wasn’t completely wrong, and it was an original contribution. I thought he made a worthwhile counterbalance to Henry Reynolds.

    Also, he was a voice of skeptical moderation during the Sars panic.

  37. @Sam – this was clearly a piece of polemic, and fails on all counts. I’m asking for some actual journalism.

  38. Robert Manne gave him a 4 page list of names of children who had supposedly been removed for explicitly racist reasons. The claim was that these children had been removed because they were light skinned, and thus had a chance to “grow up civilised.” Bolt then did a fair bit of background research, and found that most of these individual cases had in fact been removed on child abuse grounds. I’d say that counts as actual journalism.

    I’m quite certain that the Australian government until at least the 1960’s was an explicitly racist institution. I’m also sure that the stolen generation were and are a real – and shameful – phenomenon. But caricaturing all middle-of-the-century social workers as full-time eugenicists goes too far. I’m glad a skeptical voice exists on this issue, even though he’s mostly wrong.

  39. Socrates ,
    you have to realise if one criticizes the Opposition at all they are ALP sympathisers!1

  40. JQ, given that the definition of journalism is now so broad I am not sure that Bolt (and yourself) cannot be called journalists. Allowing that all media is subjective and subject to bias it boils down to the quality of the the argument presented and the facts supporting it. In that regard I have always found that your arguments to be transparent (ie you state your bias) and well supported by facts whereas Bolt seems to base his arguments on little or no fact and is reliant on exploiting emotions. Therefore I think that HC was being unfair in declaring a division and then giving equal weight to each side.

    Bolt is simply unreliable and not deserving of any trust whatsoever and that is that.

  41. @Sam

    Sam, from memory, Bolt’s “research” on this point was selective, and incredibly shoddy. It largely relied on getting his readers to “research” different names with the idea of “proving” that they weren’t stolen, and then picking individual names that he decided were spurious without dealing with the bulk of evidence Manne had sent him. I don’t think I’d call this making a serious or important contribution. It mainly seems shoddy and hurtful.

    You latter point is a straw-man. I don’t think any serious historian has ever claimed that middle of the century social workers were full-time eugenicists.

  42. @rog

    It seems that anyone in the paper is called “a journalist” in the same way that anyone who opposes a western government from a somewhat populist perspective is called “a soc|alist” or even “a Marx|st. Words however, should promote a meeting of the minds, and so for mine, a journalist needs to be someone who follows the usages of the profession rather than merely someone who shows up.

    The AJA has a code of ethics. Even News Ltd has a code of practice. It seems clear to me that if someone consistently repudiates these codes with their practice and makes no attempt even to justify their acts in terms of the codes, it is very hard to assert on their behalf that they are practising professional journalism.

    Blot consistently fails even the ostensible News Ltd standard. He has no commitment at all to “inconvenient truths” and not only passes over them, but debauches them in the service of the construction of the audience his employers want. That makes him a tout — the newsmedia equivalent of those fellows who stand outside bargain shops and strip joints in the city.

    Such folk live or die by their success in attracting the credulous into their premises. Truth or candour is mere nuisance to that kind.

  43. @Robert in UK
    I must admit I hadn’t read that response of Manne before. Thanks for linking to it. It was especially interesting to see that “Parenting while Black” formed an acceptable basis for a charge of neglect.
    I followed the debate mainly through The Age ( a paper hardly likely to be biased in favour of Bolt). As I recall, there were quite a few individuals on the list removed because of substantiated sexual abuse. If a skeptic’s work corrects the record even in a minor way, and even if their grand narrative is still off, I say they’ve made a real contribution.

  44. Journalist is a bit like the term economist, except that to claim to be a journalist you normally do need to be capable of writing something passably coherent enough to be published in some rag,no matter how disreputable ..

    I suppose that represents a higher ‘bar’s than required to call yourself an economist.

  45. @Sam

    Sure thing Sam. I guess we’re largely in agreement, though I think in this case the transaction cost of Bolt’s rather small contribution was a lot of hurt and misinformation. I’m not sure it was worth it. What is the price you’re willing to pay to correct a few parentheses in the historical record?

  46. Talking of enemies fortunate to have, could atheists have been more fortunate than to have that pompous conceited though ignorant windbag Big George Pell? Inhard his ‘debate’ with Richard Dawkins the ‘learned’ cleric sought to correct the heathen on evolution,and what modern evolutionary biologists believe and on the views of Charles Darwin. Given that Dawkins is internationally recognised as an authority in these areas, one must assume he was taken aback.

    But Pell’s bumbling didn’t range so narrowly, as well as explaining his and his churches compassion for homosexuals, the church does charitable HIV work you know. he went much further.

    As Tory Sheppard noted:
    http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/atheists-would-find-it-hard-to-believe-theyre-in-heaven/
    “There were titters at Pell’s reference to ‘preparing’ boys and sniggers when he clumsily criticised Jews as intellectually inferior shepherds.”

    The ABC could start a new series entitled “An Hour with George Pell”. I am sure it would prove to be as entertaining as an hour of the Chaser.

  47. I agree John that you are more concerned with the truth than Bolt. I think on the ‘Stolen Generations” issue and on ‘climate change’ that the best you can say about Bolt is that he does not display much care in selecting his facts and arguments. I still think he plays a role on the conservative side of politics in criticising the left that is useful. He is sharp at picking up inconsistencies in intellectual positions.

    I am obviously not concerned with defending Bolt’s arguments as in most cases I disagree with them. But I don’t like the tribalism displayed by both those on the left and the right in defending their political positions. Its almost a reflex response if someone on our side is pitted against the ‘enemy’. I’d prefer more open-mindedness and less consistency.

  48. @hc

    on ‘climate change’ that the best you can say about Bolt is that he does not display much care in selecting his facts

    I disagree. He selects his “facts” with considerable care to ensure they tell his followers what they want to hear knowing they won’t call him on any of the more outlandish things he says. Depending on what day of the wekk that is it might even by in contradiction with what was said by him previously. There’s a whole slab of the Deltoid site that documents his corner of The Australian’s War on Science.. At least your wish for ‘inconsistency’ is there I suppose.

    This is no more careless than the Columbine shooters were careless in shooting so many people they fancied were responsible for their problems.

  49. Sad state of the right if you have to claim Bolt as the best you can do.

    I suppose Pell is the best the religious right can do!

    Crikey!!!!!

  50. Fran, I didn’t know Bolt wrote for The Australian. I thought he wrote for the Herald-Sun.

    Beyond that you didn’t read what I wrote – it was “the best you can say”. I didn’t say he didn’t exercise care. That would be worse if he did.

    Comparing Bolt’s writings with the Columbine shootings must make your comment the hysterical diatribe of the week – maybe you will get an award from Troppo. Get a good night’s sleep.

  51. Gee I wasn’t aware Fran compared his writing to the perpetration of that massacre.

    Clearly I needs to get me some of that stuff. Turn on,tune in, and whatever …

  52. @Robert in UK

    “What is the price you’re willing to pay to correct a few parentheses in the historical record?”

    In some sense that’s not for me to say; I don’t have to pay the price myself after all. I do think nuance in our understanding of history is valuable though.

  53. @hc

    Comparing Bolt’s writings with the Columbine shootings must make your comment the hysterical diatribe of the week …

    If the shoe (or in this case the analogy) fits … FTR I was commenting, using an analogy, on your use of “much care” rather than the direct harm caused by Blot’s writing. Plainly Blot is not directly killing people, but his action is quite deliberate and malign rather than careless.

  54. Technically, Blot writes for The OO‘s stablemate The Hun of course … a distinction without a difference.

  55. Hc’s puzzlement at Fran’s comment in turn illicits bewilderment on my part. For someone who wants improved media standards, Bolt is the most obvious place to start. Nothing to do with “tribalism”, just observed repulsive dishonesty and it’s quite correct to stand in awe at Bolt’s indiscriminate and cold-blooded massacres of the truth: whatever form it comes in, it has much to fear from him.
    He is to facts what Breivik is to Norwegians.

  56. @rog

    Amusing … Blot is the noisiest silenced person I’ve ever heard. His silence would breach most noise abatement standards. The Hoover washing machine plant at Meadowbank that I worked in during 1977 would have seemed like a Trappist retreat compared to Blot’s column.

  57. Fran speaks it as she sees it, and good on her.

    Andrew Bolt is many things, but careless is not one of them. I wonder what John Stuart Mill would think of Bolt? Would he have revised “On Liberty” upon reading Bolt? Would he have been so cavalier in placing liberty of the individual before truth?

  58. I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong but I think Andrew Bolt would have to be Australia’s most read blogger by a country mile. It’s a pity that not a single lefty in this country can attract even a fraction of the following Bolt gets. Whose fault is that, I wonder?

  59. Sorry, don’t know where better to put this, but have a look at the following blog post on fracking and increased earthquake activity. The issue of water re-injection causing seismic activity is especially important, as it may have ramifications for CO2 deep-earth sequestration. I don’t know whether CO2 sequestration would be as fraught with trouble or not, but the thought bubble occurs, unbidden.

  60. DO:

    “Would he have been so cavalier in placing liberty of the individual before truth?”

    Yes and for the the very simple reason that institutions charged with pontificating the Truth on matters that are in any way political are invariably more frightening than wayward figures like Bolt.

  61. @Mel

    a single lefty in this country can attract even a fraction of the following Bolt gets. Whose fault is that, I wonder?

    It’s no single person’s ‘fault‘. There are a host of reasons but it would take quite a long post to go through them.

    The basic reason is that left-of-centre commentary, if it is any good, is nuanced and recognises complexity both at the micro and macro level. It’s far easier to blog persuasively to a large audience is you reduce the world you comment on to a series of pre-digested slogans that make it easy to pick who is wearing the black hat and prompt you to vent in approved terms.

    Really, any fool can do that.

    As a child, I would sit down with the family and watch the wrestling on Sunday mornings and watch good and evil do battle — Killer Kowalski and Brute Bernard go with Spiros Orion(sp?) and Mario Milano. You knew who the good guys and bad guys were in this tale. How come the ref couldn’t see what was in that fellow’s trunks? Panto for adults …

    The bloggers from the right have the boss class and their massive propaganda machine as context. Their commentary always appears as ‘common sense’ and everything else as out there whacky.

    To compare leftwing blogging with rightwing blogging is like asking why gourmet food is harder to do than chips and chiko rolls at the takeaway and why much more of the latter is sold than the former. It’s nobody’s fault — it’s the paradigm.

    You need empowered people to have empowering commentary on a large scale. While the working people are marginalised, all you can have on a large scale is pseudo-political takeaway, garnished with semantic chicken salt.

  62. @Mel
    Fantastic! Bolt is really popular, like Neighbours and Harry Potter and McDonalds and Coke and any number of other popular but essentially useless things. Obviously, unlike we of the left elites, you’re into quantity not quality.

  63. BTW, the crazies are really getting an outing these days. That bastion of openness, the IPA, has a “fighting fund” for some sort of ill-defined defense of free speech. There’s a link from Bolt’s blog. Truly we need an Orwell or a Murrow to deal with these atavistic shills.

  64. “To compare leftwing blogging with rightwing blogging is like asking why gourmet food is harder to do than chips and chiko rolls at the takeaway and why much more of the latter is sold than the former.”

    I wouldn’t go that far. Skeptic Lawyer and Jason Soon (ret) are right wing and easily in the top dozen bloggers Oz has produced. I’m left of centre on most issues but I must admit these characters have influenced my thinking far more than all but a tiny handful of left bloggers (PrQ included).

    Certainly, both Soon and SL are far more impressive intellectuals than the sad creatures who wrote for Larvatus Prodeo in its final years (Rob Merkel excepted).

    I’m also not sure what “The bloggers from the right have the boss class and their massive propaganda machine as context.” actually means.

  65. Patrickb, you thickhead, learn to read. I didn’t say I agree with Bolt’s worldview, I’m merely querying his popularity as opposed to the lack of any charismatic/populist left equivalent. Pls don’t bring Larva Prod style nonsense to this forum.

  66. @Mel

    I’m also not sure what “The bloggers from the right have the boss class and their massive propaganda machine as context.” actually means

    That’s a rather sad admission, especially in this context … oh dear … I’ll leave that point.

    Just as it is easier to sound like a brilliant singer with an imposing backing band, a competent person at the mixing desk and a nicely appointed venue with lapsed speakers and heavy curtains, so too if you have all the propaganda organs acting in synchrony with you, one can claim pretty much anything one cares and seem like a genius — at least to people used to allowing others to do their thinking for them because they know that their opinions aren’t really germane to policy.

  67. @Mel

    You really don’t have to do the customary I’m leftofcentreonmostissues thing. We’ll read you anyway. I know relatively few people who call themselves left of centre and Jason Soon and Skeptic Lawyer top bloggers or compare them favourably, as intellectual influences, with PrQ. Sadly I am familiar with quite a lot of Bolties who find it convenient to run up the leftofcentreonmostissues flag. I may of course be wrong, and I’m happy to be corrected, but you’ll understand my skepticism.

  68. @Alan

    You really don’t have to do the customary I’m leftofcentreonmostissues thing.

    Yes, I always find that irksome — such cliched concern trolling. If you post enough, people will know where you stand on key questions without you having to preface your remarks.

  69. Mel.
    It must be, that like Alan Jones fans, Bolt’s followers are more intelligent, empathic and better educated than progressives.
    There.
    You wanted someone to say it.
    To ensure you don’t attack better informed but less worldly people of my ilk, you can attack me for hubris instead, but it wont matter because I don’t count and the others therefore will be free to talk about grown up things without the derailing you are attempting, such as the role of Skull Murphy in the mentoring of Brute Barnard, against the mediating influence of Wallaby Bob McMasters’ refereeing, when confronted by Chief Billy White Wolf.
    We could actually start a thread discussing the relatively purity of the “Roller Game” against the pantomime of “WC wrestling”, but that would be like comparing Miranda Devine to Nikki Savva.

  70. Dear me Mel, your appreciation of quality is obviously sadly absent and I also doubt, based on your assessments of the blogs you mention, that you understand the meaning of the term “left of centre” or else you have some definition that is incomprehensible to the rest of the world. And good on you! It’s hard being “different” in this age of conformity. On good on for supporting SL, Oxford legal scholar and defender of the secondary boycott

  71. My my Mel, it appears you have a bit of a bee in your bonnet about LP eh, what happened, they caught you fiddling with something best left alone? But that’s not what we’re discussing.
    “I didn’t say I agree with Bolt’s worldview”
    I must be a bit of a thicky not realising that I hadn’t had anything to say about your world view. All I can say about your world view is that it is fairly wishy-washy and somewhat confused. What, with you admiration of rightwing bloggers even though you’re left of centre and all. Still as I said, one has to admire the unconventional.
    My point, that you have so deftly avoid, is that just because you say Bolt is popular doesn’t mean he’s isn’t a lying toady who had his day in court and lost.

  72. @Fran Barlow

    “That’s a rather sad admission, especially in this context … oh dear … I’ll leave that point.”

    I’m familiar with the concept of the ruling class but I haven’t heard a coherent argument for anything called a “boss class”, altho I believe the term was used in a couple of the socialist rags I occasionally read while I lived in Melbourne. If you really mean ruling class, why not use that term?

    @Patrickb

    “On good on for supporting SL, Oxford legal scholar and defender of the secondary boycott.”

    You’re not the most articulate of chaps, are you.

    @Alan

    I think you’ll find PrQ respects the intellect of Jason Soon and probably SL as well. Back in the good ol’ days, before tribalism set in, even Mark Bahnisch linked to some of Soon’s Catallaxian articles complete with favourable reviews.

  73. @Fran Barlow

    Spiros Arion (aka The Golden Greek), according to the Wikipedia. The bio is quite amusing, reporting the triumphs of his career as though he were an Olympic athlete overcoming powerful opposition.

  74. To his credit, Andrew Bolt achieves a remarkable facsimile of affection for Gina Rinehart.

    That is the marque of a highly credentialed gigolo.

  75. @Hal9000

    It’s quite bizarre — the wrestling thing. To me as an 8-year-old it was obviously a pantomime. Yet one of my (Italian) uncles used to take it completely seriously and work himself up into an emotional frenzy over the rights and wrongs of the “contest”/narrative.

    That he seemed to give it credulity raised serious questions in my mind and not a few exasperated sighs. At times it crossed my mind that his responses were either largely for his own amusement, or to provoke responses from me — a new iteration of a santa-style myth perhaps. You do realise that this is just Punch & Judy, don’t you? I’d wail at him. He affected indifference.

    I realised then that there are some people who are happier believing what they want to believe. Reason and the available evidence are of negative utility. To this day, I don’t know if he was trolling me or self-deluding.

    Of course, there’s a huge difference between TV pantomime and public policy.

  76. Mmmm… Joe Hockey as King Kong Bundy, Tony Abbott as George “The Animal” Steele, Julie Bishop as The Fabulous Moolah, Christopher Pyne as Jimmy “The Weasel” Hart… 😉

  77. @Fran Barlow
    “That’s a rather sad admission, especially in this context … oh dear … I’ll leave that point.”
    I’m familiar with the concept of the ruling class but I haven’t heard a coherent argument for anything called a “boss class”, altho I believe the term was used in a couple of the socialist rags I occasionally read while I lived in Melbourne. If you really mean ruling class, why not use that term?

    @Patrickb
    “On good on for supporting SL, Oxford legal scholar and defender of the secondary boycott.”
    You’re not the most articulate of chaps, are you. Poor sausage.

    @Alan
    I think you’ll find PrQ respects the intellect of Jason Soon and probably SL as well. Back in the good ol’ days, before tribalism set in, even Mark Bahnisch linked to some of Soon’s Catallaxian articles complete with favourable reviews.

    ps. Obviously Bolt is vile. I didn’t think I needed to spell that out.

  78. @Mel

    Ah yes the fallacy of false equivalence. You did not, in the post I referenced, speak of respecting their intellects which anyone with half a brain would do. Your words were:

    these characters have influenced my thinking far more than all but a tiny handful of left bloggers (PrQ included)

    The leftofcentreonmostissues flag is a sad and faded pink indeed if your blogosphere influences come mainly, ‘far more than all but a tiny handful’, from the right.

  79. The reason I brought J.S. Mill up, in the context of Bolt, is that Bolt is deeply embedded in what Mill took for society; Mill’s driving ambition for “On Liberty” was to de-barb the tyranny of society. But just how would that work, when characters like Bolt are in fact the defining face of that society which threatens the liberty of the individual? Provisioning the liberty of individuals such as Bolt, is to provide society with the power to reign as tyrant over the individual. What a conundrum! One could say that Bolt is the prick that deflates Mill’s conception of liberty of the individual.

  80. @Tom
    Great to discover so many gullible still exist!! This caters for the consumerism that our current government depends on just as much as the capitalist system they pretend to dislike – because thet know very well that your type respond so readily to scapegoating

  81. @Mel I’m-left-of-centre-on-most-issues said:

    I’m familiar with the concept of the ruling class but I haven’t heard a coherent argument for anything called a “boss class”, altho I believe the term was used in a couple of the socialist rags I occasionally read while I lived in Melbourne. If you really mean ruling class, why not use that term?

    I doubt anyone who was left-of-centre-on-most-issues would call something “a socialist rag they occasionally read” but anyhoo …

    I used to use the term “ruling class” but on reflection it seemed to me that the word “ruling” attributed rather too much coherence and solidarity to the group. They are of course united in a broad sense, but they are also rivals and at times sharply at odds with each other. Even within a given jurisdiction, they aren’t persistently on the same page. That’s why there are at least two major parties in most advanced industrial societies who periodically tussle over public policy through their political proxies.

    It’s also clearly the case that some of their agents are not capitalists in their own right but mere fellow travellers acting at their behest.

    Regardless of whether their faction or coalition is making policy (i.e. ‘ruling’) they are all bosses however.

  82. @maurie

    It will be helpful if you point me out in what way I’m gullible. If you did read hc’s point, I’m agreeing with what he said about people with difference in perspectives should not demonise the opposite side (although I must admit, my comment might look a bit confusing, and I might have misrepresented myself). It’s only natural to dislike a journalist whom holds such a strong biased viewpoint, present biased and poor standard quality of evidence, and do not attempt to engage in debates fairly (e.g. the debate about stolen generation of Bolt with Robert Manne) when you’re someone tried to evaluate issues fairly. In this aspect I give my respect to Professor Quiggin, although he admits he holds a biased viewpoint, he does back his statement with evidence and sometimes the critism behind the evidence and the contrary argument. Even as such I do not always agree with Professor Quiggin’s stance on some issues e.g. Coal Seam Gas.

  83. @Mel

    Fran Barlow is correct pointing out that there are a lot of factors that should be considered when one evaluates the popularity of different side of politics. Just one of the factors, have you ever seen a center left newspaper, television news, broadcast radio etc nowdays?

    With intellectuals from both sides, no one comment yet in this thread has said Andrew Bolt is stupid or dumb. You’ll have supreme intellectuals from both side and as pointed out in your comment, there are blind followers and there are those whom do not know much about the opposite side in the right and the left. But when one engage in unfair debates or journalism it does not immediately mean that he/she is stupid. In fact, the way that Andrew Bolt is about to attract so much readership is already some kind of indication that he knows how to persuade others; which maybe through the use of styles of language, the use of biased evidence and attempts to engage in unfair debates.

    Also, a person can be a supreme intellectual but refuse to accept evidence. You can’t look past the the Christian’s viewpoint at theory of evolution, e.g. a proposed law allowing the teaching of creationism in schools is already passed the state’s legislature and the Governor has until next Tuesday to veto it. That is the SECOND state after Louisana to allow creationism in the classroom.

  84. My reflection after that tussle with Mel over Iraq is that (s)he is not particularly left-of-centre at all but certainly willing on that occasion to not just swallow but ardently defend the neoliberal PR.

    To see off further aspersions, here’s John Ralston Saul: ‘The US-Iraq war a few years ago was all about trade and oil.’

  85. @Fran Barlow
    Do you feel more smug and righteous attacking Andrew Bolt by deliberately misrepresenting his surname? How childish !
    All these denigratory comments miss the point that Andrew Bolt has many many long term readers, all of whom you self satisfied commenters here are branding by association with relish out of YOUR prejudices!
    Are you jealous of his success or angry at his reach?

  86. @Jazza

    Jealous, no. It’s a Faustian pact and I don’t know how the man sleeps at night.

    Angry? Somewhat. He’s certainly bad for the quality of public debate in this country. Bad for progressives, and bad for conservatives.

  87. @Jazza

    I think we are angry at his reach, given his history of misrepresenting and distorting the evidence to his readers. We can get into his examples of his history of mis-reporting if you wish. We are not branding anyone by association. If you read a columnist expecting him to write in good faith I can understand that you are persuaded by his stuff and angry when his good faith is questioned. However, anger is not an argument.

    I don’t think it would be all that long a debate to establish that Bolt frequently misleads his readers.

  88. @Jazza
    Both Hitler and Stalin had many devoted and passionate supporters too. Having a strong and passionate supporter base doesn’t by itself distinguish that person as being righteous or credible or objective with their opinions.

  89. @Jazza

    Do you feel more smug and righteous attacking Andrew Bolt by deliberately misrepresenting his surname?

    Blot persistently encourages his flying monkeys to defame others by misrepresenting their surnames. The Golden Rule applies. I assume that this is how he would have others deal with him. I am doing no more than he invites. That the term “blot” is an apt descriptor of his contribution is happy coincidence.

    {Blot} has many many long term readers, all of whom {…}

    are subject to the Golden Rule. They are proud of their misanthropy, their angst, their ignorance and hatred for those of us who side with humanity’s interests. They defame as part of their war on reason and equity and therefore waive all claims to respect.

    Are you jealous of his success or angry at his reach?

    Not at all. I understand that this is the way of the world. There is much that is repulsive and antithetic to human wellbeing, but I grasp how it has come to be. Blot is simply another manifestation of humanity’s unfinished business — a festering carbuncle* on the backside of humanity as the famous comedian Rowan Atkinson had it. As unsightly as he is, humanity must deal with the underlying pathology if it is to see the last such ugly excresence.

    * Sidebar: the etymology of this epithet {“little coal”} is especially apt in Blot’s case

    @Tom

    Syntax note:

    Whom is the accusative or dative case pronoun. In the following fragment:

    there are those whom do not know much the nominative case pronoun {who} is required as they are the subjects of the verb to know.

  90. Fran Barlow

    “I doubt anyone who was left-of-centre-on-most-issues would call something “a socialist rag they occasionally read” but anyhoo …”

    What an odd comment. Very few left of centre persons in this day and age subscribe to the philosophy of any of the tiny Marxist sects that are currently extant or define themselves as socialist. How many ALP or Green parliamentarians call themselves socialist? Having said that, I find some Marxian (not Marxist) analysis interesting, for example the Marshall-Crosland thesis.

    Is the ALP a left of centre party or are they agents of the “boss class” according to your philosophy?

    @Alan:

    Characters like Soon and SL are right libertarians and side with the broader left on issues like gay marriage. On the other hand, some conservative Catholic elements in the ALP cross the floor and vote with the conservatives on gay marriage and similar issues.

    What pisses me off about right-libertarians is that most of them attach more importance to the low tax and property rights aspect of libertarianism than they do to civil liberty issues and hence they think nothing of hopping into bed with the conservatives.

    @Dan

    I agreed with Hitchens. Sue me.

  91. oops delete prior PrQ. I forgot about multiple links.

    @Jazza

    Do you feel more smug and righteous attacking Andrew Bolt by deliberately misrepresenting his surname?

    Blot persistently encourages his flying monkeys to defame others by misrepresenting their surnames. The Golden Rule applies. I assume that this is how he would have others deal with him. I am doing no more than he invites. That the term “blot” is an apt descriptor of his contribution is happy coincidence.

    {Blot} has many many long term readers, all of whom {…}

    are subject to the Golden Rule. They are proud of their misanthropy, their angst, their ignorance and hatred for those of us who side with humanity’s interests. They defame as part of their war on reason and equity and therefore waive all claims to respect.

    Are you jealous of his success or angry at his reach?

    Not at all. I understand that this is the way of the world. There is much that is repulsive and antithetic to human wellbeing, but I grasp how it has come to be. Blot is simply another manifestation of humanity’s unfinished business — a festering carbuncle* on the backside of humanity as the famous comedian Rowan Atkinson had it. As unsightly as he is, humanity must deal with the underlying pathology if it is to see the last such ugly excresence.

    * Sidebar: the etymology of this epithet {“little coal”} is especially apt in Blot’s case

    @Tom

    Syntax note:

    Whom is the accusative or dative case pronoun. In the following fragment:

    there are those whom do not know much the nominative case pronoun {who} is required as they are the subjects of the verb to know.

  92. @Mel I’m-left-of-centre-on-most-issues said:

    Very few left of centre persons in this day and age subscribe to the philosophy of any of the tiny Marxist sects that are currently extant or define themselves as socialist.

    That’s beside the point. Left-of-centre folk are generally respectful of ‘socialism’ as an ideal. Calling something ‘a rag’ because it has a socialist character is something that those marking themselves out as on the right tend to do. I did suspect your left-of-centre-on-most-issues claim was code for being a catallaxy type wanting to preserve the right to hector a left-of-centre audience about their mores. That’s usually how it works when people say that.

    Is the ALP a left of centre party ?

    Of course not. It’s doubtful that they ever were, but certainly, since they smashed the Miners Strike in 1949 using troops, any claim they might have had went out the window. They are a boss class party like the LNP, albeit with a perspective since that time that has historically been more focused on local manufacturing and the non-tradeables than the LNP.

  93. “albeit with a perspective since that time that has historically been more focused on local manufacturing and the non-tradeables than the LNP”

    *MAYBE* up until the early 80s. Since then, it was the ALP that took a dagger to local manufacturing and the LNP were just content to keep the (on life support) status quo. Unless I’ve misunderstood.

  94. @Troy Prideaux

    MAYBE* up until the early 80s. Since then, it was the ALP that took a dagger to local manufacturing

    That’s true. The change in perspective reflected both an underlying structural change — the growing strength of manufacturing in South East Asia in particular — and a political change — the decomposition of the ALP’s political base in industrial unions as local manufacturing began to fragment. During the 1980s the ALP made itself the agent of the financial sector, and hoped that a combination of nostalgia within the base, perceptions within the boss class that they were the best agency for the rule of finance capital, a perspective of open markets within the region, and the recruitment of tertiary-educated professionals would offer up a coherent boss-class coalition.

    The policy perforce has a limited life. Once the ALP had delivered all that was wanted, the boss class started walking away from it — and one can see that in the 1989 NSW result and the 1990 Federal election result where the ALP did everything but lose. Had there not been significant misgivings within the class over consumption taxes (and also amongst plebeians on the urban fringe and in rural areas), they would certainly have lost in 1993. Having committed to neoliberal policy, having turned on their support base they were stuck with their course and were soundly beaten in 1996. Howard, in that election, challenged Keating in exactly the way Rudd later challenged Howard — as a better manager of the rule of financial and resource capital.

  95. Bolt and all his imperialist supporters of endless growth capitalism destroying the environment for “wealth” will very soon be proven wrong. Unfortunately, it will be a phyrric victory for those of us who are intelligent, humane and empirically realistic.

  96. If all opinions are, per se, valid and entitled to consideration prior to acceptance or dismissal on relevance, how is it that mass-circulation msm only runs rightist claptrap?
    If msm is a market place for a free exchange of ideas, why does the mass circulation press overwhelming run rightists and not very good ones either?
    If Bolt, Milne, Devine and the rest are given bully pulpits from which to harangue the world, where is the column space offered for far better informed people people like Fran Barlow, or dare I say it, Prof John Quiggin, dismissed apparently for not being willing to lie about privatisation.
    The last couple of people boned from mass circulation press have been moderates like John Quiggin and Jill Singer- you’d have thunk for even a modicum of “balance”, they would have kept the moderates and slung some of the cranks?
    I’d have to say, I get more sense from the people on the street contributing in a single thread here, than an Encyclopaedia sized compilation drawn from Bolt, Albrechtsen, Henderson and the ilk, over decades.

  97. @ Fran Barlow:

    “That’s beside the point. Left-of-centre folk are generally respectful of ‘socialism’ as an ideal. Calling something ‘a rag’ because it has a socialist character is something that those marking themselves out as on the right tend to do. ”

    My wife escaped from a communist country and I’ve seen the torture marks on her uncle. But I must admit that even before we met, I never had any time for the useful idiots who belonged to socialist movements. I’m a social democrat, not a totalitarian. I was reading George Orwell when you were running around handing out pamphlets for the Spartacists.

    “I did suspect your left-of-centre-on-most-issues claim was code for being a catallaxy type wanting to preserve the right to hector a left-of-centre audience about their mores. That’s usually how it works when people say that.”

    Lol. You must be paranoid. I was at one stage an active Greens member, as most bloggers/commenters from the early days (2005/20006) are aware. I left because, among other things, I wasn’t prepared to be in an organisation that had an old pro-Soviet clinch-pig like Lee Rhiannon as a member. I’ve also avoided Catallaxy since Soon left as I find absolutely nothing of value in its current guise as a stalking horse for the IPA.

    ps. Spartz Meanz Fartz. It did back then and it still does today 😉

  98. What you get in the news media very much reflects the preferences of suppliers.

    As you may have noticed. News media moguls are a disreputable lot. Maxwell, Black, Packer, Hearst, Murdoch. …
    Part of owning news media is to obtain benefits from the politicians of the day. That is why billionaires suddenly become inspired to buy media or to bolt on the Bolts of this world.

  99. As Im am clearly a stupid man, please provide me with the science, or proof, that Human made CO2 has caused the climate to change. I havent been able to find this proof anywhere. I have seen a lot of maybe, possible and coulds, but still no fact. We know the computor models were all wrong, as common sense would expect as computors dont give you new information, so if the calculations are wrong, so are the computor predictions. We humans now know as fact that the feedback is not happening as it was thought it should, so again no proof of Human caused climate change.
    I am not a sceptic, just looking for proof.

  100. @Joe

    You are quite right! No proof whatsoever! You can go to your grave confident in that one.

    I just want proof! That’s what I told them when they said there was no Santa. Until you prove that I’m going to good right on believinh. And I still do; showed them!

  101. @Freelander
    My (could be naive) impression of Packer is that he was good man all said and done. Tough, uncompromisingly ruthless business man, but proudly Aussie, did his bit for charity, held reasonable ethical standards and was an economic irrationalist. Media was a passion for him. I certainly wouldn’t tar him with the same brush as Maxwell or Black.

  102. @Joe
    You clearly haven’t made the slightest effort to understand the issue at all. Trying reading some of the scientific publications on the subject. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (google it) is a good place to start. There is a section of the report entitled “The Physical Science Basis”. Start with that.

    BTW, I’m going out on a limb taking your comment seriously, as in my experience most climate change ‘skeptics’ are disingenuous and immune to rational discussion. But I’m taking a punt that your ignorance is genuine and your claim to want to learn more is made in good faith.

  103. @Freelander
    So rather than provide some proof, you just mock me?
    I would expect that answer from a church, those who follow faith, but those talking science should be more than happy to discuss things and provide proof.
    Your example also seems weird. Where is your proof that there was a Santa in the first place.

  104. @Troy Prideaux
    Packer :

    Didn’t pay tax; interfered in elections.

    That there were bounds on his malevolence makes him look positively saintly beside some others one might be wary of naming.

  105. @Tim Macknay
    Thanks Tim. and I made my post in good faith.
    I am concerned that the IPCC is a group of very young, un-elected people. Have you had those concerns too?
    I read that there has been zero warming in 12 to 15 years, who do I beleive?
    I have read, and seen, no change to the rate of sea level rise. again, who do I beleive?
    Living in, and loving Australia, I have seen no change to our weather yet? when will it change, as all the computor models are unable to tell me?
    If there was just one place to get facts it would make the process easier, I think some of the things I read are written by those who either believe or dont believe in this climate change, so its hard to take anything on face value.
    And then there is this Agenda 21 issue? Thats just scary.

  106. @Mel

    Well that didn’t take long did it Alan? Mel went from left-of-centre to angts-ridden redbaiter in a very short space of time. FTR Mel, Orwell finished his life acting as a redbaiter. I did however read his writing in high school well before joining any organisation.

    I was at one stage an active Greens member {…} I left because, among other things, I wasn’t prepared to be in an organisation that had an old pro-Soviet clinch-pig like Lee Rhiannon as a member

    I’m not sure what a “clinch pig” is but I’m sure you did the right thing. I’m glad you’ve left. We are better off without your kind in our ranks. Don’t come back. Warn others who share your attitude not to join. You can still be useful.

    @Joe

    As Im am clearly a stupid man, please provide me with the science, or proof, that Human made CO2 has caused the climate to change.

    Taking you at your word I see no value in such an exercise. The science and proof requires a modicum of intelligence and the willingness to reflect on often quite abstruse ideas. On your admission, this is well outside your skillset.

    A word of advice. While your candour is noted with approval, it’s generally better not to advertise your cognitive deficits. We are pretty tolerant here, but out there in the real world there exist large numbers of people who are intolerant of the stupid, or even worse, inclined to make them the butt of unkind pranks or exploitation. As a humanist, I feel obligated to warn you about that.

    You should stay away from those denier websites. Repeating their tosh can give the game away.

    I am not a sceptic

    Oh that’s obvious. Skeptics understand what they are skeptical of, what they’d need to be convinced and where they might find it. You by your own admission are a “clearly stupid man” who quite reasonably one supposes, hasn’t bothered to read the basic material on this, and so can’t possibly be a skeptic.

    What you are is utterly ignorant and proud of it. There’s another term for that, but I’ll let you work out what it is.

  107. @Fran Barlow
    Thanks for your reply Fran.
    This is what I have found when asking the same question of others, rather than provide me with any form of fact, it’s just the eye rolling and laughter.
    Feels like more of a climate change club than a movement based on science.
    Hopefully someone else can help.

  108. @Joe

    Joe you should learn about the difficult concept of ‘fact’ and the related concept of ‘nonsense’. That might be your first on the path to enlightenment.

    Now ” the IPCC is a group of very young, un-elected people” is not what we call a ‘fact’.

    If you like saying silly things feel free to come here and be mocked anytime.

  109. Thanks to reader Tim who tried to provide info, no thanks goes to Fran and Freeloader who were just rude. This blog thing feels like an old boys club.

  110. @Joe

    I have read, and seen, no change to the rate of sea level rise.

    What rate of sea level rise have you seen, Joe?

    How does the present rate of sea level rise compare with that of the last century?

    Xmas tides (king) are always a good indicator.

  111. @Joe

    Now I think you might find it helpful if you get yourself something we call a dictionary. You can use the dictionary to find out the meanings of the words you use. Start by looking up ‘elected’.

    Young is another word you should check out.
    It does not mean any group of people who are not “all over 35 with life experience”.

    Sorry. You are a bumpkin and I tire of educating you. I also see little prospect for success.

  112. Joe on the search for the real ‘truth’ about climate change. Kinda reminds me of OJ’s search for the ‘real’ murderer!

  113. What’s the collective noun for Bolties?

    Ppl please don’t give the person joe what he wants which is attention, pure and simple. He’ll post the same old denialist drivel for weeks and wet himself at his keyboard over his triumph in making people look things up.

  114. @ Fran:

    “I’m not sure what a “clinch pig” is but I’m sure you did the right thing. I’m glad you’ve left. We are better off without your kind in our ranks. Don’t come back. Warn others who share your attitude not to join. You can still be useful.”

    Lol. The Victorian Branch of the Greens very sensibly expelled a red clique that joined the party in the late 1990s. One hopes NSW will eventually come to its senses and do the same to the Rhiannon reds. Then I might rejoin. I think we can also infer from this that you are an entrist 😉

  115. @Joe

    I am concerned that the IPCC is a group of very young, un-elected people. Have you had those concerns too?

    Hi Joe. I’m not sure where you got the idea that the IPCC is a group of very young people – its assessment reports are written and reviewed by a large number of leading scientific researchers.

    I am not at all concerned that it is an unelected group. It is a group designed to provide technical expertise on a particular subject, and as such it is appropriate that it be staffed by suitably qualified experts, like other expert advisory bodies. Democratically elected bodies serve an entirely different purpose. The lists of the IPCC authors are available on its web site, and you can follow up their credentials easilty enough if you choose to.

    All such bodies can be, and sometimes are, accused of bias of various kinds. The only way to form an independent view of such accusations is to familiarise yourself with the work of such bodies, and compare the work with the accusations of their critics.

    No doubt you have read much criticism of the IPCC organisation, and its report. The only way to form your own view of the information contained in the IPCC Report, and the organisation itself, is to read the report, look at its references, and form your own view on whether the information contained in it is robust.

    I don’t know if it will change your opinion or not. All I can say is that, since you have said you are genuine in your quest for information on this subject, you should read the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, regardless of your misgivings about the IPCC itself. After you have read it, you will be better informed about the issue of climate change, whether you change your opinion or not.

    There is another useful thing you can do if you read the report – back in 2009 several errors were identified in the report by various critics, and were reported somewhat breathlessly in the media as if they had destroyed its credibility. If you read the report, you can locate the errors, see where they fit in the report as a whole, and form your own view on whether they have any effect on its credibility.

  116. @Joe

    While I am sure they are, in general and in terms of the median, over 35, who gives a toss? Surely a better metric is whether they do robust work or not. But perhaps you are unable to make an assessment on this.

  117. Joe seems rather confused.

    The IPCC is made up of a tiny group of people (permanent staff is around a dozen IIRC). On the other hand there are hundreds of scientists who are involved in reviewing the science writing the reports.

    And their age? WTF!?
    How old was Einstein when he came up with relativity? Let’s reject it on the basis of his lack of ‘life experience’.

    Bonkers.

  118. @Joe
    Joe,

    Like Tim I am assuming you are in good faith.

    1. Your definition of ‘young’ may be different to mine, but the scientists that contribute to the IPCC and related research institutions are likely to be mostly middle aged. People who contribute are typically at the very top of their professions – something that is likely to take even the most gifted researchers decades to accomplish.

    2. Yes scientists are in general unelected, but the truth is not subject to popular opinion. If a referendum tomorrow decided that the world was flat, this would not change its shape.

    3. The claim that there has been no warming over the last decade or so has some truth, but is misleading. Global temperatures are volatile from year to year and some statistical techniques are required to differentiate between a few hot years and a warming trend. We had an incredibly hot year in 1998 and subsequent years have been very hot (and getting hotter) but still haven’t exceeded this incredibly high mark. So if you ignored all the evidence prior to 1998 we would see less evidence of warming. But this is like saying that if you ignore DNA, fingerprints and many other forms of information, there may not be enough evidence left to convict a murderer who otherwise is clearly guilty.

    4. Sea levels change slowly and vary from place to place. Would you notice an increase in sea levels of 3mm per year over the last decade? Scientists do because they measure these things precisely and often, but for you to do this casually, you would have to recall the average sea level to within a few centimetres from 10 or more years ago.

    5. The same is true of the general weather. Slow changes over time are difficult to detect as weather is very volatile and we update our expectations every day. To do this properly you need to take many precise measurements over long periods of time, which is exactly what the scientists do.

    The ‘sceptical’ view of climate change requires us to believe that either (i) the consensus of tens of thousands of brilliant scientists is wrong, or (ii) those same scientists are engaged in a giant evil conspiracy. Anyone who has studied a complex random phenomenon like the global climate knows that armchair “expertise” is worthless relative to real expertise, and anyone who is over 15 should know that evil conspiracies of this magnitude and over this many people are likely to be fiction.

  119. @JB Goode

    Blind arrogance is something I’d attribute to people who think we can pollute indefinitely and endlessly financialise our economy, personally.

  120. @Joe
    Understand your frustration Joe,Try Richard.S.Lindzen Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.An Ipcc lead author and publisher of over 230 ‘peer reviewed’ papers.One of the few people on the planet qualified to call himself a ‘denier’,in fact he insists on it.Hip,easy listening.

  121. @Freelander
    Joller moller custard,green snot pie
    all mixed together with a dead dog’s eye
    slap it on a sarny,nice and thick
    and swallow it down with a cup of cold sick!
    You’re turn.

  122. @JB Goode

    You should be so lucky that Cate Blanchett provides my policy knowledge. You have no idea who I am or what I do but I can promise you a superficial feelgood interest it is not.

    Although I’m grudgingly impressed at how quickly you proved yourself a hypocrite.

  123. You used to get a better quality of nitwit climate change denier. Maybe their ranks are thinning?

  124. JB Goode :
    @Joe
    Understand your frustration Joe …

    I suppose you do. I guess life must be tough, and frustrating, when you’re a Bolt Dolt.
    “atmospheric meteorologist?” Are there non-atmospheric meteorologists?
    “pear review process?”

  125. I have a libertarian friend who describes Greenspan as a Communist. Guy can’t keep a girlfriend either. Coincidence I’m sure.

  126. @JB Goode

    My god,the blind arrogance displayed by you people on this blog is f***ing staggering!

    As always, the most compelling commentary from the delusionals relies on their ability to do projection.

    It’s amusing that this one is quoting Lindzen, who is not, strictly speaking, a denier. He’s in the camp of those trying to offer up (unsoundly) reasons to be cheerful.

  127. @Dan
    Just about Dan,yeah.It is capitalism that has lifted untold millions of people from poverty and you’re previous ‘endlessly financialise our economy’ is typical of a negative, hand wringing mindset.Relax Dan,we have done all right so far and a lot more will be done as soon as we start to divert the vast amounts of money now being wasted on the climate change gravy train to where it should be.

  128. I wonder what god had in mind when he created mr goode? Truly moves in mysterious ways; even his spokesman here on earth, Mr Pell can’t explain him, or is it her, or hermaphrodite?

  129. @Fran Barlow
    ‘As always, the most compelling commentary from the delusionals relies on their ability to do projection’
    Fran,can you do us all a favour and get someone who speaks English to check your comments before you post them.

  130. @Freelander
    Not so fast Freelander,by the way do you still live with your mum? the ‘whole communist paranoia’ might be passe to you,but communism left 94 million people dead, so personally I can understand a certain amount of paranoia about the next gift to be so graciously bestowed upon us by the left.

  131. @JB Goode

    If you”re going to come here full of swagger, you could a least say something a teensy bit impressive. So far your standard is no better than Cardinal Pell’s.

  132. @JB Goode

    Capitalism that creates stuff that’s useful and lifts people out of poverty I have no issue with.

    ‘Capitalism’ that is in fact speculation that doesn’t involve an meaningful risk on the part of the person who should be bearing the risk, is purely inflationary in nature, and is punctuated by crises that hit the poorest hardest, on the other hand, I think is subject to systemic malfunction.

    Unfortunately the latter seems to follow the former around in much the manner of a bad smell. See Minsky.

    Important also to realise that Soviet growth model developed by Fel’dman and applied in China before the Great Leap Forward (and India to this day, albeit more slowly) also lifted millions out of poverty. But I suspect that historical nuance will be lost on you.

    Gosh, the world’s problems are so simple for you! Capitalism works fine and there’s no global warming. Just cheer up, everyone, and vote for market fundamentalist deniers!

    (I suspect at a deeper level you know that reality isn’t quite so benign.)

  133. @Dan

    Fools like this latest troll JBGoode/Joe are a sad indictment of the system as it stands. AGW is in its ubiquity, periodicity and variety by the proverbial country mile the largest market failure in human history. If there were a shred of integrity amongst the defenders of capitalism, they’d acknowledge that and try to devise a solution with which humanity as a whole and in the future could live.

    They are bereft of both intellectual and ethical integrity of course. The idea that their god — the fabled invisible hand — could have failed humanity so profoundly and might — horror of horrors require state intervention and some sort of constraint upon commercial stakeholder discretion is utter anathema to them. All over the world, the heads of Randian dogmatists and libertarian fundies are exploding. Synapses are crackling and gliomas are forming.

    Unable to get their heads round a god-that-failed and to accept the possibility that when human system failure occurs, it’s sometimes necessary for humans to take witting action to correct it, including constraining human discretion, they’ve decided that if the conclusion is politically unacceptable then the underlying science must be destroyed. If their right to behave with reckless disregard for others is to be upheld as a matter of culture, then it follows that observable reality must be wrong — a scam or some sort of cunning left-wing plan. At that point all claims, no matter how absurd are to be accepted if they subvert the integrity of the science or policy makers one doesn’t like, and rejected no matter how impressive if they speak to the need to act.

    This is cognitive dissonance on a truly delusional scale. It was their side that distinguished themselves years ago from “the reality-based community” and it seems they really have taken that to heart on this matter. No stupidity is too great for them to utter in the service of their “freedom” to trash the commons and civilisation with it.They aren’t in the least bit perturbed that not a single scientist whose opinion is worth a cracker is in their corner on the basic science. They will lie and when cornered lie even bigger and on a wider scale.

    We should not argue with this lot. These people are not speaking in good faith and those that aren’t completely ignorant and mad are simply selfish mendacious misanthropes.

  134. Hmm this thread is starting to sound a bit Catallaxian. Who woulda thunk the demise of Larvatus Prodeo would cause such shudderings in the blogiverse?

  135. @Tim Macknay

    I suspect that it’s more to do with Bolt and PrQs “End of an ERA at AFR” The Flying Monkeys have been sent off to troll all the enemies of Bolt — Amazon, Random House, here and some even wound up at LP …

  136. @Tim

    There are always trolls. This thread is going Catallaxian only because so many commenters have decided in their infinite wisdom that the way to deal with trolls is to feed them, giving them aid and comfort.

  137. @Dan

    What is this ‘capitalism’?

    Creating useful stuff is not the key.

    There is no point in welcoming any form of economy where the production of ‘useful stuff’ for some occurs either at the expense of others or at the expense of future generations.

    Minsky was a capitalist and therefore only objected to certain forms of debt.

  138. There are always trolls. This thread is going Catallaxian only because so many commenters have decided in their infinite wisdom that the way to deal with trolls is to feed them, giving them aid and comfort.

    More than usual on this thread. I think Fran’s explanation is more convincing.

  139. You are never going to change a Joe/Goode. Ridicule I’d the way to go. That way he goes away and similar nitwits don’t line up for more if the same. Also, ridicule may result in the ‘joe’ reflecting on their silly ideas. Getting someone to engage on self reflection is often the most effectivr way to get them to change their views.

  140. Just as I’m starting to feel optimistic about the human race, along comes some stupid with a flare gun…

  141. This just in … Bob Brown resigns as Greens leader …

    Very sad indeed. His contribution to our party is hard to overstate. Christine Milne has a big job ahead of her to keep up that standard.

  142. Chris Warren :
    @Dan
    What is this ‘capitalism’?
    Creating useful stuff is not the key.
    There is no point in welcoming any form of economy where the production of ‘useful stuff’ for some occurs either at the expense of others or at the expense of future generations.
    Minsky was a capitalist and therefore only objected to certain forms of debt.

    Dunno, capitalism does drive innovation, both good innovation and bad innovation, in both the obvious and hidden sense. Much of the “useful stuff” that is a product of innovation can be harmful to humanity in the present or future, but much of it can also be a savior eg. medical innovation, warning systems of natural disasters, technology to lower communication barriers – eg to reduce violent repression and tyranny. I agree, it’s a culture killer, it’s inherently unstable and inherently leads to a growing inequity gap. I’m not advocating capitalism, but I totally agree with Dan’s points.

  143. @Troy Prideaux

    Just in Troy … leaving the senate as well to allow “renewal”.

    I know he’d had a long run, but fr mine he was as sharp and on point as he had ever been. He set a standard in reason, ethics and compassion that honoured humanity. He was key to my joining the Greens. He will be missed.

  144. Bob Brown is a remarkable man and an extraordinarily talented politician. His absence from Parliament will noticeably diminish its quality, in my opinion. I agree with you Fran, that his departure will be a big challenge for Christine Milne and the Greens.

  145. Sadly Brown’s retirement is likely to trigger an attempt by red entrists to try to gain control of the party. The Greens need to be a social democratic party with a strong ecological focus if it is to remain relevant. If polished turds like Red Rhiannon gain control, the party will disintegrate. I’ve rejoined the party today so that I may do my little bit to make sure the Reds are either kept in line or better still, purged from the party.

  146. @Mel of the McCarthyite right said:

    I’ve rejoined the party today so that I may do my little bit to make sure the Reds are either kept in line or better still, purged from the party.

    So yesterday you might join if Aunty Lee was dumped, and today you’ve rejoined because she hasn’t been … how laughable …

    The quickest way to ruin a party is to have a witchhunt. No party who has done this has emerged the better for it. It’s your kind that are the threat to the integrity of our party.

  147. So Bob has jumped like a rat from a sinking ship.In the light of the earth’s ongoing non cooperation policy with the catastrophists,raving loonys and eco extremists,with green waste being ripped out at a rate of knots worldwide,just when you needed him most,he’s gone.Unlike you poor sheep, Bob knows what side his bread is buttered on.Go down with the ship? not likely.

  148. Guys, don’t feed the troll. You all know there’s no point. JB Goode isn’t here to be constructive; just ignore him.

  149. @JB Goode

    It’s totally understandable that someone of your ilk would be unable to recognise the integrity embodied in a leader like Bob Brown. It’s such a alien virtue in the world of denialism where blather and swagger are extolled at the expense of ethics.

  150. @Wooster
    How ethical is it for you earthians to look upon humanity as a sickness that mother earth needs to rid itself of? forget about ethics,that’s just crass stupidity.
    Anyway by the tone of some of your comments it’s obviously a bad day for even the strongest and stout hearted of eco warriors,I do sympathise,but despair ye not fellow earthians you are not extincted yet. Adam Bandt is on his way!HAhahahahahahah!

  151. @JB Goode

    I’m not sure I’m addressing a grown-up here, but I’ll plug on regardless. (Why do denialists thinks it’s clever to write “hahahahahaha” at the end of their posts?)

    Noam Chomsky, in his book titled “Hegemony or Survival” related the views of biologist, Ernst Mayr, on the subject of species survival and whether it was better to smart or stupid.

    “Mayr speculated that the human form of intellectual organisation may not be favoured by selection. The history of life on earth refutes the claim that “it is better to be smart than sturpid,” at least judging from the biological success of beetles and bacteria…..We are entering a period of human history that may provide an answer to the question of whether it is better to be smart than stupid. The most hopeful prospect is that the question will not be answered: if it receives a definite answer, that answer can only be that humans were a kind of “biological error,” using their allotted 100,000 years to destroy themselves and, in the process, much else.
    The species has surely developed the capacity to do just that, and a hypothetical extraterrestrial observer might well conclude that humans have demonstrated that capacity throughout their history, dramatically in the past few hundred years, with an assault on the environment that sustains life, on the diversity of more complex organisms, and with a cold and calculated savagery, on each other as well.”

  152. so WMD-believing Mel, the Iraq-War Moran, has “rejoined” the Greens! whichever branch it is, I hope you get the welcome you deserve

  153. Watching the interview between Sen Brown and Heather Ewart, there were moments when I wanted to slap Ewart.
    The betrayal of broadsheet ethics at ABC has been part of of the tilt that has crippled rational politics in this country, but if Ewart is the paradigm, all that remains with MSM “journalism” is obduracy.
    As for Brown, he wants to smell the bottle-brush; wants to see what’s left of Australia before the vandals finish off the last few pockets. Who can blame him. Its been a marathon slog for him and this years politics must have been as soul destroying for him as anybody.
    Christine Milne is a mature politician now, if now is not her time, that time will never come.
    But Bob was being ironic, surely, when he described the state of Australian democracy as “healthy”.

  154. David Suzuki wrote in his book “Earth Time’ that Bob Brown was one of his eco-heroes.

    He followed that statement by publishing extracts of a letter Brown had written while in Risdon Prison, having been arrested protesting the destruction of the Tarkine. As follows….

    “As the police vans carried us back to jail, a wedgetailed eagle stood on the buttongrass, sentinel to the Tarkine’s tragic plight. She did not ruffle a feather or show the slightest fear, her head turning almost imperceptibly as she watched our noisy exit from the wild land of tireless tranquility.
    Jail is an inside-out wilderness. It awaits those who want to peacefully protest against bulldozers but cannot gazette proclamations…While the wilderness speaks of freedom and identity, Risdon’s barbed wire, guard towers and cement walls shout about subjugation and the irrelevance of the individual.
    I heard the call ‘Good on yer, Bob. Save the forests!’ bellowed from a cellblock across the compound…And the next morning, a big, cheery man….stuck his hand through the grill and shouted “Come over and shake my hand, Bob.’ I knew the spirit of the wilderness had no trouble permeating Risdon’s walls.
    I am moving well passed the equator of my migration between the poles of the cradle and grave. As I move on, the sense of timelessness grows….I enjoyed the features of jail which do match wilderness – no phones, no traffic, no shopping and the early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine. As I paced my cell at night, my mind hyperactive and out divining what makes the world tick, the irony of jailing greens became clear. We are being locked up because wilderness is an affront to materialism, as the Earth is turned into a wildernessless prison.
    The goal, the ‘best outcome,’ is the greatest conversion of the world to human productivity, where every acre is targeted for human consumption and accounted for in the warehouses lining the information superhighway. Beyond this goal, materialism dreams of virtual reality….replacing the wild Earth which for so long held us in its grasp….Environmentalists are locked up so that the Earth may be concreted. One by one, bit by bit, the faster the better.I don’t want Shakespeare’s line to become ‘All the world’s a concrete cell with all the men and women playing virtual reality.” I don’t want this planet’s remarkable diversity fading out of memory and grasp for future generations.
    Governments may sit on their hands or pass proclamations. Journalists may report life as the interplay of economic rationalists. Others may simply not care. but Risdon made me more defiant; I saw the eagle’s eye. I want the Tarkine wild and free…”

  155. @Mel
    “Back in the good ol’days …” yes well perhaps you need to take a look around every now and then, move out of home, get a partner or at least a pet. Things change you now. Apoplexy is a cesspit and SL has the embarrassment of notoriously bad legal commenting to deal with. Come on Mel, get out and smell the roses, it’s a lot better than the smell your getting, what with your head in such close proximity to your arse.

  156. Paul Walter
    you’re too right! a statesman interviewed by an idiot. god, i really despise the abc sometimes.
    a.v.

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