Saturday, November 08, 2014
In which the pond starts out wanting a better debate, but in the end settles for a glass of Orange-O ...
Every so often, the pond feels like awarding "what a cheeky git, what a foolish futtock" award ...
But on reflection, the reptiles publishing a notorious, hot-headed, climate denialist like Chris Kenny calling for a 'better debate' (as opposed to 'better science' - remember always teach and print the controversy) surely deserves, warrants, a "golden fuckwit" award ...
Yes, this was the rag that yesterday published Maurice Newman, who concluded his piece with a reference to an ABC poll:
While the debate over the RET and Direct Action shows all sides of politics remain hostage to the climate change cartel, an ABC radio poll asked: “Is the IPCC right that on current fossil use ‘projectories’, we are heading for a global warming of four or five degrees by century’s end?” The result? Of 3101 votes counted, 91 per cent voted no, only 9 per cent yes.
Now at first blush that was stupid enough, since such polls are rigorously unscientific, open to gaming, and anybody who references them as proving anything about anything are indeed futtocks of the first water ...
But then came the news that the poll had indeed been gamed:
There's plenty more here at the original posting, which concludes:
This is a small selection of tweets, blogs and Facebook posts asking members of the climate denial community to vote in the poll. Enough said?
Well enough said about Maurice ... and what can be said about the reptiles and their kool aid that hasn't already been said before ...
But there's a little more to be said about Kenny this day, because Kenny likes to pretend he's even-handed and considered when it comes to climate change, a balanced student of the science, a weigher of options, a poised chap with pert expertise:
What in fact you get from the reptiles, courtesy Maurice, and Kenny, is robust denialism.
But you have to head off to his native lair to see Kenny in his prime.
He runs the line that he's a cool considered character all the time. But it's always this sort of line:
Regular readers will know I like to tilt at the windmill of climate alarmism.
For my trouble, I am constantly attacked as a denier (in itself is a vile term, previously reserved for Holocaust deniers).
It doesn't seem to matter to alarmists that no sensible person would deny the climate is changing - it always has and always will change.
Which is perhaps the most bog standard and most profoundly stupid line of the average bog denialist ...
Perhaps only matched by recollections of a personal kind. You know, in the old days, when it got hot, we took a mattress out the back and gazed up at the stars ... as if that's got anything to do with anything when it comes to the science ...
Meanwhile, in that piece here, let's look at the result of Kenny's call for a calm, rational debate and discussion, as Kenny bravely puts himself in the "informed people" camp. Let's catch the tone of voice:
Zealots ... Greens activists and political poseurs ... nasty zero sum-game ...moral panic ... laughable ... tosh ... climate alarmism ... alarmists ...
Large elements of the political class, including the Greens, Labor, environmental groups, most of the media and, especially, the public broadcasters are committed to this doomsday cult.
Even before last week became totally hysterical, ABC TV news ran one of their typical climate stories with alarmist language about the impact on marine life.
Yes, that's a scientific debate deploying science right down there with Maurice Newman ...
And then comes this:
The trouble with the alarmists is they make it seem less like climate or weather, and more like religion.
Oh sweet long absent lord, not the religion meme.
That age-old trope amongst denialists ... except you're not supposed to call Kenny a denialist.
Well denialist is in the Oxford here and it suits Kenny very well:
A person who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence:
the small minority of very vocal climate change denialists
You can also Greg Hunt Denialism here - careful, watch out for stray walri - but it's enough for the pond that Kenny should, in the usual way, attempt to conflate religion and science, and thereby allege that those who accept the science are somehow fundamentalists chanting slogans in the darkness.
It goes without saying that whenever Kenny gets a chance to deny, confuse or conflate, he'll be there with spades, as in Distorting the data on our changeable climate.
Now others have spent profitable time picking away at Kenny and his arguments and his logic - as in The Australian's own jaundiced view of climate science - but the pond has a simpler test.
If Kenny is so keen on balanced, sensible, intelligent debate, why isn't he ravaging the reptiles for their wretched coverage? Why isn't he mocking Newman for using a half-baked, half-arsed online poll as some kind of fatuous evidence about nothing except the fine art of gaming and trolling?
Sssh, mum's the word.
How silly does it get?
Well Kenny and the reptiles all joined Abbott in demonising climate science and a tax on carbon, and gleefully joined in the destruction of the tax.
With the Coalition and Labor committed to the same emissions reduction goal, the farce is laid bare. And Denniss has some cut-through logic that would send our partisan debate into a spin.
“The best way to fund Direct Action,” he says, “would be with a modest carbon price.”
It is a logical conclusion.
It reminded the pond of that first dystopian novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano, which is all about a near-future society where human labor has been almost completely replaced by mechanization.
But having destroyed all the machines, at the very end of the novel, there's a flicker of hope:
In the station's waiting room, carnage was everywhere. The terrazzo floor, depicting an earlier slaughter of Iliumites by Oneida Indians, was strewn with the guts and internal secretions of the automatic ticket vendor, the automatic nylon vendor, the automatic coffee vendor, the automatic newspaper vendor, the automatic toothbrush vendor, the automatic shoeshine machine, the automatic photo studio, the automatic baggage checker, the automatic insurance salesman . . .
But around one machine a group had gathered. The people were crowding one another excitedly, as though a great wonder were in their midst.
Paul and Finnerty left the car to examine the mystery, and saw that the center of attention was an Orange-O machine. Orange-O, Paul recalled, was something of a cause celebre, for no one in the whole country, apparently, could stomach the stuff - no one save Doctor Francis Eldgrin Gelhorne, National Industrial, Commercial, Communications, Foodstuffs, and Resources Director. As a monument to him, Orange-O machines stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest, though the coin-box collectors never found anything in the machines but stale Orange-O.
But now the excretor of the blended wood pulp, dye, water, and orange-type flavoring was as popular as a nymphomaniac at an American Legion convention.
"O.K., now let's try anotha' nickel in her an' see how she does," said a familiar voice from behind the machine - the voice of Bud Calhoun.
"Clunkle" went the coin, and then a whir, and a gurgle.
The crowd was overjoyed.
"Filled the cup almost to the top that time; and she's nice and cold now, too," called the man by the machine's spout.
"But the light behind the Orange-O sign didn't light up," said a woman.
"Supposed to." "We'll fix that, won't we, Bud?" said another voice from behind the machine.
"You people get me about three feet of that red wire hanging out of the shoeshine machine, and somebody let me borrow their penknife a second."
The speaker stood up and stretched, and smiled contentedly, and Paul recognized him: the tall, middle-aged, ruddy-faced man who'd fixed Paul's car with the sweatband of his hat long ago.
The man had been desperately unhappy then. Now he was proud and smiling because his hands were busy doing what they liked to do best, Paul supposed - replacing men like himself with machines...
Yep, destroy the machines so that people can use them to re-build the machines ...
Put it another way, we've destroyed the carbon tax ... let's fix the carbon tax ...
If you can have a tax on big business to fund paid parental leave you could also have a tax on big polluters to fund Direct Action. Given the shared aims of our main parties, Denniss’s hybrid plan makes sense.
Could it get any funnier? As funny as Vonnegut's sense of irony?
Denniss’s approach demonstrates how climate change is like any other policy issue: if there is an issue to be resolved, there will be many ways to tackle it.
Instead, from most quarters, we get screams of looming calamity or dismissive talk of a hoax.
As the ABC’s Jonathan Green wrote on The Drum website last month: “They cry wolf, they cry terror, they fan the flames of disquiet and distrust. Because fear sells.”
Here was the ABC preaching against emotionalism and in favour of a more considered approach. But Green, as you may have guessed, wasn’t talking about climate.
He was railing against tabloid coverage of the terrorism threat.
No one seems to have an interest in toning down the fear and loathing in the climate debate.
A more considered approach? What, like storming up and down the country deriding the witch and her carbon tax, and coming out with simple three word slogans to gasps of admiration from the likes of Kenny?
As for no one having an interest in toning down the fear and loathing, why surely that's a tad unfair.
After all, deploring despicable feral poseurs and alarmists in a laughable moral panic filled with alarmist tosh is just another day of rational, calm, even-handed discussion ...
And now, as the news that the ABC has conducted a most scientific radio poll rings in our ears, proving with absolute certainty that no one accepts climate science, what better time to trot out talk of a carbon tax like an Orange-O machine waiting to be fixed ...
Yep that golden fuckwit award has been hard earned and richly deserved ...
And now there's just time for a considered reflection on the debate, thanks to Cathy Wilcox, and more Wilcox here, a debate led on the national level, by a man who, like Kenny on a reptile level, is across all the detail and the nuance:
Posted by dorothy parker at 11/08/2014 09:19:00 AM