From time to time, people in the comments section disagree with me. Sometimes, they even tell me that I shouldn’t be writing on a particular subject because it’s not worth talking about, which always bemuses me. It’s not worth writing about, but it’s worth commenting on the fact that it’s not worth writing about. Other times, the comments will lead to a healthy debate between people, even on a topic that wasn’t the subject of the post.
So, it always strikes me as strange when someone joins in the discussion with the accusation of “Groupthink”. You’ve probably all read a post on here – or one of those other hotbeds of Trotskyist activity, like the ABC – which goes along the lines of:
Wake up to yourselves and get a real job, you pack of feral, unwashed creetuns. Don’t youse realise that globull warnings is a hoax invented by the Labore Party to justify the Carbon tax and halal certified bacon.
Of course, usually I respond politely by correcting their spelling or grammar and point out – as commenters sometimes do for me – that proof reading makes one’s argument more credible. Other people, in spite of my warnings about chips and seagulls, wrestling with pigs and Mark Twain’s great quote*, try to engage them in a reasoned logical discussion. This is usually met with:
You’re all guilty of groupthink, ya pack of wankers. You don’t tolerate anyone who disagrees with you, and just resort to abuse. If it were up to me I’d deport you all because Australia should be populated by people just like me, and if standing up for one’s own superiority is racist, well you can call me racist, but you shouldn’t bandy the word racist about because Islam isn’t a race and standing up for Australian values is something we should all do on Anzac day where we celebrate a hundred years since we landed on the beach at Gallipolli to stop the Turks from invading it!
Attempting to point out something factual, like the Turks were actually already in Turkey (yes, yes I know it was the Ottoman Empire at that stage) will, of course, get you accused of being unsympathetic to the Anzacs, as well as trying to re-write history like those black-arm banders who try to argue that the aborigines were here before white people.
But one of the things I found most troubling about the people accusing anyone commenting on this site of “groupthink” – apart from the fact that they all have a name like Wayne or Barry or Trevor (sorry, I have nothing against these names, it’s just wonder about accusations of “groupthink” when everybody who accuses you of it has a “typically Aussie” first name rather than a pseudodnym or their full name) – is their inability to actually acknowledge that they’re actually one of the commenters on this site. Sort of like when the IPA goes on the ABC and argues that voices like theirs are never heard on the ABC. Apart from now, of course… And yes, their regular Friday morining spot… And last night’s news… And on “The Insiders”, but apart from that they never get a go.
I mean where is case against science going to be heard, if the ABC insist on only interviewing people with qualifications and not merely strong opinions? (There now, that’s really tossing a chip and waiting for the flock)
But people who comment on this site aren’t the only ones concerned about “groupthink” Tony Abbott was, of course, worried about the groupthink of The Climate Commission, so he abolished it, because we couldn’t afford to spend $1.5 million a year to tell us things that the government intended to ignore anyway. Far better to hire Dick Warburton to tell us things we wanted to hear.
And for those of you worried that we don’t have anyone to fill the gap left by The Climate Commission – because the crowdfunded Climate Council doesn’t count – the Abbott government has just gained the sort of coup that we haven’t seen since Victoria grabbed the Grand Prix from Adelaide reaping untold benefits to the state. (These are untold because, for commercial reasons, the taxpayer can’t possibly be told how much benefit they are for fear that other states would then want to pay enough money to lure the race away!)
The Abbott Government have enticed Bjorn Lomborg to set up in Australia. Western Australia, actually, but that still counts for now.
Now some of you may be saying Bjorn Lomborg. Which member of ABBA was he? But you’re wrong. He’s actually here to work with a University. At the bargain price of $4million dollars, he’ll be setting up “The Australian Consensus Centre” at The University of Western Australia.
One of the reasons we’ve been able to lure him is because, in 2012, the Danish Government stopped funding him on the dubious grounds that climate change is real, and consequently he’s been forced to rely on handouts from individuals in the USA. And by individuals, I actually mean groups, so there’s no actual direct link to the Koch brothers.
So who is this Bjorn Lomborg?
Well, he holds a Ph.D in political science. And he lectured in statistics. So he’s certainly qualified to lead a “consensus centre”. After publishing “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, he was charged with three complaints relating to scientific dishonesty, but he was exonerated by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty, because while it agreed that the work contained deliberately misleading data and flawed conclusions, he couldn’t be found guilty because of a lack of expertise in the area.
So soon we’ll have “The Australian Consensus Centre”, which I imagine will be modelled on the “Copenhagen Consensus”, which Lomberg established, and which argued that solutions would be best left to economists, because media attention and public opinion often led to solutions which weren’t as efficient as when economists made them. And, to give you some idea of how all this will work, a quote from The Guardian:
“Lomborg uses cost-benefit analysis to advise governments what spending produces the best social value for money spent, concluding that climate change is not a top-priority problem. It says the seriousness of the issue has been overstated, that subsidies for renewable energy make no economic sense, that we should stop spending as much foreign aid on climate projects and that poor countries need continued access to cheap fossil fuels.”
Yes, I’m looking forward to the establishment of this “consensus” centre, because, hey, consensus is a good thing and it’ll only be a few of those affected by “groupthink” that will be arguing against the “consensus” that Abbott, Lomborg, Warburtion, Murdoch, Bolt, Wayne of West Sydney and Barry have reached without the need to consult any climate scientist, because, well, climate scientists pretty much say the same thing anyway.
Yep, we can look forward to the days when we ignore groupthink and all agree because of consensus, because, as we all know, one is good, the other is bad!
*Just in case that makes no sense:
- I have compared trying to engage with trolls like tossing a chip to seagulls, they’ll hang around for more just as long as you keep tossing them, and no matter how long you do it for you’ll never change their behaviour. (See Dealing with Trolls and Liberals.)
- Never wrestle with a pig, you’ll just end up feeling dirty and the pig enjoys it.
- “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.” Mark Twain.