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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The Australian's junk commentary « Previous | |Next »
November 17, 2006

Some of the commentary in the op-ed columns of the corporate media in Australia is bad, very bad. It is often far worse than what you would find on the best political blogs. The corporate media understand themselves to be promoting an informed debate. The Australian, for instance, says that this is what it does through the op-eds from people such as Bjorn Lomborg and Bob Carter. "Informed debate' gives us the criteria to to evaluate the op.-eds.

One example of the junk commentary is the recent op-ed entitled 'A bigger storm is brewing' by John Stone, an ex-Secretary of the Treasury in today's Australian newspaper. The op-ed is on 'Australia's Muslim problem and the climate change non-problem'. This is what Stone says on the latter issue to defend his claim that climate change is a 'non-problem' for Australia:

...discussion of climate change has degenerated from mild inanity into quasi-religious hysteria, with assorted opinion-formers demanding that we "get serious" in undermining Australia's main energy-producing and energy-using industries.

The phrase 'quasi-religious hysteria' is written a couple of weeks after the Stern Report mind you. Stone goes on to say:
In short, we should remain officially complacent about the most serious threat to our future, namely the fundamental incompatibility of Islam with Western society, while adopting anti-economic growth policies to address a problem that exists chiefly in the fevered minds of its [sic] UN and Green proponents. Corporate rent seekers also are angling for governmental subsidies for their economically hopeless wind farms, solar power toys and carbon sequestration follies. The kindest explanation for these people's views is that they are (as I think) merely another bunch of would-be corporate welfare dependants, much like the manufacturers before the Hawke government (chiefly) got rid of their protective tariff rackets.

Dwell on that for a moment and let it sink in: climate change and global warming is not real---as a problem it exists in the fevered minds of the UN and Green proponents. It's an illusion. There is no need for technical fixes because there is nothing to fix.

This nonsense is the response by an ex-Secretary of the Australian Treasury to an economic report produced by the British Treasury that talks about climate change in terms of market failure and externalities.

What is the significant about this political moment is that the Australian prints the junk, even though the editors cannot expect us to take Stone's rant seriously. We can treat it a paid piece on behalf of the fossil fuel lobby, or we can take it seriously as the violent expression of the political unconscious of the irrational Right. Or both.

Stone's pose as a rational neo-liberal is deceitful as he fails to mention all the subsidies handed out to the big corporations in the fossil fuel lobby by the state.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:07 AM | | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (1)

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» The Australian's junk commentary #2 from Public Opinion
Another example of the poverty of the op-ed in The Australian which prides itself on informed public debate. This time it is Christopher Pearson on climate change in a piece entitled 'Hotheads warned, cool it'. This time we have some form of reasoning.... [Read More]



Is it just me, or have the pop media representatives of rational neo-libs become increasingly psychotic lately?

Is it possible that the population behind populism is suddenly misbehaving?

Nah. It's just me.

Interesting that he links the wind and solar (ie genuinely renewable) proponents with the "carbon sequestration follies", as those are of course the coal companies looking for a way to remain viable by, yes you guessed it, corporate rent seeking. No credibility, and if I was a coal producer paying him to do my bidding, I'd be putting a stop payment on the cheque pdq.

We have a bit of a trend here. The rational neo-liberals are increasingly irrational around global warming whilst the social conservatives are increasingly irrational around multiculturalism.

The latter talk in terms of the clash between fundamentalist Islam and Aussie values without unpacking Aussie values. Stone frames it as the problem which needs to be addressed-- that we are now at war with international Islamist terrorism, and that therefore our Muslim community, collectively considered, now regrettably constitutes a potential threat that renders a citizenship test not only appropriate but essential .

Stone implies a "clash of cultures". What he doesn't explictly say is that Australia is a white, Christian country built on Western liberal values.and that Muslims have no right to denigrate, or criticize those values. They should assimilate into Australian culture and the word multiculturalism should be scrapped.

it is sad to see the decline of the intellectual powers of a public intellectual.Stone has become a paid publicity hack who turns out propaganda for 'Australia's main energy-producing and energy-using industries.'

It is pretty desperate stuff to say that global warming exists in the feverish minds of eco-fundamentalists and the UN. At the very least you have expected him to have a go at the economics of the Stern Report.

His failure to do so indicates that he can no longer do it. Sad really.