Sunday, September 7, 2014

Denier Drumbeat: Eric Worrall on Democracy in Australia and the Climate Crisis

Sou | 8:57 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

The tendency of Anthony Watts to conspiracy theories of the wacky kind increases week by week and year by year. What is harder to figure is whether he believes his nuttery or whether he just likes to sit back and watch his readers fall head over heels for his latest bit of paranoid thinking.

This week we saw Anthony Watts imply that John Kerry didn't condemn the barbaric group of thugs from ISIS, for murders and other atrocities, when he did. And in much stronger terms than Anthony Watts ever could (Anthony doesn't have the linguistic capability).

Anthony distorted a speech to get his audience fired up. To get the lynch mob going. Is it laziness, incompetence or deliberate deception on the part of Anthony that leads him to twist facts to suit his agenda?

Today he's done the same (archived here). He's published a couple of paragraphs written by one of his latest adopted strays, Eric Worrall. Eric is about as straight as a corkscrew, but he doesn't much like it when he's caught out. Not that there's much chance of that happening at WUWT.

Any notion more complex than "it's all a hoax" addles the brain of the average WUWT-er. Tell them black is white and they'll agree. Tell them up is down and they'll come back for more. Tell them hot is cold and an ice age cometh, and you'll have the denier hordes clamouring and swearing eternal allegiance to their heros.

Ask them to think about something as complex as the nature of democracy and they fall in a heap.

So when you combine a philosophical discussion about the nature of democracy with a misrepresentation of an article, you've won the dismal deniers for another day (or whatever brief span of time a WUWT reader can give their attention.)

Here is a summary of what Eric managed in his very short guest blog. It's probably approaching a record for the most things wrong and/or weird in the fewest words.

  • He misrepresented the ABC itself
  • He misrepresented the nature of The Drum on the ABC website
  • He misrepresented an article in the Drum on the ABC website
  • He is against any public discussion about democracy
  • He is against any action to protect the environment
  • He misrepresented the position held by the author of the article
  • He misrepresented the argument of the author of the article.

The article in question is an opinion piece at the Drum on the ABC website. (The Australian Broadcasting Corporation.) It was written by Peter Burdon, a senior lecturer in the Law Faculty at the University of Adelaide.

Now almost anyone can write an opinion piece for the Drum. You don't have to be a senior academic. Some organisation have, to my mind, abused the facility. For example, for a long time it was used as a taxpayer funded publisher by the Institute of Public Affairs, a right wing "think tank".  Jo Nova has used it to promote her particular brand of nuttery. Nutty ideas can come from across the political spectrum. Left wing extremists and right wing extremists can share the same space at the Drum. The one thing it doesn't represent is the "view" of the ABC, or the government. It's a platform where people of widely different views come to promote their opinion and discuss matters of public interest.

So when Eric Worrall writes:
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a taxpayer funded media organization, has just asked whether we should consider restructuring democracy to ensure an efficient response to the climate “crisis”.
...it tells you all a lot more about Eric than it does about the ABC or it's website, the Drum.

Should taxpayers support public debate of issues in the public interest?

First of all, by stressing the fact that the ABC is taxpayer funded, Eric implies that taxpayers shouldn't be exposed to just any debate or discussion of issues considered by taxpayers to be of public interest. In particular, Eric seems to consider that the notion of democracy is off limits for consideration by taxpayers. Which is a bit weird, when you think about it. A democracy not allowing discussion of democracy.

This leads me to think that Eric is one of those right wing authoritarians who thinks that only people approved by him are allowed the authority to express their opinion. Taxpayers should not fund discussion of topics that Eric doesn't like.

Why does WUWT misrepresent the ABC?

Second of all, Eric Worrall cannot be trusted to report the facts. He is implying that it is the ABC itself as an organisation, which is doing the "asking". It's not. The article is an opinion piece on an opinion forum, where almost anything goes.

Should anyone in a democracy discuss the nature of democracy?

Thirdly, it implies that Eric thinks that the question should not be asked by anyone, let alone on a taxpayer funded forum. Maybe he thinks there is only one answer to the question, his own.

Why does Eric Worrall neglect to give the author's opinion?

Fourthly, the icing on the denialist cake is that Eric neglects to write the answer given by the author of the opinion piece, which is that it's not democracy that's the problem. Let me quote the author, Peter Burdon:
Certainly, the climate crisis demands that we ask big questions about the nature and effectiveness of legal and governance structures. My own intervention into this debate asks that we consider whether it is democracy that is blocking progress on climate change or the current limited version of it that pervades Western society.
I think that the problem is unquestionably the latter. Put more directly, I contend that it is not democracy that stands in the way, but the dominance of money and corporate interests in politics.
So, the author doesn't think that it is democracy that is blocking progress, it's the reverse. In his view it's the impedence of democracy. It's money and corporate interests that are interfering with democratic processes.

The answer is...

This isn't a matter of Eric disagreeing with an opinion. No. Eric is misrepresenting an opinion. If he simply disagreed with the opinion piece he could have said so and laid out his reasons. Instead he lies about it. Deniers are weird and some of them are warped.

In case you think I misunderstood Eric, I didn't. He finishes up by writing:
To me, what this bizarre effort suggests more than anything, other than a disturbing lack of commitment to democracy, is that Australian greens are still having trouble accepting that in the last election, they were soundly rejected. Greens are blaming imagined flaws in the democratic process, rather than trying to understand the reasons for their rapidly fading appeal to ordinary voters.
A lack of commitment to democracy? I guess that's why Eric misrepresented the article. He wanted to paint the ABC in a bad light. Not for allowing discussion of democracy. Eric doesn't think that should happen anyway. But mainly so that he can misrepresent the ABC as being against democracy and, in particular, the author as being against democracy. Whereas the author said nothing of the kind. Much of the article was about how democratic processes are at risk. The author is concerned about protecting democracy not destroying it. Peter Burdon is concerned that our democracy is at risk of being hijacked by powerful interests.

Eric's closing words give more hints to his real agenda, which is protesting a political party that is concerned about the environment. Eric doesn't care for the environment. Nature is for sooks.

At least that's the impression he gives.

It looks as if Eric is also painting the author, Peter Burdon, as a member of the Greens Party. I don't know if he is or not, but I do know that he is not a politician. He's a senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide Law School.

Here's a recap of what Eric got up to:
  • He misrepresented the ABC itself
  • He misrepresented the nature of The Drum on the ABC website
  • He misrepresented an article in the Drum on the ABC website
  • He is against any public discussion about democracy
  • He is against any action to protect the environment
  • He misrepresented the position held by the author of the article
  • He misrepresented the argument of the author of the article.

I probably missed some.

From the WUWT comments

The comments are indicative of the very bottom of the denier barrel. It doesn't look as if too many people read the article itself. Why bother? There's something they read about it at WUWT, and it's about evil guvmint and even more evil green types. Commies the lot of them. I'd say that some of the people commenting are not capable of understanding any article longer than two short sentences, much less contemplate the nature of democracy. Some of them can't even write one coherent sentence.

Not the most original comment from Alan Poirier:
September 6, 2014 at 6:18 pm
That’s why greens are called watermelons — green on the outside, red inside,

September 6, 2014 at 6:20 pm
Sounds like they want a civil war, even though they probably think they are “just” trying usurpation to get a green dictatorship.

Bob Diaz
September 6, 2014 at 6:20 pm
That pesky democracy, always getting in the way of radical tyrants who want to enslave the masses !!! 

del boy
September 6, 2014 at 6:31 pm
In the dictionary green means unripe-immature and undeveloped so true. I would say they are a bunch of plonkers. 

Is this a spambot or a real person? Centinel2012
September 6, 2014 at 6:43 pm
Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
Their gold is Very Strong Central Governments such as exist in China and Russia controlled by one party that is little different then a medieval kingdom, and we know how good that was! 

 dbstealey is a very muddled thinker
September 6, 2014 at 7:12 pm
Ditch democracy?
Let’s ditch the government instead.

Anthony Watts has the audience he deserves, doesn't he.


  1. It speaks volumes that the author of this blog cannot even spell this man's name correctly. The correct spelling is Eugene.

    Rational Troll

  2. Who can forget the Tea Potties carrying 'Keep Gumment Out Of Medicare' banners? Perhaps dbstealey was one of them.

    Dr Burdon quotes both Oreskes and Chomsky; a sketchy Churchill quote and a plug for ALEC don't come close to making up for that. Can Richard Tol's letter to the Adelaide Law School demanding Burdon's dismissal be far behind?

  3. Just to say: I use "Wattards" to describe the WUWT denizens.

  4. There is a page on WUWT where you can submit your posts to be published there. Maybe they could put this up as a template.

    He misrepresented the ABC itself
    He misrepresented the nature of BCD on the ABC website
    He misrepresented an article in CDE on the ABC website
    He is against any public discussion about DEF
    He is against any action to protect the environment
    He misrepresented the position held by the author of the article
    He misrepresented the argument of the author of the article.


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