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The Dunning-Kruger Party: Modern Tories

It used to be said that conservatism was essentially selfishness manifested as a political ideology. This ideology took the form of the quip ‘for me and mine, not thee and thine’ in terms of the benefits of society. This defined conservatism, particularly in the three main western pseudo-democracies the US, the UK, and Australia, for some time. Whether Thatcher and Reagan, Howard and Bush or Morrison and Trump, these born to rule ideologues have become increasingly zealous in their self-serving and corrupt corporate socialism. The time has come to refine the definition of tory slightly. While all of the above is true, a new element requires focus. These idea-free ideologues also manifest what psychologists call the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Dunning-Kruger Explained

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias that is best understood in terms of perceived competence or ability versus actual competence or ability. Generally, people who are actual experts in a field have the humility to realise that they do not, in fact, know it all. Yes in the early days when they learn a little bit about a field (typically in first or second-year university) they become cocky and think they know it all. But as they continue to study and learn that there is far more to their field than what the first-year textbook (typically a surface-level introduction) told them, they settle down and learn some intellectual deference and humility. Indeed, the more study one undertakes, the less one realises one actually knows.

People suffering from the Dunning-Kruger Effect typically rate themselves as scoring far higher on tests and generally performing much better than they actually do. Boiled down to its essentials, Dunning-Kruger says that the stupid are too stupid to know how stupid they are. They double down on their beliefs come what may in terms of contrary evidence. They are always right and never need to learn anything since they are the smartest people in the room. Actual experts (particularly those who contradict the ideological narrative) are elitists and eggheads to whom no deference is due.

Dunning-Kruger in Action, Part One: Australia

Climate scientists, for example, have been telling the world for decades that the situation is worse than the worst-case scenario. But Australian National Party leader Michael McCormack knows far more about climate science and its effects on bushfires than some corrupt scientist. He knows more than the veteran fire chiefs who wrote warning letters to the Prime Minister seeking a meeting about what turned into the most destructive bushfires in living memory.

Lest we think this is limited to Morrison and his Menagerie of Muppets, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott once called climate change ‘absolute crap’. The fact that Mr. Abbott and his tribe of tin-eared tory troglodytes receive huge donations from the fossil fuel industry? Media bias! The more these people are proven wrong by research, facts and reality the more militant they become. Petulantly rearing up on their hind legs to protect the corporate structure that put them in office, they expose themselves.

Dunning-Kruger in Action, Part Two: The United States

Our northern cousins are by no means immune to the arrogant ignorance that is Dunning-Kruger. Whether it is Trump lying every time he opens his mouth or, in the most famous incident of Dunning-Kruger in recent memory, a Republican Senator brought a snowball into the Senate House to argue against climate change, they have their share. Corporate corruption is rife in the US as well, so it should come as no surprise that Dunning-Kruger is on full display over there.

The focus of the piece thus far has been climate change, and I do not apologise for that. The sheer destruction that this existential threat to the earth has caused recently has not shocked the non-existent consciences of these corporate streetwalkers into taking action. We continue to hear the same tired crap and observe the same feet-dragging. Conservatives are, as Buckley once defined them, those who stand athwart history yelling stop. In other words, progress is inevitable, and the job of the conservative, if they cannot prevent it, is to delay it as long as possible.

What these clowns either do not know or are ignoring is that progress has always happened and society has not only survived but thrived. Consider the movement from the horse-and-buggy to the automobile. Jobs related to the horse-and-buggy industry did become obsolete, that is true. But they were replaced by jobs in the new industry. The only reason these corporate whores will not legislate the move away from fossil fuels is that they are paid to preserve the industry. For this, they should be ashamed and consigned permanently to the scrapheap of history.

Conclusion: Dunning-Kruger and Political Discourse

The consequence of this ever-present cognitive bias for political discourse is marked. Sound political discourse should be about the facts. The Dunning-Kruger Effect, whose sufferers have their own facts that they cling to with an arrogance befitting an ill-informed child, is not conducive to constructive discourse. All humans have cognitive biases, but these men (and it often is men) are disconnected from reality to such an extent that conversation with them is no longer profitable. They are not open to facts either because they believe the uninformed drivel they spew or they are paid to say it. Unless and until corporate/private money is banned as a source of campaign funds, western countries will continue to be governed by their respective Dunning-Kruger Parties.


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  1. New England Cocky

    Test Question: Which political party is the most competent economic managers? Read on …..

    Conservatism: “For me and mine NOT thee and thine”.

  2. Pilot

    Clowns are nice people. What we have in our LNP aren’t clowns, they are the village idiots from all over the country. Those chosen by their community because no one else want the job. It is our own fault for allowing their greed, their lies and their atrocious actions to win us over.
    We as a nation have to tell these village idiots that it is time for them to go back to their communities and amuse them and leave the rest of us alone.

    I’ve never voted conservative in my life and never will. Labor, at its worst were still streets ahead of the very best the lnp could ever foster. All the conservatives have is the old war cry, “Pink Bats”, but they forget the crap dished out by the lnp – indue card, robodebt, work choices, Medibank, medicare, taxation, climate change, transport industry, pension, aged pensioner care, invalids, pollie pay, and the list goes on. And let’s not forget “Pig Iron Bob”, Australia’s most treasonous PM, fascist, liar, traitor.
    Screw the lot of them!!

  3. whatever

    Conservitards in Sydney still believe in “Eugenics by Postcode”, as today’s SMH article demonstrates.
    The Northwest-Metro light rail is apparently being used by the criminal underclass of Western Sydney (Schofields, Riverstone, Quakers Hill, Doonside and Blacktown) to spread their Crime Wave throughout the nice Middle-Class suburbs of Baulkham Hills, Rouse Hill and Castle Hill (see, …..they all have “Hill” in the placename so the residents are obviously just a better class of people).

  4. Lambchop Simcard

    Some research says that 1 in 10 people is either a Sociopath or Psychopath in a work place.
    Though obviously with varying different levels of competence and abilities. And when these
    types use techniques like gas-lighting,straw-manning,cunning manipulative cowardly behaviour and power games; most of us can’t see it. As it can take you almost a life time to fully detect it.And even if you do become an expert sometimes there is still not much you can do about it.
    This will be my next “Ted” Talk on this subject.

  5. Harry Lime

    Meanwhile,Michael Pascoe, keeping up the good work in The New Daily,describing The” Morrison Stagnation”,along with other economists,and in the same publication Paul Bongiorno’s “Damaged Salesman” and post election “Car Crash”.
    One could argue that they are being altogether too kind.
    The “car” started skidding out of control the moment the idiot Abbott got his hairy arse in the driver’s seat (yes,I know, the Lying Rodent designed the car).When he was thrown from the moving vehicle,we were promised a smoother ride with Turnbull,but he too hit a brick wall of RWNJ’s and we end up with someone who is worse than both of them,a bloke who engineered a miraculous inside run to salute the checkered flag last May.
    We all know how well that worked out,or everybody except Scotty from Marketing,the ultimate example of the Dunning -Kruger effect.
    I look forward with trembling anticipation to tomorrow’s Press Club address and the next installment from the serial liar.
    Elsewhere the tories reign of terror continues unabated,with Anne Ruston(Who the fck is she?)renewing the attack on the downtrodden welfare recipients.These pricks are terminally rotten.

  6. Terence

    If you really want to see the Dunning-Kruger in full swing, go out to the New England electorate. These people are not only too stupid to know how stupid they are, they have NFI that they have NFI.

    I was at lunch in Tamworth at Xmas time, it was some ridiculous temperature and the whole area is having it’s gonads slam dunked by drought yet despite all this, not one muppet at the table (and the table was quite large) would hear a bad word about Barnaby.

    Me: Rooting around??
    Them: pfft that’s what men do
    Me: But doesn’t say alot about his integrity??
    Them: Well maybe she should have put out a bit more to keep him happy.
    Me: WTF??

    I even offered to hire a bus and drive them out to the Murray-Darling so that they could see first hand Barnaby’s handy work but no, Barnaby is a man of the people (Gina’s people, I suggested) and he tells it like it is.

    New England really epitomises the power of stupid people in large groups.

  7. Kaye Lee

    There is an Auditor-General’s report coming out about water theft…oops excuse me…..water buybacks, specifically the one where bananababy gave a firm connected to Angus Taylor over $80 million for non-existent flood waters. He was advised to actually buy the two farms concerned for $123 million but no…..that would have cut out the private profits for mates he might need later. That’s how bananababy rolls. Manus manum lavat.

  8. Linc

    The only word in all of this piece and the comments is “deploreables” and we know where that went!!

  9. Terence

    Kaye Lee – And when the AG report that you mentioned comes out, then what? Scotty From Marketing will just say “FIGJAM – Oh Look over there, it’s all Labor’s fault” and the media muppets will nod sagely, fact check nothing and move on to the next shiny thing. I lambasted the average New England voter but at least they have some excuse for their ignorance, Journalist don’t.

    The reality is that the Auditor General, like all other watchdogs these days are merely lap dogs now. The Heads are all on contracts, Treasury controls the purse strings and they all know not to go looking under rocks. Even if someone brings something to their attention, it’s all about finding some excuse not to investigate rather than investigate.

    I wouldn’t even be surprised if the AG’s investigation into the Sports Grants was all part of the game plan. Yes I know that technically the Government can’t direct the AG, but I also know that AG’s and other Head watchdogs are political appointments and are very adapt at sniffing the wind. When News Ltd (see below) starts sharpening the knives on a LNP member, you know your days are numbered. Maybe this is all part of the Old Boys plan to Bring Back Barnaby. Can’t have women in these sort of positions, they are too emotional and all that estrogen just makes for bad decisions. Much better having a man around, they understand locker room humour and aren’t bitchy.

    Nothing surprises me anymore except for the fact that we, as a society don’t seem even close to reaching peak stupidity.

  10. Keith

    In relation to climate change science, it has a history of almost 200 years, technology has been developed now to measure aspects of climate which are way beyond the capacity of denying politicians. They have no excuse to ignore climate science and their decisions present life or death policies. Politicians promoting a business as usual paradigm in relation to climate change are promoting omnicide, placing profit above the future well being of their children and the biosphere. Politicians refuse to accept alternatives to fossil fuels.

    That presents a far worse situation than plain ignorance displaying the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Don’t forget, Barnaby didn’t resign because he got a junior staffer pregnant while he was still married and moralising to the rest of us about the sacred nature of marriage and family,, or because of dubious expense claims to stay in Canberra when parliament wasn’t sitting, or because of getting jobs for said pregnant staffer, or for the many dubious handouts he made – he resigned because a very respected woman accused him of sexual harassment and rumour had it that others would follow unless he went. The road back could be dangerous.

  12. Matters Not

    As David Dunning explains, the Dunning-Kruger Effect also applies to the one in the mirror. If not at this particular moment, then certainly will in the future. Think you know how a helicopter ‘works’? What about a ‘biro’? David Dunning uses Donald Trump as the explanatory vehicle. (Runs for nine minutes.)

  13. Jack sprat

    Bertran Russell quote
    ” The fundamental cause of the trouble in the world ,the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt ”
    Meanwhile the conservatives who control the wealth and who are indeed the true elites weaponise the masses to attack any intellectual who raises his head above the parapet, and dare challenge the views of the ruling classes by reversing the tables on them and thus accuse them of being a latte sipping elites. .

  14. Terence

    Oh what a tangled web we weave.

    The Unaustralian (27/01/2020) reported that former Qld LNP president David Hutchinson scored a job with political rival Clive Palmer just months after the pair struck a preference deal that helped return Scotty From Marketing. Davo joins federal Nationals president Larry ­Anthony and senior LNP official Malcolm Cole who are also working for Clive. Davo and Lazza were both involved in discussions with Clive ahead of the election to negotiate a preference deal between the UAP and the LNP.

    When contacted by The Australian Davo defended his decision saying he did not believe the move was inappropriate (of course not, it never is). Davo went further and said “Business is business and politics is politics.”

    LNP – What ever it takes.

  15. Terence

    Kaye Lee

    All’s forgiven, every Sunday at 9am

    Please see:

    Bronwyn Bishop
    Stuart Roberts
    Sussan Ley
    Arthur Sinodinos
    Mal Brough
    Michaelia Cash

  16. Matters Not


    he got a junior staffer pregnant

    Methinks, Vikki (engaged to be married to another at the time) was a very willing participant in this getting pregnant. Been on the earth for more than three decades, reasonable to assume she knew about the ins and outs of the birds and the bees. Now she’s expected to be responsible for three who haven’t yet reached the age of reason – including one named Barnaby.

    Nevertheless, suspect there’s buyer’s regret all around. Not a match made in Barnaby’s heaven with the Almighty surely not approving.

  17. paul walter

    It’s a good set of comments and you don’t have to be a genius to understand the meaning.

    The bushfires and other ecological and economic lunacies here and the Republican induced farce that is the Impeachment trail in the USA, demonstrate the Mad Hatter nature of the western world, but don;t start me of Britain, that is too much. Places like Russia, India and China show striking similarities to us and then you have the failed states, giant open air concentration camps engineered by the blind creatures who run the world from the West, evidence of the utter dysfunctionality of western culture in creating real actual human beings.

  18. Andy56

    Lambchop, i keep saying that democracy enables the stupid and narcissists to rule us, its an enabler.
    The only solution is to take away the financial gains of being an MP. MPs should all be on minimum wages and benefits. There will be no shortage of candidates, 100% guaranteed.

  19. John L

    Terence. Are the aforementioned the ‘happy clappers’ in cabinet?

  20. Bruce Winchester

    As Yeats put it,

    “The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.”

    The tragedy of homo sapien sapiens is the elevation of the least sapient.

  21. totaram

    After thinking about it for a bit, I’ve decided I don’t completely agree with this article, to the extent it seems to suggest that mostly the government are displaying the D-K effect.
    Actually, it is the voters who display D-K and the politicians (tories in particular and other RWNJ types like PHON) take full advantage of this. They only have to give simplistic explanations of everything that resonate with whatever the D-K morons think they know, and that ensures their election. A mighty push by the “free press” helps no end. As our civilisation becomes more technologically sophisticated, the areas of knowledge where the D-K syndrome is applicable for any one individual, increase hugely. The age of the polymath is gone. Ultimately, ignorant and uninformed voters can be herded like sheep to vote for whatever the oligarchs desire. We can see it happening as we speak, and it will only get worse. Are we headed down the abyss? You bet! Sad but true.

  22. leefe

    “A little learning is a dangerous thing
    Drink deep or taste not the Pieirian spring”
    (Alexander Pope)

    It’s not exactly a new phenomenon. Unfortunately, it’s particularly common amongst the superstitious, and the LNP has been totally overrun by by bible bashers.

  23. Pingback: Manual for screwing the Earth – Part one: Personal Prerequisites - » The Australian Independent Media Network

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