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Tony Abbott And Groupthink Or Yes, We’re All Individuals – Apart From Me!

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 pseudonym 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 PhD 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, Warburton, 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:

  1. 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.)
  2. Never wrestle with a pig, you’ll just end up feeling dirty and the pig enjoys it.
  3. “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.” Mark Twain.

 

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27 comments

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  1. kate ahearne

    Lovely, Rossleigh. Yes, this Bjorn character is a doozie. What I’m wondering is how he can get 4 million from the government when charities of the environmental sort are being threatened with taxation on their donations.

  2. Clean livin of western Sydney

    Well I guess you are entitled to your opinion, but the majority of us respondents have the right to disagree, whatever the matter!

    Ps: you r right ofcourse!

  3. Kaye Lee

    Bjorn is no doubt another paid stooge but investors are starting to put the pressure on.

    98% of BP’s shareholders have voted to force the company to disclose the risks it faces from climate change. The BP resolution is now legally binding on the company’s management which is required to provide the additional disclosures sought by investors. Annual reporting will be significantly expanded with additional transparency around operational emissions management, asset portfolio resilience against 2035 scenarios, low carbon energy research and development investment, executive incentivisation during the low carbon transition, and public policy activity relating to climate change.

    The words “structural risk” don’t just apply to governments – shareholders are getting worried as are insurance companies and superannuation funds. In fact anyone with any business sense is factoring in climate change and getting rid of what will become stranded assets in the near future. But for our government, tackling a scientifically verified problem involves quietly pretending it’s not there and steadfastly insisting that coal will lift the world out of poverty – if it doesn’t kill them first.

  4. aravis1

    Did enjoy that, Rossleigh! I’m often guilty of throwing the chips to seagulls; it’s just too hard to ignore the idiots!
    The Bjorn business is – or should be – a mystery to us, but since it’s Pyne the overgrown, overprivileged schoolboy who did it, all is clear. He wants to keep his name in the media, no matter for what idiocy. Makes me want to go over to his electoral office and paint the windows with rotten eggs. No, I won’t do it, but the urge has to be resisted on a daily basis.
    Glad to know investors are beginning to pressure BHP, and hopefully other companies.

  5. Kaye Lee

    One interesting thing about Bjorn – his latest article is about the price of biodiversity and he concludes that “protecting coral reefs would bring the highest returns, amounting to an extraordinary $24 worth of benefits for every dollar spent. Like forests, coral reefs provide multiple services – including tourism and fish nurseries, which help to sustain commercial fishing – and have an intrinsic value to people. To reduce the loss of coral reefs by half would cost about $3 billion each year – and yield at least $72 billion in benefits.”

    Perhaps he and Greg Hunt should have a chat

    PS Aravis it was BP not BHP and the Shell shareholders are voting in May on the same thing.

  6. jagman48

    Why do we need this Bjorn guy when we have a perfectly good Climate Commission that runs on about $1.7 Million or less ?

    Oh I think I have worked it out already. Might not get the answers they want/need,

  7. john o'callaghan

    I believe the Dylan song from the sixties ” The Times They Are A Changing” is as relevant today as it was then,the lyrics could easily apply to the science of climate change and deniers like Abbott Warburton Bjorn and the rest of them.
    The times will and are changing,and nothing and no one can stop it,they are still trying of course as we all know, but in the end it will be a futile quest on their part and just like the people who tried to stop the advent of the Automobile,the steam engine,the ones who said only a handful of people will own a computer,and this current crop of luddites will go the same way,and will merely become a tiny foot note in history.
    It will happen but we must hold our nerve,knowing that in the end the truth always wins out.””

  8. rabiddingo

    I noted ( in the G, I think) that the IPA issued a public warm welcome to Bjorn. Why wasn’t I surprised? Anything that Poodles Pyne touches reeks for ever. What does surprise me, however, is that an institution with the high reputation of UWA would want this self-promoting urger on the staff…(sarcasm alert!)

  9. stephentardrew

    This damn madness never ends. Day after day more absolute bullshit from these fools. Only this government would pick up someone else’s failure and present him as an expert when he has no creditable environmental science qualifications.

    UWA should be absolutely ashamed of itself because this is purely and simply nepotism.

    UWA is doing a Dr Karl on themselves. Don’t they think this is going to reflect upon their reputation internationally. What ignorant fools.

    I absolutely despise these idiots who will willingly destroy the environment just to make a point of stupidity and brute ignorance.

  10. tet02

    Perhaps a mass emailing to the UWA would help them to see the error of their ways

  11. Florence nee Fedup

    What is meant by consensus in this case?

  12. susan

    You forgot to include Wayne from the North Shore, Wayne from The Shire , Wayne from the Hills and Wayne from the Central Coast as part of the LNP climate denying consensus.

  13. aravis1

    Sounds like a good idea, tet02. UWA is so up itself, it might get a nasty shock…

  14. Jexpat

    Stephen wrote: “UWA should be absolutely ashamed of itself…

    Apparently, they weren’t consulted about the matter beforehand. Or at least, not until just before the announcement was made.

  15. stephentardrew

    Point taken Jexpat now let’s see what they do about it.

  16. Jake Hodgman

    Interestingly the Greens are based on a consensus model (75% needed to pass motions) and are very much a ‘groupthink’ culture. Maybe they should join the Coalition… do as we do not as we say, and don’t dare come up with solutions while we can criticise!

  17. donwreford

    Abbot is looking for the lost plane in the Southern Indian ocean, having cost the Australian tax payer 100 million dollars this search is now becoming a search of double the sea all ready covered, whether this will become another 100 or two hundred million dollars? their seems no limit to the folly of this individuals mental state of weird ideology, in the meantime we all have to tighten belts with less funding for hospitals and pensions and so on, his idiosyncratic ideas such as the house he refused to occupy and this costing the taxpayer more thousands of dollars, the sale of dairy land to the Chinese and the Chinese deciding to house the cows in pens for their life to acquire more milk for export of milk to China, what is wrong with this man? have the Australian public been duped by a psycho? who having sacked thousands of workers in job losses, and the cost of living is going up ex-financially for Australians, now we are the most expensive country in the world to live in, having relied on on iron ore and such like? what vision did Australia have? failing to manufacture solar panels and sun heating water manufacturing, the failure to realize the potential of these manufactured items having the benefit of these natural resources here, it is as if the politicians having made the general public enemy number one.

  18. Stoo1970

    With UWA getting on board with this Australian Consesus Centre, and Colin Barnett throwing tantrums over the GST distribution, man, it’s embarrasing being a West Australian right now!

  19. tet02

    Its worth noting that the Abbott Point coal expansion has come in equal third place with a Turkish coal mine where 310 workers were killed, as one of the world’s most controversial projects of 2014.
    1st place going to Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Plating Factory in China where an explosion in August 2014 killed 70 workers and injured 180, and in 2nd place, The Buenavista del Cobre Mine in the Mexican state of Sonora, thanks to a spill of 40,000 cubic meters of sulfuric acid into the Rivers Sonara and Bacanuchi, also in August 2014.
    http://www.reprisk.com/
    Only a bronze medal for 2014, but I’m sure we’re ‘going for gold’ in 2015.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Speaking of the IPA…look who was a guest speaker just after the election….

  21. stephentardrew

    Jexpat: Nough said:

    I quote from Paul Johnson in the University News, “The Australia Consensus Centre will become the go-to place for useful economic research to inform the national and international debate, building on UWA’s many academic strengths”.

  22. Jexpat

    Well, there it goes Stephen:

    From “Seek Wisdom” with a black swan on it… to “Seem Witless,” followed on the banner by: “rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno.

  23. diannaart

    At the bargain price of $4million dollars, he’ll (Bjorn Lomborg) be setting up “The Australian Consensus Centre” at The University of Western Australia.

    Yup

    Pay millions you get stooges – it was ever thus…

    All of which is making me think of ABBA because Rossleigh is right – anyone called Bjorn must have something to do with:

  24. Kyran

    So, Bjorn is born again here, ’cause he can’t get a gig anywhere else. At the risk of sounding pedantic and challenging your proof reading, could I suggest he is a climate satirist, as opposed to a scientist? Your research on his qualifications (or lack thereof) reminded me of another time warp. The IPA released their climate change publication (which was devoid of any science) with such luminary contributors as the dolt. One contributor had a science degree (microbiology, by recollection). They were selling it for $24.95. Released at the same time the Royal Society in London released a free publication, choc a bloc full of scientists, espousing facts, rather than hyperbole. stephentardrew mentioned Dr Karl’s mea culpa, wherein he stated he didn’t get the full IGR transcript when he endorsed it, but ‘trusted’ them on its content. Seriously, who the heck would do that? donwreford mentioned the ‘lost’ plane. Given the current governments passion for fact, science and reality, I’m just going to wait for them to employ a water diviner. Could I suggest your next satire investigate the prospects of Bishop getting a seat in the UN on their Humanitarian Council? Oh, hang on. Would that be satire? Thanks for the read. The only success this government has had is providing you fodder! Take care

  25. Jexpat

    The line between satire and ridicule can be very fine indeed:

  26. Wayne Turner

    It’s ONLY “groupthink” insult when you disagree with what is said.It’s a distraction,from addressing issue/s.

    PS: My name should have been left out of it lol! 😉

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