Australia – you beaut.
We have lived in a globalised society for a lot longer than that relatively recently coined phrase might suggest. Because we’ve greater and easier access to foreign news, and even if we don’t take advantage of that, more foreign news is still reported on by domestic outlets, but usually through the prism of a local worldview.
By and large, this new global information age is a good thing but I think it comes with some downsides. Possibly the most obvious is that in a certain sense, it’s a global disinformation age. The line between reportage and pure opinion is too often blurred and this combined with a supposed short attention span of the internet reader, leads to ridiculously short and simplified articles on complex issues. All too often definitive and authoritive statements are made which have absolutely no provenance, and the sad thing is that it’s rarely noticed.
The worst problem is information overload – there’s simply too much of it and teasing out a useful signal from the background noise can be challenging. I once knew this guy who was a RIO (Radio Intercept Officer) on a MacDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom. He spent a lot of time in the rear seat of one as it made occasional hops into places like Hai Pong harbour with a lot of people trying very hard to kill him while he was visiting. He told me something interesting.
He turned off stuff, in point of fact, he turned off pretty much everything except the essentials, closing down most of those multi-million dollar systems so he could concentrate on those few which could actually help complete the mission and save his own and his pilot’s life. In an analogous fashion, looking on the web for information on a controversial issue involves tuning out the crap, because there are too many creatures like William Connolley skulking about.
The more subtle problem is that it gives the impression that we’re all somehow aligned across the world in terms of popular opinion on controversial subjects. At a grassroots level, this is certainly not true and is compounded in the developed world by the stranglehold the left has over most organs of the mainstream media. They have a statist tendency to represent what they think the people should be thinking rather than what they’re actually thinking.
Granted, we may all eventually come to the same rough consensus but that rarely happens as some sort of global gestalt thing. More usually, an opinion which eventually becomes mainstream thinking, is first expressed somewhere and the growing sentiment is reflected independently at different rates around the world.
Such changes in sentiment happen suddenly or they can be quite gradual. The sudden variety are usually brought about by things like surprise attacks such Pearl Harbour, the Twin Towers, or the Madrid or London bombings. Suddenly nobody’s talking about multiculturalism any more but rather integration and oaths of allegiance by immigrants.
The hysteria about global warming, something nobody had even heard of twenty years ago, came about quite gradually. It was created by a building synergy between a headline hungry media, political interests, a coterie of activist scientists on an ego trip, some good but badly misguided intentions and of course greed by the seamier side of the financial services industry. Slow change like that becomes the establishment line, and since so many people and their livelihoods have become heavily invested in it, is very difficult to reverse. Where something deeply flawed has become so ingrained, it’s usually reversed just as slowly and mainly by people quietly withdrawing support for it once its problems have become apparent to all.
That process of slow reversal has to start somewhere and the longer it’s delayed, the stronger and more violent it will necessarily become. No one wants to be the one to do it first, but it’s inevitable and when it eventually happens, the unthinkable has been expressed and soon gathers support from the silent watchers who’ve long ago come to the same conclusion. The pressure of the magma underneath that great tectonic plate of public opinion has simply grown too great and finally breaks through somewhere. A change is gonna come.
We’ve just witnessed that eruption in Australia.
For decades we’ve had a united political front displayed by major western governments about a need to fight global warming and that has just been shattered into a million pieces by Australia. The newly elected government, after eviscerating the duplicitous and climate obsessed previous administration, is beginning the long process of dismantling both climate legislation and its administrative organs and has said flatly that it won’t be kicking any money into the various global warming relief funds being pushed by the UN.
What’s more, they’re hacking back government spending on research aimed at combating global warming and by the abolition of such feel-good spinoff things as the Australian Animals Welfare Advisory Committee, Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Committee, National Inter-country Adoption Advisory Council; National Steering Committee on Corporate Wrongdoing, Antarctic Animal Ethics Committee, Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula, Maritime Workforce Development Forum, Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing, Insurance Reform Advisory Group and the National Housing Supply Council among others. A lot of fat cat rent seekers have just been tossed out on their butt.
This is a government taking an axe to big government.
They’re not even sending their environment minister, who’s thankful he’s got more than one ministerial portfolio, to the COP19 meeting in Warsaw and what’s more, the language being employed is unequivocal. The junior representative turning up at Warsaw carried the “leaked” message that Australia – “will not support any measures which are socialism masquerading as environmentalism”. That tell it like it is form of words will probably be on the headstone of what looks to be the final annual climate conference of any significance.
The fallout is of course unfolding. The home-grown media is tearing its hair out and rending its garments like a distraught drama queen having an attack of the vapours but the ordinary person, once you get outside the ambit of stylish chatterati circles, is pleased as punch with a bit of muscular government which is for once doing what they wish for a change. The red light going off for climate alarmists is that Australia’s gutsy stance was backed within days by Canada and there’ll be more. The first girl has left the party and instead of being talked about, will shortly be joined by the rest.
I wrote an article last year about what I saw as the alarming erosion of basic democracy in Australia. All those bad bad signs were there. Censorship, a phoney political choice, a media which was a grovelling mouthpiece of government, attacks on free speech, a proposed Soviet style Finkelstein regulation of even blogs and the petty bureaucratic intimidation of any small opposition like the Thompson family. Of all the countries threatened by creeping totalitarianism masquerading as caring for the planet, Australia was the one on the very cusp of tipping over into that nightmare abyss.
Instead of that disaster happening, within the space of a year it’s turned around big time, delivering a long overdue kick up the arse to its political establishment, reasserting its right to national prosperity and shucking off the foreign UN vampires wanting to feed on its lifeblood.
If it was going to be anyone, it just had to be the bloody Aussies. Well done you bunch of diggers.
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