Clive Palmer’s truth is really out there
Writer and activist Susan Sontag said: “I envy paranoids. They actually feel people are paying attention to them”.
People were quick to call mining giant Clive Palmer a ‘crackpot’ and a ‘nutjob’ for his bizarre claim that the Greens are a tool of the CIA being used to undermine mining. And they are wacky claims. But the human mind is an amazing thing and comes up with sophisticated ways to protect itself from the real world. He’s not simply ‘wacky’.
Conspiracy theories are a protective mechanism.
9/11 Truthers – who believe that either there was an enormous cover up or active complicity in the September 11 bombings by the US Government - go to great lengths to convince themselves that we don’t live in a world where terrorists can so quickly kill thousands.
JFK conspiracists similarly believe that greater powers must have been behind the assassination, because it seems impossible to them that a lone gunman could take down a US President.
UFO believers find no shortage of evidence for beliefs that reassure them that we are not alone.
I am proud to announce that I’ve recently had a conspiracy theory developed about me. One of the men’s rights extremist sites has investigated and found that I’m involved with a White Ribbon Ambassador and that I ‘instigated’ The Punch to get Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and Melinda Tankard-Reist ‘on board’ … some sort of grand plan.
People who struggle to deal with criticism can turn to conspiracies to both discredit their opponents and to reassure themselves that only shady operatives with vast networks of contacts and enormous resources could possibly attack them.
As I wrote last year, conspiracy theories can also help people feel they are Fox Mulders, part of a small group of people who know the truth.
In Voodoo Histories: How conspiracy theory has shaped modern history, David Aaronovitch says conspiracy theories are “paradoxically comforting”:
They suggest that there is an explanation, that human agencies are powerful and that there is order rather than chaos. This makes redemption possible… what if paranoia is actually the sticking plaster that we fix to an altogether more painful wound? That of feeling ourselves to be of no importance whatsoever, and our lives (and especially our deaths) of little real significance except to ourselves.
The problem of our age is that we now search for meaning via Google and we can confirm anything we want to online. URLs are the new evidence.
Clive Palmer’s conspiracy is amusing, but not harmless. Every time someone with influence squanders reason, a little truth puppy dies.
In How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World, Frances Wheen writes:
The sleep of reason brings forth monsters, and the past two decades have produced monsters galore. Some are manifestly sinister, others seem merely comical… cumulatively, however, the proliferation of obscurantist bunkum and the assault on reason are a menace to civilisation…
Clive Palmer’s kooky ideas that Greenpeace and the Greens are tools of the CIA are not just dodgy, they’re dangerous. And clear proof that that the Greys have got to him.
The truth is on Twitter: @ToryShepherd
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…