Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Worldwide lunacy

I experience a peculiar twist on schadenfreude when I find out that other countries have politicians who are as apparently insane as the ones we have to deal with here in the United States.  It may not be nice of me, and I certainly wouldn't wish our current situation on anyone, but I have to admit that there is something ineffably reassuring about knowing that we don't have the market cornered on pernicious looniness.

This comes up because of an article I was sent a few days ago by a loyal reader of Skeptophilia about a political candidate in Australia who thinks that the current worldwide trend toward LGBT rights and marriage equality is due to...

... gay Nazi mind control.

I kid you not.  Michelle Meyers, of the right wing One Nation party, went on a bizarre screed on Facebook a week ago, which included the following:
It’s a carefully contrived but disingenuous mind control program, melded together by two Norwegian homosexuals who graduated from Harvard…  Utilising many of the strategies developed by the Soviets and then the Nazis, they have gone on to apply and perfect these principles so as to make them universal in their application—but with devastating results considering the counterproductive nature of such “unions.”
"Counterproductive?"  In what sense?  Can you please describe to me the "devastating results" of giving official approval to the expression of love between consenting adults?

Of course, that's not all Meyers has to say.  People like her never just leave it at one or two loony statements.  She posted a photo on her website of herself next to a cushion with stripes of different colors, and wrote that the rainbow has become an emblem of a "sexually corrupt and morally bankrupt society...  The rainbow has been raped and sullied. its colors have been purloined and paraded as a trophy of the culture war being waged worldwide.  But its fruits are bitter, it’s [sic] victory hollow and its legacy toxic."

Michelle Meyers of One Nation

Lest you think that Meyers and One Nation are just a group of fringe wackos, Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett just brokered an agreement with One Nation, with Barnett's Liberal Party allowing One Nation to direct their preferences to the party in regional and local elections in exchange for their support for Barnett being re-elected as Premier.  The implications of this deal with the devil were not lost on the director for One Nation in Western Australia, Colin Tincknell, who said, "It’s great, it a great deal for One Nation.  It looks like it will get us some seats in the upper house in Western Australia."

As far as whether the voting public will go for it, the elections are on March 11, so we'll see what happens.

Lately I've felt like I'm watching the world spiral out of control -- things were far from perfect, but at least seemed pretty stable, through much of my adult life.  Now, just in the last year, we have Brexit, Trump's victory and the resulting chaotic shitstorm in Washington, far right candidate Marine Le Pen standing a good chance of a victory in the 2017 French presidential election (something that has business leaders seriously spooked -- Eric Adler, CEO of PGIM Real Estate, said that a Le Pen win could "blow up the EU"), aggression by the Russians, missile launches by North Korea... I am seriously concerned that we might be seeing the first signs of a slide into another catastrophic world war.

So my schadenfreude over Australia's nutcake politicians is tempered by a very real fear that this is just another symptom of the ultra-nationalism and authoritarianism that seems to be sweeping the globe lately.  It's all very well to roll our eyes at people like Meyers -- but when people of that stripe get voted into office, as they were in November here in the United States, the laughter begins to ring pretty hollow.

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