Conspiracy theories abound because people believe what they want to believe. For example, Maurice Newman, who advises the Australian Prime Minister on business, thinks that climate change is simply a pretence that the United Nations uses in order to concentrate political authority in itself in order to overcome freedom and capitalism, and enable the powerful to become even more powerful. It is an odd theory, and despite that oddity some will warm to it, because it provides an explanation for what they regard as irrational beliefs becoming prevalent. Mr Newman thinks that we are all being fooled into giving up our freedom by the environmental movement.
Like all conspiracy theories there is a grain of truth in what Mr Newman claims, but making a statement which contains a grain of truth does not mean that the statement is true; it just means that the statement contains some truths as well as some untruths. The art of effective propaganda is to ensure that there are several grains on truth among the lies.
The grain of truth in what Mr Newman says is that the anti-rapid global warming movement does lean to the left of political philosophy, making common cause with those who claim to know what is best for us and that we should therefore be compelled to behave as they dictate. That political philosophy really centres around means, rather than ends. It is illogical to claim that because people use bad means in an attempt to prevent a disaster from happening, that the disaster that you are seeking to prevent is not going to happen.
Mr Newman also prays in aid of his conspiracy theory a claim that global temperatures have remained stable for nearly two decades. Unfortunately for all of us, that claim is wrong.
The Australian Prime Minister, whom Mr Newman advises, is Mr Abbott, who has said that he thinks climate change is “crap”. Clearly Mr Abbott likes choose advisers who share his opinions.
It suits Australia, one of the most polluting nations per capita, to believe that their heavy coal production and use is having no effect on the climate, and shows that nations, like people, believe what they want to believe.