Sitting astride the barbed wire fence

The human mind is a wonderful thing. We all have different interests, ideas and methods of doing what is needed to stay alive. We also have different beliefs. Some will tell you that the contrails left in the sky following the passage of aircraft are
a 24/7/365-day aerosol assault over our heads made of a toxic brew of poisonous heavy metals, chemicals, and other dangerous ingredients. None of this is ever reported by any mainstream media. The US Department of Defense (DOD) and military have been systematically blanketing all our skies with what are known as Chemtrails aka as Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering.
Time magazine took the opportunity of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing to print a list of their ‘top 10’ conspiracy theories including the Moon Landing itself, the Reptilian Elite (who apparently rule the world) and JFK’s Assassination being faked.

Really, you are the only person hurt if you happen to believe aliens abduct people and implant material internally, or any one of the hundreds of conspiracy theories that routinely go around the world. While it might give the rest of us a laugh, in the scheme of things most of these theories are pretty harmless. Unfortunately there are conspiracy theories that do affect others, which is where conspiracy theories can be very dangerous.

You may have seen on social media the story of an ‘anti-vaxxer’ American mother who posted that her 3-year old child was not vaccinated and asking how she could protect her child from a measles outbreak currently occurring in her area. The linked article carries some of the responses which vary from the obvious (get her child vaccinated), through lecturing to humorous; there are thousands more ‘helpful’ comments in the various places where the post has been shared across the internet.

You can argue the mum has the right to decide how her children grow up or equally argue the obvious lack of empathy, parenting skills and abilities demonstrated by the American mum (and other anti-vaxxers around the world) in allowing their children to suffer the unnecessary illness, potential long term ill-health or even loss of life caused by not doing anything to stop their children suffering a completely preventable disease. However, the actions of the anti-vaxxers remove our right to determine if we want to inflict the same danger on our children or grandchildren, children who may be too young or have a genuine medical reason why they can’t be vaccinated. They don’t have the right to do that. We discussed herd immunity and vaccination with a bit more detail last November. It’s pretty obvious that American mum is now questioning her life choices.

The ‘great’ climate change debate in Australia is similar to the debate over vaccinations. For better or worse, then Opposition Leader Abbott rolled PM Rudd’s ambitions for an emissions trading scheme which would firstly manage, then reduce the levels of carbon and other nasties that are emitted into the environment. It’s now history that Abbott crucified Gillard over her ‘carbon tax’ (which even Abbott’s Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin, has since admitted was a ‘political tactic’ rather than actual tax). The subsequent Coalition Government under three Prime Ministers Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison have effectively fiddled while Rome burnt with ever increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Abbott, a Health Minister in the Howard era would have argued for the continuation of vaccination programs targeted at children to trigger ‘herd immunity’. When he was Prime Minster he mandated, with ALP support, the ‘no jab, no play’ policy. Effectively if your child is not vaccinated, they will not be eligible for any child care rebates, which can cause difficulties in accessing childcare services in this country as well as lack of eligibility for Family Tax payments. Clearly Abbott understands the science of ‘herd immunity’ as he didn’t attempt to stop vaccination programs.

Abbott, who has now assisted in rolling Turnbull twice when some action on climate change looked like getting implemented is on the record as suggesting that even if Australia did reduce carbon emissions, our insignificant contribution of 1.3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions really doesn’t make a difference. Apart from the OECD disagreeing with the claim, CNN reports two of the World Health Organisation’s ‘top 10’ list of global health threats are air quality/climate change as well as ‘anti-vaxxers’.

It is illogical that Abbott argues that Australia demonstrates his ‘faith’ in ‘herd immunity’ caused by vaccinations but also promotes Australia not attempting to reduce or eliminate carbon emissions because our small contribution wouldn’t make a difference. Like American mum, Abbott has the right to his own opinion. He doesn’t have the right to stuff up the future for generations of Australians (as well as those in the Pacific Islands who will probably lose their homes, lifestyles and countries completely).

For a person who mandated the vaccinations for Australia’s young, who frequently travels around Australia by plane with a mobile phone in his pocket and probably has little understanding of how they work, Abbott is sitting on both sides of the barbed wire fence here. When it suits him, he trusts the science and technology; when he can see a political advantage, he rails against it. As American mum has already found out, sooner or later it gets mightily uncomfortable up there when the issue becomes personal.

What do you think?

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Current rating: 5 / 5 | Rated 17 times

Bazinator

17/02/2019

I have an idea. We should target those Chemtrails at the genetic dumb genes of vaccine denialists and climate change denialists. Within a generation the world would become sensible. Then we could figure out how to really land on the moon. Subtle sarcasm alert, please don't vilify me

Ad Astra

18/02/2019

Bazinator

Welcome to The Political Sword - do come again.

Clever comment. There seems to be no other remedy for denialists. 

Talismancer

4/03/2019

There's no such thing as a harmless "conspiracy theory" a term I don't as conspiracies are commonplace. Stupid ideas lead to stupid actions that end up harming someone. When an individual accepts a stupid idea based on a nonsensical premise they've demolished their own ability to separate truth from fiction having lowered their own "proof threshold". ie every stupid idea is a gateway drug to even wilder stupid ideas ->action->harm. Subject a whole society to that cycle and welcome to the 21st Century.

Talismancer

4/03/2019

"Abbott has the right to his own opinion"

No...he doesn't. As a public official who acts directly on those ideas he can be rightly turfed by voters for holding the wrong opinions. In general anyone who expresses an opinion has lost the right to remain immune from criticism over the idea they hold.

How many oranges do I have if I have 3 oranges and take ONE away?