Everybody’s somebody’s fool

ListenerSept0815.jpg It’s possible that Bill Ralston believes that his columns in The Listener are amusing. Perhaps he also thinks they’re challenging. It’s plausible that his editor agrees on both counts, or the columns might no longer appear – as is true of so many fine Listener columnists of recent memory. How sad then that Ralston so miserably fails, so often, on both counts. This week (full text available next week), he rails against “scares”, and after chastising Time magazine for herpes, Aids, Y2K and bird flu panics, launches into climate change.

At the risk of being labelled a “climate change denier”, a phrase that deliberately feasts on the resonance of the last word, implying one is the kind of disgraceful person that would also deny the Holocaust, I wonder if we are being fed another massive overreaction to a natural phenomenon.

OK, I’ll bite. If you deny the reality of a problem, then you are a denier. No Holocaust reference implied or intended. A statement of fact – it’s what the word means. And if you’re still wondering about the reality of the problem, you are simply displaying your ignorance. There are few spectacles so unedifying (or unamusing) as an ill-informed would-be curmudgeon interviewing his typewriter on a such a well-documented issue. Ralston even manages apparently approving references to Rodney Hide’s astonishing display of ignorance last week.

Twaddle, Bill. Complete twaddle.

9 thoughts on “Everybody’s somebody’s fool”

  1. A very tired piece generally, especially the climate change section of this article. His writing would be a good fit with the “The Dominion Post”. I don’t know enough about the other subjects to know whether there is scare-mongering involved there or not.

  2. Makes you wonder what is in the water cooler at the Listener office. Their editorial position on climate change is the reason I did not renew my subscription after at least 20 faithful years. An attitude which was often at variance with some excellent articles they published.

    When I was digging round in people’s biographies trying to find out why they were taking their “don’t scare the horses” approach, I discovered that business columnist David Young has worked for

    I thought it was an interesting piece of information, that seemed to fit with the tone of his articles on climate change that I remember.

  3. That should have been Bjorn Lomberg’s organisation.

    “David travelled to Denmark in 2004 to work as the international media liaison officer for the Environmental Assessment Institute at the time of the Copenhagen Consensus project. He has worked as a ghost writer, writing op-eds that have appeared in major newspapers and magazines around the world.”


    D—-d incompetent housewives : ).

  4. That’s Young’s position too, IIRC. Lomberg has been the classic “inactivist”, throwing up a changing string of arguments about why we don’t need to do what most scientists say is desperately needed.

    Which makes this conciliatory joint essay with a previous antagonist most interesting. “It’s not about us. The climate change debate, while very public and very political, is not the place for hyperbole and hysteria; it’s time to move on”.


    Methinks he must have lost that argument.

  5. Lomborg’s whole schtick is based on donning the rose-tinted specs and looking only at the lowest estimates for change and resulting damage. That enables him to sound reasonable, while he argues for inaction. It’s what I would call “credible scepticism”, in that it doesn’t deny the basics, just the extent of the issue. It’s clever, because it’s more polictically effective than the “it isn’t happening” sort of idiocy we see from cranks.

    Any ideas about who might be NZ’s native Lomborg?

  6. “David worked in parliament for three years as a press secretary” For ACT no less. He started a student paper at Waikato in 2000, which was backed by a rich business man, but the mag failed within weeks.

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