Look, you know the fires are the first big climate change crisis and I know it’s climate change and everyone with a functioning brain knows it’s climate change but—and hear me out on this—the time for winning internet brownie points for coming up with most inventive insult for the fools who still think it’s not has passed. This is too serious.
The reason they think that—and I use the term “think” in the loosest possible sense—is that is what they are being told. They have different sources to us. They’re not going to change those sources. They’re not suddenly going to give up the Daily Tele or the QAnon sites in exchange for the Guardian and New Scientist. They’re not.
So stop trying to throw science at them because they can’t hear it. And stop calling them unbleepable twatwaffles because they CAN hear that. It is all they hear from the other side. It doesn’t make them listen to the science.
There’s a lot of misinformation being spread, around issues like hazard reduction, arsonists, blaming Greenies, spreading rumours that climate change activists are lighting the fires to “push thir narrative” and other outlandish nonsense. Some sources pushing this out are pretending to be Australian when they’re not. They use terms like “wildfire” that are just not the local vernacular.
So who is doing it?
Australians are falling for it. There’s a lot of conspiracy theorists out there, and there’s a lot of people motivated purely by vitriolic hatred.
We watch idiots like Craig Kelly, Richo, Alan Jones — the usual suspects — mouthing off their usual bilious garbage, and it’s not hard to draw the conclusion that these people would rather watch the world burn than ever admit the greenies were right.
…these people would rather watch the world burn than ever admit the greenies were right…
So we’ve got the stale pale male brigade and their Women’s Auxiliary — Miranda Divine, Rita Panahi and other poisonous little hobgoblins — on one end, and shadowy overseas influences pushing lies and division on the other. In between them are caught a lot of fools who live in a world where Murdoch dictates what is news, who believe all this garbage because it’s all they hear and it’s what their tribe thinks. And they’re desperate to be part of their tribe.
It’s not in Australia’s interests.
As is usual, we see a great deal of anger and ridicule from people not blinded by Murdoch. But here’s the problem: when those people expend their energy sneering at the ignorance of fools, whose work are they doing? Whose interests is it in to keep Australia divided into camps with bitter division between them? Not ours. It’s not in Australia’s interests.
What we need in this crisis is to be very supportive and tolerant of each other. Don’t get too involved in bagging idiots, they’re still our neighbours and we still have to create a new, post-climate change world with them.
And you don’t know whose dirty work you’re doing, getting involved in fights with rightwing nutters.
Find what you have in common and stick with that, and don’t get tricked into fighting. There’ll be plenty of time to fight later—right now we need solidarity. Even with people we have no politics in common with and who we think are insane: they still have children, still need drinking water and medical care, still worry about their pets. Find that level of commonality and stick with it. These influences are trying to divide us and we need to unite.
They are trying to divide us when we need to unite.
Can we give up our internet-fueled addiction to sneering at other tribes for just a little while? Can we swallow our normal response when Aunty Betty starts carrying on about the wicked greenies, and ask her instead if her cats are coping with the smoke? Are her budgies getting enough water? And is there anything we can do to help?
When someone attacks us online for being a sheeple who doesn’t understand Agenda 20 or QAnon, rather than retort, check that they have support, that the region they’re in is doing okay, and if not ask is there some way we can direct resources to them.
Ask them about their dogs. Even insane conspiracy theorists care about their dogs. Commiserate with them over the lack of water, or electricity, or the difficulty in breathing through this smoke. Don’t take the bait. Say things like: “I know we don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues, but we’re both Australian and we’re both affected and if I can help you in any way, please just ask.”
Even insane conspiracy theorists care about their dogs.
Seek unity, not discord. If we can create solidarity out of chaos and hate, then we are beating the enemies who want us at each others’ throats.
Seek unity, not discord.
Take the high road, for a while. Enjoy the view. Look after yourselves and look after your neighbours, however they voted.
And good luck to all.