He’s back with (New) Zeal – Part 1

Well, Trevor Loudon is back in the blogosphere. As regular readers (if there are any) will know, I dissected a paper by Loudon and Bernard Moran ((‘The Untold Story behind New Zealand’s ANZUS Breakdown’ by Trevor Loudon and Bernard Moran, National Observer, No. 74, Spring 2007, p. 21-36, ISSN# 1442-5548)) a while back (I’ve since used this paper in my course on Conspiracy Theories, seeing that it advances a rather lacklustre rival to the received/official history of New Zealand).

I’m watching Loudon’s blog with some interest; he’s been over in the States helping in the attempt to derail Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Loudon, like some of the other members of the extreme right, fears Communism like nothing else, and he seems to equate `Socialist’ with `Evil,’ `Right-wing’ with `angelic’ and `Anarchist’ with `depraved.’ I’m fairly sure he’s never read a left-wing press release that he hasn’t seen a sinister plot in.

Loudon’s style is hardly argumentative; he lists character traits and associations and lets your prejudices do the talking/reasoning. For example, take his `Obama Files;’ given that Loudon’s readership is afeared of Communists all he has to do, it seems, is show that there are connections between Barack Obama and socialist movements (and insinuate the tactics normal in politics are malign in the hands of anyone who is left-wing) to demostrate that Obama should not be president.

Mere scaremongering.

I mentioned earlier that I’ve used his ANZUS breakdown `article’ (I use the term loosely) as a teaching aide; it was rather interesting to gauge the reactions of my students to the piece. They were, by and large, representative of the `ordinary New Zealanders’ Don Brash tried to appeal to in the last election (although I suspect one of my students to be an anarchist) and none of them found Loudon’s scaremongering alternative history at all convincing. I do wonder who does.

Yet (as I’ve also ruminated on in previous posts) the NBR and Investigate ran with the story. Actually, I don’t know why I put ‘Yet’ on the front of that sentence; it makes it sound as if that’s quite shocking (when it isn’t). I have theories about this; I think a lot of people, suffering from a paucity of critical thinking skills, didn’t really notice the lack of an argument in the article whilst other wanted to find it convincing because they really do want to believe that contemporary Socialism (and the Green Movement) is old-style Soviet Communism dressed up ((I’d say ‘If only!’ but I’d probably be taken as endorsing evil, or something like that.)).

I will give Loudon his due; now he’s back in action his blog has become a great resource to finding out what’s happening on the left-wing front here in Aotearoa; he updates his readers as to talks being given by, for example, Sina Ana Brown-Davis and the like. Given that I might not have found out about that talk I am thankful to Loudon for putting information my way. Not that think Loudon wants his blog to be aiding me in my left-wing tendencies, but, as they say, what’s he going to do?

Answers on a postcard.

Next time, in `He’s back with (New) Zeal,’ `The Urewera 17.’