Gaslighting, Gullibility and the Eroded Rule of Law

I read in the Weekend Australian editorial that the West needs Russia to lose the war. I said to a group of friends a year ago that it seemed inconceivable to me that the country with the largest land mass in the world, with untold resources, with 145 million people, with an authoritarian government and patriotic population would not manage to annex a small piece of adjacent (majority) Russian-speaking territory in Ukraine.

Of course, now entering its third year, the war would have been over inside the first year if the United States had not supplied Zelensky with massive quantities of  armaments; prolonging the suffering at a comfortable distance, while boosting stock prices inside the military-industrial complex. By the way,  as I found, anyone trying to objectively assess the situation is clearly a Putin puppet, in case you didn’t know.

What would it look like if as The Australian hopes, “the invader is driven back.” Would Russia topple Putin, send hardliners to Siberia, empower gentler types to take charge, issue a mea culpa and live peaceably inside its own borders ever after? Possibly, I suppose, but highly unlikely. There is probably only one feasible long-lasting peaceful end to the conflict. It’s one which formally cedes the four “annexed” oblasts – Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia – to Russia, along with a formal recognition of its incorporation of Crimea and, to boot, with an understanding that Ukraine would not join NATO. On the other side, there might be an acknowledgement that military intervention of boots on the ground kind by the United States and its allies would occur if Russia militarily transgressed beyond the newly agreed territorial limits. And maybe a contribution from Russia to repair damaged Ukrainian infrastructure. Henry Kissinger could perhaps have come up with something sellable – it’s possible Trump 2.0 might also.

None of this is my principal topic. I was just struck by the thinking that the West would benefit from Russia’s defeat. Yes, as much as a dying animal might benefit from a sip of water. It might slightly slowdown its death throes, for the West is in irrecoverable decline. How do we know that?

We don’t necessarily know that from the rise of China or from the attendant deindustrialisation of the West, or even from Australian or European governments sponging off America rather than spending on their own defence capabilities. We know it from the growing signs of internal decay. Judaeo-Christian societies which make up Western civilisation – the best civilisation ever seen and ever likely to be seen – are rotting from within.

I will give a few examples of the gathering storm. You will be able to think of many more — like multiculturalism, and its malign bedfellow antisemitism; wokeism, DEI and ESG; and the celebration (rather than tolerance) of sexual disorder. But for present purposes, mine come under three headings authoritarianism, gullibility and the rule of law. All eat away at truth and trust, the mainstays of democracy and Western civilisation.

The authoritarian response to Covid is a stark example. Let’s try to closely mirror China’s response seemed to be the gameplan. Let’s not forget for one moment the grotesque excesses of the time. To name just a few: Arresting old people for resting on park benches; handcuffing a pregnant woman in her own home for a Facebook post; police pepper-spraying a middle-aged woman prone on the ground, shooting rubber bullets at peaceful demonstrators; king-hitting a man for simply asking a question in Melbourne’s Flinders Street railway station; state premiers preventing people from returning to their own homes in their own states; excluding sick people from travelling to the nearest hospital because it was across state borders; denying people their livelihoods if they refused to be injected with an experimental substance – which has since been shown to be useless, and possibly injurious. Authoritarian excesses all; often downplayed, excused or even cheered on by the mainstream media.

There was no truth in the response to Covid and no attempt to search for it. It was not true that the authorities were acting prudently in the absence of information. By March 2020 it was known that the virus only seriously affected the old and sick. In fact, it was common knowledge. Even I knew it at the time: “Covid-19: The Blunt Instrument of Suppression.” It was all politics. And it undermined the way people dealt with each other.

Don’t think for a nanosecond that this experience was aberrant and don’t let it slip from mind. They, the powers that be, will do it again if given the chance. There is a sizeable element within our Western societies just waiting to exercise its power come the next pandemic; and a sizeable chunk of the populations ever ready to demonstrate ovine fealty.

Then there is “global warming”, gullibility writ large. The problem is not so much that most people in most countries vaguely accept the junk science that man-made CO2 is in process of bringing the planet undone. After all, what does the average Joe or Jill know about climate “science”. It’s that it has become a cult and politicians on both sides of the aisle have coalesced around it.

Kylie Tink in my federal electorate got in on a promise to change the weather; at least I think that’s why otherwise sane people voted for her. Weren’t witch doctors into the old changing-the-weather routine? Dutton wants pie-in the-sky nuclear. Now that’s better than Bowen’s tilt at windmills. However, it was the Libs who signed Australia up to net zero and they are not going to let down the cult and be excommunicated. John Clauser, who I wrote about here and here, was the most recent of many prominent scientists who have countered the conventional wisdom. It doesn’t matter because truth doesn’t matter anymore.

The fiction of The Stolen Generations is another prime example of the truth becoming dispensable. To be clear, without truth there can be no trust. People only trust each other if they believe each other to be telling the truth as they know it. Western civilisation and its integral component, free-market capitalism, rests on interpersonal trust between people of different families, tribes and villages. That an important reason why it’s better than the rest.

Now switch to America, the light on the hill. People incarcerated for a year and more without trial for trespassing in the Capitol building. Habeus Corpus be damned. Mention (a non-existent) insurrection and governments can keep citizen’s locked up indefinitely, apparently. And spread lies about the “violent mob” killing cops. The media will dutifully and duplicitously bleat the lies right around the world, including in Oz, and keep on doing so ad nauseum. Here is my letter to the editor of The Australian on September 8, 2023. Not printed, no reply received:

Hugh Tomlinson (“Proud Boy sentenced to 22 years’ jail, September 7) gave currency, as did your newspaper, to the blatant lie that the events at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 “led to the deaths of a protester and five police officers.” They certainly led to the unjustified and unlawful killing of a young woman, Ashli Babbitt, by a Capitol Police officer, who has faced no consequences. There is no evidence that the subsequent deaths of five police officers were at all connected to the events at the Capitol. Can you please do better? Lies in The Guardian might be par for the course. Lies in your newspaper are worse because they have more credibility attached to them.

Again the truth is dispensable. It’s the agenda which counts. But if you think the rule of law, without which Western civilisation cannot function, is mainly okay (after all, it’s not as though political opponents are poisoned or sent to Siberia).Think of the egregious and vexatious lawfare waged against Trump by his political opponents with taxpayer dollars. Quite simply, the rule of law, under which everyone is treated equally without fear or favour, no longer applies in America. It’s gone; subverted by demonic Democrats. Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime, is the new standard, the repurposed old-fashioned communist one. Again truth and trust replaced with lies and foreboding. 

I don’t really think that the profound and devastating import of this selective application of the law in the US has yet been truly appreciated. The times they are a-changin’, as Bob Dylan sang. And distinctly for the worse.

34 thoughts on “Gaslighting, Gullibility and the Eroded Rule of Law

  • Daffy says:

    The biggest shock of the Covid circus in Australia was our dope of a PM, as an evangelical Christian. He should have had the wit of Evangelical Christianity’s long suspicion of the motives of our ‘fallen’ race. The doctrine of original sin, or of any sin, for that matter, is much maligned in the delusional west, but it presents the most accurate framework for understanding the mixed motives of…everyone, and should alert us to caution when listening, particularly, to the powerful. With Scotty from Marketing, instead of caution, and the priority of the welfare of the people as a whole, we got Scotty from Panicking at the helm, piloting us onto the rocks, while the wisdom of what should have been his theology was tossed overboard along with the life rings.

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      Agree – his stupidity enabled & abetted the rise of the state COVID tyrants who did untold damage to what remained of the social fabric. God rot them all. But it also exposed oodles of pettifogging little local dictators.
      Sort of useful in a perverse way.

    • David Isaac says:

      The response was pusillanimous and egregious in the extreme but it was pretty much the same in its essential chracteristics as everywhere else. Even Sweden, whose constitution apparently forbids restrictions on freedom of movement and which avoided anything more than restricting large gatherings initially, still ended up with jab to work and jab passports, even though they almost certainly had herd immunity. The Swedes did stop short of jabbing primary and younger children.
      In 2020 there was a constant stream of lurid headlines from Reuters and AP suggesting some calamity was occurring in Sweden which was never borne out by the detail . Our world is ruled through the media as Mike Benz reinforced in his recent interview with Tucker Carlson. The people who own and run the media are the people responsible for the whole event. To what end is unclear but a return to the English Christian libertarian tradition of early last century is not on their agenda. ScoMo was hopeless but if he had shown a spine rest assured the media would have crucified him.

  • lbloveday says:

    Quote: “… state premiers preventing people from returning to their own homes in their own states”
    Even worse, in my opinion, was the case of a friend who had lived overseas for 30 years but was still an Australian, and only an Australian, citizen and passport holder. He lived with his wife and child and was employed on an Australian Aid project. He was a Veteran Gold Card holder and was in Australia for the yearly checkup on the state of his cancer when the s hit the fan and the Federal Government would not let him leave Australia.
    He spent 5 months separated from his family at a time that his incredulous teenage son would have benefited from his father’s guidance and affection, working remotely from a Melbourne motel, until he wangled a one way flight out.
    PS. “authorities where acting prudently” Maybe “were”?

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Yep, you’ve covered a pretty fair swag of it all there Peter, and I agree.
    One could throw in the crazy, nonsensical, insistance of fictitious ‘first nations’ and acknowledgement of ‘country cared for, for thousands and thousands of years etc,etc.etc’ but you’ve made the point well enough as it is without messing around with it too much I think.

  • gareththomassport says:

    I have spent much of the last 4 years trying to understand why.
    Why do seemingly “normal”, decent people fall so easily for the covid/ climate/ Trump/ race hoaxes?
    Why do so many politicians also ascribe so wholeheartedly to the same creeds?
    I find both Mathias Desmet (mass formation) and Iain McGilchrist (left versus right brain dominance) offer the best explanations of the former question.
    Regarding our leaders, incompetence/stupidity explains many (Scomo and Albo), with the “Dark Tetrad” explained the rest (Andrews, McGowan, Gumer, Castro).
    History may not repeat, but it certainly rhymes.

  • Katzenjammer says:

    Sometimes a black fairy flies over part of the world sprinkling nasty-dust. It did it over Europe in the 1930s & 40s. All we can do is hold fast to what really matters until it passes. It’s not our doing – there’s nothing we can do to stop it. There’s probably something about it in a sentence somewhere in one of Jung’s treatises.

    • mrsfarley2001 says:

      There’s that bit in Andersen’s “Snow Queen” about the broken mirror and its vision-distorting splinters. Come to that, there’s quite a lot in else in old Hans Christian. Don’t these people ever read anything but the Guardian?

  • vickisanderson says:

    Great, great article, Peter. It actually made me tearful – because it reveals the stark truth of our civilisational decline.

    The gradual decline of moral imperatives based on Christian values, together with elevation of such rights as the right to alter biological sexual identity reflect a decline we have seen historically. It is now so established, that despite a noble attempt by organisations such as the recently established ARC, I think it may be irreversible.

    The Covid years were a real shock. For me – it was the demand for travel documents by police on the way to my farm that was reminiscent of totalitarian countries we have read about. And, of course, there has been no mea culpa, even as the evidence for vaccine injuries becomes inescapable. The complicit medical profession will barely mouth the word Covid now.

    Maybe it is only the seniors amongst us that can really recognise the decline. Xers are pre occupied with their lifestyle and the millennials know nothing else as their education has been corrupted by political ideology.

    • lbloveday says:

      It has been put to me that people often die when they give up (typified by the often attributed “died of a broken heart”).
      Without trying to detract from the evil of the Covid “vaccine” mandates, I suggest some of our “excess deaths” are due to people giving up, losing the will to live.

  • owen zeimer says:

    Quote “People incarcerated for a year and more without trial for trespassing in the Capitol building.”

    Cardinal Richelieu: “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.”

  • nfw says:

    There is a sizable element within our western societies which wants to be scared then “saved” by “free” things from government, while they don’t do any work.

  • Michael Mundy says:

    Peter, do they let you wear your tin foil hat in the museum within which you reside?

  • Occidental says:

    One of the few gifts of Covid, was the demonstration of the rationality of so called scientists, and an instant reminder of the gullibility of the masses when frightened. Both of these play into anyones assessment of AGW. One of the strongest arguments used by advocates of AGW is the near universal support of the scientific community, if there is such a thing. But as Covid demonstrated, while the occasional scientist is of immeasurable benefit in a given instance, the group as a whole (and certainly when outside of their own speciality) seem to cogitate with less intellectual rigour than teenage girls at a pop concert.

  • lenton1 says:

    It is at times like these we all need real and true examples of faith and determination, to spirit us against the headwinds of decay; headwinds that, like all headwinds, eventually dissipate and indeed become tailwinds once more.

    Perhaps the finest example (for me) comes from the lifelong pursuit of truth and eventual triumph by the most exemplar amongst determined men, John Harrison, the man who arguably more than most, heralded the great age of exploration by solving the immense problem of the calculation of longitude at sea.

    While to most this might seem an exaggeration, indeed and irrelevance, but to those of us who know, much of the best of our modern world would simply not exist if not for him and, most importantly, his will of steel against those whose progeny are on the rise once more.

    The stellar portrayal of John Harrison’s significant life in the captivating two-part docu-movie Longitude with its equally stellar cast, is where I go to regain my centre of gravity, reviving my determination not to be toppled by the forces of ignorance and sheer evil, of which there are many today.

    I urge any who have not sampled the sheer delights of this brilliantly produced movie to, as Molly Meldrum would say, “go do yourself a favour” and challenge yourself not to be moved to tears as each time I am – even at my fifth viewing – at the sheer skill, determination and humble humanity of a great human against insanely unbelievable odds. And a visit to see the Harrison clocks at Greenwich is a pilgrimage to the very best the West can be, when intelligence, determination and humility, and a little justifiable frustrated anger combine, to truly change the world for good.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Good comment Lenton1. Dava Sobel’s 1995 book ‘Longitude’ gives a pretty good rundown on the whole business as well. John Harrison was an incredible man, that’s for sure.


    “They, the powers that be, will do it again if given the chance.” It is hapenning regularly now, and to the point of possible no return. Two layers of policing and justice. The relentless push of the baying pro-Hamas Palestinian, protester mob, appeased by a poop scared police presence, soft targetting lone Jews who are frogmarched away from their venue and publically humiliated. All this in front of a crowd of rampant,and sometimes masked protesters clearly breaking the law by hindering legal access of citizens to public spaces like the Town Hall and the Opera House. Damnably, the pusillanimous leadership of our country is setting regular precedents for the breakdown of the rule of law where the surrendered moral space will be readily filled by mob rule. In the abrogation of strong leadership from our PM down, these forces will become the ones dictating the state of the nation for their own Marxist agendas.


    Further to my comments above, I offer this reply from Colin Powis to an article in American Thinker entitled: When the Empire Strikes Back, you get Britain’s degradation in 2024.

    COLIN POWIS says: “Yep, this is all true but it’s happening all over the West as you see the same pro palestinian mobs in NYC and Minneapolis chanting the same moronic verses . This is a muslim/ migrant version of the ”Clockwork Orange”

    To be exactly correct, Britain like most nanny states is becoming a ‘ANARCHO TYRANNY” insomuch their spineless cowardly governments are ignoring serious threats and dangers to their citizens while micro managing and enforcing petty rules and persecutions .

    A good example is that they ignore serious threats and intimidation by Muslims, then prosecute British citizens who speak up about it for ”Islamophobia”or they prosecute conservative folk for ”Homophobia ” while ignoring the murderous intent by Islamisists of Homosexuals

    This ”nanny state” that is female in nature was inevitable due to the empowerment of women and the erosion of ”toxic masculinity” . It’s too cowardly to combat real crimes but will create a facade of law enforcement by focusing on petty crimes

    Western governments have all failed because they were seduced by the idealism and utopianism of Globalism, whereas in reality ”open borders” is suicide for the West and Globalism is treason to the nation state”.

    The same is happening in Australia. We are mostly asleap at the wheel and unfortunately wide open to takeover from forces to which we will have to obediently kowtow.

  • Stuart J. Burrows says:

    “There is probably only one feasible long-lasting peaceful end to the conflict. It’s one which formally cedes the four “annexed” oblasts – Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia – to Russia, along with a formal recognition of its incorporation of Crimea and, to boot, with an understanding that Ukraine would not join NATO. On the other side, there might be an acknowledgement that military intervention of boots on the ground kind by the United States and its allies would occur if Russia militarily transgressed beyond the newly agreed territorial limits.”

    In the way incentives bear upon human agency, international politics is just like domestic politics. It’s easy to see why youth crime (mostly Aboriginal — just thought I’d mention this because it’s always suppressed by the media which is supposed to be honestly informing us) — is breaking out all over Queensland and the Northern Territory. The kids are getting away with it, so they keep coming back for more. Well, if you just hand a quarter of Ukraine to Putin, he will have gotten away with it, and he will come back for more. It is not Western provocation that is to blame for Putin’s war. By that logic you might as well don a keffiyeh and start shouting “from the river to the sea”. Speaking of Gaza, the boldness of Hamas and their sponsors in Iran is attributable to Western weakness — again, not strength/provocation — from Afghanistan to Ukraine to North Korea.

    You propose a diplomatic agreement in which Ukraine commits not to join NATO, but the US and its allies (i.e. NATO) commit to make war on Russia if Russia invades the new shrunken Ukraine. But that kind of military commitment is exactly the import of Ukraine’s joining NATO, and Russia’s main objection to it. There is no way Russia would agree to that. So it remains to be explained how you think you’re going to deter Putin from having a crack at the rest of Ukraine (and maybe more) after we hand him a Crown Jewel for his outrageous aggression.

    • Peter Smith says:

      The problem Stuart is of finding a tenable solution which stops the killing. What’s yours? If you believe that Russian aggression must not succeed to any tangible extent then I suggest that American boots on the ground might be required, though who knows where that might lead. Do you want Russia pushed out of Crimea? I find when I discuss this matter that there is a lot of jingoism by proxy and not much practicality. Sometimes solutions are not ideal.

    • Citizen Kane says:

      I guess the question is, what does the West owe Ukraine (and I’m not suggesting nothing – the current settings of assistance are probably about right)? Lets not forget we are talking about a country that has only come into existence after the dissolution of the USSR, where it clearly was under the wing of Moscow. Its connection with the Rus people and Kievan Rus dates back to the 7th century and its assimilation into Russia dates back to the 16th Century and earlier for the eastern regions.

      Since its independence from the USSR, Ukraine has been a hotbed for international crime and corruption, not least of all involving the Biden family, has been racked by internal uprising, undemocratic elections and the installation of Zelensky as a Western puppet. Now while Putin’s invasion and hostility is not necessarily justified by any of this, the question is, would you be happy to potentially instigate a wider conflict or even World War III in order to return the eastern regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia to Ukraine? Its not as though Ukraine has a long history of being a shining light on the hill of Western values and democracy, and this is exactly because it has a history of being tied to Communist Russia and previous to that the Russian Empire. Would you send your kids over to die on that hill?

  • Sindri says:

    Do you think that Putin would honour the fanciful kind of agreement you postulate, Peter, when he has so flagrantly violated the solemn agreement he made back in 2004 to respect Ukraine’s borders? And more to the point, why on earth should the US and its allies be forced to sign up to a boots-on-the-ground agreement to come to Ukraine’s help if Russia were breach such an agreement? Let’s be clear: why should the US and other western countries have to make such a special agreement with Putin in order to end a blatantly unjustifiable war of aggression? There is already an agreement of that kind in place –NATO – why should anyone have to pander to Putin by making another? It’s fanciful.
    And why shouldn’t the West be arming Ukraine? Was there something immoral about the massive assistance given to Britain by the US before the latter became a combatant in WW2?
    Everyone wants the killing to end, that’s a motherhood statement. History shows that there are times when you can’t just roll over and make an immoral deal with an aggressor, not merely for reasons of principle, but because there’s no reason to think that such a deal will solve anything.
    Putin is not our friend because he mouths platitudes about traditional values, which he practises, by the way, neither publicly – unless traditional values encompass theft on a cosmological scale, toleration of corruption, the murder of political opponents and dissidents, wars of aggression, and the destruction of every organ of civil society – nor privately, in his own private life.

    • Rebekah Meredith says:

      Well said! Indeed, all wars would be very short if the invaded simply rolled over, and no one else helped them.

    • Brian Boru says:

      We are all inclined to peace as an objective.
      The problem is that on December 5, 1994, leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation met in Budapest, Hungary, to pledge security assurances to Ukraine in connection with its accession to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear-weapons state.
      The signatories of the memorandum pledged to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and inviolability of its borders, and to refrain from the use or threat of military force.
      Now we have Russia in direct violation of that agreement. How could anyone be confident that Russia would honour any new agreement?

    • Peter Smith says:

      I must be missing something. Putin is a rotter, who can’t be trusted and his invasion of Ukraine was unjustified. Okay. But what is the end game for those countries providing weapons to Ukraine? Is it feasible? Is there the will to achieve it?
      The end game for the Allies in WWII was the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan. It proved to be feasible because the Allies were willing to expend every bit of blood and treasure they had. It didn’t work out to well in Vietnam. Keeping the south out of the hands of the communists seemed feasible. There just wasn’t the necessary will. Keeping Afghanistan free of Taliban control might have been feasible. But again the missing will. Of course nobody cared about Tibet. No will at all. Or Cyprus. In this case we have Ukraine fighting bravely and resolutely, with the US and others providing weapons; apparently, according to some commentators here, without limits until the last Ukrainian soldier is left standing. A weak negotiating position at that point.
      I don’t think that the US and its fellow travellers have the will to win, and maybe that’s a good thing in all of the circumstances – Russia having many soldiers to call upon in need and nuclear weapons. If this is right, then the probability of success is zero. My assessment could be wrong. But please avoid addressing the matter by pointing out that Putin is a nasty piece of work. We know that. Personally, I think he’s ruled himself out of consideration for the Nobel Peace prize.

      • lbloveday says:

        “I think he’s ruled himself out of consideration for the Nobel Peace prize”.
        When I refreshed my memory as to the justification for Obama being the 2009 Laureate, I read the, in my opinion ridiculous, rationale for the 2007 winners – IPCC and Al Gore “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”
        PS “..It didn’t work out to well “. Nor too well.

  • Citizen Kane says:

    ‘Let’s be clear: why should the US and other western countries have to make such a special agreement with Putin in order to end a blatantly unjustifiable war of aggression?’
    Perhaps to prevent a wider conflict, World War III and a potential Nuclear Armageddon.
    If one listens to Putin during his only open exchange with the West since the war commenced, through the Carlson interview, he is clearly articulating his desire to negotiate a deal around the territories Peter has alluded to. These are the strategically important maritime regions of Ukraine and the regions that were actively in a civil war with the rest of Ukraine due to its predominantly Russian population prior to Putin’s invasion.
    It’s called an exit strategy – perhaps not ideal, but real politik never is.

  • lbloveday says:

    From the “Leading Article” in this coming Saturday’s (Mar 2) The Spectator Australia:
    Alone – and we really do mean alone – among the Australian mainstream media, indeed in many instances the world media, The Spectator Australia fought from the very beginning against the vaccine mandates, the lockdowns, the mask mandates, the school closures, the banning of perfectly good (and cheap) alternative treatments for Covid and the fraudulent claims being made about the safety of the mRNA ‘vaccines’.

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