Banning 1080 is in the same family of conspiracy as anti water fluoridation & anti-vaxers – good people who are utterly ignorant of the science & whose position is more a spiritual belief than anything to base actual social policy on.
These people burn books to ‘save’ the library.
How do we debate these issues though as a democracy that prides itself on inclusion?
I believe there are 4 factors in the knee-jerk reaction to 1080, fluoridation in water and anti-vaxxers.
1: The decline of scientific literacy: If you push activists on the science behind their accusations, it’s all pseudo-junk with a side serving of outright quackery. The internet has killed knowledge. Once upon a time you went to higher education to gain the tools to be able to test and counter test theories and ideas, now you just google it or ask Siri. We have an electorate who think they know truth without having any ability to ascertain and decide what is truth.
2: The decline of public broadcasting: The pent up fury of activists hits boiling points when much of their unchallenged mythology becomes standard orthodoxy within their own group. Public broadcasting should be there to take up that challenge and host debates on these contentious issues so that the wider populace can see how much of those untested assumptions stand up to critical challenge.
3: The decline of debate: Now everyone is so focused on deplatforming and screaming down dissent, we have an environment where free speech has been attacked as white privilege and that anyone advocating for it is a Nazi. In such an environment the quality of debate has died and gone to Twitter feed hell.
4: The failure of MMP: One of the greatest failures of MMP is the rule that any win below 5% gets zero representation. If the Ban 1080 Party was allowed representation, it would quickly find itself confronted by counter arguments and facts that they couldn’t continue to pretend weren’t real. The electoral system itself could expose these groups to scrutiny they currently don’t get and force them to become better stewards for their cause.
Christine Rose today does a devastating critique of many of the arguments you may have seen re banning 1080, and it seems embarrassing that so many of the lies being spun by Ban 1080 proponents are allowed to stand.
What we need to be doing now is engaging more, not shutting down or blocking or muting. Public Broadcasting has an obligation to start opening up these debates and allowing them to be challenged because we need to win each other over with the truth and reason, not misplaced anger and ignorance.