Meanwhile, in the Herald, New Zealand’s paper of record, a columnist returns from a visit to the Northern Hemisphere, sees the cloud trails of planes in the sky, visits Wikipedia, and concludes that conspiracy theories about secretive governments poisoning their people from above and deliberately triggering earthquakes could actually be true.
Her arguments stumble onto the page propelled by sentences like this: “My mind went back to when I first became aware of claims that chemtrails with a purpose were being laid across our skies.”
First up, I have a question for any economist who might be reading this: what kind of market failure has led to this situation (where a newspaper *pays* someone to emit poorly written nonsense)?
OTOH Ms Bridgeman’s writing is a handy reminder of an important development relevant point. I’ve been busy interviewing people about voting here in Solomon Islands. And it would be easy to conclude from the general confusion, the quantity of mis-information and the allegations of conspiracy that are present in quite a few of my interviews, that the problem with politics here stems from very poorly informed voters.
An easy conclusion, but also mistaken, as Ms Bridgeman’s writing very helpfully reminds us: voters (not to mention pundits) back home in New Zealand are often woefully under-informed too, or cling to beliefs that are just plain wrong. And yet democracy works well enough in New Zealand. It’s true that there are also plenty of well-informed voters in New Zealand, but that’s also true of Solomons too. So what ever the causes of political dysfunction may be in Solomon Islands they almost certainly aren’t voter ignorance. If they were, New Zealand would be an aid recipient country too.