This is the dawning of the Age of Stupidity
OPINION: Print this out and keep it. Put it away in a desk for a couple of generations – say 50-60 years – and then take it out and read it. We are entering a time that will become known to historians as the Age of Stupidity.
At first it was just a few sad malodorants gathering in dank basements to exchange conspiracy theories. But with the advent of the Internet, these people have linked up, propagated and found willing converts in the lazy, uneducated masses frustrated in their quest for instant gratification.
They want someone to blame for their own inadequacies, their inability to determine fiction from scientific fact, fantasy from reality, and, spurred on by unprincipled and plain loopy politicians, they fixate on the usual suspects – big business and the government that supports it.
The biggest business in this country is agriculture. And so to the lunacies of a fake moon landing, 9/11 being an inside job, measles inoculations causing autism, they add the crazy conspiracies that 1080 poisons the environment, glyphosate causes cancer, GMOs cause cancer, eating meat causes cancer, dairy farming is animal cruelty and farmers are deliberately polluting our waterways.
The truth is easily ascertained. A little delving on the Internet will throw up the science that proves these people wrong, but dry, scholarly research is no match for imaginative lies and distortions on Facebook that warp a little more with each retelling.
The biggest danger comes when voters of governments, central and local, succumb. This is the madness that has seen Hawke's Bay Regional Council taken over by farmer-haters who vow to torpedo the transformational Ruataniwha dam, a body blow that region's economy will never recover from.
And so councils feel they have to placate what is really just a vocal, though shrill, minority with rules restricting all farmers, whether they are inadvertent polluters or not – like drystock, hill country farmers and harmless orchardists in Waikato, for example.
Where will this end? I have my theory. Call it crazy if you like, but wait 50 years to see if I'm wrong.
By then we should be deeply mired in the Age of Stupidity.
In New Zealand's case, farming will be a cottage industry and tourism will have taken over as our sole income earner. Imagine what being dependent on foreign visitors, constantly with our hands out, virtually on our knees pandering to every whim, will do for our national sense of self-worth.
But the Kiwi fighting spirit won't die. I can see a counter-culture being formed to fight back, to return agriculture to its rightful place as our main breadwinner.
It will start in the dark corners of the Internet and gradually spread through social media. At first these people will be dismissed as loonies but then we'll all come to see the truth.
Just remember where you read it first.
Jon Morgan is the editor of NZFarmer.