Patrick Stokes writes in The Conversation (7.7.16) about the re-emergence of Pauline Hanson on the national political stage, and how she represents another in a line of public figures who call into question expert opinion and fact-based reasoning.
‘Along with Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”, Pauline Hanson has long stood as a grim reminder that the second half of the 1990s was much worse than the first half. And now, 18 years later, Hanson finds herself back in Canberra.
‘Hanson’s racist agenda will be a stain on the Senate just as surely as the views she represents are a stain on Australia itself. For that reason alone, her return is a cause for dismay. But it is not the only cause.
‘Both Hanson herself and her wider party have a vocal sideline in science denialism: the view that expert consensus on various topics is corrupted and unreliable.
‘… Expertise denial has become a deeply corrosive feature of modern political society. It needs to be called out wherever it appears. But we also need to think about how we reduce people’s disconnection from the sources of epistemic authority. That is a far more wickedly difficult problem. It’s one we’ll still be dealing with long after Hanson’s second fifteen minutes are over. But we can’t wait until then to start.’