Thus speaks Winston Peters on whether he is running for the Auckland (super-)Mayoralty. However, when I skimmed the article my first thought was ‘Is Winston really our source of true beliefs?’ If he is, what does that mean?
Winston Peters, for my non-Aotearoa/Te Wai Pounamu-based readers, is the leader of a populist, often prejudiced, political party. His party failed to make the threshold in the last election and thus Peters has gone into a kind of retirement (I say ‘kind of’ because he tends to rise from the ashes and I wouldn’t be surprised, if the Rapture ever occurred, that he would somehow manage to take control of Heaven; I have the suspicion that he is that kind of man). That’s by-the-by, however; Peters is also a great source of Conspiracy Theories about New Zealand; he was the public face of the Winebox Inquiry and has made claims about Russian submarines, Libertarian pederasts and the like.
Sometimes, he is right. The Winebox Inquiry showed some degree of conspiratorial activity (which may well have been lawful) and the Jim Peron scandal… well, I probably shouldn’t call it a Conspiracy Theory except for the fact that Person seems to insinuate that it was a smear campaign set up against him… Anyway. The point here is that whilst Peters sometimes gets it right he often gets it very, very wrong.
Peters often claimed that the Media were out to get him, but that ordinary New Zealanders would see through the smokescreen of allegations and the like. I’m hard-pressed to call this a Conspiracy Theory because every politician says the same thing whether they are right or wrong. However, Peters has claimed so much more:
(There was, just after the election when the media were crowing over Peters defeat and the demise of New Zealand First, a list of some of the wackier claims Peters has made. At the time I made a great deal out of it, because a family member had been going ‘Well, he’s always been right in the past…’ and this list, I believe in a Sunday Star Times, showed that, actually, he’s more often wrong than right. I should have clipped the list out, but I did not, and now it seems lost to history. A pity.)
Matthew Hooton’s blog (which I never thought I’d link to) has an impressive list of things Peters has claimed. I won’t detail them any further, but it makes for interesting reading.
So, imagine a world where “Unless I say it, then nothing’s true,” a world where our true beliefs come from one Winston Peters. The mind boggles1. It would be a world where Conspiracies were (even more?) common, a world where the words of a politician should be taken as being more important than a member of the public and a world where vested interests must be investigated… to a certain point.
If the rumours are right, it is also a world where Peters becomes the Mayor of Super-Auckland.
This may well seem very silly, and it is, but as an Epistemologist I find the phrase “Unless I say it, then nothing’s true” to be incredibly intriguing, especially when it is abstracted from its context.
Food for thought.