The scale of the conspiracy

PeterC, over in the comments of my review of Max Hill’s “To the Ends of the Earth” suggested that contemporary archaeologists in Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu (New Zealand) dance to the tune of their political (and funding) masters, which is why there is no academic support for the theses of Max Hill, Martin Doutreé and the like. That got me to thinking: if we were to treat that claim about the existence of a conspiracy seriously, how big would the conspiracy in question actually be?

Think of it this way: Pacific archaeology is not an entirely New Zealand-based concern. Whilst New Zealand archaeologists do an awful lot of our local archaeology, they are just part of the wider archaeological community interested in the history and pre-history of the Pacific. Quite a lot of Pacific archaeology is performed by Americans, the French and Germans, in part because each of these nations have a history of colonial activity in the Pacific.

So, if there is a conspiracy to hide the real history of the Pacific and to deny the existence of some other people living in or passing through the Polynesian archipelago, it must be a pretty big one that encompasses the research output of not just the New Zealand university and research community but extends to the university and research communities of Europe and the Americas1. What possible rationale is there for such a large-scale, encompassing conspiracy?

You might concede that maybe someone, in a position of political power, decided one day that we should rewrite Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu’s history in order to appease some group of Māori (even though I think this is very unlikely it is still a possibility) but why would that decision be in anyway binding on the research outputs of archaeologists and historians elsewhere, especially since these reports are perfect congruent with the archaeological research that is produced elsewhere in Polynesia? Why do American archaeologists write site reports and make inferences which look eerily similar to the site reports of French and New Zealand archaeologists? Surely, if there is a conspiracy, we should see a divergence of views between these sets of researchers?

Now, maybe the large-scale claim of conspiracy is justified: I did say that these nations have a history of colonialism, so maybe they are part of a “post-colonial guilt party” conspiracy, or the indigenous peoples of this place (generally speaking) have some kind of hold over the governments of these nations, but that just seems unlikely. The attitudes of France, America and New Zealand with respect to the indigenous peoples of the Pacific really couldn’t be that different (look at the poor state of native rights in Haiwaii) and so it just doesn’t follow that American archaeologists doing Pacific archaeology funded by American universities and NGOs would be hiding evidence of some non-Polynesian, pre-cursor people in the way that Doutree and company seem to allege.

You might also, if we’re going to treat this thesis with more respect than it deserves, argue that the decision was made by, say, the American establishment and we’re just following the dictates of a world superpower. Once again, you have to give a reason as to why, say, America would want to pervert history and produce archaeological disinformation, especially given, as previously noted, just how badly off the Hawaiians are (and let’s not forget the plight of the Native Americans).

Both of these rationales also fall foul of a basic truth about research communities; governments set the funding levels and they certainly mangle research outputs by overfunding some types of degrees and underfunding others. but they don’t control who researches what and they certainly don’t set up the terms of such enquiries, let alone decide what conclusions are allowed to be drawn. Certainly, many of Ansell’s fellow travellers complain about the kind of research that goes on in the academic sector and how good it is that sensible Ministers in our present Government ignore such policy advice and use common sense instead. It seems that the kind of people who are likely to come up with a conspiracy about there being an agenda to hide the existence of a pre-Māori people want to have it both ways when it comes to condemning the research outputs of our universities.

The other problem with this claim about large-scale conspiracy in the world of archaeology is that, surely, you would expect someone to buck the system and release evidence of both the hidden history and the conspiracy itself. This is a common argument against the 9/11 Truth Movement (and, increasingly, being employed to show that the claims of a “CIA/Swedish honeytrap” against Julian Assange seems very unlikely): the lack of countering evidence to the well-accepted or official theory seems to suggest that the theory is plausible. Now, any holder of a conspiracy theory which claims that well-accepted or official theory is based on disinformation, etc. will point towards people like Richard Gage (with respect to the 9/11 Truth Movement) and Martin Doutré (with respect to the Celtic New Zealand thesis) and say “But, looksy, there is evidence to the contrary and these brave researchers are willing to put up with shoddy ad hominem attacks and ridicule to get the truth out there!”

But, once again, this seems to present a problem of scale: Doutré and Gage are not just dismissed by part of the academy but, rather, all of it worldwide. Doutré and Hill’s respective theses are not just considered silly and vapid in Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu but elsewhere as well, so we’re back to the “Everyone (else) is in on the conspiracy” angle which, as I’ve shown, is already problematic.

But it gets worse. Doutré and Hill’s radical pre-histories of Polynesia is based upon not just archaeological claims but also claims based in comparative linguistics, oral histories, ethnography, epigraphy and (to name a few). In each of these fields, his arguments have been picked on by someone with appropriate expertise who are largely in agreement with the rest of their peers. If there is a conspiracy in existence, it’s not just a conspiracy in the worldwide archaeological community but, rather, a conspiracy of every academic everywhere2.

Once again, this is a potentially huge conspiracy that people like PeterC are envisioning, and given the different research funding models worldwide, the organisation and control of this conspiracy is likely not to be governmental (unless you believe there exists a New World Order/One World Government who have, as one of their aims, the promotion of both false history and indigenous rights) but, rather, academic.

Now, admittedly, people like John Ansell and Martin Doutré will agree with this and say “Well, we’ve been saying the academic world has been taken over my Marxists for ages now!” but a) it’s not clear that Ansell and Doutreé know what Marxism, as a mode of academic pursuit, looks like and b) it’s not clear that Marxism is the most popular mode of academic pursuit at the moment any way3.

More importantly, though, who is directing us academics to pursue research in a Marxist way?

Ansell, PeterC, Doutré and company will say “That’s where the funding comes from” but is it? Sure, New Zealand’s university sector is funded by central government, so maybe there are Marxists in the Ministry of Education, but what about America? There are lots of American researchers who work in Pacific archaeology, linguistics, history and other related disciplines and their university sector is definitely not funded by the Federal Government (there is very little publicly funded research in the USA) so if the conspiracy is based around funding, it’s a conspiracy where either the international (particularly American) academic sector has undue sway over individual government funding bodies like we find in New Zealand or small countries like our own somehow have sway over the international research funding community.

Both theories seem unlikely, I must confess.

There is, of course, another option. Perhaps, just perhaps, the radical theories of the Richard Gages and Martin Doutré’s of this world are considered lacking in academic merit because, well, such theories are lacking in the kinds of credentials a largely independent academic sector expect to find. No need to posit a conspiracy; outlier research like that found in the 9/11 Truth Movement or the Celtic New Zealand crowd might just be examples of pseudo-research.

However, I don’t think that conclusion, however likely it appears to be, will be accepted by people like PeterC.

Notes

  1. Truth be told, quite a lot of New Zealand archaeology is undertaken by people who not only did their undergraduate and post-graduate studies overseas but are, shock horror, foreign nationals (and not necessarily the kind the GSCB is allowed to spy on).
  2. I would love to see the agenda for the meetings that set up such a conspiracy. I’ve been in academic staff meetings. They are not pretty. No one seems to be able to agree with anyone.
  3. That being said, no matter what I say next, Ansell and Doutré will likely claim we’re all “closet Marxists” who are either unaware we are Marxists or are afraid to admit to being Marxists because we might suffer the old bit of biffo by the common person on the street.

A primer on the Treatygate conspiracy theory

As a fair number of people are finding this blog and series of posts whilst looking for information on John Ansell’s “Colourblind New Zealand” and “Treatygate” campaigns, I thought it would be useful to have a series of primers on the central tenets of his claims, showing why we should not support his campaigns. In the previous post I provided a series of reasons as to why Ansell’s “equality for all under the law” thesis rests upon a fundamental misunderstanding of the process of restitution that are the Treaty Settlements and how he and his allies mistake the renaissance of Māori culture for Māori somehow having more privileges than other New Zealanders. In this post, I will show that Ansell’s “Treatygate” thesis is a vapid conspiracy theory.

What is “Treatygate?”

“Treatygate” is the thesis that the series of treaty settlements both show that Māori are more privileged than Pākehā in Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu1 and that New Zealand history is being perverted and changed by both Māori and Pākehā cultural elites to justify these settlements. As such, “Treatygate” is a conspiracy theory. It is a thesis that rests upon a claim of conspiracy which says:

    1. These exists a set of plotters (the Māori and Pākehā cultural elites, including members of both major political parties) who
    2. Seek to advance an agenda to give the country back to Māori and deny New Zealanders their true history
    3. Work towards this goal in secret (in that the true history of this place is being kept hidden from the populace and the real reasons for treaty settlements is not being admitted to).

The Treatygate thesis, as espoused by the arguments of John Ansell, is an argument claims there is a conspiracy about Māori which, despite the alleged statistical data, are highly privileged in New Zealand society and that the true history of this place is being kept from ordinary New Zealanders.

Why is the thesis behind “Treatygate” a bad argument?

With respect to the first claim, that Māori are highly privileged, the statistics say otherwise. Ansell and company avoid this, in part, by claiming the problem with Māori is a Māori concern which should be solved by Māori and thus Ansell and company place the blame on iwi leaders.

Note two things about this move.

    1. This kind of argument makes out that Māori are, in some sense, not proper New Zealanders. Ansell’s argument assumes the very thing he is trying to persuade and prove to his audience: Māori do not believe themselves to be like the rest of the New Zealand population. That may be Ansell’s view, but he has no good argument to back it up. Rather, he just asserts it and moves on.

    2. By placing the blame on Māori, Ansell ignores the role of colonisation in the socio-economic environment that is New Zealand. Ansell’s argument is entirely economic when it comes to solving the problems of Māoridom and yet seems to be almost entirely social when it comes to pointing out how Pākehā are, somehow, disadvantaged by the process of Treaty settlements.

It is hard to show that Pākehā are economically disadvantaged by such settlements, so Ansell and company have to talk about Māori having more of some set of amorphous rights than other New Zealanders (such as access to the Waitangi Tribunal). It’s. tricksy argument because it trades on a feeling of being disadvantaged rather than actual disadvantage and it is subject to a lot of goal post shifting; even if you can conclusively show that Pākehā and Tau Iwi are better off than Māori with respect to health statistics, arrest rates and the like, there are a lot of other areas in which such people feel worse off even if they actually aren’t.

With respect to the Treatygate claims about the true history of Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu being kept from ordinary New Zealanders, Ansell and his allies have two tactics which they use to try to show up conventional New Zealand history as being wrong.

The first is to claim that modern histories are pro-Māori and anti-Pākehā, and thus such histories overlook the benefits the Europeans brought to this place.

The second is to claim that Māori are not, properly understood, indigenous to Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu either by claiming that when the Māori first arrived there was another people living here or by claiming that as Māori only arrived some six to eight hundred years prior to the Europeans, that Māori are also recent settlers like other New Zealanders.

Biased Histories

The first claim, about the nature of contemporary historical interpretations of early Colonial/Māori interactions, rests upon a misunderstanding of how History and historical interpretation works. Ansell and his allies will point towards histories written in the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century and say “These histories show both a Māori society that was in decline (socially and economically) and a willingness (indeed, eagerness) to embrace British rules and values.” They will then point to modern histories and argue that such modern histories either ignore these early histories or dispute them. They then conclude by saying “These earlier writers witnessed what they wrote about first hand; if modern historians are ignoring them, then what is there reason?” or “If modern historians dispute these earlier accounts, are they doing so because its PC,” with the assumption the real reason is that modern historians have or are part of an agenda to hide or obscure the truth of what happened in the early days of Māori/Pākehā interactions.

The issue with this suggested conspiracy is this: these early writers Ansell and company rely upon were often not historians and, even when they were historians, they were writing their histories in a way that is now thought to be problematic.

Historians work from a corpus of archival materials and modern historians are particularly sensitive to the possible political nature of their work. Whilst it seems obvious in retrospect, it is really quite a modern notion to recognise that when people write about events, such accounts can (and often do) reflect the political leanings of both their day and the writer’s own beliefs about the kind if world they think they live in. When it comes to Colonial history, many writers sought to show the benefits European civilisation had brought to New Zealand whilst others wanted to play up the devastation the Pākehā wrought. Modern historians have to sort through these varying accounts and try to discern the facts of history from the political polemics that such histories are wrapped in2. Ansell, and his Treatygate researchers, work solely from pro-Colonial accounts and ignore the other historical data. This is the same kind of sin they charge the holders of the orthodox history as committing.

Indigeneity, a lack thereof

Ansell’s second line of argument, about indigeneity, is a rather more curious beast. Ansell has expressed conditional support for the work of Martin Doutré, an amateur historian and archaeologist who has written both on Treaty issues and on the pre-history of Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounami. Doutré claims there was a pre-Māori, Celtic people who lived in New Zealand and were wiped out and/or absorbed into Māori. If this claim were true, it would speak against Māori being indigenous and a first people. He also provides evidence to back up his claims, but the evidence he provides does not clearly support his thesis. Like many amateur archaeologists, his site interpretations seem to be attempts to find evidence for his theory pre-Māori people rather than engaging in a process of discovery, where the evidence leads him to the development of a theory. His interpretations of the oral histories and mythology of the Māori are equally problematic, as I have outlined here in an earlier post.3

Ansell and company want Doutré’s work to be treated as some kind of plausible historical narrative but their standard of plausibility is not the usual standard we associate with good historical research. Plausible historical accounts are explanations of events based upon our best inferences. The standard of plausibility Doutré (and Ansell) want us to operate with is the “If it’s possible it might be true, we should investigate it” kind, which shows they are either confusing or deliberately conflating “possibility” with “probability.” If you counter this and say “But it’s so unlikely, so why should we bother?” they will response with some claim like “What is it you are trying to hide?” thus assuming the very academic conspiracy they are concerned with.

Doutré’s work is not taken seriously by historians or archaeologists and it belongs to a particular school of fringe archaeology practised worldwide which claims to find evidence of earlier, now forgotten, supercultures which once spanned the globe but, somehow, didn’t leave behind any robust records of their existence. Whilst Ansell has expressed support for Doutré generally,, Ansell refuses to accept that he has explicitly endorsed the pre-Māori thesis4. Thus, if pushed, Ansell will distance himself from this particular view, which means a second strand of argumentation is needed to bolster the claim that Māori are not indigenous.

The argument Ansell and his supporters seem to fall back on, then, is to say “Māori are immigrants/recent settlers too.” They claim that Māori are like the rest of the New Zealand population: people who got here recently by boat and thus are no more deserving of the claim of being indigenous than someone whose family has been here four generations or so. The fact that Māori have been here for a significantly longer time, had a unique and developed culture, their own language and the like is irrelevant, it seems, to the holders of this view.

However, none of this really matters; the Treaty makes no claim about Māori being a first people or having been here a long time. It simply recognises that they were here before Pākehā. This entire strand of argumentation is a distraction, a reason to get angry at “them uppity Maoris.” It has no bearing on whether the Treaty process is just and fair.

Concluding Thoughts

Ansell’s conspiracy theory about New Zealand history and the Treaty process is implausible and unwarranted: his claim that there is a conspiracy, by the Māori and cultural/political elites in New Zealand society is a claim that can be easily dismissed via an analysis of the kind of evidence he uses to buttress his arguments5.

Ansell’s argument for the existence of a conspiracy looks more complex than it really is. This is because, in part, he has collected a large amount of disparate evidence to support it, most of which relies on radical reinterpretations of New Zealand’s pre-contact and early post-contact history and some of which assumes the existence of the very conspiracy he is trying to prove the existence thereof. Like many conspiracy theorists (9/11 Truthers are a good example here), Ansell assumes that if an interlocuter cannot respond to his “evidence” with a counter-argument which accepts the proffered evidence as being true then they have no argument against his view at all. To argue with Ansell you have to accept much of his evidential base. A failure to respect to his sources (say, questioning them) just shows that you are in on the con (and likely to be the product of a Marxist institution which has blinded you to the reality and gravity of the supposed problem). As such, Ansell and his allies live in an echo chamber which, due to the way these things work, selects for the evidence that supports their views and discounts any argument which disputes that evidence as being evidence of the conspiracy against them. Ansell thinks this is the way the academic sector works with respect to our supposedly “PC” histories (gone mad) and either he thinks you fight like with like or he doesn’t appreciate that the academic sector has something above and beyond the echo chamber: we live in a combative peer review system where success is measured not just by your ability to develop and improve on existing theories but also in demolishing theories which are weak, unsubstantiated or based on poor arguments.

I’m mixed in my feelings about the likely success of the Colourblind New Zealand campaign. There is still a substantial section of our population which either views Māori as a base underclass or iwi as greedy and manipulative. It is possible that Ansell’s campaign might have legs. However, it is also possible that it will self-destruct either because Ansell’s “Either you are with me 100% or agin me” attitude, which has already turned away some potential fellow travellers, will alienate the very supporters he needs or he will end up saying something that exposes just how dark an underbelly his movement has6. Whatever the case, should his movement gain traction, I hope these two posts prove to be useful in talking through the issues Ansell is raising.

Notes

  1. In part, the Treatygate thesis is an extension of the Colourblind New Zealand campaign.
  2. Modern written histories and historians can also suffer from the same kinds of biases, which is why we have peer review systems. However, Ansell and company think that the academic world is involved in a conspiracy to hide the truth, so any peer review of a pro pre-Maori history which criticises that work is evidence of the conspiracy and not evidence, it seems, that historians are treating the work seriously but noting its short-comings.
  3. This post is also a good primer on Doutré’s work.
  4. His endorsement appears in this post when he wrote:

    Pretend that Maori are indigenous to New Zealand, when they sailed here just before the Europeans, and suppress the mounting evidence that other races got here first.

  5. What is not so easily dismissed is the way in which he trades upon a particular psychological attitude towards Māori, in that Ansell and his allies display and make use of the feeling that the policy of biculturalism in Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu has not settled well with a certain section of middle-aged, middle-class Pākehā. These are the people who believe things were better for them when Māori and Māoridom were treated as an historical part of our society rather than part of its contemporary vibrancy.
  6. I haven’t talked at all, in these two posts, about the wholesale racial denigration of Māori that has gone on in the comments thread over at Ansell’s blog, and Ansell’s facile and insulting claim that so-called “Muslim fanaticism” (i.e. the reason why we are involved in a War on Terror) is equivalent to Māori unease about the so-called “benefits” of colonisation.

Ansell and Doutré – Part II

Really, John Ansell is the curmudgeonly, bigoted gift that keeps on giving. Despite admitting that he hasn’t actually read Martin Doutré’s book, “Celtic New Zealand” he’s willing to stand by his man.

I am not qualified to judge Martin’s efforts regarding pre-Maori inhabitants, especially when he gets into the technicalities of surveying.

On the topic of Martin Doutré’s support for the work of David Irving, He goes on to say:

I have heard about Martin’s so-called support for David Irving. I have also heard from Martin how his words are routinely twisted by people who regard him as a threat.

These people, I seem to recall, include Scott Hamilton and you.

I assume the words ‘his support for David Irving’ are intended to imply that Martin does not accept that there was a Nazi holocaust against the Jews.

My first instinct is to doubt very much that Martin believe this.

Now, I’ll give Ansell some credit here. Given that Doutré claimed the criticisms against Irving were part of a Zionist conspiracy, it is fair to say that whilst it’s not entailed that Doutré’s support of Irving means he also denies the reality of the Holocaust (he might, after all, just be saying “There is no one document which details it”), Doutré has claimed that the criticisms levelled against Irving are part of a Zionist conspiracy. It certainly sounds like he is some kind of fellow traveller with Irving and his supporters.

It’s also not fair to say that I, or people like Scott or Gio, have twisted Doutré’s words. We’ve simply quoted what he wrote over in the Scoop Review of Books thread. Ansell has admitted to not having read that thread but so he could, quite easily, go and check to see if we really are twisting Doutré’s words or reporting them faithfully.

It would only take one click: we’ve already provided him with the necessary link several times.

Ansell goes on:

My first instinct is to doubt very much that Martin believe this.

This instinct is heightened because the implication comes from someone who (correct me if I’m wrong) supports the Waitangi Tribunal/Tariana Turia/Kerry Opae view that there was a British holocaust in Taranaki against Maori.

Now, my view on what happened in the Taranaki is irrelevant here. I could believe or have no belief in a holocaust in the Taranaki and that would have no effect on my ability to parse English sentences and understand that when Doutré writes:

As for David Irving, it was generally accepted worldwide that he was the most astute, prolific, all-round scholar and historian on the subject of WWII, at least up until May, 1988, when he made a very bad career choice. At that time he was called upon to give expert testimony, under oath, in a court case and stated that he could find no documented evidence of “Hitler’s Final Solution”. For this unforgivable admission, he fell foul of the Zionists who, thereafter, focused their hatred on him and have been unrelenting in trying to destroy his credibility ever since.

what he is implying is that he thinks Irving’s research is top-notch and that the Zionists are out to get him.

I don’t know whether Ansell thought he was being clever to suggest that my views on Doutré’s support of Irving is somehow clouded by whatever unexpressed views I have about what happened in the Taranaki, or Ansell is just being malacious and trying to smear my view (in the eyes of his supporters) by saying something like “We can ignore Matthew’s criticism of Doutré’s support of Irving because Matthew (I assume) supports the notion of a holocaust in the Taranaki, and that’s just wack, don’t you think?”

I’m leaning towards the malicious interpretation, meself.

Whatever the case, it’s irrelevant, and Ansell is just trying to distract people from the fact he doesn’t really want to look into Doutré’s support of the work of a noted Holocaust denier.

Later still Ansell revealed his sympathy for the 9/11 Truth movement:

I read in Scott Hamilton’s character assassination of Martin Doutre that he is a 911 sceptic too. Again, odd for a right-winger, don’t you think?

(But entirely typical of an honest seeker of truth.)

Being curious about all things, I decided on Saturday to visit an exhibition in the bowels of the Tug Boat in Oriental Bay created by a group called NZers for 911 Truth.

I did not expect to be persuaded by their evidence. But I was prepared to look at it with an open mind.

(To me, that’s what you do, rather than engage the scoff reflex.)

I have to say the evidence was superbly presented. If it was fraudulent – and I couldn’t say for sure until I’d seen the other side’s rebuttal – then it was an extremely plausible fraud.

I spent a good half-hour grilling the designer of the exhibition, Peter Woods. He, too, could not be faulted for his ability to supply plausible answers to my every question.

But here’s my point…

For revealing this information to you now, what’s the betting that I will now be reported by Matthew Dentith and Scott Hamilton as being a ’911 conspiracy theorist like Doutre’?

Now, it’s clear from this that Ansell (as he states later on) hasn’t subscribed totally to the thesis of 9/11 Truth but it does show something of the intellectual character of the person behind “Treatygate.” So, no, I won’t be calling him a 9/11 Truther just yet. He is, rather, just intellectually shallow and incredibly naive.

John Ansell is the kind of person who is easily persuaded by the presentation of an idea, rather than the evidence for it. He is also the kind of person who thinks that if an idea is expressed with sincerity and conviction, then it should be believed. He doesn’t understand where the burden of proof lies when it comers to extraordinary claims. He also seems to favour contrarian thinking: these all make for a dangerous combination which, despite his claims to the contrary, blinkers Ansell to reason and argument.

Indeed, I said something to that extent in the thread:

I think, John, the problem here is that you don’t actually appreciate how arguments work and the relationship between evidence and theory. I’m not going to call you an 9/11 Truther because, as you said, you want to hear the other side. I am going to call you incredibly naive, for your position in this matter (and if you really think there is no good evidence of a plane hitting the Pentagon, then I have a bridge to sell you). Issues like the explanation of the events of 9/11, whether anthropogenic climate change is occurring, et cetera, are not debates between two sides which deserve equal treatment. Both “Climate Change Skepticism” (I put that in quotes, because the proponents of that view present what is really a mockery of skepticism) and 9/11 Truth are radical views which go against the best theories of our day and thus shoulder a heavy burden of proof: proponents of those views need to provide extraordinary evidence to support their theories before we should entertain those theories as being plausible.

Just because you, a common man on the street, find the arguments of the proponents of these views persuasive doesn’t mean their arguments are any good: it just means you are a bit credulous when it comes to valuing the presentation of arguments over their content. You keep talking about how you value people who hold their views with conviction and the value of contrarian thinking, but these have nothing to do with claims about which theory or explanation of an event is the best. Martin Doutré may well hold his views with conviction and sincerity, but that doesn’t mean his views are supported by the evidence: indeed, the lack of support by members of his peer community (historians, et cetera) indicate that whilst he is convinced by his own arguments, others are not.

This should say something to you about his views, but it does not, because you value conviction over rigour and you seem to think that if someone can answer your questions, then they have it right and the burden of proof is on those who would oppose it. What is so perverse about this is that you seem to think your intuitions are, somehow, a mark of when a view is right or wrong and yet I really don’t know why you would think that. Your support of Doutré revisionist history of Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu and your credulous views on the events of 9/11 speak to your judgement about the so-called “Treatygate” scandal: if you see fictitious conspiracies in these arenas, then it seems reasonable to think your claims of conspiracy and malfeasance in the “Treaty industry” are similarly wrongheaded.

As if that wasn’t enough to go on Martin Doutré also dropped by to lay down the law. Rather than addressing our criticism of his support of Irving, he decided the best way to deal with the issue was to imply that Gio and meself were part of some conspiracy to shut work like his down.

Here in New Zealand, as elsewhere, there are droves of politically-aligned individuals that I delicately refer to as “rent-a-pricks” (the hallway-monitors) who are pressed into service by their handlers to hijack significant blogs like this one, get plenty of red-herrings strewn around to lead everyone off the scent or pour cold water over anything politically-inconvenient.

Their purpose and function is to generally “bugger” the otherwise serious discussion.

I really would love to know who my handler is and why they haven’t given me my luxury yacht yet. Frankly, if I’m part of the conspiracy (and let’s face it, I’d make a great specimen: I’ve spent time with senior members of the US Department of State and was personally invited to attend a workshop run by the US Air Force on the control of fringe groups), then they aren’t really looking after me.

Where is my tenure? Where is my rocket pack?

Why haven’t they recommissioned “Farscape” (sorry, “Firefly” fans: “Farscape” comes first)?

Doutré went on to say:

I once presented Matthew Dentith with an “off-the-top-of-my-head” list of 29 major anomalies that exist within New Zealand and Pacific archaeology.

The only requirement was for Dentith to acknowledge or discount the anomalies.

All I got from Matthew Dentith was a pathetic “fob-off” and no explanations of any substance whatsoever, although he now “boasts” that he answered all of my points and put me in my place.

He didn’t even remotely address anything.

This, once again, is the thread in question. You can go and look at both my answers and… His lack of acknowledge I had worked through the list and given plausible explanations of his “anomalies.” It’s almost as if he had no adequate response to it.

Now, maybe he didn’t see them, although he did see Scott and Edward’s responses. Maybe he thought my answers were so ridiculous that he didn’t need to say anything against them, but, once again, he did seem to think Scott and Edward’s replies, silly as he thought they were, needed to be addressed.

So, I’m stuck thinking that maybe Doutré, with his reliance on out-dated anthropological theories and his double-standard approach to historical research (he treats similar claims as either literal or figurative depending on how well they suit his theory at a given time), couldn’t come up with a response to my criticisms.

You might wonder why I keep going back to Ansell’s blog. Well, this is my rationale: should Ansell’s Treatygate campaign actually get off the ground (which I doubt, but miracles, even evil ones, still happen), there needs to be some other resource, other than Ansell’s blog, for people to refer to (for example, if I were Ansell I’d be deleting large chunks of the comments thus far, because it’s going to be politically embarrassing for him in the long term; aside from the lack of intellectual rigour, a lot of his comments about Māori show that he really believes them to be an inferior people to Pākehā) which covers just how intellectually unsound Ansell’s arguments are and who his fellow travellers are.

So, yes, I’m doing this for the sake of the future.

Even though in the present, this is giving me a hernia.

Not really joking.

Ansell and Doutré

John Ansell has coming out in support of Martin Doutré, an amatuer researcher I’ve written about in earlier posts, and it’s quite the endorsement:

Over the past year, I’ve read a lot of Martin’s writing.

I’ve prodded and poked at him on a few occasions when some explanation didn’t quite gel. And yet he’s always come up trumps. I’ve never failed to be impressed by the depth and breadth and robustness of his knowledge.

I’m very happy to stand with Martin, just as I was once proud to stand with Roger Douglas.

and:

By the time this campaign is over, I intend the name of Martin Doutre to be well-known to his countrymen, and for all the right reasons.

However, it should be noted that Ansell also said this:

I have not read Martin’s book about Celtic New Zealand, but I was very impressed with his book on the Littlewood Treaty.

So, Ansell is willing to endorse Doutré and his work on a possible pre-Māori people without having actually read the book.

I wonder what Ansell would think of it if he did. I mean, to Ansell’s credit, he has read Max Hill’s “To the Ends of the Earth” (my thoughts on that book here and found it wanting:

For the record, I have seen evidence of pre-Maori that seems plausible, but I’ve also seen a recent book about Egyptians colonising New Zealand that I found totally implausible.

The book had some rather dubious photographs purporting to show New Zealand on an ancient map, but the blob in question could have been anything west of Fiji or east of the Philippines.

I should say that this book had nothing to do with Martin Doutre.

Whilst it’s true that Doutré is not responsible for this book, one of Doutré’s fellow researchers, Gary Cook, is. Cook wrote several of the chapters in “To the Ends of the Earth” and given Cook and Doutré’s association, I would be surprised if Doutré is, at the very least, somewhat supportive of Hill’s work (this is supposition on my part, I do admit).

Given the criticisms of Ansell’s support of the pre-Māori, Celtic New Zealand thesis, Ansell got in contact with Doutré and asked for his opinion on what we “Marxists” were saying. Doutré’s reply is interesting.

Firstly, he seems to blame those of us who criticise him for coining the term “Celtic New Zealand thesis” for coming up with the notion of “Celtic New Zealand” because even though Doutré called his book “Celtic New Zealand,” it’s out fault for using that term to describe his thesis:

This whole off-centre focus on “Celtic” is a typical Marxist distraction or red-herring to draw focus away from what is so copiously stated in our history books (recorded oral traditions) and, instead, get people looking sideways at “obviously demented” individuals like Martin Doutré with his “crack-pot” theories about actual “Celts” roaming around New Zealand.

Yes, it’s our fault to take him at his word and think he referred to Celts when talking about a Celtic people living in Aotearoa me Te Wai Pounamu.

Let’s not forget that Doutré is also a supporter of another revisionist historian, David Irving and seems to believe in a Zionist plot to destroy Irving’s career debunking the Holocaust.

Frankly, I can’t wait to see what new evidence and “thinkers” Ansell decides to cite approvingly in his campaign for a “colourblind” state.