Rights, Riots and Ratbags: Making Sense of Magical Thinking

Rights, Riots and Ratbags: Making Sense of Magical Thinking

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Meeting Room 2, Belconnen Community Service

26 Chandler Street

Belconnen, ACT 2616


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In this talk, Associate Professor Bruce Baer Arnold will seek to understand the mindset of the believers of pseudo-legal theories.

About this event

Date: Wedneday, 13 July 2022

Time: 6:00 to 7:30pm

Speaker: Associate Professor Bruce Baer Arnold

Venue: Belconnen Community Service, 26 Chandler Street, Belconnen ACT 2616

Cost: Free

Tickets essential:

It is increasingly common for judges to dismiss claims by anti-vax and anti-5G conspiracists as “gobbledygook”, “nonsense” or mischief”. This presentation highlights recent claims and illegality, such as arson at Old Parliament House, in arguing that much of the language about rights is a type of magical thinking. The failure of that language bewilders sovereign citizens and others who think that using all-uppercase names or other techniques such as invocation of settlement of disputes using a blood-axe will free them from obligations regarding taxation, traffic rules, bankruptcy, child support or other law. Bewilderment often results in frustration when those people repeat their behaviour in the expectation that the abracadabra will work in court if each person is sufficiently persistent. Many claims are indeed clearly nonsensical but rather than dismissing the believers outright we can understand those people as adherents of an alternate reality, often impervious to inconvenient facts and driven by a sense that they – unlike you and I – have been uniquely gifted with special knowledge and skills.

Associate Professor Bruce Baer Arnold teaches law at the University of Canberra. His research includes the study of magical thinking and the sovereign citizen phenomenon.

Dinner will follow the lecture (venue TBC). To RSVP for the dinner please email canberraskeptics@gmail.com.

Please note that the venue details may change at short notice.

Canberra Skeptics will be strictly adhering to BCS’s COVID-19 safety measures.

Canberra Skeptics Inc. is a non-profit association incorporated in the Australian Capital Territory for the purpose of promoting critical thinking. For further information about Canberra Skeptics, please visit our website: http://www.canberraskeptics.org

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Twitter: @cbrskeptics

Event announcements:

Meetup: http://meetu.ps/c/clpg/mmVvH/a

Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/canberra-skeptics-18628458762

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