The Blogspot archiving system had something of a meltdown after Google took over. There is sometimes now no way of accessing most of the past posts from my blog. I am therefore putting up most of my past posts as separate sites. It seems to be the only way to keep them available.
In summary, my posts for 2002 are now available as follows:
The earliest postings on my blog -- from 10th July, 2002 to 31 October 2002 are sometimes available where they should be -- at http://jonjayray.blogspot.com/jonjayray_archive.html -- but they have also been reposted below:
The November 2002 postings on my blog have been reposted here.
The December 2002 postings on my blog have been reposted here.
Comments? Email me. See my most recent writings on my Blog HERE. See my Home Page Here. For a FULL MENU of my academic writings, see here or here.
31 October, 2002
IF there are no recent postings here it is because blogger.com has lost touch with blogspot again. Try here instead in that case. Sorry to be repetitious but all those who work with blogger.com know how unpredictable it can be. They have "lost" two of my sites so far already.
LEFTIST RAGE AT THE LIGHT
I have just received an interesting email from Shishir Yerramilli that tells us a lot about Leftists:
"I emailed your excellent, eloquent blog's link (i.e. http://jonjayray.batcave.net/psychlef.html) to a Leftist Canadian friend of mine in his 40's (I'm in my early 20's) who, like me, lives in the U.S. His rants against the U.S, Bush are quite typical of those of his ideology, so I won't bore you with them. We were pretty good friends ... until today. He emailed a furious response comparing me to white trash (I'm a Hindu from India) and called me a degenerate idiot, unmotivated, a leech on this country etc., etc. This has exposed not just his unstable nature which is incapable of withstanding criticism (like most Leftists) but perhaps more to the potency of your views. The tone of the mail leaves no doubt that the chasm between us is final and was politically motivated. I would genuinely like to thank you for your blog. It cost me a friend but clearly one I didn't need. The experience was quite an eyeopener. I hate to just have friends who share my (conservative) views but I want to maintain friendships and not have them end in this ugly fashion. Just thought you'd be interested to know the impact of your blog :-)"
Taxation WITH representation isn't so hot, either!
Thanks to Chris Tame for that one.
Leftists try to put it about that only they care about welfare measures for the more needy of our fellow-citizens (ignoring such great Rightist welfare innovators as Bismarck, Disraeli, Teddy Roosevelt etc). The truth is, of course, that conservatives are interested enough in welfare to deal with the issue in all its complexity rather than seeing welfare as being just ever-increasing handouts for anybody who wants a handout. The debate described here sums it all up rather nicely.
The Summary from my recent article in "Front Page", which showed that modern-day Leftism consists largely of recycled Fascist ideas, was reprinted by the glamorous Sylvia Finlayson in her corner of "Meridian", a Mormon magazine. It evoked a furious response from CC, one of her readers, which she forwarded to me. CC's response is an amazing example of the troglodytic inability to learn anything that still seems to characterize many Leftists out there in the big wide world so I thought I might quote part of it. He objects to my claim that modern Leftism was prefigured by Mussolini by saying:
" Fascism nationalizes industry by giving ownership to the state, socialism nationalizes industries by giving ownership to the workers in that industry."
So to him Leftism is socialism and socialism is unreconstructed Marxism. It was Russia's Lenin who gave the ownership of all industry to the State so even Lenin would have been a Rightist to him! His version of Leftism exists only in his own mind. Curiously, by his definition, Mussolini was actually more Leftist than Lenin. The Russian workers had precious little say in the running of the Soviet industries in which they worked but Mussolini's "corporations" did give the Italian workers some say.
Very interesting October 16th post from Jim Miller in case you missed it:
Young People and the Vietnam War: Andrew Sullivan makes a common error in his post on the Bali bombing, when he argues that young people were more likely to oppose the Vietnam war than older people. In fact, polls at the time showed that young people were "more supportive of the war than older people" [John E. Mueller, "War, Presidents and Public Opinion", p. 137]. Even more surprising to some, the more educated a person, the more likely they were to support the Vietnam war. There were similar patterns of support in World War II and the Korean War. The current tendency of young people to be more inclined to support a war with Iraq is consistent with the patterns in past wars, contrary to what Sullivan thinks.
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30 October, 2002
An interview with Stephen Hicks seems to give a very clear exposition of what postmodernism is all about:
"The contradictions they [The postmodernists] embrace are so obvious: "All cultures are equal, but the West is uniquely evil. Values are subjective, but sexism and racism are really evil. Technology is bad, but it's unfair the West has more of it ...... [Post-modernists are] driven not by a desire to discover or advance truth but primarily by the desire to hurt the enemy. If all you want to do is destroy, it doesn't matter to you if the words you use contradict each other."
Good Leftist stuff.
Roger Scruton makes a similar point:
Hence, in Rorty, Derrida, and Foucault, we find a shared duplicity of purpose: On the one hand to undermine all claims to absolute truth and on the other hand to uphold the orthodoxies upon which their congregation depends. The very reasoning that sets out to destroy the ideas of objective truth and absolute value imposes political correctness as absolutely binding and cultural relativism as objectively true.
Good old-fashioned Leftist hypocrisy, in short.
Thanks to Arthur Silber and Peter Cuthbertson for suggesting the links.
I am glad nobody fell into the trap of chiding me for saying "skinger of forn" in one of my recent posts. Though one lady who was the victim of a postmodern education did politely ask me what I meant by it. It is one of my favourite Spoonerisms. But I think the best Spoonerism is one attributed to the Rev. Spooner himself. He was dealing with a wayward student at Oxford and said:
"Sir, you have tasted three whole worms. You have hissed all my mystery lectures and been caught fighting a liar in the Quad. You will leave by the next town drain".
For those unfamiliar with British railway history, the "down" train was the train to London.
ARTISTS AND THE LEFT
I must be thick. The following question seems to have stumped both Steve Sailer and Jason Soon. The quote is from Steve Sailer:
"I'm reviewing the new biopic "Frida," about the glamorous pair of Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera. They were wealthy, self-indulgent sensualists and dedicated Communists. Exactly what was it about Lenin and Stalin, who don't seem like fun people to party with, that so attracted hedonistic artists like Kahlo, Rivera, Picasso, and the like?"
To me the answer seems obvious. The artists concerned and Stalin were all big egos who hated conventional Western "bourgeois" society and thought they knew better. Where is the puzzle in that?
There is a good article on "Slate" showing convincingly that the major political parties in a democracy both have to stay very close to the centre. This is particularly marked in Australia where the policy differences between the two major parties are so minute that even a dedicated anti-Leftist like myself would not see it as an important change if the Australian Labor Party won the next Federal election (though they won't).
So where does that leave parties that proclaim themselves as centre parties? In a mess. Australia's alleged centre party has just imploded because their desperate search for something different to say had driven them to the extreme Left -- which upset a lot of their members who really were centrists.
The really interesting implication of centrism, however, is that you can only get big change by moving the whole political agenda in one direction or the other. This happened very markedly after the implosion of the Soviet Union --- after which socialism went out the window worldwide and market-based economic arrangements (particularly privatization of former government-owned businesses) were brought in by parties of every political stripe from Britain to Bangladesh -- not even excepting "Communist" China.
This rightward shift in the economic management agenda has been enormously beneficial -- with world poverty now becoming steadily "Africanized" (i.e. with India and China both rapidly becoming more prosperous under their new, more capitalist arrangements, populations stuck in dire poverty are now very largely restricted to Africa).
So the job of conservative/libertarian ideologues like myself is now to try to expose the destructiveness of government activism in ALL spheres. If we can convince enough people of that, we will have moved the agenda in a way that the major political parties (whether Right-leaning ot Left-leaning) will have to follow.
PRESIDENT BUSH AND SEXISM
I have often remarked that most Leftists seem to have absolutely no regard for the truth. So what is the Left now trying to imply about a President who has appointed a record number of women to senior positions in his administration? Yes. You guessed it: He is a sexist. Orrin Judd has the story in his post of 28th.
I normally leave Greenie debunking to Aaron Oakley but I cannot resist pointing people to this story. It deals with the recent scare that the glaciers of Kilimanjaro are disappearing because of global warming. It turns out that the receding of the glaciers concerned has actually SLOWED in recent decades!
KRUGMAN THE LIGHTWEIGHT
"Paul Krugman, ostensibly an economist, but actually a polemicist, although not a particularly good one. He writes in a puffed-up way about things he knows very little about, and he is a leading contender for lightweight columnist of the year. "
See here for more.
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29 October, 2002
I am amazed that postmodernism in literary studies seems to have become a hot topic among Australian bloggers at the moment -- with Quiggin, Soon and others getting into it.
Postmodernism was not around when I was studying English at the University of Queensland in the '60s so I know it only secondhand but it does seem an awful lot of tosh to me. What I wonder, however, is whether or not it matters. Do literary studies matter?
Now before anyone points the skinger of forn at me over that question let me add that I myself have always been a pretty literary type: I read almost the entire Greek canon in my teens; I understand that I got the highest mark awarded for the poetry paper in English I -- out of about 1000 students; and I still know large slabs of Chaucer by heart -- in the original Middle English, of course.
But I have never seen my literary proclivities as any great virtue -- which is why I did not continue with literary studies but went into social science instead. To me literature is to be enjoyed not studied and if you do not enjoy it go and read The Phantom and good luck to you. The high moral tone of The Phantom would certainly leave most of French literature for dead, at least.
So the postmodernists would appear to be doing a good job of destroying literary studies but so what? Maybe I am on their side!! An amazing thought considering that postmodernism seems to have its origins on the extreme Left.
IF there are no recent postings here it is because blogger.com has lost touch with blogspot again. Try: here instead in that case.
The sequel to the hilarious coathanger story here
It looks like the USA could learn a lot from Australia. There is a bill at present before Congress that would legalize millions of illegal immigrants -- people who have broken US law and should not be rewarded for it.
Australia locks such people up until they can be sent back to where they came from!
Joe Willingham has emailed me with the thought that "post-modernists" are Fascists in the Mussolini mould too:
"Postmodernists (pomos) claim that there is no objective truth, there is only interpretation, and that it all depends on who is in power. According to the pomos, we are so biased by our race, class, and gender that knowledge is impossible. The postmodernists allow freedom of speech only for those who share their Leftist political views in issues like feminism, affirmative action, and free enterprise versus socialism. They hire and fire on the basis of ideology rather than scholarship, and they try to prevent speakers of whose views they're don't approve from appearing on campus.
The subjectivist epistemology, the idea that power and not reason is the key to the "construction of reality" - all that is classic Fascism. It is no accident that one of the pomos' favorite philosophers is the German Nazi sympathizer Martin Heidegger. Nor is it an accident that anti-Semitism is becoming trendy in European and American leftist circles".
I do not think I have ever met a post-modernist so cannot say how right Joe is -- but I would welcome any emails on the subject. I certainly hear echoes of D'Annunzio (Mussolini's predecessor) in what Joe describes. Maybe Cinderella Bloggerfeller
will enlighten me. He seems to be the No. 1 expert on literary and cultural Leftism.
RUSSIA'S PUTIN AND ISLAM
I am in total agreement with Bovination's post on President Putin's handling of the Chechen terrorists. And I love his conclusion: "Thank you Allah"
ROGER SAUSE ON "DEZIS"
Don't miss my exclusive here on the latest thoughts of Roger Sause. He is the author of Left for Dead... A Digital Manifesto in which he brings his unusual perspective as a Los Angeles musician to bear on the Fascism of the modern-day Left.
We all know how appalling governments can be most of the time but they are clearly getting worse and worse. I think it is indicative of the low level of care now being exercised by the Australian government bureaucracy that they do not even bother to get basic grammar right these days. The literature you get with your tax return forms from the Australian government this year includes a leaflet that offers in large letters on its front cover: "Get your tax back quick". Yes, I am not making it up. There was no-one in a vast government bureaucracy that knew when to use "quick" and when to use "quickly"! We have government by ignoramuses. No doubt they were all educated in government schools too.
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28 October, 2002
E. TIMOR NOT ISLAMIC
After the recent Bali bombing of mainly Australians, the BBC broadcast a video in which it is claimed that Bin Laden ordered an attack on Australians because:
"The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores . . . and they landed on East Timor which is part of the Islamic world,"
Nobody yet seems to have mentioned that most E. Timorese are Roman Catholics.
SOCIALIZED MEDICINE ANYONE?
Meadow Lake Hospital in Saskatoon, Canada: The hospital is being sued by a woman who says she was left completely alone in the delivery room with no one monitoring her or her baby as the baby came out and fell onto the floor. The baby was flown to another hospital for observation but luckily appears to be fine. And those kind socialists did not even give her an apology!
Thanks to Jerry Lerman for that one!
27 October, 2002
Blogspot and Blogger.com are pretty erratic. Many of my fellow bloggers report that and I have not been immune either. I now have two blogspot sites that I am completely unable to access via Blogger. They just sit there with me being completely unable to add anything to them.
So if this site goes dead (i.e. there are no recent postings) I am probably still alive and posting elsewhere. Try: here instead. That is a site I usually use to put up longer quotes from other people but I will make it my main site if I have to. There is a good new posting there at the moment in which Roger Sause points out disturbing parallels between "moderate" Leftists of today and historical Nazism.
KRUGMAN DEMOLISHED AGAIN
Paul Krugman may once have been a good economist but he is now a political loony -- as Orrin Judd demonstrates in his post of 26th.
Some good sarcasm here about Leftist stereotypes of human motivation.
PINKER ON NATURE-NURTURE
Prof. Stephen Pinker has put up here a brief and very readable summary of the state of our scientific knowledge about how much of ourselves we owe to our genes. My behaviour geneticist friends have been telling me the answer to that for decades but the answer will still probably shock most people.
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said: "A man's character is his fate." Pretty spot-on for such a long time ago.
Rather a good speech by President Putin after the end of Moscow's encounter with Islamic terrorism. Silent Running has the speech in his post of 27th.
Cynical though I certainly am, I still find it hard to get used to the way those who claim to oppose discrimination so often practice it themselves. I find it quite breathtakingly hypocritical. The way those who fought to end discrimination against blacks now routinely practice discrimination against whites ("affirmative action") is the most obvious instance of the phenomenon but feminists are not far behind. I am sure we all know of various instances where private clubs and organizations that were once "men only" were subjected to enormous pressure, legal and otherwise, to force them to abandon their exclusiveness. Yet where I live there is now a "women only" golf club that is allowed to continue on its merry way with only token protests and there are also large billboards up around the place advertising a "health club" which appears to have its main claim to fame the proud boast that "No Toms, Harrys or Dicks" are allowed there. Where are the street marches and demonstrations protesting against this blatant and contemptuous discrimination against men? There are none. Even a lady I know remarked on it and said: "I don't know how they get away with it". But get away with it they do. Equality before the law is obviously not even attempted where groups favoured by Leftists are concerned.
OSAMA IN HELL
On the lighter side:
One day in the future, Osama bin Laden has a heart attack and dies. He immediately goes to hell, where the devil is waiting for him. "I don't know what to do here," says the devil. "You are on my list, but I have no room for you. You definitely have to stay here, so I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I've got a couple offolks here who weren't quite as bad as you. I'll let one of them go, but you have to take their place. I'll even let YOU decide who leaves."
Osama bin Laden thought that sounded pretty good, so the devil opened the first room. In it was Richard Nixon and a large pool of water. He kept diving in and surfacing empty handed. Over and over and over. Such was his fate in hell. "No," Osama bin Laden said. "I don't think so. I'm not a good swimmer and I don't think I could do that all day long."
The devil led him to the next room. In it was Tony Blair with a sledge hammer and a room full of rocks. All he did was swing that hammer, time after time after time. "No, I've got this problem with my shoulder. I would be in constant agony if all I could do was break rocks all day" commented Osama bin Laden.
The devil opened a third door. In it, Osama bin Laden saw Bill Clinton, lying on the floor with his arms staked over his head, and his legs staked in a spread eagle pose.
Bent over him was Monica Lewinsky, doing what she does best. Osama bin Laden took this in disbelief and finally said,"Yeah, I can handle this."
The devil smiled and said "OK, Monica, you're free to go".
Hooray! I have just got my first hate-mail -- about my series of posts on race and IQ of course. It shows that I am doing my job of propagating unpopular truths. The emails concerned were simply hate-filled abuse plus an amusing mixture of "ad hominem" argument and a demonstration of not having read what I had written: Standard Leftist stuff. Facts and logic usually seem to be the last things that Leftists resort to when they want to get anyone to concur with them. Intimidation suits them a lot better. Stalin's heirs are among us. I am afraid that we will always have to do battle with the forces of unreason.
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After the outrage in Moscow I hope the Russians bomb Chechnya flat. They are quite likely to. And death seems to be the only language that Moslem thickos understand. I was once sympathetic to the demand for Chechen independence but no more. Their mass attack on innocents has shown the Chechens as the Moslem barbarians that they are and deserves as much mercy as they showed. My praise to the Russian special forces who took on an impossible job when the foul Muslim "martyrs" started killing prisoners.
Everybody likes compliments and The Curmudgeon has been most uncurmudgeonly in his kind comments of October 25th about me. It is much appreciated. And he includes another one of his amusing graphics too!
PERON, FASCISM AND ANTISEMITISM
I was afraid that my post on Argentinian dictator Juan Peron might be greeted by a big yawn but it seems to have attracted some positive response so I thought I might mention a few more interesting facts.
The big suprise for many will probably be that Fascism is not intrinsically antisemitic. Like other Leftists, Fascists may or may not be antisemitic. Hitler's Fascist regime was of course enormously antisemitic but one swallow does not make a summer. And the other swallows are interesting. As I have pointed out at length elsewhere, Italy's Mussolini was not initially antisemitic until he was virtually forced into adopting some antisemitic measures by his alliance with Hitler -- and Italy was even then one of the safer places for Jews to be in World War II Europe.
And most people have probably forgotten that prewar Britain had a large Fascist movement too -- under Sir Oswald Mosley. And Sir Oswald initially used to EXPEL from the British Union of Fascists anybody who made antisemitic utterances! When his meetings came under constant attack from Jewish Leftists, however, he had something of a rethink. (Just parenthetically, it might be noted that although Sir Oswald was a great champion of the ordinary man, he was of such high social rank in the Britain of his day that the King actually came to his wedding -- limousine liberals eat your heart out!).
And Peron, too, was not systematically antisemitic, although Jews were subjected to some attacks under his rule. So Peron's lack of interest in the "final solution" made him a typical Fascist rather than an atypical one.
And Peron's Fascism does of course explain why so many former German Nazis found a safe haven in Argentina after World War II. Peron was simply helping out his old friends.
"Chickenblogger" is a term that Leftist bloggers often give to "Warbloggers" -- i.e. bloggers who support a pre-emptive attack on one of the world's most dangerous rulers -- Saddam Hussein. What the Leftists are saying is pretty incoherent and is undoubtedly an example of one of the most disreputable forms of argument -- an ad hominem attack -- but it keeps getting trotted out. James Morrow has reported another example of it in his post of 21st. Insofar as the criticism has any content it seems to be saying that only those who are prepared to don a uniform and go to war themselves should be allowed to argue for war. A dubious assertion indeed! But anyway, I support a war on Saddam's regime and I did join the Australian Army in the Vietnam era and did volunteer for duty in Vietnam so it looks like everybody should listen to me by Leftist standards. I am not holding my breath.
Aaron Oakley has been pondering lately what it is that makes a Leftist. Below is an extract from a very insightful recent email from him:
"Picture this: Young idealistic person sees problem. Young idealistic person realises he/she can't fix said problem. Natural response? THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD DO SOMETHING! I used to be like this.
Leftism is a knee-jerk response to the problems of the world, and is based on the fallacy that we can bring about utopia through the dictatorial fiat of the state.
Part of the problem is that the arguments for free markets, limited government etc are complicated but correct. The Left have it easy. Their philosophies are simple but wrong. The public grasp simple ideas much more easily than complicated ones... "
Sunday again and time to update the list of blogs I am following regularly at the moment:
Not A Fish
Light of Reason
Common-sense and Wonder
Enter Stage Right
And more sites:
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26 October, 2002 Fen>meno
THE PERON "PUZZLE" AND ARGENTINA
Hands up anyone who knows the song "Don't cry for me, Argentina"!
All hands shoot up.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has done a great deal to make the whole world aware of Evita Peron. The man she married, Argentine dictator Juan Peron, is however much less well-known and most people would not be aware that historians and political commentators often describe him as what Latin Americans sometimes call a "Fen>meno" (paradox). The paradox or puzzle is that he first came to power in Argentina as part of a military coup, so should have been "Right-wing" -- yet he became the champion and hero of working class Argentines, and to this day the major Leftist political grouping in Argentina (the "Peronistas") is named after him. How come?
Anybody who has been reading all that I have written recently about the strongly Leftist nature of both German Nazism and Italian Fascism will not be surprised. Both Nazism and Fascism won power largely through claiming to be the champions and glorifiers of the ordinary worker and both Nazism and Fascism are routinely described as "Right-wing" too. Peron was just another one of that bunch. Peron in fact soon got kicked out by his fellow participants in the military coup and finally gained power -- as did Hitler and Mussolini -- through primarily political means.
And that is only the beginning of the resemblance: The doctrines Peron preached (e.g. giving the workers and managers equal say in running industry) were almost exactly what Peron had learned from Mussolini when he lived in Italy for some years in the 1930s. Peronism is Fascism. Also like Hitler and Mussolini, Peron was a great patriot and nationalist who got the foreign business interests out of Argentina and tried to make Argentina independent of foreigners generally. With the able help of his wife Evita, Peron made the Argentine people feel special and persuaded them that he was on their side and would lead them to greatness. And they loved him for it!
The only major difference is that Peron was clever enough to stay neutral instead of joining Hitler's war. Mussolini stayed neutral for a couple of years too but finally made the fatal mistake of joining in.
So what it all shows is what most modern-day Leftist intellectuals passionately deny: That you can be an extreme Leftist and an extreme nationalist too. And it shows something very troubling too: That the combination of Leftism and nationalism is POPULAR! The popularity of that combination is also shown in the way Germans fought to the end for Hitler. Perhaps we should be thankful that modern-day Leftists (who are often anything but patriotic) have not learned all that their Fascist brethren might have taught them.
So the only puzzle or paradox of Peronism is one that modern-day Leftist intellectuals have artificially created for themselves. They refuse to accept that you can be BOTH a Leftist and a nationalist so are basically just lost for words (or sensible words anyway) when confronted with great historical figures such as Peron who prove by their living example that you CAN be both.
And Peron was of course almost as bad for Argentina as Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Mussolini were for the countries that they led down the extreme Leftist path. Before Peron came to power, Argentina was one of the world's richest countries but Peron sent it broke and it has never recovered -- largely because, although Peron is dead, Peronism (Fascism) is still the strongest single force in Argentine politics.
I love this imaginary conversation pinched from Bovination. You will not want to believe it but it shows how opposition to private gun ownership is similar to racism. Now that is REALLY killing sacred cows!
The people in the dialogue are supposed to be discussing the recent tragedy at Monash University where a student from China used a handgun to kill two fellow-Chinese students:
Larry Leftie: One thing this incident proves is the need to ban guns.
Rudi Redneck: Rubbish it demonstrates the need to ban Asians.
LL: But Asians didn't cause this - guns did.
RR: An Asian did cause this.
LL: But if there were no guns this incident couldn't have happened.
RR: If there were no Asians this incident couldn't have happened.
LL: But you can't judge all Asians on the actions of a few.
RR: You can't judge all gun owners on the actions of a few.
LL: Even if you did ban Asians, gun deaths would still occur.
RR: Even if you banned guns, crimes would still occur.
LL: But guns are inherently evil.
LL: Because they kill people.
RR: An Asian killed people on this occasion - does that make Asians inherently evil?
LL: Of course not - very few Asians kill people.
RR: Very few guns kill people.
LL: You don't agree with me, therefore you are evil!
RR: Leftie Loser!
QUIGGIN ON GUNS
Because he is such a rare beast -- a Leftist who seems interested in the facts of the matter --- quite a few non-Leftists seem to read and comment on Prof. John Quiggin's blog. I did so myself once before (on October 2nd). His latest idea is pretty wacko, though. He asks libertarians to give a principled defence of gun-ownership as if that were difficult. Firearms are not a big interest of mine (my brother writes enough on that for both of us) and I have never owned one but it seems to me that the basic tenet of libertarianism -- that you should be free to do what you please as long as you do not harm others --- makes the right to own guns automatic. It is only using them to harm others that is proscribed. Semi-libertarians like Jason Soon may twist themselves into knots to justify why they OPPOSE private gun ownership but a true libertarian just finds nothing to discuss in the issue. Conservatives, on the other hand, feel the need to justify gun ownership in various ways -- usually by saying that it does and should equalize their chances with the criminals -- so perhaps Quiggin has just picked his argument with the wrong people.
Or perhaps he has mislabelled what he wants. Maybe it is not a "principled" defence he wants but a pragmatic one. In that connection I rather like the old saying that "an armed society is a polite society". But Quiggin does not want to hear arguments like that. He has defined his ground and intends to fight only on it. Very naughty of me not to argue with Quiggin in the way he wants me to. I suspect that we both know that Napoleon won at Austerlitz by being the one to choose the ground on which he would fight.
I suspect that Quiggin also feels that he has delivered a rhetorical masterstroke in asking if the right to gun ownership should extend to a right to possess heavy weapons (machine-guns, bazookas etc.). He obviously thinks that everybody would regard that as a nightmare scenario never to be permitted and hopes to show from that that ALL firearm possession is therefore bad. I have news for him: There are already plenty of heavy weapons in private hands in Australia and I have yet to hear of ONE of them being misused. So his supposed nightmare scenario is already here and it is no nightmare at all.
RACE AND IQ
I am pleased that my recent posting on the matter of race and IQ has not attracted any hate mail. The issue is super-sensitive and I spent a long time trying to get what I wanted to say just right before I posted it. But I do think that the truth of the matter has to be said -- even if some good people are regrettably upset by it.
One writer challenged me on whether IQ tests measure intelligence and the answer of course is that everybody defines intelligence in their own way. I know some people who think that owning a bull-terrier dog is highly intelliegent.
But if the concept of intelligence is not precise the concept of IQ is. IQ is general problem-solving ability. As Binet discovered over a century ago, it just happens that people who are good at solving one sort of problem tend to be good at solving all sorts of other problems -- and it is that ability which IQ tests measure.
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25 October 2002
Last Monday, I pointed out some of the weaknesses in the argument by Leftist economist Paul Krugman to the effect that inequality was increasing. I also said that I would leave it to people with better access to the statistics to do a real job on Krugman. That has now been done.
HOW LEFT IS LEFT?
One of the readers of my article about Fascism on "Front Page" made the interesting comment that, when we talk about whether Fascism is of the Right or the Left, we need to remember that there are many extreme Rightists who would regard more moderate conservatives as Leftists. So who really is a Leftist?
In answer, I think a major point is that the further Left we go, the more government intervention in people's lives is demanded and practiced. All governments exercise power over people's lives in one way or another but the more Leftist you are, the more pervasive and all-encompassing you will want that government meddling, influence and direction to be. And by that criterion, Mussolini and the Fascists were FAR to the Left.
Note, however, that the intrusiveness of government into our lives is now very well advanced worldwide. ALL modern governments are more interventionist than they were 100 years ago. The 20th century was broadly a century of ever-advancing Leftism and we live at the end of that process. Government meddling and regulation CAN be rolled back -- Reagan and Thatcher showed us that -- but so far we have seen only a small amount of such rolling back. And, for all the Reagan/Thatcher efforts, the Western world is now more regulated and bureaucratized than it ever has been in history. Part of this is the work of the "Greens" -- who have managed to get an utter torrent of fresh regulation unleashed upon us. At least, however, government is not yet all pervasive and all-powerful in the modern-day Western world -- the way it was in extreme Left regimes such as Stalin's, Hitler's, Mao's and Mussolini's.
Although all the authoritarian governments that were responsible for megadeaths in the 20th century were Leftist, it must be noted that not all authoritarian governments are Leftist. Most governments throughout human history have in fact been authoritarian. They were usually called Kings or Emperors. And they were all pretty ferocious with those who were a challenge to their power. And they often came to power via military means. But, with very few exceptions, nobody would ever call them Leftist. Why not? Because it is WHAT THEY DO with their power that makes them Leftist or not. If they are just happy to stay in power they are neither Right nor Left but simply historically normal. But if they want to use their power to transform the whole of society and vastly reorganize everyone's lives, however, they are Leftist.
Such military-based governments still pop up in the modern world too. The regimes of Franco in Spain and Salazar in Portugal, for instance, had a security apparatus that ensured that they stayed in power regardless of what their people might want but, aside from that, they just let people get on with their lives as before and in fact resisted change of most kinds.
Pinochet in Chile and Suharto in Indonesia were also undemocratic, military-based regimes that were unscrupulous in protecting their power but many of their other policies were more like Western conservative governments: They encouraged gradual and cautious change. They used their power to free up their economies --- thus extending the liberties of their citizens in important respects. Thus they were clearly not Leftists either.
Both the static Franco/Salazar type of regime and the progressive Pinochet/Suharto type of regime are often referred to as conservative but that simply reflects the fact that both opposed the large-scale forced reorganization of society that is associated with Leftism. Neither type of regime shows much respect for human rights or any other of the philosophies that characterize conservatives in the Western democracies.
As a libertarian, I deplore all government meddling in people's everyday lives but one has to recognize that it is a matter of degree. And while all governments are tyrannical to some degree, Rightist governments are intrinsically less so. A Rightist philosophy does embody respect for the individual and his rights and choices. The mass murders of Stalin, Mao and all of the many other Communist regimes show us, however, how much respect for the individual is built into a Leftist philosophy. Once they obtain absolute power, Leftists have no respect for other people at all.
BELAFONTE THE STALINIST
Scratch a Leftist and you will find a Stalinist underneath. Harry Belafonte certainly is a Stalinist. See Ronald Radosh. It makes more understandable Belafonte's jealous attacks on influential black conservatives. Odd that it is conservatives who have mostly put US blacks into positions of power! Leftists only TALK about "empowerment". Leftist talk is cheap. It is the same in Australia. Our first black Senator (Neville Bonner) was put into the Senate by the conservative side of politics.
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24 October, 2002
This is the best laugh I have had for a while -- in case you have not yet seen it elsewhere.
CHANGES IN IQ
As psychometrics is my academic specialty, I have always taken an interest in studies of IQ. And a recent debate on "Slate" brings it all back to mind. One of the most interesting things to have turned up in recent years is the "Flynn effect" -- named after Jim Flynn, who first noted it. What Flynn noted is that average IQ scores have been rising steadily over the last century. The young people of today seem to be much smarter than their grandparents.
How do we explain that? The participants in the "Slate" debate did not think that they could explain it but I think I can if I put my sociologist's hat on (I also taught sociology for 12 years at a major Australian university):
I see the Flynn effect as just one example of the way modernization has improved various indexes of people's physical health and wellbeing. People also now (for instance) live longer and grow taller than they did a century ago. And IQ is related to general physical functioning. If the body as a whole is working well, the brain should in general be working well too. The brain is after all just another part of the body. And the Terman & Oden (1947) "Genetic studies of genius" did show that high IQ children grew up to be taller, healthier, better adjusted etc.
But why has modernization improved many health and wellbeing indices? The obvious factor is improved medical care generally but two areas of medical care may be particularly important: Mass vaccination campaigns and improved perinatal care. Many illnesses can have a damaging effect on the brain as well on the rest of the body so preventing major illnesses through vaccination should be generally beneficial. And by improved perinatal care I mean better obstetric services (including a now very high rate of caesarians) and more advice and support for new mothers to enable them to look after their babies better. But better nutrition, more widespread hygiene practices, piped water, efficient sewerage systems, basic public health measures, more stimulation by way of modern entertainment media and more years spent in the educational system could also of course play a role. The infant brain is known to develop more complex connections when subjected to a high level of stimulation and there is much in the modern world that is far more stimulating than the village or small-town life of yesteryear.
Sadly for those who hate the idea of genetic influences, however, the IQ increases have not closed the usual big gap between average black and white IQ levels. Negroes have forged ahead but whites have forged ahead too.
Ray, J.J. (1988) IQ gain as an outcome of improved obstetric practice. The Psychologist, 1, 498.
Terman, L. M., & Oden, M. H. (1947). Genetic studies of genius: Vol. 4. The gifted child grows up. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
I have recently had an interesting correspondence with Richard Lynn about Israeli IQ. He notes that Israelis of European origin (Ashkenazim) have an average IQ of about the European norm (100) whereas Israelis from the Arab lands (Sephardim) have the quite low average IQ of 88.
What does that say about Arab IQ? Seeing that those Jews who are racially mainly Arab ought to be at least no thicker than the parent Arab population, it suggests to me that Arabs in general are pretty thick. That would certainly go a long way towards explaining what I suggested (in my post of 18th October) was their stupid reaction to negotiation with Israel.
The other question is why the Israeli Ashkenazim are not well ABOVE the European norm. As Rushton summarizes the recent American data: "The average IQ for African Americans was found to be lower than those for Latino, White, Asian, and Jewish Americans (85, 89, 103, 106, and 115, respectively)". So why do not Israeli Ashkenazis average 115 too? I am afraid that the obvious explanation is that it was mainly the foolish (idealistic?) Jews of European origin who have ended up in Israel. The smart ones are in New York.
Lynn points out, however, that the figure for Jews quoted by Rushton is based on limited sampling. Lynn believes that a figure of 108 is better substantiated. In statistician's terms, however, 108 is still quite a high figure (around half a standard deviation above the mean).
There is an impressively scholarly article here by Glayde Whitney summarizing the results of the Minnesota study of transracial adoption.
Researchers always find a huge gap (of about 15 IQ points) between the average IQ of American blacks and the average IQ of American whites -- and American Leftists always attribute this to the poor upbringing that black children receive (and since that is not very complimentary to black mothers they then blame black "culture" -- and that, of course, is the fault of whites!).
So the obvious experiment to test the Leftist theory is to have black children adopted into white families and see what happens. Will they grow up with IQs at the same average level as whites? If upbringing is the key, they should. Some well-intentioned whites actually did just such an adoption program on a fairly large scale in Minnesota in the 1970s. The result years later? There was still that same old black/white gap in IQ when the children concerned had grown up. The implication is, as so many other studies suggest, that it is the African gene pool that is responsible for the lower black IQs.
The only policy implication that I see as flowing from an acceptance of this in a decent society is that we may often have to treat some blacks as we do any other handicapped people -- kindly. On the other hand, a policy founded on the assumption that the differences do not exist -- as "Affimative action" is -- must in the circumstances be a cruel hoax that imposes unrealistic expectations on many blacks, discriminates unfairly against many individual whites and discredits the achievements of the many blacks who can achieve well under their own steam.
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23 October 2002
MORE ON MUSSSOLINI
My article showing that modern-day American Leftism is largely the same as Mussolini's prewar Italian Fascism -- but minus Mussolini's patriotism -- got top billing in yesterday's "Front Page" online magazine.
One very telling point that I somehow omitted to include was that F.D. Roosevelt, found in Mussolini's policies part of his inspiration for America's semi-socialist "New Deal" and referred to Mussolini in 1933 as "That admirable Italian gentleman".
Various people have reminded me that Ayn Rand too was outspoken in identifying the Leftist nature of Nazism and Fascism.
BRING ON THE UGLIES
Nature imitates art, as Oscar Wilde used to say. On various occasions (e.g. here and here) I have pointed out that categorizing and discriminating against people is something that we all do -- and asked mockingly if the Leftists who say that we should not categorize and discriminate also think that we should stop preferring beauty to ugliness (for instance). A very politically correct nutty professor from Norway has now taken me at my word and claimed that we should have more ugly people on TV!
I normally do not comment on Greenie claims. They are generally just too crazy for me to bother with. Pandering to Greenies costs us a fortune, however, so when even the Left-leaning BBC is publicizing scientific findings showing that human activity is irrelevant to global temperature, I think I should do what I can to publicize it. Pity that human-caused global warming is taught as gospel in our schools! It would not be the first time that utter nonsense has been taught in schools though. For more of the science on global warming see Aaron Oakley.
I have finally got around to reading a bit of the famous thesis, "The true believer" by Eric Hoffer. He attempts to analyse what is general to fanatical followers of any extreme movement, political or religious but he wrote it in 1951 so the primary model for such people in his mind was obviously Nazism. He saw true believers as in need of both excitement and direction from a powerful leader. He saw them as weak people who needed to belong. I think the need for excitement and belonging does apply to Leftists but I am very doubtful that they need direction from others. They are in fact a very fractious lot who are just as likely to murder one-another as anything else. If anybody would like to email me their ideas on the matter I would be interested.
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22 October, 2002
There has been quite a flurry of discussion on the blogs over the last few days over what motivates people to become Leftists. Jim Ryan of Philosoblog claims that Leftists are envious failures (my paraphrase) while others claim that Leftism looks prettier and sexier (again my paraphrase). There can of course be many reasons for people joining such a broad church as Leftism but I still like my explanation better -- that most Leftists are motivated by ego needs -- a strong need for power and self-aggrandisement.
I have just had an interesting email from an academic reader in Finland:
"One thing that came to my mind is the question of the feminist personality. To me, it seems evident that hardcore feminists exhibit much frustration, bitterness and the like. Maybe it is a major factor explaining the phenomenon. As this is a question related to your area of interest and expertise, I want to ask you whether you are aware of any research on the subject, or perhaps have some ideas on the question yourself".
His query is a bit outside my field, although I have had one research paper published which tested (and found wanting) a major feminist theory. Anybody else have any ideas?
Ray, J.J. & Lovejoy, F.H. (1984) "The great androgyny myth: Sex roles and mental health in the community at large." Journal of Social Psychology, 124, 237-246.
HITLER, MUSSOLINI AND WORLD WAR 2
Religious US conservative, Patrick Buchanan knows his history. He uses it to support the isolationist views that were once common among US conservatives before the world became a global village. He points out (as I have done in today's "Front Page" online magazine) that Mussolini was initially anti-Nazi and blames the Western Allies for Mussolini's going over to Hitler's side eventually. He omits to mention that Hitler would probably have been a lot better off if Mussolini had stayed neutral. Mussolini's alliance with Germany gave Germany so many additional problems that it is probably the best thing that Mussolini could have done for the Allied cause!
But Buchanan's conclusion -- that Britain and the USA should have stayed out of the war with Hitler -- I have to disagree with. England could not afford to let Hitler grab the whole of Europe unopposed. Once Hitler had wrapped up Europe, the world would have been his oyster.
IRAQ AND OIL
Opinion Journal was fabulous yesterday (21st). I don't want anyone to miss this paragraph:
"For the Norwegian Nobel Committee, as The Weekly Standard points out, it's all about oil. Norway is the world's No. 3 oil exporter, and "Norway's non-oil economy slipped into recession in the second quarter of this year," so Oslo has a strong interest in preventing a decline in oil prices--which would be the result of a successful invasion of Iraq. The director of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate is Gunnar Berge, who is also the head of the Nobel Committee and the man who said Jimmy Carter's Peace Prize was meant as "a kick in the leg" to President Bush".
It had to happen. Again according to Opinion Journal, some Leftist apologists for the Islamofascists have now said that the Bali bombing was the work of the US government:
"Up at Berkeley, meanwhile, they've got another theory. The Daily Californian reports that "members of a panel" at a "campus round-table discussion" said that "the United States may have had an active role in carrying out last week's bombing of an international nightclub." Among those floating the America-did-it theory are Jeffrey Hadler, a Berkeley professor of South and Southeast Asian studies and Sylvia Tiwon, a "Professor of Indonesian."
It is time we stopped listening to all the crap and started doing some bombing of our own. Sometimes reason does not work. Then you need a big stick.
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21 October, 2002
KRUGMAN ON INEQUALITY
I have noticed a few mentions of the latest NYT rant by Leftist economist Paul Krugman but have yet to see much in the way of a reply -- so I thought I might point out a few things. He is pushing the old Leftist wheelbarrow that inequality is once again on the rise in the United States. "The rich are getting richer ..... " You know the tune! Anyway, to quote:
"Over the past 30 years most people have seen only modest salary increases: the average annual salary in America, expressed in 1998 dollars (that is, adjusted for inflation), rose from $32,522 in 1970 to $35,864 in 1999. That's about a 10 percent increase over 29 years -- progress, but not much. Over the same period, however, according to Fortune magazine, the average real annual compensation of the top 100 C.E.O.'s went from $1.3 million -- 39 times the pay of an average worker -- to $37.5 million, more than 1,000 times the pay of ordinary workers
"the top 10 percent contains a lot of people whom we would still consider middle class, but they weren't the big winners. Most of the gains in the share of the top 10 percent of taxpayers over the past 30 years were actually gains to the top 1 percent
So that is his beef. The average American is gradually getting richer -- not poorer -- but the corporate top dogs are really getting obscene. And he is of course right. As a company shareholder myself, I think that something has gone wrong when those who run companies can pay themselves whatever they like out of company funds without shareholders having any effective say in it. But corporate governance in the USA is acknowledged by all and sundry to be in a mess and the collapses at Enron etc have exposed that for all to see. And the first steps are now being taken to make CEOs more accountable. Nobody needed Krugman to tell us that there is a problem there that needs fixing.
But Krugman sees it all as a deep problem in American society -- which it clearly is not. It is a problem like many others but a problem-free society has yet to be invented. And a problem affecting only 1% of society is surely the sort of problem all governments would like to have. Mass poverty, for instance, would be a much harder problem -- and by far a more common problem worldwide.
I will leave a major dissection of his rant to people who have better access to current economic statistics than I do but I cannot resist also noting the superficiality of his argument about Sweden. He thinks Sweden is a much better place than the USA, of course. He admits that the average Swede produces 16% less of goods and services per hour worked than the average American does but then goes on to say that this is only an average and that people at the bottom end of the income scale in Sweden actually do a lot better than people at the bottom end of the income scale in the USA.
Of course they do! The whole reason people find the comparison between Sweden and the USA interesting is that huge slabs of the Swedish national income are diverted out of the pockets of those who earn it and into government coffers. Much of that income gets eaten up feeding bureaucrats of course but the whole rationale of the exercise is to equalize incomes no matter what a person does -- and that does happen on a much much larger scale in Sweden than it does in the USA. So Krugman is really telling us only what we already knew. Incomes are more equal in Sweden not because the sub-rich earn more but because they are given more out of everybody else's pocket. The real issue -- what effect does this destruction of incentives have on national productivity -- he glides over. But that 16% difference suggests the answer. The Swedish system just does produce a much smaller pie to share out.
Krugman also makes much of life-expectancy statistics. He says that Swedes have a life expectancy three years longer than Americans, for instance. But what that has to do with economics he does not tell us. So maybe Americans die younger through eating more junk-food. But if so, that is their free choice. It is, however, unlikely to mean that they are less well-off -- as Krugman implies.
LEFTIST RELIANCE ON LIES
I have never quite managed to get used to the way many Leftists seem to be completely uninterested in the truth. Stalin's old Soviet production statistics are of course the classic example of Leftist lies but chronic misrepresentation was also confirmed by the revelations made possible in Russia by former President Gorbachev's policy of "Glasnost". From what has been revealed, there can surely now be no doubt that for most of last century the Soviet system literally floated on a sea of lies. This was so extreme that even the maps produced by official Soviet cartographers were fraudulent. Even an accurate Moscow street map was unavailable! And note that the great cartographical capacity that U.S. spy satellites have had for many years renders any explanation of this in terms of defence considerations quite laughable. And note that this attachment to lies is not confined to the Soviet bloc and China. I myself remember well the pre-Khrushchev times when most Western Leftists dismissed accounts of Stalin's mass murders as "inventions of the capitalist press". There are none so blind as those who will not see.
A more subtle form of dishonesty is the great absurdity of the policies that Leftists have often advocated. Policies such as rent-control and nationalization of industry have a superficial attraction that guaranteed that they would be widely tried but who could honestly advocate them once it is apparent how badly they work? Certainly not a person who had the welfare of the people at heart. Such policies have only ever delivered poverty and housing shortages. Why have Leftists advocated such nostrums for so long?
If their motives were benevolent, it would make no sense to advocate so much misery. If their real motives were, on the other hand, a need for power and a desire to concentrate in the hands of their clique extensive power over the lives of others it makes very great sense indeed.
And the famous Leftist call for abolition of wealth and income differentials would surely lead one to expect that Leftists would reject materalistic ambition in their own lives. But it is not so. Although Leftists seem to decry the scramble for private material possessions (conservatism is smeared as "the politics of greed"), they themselves on the personal level seem to be just as keen for the scramble as anyone else. There has been a lot of research reported in the literature of academic psychology on the subject of achievement motivation but the various measures of materialistic achievement motivation have been shown to have negligible correlation with Leftism -- where a high negative correlation might on theory have been expected (Ray, 1981; Ray & Najman, 1988). In other words, in their own lives Leftists are just about as apt as Rightists to seek personal material gain. Once again the Leftist emerges as being hypocritical and as not honest about his/her real motives and values.
And we do not really need psychological research to see what the motivations of Leftists are actually like in their daily lives. Johnson (1988), himself a former prominent Leftist, explored at length the actual lives of various prominent Leftist intellectuals -- including Karl Marx himself. He found that while such intellectuals claimed to love humanity, their actual deeds in their own lives and their detailed exhortations to their followers suggested a loathing of and contempt for their fellow man. For them it was no joke that "I love humanity. It is just people I can't stand".
Dishonesty of various kinds just seems to be inherent in Leftism.
Johnson, P. (1988) Intellectuals. London: Weidenfeld
Ray, J.J. (1981) The politics of achievement motivation. Journal of Social Psychology, 115, 137-138.
Ray, J.J. & Najman, J.M. (1988) Capitalism and compassion: A test of Milbrath's environmental theory. Personality & Individual Differences, 9, 431-433.
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20 October, 2002
I normally say little on this blog about the terrible plight of Israel (they suffer regularly from what we Australians have just suffered once) because I feel that many others say it better than I could. But amid the growing Leftist hatred of Israel and her people I feel I have to speak up. So, as my contribution, I reproduce below a brief report of a recent speech by Haim Divon -- the Israeli ambassador to Canada. Thanks to Israpundit for the report. And by the way, I am myself of WASP background, not a Jew.
"Every day, an Israeli meets and confronts a very hostile environment," he said.
Israel has tried "everything" to live peacefully with Palestinians, Divon said, but nothing has worked, and that is why they have turned to reprisal attacks on refugee camps to counter suicide bombers.
"If there's another way, tell us about it," he said.
"No one is holding (Palestinian chairman Yasser) Arafat accountable. I think Israel is the only country in the world where there are mortar and missile attacks daily. Where else in the world would you tolerate such attacks from neighbours?"
Divon said that until the "Iraq issue" is solved, there won't be a major breakthrough between Israel and Palestine, and charged Iraq has been funding Arafat. "No one wants to live in such a crazy situation. The international community shouldn't be so soft on Arafat," he said.
Divon said there are so many Palestinians living in refugee camps because the Palestinian government wants to use them "to better bash Israel." He said that since the Second World War, there have been 50 million refugees and most have been resettled, "except the Palestinians."
HITLER IN A EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE
Hmmm.... I am having a lot of trouble convincing Jiri that Hitler was a Leftist. I have just received a long email from him once again pointing out the many nationalist elements in Hitler's appeal and pointing out how widely he diverged from the various Marxist movements of Europe. My reply to him is of course that Hitler was BOTH a nationalist AND a socialist -- as the full name of his political party (The National Socialist German Worker's Party) implies. I have expanded my argument on how it is that Leftism and nationalism are far from incompatible in my forthcoming article on Mussolini and, for convenience, I reproduce that section of my forthcoming paper here.
And I might add that, although many modern-day US Democrats often seem to be anti-American, the situation is rather different in Australia and Britain. Both the major Leftist parties there (the Australian Labor Party and the British Labour Party) are perfectly patriotic parties which express pride in their national traditions and achievements. Nobody seems to have convinced them that you cannot be both Leftist and nationalist. That is of course not remotely to claim that either of the parties concerned is a Nazi party. What Hitler advocated and practiced was clearly more extremely nationalist than any major Anglo-Saxon political party would advocate today.
I think, however, that the real stumbling block for Jiri is that he has a very European perspective on what constitutes Leftism whereas I have a very Anglo-Saxon one. To Jiri you have to be some sort of Marxist to be a Leftist and Hitler was very clearly opposed to any form of Marxism so cannot have been a Leftist. I write for the Anglosphere, however, and in my experience the vast majority of the Left (i.e. the US Democrats, The Australian Labor Party, the British Labour Party) have always rejected Marxism so it seems crystal clear to me that you can be a Leftist without accepting Marxist doctrines. So Hitler's contempt for Marxism, far from convincing me that he was a non-Leftist, actually convinces me that he was a perfectly conventional Leftist! The Nazi Party was what would in many parts of the world be called a "Labor" party (not a Communist party).
And the moderate Leftists of Germany in Hitler's own day saw that too. The Sozialistische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) who, like the US Democrats, the Australian Labor Party and the British Labour Party, had always been the principal political representatives of the Labor unions, on several important occasions voted WITH the Nazis in the Reichstag (German Parliament).
Many of my fellow bloggers have a very long list of other blogs down the Left-hand side of their pages. Lists giving links to over 100 other blogs are common. This is very useful in many ways but seeing that so many others are doing it, I thought I might risk being a bit different and instead list only the blogs that I myself am reading regularly at the moment. Being a gentleman of leisure, I read quite a few. My plan is to update the list every week or so. The idea is that people who like my blog will be given an idea of where they might find other writing that they might like. My list is of course only a personal preference and is not meant to reflect on the many other good conservative blogs that I am not following regularly at the moment:
Not A Fish
Oxblog -- Americans at Oxford U.
Light of Reason
Common-sense and Wonder
Enter Stage Right
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19 October, 2002
MUSSOLINI: ANOTHER LEFTIST DICTATOR
Good news! I have just heard from David Horowitz that he intends to publish my article on the parallels between modern-day Leftism and Mussolini's prewar Italian Fascism. It should come out some time early next week in Front Page Magazine. I put the first draft up here some time ago but the final version is about twice as long.
It is no wonder people get confused about Mussolini. He was a pretty curious character even for a Leftie. One thing that I rather relate to is that he was a terrible dresser. He was very fond of spats and would even wear spats with evening dress. I don't suppose many people these days even know what spats are. Mussolini liked them because they kept his ankles warm. When the King summoned him and asked him to form a government he arrived wearing his Fascist uniform plus a bowler hat on his head and spats around his ankles. Even he must have realized that his getup was probably a bit odd for calling on the King so he excused himself by saying, "I have just come from the front". In fact he had just come from his office! He was so obviously full of bull that it actually endeared him to a lot of people. And the Fascist way of dealing with political opponents was almost laughable when compared with Hitler's piano wire and Stalin's Gulags. What the Italian Fascists used to do was to grab their political enemies and make them drink a big dose of Castor oil! Again, I suppose that many people these days do not know what Castor oil was generally used for. It is a potent bowel opener.
And would you believe? Mussolini was even ahead of the Greenies. He put Italy onto gasohol (industrial alcohol mixed with petroleum products to make motor fuel) around 70 years ago! In most of the Western world we are only now seeing that.
While we are having a laugh, let's be a bit politically incorrect as well:
IT MUST BE GREAT TO BE A MAN, BECAUSE ........
Your ass is never a factor in a job interview.
Your orgasms are real - always.
Your last name stays put.
You never feel compelled to stop a friend from getting laid.
A razor never comes near your pubic area.
The garage is all yours.
Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack.
You can be president.
You can wear a thin, white tee-shirt to a water park.
Car mechanics tell you the truth.
You don't give a hoot if someone notices your new haircut.
If you retain water, it's in a canteen.
Porn movies are designed with you in mind.
You can open all your own jars.
You never have to drive to another gas station because this one's restroom is too icky.
Wrinkles add character.
Wedding dress $5,000; tux rental $100.
People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.
New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
One mood, ALL the damn time.
Phone conversations are over within 60 seconds.
A week-long vacation requires only one suitcase.
You can leave the motel bed unmade.
You can kill your own food.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
If someone forgets to invite you to something, he or she can still be your friend. Your underwear is $5.95 for a three-pack.
You can quietly enjoy a car ride when not driving.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
You can quietly watch a game with your buddy for hours without ever thinking: "He must be mad at me."
You can drop by to see a friend without having to bring a little gift.
If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit you just might become lifelong friends.
You're not expected to know the names of more than five colors.
You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
You almost never have strap problems in public.
You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
You don't have to shave below your neck.
You can get a dime or your keys in 3 seconds.
You can get out of bed and be out the door in 5 minutes.
One wallet and one pair of shoes, one color, all seasons.
You can do your nails with a pocketknife.
You have freedom of choice concerning growing a moustache.
Christmas shopping can be accomplished for 20 relatives, on December 24th, in 45 minutes.
Inspired by the above, I mentioned to a lady I know how lucky men were that they only have to remember about five colours whereas women have to remember about 100. Her reply was good: "We don't have to remember them. We KNOW them!"
BE A BLOGGER
Want to be a blogger? Dave of SABERTOOTHJOURNAL is looking for helpers to add content when he is too busy. He is looking for other people able to write from a free-market perspective. Email him on email@example.com if you are interested. He has a good site going there so it would be an easy way into blogging.
GOVERNMENT CHILD ABUSE
Thank goodness for Britain's House of Lords!
Unbelievable but true: The British government passed a law through the House of Commons permitting homosexual couples to adopt children! Talk about neglecting children in the name of political (read: Leftist) correctness! The good old House of Lords blocked the bill however. We can only hope it stays blocked. Thanks to Conservative Commentary for the report.
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18 October, 2002
An interesting email from Ed Ziegs:
"I hope that one day you might consider including "moderates" in your ongoing thesis. Moderates to me are like "tits on a boar hog". They are there but timidly go about their busisness of making friends on both sides and betraying both sides and just getting in the way. I detest moderates. They refuse take a stand on anything. They tell you, "There are two things I never talk about with friends and relations and they are politics and religion." Imagine, two of the most important issues in life and they won't discuss them except with strangers and I would bet they don't even then. Everything is a grey area to them. Name the great moderates in history. Neville Chamberlain is the first that comes to mind. It does however, take a great deal to find them because they never accomplish anything. I don't think that God likes moderates either -- Read Revelation 3:15 and 16"
The Revelations reference is pretty vivid:
"I know thy works that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth"
Ed might also have added another scriptural reference:
He that is not with me is against me: And he that gathereth not with me scattereth" (Luke 11:23).
I understand Ed's feelings but wonder if moderates might not be the price we pay for our good old Anglo-Saxon tradition of seeing compromise as being the best solution to many problems. Most of the troubles in the world seem to me to exist precisely because most people in the world do NOT have the maturity to compromise. They all just want to win. But where you have winners you also have losers and so resentments can go on forever. Northern Ireland would seem to be a case in point. If only they were less Celtic and more Anglo-Saxon there .....
And what a difference it would make if the Palestinians were prepared to compromise! Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered them a huge compromise a little while ago but Arafat turned it down flat. So now the Palestinians just exist. You couldn't call it life under the PA. More fools them. They must live in a totally unreal world if they think the Israelis will just go away one day. I would not like to have the problem of dealing with such numbskulls as the Palestinians appear to be. If the Israelis bombed the Palestinian population centres massively every time they bombed the Israelis, that would not only be just ("An eye for an eye ....) but it might also be the only thing that would get through their thick skulls.
RELIGION IN POLITICS
Richard Cook takes issue with my observation that a true follower of Christ would do as Christ did and keep out of the politics of his day:
" If you take a stance on an issue (treatment of the poor, hypocrisy of the elites, etc.) it will be impossible for you to stay out of politics any more than it was for Jesus. While Jesus did not politic as we understand the term (electioneering, issue statments and the like), he did not hesitate to point out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees, thereby introducing himself into the politics of that era in the Jewish community.
What he gave us is an example in courage, even to the point of death. Part of preparing for salvation is telling the truth fearlessly and setting the example for others, both believer and not, in love. What is preparing for salvation? It is what Jesus said - love the Lord your God with your heart, soul and mind, and, loving your neighbor (all you are in the world with) as yourself. I think your last two sentences are grievous. Why would one withdraw from the world when you are commanded to act as a beacon of Christ - why hide your light under a bushel basket? It is better to let all men and women see the light of Christ reflected in the way you live your life. Scripture is not on their side in withdrawing from the world. Scripture sets its hand against them. You cannot withdraw from the world and win people to Christ. There is simply a preponderence of evidence that Christ intended us to live in the world, but, not be of the world, not conformed to its values".
I have some sympathy with this sort of thinking. It seems obvious that if you treat your fellow man kindly as part of your highroad to Christ's Kingdom of Heaven you will also want to support political policies that are kindly towards your fellow man. But note here that what Christ said was to give your OWN possessions to the poor -- not to give OTHER PEOPLE'S possessions to the poor. So Catholic "Liberation theology" -- which preaches the latter course -- is simply bad theology. And the Holy Father (who is in general no great friend of capitalism) has proclaimed that too, of course.
Comments? Email me:
17 October, 2002
Three great quotes via the "Fed":
THE CARTER PEACE PRIZE
"There is an ex-President who not only sought peace but who achieved peace, who reduced the threat of nuclear annihilation dramatically and liberated tens of millions of people from dictatorship. His name is Ronald Reagan".
COMEDIANS COMMENT ON CLINTON
Bill Clinton spoke Wednesday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center about his recent trip to Africa. He said Africa is home to 70 percent of the world's AIDS cases. Most business travelers just check the weather forecast before they go someplace.
Today is Bill and Hillary's 27th wedding anniversary!
27 years ago tonight Bill cheated on Hillary for the first time.
NAZIS VERSUS "REDS"
When I point out how far to the Left most of Hitler's policies were, a strong reaction I get from many who know something of history is to say that Hitler cannot have been a Leftist because of the great hatred that existed at the time between the Nazis and the "Reds". One such challenger has been Jiri -- to whom I am greatly indebted for a lively and erudite correspondence about the politics of the interwar years. One of Jiri's observations seems to me a very good one indeed:
I am surprised that you have not seized on Hitler's anti-semitism as a
proof that he was a socialist. So widespread had been anti-semitism among the
Leftists in Europe that Lenin himself denounced it as "the socialism of the
My reply to Jiri and others was of course that there is no hatred like fraternal hatred and that hatreds between different Leftist groupings have existed from the French revolution onwards. That does not make any of the rival groups less Leftist however. And the ice-pick in the head that Trotsky got courtesy of Stalin shows vividly that even among the Bolsheviks themselves there were great rivalries and hatreds. Did that make any of them less Bolshevik, less Marxist, less Communist? No doubt the protagonists concerned would argue that it did but from anyone else's point of view they were all Leftists at least.
Nonetheless there still seems to persist in some minds the view that two groups as antagonistic as the Nazis and the Communists just cannot have been ideological blood-brothers. Let me therefore try this little quiz: Who was it who at one stage dismissed Hitler as a "barbarian, a criminal and a pederast"? Was it Stalin? Was it some other Communist? Was it Winston Churchill? Was it some other conservative? Was it one of the Social Democrats? No. It was none other than Benito Mussolini, the Fascist leader who later became Hitler's ally in World War II. And if any two leaders were ideological blood-brothers those two were. So I am afraid that antagonism between Hitler and others proves nothing. If anything, the antagonism between Hitler and other socialists is proof of what a typical socialist Hitler was.
CATHOLIC LEFTISM REVISITED
I have just received the following counterblast to the email I published yesterday about Catholic Leftism:
"Christianity is a monarchy with Christ the King. It does not promote individuality in terms of doctrine, scripture or history. Why then should the Catholic Church? If Catholicism promotes statism, why did John Paul II fight the Commies so hard? The writer is comparing apples to oranges. If you want to talk religion, if the Catholic Church promotes Statism then Protestantism promotes chaos. Who interpetes scripture for the Protestants? At least with the Catholics its the Church and the Magisterium. With the Protestants it's "Do your own thing".
I must say that, as far as I can see, Christ was most emphatic in his lifetime that he was not concerned with the politics of his day but rather with preparation for the afterlife. I have quoted some of the scripture concerned here. Surely those who really follow him would also keep out of politics and concentrate on salvation. Some extreme Protestant sects (e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses) do in fact withdraw as far as they can from the affairs of the secular world. I think they have scripture on their side in doing so.
Comments? Email me:
Saturday, January 04, 2003
16 October, 2002
Some interesting thoughts sent to me by Ed Mick of Revealed Truth. As I send my son to a Catholic school, I suspect that I am a bit more sympathetic to the Church of Rome than Ed is but he does have some very good points:
I read with interest your comments on the intermingling of Catholicism and socialism. While I certainly agree that you've hit on something as far as the confusion between theological and secular imperatives, I wonder if there isn't something else at work.
The structure and theology of the Catholic church seem to me to provide fertile ground for statism. Not so much by direct extrapolation from theological doctrine to economic doctrine, though, as by laying an epistemilogical and social foundation for statism's ready acceptance.
Consider the contrast between the Catholic view of Truth and the Protestant view. The Catholic view is that Truth is revealed by scripture in part; but also by the writings, interpretations and rulings of church fathers. On top of this, the Priest is a necessary intercessor between the deity and the individual. Add a universally understood symbology that provides for countless other intercessors and obligatory rituals, and you have a flock that's well accustomed to communitarian trappings and philosophy.
The essence of Protestant duty is to get onesself right with the Almighty. Denominational doctrine might well specify how one should go about doing that - but with rare exceptions the church itself isn't a necessary instrument for salvation. The Protestant imperative is intensely personal. Have faith. Honestly believe that Jesus is the son of God. And only you and the Almighty know whether you have fulfilled your part of the bargain. Its fairly obvious, on the other hand, whether or not you've performed all of the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.
Finally, we have the uniquely Catholic notion that one's earthly works plays a role in determining one's disposition in the hereafter. Add this to doctrinal fealty to an earthly administrative infrastructure and you have a group of people well disposed to arguments that: a) they are morally obliged to sacrifice for the good of their fellows, b) there is a group of select individuals who have the wisdom to know what the nature of that sacrifice should be, and c) that group of select individuals are appropriately empowered with enforcement mechanisms to ensure that "the good" is done.
Thy Will Be Done. On Earth. By the Church or the State. What's the difference?
When Political Correctness Collides With Political Correctness:
The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) is demanding that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) tear down a billboard showing a picture of a fat Elvis Presley captioned, "Don't Be Cruel To Your Heart and Body," an apparent implication that eating meat makes one fat.
NAAFA says the billboard is a "cheap and mean-spirited publicity stunt, which works at the expense of fat people." And that PETA should "show respect for people as they show for animals."
PETA says they will not respond because NAAFA's concerns are "not legitimate" and accepting fat is a disservice to society.
Thanks to Jerry Lerman for that one!
I now have a rather large number of internet sites so it occurs to me that I should do a complete list of them so that anyone who likes this blog can read further if they wish:
My big monograph on the psychology and sociology of Leftism
A much briefer, academic presentation of the core contentions of the monograph:
Leftism in the churches:
Racism among Leftists:
My original presentation of a theory of Leftism:
A follow-up paper on the psychology of Leftism:
The first draft of my article on the roots of Leftism to be found in Mussolini's Fascism:
The site for my academic papers up to the year 2000:
Comments? Email me:
15 October, 2002
BALI -- LEGAL IMPLICATIONS
After the recent Bali atrocity, I would not want to be a travel agent selling tickets to Islamic countries. Given the enormous scope that the courts have recently given to tort law in both Australia and the USA, any future victim of terrorism in such countries might very well succeed in a negligence claim against the travel agent who sold him the ticket to get there. I would stop selling all tickets to Islamic countries right now in their position. That could be good for other tourist destinations -- Australia has some nice tropical beaches too. What has Bali got that Broome, Cairns or Surfer's Paradise do not?
FOR A LAUGH
I think we need some cheering up today so here is the British Press at its best:
Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van,
because they cannot issue a description. It's a special branch vehicle,
and they don't want the public to know what it looks like.
Police reveal that a woman arrested for shoplifting had a whole salami
in her knickers. When asked why, she said it was because she was missing
her Italian boyfriend. (Reuters via The Manchester Evenings News)
After being charged o20 for a o10 overdraft, 30 year old Michael Howard
of Leeds changed his name by deed poll to Yorkshire Bank PLC Are Fascist
Bastards. The bank has now asked him to close his account, and Mr.
Bastards has asked them to repay the 69p balance, by cheque, made out in
his new name. (The Guardian)
Would the congregation please note that the bowl at the back of the
church labelled 'for the sick' is for monetary donations only.
(Churchtown Parish Magazine)
6.10pm: Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Bennett's estranged cousin, Mr.Collins,
writes to announce his imminent visit to Longbourne - the house he will
inherit on Mr.Bennett's death. Mrs. Bennett rallies the residents to
stop him setting up a minicab service. (Hampstead and Highgate Express)
There must, for instance, be something very strange in a man who, if
left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on. (Glasgow
A young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth was
rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coastguard spokesman
commented, "this sort of thing is all too common". (The Times)
At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coastguard on the
spot and asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied that he was
sorry, but he didn't have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind
had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff. (Aberdeen Evening Express)
Mrs Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue, Boscombe, delighted the audience with
her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to
do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled.
"He'd always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up
in the middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out Heil Hitler".
(Bournemouth Evening Echo)
Commenting on a complaint from a Mr.Arthur Purdey about a large gas
bill, a spokesman for North West gas said "We agree it was rather high
for the time of year. It's possible Mr.Purdey has been charged for the
gas used up during the explosion that blew his house to pieces."
LEFTISM AS RECYCLED FASCISM
David Horowitz has expressed an interest in taking a new article from me under the above heading for his Front Page Magazine. The idea is to compare modern-day Leftism with Mussolini's original Fascist regime in prewar Italy. There are some striking parallels. I have put up a very preliminary version of the paper here and would be grateful for any comments on it. Both suggestions and criticisms are equally welcome. My past papers in Front Page have benefited greatly from comments from my many correspondents so I hope that will happen again.
Comments? Email me:
14 October, 2002
The very considerable upsurge of antisemitism (sometimes thinly disguised as anti-Zionism) among US Leftists in recent times -- particularly on university campuses -- seems amazing and incomprehensible to many. How can people who have been beating the anti-racist drum so loudly and for so long suddenly turn into the very thing that they have always opposed? How can ferocious Leftists suddenly start advocating something that was until recently the preserve of the extreme Right? Why do many Leftists (including that great hater, Noam Chomsky) now seem to think that it is OK to have Jews being blown up left, right and centre but wrong to attack a murderous dictator such as Saddam Hussein? Can these be the same people who have been proclaiming their "compassion" for so long?
The mystery will be no mystery at all to anyone who has been following this blog or my recent writings elsewhere. As I have argued at some length previously, anti-racism has never been a deepseated or historic Leftist cause and was adopted by Leftists after World War II mainly as a means of gaining kudos. Hitler's enormous racist excesses had made any suggestion of racism obnoxious -- and Leftists always like to masquerade as the good guys for as long as possible.
And Hitler was a Leftist too. Even those who know of the Leftist themes in Hitler's election campaigns often say, however, that he was not a real Leftist because he was also a vehement nationalist. They seem to think that nationalism can only be Rightist. But that shows no knowledge of Leftist history generally.
From the days of Marx onward, there were innumerable "splits" in the extreme Leftist movement but two of the most significant occurred immediately after the Bolshevik revolution --- when in Russia the Bolsheviks themselves split into Leninists and Trotskyites and when in Italy Benito Mussolini left Italy's major Marxist party to found his own "People's" movement called the "Fasci Italiana di combattimento" ("Italian bands of combat"), later abbreviated as "Fascists". So from its earliest days Leftism had a big split over the issue of nationalism. It split between the Internationists (e.g. Trotskyists) and the nationalists (e.g. Fascists) with Lenin having a foot in both camps. So any idea that a nationalist cannot be a Leftist is pure fiction and, as I have shown at length elsewhere (e.g. here), Hitler was most certainly both a nationalist and a Leftist.
So the antisemitism of modern days Leftists is nothing new. When the greatest antisemite of all time was a Leftist, why should we be surprised at Leftist antisemitism today? There have ALWAYS been Leftist racists and even Marx himself was an antisemite (again see here). Conservatives can of course be racist too but see my post of October 10th. below on that.
To those interested in economics, the comparison between the US and Canada is always interesting: Two very similar populations with very different institutional arrangements. The US economy is much more free-market while Canada is much more welfarist and highly regulated. So how have the two been doing? A Bank of Montreal study shows that from 1988 to 1997, the GDP per head grew each year in the USA at more than TWICE the rate of the Canadian figure. Canadian unemployment is also now much higher. Of particular interest, the same study also showed that it was not the productivity of the Canadian workforce that was at fault but rather the broader economic setting. Enough said.
For a discussion and much more data on the subject, see under "Land of Confusion" here. An excerpt follows:
Randall is speaking here of the "gaps" I described in August. Enumerated briefly, they include a gap in marginal tax rates, a gap in personal disposable income (and overall GDP per capita), a gap in labour productivity, a gap in unemployment, and a gap in the stability of the currency. Basically, between the U.S. and Canada, there's a "gap" in any indicator of economic health or standard of living you can conceive. Randall adds a new gap to this list--namely, a gap in the regulatory cost of financial services.
The October 12th post on Parapundit also takes up the cudgels, pointing out that the average useful income of a Canadian is now only about three quarters of what the average American gets. An excerpt:
The raw facts, as outlined by Andrew Sharpe of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards? Canada's per capita GDP is 84.7 per cent of the U.S. level. Personal income is 78.6 per cent. Personal disposable income (that is, after taxes) is 70.4 per cent. All of these gaps widened from 1980 until the last year or so.
And, as only an Australian would, I might point out that the Canada/US discrepancy is despite the much higher proportion of low-earning blacks and Hispanics in the USA.
No doubt Mark Kleiman and his ilk will again want to claim that life in Canada is still so much NICER! A safe claim: It all depends on how you define "nice".
Noted US economist accused conservative debater Ann Coulter of a "flat lie" in her recent book about Leftist bias in the media. See the October 12th. post here to see Krugman demolished in turn.
Comments? Email me:
13 October, 2002
HITLER THE LEFTIST
Even among people who think they know their history, it almost always causes a doubletake when I point out the historical evidence which shows that Hitler was a rather extreme Leftist rather than a Rightist. And my recent article to that effect has caused some skeptical emails to flow my way. I thought therefore that it might be interesting to reproduce what one of my better informed correspondents said -- together with my reply. He actually sent me two emails, one after he had come across my blog and another after he had started to read my recent article:
"Regarding your brief notation of the differences between Nazis and British Conservatives, on Oct 10: I do not disagree with the substance of your remarks, but the Nazis most emphatically were not Leftists. The Communists were their sworn blood enemy, and most hierarchical leaders within the Party were so conservative it was painful. That isn't to say Hitler didn't swipe a page or two from Lenin's playbook -- as a matter of fact Hitler really didn't have very many original ideas on revolution or government.
Well, I do take some of this back. The phrase "Beefsteak Nazi" -- "brown on the outside, red on the inside" existed to explain party members who swapped sides, but were far from committed National Socialists. A lot of these members were WW1 veterans who were 'professional' revolutionaries, not really caring where their action came from, just so long as they got to fight. Many, if not most, were purged from the Party before or during "Die Nacht der Langen Messern"
And the second email:
"Your complete article gives several compelling reasons to consider the Nazis just to the right of the Communists. I want to reread it again more carefully when I have the time to actually digest it, and compare it to what I do know of that time. Thanks for the light. I may see something I hadn't really considered before".
And my reply:
"You are of course right that there was a considerable range of opinion among the Nazis -- as there was among the Bolsheviks -- but Hitler definitely CAMPAIGNED as a Leftist and friend of the worker. The real contest was between Leftists who were nationalists (Mussolini & Hitler) and the rest who were not. And that went right back to very early times. As you know, Mussolini was an intimate of Lenin -- and Fascism is only slightly later than Bolshevism. And that is why they hated one-another -- just as Communists and Trotskyists hate one-another to this day. There is no rivalry more bitter than sibling rivalry.
Have a look at my paper on Hitler here".
I might also have added that Hitler considered Mussolini to be his teacher and that Mussolini (the founder of Fascism) was a Marxist ideologue who considered (as Trotskyites would also argue) that it was Lenin who strayed off the path of true Marxism.
A good thought from an interesting but dubious attempt by Marek Kohn to show Leftists that they could find support for their cause by accepting the idea of an inherited human nature:
Inequality was implicit in the formula for Communism: From each according to their ability; to each according to their needs.
IRAQ AND THE LEFT
Some excellent thoughts from Random Jottings:
I've encountered various "anti-invasion of Iraq" arguments lately, and taken swipes at some of them, such as the previous post. But what's starting to keep me awake at night is the question of why. Why exactly are so many so opposed? Why does this one square on the chessboard seem to have an invisible field that repels so many people?.
Because it really feels like there is some unseen something going on. Why do seemingly decent, thoughtful kind-hearted people, as they approach that square, suddenly find the need to pen 99 coldly logical reasons why going there would surely turn out badly? Why are they so cold?
It would be one thing if they first felt tender-hearted towards the horrible suffering of Iraq, and then later began to have qualms about the wisdom of an invasion. But that doesn't appear to be what's happening. It looks to me like a lot of people, mostly on the left, made an instant and visceral decision to oppose an invasion, and only afterwards began to scrape up actual arguments to support this.
And these are the very people who like to label themselves as the good-guys; progressives, anti-fascists, liberals. It's weird.
I've been tending to blame reflexive anti-Americanism, or a political desire not to yield advantages to Republicans; but now I think there's more going on than that. I'm thinking that when people approach that square and suddenly have a vision "of the whole Middle-East being de-stabilized," it is really their own world-view that they sense is in danger of dissolving.
I think it's a world-view in which Liberals, Progressives, Socialists, leftists, whatever; cast themselves as heros. Vanquishing Fascism ... Opposing the Vietnam War ... Heros of the Civil Rights Movement ... champions of the oppressed and the underdog. The Party of the People.
The problem is that, while this world-view may seem solid to them, somewhere deep inside they know they are on shaky ground. Historically, they've swept a lot of inconvenient facts under the carpet, and deep down they know it. And in the world today, a lot more has to be ignored to keep their world-view intact.
Comments? Email me:
12 October, 2002
Practically every conservative blogger around is saying at the moment what they think of the pathetic Jimmy Carter getting the Nobel Peace Prize so let me say it in Australian: The Nobel peace prize committee have always been a mob of galahs. One glance at some of the past recipients confirms that -- Arafat etc.
I feel that I should add my voice to Slattery's in protesting about this crazy recent case where a lone Vietnamese shopkeeper in Victoria took on with a stick two men who were trying to rob his shop. The SHOPKEEPER got fined $2,000! I would have given him a medal. New South Wales Premier Bob Carr has promised laws to stop that sort of nonsense in his State. It is about time people put pressure on Victorian Premier Steve Bracks to do the same.
At least Australians are not as badly off as the British. Over there they put you in jail for defending your premises against intruders! Perhaps I should migrate to the Lone Star State. They seem to be one of the last bastions of sanity left around.
A good quote from Common-sense and Wonder about "Hate" crimes:
I have personally never understood why it is worse to kill someone because they're gay or black than it is to kill someone because you wanted the $12.50 they had in their wallet. It adds a never ending and unnecessary complexity to the law, the natural result of politicians reacting to every news event with new legislation. I remember calls for special penalties for assault committed against teachers after some horrific school violence somewhere. It seems a direct violation of the principles of equal-treatment under the law when we start creating special victim classes
LEFTISTS HATE BEAUTY
Dr. David Yeagley writes a blog that is mainly concerned with issues of interest to American Indians (as distinct from Indian Americans!) so it is of limited interest to others. David is however a very bright boy (a fellow "Front Page" author!) and does lots of other good essays as well. His piece about how anti-discrimination ideology is now being stretched to abolish the concept of "beauty" (!!) is well worth a read.
THREE QUOTES I liked from last night's reading of other blogs:
John Quiggin, Professor of Economics at A.N.U. bears a striking resemblance to Ned Kelly. John, who recently signed a pro-Kyoto petition, lives in Canberra, which has not warmed since measurements began in 1939.
from Aaron Oakley.
John Pilger is a total slime ball
from Gareth Parker.
And a saddening one: Every Hispanic, and all but four Black members of Congress, voted NAY on approving the use of America's military might against Iraq
from The Curmudgeon.
Comments? Email me:
11 October, 2002
CONSERVATIVES WANT PEACE TOO
Leftist peaceniks in the Vietnam era often justified their opposition to that war by promoting the fantasy that they were the only ones who could see the evils of war and accused anyone who supported any military action of being a "warmonger". Leftists are doing the same thing today as they oppose action to deal with the threat from the vicious Saddam Hussein. They totally ignore the fact that there is another large grouping in the community who are also most emphatic about the undesirability of war -- i.e. war-veterans (or "ex-Diggers" in Australian parlance). And war-veterans are also both overwhelmingly conservative and in favour of military strength.
Pejman, in his Wednesday October 9th. post, similarly pointed out that "warbloggers" and members of the military today are not "pro-war". Supporting pre-emptive action against modern-day Hitlers such as Saddam does not mean that you like war at all. You can hate war and still see it as necessary. I was myself a very minor member of the Australian Army Psychology Corps in the Vietnam era (which I allude to in my October 7 post) and all the members of the military that I have met have at most expressed an interest in adventure but never any bloodthirstiness. Conservatives are as keen on peace as anyone else. It is just that they are more realistic about what is needed to attain and preserve it.
LEFTIST SUPPORT FOR BRUTALITY
Also of relevance to current Leftist posturing over the brutal Saddam Hussein regime is their past support for vast brutalities. As Cathy Young puts it in "Reason" magazine:
The Left's reluctance to acknowledge that Communism wasn't just a failure but an evil is due to more than stubbornness. Such an acknowledgment would amount to (1) validating a view of the West, Communism's Cold War adversary, as good (albeit imperfect), and (2) admitting that the Left spent much of the 20th century cozying up to mass murderers and therefore has precious little moral authority to criticize the West today. And that's very relevant to present-day global conflicts.
The environment is one of those "motherhood" issues -- we are all in favour of nice green scenery and against pollution etc. The politically active "Greenies" however often exploit this with all sorts of wild claims about things that they say might harm the environment. I generally do not write refutations of such claims as they are generally so irrational as to make even Leftists look like Socrates by comparison. Some of our scientists do however sometimes take the shovel to the wilder Greenie claims. John Daly is especially good on "Greenhouse" issues and Aaron Oakley is good on Greenie nonsense generally. So do have a look at their sites sometime soon.
NZPundit is even bolder. He takes on the looniness of both the Lefties AND the Greens. From the abuses he describes, New Zealand needs him.
A good quote from my email:
If I call for special programs and handouts for Aborigines, I am a progressive.
If I call for all Australians to be treated equally, I am "racist". The mind boggles!.
Other good conservative links I have not mentioned for a while:
Tim Blair (Australia)
Scott Wickstein (Australia)
Dr Bunyip (Australia)
Rafe -- Aussie philosopher
Slattery (Aussie larrikin)
Libertarian Aussie economist.
Silent Running -- (NZ)
A New Yorker in Australia
An Englishman in the USA
Oxblog -- Americans at Oxford Univ.
A conservative Labour-voting Brit!
Steven Chapman - UK
Samizdata -- UK Libertarian
"Courageous" about race -- USA
Common-sense and Wonder - USA
Rightwing news -- USA
Judd Brothers -- USA
The King of the Blogs -- USA
Science for conservatives -- USA
The Politburo -- USA
Jeff Wolfe -- USA:
Dr Weevil -- A US Latin teacher
Rottweiler - USA
Sabertooth -- USA
Volokhs -- USA
"Cinderella" -- Good on French lunacy and history
Comments? Email me:
10 October, 2002
As a keen student of 19th century history, I have always taken an interest in the career of Benjamin Disraeli so I had a definite lapse in failing to mention him in my comparison of Nazi racism and the racism of the British during the 19th century. Both the Nazis and the British thought that they were a superior race and both had antisemitic laws but, where the Leftist Nazis massacred Jews wholesale, the British Conservative party actually made a Jew (Disraeli) their Prime Minister! It would be hard to think of a clearer example of the difference between Leftist racism and Conservative racism.
Some will of course quibble that the Disraeli family "converted" from Jewry to Anglicanism when Benjamin was aged 13 but that was just a legal convenience and was almost universally regarded as such. The very surname of the family (D'Israeli) continued to proclaim their origins. Under Hitler, of course, the entire family would have been exterminated without hesitation. Comfortable British conservatives, by contrast, were satisfied by a formality, recognized Benjamin's brilliance and made him a Lord. Rather nicer, don't you think?
I have now put up a slightly revised and expanded version of my "Leftist Racism" paper at: http://leftrace.blogspot.com which incorporates mention of Disraeli. If you want to refer anyone to the paper, therefore, the revised version should work slightly better.
Below is one of the "Comments" offered on the Front Page website by a reader of my "Leftist Racism" article:
This is one of the best studies on the subject of leftist racism I have ever read, but by no means the only one. One of the earliest was the book "The Amateur Democrat" by James Q. Wilson which detailed the not always so subtle use of underlying racism by left-liberal Democrat insurgents during the 1950s and early 1960s. It was from many of these neighborhoods shown in the study, particularly the West Side of Manhattan that so many white liberals fled when the first of the liberal favored minorities moved in. Some additional details for Mr. Ray:
1. A few years ago the History Channel showed a week long documentary on Hitler (All Hitler All The Time) made by Joachim Fest, a German documentary maker. It is interesting that the first time Hitler was ever on a motion picture it was as a pallbearer at Kurt Eisner's funeral--Herr Eisner being the revolutionary Communist Minister President of Bavaria after World War I. He was wearing an unadorned red armband. From communism to Nazism was as easy for him as it was for his favorite judge, Roland Freisler.
2. The term "Limousine Liberal" was not coined by Spiro Agnew, Republican, but by Mario Procacino, Democrat in 1969 after they would not support him against their fellow Limousine liberal racist John Lindsay.
3. White Flight -- White Democrats are the first to flee a neighborhood when minorities they don't like move in. This happened on the West side of Manhattan and in the South Bronx as well as in the "close-in" suburbs today. Is it any wonder that Al Gore droped his "suburban sprawl" issue like a hot potato. He'd be depriving his own voters of places to escape liberal Democratic Party policies.
4. Robert KKK Byrd made anti-black speeches in the House of Representatives at the height of World War II.
5. George Wallace WON Democrat primaries for president in Michigan (1972), North Carolina, Florida (1976) and came close in Maryland and Wisconsin in 1964.
My critic at "Hot Buttered Death" has responded that what he objects to is my "attempt" to smear Leftists by associating them with Hitler. He is certainly a strange student of history. It was Hitler himself who associated himself with Leftism!! Let me coin a phrase: "The truth is not a smear"
Comments? Email me:
9 October, 2002
My full article on Leftist racism appeared yesterday in Front Page Magazine.
Here is the concluding paragraph:
So if we compare the Leftist racism of Hitler and the racism of the very conservative British, what is the obvious conclusion? The conclusion is that feelings of racial, national or group superiority are natural, normal and healthy and can as easily lead to benevolent outcomes as evil ones. It is only racists who harbour hate in their heart generally who are to be feared.
Sound wrongheaded? Read the full article to see why it is not.
It is all too common that books and articles appear with minor errors or omissions in them and there were two in my "Leftist Racism" paper. I failed to give details of two references I cited. The details of the LaPiere reference are as follows:
La Piere, R. (1934) Attitudes and actions. "Social Forces" 13, 230-237
I also referred to an article by Brunton in which he pointed out that the allegedly Rightist Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and the allegedly Rightist French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen were in fact largely Leftist in what they advocated. Brunton's article can be found here.
Interesting comment from Larry Leonard of Oregon Magazine:
I agree with the principle that all men are racists, as long as the concept is broadened to "all men fear the stranger's ways, and skin color is just one of the ways a stranger is identified."
For most of the time Man has existed on Earth, strangers represented danger in one form or another -- to established beliefs, to property, to family, to one's own life. To a large degree that condition still holds sway on the planet. Ask a Tutsi or a Hutu. (And they're the same color!)
That is why the founding fathers of America should be considered demigods. The government they created was founded on the rights of the individual. No other government in history had done that. Even the Greek democracy and Roman Republic, for all their merits, lacked that, which is why they never proceeded to the dissolution of the institution of slavery.
And a note from a Scotswoman who was a nurse with the British occupation forces in postwar Germany:
I am delighted that you say that there are benefits from the class superiority of the British. Having spend two years in Germany with the upper-class Brits I experienced nothing but good companionship and acceptance despite my Scottish accent. Only when marriage with one of them came up was my class (or in his case lack of family money) a barrier. I loved them.
And I guess noblesse oblige was a positive in some cases even when my grandmother and mother were servants, though only my Aunt Mary experienced
anything like caring from a master/mistress.
Comments? Email me:
8 October, 2002
"HOT BUTTERED DEATH"
The above is the strange name of a site run by an anonymous Sydney blogger. The name would seem to suggest a need for attention at any price. He has just made some abusive remarks about the few short extracts from my forthcoming paper on Leftist racism that I posted on 6th.
Delving among the abuse, his central point seems to be that Hitler was not a Leftist because when he came to power he proceeded to evaluate human beings "according to ethnic heritage and religion". That bald assertion completely prejudges the question at issue (whether Leftists can be racists) so is hardly a contribution to rational debate but let make what I can of it anyway. He seems to think that Hitler may have started out as a Leftist but abandoned that later on and became a racist instead.
The buttery one seems to overlook that Hitler evaluated human beings "according to ethnic heritage and religion" from the beginning of his political career. He was antisemitic from very early on -- even before the foundation of the Nazi party -- not just when he came to power. So Hitler's antisemitism was CONTEMPORANEOUS with his very socialistic utterance that I quoted, not a predecessor of it -- as the buttery one seems to believe. The buttery one also seems to believe that Hitler must have abandoned his socialism when he came to power. That too is false. The Kraft durch Freude movement and the pervasive Nazi supervision of German industry are just two examples to the contrary. So Hitler was ALWAYS (i.e. throughout his political career) both a Leftist and a racist. The political party he led (The National Socialist German Worker's Party) was a Labor party throughout its short history. I think the buttery one would find a study of history more advantageous than abuse. I wonder if he will read my full paper on the subject when it appears? Probably not.
The buttery one is however historically sophisticated when compared to a spokesman for the US Democratic party who recently attributed current German opposition to war with Iraq to "historic German pacifism." I kid you not.
I am occasionally amazed at how little Spanish most Americans seem to know. One would think that the vast number of Hispanics among them combined with the rich cultural heritage of Spain would make Spanish the usual second language in their schools -- the way French was once almost automatically offered in British schools.
I have never studied Spanish in my life (my matriculation languages were the major languages of classical music -- German and Italian) but I was amazed that the writers and editors of my favourite US newspaper -- the Wall St Journal -- let by without comment a mistranslation of "Nuestra Senora de Buena Esperanza". It was obvious even to me that "esperanza" meant "hope", not "peace".
Dr. Alex Robson, one of Australia's small band of libertarians, has been wondering lately if anybody reads his blog. So have a look and see what you think. He is an economist at the Australian National University so he does a good job of Fisking Leftist economic illiteracy. He is also good on the Kyoto/Greenhouse nonsense. He probably thinks nobody reads him because he does not put his email address on his blog but it is:
firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to send him some encouragement.
Comments? Email me:
7 October, 2002
IRAQ, VIETNAM AND THE 60S
I have said next to nothing on the Iraq issue so far because the many conservative US bloggers do it so well but I notice that the Rottweiler has had a go at a Leftist critic who claims that President Bush should know from Vietnam that Iraq will just be a disaster for the US if it goes in.
As an oldie who actually volunteered for service in Vietnam in the 60s (but missed out on getting a slot owing to the many others in the Australian Army who wanted to go), I get a bit peeved about the nonsense that is spoken about Vietnam. The event that broke the will of President Johnson to win in Vietnam was the "Tet" offensive by combined North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces. But that event was in fact a huge military victory for the US. Even when caught by surprise, the US and Australian forces massacred their attackers with only light casualties of their own by comparison. What lost the war was the peacenik element in the US who made virtually ANY US casualties unacceptable. So the US threw in the towel after that and moved out. The US military effort was defeated not by Left-wing Vietnamese but by Left-wing Americans -- and so the South Vietnamese were left to the tender mercies of the Communists. So Vietnam is NO reason to think that an attack on Iraq will be unsuccessful in its aims.
And why was there such a big antiwar movement on the home front in the Vietnam era? Because of conscription. Both the USA and Australia had military conscription in those days. And all those 60s college and university students did not want to get shot at so joined up with the extreme Left to protect their own skin. As soon as both Australia and the USA abolished conscription, attendance at radical rallies and demonstrations dropped to a fraction of what it had been. The only demonstrators that remained were the usual "rent-a-crowd" exhibitionists who demonstrate about anything and everything in the hope that it might get their picture in the paper. And putting up with those loons is just one of the everyday prices of democracy.
Interestingly, what US armed intervention did not achieve, US culture did. The Vietnamese Communists may have resisted US bombs etc but they could not resist Coca Cola. And the "Doi moi" reforms long ago put the whole of Vietnam onto the capitalist path. So America did win in the end. It will win in Iraq too.
Because so many of his policies are conservative, British Prime Minister Tony Blair occasionally has to throw a sop to the Leftists of his Labour party to keep them happy. Once such sop was to cut the voting rights of the herediary peers in the House of Lords and now he has banned hunting to hounds. The ostensible reason for the ban is that hunting is cruel but the real reason is of course that fox-hunting is usually seen in Britain (rather erroneously) as an upper-class sport -- and hating the "Toffs" is a great British Labour Party tradition.
Australian anthropologist, Ron Brunton wrote an excellent summary of the issue recently and endorsed the words of the Prince of Wales to the effect that if fox-hunting had been beloved of blacks and gays it would have been warmly approved of instead of being banned.
What neither the Prince nor Brunton have noted is that this is no theory. It is literally true in Australia. In Australia, blacks are even allowed to hunt animals from PROTECTED species if that is part of their "traditional" customs! The hypocrisy that Leftist hatreds engender really is breathtaking sometimes: Black cruelty is good; White cruelty is bad. Shades of Orwell!
Comments? Email me:
6 October, 2002
Let me start with a little joke from a feminist friend of mine. I am no feminist but I thought it was a good one anyway:
GINGER ROGERS DID EVERYTHING FRED ASTAIRE DID, BUT SHE DID IT BACKWARDS AND IN HIGH HEELS
OK. Now to get serious again:
I have just heard from David Horowitz that he will be publishing another paper from me in Front Page -- in addition to the one on the churches that appeared on Friday. The title of the next paper is "Leftist racism" and it covers a lot of ground (particularly in the psychology section) that I have not previously touched on in my online writings. Anyway, until the full paper comes out, I thought I might give here a few short excerpts from the history section of the paper:
And how about another direct quote from Hitler himself?
"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions"
(Speech of May 1, 1927. Quoted by John Toland, Adolf Hitler, 1977, p. 306)
Clearly, the idea that Hitler was a Rightist is probably the most successful BIG LIE of the 20th Century. He was to the Right of the Communists but that is all.
Only a few fragments of the history of Leftist racism have been given here but in any case a typical Leftist response to what has been shown would be: "So what? History is history. It has no relevance to Leftism today." There are many possible answers to that but any claim that modern-day Leftism is somehow different, that it is not and cannot be racist is of course being given the lie right now with the upsurge of Leftist antisemitism as a response to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
And some Leftists who are active and prominent in Left-wing politics right now also have a history of anti-black racism. Senator Robert Byrd, for instance, is such a favourite among US Democrats that he even serves as Chairman of the US Senate --- yet in his 20s he was an active and vocal member of the Ku Klux Klan! You can hardly get more racist than that. So Leftist racism is no mere historical curiosity. Even prominent modern-day Leftists are perfectly capable of it.
And a book that was very fashionable worldwide in the '60s was the 1958 book "The Affluent Society" by influential "liberal" Canadian economist J.K. Galbraith -- in which he fulminated about what he saw as our "Private affluence and public squalour". But Hitler preceded him. Hitler shared with the German Left of his day the slogan: 'Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz' (Common use before private use).
5 October, 2002
LEFTISM IN THE CHURCHES
Pleasing! David Horowitz has just published my article called "Leftism and the Post-Religious Churches" in his Front Page magazine. Since he gets 3 million page hits a month that should end up sending a few more readers to this blog. I have had a request (gladly granted) to reproduce the article on a
Greek Orthodox website too!
A similar article to mine can be found on the site of fellow blogger "Bad Eagle". It's a good read and briefer too! Its author, Dr David Yeagley, is proudly of "Red Indian" descent.
My article has produced quite a flurry of comments from Front Page readers and my own religious attitudes and loyalties have been the target of various erroneous assumptions and accusations. So for the record let me say that I am an atheist of long standing with a wildly evangelical Protestant early history who sends his son to a Catholic school and still finds inspiration in the Gospel of St Matthew. Beat that!
One comment from a reader that I really liked:
One thing I have noticed is how the Left really worships secularism and simply co-opts religious doctrine. Think how the Left "ex-communicates" anyone who doesn't follow the party line or refuses to kneel in obeisance to their "litany".
JOKE (From one of my correspondents):
Did you hear about the dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac who stayed up all night wondering if there really is a dog?
FAITH IN GOVERNMENT
Interesting thoughts from one of my correspondents:
1. If all men were really equal that would rule out most government as we know it.
2. Confidence in government is based on faith: we have to have faith that the politicians and bureaucrats know better, and are more wise, enlightened, and educated than the rest of us.
The amazing facts department:
So we all know that those wicked old US Southerners of the "Jim Crow" era used to go around lynching any blacks who got "uppity" don't we? The history of the matter is amazingly different. Lynching was a primitive way of dealing with crime and during the period concerned there were not only 3,445 blacks lynched but also 1,297 whites lynched! That's the history of it. Only 72% of lynchings were of blacks, which is about the proportion of all crimes committed by US blacks today. Lynching actually seems to have been FAIR! That's one for Southerners to shoot back at their Northern critics! "To kill a mockingbird" is a great and famous novel but it should not be relied on as history.
4 October, 2002
SUICIDES AND CONSERVATISM
Britain's Leftist "Guardian" newspaper has just had a good chortle over the claim that the suicide rate in Britain and Australia is higher during periods when Conservatives are in government. They imply that conservatism is so bad for your mental health that it can make you suicide.
Shades of that old 1950s Marxist nonsense by Adorno and friends (still popular among psychologists) to the effect that conservatives have diseased "authoritarian" personalities! If you cannot beat conservatives in rational debate what could be better than a good old "ad hominem" response that says your opponent's arguments are wrong simply because he personally is a bad lot? One might as well argue that all dog-owners are evil because Hitler loved dogs.
The statistics are of course shonky. The British study actually RULED OUT the period of the (Conservative) Heath government when suicide was low -- on the laughable grounds that Britain got natural gas about then and that made it too hard for many people to commit suicide. And even with that big fudge the pattern was still far from clear. As Katherine Mangu-Ward puts it in the "Daily Standard" of 30th September, 2002:
"Though the averages are higher for conservative administrations, when one looks at administrations individually, there are numerous exceptions to the supposed trend. For example, in addition to Heath, the suicide rate under Churchill was likewise low, while during Callaghan's Labour administration it was quite high"
Other standard points could and should be made -- such as the old truth that correlation does not prove causation -- but the real clincher that nobody seems to have mentioned yet is the time-period when suicides are usually lowest. Guess when that is? When the nation is at WAR! So that means that low suicides rates are necessarily good??? So we need more wars??? All suicides are truly tragic but like everything else there are swings and roundabouts. Clearly there is NO automatic inference we can draw about people's overall wellbeing from suicide rates. Certainly, any claim that a low suicide rate indicates good times for the nation is laughable. On the other hand, if anybody wants to extend "Guardian" type logic to saying that being ruled by a Leftist government is about as good for you as having your country attacked by a foreign power, who am I to argue?
Speaking of "The Guardian", the No. 1 Fisker of "The Guardian" is one of my favourite bloggers. He is also very unusual in keeping us up to date with the weird world of the French media (only for strong stomachs).
(Under the new heading: "ABORTION")
Abortion is a difficult issue for conservatives. They seem to be fairly evenly divided about it. But Leftists are not. Leftists almost all seem to favour abortion. Why?
The key to understanding that is simple. When Leftists get into absolute power -- as they often did in the 20th Century -- we soon see what their "compassion" really adds up to. From Stalin to Pol Pot, Leftists showed that they do not care about human life at all. They murdered millions. So what are a few unborn babies to them? A mere bagatelle!
Rightists are divided because they are the only ones who genuinely care and it is a situation of conflict between the rights of the child and the rights of the mother.
I myself think it is patently obvious that abortion is murder. A baby that would survive if born premature is destroyed by an abortionist and we are told that no crime has been committed! Absurd.
But my libertarian instincts also tell me that coercion is not the way to stop abortion. I leave coercion to the Leftists. Paying mothers to have the baby would work a lot better. Good old capitalism again! A payment of (say) $10,000 to all mothers who produce a healthy baby should do the trick. And with the now catastrophically low birthrates in most of the developed world we probably need such an incentive scheme for all mothers anyway.
So conservatives should be helping to support and encourage reluctant mothers rather than threaten them with the law -- perhaps even setting up special, discreet, resort-style homes for them during their pregnancy.
3 October, 2002
This blog is obviously open to the accusation that it is all negative: All I do is endeavour to strip Leftism naked without saying anything much about the conservative alternative. That is largely true. Most conservative bloggers are highly negative, in fact. With the universities, the media and the bureaucracy so chock-full of Leftists, there is a lot that needs attacking. There are heaps of conservative bloggers, however, and some spend more time than others setting out a conservative position. See my Sabertooth friend in California, the Swordsman of England, Australian Scott Wickstein and my pugnacious New Zealander friend, as just some instances. And for wry humour there is always the Bunyip. I do however on some occasions myself attempt to define and promote conservatism -- as you will see at the end of my paper here. I also once -- in 1974 -- wrote a whole big book defining and promoting the conservative viewpoint in ways accessible to both my fellow academics and to the general public. It was called "Conservatism as heresy" and may still be findable through Ebay or the like.
One other interesting attempt I have seen at looking at what it common to the various brands of conservatism is here at the new website of Australian Whig philosopher, Rafe Champion. Careful, though: Philosophy needs readers with time to mull things over!
A few bloggers have recently noted with some satisfaction the "discovery" by the NY Times that self-esteem is not the psychological 8th wonder of the world that California in particular thought it was. The NY Times reports rightly that high-self esteem can in fact be associated with a whole range of anti-social behaviours. I myself argued against the self-esteem gospel some time ago (See towards the end of my paper here).
One little known aspect of the self-esteem research NOT mentioned in the NY Times is that US blacks generally are found to have high self-esteem. This finding is actually a big deal -- as it undercuts one of the pillars of Leftist support for the abomination known as "affirmative action" (i.e. anti-white racism). The big argument was that Africans suffer a psychological "burden' because of their slave origins so need measures to boost their self-esteem and get them to achieve. Now that it has long been clear that their self esteem does NOT need boosting, we can no doubt expect a withdrawal of Leftist support for affirmative action can we? Not flaming likely!
The whole argument was an utter nonsense from the start anyway. Like many Australians, I am a WHITE person whose ancestors came to my country chained up in the holds of ships. I am descended from two British convicts who were transported to Australia for minor crimes. I even know the names of the ships they came in. But did that impose an awful psychological burden on me? I think you can guess the answer. And I suppose that several millennia of persecution imposes a terrible psychological burden on Jews and makes THEM unable to achieve too??? But Leftists never do care about evidence or logic!
Libertarian Eric Raymond can certainly think outside the box. His solution to airline hijackings is not only to arm the pilots (now happening) but to arm the passengers as well! It may not be as silly as it sounds. Anybody who pulled a gun or any other weapon in an airliner would certainly end up very dead very rapidly under such a system.
Anybody who thinks that President Bush has any choice over Iraq needs to step into Prof. Volokh's time-machine.
2 October, 2002
HAPPINESS AND ECONOMISTS
Economists seem to have discovered only recently the academic psychology literature on happiness -- and it seems to have caused a bit of soul-searching among them. The research shows, of course, that money does not buy you happiness. "So why are we designing policies with the aim of giving everyone higher incomes if that will not make them any happier?", some economists are now asking. The simple answer: "Because almost everybody WANTS higher incomes" does not seem to have occurred to all of them yet.
They seem to think that if money will not necessarily make you happy they should go on strike in their efforts to get more of it to you. But satisfaction, comfort, convenience, leisure options, security etc are not the same as happiness. The thing that most influences how happy you are is probably your relationships with others. Given satisfaction with your relationships, you will probably remain roughly as happy through a wide range of incomes. But you will still want more of the things that money can buy if you can get them. So you will still say "Yes, please" to the possibility of more money.
There have been some breathtaking non-sequiturs among economists over the matter. Some note that a big thing that causes UNhappiness is unemployment. And they conclude from this that maybe we should stop all economic reform because economic reform may give most of us more money but it also tends to cause some short-run unemployment. But this is pusillanimous. Would it not be much more logical to deduce that we should in fact make a major attack on ALL unemployment? Given the high levels of our unemployment, surely the obvious conclusion is that we do indeed need BIG reform.
And one technically easy reform that would reduce unemployment rapidly would be to cut the legal minimum wage by (say) 25%. That would make many of the chronically unemployable worth employing again. And motivating the unemployed to seek work is needed too. Cutting (say) 20% off what the government gives them would be a big help there. They did that in New Zealand not too long ago under Roger Douglas so why not elsewhere? More courageous thinking needed!
Mark Kleiman has posted quite a clever counterblast to my post about Sweden but I won't bore people by Fisking it. The topic is a bit done to death by now. I cannot resist noting however that all the countries which Kleiman mentions as poorer than Sweden have suffered heavily from even worse socialism than Sweden. Sweden is a high tax and high "welfare" place but they have always left it to businessmen to run their businesses -- unlike most of the rest of Europe. That is why the comparison between the USA and Sweden is so interesting: Two highly capitalist economies of long standing that differ mainly in the different proportion of the national income that they divert into "welfare" expenditure. No prizes for guessing which one has forged ahead.
Kleiman also glides over the point that once you start trying to measure wellbeing instead of productivity you run into pluses as well as minuses. Swedes, for instance, have more leisure but also have to spend a considerably higher proportion of their income just to keep warm. All of which goes to show that economists who claim to be able to measure wellbeing simply reveal their politics. They should stick to the dollars and cents.
Prof. John Quiggin (an economist at the ANU) and I recently had an email discussion of the idea put up by him and Ken Parish to the effect that there are "Right-brain" and "Left-brain" bloggers. I argued that he was mistaking a sociological phenomenon for a psychological one. He said he would put the debate up on the net for the delectation of all and I see from Google that he has now done so. I cannot see where he has given out the link to it, however, so here it is:
1 October, 2002
For the first two items below I am much indebted to discussions with a fellow blogger:
(Under the heading: "LEFTIST INFLUENCE IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH")
So the main motivation behind Catholic socialism would seem to be the wish of the church to curry favour with the often poor members of its congregations but some attempt to treat Christ's counsel about the surest path to the afterlife (e.g. "Go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven" -- Matthew 19:21) as if it were also advice about how to run the affairs of the secular world is also of course involved -- materially assisted by the fact that theologians seldom seem to be very literate in economics.
So in many countries this does sometimes result in people hearing from Catholic pulpits condemnations of the "greed" of capitalism. Yet is it not greed to demand something that you did not earn? Is it not greed to use the coercive power of the government to take from others? Is it not greed to use the coercive power of unions to receive an unfair wage, often at the expense of other less-unionized workers? Is it not greed to demand that church members pay you a certain percentage of their wages? So the second-rate theology that fails even to ask such questions results in many Catholics worldwide hearing from their priests a message that is in some ways not very distinct from the message of Marxist revolutionaries.
(Under the heading: "THE CHURCH")
Also at work when Leftists praise primitive religions is of course the normal Leftist hatred of modern Western civilization in general and of the USA in particular. Anything non-Western or non-Christian is therefore welcomed and praised. And the common Red/Green pretence that primitive practices were more "in harmony with nature" is something of a joke. Primitive peoples constantly used fire to clear land and trap game and this constant fire-load on the environment did of course greatly change the landscape and its resident species from what they "naturally" once were. Primitive man probably changed the landscape nearly as much as modern man did, in fact. Only very high rainfall forests would have been unaffected by fire. And the desertification of large areas on the margins of the Sahara is the work of primitive sheep and goat herders in quite recent times.
An interesting thought recycled from Jeff Wolfe:
"WHY IRAQ? - I've been thinking about why we are about to attack Iraq, and not the real enemy, Saudi Arabia.
Most of the debate has been focused on the first part of that question, so I decided to look at the second part a bit. I pulled out a map to see how I might execute a war against Saud-controlled Arabia if I were the general in charge. It wouldn't be easy. Once you no longer count Saudi Arabia as a friend, the U.S. doesn't have very many friends left in the region. Israel and Kuwait are too small (and Israel is unsuitable in any event for obvious reasons), and Turkey and Afghanistan are too far away.
If we need somewhere from which to base an attack on Saud-controlled Arabia, and none of our current bases are suitable, where do we turn? Going back to the map, we see that the best situated country is probably... Iraq"
30 September, 2002
RIGHTIST BLOGGERS AND LEFTIST JOURNALISTS
Almost all the blogs I read are written by fellow conservatives. Leftist blogs are far too careless about the facts to have any interest for me. One blog I enjoy is however written by a political centrist -- my fellow-Australian Ken Parish. He certainly seems very much interested in the full facts of matters that he discusses.
One of his themes lately has been an attempt to figure out why the great majority of Australian bloggers tend to be right-wing. He has explored various possible answers to that question but has overlooked what seems to me the obvious explanation: That the mainstream media both in Australia and the US is overwhelmingly Leftist so Rightists feel the need to redress the balance somehow and write blogs in an attempt to do that. Leftists don't need to read or write blogs. Just picking up their local newspaper or tuning in their TV will give them a good blast of reinforcement for their attitudes.
I therefore dashed off a two-line email to Ken pointing this out. I forgot, however, that I was writing to a centrist and that therefore, from his centrist point of view, the media are not biased but balanced. He was therefore understandably dismissive of my explanation.
Since they seem to be impervious to evidence, I don't waste my time trying to persuade Leftists of anything but I do think that centrists can sometimes have their attitudes moved a bit by facts so I then quickly put on my now rather dusty social scientist's hat and sent Ken a much longer email giving references to published research reports in the academic journals that demonstrate clearly that Australian journalists are overwhelmingly to the Left of the Australian general population in their attitudes.
I thought Ken might make some reference to this advance in the argument on his blog but his interest in the topic does not seem to have survived my rejoinder. I suspect that I may have won that round by default. So I reproduce the reference citations below for what interest they may have to others.
(1998) "Ideological differences between Australian journalists and their
public", Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 3 (1): 92-101.
(1996) "Australian journalists' professional and ethical values", Journalism
& Mass Communication Quarterly, 73: 206-218
(1995) "Political journalists' political and professional values",
Australian Journal of Political Science, 30 (2), 321-334
The author of the studies cited above has recently retired from the Chair of Journalism at the University of Queensland and is Australia's specialist in such matters.
In a way, though, it hardly needs an academic study to show how Leftist Australian journalists, academics and media commentators are. In Australia's recent Federal election, the conservative coalition government was returned to power on the back of Prime Minister Howard's strong and effective opposition to illegal immigration from the Middle East. So strong was popular support in the Australian general population for this stance that even the nominally Leftist opposition party (the Australian Labor Party) dared not oppose it publicly for fear of being totally routed at the polls. Yet the media are still absolutely
brimming with denunciations of the Prime Minister and his Minister for Immigration as "heartless", "Fascist" etc. because of their immigration policy. It is of course these media figures who are the real Fascists -- opposing as they do a policy that has been given the overwhelming support of Australian voters. What the Australian people want seems to be of absolutely of no interest to these anti-democratic Leftist "commentators". Only if the government were completetely undemocratic and defied the popular will would they be happy.
And British journalists seem to be no better. Speaking at the recent meeting of British Trade Unions, Jeremy Dear, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists said of the war on terrorism "If justice was the motive we would be considering sending troops in now to end Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory" Source
It is a tribute to the good sense of ordinary people that the constant Leftist slant that they get through the mass media has not convinced everyone.
29 September, 2002
In this blog I have always endeavoured to stick the knife into what I believe is characteristic Leftist hypocrisy and dishonesty. As I have also repeatedly made clear however, I believe that there are many reasons for Leftism and not all Leftists are attention-seeking and power-mad Machiavellians. Some are honest -- true idealists who simply know no better. It is perhaps fitting therefore that Michael Jacobs, the current head (or "General Secretary". Stalin was also a "General Secretary") of that historic fountainhead of Leftism -- Britain's Fabian Society, seems to be one of the dreamy Leftists.
In his recent article called "Reason to believe" in "Prospect" magazine datelined simply as "October, 2002" (though I was able to read it in September!) Jacobs bewails the loss of idealism in the British Labour Party. He sees the motivating force of his brand of politics as:
"the feeling that many people must surely have when looking at the world: that too much in the present order is morally wrong. A billion people living in absolute poverty, species and habitats being wiped out, many groups subject to systematic violence and discrimination, some people consuming vast amounts while others starve"
And one can hardly argue with that concern. The world is indeed far from an ideal place and is much in need of improvement. The only problem is how you go about doing the improvements. Conservatives want to gradually improve the world as a whole whereas Leftists want to immediately rip the goodies off those who already have them and give them to someone else who did not earn or create them. They are uninterested in doing any realistic policy analysis and want their ideal world yesterday, not in 20 or 50 years time. The now easily confirmable fact that the sort of rush into action that they preach will achieve the opposite of what they allegedly intend seems somehow not to bother them a bit.
And the article by Jacobs reveals one reason why realistic policy analysis is so alien to the Left. He frankly admits that to him Leftism is a religion, and a very dreamy religion at that. Let him speak for himself in the following excerpts from his article:
"Socialism was not merely the end-point towards which those on the left believed themselves to be working. For large numbers of activists and politicians, it was an animating force in their lives. People were socialists in the way that others (sometimes the same people) were Catholics or Jews: it was part of their identity. "Socialist" did not just describe a set of views you had. It was something you were.
This was true of the moderates as much as the revolutionaries. It is easy to forget this now, so accustomed are we to politicians who aim for nothing more than their pragmatic policy positions. Prior to the mid-1980s, the most mainstream Labour politicians talked often and without embarrassment about socialism. Here is Tony Crosland, Labour's principal revisionist of the 1950s and 1960s, writing about the central socialist value of equality in a 1975 Fabian pamphlet:
"By equality we mean more than a meritocratic society of equal opportunities... we also mean more than a simple redistribution of income. We want a wider social equality embracing the distribution of property, the educational system, social class relationships, power and privilege in industry."
The Fabian tradition is often thought of as the moderate end of socialism, but Fabian pamphlets from the Webbs through to the 1980s were full of statements such as this. This was how all Labour people thought.
[Tony Blair's] third way is not an ideology. It provides neither a guide to policy-making, nor a vision of the society towards which social democrats aim. New Labour is left with no more than piecemeal social reform.
Electorally, of course, this has been very successful. But within the Labour party it has had a devastating effect. This has gone largely unnoticed by those outside. But inside the party it is visible and widespread. It is not that the government's policies are too moderate --party members are used to this. Some of the policies in fact command widespread support, particularly now that they come with higher spending and taxation
One of the reasons that socialist ideology flourished in the past was that it fitted the tribalism of a class society. Ideologies which came as whole packages of belief attached themselves easily to fixed, collective identities"
So no wonder reasoning with Leftists is so unproductive. It is an attempt to use reason to break down a religion: Never a promising task.
28 September, 2002
Some little time ago, there was a bit of a flurry on the conservative blogs about a study which showed Sweden in a bad light. It was pointed out that the average Swede was less wealthy than even poor Americans. Even an average citizen of a poor American State like Mississippi was better off than the average Swede. This was taken as some indication that "heartless" American capitalism was in fact kinder to the poor than was the Swedish welfare State.
This was of course a bit of a red rag to those who admire the Swedish welfare State and various refutations of the claim were produced -- even causing Instapundit to waver over the matter:
One of the chief debunkers of the claim was Prof. Mark Kleiman, from the UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research:
Kleiman's claims had a number of apparent peculiarities in them, however, so I emailed him about some of them. It turns out that he concedes that Gross Domestic product (GDP) per capita is considerably higher in the USA than in Sweden but disputes that GDP is a good measure of average welfare.
This might seem surprising considering the very widespread use of GDP as a measure of national economic performance but is in fact an old point in economics. GDP is essentially an accounting measure that just adds up all the money that people earn and spend in a given year. Kleiman rightly points out that GDP is not the whole picture. A classical point is that GDP ignores the very valuable work done by housewives because it is not paid for publicly.
As soon as you start "correcting" GDP to make it a better measure of welfare, however, you rush headlong into political judgments. For instance, Leftists might argue that a country with a highly multicultural population is a lot better for you in various ways so a country with such a population should get an extra mark for that. Conservatives, on the other hand, would probably argue that multiculturalism is a pain and would mark a country down for that.
So Kleiman is perfectly right to say that welfare is a matter of opinion but it still remains that on the most objective and most widely used measure of national economic performance, socialized Sweden shows up as considerably poorer than the more capitalistic USA.
I did explore with Kleiman the idea that either one of us should put up on our respective blogs our full correspondence about the matter but he declined. I was going to let the matter rest at that but, on looking into the matter, I was a little concerned that others seem to have felt that he and his ilk had "won" the debate concerned. I have therefore departed from my usual posting practices to put up the above summary.
The Curmudgeon and I seem to be getting on well lately so I thought it is about time I put up a link to him.
He has got lots of good graphics to soften the blow of his hard-hitting text.
27 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "ANTI-RACIST HYPOCRISY")
And are feminists conservative? Hardly. And feminists are hardly a new phenomenon either. In the person of Margaret Sanger and others, they were very active in the USA in first half of the 20th century, advocating (for instance) abortion. And Margaret Sanger was warmly praised by Hitler for her energetic championship of eugenics. And the American eugenicists were very racist. They shared Hitler's view that Jews were genetically inferior and opposed moves to allow into the USA Jews fleeing from Hitler (Richmond, 1998). So if Hitler's eugenics and racial theories were loathsome, it should be acknowledged that his vigorous supporters in the matter at that time were Leftists and feminists, rather than conservatives.
Richmond, M. (1998) Margaret Sanger's eugenics. "Life advocate". January.
(Under the heading: "WHY EQUALITY?")
One might argue that if blacks, women, gays etc. are entitled to advocate more rights for their respective groups, it is equally proper that (for instance) whites should vigorously advocate more rights for their group, but, being moderate as they are and because they are NOT strongly group-conscious, conservatives very rarely argue that. They are quite happy with equal opportunity.
26 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "ANTI-RACIST HYPOCRISY")
And we all know how evil Nazi eugenics were, don't we? How crazy were their efforts to build up the "master race" through selective breeding of SS men with the best of German women -- the "Lebensborn" project? Good Leftists recoil in horror from all that of course. But who were the great supporters of eugenics in Hitler's day? In the USA, the great eugenicists of the first half of the 20th century were the "Progressives". And who were the Progressives? Here is one summary of them:
"Originally, progressive reformers sought to regulate irresponsible corporate monopoly, safeguarding consumers and labor from the excesses of the profit motive. Furthermore, they desired to correct the evils and inequities created by rapid and uncontrolled urbanization. Progressivism ..... asserted that the social order could and must be improved..... Some historians, like Richard Hofstadter and George Mowry, have argued that the progressive movement attempted to return America to an older, more simple, agrarian lifestyle. For a few progressives, this certainly was true. But for most, a humanitarian doctrine of social progress motivated the reforming spirit".
Sound familiar? The Red/Green alliance of today is obviously not new. So Hitler's eugenics were yet another part of Hitler's LEFTISM! He got his eugenic theories from the Leftists of his day. He was simply being a good Leftist intellectual in subscribing to such theories.
For more, see Donald Pickens "Eugenics and the Progressives" (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1968). The summary of Progressivism above is from a paper by T.L. De Corte "Menace of Undesirables: The Eugenics Movement During the Progressive Era", University of Nevada, Las Vegas (1978). Against all his own evidence, De Corte also claims that the Progressives were "conservative". More Leftist whitewash!
25 September, 2002
I am at the monent working on a new paper about Leftist racism. Below is an excerpt hot off my wordprocessor:
It would seem to follow from the view of racism as being innate and universal that both Left-leaning and Right-leaning people in the general population would be equally likely to be characterized by support for racial discrimination. And survey research conducted among the general population in Australia, Britain and the USA does indeed show that the correlations between overall ideology and racist attitudes are negligible (Ray, 1984; Ray & Furnham, 1984; Ray & Lovejoy, 1986; Raden, 1989, Table 2). Most research on the question has however been conducted among college students (e.g. Adorno et al, 1950; Duckitt, 1993) and, among students, those with racist views are highly likely to be conservative.
A paper by Sniderman, Brody & Kuklinski (1984) is therefore interesting and unusual in that it relied on U.S. general population sampling and separated people out in terms of educational level. These authors did indeed find some overall association between racist and conservative attitudes but found it only among well-educated respondents. Among those with only a basic education the association was not to be found at all. This is consistent with the view that any association between the two variable is produced in the educational system by teachers (both secondary and tertiary) who tend to be both liberal and anti-racist. People who acculturate best to the educational system will therefore show both liberal and anti-racist views and this will produce an overall association between the variables.
Friday, January 03, 2003
24 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "LEFTIST INFILTRATION OF PROTESTANT CHURCHES")
The churches also provide Leftists with a "bully pulpit" (to use Theodore Roosevelt's famous phrase). As part of their wish to aggrandize themselves, Leftists love to preach to people and urge on them the error of their ways. The churches are of course ready-made for that and also have some prestige and some reputation for good intentions that is useful to the Leftist in getting his/her message listened to. So Leftists have every reason to infiltrate and use the churches.
(Under the heading: "LEFTIST RACISM")
A good reply to the Leftist arguments for "affirmative action" might be some very famous words: "I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today". To their shame it is the Leftists today who favour people on the basis of the colour of their skin rather than on the content of their character. The chief obstacles to the realization of Martin Luther King's dream today are America's so-called "liberals".
23 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "ANTI-RACIST HYPOCRISY")
The idea that Nazism was motivated primarily by a typically Leftist hunger for change and excitement is reinforced by the now famous account of life in Nazi Germany given by a young "Aryan" who lived through it. Originally written before World War II, Haffner's (2002) account of why Hitler rose to power stresses the boring nature of ordinary German life and observes that the appeal of the Nazis lay in their offering of relief from that: "The great danger of life in Germany has always been emptiness and boredom ... The menace of monotony hangs, as it has always hung, over the great plains of northern and eastern Germany, with their colorless towns and their all too industrious, efficient, and conscientious business and organizations. With it comes a horror vacui and the yearning for 'salvation': through alcohol, through superstition, or, best of all, through a vast, overpowering, cheap mass intoxication." So he too saw the primary appeal of Nazism as its offering of change, novelty and excitement.
22 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "ANTI-RACIST HYPOCRISY")
Modern day Leftists of course hate it when you point out to them that Hitler was one of them. They deny it furiously -- even though in Hitler's own day the orthodox Leftists who represented the German labor unions (the SPD) often voted WITH the Nazis in the Reichstag (German Parliament).
As part of that denial, an essay by Steve Kangas is much reproduced on the internet. Entering the search phrase "Hitler was a Leftist" will bring up multiple copies of it. Kangas however reveals where he is coming from in his very first sentence: "Many conservatives accuse Hitler of being a leftist, on the grounds that his party was named "National Socialist." But socialism requires worker ownership and control of the means of production". It does? Only to Marxists. So Kangas is saying only that Hitler was less Leftist than the Communists -- and that would not be hard. Surely a "democratic" Leftist should see that as faintly to Hitler's credit, in fact.
Some other points made by Kangas are highly misleading. He says for instance that Hitler favoured "competition over co-operation". Hitler in fact rejected Marxist notions of class struggle and had as his great slogan: "Ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Fuehrer" (One State, one people, one leader). He ultimately wanted Germans to be a single, unified, co-operating whole under him, with all notions of social class or other divisions forgotten. Other claims made by Kangas are simply laughable: He says that Hitler cannot have been a Leftist because he favoured: "politics and militarism over pacifism, dictatorship over democracy". Phew! So Stalin was not political, not a militarist and not a dictator? Enough said.
21 September, 2002
FAKE QUOTE ON GUNS
I have written a great deal about the fact that Nazism was simply a racist form of extreme Leftism. See the paper about Hitler on my main website and also http://jonjayray.batcave.net/leftism2.html. One piece of evidence for the Leftist orientation of Hitler is only partly true however. A quote occasionally found on pro-gun websites and attributed to Adolf Hitler goes as follows: "This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"
The quote is a fake (or at least nobody has ever been able to find it in any German source) but it is nonetheless true that Weimar (pre-Hitler) Germany did have restrictions on gun-ownership and that the Nazis introduced further restrictions when they came to power. The Nazi Weapons Law (or "Waffengesetz"), which restricted the possession of militarily useful weapons and forbade trade in weapons without a government-issued license, was passed on March 18, 1938. See: http://www.urbanlegends.com/politics/hitler_gun_control.html
So, surprising though it may be to many, Hitler was NOT a "gun-nut". He was in fact rather against private ownership of guns. Once again he was surprisingly "modern".
20 September, 2002
(Under the new heading: "LEFTIST INFILTRATION OF THE MAINSTREAM CHURCHES")
In fact, there seems to have developed in the "Western" world in recent decades the curious phenomenon of the post-religious church. This is most marked in the case of the Church of England and its related Anglican churches worldwide.
There was once a time hundreds of years ago when followers of the Church of England were passionate believers in its blend of Protestant doctrines and episcopal organization. And assent to the 39 "Articles of Religion" is to this day supposed to be the mark of the Anglican. These articles say things such as: "Holy scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation." (Article 6). And: "They are to be had accursed that presume to say , That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law and the light of Nature." (Article 18). No doctrinal flexibility or universal salvation there! And no vagueness about what is authoritative!
How much this uncompromising language contrasts with the wishy-washy social gospel that is usually to be heard in Anglican churches today. When the Anglican flock go to church these days what they hear from their clergy tends to be a wishy-washy mish-mash of every trendy "liberal" belief under the sun. God and the Bible are lucky to get a mention. The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury (Carey) is so "Green" that not even Greenpeace could have found fault with him and the incoming Archbishop (Williams) clearly has no respect whatever for Bible teachings about homosexuality. It is not even certain that a majority of the Anglican episcopate believe in God in any meaningful sense. Some of them clearly do not.
So in modern times nothing seems to be forbidden in the Anglican churches and nothing seems to be required for membership other than a modicum of politeness and a patience with rambling sermons. And it is not so much belief that is required as good taste! How has this come about?
It would seem to reflect a decay of faith in the general population. About the only religious belief that still wins widespread assent in the modern Western world is belief in God. But this is now accompanied by widespread skepticism about whether the churches know any more about God than anybody else. Certainly, the idea that one particular church has the truth while others do not is now widely seen as ridiculous.
This means that many mainstream churches are essentially now hollow shells. They offer a facility for worship and fellowship but have no authority in matters of morals, doctrine or anything else. They have become social facilities rather than religious institutions. Rather than delivering salvation, all that is now asked of them is that they occasionally make you feel good. So this lack of moral, ethical or doctrinal anchors leaves the door open wide for what is popularly believed in the secular world to prevail in the churches as well. So if Leftist, Greenie, Feminist or "Gay-lib" beliefs are vocally expressed in the community at large, such beliefs will be expressed with similar energy from the pulpit. The acclaimed Marxist theorist Gramsci foresaw many years ago a "long march through the institutions" for Leftism -- and the post-religious churches have offered no resistance to that march at all. Their clergy now preach salvation through the nostrums of Leftism and Environmentalism rather than through the worship of Christ.
19 September, 2002
A WORD OF EXPLANATION:
This is a blog solely of original comment and theory. Unlike most political blogs, it is not devoted to commenting on or circulating the news of the day.
My passion is for rationality and, while irrationality is very common, the chief home of irrationality in politics seems to be the Left. So this blog is devoted to pulling Leftism apart at every level and showing what it is that makes Leftists so irrational. And every time I make a further explanatory entry on this blog, I also blend the same entry into a continuously expanding comprehensive paper on the psychology and sociology of Leftism.
There are however many excellent blogs which comment on the news of the day from a conservative or libertarian perspective. See for example:
Tim Blair (Australia)
Scott Wickstein (Australia)
Dr Bunyip (Australia)
Brain Graze (Australia)
Debunking Greenhouse (Australia)>
A New Yorker in Australia
An Englishman in the USA
Oxblog -- Americans at Oxford Univ.
A conservative Labour-voting Brit!
Samizdata -- UK Libertarian
http://reason.com -- USA Libertarian
"Courageous" about race -- USA
The top NeoConservative site -- USA
Rightwing news -- USA
Judd Brothers -- USA
The King of the Blogs -- USA
Science for conservatives -- USA
The Politburo -- USA
Daddy Warblogs - USA
Jim Miller - USA
Dr Weevil -- A US Latin teacher
Rottweiler - USA
Sabertooth -- USA
Volokhs -- USA
"Cinderella" -- Good on French Lunacy
My Home page:
18 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "ANTI-RACIST HYPOCRISY")
Hitler was in fact even more clearly a Leftist than he was a nationalist or a racist. Although in his speeches he undoubtedly appealed to the nationalism of the German people, Locke (2001) makes a strong case that Hitler was not in fact a very good nationalist in that he always emphasized that his primary loyalty was to what he called the Aryan race -- and Germany was only one part of that race. Locke then goes on to point out that Hitler was not even a very consistent racist in that the Dutch, the Danes etc. were clearly Aryan even by Hitler's own eccentric definition yet he attacked them whilst at the same time allying himself with the very non-Aryan Japanese. And the Russians and the Poles (whom Hitler also attacked) are rather more frequently blonde and blue-eyed (Hitler's ideal) than the Germans themselves are! So what DID Hitler believe in? Locke suggests that Hitler's actions are best explained by saying that he simply had a love of war but offers no explanation of WHY Hitler would love war. Hitler's extreme Leftism does explain this however. As the quotations already given show, Hitler shared with other Leftists a love of constant change and excitement --- and what could offer more of that than war?
17 September, 2002
New heading: "THE SOCIOLOGY OF LEFTISM
The appeal of Leftism to the average person is simple: The Leftist offers something for nothing. And that is always hard to resist -- fraudulent though it usually is. If the Leftist offers to redistribute somebody else's wealth into your pocket, that is one hell of an appealling scam. So before considering what it is that causes a person to be a Leftist it should be well noted that a person who votes for a Leftist party may not necessarily himself be much of a Leftist. He may vote for the Leftist party simply because the Leftists appear to offer him personally a better deal. The Leftist's constant hypocritical preaching of equality does sometimes succeed in creating the impression that the Leftists will manage to give poorer or working class people a bigger slice of the national cake -- and poorer people must obviously find that at least initially appealing. This is of course why labour unions have always had strong affinities with the Left. Leftists appear to want a better deal for union members.
And this is partly why Leftists have recently become such opponents of globalization. Globalization does tend to relocate simpler jobs to poorer countries and the Leftist's union allies tend to oppose the changes to employment that this brings about. Unlike other Leftists, unions generally dislike change. They dislike change because it requires workers to find new jobs and that is understandably distressing to the workers concerned even if at the end of the day the cheaper goods now coming from overseas mean higher living standards for all. The Leftist however feeds on discontent so conveniently turns a blind eye to the longer term benefits of globalization and assists unionists in opposing it. The change-loving Leftist assists change-hating unionists! The corrosive discontent and hatred of existing power centres that motivate the Leftist enables him to ignore the incongruity of this alliance. Leading a protest of any kind is far more important than what the protest is about.
Lipset (1959) pointed out long ago, however, that poorer or working class people may in fact not only be change-haters in matters that affect them directly but also be conservative in other senses -- despite their (self-interested) vote for a Leftist political party. This tendency towards conservatism among working class people has been noted at least since the time of British Prime Minister Disraeli in the 19th century (McKenzie & Silver, 1968) and is so prevalent that it forms a vital electoral support for conservative political parties. How? Because something like a quarter of working class people are in fact so conservative (accepting of inequality etc.) that they resist the blandishments of the Left and vote conservative -- AGAINST what would initially seem to be their class self-interest (McKenzie & Silver, 1968; Ray, 1972c). So the primary concern of the present paper is with "real" Leftists -- people who subscribe to and promote a Leftist ideology rather than those who merely vote Leftist or support the Left solely out of self-interest.
So WHY does an ideological Leftist oppose the existing social, economic and political order? Why are they so keen on advocating change, no matter how irrational or counter-productive it might be? There can in fact be many reasons why and for many Leftists more than one of the reasons listed below will apply.
The simplest reason may simply be that one is BORN into a Leftist outlook. Being born into a Northern English or Scottish working-class environment, for instance, almost guarantees that one will favour a Leftist stance on many issues. Union activity and Leftist advocacy generally has been so strong for so long there that it has radicalized in many ways what might otherwise be a fairly conservative population and caused Leftist views to become simply traditional there. One might say that the explanation for Leftism there is a "sociological" one.
Another example of such a "sociological" cause for Leftism would be the way in which US college students are radicalized by the predominantly liberal academic environment of US humanities and social science schools. To be liberal in such an environment is almost a survival need (Sommers, 2002). And schoolteachers too, often seem to be Leftist. Many of those who lecture and control others in their working hours would seem to want to carry on doing so after work as well.
Also, because of its pretensions to standing up heroically for various difficult causes, Leftism can seem "cool" to many of the unthinking young and not so young. Particularly in the worlds of the media and entertainment (as well as academe), being Leftist means being "in" with the "smart" crowd. Not to be Leftist is to be left out. How awful! Even if such people can see faults in Leftist thinking, they are afraid to come toward the Right for fear of losing the approval of others around them.
15 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "HUMAN NATURE")
Although it would seem that Marx himself was equivocal on the matter (Geras, 1983), it has long been a major Leftist doctrine that there is no such thing as an inherited "human nature". This root and branch rejection of heredity was of course what underlay Stalin's support of Lysenko's otherwise thoroughly discredited theory of evolution -- the idea that characteristics acquired in one's lifetime can be passed on to one's offspring.
Leftists reject the importance of heredity in order to justify their frequent claim that "education" can change almost anything in human behaviour. Even Leftists in the "Western" world claimed for many years that "education" could create "a new Soviet man" who would work for the common good rather than for selfish greed. "The new Soviet man" is of course now as dead as the dodo but modern-day Left-dominated American schools still often seem to demonize the normal human tendency to seek out one's own economic self-interest as "greed" or as being "uncaring" and still foolishly try to "educate" such tendencies out of their students.
Students are made to feel ashamed of what are normal motivations.
Since roughly the 1960s the long-standing scientific evidence that intelligence is highly heritable also has come to be bitterly and arbitrarily dismissed by "Western" Leftists -- now that it is well-known that the same evidence also shows lower average scores for favoured Leftist groups such as blacks and people of lower socioeconomic status (Brand, 1996). The evidence of heritability is now simply denied as absurd or the standard of proof required for the evidence to be accepted is raised so high that no evidence would ever be sufficient (Ray, 1972a). The animosity to even the concept of intelligence has become so great that bans on intelligence testing in schools have been introduced in some American States.
So does this Leftist idea that important human psychological characteristics cannot (or must not) be genetically transmitted also flow from a yen for change?
Quite obviously, any idea of human nature or of inherited characteristics says that important things about human beings just CANNOT be changed willy-nilly and that does not suit the change-loving Leftists at all. So Leftists simply reject what does not suit them -- regardless of the enormous evidence in favour of inherited characteristics. The entire discipline of behaviour genetics should not exist from a Leftist point of view.
The conservative (and scientific) rejection of the Leftist idea that human beings are infinitely malleable does of course pose a major threat to the Leftist's assumptions, theories and programmes and it is one that the Leftist cannot really rebut so the usual Leftist response is simply some sort of ad hominem nonsense such as claiming that conservatives are less "compassionate" (As if Leftists in power such as Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were "compassionate"!). Abuse takes the place of argument (Krauthammer, 2002).
It should be noted, however, that Leftists reject the idea of heredity only because it is inconvenient to them. They reject it when to acknowledge its influence would make nonsense of some change that they propose. In other cases, however, heredity can be speedily resurrected. Current Leftist advocacy of "gay rights", for instance often seems to centre on a claim that gays "can't help it". They are born different (born homosexual) and therefore should not be criticized in any way. And much feminist advocacy too seems to centre on a claim that women are naturally (for instance) more "nurturing" and can even be seen as superior on that basis.
And why is the gross discrimination in favour of blacks that is euphemistically called "affirmative action" seen as necessary? Surely if Leftists saw blacks as genetically equal, all that would be needed would be to ensure that blacks had equal opportunity (equal access to education etc.) to ensure equality of outcomes. Instead, however, Leftists see it as necessary to enforce equal outcomes by the weight of the law. Their deeds reveal that Leftists obviously do NOT really believe that blacks are inherently equal to whites.
This Leftist racism would also seem to show in the current Leftist doctrine that preferential admission of blacks to universities and colleges is needed to ensure "diversity" on US campuses. No testing of the "diversity" of thinking in the relevant candidates for admission is done. Just their blackness seems to suffice as evidence that they will add "diversity". Their backgrounds could be thoroughly middle class but there is still that unshakable confidence that they will add "diversity". This implies that blacks think differently from whites just because they are black. That may well be true but acting on such a principle seems to betray precisely that belief in inborn racial differences that Leftists normally condemn vehemently in others.
14 September, 2002
(Under the new heading: "MONARCHY")
Nonetheless, many American Christian conservatives are adamant that there would be no survival of morality or civility in the US without the widespread transforming power of the Christian faith. They see their faith as the historical and still real foundation of American values. They believe that, without anchors in Christ, Americans would all succumb to the mindless "all is relative" doctrine of the Leftist and be unable to make any distinction between right and wrong. The restraint of faith is seen as needed to prevent everyone from behaving like mindless, selfish beasts. And certainly, even to a foreign visitor, there does seem to be a marked contrast between the Piranha-like attitudes that are often to be found in big cities such as New York or Los Angeles and the more generous and humane attitudes prevalent in smaller, more faith-based American communities.
Although I was once myself a fervent Christian and still retain enormous respect and admiration for the teachings of the carpenter of Nazareth, I see the view of Christianity as essential to civility as having only some truth, however. I agree wholeheartedly that Christianity is an enormously beneficial influence on ethical behaviour but cannot see that it is essential or unique. And a major reason for my skepticism is the reality of another venerable democracy of the English speaking world: Britain.
England is one of the most Godless places on earth these days. A huge proportion of the population appear to have virtually no religious belief and only about 2% go to church regularly. And when they do go to church what they hear from their Church of England clergy tends to be a wishy-washy mish-mash of every trendy liberal belief under the sun. God and the Bible are lucky to get a mention. The last Archbishop of Canterbury was so "Green" that not even Greenpeace could have found fault with him and the current Archbishop clearly has no respect whatever for Bible teachings about homosexuality. It is not even certain that a majority of the Anglican episcopate believe in God in any meaningful sense. Some of them clearly do not.
So has the United Kingdom collapsed into anarchy or Stalinism? Not at all. Margaret Thatcher was as energetic and as effective a conservative reformer as Ronald Reagan and her influence has arguably been more long-lasting. A prominent member (Peter Mandelson) of the nominally Leftist political party that presently governs Britain recently declared that "We are all Thatcherites now". And that is the LEFT of British politics. Can we imagine Ted Kennedy saying that "We are all Reaganites now"?
So how does Britain do it? If Britain lacks the cohesive force of Christian faith, what keeps Britain as still one of the world's more civilized and prosperous places? One answer, I believe, is the influence of the monarchy. I myself am in the happy position of being both a keen monarchist and a citizen of a monarchy (Australia) and I tend to assent to the usual monarchist claim that the House of Windsor, for all its human weaknesses, is infinitely more reliable as a model of worthiness than are certain American Presidents with (for instance) strange uses for cigars. Be that as it may, however, I think the reality is that the claims of monarchy are emotional. To be ruled by a distant, glamorous and prestigious figure with access to a lifestyle unimaginable to the ordinary person is the normal lot of mankind. It is democracy that is the freak. The Roman republic succumbed to Caesar and Augustus and the ancient Greek democracies succumbed to the tyrants of first Sparta and then Macedon. So people seem to have evolved to need a monarch. They need that glorious and distant figure at the centre of power in their community.
And the British genius has been to find a way of having their cake and eating it too. They have a monarchy with all the trappings of greatness and real reserve powers yet are nonetheless governed by one of the world's oldest, most stable and effective democracies.
And, as it is so often re-iterated, the monarch is the symbol of the nation and of the continuity of national traditions. The popularity and prestige of the Queen is enormous and her powers are no less real for not being exercised. The reality of the reserve powers of the monarchy was vividly seen in Australia in 1974 when the Queen's representative dismissed a Leftist Federal government that tried to continue governing against constitutional precedent (failure to get its budget through both houses). In short, the monarchy gives the British people a strong sense of security against arbitrary power, a strong sense of their identity, history and nationhood and serves as a model for what is decent and allowable. It is a unifying and cohesive force that transcends differences of class, accent, education, occupation, region etc.
So it may be that the US needs its Christianity to keep it whole but I submit that the monarchy does a similar job for Britain and the other countries where the Queen reigns. And is it coincidence that the other enduring European monarchies (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands and Belgium) are also highly civilized and stable democracies that have never turned to dictatorship and remain among the more peaceful and prosperous places to live?
More potted history of the European monarchies: The Fascist dictator Mussolini came to power only because the Italian King allowed it. Monarchy is weak in Greece and Spain (though the Spanish have recently restored theirs) and both suffered years of military dictatorship. Germany abandoned their monarchy (with good reason) after World War I and got Hitler in exchange. France decapitated Louis 16th only to get the military dictator Napoleon and the incredible loss of life of his wars in exchange. And look what happened to Russia when they deposed the Tsar! I think it is not unreasonable to conclude from all this that, incredible though it might sound to American ears, monarchy has a powerful role to play in maintaining a civil society and is not easily replaced, once lost.
12 September, 2002
Bonzer! (To use a traditional Australian expression)
David Horowitz has just published my second article on Leftism in his Front Page Magazine!
Since he gets 3 million page hits a month he probably has about half a million readers so to get that sort of exposure in the print media I would have to get it published in the London "Times" or the like. The internet really is beginning to overtake print media in some ways. And internet publication leaves publication in academic journals for DEAD!
The second article originated mainly from the many emails that people sent to me about the first article. I put up the thoughts inspired by such emails on this blog but there was eventually so much material there that I decided to combine much of it into a new article. There is still however plenty of material on my blog that has NOT as yet been published anywhere else.
And I am continuing with my project of integrating all blog entries here into a single comprehensive article on the psychology of leftism.
11 September, 2002
(Under the new heading: "SELECTIVE GREENIE OUTRAGE")
And if the targets that the Left choose for their outrage seem arbitrary and inconsistent, the selectivity of their "Green" allies is even more amazing. In Australia, for instance, Greenpeace has mounted a sustained campaign to shut down Australia's only refinery for producing motor fuel from shale. They run around in their beloved rubber boats doing all sorts of obstructive things and intimidate any company that tries to supply motorists using the refinery's product. Australia's conservative government has had to introduce special concessionary regulations to keep the refinery company afloat, so severe has been the Greenie pressure on it.
Given the constant Greenie scares about how we are likely to run out of petroleum products in double quick time if we do not mend our evil ways, one might naively expect that they would rejoice at a beginning being made on unlocking the vast reserves of hydrocarbons locked up in shale. Shale is ubiquitous and could potentially supply all our needs for petroleum products for at least hundreds of years. That Greenies do exactly the opposite and attack shale usage makes clear how much they really hate ordinary people. Greenie extremists WANT people to be hurt by resource shortages so they frantically oppose anything that will make more resources available.
They justify their attacks on the shale refinery by claiming that is a heavy polluter -- which it apparently was to some degree in its startup stages -- but now that its pollution levels have been reduced to levels normal for the oil industry the Greenie extremists are in no way mollified. And the pollution produced in Australia by this one refinery is of course absolutely minuscule compared to sources of atmospheric pollution elsewhere in the world. The now well-known "Asian brown cloud", for instance, is studiously ignored by Greenies -- even though it is a considerable threat to the respiratory health of more than a billion (Yes. Billion, not million) people. This brown haze that constantly lies over India and its neighbours seems mainly to be produced by the Indian practice of using wood fires to cremate their dead and cow dung to fuel cooking fires. It is produced, in fact, by exactly the sort of traditional "sustainable" low-technology village lifestyle that the Greenies are constantly advocating for us all.
The sad fact for Greenies, of course, is that village Indians will only be able to move to less polluting practices as they modernize and move to the more efficient and clean-burning forms of cooking and combustion that are common in the developed world. But spending time advocating that Indians do more to modernize would not at all assuage the hunger for drama and self-advertisement that seems to motivate Greenie activists.
10 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "THE CHURCH")
This might also explain how Leftists have come to infiltrate many of the more mainstream churches in recent years. The Presbyterian, Anglican, Methodist and Catholic churches in particular would appear to have suffered considerably from the secularism of the modern world and appear in consequence to have largely lost their way. They have certainly lost much of the power and influence they once had and no longer seem very sure of what they should stand for. So Leftists now see such churches as more of an opportunity than a threat and have in fact in many cases managed to enter such churches and replace the Gospel of Christ with a pseudo-Christian gospel that exploits traditional Christian teachings of love and compassion to promote the usual Leftist goals of enforced equality between people.
9 September, 2002
(Under the new heading: "SELECTIVE OUTRAGE")
The causes that are highlighted by our Left-dominated media and made the target of outraged denunciations and agitation by Leftists generally today are remarkable for their selectivity. There seems at first to be no rhyme or reason in what a Leftist will express outrage about.
For instance, Leftists in most of the developed world constantly agonize about the "harsh" treatment that their governments mete out to illegal immigrants, no matter how lenient such treatment actually is. One gets the impression that only complete abandonment of border controls would satisfy Leftists. The Australian government, for instance, has had great success in deterring illegal immigrants by sending most of them straight to special prisons when they arrive. So Australian Leftists mount huge demonstrations against this policy even though the policy has huge support in the Australian community generally, even though the illegals concerned are treated humanely and even though the illegals are probably better housed and fed in their special prisons than they ever were in their homelands. There is also great agony expressed about the "damage" this policy will do to Australia's international reputation and "experts" are wheeled out to condemn the conditions under which the illegals are housed.
One would think, therefore, that if humane imprisonment of lawbreakers evokes such outrage, mass murder of innocents would induce utter paroxysms of Leftist agitation. And there are plenty of examples of mass murder going on all the time in the world: The incessant massacres of Muslims in India by Hindu fundamentalists and the constant massacres of Christians in the Sudan by Muslim fundamentalists, for instance. So what do we hear from Leftists about these really grave examples of human suffering? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Why? Why are Leftists so amazingly selective in their outrage? Why the hypocritical concern about minor examples of human suffering while they ignore really major examples of human suffering? The answer is obvious. Leftists are not concerned about human suffering at all. What they seek is to star in a drama where they can play David to someone else's Goliath. As with globalization, they want to oppose the consensus. They want to demonstrate in favour of unpopular causes, not causes that would be greeted by the population at large as worthy but too routine or distant to bother about. They are only "compasssionate" about causes that will give them the maximum ego-boost, causes that they believe will enable them to promote their fantasy view of themselves as kinder and wiser and more caring than the population at large.
8 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "ANTI-RACIST HYPOCRISY")
Perhaps it not labouring the point also to ask who it was that described his movement as having a 'revolutionary creative will' which had 'no fixed aim, _ no permanency, only eternal change'. It could very easily have been Trotsky or Mao but it was in fact Hitler (O'Sullivan, 1983. p. 138). Clearly, Nazism was nothing more nor less than a racist form of Leftism (rather extreme Leftism at that) and to label it as "Rightist" or anything else is to deny reality.
To reinforce the point that Nazism was in fact Leftist, we might also note: Hitler always campaigned as a socialist and champion of the worker and the full name of Hitler's political party -- generally abbreviated as "Nazi" -- says it all: Die Nazionalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei ("The National Socialist German Worker's Party"). So, as a good socialist does, Hitler justified everything he did in the name of "the people" (Das Volk). The Nazi State was, like the Soviet State, all-powerful, and the Nazi party, in good socialist fashion, supervised German industry minutely. And of course Hitler and Stalin were initially allies. It was only the Nazi-Soviet pact that enabled Hitler's conquest of Western Europe. The fuel in the tanks of Hitler's Panzers as they stormed through France was Soviet fuel.
6 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "LEFTISTS IN ACADEME")
As the Luntz poll recently and dramatically showed (Horowitz, 2002), there is one area in the USA where Leftists have almost achieved a monopoly of power over at least hiring policies: The humanities and social science schools of the universities and colleges. An overt conservative finds it almost impossible to gain employment in such places and the message to the wider community emanating from such places is almost unfailingly "liberal". So Leftists in power are once again seen to be very jealous of their power, intolerant of diversity, opposed to free speech and oppressive and discriminatory in their employment practices: All things that they would normally try to deny but which in fact simply make them typical Leftists.
Fortunately, the best brains in America have always gone into business first rather than into any form of teaching. And the fact that the US has survived as a thriving and generally healthy society is proof that it does not need its nutty "liberal" professors. They have only a message of hate to purvey anyway -- mostly hatred of America -- and most people are decent so few of them will be long persuaded by such a message.
So this monopolization of academe by Leftists ought perhaps to be of some concern but its main effect is probably that it simply makes our universities boring. The message emanating from them is so predictable that it is hardly worth attending to. And in a pluralistic society there are many alternative sources of information and influences on attitudes. The internet and Right-wing radio commentators such as Rush Limbaugh in the USA and Alan Jones in Australia spring obviously to mind as alternative sources of information and countervailing influences on the public mind.
4 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "ANTI-RACIST HYPOCRISY")
And who was it who wrote this? "Not until my fourteenth or fifteenth year did I begin to come across the word 'Jew,' with any frequency, partly in connection with political discussions.... For the Jew was still characterized for me by nothing but his religion, and therefore, on grounds of human tolerance, I maintained my rejection of religious attacks in this case as in others. Consequently, the tone, particularly that of the Viennese anti-Semitic press, seemed to me unworthy of the cultural tradition of a great nation". Some kindly liberal wrote that, no doubt? Some anti-racist? Some Leftist? The sentiments are certainly ones that anti-racists could only applaud, are they not? But those words are actually the words of Adolf Hitler, writing in "Mein Kampf". And we all know what he ended up doing!
1 September, 2002
(Under the heading: "ANTI-RACIST HYPOCRISY")
Take this description of a political programme: A "declaration of war against the order of things which exist, against the state of things which exist, in a word, against the structure of the world which presently exists". You could hardly get a more change-oriented or revolutionary programme than that. So whose programme was it? Marx? Lenin? Stalin? Trotsky? Mao? No. It was how Hitler described his programme towards the end of "Mein Kampf". And the Left pretend that Hitler was some sort of conservative!
The Left also manage to ignore Hitler's extreme socialism (income levelling., worker advocacy, heavy government control of industry and everything else) and still call him Rightist. He was a Nationalist (that can be allowed) but he was a racist (not allowed). So people like Adolf Hitler and Pim Fortuyn (the homosexual Dutch political leader assassinated by a Green activist in May, 2002) are Rightist only by arbitrary definition. What they advocated was generally Leftist (The full name of Hitler's political party -- generally abbreviated as "Nazi" -- says it all: The National Socialist German Worker's Party). So Left-wing racism does not exist only because it is DEFINED out of existence
30 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "LEFTIST RACISM")
And it must be noted that Muslim fundamentalists are very much like the Greens and the Left in their dislike of the modern capitalistic world and in their dream of turning us all back to some sort of an idealized primitive past. No wonder so many Leftists condone Muslim terrorism! And if the Muslim fundamentalists want to return us all to a feudal state, the various Communist regimes actually did. Stalin, Mao, Kim Il Sung etc were as much God-kings in their time as any Pharaoh of Egypt ever was.
28 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "LEFTISM AS A RELIGION")
From a Christian point of view, of course, one could well see the Left as the Devil's religion. It denies God and wears the compassionate clothes of Christ to cloak the black and hating heart that its that its destructive deeds reveal.
26 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "LEFTISM, RACISM AND HISTORY")
It is also a matter of historical record that, after the Nazi-Soviet pact, Communists worldwide immediately became vigorously pro-Hitler. So Leftist "principles" are obviously very flexible. It is reasonable to conclude therefore, that, if Hitler had won and Stalin lost the war, Leftists would now be justifying their constant clamour for change and their bids for power as furthering Nazi ideals rather than "humanitarian" ideals.
25 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "PSYCHOLOGICAL LEFTISM")
The Leftist's passion for equality is really therefore only apparently a desire to lift the disadvantaged up. In reality it is a hatred of all those in society who are already in a superior or more powerful position to the Leftist and a desire to cut them down to size.
This explains the common puzzle of why it is that modern-day "liberals" are still indulgent about the old Soviet system. As Amis (2002) points out, the many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.
Much the same explanation applies, of course, to the similar puzzle of why the French military dictator, Napoleon, is to this day generally regarded as a hero even though practically every family in the France of his day lost a son in his wars. The figures for Napoleon's Russian campaign alone are horrendous. He took 600,000 men into Russia but brought back only 70,000. In terms of loss of life, Napoleon's wars were every bit as bad for France as Hitler's wars were for Germany but Hitler is universally (and justly) reviled whereas Napoleon is still admired! Napoleon, however, justified all his actions as extending the French revolution to other lands and this explanation still resounds favourably with today's Left-leaning intellectuals.
24 August, 2002
New Subheading -- immediately following "GUILT")
LEFTISM AS A RELIGION
For some people, Leftism appears to work as a sort of religion for atheists. There would appear to be a strong inborn need for religion in human beings. Even in the present skeptical, scientific and materialistic age about half of all Americans are churchgoers and years of indoctrination into atheism by the Communists seem to have left the Church stronger than ever in Russia and Poland. And even among people with no formal religious affiliations, very few are outright atheists. Christians such as Billy Graham sometimes say with some cogency that there is a "God-shaped void" in people. They would have to admit, however that some pretty Satanic things can get packed into that void sometimes.
So Leftism could be seen as a Godless religion -- something that meets the religious needs of those who for various reasons are dissatisfied either with other religions or with supernatural ideas in general. Not all religions have a dominant God or father-figure at their centre (e.g. Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto) and a religion that dispenses with the supernatural altogether does not therefore seem impossibly paradoxical. The identification of Leftism as a religion has often been made and the ability to believe in things that sound good but have very little supportive evidence would certainly seem to constitute a common core between Leftism and other religions. Both Leftists and the religious could, in other words, be seen as the wishful thinkers of the world: A very large throng. And, as a religion originally emanating from the economically successful "Western" democracies, Leftism is typical in being very proselytizing and intolerant of competing religions.
And, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, some might argue that Leftism is now more than ever a secular religion. In other words, now that it is crystal clear how awful really Leftist governments are, only faith could keep anyone still believing in the desirability of Leftism.
And anyone who has spent much time among Leftist intellectuals (As I have. I spent 12 years teaching in a School of Sociology at a major Australian university) will be aware of how the writings of Marx are treated as a form of holy writ. Leftist thinkers constantly involve themselves in nitpicking debates about "What Marx really said", just as Christian sectarians constantly argue about "What the Bible says". In our universities, Marxism is undoubtedly a form of theology. So Leftism can even meet people's need for theology! And anyone who knows their mediaeval history or the history of the Byzantine empire will know how overwhelmingly important theology can sometimes be to human beings.
Interestingly, the most powerful form of Leftist religion would appear to have been Nazism. Nazism was Leftist in that it was explicitly socialist, in that Hitler justified everything in the name of "the people" (Das Volk), in that the Nazi State was all-powerful, in that the Nazi party supervised German industry minutely and in that Hitler and Stalin were initially allies (It was only the Nazi-Soviet pact that enabled Hitler's conquest of Western Europe. The fuel in the tanks of Hitler's Panzers as they stormed through France was Soviet fuel). And like any Leftist, Hitler did not like sharing power with the churches or anybody else.
But Hitler was smart enough to make good use of people's religious inclinations rather than simply oppose them. He did this in two ways: He eventually made peace with the churches as long as the churches did not visibly oppose him. His concordat with the Pope is of course famous in that connection. His own Catholic education and often-expressed Christian beliefs obviously helped with that. So you could eventually be both a good Catholic (for instance) and a good Nazi. And secondly, Nazism itself was also self-consciously religious in that it promoted its celebrations of "Germanic" traditions as an improvement on and alternative to the churches.
And it did that well: Hitler often appealed to God so that was no cause for alarm (unlike atheistic Communism); Nazism had its holy book in the form of "Mein Kampf"; It had saints such as Horst Wessel; It had magnificent religious ceremonies such as its constant torchlight parades, huge rallies and impressive loyalty oath ceremonies; It had inspiring marching songs by way of hymns. It had its Messianic and undoubtedly inspiring leader in the person of Hitler. And the way the Hitler Youth and the Volksturm fought to the bitter end in Berlin is certainly the sort of committment that most churches could only envy.
23 August, 2002
(New subheading -- immediately following "THE CHURCH")
JESUS: LEFTIST OR RIGHTIST?
Whether Jesus was of what we would now call the Left or the Right is of course very much an old chestnut. As Leftists are usually anti-religious in general, however, the argument usually goes by default to the conservatives. The Leftists do not want anything to do with any religious figure so conservatives claim Jesus as one of their own with little opposition. And that claim is not without reason: Jesus did after all say, "For ye have the poor always with you" (Matthew 26:11) and he did make a point of dining with rich businessmen (Luke 19:1-8) and he did praise entrepreneurship and profit (Matthew 25:14-30). And he did rebuke his disciples for proposing to sell their luxury goods and distribute the proceeds to the poor (Matthew 26:10). He denied being a revolutionary (Matthew 5:17) and preached obedience to the law (Matthew 5: 19; Mark 12:17). He preached compromise (Matthew 5:25) and opposed divorce (Matthew 5:32). And Jesus did of course inherit the Jewish view that mankind is in a "fallen" and imperfect state and preached that only faith in him could correct it (Luke 19:10; John 8:7, 32).
On the other hand he did say that it was as hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as it was for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24) and he did tell a seeker after holiness to first sell all his wordly goods (Matthew 19:21). He did advise "giving freely" and advised against accumulating both money and worldly goods (Matthew, 10: 9,10; 6:19 and 6:31-34). He preached equality among the faithful (Matthew 20:25-28). And he was very much a pacifist (Matthew 5:39). All these latter references, however, clearly have more to do with spiritual guidance than with advice about how to run the affairs of the world.
Nonetheless, the fact that Jesus opposed selfishness and materialism and preached compassion could be seen as consonant with what Leftists advocate. And undoubtedly it is. That is why Leftists advocate it. We are most fortunate that the teachings of Jesus have become deeply ingrained in our culture so that they form at least a large part of the ideals that most of us aspire to even if we often fall far short of living up to those ideals. So if the change- and power-seeking Leftist wants to sound persuasive, the easiest way to do so is to place his appeal squarely within the existing ideals of the society. If we still lived in the pagan world of our ancestors as described (say) in "Beowulf", he might instead justify his cries for change in terms of what would lead us towards greater glory and fame. But in neither case could we safely conclude that what he says represents his real aims and values. And we can most certainly not conclude that those who preach compassion etc will therefore also practice it when they have the power to do so.
22 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "WHY IS IT?")
The appeal of Leftism to the average person is simple: The Leftist offers something for nothing. And that is always hard to resist -- fraudulent though it usually is. If the Leftist offers to redistribute somebody else's wealth into your pocket, that is one hell of an appealling scam. So before considering what it is that causes a person to be a Leftist it should be well noted that a person who votes for a Leftist party may not necessarily himself be much of a Leftist. He may vote for the Leftist party simply because the Leftists appear to offer him personally a better deal. The Leftist's constant hypocritical preaching of equality does sometimes succeed in creating the impression that the Leftists will manage to give poorer or working class people a bigger slice of the national cake -- and poorer people must obviously find that at least initially appealing.
21 August, 2002
(Under the heading "LEFTISM, RACISM AND HISTORY")
Nonetheless, the way contemporary "Western" Leftists constantly hurl the labels "Nazi" and "Fascist" at anybody they disagree with suggests almost an obsession with Nazism. Such an obsession is also suggested by the way TV programs about Hitler and Nazism always seem to be available from our Left-dominated media. Programs about Stalin's Russia are as rare as hen's teeth by comparison.
This continuing Leftist obsession with Nazism might make some sense if Nazism were uniquely evil but, horrible and massive though the Nazi crimes were, they were anything but unique. For a start, government by tyranny is, if anything, normal in human history. And both antisemitism and eugenic theories were normal in prewar Europe. Further back in history, even Martin Luther wrote a most vicious and well-known attack on the Jews. And Nazi theories of German racial superiority differed from then-customary British beliefs in British racial superiority mainly in that the British views were implemented with typical conservative moderation whereas the Nazi views were implemented with typical Leftist fanaticism and brutality (cf. Stalin and Pol Pot). And the Nazi and Russian pogroms differed mainly in typically greater German thoroughness and efficiency. And waging vicious wars and slaughtering people "en masse" because of their supposed group identity have been regrettably common phenomena both before and after Hitler (e.g. Stalin's massacres of Kulaks and Ukrainians, the unspeakable Pol Pot's massacres of all educated Cambodians, Peru's "Shining Path", the Nepalese Marxists, the Tamil Tigers and the universal Communist mass executions of "class-enemies"). Both Stalin and Mao Tse Tung are usually "credited" with murdering far more "class enemies" than Hitler executed Jews.
It seems an obvious conclusion, then, that the constant Leftist excoriation of Hitler and the Nazis stems not from the unique horribleness of Nazism but has as its main aim an effort at camouflage -- an effort to disguise or hide from public awareness the real kinship that exists between Nazism and other forms of Leftism. They just cannot afford to have people realize that ALL the great mass-murders of the 20th century were the product of Leftism.
20 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "LEFTIST RACISM")
That racism lurks just beneath the surface in Leftists is also shown vividly by their constant adoption of double standards when speaking of populations of European and non-European origins. There is always an acceptance of barbarity among non-Europeans and a corresponding expectation that people of European origin "should know better". For instance, Leftists constantly cast up the undoubted evils of (European) Nazism so that there can hardly be anyone in the Western world who is unaware of those evils. But how often do Leftists excoriate the simultaneous and arguably greater Japanese atrocities against the Chinese? I have never heard a single Leftist do so. And Western countries are often criticized by Leftists for their "harsh" treatment of illegal immigrants (treatment which rarely leads to any deaths) but we hear hardly a word about the mini-holocausts that are occurring all the time in Africa. Certainly no Leftist that I have ever heard condemns such holocausts. If they do it is nothing compared to the attacks that they mount on the much more benign countries of European origin. Clearly, Leftists have an underlying view of the difference between the "civilized" and "savage" races that is little different from the views of such heroes of past British Imperialism as Rudyard Kipling.
18 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "LEFTIST RACISM")
A more general point in this connection is made by Dalrymple (2002): "Socialist and anti-Semite alike seek an all-encompassing explanation of the imperfection of the world, and for the persistence of poverty and injustice: and each thinks he has found an answer. There are other connections between left-wing thought and anti-Semitism (usually believed to be a disease of the Right alone). The liberal intellectual who laments the predominance of dead white males in the college syllabus or the lack of minority representation in the judiciary uses fundamentally the same argument as the anti-Semite who objects to the prominence of Jews in the arts, sciences, professions, and in commerce. They both assume that something must be amiss _ a conspiracy _ if any human group is over- or under-represented in any human activity, achievement, or institution."
17 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "PROCRUSTES")
Thankfully, Leftists in the economically successful "Western" democracies have never gained the power that Stalin had. Just as the anarchic savagery and bloodlust of the French revolution made the idea of revolution obnoxious throughout the rest of Europe for over 100 years (until 1917), so the murderous brutality and oppressiveness of Lenin and Stalin immediately fostered great and reasonable distrust of Leftism in aware populations worldwide and thus placed some limits on further Leftist access to power. Its inherent destructiveness makes Leftism self-limiting and self-defeating in many ways -- but only if people take note of what Leftist ideas actually lead to.
Despite that, however, Leftists in the "Western" world are still numerous and vocal and thus still do an impressive Procrustean job in many ways. Perhaps the best known example of that is the way they have succeeded in "dumbing down" our educational systems.
More generally, their constant refusal to acknowledge any differences between people or groups of people tends to obstruct society from dealing in any way with those differences, no matter how important they may be. This constant lack of realism makes Leftists significant enemies of rationality.
A rather clear example of the current insane pursuit of at least nominal equality is the way that almost all students in some places now pass their final high-school examinations. In Britain in 2002, for instance, 94% of A-level students passed and the UK educational authorities, far from being embarrassed, asserted that they hope soon to get 100% of students passing (BBC Thursday, 15 August, 2002, GMT 04:29). This does of course achieve the Leftist ideal of Procrustean equality but at the expense of making an A-level pass completely uninformative, meaningless and useless. Despite such cosmetic and obscurantist nonsense, reality still asserts itself of course. As the bare certificate has now become meaningless, students subsequently have to be assessed in more difficult and complicated ways -- either by use of additional tests or by use of the relative marks each student got within the examination.
16 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "LEFTISM, RACISM AND HISTORY")
There is much more in history that is very interesting for the light it throws on the Leftist attitude to race:
Before World War II, anti-racism was certainly NOT the mainstay of Leftist doctrine that it is today. Who was it who said: "What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money."? No. It was not Adolf Hitler but Karl Marx himself (Marx, 1844). See Blanchard (1984) for a full discussion of Marx's antisemitism.
And from 1901 to 1966 the Australian government had an official policy known as the "White Australia" policy -- a policy which forbad non-white immigration into Australia. In other words, for most of the time that "slegs blankies" ruled as the guiding policy in South Africa, its English equivalent ("whites only") ruled in Australia too. And who were always the most ardent supporters of that policy? The Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. It was an Australian Labor Party leader (Arthur Calwell) who became famous for his remark that, "Two Wongs don't make a white". The policy was eventually abolished by a conservative government under Harold Holt. So Leftists can be as racist as anyone else if it suits them.
14 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "HUMAN NATURE")
This conservative (and scientific) rejection of the Leftist idea that human beings are infinitely malleable does of course pose a major threat to the Leftist's assumptions, theories and programmes and it is one that the Leftist cannot really rebut so the usual Leftist response is simply an ad hominem one: To abuse and demonize conservatives for lacking "compassion". Abuse takes the place of argument (Krauthammer, 2002).
12 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "THE CHURCH")
Amusingly, the normal Leftist rejection of conventional Western religion does not seem to apply to primitive religions. American Indian beliefs, for instance, are normally treated with great respect and held up as wise by Leftists. Why? Presumably as just another way of attacking the churches. We are asked to believe that the Protestant Christianity which created the modern world is somehow inferior for some unknown reason. Powerful religion has to be attacked but non-threatening religion is OK.
10 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "RACISM NORMAL?")
Edmund Burke (1790) has some claims to being the founding theoretician of conservatism and he claimed that loyalty to one's group, tribe, nation etc is a basic human instinct. And the famous military theorist, Von Clausewitz (1972) noted over 150 years ago: that "Even the most civilized of peoples, in short, can be fired with passionate hatred for each other" (p. 76). So what does modern social science tell us?
Let us look initially at the literature of academic psychology in particular: Brown (1986) surveyed the large body of extant psychological research on the question and concluded that group loyalty and group identification are rooted in "universal ineradicable psychological processes". In other words, group loyalty is not only normal but universal. And another psychologist particularly active in research into feelings of group identity concluded: "Not only is ingroup favouritism .... not related to outgroup dislike, it also does not seem causally dependant on denigration of the outgroup" (Turner, 1978, p. 249). See also Brewer & Collins (1981, p. 350) and Brown, Condor, Mathews, Wade & Williams (1986).
And this is moderate compared with what can be found elsewhere in the social science literature. For instance, Hechter (1986) claims that all racism is rational while the prominent French anthropologist Levi-Straus (1983) not only claims that ethnocentrism is universal and inescapable but also claims that it is desirable -- on the grounds that it promotes cultural diversity. And the sociobiologists, of course (e.g. Mihalyi, 1984/5; Van den Berghe, 1981) regard ingroup favouritism as universal not only to man but to all social animals. Perhaps most extreme of all, Volkan (1985 & 1988) says that we all actually NEED group enemies and allies.
8 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "LEFTIST DOCTRINE")
But how do we explain the fact that it only in relatively recent times that anti-racism has become a mainstay of Leftist agitation? Again some history helps: The "Levelling" idea that has always characterized Leftists had a very long history before Marx espoused it. Such different people as the Christian fundamentalist "Levellers" in Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army and the slave-owning gentlemen who framed and espoused the American Declaration of Independence were attracted by the idea of equality. The latter therefore even incorporated into their Declaration an assertion that it was an obvious truth that "all men are created equal".
"ALL" men? So blacks and whites are equal too? No. Believers in equality have always had to be good at ignoring reality and the American declarers had little trouble in reconciling equality with slavery -- with what most people might think was its diametric opposite! How did they and others after them do it ? They did it quite easily: Long before Hitler made it his central policy, the people of the world were for many thinkers divided up between "Menschen" (men) and "Untermenschen" (sub-men) and equality obviously did not apply to "Untermenschen". So when the Hitlerian catastrophe thoroughly discredited and made obnoxious the idea of classifying certain races as being sub-human and hence outside the magic circle of "equality", Leftists found it expedient to hop on to the anti-racist bandwagon -- no doubt with some relief. It did make their advocacy a lot simpler.
Clearly, however, their anti-racism is nonetheless mere opportunism: History shows that they have no intrinsic committment to it. When racism was generally regarded as sound and reasonable they were for it. Now that Hitler has made the very word obnoxious, they are against it.
6 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "WHY EQUALITY?")
First, a little history: The Bolshevik revolution of 1917 under Lenin has had immense significance for politics since then but there were also three prior political revolutions that still have some modern lessons, The English revolution of 1642, The American revolution of 1776 and the French revolution of 1789. The British and American revolutions were essentially "conservative" revolutions designed to preserve traditional democratic rights and liberties and remove tyrannies but the French revolution was very different:
The French revolution is probably the earliest clear example of Leftism at work -- a vast social change that attempted to destroy all that went before it (even the traditional calendar!) and replace traditional arrangements by totally new ones that were grounded only in theory and which in fact very rapidly turned out to constitute a new and terrifying tyranny. Certainly the French revolution is the earliest clear example of high-minded ideals being used in some almost incomprehensible way as an excuse for a long and bloodthirsty reign of terror -- a reign of terror that consumed not only the enemies but also many of the friends of the revolution.
And "equality" was of course one of those high-minded ideals. The French revolutionaries would appear to have the distinction of being the first to show that in some mysterious way one can at the same time believe in equality and practice tyranny! And, in an omen of Lenin and Stalin to come, that great child of the revolution, Napoleon, saw no contradiction in running a vicious police state while at the same time going to the trouble of actually enshrining in law the principle that all men are equal!!
4 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "THE NEW LEFT")
Less of a laughing matter is the way political correctness can actually endanger lives. Take, for instance, the case of a UK surgeon reported in the UK Daily Telegraph of July 23rd, 2002 who had to stop in the middle of surgery because the immigrant nurses employed by Britain's cash-strapped National Health Service could not understand enough English to follow his instructions. He filed a complaint claiming that patient's lives were being put at risk by nurses who do not understand English. The immediate result? A threat of disciplinary action against the surgeon for racism!
2 August, 2002
(Under the heading: "THE CHURCH")
But moral codes are onerous and Communism offered an escape from them. If all men were to become brothers and all resources were to be shared freely, fathers would not be needed for anything more than the act of procreation itself. This vision was of course a great attraction for both men and women and Leftists were always in the vanguard of sexual liberation. Sex sells and it certainly sold Leftism to many.
Thus Leftists were well-prepared when the advent of the contraceptive pill kicked away the practical foundations of conventional sexual morality. They were ready to justify what had just become practical -- irresponsible sex. So they seemed to have come into their own at that time (in the 1960s).
The pill soon caused libertinism to spread very widely, however, and sexual permissiveness soon therefore ceased to be characteristically Leftist. The longer term effect of the pill was in fact to deprive Leftists of one of their strongest sources of appeal. They are no longer the only libertines. Effective contraception has in fact changed social mores so much that it is now permissiveness which is conventional.
30 July, 2002
(Under the heading: "THE NEW LEFT")
If Leftists were sincere in their advocacy of the interests of the poor, they would in fact be urging MORE globalization. The biggest single remaining barrier to globalization in the world today is agricultural protectionism -- preventing farm products being imported by way of tariffs, subsidies and other barriers. Such protectionism is practiced principally by rich countries (Japan, the USA and the European Union) and hurts most the poor countries of the world who rely principally on primary production and exports for their livelihood. One of the few ways poor countries could get richer is by producing and selling primary products to us but it is the LACK of globalization in agriculture which prevents them from doing so. But when did we hear Leftists arguing for more globalization? That they do not shows the hypocrisy of their claim to care about the poor.
It also shows something of Leftist motivation that their opposition to free trade generally puts them in league with big business and conservative farmers -- groups that they would normally anathematize. Obviously, being protestors matters more to Leftists than whom or what the protest is in aid of.
28 July, 2002
(Under the heading: "PSYCHOLOGICAL LEFTISM")
Envy is a very common thing and most of us have probably at some time envied someone but, for someone with the Leftist's strong ego needs, envy becomes a hatred and a consuming force that easily accounts for the ferocious brutality of Communist movements and the economically destructive policies (such as punitively high taxation, price controls and over-regulation generally) employed by Leftists in resolutely democratic societies. So the economic destruction and general impoverishment typically brought about by Leftists is not as irrational as it at first seems. The Leftist actually wants that. Making others poorer is usually an infinitely higher priority for him than doing anybody any good. One suspects that most individual Leftists realize that no revolution or social transformation is ever going to put them personally into a position of wealth or power so the destruction of the wealth and power and satisfaction of those who already have it must be the main thing they hope to get out of supporting Leftist politics. For a fuller account of the enormously destructive nature of envy see Schoeck (1969).
26 July, 2002
(Under the heading: "GUILT")
There is however one variation on the Leftist guilt theme that might have more weight to it: The idea that some people want to be compassionate or believe that they should be compassionate but know that they really are not. This could perhaps arise from pressures put on them during their upbringing or from formal and informal pressures exerted on them by those they associate with in (say) their churches. Knowing that they themselves lack compassionate feelings, they do the next best thing and advocate loudly that the State (i.e. the taxpayer) should be more compassionate and thus absolve them from having to do anything compassionate personally. They might also hope that by loudly proclaiming their "compassionate" political views, their lack of personal compassion will be overlooked. This could explain the Leftist politics of many clergy in the Church of England (and in associated Anglican churches worldwide). Some "limousine liberals" could also fall into this category.
There is some support for this idea in the survey finding that the Americans who give the highest percentage of their income to charity are the very rich whereas those who give least are Leftists and liberals (Cooke, 2002). But this should not be surprising. From the French revolutionaries to Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, Leftist "compassion" has never been evident in their deeds!
Anyone who thinks that claims of compassion necessarily indicate compassion might also consider the example of California's Rev. Jim Jones with his Leftist "People's Temple". The Rev. Jones was much opposed to racism and devoted to equality and compassion for the disadvantaged but still managed to massacre hundreds of his followers in Guyana (http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~remoore/jonestown ). Jim Jones' actions make no sense as indicators of real compassion but make a lot of sense as indicating a frustrated love of power: Very Leftist!
And the many Leftists, even US Leftists, who, in the name of "anti-imperialism", actually voiced approval for the murderous onslaught on New York's World Trade Centre on Sept. 11, 2001 certainly showed their degree of compassion clearly enough. The great influence that US culture undoubtedly has on the rest of the world is seen as sufficient to justify the murder of thousands of US citizens innocently going about their business. It is again clear that a hatred of any power but their own is what drives Leftists, not compassion.
22 July, 2002
(Under the heading: "CONSERVATIVES AND NEO-LIBERALISM")
And perhaps Britain's most famous conservative thinker of the 19th century, who was also one of her most notable Prime Ministers, was Benjamin Disraeli. It is he who is often credited with creating the modern British Conservative party and he certainly had a large role in causing his political party to be known as the Conservative party rather than the Tory party. He was a constitutional traditionalist, a great monarchist and imperialist and was responsible for declaring Queen Victoria "Empress of India". Yet he was a great friend of British working-class people too -- extending the vote to them in 1867, bringing in legal limits on how many hours per day they could be asked to work, limiting the age at which they could start work, bring in health regulations and for the first time giving some legal protection to labour unions. He saw his duty as Prime Minister as: "to secure the social welfare of the people." He saw his guiding principles as being not only to "maintain the institutions of the country" -- which he saw as an essential barrier to tyranny -- but also "to elevate the condition of the people". And despite often being accused of megalomania and mere opportunism, he refused both a Dukedom and burial in Westminster Abbey.
20 July, 2002
(Under the heading: "IN THE WEST")
In summary, bitter experience has shown that Leftists in power are very dangerous and destructive people. Where their power is effectively unchecked, they generally seems to resort sooner or later to mass murder (as in the case of the French revolutionaries, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Jim Jones and many Communist regimes and movements worldwide) and where they are partially thwarted by strong democratic traditions and institutions, they at least bring about large-scale impoverishment (as in post-independence India and pre-Thatcher Britain). By contrast, conservatives just muddle along with piecemeal reforms that don't require them to murder anybody. So giving any power to Leftists is a most dangerous thing to do and working to prevent that happening is a matter of no small importance.
18 July, 2002
(Under the heading: "MILITARY DICTATORS?")
Historically, most of the world has been ruled by military men and their successors (Sargon II of Assyria, Alexander of Macedon, Caesar, Augustus, Constantine, Charlemagne, Frederick II of Prussia etc.) so it seems unlikely but perhaps the main point to note here is that the Hispanic dictatorships of the 20th century were very often created as a response to a perceived threat of a Communist takeover. This is particularly clear in the case of Spain, Chile and Argentina. They were an attempt to fight fire with fire. In Argentina of the 60s and 70s, for instance, Leftist "urban guerillas" were very active -- blowing up anyone they disapproved of. The nice, mild, moderate Anglo-Saxon response to such depredations would have been to endure the deaths and disruptions concerned and use police methods to trace the perpetrators and bring them to trial. Much of the world is more fiery than that, however, and the Argentine generals certainly were. They became impatient with the slow-grinding wheels of democracy and its apparent impotence in the face of the Leftist revolutionaries. They therefore seized power and instituted a reign of terror against the Leftist revolutionaries that was as bloody, arbitrary and indiscriminate as what the Leftists had inflicted. In a word, they used military methods to deal with the Leftist attackers. So the nature of these regimes was only incidentally conservative. What they were was essentially military. We have to range further than the Hispanic generals, therefore, if we are to find out what is quintessentially conservative.
14 July, 2002
(Under the heading: "GERMAN ORIGINS")
The important thing here again is to see things with an historian's eye and realize that recent times are atypical. Right up until Bismarck's ascendancy in the late 19th century, Germany was remarkable for its degree of decentralization. What we now know as Germany was once always comprised of hundreds of independent States (kingdoms, principalities, Hanseatic cities etc.) of all shapes and sizes: States that were in fact so much in competition with one another in various ways that they were not infrequently at war with one-another.
And it was of course only the fractionated and competing centres of power existing in mediaeval Germany that enabled the successful emergence there of the most transforming and anti-authority event of the last 1000 years: The Protestant Reformation. Despite the almost immediate and certainly widespread popularity of his new teachings among Germans, Luther ran great risks and would almost certainly have been burnt at the stake like Savonarola, Hus and his other predecessors in religious rebellion had it not been for his (and our) good fortune that he was a Saxon. His Prince, Frederick III ("The Wise") of Saxony gave him constant protection. As one of the Electors of the Holy Roman Empire, Frederick was strong enough and independent enough to protect Luther from Pope, from Emperor and from other German potentates.
10 July, 2002
(Under the heading: "DENIAL OF REALITY")
"The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind." (H.L. Mencken)
There would seem to be some possibility that excess ego can be curbed. The traditional Christian preaching of humility certainly assumes that. It is doubtful, however, that another underpinning of Leftism can be much influenced: Denial of reality.
Denial is perhaps best known through the work of Sigmund Freud as a classical neurotic symptom or coping mechanism. Instead of dealing with uncomfortable truths, the neurotic acts as if those truths simply do not exist. This is, of course, very maladaptive and creates at least as many problems as it solves.
Sadly, however, it would seem that reality denial is far from limited to psychiatric cases. Denial would appear to be in fact much more common even than excess egotism. Human beings generally do not handle reality well. That is why humans are such a drug-using species. Whether it be alcohol, cannabis, opiates, Khat, cocaine, nicotine or merely caffeine, few of us seem able to face life without chemical crutches. Straight reality is generally too much for us.
Religion too is essentially a reality denying exercise. As Marx famously said, it is the "opium of the people". Those of us with ultimately Judaic traditions delude ourselves into believing that somewhere there must exist some real counterpart to the omnipotent and benevolent father we thought we had in our early childhood and those of us influenced by Eastern religions generally believe that our elder family members continue to be able to help us even after death. We invent imaginary helpers and benefactors to replace the lack of real ones.
But WHY are human beings so uncomfortable with reality? Why do they use so many means to "escape" it? Again it probably goes back to more primitive times when reality was very oppressive and dispiriting. Only those who could escape reality in some way had the heart to carry on. So a talent for ignoring unpleasant truths was adaptive. In the modern world, however, reality is much more benign and, as Freud saw, denying it can easily descend into the psychopathological.
So any attack on the reality-denying habits of Leftists would appear doomed to failure. Even such an overwhelming reality as the utter collapse of the world's 70 year experiment with Communism caused them not at all to abandon their equalitarian mania but only to change their focus somewhat.
THIS BLOG IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY:
The blog entries above are all incorporated into a larger story as they are made. The larger story is a comprehensive article about the psychological roots of Leftism. If you like the individual blog entries, you may like to read the larger whole of which they form part. This larger whole is to be found in two parts (of about 25 pages each) at:
http://jonjayray.batcave.net/leftism2.html and http://jonjayray.batcave.net/leftism3.html.
If you want to see where a particular blog entry fits into the full article, you should find the headings given in the blog helpful. Otherwise, use Ctrl+F to do a search for the text you want. Happy thinking!
Correspondence on any matter raised above is very welcome.
List of relevant sites:
http://jonjayray.blogspot.com (This site)
http://jonjayray.batcave.net/leftism2.html (The full theory, part 1)
http://jonjayray.batcave.net/leftism3.html (The full theory, part 2)
http://jonjayray.batcave.net (Many earlier papers by John Ray)
http://heghinian.blogspot.com (A supplement on Elitism by another writer)
http://jonjayray.batcave.net (A picture of John Ray -- not for the fainthearted)
http://jonjayray.batcave.net/whatare.html (The most comprehensive published version of the theory)
http://jonjayray.batcave.net/status.html (A much briefer and more "academic" presentation of the basic theory)
Other interesting sites: