2022 in retrospect

Last year I started out this annual memoir with some extensive comments about my personal life. I do have further comments on that this year. But this year I have put that story into A SEPARATE FILE, which see. Preview: Romance called and ideas of compatibility in relationships were severely challenged!

So this year let's start with some fun graphics

Wisdom indeed

More wisdom

Biased plastic

An esteemed NY lawmaker below

Greenie wildlife?

2022 was a big year in politics so let us look at some graphics in that connection now

Australia's new Prime minister has got the whole world in his hands. He is referred to as "Elbow". He is a long way from his ancestral Albania

Save the Axolotl

Canadian politics has some bright sides -- Conservative politician Candice Bergen. Who can blame her for getting fed up with it?

A splendid Orthodox cathedral in Kiev below. Is it still standing?

A little lady who did not like Australia's Prime Minister of the time

But she liked the incoming Labor Party Prime Minister

Now for some commentary:


image from https://img-s-msn-com.akamaized.net/tenant/amp/entityid/AA140wgs.img

A discussion below describes sapiosexuality in rather categorical terms but it would probably be better decribed as a matter of degree. But the article is nonetheless useful as a survey of the idea. Basically, a sapiosexual finds intelligence attractive, often attractive enough to cause the sapiosexual to overlook other failings in an intelligent person.

I suspect that most sapiosexuals are themelves pretty bright. That would make it just another instance of the general rule that people get on best with people like themselves.

But there is a particular case where sapiosexuality might emerge very strongly: in intelligent women. No woman wants her partner to be dumber than herself and, in the traditional order of things, may in fact prefer him to be MORE intelligent than herself.

Men, however, are different. There is something of a tendency for men to like less intelligent women. Many men don't like their women to be too smart. They feel better equipped to get their way if they can outsmart the woman.

And things other than intelligence can matter when an intelligent man makes a mate choice. A very common example of that is when a man chooses a partner on the basis of her good looks rather than on her general competence.

So the supply of intelligent men that intelligent women can latch onto will often be quite limited. Potential mates will have been spirited away by a set of D-cup boobs, for instance.

So when an intelligent woman DOES find herself a potential mate who is high in intelligence, she will be very glad of that. Having found such a rarity she will often pair up with him regardless of other inadequacies in him. She will be very forgiving of his faults.

I believe that I am a lifelong beneficiary of that phenomenon. I DO greatly appreciate and seek intelligence in a partner and am myself very bright so I have often been what intelligent women were seeking. My looks were never better than average and I have often been not at all considerate of the woman in my life but I have nonetheless had many much appreciated relationships with intelligent women. I have been forgiven much, rather to my embarrassment in retrospect.

How it seems to work is that on teaming up with me, women become aware of a much wider world about them and they very much want to hang onto that awareness. So they tolerate or work around my deficits in other respects

My present partner and I are a perhaps extreme example of sapiosexuality. We are wildly inappropriate for one another in a number of important ways but our shared high IQ has created a strong bond between us

What is sapiosexuality, and why is it so controversial?

Sapiosexuals are described as people who are physically, emotionally, romantically, and relationally attracted by intelligence. They find intelligence to be the most important and erotic trait, and value it more than a potential partner's physical appearance, status, emotional connection, and even personality.

It’s a relatively new term

Sapiosexuality is a relatively new addition to the sexuality lexicon, and though there were whispers of the word online prior, Merriam Webster reports that the first recorded use was in 2004.

The signs of being a sapiosexual

Before we get into the controversy of it, first let's look at what sapiosexuality is said to look like. The following are common traits typically associated with sapiosexuals in relationships.

Their relationships start slow

Oftentimes it's expected that sapiosexuals don't jump into romance right away. Rather, relationships tend to start out as friendships, giving them the time to really understand the person. In other words, it's not an immediate attraction based upon looks.

They might seem less sexual

Sapiosexuals tend to prefer discussing things like books and movies on first dates rather than trying to get into bed as fast as possible. Intellectual discussions can sometimes be more erotically rewarding than physical touch.

Intellectual discussion is necessary for sex

Most sapiosexuals reportedly can't feel comfortable enough to connect with someone sexually unless they've had an intellectual discussion. In other words, talking about politics could very well count as foreplay! Sex and relationship therapist Casey Tanner told MBG: "Intellectual connection may be considered far more effective foreplay than even physical touch."

They avoid small talk

Unchallenging, frivolous chatter does not bode well with sapiosexuals, and if the conversation starts to go that way they'll often ask harder questions to get people to think about things one might usually not. They supposedly prefer to unearth insights rather than merely pass the time.

They want to be challenged

As long as they are mentally aroused, sapiosexuals won't care so much about what you wear or how much money you earn.

They're also drawn to emotional intelligence

While intelligence is a focus of sapiosexuals, it also involves emotional intelligence. That means they can also be drawn to people who show compassion, empathy, and humility.

Not to be confused with demisexuality

Often, sapiosexuality is confused with demisexuality—an orientation characterized by only experiencing sexual attraction to someone after making an emotional connection with them. For sapiosexuals, intellectual spark is more important than emotional connection, and in fact the connection must be intellectual before they can begin to experience sexual attraction.

They are great at communication

Text or email conversations are especially great with sapiosexuals, who supposedly tend to be very articulate. Witty banter is considered a turn-on, and their feelings are typically always made clear.

They can lose romantic interest after a disagreement

While some couples can agree to disagree, many sapiosexuals will lose romantic interest in someone if they don't find their interlocutor's political, philosophical, or spiritual arguments valid.

They're attentive to thought processes

Sapiosexuals tend to analyze not only the information being shared, but the process of getting to that information—and the more sophisticated, the better.

They prefer deep, long-lasting friendships

Sapiosexuals are said to be great friends, as they value growing and learning with people over a fleeting good time.

The Mark Ronson drama

In 2019, famed music producer Mark Ronson said he identified as sapiosexual on 'Good Morning Britain,' and stirred quite a bit of controversy after the host declared, “So you're coming out as sapiosexual, congratulations!” The media interpreted the moment as Ronson's intentional coming out moment, as if he were staking claim to a marginalized community who needed to “come out.”

He apologized

In a subsequent interview with Rolling Stone, he clarified, “I do not consider myself part of any marginalized community. I apologize if anybody misunderstood or took offense to it." He continued: "It sounds like I went on a TV show to be like, 'Guys, I have some big news!' And the fact that I would go on and sort of declare myself—like as a heterosexual white male—part of any marginalized community was terrifying to me, or just embarrassing.

What really happened

Ronson was asked about sapiosexuality on 'Good Morning Britain' after an earlier segment had focused on it. He admitted that he didn't know much about it, and the hosts explained it as "when you're attracted to intelligence," leading Ronson to think, "That sounds great. Of course, who wouldn't be?" The hosts then capitalized on that to create his “coming out” moment.

How was Ronson's understanding wrong?

Gender and sexuality educator Eli A Scriver, founder of 'Pillowtalk,' a queer-inclusive column and radio show, clarified to InStyle that sapiosexuality is not just the attraction to intelligence, but rather it's being more attracted to intelligence than other traits, including sense of humor, family-orientedness, or empathy, for example.

Sapiosexuality is still quite common

Dating site OkCupid has allowed users to add sapiosexual to their dating profile since 2014, and reported in 2017 that 0.5% of their users identify as sapiosexual, though InStyle accurately notes that people actively trying to find mates cannot be representative of a general population. Still, self-identifying sapiosexuals are increasingly around us!


In Oregon, the Death Penalty Is Dealt a Fatal Blow

In my article on penology, I am on record as NOT advocating the death penalty for crime. But I do that for pragmatic rather than moral reasons.

Hanging murderers is perfectly in line with the old Hebrew moral system of "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot". As Exodus 21:12 plainly says: "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death". So there are good scriptural reasons for Christians to suppport the death penalty in some circumstances.

I do not personally argue for that system, however. I have written a lot on moral philosophy but I do not propose to enter into such issues here.

No. I think there is a strong pragmatic reason to avoid the death penalty: Miscarriages of justice. There have by now been very many cases of people who have been found guilty of serious offences being later exonerated -- even despite confessions -- and then liberated. But you cannot liberate an executed person. So executing offenders is simply unsafe and may itself be a great injustice.

I would like to see murderers hang but we cannot identify murderers with enough certainty for that. So they must live. Locking them up indefinitely is the only reasonable way to advance community safety. So I reluctantly have to agree with Governor Brown

The decision by Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, in her final days in office, to commute the death sentence of all 17 inmates on the state’s death row has brought into focus the sui generis role of the chief executive — both state and federal — in shaping the criminal justice system.

On the federal level, the power to pardon — a cousin of commutation — is found in Article II of the Constitution, where the president is granted the “Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” Other than those barriers, the chief executive’s power to wipe away federal crimes is unlimited.

The ability of governors to extend clemency — meaning commutations and pardons for state crimes — is modeled on this assignment of power to the executive. Oregon’s state constitution grants to the governor the ability to offer “reprieves, commutations and pardons.”

The lives of those 17 will now unfold in prison, with no possibility of parole. Ms. Brown labeled execution by the state an “irreversible punishment that does not allow for correction” and is “wasteful of taxpayer dollars.” It has never, she asserted, “been administered fairly and equitably.”

Ms. Brown’s commutations are the latest move in the Beaver State’s push against the death penalty. That effort began with a 2011 moratorium against the ultimate punishment by the then governor, John Kitzhaber. It continued with a 2019 amendment to the death penalty statute that tightended its scope.

Oregonians adopted the death penalty in 1864, five years after America admitted the territory into the Union as the thirty-third state. It was repealed in 1914, then brought back in 1920. It has executed 60 people since 1904, the last in 1997.

In 2021 Oregon’s state supreme court found that the application of the death penalty in the case of a man convicted of a crime that was subsequently recategorized as “non-capital” violated the prohibition on “disproportionate punishments” in the state constitution, a version of the national parchment’s Eighth Amendment.

According to the Death Penalty Information , 24 states are prepared to hand down a capital sentence, while 23 have banned the practice. Three states, including Oregon, exist in the twilight zone of a moratorium enforced by the governor.

The United States Supreme Court, in a 1972 case, Furman v. Georgia, held that existing death penalty laws violated the Eight Amendment because they were discriminatory and disproportionately burdened minority communities.

That position was clawed back four years later in Gregg v. Georgia, which held that the death penalty was not per se unconstitutional and upheld processes developed in Georgia that minimized the possibility for the arbitrary application of capital punishment.

In the 1977 case of Coker v. Georgia, the Supreme Court held that the death penalty must be proportional to the crime committed, so that it could not be administered in a case when the victim lived, no matter how horrific the offense — in the case of Coker, the rape of a child.

This week a state district court judge in Texas, Lela Mays, recommended that the death sentence against a Jewish inmate, Randy Halprin, who was part of a group that shot a prison guard while on the lam from jail, be tossed out.

The petition arrived via the writ of habeas corpus, and was granted because of antisemitism on the part of the judge who oversaw the conviction, Vickers Cunningham. The district attorney who prosecuted the case admitted that Judge Cunningham “harbored actual bias” against Mr. Halprin.


Internet dating is big on disappointment

Some excerpts below from a long article about internet dating that discusses "scientific" dating. A scientific approach ought to be helpful but the prevalence of sad stories about failures of internet dating casts doubt on that. The existing matching strategies seem not up to expectations. Why?

I don't have a magic answer to that but since I have been using dating advertisements of one sort or another for around 60 years, maybe my experience could have some lessons. Before the internet there were of course newspapers and they have always carried advertisements seeking relationships. I started using such advertisements when I was around 20 and I am now just months away from 80.

I must add that I have not used advertisements exclusively. I have been married 4 times and I met the first 3 ladies concerned the "old fashioned" way -- through personal social contacts. Sadly, none of the marriages proved permanent so I have had plenty of use for advertisements before, after and in between the marriages.

I like women and get on well with them so I hope to have one in my life at all times. And I have managed that with not much in the way of gaps. I have had long relationships of seven years, ten years and 14 years but in between those long arrangements there have been many shorter relationships. And advertisements have given me both long and short relationships.

And I have in fact found that looking for matching characteristics between myself and a woman has always been a good way to start a relationship. The approach outlined in the excerpts below is correct in my experience. I have met many fine women that way. Matching ideas, ideals, values, opinions and experiences with a woman works as a preliminary to meeting.

But appearance also comes into it. I have only ever had average looks so I have had to have other advantageous qualities. Fortunately many women have liked some of my other qualities. I had to have looks good enough to get a pass and after that other factors came into play

And that worked very well up to and during my 60s. But it has been more difficult in my 70s. I had a significant breakup around 3 years ago and that was not easily remedied. Through internet advertisements I did meet up with about a dozen women but most of them did not wish to continue seeing me. There were also a couple of "near misses" -- women with whom I had a short friendship that did not last.

But finally, almost a year ago, I met my present partner -- via Match.com. And it's a good relationship which looks hopeful for the long term. She looks good too! So advertisements offer hope even to old guys like me. I have met women the old way and the modern way and think both are worthwhile.

So what do I have to say to people who have undergone an inferno of disappointment from internet dating? Mainly some very old-fashioned advice: Persistance pays and it also pays to keep a positive attitude. Don't rush to judgment about another person. Don't go by first impressions. Good qualities can take a while to become evident.

Some less usual advice could help too. As Oscar Wilde may have said: "Life is too important to be taken seriously". And the Hagakure had that idea too: "Matters of great concern should be treated lightly". So relax! Approaching a prospective partner in a cheerful, relaxed way is usually best.

There is a recent picture of me below. If someone as rough-looking as I am these days can get a girl, there is hope for everyone

This is how Helen Fisher, the 77-year-old chief scientific adviser for Match.com and one of the best-known, most-often-quoted experts on romance and “mate choice,” understands life: Personality is a cocktail of hormones; love comes from the buzz of mixing them just right. The human sex drive hasn’t changed for millions of years, she argues, nor has the human capacity for long-term attachment. If, as a cautious, conventional technology journalist, I’m preoccupied with the question of how we live now, Fisher has spent her career exploring the story of how we’ve lived (and loved) always.


Her confidence in this reality—in the static nature of our coupling behaviors—makes Fisher a notable source of comfort in an era of constant worry about the state of romance. Dating on the internet, writers and therapists and mothers and comedians say, is both too easy and too hard. Our social skills are eroding; we are having far too much sex (or maybe far too little); we are suffering from a profound and modern alienation. Fisher is the woman to calm us with the news that actually, we’re fine. Dating apps can’t possibly kill romance, she argues, even if they do make us feel a bit uncomfortable by showing us so many options. “It’s the same old brain,” she told me, as she’s told many other journalists looking to reassure their readers (or themselves) that smartphones haven’t ruined us forever. “The brain hasn’t changed in 300,000 years.” ....

She’s famous for her science books: five volumes, published from 1982 to 2009 (plus a 2016 reissue of her most famous book, Anatomy of Love), that together lay out a theory of how partnership evolved and which parts of human biology are responsible for its particulars. “In short, romantic love is deeply embedded in the architecture and chemistry of the human brain,” she wrote in 2004’s Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love. That book may have been the one that brought her to the attention of Match.com, which had launched about a decade earlier as one of the first online-dating sites. (The Match Group, with its dozens of subsidiary dating apps, would develop later.) A representative of the company called Fisher two days before Christmas in 2004 and asked her to come in for a meeting, which turned out to be an audience with “everyone from the CEO on down.” They were looking for insight, they told her. Why does anybody fall in love with one person and not another? Well, people tend to pair up based on where they live, and on having similar education levels and socioeconomic backgrounds, she explained. And as she was sitting there, it hit her that this was not very insightful. You can walk into a room where everyone is of your background and you don’t fall in love with all of them, she thought. “It dawned on me in that moment,” she told me: “Could we have evolved biological patterns so that we’re naturally drawn to some people rather than others?”

Other dating sites already said they were using science to calculate a couple’s compatibility. One of Match’s rivals, eHarmony, was offering a new and allegedly better way of finding people dates: Instead of pairing users according to, say, shared favorite foods or times of year, eHarmony promised to apply a “proprietary matching model” to make “scientifically proven” assessments of compatibility based on a personality test with hundreds of questions. The site even had its own relationship expert: Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist and the author of a book called Date or Soul Mate?

Fisher thought she could come up with a better system, using what she knew about evolution and the human mind. (Match would market her system as being more inviting than the one offered by eHarmony, which was specifically built by its Christian evangelical founder to facilitate heterosexual relationships.) In Why We Love, she’d argued for the existence of “three primordial brain networks that evolved to direct mating and reproduction.” The first was responsible for lust, the second for romantic love, and the third for a specific “male-female attachment” defined by “the feeling of calm, peace, and security one often has for a long term mate.” But this wouldn’t help with suggesting matches. She would have to look elsewhere in the brain.

Her first task, she told me, was to sit down with four sheets of paper, one each for the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin and the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Then she listed personality traits that she thought were associated with each one, according to what she described to me as research from “hundreds of academic articles,” thereby creating four personality styles. “Builders,” high in serotonin, would be logical and traditional. “Explorers,” high in dopamine, would be spontaneous and daring. “Negotiators,” high in estrogen, would be empathetic and imaginative, and “directors,” high in testosterone, would be decisive and competitive. Those categories soon became the basis for Chemistry.com, which was Match’s first entry in the race to build an objective and empirical dating app. Users filled out a questionnaire written by Fisher and were assigned primary and secondary personality styles. These, in turn, were provided to users to help them sift through their matches and find the ones they were more likely to click with. According to Fisher’s system, builders match well with other builders, explorers with explorers, and negotiators with directors.


Inside the mind of an incel

The story below is rather confused about the direction of the causal arrow. Do people who are depressed become incels or do incels become depressed? I am inclined to suspect that many incels are not too different psychologically but become disturbed and dysfunctional as a result of their inability to attract women. If that is so, there is a clear need for counselling and life lessons that would improve their attractivesness to women.

I have put up previously (e.g. here) stories about how many women these days find great fault with most of the men they meet -- and the women remain unattached because of that. "The men are no good" is an often expressed complaint. So it seems clear that many men are doomed to remain lonely. Many really are rejected by women. So men who have no success with women at all could well develop the negative feelings that we see in incels.

A major issue is physical attractiveness. That can be rather nebulous. Different women find different men physically attractive. But one near-certainty is that women like a tall, well-built man. As long as he is also reasonsbly polite, women will go for him. So incels will almost always be deficient in that regard or have seriously unattractive personalities, chief of which is egotism.

But most men are not tall, well-built and socially adept so is there any hope for the many leftovers? There is. I am in my 80th year and consequently am rather decayed in looks but I am still capable of attracting and relating well with quality women -- and I do. And I enjoy my times with women greatly.

So what saves me from being a decrepit incel in my old age? It's not looks. Women will forgive much in a good-looking man but that is no help to me

But if looks can attract and engender forgivesness of imperfections, so can personality. At attractive personality is nearly as helpful as good looks. What constitutes an attractive personality can vary but my particular asset is uncrushable self-confidence. As long as the confidence does not stray into egotism, a confident man is almost an essential for many women. It even makes life easy for an old wreck like me

There is no magic formula for an attractive personality but a man who conveys confidence, politeness and considerateness will be unlucky indeed if he remains an incel

Incels are usually clingy wannabe momma's boys, according to one of the first studies into the hate group.

Involuntary celibates — who advocate violence and rape against women — have been responsible for a growing number of terror attacks in recent years.

They make up a dark and depraved online community of young heterosexual men who blame society in women for their lack of romantic success.

Now researchers from the University of Rome have found similar personality traits that band members together.

Incels score highly for anxiety and paranoia, which may explain why they are distrustful of women and jealous of other men who have successful romances.

They also had higher depression scores, which may also lead to self-hatred, and suicidal and violent tendencies.

The researchers found incel members had a 'fearful attachment style', which includes being clingy or emotionally absent.

Their hatred of women and misogyny stems from a fear of trusting others and getting hurt, which may have arisen due to emotional neglect or abuse as a child, according to the study.

The team hope their findings and the scale can be used by doctors to identify people at risk of becoming incels.

In September, a self-described incel in Southern California was charged for a series of attacks on women using pepper-spray.

Alex Minassian killed 10 people with a van in Toronto in 2018, claiming it was a 'rebellion' which would 'force' women to have sex with men like him.

Elliot Rodgers, who killed six people in a gun and knife attack in California in 2014, posted a video shortly before his attack in which he complained about being a virgin at aged 22 and how he had never kissed a girl.

He also published an 141-page document going through his deep-rooted hatred of women, in which he said he could not understand why women would not want to have sex with him.

Mr Rodgers was never formally diagnosed with a mental illness.

A total of 770 men aged between 18 and 69 were given a set of questionnaires online identifying incel traits, depression and anxiety levels, attachment style and paranoia symptoms.

Incel attacks in the US

May 2020 - Incel gunman shot and wounded three people at a mall in Arizona while livestreaming the attack on Snapchat

February 2020 - A machete attack in a Toronto massage parlor became the first incident of alleged incel violence to be prosecuted as an act of terrorism

November 2018 - A gunman who posed as customer at a Tallahassee yoga studio killed two women and wounded five others.

He said he wanted to 'blow off' a woman's head and expressed other disturbing and misogynistic views four years ago on his YouTube channel.

April 2018 - A man used a van to kill 10 pedestrians in Toronto. He told police he belonged to an online community of sexually frustrated men, some of whom have plotted attacks on people who have sex.

The incel trait scale, developed by Dr Scaptura and Dr Boyle in 2019, includes factors such as confused, sad, fearful, excluded, weak and insecure.

Men who scored highly on the scale were more likely to also display paranoia, anxiety and depression.

Paranoia is an unjustified mistrust of people and can include unwarranted jealously.

In the case of incels, they are mistrustful of women specifically and jealous of other men who are successful in romantic relationships.

Depression and anxiety also contribute to an incel mindset, as both can cause diminished self-esteem and isolation.

Incels believe they are unable to attract women and will often retreat to online forums to discuss their unhappiness and frustration.

The researchers found that men who had a fearful attachment style were also more likely to score highly on incel traits.

On the other hand, those who had a secure attachment style scored lower in the questionnaire of incel traits.

Attachment styles are ways people behave in relationships with others and are based on the bond individuals had with their parents or primary caregiver while growing up.

A secure attachment style is when people feel protected by their parents, leading them to feel comfortable in relationships with others later in their life.

But if a child's primary caregiver is neglecting or unpredictable, the child can become needy as they work harder to get the attention they feel they are lacking.

When they become adults, children with a disorganized attachment have low self-esteem and an intense fear of rejection and abandonment, which is consistent with an incel attitude.

Boys may grow up resentful of women due to a lack of healthy relationships developed in childhood.

A caregiver might have behaved in a frightening way, including abuse towards the child.

Or they may have been inconsistent and unpredictable in their interactions with their offspring — being highly loving at times and then neglectful at others.

Boys can be left feeling unlovable and mistrustful that people will support and accept them.

The researchers concluded that paranoia and depressive-anxious symptoms play a 'pivotal role' in the incel attitude, and suggested that fearful attachment styles can contribute to a misogynic attitude.

Children may grow up resenting women if they feel their primary caregiver did not give them the love they needed, and may also leave them with a negative self-view.

The study was published in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine.


The Finnish example

In considering the article below, some caution is needed. One should, for instance, not mistake the initial results from a policy change for the final effects. Finland was for some time a world leader in education results on the PISA criteria but it has slipped back to sixth place recently

There are also ways in which Finns are different. Psychologically, they are famously taciturn for intstance. That may help Finns to minimize conflict

Sociologically, all Finns are clearly aware of their heroic struggles with the Soviets. That clearly fosters a sense of brotherhood among them -- something very conducive to acceptance of socialist policies

So what works well in Finland might not transfer well to other societies

The leader of the nation ranked as the happiest in the world arrives in Australia on Thursday, and it presents a great opportunity.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will meet his Finnish counterpart, Sanna Marin, on Friday and will surely be interested to learn more about Finland’s success and how it might apply to Australia.

Finland has led moves towards emphasising wellbeing in economic decisions, of the kind that Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers has commenced since Labor took office in May.

Finland is famous for its well-resourced schooling and equality in education funding. This contrasts with the considerable inequalities that remain in Australian school funding almost a decade after the Gonski review’s call for change. Those recommendations lie dormant.

Finnish experience shows that equality between schools – a mutual striving for all schools to be good schools – is the best way to lift a nation’s educational excellence. That collective striving relies on valuing, trusting and fairly rewarding the teachers in those schools.

People will obviously be happier if allowed to pursue what they really want to do with their lives, rather than be pushed into an occupation their parents or others deem to be of suitable status. Encouraging those who choose different vocational paths from a professional career, for instance, contributes to Finland’s happiness. Being in a trade such as a plumber, electrician or carpenter is more valued than here.

Students in Finland are encouraged to follow their natural curiosity. We learn most effectively through trial and error. In Australia, there is too great a requirement for competitive high-stakes testing. This leads to the recitation of pre-prepared “right answers”. It causes anxiety for young people, but it also fails to foster creativity and innovation.

Finland has a remarkable history of innovation, due in part to its strong investment in research and development, which has helped it establish niches of design and production excellence for export. The best-known example is the Nokia company, which dominated global mobile phone production for more than a decade. Australia can learn from this approach to rectify our own underinvestment.

Gender equality is also advanced in Finland. Prime Minister Marin has spearheaded initiatives to increase paternity leave. Last year, paid parental leave in Finland was extended to 14 months, of which almost seven months is allocated for fathers. While some of that paternity leave can be transferred to mothers, most has to be taken by fathers for the family to gain the full entitlement. This “use it or lose it” minimum requirement is the only proven way to lift men’s role in caring for their children.

The new Australian government has made a welcome decision to extend paid parental leave to six months. However, it still needs to demonstrate how fathers will be encouraged to actually take that leave. That will support more mothers to return full-time to the workforce. The proportion of women in full-time jobs in Australia is 20 percentage points below Finland.

Finland is also the least corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International. It stands at equal No. 1 on that index, alongside Denmark and Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand, who Sanna Marin met on Wednesday. Australia languishes at No. 18, underlining the need for the National Anti-Corruption Commission being legislated in our federal parliament this week.

Finland has consistently pursued social democratic policies, the kind that Australia needs to revive if it is to boost its happiness, educational achievement and gender equality. Marin’s visit should provoke us to ponder the question: Do we want to become even more like America, or be more like Finland? We are poised between those two poles on so many indicators.

Measurements have shown, for instance, that an American with tertiary-educated parents is almost seven times more likely to enter tertiary education than a fellow citizen whose parents had no post-school education. In England, the difference is six times and in Australia, it is four times. In Finland, however, you are almost no more likely to get a tertiary education simply because your parents did. Finland has thus created extraordinary intergenerational opportunities for people from less privileged family backgrounds, based on genuine merit.

Australia can learn from this to further realise the full talents of our people to achieve what they want according to their interests and abilities. Our success, indeed our happiness, need not be determined by inherited advantage.


Why was the response to the pandemic so Fascist?

Below is one of many accounts about the bad effects of Covid vaccinations. Before I comment on it, I think I should declare my own status

I had two vaccinations with the British Astra-Zeneca vaccine. I had them under duress. I needed them to be permitted to go to certain places. On both occasions I had zero noticeable effects from the vaccination and I have also not apparently had Covid. So I would appear to be a "success" of the program

I personally don't think I am. I have a very good immune system and I think that was what defeated the harms from both the vaccine and the virus. Everybody I know who had the vaccine reported side effects from their shot: Side effects akin to the flu. And they got Covid anyway. I occasionally get flu symptoms but they vanish within 24 hours.

But in any case, I have no personal reason to be critical of the Covid vaccination programs. I look on with horror at what others have suffered but I have no personal beef

So the major point that I want to make is that the official response to vaccination side-effects was WILDLY out of keeping with the normal official response to medication side-effects. When a drug appears to have only a few reports of serious side effects, it usually gets banned in short order.

A case in point is Vioxx -- a very good nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that had been used by millions with no problems. There were however a handful of very serious cases attributed to the drug and publicity about that put the manufacturer under great pressure, causing them to "voluntarily" withdraw the drug from the market. By vuoluntarily withdrawing it, they left the way open to re-marketing it if vindication of the drug emerged.

I was at the time critical of the furore surrounding Vioxx. If millions have used the drug with no ill-effects and only a handful of adverse cases have surfaced, how do we know that the adverse effects were due to the drug? Which body of evidence is persuasive about what the drug does: the millions who have used the drug beneficially or the handful who SAY that their illness was caused by the drug? Is it not by far most likely that the adverse cases were mere coincidence? Yet the drug was effectively banned on the basis of those possibly coincidental cases.

And that has long been typical: Only a few cases of adverse effects from a medication are usually sufficient to ban it. If aspirin had been subject to modern approval scrutiny, we would never have had it.

But with Covid vacines the pendulum swung WILDLY in the opposite direction. Far from bad side-effects getting maximum scrutiny, they were actually COVERED UP. Why?

I think it was the Chinese example that ruled the day. When stories emerged about the Chinese authorities actually welding people's doors shut to enforce quarantine, our Left-leaning elites salivated. They saw a golden opportunity to go Fascist. They saw a way of getting the sort of control over other people that they had previously only dreamed of. They NEEEDED the vaccines to be effective and problem-free in order to justify their dreamy descent into authoritarianism. In fact, as it is now clear, the vaccines were NEITHER effective nor safe. So they had to cover that up as long as they could.

As I said from the beginning, the only public health measures that might have been justified emerge from the fact that only a tiny number of deaths were among people aged under 65. So it would have been justifiable to give maximum support to the over 65s to enable them to isolate themselves voluntarily

These days, news of a whistleblower isn’t all that uncommon. It seems to be the only way to get the truth out there in this world full of Fake News. Add the word COVID, and you can practically guarantee a cover-up is in there somewhere.
From day one, Kevin Jackson coined the vaccination a “death poke”, and together we urged people to think twice before allowing that concoction to be forced through their veins. We’ve chronicled dozens of stories about the negative effects of various covid vaccines and boosters.

Most recently, I wrote about the negative reactions patients experienced, as hundreds of thousands of people reported adverse side-effects and sought medical treatment.

Most people who got the covid-vaccine are just good-hearted people who wanted to do their part to keep others safe from this virus that targets the medically vulnerable population. Sadly, those efforts were mostly in vain, as even the big wig CEO’s like Albert Bourla [of Pfizer] tested positive after rounds of vaccination.

However, through the worst of the pandemic, Big Pharma, the CDC, and the Biden Administration continually denied the existence of negative side effects. Yet, we know, without a doubt, this vaccine has ruined countless lives. We have teenagers dropping dead at basketball games because of the death poke, babies that were stillborn, and a ridiculous amount of heart failure in people with relatively good health. It makes no sense. The only common denominator is the covid-19 vaccine.

Even the media played a huge part in covering up the truth. They still blindly push others to put themselves at risk to join the “vaxxers”. Well, call me crazy, but I’m anti-vaxxer all the way. And I’m keeping my kids far away from any kind of covid shot.

According to the Epoch Times’ recent article:
Some 782,900 people reported seeking medical attention, emergency room care, and/or hospitalization following COVID-19 vaccination. Another 2.5 million people reported needing to miss school, work, or other normal activities as a result of a health event after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The reports were made to the CDC’s V-safe program, a new vaccine safety monitoring system to which users can report issues through smartphones.

The CDC released the data to the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) after being sued over not producing the data when asked by the nonprofit. ICAN posted a dashboard summarizing the data.

“It took numerous legal demands, appeals, and two lawsuits, and over a year, but the CDC finally capitulated and agreed to a court order requiring them to do what they should have done from day one, release the V-safe data to the public,” Aaron Siri, a lawyer representing ICAN in the case, told The Epoch Times in an email.

About 10 million people utilized V-safe during the period of time the data covers: Dec. 14, 2020, to July 31, 2022. About 231 million Americans received at least one vaccine doses during that time.

The V-safe users reported about 71 million symptoms.

The most commonly reported symptoms were chills (3.5 million), swelling (3.6 million), joint pain (4 million), muscle or body aches (7.8 million), headache (9.7 million), fatigue (12.7 million), and general pain (19.5 million).

About 4.2 million of the symptoms were of severe severity.

Users of V-safe filled in data for about 13,000 infants younger than two, reporting over 33,000 symptoms, including pain, loss of appetite, and irritability.

The data produced so far by the CDC does not include free-text responses, according to ICAN. The data covered fields where users checked boxes.

ICAN, founded by film producer Del Bigtree, said that the newly revealed data “reveals shocking information that should have caused the CDC to immediately shut down its COVID-19 vaccine program,” citing the percentage of people who reported needing to get care or missing school, work, or other normal activities, as well as the reported adverse events.

Another shocking fact has come to light. A whistleblower has provided government data documenting 47,465 deaths within 14 days of COVID-19 vaccination among Medicare patients alone.

Now, we get another piece of the puzzle, and it’s actually shocking.

Our Government Knew This All Along!

That’s where Attorney Tom Renz comes in. He actually exposed the DOD after discovering these documents.

According to Renz Law:

Recently discovered DOD stamped documents show the following:

As Delta Variant Surged to over 50% in June, Covid-19 Hospitalizations more than doubled, reversing the prior trend of decreasing hospitalizations since April.

Unlike what Fauci, Biden, and Big Pharma are telling the American public about the safety and effectiveness of the 3 Covid Vaccines, the following DOD stamped document shows 60% of the hospitalized are fully vaccinated.

This DOD stamped document also reveals that the government knows that “prior Covid-19 infection has a major protective effect against breakthrough hospitalization,” which means that natural herd immunity is superior to the vaccines.

Attorney Thomas Renz says “Even with this high of a number, 60%, the real number is absolutely higher due to the skewed methods of how the government determines who is vaccinated. They are not including those that received 1 dose, only those that received 2 doses and a 14 day window has passed, and now Biden is saying boosters plus 2 shots will put you on the “fully vaccinated” list.. If you get covid within the 14 day window of being vaccinated and die like nearly 50K Medicaid patients did, your death is not counted in these statistics.”

Attorney Thomas Renz adamantly adds “This definitively proves that Biden and his cronies at DHHS are outright lying when they claim this is a crisis of the ‘unvaccinated.’ It’s just the opposite. It is a crisis of the poor Americans that believed Big Gov, Big Media, Big Pharma, and Big Tech when they promoted lies that the vaccines were ‘safe and effective.’ It is unquestioningly a manipulative marketing for profit and power scheme, at the expense of Americans lives.”

Tell Us What We Didn’t Know

Of course, we knew these vaccines were bad news all along. This just proves our “leaders” were in on the scam. These fools didn’t even give us the courtesy of making informed decisions. So many people had to be privy to this information, it’s hard to imagine that no one else felt the need to send up the flares. If you ask me, there’s only one thing left to do— Bring on the Class Actions. Big Pharma, Big Tech, and Uncle Sam all need to pay their fair share. It’s hard to put a price on human suffering, and impossible to put a price on human life. But we can force them to pay enough so they feel some kind of pain. In fact, let’s start at the top with Biden and Dr. Fauci. I’d say taking their entire fortunes sounds fair, wouldn’t you agree? Eventually, we all have to pay for our sins.


Is Monogamy Realistic in This Day and Age?

Personal comments below from Dr. Paula Paz Matute, a Honduran living in Germany. She raises a hugely important question but can give only opinions as an answer.

I am inclined to think that opinions are all we can aspire to in the matter. "Each to his own", as the saying goes. It does appear that some people are happily monogamous but many are clearly not. No all-inclusive generalizations are possible.

A common solution to the conundrum is one that is very often practiced: Serial monogamy. That means having a series of relationships but remaining "faithful" during each relationship.

I am in that category. I have been married 4 times so it is clear that marriage is my ideal state. And I can and do remain "faithful" during a relationship. My longest marriage was for 10 years and my longest unmarried relationship was 14 years.

Yet in the end the women walk out on me. Though sometimes they do not walk far but remain friends. But after each walkout I have ended up having lots of involvements with lots of fine women. I have enjoyed it all greatly. I can recommend serial monogamy.

I would still like to be married but as I am now in my 80th year, I think I have missed that boat. A considerable compensation is that my present girlfriend is both pretty and smart.

A few months ago, I was having lunch with my colleagues , and the subject came up of how nowadays — at least in Germany — many couples are “opening up the relationship” in which they have been monogamous for years. I was amazed when one of my colleagues said in the most natural way that;

monogamy does not exist, that although nobody accepts it, men and women are primarily unfaithful in a relationship.

My traditional romantic Latin heart found this sad. And it is not that I have not seen infidelities in my close circles or that I am so naive to think that it does not happen. In that sense I could say that I consider myself pragmatic.

A relationship is wrong, we are no longer happy, we feel attracted to other people it is time to communicate it to our partner -maybe not the attraction to other people- but to reflect on ourselves and analyze what is happening with us and our relationship.

The first time I confronted my prejudices on this topic was when a friend commented in our reading circle that she and her boyfriend of nine years had decided to open their relationship.

I had the wrong and overgeneralized idea of people who chose to have an open relationship.

So I thought an open relationship was linked to instability. “It is just another excuse for men to sleep with as many women as they want. It is just another meaningless trend that did not value being romantic”.

But this person standing in front of me, telling me that she and her boyfriend had made such a decision was completely the opposite of the image that my prejudices on this subject had built up.

She is a romantic, hardcore feminist and human rights advocate who loves staying at home and cooking. ( I am not saying that this is the ideal persona or better than anyone else) I just want to emphasize how important it is not to judge others people’s ways of living.

So my prejudice at that moment broke into a thousand pieces, and thanks to this experience I internalized the idea that

monogamy should not be the only option in a relationship.

But don’t get me wrong, at this moment, my Latin and romantic heart could not deal with an open relationship.

I can say, it could not emotionally work for myself.

To think that my husband is kissing another woman, touching another woman, or just flirting with another woman would eat me up with jealousy, and I can not even see it as as an option in our relationship now.

But, of course, no one is saved, and he could be with another person ,without my knowledge at some point in life.

But the terms of the relationship must be established.

So, being with someone else would be, at the moment, for me, a betrayal because the rules of the relationship are broken.

We see these almost every day on the internet. Adam Levine sent “flirty” messages to a lot of models. Justin Bieber always betrayed -my idol- Selena Gomez (I’m a big fan of her, I love her music, and I think she’s the best), Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt, and Angelina, we get the idea The list is endless.

So is it then time for us to accept that monogamous relationships are the problem? Could it be that monogamy is not natural for humans?

Could it be that instead of being like penguins that are monogamous animals, we are more like queen bees and rabbits that can have as many partners as they want at the same time?

Some might ask; What about increasing the probability of a sexually transmitted disease by having multiple partners? But I think a lot of people who open their relationship, as in the case of my friend, is not because they want to have more sex or sleep with different men. For her, it was instead the flirtation, the curiosity of the initial stage.

According to what she told us, she was deeply in love with her boyfriend; they had a great relationship, they were both very sure of what they felt for each other, and that allowed them to try new things with all the confidence in the relationship.

As we know, many cultures do not practice monogamy, and everyone is so calm and happy, or at least that is what it seems.

Could it be then that we are approaching an epoch in time when we have to rethink the concept of monogamy?

Could it be then that it is already obsolete? Could it then be time to be open to changes in human relationships? Or is it just a fashionable concept that many want to follow without internalizing its consequences?

Maybe it is time to sit down and evaluate our prejudices in this regard.

Then, should people who are consider as “unfaithful” better be in a polygamous relationship? Would these “unfaithful” people also agree that their partner can do the same?

At the end everything depends on the terms or agreements we have in our relationship. If a person feels comfortable and is happy in polygamy, then excellent. Inner peace and how we are Happy is not the same for everyone.

On the other hand, for some people, the mere thought of their partner being intimate with another person seems the most terrible thing and the greatest betrayal. These emotions are also valid.

Monogamy or open relationships, the most important, should be mutual agreement and what we need and want in a relationship.


Civilization goes back a LONG way in Europe

I am going to risk being labelled a white supremacist by my interest in pre-history. What I have found is that Europe seems to be where civilization as we know it first evolved. Egypt and Mesopotamia eat your hearts out!

I am talking about what archaeologists call the Vinca culture. It has left thousands of artifacts so it is in no way obscure. From what we have found of their artifacts, we can deduce quite a lot about them.

The big surprise is how old the objects are. They had been assumed to be more recent that the artifacts from Egypt and Mesopotamia but radiocarbon dating has thrown that into a cocked hat. Vinca predates Egypt by at least a thousand years.

The artifact that tells me most is the one below. It is clearly a type of chariot with very clearly defined and quite modern-looking wheels. It is drawn by birds so is symbolic. The chariot of the Gods is a familiar concept in antiquity (e.g. Psalm 68:17) and it looks like it was thought of in our most ancient European past. See below.

Does it mean that the wheel was invented in EUROPE? It seems likely. Below is another article about Vinca. The original includes images of many Vinca artifacts

There was once a mysterious European culture, which left a legacy in the form of valuable artifacts covered with an unknown, never successfully deciphered script. These artifacts have been excavated from sites in south-east Europe.

Ancient Vinca Culture

The culture that flourished from about 6000 BC to 3000 BC, was named Vinca-Tordos Culture of Yugoslavia and western Romania and derived its name from the village of Vinca located on the banks of the Danube river, only 14 km downstream from Belgrade.

A century ago, a great discovery was made at the Danube riverbank. Panta, an old man from Vin?a accidentally found a strange clay figurine: This mysterious figurine was puzzling to him so he took it to the National Museum in Belgrade in order to find the explanation. The figurine was soon recognized as an artifact that dated back to the late Stone Age.

Since then, a number of archaeological excavations have revealed numerous cultural layers of a civilization and its largest Neolithic settlement in Europe, dating back more than 7,000 years BC.

The Vinca legacy includes among others, curious masks and the most informative costumed figurines depicting women in extremely modern clothes like narrow skirts, and sleeveless upper-body panels, complimented with hip belts, aprons, jewelry, shoes, caps, hairstyles, bracelets, necklaces, and medallions.

There have also been unearthed different kinds of tools and weapons and the remains of prehistoric houses with the furniture and many other objects created in the Vinca region or brought from remote areas.

Since the language of the Vinca still remains undeciphered, unearthed artifacts constitute the only source of knowledge about this culture. Vinca's living style reminds us of our own. They lived in houses that had very complex architectural layouts and several rooms.

The houses faced northeast-southwest and were separated by streets. Vinca people had stoves in their houses, preceding the Romans in using these devices. They used special holes only for rubbish, and had the same tradition as we have, to bury people in cemeteries.

The development of copper metallurgy is evident during the latter part of the Vinca culture's evolution.

Among unearthed artifacts, there have been found a large number of figurines made of clay and other artifacts depicting worshipped deities and women in miniskirts, short tops, wearing jewelry.

It is hard to believe that women that lived several millennia ago wore miniskirts, unless, the cult of Mother Goddess was very widespread and reached both the south-east parts of Europe and ancient India.

Similar, made of ceramic clay, figurines of Mother Goddess, were found in excavations in Mohenjo-Daro, located along the Indus River in ancient India (present-day Pakistan).

Was this kind of clothes popular 7,500 years ago?

The Vinca Culture - Europe's biggest prehistoric civilization - point to a metropolis with a great degree of sophistication and a taste for art and fashion.

Numerous figurines related to the Vinca Culture bear 'markings that clearly indicate clothing, bequeathing a wealth of costume detail. The Vinca culture in the Danube River basin, from the end of the sixth through the fifth millennia B.C., left the most informative costumed figurines.

These images bear deep incisions encrusted with white paste or red ocher emulating fringe, hip belts, aprons, narrow skirts, and sleeveless upper-body panels. The Vinca artisans sans also modeled a variety of shoes, caps, hairstyles, bracelets, necklaces, and medallions...

Figurines with clothing and ornaments appear either bare-breasted or fully clad. Several dress combinations recur persistently on bare-breasted images. Some wear only a hip belt or a hip belt supporting either an apron or an entire fringed skirt. Others wear a tight skirt and nothing else...'

An important question is: Is the legacy of the Vinca culture evidence of the ever known earliest manifestation of the Divine Power and well-evolved and widespread Mother Goddess worship cult?

Many terracotta figurines of the Mother Goddess were recovered in excavations at various archaeological sites of Indus Valley. Naturally, orthodox science proposes a classical explanation to this phenomenon and say that the proto Mother, the symbol of female fertility, is depicted on prehistoric figurines.

Mysterious Vinca Culture Is Among The Most Advanced Prehistoric Societies In Europe

On many of the artifacts excavated from sites in south-east Europe, there have been found the Vinca symbols. Here are common symbols used throughout the Vinca period:

image from https://www.ancientpages.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/vinmcasymbols.jpg

They probably represent the earliest form of writing ever found and predating ancient Egyptian and Sumerian writing by thousands of years.

Since the inscriptions are all short and appear on objects found in burial sites, and the language represented is not known, it is highly unlikely they will ever be deciphered.

In some way, Vinca's past is both forgotten and lost.


Why do few Australians have positive views of Aborigines?

Noel Pearson says that few do and he is undoubtedly right. Helen Trinca below reinforces that point and tries to explain it. Her explnation is however a work of desperation. She mimics American blacks in saying it is all due to the past -- to the bad treatment of their ancestors. She appears unaware that NOBODY has had ancestors as badly treated as the Jews -- 4,000 years of persecution! -- and yet present-day Jews flourish mightily. Blaming the past is rubbish. It is the present that counts.

Psychological research has repeatedly shown that impressions we have of others are highly malleable. We are strongly influenced by what we have most recently seen. It even has a name: "The recency effect". Our views rapidly move towards what we ourseves have recently experienced. Expectations and stereotypes rapidly give way to actual experience. Some of the academic research findings to that effect is summarized here and here

So whatever view we have of Aborigines will be strongly founded in our experience of them. And we DO have some experiences of them, even in the cities. And if I can summarize that experiences briefly: We see them mainly as drunks and beggars and layabouts. We do not like WHITE drunks and beggars and layabouts so there is no likelihood that we would like that in blacks.

So why are so many blacks like that? No mystery. They are the victims of their separate development (Yes. I know of another usage of that phrase). For 60,000 years, they have evolved in geographical isolation as superb hunter gatherers and have some quite eeries abilities in consequence of that. But they have NOT evolved the abilities that allow them to fit in easily with the differently evolved people of the Eurasian continent. They are like fish out of water in a modern Western society. Many thousands of years of fierce competition among the many people of Eurasia has enforced an adaptive evolution in them that very few Aborigines can easily co-exist with. They don't "fit in".

Just a final and relatively minor point: Trinca mentions the hard time that football fans gave Aboriginal player Adam Goodes and blames it on racial prejudice. She omits much in that. See here and here

Noel Pearson opened a new front in the story of Indigenous Australia when he used his first ABC Radio National Boyer Lecture to talk about the unpopularity of First Nations people.


It was a shocking statement that came early in Pearson’s impressive opener to the four-lecture series delivered first on television on October 27 and repeated on radio on Sunday, and it’s worth quoting at length

“We are a much unloved people,” Pearson said. “We are perhaps the ethnic group Australians feel least connected to. We are not popular and we are not personally known to many Australians. Few have met us and a small minority count us as friends. And despite never having met any of us and knowing very little about us other than what is in the media and what WEH Stanner, whose 1968 Boyer Lectures loom large over my lectures, called ‘folklore’ about us, Australians hold and express strong views about us, the great proportion of which is negative and unfriendly.

“It has ever been thus. Worse in the past but still true today. If success in the forthcoming referendum is predicated on our popularity as a people, then it is doubtful we will succeed. It does not and will not take much to mobilise antipathy against Aboriginal people and to conjure the worst imaginings about us and the recognition we seek. For those who wish to oppose our recognition it will be like shooting fish in a barrel. An inane thing to do – but easy. A heartless thing to do – but easy.”

Many non-Indigenous Australians would have felt a stab of recognition on hearing those words but, worse still, despair for the future. Pearson was calling it as it is, not in anger but with a profoundly sad pragmatism that reminds us that he is not just good at rhetoric, he’s also a good thinker.

Pearson is urging us to go beyond the truth that racism has in various ways helped shape many views of Indigenous people to a more subtle but perhaps more damaging truth – that lack of familiarity and friendship with First Peoples could determine votes in the referendum on the advisory body, the voice to parliament.

The 2022 Boyer lecturer drew on the horrible sledging of former AFL great Adam Goodes to make his point. What happened to the footballer reminded Pearson of the trouble people had with Indigenous Australians, trouble that could readily be called racism and “certainly racism is much to do with it, but the reality is not that simple”.

“Unlike same-sex marriage there is not the requisite empathy of love to break through the prejudice, contempt and, yes, violence of the past. Australians simply do not have Aboriginal people within their circles of family and friendship with whom they can share fellow feeling.” It does not detract from the truth of Pearson’s comments to see this as an inspired tactic – sidelining the unhelpful argument about what is or is not racially motivated behaviour and staking out far less threatening ground for a conversation with opponents of the voice. Yet it has rarely, if ever, been articulated.

Most non-Indigenous Australians – even those committed to the voice and a treaty, those who value the deep culture of Aboriginal people; those who want in every way to atone for the wrongs of the past – know Pearson is right when he says Aboriginal people are simply not in the friendship and family groups of the overwhelming number of Australians.

It is difficult for many non-Indigenous Australians to even meet an Aboriginal person, given that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders comprise less than 4 per cent of the population. Many Australians will never see an Indigenous Australian other than in a media photograph or on television. Views are formed through news stories or cultural products such as paintings, dance, literature, film and music or exhibitions or books. There’s sport of course, the great Australian equaliser, which allows for largely positive recognition – except in cases such as that of Goodes. In country areas, First Nations people are more visible, but again class, economic differences and the social problems in many Indigenous communities mean the distances between the groups can be even more pronounced. The reality is unless you work in the arts, universities, the public service, or you are an elite sports person, you may have little chance of finding an Indigenous friend. It’s very different when it comes to homosexual people, for example.

A colleague reminds me that more than a decade ago we were at an election event at Rooty Hill in outer suburban Sydney when a woman got to her feet and asked Julia Gillard, the prime minister at the time, why she could not marry her same-sex partner. The crowd erupted with clapping and one knew then the experience of many families was dramatically shifting attitudes. Legislating for same-sex marriage is not the same as amending the Constitution, but Pearson’s point is well made.

Time, then, to come to terms with the reasons behind this “enduring antipathy against my people” – in short, that the colonial project required the first settlers to deny the rights of Aboriginal people to succeed. There are other reasons why Indigenous Australians may not be popular, but terra nullius underpins them all. That original denial and its tragic consequences are well documented yet still so little understood by many Australians offered little or inadequate history across so many decades. Australians need to accept and absorb this if we are to have any chance of exercising good judgment in the forthcoming referendum.


The Real Problem When 40s Women Are Crying in Their Cars

What Yael Wolfe writes below is reasonable but unrealistic: Totally out of touch with the modern world.

She rightly sees a small, closed community as being an effective form of support for all the people in it. And she sees that as a viable alternative to monogamy. I have sad news for her. That ain't going to happen in the modern world

She overlooks the fact -- and I myself grew up in a small, rather closed traditional community -- that such communities require a lot of tolerance and conformity. You have no privacy and reduced freedoms in all sorts of ways.

And I don't want to be too invidious here but the sort of closed, mutually aware and culturally homogeneous communities that she idealizes do still exist in Australia -- among Aborigines. And the level of violence towards women and children in such communities is phenomenal. Stereotypes of traditional societies can be most misleading.

And it is to avoid the limits of traditional society that the modern nuclear family has evolved.

So it follows that many single women in their 40s will inevitably be uncomfortably isolated socially. What is to be done about that?

Many older women find a satisfactory solution in the form of a network of friends. And those friends do help and support one-another. That can be satisfactory most of the time but it is no substitute for the support that a live-in lover can give. When you literally fall over, who is there to help you up? Who is there to cry out to?

So with or without a network of supportive friends, women do have at least some incentive to develop satisfactory physical relationships. But how to go about it? That is the besetting problem for most people today. Good relationships and hence good partners are hard to come by. I am sorry to say it, but the only real solution for most people is tolerance and compromise.

I have a rather joyous relationship with my present partner but we both had to make big compromises to achieve that. It would be inappropriate to go into detail here but perhaps I could mention that she grew up in Europe and still speaks English so badly that I don't get rather a lot of what she says to me. But with goodwill, even that problem can be overcome. To do so has been well worth it

So perhaps Yael Wolfe could look for the good in the "buffoons" she despises and work with what is available. We all have our limitations and it behooves us to respect the limitations in others

Last month, a 46-year-old woman posted a video of herself on TikTok sharing a tearful story about her impending surgery and how much it has brought the pain she feels about being single into focus.

Her problem? She has no one to take care of her but her mother and sister and it clearly causes her distress, as she chokes up at one point so much, she has to pause the recording. She says she still needs her mama, still needs her sister, and you can sense the shame she feels around that.

She later goes on to admit that all her lighthearted jokes about the “buffoons” she encounters in the dating world are actually covering up immense pain, because that’s the “shit” that’s available to her at this point in life when, as she explains, most of the “good men” got married in their twenties and thirties.

When this video went viral, it particularly caught my attention. I am, after all, also 46 and single and have been known to have an occasional breakdown over the lack of partner support in my life.

I watched in horror as the first wave of misogynistic responses hit, in which countless people assumed she was choosy, demanding, crazy, slutty, or just plain stupid which is why she was single at 46 and why she goddamn deserved it.

Yep. We middle-aged, never-been-married gals know exactly what it’s like to be criticized, judged, psycho-analyzed, and berated by everyone from family members to strangers who all assume that our singleness is a problem — and a problem that we created. And you know how that goes…you made your bed, hon, now you gotta sleep in it.

(As if any of this would ever cross our minds had she been a single 46-year-old man.)

But after the angry villagers quieted, no doubt finding someone else to target with their ire and pitchforks, those of us who still had this video on our minds witnessed the second wave of responses from the cultural analysts, the armchair psychologists, the feminists, and the Virgos.

They talked about why her feelings are valid. They pointed out the misogyny her post inspired. They re-debated whether or not marriage has been unfairly vilified. They commiserated about the challenges of being a single woman in a culture that treats single women like second-class citizens.

Important conversations grew from the brave vulnerability this woman displayed. And yet, I’m not convinced that we haven’t entirely missed the real problem.

Once upon a time ago, humans lived in egalitarian communities. No, not neighborhoods. No, not nuclear families led by a man. Egalitarian communities.

Many people are convinced, thanks to clever propaganda, that humans have always lived the way we live today: in a patriarchal hierarchy organized into nuclear families born to heterosexual, monogamous couples.

This is simply not true.

Scientists have been reinforcing patriarchal theories about early humans that mirror and reinforce our modern-day social hierarchies, even in the face of mounting evidence that early humans were polyamorous and lived in clans that actively enforced gender equality. Children were raised by the group, rather than one set of biological parents. Resources and labor were shared. And sexual bonds overlapped.

These social structures achieved a goal for which modern humans should be grateful: the survival of the human race.

Ifan early human were to time travel into the modern world, she would not recognize what she’s seeing.

I’m not talking about technology, or a skyline altered by the silhouettes of skyscrapers, or the sartorial evolution of humankind. I’m talking simply about our social structures.

Two parents and their children living alone in tiny, isolated tribes? Sexual relationships that exist in vacuums, bound by legal contracts, that are supposed to thrive over the course of three to seven decades? An absence of the consistent presence of older generations? Working all hours of the day in order to procure resources that will only benefit a handful of people?

And what happens to the people who were not favored by the fickle hand of fate and did not get the chance to opt into couplehood? That’s a lot of solitary people who just ended up outside the tribe.

And how does today’s culture look upon them? Tough luck, sister. You had your chance and you blew it.

Our time-traveling early human would shake her head. This is not how a species survives.

Asa middle-aged single woman, I can tell you that getting sick, or being physically vulnerable (i.e. recovering from surgery) is one of my worst nightmares.

Being ill or physically impaired in any way as a single woman is a special kind of hell. We are already living our lives without the benefit of the emotional support that our coupled contemporaries have, struggling to pay the same bills that couples struggle to pay but without a partner’s second income, and often feeling pressure to do more than our fair share of labor at work or within our families of origin (i.e. taking care of aging parents because we allegedly have so much more time on our hands than our married siblings).

And then we get sick, and it all comes crashing down.

There are no social supports for single women recovering from injury, surgery, or illness. There is no one around to cook for us. Check on us. Call an ambulance in an emergency. Help us get around.


When I had the flu in 2016, I was so violently ill, I couldn’t stand up long enough to cook for myself and by Day 4, I was so weak, I fell and blacked out on my way to get a glass of water.

I suffered through Covid last year all by myself, curled into a ball of agony for ten hours, desperate for the comforting presence of another person to comb their fingers through my hair and assure me that everything was going to be okay.

And I recently endured an on-again-off-again illness that flattened me for the better part of three weeks, during which time I had to drive myself to the grocery store in the midst of a 101-degree fever so I could pick up some medication, and had to stop mid-aisle and bend over in order to keep from passing out. I cried when I got back in the car and realized I still had to make it home, somehow.

So yes. There’s a reason why 46-year-old women are crying in their cars.

But it isn’t because we’re single. It’s because our modern-day social structures are broken.

Let me be clear: this woman has my sincerest compassion. I have been there. I will be there again. This isn’t easy.

But I think she has misidentified the problem.

There is no problem in her life that was caused by her singleness, including needing help after surgery. Everyone needs help. Everyone needs care. Everyone needs social support. Everyone needs a safety net, backup plan, and yes, an occasional caregiver.

This woman seems to feel ashamed that she has to rely on her mother and sister for this care, instead of a husband. This is actually a good thing — there is nothing wrong with relying on our family of origin for help and support. This is how it was meant to be.

But in our culture, there is only one acceptable way to receive support: through a monogamous marriage. Anything else — particularly when it comes to women — is seen as a failure.

I’d also like to point out that this woman basically explained one of the fundamental reasons why she’s in this position in the first place, though without realizing it. Lamenting about her experiences with the “buffoons” she’s dated is a very real issue that countless women are facing today. Dating culture is toxic for women — nearly every abuse is excused or rationalized away. And that’s the product of a society that hates women. That is not her fault, nor any other woman’s fault.

But worrying about missing the boat with all those “good men” who got married in their twenties and thirties? I have to question that. What does “good man” even mean? A man who doesn’t treat women like shit? I hate to say it, but I know plenty of husbands, the ones who got married in their twenties and thirties, who treat their wives like garbage.

Further, we know for a fact that half the men who got married then (or at any other time in life) will be divorced at some point, so really, there’s no such thing as missing the boat when it comes to finding a life partner.

This woman’s singlehood is not the problem. The problem is that our culture has literally turned its back on single women. It keeps us close enough to benefit from all the extra labor we perform in the workforce and our families of origin, but it makes sure to let us know that it isn’t going to be there to support us when we need help.

Look at the evidence: We don’t teach people to check on their single friends when they’re sick. We don’t think to leave a pot of chicken soup at their door or offer to pick up some groceries for them. We don’t even text them every morning to make sure they’re still alive (yeah, I’m kinda serious) and reassure them that they are on our minds.

We’re taught to spend our time prioritizing the care of our husbands and children. Our single friends made their beds, remember? I mean, no offense, but who has time for that?

Would early humans have done this? Just left someone who was ill or injured to be eaten by a saber-toothed tiger? I suppose they might have, depending upon the severity of the circumstances. But I suspect that typically, everyone banded together and took care of one another. If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t still be here a couple million years later.

Today, though, all it takes to show a single woman where she stands in the hierarchy is one bout of Covid or a simple operation. Then we discover that we’ve been left in the woods while the tribe moved on to more fertile ground.

We can lament all we want about not having a partner to stay behind and help us — god knows, that’s a totally legitimate response. But really, we ought to spend our time pondering how our social bonds became so rigid and callous.

We’ll fare just fine without a spouse, after all. But we’ll never survive without community.


How Mussolini invented Fascism

The account of Italian Fascism given below is generally well-informed. The note that Italian Fascism was NOT antisemitic is welcome. But the conclusion is far too florid. The author is clearly trying to avoid the historically obvious conclusion: That both socialism and patriotism have broad appeal. It was those ideas rather than any "love" of Mussolini personally that fueled Fascism's popularity.

Mussolini had the brilliant idea of offering both those dreams in the one party. Pure socialism -- Communism -- had such limited appeal that only violence abd brutality could bring it to power. But add patriotism to it and you have an enormous popular force on your side. Fascism is patriotic socialism -- a magic mix with huge popular appeal

Mussolini's appeal to Italian patriotism was strong. He said he would Make Italy Great Again. He said he would revive the Roman empire. And he set about conquests in Africa for that purpose. Add that to the "we will look after you" message of his socialist policies and he had a winning political combination

Donald Trump had only the patriotic half of Mussolini's policies. He was neither a socialist nor a Fascist. But that one half gave him the Presidency of the United States for a time despite his unattractive personality. Mussolini also had a rather unattractive personality so we have twice seen how politically masterful a strong appeal to patriotism can be

Benito Mussolini, the revolutionary socialist inventor of fascism who came to power 100 years ago this week, was one of the most talked about figures of his day. Most of that talk was positive. Pope Pius XI called him ‘a gift from Providence’ to save Italy; the US ambassador to Rome, Washburn Child, ‘the greatest figure of his sphere and time’; and Winston Churchill, ‘the Roman genius’. Anita Loos, author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, wrote that he gave their epoque ‘its only flame of greatness’, and Cole Porter even wrote him into his 1934 hit song ‘You’re the Top!’ with a line that went: ‘You’re the Top! You’re the great Houdini! You’re the top! You’re Mussolini!’. The Spectator, no less, in an exclusive interview, called him ‘the great Prime Minister of Italy’ who ‘weathered the storm and took the mighty ship of state triumphantly into harbour’.

In the end, Mussolini caused catastrophic damage to Italy and Europe. But throughout the 1920s, and much of the 1930s, fascism was admired across the political divide, even by legendary icons of the modern left such as Mahatma Gandhi and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. King Victor Emmanuel III appointed Mussolini Prime Minister after the March on Rome by his fascist blackshirts on 28 October 1922; it was a virtually bloodless coup at a time when Italy and Europe were in an even deeper crisis than they are today. The king called Mussolini to power because Italy’s democratic governments had been unable to maintain law and order on the streets, or in the workplace, unlike the future Duce’s private force of paramilitary blackshirts.

In 1922, devastated by the first world war and then the Spanish Flu, Italy appeared on the brink of socialist revolution. Lenin’s Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia in 1917 and fear of communism stalked Europe. The tectonic tensions between peoples and elites, nations and empires, that had caused the first world war then caused the collapse of both ancient regimes and democracies, and the metamorphosis of socialism into communism and fascism. Mussolini founded fascism in 1919 as an alternative left-wing revolutionary movement to socialism.

A rising star of the Italian Socialist party and a brilliant editor of its newspaper Avanti!, he had been expelled from the party in 1914 because he opposed its policy that Italy should remain neutral in the first world war. Instead, the future Duce believed that Italy must go to war against Austria and Germany which it eventually did in 1915. He insisted that socialists could not wait for history, as Marxist doctrine preached. They must make history, he argued, and such a war would help, not hinder, the revolution. As it did, in Italy, as elsewhere. The French and German socialist parties agreed with Mussolini and decided to fight for their respective countries against each other. This caused the collapse of the Second Socialist International and thus of international socialism.

The first world war had exposed a fatal weakness at the heart of international socialism whose mission was supposed to be world revolution and the abolition of the nation-state: people are more loyal to their country than their class. Mussolini made this cardinal rule the key to his version of socialism. It inspired him to replace international socialism with national socialism which he called fascism. Hitler, who would copy much from Mussolini, would call his version of fascism national socialism.

Fascism began as a left-wing heresy against the Marxist creed and remained so at heart to the bitter end – regardless of the far-right tag attached to it after 1945 by a left desperate to avoid fascism and communism being treated as two sides of the same coin. In April 1945, when communist partisans shot Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci after their capture at Lake Como, those with him included his old friend Nicola Bombacci, a founder of the Italian communist party and member of the Soviet Comintern, who had been his closest adviser in the last two years of the war. Bombacci’s last words before a communist partisan firing squad shot him dead beside the lake were: ‘Viva Mussolini! Viva il Socialismo!’

The fascists did not believe, as the communists did, in the nationalisation of the means of production, or the abolition of private property, but that the state should run the economy in partnership with owners and workers via corporations – the so-called corporate state. Among early manifesto pledges was the abolition of the monarchy.

Fascism also had its own variant of the class war, this one between producers of whatever class, and parasites of whatever class. It introduced the welfare state. Mussolini – at the same time as Lenin – had realised that only a political party – not trade unions, still less a parliament – could enact the revolution. And he rejected Marxist dogma which gave a decisive role to the proletariat. The role of the party, the revolutionary vanguard – or priesthood – was to instill and maintain faith. The role of the proletariat was to believe, which it would do only if the revolution was national, not international.

Fascism quickly attracted nationalists who were both right and left-wing and whose roots went back to Giuseppe Mazzini and Italian reunification in the mid-19th century. Futurist artists who eulogised speed, the machine, and war as a cleansing force, played a significant early role, as did revolutionary syndicalists. The poet-warrior and war hero Gabriele D’Annunzio provided inspiration with his March on Fiume (Rijeka) in 1919 and his electrifying speeches delivered from balconies – and known as dialogues with the crowd – which earned him the title the first Duce and which Mussolini would emulate so effectively.

Mussolini’s new newspaper Il Popolo d’Italia – partly financed in 1918 by British secret service money to keep Italy in the war – paid homage to all who had fought calling them the aristocracy of the trenches – La Trincerocrazia – many of whom would form the fascist revolutionary vanguard. The genius of Mussolini was to create fascism, not just as an armed political movement, but as a religious cult with him as a sacred leader who transformed politics into a daily act of collective faith. This is, of course, what the leaders of the French Revolution did as well.

In each town, the fascists built their party headquarters in the main piazza, complete with a belltower to summon the faithful, which often stood opposite a real church – always uneasily. Despite making temporal peace with the Vatican in 1929, fascism remained a rival of the Catholic Church in the battle for control of the minds, if not the souls, of Italians. It was not just its demolition of democracy, or its waging of war, that doomed fascism. The Duce was not Jesus, nor even Pope.

If you had to choose one book that Mussolini regarded as a Bible, it would not be Marx’s Communist Manifesto or Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, but Gustave Le Bon’s huge best-seller, La Psychologie des Foules, published in 1895. Le Bon, an anthropologist, defined the epoque in which he lived as ‘the era of the crowd’ because the crowd was ‘the last surviving sovereign force’ but he predicted that the result would not be democracy. As others had noted, universal suffrage necessarily means the tyranny of minorities by the majority. For Le Bon, the ‘sub-conscious’ majority in the form of the crowd now wielded power, not ‘conscious’ individuals. But the subconscious crowd is tyrannical and driven by irrational impulses, untempered by reason. And yet, without a charismatic leader able to instill a religious sense of mission, such a crowd is impotent.

In 1932, the German journalist Emil Ludwig asked Mussolini: ‘You have written that the masses do not have to know but to believe. Do you really think that this Jesuit principle is practical?’ ‘Only faith moves mountains,’ replied Mussolini, ‘not reason.’ A month before his death in his last interview, he said: ‘I did not create fascism. I extracted it from the unconscious of the Italians. If it were not so, they would not have followed me for 20 years.’

The closest there is to a fascist manifesto is the Dottrina del Fascismo, an essay Mussolini co-authored with the philosopher Giovanni Gentile, published in 1932, in which we read: ‘The fascist conception of life is a religious one’ that aims to create ‘a spiritual society’. Fascism ‘accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the state.’ The state is ‘all embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist… Thus understood, Fascism, is totalitarian’. That fascism regarded the state as the solution for everything, not as the problem, defines it as completely different from the Anglo-American, conservative and libertarian ‘bourgeois’ right for whom the opposite is the case. The fascist state dominates the life of the individual both at work and outside.

George Orwell, a revolutionary socialist who was also a patriot – as opposed to a nationalist ­– was one of the few on the left to understand and admit why fascism had mass appeal. In a 1940 review of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, he wrote:

Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all ‘progressive’ thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain… they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades.

Elsewhere, Orwell wrote that ‘the overwhelming strength of patriotism’ was the key to understanding the modern world and Mussolini, like Hitler, got and kept power ‘very largely because they could grasp this fact and their opponents could not’. Compared to this patriotism, he wrote: ‘Christianity and international socialism are as weak as straw’.

Fascism, unlike the Nazi version of it, was not explicitly anti-Semitic until Mussolini’s fatal alliance with Hitler in the late 1930s. Many Jews were fascists, as was Mussolini’s penultimate mistress Margherita Sarfatti. His anti-Semitic laws, introduced in 1938, were despicable, but no Jews were deported from Italy to the Nazi death camps until after his overthrow in July 1943 and his restoration as a Nazi puppet in the north. In the southeast of France, occupied by Italy between November 1942 and August 1943, Italian officers and officials saved the lives of thousands of Jews, primarily from the Vichy French, who were Hitler’s willing collaborators.

To dismiss the Duce as a grotesque buffoon, as Anglo-American historians normally do, or a puppet of the bourgeoisie, as Marxist ones always do, cannot be right. Such definitions fail to explain why he was able to get power and keep it for more than two decades with relatively little use of the mass murder that characterises most dictatorships – especially communist ones. Nor why there was so little resistance to him until he began to lose battles in the second world war – or why he was so popular abroad.

The explanation is obvious: true, there were no opinion polls and no fair elections, but the only feasible answer must be that a critical mass of Italians was in favour of fascism, and a majority in favour of Mussolini. That fascism was wanted by so many Italians, not imposed, is something that the mainstream left still refuses to accept because it means accepting an uncomfortable truth: the Italians, not just the Duce, were to blame for fascism.

As his estranged daughter Edda – whose husband his regime had executed for treason in January 1944 – said when she heard on the radio that he had been shot at Como with Petacci, Bombacci and other fascists, and their corpses brought to Milan where they were strung upside down from the forecourt roof of a petrol station: ‘I believe you can really hate only a person you have loved… It was the final act of love of the Italians for him.’


The Rise of Lonely, Single Men

The article below has been much reproduced and much commented on since it first appeared a few months ago so I thought I might say a few words about it.

For a start, I think it is accurate as far as it goes but it fails to get to the bottom of what is going on. The basic problem is that traditional sex roles have altered. And a large part of the blame for that goes back to the schools.

Education has become very feminized and that tends to be uncongenial to men. As a result they tend to drop out before women do. But educational qualifications are still the highroad to many good jobs. So women tend to have more prestigious jobs and, to some extent, better pay.

So men have lost the occupational, educational and financial advantage they once had. They have, in other words, lost a lot of what used to be attractive to women. And women are therefore less likely to take an interest in them. So women look for other things in a man. And a major one is compatible values. But values tend to be influenced by your sex. There are intrinsic differences between male and female values. So when values become of over-riding significance for women, their own female values will be part of that. They will hope for some sign of female values in a man.

But that is an uphill requirement. Men will often be poor at providing such a value match, which will be bad for both parties. Neither the men nor the women will be able to find that they want. Neither the men nor the women are to blame. It is an educational and economic imbalance that has driven them apart.

What is to be done? I am afraid all I have to offer is that great old British solution: Compromise. Women have to stop expecting the impossible from men and men have to learn more respect for female values. It will not be easy for either party but to the extent it happens, both men and women will be happier.

The sad thing about it all is that the more desirable people will do OK anyway. It is the less desirable men and women who will need to change in order to find partners. And for some that will be really uphill. A major factor in interpersonal attraction is appearance and the factors there can be of stark importance. Good-looking men and women will find one another and be happy in a union but others will not. And, to be blunt about it, fat women and short men will fail to attract. Those are not the only factors in appearance but they are a big part of it.

Fortunately, appearance can be supplemented in other ways. The classic is short men who drive big cars and who are dapper in dress. They tend to be amusing to other men but women are sometimes impressed.

A less obvious example of a compensatory characteristic is a high IQ. I benefited from that. I have only ever been average in looks but my high IQ has been very attractive to one class of women: High IQ women. Women LOATHE being partnered with a man who is dumber than they are. So my arrival in the life of a high IQ woman tends to be very welcome. And I am not blowing smoke in saying that. I married fine women 4 times and, although I am now in my 80th year, I have recently acquired a very bright new girlfriend. And life is not fair. High IQ women tend also to be better looking. Terman and Oden noted that way back in the 20s. And my girlfriend is unusually good-looking for her age (in the 70s).

But both looks and IQ cannot be changed by wishing it. So other factors will have to be attended to in partnering. And there are a few of those. A dominant but polite personality is attractive to many women, for instance. But best of all is simply listening. Both men and women vary greatly in what they are and what they want so listening to the other party, finding out what they value, and trying to provide that will always be a leading way to satisfactory relationships.

Younger and middle-aged men are the loneliest they’ve been in generations, and it’s probably going to get worse.

This is not my typical rosy view of relationships but a reality nonetheless. Over the last 30 years, men have become a larger portion of that growing group of long-term single people. And while you don’t actually need to be in a relationship to be happy, men typically are happier and healthier when partnered.

Here are three broad trends in the relationship landscape that suggest heterosexual men are in for a rough road ahead:

Dating Apps. Whether you’re just starting to date or you’re recently divorced and dating again, dating apps are a huge driver of new romantic connections in the United States. The only problem is that upwards of 62% of users are men and many women are overwhelmed by the number of options they have. Competition in online dating is fierce, and lucky in-person chance encounters with dreamy partners are rarer than ever.

Relationship Standards. With so many options, it’s not surprising that women are increasingly selective. I do a live TikTok show (@abetterloveproject) and speak with hundreds of audience members every week; I hear recurring dating themes from women between the ages of 25 and 45: They prefer men who are emotionally available, who are good communicators, and who share their values.

Skills Deficits. For men, this means a relationship skills gap that, if not addressed, will likely lead to fewer dating opportunities and longer periods of being single. There's less patience for poor communication skills today. The problem for men is that emotional connection is the lifeblood of healthy, long-term love and it requires all the skills that families still are not consistently teaching young boys.
While there’s probably no chance of stemming the rising tide of unintentional single men, there is some good news.

The algorithms are becoming increasingly more complex on dating apps and other online platforms. One result is that great matches are on the rise. One dating app, Hinge, found through beta trials that 90% of users rated their first date positively, with 72% indicating that they wanted a second date.

How can men reap the benefit of the algorithms? Level up your mental health game. That means getting into some individual therapy to address your skills gap. It means valuing your own internal world and respecting your ideas enough to communicate them effectively. It means seeing intimacy, romance, and emotional connection as worthy of your time and effort.

Ultimately, we have an opportunity to revolutionize romantic relationships and establish new, healthier norms starting with the first date. It’s likely that some of these romances will be transformative and healing, disrupting generational trauma and establishing a fresh culture of admiration and validation.

Men have a key role in this transformation but only if they go all-in. It’s going to take that kind of commitment to themselves, to their mental health, and to the kind of love they want to generate in the world. Will we step up?


The Capitalist Origins of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test

I am putting up below the opening blast of a history of the MBPT.  It makes some useful points.  The curious thing about the MBPT is that it has intuitive appeal to a lot of people and many take its categorizations semi-seriously as applicable to themselvres.

That is rather a pity as the test is a psychometric disaster area.  It is not internally consistent and often fails to give the same answer twice when it is administered on more than one occasion.  It psychometrician's terms it lacks both validity and reliability.

There are now however now a lot of personality tests which do have good scientific credentials -- the "Big Five" etc.

I might declare an interest here. I have been a very active psychometrician. I suspect that I have had published more tests than anyone else. In just one article I published six different measures of six separate concepts -- all reliable and valid. Most of my work, however, was in the field of attitude measurement, not personality measurement. I did however make contributions to the measurement of anxiety, dogmatism and ambition (achievement motivation). See my categorized list of articles here. My measure of achievement motivation has proved particularly popular with other researchers

We tend to think of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a frivolous internet distraction, akin to the hundreds of BuzzFeed quizzes that help us pass the time and think about ourselves in new (if not especially serious) ways. But in the mid-20th century, businesses used it as a powerful tool in hiring and management, changing the trajectories of many workers’ lives. What most of these businesses’ executives didn’t know was just how arbitrary the “science” behind the indicator was.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was the brainchild of a mother and daughter, Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. They had no formal background in psychology or statistics, but they did have a fervent belief that their experiences as mothers and wives had taught them all about the innate, immutable power of personality types. Born in 1875, Katharine Briggs had always been fascinated by the idea of personality. She became a minor celebrity in the 1920s while writing parenting columns about how she educated her daughter, Isabel. When Isabel left for college, Katharine fell into a deep depression. It was then that she discovered the writings of Carl Jung, whom she called her “savior,” her “maker,” the “author of her life.” Over time, Katharine developed a way of categorizing people’s personalities using a variation of Jung’s theory of psychological types: introversion/extraversion, intuition/sensing, feeling/thinking, and to this she added perception/judging.

Her system never really caught on until her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, developed it into a 117-question marketable “indicator” — never a “test,” since there were no right or wrong answers, no good or bad types. Myers sold it to Edward N. Hay, a family friend and one of the first personnel consultants in the United States. With the rise of the labor force during and after World War II, newly established consultancies like Hay’s were warming to the idea of using cheap, standardized tests to fit workers to the jobs that were “right for them,” a match made under the watchful eyes of executives eager to keep both profits and morale high.

Personality tests spoke for more than just an individual person or company; they represented an emergent culture of white-collar work.

From the end of World War II to the beginning of the arms race in the early 1950s, news of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator thundered through Pennsylvania, New York, and Washington, D.C. As men built bomb shelters and children practiced attack drills, Isabel picked up accounts, and these accounts began to double, even triple, in size. She took on large orders from colleges, government bureaus, and pharmaceutical companies; from Swarthmore, her alma mater; from her father’s longtime employer, the National Bureau of Standards; from the First National Bank of Boston, Bell Telephone, and the Roane-Anderson Company — a subcontractor for atomic weapons her father introduced Isabel to through his contacts on the Manhattan Project. She was not shy about asking for help or using her family’s connections.

Never one to miss out on an opportunity for self-promotion, Edward N. Hay wrote to his corporate client list on Isabel’s behalf, taking the credit for the indicator’s success despite his apparent lack of familiarity with its origins or the theory behind it. “The test is based on Jung’s Psychological Type-Mind,” he informed one client. “It was developed by Mrs. Isabel Briggs-Myers out of an experiment she did with me in 1942. I have used it in my consulting work quite a little.”

By the mid-1950s, Isabel’s clients were the largest utilities and insurance companies in the United States. They regularly spent upwards of $50 a year on test booklets and answer sheets. The Home Life Insurance Company of New York purchased it twice—first to determine whether an applicant would make for a successful life insurance salesman, and then to calculate whether a life insurance applicant should pay a larger premium on his insurance. (According to Isabel’s summary of her results, extraverted intuitive types — ENTPs and ENFPs — were more likely to exhibit risk-taking behavior.)

More here:



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New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has been called "Far-right" and connected to prewar Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. And her slogan above (Together for Italy") is rather like a Fascist slogan. Fascist parties did indeed promote a "one big happy family" future for their countries.

But if Meloni is Fascist, what are we to make of Hillary? Her slogan, with its stress on "stronger" is even more Fascist. It sounds very much like Mussolini.

The solution to the puzzle is that historic Fascism was Leftist. It was only Soviet disinformation that branded it as Rightist. And that disinformation is still the norm. So by historical standards, Hillary is indeed the heir of Mussolini.

Meloni's policies are, by contrast, clearly conservative: She focuses on defending national borders, national interests and the “traditional family.” She has always been staunchly anti-drugs and anti-abortion, although she insists she would not ban abortion. And Trump, another clear conservative, also appealed to national interests

So appeals to national interests can come from both the Left and Right and Meloni's appeal is clearly NOT to Fascist-type national self-interest. She is a conservative patriot. We can leave the Fascism to Hillary and her supporters

Far-right election winner Giorgia Meloni has vowed to govern for all Italians as she is set to be announced as the country's first female Prime Minister - and its most right-wing leader since Mussolini.

Meloni, head of the nationalist Brothers of Italy party, said voters have given a clear mandate to the right to form the next government and called for unity to help confront the country's many problems.

She added: 'If we are called upon to govern this nation, we will do so for all Italians, with the aim of uniting the people, of exalting what unites them rather than what divides them. We will not betray your trust.'

As polls in the run up to Sunday's vote indicated her as the likely winner, Meloni has moderated her far-right message in an apparent attempt to reassure the European Union and other international partners.

She said 'this is the time to be responsible', before describing the situation for Italy and the EU as 'particularly complex'.

It comes after an exit poll for state broadcaster RAI said Meloni's Brothers of Italy, in alliance Matteo Salvini's League and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, had won between 41 per cent and 45 per cent of the vote.

Despite Salvini's and Berlusconi's parties lagging behind, between them the Conservative bloc appear to have won enough seats to secure a majority in both houses of parliament.

The result must still be confirmed but risks fresh trouble for the European Union, just weeks after the far-right outperformed in elections in Sweden.

Meloni will face huge challenges, with Italy currently suffering rampant inflation while an energy crisis looms this winter, linked to the conflict in Ukraine.

Despite her euroscepticism, Meloni strongly supports the EU's sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, although her allies are another matter.

Berlusconi, the billionaire former premier who has long been friends with Vladimir Putin, faced an outcry this week after suggesting the Russian president was 'pushed' into war by his entourage.

According to the poll, the closest contender, the centre-left alliance of former Democratic Party Premier Enrico Letta, garnered as much as 29.5 per cent.


UK: Class background remains a barrier to accessing opportunities in later life, even among those who are successful, new research has found

This is about averages only. Smarter people may be able to rise in life despite a poor start. But there is no doubt that money is only a limited help in conferring social prestige in Britain. Members of the hereditary aristocracy can sometimes be rather poor but will still be prestigious in Britain. And people from a poor background who have somehow made a lot of money will often be dismissed as "nouveau riche". You can win the biggest lottery in the land and still be "common"

So is there any way to acquire social prestige and the advantages that brings in Britain? There are two but neither can be put on like a coat. Essentially you have to BE the sort of person that an upper class person normally is.

The best-known of those avenues to high acceptance in Britain is that old old method: Education. But not just any education. You have to have had most or all of your schooling from a prestigious private school. Eton and Harrow are the leading names there but there are rather a lot of private schools in Britain and there are quite a few who will give you the education you need to fit seamlessly into upper-class life.

Such schools will ensure (for example) that you have "a good seat" (can ride a horse well) and can shoot (with a shotgun). Even the children of the "nouveau riche" could gain acceptance if they went to a "good" school.

There is also a smaller cohort who just fit in naturally despite a humble background. As Toby Young has pointed out, the higher social echelons tend to be on average more intelligent. So what comes naurally to an upper class person will largely be the same as what comes naturally to a high IQ person.

I benefited from that during my year in Britain. I didn't try for it but my high degree of social acceptance would be the envy of most upwardly ambitious strivers in Britain. I even had an aristocratic girlfriend, which is not a bad index of acceptance. More on that here

A study of 8,118 professionals and higher-level managers found that those who came from a prosperous background were much more likely to move around the UK, and ended up in richer areas when they did move, than those with working-class parents.

Moving to a richer area meant better access to well-paid jobs and better schools, which meant that people from poorer backgrounds were “unable to close the gap” on their peers.

In an article to be published this week in the British Sociological Association’s journal Sociology, Dr Katharina Hecht, of Northeastern University, in Boston, US, and Dr Daniel McArthur, of the University of York, said that it was likely that wealthy parents had more resources to help their children buy a house.

The two researchers carried out a longitudinal analysis of census data about people born between 1965 and 1981 who were working in higher managerial and professional occupations by the age of 30 to 36.

They examined whether people had moved home over a distance of at least 28km from when they were aged 10 to 16, and compared the occupations of their parents, how often they moved home and the level of affluence of the local authority district they moved to.

Of those with higher managerial and professional parents, around 60% made at least one long-distance move, while only 30% of those whose parents’ occupations were classed as “semi-routine” or “routine” had moved areas.

“Among higher managers and professionals, those with advantaged backgrounds lived in more affluent areas as children than those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said McArthur and Hecht, who was formerly based at the Politics of Inequality research centre at the University of Konstanz in Germany.

“This area gap persists during adulthood: when the upwardly mobile move, they are unable to close the gap to their peers with privileged backgrounds in terms of the affluence of the areas they live in – they face a moving target.

“Therefore, even when the upwardly socially mobile – who grew up in less-advantaged places and are less likely to move long-distance – do move area, they are unable to close the gap to their intergenerationally stable peers who started out in more affluent areas.”

The researchers say that for women in higher professions, differences in family background correspond to the difference between “living in economically mixed areas on the south coast, such as Portsmouth, and living in affluent areas of the London commuter belt, such as Brentwood”. The difference was less dramatic for men.

“Geography shapes access to opportunities to accumulate wealth including the highest paying jobs, higher house prices, and opportunities for entrepreneurship,” they said.

“Affluent parents will be better able to facilitate … moves to high cost but opportunity-rich areas such as London or the South-East.

“The children of higher managers and professionals are likely to have wealthier parents and hence receive larger transfers of wealth. They will be able to afford houses in more expensive areas, net of income, than their counterparts from less advantaged backgrounds. As a result, wealth is likely to play an important role in explaining why those from advantaged backgrounds move to more affluent areas than the upwardly mobile.”

The head of the Social Mobility Commission, Katharine Birbalsingh, has said there should be less focus on getting poor pupils into Oxbridge and more moves to improve people’s lives in smaller steps.

In her first report as commissioner, she said that occupational mobility had been fairly stable for decades and that it was not true that social mobility had been getting worse on all counts.

Research by the Sutton Trust earlier this year found that social mobility had become much more limited, with those who lived in rented accommodation as children now far less likely to own their own homes in later life.

It found that many people now had a greater chance of falling down the class structure than moving up.

How malleable is IQ?

I reproduce below an enthusiastic summary of a famous study which reported considerable malleability in children's IQ score. Following that report I will offer some remarks about it.

In 1969, UCLA psychologist Dr. Robert Rosenthal did an IQ experiment.

He met with two grade-school teachers. He gave them a list of names from their new student body (20% of the class). He said that each person on that list had taken a special test and would emerge as highly intelligent within the next 12 months.

In reality, those students were chosen totally at random. As a group, they were of average intelligence.

The incredible finding is that, when they tested those children near the end of the year, each demonstrated significant increases in their IQ scores.

The twin studies always point to a large genetic component in IQ -- as high as 80%. That means that IQ is not very malleable. You are stuck with what you are born with.

This is a highly objectionable conclusion to Leftists in particular, who tend to regard people as a blank slate upon whom can be imposed traits desired in some Leftist idea of a good thing. The "new Soviet man" in early Bolshevik thinking is perhaps the best example of that. So various treatments of children have been proposed with the aim of redirecting their growth.

The most decisive test of our ability to change what children become is undoubtedly the long-running American "Head Start" program. It was designed to take children from disadvantaged backgrounds and enrich their early education in various ways. The experiment did give some early hopes of success but the long term conclusion was that the interventions had no lasting effect. "Enriching" the environment did nothing

But what about that 20% which is NOT genetically given? Could that potential be worked on in some useful way? Did the Head Start experiment simply push on the wrong levers?

All the studies so far have not found much that could profitably be changed. Early nutrition is an obvious candidate for change but even in ideal circumstances only about 5% of the variance could be accounted for that way

An interesting possibilty is that people can be made more intelligent by being treated as more intelligent. That unlikely possibilty is in fact the conclusion of the famous Rosenthal study of experimenter expectations above. There are many problems with the study which I will allude to briefly hereunder but what interested me in the study was how large were the differences found. That is not usually mentioned. They were in fact slight.

The results showed that the favoured students' IQ scores (experimental group) had risen significantly higher than the average students (control group), even though these alleged favoured students were chosen at random. They gained an average of two IQ points in verbal ability, seven points in reasoning and four points in overall IQ.

So the effects observed were slight. The two points in verbal ability were especially notable as the verbal ability score is usually the best predictor in an IQ test. So the Rosenthal treatment showed no substantial success in making IQ more malleable.

Wikipedia gives a useful summary of other problems with the Rosenthal study. I reproduce it below:

"The educational psychologist Robert L. Thorndike described the poor quality of the Pygmalion study. The problem with the study was that the instrument used to assess the children's IQ scores was seriously flawed.[6] The average reasoning IQ score for the children in one regular class was in the mentally disabled range, a highly unlikely outcome in a regular class in a garden variety school. In the end, Thorndike concluded that the Pygmalion findings were worthless. It is more likely that the rise in IQ scores from the mentally disabled range was the result of regression toward the mean, not teacher expectations. Moreover, a meta-analysis conducted by Raudenbush[7] showed that when teachers had gotten to know their students for two weeks, the effect of a prior expectancy induction was reduced to virtually zero".


I am a dyed-in-the wool conservative. Should I be concerned that "the arts" are largely dominated by the political Left?

To establish my credentials as someone who is fit to comment on the matter, I think I should initially point out that I am in general very much "into" high culture:

I can recite around 100 lines of Chaucer in the original Middle English plus some mainstream Goethe poems in German. I know who Belisarius and Justinian were, J.S. Bach is my favourite composer and I rather like Canaletto. And my favourite song is in Latin. And my Serbian girlfriend has been very helpful in introducing me to lesser-known Russian literature. And I acknowledge modern genius in the form of Philip Glass and David Williamson. So it would be hard to brand me as a Philistine.

But I regret to say that I do not share the common assumption below that the arts are in general important. To me they are just a small niche in the entertainment scene. Somewhat to my distress, football entertains far more people and should in consequence be more deserving of conservative attention. I see no virtue in the fact that I personally enjoy more arcane forms of entertainment.

And I don't think that much is lost by inattention to the arts as we have them today. Any message in them is usually Leftist dribble and very few modern artists are of anything like the quality of the greats from our past. Catching up with the canon of Russian literature would give us all greater insights than reading anything from the vast outpouring of modern novels or attending to most modern stage-shows. Some modern productions will of course stand the test of time but the wearisome task of finding the wheat among the storm of chaff is not for me. The classic past offers much better prospects for finding artistic enjoyment. I would rather (for instance) put on my favourite video of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, knowing that I will find great joy in that

Some works of art are undoubtedly politically influential. Orwell is the prime example of that. But the canon of classic English literature has much more potential to influence thought so promoting an awareness of that would seem to be a better task for conservatives. It was in his final year of High School that I discovered to my distress that my son had never heard of Coleridge or Wordsworth so there is much work to be done in that direction.

There are some notes about the sort of thing that I do and what I value here and here

Conservative political thought’s fractured history and philosophical developments should make for compelling artworks and literature. However, the Right is often perceived as the enemy of both the artists and writers, who predominantly fall under the Left’s protection.

Conservative political commentator Douglas Murray’s article "Publishing is a left-wing bubble" notes that those on the Left vastly outnumber those on the Right in the publishing industry. Birmo’s pride and prejudice show ARC grants need new rules written by postcolonial world literary studies professor Ben Etherington criticised Simon Birmingham’s decision to deny funding to arts and humanities projects.

The animosity between the progressive arts sphere and the political Right appears mutual: complaints about Woke publishing often feature in conservative discussions about the Australian cultural sphere, occasionally followed by a call for alternative media.

However, this article suggests several reasons for the Right to value and invest in the arts.

First, during 2020’s Covid-related funding reductions in the arts, I argued in "Anyone can do art – so why fund the Arts?" that art and literature are key to democracy. They allow us to model and exchange complex social experiences and arguments. The article then provided evidence to support a statement from Centre For Stories director Robert Wood on the need for resources in the arts:

‘It is fiction to think that art flowers without support. That it is only a calling that does not require resources.’

While the thinkers and organisations referenced in Anyone can do art were from the Left, there is no logical reason for the Left to monopolise the arts. Historically, parts of the Right have advocated for artists and writers who fled communist regimes. One cornerstone of libertarian thought is a novel, Ayn Rand’s "Atlas Shrugged".

Art allows for the coexistence of multiple truths without demanding one be ‘proved’ at the expense of all others. Topher Fields’ documentary "Battleground Melbourne" explores the costs of Victoria’s harshest Covid control measures. It was an emphatic recount that illustrated the rapid escalation in the state’s power, deterioration in social wellbeing, and mainstream media’s increasing approval of state-approved violence. The existence of Fields’ documentary does not discount, say, the efficacy of vaccination in reducing the severity of Covid symptoms in vulnerable groups, or the aggression and entitlement that some who opposed Covid vaccines exhibited. In the arts, two conflicting truths do not cancel each other out: they granulate our understanding of a complex world where people of different experiences and backgrounds attempt to coexist.

Advertisers have long understood that emotive stories, not hard facts and numbers, influence people to engage with products, services, and charity efforts. Right-wing thought is filled with storytelling material: it has a nuanced and diverse history of scrutinising social and cultural concepts such as nationhood, family, marriage, and community. Angela Dillard’s book "Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner: Multicultural Conservatism In America" examines strategies that ethnic and sexual minorities used to assimilate themselves into traditionally Anglo-European and Christian conservative movements. Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson’s book "Strange Justice: The Selling Of Clarence Thomas" considers tensions between African-American recognition, feminist concerns, and conservatism during Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas.

Despite the profound discussions arising from fractures within the Right, the Australian vocabulary about right-wing thought is woefully limited. Australian conservative politicians are said to have ‘become left-wing’ if they express support for gay marriage or decriminalisation of abortion.

The prominence of unfavourable personalities further degrades public perceptions of the Right. Even people seeking to sympathise with the Right often preface their statements ‘I’m not on the Right but–’ Many are unaware of the Right’s profound intellectual history which studies the balance between a need for change and the maintenance of cultural integrity. The Right needs art more than ever to capture the public’s imagination.

While this article pushes for the Right’s appreciation of the arts, it does not support squirrelling into ‘alternative outlets’, an idea floated among various Right-wing outlets. Ideas that defy the progressive consensus of Australian arts industries may need to circulate among more sympathetic spheres (arts industries in non-Western countries) to gain initial momentum before Australians recognise its validity. Having a multitude of artistic and literary platforms framed around different values and tastes may improve our access to different perspectives on controversial issues. But these should still lie within a generally unified cultural sphere, rather than walled off into separate echo chambers. A unified cultural sphere allows for the acknowledgment of viewpoints across the political divide. Echo chambers are deaf to external information and descend into polarised stupidities.

Conservative commentators frequently note a progressive takeover in mainstream Australian arts and media. For example, Alexandra Marshall’s article "The Sydney Writers’ Festival: so woke you want to call for blood tests" observed the Sydney Writers’ Festival’s platforming of simplistic racial and gender identity politics. One may question or disagree with her derision towards Wokeness in the media. However, her observation about the conservative viewpoint’s absence begs an important question: where are the conservative creatives? The simplistic understanding of conservatism in Australia is unsurprising: deriding artists as ‘lefty snowflakes’ and siphoning out their money damage any chances of artists studying right-wing thought, let alone sympathise and be inspired by its nuances. If the Right is truly concerned about Leftist dogma in media and culture, it needs to be serious about regaining cultural territory through investment, training, and respect for artistic and literary practitioners.

In time, I would like to see Australian Right-wing and Left-wing writers and artists in conversation at national cultural events. A rehash of the ‘we are more similar than different’ conclusion may not directly answer questions like ‘should big churches be heavily taxed?’ or ‘why are fuel prices so high?’ But it may provide necessary reminders to people that political adversaries are simply humans with different priorities on particular issues, not demonic lunatics to be exiled from workplaces and social groups. That would go a long way in detoxifying political debates.


Jesus of Nazareth and White Evangelical Fragility

There is an article below by an atheist who is very hostile to evangelical Christianity. The points he makes are actually a fairly common critique of such faith. In essence, he is noting that Christians often don't act in a Christian way. They do not actually follow the teachings of Christ. They are too stern, too strict, too intolerant.

And there is no doubt some truth in that. Committed Christianity can be very demanding. And those demands upset our author. But I too am an atheist and I am not nearly as judgmental about evangelical Christianity as he is. Why?

I think there are two things missing in his story. He has no religious feelings and he is intolerant of human frailty.

He also does not understand the origin of Western Christianity as we have it today. Protestant Christianity arose in Germany through the efforts of Martin Luther and his King, Frederick the Wise of Saxony. There had been many other uprisings against Roman Catholicism in Europe before that, and from Giordano Bruno to John Hus to Savonarola, those rebellions resulted in the death of the rebels and no change to the dominance of the church.

So why did the rebellion of the Saxons led by Martin Luther succeed where others had not? It was because it took place in Germany. Germans were different. They were a warrior race and were, as such, fiercely self-confident and independent. Bowing down to priests was not congenial to them. So when the oppportunity arose, they eventually rejected Catholicism in favour of attitudes which were more congenial to them.

They embraced beliefs that centred around the sort of independent individuals that they personally were. The Germanic spirit of independence emerged in a form of Christianity that suited Northern Germans, a form that put power and responsibility for salvation right back on to the individual, with no intervening priest needed.

Luther was a learned Augustinian priest so he was able to find ample scriptural justification for the new faith. Ultimately, however, Protestantism was as much German as Biblical. Protestantism is a German faith

The Saxons in Germany today. For some history of the Saxons see here

And one might note that the other great Germanic country -- aside from Germany itself -- England -- was not so different. In England, Wycliffe was saying the same sort of things that Luther was saying long before Luther said them. And Wycliffe too had the protective support of the King and his court. Wycliffe was over a century before Luther in fact. Luther wrote his "Ninety-five Theses" in 1517 whereas Wycliffe was officially condemned in 1377 by Pope Gregory XI.

The difference with Wycliffe was that he tried to reform the church rather than replace it. He actually died while saying a mass. So Wycliffe might at first glance be seen as another failed rebel. He was not. What he did was set alight a fire in the minds of Englishmen that eventually consumed the church even more comprehensively than Lutheranism did.

He had awakened the old rebellious spirit of the Saxons and that spirit was the principal support for the actions of King Henry VIII. When Henry dispossessed the priests and rejected the Papacy, the people loved him for it. They supported their King, not their priests. Wycliffe had lit a slow-burning fuse that eventually gave rise to an explosion. And that fuse kept burning for so long because it was founded on a Saxon independence of mind among the people. Wycliffe died in 1384, Henry became king in 1509.

I have in a much abbreviated way raised above a large number of issues about Germans and the Germanic people, and I understand that some of my readers may have energetic criticisms of what I have said. So it may be of interest that I cover those issues elsewhere at much greater length.

So my point in all this so far is that looking to the Bible to understand Protestant Christianity is to miss half the story. To an extent what people of German and English ancestry do today reflects German values, not the attitudes of Jesus of Nazareth. If Protestants are demanding and unforgiving of others, they are so because of the Germanic faith that their ancestors devised and which still sounds right to them, the descendants. Their ancestry lives on in them.

And at that point I think I might add a personal note. In my mid-teens, I was an active member of probably the most evangelical Protestant faith in the Western world today -- _ Jehovah's witnesses. And they are very strict and Puritanical Christians indeed. So was I oppressed by them? Maybe but, if so, I loved it. My time as an extreme evangelical is still a warm and pleasant memory to me. The religion suited me. It was in my ancestry. I was true to my Germanic ancestors. And the large number of people with similar ancestry in America today is a major explanation for the prominence of evangelical Christianity there.

It is obvious that there is no one-to-one correspondence between Germanic ancestry and evangelical Protestantism. After all, Germany is still half Catholic to this day. But, as any German will tell you, Germany is not monolithic. As a very rough generalization,the South is Catholic and the North is Protestant. Be that as it may, however, there are many influences bearing on faith or the lack of it but my submission is that ancestry is one of the more powerful influences on it

So our author below is in my submission unsympathetic to evangelical Protestantism because he does not have the requisite religious feelings for it. He does not have the old tough and fierce Germanic attitude of mind that would give him an instinctive understanding of it. And for all his praise of tolerance and kindness he is intolerant of the failings of ordinary Christians. As Christians sometimes say, "We are saved, not perfect"

If Jesus of Nazareth was an actual human who actually existed, this is, apparently, what that man looked like, according to an artist and an algorithm and actual, historical, data (as opposed to a story that white people tell each other).

I am an atheist. I do not believe in god, or the devil, or heaven, or hell. But I like and respect this guy. He was a rebel, he was an antiauthoritarian, he dedicated his life to helping the poor, the sick, the indigent, the people who were discarded and rejected by society. He hung out with sex workers and lepers, and gave comfort to the sick and suffering, and he loudly and relentlessly called out the hypocrisy of the church and its leaders. As I understand it, he was like, “Hey, you’re a sinner. That’s a bummer. Let me help you be a better person. No, I don’t expect anything from you for that. I just want to be as loving as I can be.” He was a really cool guy. He was also a revolutionary, a rebel, a profound threat to the people who were in power at the time.

This guy, in this picture, is not the Jesus I was introduced to in parochial school. The Jesus I was introduced to was soooooo white, like super super super white, and he was keeping an eye on you so he could snitch on you to his dad, who was SUPER PISSED AT EVERYTHING YOU DID all the time for some reason. The Jesus I knew was, like, maybe going to be okay with you, as long as you knew what a giant fuck up you were. And he was absolutely not accepting of anyone who didn’t do exactly what the authority figures at school told us we had to do. And Reagan was essentially his avatar sent to Earth. If we didn’t worship Reagan the same way we were supposed to worship white Jesus, we were going to have a REALLY bad time. Did I mention that I was, like, 8 when all of this was drilled into me?

I deeply resent American Christianity. It has brought nothing but pain into my life. I deeply resent and despise evangelical Christians who turned this guy in this picture, who was reportedly a cool, loving, gentle, dude, who was a legit rebel, into someone who hates all the same things they hate, and who LOVES authoritarians the same way they do. I despise the people who do all sorts of cruel, hurtful, hateful things in this guy’s name. And they are EVERYWHERE in America.

I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the world. What I do know is that, in America, this person has been perverted into a weapon, a cudgel, to be used against the same people the actual Jesus loved and stood up for. It’s disgusting.

And, look, if someone professes to follow the teachings of this dude, whose WHOLE FUCKING THING was “love everyone. Period. No exceptions”, and they don’t, like, do that? They are as bad as the money changers in the temple. I know that this dude loves them, because that’s his whole thing, but I suspect that, if this dude exists, he is disappointed and maybe a little embarrassed by them.

As an afterthought: I can’t stop thinking about how this dude was an immigrant, and poor. I keep thinking that, if he showed up in … let’s say Texas, today, how badly he would be treated by the very same people who use his name and pervert his teachings to exert control over the very same people Jesus spent his entire life looking after.

And, honestly, none of this would even matter if the American Christian extremists would keep their white Jesus out of our laws and government.


The mystery of the Greeks

We read in our history books that the ancient Greeks were largely the foundation of our civilization. Athens and Jerusalem were the twin fountainheads of how we think to this day. Athens provided the science and Jerusalem provided the ethics. As historian of the Greek world Sean Gabb puts it:

The first lecture in the course makes a case for the Greeks as the exceptional people of the Ancient World. They were not saints: they were at least as willing as anyone else to engage in aggressive wars, enslavement, and sometimes human sacrifice. At the same time, working without any strong outside inspiration, they provided at least the foundations for the science, mathematics, philosophy, art and secular literature of later peoples

So there is a mystery there. If the Greeks of today are exceptional for anything it is indolence. Where did their ancestors get their novel ideas from?

People so far have mainly been content to see ancient Greek genius as a sort of bolt from the blue. The ancient Greeks were amazingly modern and very inspiring and that is just the way it is. There is very little enquiry about how the ancient Greeks got to be that way. It seems unlikely that some sort of genetic accident produced the ancient Greeks so so there is no obvious line of enquiry into what produced them.

But I think at least a skeleton of an explanation for their emergence has opened up. And I think the key lies in what archaeologists call the Vinca culture. I think the Greeks did have precursors in wisdom and that the precursors were nearby in Europe, in what is now often called "old Europe".

Vinca is a well documented excavation site around the modern-day Serbian village of Vinca, which is in turn close to Belgrade, the capital of modern Serbia. And the culture that is revealed there was actually widespread in South central Europe. Vinca may well not have been its focus or original source, which is why the basic culture concerned is often more generally called "old Europe". There is a considerable range of sites in which similar artifacts to those at Vinca have been found, mostly northward from Greece.

We read:

As early as the 6th millennium BC, three millennia before Dynastic Egypt, the Vinca culture was already a fully fledged civilisation. A typical town consisted of houses with complex architectural layouts and several rooms, built of wood that was covered in mud. The houses sat along streets, thus making Vinca the first urban settlement in Europe, but being far older than the cities of Mesopotamia and Egypt. And the town of Vinca itself was just one of several metropolises, with others at Divostin, Potporanj, Selevac, Plocnik and Predionica.

Archaeologists concluded that in the 5th and early 4th millennia BC, just before its demise in east-central Europe, 'Old Europeans' had towns with a considerable concentration of population, temples several stories high, a sacred script, spacious houses of four or five rooms, professional ceramicists, weavers, copper and gold metallurgists, and other artisans producing a range of sophisticated goods. A flourishing network of trade routes existed that circulated items such as obsidian, shells, marble, copper, and salt over hundreds of kilometres.

The central issue in evaluating "Old Europe" is chronology. The source above places "Old Europe" as a very early phenomenon. It was for a time said to be much later but radiocarbon dating has pushed back its origins to a time at least as early as the Mesopotamian civilizations. It could even be earlier. Concerning the dating of some Vinca tablets found in Romania, we read:

Radiocarbon dating on the Tartaria finds pushed the date of the tablets (and therefore of the whole Vinca culture) much further back, to as long ago as 5,500 BC, the time of the early Eridu phase of the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia. This finding has reversed our concept of the origin of writing, and it is now believed that the Sumerians inherited a Vinca tradition of 'magical' or 'meaningful' scripture, probably following the collapse of the Vinca homeland c. 3,500 BC.

That the Vinca culture was long thought to be much later than the Mesopotamian civilizations explains why virtually nothing about it appears in our history books. Depending on your chronological conclusions, it is just a minor archaeological footnote or the very origin of civilization itself.

I am taking what I think is a middling position: that "Old Europe" existed in Serbia and places North of it over a long period, with knowledge from it first being revealed to history as what we now know as ancient Greece.

I am submitting that we know so little of "Old Europe" primarily because we have no stories from it, even though some of their writings do exist. There ARE writings that have been recovered from "Old Europe" sites but we have no key to interpreting them. The writings that we have from sites in "Old Europe" do in fact resemble rather strongly the famed Cretan "Linear A" writing but we have no key to that either.

So what I think happened is that it was the wisdom preserved from "Old Europe" that suddenly popped into view in ancient Greece -- and it popped into view when the Greeks started to use an alphabet, an alphabet that is an adaptation of the Hebrew/Phoenician alphabet, an alphabet that arrived in Greece by way of Phoenician traders. Phoenicia is of course only a short sailing journey from Greece and Phoenecians were for a very long time known as dedicated marine traders.

So it is to me rather wonderful that we do now appear to know something of what our most ancient European ancestors thought. It was Greek thought.

Some personal links:

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