2023 in retrospect

I have been putting up a pictorial homepage every year for a number of years now. The very first one was quite light hearted and I am continuing that. I start out with some toons that I liked, followed by some jokes that gave me a laugh.

I then got on to reproduce what I think are my most significant blog posts for the year.

In addition to that, I have created two separate supplementary files: A survey of my personal life during the year plus a selection of articles that comment on male/female relationships



Lord Marmaduke was doing his evening stroll around the deck of the Titanic. Suddenly, he saw an iceberg which tore a great hole in the starboard side of the ship. He said to himself, "We are doomed." He went to the bar and ordered a large whisky. The barman gave him two. He said, "I only asked for one". "Yes , my Lord," said the barman, "but, it is Happy Hour."

The Chinese family from a little village decide to escape to Hongkong to seek their fortune. Father and mother are busy with the arrangements and the grandmother is looking after the little boy.

The boy says, "I want to piss".

Grandmother was shocked and tells the little boy that he should not use such language in front of the sophisticated people in Hongkong.

"But if I want to piss, what should I say?", asks the little boy.

Grandmother thinks hard but she also does not know. "Just say I want to sing and I will understand".

They cross the boundary in the night and as expected, they are arrested, men and women are separated and the boy and his father are put in a separate hall with other male refugees.

In the night the boy tells his father, "I want to sing."

Father tells him that others are sleeping, so he can't sing. But the boy keeps repeating every few minutes that he wants to sing and the father tells in a harsh tone, "You must wait for the day. If you repeat it again, I will give you a good thrashing."

After few more minutes, the weeping boy says "I can't wait anymore, I have to sing."

Parental remorse sets in, after all, the changes must have been traumatic for the kid.

Father says, "Ok, you can sing but only in my ear."

What happened in a courtroom that gave the judge a belly laugh you will never forget?
Not me but my father. My dad was the County Attorney in a small town in a rural area. Charges were brought against a man found drunk in his car with a sheep. My dad started questioning the man on the stand. "Do you understand the charges brought against you"? The man mumbled looking down "no,no". My dad said "you have been charged with the crime of beastiality, do you know what that is"? The man lowered his head and mumbled "no, I don't know". My dad stumbled saying "Um, this is when you have sexual relations with sheep uh , goats, uh chickens".. The man looked up startled and exclaimed "CHICKENS"!!! The judge started laughing, then coughing and said he needed a recess.

What did someone do on an airplane that made you say "You've gotta be kidding me"?
A woman got on a plane in New York headed to Los Angeles. The plane was continuing on to Seattle, but she was only going to Los Angeles. After the plane got to 35,000 feet and the pilot turned off the seat belt sign, she got up, gathered up her things and moved up to 1st class. One of the flight attendants approached her and pointed out that she had an Economy ticket and needed to move back to her assigned seat. She replied: "I'm blonde. I'm Beautiful. I deserve 1st class." No amount of explanation could convince her to move She went back to the galley and told the lead flight attendant, who went to speak with the woman. She got the same response: "I'm blonde, and I'm beautiful. I deserve 1st class."

The 1st officer happened to be passing the galley and heard the flight attendants discussing this woman. He said, "I'll take care of it".

He went to the woman and whispered something in her ear. She looked at him and asked, "Really"? and he replied, "Yes, Ma'am".

She got up, gathered things and returned to her seat in economy.

The flight attendants asked the 1st officer, " What did you say to her?"

He replied," I told her that 1st class did not stop in LA."

The convent had finished breakfast and all the nuns were at their chores.

The Mother Superior was feeling her age and her bones were aching so she decided to indulge in a lovely bath.

She filled the bathtub and doffed all her clothes. She was just about to step into the steaming water when there was an urgent knock at the door.

"Who is it?" She called.

"It's the blind man from the village" was the answer.

She was just reaching for her habit when she thought, "Why bother? He's blind." She opened the door and let the man in.

He entered the room and gave her the onceover. "Nice tits, love. Where do you want these blinds?"

A cop is driving around in his police cruiser one afternoon, when he sees a car up ahead that's going significantly slower than the rest of the traffic. Other drivers are swerving around them, honking their horns, and swearing.

Realizing that this was a terrible hazard for everyone involved, he gets behind the slow driver, and flips on his lights.

The driver immediately pulls over, and the cop walks up to the window, and discovers that the driver is a little white-haired old woman! He looks further into the car and sees three more small elderly female passengers.

He asks the usual, "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

"No, sir. I don't."

"Mam, you were only going 25 miles an hour."

"But I thought that was the speed limit!" , she points to a large black and white road sign not far away.

The officer just chuckles a bit, shakes his head, and says, "Mam.that's not a speed limit sign, you are on ROUTE 25." They both have a good laugh. He takes one last look around the car before he leaves, and notices the other old ladies are all wide eyed and terrified. "Mam, are they okay?"

"Oh, they'll be fine. We just got off of route 125!"

A Chasidic Jewish guy walks into a bar with a frog on his shoulder.

The bartender looks at the frog, looks at the man, and says, "where'd you get him?"

And the frog says "Williamsburg. There's like a million of them."


September 25, 2023

Blackwashing: False stories about black prominence

Threre is a good summary of past blackwashing episodes below:

If you listen to some historians there have been blacks in Britain since prehistoric times. How you tell skin colour from a skeleton is unclear. But a new example of blackwashing has emerged in the form of a book called "Brilliant Black British History". It says; "the very first Britons were black” -- with not a shred of good evidence for most of the claims. Even Stonehenge was built by blacks, allegedly.

The one bit of real evidence offered is that the Roman historian Tacitus reported that the Silures people in Wales were “dark-skinned and curly-haired”. In Tacitus’ full account, he theorised that they may have been from Spain.

The account by Tacitus is confirmed by Jordanes in his "Origins and Deeds of the Goths , where he says, “The Silures have swarthy features and are usually born with curly black hair ... They are like the Gauls or the Spaniards.” So both ancient authors saw the Silures as having a Mediterranean appearance, not an African appearance.

A fuller critique of the book below:

Such appropriations have been rather common from American black authors -- again as mere evidence free assertions. Blacks built the pyramids, of course. I have written on that before. See:

One instance of blackwashing stands out, however: A BBC program in 2017 that describes black and mixed-race families in Britain during the Roman era. It has the distinction that a couple of British historians have defended it. A graphic from the BBC program.

I have commented on the claims of British hisorian Mary Beard elsewhere so will not repeat that. Link below:

A much more sustained defence of Africans in Roman Britain comes from Mike Stuchbery so I partly reproduce it below. Stuchbery's argument is mainly in a long series of tweets, which would be rather tedious to reproduce but the opening of the article concerned is as follows:
Alt-right commentator gets 'schooled' by historian over diversity in Roman Britain

An alt-right commentator who complained about the BBC portraying Roman Britain as ethnically diverse has sparked a row with a historian on Twitter.

Paul Joseph Watson (PJW), editor of alt-right website InfoWars, shared a screengrab of a BBC educational video on life in Britain, suggesting it was inaccurate. “Thank God the BBC is portraying Roman Britain as ethnically diverse,” he tweeted. “I mean, who cares about historical accuracy, right?”

Step forward writer and historian Mike Stuchbery, who gave PJW a quick history lesson on ethnic diversity in Roman Britain.

“Roman Britain was ethnically diverse, almost by design. To begin, occupying legions were drawn from other parts of the Empire,” Stuchbery responded.

“Every year we dig up new remains that suggest that Roman Britain, anywhere larger than a military outpost, was an ethnically diverse place.”


All the examples he gives of Africans in Britain are of Mediterranean people, not sub-Saharan Africans. North Africans were and are white, of course. To this day, telling a Berber he is black will get you a dusty response. He will think you are blind or mad.

Berber woman in ethnic dress. It seems likely that the Berbers are in part descendants of the ancient Carthaginians. They are at any event the native people of most of North Africa -- JR


September 14, 2023

Whence the sudden mania about transsexualism?

Up until quite recently, effeminate men and butch women had mostly found a happy home among homosexuals.  And they had flown quite under the radar.  They were mentioned only in passing.  Suddenly, however, a new rage-filled religion has emerged around such people.  Quite recently they have changed from being ignored by the Left to becoming the great new cause of the Left.  How come?

It's not hard to understand once you realize that the Left are the angry people and angry people need something or someone to be angry about.  They need someone to shout at and tear down and attack.  They need a "cause"

And their old causes  have mostly lost their steam.  The workers now mostly vote for Republicans so there is no longer any joy in patronizing them;  The battle for gay rights has been won and pitying blacks has become too obviously a failure. But more on that:

The Left once thought that the very low average economic success of blacks was the result of them being badly treated by the educational system. The "gap" between black and white success is huge there. But no matter what Leftist educators tried, the "gap" between black and white school results remained quite immovable.

And affirmative action was  not much of a remedy either. Blacks put into jobs for which they were poorly qualified tended not to do those jobs well and their children tended to do no better than other black kids. So equalizing blacks and whites was frustratingly elusive.  All the anger about black disadvantage clearly achieved nothing of substance.  Trying to equalize blacks became simply frustrating and boring.  Leftist anger changed  nothing

But the fact that blacks could not often be lifted up economically still cried out as a gross breach of the fundamental Letist faith that all men are equal.  If the black/white "gap" could not be changed it had at least to be explained.  So critical race theory was born.  It says that hidden white prejudice is responsible for black failure.

But telling whites that they are secretly prejudiced does not do much.  You cannot easily aim your anger at something hidden.  And whites seem generally not too moved  by the charge against them. It is hard to make whites suffer for their invisible evil.  Most whites simply ignore the accusation and that is that.  Some weirdos may self-flagellate but they are too few to be satisfying.

So the left had simply run out of things that they could make into a great cause for their anger.  They needed a new enemy.  And all that pent up anger is now directed at people who think that there  are only two sexes.  It's absurd but absurdity has never held the Left back.  Their core belief that "all men are equal" is absurd.

And policies born out of anger are seldom wise or constructive.  And the latest obsession is no exception. Who would ever have thought that  cutting of a young girl's breasts or a young mans penis would  ever be seen as virtuous and in need of encouragement?  One almost pines for the day when all that Leftist anger required was a mandate to give High School diplomas to illiterate blacks

 But who are these angry people?  What makes the Left seethe with anger?  Have you ever seen anyone seethe with anger the way the Left did when Donald Trump was elected President?  Leftist anger was a great foaming torrent at that time -- completely unrestrained.    We saw then with crystal clarity the anger that was behind the mask of doing good

All the studies of it show that the  Left/Right political polarity is strongly inherited genetically -- so to a large extent the Left are just born in their unhappy state.  The world just looks all wrong to their eyes.  But there may of course also  be life events and circumstances which generate chronic anger.  Failing to get much of the rewards that life offers might well make one an unhappy person.  Black anger is explicable that way.  I go through various other possibilities elsewhere:



June 27, 2023

The rise of autism

Diagnoses of autism have "exploded" in recent years. Why?  There is a lot of doubt that there is  a real underlying increase in cases of autism.  Most psychologists would account for the rise as an effect of expanded diagnostic criteria.  And that in turn is an aspect of what is often called the  "medicalization" of deviant behaviour.  That is the explanation that I incline towards.  I am aware that there are some claims of a role for diet and pollution but I see no clear evidence of that

A friend of mine who is a most experienced practicing psychologist has however offered me a rather novel explanation -- an explanation that is both sociological and draws strongly on history. History is the only laboratory of sociology so it is undoubtedly the place to look for sociological explanations. 

The starting point of the explanation is that the very first diagnosis of autism was by Kanner in 1943.  Did he invent it?  Why was it unknown before his work?  Clearly, it must have existed all along but why did it come to attention as a recognized syndrome so recently?

My psychologist friend has come up with an explanation.  He says he was recently reading a book about etiquette in the Victorian era and was amazed by the minuteness of the rules that governed social interactions at that time.  The whole idea of social etiquette has become rather passe these days but the aim of the rules was to make social interactions easy and pleasant for all parties.  It was not some authoritarian invention.  It was a set of arrangements that had arisen  through trial and error over time that most people were comfortable with. There was such a clear consensus about the rules that you could write books setting out the rules for those who needed to learn them.  So the rules did have something of a straitjacket character

And that was GOOD for autistic people, or at least the less disabled element of the autism spectrum.  Autistics did not have to feel their way towards socially acceptable behaviour.  It was all very clearly laid down for them by society.  The rules were made to ease social interactions and they had that effect for anybody who followed them  So the social expectations of the day DRAGOONED autistics into adaptive behaviour  They did not have work it all out themselves

That explanation will not of course work for extremely withdrawn forms of autism but for the more articulate parts of the spectrum it makes considerable sense.  It is only the breakdown of social mores resulting from two ghastly world wars that deprived social behaviour of much of its guidelines. The old order was destroyed and not replaced. And once Kanner had described juvenile autism, people began to see degrees of it elsewhere.  And that is where we are today

This is not of course a glorification of Victorian society.  Charles Dickens has convinced us all that Victorian society was thoroughly wrongheaded. It is simply an argument that Victorian rules had some benefit for some people, not all of whom were high and mighty -- people with poor social competence generally

This is not of course a theory about the origins and causes of autism but merely a theory about its visibility.  So what are the causes of autism?

I remember when I was doing a seminar in abnormal psychology as part of my Masters degree in psychology in the department of psychology at the university of Sydney in 1968, Kanner was much mentioned, but the discussion centred around whether autism was a psychosis. I have never thought that

The  long-running theory of autism traced the condition to "refrigerator mothers".  I forget who first proposed that theory but I would shoot  him if I could. To blame poor distressed mothers for the dysfunction of their child   was extremely cruel and unforgivable to my mind.  Fortunately that theory fitted so few actual cases that it was perforce eventually abandoned.

That led to an exploration of physical causes instead. I was a party to those debates and found one explanation persuasive: That autism was caused caused by excessive stimulus sensitivity which was in turn caused by an overdeveloped cerebral cortex.  I still subscribe to that theory and believe that it is now the mainstream one. There is no complete consensus in any area of science, however, climate science excepted, of course.

As a small amusing note in confirmation of that theory, I have observed informally that autistic people  tend to wear big hats! And when I met my present girlfriend via a dating  site she said that the thing she most liked about my photo  was my high forehead. She is very bright, has an intense interest in psychology and believes herself to be a high functioning autistic -- a diagnosis with which I concur.

I have had many papers published in the academic journals on abnormal psychology topics but none on autism.  My interest in it was however sparked by a recent realization that I too am a high functioning autistic.  And that has benefited my social life. You can see from the early photo with my sister below below what my forehead has been like from the beginning.  Plenty of room for a large cerebral cortex.

I have however had 4 marriages and three ladies still call on me regularly even though I am in my 80th year so I think that promotes the view that at least some autistics can have an interesting life

November 28, 2023

‘Heretic’ grandmother banned by Tasmanian Anglican bishop

Anglicanism is traditionally tolerant of theological variety.  It is not even clear that all the episcopate believe in God -Runcie, for instance.  So this news is a surprise.

There is no doubt that the woman is heretical:  She defies the absurd Trinity doctrine.  But her rebellion is against the hierarchy, not the Bible.  The Bible is thoroughly on her side.  Jesus said "the Father is greater than I" (John 14:28) and he prayed to God (Matthew 26:39).  If he was God, who was he praying to?

I can only hope that she manages to form a study group of others who respect what the Bible says

A 72-year-old grandmother and devoted Christian has been labelled a “dangerous heretic” and banned from Anglican churches upon pain of police action, after a disagreement over theology with Tasmania’s bishop.

Former nurse Sue Carlyon’s exclusion – confirmed in writing – was ordered by Bishop Richard Condie over differences in ­interpretation of scripture that Christians have been debating for millennia.

Dr Condie has expelled the churchgoer over her view that God did not die on the cross, only Jesus as a man and son of God.

Ms Carlyon, who voluntarily cleaned at her parish church, believes firmly in her interpretation, arguing it helps her and others aspire to be more like Jesus.

She has published a short book explaining her interpretation.

The grandmother of five sent a copy to Dr Condie, seeking his views, and was later invited by the bishop to meet him to discuss it.

At this meeting on November 2, Dr Condie informed her she would be banned from her parish church, in Kingston, south of Hobart, and all Anglican churches in Tasmania.

Dr Condie confirmed the ban in writing on November 7, telling Ms Carlyon her book “contains significant dangerous heresy” and she would be allowed to return only if she retrieved and destroyed every available copy and publicly repented.

“To claim Jesus was not God when he died on the cross does not accord with orthodox teaching in any Christian tradition, undermines the doctrine of the Trinity and the efficacy of Jesus’ death for sin,” Dr Condie wrote.

He said her position “undermines people’s confidence in Christ” and she had continued to ignore directives not to distribute the book. “I am left with no other option that to forbid you from attending any Anglican church in Tasmania,” he said. “This includes Sunday services or visiting the church through the week.”

Ms Carlyon was told by Dr Condie: “If you do attend (any church), I will be instructing the ministers to have you removed from the property by the police.”

A survivor of domestic violence and family abuse, Ms Carlyon said she was “truly devastated” by the ban. “I thought I was settled in this church, I had made some nice connections and it’s a very active church with a lot of functions,” she said. “I find it exhausting to be contending with this at my age.

“To expect me to make a public declaration of repentance is just ridiculous – it’s from the dark ages.”

She would have preferred the bishop hold a group discussion. “There would have been others who would have fully supported what I’m saying,” she said.

The bishop had “bullied” her, Ms Carlyon said. “He was using bullyboy tactics – he was like a dog with a bone.

“He wanted me to cave in and apologise and be submissive and repentive. But it wouldn’t be true if I had given in. “As one of my sons said, ‘It’s just as well they can’t burn you at the stake’.”

Ms Carlyon said she was considering seeking legal advice or appealing to the Anglican Primate.

Dr Condie said it would be “inappropriate” for him to comment on a “matter of private discipline”.

Ms Carlyon’s book argues: “If God had died on the cross at Calvary, the world would have ended because of the fact that God is the ultimate source of life, and life is only sustained because of God. It is understood that Jesus died once He surrendered His spirit to God, His Father.”

However, others argue God died on the cross in the human form he had assumed in Jesus, and that his divine form did not and cannot die.

Ms Carlyon believed seeing Jesus as God when he died, rather than a man and son of God, “distorts people’s understanding of who God is, who Jesus is, what life’s about”.

“If we’re true to the scriptures in the New Testament, there’s nothing in it that says Jesus was God, so it’s an interpretation by church elders that, as Richard Condie said, took them 300 years to work out,” she said.

“They have over-intellectualised and theorised it and come out with a dogma that doesn’t align with the scriptures.”

Dr Condie said Ms Carylon’s views were an “extremely serious matter” as they “undermined” the “good news” that people could turn to Jesus for forgiveness for their sins.

“The Bible teaches that Jesus died to take the full punishment for the sins of humanity so that anyone who turns to him can be forgiven,” Dr Condie said.

“To satisfy God’s own just requirement, it is necessary that he be the one to provide the sacrifice for sin, which he did in the person of the divine Jesus Christ.”

In 2017, Ms Carlyon’s parish priest, Peter Adlem, gave her a reference expressing “no concerns about Sue’s Christian faith” and praising her “bold witness and obvious love and concern for others”.

Dr Condie is no stranger to controversy, with some Anglicans concerned about his key role in the anti-gay marriage Anglican “breakaway” Southern Cross, his sale of churches, and what some see as the spread of evan­gelism at the expense of “high ­Anglicanism”.



November 18, 2023

Why I’m optimistic about multiculturalism

I agree with Toby Young below. English customs, traditions and attitudes are powerful in helping people to get along with one-another. Australia retains a strong English influence but is even more multicultural than Britain --  and we too have an almost seamless multiculturalism.  

When I sit in my favourite breakfast cafe, I often find that among all the customers there is only one or two who have my fair Celtic skin. There are always people of Chinese and South Asians as fellow-diners there plus  a great majority with Mediterranean skin -- presumably from everywhere between Spain and Iran. And there is NEVER the sligtiest disruption.  People line up nicely to order their food and the waiters keep bringing out wonderful-looking meals.  I have never heard so much as a raised voice.  That is real-life multiculturalism at work.  

And it so happens that I have these days  a female friend of Indian heritage whom I am rather soppy about.  See below:


Many of my conservative friends are beginning to catastrophise about the future of Britain in light of the pro-Palestinian protests that have erupted in our major cities over the past month. ‘I think you’re screwed,’ an American philosopher told me on Monday. ‘You should have raised the alarm about immigration from Muslim countries 25 years ago and now it’s too late. The fox is in the hen house.’

Such pessimism is coming to a head this weekend, with tens of thousands of protestors threatening to disrupt the Remembrance ceremonies which are taking place over two days owing to 11 November falling on a Saturday. If the two-minute silence is interrupted on either day by chants of ‘from the river to the sea’ or the Cenotaph has a Palestinian flag draped over it, we can expect a lot of hand-wringing about the failure of multiculturalism from right-of-centre columnists, as well as some Tory MPs. But unusually I find myself at odds with my colleagues on this issue. I’m not quite ready to conclude that a significant percentage of Britain’s Muslim population remains stubbornly unassimilated and rejects our way of life.

To begin with, the vast majority of Britain’s four million Muslims haven’t participated in these protests. Let’s suppose – generously – that 250,000 people have taken part in a pro-Palestinian protest in the UK since 7 October. If you subtract the 50,000 or so who aren’t Muslims but the usual middle-class rabble clutching Socialist Workers party banners, that means just 5 per cent of the Muslim population have been on the streets calling for the destruction of Israel.

And what of that 5 per cent? The press has focused on the most extremist people, like the two young women with pictures of paragliders stuck to their jackets and the young men using loudhailers to denounce the Jews – and such behaviour is deeply shocking. But there’s no evidence that most of the protestors support Hamas or Hezbollah or want Israel’s seven million Jews to be slaughtered by Islamist paramilitaries, even if that would certainly be their fate if the state of Israel ceased to exist.

I think the majority are engaging in a kind of wilful blindness, their natural humanity temporarily silenced by the excitement at being swept up in a tribal conflict. They remind me of QPR fans on their way to play a local rival like Fulham. Loud and intimidating and prone to chanting some quite unpleasant things, but they don’t even represent themselves – certainly not their best selves – let alone the entire population of Shepherd’s Bush.

Am I being too generous? Not according to the survey evidence. An ICM poll for Policy Exchange carried out in 2016 found that more than half of the UK’s Muslim population want to ‘fully integrate’ (53 per cent) and the vast majority  share the hopes and concerns of the rest of Britain’s citizens. True, they’re more likely to believe conspiracy theories – 7 per cent believe the Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks – but they’re also more likely than the general population to condemn acts of terrorism (90 per cent compared with 84 per cent) and less likely to sympathise with terrorists (2 per cent against 4 per cent).

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Britain is one of the most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith societies in the world. We have a Hindu Prime Minister, a Buddhist Home Secretary and a Muslim Mayor of London. Yes, there are occasional bouts of ethnic conflict, such as the clashes between Muslims and Hindus in Leicester following India’s victory over Pakistan in the Asia Cup cricket match last year. But, in general, Britain’s different ethnic groups rub along together remarkably well. In my part of west London I’ve never witnessed any racial tension. Catholic Poles and Muslim Somalis may not worship in the same temples, but when Saturday comes they cheer along the same football team at Loftus Road.

I hope I don’t sound too complacent. I know anti-Semitic incidents have increased by several hundred per cent in the past month, which is one of the reasons I helped create the October Declaration, an expression of solidarity with Britain’s Jews that has attracted more than 75,000 signatures. But I don’t feel as depressed about the future of our society as some of my fellow conservatives. I pray that nothing will happen to undermine the solemnity of the Remembrance weekend, and the pro-Palestinian protests will fizzle out as winter comes in. My hope is that the ugly scenes we’ve witnessed on our streets will be remembered as a blip, not as a watershed moment when we realised how catastrophic mass immigration has been for our way of life.


October 28, 2023

Homelessness: An analysis

I am going to be very politically incorrect below.  The Left will accuse me of being heartless and uncaring.  But their indifference to the ghastly attacks on innocent Israelis from Gaza tells us what a hollow pretence their "caring" is

Conservatives do occasionally note that homelessness is mainly an outcome of poor decisions and I am going to elaborate on that but I also want to go bit deeper than that

Being a good academic, I will first define my terms.  By "homeless" I mean street sleepers and people who live in their cars.  I probably should also include "couch surfers" who live temporarily with friends.  There is something of a continuum between those three groups but there is sufficient similarity to support the generalizations I wish to make.

The basic problem with the homeless is poor decision-making. The letting agents tell us that the unhousable usually have drug and alcohol problems or are welfare-dependent single mothers.  No experienced landlord would have anything to do with such people.  Offering them accommodation would be asking for trouble.  Such people would all have higher priorities than paying their rent

Women who get their legs up outside a committed relationship and without contraception are undoubtedly making a risky decision and one that sometimes goes very wrong.  How selective you are about your partners is an important decision.  Single mothers have undoubtedly got it wrong

So let us look at the other extreme:  cautious people.  If a man is frugal, is abstemious with alcohol, takes no recreational drugs and goes to university to get a useful qualification, he is most unlikely to end up homeless. Ditto for a woman who is careful with her contraception.

A major and important difference between the cautious and incautious groups is frugality.  I have expanded on that previously


So I think I have covered the major ways in which decisions affect homelessness.  So the next step is to ask WHY some people make very bad decisions

Sad to say, I think the two groups are actually born different, with impulsiveness and poor ability to think ahead being inborn in most of the homeless.

And IQ is perhaps the most important inborn difference of all. The people who go to university and the people who spend most  of their money on  beer and cigarettes are almost always going to be differentiated by IQ.  A smart person can see when he is at a dead end and will find a way out of it.

So the homeless do deserve our pity and help.  They are born unfortunate.  They  cannot help it.  Whether it is incumbent on anyone to help them is another question, however.  Governments sometimes attempt that task by providing "social" (welfare) housing but the cost of that ensures that it will only ever be a partial solution.  There is no good alternative to self-help -- JR

October 09, 2023

Left-wing authoritarianism: Hiding in plain sight

In 1950 a book called "The authoritarian personality"  appeared.  It was under the lead authorship of Theodor  Adorno, a prominent European Marxist theoretician.  It was immediately popular among psychologists but also had to be one of the most wrong-headed books ever written.  

The very title of the book was faulty.  It claimed to  be about personality but everything in the book was in fact about people's attitudes.  Personality tells you about what people normally DO whereas attitudes tell you about what people THINK.  The distinction is important.  It is not at all uncommon for people to say one thing and do another.  And that was particularly so in this case.

The basic thesis of the book was that authoritarianism is uniquely conservative.  And that has been the prevailing view among psychologists ever since.  The vast authoritarian structures of the Soviet Union and Mao's China seem to be invisible. In a world beset by vast authoritarian regimes of the Left, there was somehow no Leftist authoritarianism!

And Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian anyway.  What is a Leftist if he/she is not someone who wants to impose change on the world, whether the world likes it or not? Despite all that, Leftist psychologists often still insist that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism.  Something foundational to Leftism is said not to exist.  The whole thing is a vivid example of Leftist reality denial.

The way out of reality used by Leftist psychologists is to look at what people SAY rather than what they DO.  And there is a great discordance there.  It has been known for decades that attitudes do not always reflect behaviour.  People often say one thing and do another.  That would seem to me to indicate the relative unimportance of attitudes.  What people DO is what matters.  

But if we look at Leftists of all stripes, what they DO is to attempt to impose their idea of what is a good thing onto everybody else, whether by public shaming, legislation or revolution.  So Leftist expositors  of authoritarianism work almost entirely with attitude statements and largely overlook what is actually happening in the world.  It is only by looking at words, not deeds that they can support their claim  that authoritarianism is peculiarly conservative. The many Leftist criticisms of so much in the world about them are held to show Leftists as anti-authority,  while conservative acceptance of existing arrangements is said to make them pro-authority or authoritarian.

This Leftist analysis of conservatives attitudes struck me as wrong-headed as soon as I heard of it so I spent the first 20 years of my academic career (1970-1990) questioning it and endeavouring to show by survey research that is was incoherent and wrong.  See http://jonjayray.com/auth.html

My work did not budge the leviathan one bit.  Leftist psychologists continued on their merry way of relying on a perverse analysis of attitudes to convict conservatives of authoritarianism and exonerate themselves from it.  I was wasting my time.

20 years of banging my head against a brick wall was enough, however so I ceased my survey research and attitude studies and have focused my writing ever since on looking at what Leftists DO, largely using history as my data source.  See http://jonjayray.com/leftism2.html

But my studies were still focused on WHY Leftists and conservatives do different things. The explanation for what they do does not rely on attitudes so what does it rely on?  And I have concluded that it does after all rely on personality, even though attitudes tell us little about personality.  I have concluded that the  essence of conservatism is caution and the essence of Leftism is anger.  Leftists and conservatives differ in those two fundamental ways.  The stance that they take on the issues of the day will vary but underlying and influencing the stance will be one of those two personality types.

So I got a rather pleasant surprise recently when some mainly Norwegian psychologists published an article questioning the non-existence of Leftist authoritarianism (Lane et al., 2023) .  And they did it by the old Leftist method of analysing what people say.  And one of the things that they found was that Leftist attitudes were primarily influenced by anger! They too found that anger was fundamental to Leftist authoritarianism

So even using basically Leftist methods you can -- with a lot of work -- show that Leftists are the angry people.  The study concerned is a very complex one and something of a brain-breaker if you want to follow it in detail but I reproduce the abstract from it below:

The Moral Foundations of Left-Wing Authoritarianism: On the Character, Cohesion, and Clout of Tribal Equalitarian Discourse 

Left-wing authoritarianism remains far less understood than right-wing authoritarianism. We contribute to literature on the former, which typically relies on surveys, using a new social media analytic approach. We use a list of 60 terms to provide an exploratory sketch of the outlines of a political ideology "tribal equalitarianism" with origins in 19th and 20th century social philosophy. We then use analyses of the English Corpus of Google Books (n > 8 million books) and scraped unique tweets from Twitter (n = 202,582) to conduct a series of investigations to discern the extent to which this ideology is cohesive amongst the public, reveals signatures of authoritarianism and has been growing in popularity. Though exploratory, our results provide some evidence of left-wing authoritarianism in two forms: (1) a uniquely conservative signature amongst ostensible liberals using measures derived from Moral Foundations Theory and (2) a substantial prevalence of anger, relative to anxiety or sadness, in tweets analyzed for sentiment. In general, results indicate that this worldview is growing in popularity, is increasingly cohesive, and shows signatures of authoritarianism.



22 Sept 2023

Left-Right divide no longer relevant in modern politics?

A very good essay below which sets out how policy preferences change over time. The changes can indeed seem rather surprising.

What the author overlooks is that changing times require changing policies. A policy that seems right in one context may seem wrong in another. Change is always ongoing so policies have to cope with that and may need to change too

Because policies change so much, the author sees no continuity. He says a policy simply cannot reliably be described as Right or Left. There is no consistency over time in the policies of our major political groups.

He is however looking in the wrong place for consistency. Consistency can be found only at the psychological level -- at the level of basic motivations. The "Right" will always be cautious and the "Left" will always favour feelgood ideas. And those two can very easily be in conflict.

Feelgood policies are ones that make their supporter look good and kind and virtuous, regardless of what their long term-consequences may be. Because of their weak egos, Leftists in particular have a great need to be seen as supporters of such policies. Any long term ill results of the policy are simply ignored

The author gives as an example of change Donald Trump's support for import tariffs. When he did implement some tariffs, that did indeed make some conservatives' head spin. It was a major departure from something dear to the hearts of most conservatives: free trade.

But Trump's respose to free trade arrangements was a cautious one. And caution is the essence of conservatism. He was was acutely aware that by the time of his Presidency, free trade had become socially disruptive -- with vast swathes of American industry having been exported to China -- and he wanted to stop that disruption. He was cautious about how the loss of American industry was impacting the lives of many Americans and wanted to call a halt to the disruptions concerned. He felt that free trade had gone too far.

He was precisely NOT subservient to prevailing conservative policies. He saw the need to call a halt to something that had got out of hand. He saw that the prevailing circumstances in the world called for a new approach if Americans were to be looked after.

So he put forward a new policy that had very old and basic underpinnings. His cautious values had not changed, only the application of them to changing times. Trump was perfectly consistent in his love of America and its people

You’ve probably heard Donald Trump described as “right-wing” or “far-right” even. But what does this actually mean?

It turns out very little, given the former US president advocates policies that only a few years ago were considered “left-wing”, making a mockery of the idea that some timeless unidimensional spectrum informs how we should understand politics.

It’s really all just name-calling nonsense, as US politics demonstrates. Trump is in favour of higher tariffs on imports and a foreign policy anchored in isolationism, which were considered left-wing positions during the presidency of Republican George W. Bush less than two decades ago.

On the other side of the divide, President Joe Biden’s administration is in favour of empowering government agencies to censor “misinformation”, a position diametrically opposed to the anti-censorship stance of Democrats a generation or two ago.

For most of the 20th century it was “the right” in favour of political censorship.

In the US, as in Australia and throughout the world, the left-right dichotomy has become a divisive delusion, a legacy going back to who sat where in the National Assembly during the 18th-century French Revolution that has no relevance to the complexity of modern political life.

Modern political parties promote a hodgepodge of policies that bear little relationship to each other. Why, for example, should someone who supports the voice or abortion necessarily be in favour of higher taxes or using the military to “spread democracy” abroad?

What individual political leaders advocate at any given time and place determine the left and right, far more than any underlying ideology.

Lockdowns during the pandemic, for instance, became identified with left-wing politics in the US purely because Trump at one point opposed them – even though socialist governments in Mexico and Sweden roundly rejected them. “Ideologies do not define tribes, tribes define ideologies; ideology is not about what (worldviews), it is about who (groups); there is no liberalism and conservatism, but liberals and conservatives,” write Hyrum and Verlam Lewis, two American politician science academics (and brothers), in a provocative new book, The Myth of Left and Right.

We are social creatures who tend to feel strongly about one particular aspect of a political party’s platform, and then feel obliged to support the rest of it. Yet there is far more disagreement within political parties than between them.

“Why do we refer to Milton Friedman (a Jewish, pro-capitalist pacifist) and Adolf Hitler (an anti-Semitic, anti-capitalist, militarist) as right-wing when they had opposite policy views on everything?” the authors ask.

Of course, tribalism is often determined by social background and governs most political interaction. Julian Assange is widely perceived as left-wing in Australia, but right-wing in the US, simply because he infuriated the Democratic Party in the US by releasing its embarrassing private emails before the 2016 election.

Members of the two warring tribes like to tell themselves stories to justify their positions: leftists advocate for “change” and “progress”, while those on the right apparently “conserve”.

So why, then, do conservatives support capitalism, the most intrinsically revolutionary economic system ever devised?

Meanwhile, the supposedly pro-change left has for decades fought globalisation to maintain national and indigenous cultures.

The “left” is also for bigger government (except in the US for issues relating to policing and illicit drug regulation).

Why were Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton – Democrats allegedly in favour of bigger government – the most fiscally conservative presidents in half a century? Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan, a champion of limited government, increased US debt and deficits more than any other administration outside war time.

As for religion, for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, Christian socialism was the predominant combination; the somewhat bizarre relationship between faith and free-market ideology developing much later.

Private banking, once the enemy of left-wing parties everywhere for a multitude of philosophical reasons, is now far more comfortable with parties of the left. Democrats in the US get far more donations from Wall Street, while the Labor Party has been the best friend to Australia’s funds management industry.

Italy’s “far-right” Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, was recently attacked by mainstream media outlets for proposing a tax on bank super profits, something Ben Chifley (one of Australia’s most left-wing leaders) would have been proud of.

Cynicism about mandatory vaccination was more common among those who considered themselves left-wing until Covid-19, when it became a “right-wing issue” across much of the West.

Left-wing China, meanwhile, was one of the few nations not to mandate Covid vaccines. Maybe Xi Jinping is right-wing?

The left-right dichotomy serves two purposes. First, it enables many of us to feel righteous and principled – even though the vast bulk of political participants are really tribal lemmings without any real beliefs except, perhaps, for personal career advancement.

Second, it provides a simplistic framework to dismiss people we don’t like. Because the bulk of those in the media and academia now consider themselves “left-wing”, one almost never sees individuals described that way. By contrast, the pool of alleged “right-wingers” has exploded.

Elon Musk, who openly supported the Democrats, is now “right-wing” because he wasn’t enthusiastic about the war in Ukraine, which is currently a “left-wing” cause. The top US podcaster, Joe Rogan, who openly supported Bernie Sanders, is now regarded as “right-wing” because he questions compulsory Covid-19 vaccination.

Germaine Greer has also been called “right-wing” for suggesting trans women aren’t real women. In a similar vein, a powerful essay by John Pilger, published last month about Western propaganda, could just as easily have been written by Tucker Carlson.

But Pilger remains firmly associated with the “left wing” because he’s in the “right” tribe, while Carlson is “right-wing” because he’s in the “wrong” tribe.

If the term “right-winger” has any meaning at all, it appears to be one that dissents from whatever official orthodoxy prevails at the time for any given policy.

Whatever, the terms are highly divisive and it’s time to move on from this meaningless division. Individuals have complex views and they should be treated on their merit.


18 May 2023

The Leftist Personality: Left-Wing ideology as a biological phenomenon

I have been noting for many years that the twin studies show political orientation to be highly inheritable genetically but have made only desultory comments about what in detail is inherited. The article below remedies that deficit rather well -- with detailed support from the academic journals

1. Defining “Leftism”

‘Leftism’ is characterized by ideas like equality, fraternity, “progress,” societal reform, and globalism. This manifests politically as support for feminism, homosexuality, wealth redistribution, immigration, and racial egalitarianism, combined with opposition to the family, nationalism, and traditional culture.

The rejection or embrace of hierarchy (i.e. inequality) is the fundamental difference between Left- and Right-Wing worldviews. Right-Wingers believe that hierarchy is inherent to reality and part of the natural order, while Leftists claim to believe that all men are fundamentally “equal” [1] [2].

2. Leftism and Physical Biology

Countless studies have shown that physical characteristics closely align with political orientation. AI facial recognition can accurately predict a person’s political alignment 72% of the time, outperforming chance (50%) and human estimation (55%) [3].

Taller [4] and more attractive [5] people are more likely to identify as Right-Wing and more likely to actively support Right-Wing parties, policies, and politicians. In America, Australia, and Europe, Right-Wing politicians are more likely to be physically attractive than their Left-Wing counterparts [6].

Men who are physically stronger are more likely to oppose wealth redistribution [7] and other forms of sociopolitical egalitarianism, even if they are poor themselves, and opposition to egalitarianism grows as men spend more time in the gym [8]. Similarly, men with more masculine facial features are more likely to support explicitly prejudiced ideas [9], and men who are better fighters are more likely to support warfare and hold “self-favoring” (non-Leftist) political beliefs [10].

In summary: Leftists are shorter and uglier, and Leftist men are weaker, less masculine, and less capable of fighting — characteristics that are not conducive to success in any human civilization.

3. Leftist Psychology 101

Studies on Left- and Right-Wing psychology have consistently found that Leftists are more likely to exhibit manipulative, self-serving, and generally antisocial personality traits. For example, Leftists have abnormally low disgust sensitivity [11]. A person’s political alignment can be predicted with 95% accuracy by observing their brain’s response to one disgusting image [12].

Despite Leftist claims that their ideology is “just being a good person,” support for wealth redistribution is best predicted by the psychological traits of “communal fairness” (egalitarianism), malicious envy, spite, being self-interested, and willingness to inflict “instrumental harm” (hurting innocent people for “the greater good”) [13]. The stereotypically Left-Wing behavior of “victimhood signaling” correlates with personality traits such as narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism (amoral manipulation) [14]. Victimhood signaling is best described as an emotional manipulation technique used to obtain free resources.

On average, Right-Wingers are much happier than Leftists. This phenomenon has been attributed to a variety of factors, including the ideological rationalization of inequality (“inequality is natural” vs “inequality is unfair”) [15]. However, the most logical explanation is that Leftists are predisposed to mental illness [16]. Numerous studies have found that Leftists are far more neurotic than Right-Wingers [17] and that White Far-Leftists are four times more mentally ill than moderate Right-Wingers. It is currently unclear whether Leftism causes mental illness or whether mentally ill people are instinctively drawn to Leftism. Both may be true simultaneously.

The psychological differences between Left- and Right-Wing people can be partially attributed to physical differences in brain structure. For example, Right-Wing views are associated with a larger amygdala [18], which is associated with higher emotional intelligence (e.g. reading facial cues or personal space) [19] and the ability to maintain more complex social networks [20]. The amygdala also plays a causal role in threat detection [21]. This data contradicts studies by Far-Left sociologists, like Alain Van Hiel, which claim that Right-Wing beliefs are defined by low emotional intelligence.

4. Left- and Right-Wing Moral Foundations

The Moral Foundations Theory, originally coined by psychology professor Jonathan Haidt and colleagues, proposes that Left- and Right-Wing people build their worldviews on five major “Moral Foundations.” Leftists are disproportionately high in the individualizing traits of Harm Avoidance and Fairness, but disproportionately low in the group-orientated traits of In-Group Loyalty, Respect for Authority, and Purity/Sanctity. In contrast, Right-Wingers express all five traits equally [22] [23].

Countless studies support the Moral Foundations theory, but one statistic related to in-group preference is particularly significant: White Leftists, who are by far the most mentally ill demographic, have a negative in-group preference, meaning that they genuinely despise their own race and will always prioritize the group interests of foreign races above their own.

A 2019 study investigated the self-reported “moral circle” of Left- and Right-Wing people [24]. Participants were asked to assign 100 “moral units” to 16 categories, ranging from their “(1) immediate family” and “(2) closest friends” to “(15) all natural things in the universe” and “(16) all things in existence.” The categories did not overlap, so points attributed to ‘higher’ categories (e.g. the universe) were not shared with ‘lower’ categories (e.g. the family). Leftists claimed to care more about “all natural things in the universe including inert entities, such as rocks” than they do about their own family and friends.

Leftists may well disdain their family and friends, but the information listed in section 3 of this article casts severe doubt upon the sincerity of their “universal love.” It seems much more likely that an immoral, narcissistic, and manipulative psychopath would use performative virtue signaling to conceal their malevolent and self-serving intentions. This is supported by new data from a 2022 study, which found that self-reported “good moral character” actually predicts moral hypocrisy, rather than good moral character [25].

5. Conclusion: A profile of the average Leftist

Using the data compiled above, we can construct a basic psychological profile of the typical Leftist. This will not apply to every Left-Wing individual, but it can serve as a general framework for understanding and dealing with Leftists. So, generally speaking…

Leftists believe that life is fundamentally unfair, likely due to their undesirable physical characteristics (shortness, ugliness, weakness, etc.).

This causes neuroticism and leads to self-obsession and spiteful envy.

They lose all concern for group interests and focus exclusively on advancing their own standing in society.

As they cannot get ahead in fair competition, they resort to underhanded, manipulative, and psychopathic strategies.

This manifests as behaviors like victimhood/virtue signaling, gaslighting, and other forms of coercion and emotional abuse.

To disguise their nefarious and self-serving aims, they proclaim a universal love for humanity, nature, or the even entire material universe.

They collaborate with other outcasts and potentially dangerous out-groups to exact vengeance on their perceived “oppressors,” by which they mean normal people.

However, they will happily betray (“cancel”) their friends and allies, who they value as little as inert objects like rocks, for social gains.

Leftist ideology can thus be summarized as an attempt to climb the social ladder via underhanded tactics, such as eliminating the competition by promoting “equality,” i.e. dragging everyone down to their level: The gutter. Leftism is a strategy for losers to take power and resources from winners.

The key takeaway is this: When it comes to Leftists, we are not dealing with honest people who want what is best for society but are tragically mistaken about how this can be achieved. Such individuals certainly exist on the Left, but the average Leftist is spiteful, malicious, and vindictive. They cannot be reasoned with or rationally convinced of their “mistakes” because they are driven by deep-rooted biological and psychological issues that, in many cases, cannot be resolved. Use extreme caution when dealing with them. They would think nothing of using the system to destroy your life.

6. Addendum: On Leftist ideological hegemony

Some readers have correctly pointed out that many “Left-Wing” people are simply indoctrinated into Leftism by default because it is the hegemonic ideology of the current Globalist regime. Leftism (or “wokeness”) dominates every facet of Western society: Media, academia, governments, corporations, and so on. Westerners are born into Leftism like fish into water, and many are blissfully unaware that they are under an ideological spell.

Genuine “biological Leftists” (often described as “spiteful mutants”) should be distinguished from the indoctrinated masses who merely repeat and believe what society tells them is right and true. Without the corrosive influence of Leftist hegemony, such individuals would be normal, loyal, and valuable members of society. However, the “true Leftists” would probably be just as vicious, defective, and subversive as they are today.


11 Apr 2023

The social housing bandaid

A prominent architect, Tone Wheeler, advocates more social housing below. It's a pity he is not an economist or a sociologist, in which case he would not have such tunnel vision. What he overlooks is that social housing is mainly a bandaid placed on a sore that governments at all levels have created.

Even poor people have some money, even if only from Centerlink, and many Centerlink clients are satisfactorily housed on that income, even if it's only by living a frugal life and living in boarding houses. So how come there is any need for "social" (charity) housing?

In part it is because some people are feckless at managing their money and the taxpayer is expected to rescue them from their folly. But more often it's because commercially available housing is just so expensive and therefore very difficult to for a family to afford. And that comes down to one thing: supply.

In a market economy there would be much more housing available -- with its attendant lower prices. They are high now because of the restrictions that all levels of government place on new housing. There have always been NIMBYs pushing local government to prevent the release of land for new housing and now we have very expensive new requirements that new builds be "green" in various ways. And it goes on.

So an intelligent advocate of more housing would be attacking the restrictions on building it rather than the old, old and quite insatiable cry of begging for more government handouts

The Commonwealth lost interest in public housing, which fell to 5 per cent of all dwellings in the late 1990s.

After the millennium, privatisation of public housing took off. Existing low-scale projects were sold for redevelopment at higher densities. In return, developers were compelled to set aside a percentage of new dwellings, about 15 per cent, for social and affordable housing. Public housing was rebadged, run by community housing providers, not governments.

The Berejiklian government took to it with alacrity, selling off the public housing at Millers Point, together with the 1980s purpose-built Sirius apartments. Social housing numbers often failed to increase, or even match, the public housing that had been lost, which falls to just 4 per cent of the dwelling stock now.

Today’s rising property values, falling home ownership and greater wage disparity sees 10 per cent of all households seeking social and affordable housing. That’s more than three times the social dwellings currently available. State Labor governments all have plans with various levels of ambition, but most are starved of funds, and want a better-funded CSHA, intensifying the current housing policy debate.

Federal Labor has responded with the Housing Australia Future Fund, where dividends will pay for 30,000 new social dwellings over five years. The need, according to the Greens and many housing demographers, is more like 50,000 each year for 20 years, a tall order when we build less than 100,000 per year now.

The federal government is crying poor: with a very low tax/GDP ratio it lacks income to address the accumulated debt and demands for the NDIS, defence and submarines.

Anthony Albanese tells the story of his upbringing with a single mum on welfare in public housing, but in denying funding for those social programs for current battlers it seems social housing is not a priority for the federal Labor Party. Instead, it invents a defective magic pudding, and puts an inexperienced minister – Julie Collins – in charge of it.

More than 120 years of governments advocating for middle-class home ownership, rather than public housing, has finally caught up with us. A bold vision, supported by funding, is needed, or we’ll have yet another public housing policy failure, this one of epic proportions.


4 Mar 2023

Revisiting the rigidity-of-the-right hypothesis: A meta-analytic review

I have myself written rather a lot on this topic and I am pleased to see that Thomas H Costello and his colleagues below have done another good iconoclastic article in the area. I think however he gave too much credence to the idea that there is such a thing as a trait of psychological rigidity.

There is not. There are rigid behaviours of various sorts but they are often not correlated. A person who is rigid about one thing is not particularly likely to be rigid about something else.

There have been findings to that effect since the 1950s but the datum demonstrating it that I particularly like is the fact that the two halves of the widely used Budner scale of rigidity do not correlate (r = .08 in a general population sample). The scale purports to measure one thing but is a mixed-up measure of two different things. See here and here. What it supposedly measures does not exist. Pychological rigidity is a unicorn concept. You can describe it but it does not exist. Its existence is a failed theory

Insofar as there has been some coherence in rigidity research, it is probably traceable to IQ. Those whom researchers called rigid were probably just a bit thick

The rigidity-of-the-right hypothesis (RRH), which posits that cognitive, motivational, and ideological rigidity resonate with political conservatism, is an influential but controversial psychological account of political ideology. Here, we leverage several methodological and theoretical sources of this controversy to conduct an extensive quantitative review—with the dual aims of probing the RRH’s basic assumptions and parsing the RRH literature’s heterogeneity. Using multi-level meta-analyses of relations between varieties of rigidity and ideology measures alongside a bevy of potential moderators (s = 329, k = 708, N = 187,612), we find that associations between conservatism and rigidity are tremendously heterogeneous, suggesting a complex—yet conceptually fertile—network of relations between these constructs. Most notably, whereas social conservatism was robustly associated with rigidity, associations between economic conservatism and rigidity indicators were inconsistent, small, and not statistically significant outside of the United States. Moderator analyses revealed that non-representative sampling, criterion contamination, and disproportionate use of American samples have yielded over-estimates of associations between rigidity-related constructs and conservatism in past research. We resolve that drilling into this complexity, thereby moving beyond the question of if conservatives are essentially rigid to when and why they might or might not be, will help provide a more realistic account of the psychological underpinnings of political ideology.


16 Feb 2023

Is the myth of left-wing authoritarianism itself a myth?

I am glad I have lived to see this. Psychologists have long been unable to find Leftist authoritarianism anywhere despite the huge example of the late unlamented Soviet regime.

I spent my 20 year research career from 1970 to 1990 pointing out the absurdity of saying that conservatives are the only authoritarians. But I was essentially ignored.

So I am glad that the the group of psychology researchers below have taken up the cudgels. Reality may dawn in the minds of most psychologists yet

Lucian Gideon Conway III et al.


Is left-wing authoritarianism (LWA) closer to a myth or a reality? Twelve studies test the empirical existence and theoretical relevance of LWA. Study 1 reveals that both conservative and liberal Americans identify a large number of left-wing authoritarians in their lives. In Study 2, participants explicitly rate items from a recently-developed LWA measure as valid measurements of authoritarianism. Studies 3–11 show that persons who score high on this same LWA scale possess the traits associated with models of authoritarianism: LWA is positively related to threat sensitivity across multiple areas, including general ecological threats (Study 3), COVID disease threat (Study 4), Belief in a Dangerous World (Study 5), and Trump threat (Study 6). Further, high-LWA persons show more support for restrictive political correctness norms (Study 7), rate African-Americans and Jews more negatively (Studies 8–9), and show more cognitive rigidity (Studies 10 and 11). These effects hold when controlling for political ideology and when looking only within liberals, and further are similar in magnitude to comparable effects for right-wing authoritarianism. Study 12 uses the World Values Survey to provide cross-cultural evidence of Left-Wing Authoritarianism around the globe. Taken in total, this large array of triangulating evidence from 12 studies comprised of over 8,000 participants from the U.S. and over 66,000 participants world-wide strongly suggests that left-wing authoritarianism is much closer to a reality than a myth.


25 Jan 2023

The Conundrum of Measuring Authoritarianism: A Case Study in Political Bias

By Thomas H. Costello

In the book "Toward a Science of Clinical Psychology" pp 395–411

Costello is a younger researcher. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Emory University in 2022. So he is in a good position to trash the work of his elders. And does he trash it! There is much to trash. In my 20-year research career from 1970 to 1990, I trashed it often. Costello does cite one of my iconoclastic papers. In the final words of his chapter, he summarizes the research field concerned as "interesting noise". I concur.

I won't attempt to summarize the chapter. It is an extremely thorough coverage of the issues in political psychology research. Psychologists are overwhelminhgly Left-leaning and the characteristic Leftist predilection to be believe only what they want to beieve has emerged strongly when they have studied political psychology. Costello sets out ably the ideological biases in their work. He shows that to the extent that you remove the bias you are left with no firm conclusions at all.

He has a major focus on what is still a beloved piece of political psychology research: "The authoritarian Personality" by Adorno et al. Practically every claim in that book has been shown to be faulty but its conclusions -- that it is conservatives who are authoritarian, not Communists -- is just too delicious to abandon.

But I doubt that Costello will influence any political psychologists much. Leftism is usually deeply entrenched in the personality so facts and logic are not going to shake that much

Costello's work is a great contrast with the paper by Kranebitter & Gruber that I mentioned recently. Kranebitter & Gruber treat with respect precisely what Costello has shown to be rubbish. Leftists never learn

The Abstract to this book chapter rather undersells it. Perhaps it has to:


In this chapter, I review key conceptual and methodological sources of bias in psychological measurement, emphasizing those with particular relevance to political phenomena and providing relevant examples of measurement bias in political psychological research. I then review the case of authoritarianism, which until recently was predominantly assessed among political conservatives. This emphasis on right-wing authoritarianism and the paucity of research concerning left-wing authoritarianism have led to widespread conceptual obstacles to understanding the psychological underpinnings of authoritarianism, illustrating the degree to which measurement bias has key implications for theory development and testing. In closing, I provide several recommendations for reducing political bias in psychological measurement.

17 Jan 2023

Allowing for Ambiguity in the Social Sciences: Else Frenkel-Brunswik’s methodological practice in "The Authoritarian Personality"

As I have had around a hundred research papers published in the academic journals in this subject area, I suppose I should comment on this rather nauseating bit of hagiography under the above title by Andreas Kranebitter and Fabian Gruber

Frenkel-Brunswik was one of a mid-20th century group of far-Leftist American Jews who loathed the society they lived in and were dedicated to denigrating it. How did they do that? In a nutshell, they portrayed American conservatives as potential Nazis. American Leftists still do that.

The hilarity was that they wrote in 1950, when mainstream Americans had just been instrumental in wiping out the regime of the "National SOCIALIST German Workers party" (the Nazis) and that the "Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics" (the USSR) was the big authoritarian threat of the day.

So it was clearly then -- as now -- that socialism that was the big authoritarian beast in real life. It is intrinsic to socialists that they want to tell other people what to do and to rely on coercion if they cannot get their way by voluntary co-operation. If that is not authoritarianism what would be?

So how did Frenkel-Brunswik and her collaborators place the mark of the beast on American conservatives? What had American conservatives done to deserve such denigration?

Basically, nothing. F-B and her colleagues worked up a Freudian theory about what underlay authoritarianism and tried to show that American conservatives displayed the psychological characteristics concerned. There was NO MENTION of socialism as the major source of authoritarianism

They demonstrated their claims in two prime ways, by subjective interviews with educated Californians and by distributing questionnaires that encompassed what the authors thought were authoritarian attitudes.

Amusingly, Pflaum's work showed that their alleged list of "authoritarian" attitudes were simply mainstream American beliefs of the prewar "progressive" era. So their theories did in fact point to progressivism as authoritarian -- not what they intended at all. So their work was a major sociological failure.

But what they showed does coincide with what we know of political history in the first half of the 20th century -- the American "progressive" era. It was an unshamedly racist and antisemitic era. So it is no surprise that F-B et al. found progressive attitudes to be racist

In conclusion, there are two ways that the work of Kranebitter and Gruber is helpful.

1). They showed that the subjective interviews were biased and no proof of anything, which is pretty much what one would have expected

2). They showed that F-B and co, were aware that sociological questions loomed over what they were doing but that they touched on that only very gingerly. Had they given sociology the sort of reverence they gave to dubious Freudian theories they might have discovered something useful.

I give the abstract of the Kranebitter and Gruber paper below and you can read it in full at:

This paper gives a micro-sociological view on the methodology used by Else Frenkel-Brunswik in the famous study "The Authoritarian Personality" (Adorno et al. 1950). A thorough reconstruction of the theoretical and methodological concepts of Else Frenkel-Brunswik eventually allows for a full appreciation of her works from a today’s social research perspective, especially of her role in the field of authoritarianism-research. The paper deals with (i) Else Frenkel-Brunswik’s role in the research team of The Authoritarian Personality, (ii) the way she followed up on her earlier work, (iii) the question of in which ways her parts of the study were object of criticism by the numerous critics of TAP, and (iv) the ways she herself responded to these critics. The material basis for such an approach is the archival material available in the “Archive for the History of Sociology in Austria (AGSO)” in Graz, Austria, which holds parts of the estate of Else Frenkel-Brunswik, most of all her correspondence and unpublished typoscripts of later publications, as well as at the Institute for Jewish Research (YIVO) in New York, which holds the papers of the American Jewish Committee, i.e., draft reports, memoranda, and some interview protocols
of the TAP study.


3 Jan 2023

Group identity and race

The term "race" must now  be regarded as obsolete.  Leftists use the term "racist" to refer to a great variety of apparently unrelated things so the term is no longer informative.  So I will NOT use the term here.

"Group identity", on the other hand is very widely and uncontroversially used.  Leftists talk of little else. They talk of gays, transexuals, blacks and Christians with great abandon.  They like the first three of those group identities and despise the latter. 

I am very happy with that sort of usage but disagree with the values that Leftists put on the identities concerned.  I think that gays and transexuals are unfortunate;  I note the century of research that has shown people of predominantly African ancestry to be of markedly lower average IQ and I think that Christians are a major support of civilized society.

But the thing that I deplore most is the overwhelming attention that minority identities get in the media.  It is greatly disproportionate to the numbers concerned.  Like most people, I relate best to people like myself and as a WASP, I am interested mostly in news about people in that group. 

But I usually have to plow through news about various minorities and their pronouns before I get to news that interests me. I would like it better for equity to be observed in news stories, with people who constitute (say) 2% of the population appearing in only 2% of the stories I encounter.  But I know that I will have to put up with being bored by much of what does actually appear.  I will survive the imbalance, however. It's no real burden to skip stories about transexuals (etc.) and I do.

Another group preference I have concerns people's appearance. To me the people of Northern Europe all look the same. By appearance alone I cannot tell the difference between the native people of England, Ireland, Nederland, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Poland and Russia. They have a high frequency of blue eyes and blond hair during childhood but neither of those things are universal among them.

But they do tend to have what was once called "fine features", which I take to mean narrow noses, thin lips and a long, narrow head. Round heads are not "fine". And since my ancestors were transplants from that Northern European group I am identifiably part of it.

And I like the appearance of the group to which I belong. The converse of that liking is that I tend to dislike the appearance of people who do not have fine features. A person with a flat nose, thick lips and a round head looks unattractive to me and I would prefer not to have them in my environment. Mostly I get that wish. I live in a place populated mostly by Northern transplants like me. And the largest minority is Chinese, who have VERY fine features

Below is an example of a face that I would rather not see in my surroundings. No personal discredit to her, though. Bess Price was a Country Liberal Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2016.

And a Northern lady with fine features below

It's Ingeborg Hallstein in her earlier years