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30 April, 2003


One of my readers has written in with an extensive review of the work of Philip Stott (Professor of Biogeography at the University of London). I reproduce the email below:

This PDF document (49 pages) on this page provides a detailed critique of modern rain forest mythology -- pointing out that rain forests are not nearly as "endangered" as we are usually told. His views are also summarised here.

Stott runs a website dealing with 'little green lies' here that covers a lot of green ground. He seems to be a regular guest on some BBC radio programmes on environmental matters, so he is not an ivory tower scribbler. Here is his "Quote of the week":
"The problem with predicting the course of global climate change... is that global climate is too complex to be adequately modeled."

Stott has lots of other good articles including this one on the Le Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, which are a must see for anyone interested in science and the history of the Earth. I remember them as one of the highlights of my time in LA. The lesson of this great museum is "In nature, change is the only constant. Get used to it." If you ever get a chance to visit the Pits and the associated museum do so.

He has a discussion of his big picture overview of ecology and environmentalism here. He says ecology is in a crisis that the popularisers have yet to acknowledge. The scientific frontline is increasingly reporting a dynamic, open ended 'non-equilibrium' real natural world but the "rear echelon" of popularisers, pundits and propagandists are stuck with an obsolete language of the balance of nature, equilibrium era.

My guess is that the front line may be reluctant to confront these fallacies as it may impact funding and public support for their scientific work as well as conservation programmes. If so, this is really a Faustian bargain for the scientists and can 'cut both ways', they risk having all their professional expertise ignored or tainted by undue association with doom merchants. Stott sees the language of ecology as the hang up and in some ways his comments remind me of the focus 'post-modernist' critics who usually focus on language semiotics etc, however Stott is arguing that the empirical realities are being hidden by obsolete lingo where the post-mods see empiricism as just another lingo.

His discussion of global warming is to the point:

[Global warming] ..is thus in the same category as ..., the assumption that other planets are inhabited by rational beings. While such semi-empirical entities are possible, they are ultimately neither verifiable nor falsifiable because of the continuing technical limitations involved.

The technical limitations of our current climate models and knowledge are, ...horrendous. Even the.. (IPCC) admits openly that we know next-to-nothing about 75% of the main factors implicated. We therefore cannot allow the global warming alarmists' key antinomy to pass unchallenged: namely, that while climate is an exceedingly complex non-linear chaotic system, we can control climate by adjusting just one set of factors.

While the phenomenon of global warming is an empty worry, fundamentally unverifiable and unfalsifiable in a strict scientific sense, it is one that has been empowered with a greater meaning by those who have the motive to do so. Accordingly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, since the early 1990s its intrinsic linguistic emptiness has been filled by a mighty myth, especially in Europe. This myth asserts that current global warming is both faster and worse than at any previous time, that it is not natural, but must be caused by human hubris, and that the main culprit has to be the United States.

The concept has been translated into a matter of faith, transcending "the theoretical use of reason." For the good folk involved, following Kant, global warming has become neither a matter of knowledge nor of opinion, but wholly a matter of morality.

He also makes some interesting points about savannas...

they dominate the tropical world. Savannas occupy no less than 45 per cent of South America, 65 per cent of Africa, and 60 per cent of Australia. .. the majority of people living in the tropics, comprising no less than one-fifth of the world's population, inhabit the savannas, which form the core of the world's monsoonal lands that overall support some 50 per cent of the global population. The savannas in consequence are the single most important terrestrial environment, and are both older than and as diverse as the tropical rain forests. ..

He has a brief intro into the increasingly important field of savanna studies here



It looks like some Iraqis are about as grateful for being liberated as the French are. No doubt they feel "humiliated" that they could not throw off tyranny themselves. What scum!

ETON College is to switch money that it spends on scholarships for the brightest children to funding places based on financial need. How ridiculous! What use is an elite college going to be for a poor kid?

Chris Brand reports poll results showing that the average Brit is a lot more tough-minded than the British government.

The Wicked one is derisive about homoeopathy.

Michael Darby reproduces an emotional speech about Australia's past wars by a very decent man -- our Prime Minister.

In my academic posting of April 28th. here I comment on another example of naivety about racism by a Leftist psychologist.


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29 April, 2003


The Chinese seem to have become really serious about internet censorship in recent months. They re-blocked Blogspot some time ago and lots of other sites are blocked too -- including at least some Lycos and some Yahoo. I have therefore decided to do my tiny bit towards keeping communications open by putting a mirror of my blog up on a site that China does NOT block. I keep all my blog entries as a file so once I have written my blog entries for the day, it takes me only a couple of minutes extra to put them up on a second site. So in future my blog will also be accessible at the following address: http://members.optusnet.com.au/~jonjayray/tripod.html. The site concerned is hosted by my local ISP so it may stay too insignificant to be blocked by China. With ISP hosting, the site is also advertising-free, which is a bit of a bonus. I will also be putting up my "China" postings several hours before I put them on Blogspot. Because Blogspot is so trouble-prone, I do not post there until just after midnight, California time, in the hope that the load and the errors will be minimal then. I would be much obliged if anyone with contacts in China would let them know of the new site. I even have some archives there so people can catch up with what was posted in the last 6 weeks or so.



Arianna Huffington, that Leftist enemy of all things American (including big cars), claims that the rapid defeat of Saddam proves that he was no danger in the first place. Since no-one ever claimed that his armies were a threat to the West (that he was developing WMDs that could get into the hands of terrorists was the fear) this is so silly only a Leftist would believe it but David Horowitz has weighed in with a comprehensive demolition of her article in his latest newsletter. He notes that Huffington is one of the many Leftists who single out two Jews in the pro-war camp for demonization and has this comment:

In fact, given the result of the war, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle - to single out the Jews - are more properly seen as moral heroes than as military predators. They have spent twenty-years toiling in the Defense and Foreign Policy communities to effect the liberation of millions of Shi'ites, who were systematically murdered and oppressed by Saddam's regime, knowing full well that these very Shi'ites hate them as Jews and would persecute and oppress them if they could. Yet Wolfowitz and Perle persisted in their efforts because they thought it was the right thing to do for America, and the right thing to do for the Iraqis as well.



Wow! There IS a treatment for SARS available. I hope the bureaucrats let it off the leash soon.

How amusing! France and Germany are to form a new military alliance. Since the average Frenchman still despises the Boche any co-operative endeavours might last 5 minutes at most.

An imperial America? Some want the USA to stay in Iraq for years and TEACH them to be democratic. Fat chance! The USA has done enough for Iraqis by getting rid of Saddam without getting bogged down any further.

"If there was ever a time when it was evident that the UN and its Security Council are useless institutions for solving the major problems facing the world, what happened in Iraq could not be a greater demonstration of that". Good to see that I agree with Arabic News on something!

North Korea has now put up its shopping list of what it wants in exchange for totally abandoning its nuclear program. Iraq has obviously rattled them. And it shows that GWB was right to respond calmly to their sabre-rattling.

An official audit of Australia's biggest "natural remedy" manufacturer has found that they were "risking lives by releasing products despite failing to test raw ingredients, or fudging the results of tests. Equipment at its headquarters in Sydney was not cleaned between batches, potentially contaminating products." A nasty one for the faddists. I have always stuck to what I get from the pharmacist, myself. An old friend of mine had a business just opposite a "health" food retailer and he remarked to me once that he had never seen such unhealthy-looking people as those he saw going in and out of its doors.

The pathetic socialists of New Zealand now cannot provide enough electricity to keep their factories running, let alone keep homes warm in the cold weather. Sounds like Romania under the Communists.

The huge lesbian in charge of the police force of the Australian State of Victoria has now decreed that she will take "affirmative action" to discriminate against male applicants for police jobs. The criminals must be laughing.

Of course, Leftist teachers are not to blame for this: "An 18-member panel of educators has found that writing, which their report calls one of the most important skills students can learn, is woefully neglected in most American schools". But I am sure the kids know a lot about "Greenhouse" etc.

The Wicked one thinks that any "alliance" with the French is now finished.

Michael Darby has a letter pointing out that "casual" work is a great loophole that allows workers to escape fronm the rigid grip of the unions.

Chris Brand has been told that the two "churchgoing" girls gunned down recently in a drive-by shooting in Birmingham, England, were in fact black prostitutes. Maybe they did go to church too.

My academic posting of April 27th. here is one of my many assaults on the unfounded claim that chronically busy people are prone to heart attacks.


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28 April, 2003


Steven Hamori Writes:

I read an article by an Arab intellectual where he theorized that one of the Middle East's problems was that the governments controlled the main revenue source. Hence, the people are an afterthought. In a clever rearrangement of words he wrote, 'no representation without taxation'. Made sense.

So, I'd suggest giving the citizens of Iraq all (or almost all) of their oil profits as a yearly rebate check. Then, their elected officials will have to tax the money back as income tax. The citizens will be involved in the process, and not just an after thought...

Three other benefits: The people will have money to invest. After awhile, maybe oil won't be the main industry. Commerce and enterprise are up there with democracy in making a people more accepting of others (not to mention, giving them something to do other than worrying about us and Israel)...

Second, it would put the democratic government in a position to prosecute those who refuse to participate (with the government) as tax evaders.. That sounds a lot less glorious than whatever spin the enemies of democracy will want to put on their actions.

Third, with this much money in circulation people who want to 'opt out' or not be too involved with the government, well they could still do so. If part of the noncoperation we are receiving, from some, is due to a fight over resources (they want governmental power to obtain control of funding) then this could lessen that. People will have the disposable income to fund both the democratic government and their local Imam's projects. Hopefully, religious competition with government could be reduced.



Well, at least everybody seems to agree that postwar Iraq must be governed by a Federal system. Total independence for the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites would be best but Federation might just work. Why anybody wants to force totally different people to live under the one roof escapes me.

A UN official talking sense! THE UN's chief nuclear monitor Mohamed ElBaradei has said the world should send North Korea a zero-tolerance message on nuclear weapons

The United States is said to be considering a selective shipping blockade against North Korea to prevent the communist state following through on its threat to proliferate nuclear weapons. About time they did something!

The Hollywood anti-war brigade seem to have vanished Airheads!

The Italian monk who gave us Cappuccino coffee is about to become a saint! That should be popular.

Rather silly to be banning horse-meat sales. Horses are just cattle that run fast.

A good story here about how Iraqi soldiers refused to fight US forces because they saw the US as liberators.

About time! The Bush administration is pressing to divert the financing of Palestinian activities away from Yasir Arafat's control.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has ruled that even illegal immigrants who have no known links to terrorist groups can be detained indefinitely. Australia has been doing it for years, of course.

"U.S. troops will stay in Iraq and Afghanistan until stable, democratic governments have taken control, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Saturday". Looks like a long stay.

Mohammad Mohsen Zubeidi, the just-arrested "Mayor" of Baghdad, supports the restoration of the Iraqi monarchy! He's pretty feisty for a monarchist. I can't say I care much for other Arab monarchies (yuk!) but European monarchies do very well

The rainforest is not as endangered as we have been told

Fidel Castro has defended the executions of three ferryboat hijackers as a deterrent to a mass exodus. In other words, Leftism is so great that you have to shoot people to stop them escaping from it. Funny that nobody tries to shoot people who leave the USA!

Michael Darby has a story about a senior Zimbabwean "judge" acting like a bandit -- seizing a farm off a white farmer aged in his 80s.

Chris Brand discusses the big topics of psychoticism and psychopathy.

The Wicked one has a post about how disastrous a restricted diet can be.

In my academic posting of April 26th. here, I look at an example of the sort of gross stupidity that shows how unscientific modern-day academic psychology is.


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27 April, 2003


A reader writes:

I agree with your analysis of the leftist roots of Nazism. Although in some ways the fascists are actually closer to the modern "Third Way" people like Clinton, Blair, the Australian Democrats than the traditional "working class" social democrats or revolutionary marxist communists. The third way people try to be all things to all people, they don't put one social class above all others, and yet insist on putting the collective interest above all. They don't wish to eliminate private enterprise but regulate it or better still co-opt it, usually through some kind of corporatist structure. Same with the unions, the churches, etc etc.

As I see it there are three main differences between the modern third wayers and the fascists. First, the fascists were advocates of revolution to replace constitutional government by what they saw as "more modern" and "efficient" system of national authoritarian dictatorship. Second modern third wayers are usually strong in their anti-racism, indeed they make anti-racism a centerpiece of their ideology. The anti-semitism of the Nazis, not equalled by the Italian fascists, has no equivalent amongst the modern third wayers. Thirdly, the the third wayers are not advocates of foreign military expansion to glorify their homeland nation state.

These three differences are major differences, and I certainly don't think we need to worry about Tony Blair setting himself up as Fuehrer, but we should note that the three differences aren't quite the rock solid barriers you'd might imagine.

Firstly, third wayers are generally "democratic centralists" and favour constitutional reforms of all kinds that enpower the central state at the expense of private power, local or state government. In someways they are worse than outright abolitionists as they prefer to maintain the facade but gut the real power from the private and local sectors. They are not strict constructionists of their respective constitutions and favour reforms (like the main Republican lobby group in Australia) that centralise power. They have no problems with using technical strategems to subvert their constitutions, for example, through the use of international treaty powers to extend their agenda. They prefer central national power and supra-national power (EU, UN, Kyoto, WTO etc) because they see it as more 'modern' and 'efficient' than the 'messier' alternatives of individual freedom and local autonomy.

I will concede that Blair has advanced the cause of Welsh and Scottish nationalism somewhat but this may be just a tactical concession. In most other countries, third wayers are opposed to traditional federal systems and sometimes advocate 'regional' government as a sop, with "overall direction" and all the financial powers retained by the central government.

Secondly, third wayers are genuine anti-racists for the most part, at least insofar as anyone can be labelled anti-racist. But then again neither Germany or Italy in the 1930s was exactly what we'd call a "multi-cultural" society today. Except for Nazi anti-semitism, the "official racialism" of those regimes was very much oriented to national unity around the central state, reducing regional, religious or class loyalties to benefit the central state. And of course the Italian fascists were nowhere near as anti-semitic as the Nazis.

In some ways today "multi-culturalism" (at least in it's more dogmatic versions) is used by the Third Wayers to advance their democratic centralist agenda. The dominant ethnic communities of their society are generally conservative and generally oppose centralization. Multiculturalism can be used to 'divide and rule' (a tactic the British used in India to maintain the Raj) to enpower the central authority, whilst building constituencies dependent on central government grants and privileges. So in some ways multiculturalism today can play a similar role for the third wayers as "official racialism" did for the Nazis and fascists. Both can be tactics that reinforce the central state.

There is no real third way equivalent to nazi anti-semitism, although "xenophobes" have been cast as scapegoats for policy failure by multiculturalist states and have been subject to extra-legal intimidation, often by ideologically motivated thugs. The irony of course is that 'xenophobia' as witnessed by Hansonism, Le Pen etc is almost always a populist protest movement, a late growing reaction to policy failures by the central state. A further irony is that in many cases these 'xenophobic reactionary' movements are at least as ethnically diverse in their membership as the third way and 'anti-racist' opponents.

Third, the third wayers today are not exactly demanding "lebensraum" overseas but they do not seem to be shrinking violets when foreign military adventures are called either. In particular they have had a major role in advocating and supporting the new wave of "humanitarian interventions" we have seen since the end of the Cold War. Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, East Timor. The list is getting quite long. Blair in a recent press conference let slip that he found the 'humanitarian mission' in Iraq more to his liking than the anti-WMD or anti-terror missions. Most of Blair's fellow third wayers would have supported the Iraq War unambiguously had UN blessing been wangled. Maybe had France had a socialist government rather than a conservative one they would have acted less 'nationalistically' and signed on with Les Anglo-Saxons. In Australia, Hawke was the first Labor PM to advocate overseas intervention, breaking a near century long Labor tradition of isolationism in his support for the first Gulf War.

Listening to many third wayers and they seem to favour foreign intervention the most when the national interests of the homeland are the least. This is the opposite of the conservative notion of foreign intervention only where clear national interests are at stake. To third wayers, it is almost sinful to pursue your national security interests abroad, but they reject both isolationism and pacifism. What they favour is multi-national and/or super-national power. And this power is to be projected to support their ideas of social reform and harmony. In fact this is merely projecting onto the world the same democratic centralist agenda they pursue at home. In short "imperialism without nationalism".

Should we be unduly alarmed at these third way trends? I don't think so, the third wayers are basically decent chaps, democrats and they support the rule of law, however we need to recognise that their ideology is not quite as benevolent as they would have us believe, and sometimes the worst case scenario prevails.

I think this is an interesting thesis but also think that it runs up against the problem of defining the "Third Way". This site gives one view of the matter but, as I see it, the term is used for a pretty disparate bunch of characters -- from what I would call authoritarians like Lee Kuan Yew to moderate conservatives like Tony Blair to amoral centrists like Bill Clinton to Leftist ignoramuses like Australia's Democrats. Though in general, I would think that ALL modern-day Leftists are "Third way" in some sense now that Communism is dead. Only the loonies now think that government ownership of industry is any answer to anything.



Michael Darby has a review of a book of stories about Australian history.

Chris Brand thinks British academia is in a sadly declined state.

In my academic posting of April 25th. here, I review the research findings about stereotyping and show that what goes on in sterotyping is quite different from what is popularly believed.


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26 April, 2003


There is a short article that gives a burst of common-sense about human cloning in The Scientific American here Worth a read for the worry-warts.

The man who founded modern genetics with his discovery of the DNA double helix wants governments, politicians and lobbyists to butt out of the genetic engineering debate. He says "I am against society imposing rules on individuals for how they want to use genetic knowledge. Just let people decide what they want to do."

Here is one feminist who has a realistic perspective: "The Great Truth is that women in our society constitute one of the most privileged and powerful classes of human beings on earth. The challenge is to make women believe in their power. "Woman as victim" is an idea whose time has passed."

Not content with dominating the universities, the Leftists and the Greenies are now devoting themselves to enlisting children -- even in kindergarten. See here and here and here. Many of the kids will eventually rebel against all the stuff preached at them, however.

New technology that may allow for the manufacture of artificial oil from waste products looks like postponing yet again the doom that Greenies are always predicting for us.

Remember the big story last year about a Swedish team discovering that potato chips ("fries"), and other foods cooked at high temperatures cause cancer (see here)? The story has now been quietly declared a myth

A recent review of Peter Hitchens' analysis of how the politically correct helped crime mug the UK (some extracts from Hitchen's book are here and here)

An American ex-Marxist outlines how living in the UK helped her give up on socialism and liberalism

Here's a petition that I support -- that the USA withdraw from the UN. It is being run by The Federalist so might have some impact.

The British government's Foreign Secretary said the war could have been avoided if France and Russia had joined Britain and the United States in giving Saddam Hussein "a really tough ultimatum" on getting rid of weapons of mass destruction. I supect that he is right about that.

The BBC is criticizing the way some US TV programs covered the Iraq war! That's rich -- when Britain's own navy turned the BBC off in disgust.

Ann Coulter is good on the "controversial" topic of Christians doing relief work in Iraq: "Christians who are willing to leave the safety and comfort of America to go to barbarous lands, risking disease, pestilence and murder, simply because they so love their fellow man -- these are the miscreants who inflame and enrage liberals more than Saddam Hussein and his rape rooms ever did."

Susan Blackmore is associated with TRANSFORM, a UK organization campaigning to legalise recreational drugs, their immediate goal is for a genuine and independent cost benefit audit of the UK drug enforcement expenditure.

Susan Blackmore took up psychological research in order to explore para-psychology with an "open mind" as often demanded by the New Agers, but after 30 years of work in this field she has given up (see her comments here) and is now a confirmed skeptic and supporter of Richard Dawkins (see here) ...who regards Darwin's theory as the 'best idea anybody ever had'

Chris Brand thinks that political correctness is going to sabotage the postwar reconstruction of Iraq.

Michael Darby has some poems about the personal tragedies of war.

China hand and everyone else in his part of China have been forbidden to travel by the Chinese government as part of its SARS crackdown.

The Wicked one suggests that an ultra-powerful Cadillac car recently released must be for very small men.

In my academic posting of April 24th. here, I show that liking your own group or homeland (as in patriotism) does NOT lead to prejudice against other groups (such as blacks) -- contrary to what many psychologists claim.


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25 April, 2003


A British doctor who started out as an idealistic supporter of socialized medicine has been disillusioned:

I assume that most doctors would want to see that patients who had the greatest need and least capacity to help themselves, would be the ones who are most likely to receive help through a State system. Sadly, the experience of my professional lifetime is the opposite. The NHS is largely a system run by the middle class for the benefit of the middle class and with emphasis on the clinical conditions most likely to be suffered by the middle class. Services are poorest, and the doctors least well qualified and equipped, in the areas where the demand is greatest.



A lovely quote (Via British Politics) from a British Leftist rag of April 3rd:

"Iraqi information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf's briefings of the international media have attracted attention for their informative and often cogent content, in contrast to the contradictions of the coalition spokespersons, who have had to field numerous questions regarding the misinformation they were spinning the day before."



Western Australia has introduced minor price controls on petrol (gasoline). The result? On average Western Australian motorists pay more than other Australians for it. Surprise! Surprise! There is nothing like unfettered competition for keeping prices down. Argentina's Leftist dictator Peron threatened to shoot any shopkeeper who put his prices up. Maybe the Leftist West Australian government should try that!

An Australian flag now flies over al-Asad air base. Once home of the Iraqi air force. Nice that we made a difference. General Franks says we made a surprisingly large difference.

An initiative to eliminate Spam! Good if it works. Spam is getting overwhelming. I and many others spend a significant amount of time every day just deleting it. The best defence against spam, however, is one that we can all contribute to -- NEVER buy anything that is advertised via spam or popups.

Antiwar reporter gets the sack: It's a long way from getting balanced journalism but it's a start.

In his latest newsletter, David Horowitz says that the "anti-war" Left does not in fact care about Iraq at all. It is led by old-guard communists who care only about their hatred of American success: "The Neo-communist left opposes America's efforts to promote freedom and supports (sometimes "critically") America's declared enemies not because of what America does, but because of what they think America is. The Neo-communist left is impervious to facts because it is a political messianism, in essence a religious movement. Its delusions of social redemption are fed on a rich diet of anti-American myths".

Did I ever say that Leftists are exhibitionists? "Two war protesters smeared themselves with ketchup and cherry-flavored Kool-Aid and briefly interrupted a lecture given by a Pratt & Whitney Aircraft executive at Worcester Polytechnic Institute."

Most university history professors are now Leftist and that is showing up in the grossly distorted history textbooks that kids are being given to read. Would you believe that the Vikings are now being portrayed as peaceful? Neil Gaiman has a good spoof of it all. Via England's Sword.

Limbic Nutrition calls a spade a spade in discussing London's huge problem with black crime -- something the London police are not allowed to do.

Bleeding Brain notes how most major countries washed their hands of Saddam and concludes: "The U.S, along with Britain and Australia are now clearly holding the rudder to the ark of civilization."

Chris Brand has a post on the failure of feminism to meet women's needs.

The Wicked one notes that the Australian monarchy is not just for old fogies.

Michael Darby commemorates Anzac day and says a special thanks to Australia's veterans of the Vietnam war.

China hand says extramarital sex has become common in his part of China but that most people turn a blind eye to it.

I have just put up a small collection of cartoons (non-political) that I found amusing HERE

In my academic posting of April 23rd. here, I point out that older women (but not older men) are prone to present themselves in an unrealistically favourable light.


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24 April, 2003


There has of course been much justified congratulation given to the US for its use of precision guided bombs to make sure that only the intended military targets in Iraq were hit. I wonder however how many people realize that Nazi Germany also successfully deployed precision guided bombs in WWII, over 50 years ago. I wonder why we took so long to catch up? The Nazis also of course used cruise missiles and ballistic missiles long before anyone else. If Hitler had let his generals run the Russian campaign they would have won the war. Feldmarschall von Manstein destroyed two Soviet armies even AFTER Stalingrad. It was also he who organized the Blitzkrieg through France -- and his conquest of the Crimean peninsula is legendary among military historians: a frontal assault against superior forces who had nearly every advantage: a fortified position, command of the sea, the air, and tanks, while his army had not one tank.



Gingrich made some good points in his blast at the State Dept.:

He dismissed the State Department aid arm, the U.S. Agency for International Development, as useless and said that it should be abolished. Instead he advocated the Army Corps of Engineers the job of rebuilding Iraq, saying that in Afghanistan, where USAID is responsible for reconstruction, "not a single mile of road has been paved in two years."

He strongly opposed Powell's reported trip to Syria as long as the Arab state continues to support terrorist groups. Instead, he urged the administration to take advantage of the opportunity brought by the victory in Iraq and "apply genuine economic, diplomatic and political pressure." ... "The concept of the American secretary of state going to Damascus to meet with a terrorist-supporting, secret police-wielding dictator is ludicrous," said Gingrich.

I certainly think that the Syrians should be VERY heavily leant upon at the moment.



There is a fascinating piece of academic research reported in the latest issue of the highly respectable Journal of Developmental Psychogy. The researchers found that even among 19 month old children there were highly recognizable differences in aggression and that most of the difference in aggression was genetically inherited. So some kids are just born mean -- for all that Leftists would like to tell you to the contrary.

On 9th November last year I took exception to the constant Leftist insulting of Britain's Prime Minister as "Bush's poodle" and proposed here instead: "Let's resurrect a famous old metaphor for Britain on this occasion and start referring to Tony Blair as "Bush's Bulldog"." I am pleased therefore to see that the Editor of the "Washington Times" has had the same idea. He also gives the Australian Prime Minister a guernsey in the same article. Via The Federalist

I never thought I would agree with a Leftist about "asylum-seeker" policy but I agree with this comment about the Vietnamese boat people presently headed for Australian waters and who look to be in danger of sinking in the middle of the ocean: "There is only one humanitarian option here -- that is for the Australian authorities to get these people off these boats that are death traps and ensure that they are secure," I have great sympathy for the hard-working Vietnamese. They put up a great fight to save their country from Communism but were left in the lurch by a peacenik-influenced US Congress who cut off their military supplies.

What cheek! The UN has ruled that a sign at an Australian sportsground is offensive and should be taken down even though the Australian High Court has already ruled to the contrary! The sign is in any case just an example of perverse Australian humour but nobody would expect rthe UN to understand that. The sign refers to a famous Australian cricketer called "nigger" Brown -- called that because he was so pale-skinned!

A fun recap here of what the punditocracy were saying about the Iraq war while it was actually going on (not to mention what they said before it started!). They were declaring it to be a "quagmire" almost up until the day that Saddam's statue fell. Interesting that the President and his team were infinitely more accurate and reliable than the media moaners were!

Even the San Francisco Chronicle sees that Senator Santorum's rejection of legal activism concerning gays may not hurt him politically. What he said was no more derogatory than what "liberals" routinely say about Christians, conservatives and others they disapprove of. "Those who live in glass houses ....."

Carnival of the Vanities is up again. The Left get a bit more of a look-in this time.

China hand has some skeptical comments about the Chinese response to SARS.

On his other site, China hand has a snarl at the Leftist Australian media. As an ex-Leftie himself, he really feels these things.

Michael Darby has a report that "low cost" public housing in fact costs heaps more than privately-built housing.

Chris Brand notes that Britain's favourable treatment of "asylum-seekers" is fueling a rise in support for the British National Party -- previously seen as "far Right"

The Wicked one is pleased to note that drinking tea is much better for your health than coffee-drinking is.

In my academic posting of April 22nd. here, I note the amazing "mental flexibility" that scientists can show in resisting demonstrations that their findings are spurious and point out that the phenomenon is widespread among psychologists.


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23 April, 2003


A reader writes:

The "Looters in Iraq" issue has something of a life of it's own and facts are few and far between but this hasn't stopped all kinds of pundits from weighing in from every possible angle (including the idea that the Iraqis are just getting their own back). So maybe we can play the game and look at this "hypothetical" situation: Imagine if before the war Bush, Blair or Howard went back to their electorates (or, better still, went to the UN) and said that in addition to combat forces, they also want x thousand extra cops, jailers and peacekeeping troops to send in behind the combat forces to ensure that the iraqis don't pilfer their public hospitals, don't destroy their schools, don't loot food aid warehouses and don't smash their own museums. Can you imagine the response?

My guess is that such a request would be painted by leftists as a grossly insulting example of western arrogance and racism. Muslim and NGO spokespersons would be saying 'ordinary Iraqis are civilised and just don't behave like that'. A few ex-pat Iraqis and foreign visitors to Iraq would come on TV and tell how they left the house in Basra unlocked for years over there without being robbed. "You really want those extra troops to impose your will on a reluctant people, not to protect them".

Of course, assuming you got your peacekeepers, and once they had prevented social chaos, the same critics would use this success as evidence that your request was unwarranted and unnecessary. Am I being too cynical?

It is probably a good idea not to involve frontline troops too heavily in peacekeeping, so maybe this is why Centcom has not come down hard on Baghdad's "Ali Baba" looters as many Baghdad citizens would like.

British paratroopers in the Cold War were expected to have very short combat survival prospects when pitted against Warsaw Pact troops. So naturally their training and psychology was very aggressive as displayed in the Falklands. But putting them on the streets of Northern Ireland to deal with civil disturbances like "Bloody Sunday" probably only made a bad situation worse.. In fact the commander of the UK Paras in Northern Ireland's seems very cynical about politicians deploying combat troops to deal with civil order situations and then 'hanging them out to dry' when things go wrong.

On the other hand, history has shown, dealing sternly with looters and rioters, including the a credible threat to use deadly force, does seem to bring these situations under control quickly. But the international and domestic political consequences, especially back in the US and UK, if allied troops were to shoot rioters or looters would be enormous, even if it may just be true that most law abiding Baghdad citizens would welcome it.



Paul Sheehan lists the many measures of energetic support that Greenpeace worldwide gave to Saddam Hussein. It's "Green" to support a Fascist butcher? "Greenpeace" should be renamed "Redpiece". Saddam was a socialist dictator, after all. A reader adds:

Greenpeace's recent antics in Sydney harbour remind me of when i was a civilian dockyard worker at Garden Island Naval Dockyard in the 1980s where "no nuclear ships" was the flavour of the month. i was co-located with the dockyard's own safety and rescue personnel who, thanks to anti-nuke protestors, had the job of pulling any protestor or unfortunate cop in danger below a ship out of the drink. they were the last line of safety. owing to the risks these stunts (protests is not the right word) created for them, not only on the day of the stunt, but in their training as well... they didn't really share a high opinion of the anti-nuke crowd, despite a healthy cross section of political opinion in the team. Anyhow one day one of the safety team pointed out to me that prominent "peace flotilla" activist Ian Cohen, who has now turned his self-publicity efforts in for a New South Wales parliament (Upper House) seat, used to have his surf ski delivered to the waters of Woolloomooloo Bay courtesy of the roof rack of a commercial TV station's current affairs programme's van!!!



Somebody has kidnapped an Ayatollah! Should be more of it.

Australia's major Leftist political party is attacking the conservative government because the government has not given enough tax cuts! Australia is a very conservative country by world standards.

If you have not seen it already, do not miss the hilarious "We were stun-founded" story about Islamic fanatics in Iraq in the WSJ. You will also find there a report that American feminists are supporting a man who allegedly murdered an entirely innocent woman! These hags seem to think that Muslim treatment of women is OK too!

There's a report on PC Watch that Britain's socialized medicine system plans to have doctors in its hospitals only during the day! Let us hope that they will at least have doctors on call somewhere nearby in the evenings and at night. Maybe not.

Michael Darby has a letter from one of his readers who is outraged at how the media reported the Iraq war.

The Wicked one is impressed by SOME of the things that the Archbishop of Canterbury says.

Chris Brand wonders whether political realignments in Britain and the USA might be sparked by the Iraq war.

I have just added three more fun pictures to my Picture Page.

In my academic posting of April 21st here, I look at the common view that "stereotyping" is a problem in race relations and point to research results showing that it is not.


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22 April, 2003


I posted a comment here on 20th from a reader who believes that the pervasive Leftist influence in colleges and universities has degraded them to the point where their degrees are often useless. Another reader adds:

If any young people ever ask, you don't need college. I'm the network administrator (for the northwest U.S.) for a major corporation and I have no college degree. I am entirely self taught. Most U.S. job descriptions list requiring a college degree or equivalent experience (usually 4 years). So, if you can get into the field, and get 'real' experience, you can still be considered. Of course, this is not an excuse to fail to round out your education but there are libraries and we can read on our own. The beauty of self education is that you are paid to learn (at entry level jobs) rather than paying exorbitant sums to a university....

I also referred recently to a piece of research I did some time ago that showed that higher levels of education can actually reduce economic prosperity. And way back in the 70s Ivar Berg brought together a lot of evidence to show that college education does not benefit you economically. So most people would be better off to save their money and leave the Leftist college teachers to stew in their own juice.

Berg, I. (1973) Education and jobs: The great training robbery Harmondsworth, Mddx.: Penguin.



I said a few days ago that the US would have to go into Syria to find Saddam's WMDs. This report from an Iraqi scientist confirms it:

The scientist told military officials that several months before the war, he watched as Iraqi officials buried chemical precursors for weapons and other sensitive material to conceal and protect them for future use. He said stockpiles of deadly agents and weapons technology had been transferred to Syria in the mid-1990s.



According to The Times, Britain's aptly-named NUT (National Union of Teachers) is trying to outlaw testing. They do not want people to realize how little the kids learn at some schools these days. The government responded:

The Department for Education and Skills condemned the decision. A spokesman said: "We are not going back to the days when we had no regular information about how pupils were doing in school. Testing at seven and 11 has meant that the literacy and numeracy strategies have produced improvements in pupils' learning that would never have been dreamt of five years ago."

In her post of 11th, Kimberly Swygert reported similar moves by Californian teachers. Teachers do tend to be Leftist worldwide. There are a lot of mini-Stalins there. They like being dictators.



Good to see that the Pentagon has a contingency plan for "surgical" bombing to destroy North Korea's nuclear bomb-making capacity. Knowing of such a plan might make the North Koreans think twice about going much further with their program. Iraq will make them think twice too. Deterrence won the cold war. It could win this one.

If beautiful things give you pleasure and you are in a relaxed mood, I have just put up HERE some more pictures from an Australian garden.

Paddy McGuinness does a good job of debunking the Leftist journalists who are doing everything they can to find things to criticize about the US actions in Iraq. He says that there are reporting crimes as well as war crimes.

No comment: "New Zealand hunters, who have taken to the forests in large numbers this month in search of antler trophies, have been urged to wear orange hats or jackets after three were shot dead, mistaken for deer."

The first trials of genetically modified crops in Africa have been a great success, leading to great increases in income among the black farmers: "The farmers were glowing, they were very happy.". But the Greenies, of course were not amused.

Chris Brand thinks that the real historical Jesus may have been quite a sexpot.

Michael Darby has an article about the Wahhabi menace from Saudi Arabia.

The Wicked one hopes that "Pope Peacenik" will not succeed in his efforts to lure back traditionalist Catholics.

In my academic posting of April 20th here, I point out that some Leftist Dutch scholars have ignored 40 years of research in their field -- thus managing to reinvent the wheel. Typical Leftist "scholarship"

My book about what Leftism is and why is online here but it runs to 200 pages -- so it may look like work for many potential readers. I have therefore divided the book into 7 parts and provided a table of contents so readers can see roughly what is in each part. That way I hope people will be able to pick out only the parts that interest them most. Part 1 together with a summary and the table of contents is given here.


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21 April, 2003


I received the following email from an Australian lady who is presently visiting Britain. She refers to my post of 19th about Americans working harder than Brits.

Just read your piece on the English attitude to hard work.... funny you should say that... My sister wanted to get a manicure done at short notice recently but was unable to get it done after trying 5 different "Nail Bars" in Cambridge and Saffron Walden.... a busy (now trendy) market town where she does her shopping... 50 miles from London.

Of the 2 we visited yesterday... one was closed for Easter.... an extremely busy day (Saturday) and at the other.... the one girl in the place raised her head from a personal phone call to say she was sorry she couldn't possible fit us in today as they were "flat out".... There was no one in the place!!... three seats sitting empty. Same thing in Cambridge.... two of the girls sitting chatting saying..... Oh no... sorry couldn't possibly fit you in today... and again... no one there!! One of the others was closing next month ... so wasn't taking any new clients... another had just opened as part of a solarium..... but wasn't taking bookings for nails until May??? I just don't know what the English definition of "flat out" is.

The two "Nail Bars" near where I live in Australia ...one run by Asians... are always working to full capacity ....several seats always full. I would call that being "flat out". Letting a customer out the door without fitting them in somehow.... I would say THAT is being "flat out". Very strange attitude to work here in England if you ask me.



An Australian reader writes:

We have beaten back socialism but now we find our culture and media as offering fertile ground to 'new socialisms' like greens, indigenous, victim-group-of-the-month etc. The left can sound quite libertarian when defending gays or whatever and the old school christian conservatives can allow themselves to be painted as the authoritarians. This I think is short sighted, the left are I think still engaged in pushing the central state by other means, and their advocacy of gay rights, multiculturalism, a republic etc is all part of loosely connected drive to revolutionise society and by default or design put the central state in the middle of everything. So it makes sense for them to oppose family, nation, what they would call "traditional bourgeois culture" ... as these are roadblocks to the super-state.



We have just seen a lot of commercial Easter bunnies. HERE is a great picture of some real Easter bunnies.

The Anglican Primate of Australia added to his reputation as an inveterate Leftist by telling his congegation yesterday that "the ousting of Saddam Hussein did not justify the war". Not much compassion for Iraqis there and no rejoicing at their rescue as lost sheep. Someone should also remind him that the founder of Christianity drove the thieves out of the temple.

The United States will seek continuing access to military bases in Iraq to maintain its strong Middle East presence. As it should. The big stick is all that Arabs understand so the big stick should stay nearby.

Exports of Australian wine to Europe have become so successful that the French are trying to find ways of banning it. Perhaps the English-speaking countries should try to find ways of banning French wine in retaliation! That would be about the only sort of "ethics" that the French understand.

The US army has just stumbled across $US650 million in cash in Baghdad cottages owned by Saddam and his supporters. And Leftists tell us that WE are to blame because Iraqi hospitals had no medicines to give sick children!

Silflay Hraka rather naughtily agrees with my suggestion that maybe the Nazis are criticized more furiously than Communists these days because Nazism is in fact more attractive to many people. He adds: "When it comes right down to it, Nazis are more appealing because they're prettier."

A former Communist intelligence chief confirms that Joschka Fischer, Germany's current foreign minister, was part of radical terrorist organizations for many years in his younger days. He was an anti-American thug then and not much has changed since. That he is also said to be the most popular politician in Germany today is therefore of some concern. Thuggish German politicians cost nearly half a million American lives in World War II.

A reasonable argument here from "Spiked" to the effect that the people in the crowds that the antiwar organizers attracted were mainly exhibitionists or nervous people who were afraid of the uncertainties that the Iraq war involved.

Jeff Jacoby points out that CNN is far from being the only "news" organization that sucks up to Islamic thugs. It is clear that what we get from most major media outlets about the Islamic world is little more than propaganda. The sooner that gets widely known the sooner people will switch off the outlets concerned -- and only THEN might we begin to see some ethical journalism from them.

Chris Brand notes that even The Guardian is now acknowledging biological differences between men and women

Michael Darby has a message of (faint) hope from Zimbabwe.

The Wicked one reports that the sun is not as stable as it looks.

In my academic posting of April 19th here, I look at three concepts much beloved by psychologists -- psychological rigidity, psychological authoritarianism and ethnocentism -- and point out that all three are "unicorn" concepts -- they stand for things that do not exist.


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20 April, 2003


Here are some academic ideals that the University of California REJECTS:

''To convert, or to make converts, is alien and hostile to this dispassionate duty. Where it becomes necessary, in performing this function of a university, to consider political, social, or sectarian movements, they are dissected and examined--not taught, and the conclusion left, with no tipping of the scales, to the logic of the facts.''

''Essentially the freedom of a university is the freedom of competent persons in the classroom. In order to protect this freedom, the University assumes the right to prevent exploitation of its prestige by unqualified persons or by those who would use it as a platform for propaganda.''

''Its high function--and its high privilege, the University will steadily continue to fulfill, serving the people by providing facilities for investigation and teaching free from domination by parties, sects, or selfish interests.''

There is a good site here that enables American college students to expose the biases of those who purport to teach them. It makes pretty disgraceful reading but it might help some students and parents to avoid the worst of the Leftist bias.



An Australian reader writes:

I do think left domination undermines the quality of education kids are getting. The world doesn't work the way they teach it and if students are to really learn (assuming that is what they want to do) they have to ditch their academic education. Most people who actually run anything or do real work tell you they didn't start learning until after university. This is probably a major cause of the "anti-intellectualism" of Australian society that leftist intellectuals are always whinging about. They don't see the irony in this. Thank God Australians are so deeply anti-intellectual, we would be a third world country if we actually listened to these guys.



The 10th anniversary of the holocaust at Waco orchestrated by Clinton and Reno has just passed. That Janet Reno survived the event with her reputation intact shows how little Leftists care for human life. I think she should have been put on trial. Then all the details might have come out. The whole thing could have been solved with patience -- not tanks and grenades. Bible-loving Christians are not Arab Fascists.

Best joke of the war: "American and British troops handed out food to hundreds of Iraqis. Not surprisingly, the Iraqis handed the British food back." I grew up on British cuisine so I know what he means.

One of Saddam's chemical warfare scientists is now in US hands but I doubt that the US forces in Iraq will find any of Saddam's actual WMDs. I would expect that they are all in Syria by now. They may even have been transferred there before the war. Saddam had plenty of warning.

When I read that Iraqi looters have even looted hospitals and raped the patients I am beginning to wonder if they were worth liberating. Perhaps they deserved Saddam Hussein. It certainly seems clear that Iraqi looters have done far more damage than the war did.

Good news: Despite their opposition to the Iraq war, it seems that Russia is still fairly friendly towards the USA -- a pleasant contrast with French hysteria. Good to see that Schroeder has backed down too.

I find it hard to believe that anyone could write the sort of brain-dead stuff that Leftist columnists write in our mainstream newspapers. This loon says that Australia is to blame for much of the suffering under Saddam because we did not donate food and medical supplies. Australian taxpayers should have paid for stuff that Iraq's own vast oil wealth could have bought? The fact that Saddam chose to spend the money on palaces and armaments is OUR fault?

An incredible story here about the bias and prejudice displayed by an official government body that is supposed to deal with complaints of bias and prejudice. Apparently, Muslims can do no wrong in the eyes of these politically correct morons.

I suppose I shouldn't laugh: "Chicken Armageddon has come to the Netherlands, where more than 11 million birds have been culled to stop the spread of influenza, it was revealed yesterday". Apparently it can affect humans but not severely. Will PETA now wage war on the Dutch?

The US government has finally taken a spammer to court. About time.

Chris Brand looks at the attempt by famous psychoanalyst Erich Fromm to explain love and sex. Chris notes some of the biological factors that Fromm overlooked.

Michael Darby has some reflections from a man who fought white rule in Zimbabwe and who now comments that Mugabe has done far worse than the white rulers ever did.

In my academic posting of April 18th here, I critique three papers by Leftist psychologists which purport to study authoritarianism and show that they do no such thing.

I have just done a big revision of my monograph on Leftism -- to include coverage of Iraq and other recent events. It is however now a 200 page document so it is only for those who want a comprehensive analysis of what Leftism is all about.


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19 April, 2003


This article from "Spiked" (which is well worth reading in full) argues that the debate about "designer babies" is driven largely by a resentment of the power over their lives and futures that modern technology gives to ordinary people: "Running through the debates about designer babies, from disability to sex selection to 'designing' a baby to treat a sick sibling, is a deep mistrust of individuals". The elites want all powers of decision in THEIR hands. They do not want ordinary people empowered. They are sure that they can do better for children than the parents of the child can. This is classic Leftist rubbish, of course: "Big brother" knows best. There are of course bad and uncaring parents but there are proportionately far more bad and uncaring bureaucrats. Let people make their own reproductive decisions. It is not a proper sphere for government and the courts. The elitists will be wanting to dictate whom we can have sex with and whom we can marry next.

Being myself a parent of an IVF child of whom I am immensely proud (pic here), I would like to punch some of these "ethicists" in the mouth. What right do these tinpot Hitlers have to tell other people what children they can have? There can be few children more wanted than an IVF child so the chances of such a child being mistreated in some way by its parents are vanishingly small. Compare that to how children are often treated whilst under "official" care in orphanages and the like.



Bureaucrats in Melbourne (Australia) accused a woman of illegally sub-letting her apartment. They cancelled her rent rebate, upped her weekly rent by $110 and demanded bank statements and income receipts for her live-in companion, Barnaby, the teddy bear. Collingwood public housing authorities assumed she was living with someone because she mentioned the teddy bear on her answering machine. They could not be convinced otherwise until a consumer advocacy group intervened on her behalf.

Herald Sun (Australia) via news.com.au 8-Apr-03. Via Jerry Lerman.



I never thought I would agree with a Pop star about anything but from my experience "Madonna" is entirely fair and accurate in these remarks:

The singer has declared that Britons don't work as hard as Americans. "They're not willing to work - you know, stay in the office for 12 hours a day," Madonna said in remarks unlikely to impress many hard-pressed employees. "I find that people in Europe are much more interested in the quality of life. They're not so work-orientated". "It's different. They know how to enjoy life better. But Americans know how to get things done quicker," she said.

Madonna, 44, who enraged British builders two years ago by accusing them of laziness - "the working week starts at noon on Monday and ends at noon on Friday" - added that living in England had made her appreciate the US more. "It was really important for me to get outside of America, to live in England and appreciate the fabulous things about America, like customer services and stuff."

But I think most Australians find the Poms to be resentful that they have to work. It seems probable that for centuries it was mostly the slackers who stayed at home in England while the more energetic Englishmen emigrated to where greater opportunities were to be found. Australians and Americans are the descendants of the emigrants. {Only about 3% of Australians have convict ancestry (though I am one of them) -- the rest are the descendants of free emigrants.}



We have an amazing sequel to the tale of woe about the Iraq national museum looted by the liberated Iraqis. I am sure that I am one of many who felt heartsick at the news of the losses but look what we find now:

Donny George, the director-general of restoration at the Iraqi Antiquities Department, Wednesday said his staff had preserved the museum's most important treasures, including the kings' graves of Ur and the Assyrian bulls. These objects were hidden in vaults that haven't been violated by looters. "Most of the things were removed. We knew a war was coming

Donny George? Not Abu Mohammed Hamas or some such name? Sounds like an American or a Brit to me. So our people DID protect the Iraqis from themselves after all! And why didn't US forces stop such looting as did take place? Because there were people in the museum who were firing on the US forces!

There is also an article here that says that in fact Saddam and his son Uday were the chief looters.



Here is a good cartoon representation of what has just happened to Jacques Chirac.

Michael Darby presents a program for practical reform in Africa.

The Wicked one has a quite amazing post on the bumbling bureaucracy of socialized medicine.

Chris Brand points out that Prof. Pinker gets the wobbles when he uses his knowledge of genetics to address issues concened with race.

In my academic posting of April 17th here, I point out that "conservative" -- with its meaning of "opposed to change" -- is no longer an appropriate name for the political Right as there are in fact heaps of things about modern society that Rightists would like to change. I urge that academics at least should just call Rightists Rightists and stop calling them conservatives.


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18 April, 2003


There is an interesting book review here about the fall of France to the Germans in 1941. The combined British and French forces were in fact larger than the German forces so the defeat of the French, like the defeat of the Iraquis, happened so quickly mainly because the French did not want to fight. It argues that the French emphasis on culture, philosophy and the soft life made them unwilling soldiers and also made them arrogant towards everyone non-French. Not much has changed.



A recovering Francophile tells us that antisemitism and racism generally is widespread in France with antisemitism being pervasive among the French Left:

There is little anti-Semitism among French conservatives today. They certainly do not make alliances with, or excuses for, people who cite the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as evidence of anything. Alas, this cannot be said for the old and young left that once prided itself on its principled animus to racisms of all sorts. La Nouvelle Judeophobie, written by Director of Research at the Centre Nationale de Recherche Scientifique Pierre-Andre Taguieff and published in 2001 by Fayard, painstakingly documents how the core expressions of the self-described "anti-racist" left-- its intellectuals, academics, journalists, bien-pensants, and artists-- are downright anti-Semitic.... And their views are echoed by the polled public opinion of ordinary Frenchmen.



In this review of Palestinian history, the author points out that all the evidence shows that the vast majority of Palestinians want nothing less than the total destruction of Israel and that they have held Jews in contempt for generations. So there is just no basis for our Western ideas of compromise there. I think the present Israeli policy of simply walling off the Palestinians from the Jewish areas is in fact the only viable solution. Excerpt:

I have come away from my examination of the history of the conflict with a sense of the instinctive rejectionism that runs like a dark thread through Palestinian history- a rejection, to the point of absurdity, of the history of the Jewish link to the land of Israel; a rejection of the legitimacy of Jewish claims to Palestine; a rejection of the right of the Jewish state to exist. And, worse, this rejectionism has over the decades been leavened by a healthy dose of anti-Semitism, a perception of the Jew as God's and humanity's unchosen

(This item crosposted on Dissecting Leftism and Israpundit.)



"An SAS soldier has been charged with kicking a corpse and will be tried by a Defence Force magistrate." How insane and trivial-minded can you get? How are soldiers supposed to express their feelings towards somebody who has just tried to ambush them? This is yet another bout of crazy political correctness -- one that the Army could certainly do without.

(This item crossposted on Dissecting Leftism and PC Watch)



One-time Leftist, William Shawcross has written a great article pointing out how hollow the usual criticisms of GWB are. A rather inspiational article, in fact, that expresses considerable admiration for GWB's vision.

Good comment via The Federalist: "UN Secretary-General Annan said he thinks the arms inspectors should resume looking for weapons in Iraq. Forget looking for arms in Iraq -- how about looking for backbones in the UN?"

What a joke! "U.N. arms inspectors are ready to get back into Iraq to finish the job of looking for any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons but don't want to work under a new U.S.-led disarmament effort"

Snoofmadrune, who appears to be a bit of a linguist, has an amazing report from France. Apparently French "peace" marchers are claiming that THEY got rid of Saddam! You can't beat French logic.

Michael Darby has a post about the destructive arrogance of Greenie bureaucrats in Sydney.

Chris Brand has just got a letter into The Times of London defending race realism.

The Wicked one has a bit of a laugh about a recent "time traveller" report.

In my academic posting of April 16th here, I try to point out to my fellow psychologists that conservatism in the sense of rejection of all change is essentially irrelevant to the present-day Right-Left divide and that studies of Rightism which define it as opposition to change are therefore irrelevant to current politics

Carnival of the Vanities is up again. If variety is the life of spice it is very spicy.


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17 April, 2003


From the latest newsletter from David Horowitz:

The threat of pre-emptive war is a form of protection. It tells Iran and Syria -- the sponsors of Hizbollah and Hamas and al-Qaeda terrorists who have killed American citizens -- that the consequences of their covert aggressions can be deadly, to them. Syria and Iran have already done no less than the Taliban regime in Afghanistan when we attacked it. Should the United States tie its hands and force its citizens to wait for another World Center scale attack before allowing them a response?

Critics of the war in Iraq, claimed that the Administration should have allowed Saddam Hussein more time to continue his evasion of the UN resolutions and focused on the nuclear threat from North Korea instead. What credibility would American demands to North Korea have had, however, if we had continued to appease Saddam and ignore his defiance of UN resolutions? Far from being a distraction, the pre-emptive war against Saddam Hussein has enhanced the ability of the United States to deter North Korea from its sinister plans.



5000 pages of red-tape for the newcomers and little gain in economic clout

EIGHT former members of the Soviet bloc and two Mediterranean islands have signed treaties to join the European Union next year and reunite the continent a decade and a half after the fall of the Berlin Wall... The leaders of the EU's 25 current and soon-to-be member states met in the shadow of the Acropolis in Athens, the birthplace of democracy, to sign the 5000-page accession treaty... The EU is now set to expand to 450 million people, surpassing North America as the world's biggest economic zone. But the new members will bring comparatively little to the table - their collective gross domestic product is the same as the Netherlands'



From the WSJ:

But the majority of the American left, and especially its leading media voices, remain flummoxed if not embarrassed by America's Iraq victory. These include most Democrats in Congress, the editors (though not all reporters) of the New York Times and its acolytes at CNN and the major networks, and of course most academic experts. They can barely bring themselves to celebrate the downfall of a tyrant



Today's silliest article: "USA Today" argues that Islamic terrorists have a presence in Africa and that the USA should therefore solve the problems of Africa. I think it would take the second coming of Christ to solve the problems of Africa. The British spent decades building up modern societies and economies in their African colonies and left thriving countries behind them when they pulled out. It has been all downhill in Africa since. The idea that the USA could suddenly reverse that is typical knee-jerk liberal nonsense.

Theodore Dalrymple explains why no African country will ever be like a Western one and why Westernizing tendencies make things worse rather than better for Africans.

Today's silliest headline: HOW WE LOST THE IRAQ WAR. It is of course the work of a far Leftist -- Ted Rall. He claims that the Iraqis did NOT welcome US troops and that what we saw on TV was all a put-up job. What a sad dreamer!

Bill Clinton has just blasted current US foreign policy. Asked what he would do instead he said that that he would scrap the tax cut! Good liberal logic there!

Thousands of illegal immigrants find their way into American hospitals every year for care they can neither get at home nor pay for in the United States. The good old generous American taxpayer!

Several people have made the point that Saeed al-Sahaf, Saddam's delusional TV spokesman, would be perfect for a slot pontificating on public radio. His views would be respected among those who argue that there are "many realities".

In her post of 11th, Kimberly Swygert points out that 72% of African American students in Los Angeles cannot read by the 10th grade level! So who said that the very low average score gained by blacks on IQ tests is meaningless or misleading?

Fun! Drinking bottled water has been linked to tooth decay.

Bulk, unsolicited email, or spam, will be outlawed in Australia, possibly by the end of this year, the Minister for Communications, Senator Richard Alston, said on Wednesday. Good if it has any effect.

Michael Darby has more bad news about Zimbabwe plus some optimism about Iraq

Chris Brand defends a Scotsman who was accused of racism for wanting to preserve traditional Gaelic culture.

The Wicked one thinks that "Pro-life" is a misnomer sometimes.

In my academic posting of April 15th here, I show that there is a slight tendency only for less educated people to be conservative.


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16 April, 2003


REALLY conservative readers may be interested to note that a leading member of the opposition Iraqi National Congress is also the head of the Iraqi Constitutional Monarchy Movement. He is Sharif Ali Bin Al-Hussein, an urbane, sophisticated and widely respected man, and a former investment banker. In fact, from its formation under the British mandate after the First World War, until the bloody coup in 1958 when most of the Royal Family were murdered, Iraq was a constitutional monarchy. More here



It really is pretty strange how being a Communist is usually seen as a minor peccadillo these days whereas being a Nazi is totally execrated. I would have thought that there was not much to choose between the two. A reader sent the following explanation to me:

You know how Hannah Arendt claims, in Antisemitism, that part of the reason why antiSemites hate Jews is that they fear that Jews might really be the "Chosen people"? Well, by the same line of reasoning, one could argue that the reason Americans hate the Nazis is this: Americans fear that the Germans might really be the Superior Race. That is probably why the U.S. Media focuses so much more on the crimes of Nazi Germany than those of Soviet Russia and Red China, despite the fact that Soviet Russia and Red China were each chock full of Concentration Camps too, and were at least as vicious and savage about how they had captured, tortured, and killed their victims.

I wonder if there is a grain of truth in that? I simply do not know. The idea that Northern Europeans are innately superior in any way is SO politically incorrect these days that one wonders whether a fear that the idea might have some truth in it might be part of the reason why it is rejected so furiously. I think the main reason for the difference, however, is that Communists are better hypocrites. They pretend to be compassionate where the Nazis did not so people give Communists the benefit of the doubt. No-one who knows history would do so, however.



The UCLA Faculty Senate has voted 180-7 to condemn the war, making it the first university to do so since Iraq's liberation. The value of a university education is becoming increasingly doubtful. I think all the people with real brains must have gone into business by now.

Great! The United States has invited its coalition partners to talks on rebuilding Iraq _ but it has left out countries that opposed the war, including Germany, France and Russia.

Funny that! One day after the White House cancelled a trip by President George Bush to Canada due to what it said was lack of time, it announced the president would host the Prime Minister of Australia at his ranch in Texas

What a joke! THE Italian parliament has approved sending a contingent of paramilitary police to Iraq to help restore law and order. Italians are great people but nobody can be good at everything.

Speaking of the still-marching "peace" demonstrators, China hand asks: Now that order is returning to Baghdad one wonders what will the foam-flecked ones find to remonstrate against then? "Bring back Saddam", maybe? China Hand also thinks that the recent "progress" with North Korea may be China's doing.

An American Leftist's comment on the recent American victory in Iraq: "It's demoralizing, there's no question about that,"

A committed Maoist gives his view of the way the mainstream Left opposed the Iraq war:
"It is too late for the so-called Left in Australia to stand anywhere but condemned for its failure to support the successful war to liberate Iraq. It stood on the side of reaction, and the history books must place its leaders alongside the British pacifists of the '30s who, as George Orwell pointed out, gave comfort and objective support to Hitler. The pseudo-Left proved not just that it can be wrong but that in the name of anti-Americanism it can support fascism." Hard to argue with that.

The Times of London comments: "Tony Blair staggered the last stretch of his war marathon yesterday, a man now running on pure willpower, gaunt, gritted, visibly elated, and profoundly, knee-saggingly knackered". The world certainly owes the Prime Minister a great debt of gratitude for the immense effort he put into this. His place in history as a truly sincere and committed humanitarian is now secure.

And a good comment from the Times on the leader of the British Liberals: With bright pink face and orange hair over a sludgy green tie, the leader of Liberal Democrats looked like a sunset over a sewage farm.

A very naughty question from Silflay Hraka: "If the Canadian healthcare system is so much better than that of the United States, why are there no SARS deaths here and 13 there?"

Chris Brand has just had a new essay on IQ published in an academic journal.

Michael Darby has a story from a peacenik who woke up to what was happrening in Iraq before the war.

In my academic posting of April 14th here, I point out how a comparison between two Australian States shows that high levels of education in the population can go with a SLOWER rate of economic development. Having lots of people in the population with university education can be bad for prosperity. It is not hard to think of reasons why.


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15 April, 2003


The great hopes that are presently riding on a transition to democracy in Iraq remind me of a claim still popular in some circles: That democracies never make war on one another. It would be nice if that were true but those who know their ancient history point to the attack of the Athenian democracy on Syracuse as a counter example and those who know their modern history point to the American civil war as a counter-example. The Confederacy was roughly as democratic as the Union.

Those who favour the "peaceful democracy" theory manage to hem and haw their way out of the examples concerned by adding limitations to their theory, however, so let me point out another VERY large exception: World War I. Germany in 1914 was a democracy! And a rather enlightened one at that which took better care of its people than almost any other country at that time did. Wartime propaganda which portrayed the war as the doing of "Kaiser Bill" still lives on but the legal powers of the German monarch were in fact not dissimilar to those of the British monarch. This entry about the Kaiser from the Encyclopedia Britannica is a useful starting point for understanding what actually went on:

William often bombastically claimed to be the man who took the decisions. It is true that the German constitution of 1871 put two important powers in his hands. First, he was responsible for appointing and dismissing the chancellor, the head of the civil government. Admittedly, the chancellor could only govern if he could get a majority in the Reichstag, but this limitation on the emperor's freedom of choice was more apparent than real, because most members of the Reichstag felt it their loyal duty to support whomever the Kaiser appointed. Secondly, the German Army and Navy were not responsible to the civil government, so that the Kaiser was the only person in Germany who was in a position to see that the policy followed by the soldiers and sailors was in line with that pursued by the civil servants and diplomats. Thus, British journalists and publicists had some justification when during and immediately after the war they portrayed the Kaiser as Supreme War Lord, and therefore the man who, more than anyone else, decided to make war.

As time passes, however, historians are increasingly coming to see William as an accomplice rather than an instigator. In the years after 1890 the German upper and middle classes would have wanted a larger say in the world's councils no matter who had been on the throne, and this "urge to world power" was almost bound to bring them into collision with some of the existing great powers. The chief real criticism to be made of the Kaiser is that, instead of seeing this danger and using his influence to restrain German appetites, he shared those appetites and indeed increased them, particularly by his determination to give Germany a navy of which it could be proud. He was a quick-witted, well-meaning man who went with the stream instead of having the vision and strength of judgment to stand out against it.

So the difference between the British and German monarchies was not so much one of different legal powers but of different styles. The Queen is also legally the one who appoints British Prime Ministers and who is head of Britain's armed forces. Just because the British monarch normally does not exercise visible power may create the illusion that he/she has no power but the power is in fact there. This is best shown in Australia, where the royal powers are vested in the Governors and Governors General. These viceroys have in fact twice in the last century exercised their vice-regal powers to dismiss elected governments! And if the newly restored King of Spain could face down a military coup in 1981, how much more authoritative the Queen of England would be if any such crisis arose!

I might add that the Britannica's comment that the German parliament felt duty-bound to support whatever Chancellor (Prime Minister) the Kaiser chose is a gross exaggeration. Even the brilliant Chancellor Bismarck had a lot of trouble with German parliaments. Germany was undoubtedly in 1914 as much a democracy as the Britain it went to war with. Democracy is unquestionably a good thing but it is no guarantee of peace.

For those who take an interest in ancient history it is clear from the account of the Athenian attack given in Thucydides that Syracuse was also democratic. We read:

". . . Meanwhile the Syracusans burned their dead and then held an assembly, in which Hermocrates, son of Hermon, a man who with a general ability of the first order had given proofs of military capacity and brilliant courage in the war, came forward and encouraged them, and told them not to let what had occurred make them give way, since their spirit had not been conquered . . ." [later] "The Syracusans heard him, and voted everything as he advised, and elected three generals . . "

And as far as mediaeval history is concerned we might note that many of the Italian city States (such as Venice) were both democratic and aggressive. Although not exactly a case of one democracy attacking another, the account of the ancient and blind Doge (President) Dandolo sailing off at the head of the Venetian fleet to loot Constantinople is still one of history's most remarkable and dastardly tales.



Is GWB smart? Success in Iraq proves Bush is smarter than his Leftist critics anyway.

One good thing about the Baghdad looting: "At the French cultural center, where looters burst water pipes and flooded the ground floor, books were left floating in the reading rooms and corridors, and a photograph of Jacques Chirac, the French president, was smashed." I think that counts as very restrained in the circumstances!

Michael Darby has a letter of repentance from a Scotsman who now appreciates America much more than he once did.

Chris Brand thinks that the wide variety of choices now available to women will lead to a variety of reproductive contracts between people rather than the traditional monogamous marriage contract. Polygamy anyone?

The Wicked one is rather derisive about a practitioner of "Wicca".

In my academic posting of April 13th here, I point out that some researchers who found conservatives to be "despairing" did not know how to measure despair.


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14 April, 2003


Maybe I am a sentimental old fool but I must admit that this comment about the seven rescued U.S. troops brought a tear to my eye: "This morning our family joins America in rejoicing over the news of the safe return of seven brave heroes to U.S. military custody in Iraq" I think that knowledge of the horrific treatment Saddam used to mete out to those who opposed him would make any civilized person glad that the troops were recovered alive and well. Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who was rescued earlier, suffered a head wound, a spinal injury and fractures to her right arm, both legs and her right foot and ankle. At least it must be great for her to be back home in the USA.



Blogspot was off the air for hours yesterday and now the host for my mirror site seems to be having a whole day off! But I will beat the Bs yet! I keep my blog entries as a file so it took me only two minutes to put up my stuff on a second mirror site! The site concerned is on Geocities and there is something about my code that causes them to give you no background colour until you hit the "Refresh" button. Exactly the same code works fine elsewhere. Weird!



Both the Left and the Greens will lie and mislead at the drop of a hat. The truth is so inconvenient to them that they NEED to be liars. Note this Greenie comment on the retirement of the Concorde supersonic airliner "[New York residents] know all too well the Concorde's windows-rattling roar, and its seeming inability to stay in one piece," he said. "It should have been grounded a long time ago." Far from falling apart all the time, the Concorde has had only one crash in 30 years -- a better safety record than most. And the only reason why the Concorde was originally allowed to fly into New York was that it was found to be no noisier than other jets using the airport.



There is much of interest in Leonard Peikoff's book. One quote:

Contrary to the Marxists, the Nazis did not advocate public ownership of the means of production. They did demand that the government oversee and run the nation's economy. The issue of legal ownership, they explained, is secondary; what counts is the issue of CONTROL. Private citizens, therefore, may continue to hold titles to property -- so long as the state reserves to itself the unqualified right to regulate the use of their property.

Sounds just like the Leftists of today.



Next stop Syria? It would be great to see another Arab Fascist regime go down. Syria is ruled by the same Ba'ath party that Saddam represented.

When so much of the media worldwide is Leftist, it is gratifying to see that Australia's Rupert Murdoch used his many media outlets to support the war.

There is rather a good day by day account of the war from a journalist who was with the troops here.

I like it! Samizdata refer to France, Germany and Russia as The axis of feeble. He also calls them a Triumvirate of gilded irrelevences. We must not forget, however, that they do command great economic and military power between them so let us be glad of GWB's "softly, softly" approach to them.

Further to my comment yesterday on many children's comic books now having a Leftist slant, Marc Miyake has emailed me to say that it is not as bad as it seems because "Captain America" and other Marvel comics are now almost exclusively bought by young male adults who presumably know about and like the slant they are getting. He says the comic-book writers concerned are just would-be Hollywood types.

Under the heading: The bigotry of low expectations, Marc Miyake makes a very strong case that racism is pervasive among Leftists today. Marc is a Japanese American so one would think that the alleged love of "diversity" among Leftists would cause him to be seized on eagerly for teaching jobs at American universities. But -- strangely -- the reverse appears to be the case.

"Sex Offenders vote Democrat" Why wouldn't they? It is the Dems who are soft on crime. The Dems sure have some great constituencies.

Glenn Reynolds says that the BBC is the mouthpiece of the 'new class' of State-funded elitists. His recommendation: 'ignore them'; That's the one thing they hate.

Michael Darby has a backgrounder on the Assyrian Christian minority in Iraq.

Chris Brand continues his series of comments on sex in the 21st century. He seems to think that the welfare state is good for women and bad for men.

The Wicked one has another example of the crazy Leftist doctrine that nobody is responsible for their own actions at work in the courts.

In my academic posting of April 12th here I refer to an interesting research summary that seems to show conservatives as the luckier members of society, with better mental and physical health and greater satisfaction with their lives.


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13 April, 2003


John Lloyd, a columnist for Britain's Leftist New Statesman has finally given up on the Left after the Iraq war. He says:

A large part of the British left - and the left elsewhere - has made a fundamental mistake. In opposing the invasion of Iraq, it has shown itself incapable of thinking through not only the nature of the world as it is today, but also its own claims to be the leading force in making the world better.

I must say that he is only stating the obvious. Their support for the terminally brutal Saddam has forever exposed as a fraud the Left's claim to be "compassionate". If the Left were half-decent, this war would have been fought with virtually universal support rather with the support of conservatives only.

Though there was of course a tiny minority of decent Leftists (such as this writer) who supported the war from early on. I know of none of them who marched FOR war, however. And even the normally very moderate Australian Labor Party opposed the war.



I personally detest smoking and am outraged when smokers think that they can impose their foul smells and pollution on me. As far as I am concerned, smoking should be something that occurs only between consenting adults in private.

But the way in which both the U.S. Federal government and private plaintiffs are overturning every concept of justice to steal from tobacco companies whatever assets they have is surely a warning to us all. The politically correct Leftist notion that people are not responsible for their own actions has now been enshrined in law and is the main instrument being used to rip off the tobacco companies. The companies are being prosecuted for what OTHER people in full possession of their faculties voluntarily did -- despite upteen warnings that what they did was risky.

That is a terminally dangerous precedent for us all. ANYONE who is worth suing could find himself stripped of all he owns now. All it needs is for someone to blame you for something that THEY did. The tobacco cases mean that there will now be NO defence against such a claim available in most such cases. We must do all we can to bring back a system where the person who is primarily responsible for his own misfortune must bear the full blame for that misfortune. None of us will be safe otherwise.

A reader refers to the famous poem by Pastor Niemoller:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists

And suggests it is now a case of "First they came for the tobacco companies" and maybe "Then they came for the xenophobes" and maybe "Then they came for the gun owners".

And we will almost certainly have to fight this one ourselves. The snivel libertarians have other, much more important fish to fry.



Hear here! "US Secretary of State Colin Powell today challenged Russian, French and German leaders' contention that only the United Nations has the authority to rebuild post-war Iraq."

Retired Australian politician and one-time Leftist Michael Duffy addresses those who are still marching for "peace" with the question: "Why are 600 deaths caused by liberating forces so much worse than 66,900 deaths a year caused by Saddam Hussein?"

In case you have not seen it, here is the fan site for Saddam's incredible TV spokesman

It is disgusting how anti-American rubbish is now being spewed out by certain children's comic books. I hope parents soon become aware of this and get something else for their children instead.

Chris Brand also comments on the defection of Leftist John Lloyd.

Michael Darby hopes that Iraq will not make us totally forget the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Zimbabwe. Toppling the Zimbabwean dictator would take only one thousandth of the force that it took to topple Saddam, so why not do it? The British DID intervene in Sierra Leone and the French intervene in Africa all the time so there is precedent.

The Wicked one has rather a fun posting about a maverick environmental scientist who thinks we should eat whales to save the planet.

In my academic posting of April 11th here I expose some absolutely crap research reported in a medical journal. At least the journal printed my critique.


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12 April, 2003


Australian political scientist, David Martin Jones has a long article on Islamic fundamentalism that points out that it is primarily a PRODUCT of modernization and affluence -- with its most dedicated members being largely Westernized and often living in Western countries. Thus modernization and democratization is not going to cure it -- the reverse if anything. Apparently, modern-day, skeptical Western civilization with its lack of any certainties is profoundly alienating for many not born to it and fundamentalist Islam is something that such people turn to as a more satisfying alternative. Thus the Islamic enemy will always be nearby hating us and endangering us unless we become intolerant enough to exclude or crack down on him in some way



We hear a lot about the contribution of the Arabs to the maintenance of civilization in the Middle Ages when Europe had become relatively backward compared to how it was in the days of the Roman Empire. Most of the story is a pious myth, however. It is true that ancient civilization was better known among Muslims at that time but the Muslims did NOT invent or originate any significant part of the knowledge concerned. They borrowed it from the Greek Christians of the still-thriving Eastern Roman empire centred on Byzantium (in what is now Turkey), and from peoples that they conquered, such as the Persians, the Northern Indians and the Assyrians. There is a good summary here showing that most of the famous "Moslem" scholars of the Middle Ages were in fact from the Assyrian Christian community, though not all were very religious. Note also this summary:

The next great luminary of the Islamic world is Abu Ali Sina, known as Avicenna in the West, his "major contribution to medical science was his famous book al-Qanun, known as the "Canon" in the West. The Qanun fi al-Tibb is an immense encyclopedia of medicine extending over a million words. It surveyed the entire medical knowledge available from ancient and Muslim sources. Due to its systematic approach, formal perfection as well as its intrinsic value, the Qanun superseded Razi's Hawi, Ali Ibn Abbas's Maliki, and even the works of Galen, and remained supreme for six centuries. This book was taught as the textbook to the students of Medicine in the University of Bologna until the 17th Century.

Avicenna's philosophy was based on a combination of Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism. Contrary to orthodox Islamic thought, Avicenna denied personal immortality, God's interest in individuals, and the creation of the world in time. Because of his views, Avicenna became the main target of an attack on such philosophy by the Islamic philosopher al-Ghazali and was even called apostate.

There is also Al-Ma'arri, (973-1057) the greatest Syrian poet. He referred to religion as "noxious weeds" and called it a "fable invented by the ancients", worthless except for those who exploit the credulous masses.

Other examples are Omar Khayyam and Ibn Rushd an important philosopher and scientist, known in the Western world as Averroes.These great men upon whose shoulders rests the glory of the golden age of Islam were not Muslims and even were critical of it.

(Crossposted on Israpundit)



In response to my posting yesterday about the lack of Leftist outrage over vast atrocities in Africa, Marc Miyake emailed me this comment:

They're not just Leftist but also racist. It's the same racism you refer to in your anti-racism as a sham post. Leftists probably think to themselves, "Africans don't know any better, so who cares?" Mutatis mutandis for Iraq: "Arabs are hopeless, so let 'em die." But bring up Israel and America, and suddenly the standards get raised sky-high. Why? Because only Israeli and American oppressors are responsible for the 'evils' that they allegedly do. Of course Europeans hold the moral 'high' ground and are beyond reproach. All others are just subhuman animals of color, useful for a protest now and then, but otherwise expendable.



Today's most amusing headline: "Anti-War Groups Fear Loss of Momentum"

Textbooks widely used in New York's Islamic schools contain passages that are blatantly anti-Semitic, condemning Jews as a people

I suppose it is worth mentioning that the Iraq war was another defeat for the Palestinians too. The Ps have long had a love-affair with Saddam so after the first Gulf war the Kuwaitis kicked out over 100,000 Ps who had been working in Kuwait. Now the Ps will have the enmity of the Iraqui people as well, who loathe anything to do with Saddam.

Jeff Jacoby says that the USA should now topple the Castro regime in Cuba. It would certainly be acclaimed by the Cuban people.

Chris Brand pities the Kurds of Iraq for the way political correctness is set to betray them.

Michael Darby has a post that pities Iraq if the U.N. get to "help" with their reconstruction.

The Wicked one points out that GWB was quite a Greenie when he was Governor of Texas -- at great cost to Texans.

In my academic posting of April 10th here I point out that there are alternatives to the very loose ways in which Leftist psychologists customarily use the term "authoritarian"


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11 April, 2003


In the first half of the 20th century, many Leftists were enthusiastic racists -- making it probable that their anti-racist hysteria in the second half of the 20th century was just a self-promoting sham. The antisemitism we now see among Leftists on college campuses was beginning to expose that sham but their support for Saddam Hussein makes the case pretty conclusive -- for there have been few people more racist than Saddam. But the Left just ignored well-known facts in that regard. As the National Review says:

The left's neglect of Saddam's lengthy track record of hate and intolerance is baffling. Indeed, Saddam is a racist by the truest definition of the word: He hates certain groups, and even tries to murder people in those groups, precisely because of their mere race. Saddam is not a bigot because, say, he opposes racial profiling at airports. He is a bigot because he tries to exterminate entire groups of people based solely on their race. Some of his frightening actions constitute genocidal racism. Nowhere has Saddam's racism been more apparent than in his actions against Iraq's Kurdish minority, where his personal hatred of Kurds achieved horrific dimensions.

And, as Richard Pollock says:

Embedded reporters have filed stories of Iraqi soldiers shooting civilians and forcing teenagers at gunpoint to fight the war. Also, there are published reports of Iraqi women and children being executed by the Saddam-loyal Fedayeen. Such evidence (and more) reveals Iraq's human rights violations and continual breach of international laws that govern warfare. But you wouldn't know it if you listened to the "mainstream" human rights groups. They apparently can find abuses everywhere except in Iraq.



Below are two headlines from Agence France Presse which came up juxtaposed recently:

Media deaths spark outrage

AFP - The killing of three journalists in two separate attacks by US forces fighting for control of Baghdad triggered a torrent of criticism from international media watchdogs and officials.

Congo war claimed 3.3 million lives

AFP - The war in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has claimed 3.3 million lives and was "the deadliest documented conflict in African history," a US-based refugee agency said.

An accident or misjudgement of war is an outrage if the U.S. is responsible for it but blacks can do ANYTHING without it being an outrage. Much of the media seem to be moral imbeciles. They would not be Left-leaning by any chance, would they?



An "anti-war" advocate wrote to me:

We have undermined international law in pursuing this war without allowing time for due process within the UN. The ramifications for the future in an increasingly nuclearised world is alarming and you don't have to be of the "left" to believe this

I replied

I think the resolve of GWB offers a lot more safety in a nuclearized world than a paper tiger like the UN does. Remember: The predecessor of the UN did no good because the dictators ignored it. We could not let Saddam do the same. And don't forget that it was the resolve of Ronald Reagan that caused the Soviets to give up and thus remove the biggest nuclear threat of all.



World's most improbable headine in yesterday's Brisbane "Courier Mail": Iraquis topple dictator. Who did? Were there any Americans there? Media bias anyone?

The WSJ points out that the U.S. army in Iraq IS a multinational force -- in that people of many national origins serve in it.

The US plan to end the Israel conflict "calls for a cease-fire, a Palestinian crackdown on militants, an Israeli troop withdrawal from Palestinian towns, an Israeli settlement freeze and a Palestinian state in provisional borders". What a joke! Hell will freeze over before any of that happens. Walling off the Palestinians (already in progress) is the only solution.

New Zealand did NOT join Australia in sending troops to Iraq. Anton Kelly notes a good proposal for a new N.Z. flag: "I suggest a bright yellow flag with a red and green jellyfish in the centre. The yellow represents our cowardly Members of Parliament, the red and green represent the Government of the day and the jellyfish represents the spineless individuals who are meant to represent us..."

The Wicked one has another joke about the French military.

Michael Darby has a post with lots of good news about genetically modified crops.

Chris Brand is disappointed at the Bush administration's support for affirmative racism.

In my academic posting of April 9th here I point out that much of the basis of political psychology is founded on a mistake -- identifying as "authoritarian" people who are simply old-fashioned.


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10 April, 2003


Describing the scenes of jubilation in Baghdad after the entry of US troops as "breathtaking", Rumsfeld today compared the events to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the ensuing collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. "Saddam Hussein is now taking his rightful place alongside Hitler, Stalin, (Vladimir) Lenin and (Romanian dictator Nicolae) Ceausescu in the pantheon of failed, brutal dictators," he declared. "The scenes of free Iraqis celebrating in the streets, riding American tanks, tearing down the statues of Saddam Hussein in the centre of Baghdad, are breathtaking. "Watching them, one cannot help but think of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain



THEY clapped and cheered and held out their babies for him to kiss. There could be no doubt who was the hero of the hour when John Howard met Australian Defence Force families in Brisbane yesterday. The latest meet-and-greet exercise for relatives of Gulf service personnel turned into a love-in with the Prime Minister - and yet another pointed reminder to Simon Crean that he is struggling in the battle for hearts and minds on the home front. Even Mr Howard seemed taken aback by the enthusiastic reception at Government House. After cheering him on arrival, people stood five deep to shake his hand and queued to have their photograph taken with him.



Arabs watched in disbelief on Wednesday as Iraqi President Saddam Hussein lost Baghdad to U.S.-led forces without a fight. Three weeks of war in Iraq have sparked anger across the Arab world. Protesters at hundreds of rallies have chanted praise for "beloved" Saddam and held his picture aloft. Rabat perfume shop owner Lahoucine Lanait described Saddam as the Arab world's "best dictator."

In Oman, some said Saddam, whose fate is unknown after he was targeted by U.S. planes, symbolized resistance. "It is irrelevant whether Saddam is dead or not. His memory will live on to inspire many Arabs to stand up against all the injustices committed by the U.S. and its friends in Israel," Belqees Hamood, a university student, said.

Adel in Beirut disagreed. "So he was the only Arab leader to stand up to the Americans. Look what happened, no one else will dare try that again." Fahd Saleh of Saudi Arabia expressed equal dislike for President Bush and Saddam. "Saddam is a terrorist but he's not alone. Bush too is a terrorist but Saddam is weak and Bush is strong. That's why he has won, because no one opposes a strong person," said the 33-year-old Saudi government employee.

All they understand is the "big stick".



THE UN had failed its mission in the lead-up to the war on Iraq, the Australian federal Government said yesterday, and that failure would reverberate as the world tackled other despotic regimes after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Defence Minister Robert Hill said the UN Security Council had failed the world badly. "They passed 12 years of resolutions (on Iraq) but it wasn't prepared to enforce them," Senator Hill said in Brisbane. "That sends a very unhelpful message to dictators who develop weapons of mass destruction and are prepared to use them on their own people and on their neighbours."

But Prime Minister John Howard maintained the UN would play an important role in the reconstruction of Iraq, particularly in delivering humanitarian assistance. Speaking in Brisbane, the Prime Minister repeated a US-led interim administration was the only "practical" option. Mr Howard said the UN would have a "major role" in post-war Iraq, but it would not be leading the administration of the country.



I found this amusing: "As Saddam's statue fell in Baghdad, some Iraquis threw shoes and slippers at the statue _ a gross insult in the Arab world". I guess it is noisy cats and dogs you normally throw shoes at.

I particularly liked this report from Baghdad: "Cheering crowds earlier sacked U.N. headquarters in the Canal Hotel and drive off in U.N. cars. The building had housed U.N. aid workers as well as arms inspectors, who were withdrawn shortly before the war began on March 20."

The crew of the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal are switching off the BBC. I wonder why? People HAVE been referring to the BBC as the Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation lately. Leftist bias anyone?

The Carnival is up again -- more legible this time.

Chris Brand has a posting about a book that explains how sexual attraction works.

Michael Darby has a post about the evil Zionist oppressors in Israel.

The Wicked one shows us why we should love bureaucracy.

In my academic posting of April 8th here I show that people who like and identify with the community in which they live do not do so out of a need to be loved.


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9 April, 2003


A reader writes:

It seems to me that the common core of beliefs for ARM Republicans, most Greens, the Big M Multiculturalists is really "democratic centralism". That is why these three views (anti-monarrchy, environmentalism and multiculturalism) , logically independent, usually are batched together, along with 'liberal' views on gay rights, gun control etc.

I think it was Alexis De Toqueville who highlighted the risk to liberty from democracy and argued that there were two rival strands of democratic thought. What we can call a Jeffersonian strand with an emphasis on breaking up power centres ('decentralisation of power') and a Jacobin strand that sees the common will as the ultimate goal to which all must bow.

I think the main streams in the contemporary left certainly have a Jacobin impulse but it is elitist not populist. They only recognise a popular desire as authentic when it goes along with their ideology, otherwise they call for government 'leadership' to overcome the popular demand.



This (Australian) ABC News Radio "Health Minute" has a summary of recent research on False Memory Syndrome. This is a controversial field and goes to the heart of recent public concerns over child abuse. It shows the urgent need to develop protocols to take account of FMS in cases of child abuse so the accused's rights are protected. Without these protocols in place all child abuse charges, true or false, will be subject to increasing skepticism.



What a dilemma for the Greenies this must be: Even pristine forests can contribute to air pollution. In fact, researchers now say that northern pine forests exude a family of nitrogen oxides and do so in quantities that may rival those produced worldwide by industry and traffic. Nitrogen oxides can react with hydrocarbons to yield nitric acid, a primary ingredient in acid rain. They can also help produce smog-causing ozone. Scientists generally peg automobiles as the prime source of nitrogen oxides. Trees, on the other hand, are usually credited with sopping up air pollutants



US President George W. Bush pledged the United Nations will play a vital role in post-war Iraq, offering reassurances that Washington will not act unilaterally in rebuilding the country. The USA must be the most generous and forgiving nation in history.

The Australian government has positioned a small group of federal officials in Kuwait as part of the government-in-waiting of occupied Iraq. The Bush administration invited the federal government to supply specialists to the staff of the US-run Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, which will govern Iraq after the war until an elected Iraqi government is in place.

The silent majority again: Sometimes we think only lunatics live in the San Francisco Bay Area, but the San Francisco Chronicle has a poll that suggests that's not true. Sixty-three percent of Bay Area residents support the liberation of Iraq

Peter Hitchens argues we need to return to the idea of punishment if we are to avoid both the continued escalation of crime and the Big Brother surveillance state the popular reaction to out of control crime will produce.

Prominent Australian historian, Geoffrey Blainey has reviewed Windschuttle's book on Tasmania and credits Windschuttle with demolishing a Leftist myth about the "genocide" of Tasmanian Aborigines by early British settlers. Speaking of the Leftist historians, Blainey says: But many of their errors, made on crucial matters, beggared belief. Moreover their exaggeration, gullibility, and what this book calls "fabrication" went on and on.

Matt Ridley has some good things to say about GM technology and criticises Europe's techno-pessimism, which is now HURTING the environment

China Hand has just had a shot at Australian school-teachers -- asking whether such government-cosseted people can really be called "professionals"

Chris Brand points out that Political correctness has made SARS pneumonia much more dangerous than it might otherwise have been.

Michael Darby has a few notes on the history and thoughts of Daniel Pipes -- the man who more or less predicted the 9/11 events.

In my academic posting of April 7th here I look at a claim that Rightists have been shown as opposed to human rights. I point out that the result arose because "human rights" were defined in a Leftist way.


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8 April, 2003


My nomination for the stupidest headline about Iraq in Australia's Left-leaning press: Time to stand up to America. What hate-filled Leftist nutcases like this forget to mention is that Australia would have no influence at all in Iraq if we had not done our bit to help the USA put down a brutal madman.

As it is, it is good to see that Australians will likely be part of the US-led post-war administration in Iraq, although not in key roles, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says. Mr Downer has just returned from the US where he discussed with President George W Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell US plans for the reconstruction and administration of Iraq.

Australia's foreign minister Alexander Downer also says that the UN should supervise eventual elections in Iraq. I agree with that but cannot see any other justification for having the U.N. there.



The U.S. has lost a few helicopters in the Iraq war. But:

Gibson and other helicopter experts say, it should be a very different story if the U.S. is unfortunate enough to have to return to this or any other battlefield in the future. There's a new generation of copters coming on-line in the next five years that can fly lower, faster and more stealthily than anything deployed in Iraq. New night vision and radar technology will help pilots identify their targets from four to five times farther away than is currently possible. They also promise to be easier to maintain, cutting down on crashes. By the end of the decade, some helicopters will even be capable of flying more like fixed-wing aircraft



There is a very interesting summary here of the links between the Iraquis and Osama bin Laden. It all seems to be well-documented -- insofar as one can document what would be closely-guarded secrets. The home page of the article has a whole lot of other documentation on Iraq and Saddam as well.



"Essentially the state is the power exercised over the masses by a group of armed men separated from the people." From the April Theses See here

"The state is a special organization of force: it is an organization of violence for the suppression of some class" From The state and revolution. See here.

That makes the Leftist position pretty clear, I think. The State exists to suppress people. No wonder power-mad people such as Leftists like big government!



Arabs throughout the Mideast were dismayed by television images of American tanks rolling through the heart of Baghdad and some rushed to sign up for holy war against U.S.-led forces. "As Arabs, we cannot see this and not move," said a man in his early 30s.. It seems clear that it is the Arabs who define us as the enemy rather than vice versa. They sure love suicide.

Good: Oakland police fired rubber bullets and wooden pellets on Monday to disperse hundreds of anti-war protesters in what was believed to be the first such use against U.S. protesters since the American-led war on Iraq began. Demonstrators were seeking to block access to American President Lines, a shipping company they claimed was profiting from the war in Iraq when police said they used the pellets and bullets to disperse about 750 protesters.

Great news! Britain is going to deport "Captain Hook" -- their pro-terrorist Muslim leader. Is British justice finally beginning to target the dangerous ones? About time!

And even the U.S. Justice Dept. seems to be overcoming their political correctness long enough to get some terrorist-supporting Muslims convicted! Is sanity breaking out everywhere?

Claims that man-made pollution is causing "unprecedented" global warming have been seriously undermined by new research which shows that the Earth was warmer during the Middle Ages

Michael Darby has an article that reminds us that Muslims think they should still own any territory that they once controlled.

Chris Brand has a post on the psychological reasons why women no longer need marriage.

In my academic posting of April 6th here I look at a claim that working class people are particularly authoritarian and show that some are and some are not -- with no overall trend one way or the other.

Mike Kerrigan, a Canadian university student, obviously has a lot of fun. He has created two big posters which he uses to taunt the Leftists around him about the Leftist policies of Hitler and Mussolini. I alluded briefly to them yesterday but if you missed them you can see them here.

The Wicked one has a joke in the "oldie but goldie" class.


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7 April, 2003


I have just put up here an interesting email about the historical Hitler and modern-day Neo-Nazis. The writer makes several good points which question my own formulatuion that Hitler was simply the most nationalist of the extreme Leftists. I would like to look here therefore at his three main points. Firstly, though, readers here might like to read what I am replying to, as it does embody some common misconceptions and assumptions.

1). I have previously pointed out at some length that Hitler's eugenic ideas were in fact typically Leftist for his times and were supported in America by "progressives" of the day. My correspondent then asks how I square that with my general support for Chris Brand today -- who also has some eugenic ideas. Am I being inconsistent?

For a start, although I support some of Chris Brand's ideas, I do not support them all. I assist him to circulate his ideas mainly out of free-speech considerations -- as there have been great efforts made (sacking him from his university job, pulping his book) by Leftists to suppress him. And I myself have never commented on the eugenic ideas he occasionally raises. Nonetheless, I do think it is absolutely stupid to condemn an area of science or scholarship just because it has been misused in the past. One might as well condemn all dog-lovers because Hitler loved dogs. So just because Hitler and the American "progressives" of the interwar era had the perverse and ridiculous idea that Jews were genetically inferior does not mean that all and any genes are therefore equal in any sense. The rise of genetic engineering -- with its capacity to filter out genetic defects in children -- has in fact really made the matter a non-issue. Genes are ALREADY being selected for and against by medical science in today's world with little controversy. And Jews, ironically perhaps, are one of the major beneficiaries of that, with the recent virtual elimination of Tay Sachs disease.

2). The second point made is a common one: That the Fascists of the 1920s and 1930s were opposed in their day by other Leftists and admired by many mainstream politicians in Britain and America. Mussolini in fact achieved the remarkable feat of being admired not only by Hitler but also by Winston Churchill and F.D. Roosevelt! All that, however, is really no more than an illustration of how radicalized interwar politics had become in Europe. If Hitler and Mussolini were seen as moderate and reasonable by nervous Anglo-Saxon politicians and businessmen, how radical must have been the alternative? And the alternative was very radical indeed. Stalin's Russia was to the forefront of everyone's mind with the unprecedented challenges it presented to almost the whole of society's traditonal arrangements. And Stalin's Russia had extensive support throughout Europe. So it is no wonder that slightly less radical Leftists (Nazis and Fascists) were gladly greeted for their apparent capacity to prevent the Communists from taking over the whole of Europe. And the Communists, of course, were not oblivious of the effective opposition provided by their Fascist rivals. So Communists and their sympathizers did indeed hate and oppose the Fascists. Mainstream democratic Leftists -- such as Germany's Social Democratic Party -- however were much less opposed to Hitler and in fact voted with the Nazis in critical Reichstag votes. For a fun poster that makes crystal clear how Leftist Hitler's ideas were see here.

Interestingly, the basic economic policies of the Fascists and the Nazis -- permitting private business to continue but only under tight State controls and supervision -- were radical in their day but are now the staple of Leftist political parties worldwide. The greatest affinities of the Fascists and Nazis were then not with the Communists but with parties like the Democrats of the modern-day USA and the Labour Party of modern-day Britain! The Fascists were in fact the first of the modern Leftists -- something that I have already set out at great length here.

3). The third major point is that Hitler's few remaining admirers in at least the Anglo-Saxon countries all seem to be on the political far-Right. If Hitler was a socialist, how come that some modern-day far-Rightists admire him?

In considering this, the first thing to ask is whether the description "Far-Right" is an accurate one for the people we are talking about. I think it is. The American far Right do share important basic values with mainstream "conservatives": They are independent, individualistic, suspicious of big-government and find great wisdom in traditional American values and arrangements. But they seem to be much more doctrinaire about it all and sometimes carry their independence and individualism so far as to become "survivalists" -- trying to live as independently of government and of what they see as a corrupted society as they can. But the far Right is a broad church with many opinions within it and it must be noted that only some of them have added pro-Hitler and antisemitic attitudes to their gospel.

So although support for antisemitism was in Hitler's day widespread across the American political spectrum -- from Henry Ford on the Right to "Progressives" on the Left -- it has lived on during the postwar era mostly on the extreme Right. (Though recent upsurges of "Anti-Zionism" among Leftists on university campuses seem to be a harbinger of big changes in that situation). Why?

The pro-Hitler, antisemitic orientation of some modern Rightist fringe groups goes back to the fact that Marxism and Leninism were internationalist. Marx and Lenin despised nationalism and wished to supplant national solidarity with class solidarity. That this was the best way to better the economic position of the worker was, however, never completely obvious. The Fascists did not think so nor did most Leftists in democratic countries. Nonethless, it did have the effect of identifying Leftism with skepticism about patriotism, nationalism and any feeling that the traditions of one's own country were of great value. The result of this was that people with strong patriotic, nationalist and traditionalist feelings in the Anglo-Saxon countries felt rather despised and oppressed by the mostly Leftist intelligentsia and sought allies and inspiration wherever they could. And Hitler was certainly a great exponent of national pride, community traditions and patriotism. So those who felt marginalized by their appreciation of their own traditional values and their own community tended in extreme cases to adopt Hitler and blot out of their minds or otherwise rationalize the fact that he was also a socialist. And the Leftists also blotted out of their minds or otherwise rationalized Hitler's socialism for exactly the same reason -- because Hitler was also a nationalist. The Rightists liked Hitler's nationalism and the Leftists did not but it suited neither to acknowledge his socialism. It did not suit the Leftists because it would have associated them with a failed and condemned figure and it did not suit the Rightists because socialism was no part of the traditional independent culture that they wished to preserve.

So antisemitism lived on in the postwar era among the extreme Right for two reasons -- firstly because such people are traditionalists and antisemitism had been traditional in European societies for roughly 2,000 years and secondly because it was a central part of Hitler's doctrines. Their liking for Hitler's national and ethnic pride led to their adopting his antisemitism too.



Chris Brand has some rather amazing revelations about the role of sex in the Russian revolution.

Michael Darby has a post on how the African AIDS epidemic could be beaten.

The Wicked one has a heartening report about resistance to anti-war tyranny.

In my academic posting of April 5th here I look at a claim that drug abuse in young people is caused by their "authoritarian" parenting. I point out that the authors concerned did not really know how to measure authoritarianism and that they were treating as significant a relationship which was in fact negligible.


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6 April, 2003


My post about Scotland yesterday got me thinking about my various visits to Scotland. A few recollections:

The most beautiful scenery I have ever seen was Scotland's Western Highlands. I have never been much of a one for scenery but this even got to me. The only thing in Australia that I know of which comes close is the road from Cairns to Port Douglas.

My wife and I made a detour to visit the Isle of Skye. I was glad we did. It too was really beautiful. One morning I looked out the window of the bed and breakfast place in which we were staying and literally saw "a bright golden haze on the meadow" there.

After Skye, we drove further up the coast and eventually took a Caledonian McBrayne ferry across to Harris and then drove straight up the island to Lewis. When my wife and I got to the main centre on Lewis it was 11pm but still broad daylight and we had no trouble getting accommodation at a bed and breakfast place (i.e. a private home).

At the Northern tip of Lewis was a nice white sandy beach and I decided the next morning that a swim in Sub-Arctic waters would be worth a try. By the time I got in up to my knees I could not feel my toes so thought the better of it. Nobody else tried. I later did the same thing off a beach at Herm in the Channel Islands -- with similar results. I felt rather at home on Lewis. Everyone seemed to have skin that was as fair as mine.

On our way back South we stopped in Glasgow, where my wife had relatives. I got to know a fair bit about Glaswegians and really got to like them. I particularly liked their sense of humour. Billy Connolly's humour is in many ways simply an exaggerated form of typical Glaswegian humour. They are incredibly status-conscious, however. My being a Doctor went down exceedingly well! Education is, of course, the thing Scots most respect.

The most notable thing about Glasgow was that it looked as if it had just been heavily bombed. Whole suburbs were in rubble. But it wasn't the Luftwaffe that did it. It was smart-alec town-planners and Leftist social engineers. They bulldozed the "slums" such as the Gorbals. Beautiful old stone terrace houses which would have been snapped up for renovation in Australia were witlessly destroyed. They moved the slum-dwellers out to new estates such as Easterhouse which then also became pretty slum-like. I know. I later did a social survey there and saw for myself.

I did the social survey on my second trip to Glasgow. On that occasion, one thing I noted was that Scots are great lovers of ritual and "the done thing". They seem to love rules. They have a custom for every occasion. I went to a party in Glasgow at one stage and it was some occasion (Halloween?) on which "Apple Dooking" was practiced. You have to grab an apple with your teeth only while it is bobbing in a pail of water. Being a rather dour sort, I did not think much of the idea so said "No thanks". To an English person that would have been it. They would have been embarrassed to press me further. Not the Scots. In the most friendly way they simply insisted. They just did not understand the idea of not doing something that was customary.

That aside I felt very much at ease among the Scots. Australians are popular there. Scots see Australians as being "enemies" or "victims" of the English --- which is also how they see themselves. As I moved around Scotland it was interesting to see how my reception changed when Scots discovered that I was not English. It was a transformation: From correct formality to warmth. I think I slightly prefer the Scots to the English. I like their greater spontaneity. Though I appreciate English reserve too.

The only thing I dislike about the Scots is their ingrained Socialism. When Mrs Thatcher came to power in a landslide, Scotland actually at the same time swung away from the Tories. Still, Edinburgh is a lot more conservative than Glasgow (where 50% of the Scots live), so maybe I would enjoy living in Edinburgh if I could hack the climate. Glasgow has a reputation for ugliness which is undeserved. There are quite a lot of nice places in Glasgow.

When I was doing my social survey in Glasgow (mainly concerned with Scottish nationalism) I tried to look up various books on Scottish nationalism in the various libraries there. One I could not find anywhere. No library had bought it, I gathered. Because of funding limits, a lot of books are hard to find in British libraries, even University libraries. When I got back to Australia the book I had been seeking was just sitting there on the shelf at my own University of N.S.W. library! They could afford a book on Scottish nationalism that the Scots themselves could not. Wealth and poverty do make a difference and socialist Scotland certainly was poor when I was there.



Stanley Kurtz has a long and learned article in Policy Review about what America should do with Iraq once Saddam is ousted. GWB and many others think that an effort should be made to set up democracy there but since the last effort to do just that led to Saddam Hussein's rise to power, the critics are skeptical that Iraqui democracy is possible.

Kurtz relies heavily on the way the British Empire gave birth to modern Indian democracy out of a traditional society and also argues that short term control by America worked well in setting up Japanese democracy after WWII. He does however see huge difficulties and a long haul ahead in Iraq.

I am inclined to think everybody is being too pessimistic about postwar Iraq. I think that after Saddam, ordinary Iraquis will be dead keen to try the American way. I know that there are important cultural differences between Iraq and Europe but I still think that the example of central Europe and the Baltic States is instructive (Poland, Estonia etc.). After they all escaped from Soviet rule there is no doubt that America was thenceforth the model that they have all tried in various ways to follow. Saddam has obviously been as bad for those he ruled as the Soviets were so I think the response of Iraquis too will be keenness to try everything that is opposite to the Saddam regime.



Chris Brand documents some fairly astonishing ignorance about autism by someone who is supposed to be an expert on it. Apparently all that naughty evidence about genetic factors must not be mentioned. Even blaming mothers is apparently preferable to that.

Michael Darby has a post pointing out that science and technology is CREATING resources all the time.

The Wicked one takes a swipe at Canadian wimpishness.

In my posting of April 4th here, I have a bit of a laugh at how some Dutch colleagues were completely unable to understand their own research results because those results contradicted their Leftist expectations.


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5 April, 2003


To most people the ideas of postmoderrnism -- that truth is nonexistent etc -- simply seem too bizarre to be worth further consideration. They are just a sort of intellectual masturbation for Leftists. Life goes on BECAUSE we recognize some statements as true and others as false. If I ring the WRONG telephone number I will not speak to the person I want to speak to. A recent article by Simon Blackburn makes a similar point at much greater length and thoroughly dissects the theories of Richard Rorty -- one of the chief postmodernists. Warning though: The first two thirds of the article sets out the postmodernist position. You may want to skip straight to the final third of the article to get to something worth reading.

Simon Blackburn is the professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge and appears to be something of a Leftist himself. He is however thoroughly within the tradition of British empiricism in philosophy. The British have always seen the purpose of philosophy as being to clarify and EXPLAIN whereas French philosophers (and France seems to be the prime source of postmodernism) from Descartes, through Sartre to Derrida have always seen being clever as the prime role of philosophy -- and they have generally equated being clever with an ability to CONFUSE any issue they touch on.

In the circumstances, it is no wonder that the Anglo-Saxons are so much more influential in the modern-day world than are the French. Someone recently said that the French are basically a Chihuahua that wants to be a bull-terrier. The Ango-Saxons really are that bull-terrier. And, as a former bull-terrier breeder, I can asssure you that, despite their power, bull-terriers are extremely good natured.



Freedom & Whisky continues to put up good postings about ongoing socialist idiocies in Scotland. Paradoxically, getting their own parliament seems to have been the worst thing that has ever happened for freedom in Scotland. One explanation for it is that most of the sensible and enterprising Scots left Scotland long ago leaving behind a preponderance of envious no-hopers. Emigration may have been even more dysgenic for Scotland than for Ireland. It was mainly the best and brightest who left Scotland for England and the colonies whereas anybody who could left Ireland. I have ancestors from both so I do have some personal interest in the matter.

Genetics, however, is clearly only one part of the story -- as the great economic success of equally Celtic Ireland in recent times demonstrates. The Irish have been independent from the English since 1922 so have had a long time to work through their political follies. And in the 1980s they finally got around to a real embrace of capitalism -- with tax cut after tax cut after tax cut. They even outdid Mrs Thatcher and a very great Irishman -- Ronald Reagan -- in that regard. So Ireland has now clearly outstripped England in prosperity. Given my continuing great affection for Scotland, I can only hope that it does not take them 60 years to learn the same lesson.

In my academic days I had quite a lot published on Scotland:

References: Ray, J.J. (1978) Are Scottish nationalists authoritarian and conservative? European J. Political Research 6, 411-418.

Ray, J.J. (1979) How different are the Scots and the English? Contemporary Review 234, 158-159.

Ray, J.J. (1979) Authoritarianism in Australia, England and Scotland. J. Social Psychology 108, 271-272.

Ray, J.J. (1979) Opposition to the Common Market in England and Scotland. British J. Sociology 30, 218-221.

Ray, J.J. (1979) The Scottish paradox. Quadrant 23(10), 27-29. Ray, J.J. (1981) English attitudes to Scottish nationalism. J. Social Psychology 115, 141-142.



In a post here of 23rd March I noted:

"Anyone who has read Helmut Schoeck's book on envy will understand very well why America is hated. Paradoxically, their kindness probably gets them hated even more than they otherwise would be: Because it too shows them up as being so much better than most other people."

Lileks has recently made a related point, saying: "Sometimes I think the reason America is so despised in some quarters is that we fail to live up to other peoples' worst expectations."



China hand has a rather alarming report about attitudes to the Iraq war in China. Apparently most Chinese see it as nothing more than naked American aggression. China Hand himself however sees as ridiculous the current Leftist proposition that we should never militarily intervene in the affairs of other nations.

This U.S. Christian site notes that Saddam has become "chic" on many college campuses. He is the modern-day equivalent to Che Guevara in the 60s -- a vicious butcher who is revered simply because he is seen as a "rebel". It does show what a dangerous ethical vacuum exists inside many Leftists despite their usual protestations of "caring". That they almost all rose up to defend a Fascist butcher such as Saddam shows once and for all how much they "care"!

Chris Brand takes on the arguments of the libertarians who are against the war.

Michael Darby has a post that argues that the U.S. was too soft on Islamic militancy in the past and that 9/11 was the outcome of that softness.

In my posting of April 3rd here I look at the poor state of research that combines both medicine and psychology to investigate heart disease.


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4 April, 2003


A reader writes:

Contrary to leftist claims that the current war is a big business conspiracy, the CEOs of the largest corporations are actually quite reluctant to support the coalition war effort. At least according to Slate. Their practical globalism promotes caution, the exact opposite of the viewpoint that criticises this war as a war for globalization. Thomas Friedman goes somewhat further and says no two countries with Big Mac franchises have ever gone to war! See here .

As far as the real war is concerned... This BBC site has some statistics providing a brief history of Urban Warfare There are reports that the Iraqi government has been distributing copies of the movie "Black Hawk Down" as a training guide for his forces. This could mean that we shall soon see another example of "life (or more accurately, death) imitating art" but there of course major differences between the relatively small scale operation in Mogadishu and Iraq. The US forces in Somalia lacked armour and had no fixed wing air support. Also the US will probably make use of the Apache, armoured attack helicopters that were not used in Somalia. Of course the urban combat environment will be dangerous even with these advantages. The US military is developing new urban warfare technology including "thermobaric weapons" for the infantry and even robots. These won't be ready before 2006 at earliest.



Before the Iraq war, the Left were very big on predictions of many casualties and claimed that nothing could justify such casualties. And of course there have been casualties but the supreme prowess and humanity of the modern American military has been shown by how few there have been. Just for perspective, a reader has sent in these comments -- focusing initially on the casualties Saddam himself inflicted on his fellow Muslims when he invaded the Ayatollah's Iran some years ago.

Here is what the Federation of Atomic Scientists site says about casualties in the Iran / Iraq war in the 1980s. Casualty figures are highly uncertain, though estimates suggest more than one and a half million war and war-related casualties -- perhaps as many as a million people died, many more were wounded, and millions were made refugees.

Iraq's "victory" was not without cost. The Iraqis suffered an estimated 375,000 casualties, the equivalent of 5.6 million for a population the size of the United States. Another 60,000 were taken prisoner by the Iranians. Iran's losses may have included more than 1 million people killed or maimed. The war claimed at least 300,000 Iranian lives and injured more than 500,000, out of a total population which by the war's end was nearly 60 million.

Without diminishing the horror of either war, Iranian losses in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war appear modest compared with those of the European contestants in the four years of World War I, shedding some light on the limits of the Iranian tolerance for martyrdom. During the Great War, German losses were over 1,700,000 killed and over 4,200,000 wounded [out of a total population of over 65 million]. Germany's losses, relative to total national population, were at least five times higher than Iran. France suffered over 1,300,000 deaths and over 4,200,000 wounded. The percentages of pre-war population killed or wounded were 9% of Germany, 11% of France, and 8% of Great Britain.

I have found it a bit difficult to find figures for the casualties in the various Israel Arab wars over past 50 years but there are figures on the Intifada here and here. Iraqi casualties alone in the Iran/Iraq were about 170 times the total Palestinian casualties in the Intifada. (Close to 500 times if both Iran Iraq deaths are accounted for.) It is common for the US to be criticised as having double standards for supporting Israel but opposing Iraq. The arithmetic suggests double standards are not the exclusive property of one side.

Gulf War 1 casualty figures are here and are, by comparison with other wars, very minor

As every military man will tell you, every casualty is to be regretted but the present war is as nothing compared to what Saddam himself has inflicted on the Iraqui people and compared to what we inflicted on ourselves by our past follies. Removing Saddam is undoubtedly the best thing we could have done to PREVENT casualties among the people of Iraq. Many more would have died had we left him to carry on as usual.



If you think that the French should not get off scot-free for their hatred of America, see here

Progress of the war: "Our special forces, working closely with anti-Saddam Iraqis on the ground, are very actively preparing the Baghdad battlefield for collapse from within. Casualties are low. Finally, pockets of resistance in Iraq, Manhattan and Paris have been contained and will turn out to be of no strategic significance." Via The Federalist

Michael Darby has a vivid memoir of the Australian military involvement in Vietnam to remind us that the Iraq war is not the first time that Australians and Americans have fought together.

Chris Brand reviews the "Individual psychology" of Alfred Adler -- a Freudian "rebel"

The Wicked one has some good advice about how to deal with the speakerphone menace.

In my posting of April 2nd here I deplore the way Leftists psychologists just refuse to give up old and failed ideas.


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3 April, 2003

Carnival of the Vanities is up again. You might need a microscope to read the font, though.



There is an article in Tech Central Station by Lee Harris under the title "Our world-historical gamble" that is so long that the editors of the journal even apologized for its length and suggested that people spend several days reading it! It is however a very insightful and important article about what the Iraq affair means for the future so I have pulled out below what I regard as the key quotes from it:

This gives a sense of tragedy to what has been unfolding in the Islamic world. If they continue to use terror against the West, their very success will destroy them.

If they succeed in terrorizing the West, they will discover that they have in fact only ended by brutalizing it. And if subjected to enough stress, the liberal system will be set aside and the Hobbesian world will return - and with its return, the Islamic world will be crushed. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. And the only way to avoid this horrendous end is to bring the Islamic world back to sanity sooner rather than latter.

Nothing but force can break them from their illusion. Not because there is something wrong with them as a race, but simply because they are acting like any other individual who has been permitted to live in a dream world - they continue to fantasize. And who can blame them? It is only brute fact that shakes any of us from the single most cherished of our illusions - the myth of our own grandeur and omnipotence. And this is as true of a culture as of an individual.

The motivations of those who want to murder us are not complicated: To watch an American city go up into a fireball is its own reward.

This is the lesson that 9/11 should teach us in dealing with the fantasists of the Islamic world. A fantasy does not need to make any sense - that is the whole point of having one.

if a nuclear device were to be detonated in downtown Chicago tomorrow, from an unknown source, could we really count on being able to find its "return address" if in fact it was the work of a "rogue" state?

Here we have the heart of our historical impasse, and the only way out of it is to cut the Gordian knot. And this is precisely what the current United States administration has elected to do, beginning with its post-9/11 declaration of the Bush doctrine which unapologetically asserts that states sponsoring terrorism are legitimate targets - the first of the basic, and vital, negations of the concept of national self-determination.

What the critics of this policy fail to see is the simple and obvious fact that if any social order is to achieve stability there must be, at the heart of it, a double standard governing the use of violence and force. There must be one agent who is permitted to use force against other agents who are not permitted to use force.

Our aim is simple. It is to make the Islamic fantasists respect the dictates of reality. If they wish to compete with us, if they wish even to be our enemies, we will accept that, as we accepted this situation with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. But they must be made to accept the basic rules of play - rules that are accepted by the rest of mankind, from the U.S. to Communist China.

And that is why, in order to achieve our end of heightening their grasp on reality, no means should be ruled out. We must be prepared to use force "unstintingly," as Woodrow Wilson declared on America's reluctant entry into World War I. On this count, we must have no illusions. Until they are willing to play by our rules, we must be prepared to play by theirs

His basic point is that we can no longer respect a nation just because it IS a nation. If we do we will just give safe havens to Muslim fantasists who hate us and who will harm us further if they can.

I personally think that with both the Taliban and Saddam out of the way ALL Muslim regimes will get the message loud and clear that they give safe haven to terrorists at their peril. It is notable how quiet Libya's once very radical Gaddafi became after Ronald Reagan bombed him. The big stick is the only thing some people understand.



A couple of days ago I reproduced an email that I had sent out to a lot of Leftists which makes a similar point to the Lee Harris article: The fate of the Taliban and Saddam as a warning. Only one Leftist replied at length and I excerpt below his two main points:

The difference now is that the US is clearly saying that what they think is more important than the UN. And that's the very catastrophe of this war. In democracy you may disagree with the majority, you have all the right to do so, but if you impose your will through force, that's not democracy anymore, and that's what the US has done in the UN. It's not a matter of opinion regarding the war, it is the core of any possibility of democracy among nations that has been destroyed.

From that perspective this war is telling the whole world: You must obey the US, specially if you have something important for us (like oil) if you don't do so, we may attack you one day.

Saying terrorism is the worse thing possible is just what people in well developed countries may say as they have a couple of accquaintances killed and are unable to see the silent massacres and suffering that the international order brings to poor countries.

Note the usual Leftist failure to come to grips with reality. It is the corrupt rulers of their own countries that keep the third world poor, not George Bush! And to view the collection of tinpot tyrants and undemocratic regimes that make up the U.N. as anything like a democratically elected world parliament is to substitute fantasy for fact. He does however get my basic point that this war is definitely a warning to others. But he thinks it is so nasty of us to give such a warning! He seems to think that we should WELCOME more 9/11 type events!



Michael Darby defends cosmetics from spurious Greenie claims that they are dangerous.

Chris Brand notes that new 500 page book from Harvard that attempts to explain low black IQs as the result of anything but heredity ends up admitting itself that it does not make a very convincing case!

In this article from my academic past, I reply to a claim that people who avoid AIDS victims are "authoritarian". I point out that the author concerned does not know how to measure authoritarianism in the first place.


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2 April, 2003


A reader writes:

This article (PDF format -- summary here) is a little long and the first half may be a little dry, but it provides a very comprehensive treatment of the Limits to Growth scare from the 1970s that has essentially underpinned "environmentalism" ever since.

Marxsen discusses many of the weaknesses of the model and, turning to the real world, argues that it may have become a "self fulfilling prophecy" for all the wrong reasons. Marxsen details how economic growth and prosperity are now being undermined by green tape. His conclusion packs a punch.

"....Environmental catastrophism has driven a massive expansion of the regulatory state, and environmental regulations may have proved sufficient to wipe out almost fully the U.S. multifactor productivity growth that comes from technological progress. Unfortunately, our now stunted productivity growth was theoretically all that stood between modern civilization and the inexorable decline and deterioration that population growth and natural-resource depletion themselves might theoretically bring about. Paradoxically, the otherwise dubious prophetic vision of The Limits to Growth remains potentially akin to a self-fulfilling prophecy, threatening to help usher in a slow-motion version of the very scenarios of collapsing modern society that its models portray..."

The Limits to Growth report was in many respects the brainchild of computer systems pioneer Jay Forrester and was based on his "systems dynamics" ideas which he ambitiously applied to everything from businesses and schools to cities and the whole planet. See here. It was published by the prestigous international think tank "The Club of Rome" founded in 1968 by FIAT industrialist Aurelio Peccei (a brief history is here) and in vulgarised fashion become the Bible of the growing environmentalist movement (even if like the Bible, most followers hadn't actually read it!).

Marxsen mentions some of the work of the late, great economist Mancur Olson. Olson is little known outside of the economics profession but he deserves a wider audience. This article on the sluggish economic performance of Japan and Germany discusses one of Olson's themes, how consensus among powerful vested interests harms national prosperity ("economic barnacles on the hull of society").

This author also mentions to Olson and provides a neat discussion of the popularly repeated myth that big corporations have economic power in excess of whole nations.

By the way here is a great site (in quality of content, if not presentation!) by Stanford computer scientist Jim McCarthy, a technological optimist who addresses dozens of doomsday scenarios.



A summary of the peaceniks from Wounded Blog:
They stand in the cold and their faces get red, they spend minutes creating these signs and they yell and scream and hold hands all without knowing anything about who Saddam Hussein is, without being able to see the simple logic of why a pre-emptive war makes the most sense.

Hello Bloggy uses the Arnett sacking as a starting point for a thoughtful discussion of how Leftist bias in the media works. He thinks the bias only works when it is subtle. That Arnett was immediately hired by a famous British Leftist rag shows, however, that journalists are safe with even far-Left views.

Always right has an excellent post on the latest court manouevring over affirmative action in university admissions. (Post of April 1st, permalinks not working)

This article from my academic past should not be too hard for the general reader to follow. In it, I put together all sorts of evidence to show that activist Leftists are people who are driven by narcissism to seek extreme power. Their "idealism" is simply the necessary cloak over their own lust for power. It is also suggested that they are basically intellectuals who lack creativity -- theologians rather than philosophers. And they cloak the shallowness and impracticality of their thinking by a constant reliance on lies and on denial of reality.

The Wicked one has what he thinks is an April fool's joke


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1 April, 2003


"The Muslims of Australia join with the many hundreds of thousands of Australians to condemn the illegal and immoral invasion by the world's most powerful nations against Iraq which stands no chance of defending itself and its people from the impending massacre."

This statement, issued in the name of Australia's Muslims, invokes racial and religious animosity of the most unrestrained form. It offers not a hint of criticism of Saddam Hussein, whose regime has murdered Muslims on an industrial scale for 30 years. It endorses the combustible allegation that the United States has embarked on a religious and race war against Islam, despite going to the aid of Muslims in recent wars in Bosnia, Albania and Kuwait.

More here. How America is hated for its success and its decency!



The silent endorsement of Saddam's war crimes by the fake peace movement is fortunately highlighted by the indiscreet George Monbiot. This Marxist academic not only accused the US of being a war criminal, meaning Bush, but also claimed that "The five soldiers dragged in front of the cameras this week should thank their lucky stars they are prisoners not of the American forces fighting for civilisation, but of the 'barbaric and inhuman' Iraqis"

A regime that beats and murders POWs, uses civilians as shields, fakes surrenders, beheads women, shreds opponents, shoots down protestors and shells refugee is not barbaric and inhuman according to Monbiot. I always tell people who are rightly outraged by the lying likes of Monbiot that we should nevertheless be grateful to them because they inadvertently tell us what the left is really thinking. And it ain't pretty.

From BrookesNews. Nothing has changed among the Left. They are as "humane" and as "compassionate" as they were in Stalin's days. What they support shows what sort of people they are.



Here is a story that would make any feminist not motivated by hate rejoice. I doubt that we will ever see it reproduced in any feminist source, however. Why? because it is the hated America that is fostering female equality. America is probably the most feminist large nation on earth but when does it ever get credit for that?



Fluffy-Wuffy sums up an Australian politician who allegedly represents a centrist political party. The alleged centrists are in fact Australia's most Leftist party. Excerpt:

Surreal simpleton Senator Andrew Bartlett doesn't like the idea of liberating Iraq, because "Australia is now diplomatically and militarily handcuffed to the United States. We will be unavoidably now part of Mr Bush's new world order."

Yeah, a world order that involves the removal of children-gassing, women-raping, dissenter-shredding brutes. Sounds like a damn fine thing to me.

In his further comments on Senator Bartlett, he continues to refer to the Senator, with some justice, as "Fartlet".



I referred yesterday to the anti-American hate-speech of a Columbia university professor. In his latest "War Room" newsletter, David Horowitz summarizes what the speech concerned shows:

The war in America's streets is not about "peace" or "more time for inspections." It is about which side should lose the war we are now in. The left has made crystal clear its desire that the loser should be us. For information about the newsletter plus access to older issues see here

A fool and her money are soon parted: Australian human shield Donna Mulhearn is expected home within two weeks after fleeing Baghdad, her relieved family has said. The group arrived in Jordan on Sunday night, after paying a driver the equivalent of $A1,250 to drive them out of Iraq - a trip which would normally cost less than $A16.71 on a bus.

Australia's major "Leftist" (Labor) party is normally pretty conservative but its leader, Simon Crean, has recently come out against the Iraq war. Result: SIMON Crean's approval rating has plummeted to a record low and Labor's support has slumped to a disastrous level

Michael Darby has an anguished cry from a white African about black inhumanity to blacks.

Chris Brand reports that, despite great efforts to be non-racist, British police are still locking up black youth at an enormous rate.

The Wicked one has a very funny story from India.

In this article from my academic past, I review an enormously silly book by one of the gurus of American "political science". The nitwit concerned is a TV pundit and author of a textbook widely used in American universities. The review was published in a major academic journal so if you want to see how a Leftist academic can easily be torn to pieces in good academic style, you might find this an interesting read.


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