DISSECTING LEFTISM -- ARCHIVES
Site Motto: Leftism is the frauds pandering to the ignorant

Dissecting Leftism is HERE. The blogroll is here. My Monograph on Leftism. My Home Page
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31 August 2003

HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE?

Dennis Prager makes a point about Left/Right differences that we often hear: "At the heart of liberalism is the naive belief that people are basically good. As a result of this belief, liberals rarely blame people for the evil they do. Instead, they blame economics, parents, capitalism, racism, and anything else that can let the individual off the hook"

The latest upload of one of my published academic articles here (or here) presents some survey evidence on that claim. It is undoubtedly true that Leftists do usually talk as if we can trust the innate goodness of humankind to make their do-gooder programs work out in practice but do they really believe it? Is a different view of man really basic to who is Leftist and who is Rightist?

Rather surprisingly, my survey showed no relationship at all between a cynical view of man and whether or not you are conservative. People in the community at large who were cynical about human motivations were just as likely to be Leftist as conservative. That does tend to suggest that the "trusting" view of man sometimes expressed by Leftists is just a ploy to help them win arguments -- not something that they really believe. Leftists as well as Rightists realize that man is basically selfish but only conservatives try to take realistic account of that in the policies they frame.

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ELSEWHERE

"To hear [Democrats] tell it, California will transmogrify into Alabama circa 1955-65, if Proposition 54, the Racial Privacy Initiative, is approved by the state's voters in October. The ballot measure [says]: 'The state shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color or national origin in the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment.' This sounds to this California voter like the 'colorblind society' that has been held out as ideal since a young Baptist preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. arrived in Montgomery, Ala., back in 1955 to lead a boycott of the city's segregated bus system."

Great news for Australia: "John Howard has put the kybosh on a carbon trading scheme designed to reduce greenhouse gases, after heeding industry's protest that it would drive investment offshore."

"Is the Arab world ready for democracy? National security adviser Condoleezza Rice says the Bush administration both seeks and expects to transform the Middle East into a democratic region. Although the goal is laudable, the administration will be disappointed with its effort to establish a stable democracy in any Arab nation home to a large Muslim population. That's the verdict rendered by history, the contemporary reality of the region, and our own government experts." I think I have to agree with that.

"Interested Participant" has an amusing post about the USA importing Canadian garbage.

Most of Australia is desert so there are always big cries for the government to spend taxpayer's money on irrigation. An economist explains some of the fallacies involved in that.

New tolerance movement needed? "Most people used to have the mindset that as long as you minded your own business and didn't steal, defraud or harm another human that you should be left alone. They may not have agreed with you about what charities you supported, or failed to support, but they would never use force to make you support their preferred charity... Let's keep in mind one thing though as we consider using the force of government to impose our morality upon all. Someone else may consider your peaceful lifestyle to be immoral and worthy of forceful government intervention ..."

"We once had great working-class neighborhoods in our cities. Most of them have been obliterated by forceful planning, and the current 'nanny' attitude is keeping them from naturally reoccurring. If we can reverse that attitude, the working poor can again have REAL neighborhoods. All that is required is the adoption of a hands-off attitude, allowing the market to develop by itself. That will probably require electing officials who are not determined to force any sort of 'revitalization' on others."

"The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a United Nations Environment Programme Convention, which bans or regulates industrial chemicals and pesticides..... The convention is already killing the poorest Africans by denying them chemicals like DDT. Furthermore, the treaty promotes the Precautionary Principle in international law. Its aim is to eliminate chemicals via a legally binding international agreement, but the entire treaty has very little scientific or moral legitimacy."

I recently passed on a post from a fellow blogger about the short life-expectancy among homosexuals. Seablogger has replied with a theory that homosexuals in committed relationships are much more likely to have a normal lifespan. I am still surprised that the much shorter homosexual lifespan is generally unknown. As a libertarian of course, I personally do not give two hoots about what homosexuals do with their own bodies -- as I have previously pointed out in my post of July 22nd.

New Australian blogger Alan Brain seems to be mainly a space exploration enthusiast but his post of 21st on agricultural protectionism gives it a well-deserved blast.

The Wicked one has a post about a battle that the Italians actually WON in World War II.

Amusing: I am now starting to get email advertising targeted at Jews. I am an Anglo-Celtic atheist with Presbyterian roots but I am as pro-Israel as a Zionist so that is one sort of spam that I take as a compliment. I think that the Israelis are the most heroic people in the world today.

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30 August, 2003

POLITICAL PARTIES AND CONSERVATISM: SOME SURPRISING HISTORY

In a modern democracy, any political party that aspires to win power through the ballot box has to be a centrist party. You have to do your best to offer something to everybody. That's how you get most votes. Winning over some of the other guy's voters is the name of the game. Being any kind of a purist just means you will be out of power and thus in no position to push ANY agenda.

An amusing result of this situation is that you sometimes have to go out of your way to do things that you do NOT believe in. For instance, Leftists have to show that they can control government spending or they will not get any conservative votes and conservatives have to support welfare measures of they will not get any left-leaning votes.

So we have the situation today when GWB got into power as a "caring" conservative and promptly tried to prove it by the sort of bone-headed policies that the Left advocate -- such as protecting inefficient steel producers at the cost of American consumers, supporting a potentially huge blowout in Medicare costs and turning a budget surplus into a deficit. Before we get too mad with GWB, however, it is worth noting that the same sort of thing has been going on for a long time -- as Jerry Frankel points out. If GWB's rhetoric is conservative and his policies socialist, it is also true that past Democrat Presidents have matched their interventionist rhetoric with substantial cutbacks in actual government intervention. Carter and Clinton did more deregulation than GWB has. They did it because America is a conservative country and to impress the American public they needed to do conservative deeds to counterbalance their Leftist rhetoric.

The same has happened in Australia where nominally socialist governments under Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating made enormous changes towards deregulation and privatization and in New Zealand it was the socialist Lange government that cut back welfare and freed up the economy.

And even in the late 19th century, Germany's Prince Otto von Bismarck, the man who created the world's first welfare State -- with old-age pensions and worker's compensation for injury etc. -- was a landowning traditionalist (Junker) who was otherwise a fierce opponent of the socialists of his day. And the great 19th century British conservative Prime Minister who gave Britain's Conservative Party its name (Disraeli) was also noted for bringing in measures to improve the lot of the industrial worker.

Britain's Tony Blair, however, seems to be the present-day politician who understands all this best. He is a Leftist leading a very Leftist party so understands that to get his Leftist policies widely accepted he has to talk conservative -- which he regularly does. And of course he puts some conservative policies into effect too -- such as his support for the Iraq war. He is probably such an effective centrist because he can genuinely see merit in all the policies he promotes.

But one thing that NOBODY seems to be able to do anything about is the constant growth of government spending -- as economic historian Randall Holcombe points out.

What we can therefore be glad of in the English-speaking countries of the modern world is WHERE the centre lies -- and that centre does include substantial respect for individual liberties and individual enterprise. Thus NO party can go too far at chipping away our liberties without risking loss of power. The English-speaking countries are conservative countries so regardless of who is in power, the individual will still have to be treated with substantial respect. But even in such countries the location of the centre is not totally fixed. Two great 20th century conservatives -- Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan -- moved it substantially to the Right and moving it further in that direction is our big hope for the future and the reason we have to keep the argument going. If we convince the people, the politicians will follow -- no matter what political party they belong to. That's democracy.

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ELSEWHERE

The anti-democratic judiciary again: "Only one in five Americans approve of the federal court order under which workers removed the Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of Alabama's state judicial building Wednesday, according to a new poll."

More abandonment of standards in the Left-dominated schools: "An independent panel appointed to look into why an alarming number of high school kids bombed out on the June Math A Regents Exam has found the statewide test was too hard. So the scores will be bumped up so that many of those who failed will get passing grades."

There is a rather fun post here about one of the fruitier candidates in the California Recall election.

Natural selection at work: Millions of hard-working Americans are migrating out of high-taxing Democrat-controlled States (such as California) into lower taxing American States -- and gaining huge advantages in purchasing power out of it. We saw a related process in my home State of Queensland some time back. A conservative Queensland government abolished death-duties (inheritance taxes) -- causing so many retirees to move to Queensland that all other Australian States had to abolish death-duties too.

Where are the monuments to communism's victims? There are many monuments to the victims of the National Socialist Hitler but both Stalin and Mao killed more people than Hitler did.

New site: ecoNOT is a newly launched site dedicated to the debunking of "environmentalism" (which its author defines as excluding normal "conservationism"). There is an associated blog here with some good entries on crime etc.

My latest academic upload here (or here) is a review of a book on racial attitudes by British and Indian social scientists which concludes: "The prejudice manifested by the majority of the population is an essentially normal process".

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29 August, 2003

A NEGLECTED PROBLEM OF HOMOSEXUALITY

Interested Participant notes that, despite cutbacks elsewhere, the University of Michigan can still offer a course that teaches initiation into homosexuality! Lots of people object to that, of course but Interested Participant mentions one big reason why they should object to encouragement of homsexuality: "the median age at death of male homosexuals is 40 compared to 75 for married men. For female homosexuals, median age at death is 45 compared to 79 for married women. The differences are explained by 1) very high homicide and suicide rates, 2) high death rates from motor vehicle accidents, and 3) high death rates from sexually transmitted diseases (especially AIDS)."

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MARTIN LUTHER KING'S "DREAM"

An acerbic and very accurate comment from Thomas Sowell: "There is nothing new about organizations and movements beginning with idealism and ending up as cynical rackets. Nevertheless, it was painful to listen to speakers who addressed a scattering of people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech. ... the speakers on the 40th anniversary of that occasion clearly rejected the idea of a color- blind society. These were no longer demands for equal treatment but for special benefits, based on the color of their skin. Speakers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson certainly can't afford to be judged by the content of their character."

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ELSEWHERE

Fun! One of my correspondents has noted the Berkeley claim that Stalin was conservative because he resisted change once he was in power. He comments: "Have you considered pointing out to the Leftist College Prof crowd that *they* are presently in power in the university?" And they certainly monopolize that power. So are THEY conservative? I am sure that they would really LOVE that suggestion!

Houston school officials appear to have put forth glowing data on students' college plans that bear small relation to the hard reality most students face. That Leftist teachers might put out false statistics that look like nothing so much as the percentage of votes that the leaders of Communist countries used to get at "election" time is hardly a coincidence. Leftists are so hooked on lies that they are not even clever about it.

Jeff Jacoby is having a bit of fun with the Leftists who cannot understand why U.S. crime keeps dropping. What a puzzle!! But, as he says: "[The] downward trend ... first appeared in the 1980s, not long after the nationwide crackdown on crime got underway. The dramatic drop in criminal activity followed an equally dramatic boom in prison construction and a sharp surge in incarceration rates. The conclusion is obvious: Stricter punishment has led to lower crime." Only a Leftist would find that puzzling.

I have referred to Galileo a couple of times recently. This reference covers some of the complexities of his relationship with the Church. Although his treatment was unjust, there was some sympathy for his views among the clergy.

For decades, "wind power" has been THE Greenie answer as an alternative to coal, oil and nuclear power. Now that technology is beginning to make wind-power look like a more viable proposition, however, the Greenies are saying that they do not want it because of its "visual pollution". When will people realize that the Greenies are just irrational wreckers whom NOTHING will satisfy?

"While most of official Washington was captivated with the fight on the Senate floor to pass an energy bill before Congress left town for its August vacation, a vicious campaign was under way behind the scenes to smear two leading scientists for pointing out serious flaws in the science behind the theory of human-caused climate change."

There has been a recent claim that birth-order determines whether or not you are conservative or liberal. The evidence on birth-order effects has always shown them to be very slight however. The big influence on political orientation is genetic. The twin studies show that your politics are even more strongly inherited than how tall you are. You are either born with the personality needs that make you a Leftist or you are not. That is why arguing with Leftists is generally so futile. Only aging makes them more conservative, usually.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again.

The Tugboat Potemkin has once again emitted a few angry sparks from its aging Leftist chimney in the form of a great huff over the fact that Andrew Bolt mentioned the psychiatric problems of a children's book author. Frankly, if I had a child that was being given books to read that were written by a mentally disturbed person, I would want to know about it. Impressionable minds and all that. The Tugboat may stand for censorship of relevant information in the name of political correctness but I think the right to know trumps that every time. As a libertarian, I am against ALL censorship.

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I look at attitudes to Aborigines (blacks) in Australia. The main finding was that no one type of person was much more likely to be critical of blacks than any other. There was however a 5% overlap between conservative voting and attitude to blacks. This means that nearly as many Leftists as Rightists were critical of blacks. Since Australian blacks are a pretty sorry lot by most objective criteria, the slight preponderance of conservatives among their critics probably reflects greater conservative realism.

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28 August, 2003

"FRONT PAGE" ARTICLE UP

I had five articles published in "Front Page Magazine" last year (here, here, here, here and here) but I have been a bit lazy this year. But my first article for this year has now appeared. It is here. It deals with the Berkeley nonsense about the psychology of conservatism. "Front Page" seems to have nearly a million readers these days so out of that I am hopeful of getting a few more regular readers of this blog.

I have given the links to other posts on this blog about the Berkeley nonsense a little further down this page.

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LESSONS FROM VIETNAM FOR IRAQ?

The Left are always telling us that we should have learned from Vietnam to stay out of Iraq. This military writer has a rather different view. Some excerpts:

Iraq is no Vietnam, but there is a lesson from Vietnam that our commanders in Iraq will ignore at their peril: To win, we must think and act differently than our training and military education prepare us to do.

During the Vietnam War, some of the fiercest fighters the war ever saw were soldiers who were known as combat bums and as troops who had gone native.

What they had in common was an obsession with winning, even at the cost of career advancement within the U.S. military.

they began to adopt the lifestyle of the locals in Saigon and elsewhere, and they began to think "out of the box." Ultimately what emerged was an extremely unique style of counterinsurgency warfare - one that may save us both in Iraq and in our current war against terrorism.

It is worth our while today to learn from the Vietnam-era "combat bums" who went native to fight their war. Of all the combat bums, few left us a more worthwhile legacy than John Paul Vann, who fought in Vietnam first in uniform and then later returned to Vietnam as a civilian advisor.

Typically the counterinsurgency leader leaves the familiarity and safety of U.S. institutions and begins to live among the local population - the same people who are recruited by an adversary such as Osama bin Laden and the like. Sometimes this type of mission will include overseeing civilian projects that will improve the lives of the locals. But in all cases, the leader cuts as many ties as possible with the U.S. government and, by primarily relying on his intuition, learns to move among the people like "a fish through water."

A successful counterinsurgent will begin to build trust with the local population...

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ELSEWHERE

Yawn! "Yasser Arafat on Wednesday asked militant groups to halt attacks on Israelis". He has done so many times before. The Palestinians know he has his fingers crossed (or should that be "crescented"?) when he says such things.

The Australian foreign minister has given the churches a well-deserved blast for politicking instead of concentrating on pastoral matters. He particularly referred to the obnoxious behaviour of the Anglican Primate of Australia, who "had blamed the Bali bomb attack on Australia's close alliance with the US."

Good to see that Australia has succeeded after a long chase in arresting another ship poaching in its fisheries. Because we manage our fisheries in a responsible way, there are always pirates from other nations trying to steal the fish that we protect.

Ordinary Americans have still got what it takes: "According to a recent poll for the Associated Press, nearly three out of four Americans favor manned spaceflight"

More Canadian absurdity: Canadians are now not allowed to smile for their passport photos.

The second part of this article is most amusing. Leftists are always saying that governments are in the pockets of "the multinationals". It seems however that the labor unions have sold their souls to Coca Cola! The first part of the article is good too: Having a laugh at the Europeans who condemn Americans as warmongers and then want America to intervene in Liberia and such places.

Hooray! Blimps are back. I have always thought that it was irrational that the crash of the Hindenburg discredited airships. Far more people die in modern airliner crashes.

The Wicked one has some more jokes up: An Irish joke, a New Zealand joke and a Schwarzenegger joke.

I have a post on PC Watch about FAT!

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I look at who gets heart disease. Lots of things lead to heart disease but the type of personality you are is one of them. I show that dominant, aggressive people are at higher risk but that being ambitious or always rushing about frantically are not dangerous at all.

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27 August, 2003

THE BERKELEY NONSENSE ABOUT THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CONSERVATISM

Below are posts on this blog over the last month that give more details of how dishonest and distorted the study by Jost et al. was:

The research that the Berkeley group ignored

Their ignorance of history

Conservatives are happy, not angry and fearful

They are seeing their own faults in conservatives

Their way of measuring "dogmatism" is self-contradictory

Another strange belief by one of the Berkeley authors

The folly of using students as your source of information

There is no such thing as a general tendency towards intolerance of ambiguity

Their "Right Wing Authoritarianism" questionnaire is in fact agreed to by lots of Leftists too.

There is no such thing as a general tendency to accept any authority. It depends on the authority.

There was no such thing as a single Nazi "type" and the Berkeley group did not study real Nazis in any case.

The Berkeley theory was in fact borrowed from the Nazis.

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SMOKING AND LIBERTARIANISM

The Rev. Brian of American Realpolitik runs a great site for humour which I enjoy visiting. He is a serious humorist (!), however, so I was pleased to get his response to my post on the Bloomberg anti-smoking laws. He writes:

Actually John, the problem with the Bloomberg policies is that people aren't really allowed to segregate. A true libertarian solution would be to let it up to the business to decide. Smokers would gravitate to places where they were welcome, and non-smokers would gravitate to places that catered to them.

Bloomberg has simply banned smoking in publicly accessible buildings. If a bar or restaurant wanted to offer a well-ventilated smoking section they would not be allowed to.

I agree entirely that banning the provision of areas set aside for smokers is unacceptably authoritarian and totally unnecessary. But I have lived through too many years of smokers polluting up all public places to agree that controlling their incursions on other people's liberties can be left to voluntarism.

Sam Ward also has an interesting comment on the issue.

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EDUCATED ARROGANCE

Bernhardt Varenius of Anti-Socialist Tendencies has drawn my attention to this article. I have yet to find an article written by a Leftist that I find worth fisking but this one tempts me. There is so much about it that is wrong-headed and self-congratulatory. I hope one of my fellow bloggers does a real job on it. I will content myself with taking up his initial point about Leftists being more likely to be highly educated. He thinks that shows that conservatives are stupid. He is right that there is a tendency for Leftists to have more formal education but he fails to ask WHY that connection exists. It would not be because of the heavy Leftist indoctrination that people almost always get in the universities and colleges these days would it?

But WHY are university and college teachers so Leftist? Too easy! They know that they are smart so therefore think that they should be the ones running everything. So they HATE it that people want to run their own lives! And that's what makes a Leftist. We know what's good for you is the Leftist credo.

OK. There is one more point that I cannot resist fisking: He says that conservatives were the ones way back who supported the flat earth theory. How he knows that he does not say. What I CAN tell him was that the people who most vigorously resisted Galileo and his ilk were the clergy of the day. And who were the highly educated people at that time? The clergy! So much for the wisdom gained from a higher education!

Parting shot: And it's not so long ago that the leading intellectuals of both Britain and America were supporting Hitler's eugenic ideas. Such wisdom!

Reference:
Pickens, D. (1968) Eugenics and the Progressives. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press

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ELSEWHERE

I commented recently on the absurd intrusiveness of the Federal Boxing Administration proposed for the USA. I am afraid Australia looks even more infatuated with government intervention. The State government of Western Australia is well on the way to setting up a Department of Fashion! (PDF). As one of our newspaper columnists commented yesterday (no longer online): "Not that juvenile crime, hospital waiting lists or crowded classrooms should take priority."

I have said very little about Iraq's "missing" WMDs because I see it as irrelevant. We went to war because Iraq gave strong indications of having them and that was a good piece of conservative caution. Those who wanted to trust Saddam were the incredible ones. For those who think the issue does now matter, however, a member of Australia's major Leftist party has written a good short refutation of the whiners here.

Crime Keeps Falling: "Violent and property crimes dipped in 2002 to their lowest levels since records started being compiled 30 years ago, and have dropped more than 50 percent in the past decade, the Justice Department reported" Tougher policing and sentencing deserves SOME of the credit for that but so does the private sector. Bruce Benson explains.

Sensible: "Prime Minister John Howard has stepped up his campaign to keep older workers in the job market by asking for reform plans from a panel of top business advisers."

A worry for New Zealanders!: A GHANAIAN man was jailed for two years for having sex with a sheep. (via Chris Brand) For my U.S. readers: The relationship between New Zealanders and their sheep is an old joke in this part of the world.

Arlene Peck is pretty scathing about the masculinity of Arab men. Her last sentence is amusing.

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I report a survey of what jail terms people in the community see as appropriate for various crimes. Needless to say, I found that people generally wanted sentences that were many times longer than what the courts actually hand out. I concluded that the judiciary is a major antidemocratic force in the community.

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26 August, 2003

"RIGHT TO SMOKE" NONSENSE

A lot of libertarians seem to get their knickers in a knot over the ban on most smoking in public by New York Mayor Bloomberg. They seem to think that the policy violates some "right" to smoke. But if person X has a "right" to smoke, then person Y has a "right" to breathe clean air. But the two "rights" are obviously in conflict. The only way to give the maximum freedom to both parties is then to segregate them -- which is what Bloomberg is doing -- perfectly libertarian in my view. Smokers see it all as unfair only because (being addicts) they are so used to trampling over the liberties of non-smokers who would like to breathe unpolluted air.

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GREENIE WATCH

"It has long been clear that the anti-sprawl movement is anti- minority. That racism is not purposeful or mindful on their part, but rather naive and mindless. Like the socialist planners who thought they could do better than the market, but wound up impoverishing millions, these anti-economists would prefer to restrict land use without raising prices. But it is an unavoidable fact that whatever is made more scarce costs more ..."

"Myths and lies spread by the green movement about the consequences of genetic modification (GM) are preventing the use of new crops that could alleviate third-world famine, an international conference has been told in Melbourne. "Genetic engineering has been turned into this Frankenstein technology and a lot of it is due to ignorance," last year's Nobel Prize winner, South African scientist Professor Sydney Brenner told the conference. Kenyan scientist Dr Florence Wambagu said anti-GM campaigners "play around with the anxiety of the public and make them more anxious with myths and lies". Wambagu said poverty, and not development or genetic modification, were causing the loss of bio-diversity in Africa and the continent faced a food deficit without new technologies." More here

This review of a history of the last 200 years by Mokyr points out how technological innovation is the main influence that has been responsible for our enormous material progress in that time and foresees further huge advances if the political system does not stifle it -- a very real possibility given the influence of the anti-progress Greens and the power of vested interests that would tend to lose out by people being given more choices.

The Bush administration has decided to allow thousands of the nation's coal-fired power plants to upgrade their facilities without installing costly anti-pollution equipment, as they now must do. Industry and EPA officials said recently that the new rule would encourage plant improvements, provide greater regulatory certainty and reduce dangerous emissions. The decision will save billions for consumers and encourage the badly need installation of new capacity. Needless to say, the Greenies and the Democrats are against it.

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ELSEWHERE

The ever-meddlesome U.S. Congress is now in the process of setting up a Federal Boxing Administration! As Forbes says: "With all the big problems facing the nation these days-- like a power grid that has trouble delivering power-- you might think that politicians in Washington would be focusing on basic issues."

Sheer insanity: "Military involvement by the United States and its NATO allies may be necessary to create stability between Israel and the Palestinians, a key senator has said in the US." Now THAT really would be a quagmire!

French tax cuts! "French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin will this week announce tax cuts to revive an economy that is nearing recession... With unemployment at a 3-year high and gross domestic product down 0.3 per cent in the second quarter, Raffarin is under pressure to lower taxes further to boost consumer spending. The government reduced income taxes by 5 per cent in 2002 and 1 per cent this year."

Sieg Hillary? "Until Herschel's discovery of Uranus in 1781, it was considered a matter of certainty that there were six planets. But the fact that everyone knew this to be true did not make it so. In like manner, college students and other insufferable connoisseurs of all human wisdom "know" that the historical Nazi Party epitomizes the extreme right-wing.... These supposedly right-wing extremists were calling for national health care, social security, state-run schools, communal land development and centralized government control.

Apostate Ibn Warraq campaigns for the right not to be a Muslim: "But what has been virtually ignored is that there are Muslims, both in the Muslim world and outside it, who want nothing to do with Islam, moderate or otherwise. Most keep their feelings to themselves. Those Muslims who disown or even criticize their faith publicly are likely to be accused of apostasy, a crime punishable by death under Islamic law."

"Every week we read that something we believe is bad for us actually has beneficial health effects. One week it's coffee, the next is pizza -- and every other day it's red wine. But can these stories really be true? That depends how you interpret the facts."

The Wicked one says that interlinked electricity grids are more efficient and provide cheaper power but that more interlinking may nonetheless be quite reasonably opposed.

In my latest academic upload -- of an article published over 20 years ago -- here (or here) I discreetly mock the conceptual confusion of my fellow psychologists when they talk about authoritarianism, dominance and assertiveness. I tried to get them to think more clearly and rigorously but it was a losing battle from the start.

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25 August, 2003

THE AUSTRALIAN SUCCESS-STORY

Under conservative (market oriented) management from both major political parties, the Australian economy has been one of the world's big economic success stories in the last 10 years -- averaging 4% growth year after year despite world upheavals. How come? A recent economics research paper found 3 main reasons:

"Strengthening competition from domestic and overseas sources; Opening the economy to trade, investment, technologies and know-how developed overseas; By providing greater flexibility (for example, less regulatory restriction and a more flexible labour market) to adjust production processes and firm organisation."

Classic free-marketeer recommendations, in other words -- in plain English: Cutting government protection for local industries, allowing in that dreaded foreign investment, reducing government regulation and not letting the unions rule.

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AN INTERESTING COMPARISON

Japan has a population of over 120 million. Australia has a population of about 20 million. So .....

Japan's asylum seeker policy: "In 2002, some 250 foreigners applied for asylum in Japan. Fourteen, or six percent, were recognized as refugees, and several dozen more were given the right to stay, but not awarded refugee status. The government is considering allowing foreigners to apply for asylum up to six months after arrival (the current limit is 60 days after arrival); however, they would receive only temporary protected status in Japan."

The Australian program in comparison: "On 7 May 2002, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs announced that the overall size of the 2002-03 Humanitarian Program would remain at 12,000 new places, the same number as in 2001-02."

What racists we Australians are!

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AILING GERMANY

The failure of the "social market" economy: Wilhelm Roepke is often credited as the theoretical architect of Germany's postwar economic 'miracle.' Few know that he was actually quite critical of Germany's attempt to fuse a huge welfare State with a free market economy. He thought that the system would fail in the long run. The present big economic problems in Germany suggest that he was right.

Newspapers in Germany have just listed things people on state benefits can get free. They include football boots, Jogging suits, swimming trunks, bras, slippers, wedding rings -- and Viagra. (According to the Brisbane Sunday Mail of August 24, 2003, p. 57). No wonder Germany has 11% unemployment. Why work?

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ELSEWHERE

Another great column from Andrew Bolt: "IF you want to wipe the smile off your child's face, make the poor thing read the books that last weekend won the Children's Book Council awards. It's true this year's winners at least aren't as horrific as the books of huge-selling John Marsden... Marsden, who had psychiatric care at 19, has written a score of novels that seem to confront his child readers with his personal demons, yet for some sick reason are critically praised instead of getting the treatment they deserve -- deep burial at the local tip."

Justice at last! "Defrocked priest John Geoghan, a central figure in the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal, was killed on Saturday by a fellow-inmate in the prison where he was serving a sentence for child rape"

Arlene Peck thinks that the Palestinians have the IQ of eggplants and that it is impossible to negotiate with them. I think that everything that has happened over there in the last few years justifies that conclusion.

My top post yesterday noted that the Australian middle-class has moved Leftward over the years. In response, Gerry Jackson of Brookes News emailed me: "For what it's worth, it seems to me that what moved our middle class to the left was the spread of tertiary education, which in many cases is nothing less than leftwing indocrination. Listening to some graduates as they try to talk about economics, history or politics drives me to distraction and makes me realise just how far standards have fallen in some of our faculties."

Great! American universities are cutting back on the number of classes they offer. Hopefully that will discourage some students from wasting their time with the so-called education that such universities offer. With the exception of economics, the Humanities and Social Sciences have become so unscholarly that scrapping ALL of their courses would be of net benefit to the world.

The Devil's Christianity: "With the upcoming execution of Paul Hill -- who killed an abortion doctor and a clinic escort -- abortion providers and police are grimly aware that clinics could be the target of further violence and are on higher alert than usual. While facilities that provide abortions say they face threats all the time and already have a number of security measures in place, some abortion rights activists are worried about swirling threats from anti-abortion extremists. Police also are on alert. ... State and federal authorities continued an investigation Friday into four letters sent this week to three state officials and a judge warning about the impending execution and threatening the officials.

The Wicked one highlights the enormously wasteful and neglectful way the U.S. Government uses its taxpayer-funded assets.

My latest academic upload here (or here) looks at attitude to shoplifting among Australians. It finds that Australian skepticism about authority does NOT extend to being permissive about crime.

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24 August, 2003

CONSERVATIVE STRENGTHS

There are reviews here and here of an interesting new history of Australian politics that points out how the middle class have tended over the years to move from conservative to Leftist and that conservative politics now has gained great strength from the working class. I think much the same is true in the USA.

It does remind me of the man who gave the British Conservative Party its name back in the 19th century -- Benjamin Disraeli. He too saw the working class as "angels in marble" (i.e. potential voters) for the Conservatives. And he did something about it by championing working-class causes too.

Another point I liked was that the conservatives in Australia have always stood for the nation as a whole rather than looking after sectional interests. That is extremely relevant today with the identity politics now being so heavily fostered by the Left. Now that they have lost a lot of their old labor union supporters, the Left have tried to make themselves patrons of homosexuals, blacks, immigrants and anyone else they can portray as "victims". So the old Leftist disregard for the best interests of the whole persists.

Another good bit of history concerns Alfred Deakin, one of Australia's founding conservatives (note that the major conservative party in Australia is called the Liberal Party):

Deakin's historic 1909 decision to accept a fusion of the non-Labor parties (Deakin's Liberals and George Reid's Free Traders) was not primarily driven by class conflict but by Deakin's view of political freedom and his repudiation of Labor's collective control of its MPs. For Deakin this was a violation of what defines a man: "his judgment and his conscience". As a result, Liberal politics rested in individual freedom, not organised economic interests.


Not much has changed.

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GEOFFREY BLAINEY

Rafe Champion has a discussion here about noted Australian conservative historian Geoffrey Blainey which points out that Blainey had to spend most of his working life outside academe. Only now after many years are the universities beginning to give him the hearing he deserves. Rafe has this pungent comment about Blainey's opponents:

"As for the Marxists and other labour historians who are upset that Blainey became a fellow traveller with the [conservative] H R Nicholls Society! They need to understand that the real exploiters of the poor and the weak over the last two centuries have not been the factory owners or the capitalist system but the better paid and more organised members of the trade union movement, using the threat of violence on the picket line (and beyond) to maintain their own benefits at the expense of everyone else.


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ELSEWHERE

Hernando de Soto from Peru argues that the creation and enforcement of clear private property rights is the first step in alleviating Third World poverty

A former East Timorese resistance leader defends the various U.S. military interventions of recent years and mocks "peace" campaigners by asking how any decent person would like what would probably have happened otherwise

Another example of leftist compassion at work? Foundling homes were the most heavily used form of public charity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.... Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the man whose writings to this day underpin much Leftist thinking about the innate "goodness" of man, consigned all five of his offspring to foundling homes. He tried to find them later, but couldn't.

This article shows how irrational is the Left's hatred of GWB by pointing out that he is in fact a moderate centrist in most things.

This Canadian says that the Greens are always telling us how much we need nature but he thinks that even nature can be improved upon by human imitations. Given Canada's climate, I sympathize.

Did anyone say Italians are not practical? "An Italian mayor has assumed the civic responsibility of sponsoring his town folk's access to the anti-impotence drug Viagra. The mayor of the northern town of Varallo, Gianluca Buonanno, persuaded town councillors that in the interests of citizens' sexual health they should give up some of their perks to cover the cost of supplying the renowned erection pill."

Chris Brand has been posting up a storm lately -- in his usual provocative style -- so I have transferred his latest posts here for convenience.

The Wicked one thinks that even some conservative writers use criticism of the neocons as a covert way of saying "Blame the Jews!"

I have just put up here a brief discussion of the question: "Are all Leftists the same?"

I have put up two different academic postings today. Both are too technical to be of general interest but both thoroughly undermine large swathes of political psychology research and writing. See here and here. Not that anybody took any notice, of course. As a non-science, psychology is immune to disproof of its claims.

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23 August, 2003

FROM BROOKES NEWS

How Mexican immigrants are driving down US wage rates. The verdict is in. Unrestricted immigrations reduces real wages rates and lowers general living standards, according to a study by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. Not that there is anything new here.
Is Beijing successfully sabotaging the US economy? Representatives of American industry claim that China is undercutting US manufacturing by manipulating the exchange rate. Is it true?
Are ideas dead? It has been said that ideas have consequences. But it is also the lack of ideas that is having consequences. Until the ideas of the anti-capitalists are challenged with rebuttals grounded in ideas and not empty insults, and are complemented with positive arguments for the free market, the left will always have the advantage.
Australian journalist maligns Reagan's record. The malice of the left is boundless. In her vicious attack on Prime Minister Howard ("The sad times do suit him; he made them", Sydney Morning Herald 18/8/03) Anne Summers took a vindictive swipe at the Reagan presidency.
Hillary Clinton's crime record. Hillary Clinton's viciously dishonest attack on Bush regarding the recent power failure is another demonstration of her brutal contempt for the truth. Whichever way one looks at her record, no honest person cannot help but be appalled.
China's little emperors: another tragedy in the making? China is still paying a heavy price because of the old men who imposed on a magnificent culture the tyrannical ideas of a disgruntled Western intellectual who couldn't cut it in his own society, even when left a healthy inheritance.
Senate Dems exposed the rotten heart of the Party. Watching hardcore Democrats trying to tear down Bush by whatever means possible, even at the expense of encouraging our enemies to attack US troops makes one realize how morally depraved their party has become.

Details here

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ELSEWHERE

There is an article here that outlines vividly the depravity of Arab terrorism against Israel. It should also make clear for once and for all that Reuters is a pro-terrorist organization.

The Independent Review is a good site for anybody with an interest in practical economics. Their article on Ireland is an interesting one but it is in that accursed PDF format so I have posted some extracts here. The economic progress of Ireland has been amazing over the last 20 years. The main driver has been a continuing program of tax cuts that make the Reagan tax cuts look trifling but the article points out other important free-market reforms as well.

Who said this? "America? I love America. I am on whatever side America is on, even before I know what it is." The Prime Minister of Italy! Very refreshing in this miserable jealousy-filled world.

I must try Danish pizza one day: "A court in Denmark has upheld a sentence against a Danish pizzeria owner who had refused to serve French and German tourists because their governments opposed the US-led war in Iraq. Denmark's Western High Court upheld a lower court ruling issued two months ago that ordered Aage Bjerre to pay a 500 fine or serve an eight-day prison sentence. 'I will not pay the fine, but I'll do the time instead,' Bjerre said. 'It's a matter of principle.'"

Under the title "The Ecological Gospel", this article spells out in detail how strong are the parallels between Environmentalism and fundamentalist Christianity

"Paul Krugman began his Tuesday column for the New York Times -- inevitably, about the blackout -- with one of the few truthful statements I can ever recall him uttering: 'We still don't know what started the chain reaction on Thursday.' But after that admission, he proceeded to spend the next 649 words of his column telling us exactly what caused the blackout. Can you guess? ... I knew the Department of Homeland Potholes was facing a funding crisis, but I never realized that 'tax breaks for the rich' caused the blackout!"

Planning the electricity supply: "Central economic planning was discredited in the old Soviet Union and every other country that attempted it. What the great economist Ludwig von Mises showed in theory in the 1920s was then demonstrated in practice in subsequent decades: central economic planning is impossible."

An expert on trends among American youth says that more and more of them are becoming conservative.

Philosopher Mary Midgley warns against trusting big ideas -- a classic conservative view: "Beware big ideas. They may beguile by seeming to explain a whole bunch of stuff from a single, simple standpoint. But they will mislead you in the end, and make it harder, not easier, to understand what is really important."

"What is the answer to this crisis in education? One of the answers is tougher standards, such as those imposed by NCLBA, with credible consequences to back those standards up. But this is merely a first step. A more important and far-reaching response would be to initiate comprehensive parental choice in education."

The Wicked one thinks that Christian moralists need more Christian humility.

I have a post on PC Watch about the latest bout of insanity in the Australian courts.

My latest academic upload here (or here) looks at the common Leftist claim that patriotism is allied to racism. In a British general population sample I found that there was no connection. I also found no correlation between basic conservative attitudes and attitude to blacks -- though Conservative voters were slightly more likely than others to be anti-black.

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22 August, 2003

DO CHRISTIANS "JUST KNOW"?

I expected that my new formula at the head of this page ("Leftists just KNOW... ") would soon attract a "What about the Christians?" response and Randian blogger Chip Gibbons has obliged.

I do of course have great respect for Ayn Rand and her followers so I will be a little bit kinder than I would have been if a Leftist had challenged my formula. Even so, I have to say that it shows very little knowledge of Christians to think that they "just know" the truth of their beliefs. I am an atheist myself (in good Randian fashion) but I have yet to meet a Christian who had not thought long and hard about his/her beliefs. Christians normally think that there is COMPELLING evidence for the existence of a God and all the other reasoning that flows from that. I personally think that they are mistaken but to say that they do not weigh the evidence either way with great care is just plain wrong.

Leftists on the other hand just ignore any evidence that does not suit them. They just know that the rest of the world is stupid and that they have the answers. It is what the ancient Greeks called "hubris"

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IMMIGRATION CONTROL

Immigration control is often portrayed by the extreme end of the Australian Left as supported only by ignorant xenophobes -- though the major Leftist (Labor) party in Australia heartily supports such controls. A reader comments:

"Modern folklore has it that the advocates and administrators of the 'White Australia Policy' were all narrow minded xenophobes. The usual 'example' repeated over and over in the literature and on the web is the former post-war Labor Party immigration minister Arthur Calwell who is quoted as opposing Asian immigration in 1952 with the quip "two Wongs don't make a white." Calwell did say that, but he was also a Mandarin speaker, closely associated with Melbourne's Chinese community and pioneered the postwar immigration policy lauded by the multiculturalists. His policy was picked up and followed by the succeeding Menzies government. And when a motion to drop the White Australia policy was actually put to the vote at Labor's policy conference, it was seconded by Calwell . Few of today's politically correct multiculturalists can speak any non-English language."

This article states the libertarian position on immigration in a fairly reasonable way. Libertarians are generally the only people in politics who oppose all immigration controls. There is however a lot of disagreement among libertarians on many issues and in this case I like the householder analogy: Shouldn't a home-owner be free to decide whom he will have in his own house? Every libertarian and conservative would say "Yes" in answer to that. So why should not nations be free to decide whom they will allow into their country? As it happens, I am a fairly hospitable soul and I both have Asians living in my house and am glad that we have so many Asians living in Australia generally. But I am also glad that I have the right to say "No" when I wish and I am glad that the government of my country has also said a very effective "No" to a lot of middle-Eastern Muslim "refugees" who tried to force their way in here.

Although Australia's conservative government has taken a strong and very effective line against illegal immigration, that does not mean that it is xenophobic. In fact overall immigration to Australia has grown greatly under the present government.

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ELSEWHERE

Even though he does not go along with the Christian morals campaigners, it looks like big Arnie might be a good conservative after all. He has just called for a constitutional cap on state spending and made clear his distaste for new taxes. I think he may simply be a modern conservative. Being a Christian moralist in California these days would not be so much conservative as backwoodsy. As a libertarian I don't support Christian attempts to impose Christian values on non-Christians either -- any more than I support Muslim attempts to impose Muslim values on non-Muslims.

One of my U.S. readers informs me that: "The term "wowser" is old American slang for busybodies from the early and mid 20th century, featured heavily in such writers as H.L. Mencken and Walter Lippman." In Australia it is said to have originated as the acronym of a prohibition campaign that called itself: "We Only Want Social Evils Removed"

Father Mike Walsh of the Maryknoll Catholic missionary organization is an old China hand and he is therefore well aware of how Hong Kong Chinese tend to look down on mainland Chinese. Hong Kongers have also been much interested in the Pauline Hanson case in Australia, where Hanson -- Australia's most outspoken opponent of Asian immigration -- was recently jailed. Australia has heaps of ex-Hong Kongers living here so Hanson is a bit of a devil to them. Father Walsh has advised me with some amusement therefore that the following two headlines recently appeared one after the other in the (Hong Kong) South China Morning Post: "Pauline Hanson jailed for three years by Australian court" and "Survey: people concerned about influx of mainland tourists". As Father Walsh commented: It depends on whose ox is gored.

There is a good attempt here by a Leftist (the head of the British charity Oxfam) to sell the World Trade Organization to fellow Leftists: A worthy effort to put free-trade rationality into Leftist language. He manages to portray the USA as a villain in the matter but he has to do that to get his fellow Leftists to listen -- sadly.

I have just blogrolled this "funny but serious" site. If you read it you will see why it would be nice if lots of other people permanently linked to it as well -- to push it up the Google rankings and thus help prevent people being misled.

Rocket Man has a good post about the inadequacy of describing politics as a simple Right/Left divide and looks at the alternative two-dimensional description of politics that is popular among libertarians. He points out that the placement of Hitler on the Right is alone enough to make the two-dimensional description problematical. I have pointed out long ago that, pesky though it may be, the survey data do reveal only a single Left/Right dimension in most people's political attitudes.

The Wicked one has some rather pointed comments about the role of hip-hop music in black culture.

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21 August, 2003

"WOWSERS"

"Wowser" is another piece of untranslatable Australian slang. Its nearest translation into standard English is probably "killjoy" but that does not fully convey the air of self-righteousness that the wowser always has. Australian columnist Miranda Devine has some good comments on the wowsers in Australia today. Wowsers used to be religious people who wanted to stop people drinking, dancing and watching sport on Sundays but no more. Excerpt:

Now that the churches are empty and their moral restraints cast aside, today's wowsers have had to find fresh fun to eradicate, like alcohol, cigarettes, Big Macs, vanilla Coke, cars and air-conditioning.

The neo-wowsers are obsessed with health and eco-concerns in just as mean and censorious a way as their forebears were fixated on sex and nudity. They are on a sacred mission to save the decadent self-indulgent masses from destroying themselves with Krispy Kreme doughnuts and global warming. They seize every opportunity to wag a finger and tut a tongue at people's remaining pleasures.

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THE REAL MARRIAGE ISSUES

A reader has been inspired to deeper thoughts by the current controversy over homosexual "marriage". He writes:

"I have been thinking about this contract marriage argument. My guess is that any move towards it would be opposed mainly by Christian churches and the feminists. Both groups would be keen to impose their viewpoint on everyone. The Christians I can have some sympathy with, but I think that C.S. Lewis's argument is the answer to their objections. Also I'd wager that privately negotiated marriage contracts may indeed be tougher than our current system of legal roulette.

The feminists probably would be happy to weaken the traditional institution, based on their misguided view that marriage is inherently anti-woman. My guess is that they would then seek to interfere in privately negotiated marriage contracts too, just as they have with state sanctioned marriage, perhaps under the banner of 'consumer protection'.

Wendy McElroy argues that liberal and feminist intervention has undermined traditional marriage, leading to a "marriage strike" by men. The unintended consequences of these apparently well meaning changes have landed heavily on women and, even more so on children. In fact the growing trend to single parent families is probably the major cause of poverty in western capitalist societies. William F Buckley says: "..We know that the composite impact of single-parent homes on children is huge. The poverty rate in single-parent homes is 400 percent of that for two-parent homes. Among long-term prison inmates, 70 percent grew up without a father in residence. There are comparable figures for illiteracy and drug use." Buckley, writes from the perspective of a conservative defender of traditional marriage.

Another concern: Martin Daly and Margot Wilson, are evolutionary psychologists. Their work has highlighted the risks to children of being raised by people other than their biological parents. This 'socio-biological' issue lies at the heart of many media grabbing stories of institutional child abuse, the "stolen generation" etc. In their "THE EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY OF HOMICIDE" (PDF), they report: "...studies in Canada, Britain and the United States indicate that (for step children) their risk of being fatally abused is on the order of 50 to 100 times higher than risk at the hands of a genetic parent. Having a stepparent has turned out to be the single most powerful predictor of severe child maltreatment yet discovered."

There are certainly more important issues at stake here than whether or not homosexuals can get State-recognized weddings."

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ELSEWHERE

Irrigation of the land with seawater desalinated by fusion power is ancient. It's called 'rain'. -- Michael McClary

The multicultural extremists of the Australian Left have just had a big victory. Australia's most prominent critic of multicultual fantasies has just been jailed for 3 years over a technicality in the way she organized the funding for her political party. There was a technical breach but if her views had not made her so many powerful enemies it would never even have been prosecuted.

This is just amazing. "Farm insurance". What other business can get the government to insure it against failure? As economists often say: All the world loves a farmer and hates a landlord. Both are of course irrational.

Home-grown terrorism: "A top San Francisco chef has become the target of radical animal rights activists in a series of attacks that police are calling domestic terrorism. Aqua chef Laurent Manrique has been the victim of vandals who spray-painted his home and splashed his car with acid, and he has received threatening letters and videotapes. It's part of what police say may be a national campaign aimed at those who produce a signature ingredient of French haute cuisine -- foie gras -- and the chefs who use it."

The Carnival of the Vanities is up again. 76 posts!

Arlene Peck asks why GWB keeps putting extra demands on Israel while the Arabs do nothing.

The Wicked one has a good lawyer joke and knows why GWB supports a lot of socialist policies.

My latest academic upload here (or here) looks at the causes of heart disease and who is most prone to it. It is the first of several articles that debunk the theory that "A-type" personalities are prone to heart disease.

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20 August, 2003

CONSPIRACY MANIA

A reader writes:

"This report from Germany shows that the use of 9-11 conspiracy theories (similar to Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men") by the legal defence teams of captured terrorists is not confined to Indonesia. But then again, in Germany polls show as many as 1/3rd of Germans actually believe the US government was secretly behind the attack. Germany has of course seen waves of public paranoia before and the results weren't very pretty. This time the paranoia is not confined to Germany. One American Leftist has called on his fellow leftists to cool it for the sake of reason -- and for the sake of winning elections.

Keith Windschuttle detailed the 9-11 reactions of numerous Leftist factions back in 2001 but even he underestimated the extent of sheer paranoia and the industry that feeds it. What is new today , of course, is what looks like a symbiotic relationship emerging between the conspiracy mongers and the terrorist killers themselves."

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ELSEWHERE

I am sorry to say that my first reaction on hearing that the United Nations headquarters in Iraq has just been blown up was: "Good riddance". But the people who died were just as innocent as the people who died in 9/11. We must not blame the employees for the corruption of their political masters.

Australia's strict gun control laws at work: "Amal Youssef sits in her garage with her two little girls playing on their bikes, her priest by her side, grappling with the news that a 13-year-old boy has been charged with murdering her husband. "He's 13. I cannot understand. How could he have a gun?""

Way to go! "A New Zealander who sent millions of junk emails out every day has shut his business under a barrage of email abuse after his personal details were posted on the web."

"As many as six historically black colleges (HBCUs) have recently been given warnings or been placed on probation by accreditation agencies. Many others are struggling with budget shortfalls, ill-prepared students and inadequate facilities. Financial mismanagement notwithstanding, what other significant factor has contributed to the bleak future of HBCUs? The answer lies at the feet of an initiative whose intent was to redress past racial and sexual discrimination: affirmative action."

The mystery of the world wide extinction of frogs, variously blamed by Greenies on global warming, pesticides, etc has now been narrowed down to a fungus. See here and here. The next question is how did the fungus impact so many frog species in so many countries? The answer that the ecology establishment does not want to hear is that amateur conservationists (and perhaps some professional scientists too) are "croaking" the frogs. The findings suggests that researchers have inadvertently been spreading the deadly fungus.

An Iranian philosopher of science claims here that in the "golden age" of Islam there was greater freedom of thought than in Iran today because the leaders in the "golden age" (more of a brass age in my view) were despotic but not totalitarian -- unlike today.

Genetically-modified crops: "Literally thousands of laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies show the risks of GM plants and foods to be minimal, while their benefits in terms of increased yields and reduced pesticide use are legion" So any rational person would jump for joy, one would think. But the EU is not rational. It is bureaucratic. They want ZERO risk before they do anything. It's a wonder that they do not ban boats, aircraft, cars and trains. They REGULARLY kill more people than GM crops ever will. But bureaucracy does have its own rationality and there is no doubt what their REAL reason for banning GM is: They already have huge agricultural surpluses created by their manic subsidization of their farmers. If their farmers got hold of GM seed and ended up producing twice as much as they do now, that would REALLY break the bank.

Excessive and badly designed regulations tend to reinforce the market position of the largest established players at the expense of smaller innovators. So the activists' nightmare of massive biotech monopolies dominating the globe is to an extent a Frankenstein's monster of their own creation. But Big Business has always been comfortable with a regulated world.

"Even technologically challenged music fans who could no more download an illegal MP3 file than pilot a space shuttle owe a debt of gratitude to the Napster generation. For years record buyers have complained that CDs are overpriced and the music industry has responded by saying, as politely as possible, put up or shut up. Now, panicked by the pirates, they've finally been compelled to slash prices to a reasonable level and sales have reached an all-time high." I don't often agree with the Guardian but I agree with that. I buy only classical Cds and a lot of them cost me $10 or less. That record-company monopolies of various kinds have made the poor old pop music fans pay three times that for their fix has always seemed one big rip-off to me. But monopolies almost always come unstuck eventually and it is good to see that one going. No free-trader likes monopolies and conservatives have been attacking monopolies since Elizabeth I.

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19 August, 2003

THE ORIGINS OF ENVIRONMENTALISM

Many people see environmentalism as a recent phenomenon. It is not. Read the typically Greenie quote following and guess the one word that I have deleted from it:

"We recognize that separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind's own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole . . . This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of Socialist thought."

How many people would have picked that I missed out the word "National" before "Socialist"? Yes. It was a leading Nazi who wrote that. Environmentalism was a part of Nazism just as it is a part of modern-day Leftism. Like the Greenies of today, the Nazis wanted to take us all back to some imaginary and romanticised rural past. And of course the Communist Pol Pot in Cambodia actually tried it! -- with the appalling results we all know. For more on ecofascism see here. Hitler and Pol Pot reveal how dangerous the Greens could be if ever they got real power. History can be most inconvenient! Though you don't need history to tell you that Greenies are people-haters.

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ELSEWHERE

Australia's Andrew Bolt gives an excellent summary of why so many of the world's "intellectuals" hate the USA with a passion that transcends all reason: "Intellectuals resent a superpower that ignores them and their ideas. And the capitalist US has insulted them even more by making poor people richer and freer than the Marxism of the intellectuals ever could or will." I guess it must be awful for them to see that conservative pragmatism beats their simplistic theories hands-down, time and time again.

Jeff Jacoby has a good article on whether or not men are "naturally" more promiscuous than women. As he points out, there is nothing in evolutionary theory that clearly leads to that conclusion. And once again the "evidence" psychologists have produced for the natural-promiscuity theory was obtained by asking college students their views! If it is like most such evidence it is highly misleading as an account of what actually happens out there in the real world. The various DNA studies showing that up to a third of the children of a marriage are not in fact the children of the alleged father suggests to me that women are highly promiscuous too -- though they may well be slower to acknowledge it -- even to themselves. I trust the DNA evidence a lot more than I trust what college students say.

An Australian reader noted my brief comments on the recent definition of neoconservatism by Irving Kristol and wrote to suggest that the dominant faction of Australia's major Leftist party are neoconservatives too! I have posted the email here.

Further to my recent note about the "Communist Manifesto", Gerry Jackson of Brookes News writes: "The piece on Marx and socialism was interesting. However, the author is apparently unaware of the fact that the Marx's labour theory of value came from David Ricardo who in turn got it from Adam Smith. Until the Wealth of Nations appeared on the scene it was generally accepted among philosophers that utility and not labour was the sole source of value. The Abbe Ferdinando Galiani (1728-1787), for instance, eloquently explained why there can be no value without utility. He then went on to explain how scarcity and utility combine to produce prices. I'm afraid Smith sent economics into a blind alley"

According to the NYT: "The Bush administration, while preparing for talks soon with North Korea, is also stepping up military pressure with plans for a joint naval exercise" And where will the exercise be held? Off Eastern Australia about half the globe away from Korea! That's "pressure"??

Good news that the Tasmanian tiger may not be extinct after all.

No wonder Israel is getting huge pressure over its security fence. It is the only thing that actually has much chance of protecting Israelis.

An inspiring story about how well the Indians have done who were expelled from Uganda to Britain by the butcher Idi Amin. Non-Muslims from the Indian subcontinent who live in England shame the English by their work habits.

China Hand has drawn our attention to the announcement that China is deregulating its media to make it more market-oriented. Lots of former government outlets are even expected to go broke. It's not exactly a free press but it's a start.

Patriotism and nationalism generally have a bad name among Leftists -- though Leftists always have to compromise with it and do sometimes make good use of it -- as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il Sung did. Given the horrors that have been inflicted on the world by nationalism in conjunction with Leftism, one might be inclined to suspect that nationalism is indeed a bad thing. Such a conclusion would be however to blame the accomplice rather than the perpetrator -- as the 1977 survey that I have just uploaded (here or here) shows: I studied supporters of the Scottish National Party -- who basically want independence from England for Scotland. I found that they were centrists in practically every respect -- a far cry from any form of political extremism. And, as we now all know, they have attained a large part of their aims -- their own Scottish parliament -- through purely democratic means and with no violence at all. It is only in conjunction with Leftism that nationalism is pernicious.

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18 August, 2003

THE BERKELEY VALUE JUDGMENTS

There is an interesting post at Power Line (Via King of Fools) about the Berkeley study of conservatism that does what the Leftists themselves long ago did -- take a phenomenon and simply reverse the value judgements. Like many other conservative commentators, the blogger concerned sees some truth in the Berkeley study's characterization of the Left/Right divide but just cannot see that it shows conservatives in a bad light.

He may not be aware that the Leftist "authoritarianism" theory underlying the Berkeley claims was itself originally borrowed from Nazi psychology (I kid you not) by the Marxist Adorno and his group (another example of Nazis and Communists being simply rival Leftist sects). Adorno agreed with the Nazi psychologist Jaensch about how people differed but what Jaensch said was a good thing, Adorno said was a bad thing. So reversing the value judgements is a very old trick in this field. Both camps are wrong however. They are mistaken in ascribing Left/Right orientation to childhood experience. The geneticists (Martin and others) have long ago shown that Left/Right orientation is MOSTLY hereditary. Leftists are born arrogant know-alls. Reality sometimes gets to them however and they turn conservative in later life (see e.g. here). See also here on the biological origins of human values generally.

REFERENCES

Adorno,T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford, R.N. (1950) The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper.
Martin, N. & Jardine, R. (1986) Eysenck's contribution to behaviour genetics. In: S & C. Modgil (Eds.) Hans Eysenck: Consensus and controversy. Lewes, E. Sussex: Falmer
Eaves, L.J., Martin, N.G., Meyer, J.M. & Corey, L.A. (1999) Biological and cultural inheritance of stature and attitudes. In: Cloninger, C.R., Personality and psychopathology. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press.
Jaensch, E.R. (1938) Der Gegentypus. Leipzig: Barth.

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ELSEWHERE

Because it has already been so heavily covered elsewhere, I was not going to mention the N.E. American blackout but one of my readers has come up with an interesting observation. In this record of recent solar activity he notes that the graphs for 14 August, especially the one for proton volume, show a very interesting AC spike. He suggests that this spike could have caused a power surge in an extensive grid already carrying high levels of energy and thus burnt something out. It seems feasible in my very non-expert view. The other causes so far put forward seem pretty vague. A solar flare burned out a large part of Canada's electricity grid in 1989.

Irving Kristol has just defined what he sees neoconservatism as consisting of today. He should know. My definition of a couple of days ago -- "Neocons are reformed Leftists who still have an interventionist streak in them" -- stands up pretty well in the light of what he says. They are too interventionist for my libertarian tastes.

An interesting article here on what the Communist Manifesto actually says.

A good comment by Piers Akerman here on the Leftist rubbish that Australians get from their public broadcaster.

Writing in Australia's mass-circulation Sunday Telegraph, well known economics commentator Terry McCrann yesterday gave global warming a big raspberry. He summarized a recent article by Alan Oxley, who specializes in these matters. An earlier Oxley article is online here but neither McCrann's summary nor the the latest Oxley article seem to be online anywhere so I have put McCrann's summary up here.

A reader writes: "Dissecting Leftism readers should go out and have a look at Mars over the next couple of weeks. It is now closer to the Earth than at anytime in the last 58,000 years. Last time it was this close there were probably no humans in either Australia or the Americas".

A new Australian blog has just started up with some charming quotes from a group of Australian "musicians" apparently favoured by our Leftist public broadcaster. He also points out how our wonderful close-to-nature native people were responsible for enormous extinctions of animal species in Australia.

The Wicked one celebrates the death of Idi Amin and concludes: "On all the evidence so far there is no hope for anything like a civil society in Africa".

Writing on his other blog, China Hand is mystified to note that superannuation funds run by the labor unions in Australia have done better than commercially-run retirement funds. I myself am no fan of the big funds. Allowing a pimply 20 year old to make your investment decisions for you is hilarious in my view and I put my money where my mouth is by getting far better growth than the big funds do by managing my share portfolio myself. Nonetheless, the main reason why the union-run funds do better is clear. They are less obsessed with safety and so can afford to make some higher-yielding investments. And why are they so unworried? Because they know that with their "industrial muscle" and big membership of voters they will always be able to get the taxpayer to bail them out if they go bad! Nice one!

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17 August, 2003

MORE ON THINK-TANKS

A reader writes:

"These outfits were established as a reaction to leftist domination of public sector academia. Conservative and market oriented thinkers found the leftist monopoly of state subsidied tertiary education corrupt, narrow and intellectually oppressive. Behind the facade of a progressive, social reformist academia and intelligentsia is the reality of careerism, vested interest and power politics played at public expense.

The social science arms of our universities these days are in many ways not much more than the marketing department of big government. I think it is appropriate to examine closely whether recommendations from private think tanks represent the special interests of their largest corporate donors. However the same skeptical eye also needs to be cast at the output of government financed universities and agencies. Just because someone works in the public sector, there is no reason to assume that they magically become an economic eunuch.

The left is always warning us about the cynical vested interests of the military industrial complex allegedly maniupulating public policy for their sectional gain. But is this risk mysteriously confined to those in uniform? what about the academic-big government complex? Few government-paid academics are prepared to bite the hand that feeds them. In fact this common sense observation underlies much of the work of the think tanks and is still resisted in State academia.

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FROM BROOKES NEWS

The brutal tragedy of Beijing's one-child policy. The number of self-professed Western liberals who support and publicly rationalise Beijing's brutal population control polices depresses rather than amazes me.
Compulsory Statism. It is really not that surprising that the likes of the Greens, the Australian Democrats and Labor support compulsory voting. What excuse a so-called conservative party like the Liberals have for also supporting it beats me.
How Clinton's Beijing deal endangered America. Seeing as so many democrats and their allies in the media have been screaming about intelligence failures and the President Bush's foreign policy, I think it's time to once again turn to the Clinton administration and its dangerous dealings with Beijing.

Details here

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ELSEWHERE

HEATWAVE: IS GLOBAL WARMING TO BLAME? A professor of biogeography pours cold water on myths about the hot Northern summer. I must say that the very word "heatwave" amuses me. What the English call a heatwave is a normal summer where I come from.

Libya has formally accepted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland. When Ronald Reagan had him bombed that really caused Gaddafi to pull up short but now that he has seen what has happened to other terrorist-supporting regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq he is backpedalling furiously. Does anybody believe that U.N. resolutions would have made him do that?

Greenie opposition to budget airlines is elitist: "All this cheap-and-easy flying is supposed to be Another Bad Thing. As the budget airlines' profits soar, the cries of NIMBY campaigners grow ever more shrill. Cheap flights are blamed for global warming, noise pollution, the need for more airports and their ability to give working-class oiks the ability to use Europe as their playground on a regular basis".

What a slipup for the NYT. They described a female company head thus: "She is simultaneously warm and controlled, a gracefully aggressive entrepreneur who favors scarves and pearls." The feminists will castrate them for that -- if they can find anything to castrate.

I must say I agree with the $20,000 fine some trigger-happy moron got for killing a condor -- though I would have sent the big hero to jail as well.

"The essence of Mr. Bush's big government conservatism is a trade-off. To gain free-market reforms and expand individual choice, he's willing to broaden programs and increase spending." I think that's wishful thinking. Bush has a slight conservative lean -- no more. A U.S. President has to be a centrist to win and retain office and even Ronald Reagan failed to cut back overall government spending. But GWB's conservative leanings do make him a lot more realistic than Left-leaning centrists like Clinton.

V.D. Hanson is at his inimitable best here. He calls for some long overdue realism about America's so-called "allies"

Real men don't do quilting and feminist refusal to recognize that is cruel to boys in the educational system.

China Hand has given us a little of the story of his earlier years in China. When I met him around 1970 he was a conservative but he later went to university and veered to the far Left. Various people then told him that if he thought Mao was so great he should go to China. Leftists were of course regularly told to "go to Russia" in the old days but China Hand is the only one I know of who really did put his money where his mouth was.

The Wicked one thinks that the death penalty kills too many innocent people,

My latest academic upload here (or here) addresses an old chestnut (Can you address a chestnut?): How different are the Scots and the English?

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16 August, 2003

ARNIE

Anti-Schwarzenegger liberals are playing politics with the holocaust but another blogger has used some of my points about the Leftist nature of Nazism to answer the Leftist attacks on Arnold's father. That should confuse 'em -- if they listen.

Matt Welch at Reason has an interesting summary of the immigration policy splits in the California election. Interestingly Big Arnie formerly was an advocate of Prop 187. This was voted in by the California voters and then blocked by legal appeals. Prop 187 was a 1994 popularly initiated referendum that barred illegal immigrants from access to state provided public services and welfare. See here. The willingness of the Left to oppose and block a popularly supported amendment shows how much they love democracy.

The Christian Right may be peeved that Arnie is no morals crusader but I suspect that his attitudes in that regard are what is needed to win in California.

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WMDs AND "LIES"

Robert Kagan points out that the threats GWB identified which the Left describe as "lying" were all noted by Chirac, Gore and Clinton at different times too. How odd that they escape criticism for it! Clinton, for instance insisted before 9/11 that the world had to address the "kind of threat Iraq poses . . . a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists . . . who travel the world among us unnoticed." The liar!

Francis Fukuyama asks whether the 'missing' WMDs represent U.S. government lies or proper U.S. government caution.

Robert Novak says WMD evidence will be released soon

Thomas Sowell says "so what" if WMDs are never found. Intelligence has always been an art, not a science

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HOW THE LEFTISTS DUCK AND WEAVE!

John Moore has snared another Leftist who does not let the facts get in the way of his argument. He agrees with the findings of the Berkeley study of conservatism because:

"Adorno proved all this in the late 1940's with ex-Nazi party members. And don't give me that bull that Fascism is really different from Conservatism. Name a single significant German conservative party or individual which did not enthusiastically endorse Hitler."

The facts are that Adorno did NOT study ex-Nazis. He mostly studied normal Californians undergoing college education. Former German Nazi leaders WERE studied by others and they were NOT of the "new anthropological type" described by Adorno. They were all different types. And German monarchists were among the victims in the Nazis' "Night of the Long Knives" but both the orthodox socialists (SPD -- Gerhardt Schroeder's party) and the Communists voted WITH the Nazis in the Reichstag on various important occasions. I could go on ....

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ELSEWHERE

Just when you thought it was safe to drink the water, fluoride conspiracy theories are back, from the left!

Daniel Pipes reports on Newsweek vs the Koran!

An interesting comment on Prime Minister John Howard's foreign policy: Sophisticated alliance management in Australia's interests. Hardly the the "all the way with LBJ" position the Left accuses him of.

It looks like there is good economic news breaking out all over the world at the moment. Should be good for reducing unemployment and supporting the bull run on shares. All the retired people -- including me -- who own company shares will be particularly looking forward to the latter.

It looks like Saudi Arabia is finally doing its bit in the war on terror.

The latest Tourbus newsletter says that the State motto of California is: "The land of fruits and nuts". Naughty!

A new blogger has got some amusing "definitions" of liberalism.

Chris Brand has not posted much lately so I have put it all up here. He says that whiter blacks are brighter and that testosterone is good for creativity.

My latest academic upload here (or here) looks at the Leftist claim that conservatives are particularly dogmatic. My survey showed -- surprise, surprise -- that Leftist and Rightist voters in the community at large were equally likely to be dogmatic.

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15 August, 2003

RACIFORNIA

"As if the unprecedented effort to recall California Governor Gray Davis isn't enough excitement for one special election, the campaign promises some racial fireworks as well. Sharing ballot space on October 7 with Mr. Davis's would-be successors will be Proposition 54, also known as the Racial Privacy Initiative. The measure prohibits state and local government entities from collecting and using racial data. ...The main proponent of Prop. 54 is Ward Connerly.... Mr. Connerly has said the goal of his current initiative is to get the state government 'out of the racial classification business' and move us one step closer to a colorblind government. The backers of Prop. 54, he says, 'seek a California that is free from government racism and race-conscious decision making.' That sounds like a core American aspiration, or at least it was until racial preferences became a political industry. ... Down the path of the Supreme Court's recent Michigan decision lies a nation divided by race, not united in common principle. Prop. 54's success would be a fitting rebuke to the Supreme Court (all the more potent because it would come from the nation's largest and most racially diverse state) and a public reaffirmation of the Constitution's colorblind commitment to equal protection under the law."

From the Wall St. Journal via The Federalist

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MEXIFORNIA

Being blind to race, colour and creed is good public policy but being blind to illegality certainly is not. A reader writes concerning the way California is being overwhelmed by illegal immigration:

"Brenda Walker, in a review of Victor Davis Hanson's MEXIFORNIA takes the author to task for not wearing his more well known hat as a military historian. Will California truly become Mexifornia by a successful non-military invasion? Will Americans continue to flee the increasingly alien state for somewhere that is still recognizable as their country? California's U.S.-born population actually declined by 1.5 million people in last decade while the overall population increased by over four million.This crisis calls out for an analysis from a military expert-which Hanson strangely fails to provide. The critical reviewer (Brenda Walker) has elsewhere highlighted that multiculturalism is a women's issue, but not in the sense that most left wing feminists would be prepared to recognise."

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JUST FOR FUN

I recently received a rather combative email from a Leftist lady named Julie. I was completely objective in my initial reply but when she persisted with her combative approach I gave her a bit of her own medicine. I reproduce the exchange below. Her initial comment was about my post of July 27th. in which I described a Leftist attack on me as "pathetic".

Julie: A little defensive, are we?? I was never one to be convinced by name-calling!
JR: Attacks have to be defended and I think I showed why I saw the comments as pathetic.
Julie: Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but I think I would be much more convinced of your argument without the defensive, combative rhetoric. Oh well, what can be expected from a conservative! Thanks though, amusing as always.
JR: Amusing that you cannot address the content of my argument -- only the style. But what can one expect of a Leftist?
Julie: Exactly what you can expect from a Leftist, you are correct! I'm not interested in engaging in simplistic, black and white arguments with you, particularly ones that consist of name-calling. I'm flattered that you are interested in my opinion, but choose to decline your invitation for combative mud-slinging. Reply not necessary
JR: A little defensive, are we?? I was never one to be convinced by name-calling!
Julie: LOL! You're pretty funny for a conservative! Like a little parrot, how sweet. You wanna cracker? Hahahahahaha!
JR: What a simplistic black and white response! Julie: I'm done with you.
JR: Hoist with her own petard!

Note that she accuses ME of being combative! Typical Leftist projection -- seeing their own faults in others.

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ELSEWHERE

The teacher's unions all hate it but there have been many studies over the years showing that smaller class sizes do not improve education. The latest is here

Useful Fools thinks that Baghdad blogger Salam Pax is a whiner and a baby.

A good comment here on the Leftist perversion of history that is now taught in many schools.

Interesting to see that anti-racketeering laws are now being used by private individuals to help stop illegal immigration into the U.S.

The Wicked one is very critical of U.S. farm policy.

My latest academic upload here (or here) looks at the causes of racism and the constant Leftist finger-pointing at conservatives as being the ones to blame -- which is pretty rich considering that the greatest racist of all time was a socialist. What I found in two general population surveys in England and Scotland was, of course, that racial dislikes were equally common among Leftist and Rightist voters. Everybody is most comfortable with their own group.

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14 August, 2003

CONSERVATIVE "THINK TANKS"

There is a very confused article here by a Leftist about Australia's small number of conservative "think tanks". It thoroughly mixes up conservatives, neoconservatives and libertarians. I think Greg Lindsay of the CIS would be amazed to hear that he is a neocon. Neocons are reformed Leftists who still have an interventionist streak in them whereas Greg has always been primarily a libertarian. I should know. I was one of the donors who helped Greg set up the CIS in the first place. And I was not a "rich businessman" at the time. I was a junior university teacher.

The article does its best to make the organizations concerned sound sinister -- all political lamebrains love "conspiracy" theories -- but there is only one secret to their influence -- they present the facts in a thoroughly scholarly way. And when you do that to a reasonable person, the facts speak for themselves. Log on here and judge for yourself.

There is a reasonably factual account of what neoconservatives are from a Leftist source here -- Though his idea that the Christian Right are antisemitic is bizarre. U.S. Christians would be second only to Jews as supporters of Israel.

A more up-to-date version of what neoconservatism consists of is given by someone who is himself known as a neoconserative here. By either definition it is doubtful that we have any neoconservatives to speak of in Australia. We just have conservatives and Leftists -- though both our major political parties are very centrist. Both parties have however been responsible for a fair bit of deregulation and privatization so the centre of politics these days is far to the Right of what it once was.

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ELSEWHERE

Michael Tremoglie writes: "Governor Howard Dean of Vermont routinely accuses President Bush of lying. However, if anyone seems to have a problem with candor, it is Governor Dean of Vermont....." More here.

Schwarzenegger and Buffett together -- truth IS stranger than fiction. He could well be a winner with brains like that on his side.

"Critics of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" have suggested that it represents a radical departure in U.S. foreign policy: that our nearly unilateral and pre-emptive ("first strike") use of military force to topple sovereign nation's government... was revolutionary. But was it? This policy has been reinforced in presidential National Security Statements for decades. [e.g.] "We act in alliance or partnership when others share our interest, but unilaterally when compelling national interests so demand." -- William Jefferson Clinton. 2000 National Security Statement." More here.

A Belgian court has just done something useful! They jailed an Albanian gangster for 8 years -- but only after he had smuggled 12,000 illegal immigrants into Britain!

The roots of the housing shortage: "Besides laws designed to halt 'overdevelopment,' the government reduces the supply of housing and drives up its cost in a number of other ways. Wetlands regulations often require extensive environmental studies before building is allowed to begin, and they completely prevent building on many otherwise viable sites. Licensing requirements restrict the supply of contractors, raising the cost of hiring them."

The new Puritans: "Jacobson's list of soda hazards nicely illustrates the hyperbolic approach to health advice favored by [The Center for Science in the Public Interest], which the microbiologist turned food activist co- founded in 1971 after working for Ralph Nader. Today the D.C.-based CSPI is one of the country's most influential nanny groups, with an annual budget of $15 million and some 800,000 newsletter subscribers. It has the ability to grab headlines, kill sales of products it doesn't like, and shape regulatory policy. The group is also emblematic of a troubling cultural trend whose motto might be, 'If it feels good, don't do it.'"

"In the interest of battling automobile-created air pollution, environmentalists call for more public transportation -- more buses and commuter trains and the higher taxes needed to fund them -- to get people out of their cars. Granting, for the sake of discussion, that air quality is as poor as environmentalists say it is, is public transportation really the answer?"

Protectionism may temporarily prop up inefficient industries and businesses but ultimately market forces will prevail, with the protected industry generally ending up worse off than before -- as the U.S. copper-mining industry found out to its cost.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again -- bigger than ever this time.

The Wicked one thinks that marriage should be deregulated.

My latest academic upload here (or here) should have horrified and amazed most political psychologists when it was first published. In typically Leftist fashion, however, they simply ignored something that did not suit their preconceptions. The favourite stick to beat conservatives with among psychologists is the claim that conservatives are "authoritarian" as measured by the California 'F' scale. What I show in this article is that, among the general population, highly idealistic Leftists are just as likely as conservatives to get high scores on the 'F' scale! Psychologists, of course, do not normally examine what happens out there in the general population. They confine their "research" to what their own students dutifully say! What a laugh!

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13 August, 2003

THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF JOURNALISM

A California reader writes of a local newspaper called Change Links which appears to be affiliated with the local University school of journalism: "One article really caught my eye. It said Iraqi Concentration Camps. It basically says that the U.S. was making Iraqi concentration camps, which is obviously false. Also, in July's issue of that newspaper, there were two articles on the back, the bottom one defending the regime of Hugo Chavez, even though Chavez is purporsely changing the Constitution of Venezeula, so he can stay in power even longer, and a defence of Fidel Castro's Cuba on the top.

In the current issue, there was an article by Howard Zinn: Saying that it was bad for America to invade Iraq and that Communist regimes are great (why doesn't he live in one of those himself?). This is a Leftist newspaper, disguised as a "Progressive" newspaper, which I find comes nowhere near to what a progressive is. The way I see it, it's nothing but a Pro-Communist group."

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MORE GRIEF FOR THE GREENIES -- IF THEY LISTEN

There is some really elegant physical science summarized here by astrophysicist Nir Shaviv which shows that most of our global temperature change over the centuries, millennia and millions of years is caused by cosmic ray fluctuations from the big wide universe outside our solar system.

Some other links on the research concerned are here and here and here and here

So IF -- and it is a big "If" -- there has been any overall climate change this century the probablity is that the cause is totally beyond our control.

Co-author of the original study referred to in the summary was geologist Jan Veizer. Veizer has previously run into some political flak from the Greenhouse lobby and media which is discussed here: "I never said CO2 was not a greenhouse gas," he says. "But there is this one political dogma: CO2 equals global warming equals climate change equals disaster. Now, the further you go along this equation, the iffier it is scientifically. But the moment you step away from the dogma you are excommunicated. You are undermining the environmental agenda." In fact, Veizer has no problem with the environmental agenda, which stems from a desire to reduce the amount of pollution produced by our industrial civilization. However, he points out that many people confuse this goal with reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to prevent global warming. He makes no apologies for challenging the science behind that agenda.

And as another scientist summarizes it:

"The White House must educate the public and its own federal bureaucracy about certain climate facts, as endorsed by top scientists:
* The best available data, from weather satellites and weather balloons, do not detect any appreciable atmospheric warming. Nor did the 20th century show unusually high temperatures.
* Theoretical computer models that predict climate catastrophes have never been validated and therefore should not be relied on for policy.
* Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. On the contrary, it makes crops and forests grow faster. Economic analysis has demonstrated that more CO2 and a warmer climate will raise GNP and therefore average income.
* The Kyoto Protocol with its energy-rationing schemes is not only hugely expensive but also completely ineffective in influencing climate change. As Mr. Bush correctly stated during his campaign and since - Kyoto is "fatally flawed."

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ELSEWHERE

This article of 12th by Dennis Prager scores some good goals: "Many liberal positions have been wreaking havoc on America and the world. How, then, can decent and often very smart people hold liberal positions? There are many reasons, but the two greatest may be naivete and narcissism. At the heart of liberalism is the naive belief that people are basically good. As a result of this belief, liberals rarely blame people for the evil they do. Instead, they blame economics, parents, capitalism, racism, and anything else that can let the individual off the hook.... The second major source of modern liberalism is narcissism..." Definitely worth reading the whole thing.

What arrogant elitist bastards! "A scientific panel recommended against smallpox vaccinations for the general public"

Someone should ask them why so many Canadians go to the U.S. for their medical treatment: "More than 7,000 doctors, including two former surgeons general, called for universal health insurance for the United States on Tuesday, saying it would not only be more fair, but would be cheaper and more efficient than the current patchwork system"

Some Leftist hypocrite writes of Iraq's "New Tyranny": "Now sex and drugs are freely available on the street, writes Paul McGeough in Baghdad." How Awful!

Do ideas have consequences? The Bali terrorists' lawyers are actually quoting from Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" as evidence for the defence. That Moore is a chronic liar and twister of the truth obviously needs to be publicized as much as possible. But there are so many Leftist lies ....

This list of best and worst books still holds up well.

After 9/11, dissent was "stifled," claimed the academic left. Nonsense, says Jean Bethke Elshtain. It was any reasoned religious support for the Iraq war that was marginalized... What actually has been stifled is any analysis of the religious motivations of the enemy.

The Wicked one has a couple of posts about what the new EU constitution says and what it looks set to do to Britain.

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12 August, 2003

THE SIMPLISTIC LEFT

When the Berkeley study of conservatism first appeared, I noted how rich it was for Leftists to accuse others of being simplistic in their thinking. A good example of Leftist simplistic thinking is given here: "Creating better living standards for the poor is not as easy as passing minimum wage laws that may actually lead to fewer work opportunities, for instance. Such laws are simple-minded."

And, right on cue, we see this in yesterday's Los Angeles Times: ""What price are we, as Americans, willing to put on human worth, on safety, decent medical care and hope? If a minimum-wage increase isn't passed, Congress will have decided that $5.15 an hour is that price_a number that should bring shame to anyone who truly cares about those barely existing below the poverty line," writes Douglas MacKinnon. As FEE asks in response: "If government can really raise wages, why not set the minimum to $75,000 a year?" All that high minimum wages do, of course, is to destroy jobs and create unemployment for the poor. But that old, old lesson is still too complicated for our Leftist brainboxes.

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CONSERVATIVE EUGENICS?

Further to my recent posts on eugenics, I should note that Steven Levitt's work suggests that the old Leftist eugenics program of reducing the birth rate (via abortion) among the "lower classes" was not totally misconceived. Levitt's findings seem to show that making voluntary abortion available to poorer mothers reduces the crime rate years later. He is at pains of course to indicate that his empirical findings are not an endorsement of either eugenics or abortion. Slate featured a 3 day correspondence between him and Steve Sailer dealing with the issue.

Given the traditional conservative regard for individual liberty, it seems to me that the only eugenics programs that conservatives could justify would be voluntary ones -- such as the large material incentives to reproduce that the Singapore government offers to highly educated Singaporean women. Christian conservatives, however, tend to regard all reproduction as God-given so would oppose even voluntary eugenic programs that limited reproduction -- such as the Woodhil Foundation programs that pay crack-addicted mothers to undertake contraception.

Leftists, however, oppose the Woodhill programs because they are voluntary and privately-funded. They like such matters to be in the hands of the State (i.e. under their control).

And the problem of a self-perpetuating and substantially criminal underclass does not need to be addressed by eugenics. It can be addressed by addressing its major causes -- such as the over-generous welfare system that the Leftists have created in their hunger for praise.

I have mentioned previously that the famous peacenik and anti-nuclear campaigner Bertrand Russell was a keen advocate of State-enforced eugenics. A reader has written in with more rather surprising information about the 3rd Earl Russell. I have posted it here (or here) under the heading: "Peacenik Bertie -- The authoritarian eugenicist". One rather wonders what Earl Russell would have done if he had been in control of Germany in the 1930s. Perhaps history would not have changed much.

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ELSEWHERE

FEE points out that many conservatives fear that the Iraq invasion is making America into an empire -- which conservatives of course oppose. I really cannot understand that fear at all. Is there anyone in America who does not want American troops out of that rathole as soon as possible?

A good article here on the old folly of protectionism: "When New Jersey lawmakers learned last fall that the company managing the state's child-welfare office had moved its call center to India, they were outraged. Within weeks, the state Senate passed a bill requiring all workers for government contractors to be U.S. citizens."

There's a lot of truth in the top comic of August 11 on American Realpolitik.

Disgraceful. Australia's University of Newcastle is still covering up their greedy abuse of academic standards. These arrogant bureaucrats are responsible to no-one and they know it.

Making the Canadians eat crow! "Prime Minister Jean Chretien was urged on Monday to lead talks with U.S. officials to try to get a ban on imports of Canadian cattle lifted" They are very quick to take any nutty health scare seriously but don't like it when the USA does it.

A useful short review of the North Korean horror is to be found here

Leftist crooks fattening themselves at the public trough really are disgusting. It's their "compassion", you see. What racketeers!

Walter Williams points out that South African style race-classification boards are the inevitable result of any race spoils system -- such as the U. Michigan admission system recently endorsed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Either that or widespread racial fraud with almost anybody claiming "minority" status.

And to show what a good psychologist I am I have just put up an optical illusion that applies to men only. See towards the the bottom of my picture page

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11 August, 2003

Blogger.com seem to be having big troubles at the moment so I could be rendered unable to post here at any time. So keep an eye on my mirror sites if my daily post here does not appear around the usual time.

MORE ON CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

The recent call by Australia's Prime Minister to consider reinstatement of the death penalty for serious crime has of course enlivened debate on the issue here in Australia. An Australian reader writes:

Michael Duffy also notes that elite and media attitudes to capital punishment differ markedly from popular opinion.

Back in 1975 Isaac Ehrlich published a pioneer study "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment -- A Question of Life and Death" that highlighted the crime prevention benefits of capital punishment. His paper is online here (PDF).

Ehrlich's views have been summarised in more digestible form by Slate columnist Steven Landsburg: "Increase the number of executions by 1 percent (which amounts to increasing the severity of the average punishment) and (again to a very rough approximation) the murder rate falls by about half a percent."

Landsburg is at pains to point out that Ehrlich sees increasing the probability of convictions as the best deterrent against crime: "That's not to say that punishments don't matter. Executions may be a less-effective deterrent than convictions, but they are nevertheless an extremely powerful deterrent; according to Ehrlich's numbers, one additional execution ...could well have prevented over 20 murders."

On a similar theme economist Steven Levitt, a rising star in the economics world, has provided a statistical model that reinforces the common sense belief that hiring more police reduces crime, something a large chunk of our intellectual class dispute: "Each additional police officer is estimated to eliminate eight to ten serious crimes. Existing estimates of the costs of crime suggest that the social benefit of reduced crime is approximately $100,000 per officer per year, implying that the current number of police is below the optimal level." See here.

When it comes to capital punishment, of course the perspective of economists and social scientists is different from that of theologians and priests. This evangelical Christian site says:

"..capital punishment (was) never specifically removed or replaced in the Bible. While some would argue that the New Testament ethic replaces the Old Testament ethic, there is no instance in which a replacement ethic is introduced. As we have already seen, Jesus and the disciples never disturb the Old Testament standard of capital punishment. The Apostle Paul teaches that we are to live by grace with one another, but also teaches that we are to obey human government that bears the sword. Capital punishment is taught in both the Old Testament and the New Testament."

So of course most Australian churches oppose it!"

As I have long made clear (PDF), I personally oppose the death penalty purely because I think our police are too crooked for us to have enough confidence in a guilty verdict. Most Australian States seem to have police in jail at the moment as a result of corruption convictions and some notorious cases of police fabrication of evidence appear never to have been punished (e.g. the Mannix case - PDF).

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FROM BROOKES NEWS:

Australian protectionist shoots himself in the head. A socialist ideologue resorts to abuse and gross misrepresentations to defend his protectionist ideology.
The Bush strategy that beat bin Laden and destroyed Saddam. The Democrats, i.e., the Copperhead Party, and their media friends are deliberately undermining the Bush strategy that destroyed the Taliban, bin Laden and the vile Saddam, by trying to turn the American people against the war. Their actions border on treason.
Phillip Adams and the moral bankruptcy of the left. Phillip Adams pathological attacks on Prime Minister Howard, particularly over the toppling of Saddam, serve to demonstrate the moral bankruptcy and utter hypocrisy of the left.

Details here

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ELSEWHERE

The Australian intellectualoids at work: "A taxpayer-funded website encourages young Australian-Palestinians to become virtual rock throwers in a mockery of Middle East violence. Players can write messages of hate on a website "rock" and watch as a young man loads it into a slingshot before firing it into the distance. The website heads a list of controversial projects bankrolled by the Australia Council for the Arts."

Hopeful: "Under pressure from economic problems, internal violence and the United States' success in toppling Saddam Hussein in neighbouring Iraq, Saudi Arabia is embarking on a series of reforms that many Saudis hope will lead to the most sweeping political change since the kingdom's founding.... "

John Moore has promised us more posts about the hijinks of the US politically correct brigade on PC Watch. He also follows up on my comments about the revived Zero Population Growth crowd.

China Hand reports on the chaotic graduation ceremonies at the college where he teaches. Apparently such ceremonies go down very well in China. He also has a post under the heading: "China's farmers are on the move".

The Wicked one has got some good funnies up at the moment.

My latest academic upload here (or here) is an attempt to find out if there are any particular psychological characteristics of environmentalists. The survey was however of the general population rather than of committed Greenies and since almost everyone thinks that a nice clean environment is a good thing, there was little to characterize those who were pro-environment. It was however found that people who were strongly in favour of environmental protection also tended to be strongly in favour of consumer protection.

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10 August, 2003

THE LEFTIST ROOTS OF EUGENICS

My post about Hitler's eugenics making him simply a typical Leftist of his times has energized one reader to comment as follows:

"You are right to point out the socialist roots of eugenics. Bertrand Russell was a true believer in the eugenic State and even saw socialised medicine as a key step in imposing State planning over procreation. In a letter to his first wife, feminist Alys Pearsall Smith, about socialism and "the woman question," for example, he writes:

"Thee might observe incidentally that if the state paid for child-bearing it might and ought to require a medical certificate that the parents were such as to give a reasonable result of a healthy child this would afford a very good inducement to some sort of care for the race, and gradually as public opinion became educated by the law, it might react on the law and make that more stringent, until one got to some state of things in which there would be a little genuine care for the race, instead of the present haphazard higgledy-piggledy ways."

(Quoted from here)


The few critics of eugenics in the early 20th century were mainly conservatives and Christians like G.K. Chesterton who saw eugenic planning as just another arm of the wider campaign to impose a "scientific" socialist planning. In fact Chesterton subtitled his anti-eugenics tract "Eugenics and Other Evils" as: "An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State".

Modern commentators usually emphasise the "racist" (or more accurately "racialist") dimensions of the eugenics program and manage to wholly white out the socialist element. This is an example, not only of our intellectual class's pro-socialist bias, but of anachronistic thinking, projecting current attitudes back through time.

In the early part of the century socialists had no qualms about racialist thinking as anyone who reads Karl Marx no doubt knows. Of course this kind of thinking was commonplace then, however the marriage of socialism and racialism certainly gave birth to Nazism, probably the most violent and virulent form of racialism ever experienced. Most current critics of Nazism only blame one of it's parents!

The racialist thinking of the eugenic socialists was quite "scientific" and progressive in it's day, much as 'global warming' is seen as scientific and progressive today. At that time "group selection" models of evolution were dominant, and it was quite common to see "race" as the group being selected. It was really only in the 1960s that these models of evolution were really overturned.

Thankfully the obvious evils of Nazism forced many socialists to rethink their racialism, unfortunately leaving their loving faith in State supremacy and social engineering firmly intact. That Stalin's State equalled or exceeded Hitler in violence under the cloak of international brotherhood was frankly ignored. In fact many on the left have now commenced a new crusade in the name of anti-racism and multiculturalism. However laudable these goals, the implementation often bulldozes individual rights and autonomy, just as the old eugenicist planners did.

Many of the eugenics true believers continued on postwar moving into campaigns for legalised abortion, planned parenthood and population control. In fact some conservative critics have highlighted the racist roots of much of the liberal pro-abortion movement.

In the scientific world it is not impossible to imagine a swing back to group selectionism. Many "sensitive" commentators attack neo-Darwinism and individual selectionism as "reductionist" and thus bad. And the old idea of race is certainly not scientifically dead. The real question is, if these scientific concepts revive, will the socialists return to their old habits? And will the supporters of individual freedom be strong enough to stop them?"


And eugenics of a sort IS back on the Left: The Zero Population Growth nutters are back with their "people are pollution" attitudes! Only this time they want to HALVE our population! And it does seem to be the old gang from the 1960's again -- including Paul Ehrlich (if ever a surname was a misnomer that is: "ehrlich" is German for "honest"). The abject failure of their earlier prophecies -- e.g. that we would all be doomed by the 1970s -- has not dampened them down a bit. As "Spiked" points out in reply however, "Rising living standards and rising populations go hand-in-hand." But the doomsters ignore history, of course. They even ignore the present! The world's population has never been so large -- and prosperity worldwide has never been so great. Even India and China are forging ahead now that they have unleashed capitalism.

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ELSEWHERE

An excellent story here about what reality did to a far-Left Jew. It is sad that it needs reality as harsh as that to dislodge the simplistic prejudices of Leftists.

In response to my post yesterday about the warning labels that the State of California is sticking on almost everything, Matthew Cowie asks when they are going to start putting warning labels on vegetables too? As we know, even "organic" vegetables contain lots of carcinogens! And that Califoria air must be pretty carcinogenic too -- with all its pollution -- so maybe we will see warnings on their tourist brochures soon?

We've got to ban swimming pools!. In the U.S., three times more children drown per year in domestic swimming pools than die from gun use. And if we look at the number of guns there are in the U.S. versus the number of pools there are, the pools are 100 times more deadly. How can the do-gooders wriggle out of that one? (Answer: They won't try. They are not interested in logic -- only in inflating their own egos).

The July 23rd post here (or here) has a good send-up of how important "diversity" is.

A good treatment here of the controversy over GWB's truthful comment that there was some evidence Saddam had obtained uranium from Niger.

Article on how badly the war on terrorism is going in SE Asia.

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9 August, 2003

THE PSYCHOPATHOLOGY OF THE POLITICAL LEFT

I have just posted one of my academic articles here (or here) that was published under the title "The psychopathology of the political Left". It is a bit of a wonder the article was ever published -- though it was published in a very obscure journal. The article was originally written (during my anarcho-capitalist days) as a talk delivered to a 1985 conference of psychologists devoted to the topic of authoritarianism but it is written in a fairly breezy style that should make it fairly readable for non-psychologists.

The article points to evidence of many sorts of pathology among Leftists but principally seizes on the finding about politics that psychologists most like -- and turns that finding on its head. Psychologists very much like the often-repeated finding that conservatives approve of conventional sources of authority (such as the law, the police, the army etc) more than Leftists do and claim this as constituting the chief psychopathology of the Right. The Right are said to be "authoritarian" and all sorts of extravagant inferences are drawn from that.

I point out however that this finding is really evidence that Leftists are unable to admit to their real motivations -- as there is no doubt that Leftists everywhere are great imposers of authority on other people. What leftists say about their attitudes and what they actually do are opposites! And any denial of motives is generally regarded as pretty pathological by psychologists!

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ELSEWHERE

Orwell's Thoughtcrime has arrived in Australia. A man is being prosecuted for writing "pornographic" thoughts in his private diary! Is anyone now safe?

Australia's Prime Minister wants to reintroduce the death penalty. At least it shows that he is a true champion of democracy. For many years big majorites in ALL Western countries have wanted a death penalty but elite domination of politics has thwarted that wish in most places.

Pardon my boggled mind: A female illegal immigrant to the USA has just got to make an accusation that her American partner has beaten her and she automatically gets legal permanent resident status. A great way to encourage false accusations!

It always amazes me that Hitler's eugenics ideas are supposed to be proof of his Rightism. In Hitler's day eugenics was a mainstream Leftist enthusiasm. As Chris Brand points out: "Eugenics was supported in the early twentieth century by such liberal-left luminaries as the radical playwright George Bernard Shaw, the Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, the then-Liberal Winston Churchill, the Marxist geneticist J. B. S. Haldane and anti-authoritarian Brave New World author Aldous Huxley. The chief opposition to eugenics came from religious groups." And Chris might also have mentioned the American "Progressives" of the 1930s whom Hitler warmly praised for their ideas about the genetic inferiority of Jews. See here.

There is now a "Harvard Study" which proves that "liberal" American newspapers are much less biased than conservative ones. The absurdity and bias of the "study" is shown at length here.

An excellent article by Jeff Jacoby about Ward Connerly, the black American who wants America not to discriminate on the grounds of race -- and how the Leftists of the "Race industry" hate him.

"After 19 months of terror attacks - including suicide bombings, knife and gun attacks, drive-by shootings and home intrusions - about three quarters of Israelis are showing signs of traumatic stress, researchers have found." The researchers also found, however, that the great majority are still functioning well. I wonder if I would?

Great news: "Scientists have developed a fast-acting Ebola vaccine that protects monkeys after a single shot".

"The foremost meaningless warning label is: 'This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and/or birth defects or other reproductive harm.' Thanks to California's Proposition 65 law, that boilerplate warning has been slapped on everything from chain saws and power mowers to fishing rods. ... Essentially anything containing one of several hundred 'known carcinogens' is required to bear the warning -- regardless of quantity, or the chance that anyone might actually get sick." Pretty good, really. It ensures that the warnings will be treated like the mere noise that they are.

Here is William A Niskanen's quite balanced analysis of Reaganomics. Niskanen was a senior Reagan official

Who said this? "The final and best means of strengthening demand among consumers and business is to reduce the burden on private income and the deterrence to private initiative which are imposed by our present tax system, and this administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes". GWB? Reagan? Eisenhower? No. It was JFK.

Julian Sorrenson has a new placard idea for the Leftist demonstrators who opposed the liberation of Iraq: "No war for justice" -- because that is what their attitudes add up to.

There is a rather appalling but not exactly surprising post on PC Watch (post of 8th.) under the heading: "Clinical Psychology: Another Totalitarianism of the Left?" And that heading is not my idea.

The Wicked one thinks GWB is an odd type of conservative.

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8 August, 2003

"CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP"

Now that they have found that they cannot abolish private business, the Left are trying to weaken it as much as they can by way of regulation and other means. Their idea that businesses should be "good corporate citizens" is part of their attack:

Corporate Citizenship: A Tax in Disguise: "The first problem with enforced Corporate Social Responsibility is that it is economically inefficient. In a free market, companies maximize profit by moving resources from a low to a high value; providing what consumers want. In contrast, if action has to be forced by regulation then governments mandate that resources be spent on services that the public does not value, or does not value highly enough to voluntarily pay the full cost. Resources are therefore diverted into lower-value outputs, leading to a reduction in overall welfare. This is done for the benefit of politicians, bureaucrats or their supporting pressure groups."

Milton Friedman probably said it all in this classic article from the 1970s: The social responsibility of business is to make profits

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HOW PSYCHOLOGISTS ASSESS CONSERVATISM OF ATTITUDES

Psychologists normally obtain a score for how conservative a person is by adding together the number of allegedly "conservative" statements he agrees with and the number of allegedly "liberal" statements he disagrees with. Deciding which statements to present as representing "conservative" or "liberal" views is however a major issue which is commonly resolved with great deal of arbitrariness.

I have noted previously how the measure of conservatism principally relied on by the Berkeley group has shown fairly laughable characteristics on some occasions -- with people who tend to assent to allegedly "conservative" statements also tending to assent to allegedly "leftist" statements! The implication of that result is that the items in the questionnaire are very poorly chosen and do not in fact represent distinctively conservative and liberal views to the people answering the questions.

If psychology were a science, one would have thought that a result as anomalous as that -- particularly when published in a widely-circulated academic journal -- would have caused all subsequent academic users of the questionnaire concerned to at least examine the correlation between the liberal and conservative items in their data. As far as I can see, however, nobody did. I therefore wrote to a large range of other users of the questionnaire and asked for copies of their raw data so that I could carry out the requisite analyses myself. There were only six fellow-psychologists who responded to my request -- mostly people with whom I had some prior acquaintance.

The results are reported in my post of 7th. here (or here). I found that the questionnaire was not uniformly unsatisfactory -- it did work as it was supposed to on the small sampling of occasions concerned. Such a finding does of course constitute some warrant for continued confidence in the usefulness of the questionnaire. That highly unsatisfactory correlations (such as the significant positive correlation between supposedly opposed items mentioned previously) can also be obtained, even with students, does mean, however, that the many studies which fail to report the correlation between the "liberal" and "conservative" items continue to be of dubious meaning. Accepting their results at face value is therefore a matter of faith rather than of science.

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CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

A Christian rehabilitation program for criminals is now shown as having failed. But that's no indictment of Christians. A high-minded Leftish rehabilitation program has also recently been shown to fail in Britain. Keeping criminals in prison longer (See also here) is the only thing that provably helps to protect us from them -- something that I have advocated (PDF) for many years. And if that makes me "punitive", then I am in good company.

"Since Blair's 1997 total ban on armed self-defense, things have gone from bad to worse. 'You are now six times more likely to be mugged in London than New York,' avers Malcolm. 'Why? Because as common law appreciated, not only does an armed individual have the ability to protect himself or herself but criminals are less likely to attack them ... A study found American burglars fear armed homeowners more than the police.' The most dangerous burglaries -- the kind that occur when people are at home -- are much rarer in the U.S. ... only 13 percent, in contrast to 53 percent in England."

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ELSEWHERE

Students for Academic Freedom is a site worth a look if you think that American universities should be something other than extreme Left political organizations.

There is a post on PC Watch (post of 7th.) about why the conflict between Islam and the West is NOT a clash of civilizations.

Interested Participant has found a Leftist site that is as explicit as can be about their destructive and disruptive motives. Lenin and his Bolsheviks still live among us!

The Wicked one has just put up a really agonizing joke.

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7 August, 2003

GETTING THE MARXISTS OUT OF LITERARY STUDIES

This wide ranging interview with economically-sophisticated literary critic Paul Cantor (PDF) is quite fascinating for anyone interested in literature. He shows that the current Marxist monopoly on literary criticism can easily be dismantled. Cantor highlights the elitist reasons artists (mostly second raters), dislike the market economy. In contrast he points out that a surprising number of the world's genuine greats, Shakespeare included, were really quite entrepreneurial. Cantor also points out that although socialism is dead in Economics departments of universities around the world, the Marxist tradition lives on among the literary and cultural critics who of course have no obligation to be practical. And did you know that Percy Bysshe Shelley championed laissez faire economics?

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ELSEWHERE

A little birdie tells me that Prof. Jim Lindgren is having a lot of fun preparing his comprehensive reply to the Berkeley "study" of conservatism. It is such an absurd study that it is hard not to have fun with it.

Those naughty tests! It seems that Boston's $156,560 per year superintendent of Schools, Wilfredo T. Laboy, has been unable to pass a basic English proficiency exam three times so far. Ironically, Laboy had suspended, without pay, two dozen teachers for failing a similar test. Laboy called the test "stupid."

We all now know that there are no criminals any more: "Manhattan, New York, Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro cleared a New York City cardiologist of "forcible touching" charges relating to his opening a female patient's gown and kissing her breasts because the pressure used to kiss "is nothing more than the friction inevitably produced by the meeting of two skin surfaces during touching," whatever that has to do with the charge. (Via Jerry Lerman).

More short-sighted prostituting of of standards revealed at an Australian university. Seeing I got my doctorate from the University concerned, that does annoy me personally. If a businessman had engaged in the same sort of deception in chasing a dollar, he would be in court by now.

The homosexual bishop elected by American Anglicans is probably a good thing on the whole. It will make clear to real Christians that they need to change their church and leave the Episcopalians to the unbelieving feel-good brigade.

A good spoof treatment of Leftism as a psychiatric disorder.

Is exporting art and archaeological artifacts from the Middle East and Mediterranean areas to museums in Britain and the USA really a form of cultural imperialism? It certainly has often proved to be a better way of protecting the artifacts concerned.

"One of the most widespread harms caused by unreasonable malpractice awards is an increase in the cost of medicine. According to the Heritage Foundation, malpractice insurance rates for some providers went up as much as 30 percent in 2001. As awards by judges and juries get larger, malpractice insurance companies are forced to raise their premiums. Many of these price increases get passed on to the patient."

Apparently Joe Stalin noted what a fervent anti-Communist John Wayne was and ordered him to be assasinated! Yet more Leftist "compassion".

"Some 67 companies already have been driven into bankruptcy by claims both legitimate and spurious. More than 200,000 asbestos tort claims are pending nationwide against more than 8,000 corporations. Many of the defendant companies never made asbestos products. The Senate measure would end those lawsuits and protect firms against any future suits asbestos victims might bring." I go along with that. The value created by many years of hard work by company employess should not end up as a honeypot for lawyers.

Leftist Todd Gitlin has recognised the same problem that conservative Gerald Henderson noted in the Sydney Morning Herald. It is no good complaining about "US unilateralism" when the alternative is toothless, do-nothing "internationalism". The trouble is Gitlin doesn't recognise how 'pie in the sky' all the alternatives are.

Of course the US would be happy for 'the international community' to intervene in world trouble-spots and not rely on Washington, but "let George do it" is easier! A better assessment of how much different countries are willing to pay for internationalism is shown by who pays what percentage of the UN budget.

There is a sanctimonious article here about Australian native blacks that picks up on the worst hand-wringing excesses of the Australian Left and says that all that is still not enough to make up for past injustices. He somehow forgets to mention that the Australian blacks looked very much like dying out until the Australian welfare state was introduced after WW2 and that there are now probably more of them around than there were when white men first arrived.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again.

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6 August, 2003

THOSE MEDIEVAL POLLUTERS

Greenies are very quick to talk about the earth's climate but seem to know nothing of its history. Does any Greenie know of the "medieval warm period" that the Vikings exploited to colonise Iceland, Greenland and perhaps America? Was that caused by industrial pollution too? Since even the steam engine had not been invented then, it certainly was not. New data has now shown clearly that the medieval warming was a global event. It was a major climatic event even in Antarctica, and it produced climatic effects that far surpass any that have been manifest there throughout the past century of purported "unprecedented" global warming.

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MORE PROBLEMS FOR THE GREENIES

The Pope has come out in favour of genetically modified crops -- correctly seeing them as a big help in feeding the hungry. His Holiness has often been a critic of capitalism so his intervention in the matter may help to convince a few waverers.

"Despite assurances from the United Nations and the World Health Organization that there is no evidence of any danger from the crops ... the EU maintains that biotech crops are unsafe to eat and destructive to the environment. However, these exaggerated claims emphasize the speculative risks wealthy Europeans foresee, and can dangerously delay or reverse the economic development necessary to improve not only human life but also human stewardship of the environment."

One of the best weapons against bioterrorism may be a healthy biotech industry, bioremediation may also prove to be a useful weapon against pollution.

Wayne Lusvardi says that pandering to rich environmentalists is behind California's budget crisis.

Useful Fools lists a whole heap of the illogicalities in "global warming" arguments. He also shows here how extensive are the parallels between environmentalism and religion.

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THE AUSTRALIAN SCENE

American universities are not the only breeding grounds for educated stupidity. Australian universities have abandoned standards wholesale to lure fee-paying students from Asia. What do they think is going to happen when it gets widely known how worthless their degrees now are? But the universities concerned are of course run by government bureaucrats rather than by businessmen so why should they care about the future?

Historian Daniel Mandel shows clearly how hopelessly biased Australia's public broadcaster (the ABC) is: Every bit as bad as Britain's famously Leftist BBC. That does help to explain why the Australian government is freezing their funding.

This article about a day of mourning in Australia is a very good evocation of how unimportant formal religion generally is here -- and a testimony to how civil and decent Australia nonethless is.

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ELSEWHERE

A rare flash of realism from the NYT: The atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaski is widely supported by Japanese historians as a great gift for peace. Another "wicked USA" story falls apart when ALL the evidence is looked at.

Who cares who teaches this B.S. anyway? "An Ohio school district has scrapped its plan to assign a certified white teacher for a combined black-history and U.S.-government course because a black instructor was not certified to teach government, The Washington Times has learned. 'The black teacher is going to teach the course, and he will also teach government'

"Has Congress ever had the guts to cut spending? Yup. During the mid- 1990s is did just that, no thanks to Bill Clinton.

"A few days ago, the Senate passed an energy bill that is 5 parts corporate welfare to 1 part Soviet-style central planning. An example of the latter aspect is a provision ordering power companies to get 10 percent of their electricity from renewable fuels. While environmentalists are giddy over it, they should think again -- a renewable energy mandate will harm, not help, both the economy and the environment. Here's the basic problem: Renewable energy is simply far more expensive than energy produced from natural gas or coal."

"University campuses are strongholds of left liberalism where Constitutionally-protected rights, such as freedom of speech and religion, are routinely violated. This September, make sure the students you care for pack protection of their civil liberties in with clothing and reference books. This is essential for students who are male, white, conservative, openly Christian, or from affluent families."

"For reasons that defy understanding, opponents of school voucher programs have resurrected a thoroughly defeated argument -- namely, that the use of public funds for tuition at religious schools is unconstitutional. ... Moreover, the arguments put forward by the NEA run counter to recent Supreme Court precedent in Zelman v. Simmons- Harris, which upheld a school voucher plan in Cleveland ..."

The Wicked one has a post showing why public transport is a heap of nonsense.

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5 August, 2003

FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME

There have now been some nasty findings for the "Paedophiles under the bed" crowd who have caused so much hurt to so many innocent people. Chris Brand notes:

"A Harvard psychologist has discovered that people who as adults suddenly find themselves 'recalling' childhood abuse are also more likely to invent 'memories' under laboratory conditions. Researcher Susan Clancy presented words like 'jam', 'sour' and 'salt' and then asked later whether words like 'sweet' had been on the list. 'Abuse recallers' were more likely to 'remember' the new words - as also were people who report having being abducted by aliens."

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ON BROOKES NEWS

America's media bigots. Note the knee-jerk reaction of these media personalities, their willingness to immediately assume the worst of Bush, not even bothering to checkout their prejudiced assumptions. Can anyone honestly tell me these hacks are not bigoted?
The origins of media dishonesty. Shocking reporting about the Bush presidency and the war on terrorism has led some people to once again wonder why most reporters pursue a left-wing line, even to the detriment of the truth as well as logic and common sense.
It's not the CIA that's guilty but certain members of Congress. Well, Congress has released it's report on the 9/11 atrocity. And guess what? Not a single member of Congress was condemned for contributing to this mass terrorist attack. Not even those who had assiduously worked to paralyse our intelligence agencies.
Why does Australia's media still love Clinton and hate Reagan and Bush? The moral impostors are Thomas Sowell's self-anointed. What matters to them is whether you share their left-wing view of the world. If so, then this exonerates you of any wrongdoing because at least your heart is in the right place, unlike evil conservatives.

Details here

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ELSEWHERE

Australian wine exports soared 15 per cent last financial year to $2.4 billion. Sales to the US soared 55 per cent in 2002/03 to 173.6 million litres, while sales to Europe and Britain increased 11.2 per cent to 289.7 million litres. Funny that! Do the French make wine or something?

I have not said much about the "homosexual marriage" issue so far because it does not seem to be much of an issue here in Australia -- though our Prime Minister has just said that he is agin it. There is a widespread feeling in Australia that even an orthodox marriage is "just a piece of paper" and that it is the relationship between the two people concerned that really matters. So whether homosexuals get a piece of paper or not does not seem to matter much either.

It looks like the British are finally getting the message across that they are getting sick of the flood of immigrants coming in that their government seems to lack the will to stop. Both Australia and Britain are islands so there would seem to be no physical reason why their immigration controls cannot be as effective as ours.

I made brief mention recently of the heretical view that the HIV virus does not cause AIDS. There are some pretty powerful defences of the orhodox view here here and here. I myself incline to the orthodox view as far as AIDS in the Western world is concerned but AIDS in Africa is another matter. They seem to call almost any unexplained illness AIDS there -- mostly without even checking whether HIV is present. South African President Mbeki's skepticism about the role of HIV is highly understandable in the circumstances.

It looks like the ridiculous "race is a myth" ideology is now interfering with attempts to help African Americans with their very real health problems.

Jeff Jacoby has looked at what is actually in the famous "road-map" for Middle East peace and has some surprises for people who rely on the mainstream media for reports about it.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has got very tedious and repetitive in his barely-disguised anti-Americanism but if anybody still thinks he should be taken seriously, there is a pretty good dismantling of some of his sillier claims here

The Independent Institute gathered the nation's leading global warming experts to unveil findings on climate change. The speakers, each internationally recognized as authorities on climate change, address historical changes in climate, the effect of these changes on urban mortality and the interplay of science and politics in the current EPA report. The conclusion? "Critical portions of science in [official] reports are misleading, inaccurate, unreliable, or simply wrong. However, that is not an indictment of the individuals involved, but is rather more symptomatic of the nature of science when funded by a government leviathan."

The Wicked one defends both Ann Coulter and Senator Joe McCarthy.

A recent post on PC Watch asks whether all laughter might not become politically incorrect soon. And mirrors are looking dubious too.

In the latest upload of my published academic articles here (or here) I again show how poor is the evidence that psychologists rely on for their attacks on conservatives.

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4 August, 2003

THE THIRD STORY

The third story in my triology about the civilized approach to government in the Anglo-Saxon world of the past is about England just after World War II. A Central European refugee had been given asylum in Britain but was in a category where he had to have some sort of residence permit which needed renewing from time to time. There came a time, however, when he inadvertently let his permit run out. So he got a visit from the local Bobby (policeman) early one morning. This of course struck terror into him. Under both the Nazi and Communist regimes he had known, having your papers out of order led to immediate jailing at the least. So a policeman was terminally dangerous. The conversation went something like:

BOBBY: "Mr X, I have come around because your permit to stay in Britain has expired."

MR X: "I beg of you to forgive me. It must have slipped my mind."

BOBBY: "That's all right. I have to come by here on my way home tonight so give me your old permit and I will drop you in a new one on my way past tonight".

As the Bobby rode off on his bicycle, funny helmet and all, Mr X still could not believe his senses.

That story brings tears to my eyes too. How much we have lost! I doubt that such a thing would happen in modern-day Britain. In modern-day Britain (and Australia) we have "welfare" workers raiding homes to seize children from their parents on the basis of mere speculation. Truly abusive parents, however, are routinely allowed to keep control of their children. "Social Worker" and "Gestapo" seem to mean much the same thing nowadays.

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MAKE IT A TETRALOGY

Just to show that all is not lost as far as civility in Anglo-Saxon politics is concerned, let me tell a fourth story from much more recent times:

This is a story that Australian Prime Minister John Howard told in his victory speech in the 1996 Australian Federal Election. Howard said that like everyone else that day he had had to line up in order to cast his vote. (Casting a vote in Australia at the time did often require some patience. A 20 minute wait was not unknown). He found himself standing in a line behind a man whom he saw holding a Labor Party "How-to-Vote" card. The man turned around, saw the future Prime Minister standing behind him and said, "Hello. Nice to meet you. But I am still not going to vote for you". John Howard then said on national TV that that incident typified for him what Australia is all about. I have to agree. In how many other countries would a future Prime Minister find himself in that humble and humbled position AND BE GLAD OF IT? It also showed John Howard as a sensitive and thinking man in being appreciative of the civil and yet "no nonsense" society we have here in Australia.

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MORE ON THE BERKELEY FOLLIES

In the latest upload of my published academic articles here (or here) I report some more findings about the conservatism questionnaire principally relied on in the research that the Berkeley group summarized. It turns out that lots of the supposedly "conservative" statements in the questionnaire are agreed to by liberals and vice versa. Its liberal items correlate positively with its conservative items instead of the expected negative correlation. It provides a self-contradictory index of conservatism, in other words. Good one! And my article pointing that out has been there in the academic psychology literature for all to see for over 30 years! I would say that the Berkeley work gives new meaning to the term "junk science" except that it is not science of any kind -- not even junk science.

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ELSEWHERE

Maybe I am being too cynical about the current allegations against Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi. I know and love Italians with all their faults and there is no doubt that by our icy Northern European standards they are chronically corrupt. Berlusconi is of course a conservative but it might be noted that the corruption concerned also involves a former socialist Prime Minister of Italy -- Bettino Craxi. Berlusconi stands accused of little more than being an Italian in my view.

A faboulous story here about what haapened to 150 of the white farmers the brutal dictator Mugabe kicked out of Zimbabwe. They moved operations to neighbouring Zambia and just that tiny group of 150 have now turned Zambia into a food-exporting country -- in comparison with the starvation in Zimbabwe.

Under the heading Zuechtungsideen ("Breeding ideas") the leading German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has just given Chris Brand some free publicity. The review was of course condemnatory but it did manage to give a useful summary of the points he makes about race and IQ along the way. Truth will out eventually.

This article on energy policy shows that fuel shortages and price leaps are almost entirely created by government meddling. There does seem to be one form of government intervention that helps, though: Oil prices fell a lot when the US invaded Iraq -- even while Iraqi production was completely cut off. Might it be that US military intervention in the region has put all the oil-exporters on their best behaviour?

There is a play being put on in Australia at the moment that is trying to drum up sympathy for illegal Muslim immigrants that the Australian government has imprisoned until it is established whether any of them are legitimate refugees. Djira, which is "Arabic for the sacred obligation to look after and protect one's neighbours", is the title of the play. Djira sure explains 9/11, I guess. It takes those Muslims to give us lessons on how to be humane!

I inadvertently wandered onto Angela Bell's old site recently. She's got some good posts there, even though they're a month old.

The Wicked one has a big collection of amusing follies.

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3 August, 2003

THE SECOND STORY

I told the first story yesterday about how civilized politics used to be in the Anglo-Saxon countries. When the rest of the world was having bloody revolutions and the like, we were drifting gently along by comparison.

Today's story concerns that great character of New Zealand politics, Robert Muldoon -- conservative Prime Minister from 1975 to 1984. The story was included in his autobiography, My way:

There was a time during his Prime Ministership when Maori radicals were particularly unhappy with him (though many Maori gang members loved him) and there had been bomb threats made against him. So a police guard was mounted on Vogel House, where N.Z. Prime Ministers live. This being New Zealand, however, the policeman finished work at 7pm and went home! So about 10 pm one night there was a knock on the door at Vogel house and there was nobody there to answer it but Muldoon and his family. So what did our Rob do? He answered the door personally! When he did so he found three big Maoris standing there. Were they there to assault him? What did they say? They said: "Rob, we saw your light on so we just dropped in to wish you goodnight." They then all shook hands amid smiles all round and went off waving goodbye.

That story still makes me weep. It does show something of Muldoon's guts but it mainly makes me regret that such a civil society is now virtually impossible almost anywhere.

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A GREAT CONSERVATIVE

My post yesterday about a great conservative -- Australian Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies -- has stirred one of my readers to point out how influential on the world stage he was up until his retirement in 1966. See here.

I am myself a great fan of Menzies and something I always find amusing is the way commentators recognize his greatness but are puzzled that they can never think of anything much he that actually achieved. But that is of course the whole point. Menzies was such a strong figure that he did what very few politicians can do -- he successfully resisted the pressures from almost all special-interest groups to legislate in favour of them at the expense of the community as a whole. Doing nothing was his great achievement. The torrent of legislation to which all governments subject us was a comparative trickle under Menzies. He generally resisted the urge to meddle. And under him Australia was peaceful, calm and secure -- with unemployment negligible and living standards steadily rising. Contracts were enforced, criminals were punished and taxation was a fraction of what it is now. There was welfare for those who really needed it and there were scholarships that enabled children from working-class backgrounds to go to university if they had the ability. I myself was a recipient of one such scholarship. My father was a lumberjack who thought that even secondary education was a waste of time. So Australian conservatives only have to remember the world of Menzies in the 1950s and 1960s to realize that their ideal of a much smaller and fairer government is far from an impossible dream.

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ELSEWHERE

An interesting article here by a libertarian homosexual on how homosexuals have rapidly morphed from being an oppressed group to being a totally intolerant oppressor group.

A saner Catholic tradition: "The Scholastics demonstrated that a concern for the poor and for mercy on the unfortunate does not require spurning the market. In fact, it was these very concerns that led them to study carefully the nature of property and market exchange. They found that the market is a powerful institution for improving the lot of the common worker and respect for private property provides opportunities for charity."

"HIV does not cause AIDS". That was one of the most startling pieces of information to come out of the 21st Annual Meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, held recently in Phoenix, Arizona July 19. Dr. Donald W. Miller, Jr. an attender at the meeting, said, 'It's a shocking statement but it will very likely prove to be true'

There is an interesting short biography of Tony Blair here which portrays him as a genuine idealist rather than a cynical power-freak. I am inclined to agree with that.

There are two articles here and here which give some details about the untruths peddled by the charming Michael Moore

Senate President John Andrews, R-Centennial, said getting criminals off the street and protecting the public is a vital function of government. .... half the male prisoners in Colorado -- and nearly three-fourths of female inmates -- are serving time for nonviolent offenses. He said drug offenses continue to be the most prevalent crime, with 3,691 inmates behind bars for some type of drug offense on June 30, 2002." I have always advocated (PDF) that we would be a lot safer to give only token sentences to non-violent offenders so we can keep the violent ones inside a lot longer.

Amusing: A vegetarian diet similar to what apes eat greatly lowers your cholesterol. But is it "good" or "bad" cholesterol? You can never win with these diets.

The Wicked one explains why we oldies should all be dead according to the do-gooders.

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I take a skeptical look at psychology's famous California 'F' scale (invented by the Marxist Adorno and his colleagues). It was a questionnaire originally invented to help explain racism but now virtually abandoned for that task. It is however still popular among Leftists as an instrument that apparently discredits conservatives if you ignore most of the evidence about it. I show that it is best explicable as an index of old-fashioned attitudes and that its correlation with racism simply shows that it is now old-fashioned to avow openly racist attitudes.

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2 August, 2003

THREE STORIES

I have three stories to tell which illustrate how civilized Anglo-Saxon politics once were -- stories from New Zealand, Australia and Britain. All of them seem to be true stories but if they are not they should be. Today's story concerns Australia's redoubtable conservative Prime Minister Menzies. The time was the early 1950s and the height of the Communist scare. Many conservatives thought the government was not doing enough to combat Communism and some senior Ministers in the Menzies government agreed. Menzies was however a notable lawyer by profession and declared that a recent High Court case limiting Parliament's powers in the matter had to be respected. This was felt to be an inadequate response so a triumvirate of senior Ministers got together and decided that Menzies had to be deposed, a State of Emergency declared, the Communist party banned and a major expansion of the armed forces undertaken. They decided to deliver an ultimatum to this effect to Menzies himself. Menzies was too imposing a figure simply to be bypassed. They decided to make a surprise call on Menzies one Saturday afternoon. Saturday afternoon in Australia of that era was a time when NOTHING happened. The shops were closed and, if there were no major sporting event happening, people just pottered in the garden, took rubbish to the dump or took a big nap to catch up on sleep missed during the week.

The triumvirs arrived at the Prime Ministerial residence and, as well-known figures, were immediately ushered into the presence of the great man. And what was the great man doing at the time? He was in the greenhouse transplanting tomato seedlings so there would be a good crop for the kitchen! It was the sort of hobby activity any Australian might be doing on a Saturday afternoon in that era. Its sheer normalness and ordinariness did however undermine the resolve of the plotters and Menzies, being a wily old bird, probably realized that something was in the wind so continued to engage them in conversation about tomatoes, the seasons and gardening. When he had finished his transplanting, Menzies asked them to take afternoon tea with him -- which they of course accepted.

During tea Menzies asked them to what he owed the privilege of their visit but with all momentum lost by then all one of them could do was to say weakly that they had come to seek his views on the Communist menace. Being famously quick-witted, Menzies told them that he just that day had come to a major decision on the matter. He had decided to hold a referendum on banning the Communist party. As a referendum is an impeccably proper democratic procedure they could hardly argue -- though all those present would have been aware that referenda are normally lost in Australia. And so the rebels went empty away -- foiled by tomato seedlings.

The referendum was of course held -- and it was lost.

The story was relayed to me many years ago as "inside knowledge" by someone who was in a position to have such knowledge so I have no way of verifying it but I think it conveys very well the sheer mundane safety of Anglo-Saxon political life as it used to be -- the very opposite of the high drama that plagues politics in most of the rest of the world.

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ELSEWHERE

It now seems clear that the BBC did invent its claims about British government deception over Iraq. But I guess we all knew that they are now little more than a Leftist propaganda machine feeding off a public who are given no choice about funding them.

Who said National Socialism died with Hitler? Nobody doubts that the Irish Republican Army is nationalist but they are proud to proclaim their socialism too. See here. Leftist thugs and murderers: How unusual! Nothing changes.

As always, nobody can sum reality up like Hayek: "A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers".

"A Zogby International opinion poll, conducted June 18-21 and released by the Galen Institute, found overwhelming public support for private-sector options in Medicare ... as well as fear the complex drug benefit crafted by the Senate could be worse than the coverage many seniors now have. The poll suggests voters would like the option of enrolling in private plans to provide overall health coverage in Medicare

More British injustice: "In June 2003, a judge in Nottingham, UK, ruled that Brendon Fearon was entitled to sue Martin for damages arising from the leg injury he suffered while burgling Martin's farmhouse."

From the Federalist: "We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did." --Thomas Sowell

There is an excellent post by Randy Barnett, a law professor, here (post of 23rd.) that points out how lying just seems to come naturally to the Left. Excerpt: "Persons on the Left create in their minds a false world in which to live -- a world that better suits their preconceptions. They are not content to disagree with the goals of their opposition.... They must make up facts about the world that fit their theories."

Andrew Bolt's columns are mainly aimed at exposing the dishonesty of the Australian Left but what he says applies elsewhere pretty well too. His article on the International Criminal Court certainly shows how wise GWB was to have no part of it.

The Wicked one has a post on Republican Party socialism.

If anybody has not read the Neal Boortz commencement speech, they are missing a fun dig at Leftist groupthink and "compassion".

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I look at the constant Leftist claim ("Tell a big enough lie often enough ....") that they are more "compassionate". If Dr. Goebbels was right one would expect some compassionate people to be taken in by the Leftist claim and so vote for a Leftist party. I surveyed the supporters of three political parties, a socialist party, a moderate conservative party and an avowedly capitalist party. Compassionate people were just as likely to vote for one of the conservative parties as they were for the Leftist party. Fortunately, it would seem that the Leftist "compassion" claim is widely disbelieved. I wonder why? Perhaps, "You can fool all of the people ....."

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1 August, 2003

ANOTHER UNICORN!

I pointed out recently that the "Intolerance of ambiguity" concept much beloved by the Berkeley group as a means of trashing conservatives is essentially a "unicorn" concept -- no such trait or consistent tendency to behave actually exists. The same person will tolerate ambiguity in one situation but not in another.

It turns out that "attitude to authority" is another such unicorn. An integral part of the orthodox but perverse Leftist claim that conservatives are "authoritarian" is the assumption that acceptance of one sort of authority generalizes to accepting all sorts of authority. For a long time I myself took that assumption as read -- but then the evidence began to pile up.

Much of the evidence concerned is given in Ray & Lovejoy (1990) and more can be found towards the end of my paper here under the heading: How general is attitude to authority?. What the evidence shows is that correlations between attitudes to different types of authority vary from population to population and that attitudes to what would seem like very similar instances of authority sometimes correlate very little.

So it seems that people are very discriminating in what authorities they will accept. Accepting the respect-worthiness of one authority in one field does not at all automatically imply that you will respect all authorites. It will all depend on the circumstances. Conservatives, for instance, have traditionally shown more respect than Leftists for the law and for teachers but the recent antics of the U.S. Supreme Court over affirmative action and the fanatical Leftism of the NEA would almost certainly reveal a much diminished respect for both if a survey were taken among conservatives today.

And Leftists themselves are a prime example of how attitudes to authority can be highly differentiated. Respect for the President of the United States at the moment is undoubtedly zero among virtually all Leftists but the utterances of Fidel Castro are on the other hand still treated like gold. And there was never any shortage of Leftist admirers for the terminally authoritarian Joe Stalin. And what is the basic Leftist program if it is not to replace all the existing "powers that be" with a Leftist regime that will have all-pervasive authority over all spheres of life? Leftists reject much existing authority vigorously -- but only because they want to replace it with another much more powerful governmental authority of their own. The claim that they are generally anti-authority is a joke.

So the whole Leftist claim that accepting one authority is part of a general tendency to accept all authorities is in fact worse than a unicorm concept. It is arrant nonsense. So the old Leftist claim that conservatives are chronic worshippers of authority as such falls flat. NOBODY is -- or at least no significant part of the population is.

Paul Walfield makes the reasonable point that for people who claim to oppose stereotyping, the Berkeley psychologists sure are good at stereotyping conservatives. A bit like the Leftist passion for "diversity" on campus -- a "diversity" that somehow excludes almost entirely any conservatives from the faculty of social science and humanities schools. What hypocrites!

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ELSEWHERE

What a truly evil idea: "The national register of pedophiles could be broadened to include suspects, not just convicted child sex offenders". A great way of condemning the innocent! Even lots of those who are convicted are subsequently cleared when it becomes clear how much of the evidence against them was manufactured by do-gooders who are sure that they KNOW. Go back over some of the stories on Richard Webster's site to get an idea of the horrors that have been inflicted on innocent people in the past by governments because of the hysterical approach to paedophilia.

Amazing! Government employees being held accountable: "Rail chiefs are facing criminal charges in the wake of damning reports that catalogue a work culture that neglected safety and left passenger lives at risk". I bet nothing will happen in the end, though.

GOP Socialism: "Yesterday, four Senate Republicans .... unveiled a plan to grant Amtrak $12 billion in operating funds". Passenger rail is dead in most of the world. Why can't they let it die?

I certainly do not agree with compulsory vaccinations but I agree that the scares about the MMR vaccine are junk. There is now a ton of evidence that MMR recipients have no more illness of any kind than anybody else. There is no doubt that for some people facts just do not matter. I feel sorry for their kids though.

Typical government parasites: When high school students in Beaver County got sick of seeing pollution in the park, they decided to do something about it, and volunteers from the Blackhawk High School recycling club removed the tires. Now union employees of the Beaver County Public Works Department want to be paid for the cleanup."

Like the good Northern Englishman that I gather he is (Murray is an old Borderer name) Iain Murray has a paen to cricket on his blog. As a fellow devotee of Sir Henry Newbolt, I have to agree with him but his American readers must be a bit stunned. Iain also says that Prison works. No argument on that one.

Useful Fools has some praise of Randall Parker's blogs that I would like to echo. Randall always has heaps of meaty stuff to read. I blog a lot too but I am retired. Randall actually works as well.

PC Watch reports that even Apartheid can be politically correct if you can claim enough victimhood.

In today's upload of one of my published academic papers here (or here) I again look at the claim that psychological authoritarianism can only be found among Rightists. On this occasion, rather than question the definition of authoritarianism, I simply show that whatever definition you adopt -- even the most incoherent one -- it is still easy to find evidence of psychological authoritarianism among Leftists.

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