DISSECTING LEFTISM ARCHIVE Dec 03 
Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.. 

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31 December, 2003

THE HEGEMON WILL ALWAYS BE UNLOVED

There is some amusing handwringing at The NYT over America's failure to achieve a good image elsewhere in the world. What on earth do they expect? Was the British Empire ever loved by others when it was powerful? Of course not! Everybody tends to dislike people different from themselves and even the tiniest differences can generate great passions.

Let me give an example that shows exactly what I mean but which is so far from world awareness that it can only be seen as amusing: In Australia's island State of Tasmania, the two biggest cities (though both are small as cities go) are Hobart and Launceston. Hobart is the bigger and is the State capital. And guess what? Launceston residents loathe Hobart and all who live there. They perceive haughtiness, arrogance and all sorts of faults in people who are really totally indistinguishable from themselves. Why? Because Hobart is in a different place from Launceston and seems more successful in some ways. Relative to Launceston it is the hegemon (leading, out in front).

So what hope is there of America ever being generally loved abroad? Nil! The differences between Hobart and Launceston residents that arouse great passions are totally imaginary. If even imaginary differences arouse great passions, how much more powerful are going to be the REAL differences between the USA and elsewhere? Even in America's most reliable ally -- Australia -- there is plenty of anti-American sentiment -- almost all just as silly as the anti-Hobart sentiment in Launceston. People just have to live with that sort of thing and fortunately the great commonality of heritage between the USA and Australia ensures that there are many Australians who are mature enough to say that Americans are different but that's still OK.

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OZONE FOREVER!

Chris Vinall has given some answers to my earlier posts about the ozone layer that seem reasonable, though I have yet to absorb the mass of data he has pointed me to. At first glance, however, it STILL seems to me that the 2002 shrinkage was NOT predicted so still shows the models used for it as inadequate.

Here's another point that would seem to question our understanding of the phenomenon: Ozone is a highly reactive chemical that reacts not only with CFCs but also with nitrogen oxides. And guess what produces huge amounts of nitrogen oxides in the upper atmosphere? Nuclear explosions. And between October 1961 and December 1962, the USA and the U.S.S.R. between them exploded 340 megatons of nuclear devices into the atmosphere. So that produced a drastic reduction in the earth's ozone layer and gave millions of people skin cancer -- right? Wrong! Nobody noticed any such effect and, according to Foley and Ruderman of Columbia University Physics Department, by ten years after that period average ozone levels had actually increased! That ozone layer seems to be a lot more resilient than we think! So once again earth's climatic phenomena seem far too complex for prediction by simple laboratory models and what the models tell us to be bad for the atmosphere may even be good for it.

And I still can't see how anybody can get past the fact that the hole is still at least as big as ever DESPITE CFCs having been banned 12 years ago. Maybe Chris will explain it to me in short words.

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ELSEWHERE

I have often remarked (e.g. here and here) on the sheer ignorance of the Leftist view that conservatives are simply people who oppose change. It occurs to me that another refutation of that view is Malcolm Fraser, undoubtedly the most reviled conservative ex-politician in Australia. And what enrages conservatives about Big Mal? The fact that in his long term as Australian Prime Minister he did practically nothing! He did a few middle-of-the road things but that is all. He was a centrist masquerading as a conservative. He did nothing to introduce free market reform or any of the other things that conservatives felt were in dire need of changing. Being opposed to change made him reviled among conservatives, not loved!

Another reader has been thinking about my recent posts on moral philosophy and has written some interesting comments which I have reproduced here.

Terrorists now seem to be targeting the EU!. Serves them right. It shows that wimping out of America's fight against terrorism has not saved them from it.

MALAYSIA is introducing school vouchers? An Islamic country is showing up the USA? Shame!

Jeff Jacoby is very good on the endemic hate-speech of the American Left: "I had noticed that when a prominent Republican or conservative said something offensive about liberals, it typically set off a storm of media condemnation, while an anti-conservative smear voiced by a liberal or a Democrat rarely drew any protest." And he goes on to give a heap of examples.

"Profits are certainly without honor among the intelligentsia. The very word produces negative reactions, even from people who cannot give you a single reason why money carrying that label is worse than money called by other names."

The Curmudgeon is back at his old site but it was still messed up last time I looked. There are some amusing posts amid the confusion, though.

The Wicked one thinks that school choice may not be enough to rescue American education.

The latest upload of a chapter from my book reports a Leftist equivalent of "McCarthyism" going on in Australia in the 1970s. Details here or in chapter 30 here. The difference is that data released by the downfall of the Soviet Union has shown that McCarthy was essentially right in what he suspected.

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30 December, 2003

MORE ON MORALITY

Shaun Bourke liked my analysis of moral statements yesterday and wrote as follows:

You continue to explain to me in words, what I think/believe, but usually am unable to put into words myself. On your 4 points:-

1. I like it when people do X
2. Doing X generally leads to widely desired results
3. It is the will of God that you do X
4. X has an eternal, inescapable, universal "moral" quality.

I find, including myself here, that most people of the Judeo-Christian faiths who tend to follow point 3, do so because of point 2. Whereas ALL other faiths, including 'leftism', follow point 3 because of point 4. I have always been of the view that the God of leftism is Karl Marx.

Points to ponder. I should also have mentioned yesterday how my position differs from Leftist moral relativism. And The Usurer has had fun trying to reduce my four interpretations of what "right" means to two.

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MORE PROBLEMS FOR THE GREENIE RELIGION

More on ozone: At the risk of boring the pants off my readers, I thought I might add a point to my recent post on the Greenie panic over the Antarctic ozone hole. Far from following ANY regular progression, the hole clearly fluctuates wildly -- as much as any other natural weather phenomenon -- and its recent progression from super-small in 2002 to as-big-as-ever in 2003 was predicted by no-one. And in science, if you can't predict it buddy, you don't understand it. So claiming to have found the "cause" of something you don't understand is sheer hubris. Give us back our CFCs!

Ten facts about global warming that the Greenies don't want you to know.

How Germany can meet the Kyoto "Greenhouse" numbers by doing absolutely nothing. No wonder they talk Green.

The Kyoto "base years" are a con.

New supersonic passenger planes needed! The only real solution to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is faster planes. Given the tantrums of the Greenies when Concorde was introduced, that idea should go down like a lead balloon.

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ELSEWHERE

Keith Burgess-Jackson has an interesting post on why he is an atheist -- and I broadly agree with him. He and I are both atheist conservatives but with different backgrounds. Unlike him I WAS once a fervent fundamentalist Christian -- but only in my teens. I was an atheist by the time I was 19 and have been ever since. I must say I think Keith is the poorer for not ever having been religious. Religion is an almost universal human experience and I look back with great fondness on my now distant religious past and do feel that I lost something when religious ideas ceased to make sense to me. My friends all tell me I am a hypocrite when I quote scripture (which I not infrequently do) but I just laugh. I was a very good Bible student in my youth and most of that knowledge has remained with me.

Lies about the U.S. economy from the NYT are uncovered here. Leftists will do anything rather than accept that the U.S. economy is going great guns. Last Night's BBC News reports that the BBC is determinedly ignoring that too.

An amusing article in the NYT trying to reclaim Christianity for the Democrats. There are few things hard-core Democrats despise more than Christianity but if Christian votes are needed they will say anything to get them. As has often been observed (e.g here and here), Leftism itself is a religion. It's no wonder that rival religions like Christianity make Leftists grind their teeth. Discriminations has more on the NYT article.

Sounds a great idea: "Divorcing parents would go to a government shopfront instead of a court under a radical overhaul of family law designed to encourage more parents to share custody of the one million Australian children who suffer separation. The Family Court would become a last resort, and lawyers would be sidelined"

Conservatives have some reason to wish for good health for Rupert Murdoch -- as his media empire (e.g. Fox News) makes the best attempt at political balance. But this article points out that he is 72 and so is already talking about who will take over from him. There is a photo of Murdoch and his latest wife accompanying the article but the third person in the photo is not identified. Guess why? It's Rupert Murdoch's mother! Rupert has definitely got some long-life genes in him!

I have just put up here Chris Brand's latest thoughts. He includes what appears to be a full transcript of the Times article on international differences in IQ.

My latest upload of a previously published article (here or here) is the sole article I ever got published in an economics journal. It is about the way federalism keeps State governments on their toes -- with a very good example from Australia about our abolition of death duties (inheritance taxes).

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29 December, 2003

THE NATURE OF MORALITY IS REALLY SIMPLE

I did three years of coursework in philosophy in my student days and I have had papers on philosophy -- including moral philosophy -- published in the academic journals. I have also been having a desultory email discussion of some issues with moral philosopher Keith Burgess-Jackson lately. For the life of me, however, I still cannot see why so many people think it is so complex. I think that both the questions and the answers about the nature of morality are really simple. It seems to me that statements such as "X is right" (or "X is good" or "You ought to do X") can be unpacked in only four basic ways:

1. I like it when people do X
2. Doing X generally leads to widely desired results
3. It is the will of God that you do X
4. X has an eternal, inescapable, universal "moral" quality.

I think most people would agree with implications 1 and 2. I do. You have to believe in God to agree with implication 3 so I do not. And I think interpretation 4 is untestable, undemonstrable and hence gibberish -- though it does seem to be widely believed. But lots of clever people believe in global warming so beliefs are neither any proof of anything nor any cause for surprise. Now isn't that simple? I cannot see what the above account misses out.

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ELSEWHERE

In their hatred of genetics and IQ, something Leftists cling to is a superficially clever book called The Mismeasure of Man by that smug old Leftist propagandist, Stephen Jay Gould. It is a book that would deceive no-one who knew anything about the field and totally misrepresents those who do but as more and more data on genetics and brain function emerge, the sheer stupidity of the work become more and more obvious. Here is a brief summary of Gould's lies and evasions and what the latest brain findings show. Amusingly, it notes that even Krugman can see that Gould is at best confused. An older and more extensive demolition of Gould is here

Communist antisemitism "On January 13, 1953, just six weeks before Stalin died, an ominous article appeared in Pravda: The ever-vigilant Soviet authorities had "discovered" that several Kremlin doctors, mostly Jews, were in fact killers sent by American intelligence to destroy the nation's leaders. For Soviet Jews, this terse disclosure about the "killers in white gowns" ushered in a period of fear and terror unusual even in a society where arbitrary arrests, denunciations and executions had become routine. During that terrible winter, Jewish children came home from school bruised and beaten. Jews were assaulted on public buses, and patients shunned Jewish doctors"

The NYT is having a justified laugh at Big Government Conservatism. I rather like their point that the only thing conservative about today's GOP is its pro-business orientation, though. To the NYT that is the equivalent of original sin but to me it means that the GOP is working towards the future prosperity of all Americans. It is business that generates the wealth, not government or NYT columnists.

Steve Sailer has an interesting view of Strom Thurmond and says that, contrary to popular belief, miscegenation between American blacks and whites has been relatively unusual throughout history.

Latest PID post: A selection of Ann Coulterisms from over the year.

Jesus wept! Britain may deploy armed sky marshals on some passenger flights. Two years after the 9/11 events and they are still THINKING about it? Israel's El Al have had armed marshalls aboard their flights for years so despite their being No. 1 target, the Arabs leave them strictly alone.

Justice takes strange forms: A man died of a heart attack while stabbing his wife. She survived.

Fun! A Leftist blogger has taken umbrage over my note that the Antarctic ozone hole has not shrunk 12 years after CFCs were banned. He says that I misstate the Greenie claim -- which he gives as "it will take until 2050 for the CFC ban to restore the ozone layer". But if it takes 60 years for a full restoration, shouldn't we see SOME effect after 12 years? Let me make a similar prediction: By the year 2050 a Communist society will have emerged that will make its people prosperous. No sign of it yet but you never know!

I have to laugh a bit at the continuous coverage Yahoo News has been giving to the tragic death of a man taken by a crocodile in Northern Australia. Out of all the deaths in the world, why single out just that one? I guess crocodiles are pretty exciting. A few years ago we had a croc take an American tourist in much the same area and the result was a big upsurge of American tourism to that area!

U.S. authorities are blaming Canada for their mad cow. Why not? Canada blames the USA for everything else!

China Hand has returned to blogging in fine form. Not only is his Xmas letter now up but on his other site he is giving his old friends a hard time. I greatly enjoy his "diatribes" so I am pleased that he has made two of them public. He found my appreciation of the Queen's Xmas message a great cause for mirth.

My latest upload of a previously published article (here or here) is one of the few contributions I have made to the academic literature on IQ. Although I have always taken an interest in IQ research, it is not my specialty. In this case, however, I offered an explanation of the "Flynn Effect" -- the fact that average IQ scores have been rising over the last century.

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28 December, 2003

FROM BROOKES NEWS

The Carterites Strike Back It looks like what Dr Krauthammer diagnosed as Bush Derangement Syndrome has turned into a rabid infection that has severely infected the Democratic Party.
Phillip Adams: loving anti-Semites and hating President Bush Seething with hate and resentment Phillip Adams casually dismissed the capture of the murderous Saddam and described the liberation of Iraq as a "tawdry" and "sham affair".
Political Grinches attack Christmas The spiritual meaning of Christmas is being undermined, not by crass commercialism but by militant secularism; that brand of anti-religious rationalism that seeks not just to separate (quite rightly) Church from State but also to eliminate any kind of religious presence from public life and eventually from the public itself.
Saudi Columnist: "Bush will Go Down in Arab History as the Liberator of Baghdad" In a column in the Saudi daily 'Arab News', columnist Dr. Muhammad Al-Rasheed praised the American capture of Saddam Hussein, and hailed President Bush as a liberator.
Rupert Murdoch, anti-Americanism and Singer's neo-Nazi views The Australian's Stephen Romei defended Peter Singer by calling his crippled critics 'odious'; he maligned Steve Forbes for refusing to subsidise Singer, accusing him of attacking free speech. He then accused Americans in general of not respecting the right of free speech.
State companies: ownership does matter Ownership not only matters it is the key to the competitive process. It is a great pity that our economic commentators have no understanding of this vital fact.

Details here

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ELSEWHERE

A good site for anyone interested in the realities of IQ is La Griffe du Lion. They apply innovative mathematical methods to assessing the IQs of various groups. Their latest article extrapolates from the high number of Jews among Soviet chess champions and yields a higher than usual but still eminently reasonable figure for the average Jewish IQ of 116 (versus some estimates as low as 107).

Gene Expression has a fun graph of the correlation between national religiosity and national IQ. He shows a very strong negative correlation -- i.e. religious nations tend to be dumb. What he does not mention is WHY that correlation arises. It is because the people in African and Islamic countries tend to be both religious and dumb while the people in European countries tend to be rich and smart. It need not tell us anything about what leads to what WITHIN any given country.

There is a rather good article on Oakeshott by David Brooks in the NYT (of all places) which shows that the American effort in Iraq is a thoroughly conservative enterprise.

The NYT has an interesting survey of what various people think are the most over-rated and under-rated ideas of the moment. Peter Singer's contribution is undoubtedly the craziest. He says that: "Americans also favor "American pre-eminence" the Hobbesian view that the United States ought to rule the world, simply because it has the military muscle to do so". I wonder if there is a single American who actually believes that? I would certainly like to see the survey Singer got his data from. "Americans believe that the rest of the world should leave America alone" would be a lot more factual. But I guess that facts are just not Singer's specialty -- though I very much doubt that a supposed expert on ethics can say anything useful whilst totally divorced from reality.

Lots of good new stuff up on Think Israel. Sample: "Freedom of speech is becoming increasingly selective, both in America and in Israel. In both cases, it is becoming politically correct to denigrate Israel and attribute the worst motives and behavior to her, but criticism of Arab behavior is considered impolite at best and telling lies at worst."

Good point: "I want companies I do business with to be socially irresponsible. What I mean is, I want them to satisfy me, the customer. Not bureaucrats who want to force everybody to obey the latest five-year social readjustment plan. The profit-mongers treat me better."

Donald Luskin is a good read if you like to see the New York Times and Paul Krugman in particular shredded. Someone has got to do it!

SF Fan notes this story: "Police Officer Kills Man Who Assaulted Him With Rock" and asks: "Aren't similar events in Israel treated as evidence for the horrible, racist persecution of harmless rock throwers?

There is a good article here demolishing the work of Sigmund Freud. One excerpt: "Wherever the bearded shadow of Freud falls, something unwholesome festers".

Val-e-Dorta makes the interesting point that differences between average IQs of countries are particularly galling to the Left because the Left cannot blame such differences on "lack of opportunity" or the like. Countries make their own destiny and many rich countries have few natural resources but high average IQs (e.g. Singapore, Switzerland) and many countries with lots of resources (e.g. much of Africa) are poor and have low average IQs. Reality is a complex beast but only a fool ignores it.

Dave Huber has an amazing review of some Leftist "historian" who thinks North Korea is great. Most Leftists are sane but some clearly are not.

Further to my recent post pointing out similarities between early Indian and early English political organization, Joseph Stromberg takes the idea one step further by saying that original Indo-European modes of thought about politics from thousands of years ago are still widespread and influential among Indo-European people today.

My latest upload of a previously published article (here or here) uses an Australian example to show that labor union intimidation can be speedily defeated if governments have the will to do so.

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27 December, 2003

MORE ON GREENIE CRAZINESS

I thought I had covered the ozone story before but cannot see where I did -- so: In 1991, the Greenies got everyone to ban CFC chemicals. CFCs were the normal gases that has always been used to make refrigerators and air conditioners work. CFCs even used to put the puff in all our aerosol cans. The ban was because CFCs supposedly destroyed earth's ozone layer and caused the ozone "hole" over Antarctica. So the hole has of course shrunk by now, right? Wrong! As this U.N. report shows, the hole is as big as ever! Another Greenie scare proved wrong.

Ozone is of course a common industrial "pollutant". We actually send tons of the stuff into atmosphere all the time. So even if CFCs do destroy some of it we replace it too. The theorists discount that, of course, but seeing that the rest of their theory hasn't worked out, I think the theorists are the ones who should be discounted.

Now some scientists are saying Soot is the big new climate threat Ho-hum! As if they'd know. I guess Europe must have roasted during the industrial revolution with all those coal-burning steam engines and domestic fireplaces churning out soot by the tons!

Neil Hrab at TechCentral Station says: "History shows that those who persecute heretics beget more heretics. The ...clumsy attempt to silence Bjorn Lomborg is sure to inspire more skeptical environmentalists. " He also criticises the track record of the "Union of Concerned Scientists". Based on the figures he outlines maybe they should rename it the "Union of Confused Scientists"

Science behind the times? "Everyone who reads Science -- the journal of the lobbying organization the American Association for the Advancement of Science - - knows it only accepts one side of the global warming story in its 'Compass' and 'Perspectives' sections, and in its more opinionated, mainline articles. Anyone who writes otherwise for those sections gets a quick rejection. That's understandable because global warming is scheduled to pay U.S. scientists about $4.2 billion next year, and the AAAS is just doing its job keeping the customers happy. But sometimes they go a little overboard in their one-sided zeal .... People who assumed increases in per capita carbon dioxide were wrong 25 years ago, and they are wrong now. But this is precisely what is input into every general circulation climate model"

PID has a big post on TWO recent speeches by Michael Crichton on the way science tends to get corrupted by politics. I and many others have mentioned Crichton before but this is a good excerpt: "Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths."

An amusing article here on the way climate scientists themselves are big contributors to "greenhouse" gas emissions.

The Red/Green alliance show that "Progressives" are not progressive "Europeans often talk about the Red-Green coalition, the coming together of socialists and environmentalists to save the world and its people from the rapacity of capitalists. Many conservative commentators dismiss the alliance as an illusion, arguing that the reds are green and vice versa. Yet it is a mistake to interpret the current close alliance as a congruity of interests. In the end, those who characterize themselves as progressives need to ask themselves whether they should be allies of those who oppose the idea of progress."

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ELSEWHERE

Arlene Peck has some Hanukkah reflections. I liked this one: "you never have a silent night when a room full of Jewish family and friends get together"

"The Poor" are not the fixed category the Left imagines: "The comparison of average incomes and taxes paid by groups would be meaningful only if America were a caste society in which the people comprising one group remained constant over time. Most Americans, however, understand that family incomes change frequently, and the research on income mobility reveals that most family incomes increase significantly over time. This is one reason why Americans with modest incomes tend to resist "soak the rich" class-warfare arguments: They hope to be rich themselves one day. Policymakers should ignore this class-warfare rhetoric

And the poor old Leftist "Mother Jones" doesn't seem to know that so just cannot understand that 49 percent of blue-collar men told a January 2003 Roper poll they would vote for Bush in 2004. In fact, blue-collar workers were more pro-Bush than professionals and managers. Capitalism gives hope of prosperity and independence for those who do not have it. Leftism only gives hope of dependency.

The Wicked one has some wacky quotes from one of England's most famous literary characters -- Dr Johnson. I like some of the definitions in Johnson's famous "Dixionary" -- Pie -- "a crust baked with something in it"; Oats -- "a grain which, in England, is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people"; Lexicographer -- "a poor harmless drudge". And his definition of the two best things in Scotland is famous: "The whisky and the road to London".

My latest upload of an academic journal article (here or here) is one of my many published papers on racism. The article was written in 1985 and I pointed out that there was at that time good prospect of evolutionary change away from Apartheid in South Africa. As we all know, however, that was not allowed to happen. International pressure and condemnation caused the white government to throw in the towel and usher in the present ever-worsening disaster there. I have been there myself both before and after the abandonment of Apartheid so I do have some first-hand knowledge of the difference. There is a rather sad story here by an idealistic white South African Leftist who passionately opposed Apartheid for many years. The only thing he can now find to praise about his country is the scenery

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26 December, 2003

NEW RESEARCH ON ASIAN IQ CONFIRMS PREVIOUS FINDINGS

There has been heaps of evidence for decades to show that all nations are not the same in IQ any more than all people are. Once again, the EVIDENCE shows that all men are UN-equal. Below is an extract from a press report of a recent study confirming previous work on the subject. The IQ advantage of East Asians has of course been known for years. When the lists of students gaining top marks in matriculation and other exams are announced in Australia every year, Asian names normally crowd the top of the list. I would not be surprised if the PC crowd started to try suppressing such lists in the future (It's already happenning in Tennessee). There is no doubt that Asians are brighter. Only their lack of a tradition of liberty has held them back by keeping them under the control of tyrannical governments.

Ever since being shamed by Commodore Perry in 1853, however, Japan has taken on heaps of Western ways (including deposition of the Shogunate in 1867 and its replacement by a largely ceremonial monarchy) and look at the immense cultural, industrial, economic and scientific influence it has now had. Politically, Asians in general have been too submissive for their own good -- so far. China has already now begun a Japan-style takeoff so it seems clear to me that we are living at the beginning of the century (or more) of the Han (China's majority race). As I myself think the Han are thoroughly admirable, I look forward to it.

IRELAND has one of the lowest average IQ levels in Europe, according to new research. Ireland ranked 33rd out of 50 countries in an international comparison of intelligence, well below Britain and the United States.

The research, compiled by the neutral Austrians, has found that Irish people have lower average IQ than the British, the Americans, and the French. The table was compiled by researchers from the University of Vienna medical school, who drew on a variety of sources to produce average IQs for 50 countries. Britain is ranked 11th with 100 points, which is the same score as Belgium and New Zealand, while Ireland, with 93 points, is one of the poorer performers in Europe.

The people of Hong Kong topped the table. The Far Eastern countries of South Korea, Japan and Singapore take the other top four places after Hong Kong, which has 107 points. The USA falls outside the top 20 with 98 points.

The use of IQ tests to make comparisons between different nationalities is highly contentious. It is believed that the Far Eastern countries perform well because they have advanced skills in mathematics. Sylvia Herbert, chairman of British Mensa, the association for people with IQs in the top 2% of the population, said: "IQ tests are not perfect, but they will have been going for 100 years next year. They have been refined and adjusted over the years and they are predictors of success in work. Mensa members have higher than average incomes.

"It does not surprise me that the Far Eastern countries came top. They are known to be better at mathematics. I was in Singapore for our international meeting and that year Singapore children had gained the highest results of developed countries."

Why Ireland scores poorly is as plain as a pikestaff. For centuries the smart Irish either emigrated or joined the priesthood and priests did not (usually) have children. I have plenty of Irish ancestry myself and I love to hear the sound of an Irish voice but MY ancestors were among the emigrants.

The above excerpt is from here but is behind a subscription wall for some readers. A briefer generally available report is available here

Peter Hitchens has an interesting portrait of the massive development going on in Shanghai, China, and notes that economic development is going on without much political liberty. He seems to have just discovered that, although economic liberty is needed for economic development, you can have economic liberty without much political liberty. Any observer of places like Chile and Singapore (or Hong Kong for that matter) could have told him that years ago.

And now "The Chinese government has formally acknowledged the end of its 50-year attempt to build communism by tabling an amendment to the constitution to protect private property - which Karl Marx wanted abolished"

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ELSEWHERE

Maybe I am a sentimental old fool but I always feel a bit teary when I watch the Queen's Christmas message on TV. She always does what Ronald Reagan all to briefly did for America -- remind us of those basic timeless values that are too often assumed and too little expressed and praised.

Jeff Jacoby notes rightly that if the Maccabees had not triumphed (which is what is celebrated at Hanukkah) Judiaism would have died and Christianity could not therefore have later emerged from it. We all therefore owe the Maccabees a debt of gratitude.

Three cheers for holiday lights "Environmental activists usually critical of electrified America must have mixed emotions this time of the year. Though it is a season of good cheer and goodwill toward all, it is also a time of conspicuous energy consumption. To many people, America the Beautiful is at her best in December when so much of the nation is illuminated by billions of tiny stringed light bulbs. Holiday lighting is a great social offering -- a positive externality, in the jargon of economics -- given by many to all."

It's an uphill battle: "Few people have done more to highlight the issue of liberal media bias than Bernard Goldberg, author of the bestselling "Bias." Goldberg has now authored the recently released "Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite" in which he offers solutions to the problem of media bias"

My latest upload of a published academic journal article (here or here) is one of my papers on environmentalism. I found that while people generally do strongly favour a clean, green environment, they are realistic about the costs involved.

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25 December, 2003

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL WHO COME BY HERE

I am an atheist but I still love Christmas and am profoundly grateful for my Judeo-Christian roots. I hope other non-Christians can enjoy as much as I do this season of goodwill and hope.

I pinched the inspirational quote below from Valete Fratres. He has some good quotes from Mother Teresa too.

"'A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father's shop. He has no formal education. He owns no property of any kind. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father's shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside. Walking from place to place preaching all the while even though he is in no way an ordained minister he never gets farther than an area perhaps 100 miles wide at the most. He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried and convicted. There is no court of appeal so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing -- the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place so he is interred in a borrowed tomb. End of story? No, this uneducated, propertyless young man who preached on street corners for only three years who left no written word has for 2000 years had a greater effect on the entire world than all the rulers, kings and emperors, all the conquerors, the generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who ever lived -- all put together. How do we explain that? ...Unless he really was what he said he was.'

Ronald Reagan (Who else?)

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INDIA IS MORE ENGLISH THAN WE THINK

I have often made the point that the Left/Right divide in the English-speaking world is largely a divide between the traditional English form of political organization -- which was decentralized and consultative -- versus a desire for something like an all-powerful oriental despotism. Conservatives like the traditional limited power of the centre while Leftists want to centralize all power in their hands. I trace the English tradition of limited central power all the way back to the primitive German tribes (Angles and Saxons) who conquered Britannia 1500 years ago and made it into England.

An Indian reader has noted my arguments to that effect and says that the political organization of the early Aryan settlers of North India was similar to that of the early Anglo-Saxons: "Far from the widely held perception of 'Oriental despotism', their political system required the king ('Rajan') to act in a manner which may be described as a constitutional monarchy of sorts. He was assisted in administration by two assemblies called 'Sabha' and 'Samiti' which could even depose him if he was found to be tyrannical or currupt. Hereditary succession was not guaranteed. Later of course with the absorption of small kingdoms into a large 'Magadhan' Empire - which was strong enough to deter Alexander from invading Central India -- the 'Rajan' became 'Samrat' or Emperor and the assemblies gradually became redundant".

And Ancient Rome too started out as a republic with a powerful Senate and elected rulers. And the ancient Greeks are widely credited with having invented democracy -- though as all readers of Thucydides know, the direct form of democracy that the Athenians favoured was disastrous for them. So it seems that our good luck (or good management) as Anglo-Saxons is simply that original Indo-European traditions and systems survived longer among us than elsewhere.

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Readers of this blog will of course have noted that Keith Burgess-Jackson and I often link to one-another. We also correspond quite a bit. What many may not realize, however, is that Keith and I actually disagree on a whole heap of things -- even on such a basic thing as the meaning of "right" and "wrong". We both enjoy careful analytical discussion of issues, however, so respect and enjoy one-another's thoughts because of that. Wouldn't it be nice if Leftists had enough intellectual calibre to discuss things that way too? Regrettably, however, all they usually seem to have is emotionalism, closed-mindedness and abuse.

An interesting excerpt from China Hand's Xmas letter. He says of his wife Susanna: "She spent the first half of the year in China although she only planned a short stay. SARS intervened and kept us hunkered down in Huizhou fearing lengthy detention for quarantine on a premature return. It was nice for Alfred coming home to home cooked food every night! She filled the time by tutoring groups of local and Korean students in English which she proved to be very good at. Teaching the locals was no challenge. But the most interesting was the Koreans - they were two 13 year old students living with their parents here in China. They communicated with Susanna in Chinese. So we thought it amusing that a Hong Kong Chinese (native language Cantonese) was teaching English to Koreans in Mandarin Chinese" The Xmas pic for the "China Hand" family is here

Wayne Lusvardi says that both modern day California and Iraq are "failed States".

There is a good article here on how politicized global warming theory has become. Distinguished scientists can be sacked if they are not of the Greenie religion. It shows how shaky the evidence is upon which the global warming claims are based. All the long-known evidence (including the settlement of Greenland by Vikings) that the earth had a warm period in the Middle Ages too has to be ignored, for a start.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again in a special Xmas edition.

If you have ever had any building work done for you, you will appreciate the real story behind the building of Noah's ark -- as related by The Wicked one

My latest upload of a published academic journal article (here or here) is one of my papers on criminology. I shoot down a Leftist academic who uses elitist arguments in defence of his "soft on crime" attitudes.

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24 December, 2003

IF CONSERVATIVES ARE SUPPOSED TO FAVOUR THE STATUS QUO, NO-ONE TOLD RICHARD NIXON

To reasonable people (NOT including Leftist psychologists) the Reagan/Thatcher revolution disposed once and for all of the Leftist myth that conservatives are mindless folk with no ideas of their own who simply favour no change from how things are. But from Edmund Burke onwards, that has never been true. What is usually conveniently forgotten is that it was not even true of Richard Milhous Nixon (37th President of the USA).

Nixon chose liberty rather than the status quo: Gary North at Lew Rockwell.com has an interesting piece on how Nixon abolished conscription and instituted an all volunteer army. North points out that for a conservative government to eliminate a long established policy, one that had been in place since FDR, during a war and against considerable opposition from the military (at that time), was "nothing short of remarkable". North traces the influence of a small group of libertarian economists, including Dr Martin Anderson, who originally sold Nixon on the idea. And it was Donald Rumsfeld who as a junior Congressman introduced the legislation to abolish the draft. Of course, neither Rummy or the "neo-liberal" economists who ended the draft get any credit or recognition from the left.

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AUSTRALIA'S radical Muslims are trying to sabotage Christmas, according to the nation's most senior Islamic leader, Sheikh Taj Din al-Hilali. The accusation from the Islamic mufti is based on a Wahabist edict from Saudi Arabia, which he said had been circulating among Australia's fundamentalist Muslims.... The edict says Muslims must not greet anyone with the phrase "Merry Christmas" and must not return the season's greetings to anyone who offers them... According to Sheikh al-Hilali, the edict also asks: "How can you Muslims participate with Christians in their festivals and celebrations? How can you greet them on this occasion in relation to the falsehood in their religion which is a symbol of their misguided, disbelieving creed?

Mike Tremoglie looks at the common Leftist claim that white cops are always killing blacks. He points to statistics showing that white cops kill fewer blacks than black cops do. Arguably, however, the cops should be more trigger-happy than they are. Why? Because "Young black males murdered police officers at a rate almost 6 times that of young white males"

Is organ bootlegging inevitable? "Not only the means, but also the motives exist to jumpstart an involuntary organ market: the shortage of transplantable organs continues to worsen worldwide. In the United States alone, the list of patients waiting for an organ continues to lengthen. There are, for example, some 83,000 people waiting for a kidney. Despite all the above, involuntary black markets in human organs are not inevitable. Aboveground markets and science can keep those urban legends legendary."

A problem without a solution? "Forty-three percent of black pregnancies end in abortion, according to a recent study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a leading research and advocacy organization promoting sex education. Nearly 70 percent of all black children are born out-of-wedlock. These two facts taken together should be perceived by everyone as clear evidence of a marriage and family crisis in black America.

Neil Cavuto says: "The French want to strike a deal with us. The Germans are saying nice things about us. And the Russians just might entertain a partnership with us. But wait a minute, I thought all these guys hated us? I think they still do, but something changed. Saddam Hussein has been captured. And now the countries who wouldn't do squat to remove him are tripping over themselves to strike a deal with the country that did. Nothing succeeds, it seems, like success"

Surprise, surprise! "If principals were put in charge of their individual schools and allowed to run them as small businesses, is it likely the schools would be more successful than if the schools and their resources were directed by a central office? After studying a variety of public and Catholic school systems in North America, UCLA Professor of Management William G. Ouchi concludes in a new book that decentralized school systems run more efficiently and produce better student achievement."

The Wild Monk points out that the Left can only say "Bush Lied" because they do not share his perspective. What the Left see as "lies", other see as common-sense! But of course the main point of the Leftist "Bush lied" chant is projective -- to distract attention from their own chronic dishonesty -- such as their decades-long scoffing at the evils of Stalin and the Soviet system.

Aaron Gross has a lot of fun Googlebombing and recommends that you Google this term: "cuckolded dyke"

A fun story about TV "psychics" via Marc Miyake: "One day we were sitting in the [fire] station and a commercial came on TV for one of these psychic readers. I had mentioned how these readings are bogus. To prove it I called the 800 number and when they asked me for my credit card number I said "you're the psychic, you tell me what my number is." They hung up on me and the guys at the station couldn't stop laughing."

Michael Darby is online again with a new range of posts as under:
The Case Against Killing Saddam
Cathy Buckle: Disaster in Zimbabwe
Good News from Prodos
Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ"
Australian Defence Force needs to be able to venture far afield
Killing him Softly
Mark Latham MP on the Ukqwitt Register

The Wicked one has found some lessons on how to deal with Islamic fundamentaism in a most unlikely source.

My latest upload of a published academic journal article (here or here) once again points out how a journal article was published that showed minimal awareness of the existing academic literature on the subject. Such behaviour is the besetting sin of psychology and renders science in the field concerned impossible.

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23 December, 2003

MORE ON THE CROOKED WOODMEN

As a comment on my recent post about the "Crooked Timber" blog (see December 21 below), one of my readers writes:

Crooked Timber is a collective blog with 12 members; the article you linked to was by Daniel Davies, also known in the blogosphere as "dsquared." The blog tends to the Left, but occasionally speaks up in favor of a libertarian view or two.

The Crooked Timber post that soured me on them was this one: about Amartya Sen's book Development as Freedom. The comments section attracted some lively input from people to the right of Sen and Crooked Timber, and the reactions of the Crooked Timber folks were despicable. Rather than engage the questions raised by the conservative commenters, they stooped (surprise) to ad hominem attacks, including the usual charges of intellectual dimness and racism. In the end they shut down the comments section; clearly they couldn't handle dissent in a constructive way. Bleh!

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The Pope gets it right: "POPE John Paul II has praised Singaporeans for being able to live together harmoniously, especially now that religious tensions in the region are running high" What he does not ask is why. Would the Singapore government's absolute intolerance for lawlessness and tough penalties for crime have anything to do with it?

The churches that ordain homosexuals are losing both clergy and parishoners over it.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman-elect Jeffrey Lucy said today he was passionate about business regulation. What can you expect of a bureaucrat?

"When, one wonders, did conservatism in America become hip? In the US the new millennium seems to have entrenched a growing trend among the younger generations that, if not culturally conservative, is anti-liberal" I myself think that young people have been bored silly by the constant obsessive preaching from their Leftist teachers.

I have just learned via NZ Pundit that the BBC have banned reporters from calling Saddam Hussein a former dictator. Instead, staff must refer to the barbaric mass murderer as "the deposed former President". Is speaking the truth bad taste at the BBC or is it just a general rule not to speak ill of socialists?

Jeff Jacoby has some pretty searing comments on General Wesley Clark's activities in the former Yugoslavia -- friendly antics with vicious Serbian mass-murderers and then failing to catch any of them when they became wanted men.

European anti-Americanism: "During the Cold War the Western Alliance was essential for Europeans scared stiff of a menacing Soviet Union, but it also meant subordination to American leadership. Dependence breeds resentment and a strong desire to reassert one's independence. That desire was strongly in evidence in a Gaullist France even during the Cold War. When that struggle ended it was widespread. When fighting broke out in Yugoslavia in the summer of 1991, for example, the immediate reaction of Jacques Delors, then President of the European Commission, was 'We do not interfere in American affairs. We hope they will have enough respect not to interfere in ours'. A few years later, of course, after they had failed to deal with the problem, Europeans were pleading with Washington to intervene in the Balkans. "

Despite their solidarity with the working class, and despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth over how conservatives treat the poor, Leftists turn out to be the cheap ones. A definite "compassion" transplant is needed for them. They only want to give away other people's money, not their own.

SF Fan has some good posts up at the moment. I liked this comment on the Vatican claim that the US forces in Iraq treated Saddam like a cow: "That's a load of bull. Sure we're going to milk as much information out of him as possible but that's no reason to have a beef with us. I wouldn't steer you wrong. After all, our honor is at steak!"

Useful Fools has an amusing graphic about the "threat levels" posed by Democrat candidates.

PID has a new post on foreign aid, guest workers and why Australia's multiculturalists don't like them

This post at Cronaca gave me a laugh: "Cholesterol-free mice that would make healthy snacks for cats have been created by scientists. The mice completely lack cholesterol, generally thought to be essential for survival, yet are relatively healthy".

I have just put up here Chris Brand's latest thoughts. He has a big coverage of the motivations behind the sex-mad Ian Huntley -- who has just been convicted of murdering two ten-year-old British schoolgirls.

The Wicked one says greed is STILL good.

My latest upload of a published academic journal article (here or here) is just another case of my pointing out that a fellow-psychologist fails to tell the whole story about his subject -- something I did on many occasions. The Leftist domination of psychology means that they are just not interested in the whole truth on any subject -- and it shows. As long as the conclusions support some Leftist preconception, theory or prejudice, it MUST be right!

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22 December, 2003

THE CLINTON LEGACY

"How dare we forget his appeasement toward North Korea, virtually inviting her to cheat on her nuclear agreements? Or how about his immediate retreat at the first sign of blood in Mogadishu and his persistent inaction in the face of recurring Al Qaeda terrorism against American targets, both of which virtually invited the September 11 attacks?

How about Clinton's emasculation of the FBI and CIA? He not only loathed the military, but our vital intelligence services as well. And, as Lowry details, he "refocused the CIA on humanitarian interventions, economic security, the environment, and a host of issues associated with global crime _" Terrorism was buried in a blizzard of other boutique, post-historical priorities."

Lowry shows that Clinton treated terrorism as a law enforcement matter, rather than warfare. At Clinton's direction, the FBI became the lead agency in the war on terror -- "a task for which it was inherently unfit." As a law enforcement agency, honor bound and structured to operate within the rules of evidence and the high standards of proof of American courtrooms, its hands were tied, and it was rendered ineffectual working against terrorism."

More here

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I have just received a Xmas email from Chris Brand wishing me "Happy Kwanzaa!" I got one last year too I think. Like me, his sense of humour gets away with him sometimes. There was a happy Xmas photo of Chris and his wife in chilly Edinburgh attached which I reproduce here. If you look at the picture and then consult the classic Bogardus scale of social distance you will see what a racist Chris is! Leftist wiseheads of course don't believe Bogardus and say that "Some of my best friends are Jewish" is an antisemitic saying. None of them have however ever been able to tell me what a Philosemite would say! "Some of my worst enemies are Jewish", perhaps? I myself know only one person of Jewish ancestry well and he is one of the finest men I know. I guess that makes ME a pretty evil character by Leftist logic!

Those wacky Canadians again! Some Canadian veterinarian nearly euthanized the owner instead of the dog that was supposed to be put down! Not very politically correct and distinctly negligent!

"Economists have isolated the effects of extended unemployment benefits. Since many workers wait until their benefits are almost exhausted before taking a new job, the effect of extending benefits beyond 26 weeks simply extends the date when they have to take a job. One estimate concluded that for each week benefits are extended, the average duration of unemployment increases by about a day ..."

Indian born Australian academic Sudha Shenoy has some sharp words for the enemies of free trade -- including the current US government -- here. Sudha was asked on a recent trip to the US about public anti-intellectualism in Australian society. Apparently she said Australia was one of the few countries that treated intellectuals with the disrespect they deserved.

Sowell: "One of the reasons our children do not measure up academically to children in other countries is that so much time is spent in American classrooms twisting our history for ideological purposes.... "

GWB is building a $300 Million black history museum

Hopefully he'll do a better job than the new "postmodern" National Museum of Australia. About the same time this $200 M "politically correct" white elephant was being built one of finest, well established museums in the country, Sydney's Australia Museum was having it's magnificent collection selectively looted ...thanks to lack of funds for elementary security and asset management

At PID there is a post criticising the use and abuse of sanctions against Smith's Rhodesia, Mugabe's Zimbabwe and Iraq

Keith Burgess-Jackson has an oblique comment on my post yesterday about equality of results versus equality of opportunity. He points out that there are many versions of equality/inequality in between those cases and that one could reasonably choose any of them. He notes that even Rawls (the philosopher beloved of Leftists for his attempts to justify equality) allows inequality as having advantages.

I seem to have had a bit more free time available than usual lately so I have expanded my online biography by adding in a lot of the fun bits that I initially left out for the sake of brevity. See here or here.

My latest upload of a published academic journal article (details here or here) is a highly technical one but in it I rip apart some simplistic theories put forward by one of the grandees of Australian academic psychology. I show that at several points even his own data contradict his contentions. It must have caused some heartburn. LBJ once said of an outspoken person that he would rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in. For the Australian psychology establishment, however, I was always firmly outside the tent so I had no hesitation in pissing on them when the opportunity arose. Perhaps they were right. I would have pissed on them anyhow. I was born outspoken. And anybody who remembers my mother will know where I get it from.

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21 December, 2003

CROOKED ALL-RIGHT!

"Crooked Timber" seems to be some sort of Leftist philosopher. I would never have read him except that Keith Burgess-Jackson seems to take him seriously. His defence of the Leftist "equality of results" doctrine versus the more conservative "equality of opportunity" doctrine is summarized by him in the two questions below:

1. What's the point of doing anything if you're not going to check whether it worked or not?
2. How do you find out whether a course of action worked or not, other than by the results?

He seems to think that these questions trump further discussion. So perhaps I should point out that they do not. The snide thing about the two questions is that "it worked" is not defined -- presumably in order to suggest that the favoured alternative (equal outcomes) is the only reasonable definition of it. Building your desired conclusions into your premises is an old Leftist trick of course, as I have shown many times before (e.g. here). A layman might call it "loading the dice".

So let me suggest some alternative definitions of "it worked". One suggestion would surely be that treating a person according to his own qualities rather than according to the qualities or wealth of his parents was a pretty desirable thing to do in and of itself. Why does it need to "work" in any way external to itself? If that is accepted, the Crooked One's point 2 becomes redundant.

Even if the deed is not taken to be intrinsically good, however, there are surely many, many alternative definitions of "it worked" available. If, for instance, it made people feel happier because it convinced them that they lived in a fair society, would that not be something that might cause us to say "it worked"? And checking that result could be as simple as doing a social survey.

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I did not mention the Libyan story yesterday since everyone else was all over it but Hippercritical has some reasonable comments. Clearly, however, it is a huge triumph for GWB's policies. Saddam's capture must have tipped the scales.

The latest batch of government economic data reveals a new theme: inflation-free boom. It's a business-led scenario this country hasn't seen in many years. Bush administration supply-siders who argued in favor of permanent tax incentives to grow the investment side of the economy are being proven exactly right. Former top Bush economist Glen Hubbard -- one of the principal authors of last May's growth bill that lowered Uncle Sam's tax bite on investment by roughly 40 percent -- deserves loud kudos. Liberal columnist Paul Krugman, who opposes supply-side tax cuts at every turn, deserves a resounding Bronx cheer. Both the economy and the stock market (the Dow has moved past 10,000, and the S&P is up 23 percent on the year) are voting for President Bush.

Leftist Will Hutton is no fan of Bush, but unlike 90% of the world's environmentalists, he says the real action is in "The States", whereas the Europeans are smug. And Hutton is not kidding when he says "the States", he says that the U.S. State governments are the leading environmental reformers in the world. So you would think the Green/Left would love America, wouldn't you? No such luck of course. Like Hitler and the Islamic fundamentalists, they cannot be appeased.

Great news! Switzerland is now one of the countries which have recognized that the Ottoman Turks committed genocide against the mostly Christian Armenians in 1915. Muslims committing genocide? How amazing! The Kemalists took over Turkey from the Ottomans not long after that and have kept Turkey out of the hands of the Islamists since but even they are pretty brutal to their minorities -- the Kurds particularly. The last truly decent Muslim regime seems to have been that of the Kurd Saladin in the 12th century. The only prominent Muslim man of peace in the last 100 years that I can think of is Egyptian President Anwar Sadat -- and the Islamists shot him!

What's up with American Realpolitik? It's a great site -- specializing in political cartoons -- but every time I have tried to log on lately all I have got is the banner headline. Their server must be worse than blogspot -- which is saying something

Writing on Sasha Castel's blog, Scott Wickstein says that the generation of power via nuclear fusion is going commercial -- sort of. Nobody can decide where to put it, though. A notable absentee from the list of contributors to Sasha's blog is one Andrew Ian Dodge. I understand Sasha now lives in Canberra, Australia. I wonder where Andrew has got to? Did he ever make it to England?

Apparently Canada's new Prime Minister has taken some token steps in a Rightwards direction. We must be thankful for small mercies, I guess.

I am pleased to see that Michael Jennings too likes real ale. Australians are usually very rigid about liking only the lager beers that they are used to in Australia. My favourite drop was Ruddles County when I was in England. But Michael's wish for good food in an English pub is a tad optimistic.

Aaron Oakley has some good posts about the stupid and enormously expensive windmill craze that Greenies pushed so hard for so long.

I have just put up here some more of Chris Brand's latest thoughts -- on toyboys and other things.

My latest upload of a published academic journal article (here or here) is just another case of my demolishing the ill-informed arguments of a Leftist psychologist. A bit too technical for most readers, though.

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20 December, 2003

THE LYING SKEPTICS

It gets worse. It looks like "The Skeptical Inquirer" was not credulous but straight-out dishonest in their support for the global warming theory. They depicted their favoured report on global warming as the outcome of a standard scientific peer-review process. As this report from Stats.org notes, it was nothing of the sort. What was published was a totally distorted version of what the scientists had said:

Frederick Seitz, former president of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society, claimed that he had "never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer review process than the event that led to this IPCC report." Seitz went on to charge that nearly all of the editorial changes made by the report's lead author, Benjamin Santer, "worked to remove hints of the skepticism with which many scientists regard claims that human activities are having a major impact on climate in general or global warming in particular." Others, including the independent but industry-backed Global Climate Coalition (GCC) went so far as to claim that the report had been "scientifically cleansed" in a political effort to emphasize alarm about global warming while deleting references to uncertainty.

And the second report that the Skeptics quoted also said nothing like what they claim:

"Last week the National Academy of Sciences released a report on climate change, prepared in response to a request from the White House, that was depicted in the press as an implicit endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol... As one of 11 scientists who prepared the report, I can state that this is simply untrue. For starters, the NAS never asks that all participants agree to all elements of a report, but rather that the report represent the span of views. This the full report did, making clear that there is no consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate trends and what causes them."

Clearly, the Skeptics have been taken over by Greenie propagandists, with their characteristic disregard for the truth. Sad indeed.

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Great stuff! In Canada a single guy can get a pension by claiming that he had a homosexual lover who died. Bad luck if your lover happens to have been a woman, I guess. "In what the gay community is describing as a monumental decision, an Ontario court ruled Friday that the federal government has discriminated against same-sex couples by denying pension benefits to survivors whose partners died before 1998"

Reality is beginning to bite for Germany's socialists. They have just introduced some reforms that are at least in the right direction: "Restrictive employment protection laws will be eased to enable small companies to dismiss workers at short notice. Unemployment and social welfare benefits will be merged to reduce costs. At the same time Germany's long-term unemployed will face penalties if they refuse to take up jobs even if they pay below union rates... The programme also includes measures to ... lower income tax"

More welfare abuse: "A STRING of Aboriginal work-for-the dole programs set up under the federal Government's $450million indigenous employment program, have collapsed amid allegations of financial misappropriation and mismanagement"

More glories of socialized medicine: "A woman was left to give birth alone in a hospital corridor, then told she had no choice but to watch her premature baby die"

Jeff Jacoby details some of the horrors perpetrated on the Iraqis by Saddam and says that no conceivable punishment can fit his crimes.

I guess its a start: "The Bush administration reached a free-trade agreement with four Central American countries yesterday, setting up a tough trade fight in Congress in an election year. The trade accord -- reached just weeks before the 10th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- would allow more than 80 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial products into Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras duty-free as soon as it went into force."

Michelle Malkin: "From homeland security personnel, I continue to hear open-borders horror stories. A Border Patrol agent who works along the northern border reports that federal immigration judges in his area are subverting the deportation process by refusing to issue arrest warrants for illegal alien absconders (fugitives who have been ordered deported but never showed up for their hearings). A special agent notes that San Diego supervisors continue to discourage interior immigration enforcement near the southern border. And countless rank-and-file immigration enforcement officers have written to express disgust at Washington's bipartisan talk of "amnesty" for millions of immigration law-breakers whose presence makes a mockery of homeland defense. What good is it, they wonder, to send American soldiers to defend other countries' borders if we're not willing to defend our own? "

Price controls can be deadly: "Who would ever dream that the economic fallacies to which U.S. officials subscribe could turn deadly? Yet that's what recently happened in Baghdad, where an American GI was shot dead while guarding long lines of angry and disgruntled consumers at a gasoline station in Baghdad. Why are there long lines at gas stations in Iraq?"

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

My latest academic upload here or here looks at attitude to Europe in England and Scotland shortly after the UK had joined. At that time opposition to joining in with Europe was primarliy associated with generally old-fashioned attitudes. I think that shows that being old-fashioned can have its advantages.

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19 December, 2003

Blogspot seems to be having another one of their "bad" periods at the moment. They have resumed "fixing" things that "aint broke". As a result, my posts on blogspot yesterday did not show all day. I know from comments that some people did however use my mirror sites instead. "PC WATCH" was out of action all day too so I have decided that I will from now on put up a mirror site for it too. The mirror is HERE.

FROM BROOKES NEWS:

Truth about Iraq or what the media is hiding The media has been lying to us about the real situation in Iraq. An American army officer reveals just how much progress has been made. So why have some of our journalists been lying?
George Soros, markets and democracy Recent comments by Soros on markets and democracy simply show how little knowledge of economics and history this 'brilliant' financier actually possesses. His political activities also bring into question his integrity.
Kuwaiti Daily declares that US won't quit in its war on terrorism Ahmad Al-Jarallah, the Editor-in-Chief of the Kuwaiti dailies Al-Siyassa and Arab Times, praised the U.S. fight against Jihad fighters. The following are excerpts from the article.
Taxes cuts and politics The present tax mess should really focus attention on Latham's approach to taxation and incomes compared with Beazley's approach. Taiwanese marched for independence and democracy Up to 150,000 marchers descended on the Presidential Office to demand that President Chen Shui-bian scrap the Republic of China (ROC) and its symbols, and change the name of the country to Taiwan.

Details here

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MORE ON THE CREDULOUS "SKEPTICS":

A reader writes:

"Your blog mentions that the "Skeptical Enquirer" seems to be impressed by a pro-global warming petition. "They say that because 2500 "scientists" signed a document saying that mankind is causing global warming therefore it must be true.

Well, there is a 19,200 name long petition here -- signed by "17,100 basic and applied American scientists, two-thirds with advanced degrees... Signers of this petition so far include 2,660 physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, and environmental scientists..who are especially well qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide on the Earth's atmosphere and climate. ..(and) ..5,017 scientists whose fields of specialization in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and other life sciences"

There have of course been attempts by environmentalist true believers to sabotage the petition drive. However the organisers have, to their credit, made efforts to ensure its validity. "Of the 19,700 signatures that the project has received in total so far, 17,800 have been independently verified and the other 1,900 have not yet been independently verified. Of those signers holding the degree of PhD, 95% have now been independently verified. One name that was sent in by enviro pranksters, Geri Halliwell, PhD, has been eliminated. Several names, such as Perry Mason and Robert Byrd are still on the list even though enviro press reports have ridiculed their identity with the names of famous personalities. They are actual signers. Perry Mason, for example, is a PhD Chemist. " Of course science is never based on an opinion poll of practitioners. And governments and voters need to be skeptical about sacrificing long established rights and traditional freedoms on the altar of the scientific dogma du jour. The history of eugenics is a case in point."

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There is an amusing comment here about how the Left could see nothing good in the capture of Saddam and will not see any good in any conceivable events involving him.

It looks like Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist, has had the last laugh against his critics in his home-country of Denmark.

Sowell: "Lawlessness usually conjures up images of a wild frontier or mobs in the streets. But the painful reality is that the supreme examples of lawlessness in our times are in the august and sedate chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States."

Bruce Bartlett puts the finger on WHY a lot of American manufacturing is ailing -- the huge costs imposed on it by government laws and regulations. It does look like the U.S. government is trying to drive jobs offshore.

Mark Steyn says Rumsfeld should be admired for being a plain speaker

Bleeding Brain has an amusing post about how insensitive he is when it comes to other people's religions.

I thought at first that PrestoPundit must have a great sense of humour when I saw that he had this blog listed under "liberal bloggers" but on second thoughts I realized that he is very properly resisting the entirely inappropriate takeover of the word "liberal" by Leftists.

The latest upload of a chapter from my book shows that Leftist enmity to freedom of speech goes back a long way. Details here or in chapter 29 here. The fierce and unremitting attacks on freedom of speech by Leftists is one of the clearest proofs there is of how totalitarian and Fascistic Leftism basically is. Leftists cannot AFFORD to allow completely free speech. They NEED to monopolize the channels of communication. Why? Because the more people in general get to know about any Leftist assertion, the more absurd it will be seen to be. Leftism is simplistic and simplistic thinking cannot withstand the light of day.

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18 December, 2003

SOME N.Z. STUPIDITY

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Robert Muldoon is famous for commenting that the constant flow of emigration from New Zealand to Australia "raises the IQ of both countries" -- implying that the Kiwis who emigrate are stupid but Australians are even stupider. That comment is only one example of a generally derogatory view of Australians almost universally held in New Zealand: Much like the attitude of Canadians towards the USA --- and for similar reasons: resentment of a more affluent and capable big brother.

I was therefore rather amused by something that happened recently. A few months ago I bought some shares in one of the icons of New Zealand industry -- Fisher & Paykel, best known for making high-tech washing machies. Yesterday I received a dividend cheque from them -- to my amazement. These days dividends are normally deposited directly into a shareholder's bank A/c. Shortly after you buy into a company, they send you a form asking for your bank particulars and thereafter the money just appears on your statement. Fisher & Paykel sent me no such form, however, so I had to make a special trip to the bank to deposit their pesky cheque -- which I regard as a prehistoric thing to have to do. But it does not end there. I resolved to write to them and ask them to deposit my dividends directly in the future. But nowhere on the documentation that came with the cheque was there any address that I could write to! So I looked up their Annual Report, a big glossy production with lots of colour photographs, graphs, auditor reports and all the usual nonsense that you expect of a company annual report. But there was no address anywhere there either! Which is probably illegal, I would think. It was only by digging out the envelope that the report came in that I found a return address on the back of that. But that is not the end of the story either! Included with my cheque was a cheque to someone else with their dividend! Which I of course promptly sent on to the correct recipient. If that is how bright a New Zealand high-flyer is, it does not say much for the average Kiwi.

I guess NZ Pundit will never forgive me for saying that.

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THE SKEPTICS HAVE SOLD OUT

It's sad to see a voice of reason fall silent but exactly that seems to have happened over at "The Skeptical Inquirer". They quite rightly say that limitless skepticism leads nowhere. To be precise it leads to solipsism -- doubting everything but your own existence -- but the means they propose to limit skepticism are astounding. They seem to want to decide scientific truth not on the facts or on the balance of the probabilities but by majority vote! If you had taken a majority vote among the learned men of Galileo's day you would have "discovered" that the sun rotated around the earth. And you would be WRONG! The example they give is instructive. They say that because 2500 "scientists" signed a document saying that mankind is causing global warming therefore it must be true. No weighting to the degree of expertise of the "scientists" involved is given (I cannot imagine 2500 "experts" in any scientific field -- which makes the whole thing reek of a propaganda exercise) nor is any account taken of how many of them stand to lose their research grants if the theory is disproven. But above all, no weighting is given to the many discordant FACTS -- such as evidence that global warming is occurring on Mars too. Did mankind cause THAT? Or did solar variability do it? I think we will have to rename them "The Credulous Inquirer".

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ELSEWHERE

Ludicrous an idea though it is, Greenies have bullied governments into spending billions on windmills as an "alternative" source of electricity, but it seems -- sorry, Mr and Mrs Taxpayer -- that windmills too are now bad: "Since the phalanx of giant windmills began churning in the air above the Altamont Pass east of San Francisco Bay, an estimated 22,000 birds have died, including hundreds of golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, kestrels and other raptors, after flying into the spinning blades of the wind turbines". When will governments learn that it is impossible to please a Greenie?

Jeff Jacoby has a good post on how charitable donations so often don't go towards those whom they are supposed to help. I used to donate to World Vision until I discovered that they were anti-Israel. Ditto for the Red Cross. There's no simple solution. Even in India a lot of the street beggars are actually reasonably well-off by Indian standards. Treat people generously in your private life has always been my main idea of how to be kind.

Note the new address for Aaron's Rantblog. His old address has gone to that great blogspot in the sky where blogspot sites do sometimes go. Warning: Aaron puts up lots of good graphics so his site is slow-loading unless you have a high-speed connection. Aaron's current project is to get Hillary Clinton rather than George Bush as the No. 1 link returned by Google in response to the search-term "Miserable Failure". A fun project, it seems to me. He has got an amusing photo of her up on his "failure" site.

Dave Huber has some more examples of the compulsive Leftism of the American teacher's union -- of which he is a regretful member.

Further to my suggestion on 15th that Saddam looked like Karl Marx, Valete Fratres has put up pictures of the two of them side by side. Scroll down to his post of 15th. The resemblance sure is there.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again with its usual select postings.

The Wicked one says that the old Soviet Union lives on -- in the U.S. bureaucracy. It is suing someone who transports elderly people too cheaply!

My latest academic upload (details here or here) is about why Scotland is a poor country when by all indicators it should be a rich one. Hint: They're knee-jerk socialists there. The enterprising Scots emigrated long ago.

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17 December, 2003

EDUCATION -- LEFTIST AND OTHERWISE

A reader notes that alternatives to the degraded "education" offered by the universities are emerging. There is a similar private J-School here in Brisbane too.:

"Keith Windschuttle and his wife Elizabeth run Macleay College a private college here in Sydney that teaches journalism, editing and PR. This college runs out of inner city locations so is easy for adult part time students to attend. Macleay students are highly regarded and tend to do better in the job market than their government trained competitors. And the idea of CBD based class rooms is something the government run colleges have never thought of. Anyone who has tried to work full time and study part time knows the pain extra commuting to and from college, over and above work commuting, causes. Windschuttle says journalism isn't an academic profession and should be seen simply as an apprenticeship, craft or trade. The main thing is accurate reporting, quality notes, documented sources and the routine follow up of other opinions. These "basics" are the things that have suffered as media sociology, political correctness and cultural relativism have replaced basic skills among academic trained journalists. The academic teachers of journalists must consider these basics beneath them. The recent Jason Blair affair and the BBC's failure to take notes in the David Kelley affair may suggest this. My guess is that a lot of the hostility Windschuttle has received has little to do with his controversial work on Australian frontier history and may represent a backlash from 'the profession'."

Being a conservative in academe could be a lonely experience. Being born with the gift of self-confidence, I was never bothered a bit by it but I guess it would bother most. PID points out that in Australia's "history wars" it is basically one man on the conservative side (Windschuttle) versus the rest. That sure is a lonely eminence! But it only takes one person to show that the Emperor has no clothes, of course. And for all their numbers, the lying Leftist historians still have no answer to Windschuttle. They have been forced into admissions that ought to have seen them sacked, in fact.

Now here is a sentence that any Leftist reading this blog will enjoy quoting out of context: I have recently been browsing through my copy of Mein Kampf and noted this comment about the Germany of Hitler's time from the translator (Ralph Manheim): "Germany was a land of high general culture, with the largest reading public of any country in the world. In the lower middle class, there was a tremendous educational urge. People who in other countries would read light novels and popular magazines devoured works on art, science, history, and above all philosophy. Certain philosophical phrases became journalistic cliches. Hitler is forever speaking of 'concepts', of things 'as such' (an sich). Moreover, he is constantly at pains to show that he, too, is cultured". So being intellectual and cultured leads where? Like Hitler, the intellectuals of today are mostly socialists too. Most intellectuals think they know it all and want to impose that on others. It is no coincidence that the most intellectual country in the world also became one of the most vicious. And Bolshevik Russia was run by bourgeois intellectuals too.

My goodness! The Tugboat has ventured into giving lessons about basic moral philosophy. He tries to explain what words like "ought" and "good" mean. He seems to wander about a lot, though. I think everybody now agrees that such terms function to commend but where we go from there is contentious. I myself would add that such statements can convey empirical claims but see nothing further that they could conceivably do or be -- though my deontologist friend and fellow-conservative Keith Burgess-Jackson thinks there is yet more to be found in such statements. I point out how my view is distinct from Leftist moral relativism here.

I have just discovered a new book on authoritarianism -- that favourite whipping-boy of Leftist psychologists. Only this time it is not conservatives under attack. The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, says that, behind the humanistic and permissive mask, gurus and other "alternative" cult figures and "teachers" are all really a bunch of authoritarians who subtly do their best to control others. I agree!

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ELSEWHERE

I guess even the Devil would be a good guy if he was anti-American. "A senior Vatican official and critic of the war in Iraq said today that he felt compassion for Saddam Hussein, and he reproached the United States for releasing video footage showing the former Iraqi leader handled "like a cow." "

The media is reporting (shock! horror!) that segregationist Strom Thurmond had a child to a black woman. If he is or was thus a hypocrite so what? How many "multiculturalists" prefer to live in all-white neighbourhoods? How many egalitarians look out for No.1? And, come to think of it, how many Leftist whites have any sort of relationship with blacks of the opposite sex? Doesn't it show that Strom liked blacks better than they do? But I guess I am "naive".

An excellent demolition of Noam Chomsky and the Far Left generally in The Guardian. It makes the point that anti-Americanism is all that the Left now have to say. They stand for nothing else. Pathetic.

Jay Bryant has a good article on how the Democrats fight democracy tooth and nail.

My latest academic upload (details here or here) is from a 1986 book about Eysenck in which both Chris Brand and I had chapters -- with somewhat opposing viewpoints. The upload is of a dialogue we had about our differing views of Eysenck's theories. Curiously, Eysenck and Chris are on the side of the libertarian theory that politics are two-dimensional and I am on the side favoured by the Left -- that politics consists only of a single Left-Right dimension. I just go where the survey evidence indicates, however -- as I also explain here.

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16 December, 2003

I think this is the best Leftist comment on the capture of Saddam so far: "I think it is shameful that the ACLU has not commented on the obvious mistreatment Hussein has suffered at the hands of the American military." Leftists that bad are obviously skipping their medication.

BestOfMe is a variation on the "Carnival of the Vanities" theme. It revives good older posts rather than recent ones. Worth a look.


ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS AT AUSTRALIA'S PUBLIC BROADCASTER

An email from a reader:

I was very incensed to see the extended coverage given on 'Everybody's ABC' to a family of Palestinian morons.

This young couple are planning to have eight children and want at least 4 to be suicide bombers. They were presented as if this was their only option for a better future and nary a word about the payments they will receive for each child slaughtered this way. Where is the human rights outcry against this sort of abuse of children?

Not a word was mentioned of the billions given to the PLO and associates and the money spent by their leaders on their own lifestyles that should have gone to the Palestian people to ease their suffering

The reporter went on at great length with regard to the 'INCURSION' of the IDF and the destruction of Palestinian homes where 'THEY' claimed 3 terrorists were hiding. Footage was extensively focused on the damage. Then, as almost an afterthought, it was mentioned that there had been an attack on Jews in Tel Aviv. Nothing else -- no details. I am so tired of "Our" ABC's biased coverage -- not once have I seen such coverage of Jewish/Israeli families and homes when their women, children and soldiers are butchered unless it is to record the delight to the deranged Palestinan sympathizer.

It is outrageous that we are still subjected to such bias. As for the 'Wall' being built, what in God's name would we do if our lives were under constant terror attack?"

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ELSEWHERE

There is a lot to be said about what follows from the capture of Saddam and lots of people are saying it so I will forbear from adding to the hubbub but I liked Tom Barrett's comments at Conservative Truth. I have got to say that I am pleased at what a good kick in the guts it is for GWB's critics who were constantly harping on about his "inability" to find Saddam.

I have just received an interesting comment from one of my Portuguese readers: "Today, I read the post about your ranking on "Blogrunner". You wrote: "I have often noted that things I post seem to have been heard even though nobody has linked back to me over them too." I think the blog's name is a reason for nobody linking back to you. People don't quote you because they try to avoid conflict - something, it seems, that you're not afraid of. They want to present ideas that deconstruct leftist views without it appearing to be a personal attack (IMHO, "dissect" is a too strong word...). Have you ever considered changing the name of your blog to "John Ray"?" I replied: "Yes. I am sure you are correct in what you say. But the name also attracts attention so that has first priority. I am more concerned to get the ideas out than to attract personal fame -- unlike Leftists!"

I wondered yesterday why there are so many good Chinese pianists and the good old blogosphere has instantly produced a possible answer. Sam Ward drew my attention to page 4 of this article: "Diana Deutsch, an expert in music cognition, discovered that, as children, we all may have had Mozart's ear for identifying notes but then lost it -- unless we were lucky enough to grow up speaking tonal languages such as Mandarin, Cantonese, or Vietnamese. It turns out that speakers of these languages use absolute pitch every day, but in conversation, rather than in the concert hall." My 16 year old son appears to have perfect pitch and he was taught piano from age 4 so that fits in too.

This article is one of those accursed PDF files but if you have a high-speed connection it may be worth reading. It shows how the labyrinthine regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are driving companies out of the US vaccine business and creating shortages and "flu crises". We never "run out" of hamburgers or Coke because these "less important" industries are less regulated.

Arlene Peck has a post about the people the mainstream media ignore -- the maimed Israeli victims of Arab terror.

Mangled Thoughts has a fun excerpt from a column by Max Boot about "unilateralism" and Europe. And Tim Blair has a good comment from Australia's foreign minister about it. Amazing how sins come and go. The sin of unilateralism seems to have been invented by the Left in the last 12 months.

But the good old sin of "gluttony" is making a comeback too -- only this time it's not your fault but somebody else's. It's called the "obesity epidemic" and just about all the people who feed us are under attack over it. There are all sorts of things the do-gooders want done about it -- with warning labels stuck on Big Macs being only the opening salvo. What none of the do-gooders seem to realize is that the good old socialist paradise of Sweden has been doing all that nonsense for years -- with zero effect. Swedes are as fat as anyone else. Even socialists can't keep fatties away from their food.

A lot of the sites I link to these days hit you with popup advertisements as soon as you log onto them -- which is pretty pesky. Downloading the Google toolbar is very good at stopping them, though. You will find a link enabling you to do so at the bottom of any search you do on Google. Once you have installed it, the popups just stop!

The Wicked one has a warning about identity theft that could save you a lot of trouble if you travel at all.

Interested Participant has some more amusing stuff about the political ideas of the nutty Leftist linguist, George Lakoff.

The latest upload of a chapter from my book looks at ways of combatting union thuggery. Details here or in chapter 17 here. Since I wrote it, however, the problem has subsided a lot. The defeat of the air-traffic controllers under Ronald Reagan, the defeat of the coal miners under Britain's Margaret Thatcher and the defeat of the wharfies (dockers, longshoremen) under Australia's John Howard seem to have mostly knocked the stuffing out of union militancy in the Anglosphere.

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15 December, 2003

SADDAM CAPTURED!

I guess I am not the first to notice it but the picture of Saddam after his capture (.e.g. here) looks an awful lot like the usual pictures of Karl Marx! Do socialist icons even LOOK alike? Opinion Journal has a roundup of Leftist reaction and Hippercritical has a roundup of the reaction from antiwar bloggers. In summary, some pretended joy and some very unhappy people. It's a great victory for the people of Iraq and those who liberated them, though. But it was a "black day" among our dear delightful Palestinians, of course.

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ISLAMIC IMMIGRANTS

This story from someone with first-hand knowledge tells you about the delightful Islamic illegal immigrants that Australia has rightly locked up:

"Ms Thorne says her book debunks the perception that most of the illegal immigrants were hard done by. "Certainly some of them are very decent people, but some were very unpleasant characters," she says.... "They'd get angry, pull on a blue and smash everything in sight," she says. Ms Thorne says the most violent and difficult to deal with were Muslim men who were extremely demanding and readily resorted to violence over what they perceived as slights to their manhood. "Some of the biggest fights happened in the medical centre where the men would do their blocks because women and children were treated first," she said. Free phone calls permitted daily to detainees were another source of conflict. "There were three cordless phones to be used. Each person could speak to relatives in Iraq or Iran or wherever for six minutes. As soon as you told someone their six minutes were up you'd get abuse and sometimes get spat on. One guard was punched in the face." ... Guards were injured when attacked with star-pickets, shards of glass and stones. In one incident a guard had his testicles "nearly torn off"' by one of the detainees".

This graph of illegal immigrant arrivals tells how hard the anti-illegal-immigration policy recently implemented by Australia's conservative government has bitten. Note at the right of the graph that for the current year illegal arrivals have just about vanished. Illegal immigration CAN be stopped if governments have the will to do it.

I went to a private classical music concert here in Brisbane last night and heard what I believe is the best rendition of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" that I have ever heard. It was played by a young Australian-born Chinese. Why do the Chinese produce so many brilliant pianists and the Koreans so many brilliant violinists? I guess I will never know. All I know is that we are lucky to have them here in Australia. Why we have to have Islamic rubbish here when we could have any number of high-quality Han Chinese instead entirely escapes me.

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ELSEWHERE

Entertainers seem to make a specialty of being dumb when they are not entertaining but this one spoke some VERY long overdue words recently: "American singer Lauryn Hill, from a stage used by the Pope, shocked Catholic officials at a concert by telling them to "repent" and alluding to sexual abuse of children by U.S. priests. The broadside came during the recording Saturday night of a Christmas concert attended by top Vatican cardinals, bishops and many elite of Italian society, witnesses said"

Another triumph of socialized medicine: "CANCER patient Rodney Plows believes he will die waiting for relief from his chronic back pain. He has been told he faces a delay of up to five years for treatment in Queensland's public hospitals. Mr Plows, 53, was shocked to learn there were 540 people ahead of him on the waiting list for an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital. The invalid pensioner spends his days mostly housebound as he fights a losing battle to manage the pain".

Australian Leftist teachers TEACH hate-speech and do so very publicly! Read Andrew Bolt for a heap of examples.

The Greenies will love this one: Refrigerators are bad for you. They could cause the terrible rotting-bowel disease called Crohn's: "Researchers writing in this week's issue of The Lancet hypothesise that the emergence of Crohn's at the same time Kelvinators became fixtures in kitchens around the world is no mere coincidence. In fact, that's exactly how Dr Jean-Pierre Hugot, lead author of the paper, describes his theory". Will we see a Kyoto treaty on refrigerators in the future? It would be as logical as the current Kyoto treaty.

Further to my mention yesterday of Michael Crichton's view that environmentalism has become a religion, Gerry Jackson of Brookes News writes: "Although I'm in broad agreement with Michael Crichton regarding the Greens' cult his view of religion is a very narrow one. One might even call it prejudiced. For example, any honest person who was even slightly acquainted with the intellectual history of the Catholic Church could never call it "totally rigid and totally uninterested in opposing points of view." Nor could they assert that it thinks it knows it all. To argue otherwise would be an insult to the scholastics whose works and thoughts refute Crichton's accusations. One only has to peruse their debates on the nature of law, economics and the state to see what I mean. Atheists do not help their cause by overstating their case".

Amazing! I have just squeaked into the the top 200 of "The most influential reporters and bloggers on the web". I have often noted that things I post seem to have been heard even though nobody has linked back to me over them too. As one possible such instance, a reader recently drew my attention to the fact that a misspelt headline I alluded to here has since been fixed.

I have just put up here Chris Brand's latest thoughts. He takes up the "Flynn" challenge to the meaning of IQ scores, among other things. He notes that although IQ test scores have been rising, the Black-white gap is not closing.

The latest upload of a chapter from my book looks at ways of having universal health care without socializing medicine. Details here or in chapter 24 here.

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14 December, 2003

THE GREENIE DISASTER

Michael Crichton (popular Sci Fi author of "Jurassic Park" and TV writer of "ER") has given an excellent and broad-ranging talk showing how environmentalism is a religion and that it needs to be returned to science. Just some quotes:

"I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it. I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing" .... "There are two reasons why I think we all need to get rid of the religion of environmentalism. ...First, we need an environmental movement, and such a movement is not very effective if it is conducted as a religion. We know from history that religions tend to kill people, and environmentalism has already killed somewhere between 10-30 million people since the 1970s....The second reason to abandon environmental religion is more pressing. Religions think they know it all, but the unhappy truth of the environment is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving systems, and we usually are not certain how best to proceed. Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief system, not the state of their knowledge. Our record in the past, for example managing national parks, is humiliating. Our fifty-year effort at forest-fire suppression is a well-intentioned disaster from which our forests will never recover.

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ELSEWHERE

More glories of socialized medicine: "A PATIENT bled to death unnoticed in the intensive-care unit of one of Sydney's largest public hospitals after he was left without proper medical supervision"

How lucky that your government was looking after you: "THE same strain of influenza that hit Australia during the past winter has now taken hold in the US, killing at least 20 children and causing panic among the many who have been unable to obtain vaccinations.... The most common strain of influenza being identified so far is a type-A virus known as H3N2 Fujian flu. It takes its name from the Chinese province where it originated. It is the same strain that caused widespread illness in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.... The current vaccination available in the United States does not specifically target Fujian flu, but according to the CDC, it does offer some immunity and will reduce the severity of the disease.

When are they going to admit that Prohibition does not work? "A police chief has admitted that there are now so many drug dealers around Australia's first supervised injecting room that his officers are powerless to stop them"

Miranda Devine writes: "When it comes to playing up gender differences, women can be their own worst enemy... Gender "difference" ... drives the fantasy that women have some unique virtue that will save the world, will succeed where men have made a mess"

The Left try to portray GWB's "pre-emptive" strikes against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq as some new sin. But pre-emption is in fact normal U.S. foreign policy. Americans have always very rightly wanted to fight their wars abroad rather than wait for them to arrive on American soil.

It's not only GWB's big spending that is alienating conservatives. "I am always Right" says: "If President Bush gives amnesty to all illegal aliens, I'll have to find somebody else to vote for from the conservative side. I get a stupid ticket for having a brake-light out, and yet if you're in my country illegally, you get off scot-free? No sir"

Leftists everywhere always claim to be on the side of "the little guy" but every so often their real contempt for the little guy shows through. Note this comment by a U.S. Democrat: "Take the average Joe six-pack down here in Texas. (Sorry to generalize but I know plenty of them and that's where my theory comes from). He may not have finished high school, or may have a few junior college credits. He's had numerous jobs because of lack of education, unreliability, failed drug tests, missing work, etc. He has no savings, no credit, and possibly a record, at least a DWI or two. He works full-time at Wal-Mart or construction and hates it. He's perpetually angry at his lot in life, though much of it is his own making." Not exactly flattering!

During the gasoline shortage that began in 1979... Senator Kennedy said: "We must adopt a system of gasoline rationing without delay," in "a way that demands a fair sacrifice from all Americans." Ronald Reagan said that we must get rid of price controls on petroleum, so that there won't be a shortage in the first place. One of his first acts after becoming president was to end federal price controls. Lines at filling stations disappeared. Despite angry outcries from liberals that gas prices would skyrocket as Big Oil "gouged" the public, in reality prices came down within months and continued falling.

Useful Fools has an amusing post about modern art being used as torture. I believe it!

The latest upload of a chapter from my book concerns the great Greenie wail that we are going to "run out" of various things -- oil in particular and energy generally being the main candidates for disaster. I pointed out 30 years ago why that is not going to happen. Details here or in chapter 3 here. The Greenie scare campaign about that has been running for something like 40 years now and since it still shows not the slightest sign of happening, we don't hear so much about it now. It does however seem to have got into the thick Greenie skulls that while there is nuclear power as an energy source we are never going to run out of energy -- so they now concentrate (with some success) on closing nuclear power down. New nuclear reactors are however still being built in some places so the Greenie effort to MAKE shortages happen will generally not work.

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13 December, 2003

THE CORRUPTION OF THE UNIVERSITIES SPREADS

An email from a reader:

"I am an engineer myself, and my younger brother is just completing his engineering degree. You mentioned how engineers tend to be more realistic, and therefore more conservative than the arts/humanities/social sciences morass.

However, even this oasis of commonsense within the universities is being white-anted by the hangers-on. In my later years of university we were required to take a humanities elective, in which a variety of social "science" lecturers would tell us about the evils of the industrial revolution, and how free people were before it, and how immoral business leaders were, and how scientists and engineers were responsible for the Holocaust, and the importance of the industrial relations tribunal, etc. and would generally show their ignorance about anything technological. Our tutor was a jolly and ignorant hippie who admitted in his totally unstructured tutorials that his criteria for evaluating the quality of an assignment was the number of footnotes it contained. It would have been hilarious if I wasn't paying for it. Strangely, the arts/humanities/social science crowd were not required to reciprocate by taking hard science electives.

In my brother's time, it has gotten even worse, with one subject of this ilk in nearly every semester, and some truly clueless people being appointed even in the Engineering faculty. For instance, when asked to summarise his thesis project, my brother was told that his summary was "a little more descriptive of the project than what we had originally hoped for", and what they wanted was "something a little more personal in regards to your perception or experience of the project". With "engineers" like this, you don't need terrorists to bring down skyscrapers."

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MORE FUN WITH LAKOFF

All Too Human criticizes my article on linguist-turned-psychologist Lakoff on the grounds that Lakoff has added in to his account a lot of ifs and buts and exceptions that he can fall back on if his central thesis is challenged. Of course he did. He would not be an academic if he had done otherwise. That he allows exceptions does not alter the basic thrust of his claims however. He still claims fairly clearly that typical mothers don't do the discipline, for instance. What a laugh! And this statement from Lakoff's recent interview: "The conservative worldview, the strict father model, assumes that the world is dangerous and difficult and that children are born bad and must be made good. The strict father is the moral authority who supports and defends the family, tells his wife what to do, and teaches his kids right from wrong. The only way to do that is through painful discipline physical punishment that by adulthood will become internal discipline. The good people are the disciplined people" is perfectly unambiguous about what a weird view he has of the typical conservative. It is also a demonstrably wrong view as the references I give in my article attest.

"All too Human" also defends Lakoff's claim that Leftists are devoted to "equal treatment" and has some feeble defences of the fact that conservatives get anything BUT equal treatment on American university campuses. Rather than me reply to that just read this instance of gross, deliberate, sustained (and probably illegal) discrimination against conservatives at Washingtom University School of Law.

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ELSEWHERE

Larry Elder has a pretty disheartening summary of GWB's socialist record. Just one excerpt: "By this time in his term, Reagan vetoed over 20 bills, President George W. Bush, none. Reagan campaigned to shut down the Department of Education. President Bush shook hands with a smiling Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., as they united to pass the so-called No Child Left Behind Act, increasing the federal government's role in education and, by the way, dropping the dreaded-by-liberals voucher provision. Bush also expanded Head Start despite the program's questionable effectiveness" Jeff Jacoby is pretty upset about it too. If the Democrats manage to find a challenger who sounds reasonably sane, I think a lot of GOP voters might stay home next election day. It's all very reminscent of Malcolm Fraser -- a former Australian conservative Prime minister who said he loved Ayn Rand and had many years in office to do something about it but did zilch. He turned out to be a great friend of African dictators, though. It does rather remind one of some recent remarks by GWB about Taiwan and Israel's security fence.

Wal Mart, America's super-successful retailer of recent years, is clearly falling victim to what Australians call the "tall poppy syndrome": Because they are so successful everyone want to cut them down to size. Some of the criticisms are mentioned here. Thomas Sowell brings a bit of economic sophistication to the discussion, however. A small excerpt: "With Wal-Mart, as with A & P before them, the big bugaboo is that their low prices put competing stores out of business. Could anyone ever have doubted that low-cost stores win customers away from higher-cost stores? It is one of the painful signs of the immaturity and lack of realism among the intelligentsia that many of them regard this as a "problem" to be "solved." "

Stop the Bleating has a good coverage of the issues involved in the French ban on women wearing Islamic dress.

The latest upload of one of my published articles is put up more as an historical curiosity than anything else. It is a report of a computer program I wrote in 1970. Being a boffin, I had access to computers a generation before most people did and I still have a copy of the first program I wrote -- in 1967. It was written for a machine that filled a room but had about the same amount of memory as a modern-day pocket calculator. It was still however very useful and a great advance on what went before. In those days the only software you could usually get for a computer was a compiler -- to enable you to write your own programs. So, unless you could get someone else to write a program for you, all computer users HAD to be programmers in those days. The program mentioned in my upload has subsequently been modernized for use in a PC environment and I am happy to forward both the source-code and an executable to anyone interested. It is however NOT a program for general use. It is for psychometricians and survey researchers only. Details here or here.

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Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.

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12 December, 2003

SOCIALIST HYPOCRISY IN BRITAIN:

Below are some excerpts from The Spectator about Britain's Leftist elite not practicing what they preach. Like the Soviets, what they give the worker is apparently not good enough for them. And the "Speccy" fails to mention that it was always thus. There was, for example, Barbara Castle -- Britain's "Red Queen". When she was a minister in the British Labour government led by Harold Wilson in the 60s, she said it was "obscene" for someone "to carve their way to a hospital bed with a chequebook". When her son got sick, however, what did she do? She booked him into a private hospital under a false name!. And what was her reward for such vast hypocrisy? Harold Wilson made her a Baroness!

"It has become obvious that, in progressive circles, there has been one law for the political elite and another for the people. The most glaring recent example has been Hackney MP Diane Abbott's decision to send her son to a fee-paying school, after a lifetime campaigning for the abolition of private education....

For decades, Labour activists campaigned against the evils of apartheid in South Africa, but when Robert Mugabe embarked on a murderous policy against white landowners, barely a squeak was heard from these supposed crusaders against racial injustice....

Environment minister, Michael Meacher fulminated that 'housing is not, and should not be a status symbol, an object of conspicuous consumption or a source of market power and wealth. Too many people have second homes or too large homes for their needs, while too many others are homeless or over-crowded.' Meacher's words might have carried more weight if he had not been the owner of no fewer than eight homes himself.....

But the hypocrisy works on an even deeper level. For when leftists go private or offshore, they are trying to avoid the very problems they have created through their own socialist policies. They wilfully advocate measures that lower standards or destroy wealth, then run away from the consequences... For a socialist to complain about our shambolic education system is like an arsonist complaining that a building which he set alight has burnt down. Wealthy left-wing parents cannot tolerate the schools they have created, so they .. turn to the private sector they despise"

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UNEMPLOYMENT

There is a VERY amusing article here about how the record high levels of unemployment in France have been created by French law. There is a huge demand for workers but no-one wants to work: ""We've become a nation of bureaucrats and welfare cheats," Tessier of the Paris bakery says. "No one wants to work." He thought he had found someone last month to fill his vacant pastry chef position, only to have the new recruit quit three days later after learning his 1600-a-month salary meant he'd have to give up his rent-free public housing".

Meanwhile, as in the USA, so in Australia, the economy is booming -- with lots of new jobs being created all the time.

But PC employment regulations in Britain are driving jobs overseas.

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ELSEWHERE

Greg Sheridan has some good comments on the new Australian Labor Party leader. It is truly amazing how the media, feminists and the Left generally let him get away with talk that would sink a conservative leader. It shows that they have no genuinely-held standards at all -- only a hatred of the society in which they live.

The latest "Afro" news is a bit hilarious. The misspelt headline ("duel" instead of "dual") rather draws attention but the news that Maryland is about to create a special low-qualification High School diploma (presumably mainly for blacks) seems to be welcomed -- though how its impact on blacks can be other than entirely negative escapes me.

Hippercritical is an optimist. He thinks Firas Khoury -- an Arab who recently beat fifteen other contestants to win Israel's latest reality show -- may turn out to be an Israeli version of Sammy Davis junior -- and thus promote tolerance between Jews and Arabs. It seems to me that the Israelis have ALREADY shown their tolerance by choosing him. What positive thing have the Arabs done?

Dave Huber's blog does a good roundup of conservative news and commentary -- including some good stuff I had missed.

One of my favourite blogs -- Curmudgeonly & Skeptical -- has moved BACK to blogspot! Rodger writes: "My MT site is so hopelessly corrupted (it's always been corrupt) that I can't even do a redirect" Rodger is well-known for his amusing photos and graphics.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again with a huge range of reading.

I have just put up here some more of Chris Brand's postings. His headings:
SCOTLAND LEADS IN RACE REALISM
POST-POST-MODERN LOONY UNI
BLACK CHRISTMAS IN LONDON
EX-CONVICT, 38, BAGS KEEN 14-YEAR-OLD
SACKED UN-PEECEE JOKER DEFENDED

The Wicked one says slavery is Islamic.

My latest upload of a chapter from my book concerns economic nationalism and its opposition to foreign investment. Foreign investment is widely opposed by ill-informed people everywhere -- which is why Leftists latch on to it. They do not care how irrational a view is if they can sound good by advocating it. I show in my chapter that foreign investment is in fact a gift that should be eagerly welcomed. Details here or in chapter 19 here.

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11 December, 2003

The Federalist has some news about the disgraceful prosecution of Colonel Allen West -- who saved lives by firing his pistol near an Iraqi. Apparently he is not now likely to be court-martialled but will still get booted out of the Army.

FROM BROOKES NEWS

Why America's recession had 19th century echoes When the US was on the verge of recession, David Hale drew attention to the economy's imbalances and compared the situation to what happened in Britain during the 1840s. He doesn't know how right he is.
The fallacy of capital gains taxes According to Peter Holding 'income taxes are relatively high because of the overly lenient treatment we give to the taxation of capital gain.' So is he right? Far from it.
Paul Robeson was a dedicated Stalinist, not an American hero The proposal to issue a stamp honouring Paul Robeson is an insult to American patriots. Robeson was a committed communist, a Marxist-Leninist who unwaveringly toed the Stalinist line and sought his own country's destruction.
Syria accused of being behind terrorist attacks in Iraq Kuwaiti media accuse Syria of being behind terrorists attacks on coalition forces, and of hosting Hussein's WMDs.
Taiwan: A dragon economy and the abacus A curious feature of Western culture is the tendency to go to extremes when describing the East.

Details here

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PROBLEMS FOR GREENIES

The Daily Ablution notes that NASA Has Evidence of Global Warming - On Mars. It's all GWB's fault of course. He lied! (or something).

And how about this? "Measurements of ancient air bubbles trapped in Antarctic ice offered evidence that humans have been changing the global climate since thousands of years before the industrial revolution. Beginning 8,000 years ago, atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide began to rise as humans started clearing forests, planting crops and raising livestock" Stop all that farming! Stop all that ranching!

Can trees cause mass extinction? And if so are human caused extinctions any less "unnatural" than tree caused extinctions?

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ELSEWHERE

I suppose a lot of us have some childish amusements. Mine is getting my critiques of Leftist psychologists up near the top of a Google search on their names. So if some puffed-up Leftist fraud does a search on his own name, the first thing he sees is my demolition of his work. I must confess that it does amuse me when I manage that. Given the way Google is almost everybody's no. 1 research tool these days, it should be influential too. The Leftist monopoly in the universities may enable them to suppress criticism of their work there but the internet blows that control over information to smithereens. My most recent project has been to show what utter balderdash are the claims about conservatives put out by George Lakoff and I am pleased to report good progress there. My article has skipped over 64,000 other articles that mention the name "Lakoff" and was last night the 15th article that Google returned for that search term -- just below Lakoff's own home page. A couple of other people have promised to mention my Lakoff article on their blogs so when that happens I might even make it to the top of the page! That WOULD be fun.

I rather naughtily liked this too: "Teens and young adults who regularly train and compete in sports are more than twice as likely to experience sudden death than non-athletes" The last exercise I did was when I was 16 and at age 60 I feel fine.

But this has to be the most amusing news of the day: "German police charged a man with drugs possession after officers spotted a small quantity of heroin concealed in his ear when he entered a police station to check if he was on their wanted list"

Good for Switzerland. An anti-immigrant politician has just got a top job and the Swiss Left are moaning that they now expect "further cuts in public services, further privatisation and a regression in environmental policy."

A very cutting comment on Opinion Journal that assumes -- rightly -- that you very often get your politics from your parents: "It may surprise some people to learn that today's American teenagers have more conservative views than older generations on prayer in schools and abortion," Fox News reports. Why should it surprise anyone that those people lucky enough to have been born since 1973 would be more conservative than their elders, especially on abortion? We made the point in January; call it the Roe effect. If a woman aborts her child, he can't very well grow up to be pro-choice"

A good comment from one of my regular readers: "Complaining that Israel will "irritate the Palestinians" with their fence is like saying burglar bars on your windows will irritate burglars"

Michael Darby has just put up a new selection of posts. Some of his headings:
Starvation Looms in Zimbabwe
Zim & The Commonwealth
Teary Eyed Troops Cheered Bush - Oliver North
The Soft Power Alternative
Terrorism is a beast to be killed, not fed
IRAQ vs. VIETNAM
Michael Darby's Speech to "Australians for Constitutional Monarchy"
NSW Ministerial Staffers Worth More Than Teachers?
President Bush Speaks to his Troops
Liberal Party Rogue Calls the US a War Criminal


The latest upload of one of my previously published articles is another chapter from my book. It is an attempt to give a simple yet comprehensive account of the causes and cures of inflation. It is however a conservative account rather than a libertarian one. The libertarian in me would say that the solution can be summed up in one sentence: "Let the government keep its sticky fingers out of the economy altogether". Conservatives however have to make compromises in order to win elections so need more complex policies than that. The chapter was written 30 years ago at a time when Australia had a very Leftist but fortunately short-lived government that caused huge inflation by Australian standards and so damaged the economy that no subsequent government -- Left or Right -- has dared to follow anything but the most conservative of fiscal policies -- meaning that there has been no significant problem with inflation for many years now. Details here or in chapter 16 here.

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10 December, 2003

Blogger.com is having one of their "Improvements" today -- with the usual disastrous results. Goodness knows when this post will show up. I hope some people have been logging on to one of my mirror sites instead.

HANDING OUT OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY MAKES YOU VIRTUOUS??

A little while ago I reproduced an email from a lady who worked for some years in the administration of a US public housing authority -- providing welfare housing for "the poor". See here. She noted how self-destructive most of her "clients" were. She has now emailed me again with a comment on the government agency she worked for:

"In your post about private solutions you wrote: "Seventy-four percent of our government welfare dollars go to the middle class social workers who administer these programs."

Indeed. I had a number of epiphanies while working at the public housing authority, but one of the hardest was seeing how well its employees were doing and yet how bitterly they militated against the management. They got to relish a sense of moral superiority in three ways: They were superior to people who didn't work to "help the poor." They were superior to the poor on whose behalf they worked (boy, every word in that sentence could be put in scare quotes). And they got to complain about being exploited and oppressed by their bosses, who merely ensured full employment (it's true--no one was ever laid off) and a benefits program that beat most private employers".

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ELSEWHERE

I think GWB should withdraw his representatives to the U.N.: "Daily incidents of anti-Semitic violence around the globe are reported in the media. Yet while leaders of the Free World condemn synagogue bombings in Turkey, firebombings of Jewish schools in France, and the hate speech of Malaysia's president who now heads the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the U.N. moves in the opposite direction, encouraging the proliferation of this centuries-old hatred"

Arlene Peck has some choice words to say about Jimmy Carter and all those who criticize Israel's security fence.

Australia's public broadcaster has taken up the cause of a clergyman who has been banned from visiting one of the jails where illegal immigrants to Australia are held. He admits taking part in violent protest riots outside the jail concerned earlier this year but still thinks the view of him as a security risk is "unfair". Clearly, however, if he had stuck to religion instead of trying to defy the government, he would have had no problems. Some good advice for him: "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17)

The American economy is destroying jobs, and that's a good thing. It is in destroying jobs that the economy improves and makes it possible for the standard of living of all Americans to increase

The economy is performing like gangbusters. In November manufacturing had its best month in 20 years, construction activity rose to its highest level on record and last week the unemployment rate fell below 6 percent. Disposable income increased almost 6 percent last year... There is no doubt that the primary impetus for this growth is the Bush tax rate reductions,

Dennis Prager notes how the American mainstream press still sees Communism as being perfectly OK, despite all its mass slaughters. The Soviet Press is not dead. It lives on in America.

So what's another lie to a Leftist? "Howard Dean underscores what has become a longstanding central theme of his campaign. He writes: 'We cut taxes by 30 percent over the lifetime of my administration.' ... On the campaign's website, Dean is even more specific, saying that his two cuts reduced the state's top income tax rate from 13.5 percent to 9.5 percent. But an examination of Dean's record as Vermont's governor has found that the bigger tax cut was in fact signed into law by his Republican predecessor, Richard Snelling."

More freedom in Mexico than in the politically correct USA: "In fiesta season, which just ended, everybody and his grand aunt Chuleta puts up a taco stand or booze stall on the plaza. Yes: In front of God and everybody. These do not have permits. They are just there. If you want a cuba libre, you give the nice lady twenty pesos and she hands it to you. Tha's all. There is in this a simplicity that the North American instantly recognizes as dangerous. Where are the controls? Where are the rules? Why isn't somebody watching these people? Heaven knows what might happen. They could be terrorists."

There is a good article here by Victor Davis Hanson that says that the USA is fighting "the worst Fascists since Hitler" in Iraq and that using kid-glove methods with Arabs is pissing into the wind.

Pro-War Leftism: "The argument, depending on who's making it and to whom they're making it, can be back-stopped with unimpeachable socialist historical precedent. Didn't Marx and Engels support the British Empire, with all its brutalities in India and stupidities in the Crimea, against Tsarist Russia? Didn't they wholeheartedly back the United States -- with all its hesitations, hypocrisies, faults and evils -- against the Southern slave-holders' rebellion? Didn't almost the entire left -- not just the liberals and Social Democrats and (Stalinist) Communists, but in their own inimitably contorted way most Trotskyists and even some anarchists -- fundamentally, and however critically, support the world war waged by the imperialist democracies and Stalinist Russia against German fascism?"

The latest upload of one of my previously published articles is another chapter from my book -- about decentralization. Part of the general Greenie hatred of the modern world is a dislike of big cities -- though few Greenies actually move out of them for some unknown reason! One solution to this "problem" is to get people to move out of big cities and move to smaller cities (an idea that the average New Yorker would see as abandoning civilization). For a time, however, a short-lived Australian Leftist government was actually spending taxpayer dollars to get people out of the big cities and my article was an attempt to point out what a nonsense government-induced decentralization is. Details here or in chapter 6 here.

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9 December, 2003

DON'T FLY AIR NEW ZEALAND!

Since Xmas is coming up and people are making travel plans, I am repeating verbatim below a warning I gave at this time last year. I know that memories are short. Both Australia and Britain have long ago privatized their former national airlines but the Kiwis still cling on to theirs -- no doubt in an accurate realization that it would not last 6 months in the commercial marketplace. The cost to the Kiwi taxpayer has, however, been huge. And for what? Air services to New Zealand would at least not be altered by its demise -- and would probably be improved!

When Air New Zealand (a government-owned airline) crashed one of its planes into Mt Erebus in Antarctica some years ago, there was evidence of negligence in setting up the plane's navigational system. But pinning the blame on any one person or procedure was difficult. Top people all over New Zealand were involved in various ways with the airline and they all appeared to be covering up for one-another. The New Zealand government of the day was so despairing of getting to the bottom of the matter that it imported a judge from Australia to head the official enquiry. No New Zealand judge could be found who could be trusted. Even so, when the enquiry was over, the judge reported that he had been confronted by "an orchestrated litany of lies" in the course of his enquiry and it remained dubious whether enough changes had been made to prevent further such disasters.

Air New Zealand planes are just falling apart as they fly through the sky. It has now happened four times in the last four months. Maintenance is still obviously a low priority for this bureacratized monstrosity of an airline. When they owned Australia's Ansett Airlines, Ansett also had major maintenance problems -- leading to its eventual bankruptcy.

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ELSEWHERE

Mass support for more immigration control: According to the study, released this month by the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press, "About eight-in-ten Republicans (82%) and somewhat fewer independents and Democrats (76% each) agree with the statement 'We should restrict and control people coming into our country to live more than we do now.'"

"The European Union postponed again a decision on lifting a four-year ban on bio-engineered crops" I can't say I blame them. With their huge socialistic price supports for their farmers, greater productivity from their farms would be a budgetary nightmare for them.

Hooray! "European Union foreign ministers admitted defeat Monday in their efforts to find a constitutional compromise between countries seeking greater integration and those who fear a European superstate"

I can't believe this: Her Majesty the Queen sends text messages on her cellphone! What a laugh! No reason why she shouldn't, of course.

When GWB is called a "cowboy" it seems generally to be meant with contempt. Someone who knows what real cowboys are like thinks the term is a badge of honour

When Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Robert Mugabe recently said that Australians were an inferior race because of the convicts in their ancestry (I have two convicts in my ancestry but only about 3% of Australians in fact have any convict ancestry) I didn't hear a single Leftist scream of outrage at such "racism" I wonder why? Maybe it shows that they secretly think you have to expect that sort of thing from "the lesser races". In case you are interested there is a link to a video of Mugabe making his remarks here. There is also a post here about the disgusting homosexual rapist who was anointed as Zimbabwe's President by a British government -- in its zeal to overcome "racism".

Danegerus has an excellent quote about pacifists from George Orwell which is still true today around 50 years after Orwell wrote it. It points out that pacifists only want the West to stop defending itself. Violence by others is not even mentioned.

PID has a big post on how the Left have always tried to stigmatize conservatives as insane or stupid or evil in order to avoid any real debate about policies and reality generally. When you have got no arguments, abuse is all you have left. I do the opposite. I start from the facts and show that Leftist policies could not be motivated by any interest in reality.

A new Australian Leftist blog has sprung up called Australian UnSpinner which says that it is "Desperate to remove the spin from Oz politics -- to provide a clear and rational approach to it all". I think he might be sincere about it too. His comments on global warming and forestry are generally reasonable and pretty unusual for a Leftist. I suspect he will end up a conservative one day.

When I wrote an article for Front Page Magazine last year in which I pointed out that modern Leftism is essentially the same as the Italian Fascism of Benito Mussolini in the 1930s, I was of course merely drawing to wider attention facts that were well-known to most historians of the period. Amazon has some informative reviews here of a book by Veith that sets the similarities out in much greater detail. Well worth reading.

My latest academic upload is my major attempt to pin down whether or not there is such a thing as a working class ideology. I found that there is a weak tendency for working class people to be conservative on some social issues but that it varies from country to country. Details here or here

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8 December, 2003

MEXIFORNIA

A reader has picked out a rather fun passage from V.D. Hanson's recent book: 'Mexifornia: A State of Becoming':

"So there has indeed been complicity on the part of Mexico in the great migration north. And there has been a shameful and unforgivable absence of honesty on the part of our own political and academic establishment in legitimizing Mexico's venality. The Mexican government looks on the exportation of its poorest Indians as an economic issue: remittances from illegal aliens reach the billions of dollars and so prop up the Mexican government and help feed the starving who otherwise would look in vain to a nonexistent safety net at home.

There is also an element of racism involved_one oddly ignored in the face-charged debates in contemporary America. For the most part it is not light-skinned Mexicans of Spanish heritage who are coming to the United States, but rather the poorest and brownest, largely Indian_and this apparently suits an elite in Mexico City that does not wish to explain why the whiter people of Mexico are better off than those who are browner. Indeed, if one were studiously to watch any of the Spanish-language television stations_whether owned and operated by Mexican nationals or by Mexican-Americans_one would surmise that surely the Ku Klux Klan had a hand in the programming. Most are either white or coated with white pancake makeup; nearly every prominent woman is dyed blonde; every privileged host and hostess is about as Anglo-looking as can be. Yet all thee characters who are subservient_taxi drivers, maids, gardeners, "the help"_resemble the hundreds of thousands of darker-skinned people who risk their lives to enter the United States illegally.

I have met wealthy elites, academics and journalist from Mexico City who privately laugh that they are exporting their Indians and Mestizos, their unwanted, into the United States. Their smile disappears when I reply that we instead figure that they suppose to be riffraff are the real cream of Mexican society: frontiersmen and women whose endurance and courage; are good prerequisites for Americanization, and who in fact are superior people to those who oppress them at home. So while the powers in Mexico City regard departure as good politics_a valve of sorts that releases dangerous pressures rather than allow explosions of the type that occurred in the country's earlier checkered history_in an odd way the joke ultimately is on them. Within twenty years the poor, brown Indian alien could enjoy a material existence in America superior to that of the upper-class white Mexican in Mexico City."

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ELSEWHERE

It looks like The Guardian is so far grimly resisting the urge to antisemitism that seems to be overtaking the Left everywhere. I like this comment by Julie Burchill: "Make no mistake, the Jews are not hated because of Israel; they are hated for their very modernity, mobility, lust for life and love of knowledge. Their most basic toast, "L'chaim!" (To Life!), is a red rag to those who fetishise death because they have failed to take any joy from their life on earth." I think there is no doubt that the Left are indeed a joyless lot.

Another follow-up to my KGB wristwatch story. A reader writes: "the Dad of a friend fled the USSR in the 60's but keeps a small metal bust of Lenin in his freezer. Whenever he gets drunk, he pulls the bust out and sets it in the middle of the dinner table and as it starts to defrost, cackles, "Who's sweating now you sonofabitch?!'"

Jeff Jacoby reports that Senator Joe Lieberman has now given up on his support for the importance of the Judeo-Christian tradition. A big backflip that now makes him just another Democrat.

A good comment from an ex-Marxist philosopher on the folly of Christian churches becoming merely "trendy": "The whole strength of the Church is that it is faithful to its tradition - otherwise, what is the Church for? If the Church is going to become a political party which merely adapts its beliefs to changing opinions, it can be safely dismissed altogether, because there are political parties doing such things... The Church is strong because it has a traditional teaching, a spiritual kernel, which it considers its immutable essence. It cannot just yield to any pressure from people who think that whatever is in fashion at the present moment should immediately be adopted by the Church as its own teaching"

"The contrasts are dramatically in favor of private solutions ... help for the poor, for example: Seventy-four percent of our government welfare dollars go to the middle class social workers who administer these programs. On the other hand, 75% of each privately donated dollar goes to the needy! How can such a dramatic difference be unknown to or ignored by so many people? Part of the reason is that most people can't even imagine that government can be as wasteful as it is. Another reason is that government programs spend a lot of time and money on self-promotion, and politicians responsible for them certainly can't admit how wasteful they are."

Ben Shapiro says it is conservatives who support Israel and is therefore contemptuous of Jews who vote Democrat -- saying that: "If liberal Jews want the right to start screaming anti-Semitism, they need to start acting in concert with authentic Jewish values first."

Prof. Bunyip notes a rather amazing piece of feminist sexism from the new Chief Justice of the State of Victoria. If you replaced the word "women" in what she said with "men", she would have been booted out of the job.

Gary Aldrich spent a lot of time seeing Bill and Hillary Clinton close-up and he concludes: "They are hard-hearted, Hard-Left and very hateful people."

I have just put up a new range of posts from Chris Brand here. Posts on psychoanalyst Jung, Stephen Pinker of Blank Slate fame, black racism and university student buffoonery.

The Wicked one has a new and improved version of marriage vows.

The latest upload of one of my published articles is another chapter from my book written 30 years ago. It shows how little the Left has changed. An Australian Leftist government was as opposed to freedom of speech then as the Politically Correct brigade are today. They mostly cannot afford to have the full facts on any issue widely known. Details here or Chapter 11 here.

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7 December, 2003

A FUN EMAIL

The main reward I get from doing this blog is the emails I receive. I rather enjoyed this one:

"This note is a shot in the dark that has no bearing on the trouble the NYT has caused the Al Ray family in Baghdad, altho I did complain to the "Newspaper of Record" regarding their unfeeling arrogance. The lofty indifference towards real human suffering of the sort of people for whom having to hail a cab in Manhattan in the rain, or getting a bad table at Elaine's, is a major life crisis has always amazed me, but all that is beside the point.

Josh Chafetz of Oxblog is surely a man whose name is not unknown to you. Josh has recently proposed a project that I would like to help him with. He has learned that the US embassy in Amman publishes founding documents of democracy, such as The Federalist, in Arabic. He thinks it would be useful to seek funding for a project to distribute free copies of The Federalist to people in Iraq. Me too, but before I embark on a new career as a do-good busybody I would value some input from a person who knows both worlds.

Do you think it would be OK for me to approach Ghayda Al Ali, strictly as one private citizen to another? The last thing I want to do is to intrude on the privacy of someone in her position, but her opinion would carry a lot of weight. Can you put me in touch with her? No pressure. NO is a perfectly acceptable answer."

I copied his email to the family concerned

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MORE READER COMMENTS

My mention yesterday of the "Red" wristwatch got me a few emails. I particularly liked this one: "I read your item about the KGB wristwatch today. I must confess that I purchased a Red Army paratrooper wristwatch from the same firm last year. I like wind up watches and the design of the Red Paratrooper watch was such that you could wind it up whilst wearing thick gloves. As a mad snow sports fan, that was a big selling point for me. Unfortunately after about three weeks I dropped the watch from my bedside table and it hasn't worked since. If Red Army paratroops were equipped with watches that could not withstand a two foot fall, no wonder they lost the Cold War!"

A comment from another reader on the same subject: "The guy with the KGB watch reminds me of Jay Nordlinger's column in NRO - about the Russiahn immigrant who had a hammer and sickle and a red star displayed in his living room. When asked why he embraced symbols of oppression, he said these symbols reminded him that he was FREE OF THAT OPPRESSION"

And a reader thinks that African Christians are good conservatives: "The current traditionalist versus modernist split being played out in the Anglican Church sees the African and Asian branches of the Church firmly in the traditionalist camp. To Western modernists this is simply an indicator of the backwardness and bigotry of their rustic co-religionists. But as this article shows, the reason for the traditionalism of the African Church has more to do with lack of trust in secular authorities who are often tyrannical, corrupt, Islamist or all three. To African Christians, the idea of cooperating with the secular state, something western Christians have no qualms about, makes as much sense as proposing a reformist partnership with the mafia. The see the authority of the Church and the Bible as providing a counter-point to the undemocratic state that dominates them. This example may help explain the broader nature of conservatism versus liberalism. The conservative distrusts the state and sees the world as containing threats requiring a disciplined response; the liberal sees the world and political authority as essentially benign with conflicts being abnormal, mainly the result of misunderstanding.

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ELSEWHERE

It looks like Canadian conservatives are finally growing up -- with the merger of their two parties now approved. Australia has had two co-operating conservative parties for years (presently in power) and we all know what a broad tent the GOP is.

One understands that scaremongering sells newspapers and attracts TV viewers but it can nonetheless cause great harm and distress. And the autism scare over the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine is a case in point. A doctor explains why he will not be staying quiet about a British TV channel's 'scientifically dishonest and emotionally manipulative' program on the subject. PC types all around the world are trying to ban all mention of Christmas where they can in case it "upsets" somebody. Where are they when something really upsetting is going on? Silent, of course. In reality their only concern is making themselves look big, not actually doing any good.

Government regulations to "protect farmland" from development make no sense. All it does is drive up the cost of land for housing and thus militate against affordable housing

Denis Dutton has a good article on how the deregulation of the New Zealand economy worked wonders.

Owen Harries makes the point that a globalized economy will not remotely lead to the decline of the nation state. I think he's right but I also doubt that it matters much one way or the other. Any change will obviously be evolutionary and voluntary so there is not much to be feared in that.

Sam Francis on the nonsense of the racism detector test which I commented on some time ago here.

Anti-white racism, the last acceptable prejudice?

It looks like the Catholic Church has finally decided to speak out about Islamic barbarity and intolerance.

A "childless by choice" lady has some bitter comments about the 50s. I think her view of how the police treated women in those days is a caricature but it is true that life has got better in some ways and worse in others since then. For most people life is slowly getting better all the time in my view -- despite the efforts of the Left to destroy people's happiness wherever they can.

I imagine that most readers of this blog also read PC Watch but, if not, I have put up a fair bit of good stuff on politically correct idiocy there lately.

The latest upload from a chapter in my book written 30 years ago concerns something that is very topical today: Zimbabwe (or Rhodesia as it then was). I predicted that handing the country over to Mugabe and his cronies would be a disaster. And that disaster has certainly arrived now. See Chapter 10 here or here.

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Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here. Spam advice: Like most people, I have had a huge upsurge in spam lately and the measures I have had to take to deal with that may occasionally have resulted in my missing legitimate emails. So if I appear to have ignored an email from anyone, please resend the message to BOTH my email addresses above with nothing in the subject line. Thanks.

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6 December, 2003

SOME READER COMMENTS:

A reader thinks both Leftists and Catholics are basically wishful thinkers: "Back in Catholic school, one good sister told us about a saint that could fly. She said that we, too, could fly if we believed and prayed long and hard enough. Likewise, all liberal thought arises from good intentions - tax the rich and there will be more money for "the poor" (not so if you look at facts - when "the rich" (business owners) are taxed to death, they arrange their own finances do they can pay more taxes and still maintain their after-tax income, and cut where they can - like in hiring, raises, benefits to their employees"

Another reader writes: "A leftist teacher friend of mine found herself painted into a corner recently when she tried to explain 50s social values to a class of modern teens. Despite her best effort to sell the advantages of feminism, diversity and libertine culture, most of the kids quickly saw the more stable and predictable values of the 50s as offering more protection to the weakest and most vulnerable members of society, children"

Steven Hamori is upset at a firm that sells Soviet "memorabilia" such as a KGB wristwatch. He recently wrote to them: "I'm not a hyper-sensitive person who gets offended over silly things but why are you selling a watch with the KGB shield on it? Are you aware that the USSR murdered over 40 million of their own civilians and around 10 million of their own soldiers .. If you're going to sell this stuff, what's next? A Nazi SS watch? If you think it is a silly example it only means you don't know any Soviet history... they (the Soviets) murdered more innocent people than the Nazis... "

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ELSEWHERE

I think this "Townhall" writer is correct in saying that Russia's experiment with democracy is just about over. It was too big a change for them. I would say that Russia is now a Fascist State remarkably like Mussolini's Italy of the 1930s --- complete with strong nationalism, a hankering for socialism, a strong and very popular leader, a controlled media and oligarchic capitalism. But while capitalism thrives there -- which it mostly does -- there is hope that a more prosperous Russia will emerge and cause Fascism to do what it always eventually does -- evolve into democracy. As a Burkean conservative, I do believe that change needs to be evolutionary rather than sudden for the best outcome to emerge.

Bureaucratic idiocy: "Stricter federal rules on patient privacy are stopping a young Kenosha girl from delivering hundreds of toys to chronically-ill children in the hospital. Thirteen-year-old Robin Krawchuk has collected more than 400 toys. Each year since 1996 Robin has delivered toy donations to young patients to celebrate her own remission from leukemia. Until this year she's been able to deliver the toys to kids at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin where she too had been a patient. Children's Hospital spokesperson Jackie Gauger says new policies prevent anyone under 16 from visiting unless they're a relative."

New Deal or Bad Deal? "Good intentions are over-rated. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, for instance, has been hailed for its lofty goals of reforming the American economy and helping the under-privileged. Yet mounting evidence, developed by dozens of economists across the country, shows that the New Deal prolonged joblessness for millions, and black people were especially hard hit."

The high costs of busybodies: "With more than 80,000 people on waiting lists for various organs, and many dying while waiting, why prevent such transactions? One reason is that third parties would be offended. You know the words and the music: How terrible that the rich can buy other people's body parts -- and that the poor are so desperate as to sell. If you think that you have a right to forbid other people from making such voluntary transactions, then you are saying that your delicate sensibilities are more important than the poverty or even the deaths of other people."

This Mexican intellectual has found that elites in the USA all like illegal Mexican immigration. It is only poor old Joe Citizen who does not.

Such a worry: "San Diego parent Lonecia Landry has sent her daughter to Nubia Leadership Academy, a charter school, for five years. She's aware the school leases its facilities from Bayview Baptist Church, and that many of the staff and students attend services there. For Ms. Landry, the urgent need was to keep her daughter out of traditional public schools -- the same schools that employ her as a teacher. Landry says she feels comfortable about having her daughter attend Nubia Academy, even though they're not affiliated with the church. ... Experts worry, however, that in parents' eagerness to escape traditional public schools, some may be overlooking religious or other ideological messages seeping into their children's lessons."

Keith Burgess-Jackson has an interesting but sketchy post on atheist Christians. I don't think that I am an atheist Christian in his sense but ever since my teens I have been inspired by Christ's social teachings and still consider Christian morality to be the wisest in general. Clearly, one can follow Christ's teaching on how to live without accepting any of his teachings about the hereafter. And I think there is some case for calling such people Christians.

Personal Independence Day liked my posting about JFK yesterday. He has further information and comment on JFK and the civil rights movement here and here

Mark Pierce is having a bit of a laugh at Democrat hand-wringing over talk-radio.

James of Conservative Voice has just posted his explanation of why such a thing as the Left exists. Some good insights.

My academic upload yesterday debunking the Leftist theory of "authoritarianism" actually got a reply from a defender of the theory. I reply to the reply fairly bitingly here or here

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Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.

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5 December, 2003

FROM BROOKES NEWS

US recession and the fallacy of technological overhang. When every so-called technological breakthrough and invention immediately attracts investment, think of the South Sea Bubble. John Stuart Mill sadly remarked that these booms left many businessmen and eager investors "to repent at leisure." And that was written about 172 years ago.
Australian newspaper bashes Bush. Graham Barrett's Why Bush is still the man to beat is another sickening example of the left's mendacity and its hatred of President Bush.
Circle of Poison: another vicious example of green propaganda. Circle of Poison is the title of a malicious book co-authored by David Weir and Mark Schapiro. It was sponsored and published in 1981 by the left-wing Institute of Food Development Policy (IFDP) which is linking to the notorious Marxist-Leninist IPS.
US manufacturing, wages and the lessons of history. In the US in 1929 the Committee on Recent Economic Changes wisely observed: "Each generation believes itself to be on the verge of a new economic era, an era of fundamental change". Seventy-four years later and I very much doubt if the lesson has been learnt.

Details here

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THE FORGOTTEN JFK

"Having criticized FDR's people for handing Eastern Europe to Stalin at Yalta in 1945, he joined Republicans in blasting the Truman administration and the State Department for their culpability in China's collapse before the Communists four years later. Speaking from the House floor, he said, "The responsibility for [this] failure...rests squarely with the White House and the Department of State."

Kennedy also confronted communist subversion at home. As a House labor committee member, he helped convict a communist union official. While in the Senate, he backed Senator Joseph McCarthy's investigations. In January 1955, after McCarthy had fallen from power, JFK walked out on a banquet speech by McCarthy-hating journalist Edward R. Murrow.

As with totalitarianism, so, too, with tax cuts. Midway through his presidential term, JFK proposed a sweeping across-the-board tax cut, dismaying liberal Democrats, who preferred wasteful spending binges to "stimulate" the economy.

Today's liberal historians equate JFK's tax cut proposals with a demand-side stimulus, but that's not what JFK said while arguing for them. Here's what he said: "The present rates ranging up to 91% not only check consumption but discourage investment and encourage...the avoidance of taxes [rather] than the production of goods." He went on: "Our present tax system...reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking."

More here

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ELSEWHERE

Who said this? "I am in favour of upward mobility through hard work," It was the new leader of Australia's major Left-leaning political party. Sounds good.

Surprise, Surprise! The New York Times uses Gestapo tactics in Iraq.

GWB's "No Child Left Behind" Act is working -- by making lazy teachers work. And the improvement in results for students is dramatic. See here.

There is an interview with a leading Muslim intellectual reported in a Pakistani newspaper. Note the following Q and A: "You reckon that there are so many contradictions between the West and the Muslim world, is there any chance of reconciliation and dialogue between the two civilizations?" .. "There is none. The basic concepts of both civilizations are in total contrast with each other. When I say this I do not address Western civilization as Christianity. I speak of a man-made system completely devoid of divine guidance" Pretty plain. Islam can only be defeated by force. Trying to placate them is as foolish as appeasing Hitler was.

USA now more Marxist than Russia: "After arriving in the United States with a diploma from Leningrad University..., I realized that I had the extremely unmarketable skills of a Marxist-Leninist philosophy professor.... Eventually, I ... enrolled at San Francisco State University. I majored in creative writing. I couldn't believe what I found. Imagine the utter amazement of a refugee from a Communist country, where Marxism was forced on all students, now having to sink in a puddle of socialist propaganda again -- but this time in the middle of an American university! Imagine the astonishment of a person who, after fighting the KGB and being a refusenik, finally comes so close to her dream of receiving a real education instead of indoctrination, only to find herself, once again, in the middle of a socialist brainwashing machine -- but this time in San Francisco...

Many a true word .... "It is well-known that the American political system requires a successful presidential candidate to adopt three very different personas. During the primaries he must run to the left or right, depending on his party, in order to attract the support of the Democratic or Republican faithful. During the general election he must run to the center, in order to attract the support of people who find the Democratic and Republican faithful kind of creepy. And, once elected, he must run past the center, and adopt his opponent's platform."

The Spectator (UK) has a good send-up of anti-Americanism.

The Wicked one is defending homebody extraordinaire Martha Stewart.

I have noticed that a lot of bloggers and a lot of academics seem to have up on the net fairly extensive autobiographies and self-descriptions. To date all I have had up is a couple of paragraphs at the top of my academic home page. I have now, however, put up a more extensive story for anyone who is interested. See here or here.

My latest academic upload is another attack on the Leftist myth that conservatives are "authoritarian". Only this one I had published in an Accountancy journal! Details here or here

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4 December, 2003

TAX, WELFARE AND WILLINGNESS TO WORK

There is a useful review by Jeff Madrick in the New York Review of Books of the broadly conservative book Transformation of the Welfare State: The Silent Surrender of Public Responsibility by Neil Gilbert. A bias alert is needed however. Despite the apparently reasoned tone of the article, you can see where Madrick is coming from when you note that he blames America's "low" level of welfare expenditure for the fact that "a huge proportion of African-American men are now in prison"! I wonder what proof he has for THAT connection! It would be great if it were that simple. Even I would favour Danegeld if it would end black crime. The orientation of the article might also be suggested by the fact that it is accompanied by a graphic which appears to show GWB with a large Pinocchio nose! Madrick also finds "refreshing" the suggestion that because people sometimes invest their retirement savings unwisely the government should take over the savings concerned and use them to build roads etc! Socialism lives among U.S. intellectuals!

The article really requires a response from an academic economist and economics is not my specialty but one of his central points did nonetheless seem pretty silly to me from a psychological point of view. He notes some evidence that economic growth does not always closely track tax levels and argues that tax levels therefore have no effect on economic growth. There are of course many things that affect economic growth but a key one would have to be the work-motivation of the population. And expecting work-motivation to track tax policy closely shows no understanding of human nature -- to be expected from a Leftist, of course. People do not change their values and habits overnight (though no doubt Leftists wish they would) and ALL economic changes take a while to show their effects. In the case of willingness to work, we may even be looking at a generational phenomenon: willingness to work may for many older workers reflect values acquired in their youth rather being immediately responsive to the current situation. In that case, a more informative approach would be to plot levels of growth against level of tax over a period more like a century than anything shorter.

That it takes a long time for work habits to change is in fact shown by the Scandinavian experience. When high taxes to fund very generous welfare programs were introduced after World War II, most Scandinavians continued to work as before -- even though they would generally have been roughly as well-off to stop working and go on welfare. But a generation or more later, that has now changed so much that all the Scandinavian countries are now trying to change their welfare systems in a way that will re-create an incentive to work.

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AN OLD LIE

The Leftists sure do love their lies and distortions. They just CANNOT give them up. An Australian Leftist blog is a good example of it. The blogger concerned speaks of former Queensland Premier "Joh Bjelke-Peterson, who, despite not knowing English, managed to rig and gerrymander his way into an unbelievably long term". Apparently getting 59% of the popular vote for your government is still not enough to make you legitimate in Leftist eyes.

What the Australian Left have always tried to ignore is that the Queensland government concerned was a coalition of two conservative parties that generally did not run against one-another in elections. So each party stood for election in only about half of the electorates. So neither one of those parties ever got anything like a majority of the vote individually, but they DID get big majorities combined. The Left however look only at the vote for ONE of the parties and say that, because it did not get a majority by itself, it is illegitimate having that party in government! Only a Leftist could be so deliberately stupid.

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ELSEWHERE

There's no let-up to that Leftist arrogance and elitism. Read how Hillary Clinton treated U.S. troops on her vist to Afghanistan.

This Leftist political pundit describes the States that voted predominantly for Gore in the last U.S. Presidential election as characterized by "tolerant values" -- tolerant of guns? tolerant of Christians? tolerant of conservatives? tolerant of GWB? tolerant of the Iraq intervention? What a laugh! Leftists really are up themselves.

Vox Day tells what nonsense conservative university students have to put up with these days: "Like most who have graduated from college, I have endured many pious and pedantic secular sermons from various members of the self- appointed moral elite. From the day I set foot on campus, I was lectured on my proclivity to rape women who might or might not be saying no, the need to be tolerant of the idiosyncratic behavior of others, and, above all, to know that I, as a campus conservative, was a crypto-Nazi slavering for the chance to commit violence on others."

I wonder what the Greenies will think of this? "solar power from the Moon could provide everyone clean, affordable, and sustainable electric power?" I can see "Save the Moon" as a future Greenie slogan.

"Alternative" medicine bites the dust again. How sad: "Echinacea does nothing to treat children's colds, according to a US study of more than 500 children."

Amusing: The newly elected leader of the Australian Labor Party will not be getting his ex-wife's vote.

Jean-Francois Revel sets out the incredible caricature of the USA that is widely believed in Europe. He then comments drily: "Strangely, it is always America that is described as degenerate and "fascist," while it is solely in Europe that actual dictatorships and totalitarian regimes spring up"

Carnival of the Vanities is up again with a huge range of offerings.

My latest academic upload here or here is a reply to some dreamy criticisms of my article on social class measurement.

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Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame Blogger.com and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.

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3 December, 2003

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST

On 30th I linked to a story by Blogger Brian O'Connell in which he caught out a Leftist "investigative journalist" for not investigating -- and thus getting wrong even the basics of GWB's recent trip to Iraq.

The story has just been picked up by both Opinion Journal and Mark Steyn in the UK Telegraph. Brian has of course had a big surge of hits on his blog as a result and seems to think that my link was instrumental in getting the story out. I have noticed that quite a few things I link to do subsequently appear on Opinion Journal. Probably just a coincidence but maybe someone there does read this blog.

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HOMOSEXUAL "MARRIAGE"

Opinion Journal notes that the newly discovered "right" to homosexual marriage is now being used as an argument to say polygamy should be legal too and commments: "It's hard to imagine the courts accepting Bucher's argument and establishing a constitutional right to polygamy, but that is because polygamists have not gained anything like the level of social acceptance that homosexuals have over the past couple of decades. Where the courts draw the line, in other words, seems to be driven more by fashion than by principle. It's perfectly appropriate for moral fashions to determine public policy--but they should do so by way of the democratic process, not judicial fiat"

The Wicked one has a good Ann Coulter quote about the homosexual "right to marriage" ruling in Taxachusetts.

Peter Hitchens is pretty upset at what he sees as the "death" of marriage in Britain -- as a result of the push for homosexual marriage there.

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ELSEWHERE

Hooray! Russia says it will not ratify the stupid Kyoto "Greenhouse" protocol. That means it is DEAD!

Amazing! Afghan warlords handing over their weapons. There may be hope for the Afghans yet.

The Spanish have got guts: "Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has ruled out withdrawing Spanish forces from Iraq, only hours after a state funeral for seven Spanish intelligence agents killed in an ambush south of Baghdad".

Further to my post yesterday about GWB being a real conservative despite his big spending, there is now a whole website dedicated to explaining that idea.

This article also argues that the GOP and the Dems are now equal as big spenders. A reader comments: "I think it was Milton Friedman who argued that recent US experience is that the most successful fiscal conservative option for voters was having Congress under one party and the White House under the other, then the natural partisan antagonism between them acts as brake on vote buying by either group. Essentially this is an Adam Smith solution, exploit politicians' competitive nature and self interest rather than rely on them to do what in principle is the right thing!"

Thomas Sowell has a great story about being one of Friedman's students here

The Australian Labor Party, Australia's major Leftist party has just got a new leader. And is the bourgeois Left upset! The new leader is not a very likable figure in my view but he seems to be a great realist with a good grasp of economics -- anathema to the feel-good dreamers of the Left. Australia is very fortunate in having a lot of conservatism in both its major political parties.

Australia has had a national sales tax for years and the sky has not fallen in: "I've spent the past few years supporting the concept of a national sales tax. Now, though, I'm beginning to have some second thoughts. ... Among my concerns about the national sales tax is the mechanism created to facilitate collection. ... It seems more encompassing, widespread and easier to manipulate. Think about the ease with which the government could easily 'tweak' the tax rate by a hundredth of a percent here and there when it needs more money? Think about the power of a government that has the ability to tax everything we consume, every service we utilize. But even more important to this debate, the national sales tax does nothing to fix the real problem with our tax system: TOO MUCH TAX."

Michael Darby has just put up a big collection of posts under the following headings:
Huge Rally of Vietnamese Australians;
Celebrate Capitalism Day Sunday 6 December;
Dear American Soldier in Iraq;
Why They Lost The Referendum;
Liberal Party State Council Official Voting Results;
Nile MLC backs Prime Minister Howard on Drugs;
Cathy Buckle on Zimflation;
Anti-Democracy Agitators;
Evidence of an Iraq Al-Qaida connection;
Jihad for Allah's Sake;
NZ Labour's Ideological Sop;
Trade: free, fair and forgotten;
Why They Hate W.

My latest upload of one of my published academic articles is here or here. It is about how you assess what social class a person belongs in. It is a highly technical article but the finding in plain language was that the thing that makes the biggest difference is a person's own view of what class he is in -- and the second biggest influence is whether he is a manual or a non-manual worker.

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2 December, 2003

IS GWB A GOOD CONSERVATIVE AFTER ALL?

Libertarians and libertarian conservatives such as myself have been totally appalled at the way the present Bush administration has expanded the size of the U.S. government -- first with post 9/11 security measures and now with the prescription drug benefit for seniors. Where has the Reagan cutback mentality that launched America's long economic boom gone?

A controversial NYT article by Fred Barnes has got me thinking, however. We must not forget that conservatism is NOT libertarianism. From Edmund Burke onwards, conservatives have always seen SOME role for government. And protecting the country from outside enemies is absolutely one of those proper roles of government. Outside the anarcho-capitalist camp, even most libertarians would agree with that one. So GWB's post 9/11 security buildup is a very proper conservative thing to do, even if -- as one expects from a government activity -- its excecution is hamfisted.

And the Afghanistan/Iraq interventions are equally well within conservative traditions. Whatever else one may say about conservatives they have always been strongly motivated by caution -- most notably by caution about sweeping change to society's existing arrangements -- but caution above all. And given the terrible disasters that Islamic terrorists are now known to be capable of inflicting on America, it is surely the height of caution to go to the breeding ground of the terrorists and try to root out both the terrorists and those who aid and abet them.

And, as Fred Barnes pointed out, the prescription drug benefit is well targeted too. Older people are one of the major conservative groupings in society. Age and experience has taught them caution. So if a political party leaves it to its opposition to woo away its own support base, it is moronic indeed. That they are the realists is another historic claim of conservatives and the political reality is that if the GOP had not supported the prescription drug push, it would have just have sent a big slice of elderly GOP voters off to vote for the Dems instead. It may be worth noting that Australia's conservative government is in the midst of expanding it's Medicare expenditures too.

So, much as we may regret the Bush-era expansion of government, it may be the price we have to pay for GWB's more active and realistic approach to protecting American security against the Islamic threat. If Al Gore had been in charge, the U.S. would probably still have got the prescription drug benefit but with United Nations resolutions being the only measures taken to counter the Islamic threat.

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ELSEWHERE

Hmmm.. I don't know if I agree with this. Libertarians disagreeing with conservatives is nothing new: "Ask a roomful of well-read conservatives to identify the political theorists who most influenced them, and some of the following names are likely to come up: Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, Richard Weaver, F.A. Hayek, Russell Kirk, and Milton Friedman. That it would seem so natural for men from disparate philosophical traditions to appear together on such a list is a testimony to the success of the postwar American Right in forging a coherent national conservative movement out of traditionalist and libertarian elements. This makes the emerging signs that this conservative-libertarian consensus is starting to unravel all the more problematic for the Right."

How to make the world a better place: "Thousands of French diplomats from Rome to Riyadh staged an unprecedented strike Monday over budget cuts"

"When it comes to Abraham Lincoln, some of the people are fooled all of the time": Apparently Abe Lincoln never said one of his most famous quotes: "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."

Jonah Goldberg has a good article on the huge improvements in quality of life that have happened over recent decades -- contrary to all the doom and gloom from the Green/Left.

NYT columnist Thomas Friedman is (of course) generally left-leaning but he is pretty explicit here about how pathetic, negative, stupid and insensitive were the "anti-war" demonstrations that greeted GWB in London.

A good article here on how Ronald Reagan changed the entire political scene -- by doing things that were unthinkable to the Left of his day.

Keith Burgess-Jackson has an hilarious collection of dumb newspaper headlines.

Should be more of it: "Clinton Baller never paid much attention to local politics, never even voted in a city election, until local ordinances got in the way of his plans to add on to his house. Unhappy with Birmingham's restrictive building code, and even more unhappy with the way city officials handled his concerns, Baller launched the Birmingham Buzz, a Web site. ... 'We were brash, we were angry, we didn't care who we (expletive) off -- and we made a difference in this city,' Baller said. On Nov. 4, the four candidates endorsed by the Buzz swept the city elections and ousted three longtime city commissioners."

The Wicked one has just put up a feminist joke!

I spend a lot of time on this blog and in my other writings talking about the psychology of the Left. I rarely say much about the psychology of the Right. In the Introduction to my book Conservatism as heresy, however, I did discuss that topic. Just uploaded here or here.

I have also just uploaded a substantial extract from an article by another psychologist who is critical of the Leftist bias in academic psychogy. See here or here.

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1 December, 2003

MY DEAD-TREE RESCUE PROJECT

One upon a time, if one wanted to find out the facts about something, one went to a library. That was pesky, so people also built up their own personal libraries at home about things that interested them. All that has gone by the board now. If you want to find out about something, you Google it and have your answer in minutes, if not seconds. There is however a pitfall in that. Not everything is on the net. There is so much on the net that it sometimes feels as if everything is there but in fact what is on the net is only a small percentage of what is in the world's libraries. But to most people -- even academics -- if it is not on the net it might as well not exist.

I found that out myself very clearly. Until I started putting my academic articles on the net, I had not had any enquiry about any of them from anyone for many years. Now that most of them are up on the net, I get emails from other academics about them all the time. I have suddenly gone from invisible to highly visible.

I rather regret that 95% of the world's knowledge has been rendered irrelevant by the net so I am doing my bit to remedy that. I am gradually scanning in and posting up excerpts from older publications that I find to be of interest in some connection. I am putting on the net information that has up until now existed only on dead trees (paper). Most of what I am putting up is academic and I am only at the beginning of the project but there are already two articles up that I think to be of general interest:

The first one (here or here) is great fun. It shows that young Leftists are a real psychological mess -- with VERY unhappy childhoods. Since 1950, Leftist psychologists have been trying to show that it is conservatives who have had the disturbed childhoods, but THIS article was published well before 1950 -- before the distortions had set in.

And the second article is I think only the second one that I have recommended that my readers should read the whole of. It is a superb article by Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Therapy, a genuinely caring man and one of the few psychologists to have really helped lots of unhappy people. The article is called "Intellectual fascism" and it points out in detail how Leftist intellectuals are huge egotists and elitists. Excerpt:

"The vast majority of American liberals and so-called anti-fascists are actually intellectual fascists. In fact, the more politico-economically liberal our citizens are, the more intellectually fascistic they usually tend to be.... this individual almost invariably prides himself on his liberality, his humanitarianism, and his lack of arbitrary prejudice against certain classes of people. But underneath, just because he has no insight into his fascistic beliefs, he is often more vicious, in his social effects, than his lower-order counterpart".


Ellis knew what he was talking about. See here or here.

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ELSEWHERE

The Economist is one of the most respected and influential magazines that there is so it is good to see them giving the bullet to the IPCC -- the world's chief "global warming" supporter. The article points out that all the IPCC forecasts have been way-off.

Amazing! Far-Left British commentator George Monbiot seems to have seen the light in part at least. "In Paris, some of us tried to tackle this question in a session called 'life after capitalism'. By the end of it, I was as unconvinced by my own answers as I was by everyone else's. While I was speaking, the words died in my mouth, as it struck me with horrible clarity that as long as incentives to cheat exist (and they always will) none of our alternatives could be applied universally without totalitarianism.'"

Not being a regular Guardian reader (!), I got the link above from the Portuguese blog Valete Fratres. A lot of his posts are in English and he has some great graphics up. Now if only I could translate "OUTRO MUNDO E POSSIVEL..." -- I think it means: "The out of this world is possible" -- which is a fair comment on a climbdown as amazing as Monbiot's.

NZ Pundit too has an interesting Guardian extract. One of their own columnists accuses them of being biased against Israel. Not exactly a surprise, though!

This moron thinks that putting calorie information labels on fast food is going to stop people getting fat! It would take a lot more than labels to keep fatties away from their food!

Sounds reasonable: "Fat Austrians may have to pay larger health service contributions to cover the fact they are more likely to visit the doctors. The proposal was put forward by the country's social affairs spokesman Walter Tancsits. Tancsits announced that a 'percentage of social insurance contributions could be linked to a person's Body Mass Index' -- meaning overweight Austrians would pay more."

Bias so crazy it's amusing: "During the riots that emerged after the Rodney King incident, an ABC newsman interviewed gang members who pummeled innocent white drivers in their south central Los Angeles neighborhood. He referred to these thugs as "community leaders." The irony is they called themselves "gang members.""

I am pleased to see that I have been blogrolled by a Danish libertarian blog. Denmark still is to my knowledge the only country where a libertarian political party (the Progress party) has ever got a significant slice of the vote. And their present Prime Minister -- Anders Fogh-Rasmussen -- is a GWB ally.

I have just posted Chris Brand's latest observations on current events here. It sounds like the British are a surprisingly sexy lot.

My latest upload of one of my published academic articles is here or here. I look at whether there is such a thing as a general environmentalist outlook and find that there is. People who agree with one environmentalist idea tend to agree with lots of other environmentalist ideas.

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