Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence..

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

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30 June, 2016

The Weird Hobbesianism of Brexiphobes

People who can't imagine order without imposition always end up favoring power over liberty.The UK "is part of Europe, and always will be,” says Boris Johnson, a leader of the Brexit campaign. Wait. How can you be part of something and not appoint a dictatorial, authoritarian, meddling, pillaging central state – a completely artificial creation having nothing to do with the real history of Europe – to manage it?

It's called freedom. That's how it works. It means the absence of external political restraint on shaping the future.

In the days following the British vote to leave the EU, we’ve seen apocalyptic panic among the opinion classes. The New York Times has published a long series of freak-out pieces about the end of the “postwar liberal order.” Except that there is nothing (classically) liberal about a distant bureaucracy that aspires to centrally plan every aspect of economic life.

Another writer worries that "we will have fewer people coming here, enriching our culture and our lives. There will be fewer opportunities. We will have less of a chance to explore the world for ourselves."

Huh? No bridges have been blown up. Britons can still buy plane tickets. People from abroad can still visit and work. It's not even clear that immigration will change that much. It really depends on what politicians in the UK do next. An untenable political union is under strain and that is all. Now Britain can actually make some political decisions for itself.

But here is the silliest thing I’ve yet seen. Try to wrap your brain around the claim in the Times that Brexit  “may just wipe out laissez-faire economics.” If there is no European-wide government authority, “where does capitalism go now?”

Capitalism? Does the Brussels bureaucracy really embody the essence of the capitalist spirit? What can the writer mean?

Well, you see, Reagan and Thatcher were “globalists,” and the global order was cobbled together in the postwar period under the influence of John Maynard Keynes, who had saved capitalism from being discredited by the Great Depression, and therefore laissez faire (which means leave it alone) owes its very existence to the man who wrote “The End of Laissez Faire.”

Or something like that. There’s no sense in trying to explain all these frenzied mind dumps because they make no sense.

Latent Hobbesianism

Having read a hundred articles warning of the coming Armageddon, I’m trying to understand the underlying source of the mania. True, there were plenty of unsavory types supporting Brexit, people who were driven to leave the EU by racist and xenophobic motives. They might imagine a new and more pure Britain is possible and desirable.

But, this is hardly news. It is not possible for democracy to function without an ugly underside. And people support good policies for bad reasons all the time.

That said, there is something deeper going on here. Some people just cannot imagine the possibility of order emerging without government planning. If there is no central state that can bind everyone, forcing good behavior and unity, surely the results will be an atavistic and chaotic mess. Life will become, in Thomas Hobbes’s words, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

There is a certain tradition of Enlightenment thought that imagined that government serves the one great purpose of cobbling together order in place of the war of all against all of the “state of nature.” Without Leviathan, we would be slitting each other’s throats, and unable to figure out any other way of living. The state, in this view, is the wise planner that can rise above the people’s base instincts and tell us what is best for us. In the most extreme rending of this story, all things must be either forbidden or mandated, with nothing left to chance.

(This same perspective explains so much of domestic politics. People who can't imagine order without imposition always end up favoring power over liberty.)

Hobbes Was Wrong

Brexit doesn’t establish economic and civil liberty for Britain. But it gives those ideas a chance.But is this really the history of Europe? Remember that Hobbes wrote during the English civil war when vying for control of the state was indeed a violent undertaking. This was not because human beings are incapable of figuring out a better way, but because there was a state there to control in the first place. It was responsible for the moral hazard that unleashed the violence.

The bigger picture of the middle ages through World War I was of small states minding their own business, with people free to move, and trade relations growing ever more sophisticated. States were limited by borders in their geographic jurisdiction and in their internal political power by legal and cultural restraints. The right of exit and the decentralization of power made it all work.

F.A. Hayek was fond of quoting John Baechler: “The first condition for the maximization of economic efficiency is the liberation of civil society with respect to the state…The expansion of capitalism owes its origins and raison d'être to political anarchy.”

By anarchy, he didn’t mean everyone going bonkers. He meant a lack of a centralized authority. The result is not the end of laissez faire but its institutionalization in political habit. That doesn’t mean a turn against “globalization.” It makes international cooperation essential for survival.

Brexit doesn’t establish economic and civil liberty for Britain. But it gives those ideas a chance to escape the EU’s subversion of the classical idea of what Europe is all about. Yes, a post-Brexit Britain could screw it up, especially if the extremes of right and left prevail against an emergent libertarian third way. Brexit is a beginning, not an end.

At least one impediment is out of the way. That’s progress.



Levin: Brexit Is a ‘Huge Step in the Right Direction’

On his show Friday, nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin called the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union (“Brexit”) a “huge step in the right direction.”

“And while Britain has voted to free itself from the European Union, which apparently occurs over a period of years, they still haven’t voted internally to free themselves from centralized government and socialism,” Levin said. “This is a huge step in the right direction, but they still need to liberate themselves.”

The United Kingdom (U.K.) voted to leave the European Union (EU) on Thursday’s June 23 referendum 52 percent to 48 percent.

Here’s what Levin had to say:

“To the extent any American official or politician influenced the outcome in Britain yesterday, it was Barack Obama. So, I want to thank Barack Obama because his arrogance, and so forth, turned out a lot of people – against him and against the U.K. remaining in the EU.

“But the truth is, it had nothing to do with Barack Obama, really. Nothing to do with Donald Trump, really. Nothing to do with any politician in America, really. It had everything to do with sovereignty.

“This battle over the EU and the extent that the U.K. would be part of it has been going on for decades. And it has reached a crescendo over the last several years over immigration, and not just immigration, the endless piddling rules coming out of Brussels imposed on butchers and bakers and taxi cab drivers and electricians and plumbers and coal miners.

“You have a super Parliament that imposes its will on the people. You’ve got a super Judiciary that imposes its will on the people – a super collective of executives that impose their will on the people. And the people have no recourse whatsoever. It was the death of democracy, little “d” – and the British people responded, 52 to 48.

“It amazes me, 48 percent of them preferred tyranny over liberty. The vote was about sovereignty, breaking away from the United, excuse me, the European Union.

“I try to make the point when I write my books, when I do this radio show, now when I do LevinTV – ideas and principles and philosophy have power. They determine the fate of mankind. They determine the fate of nations.

“And that’s why I, perhaps uniquely, spend so much time on them. They are the basis for the human condition. They are the basis for revolutions. And so, this show will always focus on them, always.

“And while Britain has voted to free itself from the European Union, which apparently occurs over a period of years, they still haven’t voted internally to free themselves from centralized government and socialism.

“This is a huge step in the right direction, but they still need to liberate themselves, as in many respects, we do.”



Purification of America

Walter E. Williams

In 2008, Barack Obama promised a fundamental transformation of America. Where that promise has gone unfulfilled the most is in areas of sexual and racial discrimination. What's worse is the official sanction given to such discrimination. Let's look at some of it.

Visit just about any California men's prison and you will see that one's race determines whom he cells with, the toilet and shower he uses, and what recreation areas he enjoys. Then there is sexual discrimination. Female correctional officers earn the same pay as their male counterparts. However, when it comes to extracting a dangerous inmate from his cell, it is always a five- or six-male officer team that risks bodily injury. How fair is that? Why not have both male and female cell extraction teams?

Harvard University has announced new rules that will punish students who join single-sex clubs, including fraternities and sororities. Part of that punishment will make them ineligible for college endorsement for top fellowships, such as the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships. As an aside, Rhodes scholarships should be banned; Cecil Rhodes was one of the architects of South African apartheid.

Harvard University, like most other universities, is two-faced when it comes to sexual discrimination. It segregates sports teams by sex. It has women's basketball and men's basketball, women's ice hockey and men's, a women's swim team and a men's swim team. If Harvard's leaders were consistent, they would also punish students joining a single-sex sports team. Each sport should have one team on which all students, regardless of sex, are eligible to compete. Also, sports racism in college has ended -- except in men's basketball, where no college team's starting five looks anything like America.

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has called for the elimination of the ban against women in combat, but he is keeping other forms of discrimination. Passing the Army's physical fitness test in basic training is a requirement. To pass, 17- to 21-year-old males must do 35 pushups, 47 situps and a 2-mile run in 16 minutes, 36 seconds or less. Females of the same age can pass the test with just 13 pushups, 47 situps and a 19:42 2-mile run. That's grossly unfair. As a black man, I can relate to the unfairness of different requirements. Literacy tests in some Southern states used to ask black voters, "How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?" and "How many seeds are in a watermelon?" White voters were exempt from that test -- presumably because they knew the answers. I'm wondering why men do not bring sexual discrimination lawsuits when they face different treatment based upon sex.

There is one highly celebrated area of our lives that's misogynistic, vicious and cruel to women yet goes completely ignored. It is nothing less than sadistic voyeurism. You might ask, "Williams, what is that?" It is the opera and its near celebration of cruelty to women. Giuseppe Verdi's "Rigoletto" regales us with tales of the Duke of Mantua, a licentious womanizer. From "Aida" and "Carmen" to "Lulu" and "Madama Butterfly," opera is extravagantly cruel to its female characters. This suggests an important job for university music departments. They must either change operatic script in a way that respects women or simply ban the performance of such works. There is precedent for banning and revision in the arts and literature. Some schools have removed the offensive words from "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and some have banned the book outright.

While in office, former Memphis Mayor A C Wharton was an energetic purifier. He wanted to purify his city by removing the bodies of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife from a city park. At a news briefing, he asked, "Which African-American wants to have a picnic in the shadow of Nathan Bedford Forrest?"

There is a historical precedent for the purification of America. Back in the Roman days, when the Romans wanted to erase the memory of people they deemed dishonorable, they had a practice called damnatio memoriae, Latin for "condemnation of memory." It was as if they had never existed.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


29 June, 2016
Progressivism is inimical to Freedom

The United States was founded on an ideology that viewed the role of government as the protection of individual rights. That view of government was pushed aside by the ideology of Progressivism toward the end of the 1800s. The Progressive ideology envisions a government that not only protects individual rights but also looks out for people’s economic well-being.

A natural tension exists between Progressivism and freedom. Partly, this is because looking out for the economic well-being of some often lowers the economic well-being of others. Increasingly, Progressives also argue that people would be better off if government made their choices for them rather than giving people the freedom to make their own choices.

One motivation for the Progressive ideology was the perception that people who held substantial economic power were using that power to exploit those with less power. Thus, the Interstate Commerce Commission was established in 1887 to regulate railroads to keep them from exploiting shippers, and the Sherman Antitrust Act was passed in 1890 to limit the ability of concentrated economic interests to exploit others.

Government interventions into the economy like this may help those with limited economic power (this is debatable), but they clearly limit the economic freedom of everybody to engage in mutually agreeable transactions. If rail rates are regulated, or companies like Standard Oil are broken up, the freedom of those subject to these actions is obviously compromised.

Programs like these restrict the freedoms of some, nominally for the economic benefit of others. Increasingly, Progressivism supports “nanny state” programs that restrict everyone’s freedom, under the justification that the government can make better choices for people than they would make themselves.

Essentially, nanny state programs say, “We’re going to take away your freedom for your own good.”

Social Security is a good example of a nanny state program that restricts everyone’s freedom. Using the argument that people will not save enough for their own retirements, the government taxes people when they work and promises to pay them stipends when they retire. The government forces people to save for their retirements.

Leaving aside the fact that people would accumulate more for their retirements if they invested the amount they pay in taxes in the stock market themselves, the program clearly compromises people’s freedom to allocate their incomes, and their savings, as they see fit.

Minimum wage laws prevent low-skilled workers from finding employment and gaining experience, compromising their freedom to work under mutually agreeable terms. The FDA prevents people from buying unapproved products, compromising people’s freedom to choose what they want to buy and sell.

Increasingly, Progressives are trying to take away freedom of choice, nominally for our own good. They dictate what safety equipment we have to have on our cars, limit our access to sugary drinks, and control what we can smoke. (They don’t want people smoking tobacco, but seem to be OK with marijuana consumption!)

From a utilitarian perspective, one can debate whether government really makes better choices for people than they would make on their own. From a libertarian perspective, there is no doubt that Progressivism compromises freedom.

Freedom is meaningless if we are only free to make choices that meet with government approval. The Progressive ideology compromises freedom and takes away the individual rights that at one time justified the existence of our American government.

Progressivism is a direct attack on freedom.



Hitler with Ginger hair

British Leftist leader Neil Kinnock's famous speech to the Labour Party Conference, Bournemouth, October 1985

Anybody who has watched Hitler's speeches will be struck by how much Kinnock learned from Hitler.  His rhetorical technique is near identical.  The content of the speech was similar too:  Vilifying his opponents and promoting extreme socialism.  Kinnock lost that election, thankfully.  He is still alive, in a comfortable job with the EU


The Truth Has Been (Omitted)

By Ben Shapiro

Barack Obama is a dramatic failure.

His economy has been a slow-motion train wreck. His domestic policy has driven racial antagonism to renewed heights and divided Americans from each other along lines of religion and sexual orientation. On foreign policy he has set the world aflame in the name of pretty, meaningless verbiage and a less hegemonic America.

But there's good news: At least he controls the information flow.

This week, Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Americans to believe her rather than their own lying eyes. First, she openly admitted that the FBI would censor the 911 phone call of the jihadi Omar Mateen who murdered 49 Americans at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The FBI, she said, would remove explicit references to ISIS, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Islam.

The resulting transcript was a masterpiece of hilarious redaction. Here's just a taste: "In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial (in Arabic) ... Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of (in Arabic). I let you know, I'm in Orlando and I did the shootings. ... My name is I pledge of allegiance to (omitted). ... I pledge allegiance to (omitted), may God protect him (in Arabic) on behalf (omitted)."

This memory holing would make George Orwell cry. In this iteration, Allah becomes God (See, Islam is just like Judaism and Christianity!), but we can't mention terrorist groups and their leaders. In fact, more than a week after the attack, Lynch told the press she didn't know the jihadi's motivation — a motivation clearly stated in the transcript she released.


But this is not unusual for the Obama administration. We know that in the run-up to the Iran deal the Obama administration simply altered reality to fit its narrative: It had fiction writer and deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes cook up an account where negotiations with the terror state began only after the accession of "moderate" President Hassan Rouhani. Never mind that Obama and company had been negotiating with the mullahs behind the scenes for years before that. The narrative had to be falsified and upheld. When the State Department was forced to admit those lies in a press conference, the White House conveniently chopped out that section of the taped conference for public release.

We also know that the Obama administration lied openly about Obamacare. It knew from the beginning that you couldn't keep your doctor or your plan. It simply hid that fact for years. We know that the Obama State Department sliced out a section of transcript mentioning radical Islam when French President Francois Hollande visited the United States.

He who controls the information flow controls reality.

And the Obama administration is already rewriting reality for the historians of decades hence. We won't find out where they hid most of the political bodies until too late — just as we won't find out what Clinton hid in her private server until far too late.

This is why a government must not be trusted with massive power. Politicians have every incentive not just to lie in the present but to lie with an eye toward the future. The more power they have over us, the more power they have over the reality we see — and the more they think they can get away with manipulating that reality.



Obamacare is turning America into a Fascist State

“One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project, most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.” —Ronald Reagan

“We have to pass the [ObamaCare] bill so that you can find out what is in it.” —former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2009

Well, Democrats did indeed pass ObamaCare — on a party-line vote in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, after months of threats, arm-twisting and open bribery. Over the last half decade or so we have found out what was in it. We now know that the “in it” amounted to a giant, teeming, fetid cauldron of government-mandated, top-down, force fed, command-and-control socialized medicine where government bureaucrats, rather than doctors and patients, get to decide what kind of treatment you get. In other words, exactly what we warned before Democrats even introduced it.

By every objective measure, ObamaCare has been an unmitigated (and predicted) disaster. Contrary to Obama’s promises — “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” (a necessary lie according to ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber), or it would “bend the cost curve down,” or save the average family $2500 annually in health insurance premiums (ObamaCare costs have skyrocketed) — the reality is that his disastrous signature legislation has added trillions to the national debt, driven health care costs through the roof, made health care more unaffordable, and reduced access to doctors. More than half of the ObamaCare co-ops have gone bankrupt and failed, and the nation’s largest insurance providers are pulling out of ObamaCare.

On the bright side (if you are a fan of big government), ObamaCare has created jobs for thousands of government bureaucrats, empowered the IRS to intrude into the most intimate aspects of your life, and added tens of thousands of pages (more than 20,000 pages in just the first three years after passage) of new federal regulations, and placed the federal government in charge of your health care.

What could possibly go wrong?

Glad you asked! Because, as they say when hawking snake oil on the “As Seen On TV” commercials, “But wait; there’s MORE!” Now the government is once again trying to penalize every American who does not get on board with the Left’s idea of good health policy.

In 2012, liberals mocked Justice Antonin Scalia for bringing up broccoli during oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging the individual mandate (NFIB v. Sebelius). Justice Scalia noted that if the government’s argument regarding the legitimacy of the individual mandate could apply to health insurance, then surely the same argument could be applied to food, which is a more immediate need for every human than health insurance.

Said Scalia, “Could you define the market — everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.” Solicitor General Donald Verrilli tried to dismiss the comparison as inaccurate, yet now we see Scalia was exactly right. For if the government controls health care, and therefore is responsible for health care costs, then it has an obligation to keep costs down, which it will accomplish by dictating the diet and exercise choices of every American, and do so in very unexpected, intrusive ways.

The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) finalized last month new regulations for employers in an effort to get America’s tens of millions of employees to comply with the federal government’s vision of health — discounts for people joining “wellness programs.” Not only that, but you must share weight, blood pressures, illnesses and medical records. If you refuse, no discount for you — and, worse, your premiums will probably go up.

With ObamaCare, the federal government can now force Americans to buy a product (health insurance) whether they like it or not. It can compel Americans, under threat of a financial penalty, to follow its declared regime for diet and exercise. It has already disrupted employment dynamics through the individual and employer mandates, which has led to higher unemployment and more Americans forced to work part-time. And government has tried to force Christian-owned businesses to fund abortion, and Catholic nuns to provide birth control.

These are not the things that occur in a free country. These are the things that happen in countries where the people are slaves to their government. Yet the political Left assures us it knows better than we do what is good for us, and that their compulsion is for our own good.

Or, as C.S. Lewis perfectly describe such situations, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


28 June, 2016

The Brexit hysteria continues

The anti-democratic thinking of many of the establishment people behind the "Remain" vote is now clear.  Many of these miserable elitists are agitating for the exit not to be implemented.  Parliament could do that but it would create an unprecedented  constitutional crisis.  The Brexit MPs would simply not allow it.  They could bring parliament to a standstil by voting "No" to every government bill until the referendum is honoured.  So it's all just big talk from little people.  If they persist with their agitation it will only brand them permanently as the worms they are.

The EU mandarins are clearly furious and are suggesting that Britain will not get a good trade deal when it exits.  But in the end they are just public servants and it is the national governments that will have the final say. 

France is once again making highly sympathetic noises: 'We must put an end to this sad and finicky Europe. Too often it is intrusive on details and desperately absent on what's essential,' [Prime Minister] Valls said. 'We must break away from the dogma of ever more Europe. Europe must act not by principle but when it is useful and pertinent.'"

And the German motor vehicle manufacturers are arguing emphatically for free trade arrangements to continue.  They sell 800,000 cars into the British market every year so you can understand why: 
"German manufacturers last night demanded that Britain be allowed to continue trading with the EU without any barriers. The car-making industry said punishing Britain makes no sense – and it called on the German chancellor to give the UK a favourable trade deal

It is clearly in the best financial interests of both Britian and the EU to continue free trade arrangements so it will happen. Britain buys quite a lot more from Europe than it sells into Europe so a collapse of free trade would actually hit the EU the hardest

There is an extraordinarily pessimistic article here in which a Brussels-based journalist argues that Britain will get a very harsh deal on exit -- but he is obviously listening to the EU mandarins only, not the national leaders. 

He draws on the Greek experience to argue that the EU will be very demanding.  But I think he draws exactly the wrong conclusion from the Greek experience.  Greece had many billions of its debts written off -- and the EU got very little in return.  The EU can clearly be very forgiving if it thinks it is worthwhile -- and free trade was the very foundation of the EU.

It's amusing that the Brexit vote has spooked sharemarket investors worldwide.  British shares were down a bit on the most recent reports but  the losses in other countries were mostly much bigger.  It's just nervousness on the part of shareholders who don't understand what is going on.  The businesses underlying the shares are still there much as before so the "losses" will mostly be reversed in the not too distant future --JR.

Chancellor George Osborne says robust contingency plans are in place for the immediate financial aftermath of #Brexit


This courageous vote is our best chance to reshape Europe’s future

Liam Halligan

Brexit clearly caught financial markets on the hop. With opinion polls, betting odds and the “conventional wisdom” all pointing in one direction, the vast weight of money thought the UK would stay in the European Union.

 That’s why, when reality hit in the small hours of Friday morning, the pound plunged violently, enduring its biggest one-day drop in living memory. And when the London stock market opened later, the FTSE 100 dropped a stomach-churning 8.7pc –again, showing the extent to which traders had previously backed Remain.

What was striking, though, was how quickly the markets bounced back after the initial shock. Shares ended the day down a relatively unremarkable 1.9pc. Sterling also pegged back, as the Bank of England, for weeks central to “Project Fear”, switched back to “Project Reassure”.

It also became clear, despite weeks of “morning after Brexit” scaremongering, that for some time this Leave vote changes little. The UK won’t invoke Article 50, sparking the two-year exit negotiation process, until October at the earliest. And, before that, what with an impending Conservative leadership contest and Labour’s dramatic implosion, there’s an awful lot of domestic politics to resolve before the UK’s leaders –whoever they turn out to be – fully engage in the task of unpicking our 43-year relationship with the EU.

That political reaction has, so far, been unedifying. David Cameron’s laudably dignified resignation speech quickly gave way to a determination among his supporters that the battle for the Tory crown is even nastier than the referendum. A “Stop Boris” unit, it appears, is compiling a “revenge dossier” on the private life of the former London mayor and lead Brexit campaigner, with the sole intention of blocking his path to No 10.

Labour, meanwhile, has gone into self-destruct mode with even more abandon, as party high-ups scramble to avoid blame for a collective failure to recognise the most basic concerns of millions of traditional Labour voters – concerns which ultimately tipped the national balance in last week’s historic vote to Leave.

Most disgraceful, though, has been the response of numerous Remain supporters who are now attempting – from a combination of anger, pique and an extremely over-developed sense of their own entitlement – to reverse this vote.

All weekend, on the airwaves and across social media, the “referendum re-run” drums have been beating. No sooner had 17.5m voters secured a clear victory in a hard-fought but ultimately fair referendum than self-appointed arbiters of the national mood were dismissing them as “ill-informed” and “manipulated” in a bid to justify another vote.

Demands by bitter MPs that Parliament overturn this “advisory” referendum are extremely dangerous. Look-at-me virtue-signalling petitions undermining a decisive democratic outcome are nothing short of incendiary. And to argue that older voters who backed Brexit “should count for less” is, quite frankly, beyond the pale.

What next, an upper age-limit on voting? And how about the notion that far from dissing the views and experience of older people, we pay them particular attention?

Should a referendum outcome be scrapped because it was driven in part by people who live in the east Midlands rather than Richmond-upon-Thames? Who shop at Lidl rather than Waitrose and eat “dinner” or (heaven forbid!) “tea” at night, not “supper”?

The reality is that this courageous Brexit vote, for all the doubts and tensions it raises, represents a precious opportunity for the UK to shape not only our own future, but influence the direction of Europe. Far from leaving the UK at the mercy of other EU nations and assorted eurocrats, it’s already clear that there is much appetite to do deals with a Brexited Britain.

There is “no need to be nasty” in negotiations with the UK, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the weekend. “We want a good, objective atmosphere,” said Europe’s most powerful politician. “It’s important we work together to get the right outcome.”

That outcome, of course, is one keeping UK markets open for French wineries, Italian furniture-makers and German car producers. Britain’s trade deficit in goods with the EU – which surged to a record £24bn during the three months to April – represents hundreds of thousands of continental jobs and billions of euros profit.

Even before our Brexit vote, the main German employers’ organisation was publicly calling for trade with the UK to “remain free”. Of course it was, because that’s what makes commercial sense for both sides. Brexit gives us the chance to spread our trading wings way beyond Europe, rediscovering –almost a half century since we last cut a bilateral trade deal – the UK’s inherent genius for buying and selling.

For all our mercantile heritage, we currently trade less with the big four emerging markets – Brazil, India, Russia and China – than with Belgium. This is ridiculous. The UK desperately needs to turn far more diplomatic and commercial attention to the world’s fast-growing markets.

For now, membership of the European Economic Area, a Norwegian-style deal, is a useful and available stopgap. Be in no doubt, though, given our large economy and display of electoral resolve, the UK has considerable bargaining power. Brexit is galvanising voters across the EU, and could well provoke, before our Article 50 negotiations are over, several copycat referenda. It is the European Project, rather than the UK, which is now on the back foot.



How Did I Become the Bad Guy?

Steve Noxon

Once again, a radicalized Muslim decided it was time to commit another act of terror on American soil and, almost as if it were part of a script, the media and the left have again blamed me for his actions.  “Oh no,” they tell me, “The shooter was not motivated by Islam, you bloodthirsty, crazed bitter clinger!  It was YOU!  You are the problem, don’t you see?”

Perhaps it happened prior to September 11, 2001, but it seems to me that that day created a huge paradigm shift in how blame was assigned in the leftist’s mind.  It was September 12 when I heard a liberal radio talk show host ask what we had done to make them so angry at us.  I was stunned.  Not only did this remark strike me as callous and vile, as we were still searching for survivors in the rubble of the Twin Towers, but it also exposed an amazing ignorance of history.  Radical Islam has hated the United States since its founding and to wonder why is to ignore what they have clearly told us for centuries.  They hate us for our freedom and our success.  They believe that they are the rightful rulers of the planet and anyone who disagrees is considered their enemy.  Seriously, it’s not really all that complicated.

And we used to understand this.  But no longer, it seems.  “Our betters” have decided that the people doing the shooting and who have very clearly stated their reasons for their actions are not the problem, I am.    Whenever a follower of this murderous ideology commits another vile act of terror, “our betters” put the pedal to the metal and work feverishly to point their scolding fingers at me and make me out to be the bad guy.  They tell me that I have somehow created a “hostile environment for the LGBT community,” because I believe people have the right to practice their faith, while they ignore the fact that Islam calls for the actual murder of gays.  I am the bad guy because I believe in the right to defend myself from those who wish to do me harm, like oh say maybe a crazed radical Islamist with a semi-automatic rifle who is on a mission from Mohammed.  I am the bad guy because, for some bizarre reason, I have come to the conclusion that the repeated attacks on innocent people by a very specific group of “lone wolves” might actually be tied to a larger threat that needs to be addressed.

Look, I’ve been married for over 25 years, so I’m used to being blamed for everything.  But the behavior of everyone on the left, including the New York Times and President Obama has taken this tactic to a new level over the last few years.  Every single time there is an obvious act of Islamic terrorism, the usual suspects race to the cameras or their keyboards to start assigning blame.  And invariably, it is me, a white male conservative Christian NRA member, someone who simply loves his wife and kids, lives in an ethnically diverse community, gets up and goes to work every morning to feed my family and keep a roof over our heads, who is to blame for these atrocities.

Why would these politicians and so-called “thought-leaders” put so much effort into making me the villain?  Simple.  Because if I am the villain, then their policies are not complete and abject failures.   And their policies couldn’t possibly be wrong, could they?  They are the smart ones.  That’s what they tell themselves at their little dinner parties, as they surround themselves with those who hold a wide variety of opinions from hard-left to extreme-left. It can’t be that reality doesn’t align with their world-view.

If I can be made out to be the villain, then the solution is easy.  Fewer rights.  Less freedom.  Bigger government unfettered by interference from the people.  More control. A further and further tightening of the yoke.  And it goes without saying that they would be the ones in control, since they are the smart ones.  Far smarter than those who, when they hear a radical Islamist declare that he is killing in the name of Allah, actually believe him.  They went to the right schools and they think the right way, so of course it is their birthright to be the ones behind the protected walls, making the rules for the rest of us to meekly follow.  Honestly, who could possibly disagree with that arrangement?

Me. The bad guy.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up --  about Brexit, immigration and such things

A recent picture of Chris Brand

The latest from Edinburgh:  Chris is now elderly so his health is letting him down.  But he still had time for a sociable beer with the glamorous Mrs J. and her children.  His glamorous Taiwanese wife is beside him


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


27 June, 2016

Reflections on Brexit

The most extraordinary thing about Brexit was the immediate and unreasoning hysteria it provoked.  A lot of very foolish people acted as if their lives had immediately changed -- when NOTHING will happen for at least a year. For anything to happen, laws have to be changed -- and I am sure that we all know what a glacial process that can be. Still, the dishonest predictions of disaster put out by the establishment in the lead-up to the vote must bear some responsibility for the panic.

And the very first indicator of disaster has already reversed itself.  The stockmarket plunged, only to bounce back to end up on the week.  Though some shares are still down of course.  The stockmarket is like that. If you think there's anything simple about it, you are headed for a fall.  I have seen people who had all the answers lose big money.

So people will have plenty of warning about changes before they change and will be able to make any adjustments to their affairs that they may see as needed.

So what are the likely changes?  Not much.  Some money now going to Brussels will probably be diverted to to where it is desperately needed -- the public hospitals -- so the hospitals  might not bump off grandma as quickly as they have been doing -- but that is probably about it.  The new Prime Minister will almost certainly be the popular Boris Johnson and party politics will return to their accustomed ways.  Everyone from David Cameron down has been promising that, though there will undoubtedly be a few sore-heads.

A threat that some people have made much of is that Scotland might secede.  Scotland voted solidly to stay in the EU. But that is nonsense.  If Scotland were to become an independent country with different immigration arrangements, the border between England and Scotland would become an international border to be marked by a fence and passport controls.  Free movement between the two countries would be halted for the first time in hundreds of years. 

And Scotland would no longer be able to use the British pound as its currency so would probably have to adopt the troubled Euro -- possibly leading to an overnight drop in the value of Scottish savings.  If Nicola Sturgeon thinks she can get Scots to agree to  that she has haggis for brains.

The big threat that hung over the whole campaign was the possibility of British industry losing markets for its goods and services.  When Britain leaves the EU, will the EU abandon free trade between itself and Britain and start putting tariffs and other import restrictions on British goods headed for Europe?  It's most unlikely.  Trade wars almost always provoke retaliation.  And Britain has plenty to retaliate with:  a market of 60 million  people, to be precise. 

As I have said previously, If Britain's tariff-free access to Europe were cut off by  some big-bottomed bureaucrats in Brussels, Britain could very rapidly and very effectively retaliate.  A Prime Minister, Boris Johnson could and probably would announce a complete embargo on the importation of European farm products into Britain.

That would be particularly disruptive to France, including the already-stressed French wine industry.  The Brits now buy twice as much Australian wine as French wine but Britain is still a major market for French wine. And one cannot imagine the French farmers taking that lying down. And French farmers always get their way.  One imagines them getting into their tractors and blockading the Berlaymont building, the primary seat of the EU Commission in Brussels. And when cut off from their supply of beer, chocolate and stinky cheese, the Brussels bureaucrats would undoubtedly cave in. "Temporary" or "transitional" arrangements would be made.

In short the EU will, as far a Britain is concerned, revert to being what it originally was:  A free trade area with Britain inside it.  Norway already has a free-trade-only agreement with the EU so a model for such arrangements already exists.

What about visa-free travel?  That's less certain.  There have always been visa-free travel arrangements between some countries and it would certainly be highly desirable to retain such arrangements between Britain and the countries of Europe.  Hundreds of thousands of French and Italians have moved to London to find work and hundreds of thousands of Brits -- mostly retirees -- have moved to France and Spain for the better climate there.  So both of those groups would be inconvenienced by a cessation of the existing travel arrangements.

So why might there NOT be visa-free travel arrangements?  That takes us right to the whole heart of Brexit.  I put up yesterday on POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH four lengthy essays that attempted to explain why the British people voted to leave the EU.  And they all did a reasonable job of it -- "unresponsive elites" and all that.  But in fact there was really only one standout issue between the people and their establishment:  Immigration. 

Let me summarize the whole issue in the language of the people:   "The politicians are letting too many bloody wogs into the country".  In formal English: "The politicians are letting too many accursed foreigners into the country".  And most of those "wogs" got in under EU rules. Brexit was about giving England back to the English.

So, given that aim, any new immigration arrangements will have to be restrictive -- and that will almost certainly include at a minimum passports and visas for everyone entering Britain.

So is that racist?  You would have to define racism very broadly to say so.  But Leftists do define it extremely broadly.   Any awareness of group loyalty at all can attract cries of racism from them.  They use the ghastly memory of the socialist Hitler to imply that any degree of racial or ethnic consciousness is only a hairsbreadth away from genocide.  So something as simple as patriotism becomes racism in their unending outpouring of hate  for normal people.

They fail to take into account that it was patriotism, Russian patriotism, that defeated Hitler.  Something like 80% of German military casualties in WWII were incurred on the Eastern front.  And Russians to this day refer to that war as "The Great Patriotic War".

So the resentment that many Britons feel towards the influx of foreigners might in part be due to a love of England as it was but there are also huge practical reasons behind the resentment. The millions of foreigners who have arrived in recent years have put a strain on basic services -- hospitals, housing and transport facilities -- that the British government has done little to address -- because of the large costs involved. 

So parents find that they cannot get their kid into a nearby school, they constantly get stuck in traffic jams, they can find standing room only on commuter trains and rushed hospital staff make errors that lead to serious harm and even death. And the price of housing has become unaffordable to many would-be buyers. There is no irrationality in wanting to stop further deterioration of that already dire situation

Finally, what are we to make of the age difference between "Remain" and "Leave" voters?  The older the voter was, the more likely they were to vote "Leave".  The cause is fairly straightforward.  Older voters remember a time when Britain did quite well on its own, thank you very much, and could see no reason why Britain could not do so again.  Younger voters, on the other hand have known nothing but the EU and accept it as normal, warts and all.  They were afraid of what was to them the unknown.

There is however some anger among young people about not getting their way and that will hopefully be a good lesson to a spoiled generation.

An amusing footnote:  "Quebec Separatists See New Hope After Brexit Vote".  I guess I shouldn't laugh -- JR. 

UPDATE:  A good comment from Peter Hargreaves:

If Brexit sent world markets into turmoil it underlines the importance of the UK. This essentially means we will get every deal we want.


Brexit Vote Has Huge Ramifications for U.S. Politics


News flash: The revolt against elites is real in the UK and America and it's only getting started. Maybe there will always be an England.

In a surprise, Leave won the Brexit referendum on whether to stay in the European Union by an equally surprising amount. British sovereignty won. David Cameron lost. Jeremy Corbyn lost. The EU lost. Bureaucrats lost. Angela Merkel lost. Barack Obama lost. Globalism lost. Authority figures almost everywhere lost. And, most of all, unlimited immigration lost.

So what happened to the vaunted British betting market that is almost invariably correct and was predicting by 80 percent a Remain victory? Or all those recent polls that were tilting Remain?

Answer: Those same elites had convinced each other they would win and therefore convinced the usual suspects—media, pollsters and, sadly, financial markets—that they were right. They were wrong. Watching them now on the BBC they still cannot comprehend  what has happened. The peasants have revolted—oh no, oh no. There must be some mistake. Didn't they get the memo? The sky would fall if they left the EU.

Earth to elites: Citizens of truly democratic countries don't want unlimited immigration into their countries by people who couldn't be less interested in democracy. They also don't want to be governed by the rules and regulations of faceless bureaucrats whose not-so-hidden goals are power and riches for themselves and their friends. Simple, isn't it?

Will There Always Be an England?

This vote is of immense help to Donald Trump if he is smart enough to seize it properly and doesn't bobble the ball. Many, probably most, Americans feel exactly the same as their brothers and sisters across the pond. They despise the same elites and want to save their country. Trump, now fortuitously in Scotland (I know—they voted Remain, but not in the numbers they were supposed to), should show his support. The  UK is America's closest ally.  We should be the first to extend a hand, negotiate free trade, etc., and get her rolling again.

That most elite of presidents, Barack Obama, who opened his morally narcissistic mouth supporting the Remain side and warning the British people, as he is wont to do, that there would be "consequences" if they voted to leave the EU, is in no position to do anything, even if he wanted to.  And he doesn't.

Hillary Clinton is so elitist she practically defines the term. She was probably up all night figuring out what to do about the situation. I have a suggestion—move to Brussels.

Meanwhile, Trump should take up the gauntlet for the U.S. and the UK now. Why wait? Act like the president—we could use one.  Donald has a natural ally in the leading Leave spokesperson conservative Boris Johnson. The two men are said to be similar and in many ways they are.

What Brexit Means

Long live the Anglosphere. Remember the Magna Carta and all that. This is a day truly to celebrate, even if stock markets are crashing around the world. They'll come back. Look on it as a buying opportunity. A bubble has broken, but it isn't a stock bubble. It's a human bubble consisting of elites who seek to govern in a manner not all that distant from Comrade Lenin, just hiding under a phony mask of bureaucratic democracy. They've taken a big body blow from the citizens of England. Churchill would be proud.  Time for America to follow suit.

But don't get cocky.  This is only one small victory—a non-blinding referendum—but make no mistake about it, still a victory after all.  Just follow the instructions of Sir Winston and "never, never give up."  Yes, I know the quote is falsely attributed, but it's good advice nevertheless.



Trump on Brexit: America is next

British voters just shattered political convention in a stunning repudiation of the ruling establishment. Donald Trump is betting America is about to do the same.

The referendum campaign -- just like the U.S. election -- has boiled with populist anger, fear-mongering by politicians, hostility towards distant political elites and resurgent nationalism, and exposed a visceral feeling in the electorate that ordinary voters have lost control of the politics that shape their own lives. Its success raises the question of whether those forces will exert a similar influence in America in November.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who arrived in the UK to visit his Scottish golf courses just as the referendum result was announced, declared Friday that the U.S. is next.

"Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence. Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first," he said. "They will have the chance to reject today's rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by and for the people."

Pollsters in the UK underestimated the fury of grassroots voters outside metropolitan areas in a way that could be mirrored in the United States, where Clinton now enjoys a lead in national surveys.

Furthermore, "Brexit" forces triumphed partly because the Labour Party could not deliver its traditional working class voters in some big post-industrial cities for the "Remain" campaign, despite the support of party leaders.

It is not a stretch to wonder whether the kind of political message that was so powerful in the referendum -- featuring a harsh critique of free trade and a demands to "take our country back" -- could prove just as effective among blue-collar workers in rust belt states in the United States.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


26 June, 2016

Vive la France!

By far the best reaction to Brexit came from France.  Many European leaders rightly saw the Brexit vote as a repudiation of their policies but, instead of being humbled by it, were simply angry about it.  They were sure they knew what was best for the peasants and can't see where they went wrong  -- EXCEPT M. Hollande.  The French president rightly saw the excesses of the EU bureaucracy as a powerful motor behind British dissatisfaction with the EU.

I also liked the reaction of Donald Tusk, representative of the heroic Polish people, who insisted: 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger'.  Being the ham in the sandwich between Germany and Russia, Poles have had to have that attitude. Some excerpts below of the European reaction. 

European leaders have warned Britain to leave the EU quickly and avoid prolonging uncertainty.

The presidents of the EU's main institutions said in a statement today that they expect London to act on the decision to leave 'as soon as possible, however painful that process may be.'

As he demanded Britain make a quick exit from the EU, furious European Parliament President Martin Schulz said the U.K.'s relationship with the EU had been ambiguous, but was 'now clear.'

He added a prolonged exit was 'the opposite of what we need', adding that it was difficult to accept that 'a whole continent is taken hostage because of an internal fight in the Tory party'.

French President Francois Hollande has admitted the EU requires 'profound change' in the wake of the Brexit vote as German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her dismay at the result.

Hollande said the UK's vote to leave the EU must act as a 'jolt' to the bloc to implement the change needed to address its troubles - adding he was 'sad' to see Britain sever relations.

The French President warned the remaining 27 member states that action was needed to reconnect with citizens. 'The British people have decided to leave. It is a sad decision but one which I respect,' he said.  'The vote puts the European Union in difficulties. It must recognise its shortfalls.

'A jolt is necessary. Europe must reaffirm it values of freedom, solidarity, peace. The EU must be understood and controlled by its citizens. I will do everything to secure profound change rather than decline.'

As leaders across Europe woke up to the news, France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen changed her Twitter picture to a Union Jack and told her followers the result was 'victory for freedom'.

'As I have been asking for years, we must now have the same referendum in France and EU countries,' she wrote.

This morning, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, a member of the Le Pen dynasty and an FN MP,  tweeted 'Victory!'

Egregious, I know.  But this is a picture of Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, an anti-immigration member of the French parliament

The Le Pens are fiercely anti-Europe. They view an end to the EU as the best way of implementing their anti-immigration and anti-globalisation agenda.

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was 'sad for the United Kingdom' and that 'Europe will continue but it must react and rediscover the confidence of its peoples. It's urgent.'

Meanwhile the result also triggered Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders to call for a referendum on EU membership in the Netherlands. Wilders, who is leading opinion polls, said if he is elected prime minister in March he will force a vote.

He said in a statement: 'We want to be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders and our own immigration policy. 'As quickly as possible the Dutch need to get the opportunity to have their say about Dutch membership of the European Union.

'If I become prime minister, there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well. Let the Dutch people decide.'



No wonder Trump looks happy - Britain's exit from Europe should leave Hillary Clinton shaking in her boots and Donald knows it!

I don't always agree with Piers Morgan but he is one of the few who know both British and American politics close up.  He is also an old friend of Trump and, despite some disagreements, is one of his few British defenders. So what he says below is worth a thought

Wow, wow, wow, wow, and WOW again. Not much shocks me after 33 years as a journalist in the news business, but Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is a truly staggering, historic and earth-shattering moment which I never thought would happen.

Full disclosure now it’s all over: I voted against Brexit and for Remain. My reason? The EU is indisputably a badly-run, antiquated organisation in desperate need of major reform, but to my mind that reform would be far better achieved by Britain staying inside it and leading the charge of change.

It wasn’t an easy decision, nor one I took lightly. The ramifications of this vote will play out for many years if not decades to come, and I’m not even remotely certain that I’m right in my assessment. In fact, the only thing I am certain about is that we’re now headed for a sustained period of uncertainty.

But mine was at least an honest belief based on careful study of all the facts and shamelessly scare-mongering claims laid before us by both sides.

I have four children and felt acutely conscious as I headed for my local electoral polling center last night that this decision would impact directly on them and their future lives, and those of their children and their children’s children.

This EU Referendum campaign, one of the most vicious, nasty and occasionally hideous in political history, split the British people like no issue I have ever witnessed before.

Many families, mine included, were bitterly divided. My father, sister and youngest brother voted to Leave the EU; my mother, wife and other brother voted to Remain. One of my two voting-age sons went for Remain, the other concluded he wasn’t persuaded by either side.

Passions ran very high and may take a long time to calm back down.

My Remain brother, a British Army officer who has serious concerns about what Brexit might mean for the security of Europe and the UK, actually warned his Facebook friends this morning that if any of them ‘gloated’ over this ‘bloody disaster’ he would never speak to them again. Interestingly, my sister’s husband, until recently also an army colonel, voted Leave.

Now though, it’s done, we are where we are and none of us really knows what will happen next. My guess is that things won’t be as bad as the Remain camp warned us nor as Utopian as the Leave camp promised.

We’ll all ‘keep buggering on’, as Churchill used to say, and it will probably all work itself out, somehow, in the end. Just as it did after World War 2.

More immediately, though, the fact Britain’s quit Europe will have a huge impact on global politics, not least in America which faces its own general election in November.

As the EU result came in, by eerie coincidence (though he obviously timed it deliberately to maximise publicity for the launch of his new golf course), Donald Trump flew into Scotland.

Trump and Vladimir Putin were the only two world political figures who publicly stated their support for Brexit.

So it was unsurprising to hear the Republican presidential nominee say how happy he was that Britons had ‘taken back their country’.

The parallels between Trump’s campaign and that waged by Brexit leaders Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are obvious.

All three men are all anti-politicians, in the sense that they don’t behave or speak like conventional politicians. Their joint modus operandi is shooting from the hip and saying outrageous things to grab media attention.

They crack inappropriate jokes, belittle opponents often in a very puerile way, and have all been variously dismissed as ‘buffoons’and ‘idiots’ and even compared to Hitler.

But they share unshakeable self-confidence and have skilfully presented themselves as outsiders far removed from the political elite and ‘establishment’, who stand up for the average man and woman in the street.

They’ve also focused with laser-like, ruthless precision on hot button issues which they know many of those people are genuinely worried about, notably immigration and terrorism.

At his presser in Scotland this morning, Trump said: ‘People are angry all over the world. They’re angry over borders, they’re angry over people coming into the country and taking over and nobody even knows who they are. They’re angry about many, many things in the UK. It’s essentially the same thing that’s happening in the United States.’

Regardless of what you think of Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, and his uncompromising talk of walls and bans, does anybody really doubt after this shock Brexit result that he’s right about the levels of anger?

It may not be obvious to the political and media elites living in their hallowed, protected homes in privileged areas.  But travel to the north of England, or to the middle of America, and you will find very real fury with government and very real concern over the impact of perceived immigration control failures.

There’s an increasing large gulf between the politically correct ‘cool’ and ‘establishment’ crowd who view any publicly stated concern about border controls as ‘racism’, and those who have to live at the sharp end of it.

The clear message from this sensational day for any politician or world leader is this: ignore the concerns of the people at your peril.

Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron assumed, arrogantly and patronisingly, that he would win this referendum by relying on the tried and tested vote-winning issue of the economy. But he seriously misjudged the mood of the nation.

In fact, it was immigration and ‘getting our country back’ which won it for the Brexiters.

Donald Trump is currently behind Hillary Clinton in most presidency polls, betting odds and Wall Street opinion - but so was the Leave camp for much of the EU campaign.

What none of the UK pollsters, bookmakers and city experts realised was there was a huge groundswell of anger which was going to tip the balance away from their presumed favourite.

If it can happen in Britain, it can most definitely happen in America. The issues are the same, and the cheer-leaders for change aren’t that dissimilar either.



Trump Shows Just How Hard He'll Slam Clinton

It was a pair of dueling speeches, really, attack and counter attack. On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton feebly struck at Donald Trump’s economic policies in an attempt to discredit the real estate mogul’s past experience. The next day, Donald Trump made a speech designed to take on Clinton’s experience as secretary of state, her “best” résumé item for the presidency. “The Hillary Clinton foreign policy has cost America thousands of lives and trillions of dollars — and unleashed ISIS across the world,” said the presumed GOP nominee. “No secretary of state has been more wrong, more often and in more places than Hillary Clinton. Her decisions spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched.”

As several commentators noted, this may very well be Trump’s best strategy to unite the Republican Party after the divisive primary: Focus the firepower on Clinton. Hot Air’s Allahpundit writes, “If he had stuck to this message at his rallies and in his interviews over the last six weeks, there’d be no ‘Dump Trump’ contingent at the convention and his fundraising may well have taken off. Nothing unites the right, after all, like a forceful argument against the left.”

And there was plenty for Trump to slam — even without touching on the Clintons' personal lives. “Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft,” Trump said. He even found fault in her campaign slogan: “Her campaign slogan is, ‘I’m with her.’ You know what my response to that is? I’m with you: the American people.” By the time Trump is done with her, Clinton’s only accomplishment, if she’s elected, will be that she’s a woman. And as commentator David Limbaugh notes, what accomplishment is that for the Left, which thinks gender is subject to change?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


24 June, 2016

British PM David Cameron resigns after Brexit vote

A very good speech.  A very correct speech.  A very British speech.  Worth listening to in full

David Cameron has resigned as Prime Minister after the UK public voted to leave the European Union in the referendum.  Excerpts from his speech:

A tearful Mr Cameron - with his wife by his side - said he had already spoken to the Queen about his decision.

The PM campaigned to remain in the EU but the public rejected his arguments and chose to leave the EU by 51.9% to 48.1%.

Speaking to masses of reporters outside Downing Street, the PM said a new leader would be in place by the Tory party conference in October.

'The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected,' Mr Cameron said.

'The country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction,' added the PM.

'I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months, but I don't think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.'

Mr Cameron said he had fought 'head, heart and soul' to stay in the EU but that voters had chosen a different path.

Tears in his eyes and his voice cracking slightly, Mr Cameron's final words were: 'I love this country, and I feel honoured to have served it, and I will do everything I can in the future to help this great country succeed.'


Thank God!

Brexit has won!  Britain is Britain again and not just an appendage of a disgusting bureaucratic State.  To many Australians, Britain is still "Home" in the sense that all our ancestry is from there.  So despite minor rivalries in cricket etc., we still wish Britain well and hope for her flourishing.  We can now resume hope of that.  Britain's last best hope has been seized despite a torrent of lies against it.  As so often in the past, Britain has left her fightback to the last moment, but, as in the past, she has triumphed over those who wished to subdue her

And particular kudos to Nigel Farage, who fought a long and often lonely battle for this.  And great credit to the Mackems and Geordies -- who delivered a massive 22-point win for Leave in Sunderland -- JR

Black hearts have better rhythm too -- and it's genetic

Atrial fibrillation is when the heart loses it's rhythm.  Whites are more prone to it

Genetic Investigation Into the Differential Risk of Atrial Fibrillation Among Black and White Individuals

Jason D. Roberts et al.


Importance:  White persons have a higher risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) compared with black individuals despite a lower prevalence of risk factors. This difference may be due, at least in part, to genetic factors.

Objectives:  To determine whether 9 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with AF account for this paradoxical differential racial risk for AF and to use admixture mapping to search genome-wide for loci that may account for this phenomenon.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Genome-wide admixture analysis and candidate SNP study involving 3 population-based cohort studies that were initiated between 1987 and 1997, including the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) (n?=?4173), the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) (n?=?12?341) study, and the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) (n?=?1015) study. In all 3 studies, race was self-identified. Cox proportional hazards regression models and the proportion of treatment effect method were used to determine the impact of 9 AF-risk SNPs among participants from CHS and the ARIC study. The present study began July 1, 2012, and was completed in 2015.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Incident AF systematically ascertained using clinic visit electrocardiograms, hospital discharge diagnosis codes, death certificates, and Medicare claims data.

Results:  A single SNP, rs10824026 (chromosome 10: position 73661450), was found to significantly mediate the higher risk for AF in white participants compared with black participants in CHS (11.4%; 95% CI, 2.9%-29.9%) and ARIC (31.7%; 95% CI, 16.0%-53.0%). Admixture mapping was performed in a meta-analysis of black participants within CHS (n?=?811), ARIC (n?=?3112), and Health ABC (n?=?1015). No loci that reached the prespecified statistical threshold for genome-wide significance were identified.

Conclusions and Relevance:  The rs10824026 SNP on chromosome 10q22 mediates a modest proportion of the increased risk of AF among white individuals compared with black individuals, potentially through an effect on gene expression levels of MYOZ1. No additional genetic variants accounting for a significant portion of the differential racial risk of AF were identified with genome-wide admixture mapping, suggesting that additional genetic or environmental influences beyond single SNPs in isolation may account for the paradoxical racial risk of AF among white individuals and black individuals.

JAMA Cardiol. Published online June 22, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2016.1185


Trump nails it

Trump: 'I Only Want to Admit People Who Share Our Values and Love Our People'

Republican Donald Trump drew a sharp contrast between his own policies and those of Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, saying he would restrict immigration to people who "share our values," while she wants to "bring in people who believe women should be enslaved and gays should be put to death."

"Perhaps the most terrifying thing about Hillary Clinton's foreign policy is that she refuses to acknowledge the threat posed by radical Islam. In fact, Hillary Clinton supports a radical 550 percent increase in Syrian refugees coming into the United States, and that's an increase over President Obama's already high number.

"Under her plan, we would admit hundred of thousands of refugees from the most dangerous countries on earth with no way to screen who they are, what they are, what they believe, where they come from. Already, hundreds of recent inmmigrants and their children have been convicted of terrorist activity inside the United States."

Trump noted that the father of the Orlando shooter was a Taliban supporter from Afghanistan, "one of the most repressive anti-gay and anti-women regimes on earth."

"I only want to admit people who share our values and love our people," Trump said. "Hillary clinton wants to bring in people who believe women should be enslaved and gays should put to death."

Trump suggested that Clinton's motivation lies with the donations she's accepted from various foreign countries on behalf of the Clinton Foundation.



Gay Lover Reveals the Roots of Orlando Terrorist's Rage

A man who claimed to be the lover of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen said the June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub was motivated by revenge, not terrorism.

In an interview with Univision, the man said Mateen was “100 percent gay” and that the two had carried on a “friends with benefits” relationship after meeting last year through a gay dating app. He said he had reported his relationship with Mateen to the FBI and had been interviewed multiple times. The FBI also confirmed to Univision that it has met with him.

The man, who wore a disguise in his interview with Univision and was identified only as “Miguel,” said Mateen’s attack at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub was the result of a sexual encounter with two Latino men, one of which Mateen later discovered was HIV positive. The attack, carried out at the nightclub’s Latino night, was Mateen’s attempt at taking revenge against a specific community of gay men who he felt had used and rejected him, the man said.



Hillary Can't Best Trump's Economic Platform

Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump's plan to improve the economy, with a Tuesday speech high on rhetorical zingers and low on examples of her own economic prowess. Trump didn't have enough detail in his job creation plan, Clinton complained, "But maybe we shouldn't expect better from someone whose famous words are: 'You're fired.'"

Hilarious coming from a woman who made her fortune penning books, giving speeches and peddling influence — pastimes of the liberal elite. At least Trump created jobs.

Clinton's speech tried to paint Trump as "dangerous," a bull in the China shop of the American economy. "Just like he shouldn't have his finger on the button, he shouldn't have his hands on our economy," Clinton declared. But as commentator Ashe Schow points out, Clinton has a long record of using public money and her status to make herself and her family rich. Is she really the best advocate for the American middle class? It was just a few weeks ago where she admitted her policies would make coal miners lose their jobs.

As for Clinton's plan to get this Obama economy roaring back to life, Clinton suggested — what else? — massive government spending on the nation's infrastructure. But as Jim Geraghty points out, it's not like Obama didn't try that same trick in 2012 with $102 billion in roadway funding ("the largest new investment in our nation's infrastructure since Eisenhower") — and look where that got us. Clinton proposes nothing new. If she were to become president, expect four more years of dismal economic growth in a continuation of the Obama-Clinton stagnation.



Ideologues Make for Dangerous Politicians

Victor Davis Hanson

Hillary Clinton is a seasoned liberal politician, but one with few core beliefs. Her positions on subjects such as gay marriage, free-trade agreements, the Keystone XL pipeline, the Iraq War, the Assad regime in Syria and the use of the term “radical Islam” all seem to hinge on what she perceives 51 percent of the public to believe on any given day.

Such politicians believe truth is a relative construct. Things are deemed false by politicians only if they cannot convince the public that they are true — and vice versa. When the majority of Americans no longer believe Clinton’s yarns about her private email server to the point of not wanting to vote for her, then she will change her narrative and create new, convenient truths to reflect the new consensus.

Donald Trump is an amateur politician but a politician nevertheless. He is ostensibly conservative, but he likewise seems to change his positions on a number of issues — from abortion to the Iraq War — depending on what he feels has become the majority position. And as with Clinton, Trump’s idea of truth is defined as what works, while falsity is simply any narrative that proved unusable.

Politicians glad-hand, pander and kiss babies as they seek to become megaphones for majority opinions. But ideologues are different. They often brood and lecture that their utopian dreams are not shared by the supposedly less informed public.

To gain power, of course, ideologues can temporarily become political animals. Barack Obama ran in 2008 on popular positions such as reducing the national debt and opposing gay marriage and immigration amnesties, only to flip after he was re-elected and no longer needed to pander to perceived majority opinions.

But otherwise, Obama the ideologue seems to believe that big redistributive government is always necessary to achieve a mandated equality of result — regardless of whether it ever works or should work in reality. He opposes a reduction in capital gains tax rates even though he concedes that such cuts might bring in more revenue.

The administration has deemed the Affordable Care Act successful even though Obama’s assurances that it would lower deductibles and premiums, give patients greater choices, and ensure continuity in medical providers and plans have all proven to be untrue.

No matter: Obamacare fulfills the president’s preconceived notion that state-mandated health care is superior to what the private sector can provide.

Abroad, Obama starts from the premise that an overweening U.S. is not to be congratulated for saving the world in World War II, winning the Cold War and ushering in globalization. Instead, its inherent unfairness to indigenous peoples, its opposition to revolutionary regimes and its supposed interventionist bullying disqualify it from being a moral and muscular leader of the world.

As a consequence of all this, facts often must be created to match pre-existing ideology.

A homophobic, radical Islamic terrorist in Orlando shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he mowed down the innocent in a gay nightclub. He called 911 to make sure the world knew that his killing spree was in service to the Islamic State. And in the midst of his murdering, he even called a local TV news station to brag on his jihadist martyrdom in progress. No matter. To Obama, who asserts that radical Islamic terrorism, which he refuses to identify in such terms, poses little threat (far less of a threat, he has said, than the dangers posed by accidental falls in bathtubs), the Orlando shooting was instead a symptom of a lack of gun control or endemic homophobia — anything other than what the killer himself said it was.

Guns, of course, had nothing to do with the 3,000 people killed on 9/11, with the Boston Marathon bombing, or with recent terrorist attacks in Oklahoma and at the University of California at Merced perpetrated by blade-wielding assailants. Tight restrictions on semi-automatic weapons could no more stop shootings in Europe than stop an epidemic of inner-city shootings in Chicago. No matter: The Orlando shooting must be ascribed to the availability of guns rather than to radical Islamic terrorism.

In both word and deed, Iran, Cuba and Turkey are revolutionary societies in turmoil that have often voiced anti-Americanism. But to Obama, who at times has warmed up to all three, those regimes fit his deductive notion that America’s past behavior has earned it understandable antipathy from countries with legitimate grievances.

Bipartisan analyses agree that the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq in December 2011 threw away the victory obtained by the American surge of 2007, eroded the foundation of the nascent Iraqi democracy, and helped to birth and empower the Islamic State.

But to an ideologue like Obama, the withdrawal simply reflected a universal truth that the U.S. must get out and leave the Middle East to its rightful owners — even if the president has been forced to send nearly 5,000 troops back into Iraq.

In general, politicians are rank opportunists, but at least most of them are malleable and attuned to public opinion.

But ideologues are far more anti-empirical — and thus dangerous.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


23 June, 2016

Democrat warmongering

Leftists love wars and revolutions

Some 50 State Department officials have signed a memo calling on President Obama to launch air and missile strikes on the Damascus regime of Bashar Assad. A "judicious use of stand-off and air weapons," they claim, "would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process."

In brief, to strengthen the hand of our diplomats and show we mean business, we should start bombing and killing Syrian soldiers.

Yet Syria has not attacked us. And Congress has not declared war on Syria, or authorized an attack. Where do these State hawks think President Obama gets the authority to launch a war on Syria?

Does State consider the Constitution to be purely advisory when it grants Congress the sole power to declare war? Was not waging aggressive war the principal charge against the Nazis at Nuremberg?

If U.S. bombs and missiles rain down on Damascus, to the cheers of the C-Street Pattons, what do we do if Bashar Assad's allies Iran and Hezbollah retaliate with Benghazi-type attacks on U.S. diplomats across the Middle East? What do we do if Syrian missiles and Russian planes starting shooting down U.S. planes?

Go to war with Hezbollah, Iran and Russia?

Assume U.S. strikes break Syria's regime and Assad falls and flees. Who fills the power vacuum in Damascus, if not the most ruthless of the terrorist forces in that country, al-Nusra and ISIS?

Should ISIS reach Damascus first, and a slaughter of Alawites and Christians ensue, would we send an American army to save them?

According to CIA Director John Brennan, ISIS is spreading and coming to Europe and America. Does it make sense then that we would launch air and missile strikes against a Syrian regime and army that is today the last line of defense between ISIS and Damascus?

Does anyone think these things through?

Wherever, across the Middle East, we have plunged in to wage war — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria — people continue to suffer and die, and we are ensnared. Have we not fought enough wars in this Godforsaken region?

Last week, Russian planes launched air strikes on the rebels in Syria whom we have been arming and training to overthrow Assad.

Said John Kerry, "Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite." But why are we arming rebels to overthrow Assad?

Who rises if he falls? Moscow's alliance with Damascus goes back decades. Syria provides Russia with a naval base in the Mediterranean. Vladimir Putin's support for the embattled Syrian regime in the civil war being waged against it is legal under international law.

It is our policy that appears questionable.

Where did Obama get the right to arm and train rebels to dump over the Damascus regime? Did Congress authorize this insurrection? Or is this just another CIA-National Endowment for Democracy project?

Why are we trying to bring down Assad, anyhow?

U.S. foreign policy today seems unthinking, reactive, impulsive.

Last week, 31,000 NATO troops conducted exercises in Poland and the Baltic republics, right alongside the border with Russia.

For the first time since 1945, German tanks appeared in Poland.

Now we are planning to base four NATO battalions — one U.S.-led, one British, one German, and perhaps one Canadian, as the French and Italians are balking at being part of a tripwire for war.

How would we react if 31,000 Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Iranian and North Korean troops conducted military exercises across from El Paso and Brownsville, Texas?

How would we react if each of those countries left behind a battalion of troops to prevent a repeat of General "Black Jack" Pershing's intervention in Mexico in 1916?  Americans would be apoplectic.

Nor are some Europeans enthusiastic about confronting Moscow. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the NATO exercises "warmongering" and "saber-rattling." He adds, "Anyone who believes that symbolic tank parades on the alliance's eastern border will increase security is wrong. We would be well-advised not to deliver any excuses for a new, old confrontation."

Not only is Steinmeier's Social Democratic Party leery of any new Cold War with Russia, so, too, is the German Left Party, and the anti-EU populist party Alternative for Germany, which wants closer ties to Russia and looser ties to the United States.

This month, we sent the USS Porter into the Black Sea. Why? Says Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, "to deter potential aggression."

While there is talk of a NATO Black Sea fleet, Bulgaria, one of the three NATO Black Sea nations, appears to want no part of it.

The European Union also just voted to extend sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting separatists in Ukraine.

Looking for a four-year faceoff with a nuclear-armed Russia?



Heed Trump's Warning

One of Donald Trump’s political skills is giving widely condemned speeches.

His post-Orlando jeremiad fit the pattern, but the speech was a little like Wagner’s music as described in the famous Mark Twain line: Not as bad as it sounds. There is something so inherently inflammatory in Trump’s delivery that he could read the Gettysburg Address and some listeners would wonder how he could possibly say such a thing.

The kernel of Trump’s speech was rather obvious: “The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here. That is a fact, and it’s a fact we need to talk about.”

The reaction of much of the opinion elite was nearly instantaneous: Whatever we do, let’s not talk about that fact.

Countless articles have been written on how much better we are at assimilating Muslim immigrants than Europe is, usually with back-patting over our openness and fluidity as a society in contrast to the self-defeating insularity of a country like France.

This may be true, but the assumption that we have the magic formula is under stress now that we’ve repeatedly suffered mass killings by second-generation immigrants.

The Islamic State model of inspiring “lone wolves” already here is dependent on loosely assimilated American Muslims susceptible to its hateful appeals. Disturbingly, it is finding takers.

In six months, terrorists have killed more than 60 people on our shores; two of the perpetrators were the sons of immigrants, and one an immigrant herself.

One of the reasons we have avoided the problems of a France may be sheer numbers. France has 50 percent more Muslim immigrants than we do, even though it is a much smaller country. Only 1 percent of the U.S. population is Muslim; 7.5 percent of the French population is.

The Somali community in Minneapolis, seeded with refugees and then replenished with chain migration, has proved a rich recruiting ground for Islamist extremists. This suggests that when we have our own enclaves of poor Muslim immigrants, the experience isn’t a happy one.

On the current trajectory, we will take in 1 million Muslim immigrants or more over the next decade. It can’t be out of bounds to ask whether that’s a good idea.

Or it shouldn’t be. The immigration debate is so encrusted with unexamined pieties that any suggestion that we reduce the number or the composition of the current immigrant flow is taken as an attempt to kneecap the Statue of Liberty.

At bottom, the Trump doctrine on immigration is that our policy should serve our values and interests, and the status quo fails on both counts. That said, his proposed Muslim ban is a mistake. It communicates a hostility to all Muslims and, besides, is unworkable.

Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies outlines a more sensible course. He suggests a return to a Cold War-era ideological test for new arrivals, geared to the struggle against radical Islam. It would ask potential immigrants questions such as whether they support killing religious converts or homosexuals. Anyone answering “yes” would be excluded. Applicants could lie, but at least the exercise would send a signal about what constitutes a lowest common denominator of American civic life.

Responsibility for Omar Mateen’s heinous act is all his own, but it is certainly relevant that his Dear Old Dad supports the Taliban and hates gays. He is exactly the kind of immigrant you would hope to deny the priceless privilege of coming here.

Krikorian also proposes to reduce legal immigration. If we eliminated the visa lottery, tightened the criteria for family unification and accepted fewer refugees, we would diminish the number of low-skilled immigrants who have trouble thriving here, and at the margins, the number of new Muslim entrants.

Donald Trump does the cause of immigration restriction a disservice by rendering it in caricature. But the questions he raises won’t go away, and they shouldn’t.



Liberal Reporter Attempts to Buy "Assault Rifle" to Prove How Easy It Is, Gets Rejected

In the wake of the Orlando massacre, Chicago Sun Times reporter Neil Steinberg set out to buy an “assault rifle,” presumably to prove how easy it is. But the process didn't exactly go as planned.

In his column titled "Would-be Terrorists Can Buy Guns, But a Reporter? No," he points out how a journalist in Philadelphia was able to buy an "assault rifle” in less than 10 minutes. He also noted the percentage of gun transactions in America that don’t go through a background check, and so on.  But not at the gun shop he visited. After filling out the required paperwork asking if he was an illegal alien, a fugitive, or whether he had been convicted on charges of domestic abuse, the reporter handed over $842.50 for a Smith & Wesson M & P 15 Sport II. He'd just made his first gun purchase. Since Illinois has a 24-hour waiting period after buying a firearm and taking possession of it, however, Steinberg had to wait.

Unfortunately for him, the gun store later called to say they were canceling the sale, but initially did not say why, as is their right.

Steinberg insisted it was because he’s a reporter. “[H]ating the media is right behind hating the government as a pastime for many gun owners,” he writes. “They damn you for being ignorant then hide when you try to find out.”

Later, the gun store sent Steinberg’s newspaper a statement, which read in part: “it was uncovered that Mr. Steinberg has an admitted history of alcohol abuse, and a charge for domestic battery involving his wife.”

Everyone in Chicago knows about his escapades as a drunk and a wife beater because he wrote about it, the staff at Maxon knew about his past and they denied his purchase based on Steinberg’s own admissions in his writings about it. The firearms dealer has the final say in whether you get a gun or not and because of Steinberg’s local reputation, they decided not to take a chance on him.

More HERE 




For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


22 June, 2016

Brexit vote could liberate the world

With the vote for or against Britain leaving the EU due at the end of this week, the look below at what it implies from economic historian and retired merchant banker Martin Hutchinson is valuable.  A British exit could have a similar effect to the Trump revolt: Rejection of a tired and oppressive consensus. As such, Martin rightly sees global implications for the British vote

One point that everyone seems to be overlooking is that British trade arrangements are unlikely to be much disrupted by a Brexit -- for the excellent reason that the British market is an important one for Europe.  If Britain's tariff-free access to Europe were cut off by  some big-bottomed bureaucrats in Brussels, Britain could very rapidly and very effectively retaliate.  A Prime Minister Boris Johnson could and probably would announce a complete embargo on the importation of European farm products into Britain.

That would be particularly disruptive to France, including the already-stressed French wine industry.  The Brits now buy twice as much Australian wine as French wine but Britain is still a major market for French wine. And one cannot imagine the French farmers taking that lying down. And French farmers always get their way.  One imagines them getting into their tractors and blockading the relevant building in Brussels. And when cut off from their supply of beer, chocolate and stinky cheese, the Brussels bureaucrats would undoubtedly cave in. "Temporary" or "transitional" arrangements would be made.

And there is of course NAFTA.  NAFTA would be a much better fit for Britain than the EU.  Blood is thicker than water and the legal and cultural similarities between the UK and the USA are still large -- not to mention the ease of a common language.  And an influential group of 11 U.S. congressmen have already made moves toward opening trade negotiations with Britain. The signatories to the letter include Devin Nunes and Pat Tiberi, two former chairmen of Congress’s Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.

Sadly, however, I doubt that there will be any change.  Australia and Britain are demographically and culturally very similar so the Australian experience with referenda is instructive. We have had rather a lot of them and they are always lost unless there is a broad consensus about their desirability.  There is no such consensus in Britain at the moment.   I would however love to be surprised -- JR

The purely economic costs and benefits of a British vote next Thursday to exit the EU are quite finely balanced. There are undoubted advantages to membership of a large free trade area, which it will be a pity to lose. While the EU leaders are pushing the union in a direction Britain does not and should not want to go, politically or economically, they could probably mostly be resisted. The short-term costs of Brexit could be considerable, if only in a “menu-changing” sense. Yet for Britain and for the world as a whole a vote for Brexit will constitute a fightback against a global consensus that badly need to be fought, for the sake of all our futures.

A year ago, this column published a piece headlined “Brexit divorce needs a good lawyer, hot new girlfriend.” It never got either. There is no assurance whatever that a British exit from the EU will be negotiated in an atmosphere of goodwill on both sides – indeed part of the Remain campaign’s “Project Fear” has been dire threats from various EU functionaries about how Britain’s departure must be made as unpleasant as possible to deter other countries from trying to follow the same path. Add to this indication that the negotiation will be a tough one the likelihood that Britain’s smoothest negotiator, David Cameron, will rule himself out of the exit negotiation by resigning (or will be ruled out by Brexiters’ distrust) and you can see that the “lawyer” problem is nowhere near being solved.

As for the “hot new girlfriend,” that has manifestly failed to appear – although if Donald Trump wins the Presidency a Trump-led United States, raising barriers against others but trusting a Brexiting Britain, would certainly qualify. Indeed, a United States that had poor relations with the politically correct EU, raised trade barriers against much of Asia, but regarded Britain as an old and valued ally, might be the hottest of all possible new girlfriends, a gigantic market suddenly cut off from many of its other trading partners to which Britain now had preferred access.

However, that possibility is currently no more than a gleam in the eye, with at most a 50-50 chance of appearing. Meanwhile the Brexit campaigners’ have failed to open discussions with plausible resource economies in Latin America or Africa, or with fast-growing Asian economies with a thirst for British exports. Thus there is no glorious prospect to dangle before the voters’ eyes, and a likelihood that the exit negotiations will be tortuous and the exit terms unpleasant. In those circumstances, one could entirely forgive the notoriously timid British electorate for wimping out of Brexit, and clinging to the skirts of the hag-like EU nanny they know.

Economically, the Brexit decision is quite a close one. While a Brexit would be economically advantageous in the long run (because Britain would be able to eliminate excess regulation and reorient its economy towards supplying countries with decent growth) it would unquestionably have substantial costs of renegotiating treaties and re-making economic arrangements, just as the entry into the EU did in the 1970s. While it is very clear that entry into the EU was a major economic error on the part of some especially feeble British prime ministers, the balance of economic factors for exit is much closer.

Politically and strategically, however, the arguments for Brexit are much stronger. Britain had a moderate amount of influence in EU councils in the years leading up to the Single European Act, which established a continent-wide market coming into effect in 1992. However ever since the Presidency of Jacques Delors (1985-95) and the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, Britain has been the odd man out, occasionally joined by one or other of the tiny East European states but otherwise dragged unwillingly down a road that the vast majority of Britons do not want to travel.

There is a minority of opinion formers in London that wishes to welcome their new insect overlords in Brussels, but that minority is both tiny and unrepresentative. It does however wield a considerable amount of influence and is not open to argument, whether from British democratic traditions or otherwise. Thus the extraordinary editorial in Reuters Breakingviews, generally reflective of “enlightened” London opinion, which advocated cancelling the Brexit referendum at the last minute. Throwing away 800 years of British political freedoms is just one of the sacrifices the pro-EU fanatics are prepared to make in the interests of their perverted ideology.

For the great majority of Britons, free trade with the EU is attractive, though there are doubts about the “free movement of labor” in EU treaties, especially as continental countries seem incapable of or unwilling to control their borders. But the feeling that the EU project has a huge hidden agenda, that is to be imposed on the British people without their democratic consent, has propelled the Brexit campaign to a level far in excess of that justified by simple economic considerations.

If the Brexit decision were a purely economic one, based only on the marginal advantages or disadvantages of membership of a trade area that was not especially suited to British needs, then Thursday’s vote would not be especially significant, except for the British themselves, and even then, the losers could console themselves that life would go on very much as before whichever way the vote went. But the hidden agenda of the EU’s leaders and the contempt for democracy evident in the more extreme of its supporters, indicate that the Brexit vote has a meaning far beyond the relatively limited confined of the European Union.

Over the past 20 years, an economic consensus has arisen among the world’s policymakers, that appears impervious either to argument or to democratic rejection. It involves extreme monetary policies, forcing interest rates far below their natural levels, to negative real rates and now even now negative nominal rates. It also involves running massive budget deficits, apparently without end – who could have imagined even a decade ago that a Republican Congress, in a period when the economy was running close to full employment, would do nothing whatever to bring down a budget deficit that runs year after year at around $500 billion, with every prospect of rising above $1 trillion in the next decade, without any recession intervening. It involves unlimited immigration, of both skilled and unskilled, so that domestic wage rates even in rich countries are forced down to global subsistence levels. Finally, it involves massive environmental and other over-regulation in the interests of crony capitalists who enjoy political favor, so that the playing field is no longer level but is tilted sharply towards those with political connections — crony capitalism at its most insidious level.

The result has been the slowest sustained period of rich country growth since the 1930s, with only the politically connected and those with access to massive amounts of cheap leverage doing well. The consensus policy is imposed by all major “respectable” parties, so that the electorate has no chance of getting it reversed, even if it had the economic understanding to want to do so.

The globalist consensus project is meeting increasing voter resistance, partly because of its manifest failure (which the consensus-globalist media does everything to conceal from voters.) The best chance to oust it was in this year’s Republican primaries (or, by all means in the Democratic primaries – Bernie Sanders represented an alternative to it, albeit an even worse one.) The Republican primary electorate rejected the globalist-consensus policy, as represented by every Republican candidate back to the first George Bush, but unfortunately replaced the consensus with Donald Trump, a man who having made his fortune in real estate, is uniquely blinkered against the need to replace funny-money Fed policies.

There will thus be no further chance to replace globalist-consensus policies until 2021 in the United States. In Britain, the globalist-consensus David Cameron is apparently in place until 2020. In Japan, nobody is advocating better policies than Shinzo Abe’s, merely worse ones. As for the EU, that polity is so undemocratic that even victory after victory for anti-consensus nationalists in individual countries merely causes it to dig in harder and demonize the assault.

The Brexit vote offers the one chance we have in 2016 to prize off the dead hand of global consensus that is holding the world economy by the throat. Should Britain vote to leave the EU, it will be a massive blow to consensus supporters both in Britain and the EU. It will also encourage separatist and nationalist movements elsewhere in Europe. If David Cameron feels the need to resign from Number 10 on a Brexit vote, Britain may have a chance to get rid of the expensive and useless Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who has held down the British economy by persisting in ultra-low interest rate policies, thereby killing British productivity growth. A Brexit vote would also encourage the supporters of Donald Trump in the United States, who will get rid of many of the globalist consensus policies even if he is unsound on the central question of interest rates.

Economic trends, in particular a rise in inflation, may dislodge the global consensus before 2020, even if the British electorate fails to take the chance offered to it. However, if the British vote for Brexit, it will represent one fairly modest step for Britain in regaining its freedom, but has the potential to represent one great leap for mankind as a whole.



Statins bite the dust again

Association Between Achieved Low-Density Lipoprotein Levels and Major Adverse Cardiac Events in Patients With Stable Ischemic Heart Disease Taking Statin Treatment

Morton Leibowitz et al.


Importance:  International guidelines recommend treatment with statins for patients with preexisting ischemic heart disease to prevent additional cardiovascular events but differ regarding target levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Trial data on this question are inconclusive and observational data are lacking.

Objective:  To assess the relationship between levels of LDL-C achieved with statin treatment and cardiovascular events in adherent patients with preexisting ischemic heart disease.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Population-based observational cohort study from 2009 to 2013 using data from a health care organization in Israel covering more than 4.3 million members. Included patients had ischemic heart disease, were aged 30 to 84 years, were treated with statins, and were at least 80% adherent to treatment or, in a sensitivity analysis, at least 50% adherent. Patients with active cancer or metabolic abnormalities were excluded.

Exposures:  Index LDL-C was defined as the first achieved serum LDL-C measure after at least 1 year of statin treatment, grouped as low (?70.0 mg/dL), moderate (70.1-100.0 mg/dL), or high (100.1-130.0 mg/dL).

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Major adverse cardiac events included acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina, stroke, angioplasty, bypass surgery, or all-cause mortality. The hazard ratio of adverse outcomes was estimated using 2 Cox proportional hazards models with low vs moderate and moderate vs high LDL-C, adjusted for confounders and further tested using propensity score matching analysis.

Results:  The cohort with at least 80% adherence included 31?619 patients, for whom the mean (SD) age was 67.3 (9.8) years. Of this population, 27% were female and 29% had low, 53% moderate, and 18% high LDL-C when taking statin treatment. Overall, there were 9035 patients who had an adverse outcome during a mean 1.6 years of follow-up (6.7 per 1000 persons per year). The adjusted incidence of adverse outcomes was not different between low and moderate LDL-C (hazard ratio [HR], 1.02; 95% CI, 0.97-1.07; P?=?.54), but it was lower with moderate vs high LDL-C (HR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.84-0.94; P?<?.001). Among 54?884 patients with at least 50% statin adherence, the adjusted HR was 1.06 (95% CI, 1.02-1.10; P?=?.001) in the low vs moderate groups and 0.87 (95% CI, 0.84-0.91; P?=?.001) in the moderate vs high groups.

Conclusions and Relevance:  Patients with LDL-C levels of 70 to 100 mg/dL taking statins had lower risk of adverse cardiac outcomes compared with those with LDL-C levels between 100 and 130 mg/dL, but no additional benefit was gained by achieving LDL-C of 70 mg/dL or less. These population-based data do not support treatment guidelines recommending very low target LDL-C levels for all patients with preexisting heart disease.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 20, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2751.  Commentary here


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


21 June, 2016

A Radical Libertarian in the British Parliament

When Murray Rothbard was a young student, he wrote under the pen name Aubrey Herbert. I thought he made it up. Not so. There really was a man named Auberon Edward William Molyneux Herbert. He was a member of the British Parliament. He lived from 1838 to 1906. He was a disciple of Herbert Spencer who kept Spencer’s youthful idealism long after his mentor lost it. He was the author of “The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State.”

That much I’ve known for a while, but I never bothered to read Auberon Herbert’s work. I did that recently, and I think I’ve found my muse. This man was incredible. I can’t say I’ve ever read more luxurious and erudite prose in defense of human liberty. And it’s not like the work of many people writing at the time, good on some stuff and bad on other stuff. Herbert’s writing is awesome on all subjects: property, markets, slavery, empire and colonialism, civil liberties, universal rights, and the state. He spoke about rights and the social consequences of violating rights with equal passion.

He wrote and spoke at a time of rising socialism in Europe. Britain resisted for a while, and Herbert was part of the reason. He presented one of the last clarion calls for pure liberty that occurred in the old world before World War I. He applied every effort to stopping the rise of the total state.

He penned his most famous writings in the 1870s, and they represented the best and most elaborate of the classical liberal school. He held the torch of liberty high and spoke out, consistently and constantly, for the principle of voluntarism. He viewed every state action that contradicted the principle of liberty to be a violation of rights.

Herbert presented one of the last clarion calls for pure liberty that occurred in the old world before World War I.

From his days in Parliament, Herbert came to be frustrated over the lack of fundamental questions regarding the purpose of politics. So many were involved in the attempted micro-regulation of every industry, all services, matters of state, and civic order, that state regulation of life was an ongoing threat. Herbert came to be appalled at how little thought was put into what this would do to people. Every law, every mandate, every rule, had to be enforced by violence against property and against people. They all violated the natural liberty that had giving rise to the glory of civilization at the time.

“Sooner or later,” he wrote, “every institution has to answer the challenge, ‘Are you founded on justice? Are you for or against the liberty of men?’”

Herbert argued that all state action violates the liberty of person, a liberty that should only be constrained according to Spencer’s rule: all should be permitted so long as no one is harmed. The state, despite the best of intentions, is always in the business of harm. It takes people’s property so that the politicians can use it. It takes away liberty so that the state can regulate industry. It takes away industry and creativity so that the state can enact its own plans. Looked at this way, everything the state is and does contradicts the principle of liberty.

An excellent example is national education. All the best-educated and well-to-do people seem to believe it is necessary. Taxes are levied against the richest in England, for they are the only ones with enough money to pay for it. The buildings are built and the teachers are hired. But who runs the system and who establishes the priorities for what is taught, when, and how it is taught? The elites and the rich. It is they whose views hold sway, while the working classes and the poor have very little to say about the matter. In the end, though the rich are bearing the greatest burdens of financing the system, it is the poor who bear the burdens of obeying the masters in charge of the system. This is contrary to justice.

It is also creates a system inconsistent with progress. National education means one plan for all, imposed without creativity or the possibility for adaptation to change. One view of religion must prevail at the expense of all other views. This is not tolerance but imposition, and it locks out perspectives that are different from those of the rich who administer the system. But cut the cord completely, grant full rights to all to their property and their own decisions, and tolerance at once becomes the rule.

As for self-responsibility, all state education drains it from parents. They are treated as if they can’t be trusted, and, in time, they come to confirm that perception. Public education acculturates the entire population to become passive and disempowered. This is contrary to progress because progress requires experimentation, toleration of differences, and celebration of new ideas and new ways of doing things.

Herbert further argues that any time a task is placed upon a government department, progress in that task comes to a halt. The system is frozen. To make a change appears dangerous to the bureaucracy, even revolutionary. Change happens to government agencies only under great pressure, and, even then, the change is perfunctory and cosmetic — enough to satisfy the public but not enough to fundamentally change the system. (The TSA comes to mind here, but so do all other government agencies.)

It is true in every sector of life, whether commerce, health, religion, family, or foreign relations. Once you grant the state the power to regulate some aspect of life, there will be no end to the arguments for how power is used. People will disagree on priorities. What makes one person happy makes another furious. What pleases one person pillages another. To realize the plans for one group is to subvert the plans of another. The result is a war of all against all, each interest group vying for control of the levers of power. This is not unity or peace but division, conflict, and war.

The state, despite the best of intentions, is always in the business of harm.

A person is either free or not free. It is not possible to split this difference and make a compromise, even by majority vote. Freedom is indivisible, Herbert said. Either our volition is our own or it is taken away and exercised by the state.

What are the implications of Herbert’s analysis? Taxation must be abolished and replaced by voluntary contributions to the government. If people are unwilling to pay, it is evidence that they do not consider the service rendered to be worth the price.

All monopolies and privileges granted by the state must be abolished, whether in education, the postal service, or trade. That includes libel law, since no one has a right to his or her reputation. When people call each other bad names, they must face those consequences themselves.

All state services must be abolished, including poor laws, nationalized mines, religious restrictions, and government subsidies for industry.

All restrictions on individual behavior must be abolished. That includes restrictions on alcohol and drug consumption, prostitution, mandatory vaccinations, and divorce. All must be free to do what they wish without being impeded by government decree. That includes repealing compulsory education laws, laws restricting what one does on Sunday, and child labor laws.

Finally, justice demands the end to all colonialism and imperialism against neighboring states. All people everywhere should be free to choose their own government. Nothing should be imposed on anyone, foreign or domestic.

Herbert was a voluntarist who rejected the term “anarchism,” which he took to mean lawlessness. He also rejected the use of violence in the reform of the system, writing that it is a different matter to hate the current system versus loving liberty. To love liberty is to seek peace, understanding, and universal rights and cooperation. To hate the system is to use every tactic to overthrow it, including violence. That second path does nothing to secure a lasting liberty.

As for socialism, Herbert saw it as a system resting fundamentally on force by the government against person and property. All the theories of socialism come down to this: the government can do to anyone whatever it wants in the guise of collectivization or any other excuse. It is a map for the total state — the total abolition of liberty.



Money Going to Washington

By Walter E. Williams

According to a New York Post article (May 22, 2016), in just two years, Hillary Clinton — former first lady, senator from New York and secretary of state — collected over $21 million in speaking fees. These fees were paid by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Fidelity Investments, UBS, Bank of America and several hedge fund companies.

In 2015, lobbyists spent $3.22 billion lobbying Congress. In 2013 and 2014, just 10 chemical companies and allied organizations spent more than $154 million lobbying the federal government. The Center for Responsive Politics in 2013 reported that The Dow Chemical Co. "posted record lobbying expenditures" in 2012, "spending nearly $12 million," and was "on pace to eclipse" that amount. Fourteen labor unions were among the top 25 political campaign contributors between 1989 and 2014.

Many Americans lament the fact that so much money goes to Washington. Let's ask ourselves why corporations, labor unions and other groups spend billions upon billions of dollars on political campaigns, pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a speech and wine and dine politicians and their staffs. Do you think that these are just civic-minded Americans who want to encourage elected officials to live up to their oath of office to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution? Do you think that people who spend billions of dollars on politicians just love participating in the political process? If you believe that either one of those notions applies, you're probably a candidate for a straitjacket and padded cell.

A much better explanation for the billions of dollars spent on Washington politicians lies in the awesome growth of government power over business, property, employment and most other areas of our lives. Having such life-and-death power, Washington politicians are in the position to grant favors. The greater their power to grant favors the greater the value of being able to influence Congress. The generic favor sought is to get Congress, under one ruse or another, to grant a privilege or right to one group of Americans that will be denied to another group of Americans. In other words, billions of dollars are spent to get Congress to do things that would be reprehensible and criminal if done privately. Let's look at one tiny representative example among the tens of thousands.

The Fanjuls are among the biggest sugar cane growers in the U.S. Both they and Archer Daniels Midland benefit immensely from reducing the amount of sugar imported to our shores from the Caribbean and elsewhere. As a result of the reduction, they can charge Americans higher prices for sugar, and because of these higher prices, ADM can sell more of its corn syrup sweetener. If they used guns and goons to stop foreign sugar from entering the U.S., they'd wind up in jail. However, if they find ways to persuade congressmen to impose tariffs and quotas on foreign sugar, they get the same result without risking imprisonment. In 2014, the combined lobbying expenditures of the Fanjuls and ADM totaled $2.8 million, and they spent $754,002 in political contributions.

The two most powerful committees of Congress are the House Ways and Means and the Senate Finance committees. Congressmen fight to be on these committees, which are in charge of tax laws. As a result, committee members are besieged with campaign contributions. Why? A tweak here and a tweak there in the tax code can mean millions of dollars to individuals and corporations.

You might ask: What can be done? Campaign finance and lobbying reforms will only change the method of influence-peddling. If Americans would demand that Congress do only what's specifically enumerated in our Constitution, influence-peddling would be much smaller. That's because our Constitution contains no authority for Congress to grant favors or special privileges or give one American the earnings of another American.

Seeing as most Americans do not want a constitutionally bound Congress, I am all too afraid that an observation attributed to Benjamin Franklin is correct: "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up --  about immigration and such things


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


20 June, 2016

Why Liberals Support Muslims Who Hate Everything They Stand For

The explanation below is part of the story but I think we need to add to it that Leftists in reality believe in nothing at all.  Their "policies" are just whatever sounds good at the time.  The real essence of Leftism is hatred of the society they live in.  And that causes them to want to destroy as much of current Western civilization as they can.  Muslims want that too.  So Leftists and Muslims are what Marxists used to call "fellow travellers"

"I also now realize, with brutal clarity, that in the progressive hierarchy of identity groups, Muslims are above gays. Every pundit and politician -- and that includes President Obama and Hillary Clinton and half the talking heads on TV -- who today have said ‘We don't know what the shooter's motivation could possibly be!’ have revealed to me their true priorities: appeasing Muslims is more important than defending the lives of gay people. Every progressive who runs interference for Islamic murderers is complicit in those murders, and I can no longer be a part of that team." -- Anonymous at PJ Media

Liberalism is generally hostile to Christianity and it particularly seems to dislike anyone who has strong religious convictions that conflict with liberalism. This describes every devout Muslim on the planet.

At first glance, the liberal approach to Islam makes no sense whatsoever.

Liberals go on and on endlessly about a war on women and Islam treats women like garbage. In many parts of the Islamic world, women are forced to wear burkas or veils, are given clitoridectomies to take the pleasure out of sex for them, can’t leave the house or drive without a male relative and may be raped or beaten with impunity.

Libs obsess endlessly about gun violence and constantly trash our troops when they accidentally kill civilians. In a large minority of the Islamic world (and a majority in many more fundamentalist countries), innocent women and children are considered fair game and terrorists who murder them in large numbers in places like the Palestinian territories are considered to be heroes.

The Left has gone so insane over imaginary violations of “gay rights” that liberals are in favor of driving Christians out of any profession that caters to weddings and they insist that women have to use the bathroom with men because the less than .2% of men who “feel like” women would be uncomfortable using the men’s bathroom. Meanwhile, Islam goes with homophobia the way peanut butter goes with jelly. There are a number of Islamic countries where being gay is a crime with jail or even DEATH as the penalty.

So, how can liberals continue to turn a blind eye to all of this?

As my friend Evan Sayet has explained, it has to do with the liberal emphasis on “indiscriminateness.”

They were raised to believe that indiscriminateness is a moral imperative. That the only way to be moral is to not discriminate between right and wrong, good and evil, better and worse, truth and lies because your act of discrimination – discriminating between these things might just be a reflection of your personal discrimination, your bigotries.

They were raised to believe that indiscriminateness is a moral imperative because its opposite is the evil of having discriminated. The second bullet point, and this is an essential corollary, is that indiscriminateness of thought does not lead to  indiscriminateness of policy. It leads the modern liberal to invariably side with evil over good, wrong over right and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success. Why? Very simply if nothing is to be recognized as better or worse than anything else then success is de facto unjust.

There is no explanation for success if nothing is better than anything else and the greater the success the greater the injustice. Conversely and for the same reason, failure is de facto proof of victimization and the greater the failure, the greater the proof of the victim is, or the greater the victimization.

Once you understand this facet of liberal thinking, many of the illogical things that liberals believe make more sense.

Why are American liberals so hostile to the rich? As that old quote often attributed to Honoré de Balzac goes, “Behind every great fortune there is a crime.” That’s the thinking.

Why do so many liberals seem to loathe America even though we’re the richest, most successful country in history? Because the very fact that we’re the richest, most successful country in history proves we must be doing something wrong and unfair.

Why do white Americans have to be benefitting from racism and “white privilege?” Because white Americans are a majority in the United States and they’re doing better than most other racial groups.

Additionally, this way of viewing the world makes it extremely difficult for liberals to deal with Islam in a rational way. They are unable to admit that among religions, Islam has a unique problem with terrorism, violence and rape. They are not capable of admitting that there is a particular risk to bringing in Muslim immigrants. Even when a Muslim tells everyone he’s killing people because of his religion, liberals can’t acknowledge his motivation because to do so would mean that they’d have to admit Islam has issues.

Until liberals can get past their “indiscriminateness” blind spot, when it comes to Muslims, expect them to keep blaming anything and everything other than religion for the horrible things radical Islamists do.



Washington Post pretends racial disparities in crime and misbehavior don’t exist

As the late Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson observed, the “truth is often unpopular,” and people will frequently choose “agreeable fantasy” over “disagreeable fact.” This is particularly true of liberal reporters writing about intractable racial problems, like the persistently high-rates of crime and misbehavior among black and inner-city students. They claim that high black student suspension rates are simply the result of poorly trained teachers harboring unconscious racism, rather than student misconduct, and thus can be solved simply by changing school discipline to reflect the latest progressive fads, such as “restorative justice.”

In reality, suspensions of black students often reflect serious misbehavior by students from broken homes, who bring their disorderly home environment with them to school. Most black kids are born out of wedlock, and it is harder to raise a well-behaved child when you are a single parent with no partner to help you, living in a community with a high crime rate and lots of misbehaving children, than it is to live in a stable home environment with two parents to instill discipline in a child.

But that reality is just too politically incorrect for many liberal reporters (almost all education reporters are liberal) to accept. A recent example is provided by Joe Davidson, who writes the Federal Insider column for the Washington Post. In his Monday column, “Preschool suspensions are made worse by racial disparities,” he claims that suspensions of preschool students show not misbehavior by kids, but an “adult behavior problem” by bad teachers who need to learn “constructive methods of discipline.”

Since “black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely” to be suspended “as white preschool children,” Davidson claims teachers must harbor veiled “bias” that “feeds an implicitly racist system.” But this is simply untrue. That statistic just reflects the fact that black kids misbehave more. Students who repeatedly bite or attack their classmates, or constantly disrupt class, need to be suspended, even if they are preschoolers.  Even preschoolers deserve to be safe from violence when they go to school.

As Katherine Kersten wrote months ago in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, black students’discipline rate is higher than other students’ because, on average, they misbehave more. In fact, a major 2014 study in the Journal of Criminal Justice found that the racial gap in suspensions is “completely accounted for by a measure of the prior problem behavior of the student.” That problem behavior can manifest itself in other ways. Nationally, for example, young black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at 10 times the rate of white and Hispanics of the same ages combined.

(Kersten, “The School Safety Debate: Mollycoddle No more,” March 18, 2016).

 Why such a gap? A primary reason is likely dramatic differences in family structure. Figures for St. Paul are not available, but nationally, 71 percent of black children are born out of wedlock — with the rate much higher in many inner cities — while the rate for whites is 29 percent. Research reveals that children from fatherless families are far more likely than others to engage in many kinds of antisocial behavior.

Both school misconduct and criminal behavior likely stem from the same source — the lack of impulse control and socialization that can result from chaotic family life. Tragically, the problem we confront is not so much a “school-to-prison” pipeline as a “home-to-prison” pipeline.

Davidson’s column ignores that study in the Journal of Criminal Justice,which has been cited not just in the Star-Tribune, but also by other publications, such as Investor’s Business Daily and the National Review.[See John Paul Wright, Mark Alden Morgan, Michelle A. Coyne, Kevin M. Beaver, & J.C. Barnes, Prior problem behavior accounts for the racial gap in school suspensions, Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 42, issue 3, May-June 2014, Pages 257-266].

Instead, he cites the discredited work of Russel Skiba, who pretends there are no differences in misbehavior rates.

Davidson lectures his readers that “Those who think black students are suspended at higher rates because their behavior is worse should find the facts, as Russell J. Skiba and Natasha T. Williams did for a report published by the Equity Project at Indiana University. The top line of their 2014 study asks “Are Black Kids Worse?” The answer is no.”

But it’s Davidson who is wrong. Even the so-called “study” he cites had to admit that “once referred to the principal, white students were expelled at the same rate as black students.” It only managed to cry racism by recasting common-sense, colorblind disciplinary decisions as suspicious signs of racism: It labeled offenses committed fairly evenly by students of all races as “objective,” but called offenses committed heavily by black students — like threats — “subjective” even when there was nothing subjective about them, in order to minimize their seriousness and imply that discipline was improper.

As the National Review explained, Skiba and his colleagues claim that offenses such as “threat” are “subjective” and that when discipline of many black students results for such an offense, it shows that “schools were arbitrarily disciplining blacks.” But “try telling a teacher being threatened with physical retaliation that her plight is merely “subjective.'”

Given the staggering percentage of black kids born into fatherless homes, higher rates of misbehavior among black kids are to be expected. Consider these frightening statistics about how the vast majority of juvenile delinquents and young criminals come from broken homes:

* 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)

* 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)

* 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)

* 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)

Given that out-of-wedlock births are so much more common among blacks than among whites, it would be astonishing if the crime rate and juvenile delinquency rates were not significantly higher among blacks. This is just basic common sense. But Skiba disregards this basic reality in his reports.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


19 June, 2016

Progressive Insanity Endangers America

If we should not blame 10 million law-abiding American Muslims for the shooting, why then would you blame 50 million innocent gun owners for what some psycho does?

“This is the saddest day of my life. I can’t even wrap my mind around the horror of what happened … in Orlando, where 50 joyful dancing queers were murdered by a religious extremist. I’m sad — devastated, in my soul — about that; but I’m also sad that the events of Orlando have shattered my political beliefs, as I can no longer swear allegiance to a peace-love-and-unicorns progressive philosophy that only helps to get my fellow queers killed."—from a column written by "Anonymous” for PJ Media.

Anonymous was just getting started. Later in the same column he utterly eviscerated the progressive obsession with identity politics. “I also now realize, with brutal clarity, that in the progressive hierarchy of identity groups, Muslims are above gays,” he states. “Every pundit and politician — and that includes President Obama and Hillary Clinton and half the talking heads on TV — who today have said ‘We don’t know what the shooter’s motivation could possibly be!’ have revealed to me their true priorities: appeasing Muslims is more important than defending the lives of gay people. Every progressive who runs interference for Islamic murderers is complicit in those murders, and I can no longer be a part of that team.”

Unfortunately, it’s not just the hierarchy of identity groups. It is also the progressive determination to obliterate common sense and replace it with political correctness. Thus, following pressure from Muslim organizations like CAIR — utterly irrespective of their status as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the 2004 Holy Land Foundation terror fundraising case — the Obama administration purged any references to Islamic terror from the FBI’s counter-terrorism training materials beginning in 2011.

Yet it’s even worse than that. The FBI had Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan. They had Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. They had San Bernardino killers Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife. They interviewed Orlando murderer Omar Mateen three times and not only let him go, but refused to put anything in his file that would have prevented him from buying a gun.

Why? “Former FBI Agent John Guandolo said the FBI mistakenly closed its investigation because it had no idea how to respond to jihadist threats because the bureau does not teach agents about Islamist doctrine, such as Sharia law, that is used as a guide for terrorist operations and activities,” reports the Washington Beacon.

“I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS),” explained former DHS employee Philip Haney in February. “These types of records are the basis for any ability to ‘connect dots.’”

Why delete or modify files to the point of operational impotency? The administration’s obsession with political correctness demands nothing less.

To what degree? In 2008, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed offered to plead guilty to that atrocity in a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay. A year later, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder rejected that plea and suspended the hearings because the Obama administration insisted the slaughter of 2,996 people was a “law enforcement” issue requiring a trial in civilian court. Public outrage sent the case back to the military commission, where the case remains bogged down by an endless series of procedural roadblocks engendered by the Military Commissions Act. When is a resolution of the case anticipated to occur?

In 2021 — literally one generation removed from an act of war.

And make no mistake: The carnage will continue. It will continue because the American Left, with ample help from an utterly corrupt mainstream media, will continue to obscure the carnage wrought by Islamists, by declaring a lack of gun control to be the principal problem. Thus, it doesn’t matter that strict gun control laws in both Paris and Brussels didn’t stop terrorist carnage there, that gun control laws mean absolutely nothing to terrorists or criminals, or that extrapolating on the Left’s despicable “logic” would necessitate a ban on box cutters, knives, pressure cookers — and jetliners.

All that matters is deflection. Deflection from the reality that Islam has institutionalized contempt for homosexuals, a contempt the Left has tried to equate with that of Christian Evangelicals, even as they remain willfully oblivious to the difference between Christians professing reservations about the homosexual lifestyle, and Islamists tossing them off rooftops and stoning them to death. Deflection away from the innumerable warnings given to this administration as far back as 2014 that allowing a “JV team” like the Islamic State to remain viable gives them enormous recruitment powers. Deflection that equates a desire to limit Muslim immigration, conduct law enforcement investigations of mosques, or notice that enormous numbers of Muslims have views utterly antithetical to this nation’s founding principles, constitutes Islamophobia.

Even worse, deflection away from cultural differences the Left insists do not exist, or are simply two sides of the same coin. Thus at the National Prayer Breakfast last year, Barack Obama declared that global jihad “is not unique to one group or one religion.” A year earlier, Hillary Clinton insisted “smart power” requires “respect even for one’s enemies — trying to understand, insofar as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view.”

Perhaps Hillary might ask the families of the Orlando victims how much “empathy” and “respect” they have for Omar Mateen.

And when the Left isn’t busy denying reality, they are simply censoring it. Facebook and Reddit removed pages and posts revealing Mateen’s religion. Ironically, the story was reported by Russia Today (RT), a Russian government-funded television network. What does it say about the current state of progressive ideology when a news site in a “former” totalitarian nation is more reliable than American social media sites?

What it says, among other things, is that progressive ideology has devolved to the point where it is every bit as sick and twisted as Islamism. It is an ideology that elevates post-atrocity handwringing and candlelight vigils over national security and self-defense. It is the ideology of “borderless” futures, “outdated” Constitutions and the mindless “diversity” and “multiculturalism” that abets Balkanization in lieu of assimilation, even as that orchestrated divisiveness literally endangers our lives. It is the ideology of an arrogant and feckless president more interested in confronting those who oppose him than those who would annihilate us.

“There is only one religion whose adherents are consistently involved in murder for political purposes,” writes New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin.

And there is only one ideology consistently dedicated to the denial of reality. One whose adherents' relentless attempts to bend the national conversation toward their bankrupt agenda must be rejected with impunity.

Our survival as a nation depends on it.



America desperately needs relief from regulations. Ryan's plan is a good place to start

The United States is in the midst of a constitutional crisis. The lines that clearly delineate the boundaries of the three branches of government, specifically, the executive and legislative branches, have become blurred. Presidents have claimed powers that far exceed what the framers intended, and Congress has been complicit by its failure to reestablish itself as the rightful and sole lawmaking authority.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, however, unveiled a plan this week that begins the process of reclaiming the ground Congress has ceded to the executive branch and its ever-growing army of unelected bureaucrats.

The regulatory state -- which has become an unconstitutional fourth branch of the federal government -- has been a serious problem for years. Notably, President George W. Bush aggressively expanded the regulatory state. “The Bush team,” Veronique de Rugy wrote in January 2009, “spent more taxpayer money on issuing and enforcing regulations than any previous administration in U.S. history.”

But it has only come into focus under President Barack Obama, who, boastfully, with his “pen and phone,” has frequently circumvented Congress to create law, and his regulatory agenda pales in comparison to his predecessor. Left to pick up the cost are businesses and consumers.

Regulations are the silent killer. In its most recent annual report, Ten Thousand Commandments, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) estimated that rules and regulations cost Americans nearly $1.9 trillion each year. At a cost of roughly $15,000 per family, regulations dwarf ordinary household expenditures, save for the cost of housing. In fact, these hidden taxes cost more than food, clothing, and health care, combined.

This $1.9 trillion in 2015 regulatory spending, not including the cost of state and local regulations, is a staggering 11 percent of of the $17.95 trillion  U.S. GDP. If the regulatory state were its own country, it would have the tenth largest economy in the world, ahead of the Russian Federation, Canada, and Australia.

Ryan’s regulatory reform agenda takes aim at the regulatory state in several ways, such as enhancing congressional involvement and oversight of the rulemaking and regulatory process, ending the judiciary branch’s deference to executive-level agencies, and asserting more control over agencies in the appropriations process, and increasing oversight of the executive branch. Another part of the Speaker’s agenda is the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or REINS Act, which mandates that any major regulations, those with an annual cost of $100 million or more, must be approved by Congress.

The Obama administration has a particular proclivity for major regulations. As CEI noted, “President Obama’s seven years so far have averaged 81, or a 29 percent higher average annual output than that of Bush. Obama has already issued 570 major rules during his seven years, compared with Bush’s 505 over eight years.” This administration owns six of the seven highest annual numbers of pages added to the Federal Register, which documents all proposed and final rules and regulations.

The red tape of the regulatory state is strangling the economy, preventing Americans from experience the benefits of the prosperity and opportunity that would come if the economy were allowed to achieve its full potential. The problem, of course, is that President Obama and Democrats, as well as many big government Republicans, view the government as what makes America great.

If the Speaker and House Republican leadership can successfully move this regulatory reform agenda through the lower chamber, it would be a victory for grassroots conservatives, who are anxious for Republicans in Washington to fight back against the regulatory state.

Let’s hope that when this agenda clears the House, that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acts to send it President Obama’s desk. Even if Obama vetoes these reforms, passage out of both chambers of will show that Republicans are serious about taking one of the real threats to our prosperity head on.



Pro-Clinton College Professor: Repeal Second Amendment!

At a time when it’s more important than ever to maintain the right of the American people to keep and bear arms for self-defense, law professor David S. Cohen is calling for repeal of the Second Amendment.  “Americans’ rights are in mortal danger,” he says, unless Hillary Clinton is elected president and stacks the Supreme Court with progressive judges.

In the repeatedly discredited rag, Rolling Stone, Cohen writes, “sometimes we just have to acknowledge that the Founders and the Constitution are wrong. This is one of those times. . . . The Second Amendment needs to be repealed because it is outdated, a threat to liberty and a suicide pact.”

By “outdated,” Cohen means that the Framers of the Bill of Rights were unable to conceive of 19th century semi-automatic firearm technology. “When the Second Amendment was adopted in 1791, there were no weapons remotely like the AR-15 assault rifle (sic),” he said.

However, as the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, “Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.”

And in any case, there is nothing outdated about the underlying principle of the Second Amendment: to prohibit the government from interfering with the ability of people to acquire, possess and develop proficiency with arms they might one day need to defend themselves and their loved ones.

Cohen’s rant is just one example of an astonishing amount of sheer nonsense that has filled the Internet since the terrorist attack in Orlando. Anti-gun politicians, and so-called opinion columnists and TV talking heads – who pretend to be “experts” on every topic under the sun, but who in reality know virtually nothing about even one topic – are confidently calling the AR-15 an “automatic” weapon, a “military” weapon,” and a “weapon of war,” and telling everyone that the most popular rifle in America should be banned.

Of course, the First Amendment protects the right of pundits to demonstrate that the size of their egos are only matched by the depth of their ignorance on firearms and the Second Amendment. And so it should be.

If history repeats itself, the recent slew of half-baked, culture-war-based, ideologically-motivated, attention-seeking statements against guns will only increase support for the right to arms, and additional support may develop as people increasingly realize that President Obama and Hillary Clinton, who are urging gun bans, are the very politicians most responsible for the rise of overseas terrorist groups who inspire and possibly direct evildoers within our midst.

All the more reason for the American people to protect their right to protect themselves.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


17 June, 2016

Racism as a convenient but flawed index of evil

Leftists are so suffused by hatred that serious thought is mostly beyond them.  So their doctrines and claims are usually extremely simplistic.  A prime example of that is the way they use cries of racism to answer any argument that is put up against them

And in so doing they make any discussion of race virtually impossible.  And yet the importance of race is as clear as crystal.  A major example of that is the fact that African Americans commit crimes of violence at a rate 9 times higher  than whites.  So the idea that there is only one race, the human race is only trivially true.

The whole of America knows that blacks are in general dangerous neighbors and takes active steps to deal with that:  By "white flight".  But that is often a difficult and costly process -- and one from which poor whites are excluded.  An ability to actually discuss black crime and remedies for it would probably do a lot to make whites safer.

Making selected residential areas "no go" places for blacks would at present be greeted by unbelievably noisy opposition from the Left but a more positive version of that could work.  Settling blacks in areas known for their liberal politics could well work magic.

But black crime is only one instance where race has visible effects.  I am a keen fan of Austro/Hungarian operetta and have, I think, all available DVDs of it.  In most of the world it is a forgotten form of musical entertainment but it lives on in the German lands, particularly in Austria, its old heartland.  So a lot of the DVDs I have are of performances in Austria, particularly from Moerbisch. 

And something I note in the Austrian performances is that all the performers and "extras" in a show look just like the people I see walking down the street in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia, so I can relate to them easily.  Yet Austria is the most Southerly of the German lands, with Italy to its immediate South -- and I live half a world away from there. 

So what improbable thing makes inhabitants of the two countries look so similar?  Race.  Anglo-Saxons have been separated from Germany for over a thousand years but we remain members of the same race.  It's only a trivial example of no political importance but it is another reminder that race does exist and that it can have powerful and long-lasting effects.

In my observation, most alleged racial, ethnic or national differences are either imaginary or temporary -- but some are not -- JR.


Aspirin beats statins in preventing heart attacks

But no drug did much good

Drugs for Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: An Overview of Systematic Reviews

Kunal N. Karmali et al.


Importance:  The Million Hearts initiative emphasizes ABCS (aspirin for high-risk patients, blood pressure [BP] control, cholesterol level management, and smoking cessation). Evidence of the effects of drugs used to achieve ABCS has not been synthesized comprehensively in the prevention of primary atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

Objective:  To compare the efficacy and safety of aspirin, BP-lowering therapy, statins, and tobacco cessation drugs for fatal and nonfatal ASCVD outcomes in primary ASCVD prevention.

Evidence Review:  Structured search of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE), Health Technology Assessment Database (HTA), MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PROSPERO International Prospective Systematic Review Trial Register to identify systematic reviews published from January 1, 2005, to June 17, 2015, that reported the effect of aspirin, BP-lowering therapy, statin, or tobacco cessation drugs on ASCVD events in individuals without prevalent ASCVD.

Additional studies were identified by searching the reference lists of included systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and health technology assessment reports. Reviews were selected according to predefined criteria and appraised for methodologic quality using the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) tool (range, 0-11). Studies were independently reviewed for key participant and intervention characteristics. Outcomes that were meta-analyzed in each included review were extracted. Qualitative synthesis was performed, and data were analyzed from July 2 to August 13, 2015.

Findings:  From a total of 1967 reports, 35 systematic reviews of randomized clinical trials were identified, including 15 reviews of aspirin, 4 reviews of BP-lowering therapy, 12 reviews of statins, and 4 reviews of tobacco cessation drugs. Methodologic quality varied, but 30 reviews had AMSTAR ratings of 5 or higher.

Compared with placebo, aspirin (relative risk [RR], 0.90; 95% CI, 0.85-0.96) and statins (RR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.70-0.81) reduced the risk for ASCVD.

Compared with placebo, BP-lowering therapy reduced the risk for coronary heart disease (RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.79-0.90) and stroke (RR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.56-0.73). Tobacco cessation drugs increased the odds of continued abstinence at 6 months (odds ratio range, 1.82 [95% CI, 1.60-2.06] to 2.88 [95% CI, 2.40-3.47]), but the direct effects on ASCVD were poorly reported. Aspirin increased the risk for major bleeding (RR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.30-1.82), and statins did not increase overall risk for adverse effects (RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.97-1.03). Adverse effects of BP-lowering therapy and tobacco cessation drugs were poorly reported.

Conclusions and Relevance:  This overview demonstrates high-quality evidence to support aspirin, BP-lowering therapy, and statins for primary ASCVD prevention and tobacco cessation drugs for smoking cessation. Treatment effects of each drug can be used to enrich discussions between health care professionals and patients in primary ASCVD prevention.

JAMA Cardiology, June 2016, Vol 1, No. 3


The Impossibility of Income Equality

There’s an old William F. Buckley quote that I love – “I’m not going to insult your intelligence by suggesting that you believe what you just said.”  This is how I feel about people who claim to want income equality.  There are just too many problems with the idea that everyone should get paid the same regardless of their skill, work ethic, or contribution to society.  The problems are so numerous that I’m having a hard time imagining a person who truly believes income equality is necessary, or even possible.

Let’s imagine someone does believe this.  There’s a probably a few college freshmen who have never had a job in their life, whose parents pay for everything, that might hold this belief.  But they don’t count.  They still live in virtual reality.  I’m talking about an actual adult, with experience, who has been in the work force.  I have some honest questions.

Who gets the equality?

First serious question:  Is this income equality for everyone?  It wouldn’t be very equal if only certain people got the equality, right?  If I choose not to go to college and just get a nice, easy, low-stress job bagging groceries, or stocking shelves, do I get the equal pay?  If so, how is that fair to the person that worked their butt off in college?  The person that gets a job in a high-demand, high-stress field like a pilot or surgeon?  Or the person that gets a dangerous job like loggers and deep-sea fishers?  All these jobs have an enormous benefit to society, shouldn’t they get compensated more than me for simply bagging groceries?

If you’re advocating for everyone to get paid the same, but you concede that some classes of jobs should get paid more than others, then you’re not advocating for income equality anymore.  You’re advocating for free market capitalism!  In a free market, you get paid for the benefit you provide to your fellow people.  The more benefit you provide, and the more you help others, the more you get paid.

Do we all get paid the same every year?

Second question:  If you still believe that we should still all get paid the same regardless of our jobs, how do you factor in age in order to remain equal?  Let’s say we all get paid $50,000 a year, the person who is 50 years old will have 30 years of that $50,000 pay, but the person who is 20 will only have a couple years of that pay.  So the 50 year old will be vastly wealthier that the 20 year old.  That 50 year old would be able to have a much nicer house, a much nicer car, better food, better clothing, better vacations, etc.  How fair is that?

How will this new inequality be dealt with?

I guess this will be part two of question two:  How do we level things out since older people will have vastly more wealth than younger people?  Do we say that younger people should start out making $100,000 a year and gradually make less every year so things even out?  If that’s the case, it’s far from equal!  Now you’ll have some people making $100,000 a year and some people making $15,000.  Or we could simply tax older people more, but that would be the same thing.  They’d bring home less money than younger people thus making it unfair again.

What about investing and gambling?

Question three:  Would there be any form of investing or gambling allowed?  I’m assuming in this world there will be no such thing as investing.  After all, if you invest wisely you’ll make a lot more money than the person that doesn’t invest wisely or doesn’t invest at all.  The easiest way to solve this “problem” would be to ban investing.

How about gambling?  Same problem.  It would have to be outlawed in all forms.  We can’t have an option for someone to win the lottery or gamble their way into wealth.  That would be unfair to the rest of us!

What about people who don’t work?

Question four:  Do the people who don’t work get the same equal pay?  I’m sure you’d say that someone who has a terrible, debilitating disability would get the pay, but what about people who just say they can’t work?  People with back pain that can’t be easily verified?  Or people who have depression?  Or anxiety?  Or people who just claim they have these things?  Once we’ve crossed that bridge into people who have unverifiable injuries and disorders getting the pay, what’s going to stop more and more people getting their pay while not having to work?  Are we going to pay disabled people less in order to stop people from faking injuries or disorders?  We can’t do that, it would create more inequality.

Income equality is unavoidable and unsolvable.

Like most political issues, income equality is unsolvable.  There will always be people who have more wealth and income than others.  Even in a perfect system, the people who are older will simply have more due to the extra time they’ve spent alive.

This is how politicians like it though.  They don’t want to deal with solvable problems.  They need to pick issues that will always need their benevolent assistance.  This is called job security.  If problems got solved, politicians wouldn’t be necessary!

The only fair system is a free market.  You get paid for what you provide to society.  The more you provide, the more you get paid.  The less you provide, the less you get paid.  What could be more fair than that?



Britain's probable exit from the EU: Don’t think of it as leaving Europe; think of it as rejoining the world

Matt Ridley

Over the past nine years China and India have more than doubled the size of their economies. If that had happened in Europe it would have transformed living standards, government budgets and job opportunities throughout the continent, abolishing the scourge of high youth unemployment.

Yet Europe is the one continent that has shown almost no growth over that period. This great stagnation is not bad luck, it is the fault of policies pursued in Brussels to harmonise, regulate, punish and proscribe economic activity: the single currency, the blizzard of regulations, the precautionary principle, the external tariff and more.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


16 June, 2016

Memorable Donald Trump quotes about himself

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, turns 70 Tuesday. If elected, he'd be the oldest person ever elected to a first term as president.

While his 2016 presidential campaign was his first bid for public office, Trump is hardly new to the public eye. A look back at 70 quotes from interviews, books and tweets that epitomize the man, the brand, the provocateur and the potential president that is Donald J. Trump.

1) "I'm just a f------ businessman." (Fortune, 2004)

2) “The show is ‘Trump.’ And it is sold-out performances everywhere.” (Playboy, 1990)

3) “Certainly a businessperson on television has never had anything close to this success. It’s like being a rock star. Six people do nothing but sort my mail. People come in and want my secretary Robin’s autograph. If a limo pulls up in front of Trump Tower, hundreds of people gather around, even if it’s not mine. I ask, ‘Can this be a normal life?’ Maybe it’s the power that comes from having the hottest show on television, but people like me much better than they did before The Apprentice. And if you think about it, all I did on the show was fire people, which proves how bad my reputation must have been before this.” (Playboy, 2004)

4) “A lot of people like me, and a lot of people don’t. That’s okay, because my brand is solid and so am I. I can take the negative commentary because the positive impressions are so superior to the reports of the detractors.” (Midas Touch, 2011)

5) “If you don’t tell people about your success, they probably won’t know about it.” (How to Get Rich, 2004)

6) “It’s not that I’ve suffered a knockout blow. Far from it. But after a long winning streak I’m being tested under pressure. I’ve also been in the public eye long enough so that the pendulum has swung, and many of the same media people who once put me on a pedestal now can’t wait for me to fall off. People like a hero, a Golden Boy, but many like a fallen hero even better. That was a fact of life long before I came along, and I can handle it. I know that, whatever happens, I’m a survivor — a survivor of success, which is a very rare thing indeed.” (Trump Surviving at the Top, 1990)

7) “I think Eminem is fantastic, and most people think I wouldn’t like Eminem. And did you know my name is in more black songs than any other name in hip-hop? Black entertainers love Donald Trump. Russell Simmons told me that. Russell said, ‘You’re in more hip-hop songs than any other person,’ like five of them lately. That’s a great honor for me.” (Playboy, 2004)

8) “The truth was that (being on the cover of Time) didn’t feel like much of anything. There I was, looking out from every newsstand in America, and holding an ace of diamonds in my hand. But in my mind all I could hear, once again, was Peggy Lee singing ‘Is That All There Is?’ ” (Trump Surviving At The Top, 1990)

9) "You think I'm going to change? I'm not changing." (Press conference, May 2016)

10) “I play into people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.” (The Art of the Deal, 1987)

11) “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure. It’s not your fault.” (Twitter, 2013)

12) Show me someone without an ego, and I'll show you a loser — having a healthy ego, or high opinion of yourself, is a real positive in life!” (Facebook, 2013)

13) “Every successful person has a very large ego.” (Playboy, 1990)

14) “Because I’ve been successful, make money, get headlines, and have authored bestselling books, I have a better chance to make my ideas public than do people who are less well known.” (The America We Deserve, 2000)



The Left's Culture War 'Victory'

If one is conservative, a recent Washington Post article by Barton Swaim should raise one’s hackles on two counts. First, Swaim asserts the Left has won the culture war. Second, while some conservatives will resist that assertion, Swaim contends “many do not.” He argues, “Many have finally given up on the whole idea of a culture war or are willing to admit they lost it. They are determined only to remain who they are and to live as amiably and productively as they can in a culture that doesn’t look like them and doesn’t belong to them.” Perhaps the surrenderists should reconsider for the simplest of reasons: If the Left has won the culture war, it is the epitome of a Pyrrhic victory.

Or to paraphrase a familiar quote from the Vietnam War era, the Left had to destroy the nation in order to save it.

The signs are everywhere. “In 2014, 28% of young men were living with a spouse or partner in their own home, while 35% were living in the home of their parent(s),” a Pew study reveals. Pew further notes this particular change in status for adults between the ages of 18 and 34 is occurring “for the first time in more than 130 years.” The remaining 22% are living with another relative, a non-relative, or in group quarters such as college dormitories. The primary reason? A “postponement of, if not retreat from, marriage,” Pew explains. “In addition, a growing share of young adults may be eschewing marriage altogether.”

In other words, we are seeing the postponement of a critical component of adulthood for as long as possible by the same cohort of Americans who have heartily embraced “safe spaces” — the foremost of which is apparently mom and dad’s house.

Nevertheless life, as it were, goes on. And it goes on courtesy of another leftist culture war “victory,” as in the reality that by 2012, more than 50% of women under the age of 30 were having babies out of wedlock. “It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal,” the New York Times informs us. The paper also says that statistic is class-based: College graduates “overwhelmingly marry before having children. That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education.”

And since single parenthood is one of the surest roads to economic deprivation — as in single-parent families are six times more likely to live in poverty than married-parent families — perhaps the victorious leftist culture warriors who champion the “diversity” of family arrangements should also take responsibility for the lion’s share of the “income gap” they routinely attribute to other factors. Even more so for the greater instances of emotional and behavioral problems that attend single parenthood.

The destruction of the nuclear family was made possible by the leftist triumph known as the “Great Society,” an initiative spearheaded by President Lyndon Johnson and a Democrat-controlled Congress. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan rightly predicted in 1966, “A community that allows large numbers of young men to grow up in broken families … asks for and gets chaos.”

How conservatives are supposed to live as amiably and productively as they can amid chaos, such as the deadliest May shooting spree in Chicago in 21 years, is anyone’s guess. And Chicago is not alone. Black Lives Matter, another group of leftist “winners,” has demonized police forces to the point where many officers are reluctant to do their jobs. As a result, murder and other violent crimes are soaring in a number of American cities.

Swaim is hopeful the Left’s victory “may bring about a more peaceable public sphere.” But, he says, “that will depend on others — especially the adherents of an ascendant social progressivism — declining to take full advantage of their newfound cultural dominance.” He cites “principled pluralism,” a concept advocating the idea that those who disagree on fundamental principles can still find equitable compromises, as the best path to that peace.

Leftists are many things. Proponents of equitable compromise, a.k.a. live and let live, is not one of them.

Nothing epitomizes this better than the ongoing attempts to completely silence dissent on college campuses across the nation. Even some leftists have noticed. “Wasn’t liberal academe a way for ideas, good and bad, to be subjected to enlightened reason?” asks the New Yorker’s Nathan Heller. “Generations of professors and students imagined the university to be a temple for productive challenge and perpetually questioned certainties. Now, some feared, schools were being reimagined as safe spaces for coddled youths and the self-defined, untested truths that they held dear.”

Generations of professors and students haves turned college campuses into de facto leftist indoctrination camps. Take for instance Yale students' effort to abolish literature requirements that include works by William Shakespeare, John Milton and T.S. Eliot because a curriculum focused on white male authors “creates a culture that is especially hostile to students of color.” “It’s time for the English major to decolonize — not diversify — its course offerings,” states a petition circulated by undergraduates.

Yale is hardly an outlier. Similar historical “purges” are occurring on other college campuses where leftists demand the removal of names, mascots, statues and other symbols of historical figures that “offend” them.

And not just on college campuses. During a recent session of the Louisiana state legislature, Democrat Rep. Barbara Norton opposed a bill mandating that schoolchildren be taught the Declaration of Independence because “only Caucasians [were] free” when it was written, and teaching it to children is a “little bit unfair.” Norton apparently “forgets” the paradigm shift in thinking regarding inalienable rights contained in that document paved the way for the abolition of inequality. But one suspects, like so many other leftists, she prefers historical elimination in lieu of historical enlightenment. Who else demonstrates an appetite for such preferences?

The Islamic State.

Furthermore, purges are not the only problem. The Left is also determined to force-feed their agenda to a recalcitrant public. Thus the attempt to suspend biological and chromosomal reality by force of law continues apace, along with the attempt to prosecute those who deny the Left’s “settled science” with regard to climate change.

Yet the most critical point missed by Swaim is the most obvious: A cultural victory requires a culture. And nothing brings to mind the aforementioned Vietnam-era mindset of “destructive salvation” better than the ongoing invasion of illegal aliens the Left champions. For these power-hungry victors, better the “fundamental transformation of the United States” into a Third World banana republic where they maintain a vice-like grip on power than a First World nation where they’re forced to compete in the arena of ideas. Better the “borderless world” advocated by a clueless John Kerry, even as the Constitution would be rendered meaningless as a result.

A genuine culture war victory requires no coercion, censorship or, as evidenced last Thursday, mob violence to sustain it. Yet with each passing day, it becomes ever clearer leftist victors conflate crushing hearts and minds with winning them. It doesn’t get any hollower — or less sustainable — than that.

As for Swaim’s “pliable” conservatives, they would do well to remember the words often attributed to Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Even worse? Collaborating with evil to live as amiably and productively as possible amidst it. If that’s not the essence of political correctness — and consummate surrender — one is hard-pressed to imagine what is.



Democrats' Rank Politicization of Death

Democrats in the House didn't even sit through a moment of silence before they stood on the coffins of the Orlando dead to push their gun control agenda. The leftists in the chamber re-introduced legislation that would prevent anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing a firearm or explosives.

To be clear: Democrats don't care about the 49 dead. Monday evening, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a moment of silence to remember the Americans who died Sunday. In video of the moment, as most of the chamber stood with head bowed, some Democrats paid the ultimate disrespect by walking out of the chamber. Others interrupted the somber moment by chanting, "Where's the bill?" Just as some leftists belittle the prayers of people petitioning God after such a murder spree, these lawmakers demonstrated a disregard for the plight of real Americans so that they could push for bills like the one they introduced this week. Never let a crisis go to waste.

The bill Democrats revived was a measure defeated by Senate Republicans in December. As we pointed out then, preventing people on the terror watch list (which contains 280,000 Americans with no ties to terrorism) from buying guns in no way prevents those on the list from getting guns illegally. Furthermore, the bill would take away Americans' constitutional rights without due process.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


15 June, 2016

Big social media effort to disconnect Orlando massacre from Islam

I have heard of Leftists already blaming the NRA, the teachings of the Christian Church, and Donald Trump for the shooting in Orlando. As far as I know, none of these comments were eliminated due to their political content.

Pamela Geller reports:

In the wake of the monstrous Islamic shooting at a Florida gay nightclub, Earlier today Facebook had removed one of my groups, Stop Islamization of America and now has blocked me from posting to Facebook for 30 days.

The reason? This post:

The White House fails to mention Islam,  jihad or the call for slaughter of gays in Islam. Instead, Obama is importing these savages by the thousands

I am sure we will get warnings of “islamophobia” and “backlashophobia.” Hamas-CAIR has called a press conference, and the leader of the Islamic Society of Central Florida is already at a press conference in Orlando. Islamic supremacist groups use these monstrous acts of carnage and murder to proselytize for Islam and condemn those of us who oppose jihad slaughter and sharia. It is gruesome how these Muslim groups exploit the bloodshed



Why Trump Must Not Apologize

Pat Buchanan

"Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl."
Donald Trump has internalized the maxim Benjamin Jowett gave to his students at Balliol who would soon be running the empire.

And in rejecting demands that he apologize for his remarks about the La Raza judge presiding over the class-action suit against Trump University, the Donald is instinctively correct

Assume, as we must, that Trump believes what he said. Why, then, should he apologize for speaking the truth, as he sees it?

To do so would be to submit to extortion, to recant, to confess to a sin he does not believe he committed. It would be to capitulate to pressure, to tell a lie to stop the beating, to grovel before the Inquisition of Political Correctness.

Trump is cheered today because he defies the commands of political correctness, and, to the astonishment of enemies and admirers alike, he gets away with it.

To the establishment, Trump is thus a far greater menace than Bernie Sanders, who simply wants to push his soak-the-rich party a little further in the direction of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

But Trump, with his defiant refusal to apologize for remarks about "rapists" among illegal immigrants from Mexico, and banning Muslims, is doing something far more significant.

He is hurling his "Non serviam!" in the face of the establishment. He is declaring: "I reject your moral authority. You have no right to sit in judgment of me. I will defy any moral sanction you impose, and get away with it. And my people will stand by me."

Trump's rebellion is not only against the Republican elite but against the establishment's claim to define what is right and wrong, true and false, acceptable and unacceptable, in this republic.

Contrast Trump with Paul Ryan, who has buckled pathetically.

The speaker says Trump's remark about Judge Gonzalo Curiel being hostile to him, probably because the judge is Mexican-American, is the "textbook definition of a racist comment."

But Ryan's remark raises fewer questions about Trump's beliefs than it does about the depth of Ryan's mind.

We have seen a former president of Mexico curse Trump. We have heard Mexican-American journalists and politicians savage him. We have watched Hispanic rioters burn the American flag and flaunt the Mexican flag outside Trump rallies.

We are told Trump "provoked" these folks, to such a degree they are not entirely to blame for their actions.

Yet the simple suggestion that a Mexican-American judge might also be affected is "the textbook definition of a racist comment"?

The most depressing aspect of this episode is to witness the Republican Party in full panic, trashing Trump to mollify the media who detest them. To see how far the party has come, consider:

After he had locked up his nomination, Barry Goldwater rose on the floor of the Senate in June of 1964 and voted "No" on the Civil Rights Act. The senator believed that the federal government was usurping the power of the states. He could not countenance this, no matter how noble the cause.

Say what you will about him, Barry Goldwater would never be found among this cut-and-run crowd that is deserting Trump to appease an angry elite. These Republicans seem to believe that, if or when Trump goes down, this whole unfortunate affair will be over, and they can go back to business as usual.

Sorry, but there is no going back.

The nationalist resistance to the invasion across our Southern border and the will to preserve the unique character of America are surging, and they have their counterparts all across Europe. People sense that the fate and future of the West are in the balance.

While Trump defies political correctness here, in Europe one can scarcely keep track of the anti-EU and anti-immigrant nationalist and separatist parties sprouting up from the Atlantic to the Urals.

Call it identity politics, call it tribalism, call it ethnonationalism; it and Islamism are the two most powerful forces on earth.

A decade ago, if one spoke other than derisively of parties like the National Front in France, the blacklisters would come around. Now, the establishments in the West are on the defensive -- when they are not openly on the run. The day of the Bilderberger is over.

Back to Jowett. When the British were serenely confident in the superiority of their tribe, faith, culture and civilization, they went out and conquered and ruled and remade the world, and for the better.

When they embraced the guilt-besotted liberalism that James Burnham called the "ideology of Western suicide," it all came down.

The empire collapsed, the establishment burbled its endless apologies for how wicked it had been, and the great colonial powers of Europe threw open their borders to the peoples they had colonized, who are now coming to occupy and remake the mother countries.

But suddenly, to the shock of an establishment reconciled to its fate, populist resistance, call it Trumpism, seems everywhere to be rising.



The Little Injun That Shouldn't

Elizabeth Warren is on the short list for the Democrat vice presidential nomination, whether the nominee be Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. Today, she’s going to roll out her audition as attack dog in a blistering speech about Donald Trump. She advance-released some of her planned comments, which appear to be loaded with some real doozies. Warren reportedly plans to call Trump a “nasty, loud, thin-skinned fraud” who is guilty of “racism” in his attack on a federal judge. (For the record, we explored Trump’s comments on the “Mexican judge” last Friday and what the episode illustrates regarding his view of executive power.)

Warren also aims to tie Trump to two men who’ve gone out of their way to criticize him over his comments: Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Particularly, Warren is interested in McConnell because he’s blocking hearings on Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. “Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell want Donald Trump to appoint the next generation of judges,” the senator plans to say. “Trump chose racism as his weapon, but his aim is exactly the same as the rest of the Republicans. Pound the courts into submission to the rich and powerful.” Warren will insist Trump is “a Mitch McConnell kind of candidate … exactly the kind of candidate you’d expect from a Republican Party whose ‘script’ for several years has been to execute a full-scale assault on the integrity of our courts.”

Some observations: First, Warren herself is hardly the right messenger for calling someone a “thin-skinned fraud” for using “racism.” She is the one who fraudulently claimed Native American ancestry to further her career in leftist academia. Instead of being held accountable, “Fauxcahontas” won election to the Senate. But that’s deep blue Massachusetts for you — after all, the state kept re-electing Ted Kennedy.

Second, it is Democrats, not Republicans, who seek to pound the courts into submission, and who use the courts to accomplish statist objectives they fail to produce through legislative means. It may not always be the “rich and powerful” who benefit, but it is always the favored political constituency. That is a “full-scale assault on the integrity of our courts.”

And as for Trump’s comments, consider these statements from now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” And, “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences … our gender and national origins may and will [emphasis added] make a difference in our judging.”

Democrats raised no objection whatsoever to those racist comments from a woman who now makes judgments from the highest bench in the land. They’re far more concerned with Trump’s intimidating bluster about a specific civil case. But which one should be more concerning?



Democrats too corrupt to have any principles

From Leftist Matt Taibbi:

The sickening thing about the Democrats is they refuse to see how easy they could have it. If the party threw its weight behind unions and prosecuted Wall Street criminals and stopped taking giant gobs of cash from every crooked transnational bank and job-exporting manufacturer in the world, they would win every election season in a landslide.

This is especially true now that the Republican Party has collapsed under its own nativist lunacy. It's the moment when the Democrats should feel free to become a real party of ordinary working people.

But politicians are so used to viewing the electorate as a giant thing to be manipulated that no matter what happens at the ballot, their only focus is the Washington-based characters they think pull the strings.

Through this lens, the uprising among Democratic voters this year wasn't an expression of mass disgust, but the fault of Bernie Sanders, who within the Beltway is viewed as a radical who jumped the line.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up --  about immigration and such things


THEY are not tolerant


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


14 June, 2016

Not all homophobias are equal

"There's good homophobia and bad homophobia.  Muslim homophobias are good homophobias.  They can't help it. It's part of their  religion.  And if the phobic one is from a poor group and is a registered Democrat to boot, we must totally forgive him.  And for the sake of his family, we must limit all publicity as far as possible"

Does that sound like a sane response to the Orlando massacre?  I wrote it as a prediction of what Leftists will say about the matter.  I read a lot of Leftist stuff so know the sort of thing they say. So we will see.  The fact that the victims were mostly minorities might slow them down a bit, though.

UPDATE:  I wasn't cynical enough above.  Below is an actual and quite deranged Leftist response:

Christian conservatives are responsible for the mass shooting at a gay bar in Orlando because they "created this anti-queer climate," according to American Civil Liberties Union attorneys.

"You know what is gross — your thoughts and prayers and Islamophobia after you created this anti-queer climate," ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio tweeted on Sunday morning.

But Strangio — who "spend[s his] life fighting Christian homophobia while being loved & supported by [his] Muslim family" — and his colleagues connected the shooting back to Christians and Republican politicians who oppose gay marriage. "The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this," Strangio tweeted. "No."


One wonders how he explains Muslims in the Middle East throwing gays off buildings


Crazy ideologue Obama is still blaming guns, not Muslims, for Muslim terrorism

You can see from his face that he knows he is selling shit.  Leftists are in a constant battle with reality

President Obama furthered his gun control message today when addressing the massacre in Orlando that killed 50 people, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

'Although it's still early in the investigation we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,' Obama said, making no reference to ISIS or Islamic terror in his brief remarks.

Obama called the shooting spree, at the gay nightclub Pulse during Pride month in the United States, a reminder of how easy it is for someone to get a hold of a weapon that could kill people in a 'school, or a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub'.



Trump has the right message for the times

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for President Barack Obama to step down from his position after not linking the Orlando nightclub terror attack to 'Radical Islam'.

In a statement released following Obama's speech, he also said that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should 'get out of this race for Presidency'.

Trump's comments come after 50 people were killed in a shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning, marking the most deadly mass shooting in US history.

He said in his statement: 'Last night, our nation was attacked by a radical Islamic terrorist. It was the worst terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11, and the second of its kind in six months. My deepest sympathy and support goes out to the victims, the wounded, and their families.

'In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words "Radical Islam". For that reason alone, he should step down.

'If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words 'Radical Islam' she should get out of this race for the Presidency.

'If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse.

'I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can't afford to be politically correct anymore.'

'Radical Islam advocates hate for women, gays, Jews, Christians and all Americans. I am going to be a President for all Americans, and I am going to protect and defend all Americans. We are going to make America safe again and great again for everyone.'


Trump's full statement is here


Lying Leftist crap about Orlando

The following headline article by "Senior writer" Nick O'Malley is from a leading Leftist newspaper in Australia -- a bit like the NYT.  It was headed: "Orlando shooting: For Republicans, it's easier to ban Muslims than guns".  That's a very slimy pieace of writing.  Most Australians reading it would assume that Muslims have ALREADY  been banned by Republicans -- which would be untrue.  So the writer just talks about what would be easier, which is very much a matter of opinion. 

Republicans don't want to ban ANY ethnic  group in America -- though Trump has proposed banning IMMIGRATION by Muslims and tweeted that he has been "right on Islamic terrorism" -- which he has of course been.  He has always been outspoken about Islamic terrorism.  So our Leftist writer, with traditional Leftist disrespect for the facts, has added up 2 and 2 and got 5

The Left Chose Islam Over Gays. Now 100 People Are Dead Or Maimed In Orlando

There have been more than 30 mass shootings in America since President Obama took office in 2009.

In December last year Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik armed themselves with AR-15s - the same type of weapon used to kill 50 people in Orlando - and murdered 14 people at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California, in what was soon classified as a terrorist attack.

The following day Republicans in Congress blocked a bill that would have banned people who were on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. The National Rifle Association opposed the ban on the grounds the list might contain mistakes, and some people might unfairly have their right to bear arms infringed upon.

The NRA's lackeys in Congress did as they were told, as they always do.

Since then Donald Trump has become the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee on a platform that includes a proposal to ban all Muslims from entering America "until we figure out what is going on."

But we already know what is going on. Over 40,000 Americans are dying each year partly because they live in a society in which it is more politically viable to propose banning Muslims than regulate gun sales.



An interesting comment on leading Leftists

Long-time British Labour party insider Lord Bernard Donoughue, has below some choice words for Labour types he does not like.  They encapsulate pretty well how I see Leftists in general

I’m least comfortable with the high-minded, sanctimonious, morally superior, progressive liberal breed, often found in Hampstead and Islington and the older universities, usually reading the Guardian, and infecting the newer Lib Dems and the academic ranks of my Labour party. I find their self-righteous tone difficult to bear.

In the Guardian, [columnist] Hugo Young attacked me for having voted with the Government on the Criminal Justice Bill. Said I was ‘once of repute’, but no longer.

Typical high-minded Hampstead crap. Must remember that Labour has always had an excess of the sanctimonious tendency which, along with envy, is one of our least attractive characteristics.

I always imagine that Hampstead is full of nightly judgmental dinner parties devoted entirely to self-righteous disapproval of everyone else except themselves.

All others, in their view, fall short of the lofty moral standards, which the sanctimonious, having never had responsibility, are able to maintain because they’ve never been tested.

Like Hugo Young, they also usually have private incomes to bolster life on the high moral ground.



The Statin craze is slowly dying

Statins do lower your cholesterol but what if cholesterol doesn't matter?  What if cholesterol is NOT the cause of heart attacks? What if the "bad" cholesterol is not bad at all but may be good? The study below answers those questions. And, most interestingly, it looked only at people over 60, by far the group most likely to have heart attacks and strokes. So the study had high "relevance". If cholesterol was harmless in that group, that is "end of story".  That is the group that the whole discussion is about.

And, as you will read below, "bad" cholesterol was found to be  not bad at all and can be good.  It tends to PROLONG life, not shorten it.  So throw away those pills.  You are most likely doing yourself harm by taking them

Lack of an association or an inverse association between low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and mortality in the elderly: a systematic review

By Uffe Ravnskov et al.


Objective: It is well known that total cholesterol becomes less of a risk factor or not at all for all-cause and cardiovascular (CV) mortality with increasing age, but as little is known as to whether low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), one component of total cholesterol, is associated with mortality in the elderly, we decided to investigate this issue.

Setting, participants and outcome measures: We sought PubMed for cohort studies, where LDL-C had been investigated as a risk factor for all-cause and/or CV mortality in individuals ?60?years from the general population.

Results: We identified 19 cohort studies including 30 cohorts with a total of 68?094 elderly people, where all-cause mortality was recorded in 28 cohorts and CV mortality in 9 cohorts. Inverse association between all-cause mortality and LDL-C was seen in 16 cohorts (in 14 with statistical significance) representing 92% of the number of participants, where this association was recorded. In the rest, no association was found. In two cohorts, CV mortality was highest in the lowest LDL-C quartile and with statistical significance; in seven cohorts, no association was found.

Conclusions: High LDL-C is inversely associated with mortality in most people over 60?years. This finding is inconsistent with the cholesterol hypothesis (ie, that cholesterol, particularly LDL-C, is inherently atherogenic). Since elderly people with high LDL-C live as long or longer than those with low LDL-C, our analysis provides reason to question the validity of the cholesterol hypothesis. Moreover, our study provides the rationale for a re-evaluation of guidelines recommending pharmacological reduction of LDL-C in the elderly as a component of cardiovascular disease prevention strategies.

BMJ Open 2016;6:e010401 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010401


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


13 June, 2016

The plain truth


The Left's Mobocracy

By Ben Shapiro

For years, the left has been desperate to paint conservatives as the real danger to civil society. Back in 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security called conservatives a threat to safety. In a report, it stated that those who oppose abortion and illegal immigration represent a serious domestic terror threat. After presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reprehensibly justified violence against protesters, the media was awash with fears that conservatives would suddenly lose their minds and begin brandishing pitchforks in search of unlucky transgender individuals.

But, for decades, the only real threat of mob violence has come from the political left.

The left proved this once again this week when rioters in San Jose, California ignored do-nothing police officers and assaulted Trump supporters after his campaign rally. They overran police barriers, punched random rallygoers and egged a woman. They spit on people, burned American flags and generally made a violent nuisance of themselves.

The left reacted by blaming Trump.

First off, let's point out that while Trump has encouraged his own rallygoers to participate in violence against peaceful protesters, there has never been a pro-Trump mob or riot. Individuals have engaged in bad behavior, but there has never been any mass activity. The same is not true of the political left, which traffics in mob action, from Ferguson, Missouri, to Baltimore, Maryland, to Seattle, Washington, to Occupy Wall Street.

Why? Because when conservatives act badly, they're condemned by both conservatives and leftists. But when leftists riot, leftists simply blame conservatives for the riots.

That's what happened in San Jose.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said, "At some point, Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign." San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia praised his officers for failing to intervene, saying, "We are not an 'occupying force' and cannot reflect the chaotic tactics of protesters." The San Jose Police Department added that it did not intervene so as to not "further (incite) the crowd and produce more violent behavior."

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton blamed Trump, too: "He created an environment in which it seemed to be acceptable for someone running for president to be inciting violence, to be encouraging his supporters. Now we're seeing people who are against him responding in kind." The internet blogging service Vox was forced to suspend editor Emmett Rensin after telling people to "start a riot" if Trump sets foot in their town.

Trump may be a gross thug individually, but conservatives are generally uninterested in the sort of thuggish hordes that roam the streets looking for skulls to crack. We don't like those sorts of folks; we find them an affront to law and order and clean living.

The left has no such compunction. And so long as their leading lights continue to justify such lawlessness in the name of stopping the rhetoric of the right, we're doomed to more broken eggs, broken noses and broken politics.



Elitist Arrogance and stupidity behind minimum wage push

By Walter E. Williams

A basic economic premise holds that when the price of something rises, people seek to economize on its use. They seek substitutes for that which has risen in price. Recent years have seen proposals for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Some states and localities, such as Seattle, have already legislated a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

Nobody should be surprised that fast-food companies such as Wendy's, Panera Bread, McDonald's and others are seeking substitutes for employees who are becoming costlier. One substitute that has emerged for cashiers is automated kiosks where, instead of having a person take your order, you select your meal and pay for it using a machine. Robots are also seen as an alternative to a $15-an-hour minimum wage. In fact, employee costs are much higher than an hourly wage suggests. For every employee paid $15 an hour, a company spends an additional $10 an hour on non-wage benefits, such as medical insurance, Social Security, workers' compensation and other taxes. That means the minimum hourly cost of hiring such an employee is close to $25.

The vision that higher mandated wages (that exceed productivity) produce no employment effects is what economists call a zero-elasticity view of the world — one in which there is no response to price changes. It assumes that customers are insensitive to higher product prices and investors are insensitive to a company's profits. There is little evidence that people are insensitive to price changes, whether they be changes in taxes, gas prices, food prices, labor prices or any other price. The issue is not whether people change their behavior when relative prices rise or fall; it is always how soon and how great the change will be. Thus, with minimum wage increases, it is not an issue of whether firms will economize on labor but an issue of how much they will economize and who will bear the burden of that economizing.

Fast-food restaurants must respond to higher prices because they have two sets of ruthless people to deal with. We can see that with a hypothetical example. Imagine that faced with higher employee costs, Burger King automates and, as a result of finding cheaper ways to do things, it can sell its hamburgers for $3. Its competitor McDonald's does not automate and keeps the same number of employees in the face of higher wages, maybe to be nice and caring. McDonald's might try to forestall declining profits by attempting to recover higher labor costs by raising product prices — say, charging $5 for a hamburger. However, consumers are not insensitive to higher prices. They would seek cheaper substitutes, thereby patronizing Burger King. The bottom line is that in the wake of higher minimum wages, surviving companies will be those that find ways to economize on labor usage.

There is another ruthless set of people. They are investors. If customers were to flock to Burger King, McDonald's profits would fall. What is your guess as to what investors would do? My guess is they would sell shares in McDonald's. An even more dismal picture for McDonald's would be the specter of corporate takeover attempts. Somebody would see that money could be made by bringing McDonald's to its senses.

The saddest aspect of the minimum wage story is the damage it does to human beings. The current hourly wage for a fast-food restaurant cashier is $7.25 to $9 per hour. That produces a yearly salary of $15,000 to $20,000, plus fringes. That's no great shakes, but it is honest work and a start in life. It might be the very best some people could do. Enter the arrogance and callousness of the elite. Their vision of what a person should earn, expressed by higher minimum wages, destroys people's best alternative without offering a superior one in its place. Maybe the elite believe that welfare, unemployment compensation and possibly engaging in illegal activities are a superior alternative to earning an honest and respectable living on a cashier's salary. That is a despicable vision.



The Key Economic Facts Obama’s Recovery Narrative Ignores

President Barack Obama took an economic victory lap in Elkhart, Indiana, on Wednesday.

In a major speech he argued his policies have brought the economy back. He blamed remaining economic weaknesses on trends preceding his administration.

This analysis has the economic facts precisely backwards: Economic growth benefitted Americans up and down the income distribution until the Great Recession. Since then, Americans have struggled considerably.

Obama argued his policies have brought the economy back. While labor market conditions have certainly improved from the depths of the recession—the official unemployment rate has even returned to pre-recession levels—these numbers do not tell the whole story.

Millions of working-age Americans stopped looking for work during the recession. Many have not returned to the labor market. The working-age labor force participation rate remains 2 percentage points below pre-recession levels. The government does not count these ex-workers as unemployed— even if they would have jobs in a stronger economy.

This explains why the unemployment rate has officially recovered in the Elkhart metropolitan area despite it still having fewer jobs today than in 2007.

Workers also take significantly longer to find new jobs today. The average jobless worker still spends over six months unemployed. This recovery has gone far slower than the White House promised when proposing Obama’s recovery plan.

Obama argues pre-existing trends caused this economic weakness:

… where we haven’t finished the job, where folks have good reason to feel anxious, is addressing some of the longer-term trends in the economy—that started long before I was elected—that make working families feel less secure. These are trends that have been happening for decades now and that we’ve got to do more to reverse.

This argument rewrites economic history.

Until the recession family incomes were growing up and down the income ladder. Congressional Budget Office data show market incomes for the middle quintile of (non-elderly) households grew by a third between 1979 and 2007.

Other academic economists estimate higher middle class income growth over that period. Market incomes for families in the bottom quintile grew even faster—by more than 50 percent.

Unsurprisingly, most Americans were happy with the state of the economy then. In February 2007, Gallup polled Americans‘ perceptions of the state of the economy. Forty-three percent said “excellent” or “good.” Only 16 percent answered “poor.”

Then the recession hit and the recovery dragged on. Between 2007 and 2011, middle class households’ market incomes dropped by a tenth (the Congressional Budget Office data only goes through 2011). More Americans today tell Gallup they think the economy is in poor shape than in excellent or good condition. It’s hard to blame this newfound dissatisfaction on long-term trends.

The president argued his administration deserves credit for the recovery thus far. If so, he has engineered the weakest recovery of the post-war era.



CFPB Announces New Proposed Rule to Make Poor People's Lives Harder

Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a proposed rule that would allow them to eliminate banking options for poor Americans. Did you miss that headline? Perhaps that’s because the Obama administration and its allies in the press described these new regulations as “cracking down on payday lenders.”

But this spin ignores a crucial detail: many poor Americans do not have and cannot afford traditional banking options such as checking and savings accounts because fees make these products prohibitively expensive for people with low incomes. Payday lenders often provide crucial basic banking services for these poor Americans. For people struggling to make ends meet, a short term loan may be the difference in being able to buy groceries or making a rent payment on time. They should have the freedom to contract and obtain the loans they believe they need, not be subject to the whims of regulators in Washington DC.

Now it is certainly the case that there are unscrupulous companies in the payday loan industry, as in any industry, but every state has regulators watching this industry and making sure that this valuable service is offered safely and ethically. As the Heritage Foundation’s Norbert Michel notes: “Not only does the CFPB lack evidence to support its claims that these lenders engage in ‘predatory behavior,’ the evidence actually suggests just the opposite." These new heavy-handed federal regulations are not meant to protect consumers: state regulators already do that. These rules are meant to eliminate payday lenders because they are disfavored by the left-wing federal administrative state.

In the world of the all-powerful administrative state in which we live, we have an agency in the CFPB which is unaccountable to Congress or the public. It can make rules designed to destroy a targeted industry. Today, they may come for an unpopular industry like payday lenders, but what can stop them from coming for your business or job next?

There is still a chance to stop these destructive and unnecessary regulations. These rules are still just in proposed status, which gives the public and affected companies and consumers the opportunity to comment and express their opposition. This comment period will last until September 14th, 2016. And given the destructive nature of the rules there will likely be court challenges. This rulemaking is yet another signpost on the road to regulatory tyranny and should be rejected.



Refugees in Europe


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


12 June, 2016

WHAAT?  Premature babies are brighter??

When I first saw the findings below I thought I was looking at another example of researchers getting their statistics back to front.  The logical and conventional view is that premature birth harms the baby to some degree.  And that is the official medical view too.  The authors of the study below were obviously pretty perturbed by their results too and turned themselves inside out trying to think of ways in which their very strong study got it wrong.  And I think that they went close to isolating the problem, but did not have the psychometric background needed to get it exactly right

The thing that told me what was going on was the Dutch Famine Study.  In the closing phase of WW2, Nederland experienced a severe food shortage.  The mothers of babies born at that time did the best for their infants but a lot still went very hungry.  But a food shortage at that early age could be expected to handicap the infant to some degree, with brain damage being probable.  So when that birth cohort came up for conscription into the Dutch army 18 years later, there was great interest in what their average IQs would be.  Most armies do carry out ability testing as an aid to weeding out soldiers who would be more dangerous to their companions than to the enemy. Putting lethal weapons into the hands of dummies is not recommended.

So what did the Dutch psychologists discover?  Did they find that the average IQ for that year was low?  No. To the contrary, they found that the average IQ was unusually HIGH for that year. 

So what had happened?  It was a eugenic effect.  As has repeatedly been shown, high IQ is a marker of general biological fitness -- and only the fit babies survived the famine.  The less fit were weeded out -- died.  So only the fit survived and they had higher IQs than average.

So you might by now see the strong analogy with the results below.  Less fit babies did not survive pre-term birth.  Those who did survive were generally  more fit biologically and hence of higher IQ.  It's actually interesting confirmation of the Dutch findings.  The other finding below, of a slight probability of physical impairment probably shows that even a selection effect cannot cancel out all the stresses and disadvantages that pre-term birth must be expected to impose

Long-term Cognitive and Health Outcomes of School-Aged Children Who Were Born Late-Term vs Full-Term

David N. Figlio et al.


Importance: Late-term gestation (defined as the 41st week of pregnancy) is associated with increased risk of perinatal health complications. It is not known to what extent late-term gestation is associated with long-term cognitive and physical outcomes. Information about long-term outcomes may influence physician and patient decisions regarding optimal pregnancy length.

Objective: To compare the cognitive and physical outcomes of school-aged children who were born full term or late term.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  We analyzed Florida birth certificates from 1994 to 2002 linked to Florida public school records from 1998 to 2013 and found 1?442?590 singleton births with 37 to 41 weeks' gestation in the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. Of these, 1?153?716 children (80.0%) were subsequently located in Florida public schools. Linear and logistic regression models were used to assess the association of gestational age with cognitive and physical outcomes at school age. Data analysis took place between April 2013 and January 2016.

Exposures: Late-term (born at 41 weeks) vs full-term (born at 39 or 40 weeks) gestation.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  There were a number of measures used, including the average Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test mathematics and reading scores at ages 8 through 15 years; whether a child was classified as gifted, defined as a student with superior intellectual development and capable of high performance; poor cognitive outcome, defined as a child scoring in the fifth percentile of test takers or having a disability that exempted him or her from taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test; and Exceptional Student Education placement owing to orthopedic, speech, or sensory impairment or being hospitalbound or homebound.

Results:  Of 1?536?482 children born in Florida from singleton births from 1994 to 2002 with complete demographic information, 787?105 (51.2%) were male; 338?894 (22.1%) of mothers were black and 999?684 (65.1%) were married at time of birth, and the mean (SD) age for mothers at time of birth was 27.2 (6.2) years. Late-term infants had 0.7% of an SD (95% CI, 0.001-0.013; P?=?.02) higher average test scores in elementary and middle school, 2.8% (95% CI, 0.4-5.2; P?=?.02) higher probability of being gifted, and 3.1% (95% CI, 0.0-6.1; P?=?.05) reduced probability of poor cognitive outcomes compared with full-term infants. These cognitive benefits appeared strongest for children with disadvantaged family background characteristics. Late-term infants were also 2.1% (95% CI, ?0.3 to 4.5; P?=?.08) more likely to be physically impaired.

Conclusions and Relevance: There appears to be a tradeoff between cognitive and physical outcomes associated with late-term gestation. Children born late-term performed better on 3 measures of school-based cognitive functioning but worse on 1 measure of physical functioning relative to children born full term. Our findings provide longer-run information for expectant parents and physicians who are considering delivery at full term vs late term. These findings are most relevant to uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancies.



Another Liberal Publication Calls For Violence Against Trump

These nutty liberals can't help themselves. In response to the violence visited upon Trump supporters, President Obama urged liberals to "stop acting like the other side." A Vox.com editor urged people in towns on the campaign trail to riot in response to Trump. Now, a writer for the Huffington Post is calling for worse:

A writer for the Huffington Post is defending his recent op-ed that "a violent response” is the “logical” approach to stopping presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Jesse Benn wrote in the op-ed titled “Sorry Liberals, A Violent Response To Trump Is As Logical As Any,” posted on Monday, “[T]here’s an inherent value in forestalling Trump’s normalization. Violent resistance accomplishes this.”

"These denunciations of violence from anti-Trump protestors rest on the misguided view that the divide Trump’s exposed is a typical political disagreement between partisans, and should be handled as such.," he wrote. "This couldn’t be further from the truth. Trump might not be a fascist in the 20th century European sense of the term—though many of his supporters are—but he might represent its 21st century US version."

"Violent resistance matters. Riots can lead to major change," Benn wrote. "It’s not liberal politicians or masses that historians identify as the spark underlying the modern movement for LGBTQ equality. Nor was it a think piece from some smarmy liberal writer. It was the people who took to the streets during the Stonewall Uprising."
Benn has it all wrong. The answer to speech one disagrees with is more speech. The Founders understood that unfettered political speech and a robust marketplace of ideas was the antidote to tyranny, and  that a robust public forum would force the worst ideas to contend with the best ones. The truth might not always win out, but those that knew it could use it to hold the powerful accountable. Martin Luther King understood this when he urged non-violent resistance in the face of terrible persecution and the most vile racist rhetoric. He forced a nation to consider the gravity of "all men are created equal" by not using force.

In a system where irrational violence is condoned, only those willing to commit the most irrational, violent acts win out. The truth is defined by the violent, and the violent decide what is tolerable and what is punishable. That's the very fascism that Benn claims to hate so much.



Trump and the Judge

Something that we think still confuses a lot of conservatives is their presumption that leftwing arguments are supposed to be applied evenhandedly.  Thus their befuddlement over Trump’s comment about the judge. To be clear, we don't like what Trump said and find the implications troubling. We are not defending that position specifically. But we also think that this issue points to an underlying problem resulting from the politicization of the judiciary begun by the left.

When Sonia Sotomayor said that being a “wise Latina” influences her decisions for the better, that—we were told—was not merely nothing to worry about but a sign of her judicial temperament and fitness for the High Court.  When Trump says being a Latino will influence this judge’s hearing of his case, he’s Hitler.

There may seem at first glance to be an inconsistency here.  But there is a common thread.  The left mostly takes for granted, first, that people from certain ethnicities in positions of power will be liberal Democrats and, second, that they will use that power in the interests of their party and co-ethnics.  This is a core reason for shouts of “treason!” “Uncle Tom” (or Tomas) and the like.  People like Clarence Thomas are offending the left’s whole conception of the moral order.  How dare he!

The implicit assumption underlying Sotomayor’s comment and Thomas’ refusal to play to type is that there is a type—an expectation.  By virtue of her being a liberal, a Democrat, a woman, and a Latina (wise or otherwise), Sotomayor’s voting pattern on the Court ought to be predictable.  As, indeed, it is.  So should Thomas’, but he declines to play his assigned role.

The slightly deeper assumption is that this identity-based predictability is necessary, because the institutions and laws as designed will not reliably produce the “correct” outcome.  That’s the logic of diversity in a nutshell.  If everybody in power strictly followed law and procedure, the good guys—the poor, minorities, women, etc.—would lose a great deal of the time and that would be bad.  We need people who will look past the niceties of the rule of law and toward the outcome—the end.  The best way to ensure that is “diversity,” i.e., people more loyal to their own party and tribe than to abstractions like the rule of law.

Trump simply took this very same logic and restated it from his own point-of-view—that is, from the point-of-view of a rich, Republican, ostentatiously hyper-American defendant in a lawsuit being litigated in a highly-charged political environment.  He knows full well that at least 50% of the country will howl like crazy if he wins this suit.  He knows that the judge knows that, too.  He further knows that judge knows what his own “side” expects him to do.  It would take an act of extraordinary courage to act against interest and expectation in this instance.  And our present system is not calibrated to produce such acts of courage but rather to produce the expected outcome.

That’s what diversity is for.  That is, beyond the fairness issue, viz., that in a multiethnic country, it’s unwise and arguably unjust for high offices to be monopolized by one group.  But that’s an argument for something like quotas—or, if you want to be high-minded about it, “distributive justice”—and the quota rationale for diversity is passé.  The current rationale is that diversity provides “perspectives.”  Perspectives to aid in getting around the law and procedure.  Otherwise, who cares about diversity?  Just apply the law.  Simple.

Trump is taking for granted the left's presumption that ethnic Democratic judges will rule in the interests of their party and of their ethnic bloc.  That's what they’re supposed to do.  The MSM and the overall narrative say this is just fine.  It’s only bad when someone like Trump points it out in a negative way.  If a properly sanctified liberal had said “This man is a good judge because his background gives him the perspective to see past narrow, technical legalities and grasp the larger justice,” not only would no one have complained, that comment would have been widely praised.  In fact, comments just like it are celebrated all the time.  That is precisely what Justice Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” phrase was meant to convey.

Plus, Trump has whacked the hornets’ nest by his criticism of Mexican immigration, which he feels this judge is bound to take personally.  And why shouldn’t he conclude that?  The left (and the domesticated right) tell us incessantly that any criticism—however fair or factual—that touches on a specific group will inevitably arouse the ire of that group.  Don’t say anything negative about immigration or the Hispanics will never vote for you!  Don’t say anything critical of Islamic terror or more Muslims will hate us!  But when Trump uses that same logic—I’ve criticized Mexican immigration so it’s likely this judge won’t like me—he’s a villain.

To look for logical consistency in any of this is to miss the point.  Trump is bad, and he is using these leftist arguments for bad (that is, not their intended) ends.  Therefore he is both bad and wrong, even though others who say logically identical things are good and right. Restoring confidence in the impartial rule of law will require eliminating this sort of divisive rhetoric on both sides.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


10 June, 2016

Muhammad Ali’s abhorrent views on race

Some long overdue realism from Jeff Jacoby below.  The adulation currently given to Muhammad Ali is ridiculous to the point of hysteria. It can be explained only by the fact that he was black. It's just Leftist racism again. 

It reminds me of the "Obamamania" hysteria in the run up to Obama's first election.  Leftists have such a hard time finding any validation for their beliefs that when they do find some validation of them they go quite over the top.  And one of their most unrealistic beliefs is that blacks are as generally capable as are whites.  That lies behind their constant attempts to get blacks equally represented in various skilled occupations. 

So, when they find a black who does actually have something going for him, it fills them with joy.  It props up their very counter-factual worldview.  With blacks heavily over-represented in violent crime, educational failure and welfare dependancy, their absurd view that "all men are equal" is under daily assault

LONG BEFORE he died, Muhammad Ali had been extolled by many as the greatest boxer in history. Some called him the greatest athlete of the 20th century. Still others, like George W. Bush, when he bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, endorsed Ali’s description of himself as “the greatest of all time.” Ali’s death Friday night sent the paeans and panegyrics to even more exalted heights. Fox Sports went so far as to proclaim Muhammad Ali nothing less than “the greatest athlete the world will ever see.”

As a champion in the ring, Ali may have been without equal. But when his idolizers go beyond boxing and sports, exalting him as a champion of civil rights and tolerance, they spout pernicious nonsense.

There have been spouters aplenty in the last few days — everyone from the NBA commissioner (“Ali transcended sports with his outsized personality and dedication to civil rights”) to the British prime minister (“a champion of civil rights”) to the junior senator from Massachusetts (“Muhammad Ali fought for civil rights . . . for human rights . . . for peace”).

Time for a reality check.

It is true that in his later years, Ali lent his name and prestige to altruistic activities and worthy public appeals. By then he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a cruel affliction that robbed him of his mental and physical keenness and increasingly forced him to rely on aides to make decisions on his behalf.

But when Ali was in his prime, the uninhibited “king of the world,” he was no expounder of brotherhood and racial broad-mindedness. On the contrary, he was an unabashed bigot and racial separatist and wasn’t shy about saying so.

In a wide-ranging 1968 interview with Bud Collins, the storied Boston Globe sports reporter, Ali insisted that it was as unnatural to expect blacks and whites to live together as it would be to expect humans to live with wild animals. “I don’t hate rattlesnakes, I don’t hate tigers — I just know I can’t get along with them,” he said. “I don’t want to try to eat with them or sleep with them.”

Collins asked: “You don’t think that we can ever get along?”

“I know whites and blacks cannot get along; this is nature,” Ali replied. That was why he liked George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor who was then running for president.

Collins wasn’t sure he’d heard right. “You like George Wallace?”

“Yes, sir,” said Ali. “I like what he says. He says Negroes shouldn’t force themselves in white neighborhoods, and white people shouldn’t have to move out of the neighborhood just because one Negro comes. Now that makes sense.”

This was not some inexplicable aberration. It reflected a hateful worldview that Ali, as a devotee of Elijah Muhammad and the segregationist Nation of Islam, espoused for years. At one point, he even appeared before a Ku Klux Klan rally. It was “a hell of a scene,” he later boasted — Klansmen with hoods, a burning cross, “and me on the platform,” preaching strict racial separation. “Black people should marry their own women,” Ali declaimed. “Bluebirds with bluebirds, red birds with red birds, pigeons with pigeons, eagles with eagles. God didn’t make no mistake!”

In 1975, amid the frenzy over the impending “Thrilla in Manila,” his third title fight with Joe Frazier, Ali argued vehemently in a Playboy interview that interracial couples ought to be lynched. “A black man should be killed if he’s messing with a white woman,” he said. And it was the same for a white man making a pass at a black woman. “We’ll kill anybody who tries to mess around with our women.” But suppose the black woman wanted to be with the white man, the interviewer asked. “Then she dies,” Ali answered. “Kill her too.”

Ali was contemptuous of black boxers, such as Frazier or Floyd Patterson, who didn’t share his racist outlook. His insults were often explicitly racial. He smeared Frazier as an “Uncle Tom” and a “gorilla” whose inferiority fueled stereotypes of black men as “ignorant, stupid, ugly, and smelly.”

Ali was many fine things. A champion of civil rights wasn’t among them. Martin Luther King Jr. at one point called him “a champion of segregation.” If, later in life, Ali abandoned his racist extremism, that is to his credit. It doesn’t, however, make him an exemplar of brotherhood and tolerance. And it doesn’t alter history: At the zenith of Ali’s career, when fans by the millions hung on his every word, what he often chose to tell them was indecent and grotesque.

SOURCE.  There's another critical comment here.


What's going on with Donald Trump?

Richard Muller, Prof Physics, UCBerkeley, gives a surprisingly acute and dispassionate explanation below for what motivates most Trump supporters. He actually describes my thinking quite well and I suspect that he describes it so well because it has something in common with his own thinking.  Few politicians are  expert at anything so you judge the man as a whole and hope that he takes expert advice on matters of detail

Many people in the United States (and around the world) believe that it takes no particular skill or knowledge to be President of the United States, or the head of any government. These are people who believe that intuition and feeling is more important than expertise.

(As I have before, I strongly recommend Alan Cromer’s great book, Uncommon Sense in which he describes in some detail the dramatically different ways that people approach problems.)

These people have a sense that the entire system is corrupt, and that running the government consists of making decisions based on common sense. If extra information is necessary, then the President can solicit it from specialists. Why would the President need to know the difference between Sunni and Shiite, when he can always ask? Why would the president need to know the difference between fusion and fission, or the meaning of the nuclear “triad”, when he can have experts at his beck and call? What is most needed is someone who feels and thinks like you do, and who can be trusted.

Can he be trusted? Well, let’s give him 4 years and see. If he turns out to be corrupt as everyone else, then we can throw him out. It’s worth the risk.

For many such people, Donald Trump seems to be ideal. They like the way that he speaks his mind; they like his self confidence, and even his arrogance. He does not put up with insult or slights; he gives back more than he gets. In many ways, he appears to be a common man who has been successful, and (since no skill or knowledge is needed) will be the perfect person to put in charge.

People who feel this way will not be persuaded by arguments that Trump is unprepared, since they don’t think preparation is necessary. Deep down, they think that they themselves could be a good President. All it really takes is a degree of honesty, and a refusal to be corrupt; an ability to ignore the bribes and the lobbyists and to simply do the right thing. The people who run for office do so from a combination of luck and corruption; maybe because they knew the right people. It’s not what you know, but who you know. [grammatical error made purposefully]

I grew up surrounded by such people in the South Bronx. They read the New York Daily News, and saw in it a common sense that they shared. The world is simple but corrupt; let’s put someone in charge who will not be beholden to special interests.

Think about this when you talk to Trump supporters. Arguments that Trump is not qualified seem irrelevant to them. They distrust “policy” as a kind of alien religion; just do what is right, and you can tell what is right by trusting your instincts.

If you are an intellectual, or someone who thinks either that Trumps policies are misguided, or that Trump actually has no policies, or someone who thinks Trump gets his facts wrong, you will be very hard put to change the minds of any Trump supporter. Such people think differently than you do. The essence of character and experience that you consider essential, they regard as irrelevant.

I think this is why Trump has been so immune to the standard objections that could destroy the political careers of conventional politicians. Many people find him attractive; they see him as someone who approaches national and international issues with the same intuitive approach that they take, and they find that comforting.


You’re Stupid, So We Are Going to Take Away Your Freedom

In a country based on the principle of liberty, should we really contemplate depriving people of freedom because they sometimes don’t make choices experts think are best for them? My title really understates the liberty-depriving philosophy of the nanny state. More accurately, it is: Some people make what we think are bad choices, so we are going to deprive everyone of liberty.

I’m thinking about this after reading Harvard Professor John Y. Campbell’s article in the May 2016 issue of the American Economic Review titled “Restoring Rational Choice: The Challenge of Rational Consumer Regulation.” Campbell reviews several bad financial decisions consumers tend to make, such as not refinancing their mortgages when it is financially beneficial to do so, and ultimately concludes, “The complexity of twenty-first century financial arrangements poses a daunting challenge to households managing their financial affairs” so “household financial mistakes create a new rationale for intervention in the economy.” People make financial decisions that Professor Campbell thinks are mistakes, so he wants government to intervene.

Professor Campbell has lots of company here. People argue that government should restrict consumer’s choices of what drugs to take (both recreational and pharmaceutical), force them to pay for safety equipment on their cars that that, as it turns out, can explode and kill them, force them to participate in a government retirement program, and even limit their ability to buy sugary carbonated beverages. In all these cases, the argument is that left to their own devices, people make “bad” choices, so the government should intervene to force them to act more (to use Campbell’s term) rationally.

Freedom has no meaning if people are only free to make the choices government experts think are rational.

The arrogance of this view of the appropriate role of government is striking. Progressive thinking from people like Professor Campbell and Michael Bloomberg concludes that they can make better decisions for you than you could make yourself; therefore, they will force you to do what they think is best. But ultimately, it won’t be Campbell or Bloomberg who will make those decisions for you, it will be a group of politicians who are more looking out for their own political futures than your welfare. Does government really make better choices for people than they can make themselves?

Campbell’s conclusion that “household financial mistakes create a new rationale for government intervention in the economy” overlooks long-standing government interventions into household financial affairs. One only has to look at the Social Security program, established because people make the “mistake” of not saving enough for their retirements. That system currently gives taxpayers a lower rate of return on their payroll taxes than they could get if they invested in the stock market. In theory, people make mistakes; in practice, government intervention into household financial affairs leaves many of them worse off. And that’s without noting the projections that the system soon will be broke.

The nanny state’s premise that people should be deprived of their freedoms because they might make bad choices attacks the political philosophy upon which this nation was founded. If Campbell wants to spread the word that people are making what he views as financial mistakes, I’m all in favor of that. But it strikes at the ideals of the American Founders to suggest that people’s financial mistakes offer a new rationale for government intervention in the economy.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


9 June, 2016

How to study IQ when you are not studying IQ

The article below is a significant advance.  The authors bypass IQ tests and go straight to the genes behind it.  They show that a particular set of genes can give you the same sort of correlates as you get with IQ tests.  Once again smart people are shown to be advantaged in all sorts of ways. 

The work is still at an early stage, however, as the correlations were much weaker than are found with IQ tests, indicating that only some of the relevant genes have so far been found and suggesting that some of the genes used were statistical "noise".   

There are by now a few comments about the study online, all of which are remarkably tight-assed.  They do their best to play  the findings down.  Put in the context of previous IQ studies, however, the findings are powerfully confirmatory of the pervasive importance of IQ -- vastly unpopular though that fact may be

The final sentence below is sheer nonsense -- added for the sake of political correctness only.

The Genetics of Success: How Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms Associated With Educational Attainment Relate to Life-Course Development

Daniel W. Belsky et al.


A previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) of more than 100,000 individuals identified molecular-genetic predictors of educational attainment. We undertook in-depth life-course investigation of the polygenic score derived from this GWAS using the four-decade Dunedin Study (N = 918). There were five main findings. First, polygenic scores predicted adult economic outcomes even after accounting for educational attainments. Second, genes and environments were correlated: Children with higher polygenic scores were born into better-off homes. Third, children’s polygenic scores predicted their adult outcomes even when analyses accounted for their social-class origins; social-mobility analysis showed that children with higher polygenic scores were more upwardly mobile than children with lower scores. Fourth, polygenic scores predicted behavior across the life course, from early acquisition of speech and reading skills through geographic mobility and mate choice and on to financial planning for retirement. Fifth, polygenic-score associations were mediated by psychological characteristics, including intelligence, self-control, and interpersonal skill. Effect sizes were small. Factors connecting DNA sequence with life outcomes may provide targets for interventions to promote population-wide positive development.

Psychological Science June 1, 2016.  doi: 10.1177/0956797616643070


American men are NOT getting fatter:  But the women are really puffing out

Forgive that rather frivolous heading.  The sober scientific stuff is below, hot off the medical press.  But it is surely encouraging  that male obesity has levelled off for eight years now.  Perhaps the "war" on it can be put into the deep freeze now.  That will frustrate the food nannies like Mrs Obama.  "Take their cakes away"! she will be saying of the ladies.  There are now nearly twice as many YUGE women as YUGE men

Trends in Obesity Among Adults in the United States, 2005 to 2014

Katherine M. Flegal et al.


Importance:  Between 1980 and 2000, the prevalence of obesity increased significantly among adult men and women in the United States; further significant increases were observed through 2003-2004 for men but not women. Subsequent comparisons of data from 2003-2004 with data through 2011-2012 showed no significant increases for men or women.

Objective:  To examine obesity prevalence for 2013-2014 and trends over the decade from 2005 through 2014 adjusting for sex, age, race/Hispanic origin, smoking status, and education.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Analysis of data obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a cross-sectional, nationally representative health examination survey of the US civilian noninstitutionalized population that includes measured weight and height.

Exposures:  Survey period.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Prevalence of obesity (body mass index ?30) and class 3 obesity (body mass index ?40).

Results:  This report is based on data from 2638 adult men (mean age, 46.8 years) and 2817 women (mean age, 48.4 years) from the most recent 2 years (2013-2014) of NHANES and data from 21?013 participants in previous NHANES surveys from 2005 through 2012. For the years 2013-2014, the overall age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was 37.7% (95% CI, 35.8%-39.7%); among men, it was 35.0% (95% CI, 32.8%-37.3%); and among women, it was 40.4% (95% CI, 37.6%-43.3%). The corresponding prevalence of class 3 obesity overall was 7.7% (95% CI, 6.2%-9.3%); among men, it was 5.5% (95% CI, 4.0%-7.2%); and among women, it was 9.9% (95% CI, 7.5%-12.3%). Analyses of changes over the decade from 2005 through 2014, adjusted for age, race/Hispanic origin, smoking status, and education, showed significant increasing linear trends among women for overall obesity (P?=?.004) and for class 3 obesity (P?=?.01) but not among men (P?=?.30 for overall obesity; P?=?.14 for class 3 obesity).

Conclusions and Relevance:  In this nationally representative survey of adults in the United States, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity in 2013-2014 was 35.0% among men and 40.4% among women. The corresponding values for class 3 obesity were 5.5% for men and 9.9% for women. For women, the prevalence of overall obesity and of class 3 obesity showed significant linear trends for increase between 2005 and 2014; there were no significant trends for men. Other studies are needed to determine the reasons for these trends.

JAMA. June 7. 2016;315(21):2284-2291. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.6458


Trump and his critics

The article below by Daniel Bier is from a libertarian perspective and does a good job of demolishing popular nonsense about Trump.  He goes on however to find some faults with Trump.  He claims that Trump is authoritarian and opposed to limited government.  From a libertarian POV that may be so but you could levy the same charge at most American politicians.  Trump favors a degree of economic protectionism but so did George Bush II -- as with his steel tariffs.

Trump clearly wants to liberate Americans from the stifling shackles of political correctness, which seems a very important liberation.  Trump may not bring about any economic liberation but even Reagan could do only so much.  Wanting to get all your wishes at once is a bit childish.  And the writer overlooks that economic reform is in any case in the hands of Congress, not the President.

And the allegation that Trump stands for "extreme nationalism " is simply ill-informed.  As Orwell pointed out succinctly, a nationalist differs from a patriot in that nationalists want to conquer other countries.  Trump is the exact opposite of that. He want to  get America OUT of involvement with the rest of the  world -- which puts him at one with both traditional American conservatives and libertarians.  Odd that a libertarian writer got that wrong. Daniel Bier is still young, I guess.

And the allegation that Trump is authoritarian is very shopworn and unworthy of a knowledgeable writer. See here for a comprehensive demolition of that claim.  Trump has a forceful and confident style, that's all. And mistaking the style for the substance is dumb.  Politically, Trump is just an American patriot.  And after America has had the amazing experience of a traitor in the White house, that is badly needed.

Take  the “win by losing” strategy. Lately, it has emerged as a distinct genre of commentary about Donald Trump.

Take, for example, “The Article About Trump That Nobody Will Publish,” which promotes itself as having been rejected by 45 publications. That’s a credit to America’s editors, because the article is an industrial strength brew of wishful thinking, a flavor that is already becoming standard fare as a Trump presidency looms.

The authors give a boilerplate denunciation of Trump (he’s monstrous, authoritarian, unqualified, etc.), but then propose:

What would happen should Trump get elected? On the Right, President Trump would force the GOP to completely reorganize — and fast. It would compel them to abandon their devastating pitch to the extreme right. ...

On the Left, the existence of the greatest impossible dread imaginable, of President Trump, would rouse sleepy mainline liberals from their dogmatic slumber. It would force them to turn sharply away from the excesses of its screeching, reality-denying, uncompromising and authoritarian fringe that provided much of Trump’s thrust in the first place.

Our daring contrarians predict, Trump “may actually represent an unpalatable but real chance at destroying these two political cancers of our time and thus remedying our insanity-inflicted democracy.”

You can’t win, Donald! Strike me down and I shall be… forced to completely reorganize and/or roused from dogmatic slumber!

The authors assert these claims as though they were self-evident, but they’re totally baffling. Why would a Trump win force the GOP to abandon the voters and rhetoric that drove it to victory? Why would it reorganize against its successful new leader? Why would a Hillary Clinton loss empower moderate liberals over the “reality-defying fringe”? Why would the left turn away from the progressives who warned against nominating her all along?

This is pure wishful thinking. This is pure, unadulterated wishful thinking. There is no reason to believe these rosy forecasts would materialize under President Trump. That is not how partisan politics tends to work. Parties rally to their nominee, and electoral success translates into influence, influence into power, power into friends and support.

We’ve already seen one iteration of this “win by losing” fantasy come and go among the Never Trump crowd: the idea that Trump’s mere nomination would be a good thing, because (depending on your politics) it would (1) compel Democrats to nominate Bernie Sanders, (2) propel Clinton to a landslide general election victory, or (3) destroy the GOP and (a) force it to rebuild as a small-government party, (b) split it in two, or (c) bring down the two-party system.

But, of course, none of those things happened. Clinton has clinched the nomination over Sanders (his frantic protests notwithstanding). Meanwhile, Clinton's double digit lead over Trump has evaporated, and the race has narrowed to a virtual tie. Far from “destroying the GOP,” Trump has consolidated the support of the base and racked up the endorsements of dozens of prominent Republicans who had previously blasted him, including Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan.

The GOP is not being destroyed — it is being gradually remade in Trump’s image, perhaps into his dream of a populist “workers’ party,” heavy on the protectionism, nativism, and authoritarianism. Meanwhile, knee-jerk partisanship and fear of Clinton are reconciling the center-right to Trump.

This is the bad-breakup theory of politics. Moderates win by defeating the fringe, not by losing to it. Yet, for some reason, conservatives, liberals, and libertarians all like to fantasize that the worst case scenario would actually fulfill their fondest wishes, driving the nation into their losing arms — as though their failure would force the party or the public do what they wanted all along. This is the bad-breakup theory of politics: Once they get a taste of Trump, they’ll realize how great we were and love us again.

But the public doesn’t love losers. (Trump gets this and has based his whole campaign around his relentless self-promotion as a winner.) Trump’s inauguration would indeed be a victory for him and for his “alt-right” personality cult, and a sign of defeat for limited-government conservatives and classical liberals — not because our ideology was on the ballot, but because all our efforts did not prevent such a ballot.

Trump embodies an ideology that is anathema to classical liberalism, and if he is successful at propelling it into power, we cannot and should not see it as anything less than a failure to persuade the public on the value of liberty, tolerance, and limited government. Nobody who is worried about extreme nationalism and strong man politics should be taken in by the idea that their rapid advance somehow secretly proves their weakness and liberalism's strength.

This does not mean that we’re all screwed, or that a Trump administration will be the end of the world — apocalyptic thinking is just another kind of dark fantasy. As horrible as Trumpism may be, it cannot succeed without help. And here’s the good news: Most Americans aren’t really enamored with Trump’s policies. The bad news is that they could still become policy.

Classical liberals who oppose Trump should realize that things aren’t going to magically get better on their own. We will have to actually make progress — in education, academia, journalism, policy, activism, and, yes, even electoral politics.

We have to make the argument – and we have to win it.If this seems like an impossible task at the moment, just remember that the long-sweep of history and many trends in recent decades show the public moving in a more libertarian direction. It can be done, and there’s fertile ground for it. We have to make the argument for tolerance and freedom against xenophobia and authoritarianism — and we have to win it. The triumph of illiberalism will not win it for us.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


8 June, 2016

Faces of a fraud


Excluded Middles


Aristotle’s third law of thought, the law of the excluded middle, has enjoyed a long and to some degree controversial history. Briefly, it posits that a statement must be either true or false, excluding any middle ground, which on the face of it makes perfectly good sense. Extrapolating from the domain of logic to the social world, however, the excluded middle takes on a different and indeed opposite connotation, for its absence spells not propositional rigor but cultural disaster.

Consider, for example, the operation of the law in the realm of everyday economic activity. Much has been written about the withering of the middle class in our over-regulated, tax-unfriendly times. See, for example, Vahab Aghai’s America’s Shrinking Middle Class, where we learn that “between 2000 and 2012, the United States lost 10 percent of its middle class jobs.” Meanwhile, low income jobs have grown commensurably.

The fiscal policy of holding interest rates below the rate of inflation wipes out the value of middle class savings. The glut of government regulations garrotes economic initiative while indirect taxes eat up a substantial chunk of the scraps direct taxation has left. Modest businesses cannot compete with large corporations, state-controlled industries and intrusive government bodies, sending many small entrepreneurs onto the welfare rolls. Craftsmen and trades people depend on the black market to avoid the department of revenue and its crushing value-added cash grab. Start-up innovators find themselves snagged in the Byzantine warrens of the patent office. Ranchers and cattle breeders have been targeted by the EPA and BLM (and similar agencies in other countries), whose bureaucrats have run amok in invasive and confiscatory practices with tacit administrative approval. And the rot is spreading. The old adage that the rich and the poor will always be with us skips over the fact that the middle may not.

It is a precept of economic wisdom that when the middle class is put out of business, as it were, economic stagnation and social decay inevitably ensue, and national unity is beset by civil unrest, unsustainable levels of poverty and cultural decline. According to reputable historians, this was one of the major causes of the implosion of Imperial Rome in the fourth and fifth centuries. When the tax burden grew so onerous that remittances began to dry up, “taxes no longer flowed to the seven hills,” writes James O’Donnell in The Ruin of the Roman Empire, “nor did the food supplies sent in lieu of taxes.” The crushing weight of taxation destroyed the farming sector—essentially the middle class of the empire—which formed the backbone of Roman society, and the social apparatus gradually collapsed with it. Famine and revolt were principal factors in facilitating the onslaught of the barbarian hordes, which completed the debacle.

Evasion became the order of the day, so much so that, as historian Robert Adams wrote in Decadent Societies, “by the fifth century, men were ready to abandon civilization itself in order to escape the fearful load of taxes.” Moreover, when a disproportionate number of those who do not pay taxes or contribute to the economy ride on a diminishing number of those who do—the case in many Western nations—an inflexion point will be reached where the productive estate is economically disenfranchised. One recalls Silvia Morandotti’s famous wagon cartoon, a visual rendition of archeologist Joseph Tainter’s remark on the Roman breakdown in The Collapse of Complex Societies that “those who lived by the treasury were more numerous than those paying into it.” We are observing a similar disincentivizing process at work today. Redistribution of legitimate earnings to the treasury and to those living off “entitlements” presages social and cultural atrophy. As Milton Friedman warned in Free to Choose, when the “distribution of income” is skewed to the disadvantage of the industrious and entrepreneurial strata, the corollary is one or another form of “dissipation.”

In these ways, the middle class is squeezed out of the political equation, with predictable results for the rest of the social order: economic hardship, lack of employment, declining birth rates, cultural anomie, and the importation of migratory peoples regarded, in the words of Greek-Egyptian poet Constantine Cavafy’s “Waiting for the Barbarians,” as “a kind of solution.” Neither the culture nor the market will die overnight, but the symptoms of terminal degeneracy are everywhere to be seen.

An excluded middle can have deleterious consequences in other realms as well, most critically in education, where skills are formed and attitudes consolidated, impacting the culture at large. I have observed during a lengthy and varied teaching career—both as a professor and writer-in-residence—the gradual shriveling of the middle range of students. My classes and seminars slowly came to consist of a thinly populated top tier of bright stars, a thick sediment of dim pedagogical objects incapable of much in the way of intelligible response, and a smattering of in-betweens. My wife, a professor at a large Canadian university, has remarked the same phenomenon and has discussed it on this site, though in a far more discreet and species-specific way, in an article aptly titled “The Unteachables: A Generation that Cannot Learn.” The belief of the plurality of unqualified students, she writes, “that nothing requires improvement except the grade is one of the biggest obstacles that teachers face in the modern university.” These students enter university already convinced that they are the cream when they are, in fact, the curdle. There is almost no way to patch through to them with the message that there is enormous ground to recover.

How, then, is one to teach? If the professor focuses on the able and willing, perhaps 90% of the class is cast into oblivion. If she directs her attention to the unteachable majority, it follows that the intelligent and motivated, who merit and would demonstrably profit from such attention, are cheated of their due. Regrettably, the administrative perspective on this conundrum favors the incompetent, blockish and parasitical layer at the bottom at the expense of both the good student’s proper benefit and the good teacher’s professional conscience. One can treat with a heterogeneous middle, some of whom will awaken to the delights of learning and others who can be expected to bear with the presumed ordeal of memory and instruction, but where the middle contracts or vanishes, the entire enterprise becomes self-defeating.

Although marked by certain destabilizing resemblances, such as monetary inflation and grade inflation, or a warped distribution of income and a misbegotten distribution of talent, there is, of course, a distinction between the two excluded middles we are considering. The socioeconomic middle is the glue of a democratic nation, that which binds it together and creates the economic stability that allows it to flourish and to retain its coherence. It is the guarantor of a genuinely liberal polity. The educational middle is a pool of intermittent and potential competencies that allows for a viable teaching and learning environment. The teacher need not abandon her elite students in order to cater to a tepid and undifferentiated mass that is largely beyond intellectual rescue, nor concentrate on the former while hampered by a guilty conscience for recoiling from the latter. An included middle markedly facilitates a more equitable educational transaction. The teacher retains some flexibility, appealing to the middle to approximate the top while providing for a reasonable dispensation of pedagogical goods.

But as things now stand in a progressively dumbed down culture festering on entitlements, crippled by political correctness, and preoccupied with identity politics, institutional resentments, the canards of “diversity” and affirmative action, and the spurious campaign for “social justice,” the educational establishment has devolved into a recursive image of the greater culture by a kind of Droste effect while at the same time contributing to the cultural distortions it reflects. We are not speaking of the scientific and technical disciplines where the more intelligent and dedicated students are to be found, but of the sinks of uselessness comprising most English Literature programs, Cultural and Identity Studies, and Sociology departments.

The upshot is that most Arts and Humanities graduates are not fit for actual life, having learned little except how to parrot their activist professors, chant slogans, howl vulgarities and shut down speaking events with which they disagree. Such skills are not particularly marketable and the classifieds are not infinitely elastic. A still-functioning market will eventually pronounce a harshly punitive verdict on the massive cohort of mediocrities who continue to graduate on greased skids into the real world. Admittedly, they are the casualties of defective early schooling, the pedagogy of self-esteem and the moral devastation of an adulticide culture, but all too few have the inner strength to recognize their plight and grapple with their condition. It’s a sad state of affairs, but there seems little that can be done at present to redress it.

True, the more fortunate aspirants will manage to find employment as administrators, teachers and sessionals in academia, as social workers and as government bureaucrats, remunerated by an ever dwindling taxpayer base. But such positions are finite and the supply will necessarily outstrip the demand. Competition will become fierce for even superfluous jobs and appointments. Part time and menial labor will be their only resource, failing which the social justice warriors will become welfare recipients—like their betters extruded from the middle class—until society can no longer afford to subsidize them. We will have entered, to quote Russian poet Sergey Stratanovsky (and he should know), “into the communal muddle,” which he piquantly calls “the Leningrad stairwell.” Another socialist utopia will collapse in financial squalor and public malaise.

To paraphrase PJ Media's Richard Fernandez, the middle class may well be “losing faith in the platform” of the collectivizing Left. But the issue is whether it will endure long enough to overturn a progressivist campaign “predicated on the assumption that a… government can defy the laws of financial gravity.” The situation is arguably worse for the educational middle—the “feeder school” for the environing culture—which is not so much losing faith as losing out, whittled into insignificance and devoid of even residual electoral clout to register its anger and indignation. It is a miscellaneous aggregate lacking the social congruity and at least partially unified consciousness of the economic middle, and therefore without recourse. The disenchanted middle class can vote for Donald Trump’s populist agenda; the vestigial class middle can vote for nothing much since it is typically uninformed, is fungibly dispersed and, indeed, has effectively disappeared.

In any event, just as the so-called “War on Poverty” turned out to be a leveling project and thus a war on general prosperity, the Dewey-inspired “progressivist” or “child-centered” paradigm at the root of modern educational dysfunction is really a war on scholarship. The mindset in play leads in either case to the transitory empowerment of the lowest common denominator, at the expense of the once-majority middle echelons—until the entire system, failing a decisive change of course, must inexorably go bust. The road to serfdom is paved with discarded medians.

One thing remains painfully clear—or should. When middles are excluded, whether in the halls of academia or the arena of productivity, a miniscule tier at the top may yet find means to benefit or survive while the bottom will form a spreading magma of misery and destitution. The buffer of in-betweeness will have been eliminated. And a once-vigorous culture will subside into a condition of economic and intellectual inertia.



Extreme socialism defeated in Switzerland

SWISS voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that would have guaranteed everyone in the Alpine nation an unconditional basic income, according to projections by public broadcaster SRF1.

The plan could have seen people in the wealthy nation of 8 million people receive about 2,500 Swiss francs  per month — enough to cover their basic needs.

Proponents argued that a basic income would free people from meaningless toil and allow them to pursue more productive or creative goals in life.

Critics said the plan would explode the state budget and encourage idleness, arguments that appear to have convinced voters. Based on a partial count of results from 19 Swiss cantons (states) on Sunday, the gfs.bern polling group calculated that 78 per cent of voters opposed the measure against 22 per cent in favour.

The Swiss government itself advised voters to reject the proposal put forward by left-wing campaigners who collected the necessary 100,000 signatures to force a vote on the issue.

But the idea has won over some economists, who say it could replace traditional welfare payments and give everybody the same chances in life.

Salaried workers who earned more than basic income would have received no extra money, while children would have received one-quarter of the total for adults.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


7 June, 2016

Something not quite right?


The Song Lyric That Made Me a Conservative

Steve Noxon

I clearly remember the moment that I realized I was a conservative.  I can’t tell you the date or the time, but I definitely remember the moment.

I was in my early 20s and was running a little local courier service, delivering prescriptions for a number of local independent pharmacies. I spent a lot of time in my car, driving around, listening to music, occasionally some talk radio, but mostly just enjoying life while making enough money to support myself.  On slow days, I had time to play tennis or maybe do some windsurfing between runs.

I wasn’t really all that interested in politics.  Why would I be?  Life was great and always would be.

Then a song came on the classic rock station.

I started singing along and playing drums on the steering wheel.  I’d heard this song before, but I guess I had never really listened to the lyrics.

Then I heard it:  “Tax the rich/ Feed the poor/ ‘Til there are…/ No rich no more…”

As stupid as it sounds, I clearly remember yelling at the radio, “AND THEN WHAT?”  I then proceeded to talk to myself for the next 10 minutes, breaking down this ridiculous concept.  Tax the rich until there are no more rich? That would solve all of the country’s problems?  Just keep taking more and more from those who’ve earned it until it’s all gone, then somehow expect them to get rich again, so we could take it all again?  It just seemed so childish and idiotic.  Seriously, who thinks this way? (FYI, this was pre-Internet.)

Well, as a nearly life-long resident of Connecticut, over the years, I’ve gotten my answer.  Yes, some people really are crazy enough to believe that this stupid little lyric in some mindless little rock song makes for good economic policy.  And these very same people are now running my state.  From the Governor’s office to the House and Senate to the state colleges and universities to the state employee union leaders, the idea that taxing the rich until there are “no rich no more” is considered brilliant economic policy.  And only evil, greedy rich people who obviously made their filthy money denying their employees a living wage would disagree with the brilliance of this policy.

Strangely enough, this concept is not going over very well with the state’s billionaires and businesses.  Recently, two of the state’s 15 billionaires decided that they’ve had enough and are leaving the state for greener pastures and taking hundreds of millions in potential tax revenue with them.  And the others seem to be getting a little antsy themselves.  Connecticut has already lost GE to Massachusetts (!?!), and many other companies are making noises about moving elsewhere as well.  Aetna, a long-time resident of Hartford that employs hundreds of CT residents, is hinting that they may be moving to Kentucky.  Even former Governor Jodie Rell (R) is switching her residency to Florida, due to the toxic economic environment here.

It’s not hard to figure out why this is happening.  While Connecticut was going through it’s recent annual budget battle, attempting to fend off yet another massive yet inevitable deficit, some of the Democrat leaders of the state just could not help but bad-mouth the very same people they need to fund their out-of-control spending.  But why would anyone stay where they are obviously so disliked?

Republicans, what few there are in positions of power, have tried to fight back against the tide, but what with the state’s Democrats so beholden to the public sector unions that they are about to make a former union president the new Speaker of the House, they can do little more than complain.

It’s gotten so crazy here that even the Hartford Courant’s editorial board, not exactly known for their conservative credentials, has asked the legislature to maybe treat the state’s billionaires a little nicer.

Otherwise, there will eventually be “no rich no more” in the state. And then what?



Nothing Revolutionary or Exciting about the American Left

The American left. What a bunch of boring and predictable control freaks. Take for instance the liberal journalists, clamoring for their next hit piece on Rand Paul or anyone else who dares to resist state oppression. Whatever happened to the revolutionary spirit of the American left? Whatever happened to the creativity and fire? As soon as a libertarian leaning conservative takes one step towards the land of freedom, the American left is whipped up into a fascist frenzy. I thought that you guys were supposed to be hip and cool? I don’t see any lefties fighting the Man. Hell, you are the Man!

This morning I woke up to discover that Senator Paul is taking steps to restore Congressional war powers. Rather than fighting miniature wars all over the damn planet, Senator Paul has a novel idea. He wants Congress to actually declare war before the executive branch decides to entangle itself in yet another ‘conflict’ in some far off desert. The United States Constitution states that Congress has the power to declare war. The Congressional war power creates a barrier so that tyrants like Barrack Obama are not allowed to invade every little nation in sight. Rather than stand with patriots like Rand Paul, the American left is quick to denounce his truly liberal ideas and label him an ‘isolationist’.

I thought that the left was supposed to be anti-war! I don’t see any righteous rage against the war mongering Obama regime coming from the left-wing journalists at the Huffington Post or the New York Times. They’re all a bunch of cowards and phonies. Sellouts, all clamoring to move their assigned press seat a little closer to their totalitarian overlords.

When the lefties in America say they want to revolutionize the system, what they really mean is that they want to double the size of the system. Where’s the progressivism in that? I thought that you liberals wanted to change the system, not magnify it to the nth degree.

Where’s the revolutionary spirit in the Bernie Sanders campaign? He doesn’t want to end the drug war. He doesn’t want to put an end to the police state. He’s not the cool Uncle Bern that he has been made out to be by teenagers huddled in their basements, afraid to come out and face the world. The Sanders system means more laws, more cops, and more state control. What’s so rebellious about that?

If you want to see a true rebel you should look to the libertarian right. Us ‘old fashioned right-wingers’ have been working hard over the past few decades to truly smash the state. We don’t want more laws, we don’t want more cops, and we don’t want more state power. We believe in a truly revolutionary system of capitalism. We stand against oppression in all forms, whether personal or political. The libertarian right is the true bastion of progress.

If you want to be a revolutionary, don’t stand with the old order of the American left. Be a real rebel and throw away your commie flags.



Should you need the government's permission to work?

by Jeff Jacoby

Unabashed libertarians can be wacky — at the Libertarian Party convention in Florida last weekend, one contender performed a striptease — but they aren't anarchists. Libertarianism isn't a philosophy of dog-eat-dog or of a society with no protections for health and safety. It is a philosophy that promotes maximum freedom of choice, so long as it doesn't involve force or fraud by individuals or by government. The influential libertarian writer Leonard Read summarized the idea in a single phrase: "Anything that's peaceful."

Libertarian policy ideas have made some important gains recently. Perhaps the most significant is the growing support for rolling back occupational licensing, so that more people can work without needing Big Brother's consent.

For decades, states have declared more and more occupations off-limits to anyone without a government permit. "In the early 1950s less than 5 percent of US workers were required to have a license from a state government in order to perform their jobs legally," observed the Brookings Institution in a study last year. "By 2008, the share of workers requiring a license to work was estimated to be almost 29 percent." To become a barber in Massachusetts, as Leon Neyfakh noted in the Boston Globe last year, a prospective hair-cutter must spend 1,000 hours of study at a barber school, followed by a year and a half as an apprentice. Florida mandates a minimum of six years of training before it will license an interior designer. In Oklahoma, anyone wishing merely to sell caskets has to earn a degree in mortuary science, undergo a year-long apprenticeship in funeral services, and pass a state-mandated exam.

Licensing requirements just as onerous or ludicrous can be found in almost every state. Arizona licenses talent agents. Tennessee prohibits shampooing hair without a license. But the pendulum is finally heading in the other direction.

Reformers left and right have mobilized against laws that pointlessly force Americans to be licensed by the state before they can get a job in their chosen field. To compel would-be surgeons and airline pilots to obtain the government's imprimatur as a condition of employment is one thing. But when the states impose licensing mandates on locksmiths and yoga instructors and hair braiders and florists, they clearly aren't being motivated by concern for public safety and the well-being of powerless consumers.

The proliferation of occupational licenses, especially for blue-collar and working-class trades, has been driven by naked rent-seeking. That is the term economists use when narrow special interests use political connections to secure benefits for themselves — in this case, when established practitioners press lawmakers to enact licensing and registration barriers that hold down competition. Thus, as libertarians have maintained for years, occupational licensing aggressively benefits "haves" at the expense of "have-nots."

The Institute for Justice, the nation's leading libertarian law firm, has long argued that the right of an individual to earn a living without unnecessary government interference goes to the heart of the American Dream. Licensing laws block honest people from doing honest work. That makes entrepreneurship more difficult in general; it makes it especially tough for Americans from low-income backgrounds, for immigrants and minorities, and for those without an advanced education.

The Obama administration has taken up this issue as well. "By making it harder to enter a profession, licensing can reduce employment opportunities, lower wages for excluded workers, and increase costs for consumers," wrote the Treasury Department, the Department of Labor, and the Council of Economic Advisers in a joint report in July 2015. "Licensing restrictions cost millions of jobs nationwide and raise consumer expenses by over one hundred billion dollars. The stakes involved are high."

But there's been progress.

Two years ago, the Institute for Justice filed a federal lawsuit in Georgia challenging a Savannah ordinance that barred private individuals from giving tours without a license. To get a license, tour guides were required to pass an elaborate test on local history and architecture, obtain medical certification, and pay recurring fees to city hall. After a year of litigation, Savannah backed down and repealed the ordinance.

Other gains have come in Arizona, where Governor Doug Ducey just signed legislation repealing state license requirements for a number of jobs, including driving instructor, citrus fruit packer, and cremationist. In North Carolina, a bill underway in the legislature would make it lawful to earn a living — without needing government approval — as a laser hair remover, sign-language interpreter, acupuncturist, and pastoral counselor. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts recently signed a measure liberating hair-braiders from licensing rules.

Consumers won't be exposed to the wolves if the state doesn't supervise every occupation. The private sector is replete with certifying, rating, and accrediting bodies that can attest to the qualifications of almost any occupation and product. The internet empowers consumers as never before with timely information about vendors, professionals, and service-providers of all kinds. From Angie's List to Yelp, from Uber to TripAdvisor, the market promotes transparency and reveals quality with a nimble persistence no state agency can ever match.

If baristas, illustrators, and journalists can operate free from government licensing, hair braiders, painting contractors, and acupuncturists can too.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up --  about immigration and such things


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


6 June, 2016

In a democracy, socialist tyranny creeps up.  Only conservatives and libertarians can combat it to a degree

As Hayek explained, nothing about democracy can save socialism from itself

Before Bernie Sanders ever started railing against the “1%” and complaining about having the choice of 23 different deodorants at the supermarket, socialists didn’t always come across as so petty, peevish, and old hat.

The achievements in other realms of socialists such as Oscar Wilde, Helen Keller, and Susan B. Anthony have stood the test of time, often dwarfing the fact that they were socialists in the first place. One socialist in particular—born Eric Arthur Blair— is so universally revered for his moral insights against collectivism that his legacy has become a battleground for partisans. You may know him by the name George Orwell. For years intellectuals have played parlor games to claim Orwell’s legacy for the right or for the left.

Would he have supported the Vietnam War? The Cold War? Did anti-communist novels such as Animal Farm and 1984 signal that Orwell had given up on socialism?

Orwell’s appeal to popular sentiment is seemingly clever, but is a double-edged sword.

As interesting as these debates may be, the record seems clear. Writing in 1946, George Orwell gave an impassioned answer to what motivated his ideas in the essay “Why I Write”:

“The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.”

Though George Orwell played many roles over the course of his life—embattled boarding school student, elephant-shooting imperial policeman, down and out vagrant, revolutionary militia man, journalist, novelist, and more—he was undeniably a democratic socialist.

Orwell on Hayek

Playing the role of book critic in 1944, Orwell—that “Trotskyist with big feet,” as fellow socialist H.G. Wells once called him—reveals his size 13 footprints to be perfectly in step with the populists of today, as he attempts to escape the troubles of socialism by taking refuge in his beloved democracy.

Reflecting upon F.A. Hayek’s call for unfettered capitalist competition in The Road to Serfdom, Orwell writes:

“The trouble with competitions is that somebody wins them. Professor Hayek denies that free capitalism necessarily leads to monopoly, but in practice that is where it has led… the vast majority of people would far rather have State regimentation than slumps and unemployment...”

Orwell’s appeal to popular sentiment is seemingly clever, but is a double-edged sword. Could it not also be said that the trouble with democratic elections is that somebody wins them? Which is worse for the losers: the free competition of the market or the zero-sum outcomes of democratic elections? Which of the two is more dog-eat-dog?

Word is, democracy has found a new paramour, one Donald J. Trump, and much to her former lovers’ dismay, she insists on parading around with him in public.

That question aside, I forgive Orwell for his ignorance of economics. It is undoubtedly a flaw in his thinking but an understandable one for a devoted democratic socialist writing in 1944. Let us be honest: George Orwell is not read today for his economic insights. No, he is read for his keen moral instincts and his intellectual integrity—what Christopher Hitchens highlights as Orwell’s “power of facing unpleasant facts”—and in his review of The Road to Serfdom, Orwell stays true to form.

Taking Hayek seriously, Orwell is faced with the unpleasant fact that socialism is so often married to and marred by collectivism, saying:

“In the negative part of Professor Hayek’s thesis there is a great deal of truth. It cannot be said too often – at any rate, it is not being said nearly often enough – that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamed of.”

Though Orwell’s honesty and instincts should be applauded here, I believe there is still some trouble afoot. Once again, in trying to save socialism, he takes refuge in his beloved democratic ideal. Maybe, he wagers, if socialism is infused with democracy, we can avoid the tyranny of collectivism!

Democracy and Nationalism

But, is democracy truly sufficient to protect socialism from collectivism? Has not democracy always led to an attenuated “us”—in reality a small clique of ruling elites—carrying out their own conceits at the expense of the very people they are meant to represent? Does not democracy often lead to a certain type of collectivism, what Orwell called nationalism?

Ironically enough, Orwell helps provide us with an answer in the very same review. Let us see the rest of the above quote from about “free capitalism” leading to monopoly:

“...since the vast majority of people would far rather have State regimentation than slumps and unemployment, the drift towards collectivism is bound to continue if popular opinion has any say in the matter.”

Over 70 years have passed since Orwell made this prediction, and it seems he has been proven right. “Popular opinion” has indeed demanded more “State regimentation,” and accordingly, we have drifted closer and closer towards collectivism under the banner of democracy. Thus, though I do not convict Orwell for his ignorance of the “dismal science,” I do find him guilty for his love of democracy.

Love, as much as it may guide us to greatness, can also blind us to the perilous paths we have chosen. And the perils of democracy are more bountiful than that of any femme fatale. Unfortunately, because democracy flatters the vast majority of the human race with the allure of its siren’s song—its chorus constantly promising “the people” that they are naturally fit to rule—many people today are still quite smitten despite the red flags.

These are not flaws of a know-nothing reactionary movement but features of democracy itself.

Yet, this may mean we are simply overdue for a massive heartbreak. As unpleasant facts would have it, 2016 appears destined to go down in history as the year when democracy’s scorned lovers finally call her a harsh mistress. Word is, democracy has found a new paramour, one Donald J. Trump, and much to her former lovers’ dismay, she insists on parading around with him in public.

Take, for instance, the laments of neoconservative, Robert Kagan. In his piece “This is how fascism comes to America”, Kagan claims that Trump:

“...has tapped into is what the founders most feared when they established the democratic republic: the popular passions unleashed, the “mobocracy.” Conservatives have been warning for decades about government suffocating liberty. But here is the other threat to liberty that Alexis de Tocqueville and the ancient philosophers warned about: that the people in a democracy, excited, angry and unconstrained, might run roughshod over even the institutions created to preserve their freedoms.”

I too take Tocqueville and others philosophers seriously when they warn us of democracy’s perils. But this message, from this author, at this time, delivered with such partisan dishonesty, only serves to destroy all credibility and gravitas. Where was Kagan (or Andrew Sullivan) in all the years leading up to Donald Trump’s rise? Do they really think the movements that backed Barack Obama and George W Bush were friendly to liberty, free of contradictions, and refrained from stoking the "fears, vanities, ambitions and insecurities” of the people? Do they not understand that democracy was a danger to liberty long before Donald Trump found success in electoral politics?

Democracy Versus Liberty

As H.L. Mencken wrote in 1925:

“Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter. A democratic state may profess to venerate the name, and even pass laws making it officially sacred, but it simply cannot tolerate the thing. In order to keep any coherence in the governmental process, to prevent the wildest anarchy in thought and act, the government must put limits upon the free play of opinion. In part, it can reach that end by mere propaganda, by the bald force of its authority – that is, by making certain doctrines officially infamous. But in part it must resort to force, i.e., to law... At least ninety-five Americans out of every 100 believe that this process is honest and even laudable; it is practically impossible to convince them that there is anything evil in it. In other words, they cannot grasp the concept of liberty.”

Tragically, most detractors of Trump still do not seem to grasp the concept of liberty. Most damn Trump, not because of their differences with him or their love of liberty, but because they see an aspect of themselves in the Donald—their love of power over others.

They only loved democracy in the first place because of its promise of power; they only love democracy when it is theirs to command.

American democracy has not only survived nationalist fevers throughout the nation’s short history; it has often encouraged them at the expense of liberty.

In practice, democracy has never lived up to its ideal. At bottom, democratic elections are not about advancing high ideals or embracing rational decisions made by an enlightened populace. Democratic elections are about winning power. “Mobocracy” is not exclusive to our time or a particular political party. Playing on people's insecurities and fears of "the other" is not exclusive to a particular billionaire. These are not flaws of a know-nothing reactionary movement but features of democracy itself.

As Oscar Wilde (one of the few socialists who does not seek refuge in the democratic ideal) said of democracy in 1891 in his The Soul of Man under Socialism:

“High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people. It has been found out. I must say that it was high time, for all authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and degrades those over whom it is exercised. When it is violently, grossly, and cruelly used, it produces a good effect, by creating, or at any rate bringing out, the spirit of revolt and Individualism that is to kill it. When it is used with a certain amount of kindness, and accompanied by prizes and rewards, it is dreadfully demoralising.”

Compared to Kagan’s screed, Wilde’s assessment of democracy strikes me as a much more plausible exegesis of the Trump phenomenon: a spirit of revolt after years of the democratic process being cruelly used. But Trump’s revolt, unfortunately, is not in the spirit of Wildean individualism. No, as Pat Buchanan points out, the Trumpian revolt is animated by a resurgence of American nationalism. But it will not kill our democracy by any means. It may even strengthen it. American democracy has not only survived nationalist fevers throughout the nation’s short history; it has often encouraged them at the expense of liberty. When given the choice—since the pith of both democracy and nationalism is the exercise of state power—democracy will usually side with nationalism against liberty for the sake of attaining such power.

The tragedy here then only grows greater when we realize the very people now warning us about the excesses of democracy in the shadow of Trump also helped lay the groundwork for Trump by slowly transforming America from a republic into a social democracy. Elections have consequences. Political parties have consequences. Social and economic policies have consequences. War has consequences. And in all cases, the consequence has been the centralization of power on the Potomac.

George Orwell’s wager appears to have left him and his kind on the losing side. They (but especially Orwell) should have taken Hayek’s claim more seriously, that:

“By bringing the whole of life under the control of the State, Socialism necessarily gives power to an inner ring of bureaucrats, who in almost every case will be men who want power for its own sake and will stick at nothing in order to retain it.”

Democracy, it appears, isn’t the refuge Orwell thought it would be. Maybe, he should have fallen in love with liberty instead.



Liberal logic


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


5 June, 2016

Lessons from Obama

The American founders had the very good idea that they could prevent the development of tyranny by dividing the functions of government into three independent parts: Legislature, Administration and the courts.  And they had another safeguard too:  A procedure for impeaching a lawless president.

All those safeguards have now broken down.  As president, Obama's job is to administer the law, not to make it.  But he openly flouts that.  What he cannot cajole the legislature to do, he boasts that he will do with phone and pen. He has no shame about usurping the role of Congress.  He acts like a king -- exactly what the founders wanted to prevent.

And SCOTUS too has set itself up as yet a third legislature.  They interpret the constitution to mean whatever they want it to mean-- regardless of what it actually says.  So they find a right to abortion in the constitution when the word is not even mentioned there and they deny protections that ARE mentioned there. Despite the equal treatment clause, they approve  various forms of "affirmative action", which are nothing if not arrangements to treat people unequally, dependent on their race, sex or anything else.

And what can anybody do about these usurpations?  Nothing.  But that should not be so.  Something should be done to pull these arrogant people back to within their constitutional roles.  Impeachment founders on the generally rather even divide of voting power in the Senate and the way that an impeachment vote will rarely deviate from party loyalties.

So some new mechanism to rein in these improper power grabs is clearly needed.  Dealing with SCOTUS is fairly easy.  Congress has the power to specify what SCOTUS can consider.  So Congress can simply pass a law saying that (for instance) any consideration of race in hiring is forbidden and add the rider that that particular law is not within the authority of SCOTUS to consider.

So it's the presidency that is the big problem.  And it would seem that only an age-old method is likely to suffice.  It is a method easily abused but it could be formalized in a fairly safe way:  Military intervention.  A constitutional amendment would be far too difficult to get through and, as we have seen, constitutions are too easily defied. 

What could be done, however, would be to pass a law setting up  a consultative committee comprising the heads of the four main armed forces -- Army, Navy Airforce and Marines.  And the duty of that committee would be to observe a President and, on their own initiative, warn him whenever he overstepped his legal powers or failed to administer the law.  And if the warning was not heeded, a military unit (Marines?) could be delegated to arrest him and put him on trial before a court martial.  And that court would have the power to detain him in secure custody until the next President is elected.

A wily president would of course put in his own men as heads of the armed forces as soon as he came to office.  And that could indeed weaken the safeguard.  One should however remember President Salvador Allende of Chile.  Before he tore up Chile's electoral rolls he put a safe, non-political man in charge of Chile's armed forces.  That man was Augusto Pinochet.  And there are other instances of that general kind. 

Australians will remember the dismissal of Prime Minister Whitlam by Governor General Sir John Kerr, his own appointee. No blood was spilt on that occasion, showing that the peaceful and orderly dismissal of an elected national leader is possible -- but Australia does have the advantage of being a constitutional monarchy, so there is some supervision of the politicians -- JR


Paul Ryan's Declares for Trump

House Speaker Paul Ryan will vote for Donald Trump, he wrote Thursday in an op-ed for the GazetteXtra of Janesville, Wisconsin. The statement of support comes after Ryan initially withheld his endorsement when Trump emerged the GOP nominee.

Trump traveled to Capitol Hill after Ryan announced he wasn't ready to endorse Trump to meet with Ryan and other GOP leaders.

"Donald Trump and I have talked at great length about things such as the proper role of the executive and fundamental principles such as the protection of life," Ryan said in the op-ed, before listing a series of policy ideas.

"Through these conversations, I feel confident he would help us turn the ideas in this agenda into laws to help improve people’s lives. That’s why I’ll be voting for him this fall," Ryan said.

Ryan's spokesman Brendan Buck made clear that the op-ed should be considered an endorsement.



In Clinton, Americans don’t trust


ONE YEAR AGO, a Quinnipiac University poll of voters in three swing states highlighted a looming problem for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign: More than half the respondents in each state regarded her as dishonest. A nationwide CNN poll the same month yielded similar findings: Fifty-seven percent of voters said Clinton was not trustworthy.

Democratic sages brushed the matter aside. “Does Hillary Clinton’s Trustworthiness Matter?” asked Time magazine in a story at the time. The consensus of the experts it quoted: Nah, not really. “People are looking first and foremost for someone who will . . . get things done for them,” said Democratic pollster Geoff Garin. Honesty wasn’t essential to victory. After all, went the argument, Bill Clinton won two presidential elections, despite widespread doubt about his trustworthiness.

But Clinton’s dishonesty problem hasn’t gone away. When Gallup asks Americans what word first comes to mind when they hear Clinton’s name, by far the most common answer is some version of “Dishonest/ Liar/ Don’t trust her/ Poor character.” It isn’t only Republicans or conservatives who are repelled by Clinton’s honesty deficit. Exit polls during this year’s primaries showed that among Democrats who said that honesty was the value they prize most in a presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders racked up huge margins over Clinton. He carried 91 percent of those voters in New Hampshire, for example, and 82 percent in Wisconsin.

With the release last week of a report by the State Department’s inspector general on Clinton’s misuse of official e-mail, the former secretary of state’s reputation for mendacity only grew worse.

For a year or more, Clinton has insisted that she broke no rules by maintaining her own private e-mail server to conduct government business. She repeatedly claimed that she had nothing to hide. That she was “more than ready to talk to anybody anytime.” That her reliance on a back-channel for e-mail violated no security protocols. That it was not only “allowed by the State Department,” but that the department had “confirmed” that it was allowed. That her use of a private server was “fully aboveboard.” That everyone she had dealings with in the government knew about it.

But the inspector general’s report shreds those claims.

No, Clinton never sought legal approval to use a private server for e-mail. If she had made such request, it would have been denied.

No, Clinton was not “more than ready” to cooperate with investigators: Unlike four other secretaries of state (John Kerry, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Madeline Albright), Clinton refused to be interviewed by the inspector general. Six of her aides refused as well.

No, Clinton’s “homebrew” server setup was not common knowledge. Even President Obama knew nothing about it.

No, Clinton’s behavior wasn’t “fully aboveboard.” When State Department staffers voiced concerns about her insecure e-mail channel, they were silenced by their superiors and instructed “never to speak of the secretary’s personal e-mail system again.”

A reputation for dishonesty has trailed Clinton from her earliest days in national life. The controversy over her e-mail deceptions is only the most recent, and not even the most outrageous. (Worse, to my mind, was publicly blaming the murder of four Americans in Benghazi on an inflammatory Internet video while privately acknowledging that it was a premeditated attack by Islamist terrorists.) So far, Clinton’s lack of integrity hasn’t derailed her political career. Maybe it never will.

Or maybe, as she competes for the White House against an opponent whose swollen ego and disregard for truth match her own, Clinton’s sordid character will finally prove her undoing. “Crooked Hillary,” Donald Trump has gleefully nicknamed her. The more he repeats the label, the more indelibly it will stick. Clinton’s honesty gap may have seemed manageable a year ago, but that was before Trump’s scorched-earth tactics changed everything. Now, even the State Department all but calls its ex-boss “Crooked Hillary.” How much more can her electability withstand?



On 'Inequality'

Larry Elder

Is there a more brain-dead concept than to empower the government to fight “income inequality”? What sane, normal, rational human being thinks that human talent, drive, interests and opportunity can — or should — result in equal outcomes?

Despite my love of athletics, I knew in third grade that my friend, Keith, could run much faster than I could. For two years I played Little League ball, and I got better at it. But no matter how hard I tried or how many hours I spent, I could not hit, run or throw as well as my friend Benji.

Later in life, I started playing tennis, and I became quite passionate about it. But most of the people I played against had started playing years earlier, and most had taken lessons for years. I got better, but given my competitors' head start, the gap remained.

Financial planners advise clients to start early and stick to some sort of game plan. Is there any wonder that those who do so will have more net worth than those who started later, or who lacked the discipline to follow and stick to a plan? How is government supposed to address these “unequal” outcomes?

Most entrepreneurs experience failure before hitting on an idea, concept or business that makes money. Even then, it takes 20 to 30 years of long hours and sacrifice, along with occasional self-doubt and a dollop of luck, to become a multimillionaire.

I recently saw a movie starring Cate Blanchett. She is a very good actress, but she is also strikingly beautiful. Is there any doubt that her good looks, over which she had no control, are a factor in her success? Is it unfair that an equally talented actress, but with plain looks, will likely have an “unequal” career compared with that of Blanchett?

Speaking of acting, most who venture into that field do not become successful, if success is defined as making a living as an actor. These overwhelming odds still do not deter the many young people who flock to Hollywood every year to “make it.”

Had a would-be actor dedicated that same drive and personality to some other profession, success would have been more likely, if less enjoyable. Should the government intervene and take from the successful non-actor and give to those who unsuccessfully pursued a long-shot acting career? An ex-actor told me of her recent lunch with a friend she had met when they both left college and pursued acting. While the ex-actor moved on to a different, successful career, her friend stuck to acting, through thick and thin. The actor informed her friend that she recently turned down a commercial. Why? What struggling actor turns down this kind of work? Turns out, through some sort of “assistance” program, said the friend, the state of California is “assisting with her mortgage.” She has no obligation to repay the money, and she will continue to receive the assistance as long as her income is not above a certain level. How does this strengthen the economy? The ex-actor, through her taxes, subsidizes the lifestyle of the actor, who admits turning down work lest she be denied the benefits.

But this is exactly the world sought by Bernie Sanders — a government that taxes the productive and gives to the less productive in order to reduce “income inequality.”

In the real world, two individuals, living next door to each other, make different choices about education, careers, spouses, where to live, and if and how to invest. Even if they make exactly the same income, one might live below his or her means, prudently saving money, while the other might choose to regularly buy new cars and fancy clothes and go on expensive vacations. Is there any question that the first person will end up with a higher net worth than the latter? Is their “inequality” something that government should address?

Although Beyonce is a good singer, is there any question that there are others with superior voices? But Beyonce is also blessed with “unequally” good looks, charisma and perhaps better management — maybe better than the other two ladies in her musical trio, Destiny’s Child, whom she once sang with. Three singers, in the same group, have had “unequal” outcomes.

Communism, collectivism and socialism rest on the same premise — that government possesses the kindness, aptitude, judgment and ability to take from some and give to others to achieve “equality.” Karl Marx wrote, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” And that’s the problem. The statement implicitly acknowledges that some have more aptitude, drive, energy and ability than others. To take from some and give to others reduces the initiative of both the giver and the givee.

This is the fundamental flaw with income redistribution, the very foundation of communism, socialism and collectivism. One would think that Bernie Sanders would have figured this out by now. But wisdom among 74-years-olds, like outcome, is not distributed equally.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


3 June, 2016

The Trump equals fascism charge is wrong, reckless and dangerous

Some of the points below are also ones I have made, but  Robert Romano has more -- JR

“This is how fascism comes to America.” So reads the alarmist, provocative headline from the Brookings Institution’s Robert Kagan writing for the Washington Post that the Republican nomination of Donald Trump is essentially the modern equivalent of Hitler and Mussolini’s rise to power.

It’s the 1930s all over again, wouldn’t you know. Besides being fallacious, Kagan’s charge — and that of many, many other commentators — is reckless and irresponsible. Even dangerous.

Let’s leave aside the facts that Trump’s son-in-law is Jewish, and that his daughter converted to Judaism, both of whom Trump fully embraces. Or that he opened up the Palm Beach mansion and golf course Mar-a-Lago to Jews and blacks at a time when segregation at all-white country clubs in the south was still a thing, long before he ever set foot in the political arena. So, gee, what the heck does Trump running for president have to do with the racist, anti-Semitic ideology of the Nazis? Those examples are too easy.

Getting to the heart of Kagan’s case, he writes, “Fascist movements, too, [like Trump] had no coherent ideology, no clear set of prescriptions for what ailed society.”

In reality, fascism is the textbook example of an abominable, antidemocratic ideology run amuck, that believed one ruler could embody the entire will of the nation. But there was more to it than that. Combined with its national destiny mythos, racist doctrines and corporatist economic programs — war is profitable! — its coherence and rigid execution was directly responsible for the deaths of 60 million people, many through mass genocide, in the war the fascists and militarists started in the 1930s and 1940s.

As Michael Ledeen, a noted, actual expert on fascist movements, notes in Forbes magazine in response to Kagan, “It’s fanciful to call Nazism a bundle of contradictions when, a decade before coming to power, it had a detailed diagnosis of what ailed Germany, and how to fix it.  It was called Mein Kampf, and it provided the basis for the Third Reich. Kagan apparently doesn’t consider the Nazis’ racist doctrines to be explicit either, even though they were the basis for very detailed legislation, indoctrination in all the schools and universities, military operations, and eventually the Holocaust. Nazism was a great deal more than one-man rule by a charismatic leader.”

In the meantime, Trump does not believe it is America’s destiny to rule the world — quite the opposite — as he critiques episodes such as the Iraq war in the 2000s. Agree or disagree with his position on the war, opposing the war, even after the fact, is definitely not the ideology of militarism and war under fascism — which mobilized the war industry as an expression of state power, to settle historical scores and to impose rule upon those deemed inferior.

Instead, Trump’s articulated caution on the foreign policy stage, if anything, is actually an expression of realism over idealism in international affairs.

Trump openly rails against corporate cronyism, the real culprit behind the modern destruction of representative government in the U.S., where national legislation and policy is crafted by the highest bidder. Examples abound, whether under the Export-Import Bank, the bank and auto bailouts, the widely backed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, the green energy scam or health care lobbyists writing Obamacare.

Trump did not create the corporate state, and to the extent he speaks out against it positions him as an anti-corporatist, rather than as one of its champions. Agree or disagree with his solutions, he’s calling attention to a real problem of collaboration between certain industries and the federal government to achieve national objectives, the very definition of corporatism once envisioned by the fascists.

Trump also speaks out against threats like radical Islam, which really is a fascist-like ideology bent on the domination of Islam over the entire world, the extermination of non-believers and the oppression of women. Isn’t Trump’s condemnation an expression of anti-fascism? Standing up to barbarians — such as with calls to halt immigration from where radical Islam thrives — is no vice. Agree or disagree with that far-reaching prescription, there is no question radical Islam threatens Western, liberal democracies.

Trump stands opposed to illegal immigration, not because, as Kagan charges, Trump wants “to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion,” but because simply they came illegally. That is not a racist attitude, since it does not distinguish between countries of origin. Come here legally, whether from Mexico City or Beijing, no problem, says Trump. Having enforceable borders or immigration laws generally is not even a tenet of fascism, it is a reality of every single country in the world that checks passports upon entry.

Trump says he wants to work with Congress rather than through the unaccountable executive actions of Barack Obama and George W. Bush that have governed the past 15 years. Wouldn’t that be the opposite of the all-powerful executive envisioned under fascism?

Today, Washington, D.C. is really a marvel of modern statism, where Congress has outsourced much of its Article I law-making powers to an alphabet soup of departments and agencies that regulate almost every aspect of life. Two-thirds of the budget runs on auto-pilot beyond the annual appropriations process, racking up trillions of dollars in debt. Classified surveillance programs such as conducted by the National Security Agency were conceived and run without any basis in law, framers of the original Patriot Act warned after the Edward Snowden revelations like Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Calif.) who authored the bill.

Now, Trump may not stop each of these encroachments by the executive branch and abdications by the legislative branch, but he hardly created them. The administrative state has taken more than a century to reach its current state of maturity, and it will hardly be undone in a single administration — if ever — as the obstacles to untangling it could prove to be insurmountable. But through signaling his intention to work with elected leaders in Congress, rather than via executive dictates, Trump at least articulates a preference for lower-case republicanism and representative government. Which is definitely not fascism.

In short, Robert Kagan should know better, although that doesn’t stop him and others from laying the fascist charge against Trump. But it is not merely wrong in an academic sense and ignores all the real fascism that exists in the world around us — it also a dangerous line of rhetoric.

As Dilbert creator Scott Adams presciently warned on March 13 as the Trump equals fascism meme was becoming commonplace in our discourse, “we see the media priming the public to try to kill Trump, or at least create some photogenic mayhem at a public event. Again, no one is sitting in a room plotting Trump’s death, but — let’s be honest — at least half of the media believes Trump is the next Hitler, and a Hitler assassination would be morally justified.”

Almost on cue, just a week ago, best-selling fiction author Brad Thor on the Glenn Beck Show openly discussed the assassination of Trump on the air with millions of listeners. Said Thor, “He is a danger to America and I got to ask you a question and this is serious and this could ring down incredible heat on me because I’m about to suggest something very bad. It is a hypothetical I am going to ask as a thriller writer. With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as President? If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that if, if, he oversteps his mandate as president, his constitutional-granted authority, I should say, as president. If he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? And I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.”

In other words, you’d have to kill him. Thor all but say it aloud. Responded Beck, “I would agree with you on that…” Really? Which part?

Sirius XM has since suspended Beck’s show based on the segment — because according to a company statement it “may be reasonably construed by some to have been advocating harm against an individual currently running for office, which we cannot and will not condone.”

Thor attempted to walk back his statement, suggesting he was actually calling for armed revolution against a dictatorial Trump — saying, “If we had to unseat a president without the backing of the Congress, we would need a patriot along the lines of George Washington to lead the country from tyranny back to liberty.” We’ll leave it to readers to decide whether civil war would be a preferable alternative.

But the damage could already be done.

Just as Adams noted, “Collectively — the media, the public, and the other candidates — are creating a situation that is deeply dangerous for Trump.” Specifically, someone could take a shot at him, and it will likely be directly related to the number of charges of fascism that have been leveled at him. As if the U.S. was on the brink of committing mass extermination of undesirables — which is basically implied by pervasive use of the Nazi charge — and that the only way to stop it is for patriots to take matters into their own hands.

This is becoming an incitement to mass hysteria, and it is wrong, irresponsible and, yes, dangerous. It’s not even remotely true, but here we are.

In effect, Robert Kagan, Brad Thor and others are playing with fire. For cooler heads to prevail will require careful, rational discourse about what fascism actually was — something that is clearly lacking today. Take a deep breath, people. This is getting out of hand


Trump just doesn't bother with the intellectuals.  That's why Kagan and Co. find fault with him.  But Bill Buckley was similarly disrespectful: "I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University." -- JR


Elitist Arrogance

Walter E. Williams

White teenage unemployment is about 14 percent. That for black teenagers is about 30 percent. The labor force participation rate for white teens is 37 percent, and that for black teens is 25 percent. Many years ago, in 1948, the figures were exactly the opposite. The unemployment rate of black 16-year-old and 17-year-old males was 9.4 percent, while that of whites was 10.2 percent. Up until the late 1950s, black teens, as well as black adults, were more active in the labor market than their white counterparts. I will return to these facts after I point out some elitist arrogance and moral bankruptcy.

Supporters of a $15 minimum wage are now admitting that there will be job losses. “Why shouldn’t we in fact accept job loss?” asks New School economics and urban policy professor David Howell, adding, “What’s so bad about getting rid of crappy jobs, forcing employers to upgrade, and having a serious program to compensate anyone who is in the slightest way harmed by that?” Economic Policy Institute economist David Cooper says: “It could be that they spend more time unemployed, but their income is higher overall. If you were to tell me I could work fewer hours and make as much or more than I could have previously, that would be OK.”

What’s a “crappy job”? My guess is that many of my friends and I held the jobs Howell is talking about as teenagers during the late 1940s and ‘50s. During summers, we arose early to board farm trucks to New Jersey to pick blueberries. I washed dishes and mopped floors at Philadelphia’s Horn & Hardart restaurant, helped unload trucks at Campbell Soup, shoveled snow, swept out stores, delivered packages and did similar low-skill, low-wage jobs. If today’s arrogant elite were around to destroy these jobs through wage legislation and regulation, I doubt whether I and many other black youths would have learned the habits of work that laid the foundation for future success. Today’s elite have little taste for my stepfather’s admonition: Any kind of a job is better than begging and stealing.

What’s so tragic about all of this is that black leadership buys into it. What the liberals have in mind when they say there should be “a serious program to compensate anyone who is in the slightest way harmed” is that people who are thrown out of work should be given welfare or some other handout to make them whole. This experimentation with minimum wages on the livelihoods of low-skilled workers is ethically atrocious.

In the first paragraph, I pointed out that black youths had lower unemployment during earlier times. How might that be explained? It would be sheer lunacy to attempt to explain the more favorable employment statistics by suggesting that during earlier periods, blacks faced less racial discrimination. Similarly, it would be lunacy to suggest that black youths had higher skills than white youths. What best explain the loss of teenage employment opportunities, particularly those of black teenagers, are increases in minimum wage laws. There’s little dispute within the economics profession that higher minimum wages discriminate against the employment of the least skilled workers, and that demographic is disproportionately represented by black teenagers.

President Barack Obama, the Congressional Black Caucus, black state and local politicians, and civil rights organizations are neither naive nor stupid. They have been made aware of the unemployment effects of the labor laws they support; however, they are part of a political coalition. In order to get labor unions, environmental groups, business groups and other vested interests to support their handout agenda and make campaign contributions, they must give political support to what these groups want. They must support minimum wage increases even though it condemns generations of black youths to high unemployment rates.

I can’t imagine what black politicians and civil rights groups are getting in return for condemning black youths to a high rate of unemployment and its devastating effects on upward economic mobility that makes doing so worthwhile, but then again, I’m not a politician.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


2 June, 2016

We are enslaved to a Leftist elite

We work.  They swan around, congratulating themselves on their righteousness and superiority

Thomas Lifson argues that Bernie Sanders presents "a mortal danger to not only the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, but the continued viability of the party’s strategy of mouthing populist rhetoric while practicing crony capitalism. Too late, they now realize he actually means what he says."

In an age where truth is the worst policy, socialism -- like Santa Claus -- is something no adult should believe in. That Sanders might actually have illusions lies at the heart of his appeal. To a cynical public a politician who doesn't calculate in explicit monetary terms is the nearest thing to secular sainthood. Hans Gruber, the villain in Die Hard, disappointed the industrialist he kidnapped by confessing: "Mr Takagi, ... I am far more interested in the 100 million dollars in negotiable bearer bonds hidden in your vault."

Takagi: You want money? What kind of terrorist are you?

We expect revolutionaries to be indifferent to money. Yet in reality the Left thinks about nothing but money as the Venezuelan socialists who have stolen $350 billion from the treasury, according to the Basel Institute on Governance, should have proved to the world. If it's any consolation to the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders is not as indifferent to lucre as he seems. Sanders' filings show he's received money from Super PACs and donors with links to Wall Street -- so he may be normal after all.

Perhaps the first major 20th century writer to realize that the ambition of all true Communists should be to become billionaire revolutionaries was Hilaire Belloc. In his 1912 book, The Servile State, Belloc argued the then-burgeoning Communist movement would find more success ditching Leninism in favor of an alliance with Crony Capitalists to reinstate Slavery. "Slavery, or a Servile State in which those who do not own the means of production shall be legally compelled to work for those who do, and shall receive in exchange a security of livelihood."

This modern form of slavery would address not only the concerns of the revolutionaries by fixing job insecurity and guaranteeing retirement on a plantation basis, but also assuage the monopolists, who stay up nights worrying about preserving market share in the face of competition. An alliance between socialists and crony capitalists would solve both problems at once. The only price to pay for this convenience is the loss of public freedom and that is readily paid.

As for the rest, it would be sustainable. The crony capitalists would underwrite the projects of the collectivists. The ant-heaps of each would be so similar to the other that only a few changes in signage would be needed to turn regulated capitalism into the workers' paradise. It was a tremendous insight. Belloc realized Bolshevism was was too obviously destructive to last and anticipated the rise of what we would now call the Blue Model. F.A. Hayek paid tribute: "Hilaire Belloc ... explained that the effects of Socialist doctrine on Capitalist society is to produce a third thing different from either of its two begetters - to wit, the Servile State." Regarding the Servile State, George Orwell realized whatever name it gave itself, such an unholy alliance would be much the same quantity.

Many earlier writers have foreseen the emergence of a new kind of society, neither capitalist nor Socialist, and probably based upon slavery ... A good example is Hilaire Belloc's book, The Servile State ...  Jack London, in The Iron Heel ... Wells's The Sleeper Awakes (1900) ... Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1930), all described imaginary worlds in which the special problems of capitalism had been solved without bringing liberty, equality, or true happiness any nearer. More recently, writers like Peter Drucker and F.A. Voigt have argued that Fascism and Communism are substantially the same thing. And indeed, it has always been obvious that a planned and centralized society is liable to develop into an oligarchy or a dictatorship.

The crucial point would be that this proposed Third Way would be more secure than the traditional Leninsim which rested upon the unholy Troika of Party, Army and Cheka. Paychecks would actually be met, courtesy of the crony capitalists. It's not surprising that after the collapse of the Soviets, the next collectivist social project was the much more "responsible" EU. But Larry Elliott, arguing in the Guardian for a British exit from Brussels, realized that distinction was more a matter of degree than substance. He characterized the EU not as "the US without the electric chair; it is the USSR without the gulag."  The correspondence with Belloc's 1912 prediction is eerie.

Belloc argued that the only two exits from the evils of crony capitalism were an expansion of property holdings to the great majority of the people (the classic conservative program) or collectivism. Of the two alternatives, the elites would find collectivism far the easier path. He wrote, "if you are suffering because property is restricted to a few, you can alter that factor in the problem either by putting property in the hands of many or the hands of none ... a trust or monopoly is welcomed because it 'furnishes a mode of transition from private to public ownership.'" Crony capitalism furnishes collectivism so well that the Servile State becomes indistinguishable from the Workers' Paradise and its leaders equally interchangeable. Thus we have billionaires who become men of the people and men of the people who become billionaires. Who could have foreseen this in 1912?

The so-called Socialist ... has not fallen into the Servile State by a miscalculation ... he welcomes its birth, he foresees his power over its future ... it is orderly in the extreme ... and the prospect of a vast bureaucracy wherein the whole of life shall be scheduled and appointed to certain simple schemes deriving from the co-ordinate work of public clerks and marshaled by powerful heads of departments gives his small stomach a final satisfaction.

Best of all, the socialist agitator was free under the arrangement to engage in his favorite project of remaking mankind to free him from "the ravages of drink: more fatal still the dreadful habit of mankind of forming families and breeding children." Belloc's Servile State anticipated the carnival at Davos with its weird hodgepodge of moralism, pseudo-scientific causes and economic diktat precisely because it understood what the power coalition of the future would look like.

Where both Belloc and Orwell may have erred was in assuming the Servile State could fix the sustainability problems that doomed Leninism. The hope of finding a lasting formula for collectivism lies at the heart of the USSR's reboot and the EU and Hillary's socialism in words but crony capitalism in deeds strategy, in contrast to Bernie Sanders' hair-on-fire socialism. Nobody argues with the collectivist goals, just about how to pay for them.  Both the EU and its American imitations are attempts at finding a socialism which can pay the bills. Unfortunately the present political crisis raises the  possibility that the Servile State itself is inherently unsustainable.

The issue which dogs Hillary and which no cosmetic distancing from Sanders will solve is that the middle class is losing faith in the platform. The political turmoil threatening to break apart the EU and the American Blue Model is rooted in the fact that both are broke and have no prospect of meeting obligations as manifested in the stagnation of wages in the West and also in the collapse of the "security" safety nets for which the present-day slaves have traded away their freedom. The progressive campaign is essentially predicated on the assumption that a sufficiently resolute government can defy the laws of financial gravity. There is now some doubt on that point.

Collectivism cannot even pay its pensions. "The present value of unfunded obligations under Social Security as of August 2010 was approximately $5.4 trillion. In other words, this amount would have to be set aside today such that the principal and interest would cover the program's shortfall between tax revenues and payouts over the next 75 years."  One of the culprits, ironically, is that the socialists have succeeded all too well in changing mankind's dreadful habit of forming families and breeding children.

It's not just the Government that's broke but also its political partners. Recently the Teamsters' Central States Pension Fund announced that it was bust. Unless it gets an infusion of taxpayer money, pension benefits for about 407,000 people could be reduced to "virtually nothing." Orwell famously said that "if you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." What he and Belloc failed to anticipate was that the boot might rot to pieces and fail to fulfill its function to oppress.

What Belloc left out of his model, very oddly for him especially, was God. (Those who object to the word can substitute one of their choosing: reality, consequences or arithmetic, it makes no difference.) God can't be fixed and shows up at the most inconvenient moments. Teamsters who are able to intimidate everything find they are finally helpless against addition and subtraction. At the end of it all they, like everyone else who has mismanaged their pensions, can pay their retirees "virtually nothing."

In the face of this failure perhaps it is time to revisit Belloc's alternatives. If the only remaining path is to encourage a return to the popular ownership of property and making markets freer as opposed to cutting deals with monopolists -- then so be it. Technology may be working in favor of the path not taken. As intellectual property becomes the dominant means of production, every human is automatically born with a certain amount of capital, provided Planned Parenthood doesn't get to him first.

Lincoln Steffens thought he saw a future that worked but it was cruel fraud. Why not try property this time instead of slavery? We've tried being slaves. Let's try being free. Belloc points out this idea is so revolutionary that anyone who espouses it will almost certainly be suspected of mental incapacity.



The Economically Illiterate Fear Successful Companies, Pine for Failures

It Fundamentally Confuses the Meaning of Profit and Loss

Donald J. Boudreaux

My 19-year-old son, Thomas — of whom I’m as proud as any parent can possibly be of a child — is a budding astrophysicist. His professional interests reside purely in the hard sciences and in mathematics. Yet his understanding of economics runs deeply. (Yes, I’m bragging. Or is it bragging if it’s true?)

Thomas naturally understands the inevitability of trade-offs; he understands that there is no such thing as a free lunch (or a free anything); he understands spontaneous order; he is realistic enough to realize that for every one perverse incentive at work in the private sector there are 1,001 perverse incentives at work in the “public” sector; and Thomas understands that firms that profit in the private sector serve the public — and that the greater the service, the higher the profit.

Thomas is also naturally a libertarian: he has no wish to butt into the affairs of others and he is appalled at the prospect of anyone butting into his affairs. He is, indeed, a civilized and decent man.

This afternoon Thomas and I were driving back from lunch and our conversation turned to McDonald’s. Thomas correctly noted that McDonald’s has suffered some difficult times in recent years. My son and I agreed that he — and possibly even I — will live to see the day when McDonald’s either declares Chapter 7 bankruptcy, is ignominiously absorbed into some other thriving firm (possibly a firm that doesn’t now even exist), or is transformed into an enterprise very different from what it is today. Thomas and I agreed also that the same fate awaits Wal-Mart and, likely further down the road of time, Amazon.com, Apple, Google, and almost all of the other of today’s thriving commercial successes.

Thomas knows enough history to know that today’s commercial behemoths — the firms that today seem destined to survive forever, unbeatable, blessed with the touch of Midas — are tomorrow’s pathetic also-rans. That’s the nature of market competition. Think Pullman, Western Electric, Woolworth’s, K-Mart, Sears, Kodak, PanAm, RCA, and General Foods — to name only a few, and only national American, once-giants. (Investors in these firms somehow missed out on the miraculous “capital-grows-automatically-and-all-by-itself” formula that features so prominently in Thomas Piketty’s work.)

Anyway, Thomas and I predict that the day will come when leftists rise up to lament the demise of McDonald’s and of Wal-Mart. My son and I expressed to each other our bemusement at the fact that leftists are as predictably nostalgic for dying firms as they are apoplectic with hostility to whatever firms are today thriving and most profitable.

Then, simultaneously, it struck both Thomas and me that leftists — by applauding and praising only firms that are currently in decline while despising and criticizing firms that are currently at their peak — applaud and praise only firms that use resources inefficiently (which is what accounts for these firms’ current decline) and despise and criticize only firms that use resources efficiently (which is what accounts for these firms’ current success).

To criticize the success of private firms in competitive markets is to display a failure to understand that these firms’ high profits reflect their unusual success at improving the lives of countless input suppliers (including workers) and consumers. And to seek to use government force to prevent the demise of firms being driven into bankruptcy by market forces is to seek to use government force to enable firms to continue to use resources inefficiently — that is, to use resources in ways that worsen the lives of many input suppliers (including workers) and consumers.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


1 June, 2016

There is still good social and economic upward mobility in America

Jeff Jacoby's argument below is both a cheery one and mostly right. He seems unaware, however, that the Italian study he mentions has a large predecessor in the work of Gregory Clark, who also finds that wealth is to a significant extent dynastic.

Clark's findings that SOME lineages stay wealthy is an interesting one.  And he explains it well.  He says (to simplify a little) that what is inherited is not wealth but IQ.  As Charles Murray showed some years back, smarter people tend to be richer and tend to marry other smart people.  So their descendants stay smart and smart people are mostly smart about money too.

But Clark's findings do not in fact diminish any of the points Jacoby makes.  Dynasties of wealth do exist but most people's wealth or poverty is not dynastic

TWO RESEARCHERS AT the Bank of Italy have documented something remarkable about Florence, the gorgeous Tuscan capital where the Medicis ruled and the Renaissance was born: The city’s wealthiest residents today are descended from its wealthiest families six centuries ago.

As The Wall Street Journal reported this month, economists Guglielmo Barone and Sauro Mocetti looked at tax records compiled in Florence in 1427 alongside municipal tax data from 2011. “Because Italian surnames are highly regional and distinctive,” the Journal explained, “they could compare the income of families with a certain surname today, to those with the same surname in 1427.” What they found was that the wealthiest names in 21st-century Florence belong to families that were near the top of the socioeconomic hierarchy in 15th-century Florence — those who were lawyers, or who belonged to the wool, silk, and shoemaker guilds.

Barone and Mocetti did not identify the actual families listed in the Florentine tax rolls, but they note that about 900 of the surnames are still used in Florence by some 52,000 taxpayers. Not all of them are descended from those who bore those names in 1427, of course. And the new study appears to focus primarily on correlations among the very highest and lowest income-earners, not on the majority in between. Over the course of six centuries, the authors note, Florence has undergone “huge political, demographic, and economic upheavals,” and they acknowledge that intergenerational mobility is higher in Italy today than was the case before the 20th century.

Yet even with all those caveats, the persistence of economic and social status across 600 years of Florentine history is eye-opening. And it helps explain what impelled myriads of Italians to uproot their lives and relocate to new homes — especially the 5 million people who immigrated to the United States between 1876 and 1930.

Critics have been lamenting the death of the American Dream for decades, but the US remains what it has always been: a land of opportunity where neither poverty nor wealth is immutable, and no one’s station in life is fixed at birth. Politicians whip up economic envy; activists stoke resentment at a “rigged” system. And yet economic mobility is alive and well in America, which is why so many foreigners still stream to our shores.

Ample evidence bears this out, much of it gathered in long-term studies that track the earnings of large blocs of Americans over many years.

In 2012, the Pew Charitable Trusts published one such study, appropriately titled “Pursuing the American Dream.” Drawing on longitudinal data spanning four decades, Pew was able to show that the vast majority of Americans have higher family incomes than their parents did. Among US citizens who were born into families at the lowest rung of the economic ladder — the bottom one-fifth of income-earners — a hefty 57 percent had moved into a higher quintile by adulthood. In fact, 4 percent had risen all the way to the highest quintile. Over the same period, 8 percent of those born into the highest income category had dropped all the way to the bottom.

For a different examination into economic mobility, analysts at the Treasury Department studied 84 million federal returns of taxpayers who had taxable income in both 1996 and 2005. They, too, found that “roughly half of taxpayers who began in the bottom income quintile moved up to a higher income group.” For two-thirds of all taxpayers, real incomes had increased. And — repudiating the frequent lament that upward mobility is vanishing from American life — the Treasury study concluded that the “degree of mobility among income groups [was] unchanged from the prior decade.”

The 25th great-grandsons of medieval Florentine shoemakers may still be riding high, but things don’t work that way in America. Here, riches-to-rags stories are not uncommon. When Bhashkar Mazumder, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, examined the earnings of thousands of men born between 1963 and 1968, he discovered that 17 percent of those whose fathers were in the top 10th of the income scale had dropped to the bottom third by the time they were in their late 20s or early 30s. Movement between income groups over the course of a lifetime is the norm for most Americans. The rich often get richer, but plenty of them get poorer, too. Though the top 1 percent makes a popular target, it’s actually a group no one stays in for very long. On the other hand, it’s a group that 11 percent of Americans will reach at some point during their working lives.

Affluence in America is dynamic, and our economic system is biased toward success. But bias isn’t a guarantee. Mobility — up and down — depends to a great degree on the choices that people make for themselves. Individuals who finish high school, marry before having children, don’t engage in criminal activity, and work diligently have a very high likelihood of achieving success. Those who don’t, don’t.

Of course, there are impediments to mobility that are beyond the control of any individual, and that are most likely to hurt those who start out in America’s poorest precincts. Broken public schools, for example. The normalization of single-parent households. Too-easy access to welfare benefits. Counterproductive mandates, like minimum-wage laws and stifling licensing rules. Would that our political demagogues and professional populists put as much effort into dismantling those barriers as they do into demonizing the rich and yapping about inequality.

Yappers notwithstanding, the American Dream is far from dead. This isn’t Florence. No one is locked out of economic success today because of their ancestors’ status long ago. America remains the land of opportunity. Make the most of it.



Obama’s Hiroshima Speech Reflects His Blinkered View of History

In his remarks, the president did not explicitly apologize for the U.S. decision to use atomic weapons to end World War II as some had advocated. But he implicitly criticizes the “terrible force unleashed” at Hiroshima and laments “how often does material advancement or social innovation blind us to this truth? How easily we learn to justify violence in the name of some higher cause.”

His comments reflect an aloof view disdainful of all violence, lumping aggressors and defenders together. Hiroshima was a tragedy but so were all the lives lost in the preceding years of conflict.

Visiting the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., is a sobering experience. The cascade of gold stars adorning the walls are a heart-rending depiction of the 400,000 American service members who died in both the Pacific and European theaters of war.

Each of the 4,048 stars represents 100 American deaths—sons, fathers, and brothers who never came home. Imagine the human tragedy if the number of gold stars were doubled, which would result from a full-scale Allied invasion of Japan.

Nor does Obama mention the millions of Japanese lives spared by the events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In his memoir, President Harry Truman wrote that after Japan rejected another plea for surrender, he had no qualms about his decision to drop the bombs “if millions of lives could be saved … I meant both American and Japanese lives.”

Emperor Hirohito announced to his subjects that he based his decision to end the war on the “new and most cruel bomb … Should we continue to fight, it would … result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation.” In addition, there are estimates that 100,000 to 250,000 non-combatants in occupied Asia would have died for every month that the war was extended.

Hiroshima reflects the tragedy not just of a weapon of war, but of aggressive regimes and the wars they impose. Rather than a utopian quest to eliminate nuclear arms, he should have called on nations to band together against the despots who still threaten to impose their will over weaker neighbors.

As Americans prepare to enjoy the Memorial Day holiday, we should reflect on the meaning of the day.

We honor the brave men and women of the U.S. military who for centuries have fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom for ourselves and others overseas subjugated to despots. Many of those did so during the four years brought on by the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Rather than describing an idealistic vision of the future, perhaps Obama should have pondered George Orwell’s comment that “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

As President Ronald Reagan declared in his inauguration speech, “The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.”



Forget NATO. Trump Should Defund the UN

The courage to go after sacred cows is one of Donald Trump's more appealing, if controversial, traits.   He raised the issue of NATO, contending the USA pays far too much of the freight in the mutual defense pact.

Such proposals, the candidate has made clear, are not so much policies as "suggestions" or what one might call, from his business perspective, negotiating positions.

Regarding the NATO suggestion, frankly, I am of two minds.  While it's clearly arguable the American contribution is excessive, the investment might be necessary for the preservation of the alliance (weak as it is) and to maintain the necessary U.S. leadership position.  "Leading from behind" has been one of the obvious fiascoes of the 21st century.

But I have another, somewhat similar, suggestion for Donald about which I have no ambivalence.  It's time for the U.S. seriously to curtail, if not end, its mammoth annual contribution to the United Nations that dwarfs those made by all the other 192 member-states

Here's how CNS News reported the situation in 2012:

"In one of its last actions of the year, the United Nations General Assembly on Christmas Eve agreed to extend for another three years the formula that has U.S. taxpayers contributing more than one-fifth of the world body’s regular budget.
No member-state called for a recorded vote, and the resolution confirming the contributions that each country will make for the 2013-2015 period was summarily adopted. The assembly also approved a two-year U.N. budget of $5.4 billion.

The U.S. has accounted for 22 percent of the total regular budget every year since 2000, and will now continue to do so for the next three years"

That's 22 percent for virtually nothing.

While the UN many have been formed in an outburst of post-World War II idealism, it has descended into an international society for Third World kleptocrats of mind-boggling proportions—the Iraq War  oil-for-food scandal being only one nauseating example--who engage in non-stop Israel-bashing to distract their populaces from their own thievery. What in the Sam Hill do we get out of that?

Everybody knows this, of course. When critical negotiations take place (i.e., the Iran nuclear talks, speaking of fiascoes, and the Syrian peace talks, not that they have much chance of success), they are removed from the UN and conducted between the serious players. No one is curious about what Zimbabwe's Mugabe has to say, at least one hopes not.

Now it's certain this suggestion—defunding the UN—would be treated with (feigned) uncomprehending derision by Hillary and even more contempt by Bernie, who would most probably like to cede US hegemony to the United Nations anyway, assuming some good socialist, like Venezuela's Maduro or Brazil's Rousseff (well, maybe not her), was secretary-general.

But the American voter, I would imagine, when informed of even a smattering of the facts, would support Trump in defunding or, more likely, greatly curtailing America's financial support of the United Nations.  It's a negotiation, after all.

Maybe the UN can be reduced to a few divisions of more practical use like the World Health Organization. UNESCO has, sadly, already gone the way of political insanity. Whatever the case, a smaller UN footprint in NYC would be a big step in the right direction. Think what a positive it would be for the traffic and parking situation on the East side of Manhattan.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)



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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So the essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it.

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
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Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Mirror for "Dissecting Leftism"
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Selected reading



Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.

Cautionary blogs about big Australian organizations:

Bank of Queensland
Queensland Police
Australian police news
QANTAS, a dying octopus

Main academic menu
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basic home page
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