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31 January, 2003


All those who have had a close encounter with Blogspot's archiving system and lived to tell the tale know how erratic and mysterious in its workings it is. In the case of this blog, I seem to have done something that offended it mightily as it stopped offering access to most of my archives altogether.

Being the cautious academic type, I keep backups of whatever I write (Yes. And offsite backups too), so I did not suffer the grief that the good Gareth Parker and others have sometimes displayed over such losses, but it was still mildly annoying. Worst of all was that everything I have posted on this blog still seemed actually to be there somewhere, lurking in the depths of the Blogspot servers.

With the help of some canny advice from the good Michael Jennings, however, I have prevailed! I have managed to "republish" my archives. I have induced Blogspot to give them back. Just click on "Archives" (top left of this page) and you will now be able to access the full extent of my blogwisdom. Trawling through the archives of past blog entries is undoubtedly a rare and strange pursuit so I doubt that anybody ever noticed their absence but I feel rather pleased to have them back anyway.

Before Michael's sage intervention, my response was simply to re-post everything written on this blog prior to November 1, 2002 on a separate site: here. I guess I should now take all that down but I will leave it there just in case. I put it there mainly to make sure that Google do not lose it but if anybody wants to go there and mull over my earlier words of wisdom, who am I to object? I have a permanent link to it in the column over on the left of this page.



There is a report of some recent genetic research at Gene Expression which seems to me to be overinterpreted. Unless I am missing something, all it seems to show is that memory and IQ have different genetic determinants. Anybody who knows about idiot savants will not be surprised by that.



Even President Bush seems to think that "diversity" is a good thing. Why? It escapes me. I would much prefer excellence. It seems to me that diversity is what you seek when you don't know what you want. If you don't eat steak, you need a menu, as it were. But this book apparently says that the whole idea is confused anyway. Via Critical Mass

It really is strange that we now have Leftists calling for military conscription. As Dean's World says, have Left and Right switched sides when we were not looking recently? What on earth would the 60s peaceniks make of it?

Jennie T notes signs of reason about Iraq emanating from Canadian Prime Minster Chretien, no less.

Unlikely though it seems, The Spectator believes that Tony Blair's principled stand is on the verge of making Britain a great power once again. One of the Chicago boys goes even further -- saying Britain is still as great as it ever was (pity he can't spell "cricket", though).

As the Wall St Journal says: The "antiwar" Left seems to stand only for the proposition that the enemy of my country is my friend This clinical description of "pathological Narcissism" sounds a lot like Leftist behaviour to me.

Gareth Parker points out some wisdom about Iraq from a political centrist.

Self-defence is now illegal in New Zealand. You are supposed to let yourself get killed. Don't believe me? Read for yourself. I think most sane New Zealanders have emigrated to Australia by now.

As Razib says in his post of 27th: The mildly genocidal Milosevic is hauled before the War Crimes Tribunal, while the maniacal Mugabe is invited by the government of France to come to a conference. Ah, but he is black....

Iraq to chair Conference on Disarmament. Coming on top of this: "Libya Elected to Chair U.N. Human Rights Body" I have to say that only a Leftist could take the UN seriously.

"Envy used to be just a human failing, but today it is a major industry. Politicians, journalists and academics are all part of that industry, which some call 'social justice'." --Thomas Sowell. Via The Federalist

Chris Brand notes some progress towards realism over asylum-seekers in Britain.

The Wicked one is being facetious at the moment.

Michael Darby blogs about the benefits of genetically modified food and the latest Libyan idiocy at the UN.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


30 January, 2003


The German government's anti-American rhetoric is begining to hurt German exports to the United States. Hooray! About time. Why people think they can be insulting to Americans without Americans getting annoyed I do not know. Americans are very forgiving but nobody is infinitely so. And the critics think THEY are good-mannered. They could learn a lot about courtesy from the very Americans that they knock as being "cowboys".



The doctrine of predestination is associated with Protestant pioneer John Calvin of Geneva. Luther throught that your salvation depended on your faith. Calvin thought that your salvation depended on your being chosen by God. In Britain, the Scottish Presbyterians were the main enthusiasts for Calvinism but the doctrine was widely influential among early Protestants and even the 39 "Articles of Religion" of the Church of England (issued in 1571) include a version of it. Article 17 says:

Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind ......

But it would seem that the doctrine has now not been heard from the pulpits of ANY mainstream church for many years.

Interestingly, however, I was brought up in a family with Presbyterian loyalties (though with no great religious committment) and throughout my family predestination was constantly invoked during my childhood. I can vividly recall my Aunt Maude and others saying things like: "It was all planned out before we were born, John" and "It was meant to be". And I have noted similar sentiments coming from others I know with a similar background.

So what it all shows is the persistence of culture. With absolutely no support from the pulpit, old docrines and beliefs live on not as dogmas but as customary beliefs and family traditions. So to dismiss the importance of culture and tradition is to miss a large part of what goes on in the lives of people.



I posted yesterday an email from a reader that claimed that Christianity was oppressive rather than being a fountain of individual liberties. One of my Christian readers has now responded with a spirited defence of the Christian contribution to liberty. See the latest post here.



I have Tim Gillin to thank for this fun story:

Apparently, flag burning in the UK is a "hate crime" if "directed against minorities". Americans are a minority in the UK and some Leftists seem to have forgotten this -- and have spent time in prison for defacing the American flag! How cruel to take the Leftists' favourite pastime away! How will they express themselves now?

See here.



Always Right does a good appreciation of the State of the Union Address.

Michael Darby posts on the implications for Australia of the State of the Union address.

I have been thinking about Bill Whittle. Just a few posts seem to have made him the blogosphere's favourite conservative. Why? I think it is because Bill really is the decent and caring person that Leftists only pretend to be.

Orrin Judd rightly gloats: Life holds no more beautiful prospect than that of Germany and France isolated from the rest of the West and stuck with only each other. And just that is happening!

It seems that you have to be married to a lawyer to get justice in Britain. Disgraceful cases of government incompetence like this are the one thing that makes me opposed to the death penalty.

Chris Brand thinks that directionlessness is a central problem for modern-day liberalism.

Immigration control in the United States is only for keeping out honest people who do the right thing. Read this if you doubt it. Via Jamie McDonald

Famous Lefty philosopher and advocate of equality John Rawls has a son who is a libertarian!. (Via Stew)

Postcards from Prison is a fun site. The Wicked one points out that, unlike politicians, the Queen will not cost the taxpayer a cent in superannuation payments. Babette Francis points out that Leftist discrimination against men can end up hurting the women it is supposed to help.

Prof. Bunyip describes this site as "Rapist's wife". It made me ill anyway.

The Australian Libertarian Society seems to be Canberra-based. A bit ironical seeing that the main industry of Canberra is government! Maybe the nearer you get to government the more you can see its flaws.

You Big Mouth You has lots of good stuff -- from Feminazis to Greenpeace to the Norwegian airforce.

Right-Thinking looks at a tragedy and has some good sarcasm about the uselessness of gun-control laws.

Astounding! A Boston schoolteacher got her students to read books rather than watch TV so the Principal of the school insisted that they MUST watch the TV! (Via Country Store). Bring on vouchers!


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


29 January, 2003


Northern California ranked second to Nashville in the Marine Corps' national recruiting last year. Looks like the weirdos of San Francisco are just vocal, not representative.

It reminds me of Spiro Agnew's "silent majority" in the Nixon years.

And is similar to this:

After a local "anti-war" demonstation that was said to have brought out 20,000 people, a poll by KATU of Portland, Oregon residents showed the following breakdown on military action in Iraq:

For: 57%

Against: 34%

Not sure: 9%



I wrote recently on this blog: "American Christians think that Christianity is the main source of the high level of respect for individual liberties "

A US reader wrote to me in reply:

What? Individual freedom and Christianity don't even deserve to be in the same sentence together! Christians are all about oppression .... in every way. There are so many examples ... a book could be written on that topic!

It's not my fight. Would any of my Christian readers care to reply?



Britain may have to pull out of the European convention on human rights if the Government's latest measures fail to stem the flow of asylum seekers, Tony Blair indicated yesterday.

In a significant about-turn, he conceded that it might be necessary to look again at Britain's international obligations to take in refugees. He said the present situation - with alleged terrorists entering the country as asylum seekers and a former Taliban fighter seeking refuge despite having fought against American and British forces - could not be allowed to continue. The Government had to reduce the number of people seeking asylum. "The present situation is unacceptable and we have to deal with it," he said. "I am under no doubt about that at all."

The Government has been forced on the defensive by claims that Britain has become a soft touch for asylum seekers, with 100,000 arriving every year. Many disappear after their application to stay has been rejected.


Note that a Left-wing British economist has also made a comprehensive argument against mass immigration into Britain.

There now seems to be huge popular support for a crackdown on "asylum seekers" in Britain. Australia, of course, stopped the nonsense some time ago so it can be done.



The Seventh Ohio District Court of Appeals in Youngstown, Ohio, has ruled that it is legal for police to hide cameras in public toilets!

Economics editor of The Australian, Alan Wood, has attacked playwright David Williamson for not sticking to the facts about global warming. It looks like playwrights can be nearly as big a pain as movie stars -- first Pinter and now Williamson. Pinter is demolished by Capt. Clueless here.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again -- at Ipse Dixit

Under the heading, "The arrogance of liberals", George Will describes Leftist arguments as "synthetic hysteria"

The Wicked one posts on when it is that you need lawyers -- when you are dealing with bone-headed police.

Michael Darby posts on the futility of attempts at world climate control.

Chris Brand writes on how the concept of liberty has been abused by the Left.

More on the shambles that is American airport anti-terrorist screening at Greeblie Blog. Osama would have a big laugh at these guys.

Jeff Jacoby also writes of the continuing absurdity of "security" precautions at American airports.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


28 January, 2003


Jonathan King had an excellent article in yesterday's Australian about the Leftist nonsense that tries to portray the British settlement of Australia as a cause of shame.

He had many good points but I liked this:

The arrival of the First Fleet of convicts in Sydney Cove in 1788 [under Capt. Arthur Phillip] led to the British settlement of all six colonies and to our Federation in 1901. The hazardous voyage of 11 tall ships battling largely uncharted seas for eight months from Portsmouth was an achievement taught proudly to earlier generations of Australian students.

Phillip's safe arrival was a much greater achievement than the highly promoted six-week trans-Atlantic Mayflower voyage of pilgrims who settled America in 1620. Even though the pilgrims travelled one-tenth the distance, they still lost one of two ships and half their settlers in the first winter. By contrast, Phillip lost no ships and delivered 1350 people with few casualties. Today it would be like colonising Mars.



Matthew Cowie emailed me with an extended version of a recent post on his blog:

I noticed your item on how Chapman believes that Bloggers are more conservative because they are older. I agree with widely held view that the internet is conservative because it is an alternative to the mainstream media's leftist bent. However, two other factors could be that conservatism is more a grass roots movement than leftism, which is more of an elitist movement. That the New York Times bestseller lists are overwhelmingly dominated by even nominal conservative writers is evidence of this. As Ann Coulter stated, "Liberals don't read books - they don't read anything," she said. "That's why they're liberals. They watch TV, absorb the propaganda, and vote on the basis of urges.

The second factor could be that the youth are generally more conservative/libertarian and the users of the internet tend to be younger than the general population. School choice and Social Security privatization are heavily favored by Americans aged 18-25, for instance. More polling data is in This article from the Washington Times.

Mathew also has an interesting quiz:

Q: Why don't Liberals read books?

A: They're too busy coloring them.



Does "nice radiation" sound like a joke? It isn't. Radiation CAN be good for you. It's called "hormesis". I blogged on it last November (27th.) and Aaron Oakley has quite a few posts on it at the moment too. And if you are CERTAIN that radiation has to be bad for you, have a think about this:

Should we evacuate Denver?

Denver, in the Rockies, has a higher radiation level than most of the country. Should we evacuate Denver? The answer is that the death rates and cancers are lower in the high radiation areas than in the low radiation areas. Denver has a higher radiation level and lower death rate than most of the country.



I had to laugh! Given the latest Blix report, we seem to be about to go to war with Iraq -- so what is the leader of the Australian Left talking about? BABY FORMULA! What a galoot!

Andrew Bolt has some home-truths that will upset the feminists

The Wicked one has a go at teachers and class sizes.

China Hand thinks Hong Kong needs a sales tax.

There is an articulate defence of SUVs here. I guess you like them or you don't. I would not want to drive a vehicle that made me despised, however. One of Washington's most senior "news" reporters has just said of the USA under GWB: "We have chosen to promote democracy with bombs instead of largess". An utter fruitcake! The real world is for her a planet far, far away.

Michael Darby is compiling an anthology of poetry.

Chris Brand has some interesting quotes about the Nazi era.

Shishir Yerramilli has added his observations on the role of Christianity and primitivism in the origin of our liberties.

Angela Bell has a link to a rare blast of sanity from the Islamic world.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


27 January, 2003


I see that a former chairman of the Australian Republican movement is having a predictable shot at the Governor General for expressing support of Australia's troops. For a pro-Republic activist to find fault with the representative of the monarchy is meat and drink, of course. And what he says is nonsense. The GG is perfectly entitled to express support for the nation, its troops and its military involvements. The previous GG (Deane) was widely praised for speaking up on behalf of Aborigines (which would widely be seen as a "Leftist" cause) so this GG can speak up on behalf of our military committments (if some see that as a "conservative" cause).

The only thing that precedent requires is an expectation of widespread general support for whatever is expressed and Dr. Hollingworth can undoubtedly rely on wide support for his views about the nastiness of Saddam Hussein. One wonders more about those who do NOT see anything reprehensible in the Arab Fascist dictator. Prince Charles, it may be remembered, launched a swingeing but no doubt "controversial" attack on modern architecture -- to much public acclaim. The monarchy and its representatives have to be careful about matters of public interest but do not have to be hollow shells devoid of values.



Iain Murray has recently commented on a large Swedish study that shows clear psychological disadvantage among chilren from single-parent families. Iain and everybody else seem to be interpreting this as showing that single-parent families are a bad thing.

Such families may well be a bad thing. I believe they are. But the study cannot be used to prove that. We have to be careful about the direction of causation. An amazingly high proportion of what we are is genetically determined (even ideology -- See Martin & Jardine, 1986 and Eaves et al., 1999) so I would say that a more likely interpretation of these results is that those with enough psychological deficiencies to prevent them from forming good relationships tend to pass such deficiencies on to their children. In short, the source of the disadvantage observed in the children is genetic, not social at all. Sad news for interventionists but they will not listen anyway.


Eaves, L.J., Martin, N.G., Meyer, J.M. & Corey, L.A. (1999) Biological and cultural inheritance of stature and attitudes. In: Cloninger, C.R., Personality and psychopathology. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press. Martin, N. & Jardine, R. (1986) Eysenck's contribution to behaviour genetics. In: S & C. Modgil (Eds.) Hans Eysenck: Consensus and controversy. Lewes, E. Sussex: Falmer



I have written on several occasions now that I trace our modern Anglo-Saxon respect for liberty and democracy to our pagan Germanic ancestors. But I have not given much proof of what the pre-Christian Germans were like. So let me quote a man who knew them well, the ancient Roman Consul and historian Tacitus. Excerpts:

They choose their kings by birth, their generals for merit. These kings have not unlimited or arbitrary power, and the generals do more by example than by authority.

About minor matters the chiefs deliberate, about the more important the whole tribe. Yet even when the final decision rests with the people, the affair is always thoroughly discussed by the chiefs. They assemble, except in the case of a sudden emergency, on certain fixed days, either at new or at full moon; for this they consider the most auspicious season for the transaction of business. Instead of reckoning by days as we do, they reckon by nights, and in this manner fix both their ordinary and their legal appointments. Night they regard as bringing on day. Their freedom has this disadvantage, that they do not meet simultaneously or as they are bidden, but two or three days are wasted in the delays of assembling. When the multitude think proper, they sit down armed. Silence is proclaimed by the priests, who have on these occasions the right of keeping order. Then the king or the chief, according to age, birth, distinction in war, or eloquence, is heard, more because he has influence to persuade than because he has power to command. If his sentiments displease them, they reject them with murmurs; if they are satisfied, they brandish their spears.

In truth neither from the Samnites, nor from the Carthaginians, nor from both Spains, nor from all the nations of Gaul, have we received more frequent checks and alarms; nor even from the Parthians: for, more vigorous and invincible is the liberty of the Germans than the monarchy of the Arsacides.

Our modern-day parliamentary procedures are a little more sophisticated but the basic values and principles seem to me not to have changed at all.



Some recent research by Wiseman shows that "lucky" people create their own luck. It confirms Sam Goldwyn's famous observation: "The harder I work the luckier I get".

A British man caught a burglar in his home only to find that the police could not be bothered to prosecute. He took the burglar to court himself and won! Glad I don't live in Britain.

Here's a story that will make the day of all animal lovers.

Greenie dimwits who think that the heat output of the Sun is constant and that only human activity could possibly cause climate change need to read this.

In his post of 24th, Bigwig hangs an excellent anti-French rant on the recent "closer ties" agreement between Germany and France but, to be fair, it should be added that the average Frenchman will still always despise Germans -- just as he despises everyone non-French.

The Wicked one has a "we told you so" story about affirmative action and is also having another laugh at Leftist blogger Gary Sauer Thompson

Chris Brand reports that the British press is beginning to think that the paedophilia hysteria over there has gone too far and that people want the government to do more about bogus asylum-seekers.

Michael Darby shows how enormous bureaucratic negligence has made the current Australian bushfires so unprecedently bad. See also Miranda Devine's rather prophetic article

Theodore Dalrymple's article The Starving Criminal once again shows how Leftists prefer theory to facing the facts. I liked his line: "Meals here were solitary, poor, nasty, British, and short."

Great news from China. It looks like the Chinese leadership is slowly backing off from confrontation with Taiwan.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


26 January, 2003


Orrin Judd and many other American Christians think that Christianity is the main source of the high level of respect for individual liberties that prevails in English-speaking countries.

I respectfully disagree. I have argued that it is our pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon heritage (working largely via Protestantism in recent centuries) that is primarily responsible. The German-speaking, Anglo-Saxon "barbarians" who conquered Britannia and turned it into England 1500 years ago had a form of social organization that was tribal and decentralized rather than centralized and that was consultative rather than despotic -- and those values were never lost.

Razib leans my way in the matter by pointing out that there have been many Christian societies (such as Byzantium) that did not greatly respect individual liberties.

Tim Gillin has been doing some reading on the topic too:

This Christianity versus barbarianism as a source of liberty and prosperity argument is fascinating. My gut feeling is that the barbarians have the stronger case, but of course over hundreds of years these influences will echo off each other too.

Leonard Liggio has an interesting comment about the Christianity and liberty argument, what he doesn't mention here is that the "polycentric" power structure of western Europe had German, Celtic and "barbarian" roots. Christendom provided a common culture but local rulers competed for power and the loyalty of their subjects, both with each other and the Church.

R&L: What role did Christianity play in the emergence of the components of a free society: free markets, limited government, and the like?

Liggio: I think we have to look at comparative history. Of all the civilizations around the world, why did only the Christian West become both free and prosperous? We are talking about distinctions between civilizations. Asian civilization, for example, did not become free and prosperous, even though it had a lot of cultural creativity. But we must also look at other Christian civilizations, such as the Byzantine, Abyssinian, Georgian, and Armenian Christian empires, all of which lasted for many centuries but did not create the kind of free and prosperous society the Christian West did.

Many scholars have studied this and have come to the conclusion that this is due to the fact that the religious institutions were totally separate from, and often in conflict with, political institutions only in the Christian West. This created the space in which free institutions could emerge. The idea of independent religious institutions is absent even in Eastern Christianity; their religious institutions are part of the bureaucracy of the state. In Western Europe, though, the religious institutions were autonomous among themselves, and totally independent from and often in opposition to state power. The result was the creation of a polycentric system. And whenever this system was threatened by claims of total empire by the political rulers, Christian philosophy was utilized as part of its defense.

So within that space, the economic institutions-often modeled on the religious institutions as autonomous entities-could flourish and survive

Another historian Ralph Raico may be closer too it, and refers to a string of historians working in this field.

" In the past few decades, eminent historians, economic historians, economists, and sociologists have contributed to framing and buttressing this powerful paradigm, our paradigm. It has been presented in works with titles such as How the West Grew Rich and The European Miracle. (In this literature, "Europe" is often a shorthand term for Europe and its outposts, above all the United States.) Scholars of the rank of David Landes, Douglass North, and Jean Baechler have participated in this project.

Although there are, naturally, differences among these scholars, the gist of the view is that Europe developed economically and eventually outstripped the rest of the world largely because it was at once a common civilization - Latin Christendom - but also a radically decentralized mosaic of polities. This created multiple opportunities for economic and also political progress. There was competition among political entities, which came to see that a favorable treatment of property rights retained and attracted productive citizens. On the other hand, when a state behaved as states customarily did and do throughout history - as an "unconstrained predator" - it tended to lose ground to competing states, as Professor Bouckaert has indicated..."

Liggio and Raico, and presumably the other historians mentioned, see "freedom and prosperity" as a by-product of political decentalisation overlaying a wider common culture. The barbarians were generally freedom loving, for example, the Old Icelandic culture, almost 'pure barbarians', there was no pre-existing christian civilization to conquer. They were relatively free but never especially prosperous (although their literary output was remarkable). They developed a decentralised political system that maintained a high level of freedom from overlords for about 350 years.

So a good case can be made that the decentralisation was part of the barbarian heritage. Was this the key ingredient?

Of course Joseph Stromberg points out that the very word "freedom" has a Germanic/Anglo-Saxon origin (Freiheit in modern High German). This might just settle the debate in favour of the barbarians, but then again he points out that "liberty" has Latin roots too!!!! (Liber = "free" in Latin)



This finding will drive the Greenies crazy (Or it should if they are genuine): Fields of sugar beet full of weeds and insects have for the first time challenged the idea that crops genetically-modified to resist weedkillers are bad for wildlife. The experiments suggest that the careful use of GM technology can encourage back the wildlife lost in conventional crop fields - without sacrificing farmers' yields..

Spiked also points out the environmental benefits of GM crops. Saying: When it comes to GM crops, Europe could learn a lot from the developing world Writing on his "other" blog, China hand joins the throng who cannot understand the Greenie opposition to standard bushfire prevention measures. Do they WANT their precious native species to be all killed in one huge conflagration? It seems so. And it is happening right now. Imbeciliic!

Michael Darby has had a few posts saying that too.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


25 January, 2003


Every year -- year after year -- millions of people around the world gather together to celebrate with great ceremony and merriment the birthday of a poet. And there is only one poet so honoured: Robert Burns. For people with a Scottish heritage it is one of the greatest celebrations of the year. And today is the day.

I do sometimes arrange a traditional Burns night on the 25th. -- getting into full Highland dress (kilt etc.), inviting friends over, having the haggis piped in, making the usual speeches (to the haggis, to the lassies etc) and making sure that there are plenty of tatties and neeps to go with the haggis. But not this year. I will however be dining on a Scotch pie, a Forfar bridie, tattie bread and clootie dumpling to finish.

There is however one essential that I never miss: to read, sing or recite some of the great words of the poet himself. So here is the greatest love poem ever written:

A Red, Red Rose

O, my love is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June,
O, my love is like the melody,
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonny lass,
So deep in love am I,
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only love,
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my love,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!

And here is the greatest love lament ever written:
Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon

YE banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary fu' o' care?

Thou'll break my heart, thou warbling bird
That wantons through the flowering thorn;
Thou minds me o' departed joys
Departed never to return

Aft hae I roved by bonnie Doon
To see the woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o' its Luve,
And fondly sae did I o' mine.

Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose,
Full sweet upon its thorny tree;
And my fause Luver staw the rose
But ah! He left the thorn wi' me.

So if you have any Celt at all in you, listen to some of the great Scottish sentimental songs today and open yourself to them. If you shed a quiet tear or two over them, you have a Scottish heart.



Tim Gillin writes:

There is some interesting pro-monarchist stuff floating around the web. This young American liberal is a unusual supporter of British style constitutional monarchy. Amongst other things he is keen to preserve monarchic forms for cultural reasons, he wants to tell his kids about princesses and kings. The Diana craze and Lord of the Rings shows that this is still a powerful impulse. If we feel the need to preserve old buildings and endangered species for the benefit of future generations, what's wrong with wanting to preserve a few living monarchies?

Prof. David Flint also writes of the magic we would lose by removing the monarchy in Australia. As an Australian monarchist I heartily agree.

There is more on the Australian monarchy here



Steven Chapman thinks most political bloggers are conservative because they are old. I think the answer is simpler than that. I think that only conservatives NEED a new outlet for their views. Leftists have their views constantly presented in the mainstream media so feel no need to blog. For more detail of my thoughts on the subject, see my posts of 2nd October and 30th September, 2002 here. Two of the links I mention there are now out of date. One is now here and the other is here



Michael Darby has two more poems by Burns.

The Wicked one has some dreadful puns.

More and more British and European students are coming to Australia for a university education. It's not so long ago that Australians felt that they had to go abroad to finish their education.

Overlawyered wisely refers to his Permalinks as "Durable" links. Even that may be overstating it. See here

P R Seabrook is a self-described bleeding heart liberal (Yes, he does call GWB: "Shrub" -- how clever!) but at least he thinks discrimination against whites is just as bad as discrimination against blacks. Perhaps there's hope for sanity on the Left yet.

Chris Brand reports more on the Finsbury Park Mosque in London and the difficulties of expelling Muslims from Britain.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


24 January, 2003


Tim Gillin writes:

The great Peter Jackson movie adaption of J.R.R Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS has been doing great guns in cinemas around the world. Tolkien of course was a devout Christian, arch-conservative and opposed to authoritarian and arbitrary power of any sort.

This recent article at the Acton Society site discusses Tolkien's opposition to centralised state power. This theme has been discussed elsewhere in more detail. This article by William Stoddard for example discusses Tolkien view of decentralised power and finds connections with the anarchic society of old Iceland and the "distributivist" ideas of G.K. Chesterton and Belloc. (There is a critique of Distributivism here)

The author is however unaware that Tolkien attended the same school as Hillaire Belloc whose 1912 book THE SERVILE STATE inspired F.A.Hayek to write his classic ROAD TO SERFDOM written during WW2. Hayek of course influenced Milton Friedman, whose son, David Friedman finds some inspiration in old Iceland for his preferred anarcho-capitalism.

Tolkien was of course an expert on Northern languages, including Icelandic, and Anglo-Saxon culture. His work was an attempt to imaginatively "rediscover" the "lost" mythology of Anglo-saxon England prior to 1066 and the imposition of "the Norman Yoke". In a sense he was the first Euro-skeptic!

It is well known that Tolkien converted C.S. Lewis back to Christianity. The core of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is however not politics or economics but "the Christian virtues". When you explore the dates for Frodo's departure from "The Shire" to the climax of the adventure, you discover the story begins on Christmas Day and finishes on Good Friday (although I am sure other Tolkien fans may disagree on this!).

This longish (15 page) biography of Tolkien is one of the best on the web.



Taken verbatim from the Quick Takes column in the Chicago Sun-Times:

News Item: Securities and Exchange Commission forms Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to oversee the accounting profession.

News Item: Public Company Accounting Oversight Board members vote themselves annual salaries of $452,000, with the chairman to receive $560,000.

From Jerry Lerman, posting of 23rd January.



Hooray! The Wall St. Journal have put an article by Bjorn Lomborg on their editorial page. That should help stiffen the resolve of the Republicans over Kyoto.

I have posted a bit lately about how the Leftist influence has gutted modern academic psychology of most of its claim to be a science. Roger Sandall does a similar but much more witty expose of modern anthropology

Joanne Jacobs reports: Congressional investigators created a fake school -- Y'Hica Institute for the Visual Arts -- in London, and applied for federal loans for three non-existent students to study abroad. All were approved by the Department of Education.

Razib has a long post on the alleged connection between Christianity and respect for individual liberties. He does not seem to realize it but he makes an excellent case for my claim that our tradition of respect for individual liberties is of Germanic rather than Christian origin. (See about halfway through my article here).

Michael Darby talks about the current Australian bushfires and points to crazy Greenie policies that have made this bushfire season unprecedentedly bad.

The Wicked one has two stories about the amazing stupidity of bureaucracy.

Chris Brand says that we should recognize and rejoice in diversity -- by acknowledging racial differences.

An excellent joke on Samizdata

China Hand says that the Chinese are at least frank about admitting that they use bugging devices to eavesdrop on people.

You can carry a loaded gun onto an aircraft in the U.S. and get only a warning if you happen to be connected with a TV talk-show host.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


23 January, 2003


I live in Brisbane and our daily newspaper is the Murdoch-owned "Courier Mail". Its headline today is "Bravehearts set sail" -- reporting that Australian troops have just left to join U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf readying for war with Iraq. I wonder how the N.Y. Times would have reported the story? "Troops depart amid controversy", perhaps. The "Courier Mail" also reports that our Prime Minister has said that Australia would join the U.S. regardless of the U.N. It makes me proud to be an Australian.



All this European mumbo-jumbo about the U.N. makes me sick. The U.N. is just a talking shop for tinpot dictators. Why should the US be ruled by the likes of Libya's Gaddafi or Zimbabwe's Mugabe? And why should Tuvalu have the same vote as India? The U.N. is nothing like a world parliament. And the USA in fact already HAS a resolution from the UN supporting war with Iraq. France and Germany are just envious because they are no longer of prime importance. If they had taken a principled stance like Britain's Tony Blair, they WOULD still be important.

Jeff Jacoby spells it out too.



As is now well-known, university teachers in the humanities and social sciences are overwhelmingly Leftist. This has a very bad effect on the disciplines concerned. The very low Leftist standards of honesty and concern for truth are disastrous when applied to what should be science. I have given extensive examples of that elsewhere but here is another example by another author:

In the 1920s, researchers in psychology began focusing on the workplace. Their goal was to discover what factors increased worker satisfaction and ultimately productivity. Perhaps the most famous of these workplace studies took place in 1924. This was the year a team of researchers went to the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric, located just outside Chicago. In an attempt to determine the effect of lighting on work, researchers turned the lights up in one room and kept the original lighting in another. Then they did the reverse, dimming the lights in one room and maintaining the normal level of light in another. From lighting, they went to coffee breaks, length of work week, location of work space, and method of payment. The results were astonishing. No matter what the researchers did, productivity rates in both the regular and the test group increased.

What accounted for that increase? According to the researchers, it was the time and attention paid to the subjects taking part in the experiment. In their view, increasing productivity had less to do with working conditions and more to do with a worker's sense of importance. Their interpretation made social science history. As a result, numerous psychology textbooks have dutifully passed on to students the notion that the "Hawthorne effect" was a scientific finding firmly grounded in solid research. Yet, in reality, the Hawthorne effect was based on very shaky evidence.

According to Dr. Lee Ross, a psychology professor at Stanford University, the number of subjects in the Hawthorne experiment was ridiculously small. Only five workers took part in the study, and two were replaced midway for insubordination and low output. So why were the researchers ready to base such wide ranging conclusions on so little evidence? According to Dr. Ross, researchers trained in psychology have an innate bias. They tend to think that subjective factors matter a good deal. Inclined in that direction to begin with, members of the Hawthorne team were quick to jump to the conclusion they were hoping for: The determining factor in productivity was the worker's sense of personal value.

Dr. Richard Nisbett, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, is even more critical of the Hawthorne effect than is Dr. Ross. Dr. Nisbett calls it a "glorified anecdote." From his perspective, the fact that the Hawthorne effect made a good story is one reason why the skimpy evidence supporting it was ignored. In his words, "Once you've got the anecdote, you can throw away the data." Cynical as that sounds, it may be one reason why the Hawthorne effect still makes its way into textbooks even though criticism of its methods has been around for decades. It does, indeed, make a good story.

(Information drawn from Gina Kolata, "Scientific Myths That Are Too Good to Die," The New York Times, December 6, 1998, p. 18)

Excerpt from here



Some wet academic "historian" now wants Australia to "apologize" to the Turks because Australians and New Zealanders took part in the bungled Gallipoli landing in Turkey in 1915! What is wrong about invading someone you are at war with he does not seem to say. At least the Kiwis have given the idea the raspberry.

And the generalship of Kemal in defeating the Allied forces gave him the prestige to lead Turkey into the modern world anyway. The Turks are as pleased as punch about it. They certainly want no apologies. Leftists just call for apologies, reparations etc. because they think it makes them look big-hearted. Logic does not come into it.



The Infidel reproduces a long anti-Western dialogue (off a chat room) between two Muslims. It shows what we are up against: IQs of about 60!

There is a mocking view of "reparations" from a Filipino-American here. She calculates that the Hispanics owe her bigtime.

An explanation for the "human shield" nonsense: Lefties have a well-documented overly-grandiose sense of their own self-importance. It is what makes them lefties in the first place. I couldn't agree more. See here.

The Wicked one gives Leftist blogger Gary Sauer Thompson a very hard time and also asks what you get when you cross a Greenie with a bureaucrat.

Chris Brand notes that the hysteria over paedophilia is beginning to be questioned in Britan.

A record here of just some of the horrors that the people of the Baltic countries and other minorities went through under the Soviet empire.

Michael Darby remembers the Ukraine famine.

"Spiked" says: The latest phase in the anti-Lomborg campaign makes pie-throwing and name-calling look like examples of serious, grown-up criticism

Andrew Sullivan rightly says: There is something truly sickening in the sight of people who call themselves liberals finding more fault in America than in the brutal, misogynist, homophobic, anti-Semitic dictatorships who are now pitted against the West.

Milton Friedman says: I never met a tax cut I didn't like, and I like President Bush's a lot.

A US Federal judge has ruled that if you get fat from eating Big Macs, it is your own fault. Apparently there are still SOME things Americans have to take personal responsibility for!


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com.

If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


22 January, 2003


There does not seem to be much balance in the SUV debate but let me have a try at it anyhow:

The Wall St. Journal has a rather tongue-in-cheek explanation of why some people like to drive large vehicles and why others hate them for it. And, as this article shows, they are indeed hated. Forbes, however, has a more balanced article (free registration required) on the subject than either of the above extremes. My own first comment on the matter was on 9th December last year:

An interesting article on what Australians call 4WDS and what Americans call SUVs. The article quotes research findings to the effect that they are primarily bought for show and statistically debunks the claim that they are safer. Because of their instability, they are far more likely to roll over than other vehicles. So, overall, they are less safe and more likely to kill those in them. They are also more likely to kill other people in smaller vehicles that they collide with. And, as we also often see on the news in Australia, people accidentally back their 4WDS over their own children at a great rate.

A reply to that posting is to be found here

The reply challenges the finding that SUVs roll over more but I would be surprised if vehicles with such a high centre of gravity did NOT roll over more.

I do feel rather sorry for the people who feel the need to drive such needlessly awkward and expensive vehicles but as a libertarian I think they are entitled to whatever turns them on in the matter.

I personally would not own a SUV if only because I know how much scorn it would cause many of my fellow-citizens to feel towards me. I would rather be scorned for more important things.



Shiny Happy Gulag reports:

Northern Alberta breast cancer patients whose wait to see a cancer specialist has almost doubled should be sent out of province for treatment, says the president of the Alberta Medical Association. Dr. Steven Chambers goes on to say that eight weeks is an unacceptable waiting period to see an oncologist, and these patients should be flown to the US for radiation therapy.

Eight weeks for patients with life-threatening cancers to wait before they can begin treatment. Welcome to the Gulagland state-monopoly health care system.

Note where the doctors would like to send their patients: To that wicked capitalistic USA!



Carnival of the Vanities is up again -- with something for everyone.

Oh Boy! This picture says it all about limousine liberals. Via Clayton Cramer.

Australian Tory reports a study showing that public transport emits more Greenhouse gases than private cars! I wonder how the Greenies will deal with that one? One guess: Ignore it.

More insane political correctness in Britain: Richard Browning was sacked from his teaching job because one of his students photgraphed a toy gun. Via Natalie Solent.

China Hand blogs on the terrible destruction wrought by envy in China and notes that Chinese intellectuals are just as parasitic as Western ones.

The Wicked one has what seem to be some totally new thoughts on cloning.

Chris Brand has a lot on the current Muslim situation in Britain.

Our Australian nutjob Leftists are so amazing that even American bloggers sometimes have fun fisking them. See American Realpolitik

Medpundit has some horror stories about lawyers in his post of 19th.: Like the lawyer who slept through his client's trial and the fact that in many American States you can be sued for complaining to ANYONE about your lawyer! It does seem to leave shooting them as the sole recourse.

This "bra" nonsense certainly confirms what I have often said about Leftists being people who desperately need attention. I guess when they were little and said "Mummy look at me", Mummy didn't look.

Dennis Prager (post of January 21st.) says that American Jews vote Democrat because they think that Rightists were responsible for the holocaust. The Leftists have obviously conned them well. Hitler was a socialist.

Michael Darby warns us that Iraq is a North Korea in the making.

Hello Bloggy doesn't like the French very much. Lighter moments in science: Man descended from Aardvark. (Under the heading "British News", of course!).


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


21 January, 2003


It has often been said that envy is the mainspring of Leftist politics and I pointed out last year that Leftist impoverishment of the societies in which they live may therefore be not so much stupid as deliberate. I said:

So the economic destruction and general impoverishment typically brought about by Leftists is not as irrational as it at first seems. The Leftist actually wants that. Making others poorer is usually an infinitely higher priority for him than doing anybody any good

We now have interesting experimental evidence that I was right. There is a report here in which some researchers gave people the opportunity of destroying wealth belonging to others as long as they accepted that some of their own wealth would be destroyed in the process too. So how much were people are willing to lose themselves if they could at the same time destroy the wealth of others? Lots! Impoverishing others is demonstrably worth a lot to some people:

Whether or not they are aware of the indirect harm to themselves, a sizeable majority of people in society does indeed want to see the wealth of others burned

Much Leftism really is fuelled by hate. Via Todd LaClair



The Chinese are erecting an enormous number of factories aiming to produce half the world's manufactured goods within a decade or so. For the most part these goods will be aimed at the mass markets, for clothes, toys, shoes, computers, telecommunications equipment and later motor cars. What makes the Chinese development different to anything we have seen before is that they are combining very low cost labor with the world's latest and best technology.

More here



The Australian Democrats have similar policies (if you can call them that) to the U.S. Democrats, but fortunately have only about 5-10% voter support. The party had a big upheaval last year when a backroom body of the party with the intimidatingly Stalinist name of "The National Compliance Committee" tried to discipline the party's Senate representatives for not following the party line. It certainly shows yet again the authoritarian nature of Leftism. Having an outside body dictating to democratically elected Senators has eventually got pretty embarrassing, however, and they are now proposing to abolish it. See here



Pineappletown seems to have his knickers in a knot over oil leaking from ships sunk in World War II! He obviously has not read this. Via Stew



A family doctor has been summoned to a formal hearing over his refusal to put a 34-year-old MALE patient on the list for screening for cervical cancer.

Hard to believe? Males don't have a cervix, of course. See here or here. Via Cronaca. Cronaca has lots of interesting stuff -- particularly if you are interested in history.



As LGF says: Did we need any more evidence that the United Nations is nothing but a hopelessly incompetent, hopelessly corrupt puppet organization for the world's killers and dictators? No? Well, we have some anyway: "Libya Elected to Chair U.N. Human Rights Body". LGF has heaps of unbelievable but true news at the moment.

Government at work: British coastguards have found dozens of phials of anthrax vaccine belonging to the ministry of defence on a beach on the southern English coast.

Cinderella is acerbic about the recent much publicized "Peace" rallies: As expected, various Far Left losers attempted to hijack the peace movement. This sort of protest rally has the same attraction for political extemists that a children's home has for paedophiles: lots of young, innocent minds ready to be exploited

The Wicked one is now having shots at civil rights, Martin Luther King and fundamentalist Christianity!

Michael Darby points out that hatred for the West is widespread across the Islamic world -- even among our "allies"

Chris Brand asks how it can be criminal just to look at something and rejoices that the University of Edinburgh (which sacked him) is falling down.

Bovination is rather pleased that Australia's political capital is on fire. He thinks they deserve it.

On 16th, I repeated a story from Jerry Lerman about men being jailed when marijuana was found in a former drug-smuggler's SUV that they had just bought off the U.S. Customs Service. Jerry has partially corrected that story in his post of 21st. They were jailed in Mexico, not the U.S.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


20 January, 2003


Rafe Champion has a review essay of Thomas Sowell's book Preferential Policies which highlights the mayhem that can and does result from "well-intended" racism. The bloodshed resulting from such policies in India and Sri Lanka is particularly alarming.



And "Amen" to this from Spiked:

The new 'anti-racist' witch-finders have no time for such outdated concepts as empiricism or evidence. There need be no proof of racist acts; the possessed don't even know they harbour racist thoughts, for they are being 'unwittingly racist'. The demon can infect entire organisations too, rendering them 'institutionally racist'.

Even if there is no proof of it existing, like an elusive phantom, it can be 'perceived' (the 'perception' of racist intent in a criminal in English law actually makes it a racist crime). To deny such thinking is only to indict oneself even further. There is only one avenue for redemption: self-denunciation. Surrender to the new 'anti-racist' priestcraft, for only they know what you think.

True non-racists believe that racial discrimination is wrong. They subscribe to the tenets of the Enlightenment, with its belief in the universality of humanity. Today's 'anti-racists' represent the antithesis. They are the intellectual descendants of pseudo-Freudians, Maoist brainwashers and religious fundamentalists.



Many of those who promote double standards for blacks seem convinced that blacks cannot achieve what whites have achieved. That is part of the ugly secret behind affirmative action. More here



I wrote recently about how hopelessly unscientific I had found my colleagues in psychology and sociology to be when I was employed to teach those subjects at university level. This article about the work of anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon shows that political bias and lack of concern for the evidence prevail in anthropology too. See also here

Tim Gillin comments:

This is a great example of scientific persecution today in the social sciences. Chagnon spent many years in Venezuela studying Indian family structures on grants provided by the Hiroshima victims medical foundation that was keen to develop epidemological yardsticks. Chagnon, by adopting a socio-biological explanation for tribal warfare among the Yanomamo, managed to alienate himself from the anthropology mainstream.

At the same time he managed to document that remote Amazon missions were unintentionally spreading disease. Maybe more than they cured. He thus made two powerful enemies at once.

Into this comes 'investigative journalist' Tierney, a writer who previously wrote articles on talking dolphins and on alleged secret human sacrifice cults in South America. Tierney, presumably fed by Chagnon's foes, wrote a pot-boiler story accusing Chagnon and his partner Neel accusing them of deliberately spreading disease among remote Amazon tribes as part of a Dr Strangelove-meets-Dr Mengele "eugenics" experiment on behalf of the US atomic bomb program.

The accusations were broadcast around the world, the retractions and refutations, of course were not.



Jeff Jacoby points out that the free-trade agreement between Mexico and the USA has done wonders for BOTH countries. Let us hope that the negotions for a free-trade agreement between Australia and the USA bear fruit soon.

Floyd McWilliams has blogged about the strange lengths California men now seem to be legally required to go to during sex.

American Realpolitik notes that conservative America is much happier than Democrat America even when it is less well-off materially.

You knew it, didn't you? It is the fault of British imperialism that Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe is starving his people to death! Layman's logic has the proof.

Michael Darby unveils some truths about Islam.

It's only totalitarian dictators who outlaw their political opponents to keep themselves in power -- right? Wrong! Those wonderful caring moderate Europeans in Belgium are doing just that right now! See here

Natalie Solent explains at length why nursing home staff do admirable work but still get low pay -- and also explain why that is a good thing!

China Hand has the story of what a great occasion Chinese New Year is and points out how handy it is that Chinese can be written either Left-to-Right or Right-to-Left.

Chris Brand thinks it is great that Britain is making university study more expensive for the students.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


19 January, 2003


Tim Gillin writes:

Of course the Greenhouse issue has a lot more to it than "mere" competing scientific views or the debate over real versus exaggerated environmental concerns. Regardless of the various positions in those important debates, Greenhouse also has a lot to do with international politics and business. .

This recent article on the web site of the CEI examines some of the political and diplomatic wrangling behind the scenes of Greenhouse. The quote below is of interest. It shows that "protectionism disguised as environmentalism" may be what it is all about. The EU sees the low tax energy policies of North America and Australia as "unfair competition" and want to create a "level playing field" with a definite european tilt.

As the article says, last year EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom revealed the mindset of the European policymakers:

"[Kyoto] is not a simple environmental issue where you can say it is an issue where the scientists are not unanimous," she said. "This is about international relations, this is about economy, about trying to create a level playing field for big businesses throughout the world."

To the EU, Kyoto is about the United States' "unfair tax competition," its government consistently refusing to match the Europeans' zeal for taxing energy use to modify behaviour, particularly repressing automobile use and population.

The more politicized and regulated international trade is the more likely we are to see campaigns of this sort. The US could as easily foster a retaliatory green crusade.

Greenhouse skeptic scientist Fred Singer has recently posted this article detailing his 20 year involvement with the science and some of the politics of Global Warming.It provides a neat history of the atmosphere as a political battlefield.

This article looks at the growing debate on the economic, as distinct from climatological, assumptions behind the IPCC model.



There is an amusing article by Matthew Parris that looks at the misuse of science and the comparison between modern-day environmentalism and mediaeval religion. Excerpt:

For Question Time recently, I was with David Dimbleby's panel in Norwich.

We were asked about floods, global warming and carbon-dioxide emissions. I said I could offer no more than a hunch: that a change in the pattern of

our weather might be under way, but, if it were, then we probably knew less than we claimed about its nature or cause. I was unsure, I said, how

important a part mankind played in climate change. I thought the contribution might be marginal.

The audience's reaction astonished me. 'A sharp intake of breath'

understates. From the whole studio came a sort of low whistling sound - a sucking-in of air through clenched teeth. It was as though we were back in

the Middle Ages and I had denied the Virgin Birth. The response said more than 'We disagree.' It said 'You have blasphemed.' Which I had.



I remember Rodney King, after the South Central LA riots, saying "Can't we all just get along?" I've thought about that, and have come to a conclusion: No, we can't all get along.

It's great to have the attitude of "love thy neighbor," and believe that war isn't the answer. But when there are people whose sole existence is based on your destruction, the attitude better be one of a strong defense rather than turning the other cheek

From Arlene Peck -- posting of Decmber 30th, 2002.



Today is National Sanctity of Human Life day in the USA so I have posted both my views on abortion and another view for which I have sympathy here.

Charles Murtaugh reports how hard it is to get Greenies to accept basic scientific principles and procedures.

Michael Darby has postings on Greenie churches and cricket in Zimbabwe.

The Wicked one was previously being heretical about Abraham Lincoln. Now he is being heretical about the wisdom of the American revolution.

Chris Brand re-evaluates Enoch Powell -- prophet of Britain's present racial problems.

Wow! Leftists REALLY hate SUVs! I wonder why so many Leftists drive them?

AC Douglas is being acerbic as usual -- but his being on the side of bloggers who do not have a "Comments" facility is reassuring.

Occam has a good cartoon about racial "fairness" at the notorious University of Michigan.

Disgrace! Hobbs reports that the infamous dog-killing Tennessee police got only a "reprimand".

Angela Bell is one of many who are disgusted that so-called feminists are silent about the anti-women outrages of Islam.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


18 January, 2003


There has been a lot of amazed discussion recently (e.g. Arthur Silber) about a California case where a man was convicted of rape because a woman allegedly changed her mind half-way through a previously consensual act of sexual intercourse.

For once, however, California was not the first with this particular brand of legal silliness. There was a very similar case in Western Australia in 1987 -- where the alleged rapist did end up spending time in jail. Eventually, however, justice was done and the conviction was overturned. It seems to me that this precedent might be very useful if the California case goes to appeal. In the Western Australian case, however, it did take 14 years for justice to be done ....



If you want to know how Leftist anti-Americans can grievously hurt ordinary decent Americans, you must read this.

But no decent human being could support regimes as ugly and brutal as the regimes of Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe, Pol Pot and Joseph Stalin. But Leftists such as Jane Fonda do support them loudly and clearly. So what does that tell you about the Leftists concerned? Don't you just LOVE their "compassion"?



Heather Alvis has written to me from the USA about reparations. Heather is partly of American Indian ancestry but I suspect that her views might be widely shared.

Reparations: What a bunch of crap. Being native American, I can say it doesn't bother me. It's past. We are in the present. I cannot see me wanting reparations or special treatment in any way. But that is me. In the case of the African Americans ... I can hardly believe what comes out of their mouths.

As I'm watching 60 Minutes, and hearing about reparations ... the main advocate for it, and one of the news correspondents .. both African American --- are going on about reparations: Each man should get his share -- etc. My thoughts about them are this: They were both so high yellow there's not one but MANY white ancestors in their blood. Today we no longer have Africans. They are not black. They are a mixture, and if we're to pay reparations, based on their ancestors that were slaves, then what about their ancestors that were white? Find me a true black man and we might talk reparations. There are browns, caramels and tans .. but there are no blacks here. How can they pick the ancestor they want to have focused on? They have to consider them all.

I cannot stand to see a man talk reparations when I would be darker-skinned after one week in the sun. It is in the past. We should let it stay there

The reparation I am for, in cases of those that want one --- is a ticket back to the country they were so wrongly taken from. They enjoy our freedoms but if the average black man went to Africa to live he would be screaming to get back to America.

Reparations? No way. "Thank you" is what they should be saying.



An email from "Trader":

I would like to comment about the Rees-Mogg article and your posted thoughts.

I think that the USA is truly the continuation of the British Empire. The USA was essentially created by a group of libertarian Engishman who wrote one of the most important documents of all time -- the US Constitution. If ever the gift of humanity shows God's handywork it is the US Constitution and the later amendments.

I think that there does exist an American empire if the definition of empire means the ability to project influence around the world. The US does not own colonies like the old simply because a colony by definition cannot be efficently run. But the US is able to project its influence around the world in spades and is also able to show its might in the military sense better than anyone could ever have imagined. Lets face it, the US could simply destroy all the the Middle East with 3 aircraft carriers. It would be that simple.



Brian O'Connell says:

There is a connection between multiculturalism and anti-Americanism. But how can acceptance of the fact that there are no absolutes when it comes to cultural truths lead to hatred of the United States? Follow along and see. We start with a simple and widely accepted axiom: More here



Australian philosopher, Rafe Champion has an interesting article on "Uniting the Right" here which explores the tensions between different groups on the "non left" of Australian politics: A plea for conservatives to learn economics and for economic rationalists to become attuned to the cultural agenda and fight back against the "long march" of the left through the insitutions of civil society.



Michael Darby has a great poem about guns by Henry Lawson and notes the unconcern over human rights abuses in Muslim Indonesia.

Dan James has a succinct solution to the North Korea problem. He thinks the problem is North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il and says: One good smart bomb is all that it appears would be needed to solve most of North Korea's woes. As if we're not tracking his every movement by satellite and GPS, anyway.

The Wicked one has fond thoughts of the Atari 2600.

IQ & PC features a very thorough demolition of the notion of "Inclusiveness".

An Indian blogger thinks he should start calling his wife "Google"!

Another Indian blogger has some naughty but useful information about the Wall St Journal.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


17 January, 2003


Kary Mullis, a very skeptical Nobel Prize-winning scientist says here and here that what scientists say often reflects their need for funding more than anything else. Excerpt:

But there just aren't any convincing data to support predictions of environmental disaster. It's all conjectural, and even if environmental change is on the cards, 'What's the trouble with something being out of balance if the natural state of that thing is change?' So-called scientific advisers and media mavens cry up imminent disaster because it's easier to get funding that way. Watch out: these people are manipulating you. And some of the worst of the gloom merchants aren't even proper scientists: 'They are parasites with degrees in economics or sociology who couldn't get a good job in the legitimate advertising industry.'

And even leading Greenhouse scientist and advocate Stephen Schneider says:

"... we are not scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have."

John Daly points out that, although he is now the scientific superstar of global warming, Schneider was a great prophet of global COOLING only a few years ago. So it seems reasonable to conclude that when Schneider opens his mouth it his pocket you hear talking.

So, I regret to say that the appeals to authority that "Greenhouse" advocates are always relying on are about as informative as relying on the authorities of Galileo's day who argued that the earth is flat. Relying on scientists who depend on getting research grants for their livelihood is to lean on a broken reed. Unfortunately, we must look at the facts ourselves wherever we can.

I myself resigned from my tenured university teaching job at age 39 because I was appalled at how thoroughly unscientific the vast majority of my fellow "social scientists" were. (Ray, 1989).

Ray, J.J. (1989) The scientific study of ideology is too often more ideological than scientific. Personality & Individual Differences 10, 331-336. See also here



Britain's Daily Telegraph has just caught up with the Russian data on global cooling reported here on 29 December last year. Excerpts:

The big melt-down should now be well under way. Yet the latest research not only fails to give any evidence for it, but points to the exact opposite: a deepening of the polar freeze

Despite these latest findings, most climate scientists insist that man-made pollution must eventually make its presence felt. Yet the repeated failure of their computer models to match reality is becoming ever harder to ignore - and raises grave doubts about the wisdom of basing government policy on their predictions.

Via Aaron Oakley



The Curmudgeon continues his more-than-courteous references to this blog. Although the readership of this blog is smaller than many (an inevitable effect of its being one of the most academic blogs there is) I note that a lot of the readers seem to be my fellow bloggers.

One of The Curmudgeon's posts that made me sit up is his news that Pres. Bush is trying to cap damages payments in the courts in order to rein in the cost of liability insurance: Long overdue. Several Australian States have done that already so it is possible. There is a $300,000 cap on ALL liability claims in New South Wales now.



Prof. Bunyip is at his inimitable best in commenting on "human shields"

China Hand has resumed blogging now that China has lifted the blocking of Blogspot. He posts on what cars are selling in China and resolves to try to rein in his Sinophilia.

The Wicked one has a scientific argument in praise of beer and some very skeptical thoughts about African "leaders"

Australian airport security screening is a joke. Even our government thinks so.

The Yobbo is wondering whether to take Tim Dunlop's advice and stop being anonymous. In view of Iain Murray's recent experience, my advice is a resounding "NO". Stay anonymous.

Supermercado reluctantly admits his real surname: "Woolcock". And adds: "Yes, that's the name and it's the last time it'll ever get a mention on here. And I've heard every single sheep-shagging gag known to man"

Chris Brand discusses white teachers fleeing from black schools.

Michael Darby excerpts an irreverent interview with John Derbyshire on Iraq and Islam.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


16 January, 2003


Alf Croucher has just emailed me from China: The seige of Bloggergrad has been lifted!



Francisco Rivera, 40, and Alfonso Calderon, 34, each spent an ENTIRE YEAR in prison because police found 30 pounds of marijuana inside their SUV at a checkpoint. Mexican authorities described the marijuana as being old and deteriorating. This is because it was put there by the previous owner whose SUV was seized by the U.S. Customs Service for marijuana smuggling. U.S. customs then sold the SUV to the two men at an auction without, apparently, first checking the SUV for hidden drugs.

Bill Of Rights -- Void Where Prohibited By Law

They were jailed because, the judge said, they failed to prove their innocence. Is this how it now works in the United States? They were released from prison by a federal appeals court in Mexicali. Neither man had ever been in trouble with the law before.

If you buy used cars, you should be concerned, very concerned, that this could happen to you or someone you know. If you rent hotel rooms, you should be very concerned that they'll find someone else's drugs in the room and they will send you away. If you go anywhere where people have been, you could be in trouble. Does anyone else have a problem with this?

They are now suing U.S. Customs for negligence and are happy to be back with their wives and daughters.

Source. Summary by Jerry Lerman



The Guardian's recent report on Earth's climate fluctuations leaves THIS sentence to the very last: Stott says: 'The fluctuations indicate the cold periods are the calamitous ones - which suggests all our fears about global warming may be misplaced.' How odd!

Here is the original article about Julian Simon's debunking of the "Green" doomsayers that started the now famous Bjorn Lomborg off on his pilgrimage towards reality. And here is a useful summary of what Lomborg found when he investigated the facts about Greenie claims.



Although I was born half a world away from London, I was born a British subject. All Australians were in 1943 -- the year of my birth. So the reality of the British Empire is not far back in the past at all from my point of view. I grew up with maps of the world that had the red of empire everywhere and was proud of it. So I found an article by Niall Ferguson interesting and persuasive. Summary:
The British Empire covered 25 per cent of the globe and, as the world's biggest investment banker, its influence stretched even farther. In his new book, Niall Ferguson argues that the Empire was a force for global good, and that its demise was caused less by nationalist movements than by the cost of its efforts to keep more malign imperial powers at bay



In response to my recent postings that point out that Japan has claims to civilization that are in some ways superior to the claims of Christian countries, I received the following email:

Hi Jon, I am a steady reader of your blog, but what you said about Japan being more peaceful than Europe from 1591 to 1900 is not true. There were many civil wars between the major clans in Japan during lasting up to the Meji restoration in 1868.

The peasants were forceably disarmed, all the guns imported from the Dutch were confiscated. There was a large local gun manufacturing of copies of the Dutch guns but that was destroyed too. The Samurai were able to rule with swords over the peasants because of this. The Christian religion was suppressed the simple expedient of killing all that could found.

Missionaries in the late 1900 found a hidden group of these Christians that had been isolated for 300 years. All ships above 50 tons were destroyed and any one who went by ship to China or Korea were killed to insure that Japan remained isolated. That all I can remember off the top of my head.

But I like your blog a lot so keep up the good work. Best Wishes, Rich.

Rich is of course right about Japan's exclusionist policy during the Tokugawa Shogunate but otherwise he appears to be confusing events surrounding the establishment of the Shogunate with events later on. I quote the Encyclopedia Britannica under the heading: Japan: The enforcement of national seclusion:

The seclusion policy was instrumental in enabling the Tokugawa bakufu to establish a prolonged peace of nearly 300 years



Razib at Gene Expression has some interesting thoughts in reponse to my recent postings on Christianity and civilization.

Michael Darby has a story about the Khmer Rouge that should make you love all Leftists and also reports on Muslim craziness going on in the USA itself.

The Wicked one has some jokes plus some MOST heretical thoughts about the American revolution.

Chris Brand has news of vampires, cannibalism and polygamy!


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


15 January, 2003


The Carnival of the Vanities is up again -- this time at the Greeblie Blog. A mini-blogosphere on one site!



Michael Totten has a quote from Orwell which shows that the Anti-American intellectuals of America today are no new thing. Apparently there were just as many anti-British intellectuals in the Britain of Orwell's day too. It seems that second-rate intellectuals everywhere seem to think that it is clever to find nothing good to say about their own country.

Australia has plenty of the type too -- Donald Horne, for instance. Poor Donald wrote a miserable carping book about Australia which he unwisely titled The Lucky Country. Australians liked the title so much that they bought it in droves for their coffee tables but almost never bothered to read it. They assumed it was pro-Australian! So Donald is now praised for promoting the very ideas he was trying to heap scorn upon! Almost the ultimate defeat!



There is a great site here that compares Orwell's predictions about "Newspeak" with the thought police and political correctness of today. There are heaps of links to recent news stories where free speech has been muzzled by Left-dominated universities, schools, media etc. As Tim Gillin commented "All rather depressing, really".

The site also has a great little section where it compares environmentalism to the imaginary ideology of "animalism" in Orwell's ANIMAL FARM ("four legs good, two legs bad"). See here

One of the links is to a recent UK Telegraph article on the quite scandalous 'environmentalist takeover' of school geography teaching but the article concerned seems to have disappeared from its original site so I have re-posted it here.



Another good post from Jim Miller's blog:

Estonia, Russia:

Sheer incompetence is an even larger problem in the news business than bias. This morning, as I was watching the morning news on the Seattle Fox affiliate, Q13, I saw an astounding example. The anchor, Tony Ventrella, a former sports reporter, read with some surprise a story on Estonia's worry over its low birth rate. The idea that a country might have too low a birth rate seemed entirely new to both him and his co-anchor, Christine Chen, even though it has been discussed for decades by demographers. Neither showed any awareness of the fact that nearly all the European countries have fertility rates below replacement.

To illustrate the story, there was a map of Russia, with "Estonia, Russia" on it, at about the location of Moscow. Whoever drew up the map thought that Estonia was a location in Russia. Words fail me.



Tim Gillin has emailed me a short but content-rich history of some Roman Catholic economic thought in which he points out a Catholic tradition of favouring decentralization of power and of opposition to socialism. I have just posted the email here (scroll down). With the help of lots of links, Tim crams quite an education into his email. Definite thinking-cap stuff!



The Economist shows how laughable is the latest Greenie attempt to "get" the statistician (Lomborg) who exposed their lies. The attempt inadvertently confirms who the dishonest ones are. Aaron Oakley has Lomborg's reply. And there is a good picture of global warming in the Baltic sea at the moment here.



I wrote yesterday at the conclusion of my note about Japanese history that "Any idea that Christianity is necessary for the development and maintenance of a civil society is historically ludicrous." Rev. Brian Chapin of American Realpolitik emailed me the following response to that: As a Christian minister it might surprise you to know I agree with you. There has to be some sort of agreement on the moral backbone of a society, but where that agreement comes from is less important than the fact that there is one.



Michael Darby has a posting that shows the evil nature of Leftist Anti-Americanism.

Chris Brand writes on the pathetic state of law-enforcement in Britain today.


The Wall St. Journal says: That neo-Nazis hate America and thought Sept. 11 justified is hardly news; we noted it on Sept. 11. But do you suppose it ever gives those on the far left pause that their views on the most important issues of the day are indistinguishable from those of Nazis?

And since Hitler was a socialist, it is no co-incidence either.

The Wicked one has amusing comments on gays and on Iraq.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


14 January, 2003


From Arlene Peck. Excerpt:

Not a day goes by that I don't read a headline stating that a rabbi's car was set on fire, or that yeshiva children have been beaten on the way to school. Some are so blatantly anti-Semitic that I can only shake my head in wonderment at their rabid comments. The latest is how the French are now refusing to recognize wedding ceremonies, including those performed in pre-1967 Israel, where the presiding rabbi just happens to be a resident of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The French Consulate in Jerusalem has refused certificates of marriage to those French who want to marry an Israeli. A French woman who had converted recently had her marriage turned down for recognition by the Consulate and was told that the French Government does not recognize it because the marriage certificate bared the signature and heading of a rabbi from Gush Etzion, which they believe to be 'occupied territory.'



We all know that if you even look crosseyed at security screeners at U.S. airports you can end up in custody and in court (See here and here and here). But not apparently if you are a Leftist deliberately trying to provoke the screeners! It must be great to be a Leftist in the USA today. You sure can get away with a lot that other people cannot. You can even be blatantly antisemitic too!



An inscribed stone tablet from the time of Yehoash, King of Judah, has apparently been discovered on the Temple Mount. The black stone tablet, containing ten lines of Phoenician script, describes activities carried out by King Yehoash in the First Temple some 2,700 years ago. The inscription corresponds to the biblical account as recorded in Kings II 12.




In response to recent postings on this blog, one of my readers has emailed me as follows:

The concept of man having inherent value as a creation of God ... as having inherent self worth .... is the foundation of human rights as we know it and that is distinctly Judeo-Christian in origin. I don't believe that came from Germany or any other world religion. Individual liberties is one aspect but the value/sanctity of human life is the core ... today more and more this religious core is forgotten and the focus is solely on "rights or liberties" as defined by secular governments and pressure groups with no rational or moral foundation. We simply can't ignore or isolate the historical religious impulse of humanity .... right or wrong it always has been and always will be a central to the human condition .... dealing with it is another matter......

My limited historical understanding of historical Japan was that it was a very feudal society (Samurai)? involved in regional warfare. I believe that, while there was a traditional civility practiced in interpersonal relationships (excessively so ...), the overall cultural tendancy toward outsiders was not very civil .... my assumption is that Western influence (Christianity in part) since that time has had a beneficial impact on their society ... at the very least in lessening their historical insular tendencies.

The preaching of man's value is NOT unique to Christianity. Buddhism is FAR heavier is stressing the sanctity of ALL life than Christianity is.

And note that, from shortly after 1591, when Hideyoshi united Japan under a single rule, Ieyasu initiated the Tokugawa shogunate, which gave Japan a period of nearly 300 years of peace that has no parallel in the West. We were all at one-another's throats during that time. The Bible speaks of beating swords into ploughshares but it was only Hideyoshi that actually did it -- though the swords he collected were in fact melted down to make a statue of the Buddha. So who were the civilized ones then? The warring Christians or the orderly and peaceful animists and Buddhists of Japan?

Any idea that Christianity is necessary for the development and maintenance of a civil society is historically ludicrous.



Your government will guide you!: A picture of some crazy signage. The inimitable Victor Davis Hanson has written yet another brilliant essay -- this time on the psychological roots of anti-Americanism among America's intellectuals. Many of his points are similar to ones that I made in Front Page last year (see here) -- though he gives more weight to guilt than I do.

That venerable antique William Rees-Mogg says that the current American Empire is essentially a continuation of the British Empire. I think it is absurd to call America an empire. They rule no-one but themselves. That people everywhere imitate them is the decision of the people concerned. Nobody holds a gun at anyone's head to make them watch American films or buy American products.

Freelance Radical says: " It's often assumed that Christian ethics are the foundation on which civilized nations are built. I tend to seriously doubt that assumption, since civilization is not a result of superstition, but of MEN having successfully sublimated their aggressive impulses." But religion (or some religions anyway) may assist in the sublimation, I would think. Buddhism is very opposed to aggression.

Michael Darby has some detailed news and analysis direct from Zimbabwe about the parlous situation there.

The Wicked one has an amusing quote about interracial dating and some skepticism about drug addiction.

IQ & PC has some more postings about crime problems with blacks in Britain.

China Hand has a new/old look for his site. He should now have repaid most of his link debts. Likewise for his new blog.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


13 January, 2003


In a post of 5th headed "Poppycock", Marc Miyake is amazed that a Leftist can call himself an anarchist. In truth, of course it is no more amazing than a Leftist calling himself a liberal. It's just camouflage for their real dislike of individual liberty and their love of big government.

It was not always so, of course. In the 19th century, anarchists were generally real individualists who were genuinely opposed to government of all sorts. The trouble was that they also saw business and government as being in cahoots -- which to a degree they were of course. So the only alternative idea to government that the poor old 19th century anarchists had to offer was to revert to some sort of communal living -- which stops working almost as soon as you try it. The dreamy 19th century anarchists did not die out overnight, however. They were still one of the factions on the Leftist side in the Spanish civil war and it was largely their thinking behind the Israeli kibbutzim. There are still a few of them around and "Left-wing anarchist" would not be a bad name for them. Like Leftists, they ARE opposed to the existing power structures. But where Leftists simply want themselves to take over, the dreamy anarchists have no real alternative at all to offer.

The true anarchists of today who have a much more plausible alternative to government are of course the anarcho-capitalists -- the extreme end of the libertarian movement. They see business not as an ally of government but as an alternative to it. And it is undoubtedly true that most of the things now done by government could be done (and in some cases are already also being done) by business instead. AOL now claim to deliver more mail than the U.S. postal service and the role of insurance companies in providing for old age, sickness etc is well known.



Andrew Sullivan has a good article in the London Sunday Times (January 13th) on President Bush. See here. He portrays GW as a man of principle who sticks to his core instincts rather than being a slave to political expediency. Sullivan does not make a big point of it but the core of what he is saying is that GW is a worthy successor to the Gipper.

There is a big message in it to the "me too" jellyfish presently running the British Conservative party too. As I see it, now that the Labour Party's Tony Blair has "stolen" a lot of conservative causes, the British Conservatives have moronically concluded that their only option is to steal Leftist causes! If they had any brains they would stress the conservative causes they have left -- such as tax cuts and punishing the criminals rather than the victims of crime.

Just as a matter of interest, Sullivan's repeated use of the term "inner-directed" to describe GW derives from the work of Riesman. There is an article here that argues that JFK was also inner-directed. An inner-directed person is one who follows his own instincts and standards whereas an other-directed person is always worrying about what others think.

Riesman, D. (1950) The lonely crowd New Haven: Yale U.P.



In a nationwide poll reported last year in The Washington Post, respondents overwhelmingly opposed racial preferences. That view cut across all groups: 86 percent of blacks, 94 percent of whites, 88 percent of Hispanics, and 84 percent of Asians agreed that college admissions (as well as hiring and contracting) "should be based strictly on merit and qualifications other than race or ethnicity."

From The figleaf of "Diversity" by Jeff Jacoby.



In response to my recent posts on the FDA and drug regulation generally, one of my medical readers (a specialist doctor) has written in as follows: Drug regulation has done more to stifle competition than to protect consumers - isn't that what most regulation does?

They have locked out small companies who simply cannot afford the regulatory process, leading to a less competitive marketplace.

I have always been suspicious at anyone patenting the use of an old product - especially if the distributor has done little original research. In any case, most companies would not use an old drug for any reason.

For this reason (little profit in old drugs), we now have a critical shortage of such drugs. Along with the risk of litigation for making old drugs, companies elect to discontinue production. Again, regulation - by empowering trial lawyers - has made it economically impossible for drug companies to make old drugs. Don't you just love government?



Shishir Yerramilli has emailed me his thoughts on how important Christianity is to prosperity -- which I have put up here.

He says that most Catholic nations are poor where all Protestant nations are rich. That is roughly true but the existence of very wealthy Catholic countries like Italy, France, Spain and Ireland suggest that it is not their Catholicism that holds some Catholic countries back.



People, and very many historians, conveniently seem to forget that the outbreak of the World War II in 1939 was caused not only by Hitler, but also by Stalin: Soviet Union invading the eastern half of Poland, and Germany invading the western half.




China Hand has just started a new blog and his first posting on it is the story of his life! See here.

Chris Brand reveals that he has become a public bogeyman.

The Wicked one has some embarrassing quotes from the Bible.

Michael Darby warns us that Al Qaeda has an interest in shipping.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


12 January, 2003


I have had a few responses to my critique of Orrin Judd's claim that American capitalism functions so well because of the civility and trust engendered by the wide influence of Christianity in the USA.

I first reproduce below one of the supportive emails. Jason Soon is responding to my mention of the fact that the Japanese outperform the USA in many ways despite being superstitious polytheists rather than Christians.

If I may be so bold as to generalise, I think we East Asians are probably the most irreligious people on the face of the earth. Among my Asian Australian friends I'd say close to 99% of them are agnostic or atheist.

I think it's unfair to regard Shintoism as 'primitive religious practice' - I doubt that the Japanese take the content of the religion (as opposed to the obligations to abide by its rituals once in a while) terribly seriously.

A similar attitude pervades my family (even among the older generation) regarding the elaborate Taoist Buddhist rituals they put on in Malaysia every time someone passes on - going through the whole thing was more like a mark of respect for the deceased.

We East Asians have a very non-metaphyical but pragmatic Hayekian reverence for ritual and tradition. Even among those genuinely superstitious, I suspect it's all very utilitarian - they probably think 'not doing this ritual saves you a bit of a hassle, doing it might bring you some benefits if true so what have you got to lose' (all very Pascalian).

Interestingly, you'll find the greatest religosity in Asia are among those of Malay descent - this includes of course the strongly Catholic Fillipinos.

One should also perhaps note that American blacks hardly exemplify the good influence of Christianity. There are probably few groups in the USA who are more supportive of "that old-time religion" than American blacks but their extraordinarily high rate of black-on-black homicide plus their chronically low level of economic achievement do not exactly show high levels of civility or prosperity -- which the Christianity-explains-all theory requires.

So non-Christian Asians do very well and Christian blacks do very poorly. Where does that leave the central role of Christianity in producing civility and prosperity?

I have also had an email that submits a list of things that I would appear to have overlooked in my observations so far. See below:

1. Can you explain the state of society in Japan prior to WW2 via the metrics you state above (via the influences of Buddhism and Shinto)?

2. What about the impact that the Allied "Christian" response had on modern day Japan in assisting to rebuild Japanese society after the war?

3. Care to be a Korean in Japan ? Real Christians have racism, yes but they also admit it and try to overcome it .... and they are far more inclusive of all cultures ... Japan historically has been closed and still is.

4. Have you taken the time to research any early Christian European influences on Australia's culture development from it's days as a penal colony.

5. Are you arguing that there is no historical Christian influences that formed Western culture prior to the industrial age ? Ever consider it was Christian influences that gave birth to the industrial age!! Can you name any followers of another world religion that also developed high-level industrial & rational capabilities of the West ?? Why not?

6. Have you ever studied the development of the concept of individual rights throughout history and how Christianity provide the catalyst for such thought ? ....even though today many of these concepts are still alien to many cultures throughout the world?

I will reply point by point:

Points 1, 2 and 5:
I am NOT arguing about the origins of modern day western civilization. To me the origins are clearly Protestant -- from Lutheran Germany to Anglican England. What I DID argue is that the procedures developed in the Protestant countries are highly transferrable and hence need no substrate of Christianity to function well.

Point 3
Japanese society has always been very civil -- excessively so, some would argue. but that does not insulate them from racism. Racism is universal and Hitler's good Catholic upbringing may be noted. And Germany is, after all, the very home of the Protestant reformation.

Point 4
There were of course efforts made to instill Christian principles into Australia's convict settlers but stonier ground for the seed to fall upon would be hard to imagine.

Point 6
I have argued at some length elsewhere (See around the middle of the article) that the Anglo-Saxon passion for individual liberties is primarily of pagan German origin. Even a Christian as rebellious as Luther still preached submission to the "Obrigkeiten" (secular superior authorities). He quoted Romans 13:1 to that effect: "The powers that be are ordained by God".



The last two or three days were good for this blog: Two links from Instapundit on two different subjects and (briefly) no. 11 on Blogdex (out of about 40,000 blogs).



China Hand is an old "petrolhead" (car-lover) from way back so he has just written about the current motor vehicle scene in China.

The Wicked one reports that Google is nowhere nearly as good as people think it is.

Michael Darby has a post which points out how useful Turkey (the country, not the bird) could be for us and also a post about how lots of little taxes and "levies" add up.

IQ & PC excerpts a statistical study which shows how rare among blacks are the abilities needed for affirmative action to succeed.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


11 January, 2003


Spiked has joined the weary minority talking sense about DDT. As usual, it points out that the evidence against DDT is non-existent and that banning it has cost hundreds of thousands of deaths from malaria in poor countries. But who cares about poor people dying? Not the Greenies. They regard most of the people of the world as "surplus" anyway. You cannot argue with a mentality as deeply uncaring as that. You might as well argue with Hitler.



A nasty story on Ex Parte:

LEBANON, Tenn. -- A 61-year-old man was shot to death by police while his wife was being handcuffed in another room during a drug raid on the wrong house. Police admitted their mistake in the death of John Adams Wednesday night. They said they intended to raid the home next door.



In response to my recent skeptical posting about the treatment of blacks in Australia's early days, one of my U.S. readers emailed me with a bit of skepticism about American history:

Concerning Black History in Australia:
Americans keep insisting that their Civil War was to free the slaves.

95% of the Southerners did not own slaves. Why in the world would Irish and Italian immigrants in the North risk their lives to free slaves they didn't know or like? Why would White Southerners risk their lives to keep slaves someone else owned? These same slaveowners often opted out of military service by sending their slaves instead, with a crocodile promise to free them if the Confederacy won - a real long shot.



Australians are generally a pretty cheerful lot and so long ago took with gusto to the old English whimsy of referring to a thing by its opposite: "Little John" was really a giant of a man and someone called "Lofty" will generally be unusually short. My father for instance was always addressed as "Bluey" by his friends because he had red hair. And an old friend of mine who is fair-skinned even though he was born and bred in India is sometimes referred to as "the black man" -- because he isn't!

There has been a continuing saga near where I live over a grandstand at a sportsground which is named the "Nigger Brown" stand. There has even been a case taken to the High Court by blacks and their Leftist supporters in an (unsuccessful) attempt to force a name-change. So why the odd name anyway? Because the stand is named after a revered local cricketer whose surname was Brown and whose nickname was "Nigger Brown". And why was he called that? Because of his deathly-white skin! Even a sense of humour can get you into the courts these days.



Here is another good posting from Jim Miller's blog.

Ariel Sharon, World's Worst Villian? The far left, and often irresponsible, British paper, the Independent, lives down to its reputation with this poll, asking literary and political figures to name last year's greatest hero and worst villain. Of the 50 people asked, no fewer than 5 named Ariel Sharon as the world's worst villian last year. Tariq Ali is typical in calling Sharon an "unpunished war criminal", a phrase he would never apply to Yasser Arafat, with his long history of terrorism. The lack of perspective is as apalling as the double standards. Whatever sins Sharon may have committed, he is not even in the same league as, for example, North Korea's Kim, who managed to starve more than a million of his own people, while threatening the world with nuclear war. This unwillingness to think clearly about political questions borders on insanity.



Michael Darby has up an attack on those who think Australia should become a republic written by David Flint, a prominent Australian monarchist. He also reports on the amazing Greenie proposal for a giant solar-power tower in the middle of Australia and also excerpts Steve Forbes on EU tax "harmonization".

Michael Darby is a fun character. 4WD (SUV) drivers have nothing on him. At one stage he used to drive an old fire engine around the streets of Sydney (Australia). It was a 1928 Dennis which during the 1975 election campaign wore a large sign: "Quench the Fires of Inflation - Hose out Labor". Australia was at that time in the hands of a very Leftist Labor government that had just given the country an unprecedented 19% rate of inflation.



China Hand has more vignettes of life in modern China and some sad reflections about pressure to close his blog down. Instapundit linked to my story yesterday about Chinese censorship of blogspot and I in turn linked to China Hand so it is ironical that just as his blog is coming to wider notice he might have to close it down.

Elephant rants has some facts and figures on how the legal piranhas are forcing up your insurance bills.

The Wicked one reports another attack on the conventional view of Abraham Lincoln.

Chris Brand has some very frank but relentlessly empirical comments about problems with African blacks.

The Infidel goes into bat for President Bush's tax cuts and points out how far Left the Democrats are on the issue.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


10 January, 2003


Orrin Judd is one of many Americans who believe that it is the Christian element of U.S. culture that accounts for America's great success in most walks of life. The view is that Christian morality underpins the trust and co-operation needed for America and American capitalism to function so well. I disagree. I think that the much more nominal religiosity of Australia (demonstrated by much lower rates of churchgoing), combined with Australia's generally high levels of civility and economic success, demonstrates that Christianity is of marginal significance. And an even clearer refutation of the idea that you need Christianity for high civility, high trust, high co-operation, high efficiency, low crime-rates and low taxes is the case of Japan -- which outdoes the USA on all those measures and is not even monotheistic, let alone Christian. The Japanese are superstitious polytheists -- just about the most primitive form of religious practice.

So if Christianity does not make people civil, honourable, ethical, moral and co-operative, what does? Necessity. Moral and legal codes have not changed much since Hammurabi -- who wrote his code many centuries before Moses. Why such little change? Because such codes embody what is needed for civilization to function at all and people who don't live by them will be constrained or punished by ANY society.

So the USA has done well for the same reason that Australia and Japan have done well -- not because of any religious or moral peculiarity but because of its broad acceptance of industrial capitalism -- a British invention but one that has proved widely transferrable. Even Communist China and Hindu India have now taken it up -- with the usual excellent results.

So the attraction of Christianity is not that it makes you rich. Christ did after all say "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. (Matthew 19:21) and "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24) and "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). Christ's eyes were fixed on the afterlife. He despised riches. The attraction of Christianity is spiritual, not material.



In response to this, Alf Croucher has emailed me the following thoughts:

Lowered standards would be addressed by the better universities charging higher fees and being able to attract better lecturers with salaries based on merit rather than a standard rates set by governments - the cult of mediocrity has been closely developed by generations of academics concerned to distance themselves from the cares of the world and any need to justify their huge fund votes by any performance criteria. It is the last bolt-hole of mediocrity left in a modernizing world. No wonder they rage and storm. They are being called to account. They are being ordered back to work like the rest of the working populace. Australia can no longer afford slackers. The days of the 4 day week and the long lunch are over and it hurts - especially as they have become used to thinking it as a right. The idea that enforced idleness produces great intellectual output is a great hoax.



We all know that the Greenies hate nuclear power with a passion. The cheap, safe and abundant energy that nuclear power provides undermines all their gloom and doom scenarios for our future so they have to stop it!

So it is amusing that nuclear power does just those things that Greenies say they want. For instance, it shows here how nuclear power helps nations to comply with the U.N. Climate Change Treaty: The amount of carbon emission that nuclear generated electricity avoids each year is equal to the amount of reductions needed to achieve the 1990 levels agreed to in the United Nations Climate Change Treaty signed in Rio de Janiero in 1992.

And it points out here that to build the equivalent of a 1,000-megawatt nuclear plant, a solar park would have to be larger than 35,000 acres, and a wind farm would have to be 150,000 acres or larger. By contrast, the Millstone Units 2 and 3 nuclear power plants in Connecticut have an installed capacity of over 1,900 megawatts of power on a 500-acre site designed for three nuclear plants.

But nothing ever pleases the Greenies.



The Infidel has just had as bit of a moan about the amount of rabid Anti-Americanism that there is in Australia and points out how crazy it is. What he might have added is that our rabid anti-Americans are probably no more common than they are in the USA itself -- and it is the same envious, hating types who are mainly responsible in both cases. In my experience, the ordinary working people of Australia think that America is great.

Australia's only really Left-wing government in the last 50 years -- the short-lived Whitlam government -- is still much revered by Australian Leftists. Paddy McGuinness shows what a disaster they are revering. Canadian liberals have been getting a bit of a bashing over at The Ville lately. And his answer to animal rights activists is to give KFC a big plug. I like KFC myself.

The Wicked one has a post defending Abraham Lincoln this time -- but still sees similarities between Lincoln and Lenin.

It looks like global warming is not working in London at the moment, either.

Jagdish Bhaqwati has written a rather nutty article which argues that illegal immigration cannot be stopped and that we should therefore simply "adapt" to it. He does not seem to realize that Australia's tough policies (including locking up illegals as soon as they arrive) have pretty well stopped illegal immigration dead in its tracks. So it CAN be done.


Next week's "Carnival of the Vanities will be hosted at Greeblie Blog so keep an eye out for it. There are some good posts there already. I have just added him to my "Favourites" list.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com.

If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


9 January, 2003


I have just received the following email from Alf Croucher, author of the China Hand blog.

China bloggers are in withdrawal - I can no longer access the Rays of Wisdom which shine like beacons in a dark world of liberalism. Any xxx.blogspot.com site is blocked. I am getting emails from desperate bloggers here resentful of the fact that they only said good things about China and are being punished for it. As my good friend Jean Guy says - no good deed shall go unpunished!

Tax comment

I am told that Krugman has condemned the Bush Tax cuts as a break for the rich. If he checks his own figures he will see that the vast amount of high risk business investment comes from the rich. Soaking them only cuts back on jobs. Of course he will also see they pay much more tax than the poor. But the ability of the liberal to bleat, even when fully trained in economics is amazing. Why do they so desperately desire to be liked? Last night an old acquaintance was being interviewed on problems in HK and said "Sorry to be unpopular but it is the lower levels of the HK government which need to be cut - not the upper levels". Hear! Hear!

The email to China still seems to be working so while this goes on please email people you know in China with stuff that might be of interest to them. I emailed Alf with the entire contents of my last couple of days of blogging!



The Guardian has the predictable sneering article on the tax cuts just put forward by President Bush. It is very incensed at the unfairness of cutting out double tax on company dividends. I wonder do they realize that double tax on company dividends was eliminated in Australia long ago by a LABOR (Leftist) government -- on the grounds of the obvious unfairness of double tax and the job-creating benefits of eliminating it?



I have always liked Jim Miller's blog. Here is another good entry:

Muslim Slavers raided Europe for slaves almost from the founding of Islam. And this continued far later than many realize. According to historian Robert Davis, "in the 250 years from 1580 more than a million Europeans were kidnapped for slavery or ransom". This article describes the finding of one of the raider's ships off Britain, and sketches some of the historical background. (The Guardian gives "University of Ohio" as Davis's academic affiliation. They probably mean Ohio University, which does have a historian by that name.)

The Muslim raiders often sailed as far north as Britain and Ireland, and, even, in one case, Iceland. We know about the Iceland raid from a captured Lutheran minister, who was later ransomed. (He felt insulted when his maid fetched a higher price in the slave market than he did.) So far as I know, there is not yet an organized effort to extract reparations on behalf of these slaves.



Tim Gillin wrote to me recently:

I just finished a beaut little book THE GREENHOUSE DELUSION : A CRITIQUE OF 'CLIMATE CHANGE 2001' by 80 year old Kiwi research scientist DR VINCENT GRAY. (copyright 2002). I had to purchase my copy on line from London.

As a survey methodologist you may enjoy some of his critique. For example, most of the world's temperature recording stations are in urban areas or in rural areas with street lighting, such zones only make up a couple of % of the earth's total surface area. These figures are extrapolated as 'global' in violation of sample theory. Naturally over time urban areas heat up as more people, more energy consumption etc has it's impact so "local" phenomena are interpreted as a "global trend". Similarly as more of the world's recording stations are updated to remote automatic monitoring from manual recording the figures will show a 'warming'. In the old days they used to have to open the door to get to the weather instruments to get the figures, so they were 'cooled' before recording .. compared to the new method!!!

David Wojick also has a very useful summary of Gray's work called A skeptic's guide to global warming: A new critique of the IPCC report on global warming reveals what's wrong with the science behind Kyoto



E. Spreitzer writes:

I just heard some Liberal Democrat Elitist (didn't get his name) on Cspan2 refer to all the American Flags waving in Americans' yards and from their houses as "yard signs for President Bush".

My question - would this same Democrat Liberal Elitist upon seeing rows and rows of white crosses in one of our Military Cemeteries refer to the crosses as bumper stickers for the Conservatives??????

These Elitists have no shame - they will do ANYTHING and say ANYTHING to get and keep power.



Here is a rather disgusting story from "Spiked" called "No more heroes" about the way the British Left is making a joke of the British honours system.

Since "Spiked" seems to be more offline than online these days, I have also posted the story here.



John Daley has published an absolutely scathing review of the way Canadian polar bears are said by the Greens to be dying out because of global warming. He shows that, on the Green's own figures, polar bears are stable in numbers and shows also that the now-reversing warming in Northern Canada is just part of a normal pattern of fluctuation.



A fabulous article on America-hating by Michael Gove in "The Times". It shows how deeply irrational such sentiments usually are.

The Wicked one says that Americanization is just modernization and that it is a good thing that the universities are going to pot. He also has some new swear-words!

Michael Darby has a pleasant little story from a farmer taking his unusual Damara sheep to the local agricultural show.

IQ & PC has a VERY scholarly review of the evidence for the centrality and importance of IQ in people's lives. I know that many people think that Chris Brand and I are a bit over the top to talk about that but we are both psychometricians and know how strong the scientific evidence on the question is.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


8 January, 2003


The latest "Carnival of the Vanities" is up again at the "11 Day Empire". Essential reading!.



Shishir Yerramilli wrote to me recently noting the fact that Saddam's Ba'ath Socialist party was founded by Michel Aflaq -- who formed his ideas in the coffeehouses of Europe in the 1920s. Shishir also notes that the Fascism/socialism that Aflaq was fascinated by would have made him aware of the veneration that Mussolini at the time gave to pre-Christian religions -- which modern-day Leftists also at times claim to respect, of course. Shishir then points out:

Few people are aware that Saddam's Arab pride is a sham! He views himself as a second Nebuchadnezzar. Indeed in a bizarre ceremony in 1988 (after the end of the Iran war) at the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (renovated) ... or the Ishtar gate .. I'm not sure .. he anointed himself as the second Nebuchadnezzar. Like Mussolini he has chosen a pre-Christian, pre-Islamic, quasi religious figure to model himself on! Though Saddam would risk destabilizing his regime if he actually chose to say that Ishtar or Shamash were his dieties.

People like us are in a peculiar position: We abhor Islam and welcome alternate dieties to it but then we also dislike Saddam Hussein and we also realize that Nebuchadnezzar was not exactly a friend of the Jews!

I believe that the man is twisted to enough to consider himself a manifestation of the divine. My father used to work and live in Iraq and I have visited the country for a couple of summers. His portraits are ubiquitous. There is a very bizarre museum called "Old Soldiers Monument" which would terrify any freedom loving person. For better or worse ultimately Saddam cannot be considered a Muslim.



I posted another email from Shishir recently about anti-Americanism -- which said in passing that Korea had been subservient to Japan for 800 years. The brilliant Marc Miyake (who seems to be able to read almost every major Asian language there is) has picked up that error in an email to me which briefly outlines the historical relationships between Japan, Korea and China --- including mention of the amazing fact that the Koreans were using ironclad warships hundreds of years before they were first introduced in the West during the American Civil War. I have posted the email here.



"Stop panicking, calm down."

Comment made by the woman who answered a Scottish couple's call for help on the emergency telephone number when they called because their baby stopped breathing and had turned blue, while being placed on hold, ultimately for 10 minutes.

Help finally came after the father ran into the street shouting for help and a neighbor, who happened to be a medical doctor, came over. The neighbor was able to keep the girl breathing until the ambulance arrived 40 minutes later.

Source. Summary by Jerry Lerman



There is a good article by Dennis Prager here (go to the bottom and click his article of December 31st) about the Leftist gospel that human nature is "good". Excerpt:

If you believe people are basically good, you, of course, believe that you are good -- and therefore those who disagree with you must be bad, not merely wrong. You also believe that the more power that you and those you agree with have, the better the society will be. That is why such people are so committed to powerful government.



Leftists have a big problem with human nature. They either deny that it exists at all or say that it is "good". The truth is of course far more complex than that. There is an article here by Joseph LeDoux (a neuroscientist) that gives you a good overview of the current state of research. Leftists (and many others) will hate his conclusion: "it's practically a truism to say that the self is synaptic" -- but the article is in fact a very balanced one that points out that both genetics and experience are ways of altering brain wiring.



Paddy McGuinness has written an excellent article that points out that the recent controversy about how the blacks were treated in Australia's early days is not over whether the blacks suffered or not. It is about whether or not our Left-leaning university historians are capable of sticking to the truth. Clearly they are in fact a bunch of liars. Read the evidence if you doubt it.

The Infidel has an excellent transcript of a White-house press conference in which a Leftist journalist attacked American Iraq policy on the grounds that it was up to the Iraqui people to kick out Saddam! As if they had a choice! What it really shows about the Leftist mentality is that Leftists care about nobody but themselves.

Heretical ideas has posts defending both lawyers and maggots! No connection, of course.

Chris Brand is pleased that the movement for voluntary sterilization of drug addicted mothers seems to be gathering pace.

The Wicked one has posts about lifesaving politicians, powerless media and an arrested Mufti.

The Yobbo notes that gun crime in Australia has gone up again despite our Federal government's various anti-gun pantomines.

Michael Darby has another post from libertarian farmer Viv Forbes -- about how he sees only a brownhouse effect, not a greenhouse effect.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


7 January, 2003


Ed Mick saw my post of 5th in which I pointed out that Richard Nixon had in fact just about turned himself inside out in order to be pro-black but that Republicans still get no credit for that. As Ed now rightly blogs, Nixon's pro-black measures were of a thoroughly Statist kind that were anathema to basic conservative principles.



I owe this report of how "antiwar" Leftists explain themselves to Tim Blair:

It was probably an amazing coincidence, but twice in the past week when the argument was being made for a "hands off" policy regarding Saddam Hussein, I got the exact same answer to a question.

The question: Does it make any difference to you that Saddam Hussein has murdered more than 180,000 Iraqis? The answer both times: "Well, they're his people, aren't they?"


Were the Jews "Hitler's people"? This particular follow-up question elicited no response.



Aaron Oakley has another good laugh at global warming here. He mentions this choice snippet from recent news:

China's capital city has been blanketed by falling snow for six days in a row -- its longest consecutive snowfall for the last 128 years."

Those pesky Chinese! A Communist plot, no doubt. Or as they would lay the blame in China itself: "The Gang of Four"!

And then there is this. Excerpt:

Cold weather in northern India has killed another 44 people in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 232, officials have said. Northern India has been shivering under a cold front that has seen temperatures drop to 5 and 6 degrees celsius.

Between India and China that's two billion people who probably do not believe in global warming right now.



In case you have missed it, there is an amusing article in the National Review that contrasts the attitudes of Iraq and North Korea. North Korea is having none of the multilateral/UN nonsense that Saddam has played along with. The Koreans want to deal with the USA only. So what is President Bush doing? Being nicely multilateral!



A Cambridge university ethicist and Protestant clergyman agrees with me on cloning!

Meanwhile, as it says here: The appointment of a freelance journalist to head a scientific panel to determine if a human has been cloned has raised eyebrows in both the journalistic and the scientific communities. The journalist, Michael Guillen, formerly of ABC-TV News, once won an award for his "indiscriminate promotion of pseudo-science and quackery."



"It's interesting to read the archives of Nazi Germany, fascist Japan, the Soviet Union. The leaders are acting from the highest imaginable motives, and probably believed it. It is remarkably easy to come to believe what it is convenient to believe."

Noam Chomsky in an interview with Alternet.



China Hand has a quite charming posting up about being a "Gweilo" (foreigner) in China. The Chinese are not at all politically correct about it but what they lack in glibness they more than make up for in genuine decency.

Michael Darby has an amazingly good-humoured report from a farmer in a drought-stricken region of Australia. He's a libertarian farmer too. What a rarity! He will make bureaucracy-haters out of every animal-lover, that's for sure.

The Wicked one Looks at whether religion and racism are both inborn and whether one therefore goes with the other.

Chris Brand explores at length the vexed question of whether there is any alternative to the conventional Left/Right division of politics. I have argued elsewhere that there is not (See towards the very end of the article).

Hooray! Bob Park reports that the crooks running Los Alamos laboratory have resigned. Marvellous what a bit of publicity will do. Background here.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com.

If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


6 January, 2003


I wonder if they have thought of THIS in America yet? Excerpt:

What would possess a pretty young woman to spend a whole day at the cricket running backwards and forwards to the bar for a group of rowdy men in the outer? How about $65 an hour? The latest fashion accessory at the cricket is not a plastic horn or funny wig, it's a full time "beer wench". For five days of the 5th Test, you could see professional models and performers making more runs than the blokes in the middle as they tirelessly fetched beers for blokes in the outer who had eyes only for the game. Well, mostly for the game.



Bloody arrogant busybodies! That's all I can say about the people who denied this good woman her dearest wish. Excerpt:

A BRIDE-to-be who watched horrified as her fiance fell to his death over a waterfall on New Year's Eve yesterday lost a legal bid to become pregnant by him.

Simone Baker, of Mackay, was denied permission by the Queensland Supreme Court to have reproductive tissue taken from the body of her dead partner.



Shishir Yerramilli has once again written in -- with some interesting insights into the psychological complexity of anti-Americanism. When I think about it, I guess it must pose ego problems for people to see a totally foreign nation as Top Dog. As an Australian, I see Americans as people essentially no different from myself and as being part of my own English-speaking world but, for those who cannot do that, pride might well be wounded by seeing one's own group in a subordinate position. I have never done any research into anti-Americanism. Pehaps I should. In the meanwhile Shishir argues his points persuasively:

As you are aware, there are many reasons for anti Americanism, most of them founded on ignorance and envy. However what are the causes of such sentiments in Europe and South Korea where American intervention has only helped those peoples?

The reason of this maybe quite basic... FALSE PRIDE.. these nations actually suffer a great deal of inferiority complexes and rightly so. Europeans got themselves into WWI and WWII without any exterior help; Korea has been Japan's bitch for about 800 years. When a savior comes along, they are elated at first but later hate themselves for having been so weak that they have to be saved, but they think... we are not really weak.. it is America which is less than benevolent and heroic and they must have ulterior motives to protect us. Their bizarre combination of self hatred and fictional bloated ego is projected onto America. It is just a form of escapism, refusal to deal with reality.

Even my native India used to suffer from such delusions. It is because of America that China did not try to scoop up parts of Northern India along with Tibet in the 1950s. Similarly the deployment of an American warship a few miles from Shanghai compelled China to end the war with India in 1962.

Though Hindu nationalists hate Communism and the Soviet Union, they subconsciously align themselves with the former while lambasting America. This may be due to the assasination of Gandhi by the Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse and Nehru's subsequent banning of such organizations: They had to start espousing some pro-socialist rubbish to again curry favor with the Fabian Nehru. Indeed when the economic reforms and liberalisation were announced in 1991 by Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, Hindu nationalists were as vociferous at denouncing them as the Communists.

Thankfully these days, Hindu nationalists are quietly but firmly advised to concentrate on culture and character-building but to leave economics and defence to people who actually know what they are talking about. The Communists on the other hand are shadows of their former selves: The Chief Minister of my state recently gave "shoot to kill" orders to the police regarding communist guerillas.

With such elements marginalised and the younger generation (which is very pro America yet nationalist) becoming more articulate and educated, their say in politics will be for the better especially with America's relationship with Pakistan straining by the day.

P.S:- Doesn't it also seem strange to you that many of these nations who are beneficiaries of America now seem to have a belated Stockholm Syndrome? Some South Koreans view Chinese as liberators and many Kuwaitis are starting to admire Saddam. There may be similar situations in Europe. Thank God my people aren't that twisted. They still recognise their immediate enemies..



In response to my recent post about the way gambling is mainly an impost on the poor, Alf Croucher has written in not only to agree but also to turn up the heat on the Left a bit more. Since he writes as a former Maoist who really put his money where his mouth was (he migrated to China in the Mao era) his view of the Left is not inherently unsympathetic:

You are quite correct to point out that gambling tax, in addition to rich lotteries, is a form of soaking the poor. The rich can afford to invest in higher risk investments and so make a premium over his poorer, gilt-edged only investor. Similarly with lotteries where tickets are bought only in the forlorn hope they might win something - at least it gives a little hope to tide the poor over the week.

But the worst hypocrisy comes from the Australian Labor Party which purports to represent the poor and to care for them more than the conservatives. The swingeing increases in the taxes on smoking, beer and gasoline (also working class vices/necessities) levied during the Hawke/Keating governments only go to prove the point that even so-called labour governments are dedicated to soaking the poor through their unbreakable habits in order to subsidize their true constituency - the middle class - through arts grants, wasteful government education, government programs, bureaucrat intensive welfare and business subsidies.

Recent studies indicate that working class people are spending over 50% of their disposable income on taxes. Of course by definition disposable income is net of income taxes.

Please note also that while the taxes on smoking, gambling and drinking are 'morally' justifiable and not deleterious economically, the high tax on gasoline is in direct opposition to the microeconomic reform goal of lowering input costs to industry. Levying a huge impost on transport costs may please 'greenies' but does little towards making Australian industry competitive.



It would be rather hard to convince the people of Poland (and many other places) of global warming at the moment.

In truth, however, all the current big freeze proves is that the earth's climate oscillates: Temperatures go up and they also go down. But the global warmers only see the ups.



Michael Darby has a typical tale of corruption in a goverrnment owned public transport system; Chris Brand has a very creative review of the book which showed that national IQ levels are amazingly strong predictors of national economic performance (probably via saner economic policies) and the Wicked one has a post on appearances of mental illness in the Bible.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


5 January, 2003


Whatever you think about Patrick Buchanan -- and I think he is totally WRONG in trying to hang on to American isolationism and thus opposing war with Iraq -- you have to concede that he does know his history (and maybe even his herstory too!). And when he is talking about history in which he himself took part, he is very hard to argue with. So this summary of the anti-racist deeds of one Richard Milhous Nixon is hard to fault:

"Between 1969 and 1974, Nixon, who believed that blacks had gotten a raw deal in America and wanted to extend a helping hand:

Raised the civil-rights enforcement budget 800 percent; doubled the budget for black colleges; appointed more blacks to federal posts and high positions than any president, including LBJ; adopted the Philadelphia Plan mandating quotas for blacks in unions, and for black scholars in colleges and universities; invented "Black Capitalism" (the Office of Minority Business Enterprise), raised U.S. purchases from black businesses from $9 million to $153 million, increased small-business loans to minorities 1,000 percent, and increased U.S. deposits in minority-owned banks 4000 percent; raised the share of Southern schools that were desegregated from 10 percent to 70 percent."

So a supposedly "racist" Republican outdid practically everyone else in his pro-black deeds! How on earth Republicans have allowed the Dems to portray them as anti-Black and thus usurp most of the black vote is in the circumstances a major mystery. A fool like Trent Lott just has say a few maudlin words harking back to his DEMOCRAT past and vast kindly deeds by Republican adminstrations are forgotten. One gets the impression that in American politics, words speak a lot louder than deeds. No wonder the politically-correct brigade are always trying to change the words we use!



Tim Gillin writes:

Some good news:

Ian Plimer has won the Eureka science book prize for his

Amidst all the champagne and caviar, the thought police of the official media seem to have missed that Ian's great Australian-oriented history of our planet endorses some ideas familiar with readers of DISSECTING LEFTISM. Ian discusses the early peopling of Australia in terms of successive waves of incoming negritos and the equally unfashionable view that climate change is a constant and the equally unfashionable view that the real threat to mankind is not greenhouse but prolonged, dry "ice house" periods. His book also shows that major meteorite collision is a much more common event that most people imagine, with Australia having absorbed many major hits in the past

Ian debates with a Greenhouse devotee here



All this media attention to lottery winners serves only to glorify gambling. And the lottery is a bigger rip-off than any other form of legalized gambling. Innumeracy.com ran an experiment to see what would happened if it made 10,000 random selections and entered them in each of 479 drawings in the British lottery. Result: An "investment" of $4,790,000 returned just $1,375,082, which means that each $10,000 "invested" would have cost the player $7,129.

A lottery, Innumeracy.com notes, is "a tax on the poor and the stupid." The next time some liberal journalist complains about "tax cuts for the rich," consider how his colleagues in the media help enable the government to soak the poor.




UK's Tesco supermarket chain uses deadly black widow spiders as a "natural pesticide" in their grape vineyards in California leading to three customers finding the spiders on their purchased grape bunches. Two of the spiders were still alive.

Tesco says they were just responding to customer demand for keeping their food all "natural," for those of you who think "all natural" has to be better and who forget that poison ivy, rattlesnakes, influenza, salmonella and the black plague are "all natural" too.

But Tesco says finding the live deadly black widow spiders on their grapes is a good thing. "The fact that the spiders are alive is evidence that we're not using pesticides - because if we were they'd be dead," says their well-pleased spokesperson. Or in other words finding people dead from black widow bites is just evidence that they aren't using pesticides and everyone should be happy.

From: UK Sun 27-Nov-02.

Summary by Jerry Lerman.



Chris Brand finds significance in baby names. Michael Darby reports a reason why one politician liked welfare, China Hand explains why China cannot rein in North Korea and the Wicked one criticizes Abraham Lincoln.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


4 January, 2002


In my recent posting on the vast government regulations that are supposed to protect us from drugs that have "side-effects" (any drug that has no side-effects has no main effects either!), I pointed to the deaths and years of suffering that result from the delays we now have to endure while a new drug is gaining bureaucratic approval. Sometimes, the red-tape is so deterring that many helpful drugs will NEVER gain approval, no matter how safe or effective the drug is. This is mainly where the drug is intended to treat a relatively rare illness and so has fewer "customers" to defray the approval costs. The USA introduced an "Orphan Drug Act" in 1983 to address this problem. Drugs intended to treat rare illness got special treatment to encourage their introduction.

But what was the special treatment? Was the burden of regulation lifted at all for such drugs? No way! All that happened was that drug companies were allowed to charge more for such drugs! As is says here: Rather than reducing the FDA barriers to producing orphan drugs, the Orphan Drug Act was meant to stimulate the development of such drugs by granting sponsors new monopoly privileges. The exclusivity granted under the act differs from a patent. A patent protects against competition from a drug with the same chemical structure. Market exclusivity as implemented by the Orphan Drug Act grants protection for seven years against competition from any drug with a similar effect. The FDA thereby bars firms from marketing drugs that treat diseases also treated (and perhaps less effectively) by a drug granted exclusivity.

..... A sponsor seeking orphan status for a drug need not be the creator of the drug, and the drug need not be new. The drug Oxandrolone had been used to treat wasting in hepatitis patients and had been available by prescription for thirty years. When body builders began to use it illegally to bulk up, the drug received bad publicity and was discontinued. Another company then gained the rights to the drug and presented it to the FDA as a new treatment for HIV-related wasting. Orphan status was granted. AIDS patients now paid a price 1,200 percent higher than when the manufacturer did not have monopoly rights (LeBlanc and Sabados 1996)
So rather than give up its precious regulations and bureaucracies, a Democrat-dominated Congress allowed drug companies to charge up to 12 times more than the drug really needed to cost! So don't blame the drug companies if what you need is unavailable in the USA or costs a fortune to buy! Put the blame where it usually rests: On big government. Because of the insane U.S. regulations, many drugs are available in other countries up to 5 or 6 years before they become available in the USA. Isn't it great to be protected? It's not so great if you happen to need the drug concerned.



Most ordinary sensible people know that there are various risks that we all run all the time in our lives. From a statistical point of view, one of the most dangerous things we can do is to get into our cars of a morning. But we do it. We take that risk because most of us are prepared to tolerate some level of risk in order to get the benefits of whatever it is that we do.

The Greenies and the consumer advocates such as Ralph Nader are, however, great enemies of any risk. Their gospel appears to be that if there is any risk in any thing at all then the government should ban it. That everything has its price they seem oblivious to. And unfortunately they often succeed in their Quixotic quest. They do manage to get things banned (such as DDT) that have tiny risks but great (and often livesaving) benefits.

There is now however a body of research that looks at how ordinary people operate and shows that we all have a level of risk that we are prepared to tolerate in our lives -- and that if someone makes our lives safer in some way we actually go out and do extra risky things to get our risk level back up! For instance, people who get a safer car (with ABS braking etc) tend to drive faster! They adjust their driving risk back to their own personal tolerance level.

So the zero risk brigade are not only defying commonsense in seeking zero risk but, as well as that, when they do suceeed in eliminating some risks, we just go out and take some new risks! The whole zero-risk crusade is then not only foolish but pointless.



One of the more alarming examples of bad results from bureaucratic attempts to make us behave more safely is the case of compulsory seatbelt wearing. Australia was one of the first countries to make it compulsory for car drivers to wear seatbelts so some of the earliest research on the results was done here. But similar results have since been found elsewhere. It was found that the major effect of wearing seatbelts was to make drivers feel safer -- so the drivers then drove more dangerously -- thus killing more pedestrians and cyclists than ever before. The number of dead pedestrians and cyclists outweighed any gain in survival among drivers! So bureaucracy merely killed the innocent!



Well, we all know that denying reality is the stock in trade of the Left but how about this bit of wisdom from an ostensibly moderate Australian Leftist:

"The situation in the US is similar, but even more laughable because of the absence of anything even faintly resembling an organised political left."

The Left can even deny that it itself exists! Not even Descartes ("cogito ergo sum") went that far! Via Aaron Oakley

Aaron has had some good posts on the global warming myth lately too.



China Hand gives good reasons why the China/Taiwan problem does not allow simplistic solutions but thinks a solution is happening anyway.

There is what appears to be an inadvertent admission of racial differences documented on IQ & PC.

Michael Darby tells you why living near powerlines will NOT give you or your children cancer.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com.

If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


3 January, 2003


Jeff Jacoby has an incredible list of the waste of money that Taxachusetts inflicts on its hapless taxpayers. One would think that it was enough to make a libertarian out of anyone.

I have just put up here what I call a "Libertarian Tract" -- a very small piece of literature that can be used with a wide variety of people to introduce them to libertarian ideas. Copyright is hereby granted to all and sundry.



There are SOME ways in which Australia is a kindlier haven for capitalism than is the USA. I noted this extract from the Wall Street Journal on Commonsense and Wonder:

One of the first tasks for incoming Treasury Secretary John Snow is fixing the double taxation of dividends, once as corporate profits, and again by whoever receives them. Go right ahead. But as an investor, I avoid companies that pay dividends like the plague.

Australia, of course, eliminated double taxation on company dividends years ago -- which is one reason why our companies are much more likely to pay dividends than are U.S. companies and why our stockmarket is more stable and less overvalued. Beat that!



Tim Gillin has just sent me a fun story that the Greenies wil NOT like at all:

Neither Tim nor I are physicists so maybe there is something we have overlooked but it seems that the favourite Greenie power source (solar cells) actually needs the the most hated Greenie power source (nuclear reactors) in its manufacture. So no nuclear = no solar!

Here is the logic: Solar Power panels are manufactured with DOPED SILICON. But DOPED SILICON is manufactured in nuclear power plants.

And Australia's nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney -- which has been much attacked by the Greenies -- is actually a major supplier of doped silicon!



As many conservatives predicted, the total ban on handguns in Britain seems to have done nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The latest tragedy.



Silent Running have a most interesting quotation up that we should all remember when Lefties tell us that we should just try to UNDERSTAND Saddam and the Muslim terrorists.



Bovination points out at some length that the recent deliberately-lit fires in most of Australia's immigrant detention centres prove once and for all how right the Australian government has been to be careful of letting these Muslim thugs into our country.



One of my Indian readers liked my various observations on IQ and wrote as follows: I found your article very amusing. I suggest we need to take an IQ/EQ test of Leftists to see what really is wrong with these guys. In India the Leftists have an absolute monopoly in the media. Leftists in India have thrived under Nehru's Leftist system. I have come to the conclusion that Leftists are actually anarchists. Where ever there is order (like in West) they will try to disrupt it. Where ever there is disorder like most states in India Leftists try to protect it. This I believe is because they are scared of order and feel more secure in chaos. Maybe they feel they can get easy opportunities by exploiting the chaos. Any order or harmony might expose their intellectual inabilities.

In India the most progressive states like Gujarat, Punjab, Delhi and Maharashtra are Right-leaning states. In Gujarat the Leftist media created a disinformation campaign about the Right wing government there. The Right Wing government was already facing a huge anti-incumbency mood after 15 years of continuous governance and also a negative public mood because of recent the earthquake, drought and cyclone. But thanks to the completely biased and irrational Leftist propaganda the public swung heavily towards the Right, giving it the best victory ever.

One more thing I want tell you. One of the characteristics of Leftists is they harbor a deep suspicion and hatred of law enforcement agencies. I always wondered, why. Then I thought what type of law enforcement would Leftists like and immediately China, North Korea, USSR and even the Left-ruled States in India flashed before my eyes. Therefore I concluded that Leftists are looking out for a devil which is inside them. In India there is a proverb which says a "thief thinks everyone is a thief" -- Which suits these folks very well. They are an immoral bunch for whom morality is an intellectual exercise rather than something felt in the breast.



Michael Darby has a link to a free book on Free Trade and Chris Brand has a link to book review about current educational experimentation.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


2 January, 2003


The vast web of red tape that surrounds the introduction of new drugs is well-intended. The American FDA and the Australian TGA were set up to protect the public from new drugs that might have dangerous side-effects. The result is that it now takes many years of research and trolleys-full of legal paperwork to get a drug approved. The vast expenditure that the approval process now requires ($300 million is a ballpark figure) means, however, that it is no longer worthwhile for anybody to introduce a new drug that fixes a rare illness or disorder. There just will never be enough "customers" to ever pay off the costs of getting the drug approved.

And even drugs that could help many people now take years to get approval. A wait of 8-10 years for a drug to get through all the regulatory requirements is now common. So people can spend years in discomfort or even die while they are waiting for a drug to be approved that could help them.

This is of course an old story to many conservatives. As Tim Gillin writes:

My favourite example of the impact of this 'science review' red tape is the Thalidomide case in the US. The wholly correct public concern over this drug (no drug is bad in itself: it was used too widely) led to new screening processes that added a couple of years delay to the release of all new drugs. Thousands of people have died as a result of being deprived of useful drugs already in existence as a result of this "green" tape. Had the Thalidomide rules been in place when penicillin was released tens of thousands of lives could have been needlessly lost. This is why green quackery is so dangerous. (see Dr Sam Peltzman's arguments reproduced here) So what is to be done? I think there is obviously an "escape clause" needed to help those who are being denied helpful medication by all the red tape. A simple provision that a specialist doctor could prescribe any drug he wished as long as he had warned the patient concerned of the risks involved would probably do the trick.

Tim did not mention it but perhaps I should: Thalidomide happens to be one of the best treatments there is for leprosy!



On 13 November last year I made the point that the current North Korean regime is much more accurately described as Fascist rather than Communist -- as it has always combined socialism with a strident nationalism -- whereas Communism was at least in theory an "international" form of socialism. The latest account of the North Korean system given by Cinderella Bloggerfeller very much reinforces that point -- attributing the survival of the regime to its adding of nationalist appeals to its socialist message -- the explanation that I also put forward. With its extreme nationalism, extreme socialism, and Godlike leader, Kim Jong Il's North Korea with its doctrine of Juche is then essentially indistinguishable from Hitler's Nazi Germany or the Fascist Italy of Mussolini.

The central North Korean doctrine of Juche translates roughly as "national self-reliance" -- a doctrine more generally known as autarky. The Southern European Fascist States (Mussolini's Italy, Franco's Spain and Salazar's Portugal) were also of course much enamoured of that idea -- and also with impoverishing results.

I think it is therefore an interesting demonstration of how little real difference there is between Communism and Fascism that for over 50 years the whole world has not noticed that North Korea was from the beginning Fascist rather than Communist. What a big lie it therefore is when Nazism and Fascism are generally to this day referred to as Right-wing! Only from a classical Communist perspective is there anything Rightist about Fascism or Nazism. Fascism and Nazism WERE somewhat to the Right of Stalin's Russia but were to the Left of just about everyone else.



I mentioned recently the practice of slavery in the Islamic world. Here is a link that tells you a lot more on that topic -- including the fact that slavery still exists to this day in some Islamic countries. A lovely lot, those Muslims!



I drew attention yesterday to an article by Miranda Devine which pointed out how Greenie opposition to backburning by firefighters had not only killed people in Australia but killed lots of animals too.

A reader has drawn my attention to the fact that there was a related incident in the USA some time ago in which firefighters died while bureaucratic permission was sought for firefighters to draw water from a lake that contained "endangered" fish. The regulations did kindly allow such "emergency" actions but the time it took for everyone to figure that out caused the deaths.



Anybody who thinks that President Bush has any choice over Iraq needs to step into Prof. Volokh's time-machine.



Michael Darby has some amusing thoughts on Vegans (extremist vegetarians) and Chris Brand thinks that Confucius is worth a closer look.

China hand says that the arbitration and mediation system in China works well for business disputes -- despite the well-known limitations of China's formal legal system.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.


1 January, 2003


Does it surprise anyone that not one, not a single prediction, made by any of the well-known psychics in 2002, has come true?

Example of failed predictions:

o Fran Baskerville, the "singing psychic" predicted that bin Laden's arms would be blown off as he tried crossing the dessert to Hussein's house for sanctuary.

o Sidney Friedman, the "haiku psychic" was wrong about Texas and Quebec being major terrorist targets.

o Medium Andy Reiss incorrectly predicted that Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney would reform the Beatles and rework old Beatles songs.

o Seer Elizabeth Joyce predicted that Prince Harry, would take a space flight for publicity.

o Psychic Morris Font claimed Puff Daddy and Britney Spears would marry and give birth to a baby boy they'd name Muhammad.

As an aside, the Amazing Randy, the world-renowned magician, is offering $1 million to anyone who can prove they have psychic or paranormal ability. It's been years and nobody has yet won the money or even passed just the preliminary tests, in case you ever get tempted to call a "psychic hotline" or visit your neighborhood seer.


Summary by Jerry Lerman.



I have been arguing for some time now that attitude to change has never had much to do with the Left/Right divide in politics and that these days it is often the Left who oppose change. This recent comment from David Warren in Canada is in line with that:

"Suddenly, now that it is possible, indeed necessary, to change the world, the left guards the status quo and the right pushes forward. The left now looks to the past, the right to the future. Throughout at least the West, the left has become "conservative" in the old sense, defending public institutions against the claims of the individual and the family. The right has become compensatingly "liberal" in the old sense, of siding with the individual and the family against institutional power."

My main additional comment is that those who are usually called "conservative" have ALWAYS been primarily motivated by a concern for individual liberty and that the belief in the need for liberty springs at least in part from a more cautious view of human nature (Ray, 1972, 1974 & 1981).

Via American Realpolitik.

Ray, J.J.(1972) Acceptance of aggression and Australian voting preference. Australian Quarterly, 44, 64-70.
Ray, J.J. (1974) Conservatism as heresy. Sydney: A.N.Z. Book Co.
Ray, J.J. (1981) Conservatism and misanthropy. Political Psychology 3(1/2), 158-172.



This article in National Journal is a bit of an eye-opener. That much beloved Leftist cause -- "affirmative action" -- is overwhelmingly rejected even by minority group members if you do a fair public opinion poll on the subject. And the reason why is clear: Racial preferences in college admissions etc. just spell out that minorities cannot be expected to live up to the same standards as whites -- not exactly a message that attracts any member of a minority group.

"Robert Musil" adds his support to the article's conclusions.



U.S. Leftists complain from time to time over the fact that the U.S. military is about one third black. But, as the WSJ says:

Besides, since when is it a complaint that a profession draws too many minorities? We hear endlessly about the problem of minority underrepresentation in various sectors of society, so why isn't Rangel congratulating the volunteer military for the excellent job it has done providing opportunities to minorities and the poor?

You can never please the Left. Complaining is what they are about. But they are ingenious in their complaints. Try this (also from WSJ):

Actually, probably no other people on earth go to such extremes as Americans to conceal the true features of women, particularly when they go out in public. This concealment is a multibillion-dollar industry, and it deals not in cloth, but in cosmetics. Cosmetics is but another word for a burqa.



Miranda Devine points out how Greenie efforts to save the red-crowned toadlet have killed people, caused great property destruction and killed off all sorts of wild animals wholesale. Once you have read the article I think you will agree with me that Greenies have a bit missing somewhere.



Michael Darby has a first-hand report from one of the few whites (an economist) remaining in Zimbabwe and Chris Brand notes a curious report that racism by the Welsh directed against the English is somehow said to be OK.

And The Carnival of the Vanities is up again. Lots of interesting reading.


Comments? Email me: jonjayray@hotmail.com. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address.