DISSECTING LEFTISM -- NOV 03  
Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.. 

Dissecting Leftism is HERE. The Blogroll. The mirror site. My Monograph on Leftism. My Home Page. Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing. My mirror site with absolutely NO advertising attached to it is HERE but it is hosted by my ISP so may not be as permanent as my other sites.
****************************************************************************************



30 November, 2003

"ECOLOGICAL" CORRELATIONS AND RACE

In statistics, "ecological" correlations have nothing to do with environmentalism. The term refers to correlations between grouped data. The correlation between national IQ levels and national income levels that Chris Brand often refers to is an ecological correlation and H.C. Lindgren's finding of a .61 correlation between high income and voting against Richard Nixon in the the 1972 U.S. Presidential election is another example.

Because ecological correlations often seem surprisingly high, some statisticians and social scientists think they should be devalued in some way. I disagree. There is a brief discussion of the issue about half way through my article here -- where I note what is probably the most spectacular ecological correlation ever reported in the social science literature -- a correlation of .9 -- which showed that people who have most contact with Australian blacks like them the least. Which in turn shows that the racial dislike concerned is postjudice rather than prejudice -- i.e. the fruit of experience rather than ignorance.

*************************************

GREENIE WATCH

"Wind power may well be the least environmentally friendly idea ever proposed by environmentalists. That certainly seems to be the verdict of those who live near proposed and actual wind farm developments in both the US and UK. Conservationists as committed as Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass.) and British television personality Dr. David Bellamy have come out against proposed uses of the technology."

The Aztecs genetically modified their corn: Researchers in Germany and the United States identified the genetic modifications by extracting DNA from 4,400-year-old ears of corn. The study results appear to bolster the argument that genetically modified crops are not dangerous because farmers have been creating them for thousands of years. And plant biologists say the changes biotech companies are making in plants today are actually much smaller than those discovered in the new study.

A good article in the WSJ on how Greenie "smart growth" oppresses blacks.

Anybody who knows anything about the English knows that they take their birds very seriously. If birds were dying out in Britain as a consequence of modern farming practices there would therefore be a huge outcry. Needless to say, the Greenies do everything they can to persuade people that exactly that is happening. "Spiked", however looks at ALL the evidence on the question and finds that there has in fact probably been a slight increase in the number of birds living in Britain's farmland.

************************************

ELSEWHERE

Muslims can do no wrong in the EU: "Researchers at a German institute who found young Muslims were to blame for many attacks on Jews were told several times by the European Union to change their conclusions, they say. The two sides have traded accusations of bias, incompetence and lying. The EU's anti-racism body asked the Anti-Semitism Research Institute of Berlin's Technical University last year to examine the increase in attacks against Jews across Europe. But the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia has refused to publish it"

Blogger Brian O'Connell has caught out a Leftist "investigative journalist" for not investigating -- and thus getting wrong even the basics of GWB's recent trip to Iraq.

A Scottish Leftist sees media bias: US President George Bush is "totally at odds" with his media image, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell said today. Mr Campbell, an opponent of the war with Iraq, spoke out on the ePolitix website... "He is personally extremely engaging. He has a well-developed sense of humour, is self-deprecating and when he engages in a discussion with you he is warm and concentrates directly on you. "He looks you straight in the eye and tells you exactly what he thinks." Mr Campbell .. went on .. "I was most certainly surprised at the extent to which the caricature of him was inaccurate."

No free speech in Canada: "Alliance Leader Stephen Harper Thursday fired MP Larry Spencer as family issues critic after Spencer said homosexuality should be outlawed. Spencer has temporarily resigned from caucus. ... Spencer said homosexuality is part of a 'well orchestrated' conspiracy that should be outlawed, a Canadian Alliance MP says. ... Spencer, the MP for Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre, said that this conspiracy began in the 1960s and included the seduction and recruitment of young boys in playgrounds and locker rooms."

The Israeli government has just shut down an anti-Arab Israeli radio station. Arlene Peck doesn't understand the current policy of appeasement towards the Arabs at all. Nor do I. The U.S. even funds the bloated Arafat! The Arabs think it is weakness. The big stick is all they understand. The people of Britain learned 1500 years ago that Danegeld (buying off an enemy) does not work.

Walter Williams is good on why huge job losses can be a very good thing for everyone.

The Curmudgeon has a very funny story about his Catholic youth.

The Wicked one has lots of jokes and funny stories up.

My latest upload of a published academic article now rescued from dead-tree form is here or here. In it I look at the greater conservatism of my home State of Queensland and compare it to the American "Deep South". There is some image of the Deep South as being more romantic so it was pleasing to see that Queenslanders seem to be more romantic too.

********************************

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

********************************



29 November, 2003

Alpha Patriot has an excellent coverage of GWB's visit to Iraq -- photos, speeches etc.

FOR THOSE WHO LIKE PHILOSOPHICAL HEADACHES:

Keith Burgess-Jackson is an unusual combination -- a conservative animal libber. He derives his animal-lib views from his general philosophical ideas about morality and he is unusual among modern-day philosophers too. He is a "deontologist" -- which sounds like he would be good at fixing your teeth, but which really means (roughly) that he believes in fixed moral rules. I myself think that morality is extremely important but, like most atheists, I am a moral naturalist. I don't think that moral rules are handed down from on high or revealed in some other mysterious way. I think that moral rules are learned from experience (both from our own experience and from the experience of others) and function to tell us how to behave wisely (i.e. so that we and those we care about live happily in the long term) so are just like any other rules of nature (more complex than "water does not flow uphill", but basically of the same kind). So I see morality as the servant of man, not his master (A bit like a very famous thinker who said: "The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath" -- Mark 2:27). So the fact that man has evolved to regard other animals as prey simply makes irrelevant (not useful) any line of reasoning that says he should not kill animals. It might be useful reasoning if we could also show that people who avoid eating animals are more peaceful and benign generally but I think that PETA and the animal libbers in general show the exact opposite of that to be true. In fact Keith himself says he does not like people very much.

Christians of course believe that God gave man dominion over the animals (Genesis 1: 26-28) and Mosaic law spells out clearly that this includes the right to eat at least some of them. That belief seems to me to be at least as well-founded as any deontologist's set of beliefs.

In my younger days I made several attempts to introduce a bit of psychological sophistication into philosophical debate -- into moral philosophy into the theory of mind and into the theory of causality. But introducing a bit of philosophical sophistication into a psychological debate and a political debate was the most fun. Psychology and philosophy seem generally to operate in profound ignorance of one-another and Leftists seem to operate in profound ignorance of everything. I point out where Leftist moral relativism goes off the rails here.

****************************

ELSEWHERE

There is a pretty hard-hitting article here -- by someone who should know -- about what a creampuff army the U.S. Army has become under the influence of political correctness. One must have extreme doubts that it could ever achieve what the Wehrmacht achieved under Von Manstein at the battle of Crimea: The Germans mounted a frontal assault against superior forces who had nearly every advantage: a fortified position, command of the sea, the air, and tanks, while the Germans had not one tank. But the Germans were the ones with the fighting spirit and they won! There is are two more stories here and here about how the leadership of the U.S. military is a big problem.

"Make love not war" was a big slogan for the hippies of the 60s. It looks like some Ukrainians are actually doing it -- and at a rocket factory too.

I liked the FEE response to this report in the NYT: "The number of hungry people worldwide swelled in recent years, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to war, drought, AIDS and trade barriers, according to a report released today by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization." FEE commented: "What the have-nots have not is capitalism" (Post of 25th).

A Grand Ayatollah talks sense at last! Maybe there's hope yet.

For those who think that there is any point in it Johann Hari does a pretty good job of demolishing the arguments of Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali against the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

"Judicial activism has no more ferocious a critic than Robert Bork. As a federal judge, a professor at Yale Law School, and a famously mau-maued Supreme Court nominee, he has tirelessly exhorted courts to stay true to the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution, and to leave policy-making to legislators. In Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges, Bork returns to his favorite topic, tracing the continued rise of judicial activism in the United States and describing its contagion internationally.

The good old US taxpayer is funding quack medicine -- so-called "alternative" medicine that has no scientific standing at all -- and some of which is clearly fraudulent. This at a time when real medical advances are held up for years or totally blocked by FDA red-tape. What crazy priorities!

Because it is my field of special expertise, I spend a lot of time debunking what psychologists say about politically relevant matters. I show that their data is shoddy and their reasoning naive and simplistic. There is however another social science that is often invoked for its political "lessons" -- Anthropology. Unsurprisingly, the Leftism of most anthropologists has made anthropology rotten to the core (i.e. fraudulent) as well. The falsity of the once-influential claims by Margaret Mead is, I think, now well-known. What has only recently come to light, however, is that modern anthropology actually started out on the basis of deliberately fraudulent work designed to prop up Leftist beliefs. Franz Boas was the fraudster concerned.

In my latest upload of a published academic journal article I compare religious prejudice with ethnic prejudice. I show that the two are only weakly correlated -- which fits in with other findings about prejudice generally. So there is a tendency for some people to be wary of anybody who is not like themselves but most prejudice is specific to particular groups. So if you do not like blacks (for instance) it does not mean that you will automatically dislike Jews (for instance). In my own case, I find Arabs (for instance) pretty disgusting but I quite like Indians and Chinese -- which is probably rather a good thing seeing that there are so many of them! Details here or here.

********************************

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

********************************



28 November, 2003

KENNEDY'S ASSASSINATION: DONE BY THE LEFT FOR THE LEFT

A reader writes:

"There is an interesting article on LewRockwell.com that discusses the Kennedy assassination... or more accurately how a liberal political spin has been put on it for 40 years. The first half of the article is quite good but then he flips out into orbit for the second half.

Essentially as far as anyone can tell JFK was killed by an lone assassin who definitely was not a "nut". Oswald was a life long ideologically committed Communist, who probably acted independently i.e. without known authorisation of any of the communist powers. Since then the liberals have been trying to pin the JFK killing on everyone but Oswald, virtually airbrushing Oswald's personal ideology from the picture. He very much saw himself as a soldier of the Marxist revolution and probably joined the marines to learn military skills he expected to use in the revolutionary cause. At the same time any non-liberal group, whether it was the conservative Texas Democrats, the Oil industry, Hoover, segregationists or any group with a political agenda that somehow opposed or merely competed with the JFK/LBJ New Frontier/Great Society package of liberal reforms was tarred with the assassination.

Most of JFK's legislative agenda was well and truly stalled by a hostile Congress before his assassination, and LBJ exploited public grief to ensure JFK's legislative legacy got through, so the liberals were the main beneficiaries of his death and seem to have exploited it for political advantage."

**********************************

MORE ON LAKOFF

A reader comments:

"Lakoff posited that conservatives have a "strict father" view of social institutions, while progressives have a "nurturant parent" (I prefer "nagging mother") view. The problem is that by discussing the differences between conservatives and progressives in this manner, he is deliberately "framing" our choices of political and social institutions as being between a "nurturant", well-meaning, feminine totalitarianism, and that of a "strict", sadistic, hypermasculine totalitarianism. And given a choice only between these two, wouldn't most people choose the former? In other words, he offers a false dichotomy.

In my view, conservatives and libertarians should reject the idea of government as acting in loco parentis. As individuals capable of self-government, we should be able to get on as adults"

********************************

ELSEWHERE

My recent post on Fascism aroused some interest so I have now uploaded an extract from one of the best-known histories of Italian Fascism here. It shows essentially that the Fascists were simply a rather cleverer brand of Marxist than the Bolsheviks.

Nothing is too low for the Left: The British Political Cartoon Society has awarded its Cartoon of the Year award to Dave Brown of the Independent, a far-left broadsheet, for a strip depicting the prime minister of Israel eating an Arab infant.

Jeff Jacoby thinks that being thankful to God on Thanksgiving day is proper but that we should also be thankful for the miracle of capitalism's "invisible hand". He obviouly thinks that capitalism is the real source of our blessings.

I suppose I should comment on the latest Reuters nonsense about glaciers melting. Note Iain Murray's summary of the scientific evidence: "First and foremost, people assert we know a lot about glaciers, but we don't. We know next to nothing about glacial activity, but what we do know suggests there are as many expanding glaciers as there are shrinking ones (this even happens with two glaciers within a few miles of each other) and that there is no universal trend either way."

I must say I am very glad of Hillary Clinton's support of at least the Afghan involvement. Like her or not she influences the Left and having the American Left onside over there would save a lot of lives in the long run. It is because America is divided that the Islamic nutcases have hope.

PID has some speculations on the motivations of Rupert Murdoch -- owner of Fox TV, The Times of London and most of Australia's newspapers. I myself would have said that Murdoch personally has moved from Leftish to Rightish as he has aged -- in the usual way -- but that pragmatically he has always pushed a centrist line in his outlets -- simply because that sells more papers and gets more viewers. It means he has something for everybody. By giving time and space to conservative thinking he has certainly filled a niche that the rest of the media were ignoring -- and has done very well out of that. I think he is just clever.

And Another triumph of socialism: The very socialistic Scots got their own parliament again recently so the first thing they did was build themselves a new parliament building -- which was supposed to cost 40 million pounds. The cost so far? 400 million pounds. Just the right sort of people to entrust with spending your money, don't you think? And how "compassionate" it all is! Could the money have been better spent on providing better housing for poor families? Of course not! What Leftist REALLY gives a damn about the poor?

I have just posted Chris Brand's latest observations on current events here. He has a useful summary of what national differences in IQ show and reports that some Scottish students are calling the Royal Consort, Prince Philip a "racist" for no obvious reason.

My latest upload of one of my academic articles is of interest to psychometricians only. See here or here

********************************

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

********************************



27 November, 2003

TURKEY-SIN

No. I don't mean that Thanksgiving dinners make you fat. You need LOTS of dinners to make you fat. I am referring to Keith Burgess-Jackson's view that eating turkeys is morally suspect. I suspect that my post on the subject yesterday sent a few irate readers his way as he has now expanded his exposition of the matter. His argument is that when you have things done for you, you are just as responsible for them as if you did them yourself. So if a turkey is cruelly raised on a factory-farm, you are responsible for that suffering if you buy it.

His argument about responsibility is plausible and may be widely agreed to but I think it just an assertion nonetheless. I would argue in fact that it is absurd to say that you CAN know all the details of all the things that happen when something is done for you (maybe the turkey was kindly raised but the truck-driver who delivers them beats his wife so by buying the turkey we are supporting a wife-beater?) and you cannot be responsible for things that you do not know about.

*************************************

ELITISM IS LEFTIST

There is no doubt that the "limousine liberal" phenomenon goes back a long way. The term seems to have been popularized by Spiro Agnew (Nixon's Vice-President) and I have just been looking at an old academic paper (Lindgren, 1974) that analyzed the results of the 1972 Nixon-McGovern Presidential race -- which Nixon won in a landslide. It found that vote for Nixon correlated -.61 with income and -.32 with education level -- meaning that richer and more highly educated people MUCH preferred the way-out Leftist McGovern. In other words, people on top of the heap really like the idea of telling everybody else what to do. The ordinary people want to be left alone and the top people want to reform them.

There is a good review of David Flint's book about Leftist elites here. One quote: "These are educated, middle class, Left liberals who dominate the public service, political institutions, the law and the media. They plainly have views that are out of step with majority opinion, which they prosecute, notwithstanding the lack of support, because they are convinced of their moral correctness."

Another good article about Leftist and Greenie elitism: "Some flagrant hypocrisy - if not outright class hatred - peeps through the curtain of middle-class concern about consumerism. It's very easy to lecture people about how spiritual life was before we all went mad about kitchen appliances, if you've never had to cook for 12 in a kitchen without running water or electricity... if life in the age of hyper-consumerism is really so bad, then perhaps some of these lefty middle-class male commentators really ought to give it all away and try living the way most women lived 80 years ago"

Reference
Lindgren, H.C. (1974) Political conservatism and its social environment: An analysis of the American Presidential election of 1972. Psychological Reports, 34, 55-62.

*****************************

FROM BROOKES NEWS

Chinese missiles target US cities, thanks to the Clintons and media treason. America's mainstream media is not only lying for the Democrats, they are also lying for the enemy. Any American who thinks the media are patriotic or cares one jot about his security is seriously deluded.
Bunny bravely thrashes the Sydney Morning Herald's resident anti-Semite. Bunny Champers enters the lions' den and gives the Bush-hating anti-Semitic Ramsey a good thrashing. He also gives Tim Blair a good piece of his mind.
A lefty reporter admits excessive wage rates cause unemployment. Whether Colebatch realises it or not he has conceded that free market economists are right about labour costs and unemployment. Unfortunately, I fear his instincts are too far to the left to allow him consistency on this matter.
Is Taiwan shifting to true independence? Demonstrators have demanded that President Chen Shui-bian scrap the Republic of China (ROC) _ the government Taiwan inherited at the end of World War II _ and its symbols, and change the name of the country to Taiwan.
White nimbys v the poor and property rights. Every rich country suffers from a nasty little disease called nimbyism. Carriers are usually white and affluent. The symptoms are, fortunately, easy to detect _ except in the case of brain damaged left-wing journalists.

Details here

**********************************

ELSEWHERE

Thanksgiving Day is a religious holiday. As George Washington wrote when he proclaimed it: ""Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country". I wonder when the Left will try to get the Supreme Court to ban it on those grounds? Though I guess it would be OK if you prayed to Allah!

A good comment from a Leftist: "I don't believe preemptive war is a good ambassador for democracy. But Democrats who are dead-on right about this misleadership have yet to share their own ideal of how to turn enemies to allies and despots into democrats."

Freedom is working in Iraq: Newspapers, satellite television and Internet cafes have sprung up since liberation

Anti-"bioterrorism" laws may be harming legitimate biological research

Australian leftists often argue that Federal government would not be so harsh against boat people (illegal immigrants) if they were white South African farmers, yet the statistics show this minority to be one of the most endangered and threatened minorities on earth. "South African farmers and their families are being slaughtered. The murders are accompanied by torture and rape. The sadism of the attacks suggests either dark perversion or systematic terror. Dr Gregory Stanton of Genocide Watch has even suggested that the killing could be classified as genocide"

One of my readers liked my post about Fascism yesterday and emailed me this excellent comment: "After all if you're anti-globalization and anti-capitalist then that makes you a national socialist". And we know what the last lot of National Socialists were like! Forgive me if I bore my regular readers with repetition but "Nazi" is a German abbreviation of "Nazionalsozialist" -- which is what Hitler called himself. It translates of course as "National Socialist".

Carnival of the Vanities is up again as your shortcut to exploring the blogosphere.

My latest upload of an article rescued from dead-tree form is a review of a book about the history of price controls -- a folly to which even conservative governments are occasionallty subject (Nixon etc.). Who knew that his price controls were one of the main reasons why Robespierre was sent to the guillotine? Details here or here

********************************

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

********************************



26 November, 2003

TURKEYS AND DELEGATION

From Socrates on, good philosophers have always aimed to stir up critical thinking so I guess that Keith Burgess-Jackson will be pleased that he has stirred me up over this post: "If you aren't prepared to raise and kill a turkey, don't eat one". A version of Peter Singer thinking if I am not mistaken.

If he means that I should always sincerely say under my breath "I am prepared to raise and kill turkeys" before I sit down to a turkey dinner, that would seem a fairly modest if highly eccentric requirement. If actual action rather than mere preparedness to act is required, however, I see bigger problems. As it happens, I have back in my country childhood been involved in raising fowl and beheading them for the table when required so I guess I would be OK for a Thanksgiving Day feast even under a stringent version of Keith's morality -- but I don't really see why. Does it have to be turkeys that you raise or are other fowl close enough to justify a turkey feast? And how much of the raising do you have to do? And if you don't have to do all of it, why can you not delegate the whole of the raising to others? Delegation and specialization are the the great tricks of homo sapiens, so why should we not delegate that particular task?

**********************************

LEFTISM PLUS NATIONALISM EQUALS FASCISM

Cinderella Bloggerfeller is a blog I like very much -- in part because he is one of the few bloggers who seem to read a lot of foreign languages and uses that to give us in-depth updates of what is happening in Europe. There is so much to read on the net, however, that I have not visited his site for ages. Marc Miyake, however, who is also an amazing linguist, seems to read him often and Marc asks what I think of this post -- where CB points out that Communism often seems to degenerate into Fascism.

My comment is that it fits perfectly what I have always pointed out about Fascism -- that Fascism is LEFTIST, not rightist. Because early-stage Communism was internationalist in aims and Fascism is nationalist, the Leftists have managed to hoodwink most people into thinking that Fascism is Rightist but it never was. The founder of Fascism (Mussolini) was a Marxist! Fascism is the living proof that Leftism can be EITHER nationalist OR internationalist.

So when Communism broke up or degenerated, lots of the people in the countries concerned just continued on with the socialist beliefs that had been drummed into them from childhood and simply added nationalism to the mix of their beliefs -- which makes them Fascist. Moving from Communism to Fascism is a common transition because it is an easy one. All it needs is to add a suspicion of foreigners to your existing socialism -- and suspicion of foreigners is an all too natural human tendency.

*******************************

ELSEWHERE

Muslim antisemitism is OK in the EU: "The European Union's racism watchdog has shelved a report on anti-semitism because the study concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents it examined," the Financial Times reports. Presumably the reasoning is that Arabs think they have good reason to hate Jews so that is OK. But Hitler thought he had good reasons too. And the "reasons" in both cases are totally addled. Via "Opinion Journal".

Leftist "tolerance": A Sikh (i.e. Indian-American) student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville who complained that a student committee only brought liberal speakers to campus was derided as a "raghead" as a result. UT student Sukhmani Singh Khalsa complained in an editorial that the students' Issues Committee, which brings speakers to campus, was devoid of ideological diversity. "I don't think that a lot of parents would be happy if they knew they were paying this group $90,000 to have their country slandered and their values dragged through the mud," he wrote. Following the appearance of the article, Justin Rubenstein, a member of the Issues Committee, told fellow members of the panel in an e-mail that if they "see one of those ragheads, shoot him right in the (expletive) face."

Amazing: "In a fiery sermon to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Australia's most senior Muslim leader has delivered an ultimatum to renegade Muslims to "shape up or ship out". Speaking at Lakemba Mosque in Sydney's southwest, Sheikh Taj Din al-Hilali told more than 30,000 faithful gathered for Eid el-Fitr, the festival that follows the fasting month of Ramadan, "to love the country or leave it".

Eugenics is back! Only this time it is voluntary and being pioneered by American Jews. And nothing seems likely to stop it. Avoiding the conception of sick children is surely something that anyone should applaud. Interestingly, a Leftist source has now acknowledged that Hitler's State-enforced eugenic policies were originally an American idea and that Hitler "wrote fan letters to leading American eugenicists, telling Madison Grant, for example, that his book The Passing of the Great Race was his "bible."" No admission that the keen eugenicists of the prewar era were mostly Leftists, though.

Doug Bandow points out how selective is the definition of "liberty" useds by the ACLU: One quote: "The ACLU is advocating religious hostility, not neutrality".

I have just posted some more of Chris Brand's observations on current events here. There is a post about a totally disgusting "philosopher" who says that Jews are not entitled to defend themselves -- and a roundup of newspaper reports on national differences in IQ

The Wicked one has a link that he thinks everyone will click on.

In my latest upload of a published academic journal article I pile up some more evidence against the common Leftist belief that people who respect conventional authority are psychologically disturbed. Details here or here.

********************************

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

********************************



25 November, 2003

GREENIE WATCH

The Greens push a policy called the "precautionary principle" -- which basically says that if anything MIGHT be harmful it should not be allowed. Had that principle been around for very long most of the things that we now take for granted -- such as alcohol and motor cars -- would never have been allowed -- because practically EVERYTHING has its downside. Even common salt can kill you if you eat too much of it. Gross nonsense though it is, however, the Greens push on with their attempts to impose this ridiculous "principle" and they have had a disturbing amount of success with it. The EU, for instance, seems to be implementing it in a number of fields -- fields such as "chemicals". All "chemicals" are now suspect. The fact that such things as the humble potato are full of all sorts of complex "chemicals" doesn't seem to faze them a bit. Some people are however mounting a bit of a fightback by proposing an opposite principle -- a "technological imperative" that we should follow -- and putting up some pretty good philosophical arguments in favour of it.

Liquefied Natural Gas is widely seen as the "the only near-term, cost-competitive alternative to filthy coal production capable of providing cleaner, reliable base-load supply (i.e., supply that can run 24 hours a day, as opposed to renewables, which only generate electricity when the sun shines or the wind blows)." Yet many environmentalists opposed to ALL fossil fuels seem keen to hold up this useful alternative. So presumably they would prefer continuity of pollution from older, less efficient coal fired plants?? But who expects logic from them?

Even radical economists can make a lot of sense (as long as they are not Krugman): "Henwood is resolutely optimistic about new technology. More than that, he shows where the critics are wrong, exposing the anti-human ideas of the deep ecology movement and their ambition to reduce the population. Drawing out the unlovely consequences of the arguments made by greens such as David Korten and Kirkpatrick Sale, Henwood concludes 'this is snobbery, elitism and despair, masquerading as radical critique' .... The chapter on globalisation is the best, with its clear explanation of the mysteries of trade and its willingness to go against the grain of accepted ideas on the left"

The Greenies have not managed to destroy nuclear power totally. New nuclear power plants are being built in Finland, Japan and other Asian countries. So the fact that we now have a new and inherently safe reactor design that is also cleaner, smaller and more affordable is good news for all reasonable people -- not that anything will ever make a Greenie happy, of course.

**********************************

ELSEWHERE

The Arab press is gloating about the reception in Israel of Italian Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini -- because Fini has in the past expressed approval of some things about former Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi has made similar remarks. That Mussolini's Italy was one of the few countries in Europe from which no Jews were deported to Hitler's concentration camps is of course overlooked.

Fittingly, David Corn has written another corny book: Claiming that GWB is a liar. Ho hum! But Mike Tremoglie goes into the details of Corn's claims and shows who the real liar is.

Andrew Bolt has a good answer to the overseas critics and the local Leftists who call Australia a "racist" country.

Only 3% of immigrants report Australia as racist. The Australian Left of course knows better than to ask immigrants. They need to throw racist labels around as a political weapon. They don't have any actual arguments.

Londoner Ann Leslie watched the anti-Bush demonstrations there and notes just how blind is the blind hatred of the Left towards him -- and she points out the great similarities between Bush and Reagan. And Suzanne Fields gives a few more details of the pathetic antics of the same Leftist "protestors" ("exhibitionists" would be a better word) and sees echoes of Winston Churchill in what Bush is doing.

Wow! Is Buckley good at a polite put-down! Read his complete demolition of JFK.

Mike Pechar of Interested Participant has a story about efforts being made to convert high school students into Leftist activists and comments: "It's particularly sad that the Ten Commandments are forbidden in school while the students are being force-fed Marxist ideals". Mike has also blogrolled my "deconstruction" of wacky Leftist linguist George Lakoff -- who thinks that conservatives are Daddies and Leftists are Mommies! But conservatives are very naughty Daddies, of course! Mike commented to me in an email: "I'm working on putting together a post specifically on Lakoff, but haven't done enough research yet. I'll say one thing though, if he's a linguist, mumbo-jumbo is a language".

Arlene Peck finds the attention being given to Jacko pretty disproportionate: "The anti-Semitism in Europe is chilling but where are the cries from our country and others about the pre-Nazi Germany situation that is brewing now? Jewish day schools are being burned, the same for synagogues... The situation is scary and getting worse while we are fed a daily diet of Michael Jackson and the movie star of the week"

The latest upload of one of my published articles is a brief review of a book about equality, co-authored by Keith Joseph -- one of the intellectual mentors of Margaret Thatcher. It is an astonishingly good book and makes the case that equality is obnoxious on MORAL grounds. I have put my review up in full on PC Watch and it is also available here.

********************************

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

********************************



24 November, 2003

POLITICS SHOULD BE LIKE FLYING AN AIRCRAFT

One of my Australian readers writes:

"I refer to the following extract from your post of 23 Nov: "Burke was emphatic that change was necessary but just wanted it to be done carefully.....".

About 30 years ago when Labor was doing its best to tear Australia apart, a fellow RAAF officer and pilot was invited to give the Anzac Day address at Cooma NSW.

His address was set around a word/action sequence taught to cadet pilots learning to fly on instruments - "change, check, hold, adjust, trim". In full, the advice was change the attitude of the aircraft, check the change, hold the new attitude and observe the result, adjust the attitude to give the exact required result, trim the aircraft to the new attitude.

Nick Leray Meyer's perception, and his description of just how political change should take place have remained with me ever since."

*************************************

MEDICAL MAYHEM

I have said this before myself but when Milton Friedman says it, it is worth repeating: "We are deeply concerned about proposed legislation to remove pharmaceutical companies' ability to control the importation of their products. The goal of this legislation will be to reduce prices in the American market by imposing other nations' price controls on us. If this attempt succeeds, American consumers would get the short-term windfall of lower prices, but they would end up unnecessarily suffering and living shorter lives -- because promising new therapies would be delayed or not even developed. Even the threat of price controls reduces the incentive to develop new drugs."

And more on the same theme: "The problem here is politicians face terrible incentives when regulating the prescription drug market. Many of you will know that politicians have had negative consequences on the rest of the American health care system, and now they've set their eyes on prescription drugs and threaten to screw that up, too."

In Canada even dogs get better health care: "Still lusting after socialized medicine? Consider the story of a man in Canada (a country well-known for socialized medicine) who needed a cat-scan but had to wait several months to see a physician. In his desperation, he booked an appointment for himself at a local veterinary clinic that had the imaging equipment he needed. He registered himself under the name 'Fido' to assure that he would get in."

The poor old Poms! ("Poms" is Australian slang for the English). The only thing their government can think of to improve their dreadful hospital system is to rip more and more money out of the taxpayer to spend on their existing system of socialized medicine -- the infamous "National Health". Yet, just North of England is Scotland -- where their National Health system already gets 20% more funding than the English equivalent. And by practically every criterion, the Scottish system delivers much WORSE results! But that extra funding does buy LOTS of extra bureaucracy! I sometimes think socialists must be pretty close to brain dead. Some part of their brain is not working.

Newt Gingrich [urges] conservatives to support the proposed Medicare reform bill. He argues Republicans should sign onto the $400 billion Medicare prescription drug bill because it includes a provision for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). But before Americans take the bait, they first should consider how previous health reform proposals and laws have failed to lower costs and increase access to health care."

Beware of government "solutions": "Just over a month ago we 'celebrated' the 10th anniversary of Bill Clinton's speech to a joint session of Congress in which he called for a government takeover of the health care industry. Fortunately for America and the quality of our health care system, the massive one-size-fits-all Clintoncare plan went down to defeat. ... Ten years later, the healthcare debate rages on."

*******************************

ELSEWHERE

The Bible-oriented Anglican Archdiocese of Sydney has seen an 11% rise in its congregations in recent years -- while over the same period the "liberal" Anglican Archdiocese of Perth saw a 9% fall in its congregations. How surprising! One diocese offers faith. The other offers politics.

"Hate Crime" nonsense: "Opponents of hate crime legislation believe additional laws are unnecessary; criminals are prosecuted for breaking laws, regardless of their motivation. Hate crime laws raise numerous issues. For starters, these laws punish beliefs and speech. While prejudice and bigotry are appalling and wrong, regulation of any type of thought is constitutionally perilous and sets a precedent in which we could all become criminals. In addition, victims of crimes who do not belong to specified groups have a legitimate claim that their perpetrators are subject to lesser punishment

History and the $87billion "Marshall Plan" for Iraq: Like all government spending it will do little good and probably much harm. Protecting the emergence of private markets and free enterprise would be far more beneficial.

Bleeding Brain has a big post on why homosexual "marriage" makes no sense.

I have just posted some more of Chris Brand's observations on current events here. Apparently IQ expert Richard Lynn is getting a bit of exposure in the British media these days.

The Wicked one has a post about fire and brimstone.

In my latest upload of a published academic journal article I pull apart some claims by John Duckitt -- another Leftist psychologist who was sure he had shown what a bad lot conservatives are. Details here or here.

********************************

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

********************************



23 November, 2003

REVISITING EDMUND BURKE

What conservatism means: Owen Harries (a fellow Australian and a former colleague of mine at the University of New South Wales) offers a useful review of the thought of Edmund Burke, long one of conservatism's most influential writers and also, of course, a friend of the American revolutionaries. I liked several points: That Burke wrote BEFORE the French revolution degenerated into tryanny so was wise indeed to predict that tyranny; that he was an experienced practical politician rather than a theorist when he wrote so knew how people seeking privilege and influence really operate; that Burke was emphatic that change was necessary but just wanted it to be done carefully; that he consistently opposed abuse of power, no matter from where the abuse came.

Burke has been the thinker most quoted by conservatives for around 200 years but according to the usual Leftist view, the fact that Burke favoured change would make him not a conservative! It shows their gross ignorance of conservative thought. But of course they just KNOW what is the case -- no need for any reading.

***************************

ELSEWHERE

Would you believe it? The Michael Jackson arrest is the fault of "white racism"? "The star's mother, Catherine Jackson, told the online version of Germany's Bunte magazine Friday that there were two interpretations of the law in the United States -- "one for whites and one for blacks.""

My post yesterday about the Dutch prompted the following email from a reader: "That confirms my experience over three years in England. I was in a tourism office one afternoon browsing some brochures when a couple of real tourists walked in. They noticed that the brochures were in Spanish, French, German and Italian; but there was no Dutch language. When they asked the clerk at the window why that was the case, she replied that all the Dutch speak English. I also knew a few people from the Royal Netherlands Air Force. They didn't just speak English, they spoke very good English; so did one of the local merchants who had emigrated from the Netherlands several years before and had become a British citizen. One of the Brits I knew was a bit peeved that this Dutchman cum Englishman had so completely adopted English customs. The Brit used to tell me: "He's Dutch, you know." And there is a guy I know here in Brisbane who I thought for years was a cockney (working-class Londoner) but who is in fact from "Nederland" (the country we English-speakers call "Holland" -- and for more on THAT see "Follies of the English language").

In good Leftist media fashion, this article implies that all Brits and Europeans hate GWB and notes this comment: ""A great anti-Bush psychosis has taken hold in England". Such a mystery, isn't it? Why do SOME Europeans hate GWB? It's not the slightest mystery at all, of course. It's just envy. The world once rotated around Western Europe. It now rotates around America. And GWB has refused to play that down. He has shown the power that the USA has and he has shown that he will use it if pushed far enough. And no wonder the Left above all hate him more than anyone else they can think of either in history or in the world today. Envy has always been a central part of their emotional motor so envy will affect them most of all. And the US Left hate him because it is not they who have their hands on the levers of that power. Envy, envy, envy! What an immensely destructive force it is in so many childish people!

I agree with Cal Thomas that jails should be reserved mainly for perpetrators of violent crimes. They cost too much to be used for much else. Having druggies there is absurd. I argued the case for that at some length long ago (PDF).

Johan Norberg's blog (from Sweden) has led me to this excellent commentary by Tyler Cowen on a much overlooked subject -- Remittances from guest workers -- which are arguably the most important form of foreign aid: "There is altogether too much talk about the United States being ungenerous with foreign aid. We show up as 21st in the rankings, in per capita terms, according to one estimate. These figures neglect remittances, where the U.S. is a very clear first with $28.4 billion a year sent to other countries. The bottom line: when it comes to other nations, the United States is the most generous country in the world.

Antagonizing China is a smart idea? "The Bush administration announced Tuesday that it is prepared to impose quotas, or safeguards, on three categories of textile imports from China. The long-awaited decision marks a major victory for the embattled U.S. textile industry, which has watched imports from China soar in the past two years as American plants have closed and workers have lost their jobs. ... [The American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition] says the quotas are needed because imports have dramatically disrupted the textile industry. ... Others said the quotas would not help the textile industry be more competitive or save jobs, but rather it would cause prices to rise for American consumers."

Is there anything the "do-gooders" won't oppose? "The inventors of a magic-bullet pill which is said to eliminate most heart attacks and strokes have opened negotiations with the Government on producing the treatment, which would be given to everyone over 55. .... The polypill would be a combination of six medicines to be taken once a day which, evidence suggests, would prevent 80 per cent of heart attacks and strokes. ... But the proposal has divided doctors. Some specialists say it could undermine the need for lifestyle changes."

I have just posted Chris Brand's notes here about the reviews of IQ and the Wealth of Nations -- a book that shows how important national differences in IQ are.

The Wicked one has posts on both prayer and G-strings!

In 1983 I collaborated with an Indian psychologist to get a book published in India about that favourite topic of Leftist psychologists -- authoritarianism. Leftists rely on one particular and very problematic measure of authoritarianiasm for most of their conclusions about the matter. In the chapter from my Indian book just uploaded (See Chapter 6 here or the latest post here), I show that using any other measure of psychological authoritarianism produces results opposite to what Leftist psychologists believe to be true.

********************************

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

********************************



22 November, 2003

SOME STEREOTYPE-BUSTING

This writer has just attended a large international conference of business leaders. So what were these businessmen like? Were they greedy, power-hungry control freaks and crooks, as they are often portrayed? No. "The focus of the conference was value creation. Specifically, the attendees discussed how to be not merely profitable, but how to add economic value to their companies for the benefit of shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers and society. As an observer, I can testify that the comments made by these powerful and successful people were in flat contradiction to the caricature.

The conference participants condemned practices such as short-term thinking for quick financial gain, misstating financial results, unethical behavior, using shareholder money to acquire businesses that added no value to the shareholder, and treating employees like commodities.

They spoke of the absolute necessity of strong ethics not merely as a means to an end but as a way of honoring everyone with whom their business deals. Topics such as transparency, honesty, hard work, and solid decision-making came up frequently.

Perhaps most surprising -- given recent controversies about executive salaries and bonuses -- this group called for executive compensation to be pegged not merely to profit and loss statements, which can be manipulated by a variety of means. Instead, they promoted the idea that as the total value of the company goes up or down, so should the compensation of the executive. To a person, they advocated the need to peg the salaries and bonuses of employees to the value added or value lost so that the employee has a stake in the corporation's future."

***********************************

ELSEWHERE

The most recent Carnival of the Vanities is up at the elegant Peak Talk site. I notice that there is a sub-blog about the Netherlands there too. It even explains the collapse of the Dutch "pillars" -- which is less tragic than it sounds. I agree with his view that the Dutch have more in common with the Anglo-Saxons than other Europeans do. Dutch even has just about the same vowel sounds as British English, which is very unusual (though Dutch gutturals are another thing altogether). But the Anglo-Saxons who conquered Britain 1500 years age mostly set off from what is now the Netherlands so the affinities are less surprising than they might seem. There is even some DNA research (Weale et al., 'Y Chromosome Evidence for Anglo-Saxon Mass Migration', Molecular Biology and Evolution, 2002, vol. 19, pp.1008-21) showing that the Frisians (one part of the Netherlands) are genetically just about the same as the English. I tend to get on well with the Dutch (though from an easygoing Australian viewpoint they are infuriating sticklers for rules at times) and a Dutchman once told me I would make a good Dutchman -- which I took as a great compliment.

What is the best out-of-print book there is? I nominate Why Race Matters: Race Differences and What They Mean (Human Evolution, Behaviour and Intelligence) by philosopher Michael Levin. Amazon has some excellent and informative reviews of it that DO make one wonder WHY the book is out of print. Chris Brand's book on a related subject was pulped after an outcry from Leftists. Nazi-style book-burning is still with us. Marc Miyake has found a copy of Levin's book in the library of the obscure college where he is at present interned, however, so keep an eye out for it next time you are in a college library.

A great Mark Steyn comment on antisemitism: "That's the great thing about the International Jewish Conspiracy: no Jews need be involved. One day, there will be only one Jew left on the whole planet. He'll be a Dean supporter who mangled his chad and accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan. But he'll still be controlling the Bush Administration. He'll be a non-observant, self-loathing Jew who doesn't find Jackie Mason funny. He'll be the principal fundraiser for Islamic Jihad. But everything will still be his fault"

Various Third-World countries are trying to put the internet under the control of the United Nations! That needs to be resisted mightily! Cyberspace is about the only really free place there is in the world today. And the prospect of taxes on the internet is discussed here

Mike Tremoglie has some telling examples of Leftist bias in the US mainstream media.

This article suggests that the nature of American society makes America ill-equipped to win the sort of intelligence war that they need to win if they are to defeat Islamic terrorism by police methods. I agree. I think that massive retailation against the communities that support terrorism is the only way America can defeat terrorism and America is still a long way from embracing that idea.

John Moore has a pretty worrying post about the nuclear threat from Iran.

The strange way they refer to terrorists in Iraq has convinced Arlene Peck that the Los Angeles Times is not only anti-Jewish but also anti-American.

Keith Burgess-Jackson has a good post on why intellectuals tend to be Left-leaning (I refuse to call them "liberals" -- because they are anything BUT liberty-oriented).

The Blog Quebecois is a good one despite its unpropitious location. He has an interesting rule: "On all great moral questions, I first consult Barbra Streisand's website. If she's fer somethin', I'm agin it; and vice versa. I have followed this regime faithfully for many years now, and I am today a happy man"

Commiewatch is a good site for keeping track of the still-alive Communist influence on various "peace" and "protest" demonstrations. Such things are almost invariably highly organized rather than spontaneous and it is the lunar Left that does the organizing.

In my latest academic upload (see here or here) I review a book that is useful for debunking most of the research that has been done on psychological authoritarianism.

********************************

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

********************************



21 November, 2003

THE "INARTICULATE" GWB: AN AUGURY

If I have any Leftist readers, this post should make them froth at the mouth

There is a great letter here from someone in Britain who watched GWB's interview there on TV. It highlights the contradictory views many of GWB's detractors have of him and the arrogance behind such views.

The point the letter makes about GWB's relative inarticulateness reminds me of a similar phenomenon here in my home State of Queensland. Queensland was run for nearly 20 years by the very conservative Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen. I was one of his party members. "Sir Joh", as he was known, was universally condemned by the intelligentsia for his inarticulateness. He spoke like the ill-educated farmer he was. The media regularly said he made no sense at all. But he made plenty of sense to the ordinary Queenslanders who voted for him and in one State election (1974) his government actually got 59% of the popular vote -- a majority so large as to be almost unheard of in a Westminster democracy.

The big political battle in Australia in the mid-70s was in fact between the immensely erudite and silver-tongued Leftist Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, and the stumble-tongued but very canny Queensland Premier. And when the 1975 Federal election came around Sir Joh did Whitlam like a dinner. The Leftists won only one out of 18 Queensland seats -- which lost them power in Australia as a whole.

So I think that is a pretty good augury for GWB next time he faces the voters. I suspect that his "inarticulateness" is an asset to him with his voters too. And if GWB does as much good for the USA in his second term as Sir Joh did for Queensland he will be doing very well indeed.

*******************************

FROM BROOKES NEWS

It looks like Brookes News has declared war on the "Sydney Morning Herald" this week. Analogies with the "New York Times" do spring to mind

Thoughts on Marx, Keynes and the US recession. The upturn in the US economy has certainly disinterred some economic verities. It also got me thinking about economic absurdities.
Is the Sydney Morning Herald's Alan Ramsey anti-Semitic? Alan Ramsey of the Sydney Morning Herald accuses the Jews of starting Middle East terrorism. Naturally, it follows that they are only getting what they deserve. I guess that also includes the kids.
Daschle: callous bigoted and dangerous. Like it or not, Tom Daschle has lot in common with the late Salvador Allende, the former Marxist president of Chile who tried to turn his country into another Cuban dungeon. Like Allende Daschle also holds his country's constitution and traditions in contempt.
A howl of anguish from a Bush and Howard hater. Jane Doulman's anti-Howard, anti-Bush article in Web Diary, Sydney Morning Herald, said it all about the left. Its callousness, hypocrisy, contempt for the truth and indifference to the suffering of others.
The Hollywood Syndrome and the left. A look at how the left control Hollywood.
The latest Palestinian textbook calls for holy war and martyrdom. The following exposes the hate and bigotry that motivates Islamo-fascists. It also refutes the vicious anti-Semitic claim of Alan Ramsey of the Sydney Morning Herald that the Jews are responsible for Palestinian terrorism.

Details here

************************************

ELSEWHERE

Jeff Jacoby points out some of the faulty reasoning in the Taxachusetts decision on homosexual marriage. And here is an article that in my view badly misstates the libertarian position on marriage generally. I have always thought it clear that the libertarian position is that marriage should never be anything other than a private contract between the parties concerned.

The Left never ceases to show its true colours. In this story we hear of Australian union leader Doug Cameron being bashed by other unionists because he is not Leftist enough. Ironically Cameron is a knee-jerk Leftist like the Scotsman he is -- but even that is not Leftist enough, apparently. So "compassionate"!

This was a good open letter to GWB from an Englishman that sums the Left up very succinctly: "You will find yourself assailed on every hand by some pretty pretentious characters collectively known as the British left. They traditionally believe they have a monopoly on morality and that your recent actions preclude you from the club. You opposed and destroyed the world's most blood-encrusted dictator. This is quite unforgivable. I beg you to take no notice. The British left intermittently erupts like a pustule upon the buttock of a rather good country. Seventy years ago it opposed mobilisation against Adolf Hitler and worshipped the other genocide, Josef Stalin. It has marched for Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Andropov. It has slobbered over Ceausescu and Mugabe. It has demonstrated against everything and everyone American for a century. Broadly speaking, it hates your country first, mine second" Via the WSJ

Conservative Truth has a couple of amusing pictures to accompany its comment on "Neanderthal" Ted Kennedy.

I have just posted some more of Chris Brand's thoughts here. He notes "Islamic Awareness" fallacies and attacks on moral relativism.

Leftist psychologists are obsessed with the fact that conservatives are more acceptant of the power and authority arrangements in our present society than they are. They think it shows that conservatives are literally out of their minds. I have therefore written a lot in the academic journals about psychological authoritarianism -- showing the Leftist view to be wrong on just about every count (See here). I was however for most of my academic career employed in a university Sociology Department so I did on one occasion look at the sociology instead of the psychology of authoritarianism. I compared the degree of authoritarianism in British, American and Australian society. I found that Britain was a much more army-like (or ant-like) place than either Australia or the USA. Details here or here

********************************

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

********************************



20 November, 2003

MORE ON J.S. MILL

Keith Burgess-Jackson has a short follow-up to my post on J.S. Mill, in which I noted Mill's anti-liberty deeds. Keith explains that Mill never was anything like a libertarian philosophically either.

And a reader gives some of the history of how an apparent love of liberty somehow got tangled up with socialism:

"Joseph Stromberg sees Mill's embrace of socialism as a by product of his experiences as an imperial administrator. A lot of the socialistic liberals essentially learned their craft out in the colonies, which were not usually administered according to laissez faire principles stoutly defended at home. He mentions Wakefield, whose schemes played a prominent role in the development of the British colonies of South Australia and New Zealand, both of which were the more 'progressive' or socialistic of the Australasian colonies. There are some parallels on the other side of the Atlantic a generation or so later, where many of the "progressive era" administrators had trial runs in reordering the new colonies like the Philippines and Cuba.

Historically socialists have (following Lenin) criticised "imperialism" as the last or "highest" stage of capitalism, yet on these grounds you could argue that "imperialism" wasn't so much the last stage of capitalism, merely the first stage of socialism!!

There was a paper by Milton Friedman (called, "Is a free society stable?" published in the New Individualist Review, 2(2):3--10, 1962 and reproduced in a compendium edited by Tibor Machan), that speculated about these issues. He said that many of the 19th century liberals, especially the utilitarians and Benthamites -- and JSM would seem to have at least one foot in this camp -- opposed interventionist government in the 18th century, not because they were individualists but because government was so corrupt. After centuries of mercantilism, no self respecting social reformer would dream of using government to implement their utopia, anymore than the Greens today would consider lobbying the mafia to fight global warming.

So the reformers were happy to make a tactical alliance with the individualists. Individualists are always a minority group and rarely have the numbers to "rule" in their own right. In the 18th Century, Britain was considered a relatively lawless land of smugglers, highwaymen with corrupt officials and judges. Yet by the 19th Century, the Brits were renowned for almost painful "Victorian" rectitude and lawfulness. Friedman says it was the laissez faire reforms that took the profit out of politics and encouraged a renewed respect for law. This also made late 19th Century civil service reforms possible. The old spoils system was replaced by professionalism and academic excellence.

These laissez faire era reforms made it possible for the social reformers and utopians to now start to see the State as useful engine for social reform. Hence JSM's shift from liberalism to socialism, and the growth of big government over the last century. Friedman saw a silver lining behind all this. As the state has grown, corruption, black marketeering and influence peddling have proliferated. These forces may act as 'limits to growth' for big government and undermine the political consensus behind it"


Leftists sure do get themselves confused. Probably because they don't really stand for anything at all. Any policies at all will do -- as long as it makes them sound good and noble.

**************************

ELSEWHERE

For once I agree with the NYT: "For Tony Blair, ousting Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do. Mr. Blair got very little in return for his steadfast support of American policy, but then he never expected he would. Decisively dealing with the threat was enough of a reward even if doing so meant risking his political future. For Mr. Blair, a man who came to power often derided as a master of spin and as overreliant on polls and focus groups, the Iraq crisis marked him as the conviction politician he is"

"So, let's see --- GOP uses immigration in 1994, and wins. GOP concedes the issue to the Democrats in 1998 and 2002, and is annihilated. GOP uses immigration again in 2003, and wins. Does anyone notice a pattern here?" They should. Immigration-control has been a winner for conservatives in Australia. One can only wonder when US and UK conservatives will wise up.

Opinion Journal expresses the hope that Republican politician Bobby Jindal will become the first Indian-American US Senator. In that context I might note again that under the wicked old "racist" British Empire, two Indians represented English electorates in the House of Commons long ago (Dadadhai Naoroji 1892-1895 and M.M. Bhownagree 1895-1906). Australia elected its first Aboriginal (Australian native black) Senator -- the conservative Neville Bonner -- in 1971 -- representing my allegedly redneck home State of Queensland.

Andrew Bolt has a report from a young Indonesian Muslim which explains why so many Muslims hate us so much. What we have seems like heaven on earth to them but we get it by what they are taught are demonic means. In short, our very existence makes them and their religion look dumb.

Chris Brand is posting up a storm lately. For convenience, I have transferred some of his latest postings here. He mentions a new book on IQ and the heritability of criminal tendencies, among other things.

I am really proud of this story. And they've got a photo to prove it! Australia has a Prime Minister at the moment who is a real human being. And he is a conservative, needless to say. I can't imagine a similar thing happening in many other countries.

My latest academic upload (see here or here) is one of many wherein I have taken on the task of pointing out to fellow psychologists that they have ignored most of the relevant literature on the topic they discuss and hence makes asses of themselves. In this case the psychologists I criticized wrote a reply showing that they had STILL not absorbed or taken account of what others had found on their subject so I was allowed to write a rejoinder pointing that out. See here or here. The whole episode is a vivid illustration of the Leftist influence in psychology. They just KNOW they have got it right and evidence is just a bother.

********************************

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

********************************



19 November, 2003

JOHN STUART MILL: FINE LIBERAL WORDS, LESS LIBERAL DEEDS

J.S. Mill is often seen by libertarians as one of their founding fathers. This passage from his famous essay "On liberty" tells you why:

"The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to some one else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.


Mill did not, however, take his own advice. In his day he was a radical -- advocating all sorts of government intervention in people's lives. Sad. In Parliament, Mill supported such measures as public ownership of natural resources, compulsory education, and birth control. Like Marx, he thought you had to use coercion to get to liberty. Unfortunately, only the coercion ever arrives that way. Liberty never does.

But here is another wise thing he said: ""War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

********************************

ELSEWHERE

Logic Monkey has found that Saddam STILL has his admirers among the US media. And Leftist university students still like Saddam too. And Opinion Journal notes that even America's "liberal" bigwigs are still defending Saddam. It's not much of a hope but I hope it's really a hatred of their own country rather than a liking for the ghastly Saddam.

"It is dumb to suppose that the way to decrease crime is to make sure all potential victims of violent crime are disarmed. It is dumber yet to believe that a criminal will obey a gun-control law. No bank robber or rapist has ever set out and then stopped and said, 'Gosh, I don't have a permit for this weapon, so I guess I'd better not rob that bank or rape that girl.' No serial killer has ever said: 'Gosh, I can't kill this person with an unregistered weapon. That would be against the law.' The dumbest idea is to suppose that an inanimate object can turn a noncriminal into a criminal. To believe that guns cause crime is as stupid as believing that hammers and saws cause houses."

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson tells it like it is: "The problems of the black community are due to a lack of moral character and not racism.... . Over 90% of black homicides in America are committed by other blacks, but instead of addressing the root causes of black-on-black crime, the NAACP absurdly blames gun manufacturers. The average black public high school graduate has in reality only an eighth-grade education, yet the NAAPC vehemently opposes school choice"

Enemies of freedom: "The city of Miami is bracing this week for 20,000 demonstrators determined to disrupt negotiations on trade among 34 countries.... The protesters object to plans for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, which would create a market encompassing the Western Hemisphere except Cuba"

Moronic US airport security strikes again. Why Americans allow such Stalinism is beyond me.

I have just been linked to by a Tamil blog. Tamils live mostly in South East India and have their own alphabet so I have not the faintest clue what the blog is all about but it does have some nice pictures. I have actually collaborated on psychological research in Tamil Nadu in bygone days so I was a little more pleased than usual to get the link.

Kiwi Pundit has a fabulous example of how the honchos of socialist medicine fix the problem of long waiting lists.

Michael Darby has just posted one of his periodical "Reports" on the net again here. He notes the 70th anniversary of the Soviet genocide against the Ukraine, links to a Daniel Pipes post about "George Bush the Radical" and has much else besides -- including his usual extensive reports from Zimbabwe.

UK blogger Peter Cuthbertson is back in action with a new address for "Conservative Commentary"

The Wicked one has an unusual horoscope that should manage to offend most people.

My latest academic upload (see here or here) offers some evidence to show that what appears on TV and in the media generally does form people's perception of what is normal. When the survey was conducted 20 years ago, Australian TV had very little representation of any minority group. In both Australia and the USA that has since changed drastically of course. So if what appears on TV does help form impressions of what is normal (as Leftists indeed would seem to hope that it does) people outside America who watch American TV shows these days might well think that American blacks are in general clever, sophisticated and witty.

********************************

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

********************************



18 November, 2003

GREENIE WATCH

A thorough analysis of how the Greenies caused most of the recent Califonia fire disaster is here

"Light Rail" has been a popular Greenie answer to city transport problems for a generation. In Sydney, Australia, a couple of light rail 'solutions' have been tried but they are hardly ever used. It appears that Sydney's experience is pretty common.

"Does [the Natural Resources Defense Council] care that their information was deceptive? Do they care that they distort the whole environmental issue in the minds of the public? Do they care that they cause a lot of extra work and expense by others to disprove information they KNEW was deceptive? Do they care that they destroy businesses and careers with their lies? Hell ... why should they care ... that's how they got to be so big and wealthy ... by suckering people before the truth could correct their lies."

"Global warming": The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has publicly acknowledged that the National Assessment on Climate Change was NOT "subjected to OSTP's Information Quality Act guidelines." This backdown now appears in the middle of the U. S. Global Change Research Program's web site. For once, what sounds like bureaucratic fluff actually means something. The implications are spelt out here.

And the Greenies now want to hike taxes on air travel. In the name of saving the world, they want to stop people from seeing it. They are certainly not shy about dictating to people. "We know best" is their undoubted creed. A pity they are such ignoramuses.

And their ignorance shows very clearly in their opposition to genetically-modified crops. The ecological advantages of GM are discussed here.

Brazil looks like it is converting to GM crops willy-nilly, despite Brazilian government opposition. Latin anarchy can have its advantages.

****************************

ELSEWHERE

There is a supposed psychological analysis (with not an atom of proof given for any assertion made) of Rush Limbaugh's audience here. The bit I liked is the claim that Limbaugh's audience "are mindlessly agreeing with the powerful economic interests he insidiously represents". Agreeing with Limbaugh has to be mindless, get it? A person just could not thoughtfully and intelligently agree with Limbaugh. And our supposed analyst accuses Limbaugh of being simplistic and dogmatic! Once again we see a Leftist engaging in "projection" -- seeing his own faults in others. And Limbaugh is "insidious"? How can he be insidious and simplistic at the same time? I would have thought that Limbaugh is as straightforward as you can get. Link via Earthly Passions

Hooray! The Peking People's Daily has thrown its weight behind the importance of IQ! They see the high average IQ of Chinese as a perfectly reasonable finding! They also think that Chinese have better ethics! I agree. It is largely for that reason that I have two Han Chinese living in my own house.

And the more law abiding nature of East Asians also explains why the governor of Okinawa wants to reduce crime by getting U.S. Marines withdrawn. Black American troops HAVE been responsible for shocking crimes there by Asian standards -- though similar crimes would not make the news in New York. The Okinawans would be happy to see just the blacks go but you cannot mention that, of course.

A delightful post at Samizdata on a totally original approach to taxation from Switzerland. It is too rational to catch on widely, I fear. We would never slip it past our hate- and envy-filled Leftists.

Peter Hitchens thinks the Queen should block Britain's accession to the new EU constitution. She certainly has that power and her use of it in that way would undoubtedly be popular but I cannot see her breaking with tradition to do it -- much as I hope she would. But the EU constitution would undoubtedly reduce her role and powers so she just might. The Royal powers have been used to good effect in Australia in the not too distant past -- amazing though that must seem to most Americans.

French President Chirac has made a big show of condemning antisemitism but any concrete results from that have yet to be seen. The Dreyfus case in the 19th century showed how antisemitic the French are. As far as I can see, nothing has changed. For the French idea of "action" against antisemitism, see the last part of this article.

Jeff Jacoby puts the argument against homosexual marriage. Personally, I think in ANY marriage it is the relationship that matters, not the bit of paper describing it. But I have been married four times so maybe I am just an old cynic.

An interesting comparison of the American campaign in Iraq with a great imperial campaign of the past here. Via Photon Courier

ABC Watch has a good comment about "concern" in the Australian media over Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

The latest upload of a chapter from my book (See here or Chapter 21 here) is another shot in the unending war against the perennial folly of protectionism. GWB's steel tariff is the best-known current example of that particular folly.

********************************

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

********************************



17 November, 2003

"THE POOR" IN ACTION AGAIN

Most readers of this blog will know the amazing accounts of degraded British working class life given by British prison doctor, "Theodore Dalrymple" -- many of which are to be found in City Journal. I recently put up a post saying that the "poor" are not much different here in Australia and one of my American readers wrote in to say that the "poor" are pretty similar in her neck of the woods too. The basic message is that it is foolish and self-destructive behaviour that is responsible for most poverty and degradation in modern Western societies.

Yet another American reader -- a medical practitioner -- has now written in to give an example of how many of "the poor" in his experience behave. He writes of a foolish woman who has, wonderfully, had a wiser child:

"My sister in law adopted a daughter many years ago after having her own son naturally. Over the years, the adopted daughter, unfortunately, developed almost every problem imaginable -- rebellious behavior, sex, etc; she even turned her father in to the police when he gave her a well-deserved spanking. She has been on and off of welfare for years She chain smokes, drinks, etc...

Her first husband was a loser -- an on again off again construction worker -- but they had a daughter (who has now just graduated high school and is truly a beautiful child in spite of having losers for parents). She then divorced this guy, and proceeded to marry a convicted sex offender (yes - I am not lying). Had a son with him.

When the daughter was young, she accused the baby sitter of "inappropriate touching". I am always suspicious of such claims -- especially knowing the unhealthy environment she was raised in. Most recently, the daughter was placed in foster care. Her mother was in jail for physical violence, and she accused her stepfather of sexually molesting her.

My wife has always had a liking for this unfortunate little girl. She is a good student, and has begun college. My wife went to her high school graduation -- she invited her mother, but apparently she didn't show.

This woman has shown all the characteristics of "the poor" and she started out middle class so "poverty" didn't make her that way. She has just had a lifetime of bad choices. There is just no reason that any amount of government money or "counseling" will change this. I would be surprised if she lives to be 50"


***********************************

THE MODERN ORIGINS OF ANTISEMITISM

A reader has been looking at the history of Wilhelm Marr -- the man who proudly coined the term "antisemitism" (Antisemitismus in German) when in 1879 he published a very influential antisemitic booklet called "Der Sieg des Judenthums ueber das Germanenthum" ("The victory of Jewry over the Germanic realm"). He notes that Marr was an active socialist but this is rarely mentioned (for some reason!) in potted biographies of Marr. This German source does however give details of that. My reader writes:

"Even the term "antisemitism" was first coined in latter half of 19th Century Germany by a group of socialists who formed the first self-named "Anti-semitic League". These guys were consiously joining the older anti-Jewish prejudices with the newer more 'scientific' theories of 19th Century "racial science". History has shown this to have been a particularly explosive and nasty combination. At its worst the older pre-'anti-semite' anti-Jewish prejudice "only" lead to discrimination and localised pogroms, like the various campaigns against witches, gypsies, heretics etc. These were usually manipulated by local opportunist political leaders, sometimes with support from national kings and bishops, Catholic and Protestant, sometimes without.

It took the combination of science, socialism and social Darwinism to escalate mass murder (mega-murder really) into an multi-national industry. It is significant that this socialist group was there at the critical juncture. Many modern liberals and socialists try to ascribe Hitlerism wholly to the longer older anti-Jewish thread in the West, so it becomes just another part of their 'progressive' campaign against western traditions. This old anti-Jewish tradition deserves condemnation, but it is a ingenuous to leave out the critical and significant role of socialism and "the scientific planners" in "upping the ante"."


Tyler Cowen has lots more on the connection between socialism and antisemitism in the 19th century.

********************************

ELSEWHERE

I have just put up on PC Watch a comment about This report that racism can be detected by probes into your brain. Blogger.com seems to be having one of its periodic bouts of indigestion at the moment, however, so I have also posted my comment here

I helped philosopher Keith Burgess-Jackson fix up his template yesterday (which is why his blog now looks like mine) and I feel that my input was well worth it when I read him writing things like this: "Liberals, for all their vaunted talk about freedom of expression, don't want a robust debate on issues such as privacy, affirmative action, and redistributive taxation. They are true believers-- dogmatists-- who view opposition to their views and values as malice, ignorance, or stupidity rather than as a reflection of honest and respectable disagreement. In short, liberals have become totalitarians." As an ex-liberal himself, he speaks from some knowledge.

Another Affirmative Action bake sale: "What started out as a bake sale now has the [William & Mary] College community up in arms in a new debate on the ever-current issue of cultural diversity on campus. The controversy stems from the new student organization, the Sons of Liberty, and their anti-affirmative action bake sale that occurred last Saturday and sold cookies and brownies to students at different prices based on race.

My latest academic upload (see here or here) is of a study I did of white South Africans at the height of the Apartheid era. Conventional Leftist theory would say that they must have had dictatorial ("Fascist") personalities. I show that their personalities were perfectly normal.

********************************

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

********************************



16 November, 2003

A PHILOSOPHICAL EXCURSION

I made the pleasant discovery recently that there is now a blog concentrating on analytical philosophy run by Keith Burgess-Jackson. I am pleased that there are still a few analytical philosophers about. I had the impression that most university philosophy departments had been taken over by devotees of Marx, Freud and assorted other quacks and charlatans. There are all sorts of "philosophy" around but analytical philosophy is the only sort that I bother with. It is the most academic sort and is more of a tool than an answer to life's big questions. It looks at what discourse implies so a background in it helps you to clarify your thinking on any everyday topic that you might tackle. Keith surprised me at one point, though, when he described "murder is wrong" as a necessary truth. I thought for a moment that he might be a moral absolutist (or more precisely, an ethical non-naturalist) rather than a moral relativist but I am pretty sure that the point he was really making is that murder is DEFINED as wrongful killing. So the statement is a tautology (repetition), not information of any kind.

I think his view of what economists do is largely mistaken, however. He says that economists should not engage in evaluative debate about public policy and would be wiser to confine themselves to statements about causes and effects among economic phenomena. But that is precisely what economists generally do. Mainly they just inform. They tell the politicians and the political campaigners what the consequences of a given policy will be and then ask: "Do you really want that?". For instance, a politician may advocate rent-control to help the poor but an economist will then point out that rent control will tend to dry up the provision of all rental accomodation -- thus hurting many of the poor who will then be able to find no accomodation at all. That SOUNDS like taking sides in a policy debate but it really is as scientific as any other application of rules. SOME economists do, however, take sides in a most disreputable way. Why does the name "Krugman" spring immediately to my mind?

********************************

ELSEWHERE

It looks like there WERE important links between Saddam and Osama.

Muslim fundamentalists really ARE today's Nazis: "Near-simultaneous car bombs exploded outside two Istanbul synagogues filled with worshippers Saturday"

Miranda Devine cites research to show that: "childhood suffering is caused by a lack of spiritual meaning, an absence of expectations and limits and a breakdown in authority structures"

Patrick West points out that at least some Church of England clergy see science as a superior authority to the Bible in deciding the proper attitude to homosexuality. I do too but I don't wear a pectoral cross and pretend to believe in the Church of England's 39 "Articles of Religion". Note Article 6: "Holy scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation." And note what Holy scripture containeth regarding homosexuality: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination" (Leviticus 20:13). And 1 Timothy 1:10 makes clear that it is against God's law for Christians as well as for Jews. But expecting a Chuch of England bishop to care about God's law IS a bit quaint, I guess.

And Jenny Bristow asks what's behind society's rampant homophilia? Why is homosexuality suddenly "in"? One quote: "By trying to make its faith relevant and tolerant, the Anglican church is further exposed as irrelevant, faithless and incoherent."

Good to see that Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski has just won a million dollar prize for his work: "He began his career as a philosophy professor as a Marxist, but became disillusioned and was eventually expelled from the Communist Party, lost his post at Warsaw University and went into exile in 1968. He then wrote his best-known work, the three-volume "Main Currents of Marxism: Its Rise, Growth and Dissolution," describing Marxism as "the greatest fantasy of our century."" He also sees Marxism as akin to the old utopian religions.

An amusing article in The Spectator on the British Labour government's effort to ban hunting with dogs. It is not only the nobility who would be affected.

PID points out that Britain's Tony Blair and his "New Labour" party learnt much of their trade from the moderate Australian Left -- and thinks that the national identity card now proposed for Britain will fail to get up just as a similar idea failed under an Australian Labor Party government. There is another comment on the British ID card here

The Usurer adds some Randian observations to what I said yesterday about the Leftist fear of envy. He sees Leftist intellectuals as acting goody-goody because they fear the masses. If I had the contempt for ordinary people that they do I might try to mask it too, I guess.

"Before they send their children onto a college campus in North America, parents should read two new reports. What passes for education at many universities is not merely an intellectual embarrassment; it is also tremendously expensive. The good news: A spotlight is now shining on these problems, and students in the near future may receive the quality education for which their parents having been paying through tuition and taxes."

China Hand has a fun comparison between Hong Kong newspapers and "Black Playboy" (National Geographic).

In my latest academic upload (see here or here) I address the simplistic notion prevalent among psychologists to the effect that domineering behaviour must spring from pro-authority attitudes. I show that it is in fact more likely to be a product of ambition.

********************************

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

********************************



15 November, 2003

NOT ALL MINORITIES ARE EQUAL

Shelby Steele has an interesting explanation of why identity politics excludes straight, middle class, non-Hispanic American white males -- who are undisputably one of America's many minorities -- and who are a much smaller group than (say) American women. Everybody else can celebrate their "identity" and campaign hard for extra privileges for their group but just THAT particular group may not campaign for and pursue its own particular interests.

I think Steele is right to say that the exclusion of that group occurs because they are perceived as already ruling the roost -- but that perception is utter garbage. I doubt that most of the members of that group even rule their own households (not that I am saying that they ought to). And the relatively comfortable material circumstances that members of the group enjoy are almost invariably the result of hard work and saving. So hard work and saving should be grounds to exclude and discriminate against people? It's a diseased view of how the world works that says so.

Steele and many other conservative commentators say that the problem is identity politics itself and that we should all try to abandon our tribal loyalties -- but I know too much of the psychological research on how easily group identities are formed to think that group identity will ever fade out of significance. And Nazi Germany showed us how VERY important group identity can become under some circumstances. So group identity has to be MANAGED somehow. It cannot be suppressed. And surely the Nazi experience shows us that in general the best way to manage it is to MINIMIZE it where possible --- via government policies that treat each case on its individual merits and which treat all people as equal before the law. "Equality" is a fantasy but "equal treatment" is a powerful public policy tool for dealing with group rivalries and antagonisms. And it is exactly that tool that the Left have abandoned by their PROMOTION of identity politics. No good can come of it.

American identity and civil peace were from the beginning founded on an equal treatment principle ("created" equal in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence is a religious way of saying that people are NOT equal but should be treated that way) and it is exactly that principle that Leftists are now destroying in their egotistical and irresponsible pursuit of the feel-good slogan.

*****************************

LEFTIST "GUILT"

"Read the whole thing" is advice bloggers often give to their readers. I seldom do. I try hard to summarize instead. But This article by Jack Wheeler is so good that this time I feel I have to give that hackneyed advice. It explains both the apparent self-hatred of white American middle class Leftists and the very real hatred of Islamic fundamentalists towards America. The article actually adds up to a very short summary of a very large book: Envy: A theory of social behaviour by Helmut Schoeck -- one of the few books that have made a big impact on my understanding of the world. I am not at all envious myself so until I read that book I had no idea that envy was such a fire inside so many people.

The basic thesis of both Wheeler and Schoeck is that envy is an enormous and destructive force in all human societies (and this suggests why that is so). So avoiding being envied is an important thing to do. And a good way to deflect envy is to denigrate oneself or any successful group that one belongs to. Hence the "guilt" of so many "limousine liberals" and the Anti-Americanism of so many Hollywood stars. They don't really feel guilty at all. They think they are brilliant in fact. They are just trying to deflect envy and sound virtuous by criticizing their own society -- the very America that has made them so rich.

And why is it the Left in particular who are so fearful of being envied? Because they themselves are burnt up by it so know from inside how potentially destructive it can be. To a Leftist no acclaim or success is ever enough. So even when such good socialists as Stalin and Saddam Hussein got complete power over their own countries, even that was not enough. They then went on to fill their country with statues and portraits of themselves. When you have an ego as hungry as that, you will always be envious of what others have no matter how much you have yourself.

***********************************

ELSEWHERE

Discriminations has a good point about two hoary and arguably undemocratic American institutions -- the electoral college and the filibuster. The Dems want to scrap the electoral college because it enabled minority rule -- it gave GWB the top job despite his getting fewer votes overall than Gore -- but the filibuster, which is also a form of minority rule, is sacrosanct? -- and despite its history of support for racism at that? But since when were Leftists consistent? They think that they are a "majority" (of all the people that matter) no matter what. Discriminations highlights a lot of other Leftist illogic (e.g. here) too. He will never be short of material to blog about at that rate.

The Wicked one too has a post on the "elasticity" of Leftist principles.

Amid the doubts about whether Iraqi democracy is attainable, Jeff Jacoby reminds us of what the Gipper achieved in Nicaragua and how hard he had to fight to achieve it. Then as now, the most dangerous opponents of freedom were the American Left.

Sounds a good start: "The Senate voted for broad new economic and trade sanctions against Syria on Tuesday, citing a long history of sheltering terrorists and a recent failure to muzzle forces hostile to U.S. actions in Syria's neighbor, Iraq. The Senate measure, passed 89-4, mirrors legislation the House passed last month by 398-4."

In the latest upload of a chapter from my book (See here or Chapter 33 here) I think I do a pretty good demolition job on the idea that "The Arts" should be taxpayer-funded. And the arty brigade (who seem to be universally Leftist) would have a hard job of calling me a "Philistine" too. Since "Philistine" and "Palestinian" are basically just two versions of the same word, I am rather looking forward to the fun I would have if ever anybody DID call me a "Philistine"!

********************************

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

********************************



14 November, 2003

RACE, RATIONAL DEBATE AND LEFTISM

Ne Quid Nimis has a pretty firm grip on reality as far as race and racism is concerned (though I think he underestimates the importance of racial differences in intelligence). He might be pleased to hear that his views on stereotyping correspond pretty well exactly to what the psychological research on the subject shows. He is fighting a losing battle if he thinks we can ever get Leftists to talk or even think rationally about race, however. That is not their game. Any mention of race will always be "racist" to them. So I don't fight no-win battles. I accept that I will always be a "racist" in Leftist terms and am content to show that EVERYBODY is a racist in Leftist terms. Loose usage of terms cuts both ways. And my strategy does work. I have actually received emails from Leftists complaining that I use the term "racism" too loosely. THEY should talk!

Richard Rahn says the "Think Tank envy" of the Left is understandable but their own inability to move beyond archaic and clearly failed ideas is the reason why Leftist think tanks have nothing new to say and hence no influence. If Leftists really dared to think they would end up conservative.

I would add that all causes are just a means to an end for most Leftists. They have fixations from time to time but few have any deepseated beliefs. Power and personal glorification is their only real end so they really have no time for complex ideas. Simplistic slogans are about all they stretch to. And anti-racism is a perfect example of that. It has never been a historic Leftist cause (even Marx was an antisemite) and was in fact adopted by Leftists only after World War II, simply as a means of gaining kudos. Hitler's enormous racist excesses had made any suggestion of racism obnoxious -- and Leftists simply jumped on that bandwaggon. Leftism is about populist slogans, not ideas.

Walter Williams attacks the minimum wage laws that are so beloved of the Left as being racist in effect. He is absolutely right that such laws hurt minorities. Practically the only work Australian Aborigines once had was as stockmen (cowboys) but the vast majority of those were thrown out of work by the introduction of a minimum wage law in 1966. Many of them have not worked since. See here. But what Leftist really cares whether or not his policies hurt anybody? The feel-good slogan is all that counts.

*********************************

ELSEWHERE

R.J.Stove (Australian author of "Unsleeping Eye" -- a history of secret police -- and son of leading Sydney University philosopher David Stove) has written about Australian immigration-skeptic Pauline Hanson for a US audience. He argues that modern liberal elites are alienated from the general population, thus creating fertile ground for anti-immigrationists to sprout everywhere: "All over the Western world, elites are suppressing popular resistance to nation-breaking immigration. The story of Pauline Hanson will be repeated again and again"

Nice that I got a link from Instapundit yesterday. It was near the top of the page for most of the day too.

" We have reached the point where those who wish to faithfully apply the Constitution as written and accept its limitations on federal power are considered "outside the mainstream of constitutional law," and that those who agree with the Framers' beliefs about the role of government are summarily disqualified from federal judgeships"

A good parable here to illustrate why government-provided "entitlements" are a very bad idea.

A rather amusing comment in the Globophobia column of The Spectator about Indian call centres and British weather.

Big cost for little value: "Amidst all the woeful tales of college students over-burdened with tuition and college loans, the real college cost story -- that it's taxpayers who are truly suffering -- has been ignored. Here's reality. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, more than half of public universities' revenues -- $79 billion -- were extracted directly from federal, state, and local taxpayers, while only 18.5 percent came from student fees and tuition. ... Of course, tuition, too, is covered largely by taxpayers."

I don't suppose it is going to happen soon but Larry Kudlow has looked at the economic stagnation in "Old Europe" compared with the solid growth in the Anglo-Saxon countries and in the former Soviet-dominated countries and thinks that a new free trade zone incorporating the Anglo-Saxon countries and Eastern Europe would make a lot more sense than the EU. As an Anglophile who would like to see Britain OUT of the bureaucratized monstrosity that is the EU, I heartily agree.

It looks like Leftists are getting a bit embarrassed about the virulence with which some Leftists express their hatred of GWB. If they are not careful we might get the impression that Leftists are HATE-FILLED, mightn't we? We might guess what is behind the "compassionate" mask! Can't have that! So Eric Alterman has written a defence that says that conservatives hated Clinton even more. Hippercitical blows that one apart, though.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again.

In the latest upload of a chapter from my book (See here or Chapter 52 here) I look at one of the favourite concepts of Leftist intellectuals: Alienation. Contrary to assumptions going all the way back to Marx, I show rigorously that working class people are NOT particularly alienated. Unsurprisingly, however, alienated people do tend to be Leftist and anti-authority. So the Leftist attempt to project onto the workers their own feelings of bitterness towards the existing society is a fraud.

********************************

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

********************************



13 November, 2003

MORE ON "THE POOR"

A reader comments on the email I posted yesterday from someone experienced in welfare housing:

"I suppose most of this stuff everyone knows from day to day life ...but public discussion of it has become verboten. The much maligned "bourgeois values" of hard work, respect for education and personal responsibility do not provide an instant escape from poverty ...but they seem to have a better track record than the alternatives. Any kind of sexual practice is now broadcast on television but our society maintains a "Victorian" silence on the issue of personal responsibility among the poor.

The silence comes from an allegedly compassionate desire to protect or cosset the poor, rather than treating them like responsible adults. This probably does more damage in the long run. The trouble is that the silence suits the interests of a multibillion dollar public welfare industry"

********************************

WORLD POVERTY

Swedish free trader Johan Norberg says protectionism is killing poor countries and their people: "According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, EU protectionism deprives developing countries of nearly $700 billion in export income a year. That's almost 14 times more than poor countries receive in foreign aid..." and..."The rich countries' protectionism costs their citizens almost $1 billion every day. At that rate, you could fly all the cows in the OECD, 60 million of them, around the world every year in business class. In addition, the cows could be given almost $3,000 each in pocket money to spend in tax-free shops during their stopovers. "

More protectionist madness: "Taxpayer-subsidized water is just the beginning. U.S. cotton farmers also receive crop-specific payments that encourage them to grow more than they could sell if, like most business people, they had to recoup their production costs. According to a 2002 report from Oxfam International, these subsidies amount to nearly $4 billion year, or $230 an acre. By comparison, the market value of America's cotton crop in 2001 was about $3 billion. ... Even with all this help, U.S. cotton farmers insist they cannot make a go of it unless the government also pays companies to buy their crop."

And globalization is the solution

Economist Surjit S. Bhalla: "World poverty fell from 44 percent of the global population in 1980 to 13 percent in 2000, its fastest decline in history. Global income inequality has dropped over this period and is at its lowest level since at least 1910. Poor countries have grown about twice as fast as rich countries (3.1 percent annually versus 1.6 percent) during the era of globalization in 1980-2000, reversing the pattern of the prior two decades. The poor in poor countries have grown even faster; each 10 percent increase in incomes of the nonpoor has been associated with an 18 percent increase in incomes of the poor. There has been strong convergence in world incomes over the entire postwar period and the developing countries' share of the world's middle class has risen from 20 percent in 1960 to 70 percent in 2000. Some discussion of Bhalla's book and his critical stand against how 'The World Bank' defines poverty here

******************************

ELSEWHERE

Instapundit has a good post on the ISPP (International Society for Political Psychology). I was a member once. And I have had quite a few articles published in their journal. It is in many ways a fairly typical academic association but they have moved further and further to the Left over the years -- making their journal so boring that I discontinued my subscription a couple of year ago. I am still on their mailing list, however, and did get the email Instapundit refers to but it was so normal for them that I did not think to remark it. Clearly, there will be no advance in understanding of political psychology coming from that bunch of fanatics. And don't forget that it is mostly taxpayer dollars keeping the fanatics concerned in jobs. I have done exposes of some of the rubbish ISPP members churn out here and here and here and here.

An interesting site here. Some people are making a film to "deconstruct" all Michael Moore's lies about America.

Milton Friedman is one of the founders of modern conservative economics. There is a good summary of how he his ideas have won out over the years here

"Where have all the men gone? No, not males, but honest-to-God, red-blooded men. Males are everywhere, but the concept of manhood may someday find itself on the endangered species list"

Do you wonder that even the EU wants to stop these morons (Iranians) from getting their hands on nuclear weapons?

There is a thorough demolition here of the claim that Australians suffered from a "cultural cringe" until the 1970s when the Leftists got into power for a while and put us all right.

Michael Darby has popped up again with a big range of posts -- mostly about Africa.

The Wicked one has a lot of lawyer jokes and talks about nuking the Pakistanis.

In my post on PC Watch yesterday, I pointed out some parallels between political correctness and the Spanish Inquisition. Daily Ablution has a related post with some good points.

In the latest upload of a chapter from my book (See here or Chapter 12 here) I argue that racial self-segregation is not racist and should be defended.

********************************

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

********************************



12 November, 2003

POVERTY IS MOSTLY MENTAL THESE DAYS

An email from a reader in response to my post of October 24th:

"I just had to write and say thanks for telling it like it is. I wrote federal grant applications (U.S.) for the local public housing authority for four years. I also managed the programs funded by the grants. In the course of managing the grants I interacted with our clients daily, often in their own households.

We had 700 units of housing; about 300 units were dedicated to seniors and disabled folks living on fixed government incomes; the rest were devoted to "families," or, non-euphemistically, single mothers with lots of children.

Like you, I grew up in a working-class household. My mother was a waitress, and my father sold furnace cleanings. We had very little money, but both my parents knew how to live on a shoestring, and we lived pretty well considering there were few frills.

I was totally shocked when I started working for the housing authority. Single mothers with three or more children, with a household income of less than $600/month (remember, the housing was pretty much free), would spend scads of money on video games, expensive shoes--not just for the kids, but for themselves--and home entertainment systems. Marijuana, which is now way more expensive than it was in my own mildly misspent youth, was always around. And the drug and alcohol usage was just as you reported among your own tenants.

Worst of all were the men these women always hooked up with -- convicted felons, with histories of violence, drug manufacturing, even child abuse. Because of their records, Violent Felon Boyfriends never qualified to be on the lease (the housing authority actually had minimum regulations), so the women would let them stay there illegally, an offense that would get the whole family kicked out of housing if discovered.

And guess who would inevitably turn in women with illegal "houseguests"? Other women in housing who wanted Violent Felon Boyfriend for themselves! After Woman #1 and Children were off the scene, VFB would just move into Woman #2's housing. The pattern was so predictable that we had jokes about these parasites, who were legally barred from housing but managed to stay longer than the low-income women who qualified.

I left when I finally realized that no amount of grant-funded counseling or grant-funded community college vouchers or grant-funded child care was going to change these women's lives. At every decision-making crossroads, they always, always, always picked the worst possible path.

I have come to think that having multiple children out of wedlock does not cause bad judgment, but rather is a symptom of judgment that is atrocious to begin with. I grew up in the same sexually permissive society that these women did, had teenage bouts with transgressive behavior, but always made sure I didn't get pregnant. That these women do so--repeatedly!--is not the fault of "society." It's just one of many, many foolish decisions they make.

By the way, the seniors and disabled folks did pretty well. They rarely complained, kept neat households and looked out for one another. I never felt we were wasting our time with them."

******************************

PUBLIC FUNDING OF POLITICIANS

USA Today says that public financing of political campaigns has not created the level playing field intended. An Australian reader thinks that the Pauline Hanson affair gives a similar lesson:

"An interesting aspect of the whole Hanson affair that has not been highlighted is what it says about public funding of election campaigns. When this 'reform' was mooted in the late 70s and 80s, it was heavily pushed as a way to create a "level playing field" between the big parties and smaller players. The reality, as the Hanson case has shown, is that it has created a legal minefield upon which small players need to tread with caution. The tacticians of the big parties are more than willing to use the necessary funding rules to harass and bring down competitors. Another great leftist reform has been shown to be a joke."

***************************

ELSEWHERE

The assault by George Soros on the Bush Presidency is typical of the arrogance that shapes the Left. He thinks that he could run US foreign policy better but his ideas about how to do so are tired old relics of yesterday. He actually thinks the U.N. is the solution to all the world's problems! Someone should tell him that the 1930s version of the U.N. (The League of Nations) did not stop the rise of Hitler. Sometimes you have to fight. Soros is like all the Leftist intellectuals: He knows he is smart so he thinks he must know it all. Nobody does. Each field requires its own expertise and in politics there are no simple solutions.

The Times of London has just carried some reasonably favourable comments about the importance of international differences in IQ. The Statesman of India has covered the story too.

I think a lot of Christians and people who know history are becoming fed up with the false and ridiculous "religion of peace" mantra that GWB keeps spouting about Islam. Here is one Christian who pulls no punches on the matter.

I am always pointing out how sloppy is the attitude research conducted by Left-leaning academics. This article shows that attitude research done by private left-leaning organizations makes the academic stuff look like a model of probity. The article dissects a popular book that goes to great lengths to show how different Canadians and Americans are. Even after all the Leftist massaging, however, the data in fact show the exact opposite. Anybody who has been reading my posts about Left-leaning research (see yesterday, for example) will know why I am not remotely surprised by that. Leftists are so crooked they could not even lie straight in bed.

In my latest academic upload (see here or here) I endeavour to persuade sociologists that their customary ignorance of statistics is inexcusable!

********************************

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

********************************



11 November, 2003

ACADEMIC FUN AND GAMES

Yesterday was a rather fun day for me academically. A copy of the journal containing my first academic article (Ray, 2003) to be published in 5 years arrived in the mail. My most recent one before that came out in 1998. That I can still get them published probably means that senile dementia has not got me yet! For copyright reasons I cannot put the new article online but an early version of it is already online here. The early version is probably more readable anyway. What it shows is that older women (but not older men) tend to lie more about how good they are. Apologies to the sisterhood!

Also appearing in the same issue of the journal was yet another article (Van Hiel & Mervielde, 2003) on "Need for closure" (a terrible affliction that we conservatives are said to suffer from) by that Belgian dynamo, Alain Van Hiel. I had just started to get my head around the considerable complexities of the article when I noticed that his results were not statistically significant! In other words, you could have found similar results in a table of random numbers! I am amazed that such stuff is getting published these days. The Leftist discomfort with reality is showing up more and more in academe, I guess. And one of Van Hiel's key measures was the absurd Bieri scale of cognitive complexity. Van Hiel obviously overlooked my "deconstruction" of that particular piece of nonsense. Had he paid more attention to the way he measured things, he might have got more significant results.

Reading on further in my copy of the journal I noticed another article that was rather reverential about some prior work by McHoskey. That stirred a dim recollection that I too had once looked at the selfsame McHoskey article. So I dug deep in the archives and found a paper I had written which never got published. In the unpublished paper I pointed out that McHoskey's work showed that at least one type of conservatism was --- wait for it! --- MORE COMPASSIONATE! No wonder THAT paper never got published! Anyway, I have now uploaded the previously unpublished article here and here.

The really amusing thing about the McHoskey finding is that the conservatism scale he used (the RWA scale) was originally designed to measure a particularly UN-caring kind of conservatism. How frustrating that it gave the opposite result! I have pointed out long ago however that the designer of the RWA scale (Altemeyer) did not have a blind clue about what he was doing.

But the fun is not over yet! The author (Wilson, 2003) who was so impressed by the McHoskey work himself produced some vastly overinterpreted findings using the wacky "Social Dominance Orientation" (SDO) scale. About half the items in the SDO scale express a strong belief in equality between people. And so what was our intrepid author's main finding when you cut through all the flim-flam? That low scorers on the SDO scale (equalitarians) were idealistic! Big surprise! Yet another example of an "artifactual" (built-in, true-by-definition) finding. Will Leftist psychologists ever knuckle down and do some real research instead of constantly trying to load the dice in advance? Don't hold your breath.

References
Ray, J.J. & Lovejoy, F.H. (2003) "Age-related social desirability responding among Australian women". Journal of Social Psychology, 143 (5), 669-671.
Van Hiel, A. & Mervielde, I. (2003) "The need for closure and the spontaneous use of complex and simple cognitive structures". Journal of Social Psychology, 143 (5), 559-568.
Wilson, M.S. (2003) "Social dominance and ethical ideology: The end justifies the means?". J. Social Psychology, 143 (5), 549-558.

********************************

LEFTIST "COMPASSION" AND "TOLERANCE"

Speaking of conservatives being more compassionate, I received the following email from someone who is moderately well-known in the blogosphere but whom I will not of course name. He is obviously dyslectic and reports how Leftists and Rightists respond to that. He wrote in response to my post yesterday about conservative racism being historically quite benign compared to Leftist racism. I quote him using his spelling ("could" = "called" etc.): "I have never been could "stupid" by any Conservative for my spelling/grammar shortcomings and they are more likely to point it out to help and not degrade. But there has been plenty of leftist who enjoy belittling people. It mite not be racism to liftist but like all bigots its the easy target they pursue."

Silflay Hraka too has a ferocious post about Democrat inhumanity. I think he rightly detects that their mask is slipping these days.

Anti-Southerner bigotry: "This is 2003, we are supposed to be a more tolerant nation. We are supposed to be celebrating our differences and our diversity. We are supposed to be concerned with making sure no one or no group is excluded. Yes we are supposed to be a sensitive people, seeking never to prejudge anyone. So why are certain groups still being attacked and demonized in America? Why is it that Southerners, at least those who choose to honor our Confederate heritage, are a very easy target for those who usually are preaching tolerance? And certainly recent history has shown that while the political left talks the talk of sensitivity and inclusion, they at the same time walk the walk of bigotry."

"History is a laboratory and the lessons of history are clear. We need not guess what brings peace, prosperity and safety. We only need to demand for the wretched of this world the same values that we have in our own societies. That means judging the values of different cultures. It means abandoning the myth of moral symmetry in the only culture that has ever accepted this myth: the Judeo-Christian West. The lie of moral symmetry dooms billions of human beings to lives filled with envy and anger. The lie of moral symmetry dooms these billions to live lives without hope. If some selfish people in the West wish to pretend that excusing the nightmares of failed civilizations is somehow kindness, they are kidding themselves and the victims of their cowardice"

****************************

VETERANS' DAY TODAY

(Australia is in a time zone that is nearly a day ahead of the USA)

I like Tom Barrett's article on the significance of the day -- and his observations about how politically incorrect it is. In Australia we still generally call it Armistice Day and it is widely marked. As it should be. It marked the end of unbelievable slaughter and degradation. In Australia, however, our main day for remembering our lost but heroic young men of all wars is Anzac Day (April 25th). The losses have touched my family too. The loss of my uncle Freddy Ray in the closing weeks of World War II is still deeply mourned by those who knew him.

********************************

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

********************************



10 November, 2003

CONSERVATIVE RACISM

I noted recently that all racism is not the same. Racism of some kind is just about universal but some forms are much more malign than others. I compared the racism of the socialist Hitler with the racism of the British Conservative party in the 19th century who made a Jew (Disraeli) their Prime Minister. Two rather different form of racism, don't you think? And the contrast continues. Britain today is full of antisemitism -- so who have the "racist" British Conservatives just appointed as their new leader? Another Jew -- Michael Howard. And note the environment in which they have done so. As Melanie Phillips (via Last Night's BBC News) describes it:

For Britain is where the veteran Labour MP Tam Dalyell claimed a 'cabal' of Jews was controlling Tony Blair and George Bush - and was then promptly excused as a lovable eccentric. Where the following day, the BBC TV current affairs show Newsnight concluded that Dalyell had a case, and a 'tightly-knit' group of Jews really did control US foreign policy.

Where Israel is repeatedly dehumanised and delegitimised as an apartheid or Nazi state. Where almost two thirds of the public believe it is the biggest threat to world peace. Where attacks on Jews have increased


So who are the racists now? Let us look at deeds, not words. As far as Disraeli was concerned, his greater ability was what mattered when the Conservatives chose him and exactly that has happened again with Howard.

And that's the sort of racist I am. I am realistic about group differences and have always refused to be silent about them but I am nonetheless happy to recognize merit in anyone of any background when I see it. And in the "deeds not words" category, perhaps I should mention that I DO have two Asians and one very brown person living in my own house with me. How many Leftists could say the same?

***********************************

IMMIGRATION

PID has a pretty comprehensive post on Pauline Hanson -- who was Australia's first politician in recent times to advocate more rather than less immigration restriction. PID compares her to a famous Australian of the past -- the outlaw Ned Kelly -- and seems to think that the way she upsets the political establishment of both the Right and the Left is good anti-authoritarianism. It should be noted however that one of her strongest supporters whilst she was in jail was a leading politician from our mainstream conservative political party -- Bronwyn Bishop.

And Australia's mainstream conservatives have learnt from Pauline. Note this from today's news: "The Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, claimed another success in combating people smuggling yesterday, after 14 Turkish asylum seekers who arrived in Australian waters last week were forced into international waters by the Australian Navy and have landed on an Indonesian island."

And Paul Sheehan predicts greater electoral success than ever for Pauline after her wrongful imprisonment.

And Mark Steyn points out that the huge and virtually unrestricted Islamic immigration into Western Europe is a major factor in European antisemitism. Pauline Hanson's concerns about failure of immigrants to assimilate to Western culture look mild there. In Europe it is the Europeans who have assimilated to Islamic culture!

There is an academic study here that points out some of the economic effects of high levels of immigration. It shows that high levels of immigration put severe upward pressure on real-estate prices. More people competing for a fixed amount of land within easy access to the big city centres must push up the price of that land. So if you had to pay an arm and a leg for your new house last time you moved, you can probably blame high levels of immigration (legal and illegal) for it costing you so much. A reader comments: "I have heard anti-immigrationists refer to pro-immigrationists as 'the Cheap Labour lobby'. Maybe they should also be called 'the Expensive House lobby'.

And there is growing disquiet in Ireland about the immigration that prosperity has brought them. This site takes a look at the issue of immigration into Ireland. Both sides of the argument are represented but it takes the view that immigration and multiculturalism are not always for the good.

********************************

ELSEWHERE

I get a lot of email as a result of posts on this blog and most people are very kind in their comments -- something I appreciate greatly. I got a couple of really hate-filled emails from Leftists yesterday though. You would just have to read them to understand immediately what made Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc. tick. How sad to have such a fountain of venom welling up inside you all the time! I got a mention recently on a Leftist Australian blog that displays a graphic of a Molotov cocktail at the head of its page so I am not at all surprised at the response. The personality types that lay behind the many destruction-loving and murder-loving "revolutionaries" of the 20th century have not gone away.

Jeff Jacoby asks why the Democrats do not disown the most public of America's virulent racists -- Sharpton.

Leftists have long got themselves into a fever about American "Imperialism" but a lot of conservatives too are now talking of America as a new empire. I frankly think that is silly talk. America is nothing like any empire of the past and never will be -- and the plain fact is that average Americans don't WANT an empire. They just want to be left alone -- which is a thoroughly conservative sentiment that I heartily applaud.

John Moore has a very sarcastic post about the logic behind the global warming scare.

The latest upload of a chapter from my book (See here or Chapter 43 here) is in fact the first paper I wrote about the theory that working class people are more conservative on social (non-economic) issues. My findings on the issue were mixed but I interpreted them as favouring the theory. In the light of later evidence on the same question, however, I would point to the weakness of the relationships found.

********************************

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

********************************



9 November, 2003

MORE ON THE "HANSON AFFAIR"

I mentioned the collapsed conviction of Pauline Hanson for electoral fraud yesterday. Hanson was a broadly conservative political leader who is still widely popular among ordinary Australians. There is still a huge hue and cry in Australia over the fact that Pauline was jailed for something that the Queensland Court of Appeal has now judged should never even have been the subject of a prosecution. As Pauline represented a big challenge to Leftist causes (e.g. in her rejection of racial favouritism towards blacks), the obvious inference is that the Leftist Queensland establishment was out to "get" her. The Leftist Queensland government claims non-involvement, of course, saying that it was the Director of Public Prosecutions, Leanne Clare, who took the decision to launch the prosecution. But, as the Editorial in The Australian newspaper of 8th points out, both the judge (Wolfe) and the prosecutor (Clare) in the case were political appointees of the very same government: "Some of the top members of the legal system in Queensland were appointed as part of a gender-based affirmative action program by then attorney-general Matt Foley... Appointees included DPP Leanne Clare and Patsy Wolfe" -- and also, it might be added, Supreme Court judge Roslyn Atkinson, who started the onlslaught on Pauline Hanson with her 1999 judgement that Hanson's party had been fraudulently registered. That these three "affirmative action" appointees might have been politically motivated seems hardly worth disputing, I would think.

I would also like to mention that the branding of Hanson as "racist" is just another example of the way Leftists automatically reach for that word as a sort of all-puropose firearm to use against their political opponents. Wanting to abolish a whole Federal bureaucracy and instead give blacks just the same welfare benefits as white Australians is ANTI-racist -- and conservative too, I might add. What conservative would not like to abolish a whole heap of useless Leftist bureaucracies?

And Hanson repeatedly made clear that her call to slow down the rate of Asian immigration into Australia was NOT racially denominated. It was CULTURALLY motivated. She wanted to stop immigrants of a different CULTURE arriving in numbers too large for them to be readily assimilated into the existing Australian culture. Saying that modern Western culture should be treasured and preserved is of course anathema to the multicultis but regardless of the rights and wrongs of that, culture is NOT race.

And the view that too much Asian immigration would threaten stability and cultural cohesion is a traditional one in Australia -- one that was for many years supported rather more strongly on the Left than on the Right of politics. I voiced some fears of that kind myself 30 years ago and our Prime Minister voiced such fears even more recently. As it happens, however, the very high quality of the Asians themselves has convinced me and many others (including our Prime Minister) that such fears were groundless.

***********************************

ELSEWHERE

An Australian senator recently compared the Australian Green party with the Nazis. And he was quoting history rather than just being rhetorical. Hitler's Nazis of the 1920s and 30s DID have a strong Green agenda. The historians the Senator quoted have however now said that the Greenies of today are NOT like the Nazis of history in that the modern Greenies do not have a racial agenda. That is of course true but it also misses the point. Of course history never repeats itself exactly. Racism and eugenics were very popular among the Leftists of Hitler's day. Hitler was being a perfectly orthodox socialist in having those beliefs. Since then, however, the Left have switched sides and now make just as big a play of being anti-racist as they once did of their "racial hygeine" (eugenic) beliefs. And the Greenies follow suit. But they are all still Leftists with the same dictatorial inclinations. And Hitler and Stalin showed where that leads once such people get their way. Racial issues are just a tool for Leftists -- which is why they switched sides so readily. It is dictating to others that motivates them and you only have to listen to a Greenie for five minutes to see that that is what they are on about too and how much the Greens hate people. The Senator was perfectly right to point out the affinites between the Nazis and the Greens.

There is a rather heartwarming story here about ordinary U.S. travellers giving up their airline seats so that troops home on leave from Iraq can get home soonest. Ordinary Americans appreciate what their their soldiers are doing even if the Left do not.

USA Today has some good points about the invalidity of comparing the Iraq involvement with the Vietnam war and the "Tet" offensive.

Sowell on illegal immigration: "Illegal aliens living in California can go to the state universities and pay only the in-state tuition, while native-born American citizens who live in neighboring Oregon or Nevada have to pay much higher out-of-state tuition to attend California's state universities. Apparently Mexico is not out of state."

An interesting debunking of some myths about "the Religious Right" here: "Actually, in 2000, at least 10 million white "evangelical Christians" voted for Gore"

HALLIBURTON! The great Leftist bogeyman of the moment! Some attempts at demystification here and here. Have fun with Leftists. Just say the single word "Halliburton" to them and watch them froth.

I am pleased to see that Bad Money confirms my observations of the poor.

Leftist psychologists are great ones for finding simplistic thinking among conservatives. In the latest upload of a chapter from my book (See here or Chapter 42 here) I show that major Leftist slogans are just as simplistic. How? I took their favourite list of simplistic conservative sayings (the Adorno "authoritarianism" scale) and showed that a list of popular Leftist slogans correlated POSITIVELY with it -- i.e. people in general tended to agree with BOTH sets of statements -- showing that it was politically simplistic thinking rather than their Left/Right polarity that both sets of statements were sensitive to and hence that the Leftists' own pet slogans were simplistic. So my finding used the Leftists' own weapon to show that their own favourite beliefs were "authoritarian" (simplistic). What a horror! No wonder no academic journal would publish the finding -- making my book the only way to publicize it!

********************************

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

********************************



8 November, 2003

"CRAZY WORLD" STORIES

A reader sends in some of his own Crazy World stories:

"The government runs ads informing us that drugs are not victimless crimes because they may kill someone in an car accident. Homosexuality, which brought us AIDS and Hepatitus, is ok'd by the same government that locked up Typhoid Mary as just another lifestyle. Recently the Anglican church installed an openly "Gay" bishop. If he had just been living with his girl friend he most likely would not have been made a bishop and it would not have even made the local paper, much less the evening news. It is amazing to me that the purveyors of theo-logic can't even understand simple logic. Welcome to crazy-world.

It is a well known fact that the constitution guarantees the freedom of speech. Most, I hope, realize that it was for political protest. Until Larry Flynt came along pornography was not included. It had been previously tested all the way to the supreme court many times and it was always found that pornography as freedom of speech was not part of the original intent of the founders of this country. There are other examples like yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater. Timothy McVegh, before he was executed, was prevented from making a statement as to why he did what he did. I would have liked to hear what he had to say. It was political in nature and yet it was hushed up. Welcome to crazy-world.

Remember the anti-war free-love movement of the late sixties? Somehow the idea got started that all we have to do is dance to the free love tune and oppose war and everything will be ok. This idea is still alive today. I call them the enslavement crowd. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but is it really? Were not most of the crowd enslaved by sex, drugs and rock-n-roll? Were they not allies to the tyranny of communism. You might be inclined to thing that they were just left wing, but in that case they would now be opposed to Sadaam Hussein and be for taking him out. That is simply not the case. The anti war crowd doesn't want to oppose Hussein and he most certainly is not a communist so therefore they are not left wing. They are allies to tyrants both left and right. Many will say that sex is ok but war is not and yet if you count up the bodies even during the last century which had several major wars and millions killed by communists in secret wars you will find that far more died of sexually transmitted diseases. This number doesn't even include the millions of babies killed in abortions. Truly sex is more destructive than war. Welcome to crazy-world."

*********************************

ELSEWHERE

The release from prison of Pauline Hanson in my home State of Queensland has been covered by the media worldwide -- even as far away as Scotland -- so I have forborne from making any comment on it up until now on the grounds that everything that could be said about the matter has already been said by others. But in fact there are some things that have been glided over by the mainstream media that people might like to know. She has generally been described only as "Far-Right" or "anti-immigrant" on the grounds that she called for a slowdown in the very high rate of immigration from Asia into Australia. She did indeed do that -- but her greatest emphasis was in fact on Australia's "Aboriginal industry". She wanted to abolish the vast bureaucracy and system of handouts that has been set up to cater to Australia's native blacks. In other words, she wanted to ABOLISH Australia's official racism. She is in fact Australia's only ANTI-racist politician in my view -- which is why I voted for her twice. Official racism just makes racist attitudes worse in my view. No wonder they put her in jail on grounds that the Queensland Court of Appeal has just said should never even have gone to trial.

Opinion Journal has a good coverage of GWB's speech about the possibility of democracy in the Arab world. I am almost persuaded. The comparison with a Reagan speech is a telling one.

Jeff Jacoby too weighs in on the present aims and difficulties in Iraq. Cakewalks are for wimps. Great aims must be expected to require effort.

An interesting email from one of my Brazilian readers: "Your post about envy made me remember a scene in the film The Sniper (where a Russian shooter disputes with a German one about who is the best in WW2) -- when the Soviet Commissar admits he envies the love of a woman he will never have, saying that the dream of a society without envy is impossible, and offers himself in sacrifice -- bullet in the forehead. I keep watching the scene over and over, it has a beauty I have not seen before, and it is tragic and redempetion follows. I would like your opinion about it." I rarely watch films so other readers might like to comment.

A geophysicist reports that the Sun is more active now than it has been for a millennium. But any global warming is still our doing -- Right?

Sean Gabb has a rather acid comment on the British Conservative party's recent change of leader: "Looking at the actions of the Parliamentary Conservative Party during the past ten days, it is as though a mental defective had stopped twitching in his wheelchair and turned into something like a Bond villain." But he is glad of the change nonetheless. We Anglophiles live in hope.

I got a laugh out of this "shortened version" of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie. And, thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless of course they pray to a different invisible man than you." Attributed to George Carlin. Via Armed Prophet

A thin layer of biodegreadable organic molecules spread over the surface of a water reservoir can cut evaporation so much that it is almost like getting a second reservoir for free. Great stuff? No doubt. But what about the ecology!! "It's natural for water to evaporate", the Greenies will no doubt cry -- and thus stop that huge cost-saver too.

The Wicked one has an unusual list of viruses.

My latest academic upload (see here or here) reviews Hans Eysenck's work on the psychology of politics. I knew him personally. I spent my 1977 sabbatical year in his Department at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. He had a great mind but, sadly, he passed away a few years ago. His work is probably still the best known alternative to the Leftist theory of politics and is based on a view very much like the libertarian account of how politics are structured.

*******************************

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

********************************



7 November, 2003

ENVY

I often point out the evidence for a substantial hereditary component in Left/Right political orientation. Some of the latest evolutionary thinking is consistent with that. Note this comment about the Pleistocene origins of envy, one of the major motors of Leftist thought: "we are prone to envy, to feeling dispossessed or cheated by the mere fact that others own what we do not own. We view the very possession of desirable goods and resources on the part of others as somehow unfair or even immoral, and we will look for evidence allowing us to regard the rich as unworthy of their "luck" and possessions." So Leftism goes back in fact to our evolutionary origins in pre-history. That does not make it any less irrational in our day, though.

All that makes this comment even more relevant: "many capitalist thinkers underestimate the force of envy, and in this regard are far more naive than collectivists. Lenin never tired of stressing that his goal was to make class envy flare into revolutionary hatred.... Ludwig von Mises showed 31 years ago in The Anti-capitalistic Mentality that reason, evidence, and humaneness have about as much impact on public policy as an Oral Roberts sermon would have on Nietzsche. As too few contemporary economists do, Mises realized that for libertarian economists to have a practical as well as scholarly impact, they must understand the non-rational factors that breed hostility to capitalism.... " Mises went on to explain Leftism among academics on the basis of envy too.

***************************************

SAFETY FOR FEMALE DRIVERS

I don't know if this story actually happened but the point is that it COULD have happened

Lauren was 19 yrs old and in college. This story takes place over the Christmas/New Year's holiday break. It was the Saturday before New Year's and it was about 1 PM in the afternoon, and Lauren was driving to visit a friend. An UNMARKED police car pulled up behind her and put his lights on. Lauren's parents have 4 children (high school and college age) and have always told them never to pull over for an unmarked car on the side of the road, but rather wait until they get to a gas station, etc. So Lauren had actually listened to her parents' advice, and promptly called No. 112 on her cell phone to tell the police dispatcher that she would not pull over right away. She proceeded to tell the dispatcher that there was an unmarked police car with a flashing red light on his rooftop behind her. The dispatcher checked to see if there was a police car where she was and there wasn't and he told her to keep driving, remain calm and that he had back-up already on the way. Ten minutes later 4 cop cars surrounded her and the unmarked car behind her. One policeman went to her side and the others surrounded the car behind. They pulled the guy from the car and tackled him to the ground ...... the man was a convicted rapist and wanted for other crimes.

So ... especially for a woman alone in a car, you should not pull over for an unmarked car. Apparently police have to respect your right to keep going to a "safe" place. You obviously need to make some signals that you acknowledge them (i.e., put on your hazard lights) or call No. 112 like Lauren did.

And the 112 number DOES exist .... as it says here. Best of all, it seems to be the international emegency number .. meaning that you can use it anywhere in the world that has GSM mobile phones.

*****************************

ELSEWHERE

Val of Val-e-diction writes in response to my post on multiculturalism and the varieties of racism: "Your good post reminded me of my years working in Trinidad and Tobago. Multicultis believe that only whites can be racists, but I would like them to visit T&T. After their independence from Britain in 1964, the then mostly-black T&T was ruled by the marxist Eric Williams, with the consequent statism that is still rampant today. Over the years years before independence, many Indians were brought in to serve as indentured workers and their descendents later formed an ever growing minority, mostly successful in industry and commerce because they were mostly blocked from government jobs (monopolized by blacks). Today the country is divided approximately 48% blacks and 48% Indians plus several other minorities. The point is that one has to live there to get to know the open and huge racism of blacks towards Indians. And that's not all. Trinidadians dislike and consider Latin Americans somehow inferior -- especially Venezuelans, their closest neighbors on the subcontinent -- because the others just look and talk foreign (maybe also because Trinidadians are islanders and not people from terra firma). In the end it's just a fact that you prefer people whom you think are "like you," whether is by race, ethnicity, pigmentation, appearance, language, ideology, etc."

I noted recently the Leftist fuss about GWB and Tony Blair praying together. A reader comments: "If sex in private between consenting adults is ok, why isn't prayer?"

A kind reader has translated the French email that I posted recently. Apparently it says that official French secularism is compatible with religious tolerance and that France should therefore not bar Muslim women from wearing their Muslim headgear. I would send them all back to Algeria, headgear and all, myself.

Matthew Cowie has emailed me this link to the Norwegian press (in English). Apparently the Norwegian minister for immigration wants Muslims in Norway to integrate more into Norwegian society. The multicultis worldwide will probably be frothing at the mouth over that! No doubt the good minister will be a "Nazi" in two seconds flat.

My latest academic upload (see here or here) looks at whether or not working class people are more conservative on social issues than others. It is widely asserted that they are. Those who know their old TV series will know of Archie Bunker and Alf Garnet as the stereotypical working-class conservatives. In my data, however, it has always turned out that there is nothing much in the theory. There ARE heaps of workers who are conservative on social issues but there are more or less equally large numbers who are not conservative on social issues. This article did not however examine how the workers stack up on racial issues. One interesting finding, though, was that the workers were more distrustful of expertise as a qualification for being in government. It was people who saw themselves as being more upper-class who agreed with statements like "This country would be best run by men who have had a university education". Given the low quality of most intellectuals, I am pretty glad of the workers' skepticism in that regard.

*******************************

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

********************************



6 November, 2003

FROM BROOKES NEWS

A Jew In Baghdad. A US soldier in Iraq paints a grim picture of what the civilised world is really up against.
North Korea's imbroglio requires patience. Japan's move to strengthen its military is giving Beijing a further justification for modernizing her war machine.
SMH covers up Bush successes in Iraq. The Bush-hating Marian Wilkinson of the Sydney Morning Herald, aka The Saddam Times, is another of those ideologically motivated journalists whose reports on Iraq seem to be written with the sole intention of misleading the public about the true state of affairs in that hapless country.
Australian reporter whitewashes pro-Saddam lefties. Marian Wilkinson of the Sydney Morning Herald is a shameless political bigot and a disgrace to journalism.
Philip Adams' anti-Semitic friends. It seems that the leftwing Philip Adams, a columnist with Murdoch's Australian has decided that Arab Jew-hatred is now is now politically correct. What a charming chap.
How wealthy residents confiscated land in the Mornington Peninsula. Rich adults behaving as though they are caring greenies makes me want to look for a bucket. As anyone with an IQ of 30 could see from a distance, these well-heeled "caring greenies" were attempting an old fashioned land grab.
Behavioural and experimental economics -- what are they all about. Nobel prize winners Daniel Kahneman and Vernon Smith may have unwittingly laid the foundation for a retardation rather than an advancement of the economics discipline.

Details here

****************************

MORE MORONIC "EDUCATION"

A reader writes:

"I have two incidents from my recent graduate education that I thought might interest you.

Several years ago I left an industry job to return to the University to pursue a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. For several reasons including class scheduling conflicts and personal interest I took a minor in STS (Science Technology and Society), basically a liberal arts view of science and technology. I was a bit surprised to find this area of study to be a bit of a fact free zone but there were some tidbits offered as facts.

I was told it was the invention of the steam engine that made it possible for England to ship its convicts to Australia and for England and the other colonial powers to establish empires. I had just read "The Hostile Shore" and knew transportation happen entirely in the age of sail. My elementary school history lessons are enough to know the Spanish, English, Portuguese and Dutch colonial empires were all established at least two hundred years before trans-oceanic steam ships appeared.

I was told here in America the very promising steam engine power automobile was defeated by an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease. In an effort to contain this disease, public watering trough were destroyed removing the water source needed by the owners of steam powered automobiles, most of which did not have condensers and therefore required several liters of water per mile to operate.

No word on why steam engines in steam ships which by definition do not lack for water for cooling fell into disfavor at about the same time."

**********************************

ELSEWHERE

Bernhardt Varenius of Anti-Socialist Tendencies has asked me to comment on the theories of George Lakoff, the Leftist linguistics professor who seems to think he knows all about the psychology of politics. Lakoff has written a book (reviewed here) which purports to explain the Left/Right polarity of politics as Mother-oriented politics versus Father-oriented politics -- a book called: Moral Politics : How Liberals and Conservatives Think. So I have put up a "deconstruction" of Lakoff's "text" here. If a few other bloggers link to the file, Lakoff will be confronted by a deconstruction of his grotesquely oversimplified theories every time he Googles his own name! Fun!

Check here for the latest example of Leftists saying anything at all to justify their hatreds -- even if it is exactly opposite to what they have always said before. The anti-Globos are now saying that they oppose the World Trade Organization because it will reduce national sovereignty! But national soverignty has always been a conservative cause! For decades Leftists were the great internationalists. And the WTO is just a bunch of quarrelling politicians from all over the world anyway -- any "power" it has is minute. What a total nonsense anti-globalism is!

A Pastor with balls: "The Big Lake pastor who shot and killed two men he caught burglarizing his chapel before dawn on an April morning should never have gone into the church in the first place, said three of the jurors who deliberated on the case. But those same jurors also said that the Rev. Phillip Mielke had a legal right to check on the chapel -- and deserved to be acquitted on criminal charges.

Silflay Hraka has a nicely sarcastic post about the connection between global warming and the activity of the Sun.

Thrift equals liberty? Even libertarians can get pretty muddled at times but this writer deserves some sort of prize. He says "the market economy has to end at some point" !!! and that government spending must go on eating up an ever bigger slice of the national income!!! I think he needs a cold shower and a good rest.

Arlene Peck thinks that the barbarism Americans are experiencing in Iraq at the moment may help more Americans understand what Israel is stuck with.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again.

The Wicked one explains why it is great to be a guy.

My latest academic upload (see here or here) is of interest to psychometricians only -- dealing with response skewness.

*******************************

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

********************************



5 November, 2003

WHY MULTICULTURALISM?

Sean Gabb has a long but very good article on the fact that Britain now has a Leftist ruling class and that its official ideology -- multiculturalism -- is a recipe for disaster. "Multiculturalism" once stood for tolerance of unimportant differences. Now it seems to stand for denigrating and tearing down all the standards and values that have made Western civilization the tremendously successful phenomenon that it is. Excerpt: "In the neo-Marxist terminology, the ruling class and its ideological state apparatus are imposing a new hegemonic ideology of multiculturalism. The great apparent problem with this new ideology is its impossibility. It is a false ideology.... There cannot be one society made up of widely different communities each of which loves and respects all the others. There cannot be a society in which the ethnic composition of every group - from university vice chancellors to hairdressers, from lunatic asylum inmates to fashion models - exactly parallels that of the census returns. Instead, there will be a retreat into ethnic nationalism among all groups". In other words, a race war looms and a police State will be needed to suppress it.

What I think we need to add to Sean's account is WHY the Left have been so successful in promoting their perverse value-free gospel of multiculturalism. How have they got at least grudging acceptance of it from so much of the community? The Left have been successful precisely because very few people know much history and what little they do know tends therefore to be heavily oversimplified. And the oversimplified lesson that our intellectual class has drummed into everybody as a result of the vast trauma of World War II is: racism is evil. Never mind that racism was a normal and open feature of ALL human societies up until World War II. Never mind that this means that all our ancestors were evil. So dominant is this view among ALL people (not only Leftists) today that I feel I am pissing into the wind even to question it. But it IS a false assumption and question it we must if we are not to do ourselves and our society great harm. There is no doubt that Hitler's racism was terminally evil but to conclude from that that ALL racism is evil is oversimplified "black-and-white" thinking on a grand scale.

Let us look at an obvious counter-example: The British Empire. There is no doubt that there were some terrible events in the time of the British Empire. The massacre at Amritsar and the Boer war still make me grieve. But far from the actions of General Dyer at Amritsar being officially encouraged, they were not even officially condoned. He was cashiered over it (i.e. dismissed from the Army). And, terrible though the Boer war was (for both sides), wars of territorial aggrandisement are as old as time and from China's takeover of Tibet to General Galtieri's assault on the Falkland Islands, still go on today. You don't need any racist factor for such wars to occur and the Dutch Protestants who were the target of the Boer war were in any case as racially and culturally similar to the British as you were ever likely to get.

So setting those sad events aside, the plain fact is that the British Empire was as racist a phenomenon as any you are likely to get and yet it did NOT engage in genocide or anything like it -- rather the reverse if anything. It was to a significant extent benevolent towards what were seen as "the lesser races" -- Kipling's famous "White man's burden". Virtually no Englishman at the height of the Empire had any doubt that the English were a superior race who were destined to rule. In racist ideology they were virtually indistinguishable from the Nazis. And that is one reason why Hitler admired the British greatly and made repeated efforts to stop the war with them that he did not declare -- even on his personal direct orders stopping his Panzern in their tracks so that the defeated British Army could go free at Dunkirk.

But Hitler was a socialist and the British, by contrast, were the great redoubt of conservatism and what a difference that made to what actions racist beliefs led to! Where Hitler massacred Jews wholesale, who did the British Conservative party adopt as their highly successful leader at the height of the Empire -- a JEW (Benjamin Disraeli). Disraeli DID have to make a pretence of conversion to Anglicanism that fooled no-one but that was it! That was the sole "racist" requirement of him and even that was only needed because he wanted to become Prime Minister. Had he chosen to remain a private citizen he could have done as he pleased. What a contrast to Auschwitz and Belsen!

And those naughty British racists were even so dastardly as to have two Indian members of Parliament representing them in the British House of Commons at the height of the empire (Dadadhai Naoroji 1892-1895 and M.M. Bhownagree 1895-1906)! It was not only Jews who could attain popular acceptance if they had the ability.

I know I must sound like a one-eyed Rightist nutter to be saying so but the plain fact of history is that it is only LEFTIST racism that is destructive. Conservative racism is essentially harmless. Racist attitudes can lead to all sorts of different actions but in the hands of the chronically destructive Leftists they of course lead to destructive actions. In the hands of comfortable, compromising conservatives they at worst put people on their mettle. Just remember: a racist Leftist murdered 6 million Jews but racist Conservatives made a Jew their Prime Minister. Such an extreme contrast should tell anyone how stupid it is to generalize about racism.

But because virtually no-one today connects together the simple facts of history that I have just outlined, we have this consensus that ALL racism is evil -- and multiculturalism follows more or less logically from that.

***************************************

ELSEWHERE

Noting Leftist hysteria over a story that GWB and Tony Blair have prayed together, the WSJ very reasonably asks: "why does it seem that the irreligious left is more horrified by a pair of Christians who lead democracies praying together in private than by radical Islamic mullahs openly praying for the deaths of Jews and Americans?"

Further to my post yesterday about a Greenie nut who got eaten by the bears he used to "commune" with, a reader sent in this link to a cartoon

I occasionally get emails from what I take to be French conservatives but I have never studied French so it would take a bit of work for me to decipher them fully. I am hoping that by posting this one here someone will summarize it in English for me

China Hand has an update on what happened to Hong Kong's famous walled city, on Chairman Mao's calligraphy and on unethical business in Hong Kong.

The Wicked one has a cartoon explanation of how Leftists work.

My latest academic upload (see here or here) shows that their typically Leftist belief in coercion even leads psychologists into the mire when they do public opinion polling.

*******************************

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

********************************



4 November, 2003

MORE ON SUVs

My past posts on SUVs have always produced a big response from readers and my post yesterday was no exception. It reminds me of a study that the letters editor of the Sydney Morning Herald (one of Australia's major newspapers) did many years ago. He went through all his files to see what single topic had attracted the most letters to the editor. Was it something to do with war, the economy, morality etc.? No. The question that drew most letters was whether one should mount the toilet paper on the toilet-paper holder so that the paper ran down the front of the roll or the back of the roll!! I still laugh every time I tell that story. The obvious lesson is that people care most about things in their own lives. Not too surprising, really.

Anyway, here is one comment that I received on SUVs:

"I like the points you make. I'm not in love with SUVs, mainly because through observation I've come to the belief that not only does driving an SUV make them feel safe, it makes them feel invincible. I used to commute to the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, some fifty miles from where I live. I made the drive in all but blizzard conditions. One treacherously snowy morning, I was driving down the Interstate. I was traveling at 45 - 50 miles per hour and thought I might be pushing it a bit. Suddenly an SUV loomed behind me and passed at what I'd guess was normal highway speed. This SUV had a "personality plate" on it. If you don't know what that is, it is this: for an extra fee you can specify exactly the letters and numbers on you license plate, as long as it is unique. This particular personality plate read: LITG8R, i.e., litigator, lawyer, solicitor. So, this legal eagle, who might even be on his way to try a negligence case, was on the verge of being grossly negligent.

The SUVs may make their owners feel safe, but in making my commute for almost ten years, the most frequent vehicles I saw off the road during/after a snow storms were SUVs, pickup trucks, and semis (or articulated lorries). Almost without exception, the SUVs would be either lying on their side or be upside down".

And another email:

"Read your blog post tonight about SUVs. Agree with you, but I think you misunderstood the article you linked to. I read it and he did not say you can't put one baby seat in a compact. He said you can't put four kids under 12 in a sedan. Maybe you can in Australia, but you can't here in the US because you aren't allowed to use the front seat. And when all your kids 85 pounds or less have to have a baby seat/booster chair (which is the law here) even three kids often can't fit because most sedans can't fit three baby seats and boosters across one row. The writer also was talking about SUVs and minivans together. Parents could live without SUVs if minivans exist or vice-versa but those of us with several little kids or more than three kids would have a hard time without one or the other. Maybe if they brought back station wagons with a third row of seats but they are hard to find these days, and if you have to put your kids in the third row, where do the groceries go?"

The lady has a point. The article I linked to did lump together minivans and SUVs. The two are of course different and it is only SUVs that people seem to get heated about. There are heaps of minibuses and small wagons with a third row of seats here in Australia so that is the normal big-family option here rather than a SUV (or 4WDS as we call them). And I am also betting that less than 5% of SUVs ever have more than two baby seats in them.

***************************************

ELSEWHERE

There is another sad cry from the People's Republic of Berkeley here. Leftist "linguist" George Lakoff explains recent Republican triumphs at the polls as a result of the way conservative think-tanks have "dominated" public discussion of political issues. I am sure that some conservative think-tankers might be momentarily inclined to preen their feathers at such a generous compliment but what a laugh the whole claim is nonetheless. The Left have almost total control of America's universities and colleges! Compared to that vast network of influence, the conservative think-tanks are the merest fleabite! That the Left are declining at the polls simply because they talk so much nonsense is the one thing that the desperate Prof. Lakoff will do anything to avoid admitting. Thanks to Bernhardt Varenius of Anti-Socialist Tendencies for the link.

When the American Chinook was shot down, nearby Iraqi villagers danced around celebrating. I would have mown the bastards down to teach all Iraqis that hostility to the West and harbouring terrorists is not wise. Arabs think kindness and decency in such circumstances is weakness. It's wasted on them. It just makes them behave worse. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, GWB said that he held responsible all those who sheltered and supported the terrorists. He needs to get serious about that doctrine.

It's sad to hear of anyone being killed by a bear or anything else but A Greenie fruitcake pays the price for his unrealism and his refusal to listen to others. The system did its best to protect him but no system can protect you from your own stupidity.

Sanity won: The Senate rejected an attempt to limit greenhouse-gas emissions yesterday in the first vote Congress has ever taken on major climate-change legislation.

Vaccine not guilty: "There is now unequivocal evidence that MMR is not a risk factor for autism - this statement is not spin or medical conspiracy, but reflects an unprecedented volume of medical study on a worldwide basis.' So says Dr Simon Murch, who, along with Dr Andrew Wakefield, was one of the authors of a 1998 study which claimed a connection between bowel problems and autism. See also here

One of my readers has recommended the book The Children's Story by James Clavell as a good lesson in how destructive Leftist schoolteachers can be to the minds of children.

I have just uploaded two short academic articles that will not be of much general interest. The first (here or here) is one of my three tentative forays into the murky world of feminist research and the second (here or here) is yet another demonstration that a questionnaire widely used by psychologists (the Shostrom "Personal Orientation Inventory") is essentially a heap of garbage. It is about as useful as your horoscope.

*******************************

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

********************************



3 November, 2003

SUVs AND FREE CHOICE

This foolish writer tries to defend SUVs as being necessary. He makes the claim that a lot of families have to buy SUVs in order to fit baby capsules on board. What rubbish! There are any number of non-SUVs with baby capsules in them. I fitted one into my compact car just fine.

I regard the vandalizing of SUVs as symptomatic of typical Leftist totalitarian thinking but you don't have to lie to defend free choice. People drive SUVs because it makes them feel big and powerful and safe. So what! People drink and smoke to make themselves feel good too. If you roll over in your SUV or get cancer from smoking, it's your choice. It's a free country -- or at least it was. Next time some self-righteous middle-class busybody tells you that you should not have an SUV tell him that he should not have wine or coffee with his dinner either. Neither SUVs nor drugs with your dinner are necessary but both are pleasing. Each to his own.

******************************

LEFTISM AS A FORM OF NARCISSISM

Steven Hamori expands his thoughts about Socialism and narcissism:

"Clinically, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is related to the Schizoid Personality Disorder. A narcissist is a schizoid with rage, unresolved childhood issues relating to abuse (which they perpetuate themselves), and envy (sound familiar?). This causes them to construct a false self (and reality) and need to use others to reassure them that this false self is real (insert megalomaniac leftist of choice here_ and their supporters / henchmen who are also addicted to power).

If schizoids were creating the art of modernism, their narcissistic cousins (who, by definition, need to control other people) are creating its social ideas / systems (socialism, fascism, economic planning). Here is a great site with info on Narcissistic personality disorder."

*********************************

ELSEWHERE

Hear here! "Does Ronald Reagan deserve this? Does Nancy, who has nursed her dying husband through a horribly difficult decade as he struggles in the final hours of his life, deserve what is being done to her?"

Comparing the American and the Canadian health care systems shows that the solution does not lie in more state intervention but, on the contrary, in more business-like medicine." The waiting times in socialized medicine can be shocking. For one modern diagnostic test mentioned, the wait in Canada was 150 days compared to 3 days in the USA. Pity if you had a fast-growing cancer!

There is a good article here on the mutual admiration society that existed between Messrs. A. Hitler, F.D. Roosevelt and B. Mussolini in the 1930s. It points out that the American "New Deal", Italian Fascism and German Nazism were all basically the same thing economically and to some extent in other ways too.

That would be right: "A crackdown along the U.S.-Mexico border designed to prevent terrorists from entering the United States hasn't stopped even one known militant from slipping into America since Sept. 11, an Associated Press investigation has found"

Forgive me while I laugh: "Expensively-priced organic food sold in supermarkets has been found to contain pesticide residues equal to the maximum limit legally allowed in traditional food products".

But what's the alternative? "Giving the current president a pass on his super-sized government meddling programs just because he professes to be from 'the heartland' or a 'good Christian' or for 'the American way' is no different than excusing Clinton from the fact that he treats women like garbage simply because he claims to like feminists. We should judge the tree by its fruit, and the fruit of the Bush administration has been more of the same government-run-amok that flowered under the Clinton administration."

A good review here of a very interesting new book on elites by Laura Ingraham. Excerpt: "Ingraham explains that when elites use the phrase "freedom of expression," what they really mean is that they may criticize whomever they want with impunity, but if the average American exercises the same "freedom" to criticize an elite person or organization, it becomes "censorship"." It reminds me of another very good critique of Leftist elitism.

The Wicked one has an excellent story about American misunderstanding of the British. You may have to have lived in England to get the full force of it, though.

I have just completed the first draft of a new essay on the vexed question of how closely intertwined are conservatism and Christianity. To many American Christians, the question is a no-brainer. Of course Christianity is the basis of conservatism. Such a view makes sense given the current American political scene but in basically irreligious countries like Australia and England, the scene looks very different, with few conservatives being particularly religious and most outspoken church leaders clearly favouring the Left. I argue that Christianity and conservatism are indeed thoroughly separable. See here or here

As a follow-up to my recent post on the dubious economics of higher education, I have just uploaded a chapter called "Are we overeducated" from my book Conservatism as heresy. See here (Chapter 31) or here. In it I look at the usual non-economic arguments in favour of a liberal education and show how specious they are. I conclude that taxpayer funding of college courses in the "Humanities" cannot be justified.

*******************************

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

********************************



2 November, 2003

GREENIE WATCH

Oh dear! "An important new paper in the journal Energy & Environment upsets a key scientific claim about climate change". In summary, when the errors in the original scientific paper that supported global warming theory are corrected, THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING!

Greenie destruction in California: "If we had done all the thinning we wanted to over the years, we could have kept this fire from exploding, and we could have saved the towns it burned through." - Kate Klein, Forest Ranger

The same old arctic warming scare is being recycled by the Greenies. But looking at the data they quote actually shows the tiny amount of warming involved to be best explained by solar variability, not human activity. But despite the fact that solar variability has been known since Galileo, Greenies regularly ignore it.

Drama beats facts: "The National Assessment is fatally flawed. It employs computer models that are proven to project climate less capably than a table of random numbers. Though the models also carry disclaimers admitting their futility at producing regional and even national results, the Assessment nonetheless purports that they detail dire calamities broken down with specificity even to the state level."

In recent years politicians have gotten good mileage with a Green Scare campaign. Vice President Al Gore wrote Earth in the Balance, a book filled with green scares, most of dubious merit, far overblown, or simply false, but all requiring central control of property and the economy. Environmental horror stories are so widely accepted that political opponents are chary of sneering about them. It's worth reviewing the facts about some famous Green Scare stories, most of which are still repeated as gospel.

***************************

ELSEWHERE

I have said this all along too: "One year ago, this column first reported that Allied Forces would be unlikely to discover Saddam's WMD stores in Iraq -- that the UN Security Council's foot-dragging had provided Saddam with plenty of time to export his biological and nuclear WMD..... In December, a senior-level intelligence source confirmed again that much of Iraq's WMD had, in fact, been moved to and through Syria. This week, there was, for the first time, official public confirmation of our report."

Anti-Globos are one of the most brainless political movements today so that they should be turning to antisemitism is no surprise: "But another element of the new anti-Semitism is often overlooked: The time frame for this resurgence of judeophobia corresponds with the intensification of international links that took place in the 1990s. "People are losing their compass," observes Dan Dinar, a historian at Hebrew University. "A worldwide stock market, a new form of money, no borders. Concepts like country, nationality, everything is in doubt. They are looking for the ones who are guilty for this new situation and they find the Jews." The backlash against globalization unites all elements of the political spectrum through a common cause, and in doing so it sometimes fosters a common enemy -- what French Jewish leader Roger Cukierman calls an anti-Semitic "brown-green-red alliance" among ultra-nationalists, the populist green movement, and communism's fellow travelers."

I hate to be cynical about what should generally be a good thing but I think that the recent peace-treaty between Britain's Anglicans and Methodists shows that their common Leftist politics have become more important to them than religious matters.

The young warriors at Protest Warrior seem to be doing a good job of derailing Leftist self-congratulation. I used to do something similar myself when I was a lad.

This article documents in great detail how ABC news anchor Peter Jennings has been far-Left for many years.

Val-e-diction thinks that the parole system should be abolished. He thinks we would save a lot of lives that way.

Slattery has a rather appalling picture showing the lengths that some people will go to to get attention to themselves. I'll bet the guy is a Leftist.

There is a very sarcastic site here about "human shields".

Chris Brand has some interesting comments about Britain's new Conservative party leader.

"The Economic Society of Australia is so concerned about the erosion of standards in the popular business and economics courses in universities that it is considering the idea of students sitting an external exam before they receive their degrees". It's partly because Australian MBA and B.Ec. courses attract big enrollments from Asia. So it's the old story of short-sighted university administrators being so keen to hang on to their large number of fee-paying Asian students that they don't want to fail any of them. But many speak poor English so don't understand their courses very well. So standards are lowered to vanishing point. Of all the subjects I studied as an undergraduate many years ago, the ones I found most enlightening were the courses in economics and philosophy but teaching in both subjects seem to have become very degraded since then. I gather that philosophy these days is in most places just a tour of Leftist theology.

Economist Stephen Karlson sounds rather defensive about the way I gently chided him over his simplistic approach to moral philosophy. Since he is clearly out of his depth, I guess I should explain that there is wide agreement that "circumstances alter cases". The central question of moral philosophy and the question I briefly addressed in my main post of October 26th is where we get the rules to decide HOW circumstances alter cases (among other things).

I have just uploaded a chapter from my book Conservatism as heresy with the rather forbidding title of: "Is self-theory the hypostatization of a syncategorematic word?". See here (Chapter 40) or here. It is much more readable than it sounds, though. All that I am doing in the chapter is using the precise concepts of analytical philosophy to clear up the vast muddle surrounding use of the word "self" among psychologists, sociologists and psychiatrists.

*******************************

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

********************************



1 November, 2003

RUSSELL KIRK ON CONSERVATISM

Like many American conservatives, the famous Russell Kirk saw conservatism as founded on a belief in God. We irreligious conservatives in Australia, the UK and elsewhere do not exist, presumably. But two of his other themes -- the superiority of the individual over the State and the need for caution about big theory-driven changes to the tried and tested -- would be agreed to by almost all conservatives, I think. As Chuck Colson says here: "Kirk sought to derive policies from the moral and religious wisdom of Western civilization -- as opposed to the utopian schemes of coffee-house dreamers. Kirk's social vision, like that of our founders, depends on a critical mass of virtuous citizens who govern themselves. Instead of a policeman on every corner, a society must imbue each citizen with law-abiding inner disciplines. But government, you see, can't do that. What can are other institutions: families, churches, synagogues, schools, and community organizations _ what Kirk, quoting Edmund Burke, liked to call the "little platoons" of society".

***********************************

ELSEWHERE

Mike Tremoglie "deconstructs" the philosophy of the mega-Leftist Herbert Marcuse -- who seriously asserted that only whites can be racist. Most Leftists still seem to believe it.

"For any free society to be successful, there must exist not only individual liberty, but also individual responsibility. Sadly, both qualities are dissipating in America today and the standards of personal choice and responsibility that once were applied in the common law have been eroded to alarming levels under our current tort system. Too often, human parasites, ambulance chasers, and even criminals are seeking to benefit from their own negligence or bad luck. Ironically, they are increasingly petitioning the very judicial system that is supposed to protect our rights and freedoms and administer justice -- and winning."

But there's always money to pay the bureaucrats: "Stone-faced parents gathered at the Ottoson Middle School library in Arlington [MA] one recent morning looking determined and exhausted. 'We have all spent so much time in the last six months working to find money to restore what's been cut,' said Jeff Carver, who has two daughters at Ottoson in grades 6 and 9. Parents in Arlington who raised $275,000 after a Proposition 2 1/2 override attempt failed are now wondering where to draw the line. How much should public school budgets rely on private fund-raising?"

When U.S. Army security is as lax as this, it shows how dumb the terrorists are that they have not done more damage.

I never knew Leftists had a sense of humour about anything remotely political but there is a very funny letter in The Guardian -- allegedly from the British tax office to an irate British taxpayer.

The forgotten payroll tax: "It's a huge tax that most Americans don't understand. And most of those who support leviathan government want to keep it that way. They're betting on the apathy and ignorance of the average American when this tax is discussed." Penalizing employers for employing people is NOT a great way to lower unemployment. And anybody who thinks a tax is not a penalty needs a new brain.

The Press a watchdog? The pundits are coming to the wrong conclusions. While the issue is being framed as one of freedom of the press and the press as a 'watchdog' of government, it seems that few people understand that the mainstream media in this country clearly is not a 'watchdog' of the state in any true sense."

The European Union is considering a vast new regulatory program that promises to stall innovation worldwide and eventually shut many U.S. products out of EU markets. Fortunately, trade experts in the Bush administration have been battling against the policy since the beginning. After months of debate, support for the policy is finally eroding in Europe as well."

Public Choice: Politics Without Romance Public choice theory demonstrates why looking to government to fix things can often lead to more harm than good, as one of its leading architects and Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan explains

Government Hinders Environmental Progress, Free Market Advances It:. Attacks on the Lexmark "prebate" etc.

China Hand has some new postings -- including a story about buying a new car in China.

The Wicked one has a joke about romance among the elderly. I can only say that I hope that I am that good if I get to that age.

Chris Brand thinks that the Thernstroms -- much applauded conservative campaigners for less permissive black education -- have missed the elephant in the bedroom.

My latest academic upload (here or here) is a short review of Ivar Berg's book, "Education and jobs: The great training robbery". Berg showed years ago that most higher education was not justified on economic grounds (either for the community or for the individual) and all the Leftist Professors around the place at the moment seem hell-bent on showing that it is not useful on any other grounds either so perhaps one day most people will give up wasting their time and money on it. On the other hand, maybe it is just too good a holiday to give up! How else can you go on a subsidized holiday for years? But academic work in the hard sciences is still worth doing, of course, if you have the high ability, high motivation and lack of materialism required. But as for B.A.s and M.B.A.s -- forgive me while I guffaw! The main use of my "social science" Ph.D. has been to show what a gang of klutzes most of my fellow "social science" Ph.D.s are (e.g. here and here and here and here and here). But at least that is useful, I guess -- given the way people so often get hornswoggled by so-called "experts" these days.

*******************************

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

********************************