POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH: ARCHIVE
The creeping dictatorship of the Left...
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30 September, 2004
SWEDEN: FEMINIST POLICIES SET WOMEN BACK
Leftists will never learn
"The Nordic country may have been boasting for decades about its fantastic parental pay and rights packages and its nurseries on every street corner, but according to a leading academic in the field, we have all been duped. Dr Catherine Hakim, a sociologist at the London School of Economics who specialises in women's employment and women's issues, says in a book out this week that what we have been told about the Swedish experience amounts to "true lies".
What we have heard over the past few decades about life there is technically true - there is a well-developed system of family-friendly initiatives that allows women more maternity leave, better pay and more flexible working opportunities. But when you look more broadly at the whole picture, at where women fit into the wider employment map across Sweden, there are a few nasty surprises.
What we all expect - but what is never actually said - about Sweden and countries such as Norway and Denmark is that because they have such a forward-thinking attitude to the needs of working parents, women have a much better deal, are able to work more effectively and to progress better. Wrong, wrong and wrong again, says Hakim. "Swedish women don't have it made - they still end up paying a price in terms of their career or employment. What you find, if you look closely at the figures, is that there is a pay threshold in Nordic countries below which are 80% of all women, and above which are 80% of all men.
"What is more, the glass ceiling problem is larger in family-friendly Sweden than it is in the hire-and-fire-at-will US, and it has also grown as family-friendly policies have expanded. In Sweden 1.5% of senior management are women, compared with 11% in the US.".....
75% of Swedish women are working in the public sector - traditionally the lower-paid, lower-qualified end of the employment market - while 75% of men are working in the racier, more demanding private sector. What has happened through the years of family-friendly policies, she says, is that private companies have reduced their number of female employees because they can't afford the cost of the generous maternity packages".
More here. (Via Swedish blogger Johan Norberg).
"The Welsh Development Agency has been accused of "political correctness gone mad" after staff were advised not to use "offensive" terms like "nit-picking" and "brainstorming". Around 500 of the WDA's employees across Wales have attended training sessions instructing them in how to avoid offending minority groups.
Last night, the WDA said that under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act it had a legal obligation to train its staff in equality and diversity issues. But former North Wales Tory AM David Jones, who will be standing for his party in Clwyd West at the next general election, described the advice issued to the agency employees as political correctness gone mad.
He said, "Someone who works for the WDA as a manager told me they had been on a two-day political correctness course. It seems that the term 'nit-picking' is unacceptable because it originated at the time of the slave trade, when slaves had their hair examined for lice. "In the case of 'brainstorming', the term should not be used because it is considered insulting to people suffering from mental illness.
"I find it absolutely ludicrous that at a time when Wales desperately needs to attract and develop support for business, time and money is being spent on this kind of nonsense. "It is a perfect example of the kind of nonsense Michael Howard was referring to a few weeks ago in his attack on political correctness."
In a recent speech at Stafford, Tory leader Michael Howard launched a scathing attack on political correctness. He said, "In Britain today, political correctness has gone mad. And it is driving people crazy. "There are so many examples of political correctness, it's hard to know where to start. But here are just a few, to get us going:
"Staff warned by their local council not to drape England flags from office windows during the last World Cup - in case it offended those supporting other teams.
"A father of four who chased a gang of vandals with a rolling pin for his own protection because they had just smashed his shop window was bound over to keep the peace and charged with carrying an offensive weapon.
"A magistrate who, when considering a publican's request for an extra hour's drinking, ruled that St George's Day was not 'a special occasion' - even though the publican had not encountered any such problem with a similar request for the Chinese Year of the Goat.
"It would be easy to go on and on, because the examples are countless. In some cases, the exercise of political correctness is relatively harmless. It provides good knocking copy for fulminating commentators, orfor late-night radio chat shows. But in many other cases it is not. We cannot simply dismiss every example as an isolated case of stupidity or zeal or plain barminess.
"The systematic spread of political correctness has a corrosive effect on our society. "It makes people believe that there is something odd about what would otherwise be considered normal behaviour. It provides officials with an excuse to meddle and interfere in people's lives, where they have no business to. It leads to expensive, time-consuming and pointless litigation. It plays into the hands of extremists. And it undermines people's respect for the institutions of our country."
29 September, 2004
THOU SHALT LOSE WEIGHT CORRECTLY: THE WICKED ATKINS
An interesting email from a reader about the Atkins diet:
"I haven't noticed anything on your sites about the Atkins diet and the Greens. This carnivorous diet has really got them up in arms -- I think they've been trying to mobilize against it, but they have a hard time with the facts. I think you'd have a lot of fun with it, even if the diet isn't much, just because it assaults their "meat is murder" position.
A good indicator of what they gloss over is that in a pretty exhaustive study of the Atkins diet people were able to eat 600 calories more a day and not gain extra weight. Scientists could not figure out why, but that finding didn't make it into any of the reports I read in the popular press. Also, several years back, CNN (Communist News Network) was complicit in making it seem the good doctor Atkins had a heart attack, when in fact he was attacked by bacteria after a bug bite he got in Africa. The leftist press also ran with New York mayor Michael Bloomburg's remarks that he was overweight when he died (from a slip on some ice), when in fact he gained that water weight from the treatment he got for his injury. Where there's this kind of character assassination you KNOW you've pissed off the elite.
Another reason I think they don't like the diet is that it seems to have a lot of support in religious groups here: like the Mormons and fundamentalist Baptists".
Here are some excerpts from another writer that confirm an ideological bias against Atkins:
"As a staunch defender of the Atkins diet and frequent meat consumer, I have gotten into a lot of arguments. In my latest tirade, I accused a self-proclaimed liberal of acting like a conservative because of her blind devotion to orthodox views about nutrition. She rebutted that most liberals are in fact anti-Atkins, which made no sense to me.
Liberals are supposed to be the open-minded ones, unrestricted by orthodox and authoritarian views or dogmas. To me, Robert Atkins was someone who embodied liberalism and willing to challenge traditional views. But are liberals in fact against Atkins?
Although I could find no studies linking Atkins supporters with any issue or political party, there seems to be a strong correlation between liberals and Atkins opponents. Across the Internet, liberally slanted blogs bash the Atkins diet while conservatives bash the Atkins bashers.
For instance, one conservative writer, Rich Smith, accuses the liberal mainstream media of unfairly demonizing Atkins in a column titled, "Why they hate Atkins: Left opposes this diet because it works."
On the other side, an animated video clip depicts a portly woman on Atkins scarfing down bacon like clockwork while watching Fox News and religiously buying into everything it says.
And here in the journalism school, where most of the graduate students say they are liberal, there seems to be very little support for the diet. One colleague emphatically proclaimed that the whole low-carb phenomenon is going to blow up and said, "I will support the food pyramid until I die." Hmm, that sounds more like blind devotion than the spirit of liberalism to me.
For more support of the ideological involvement note also the following article:
"The Atkins Diet is being denounced as a conspiracy of - shudder - greedy, Libertarian, working class free-enterprisers. Following the Atkins Diet is being denounced by academia as both declasse and political oppression.....
An article in the LA Times, syndicated to many papers, by Teresa Ebert and M. Zavarzadeh, warns that Hegelian class warfare is on a different plate, so to speak. These authors have recently garnered praise for their respective works "Ludic Feminism and After," and "Seeing Films Politically." Though Hegel himself limited his dietary pronouncements to the philosophical hope of "eines gutes bier" at a new post, his dialectic successors are not so shy. "Diets are political," begins the article, and are so divisive "that US Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, in an almost Hegelian scenario, " wants to do "impartial" studies of the Atkins diet " putting an end to the civil strife."
Diets threatening The Last Remaining Superpower with civil strife? For once, I rubbed my jaded eyes, but Glickman is a man who knows the times he lives in. He guides himself by academic experts who now reveal "people eat class and not food," not social semiotics, we are cautioned (natch) but determined by "social relations of production: Do they buy other people's labor and make a profit from it...?" This, perhaps,as opposed to confiscating it and then still being unable to feed the poor or balance the budget.
The Atkins diet, we are warned, is "divisive." It is really not the result of a dedicated scientist fighting the Establishment or the personal experience of many who venture outside the official wisdom of the day. No. It is "class politics appearing as personal tastes in food...." Now lest you expect, as I warned at the beginning, that the Atkins Diet would then be denounced as the plaything of the idle rich, with the deep internal logic of class-hatred of the Left it shifts gears: Atkins, it implies, is proletarian free choice run amok.
"The Atkins diet is a proletarian diet," with "forbidden fats" and, oh the scandal, "not upper class." It is an attack by advocates of "real food" against "invented, fake food." In quoting a New Yorker piece, Stephen King is brought into the fray, to testify that meat is "working class." Such diets, we are warned, are suspiciously "satiating," "not "elaborately complex," do not require special "calculation," and is offered "in a realistic style" and shaped by what, the authors tell us helpfully, Bertolt Brecht called it "coarse thinking."
And PETA is of course agin Atkins too:
See here and here.
And the obesity warriors seem to be against it as well:
But what about the science?
This article by Taubes argues that the anti-fat orthodoxy is not well supported by medical research and that Atkins is probably right.
BUT This article by Fumento says that Taubes goes too far
AND This article by Taubes says that Fumento misquotes him
AND This article by Fumento still says that both Taubes and the Atkins diet are too extreme
Finally, There is some reputable research summarized here which indicates that the Atkins diet is beneficial to health.
28 September, 2004
HOT CRESCENT BUNS?
A good comment on the "Islamophants" (from "sycophant")
"According to Ken Ham in the September 2004 edition of the Answers In Genesis Newsletter, hot cross buns won't be quite so cross anymore in merry ole England because a number of local governments there have banned them because the shape of the pastries offends Muslims.
Ham's article does an excellent job explicating how such asinine policies are the result of an unbridled form of pluralism that goes beyond allowing different ideas to exist within one's borders to actively undermine the foundations upon which Western civilization rests, thus allowing those alien beliefs the upper hand in determining how society is to be ultimately run.
If the politically correct are now going to get this jacked out of shape over the shape of a desert, maybe Christians should reciprocate the protest with one of our own by organizing a boycott of croissants. Croissants, you ask, the flaky moon-shaped masteries? That's right. Croissants are shaped like crescent moons, which are in turn the traditional symbol for Islam. Such a boycott would show the multiculturalists and the Islamophants just how stupid this game really is".
A BLACK VIEWPOINT
Clarence Page thinks real diversity is needed:
"Amid occasional outbursts of political correctness, I have consistently held that straight (as in non-gay) white males (sometimes known as SWMs) deserve respect too. After all, we may have come here on different ships but we're all in the same boat now, as Whitney Young, the late, great civil rights leader, used to say. With that in mind, I registered no small amount of alarm to hear that a young SWM at the University of North Carolina has been illegally subjected to "intentional discrimination and harassment," according to a ruling by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, because he was "a white, heterosexual Christian male" who expressed disapproval of homosexuality.
In a letter to the university's chancellor last week, the civil rights office ruled that instructor Elyse Crystall violated student Timothy R. Mertes' civil rights in February by improperly accusing him of "hate speech" in an e-mail sent to students following a discussion in her class on "Literature and Cultural Diversity."
During a discussion on whether heterosexuals feel "threatened" by homosexuals, Mertes said as a Christian he felt "disgusted, not threatened" by homosexual behavior.....
I don't agree with Mertes' views. I think the sex lives of consenting adults are their own business. But if Mertes can't express his sincerely held views in a class on "cultural diversity," where can he? Would you rather have him saying it only amid the circles of those who agree with him? Or do you want the opportunity for his views to be heard and challenged openly in a free, intellectual exchange, during which ideas have a proper chance to compete on their own strengths or virtues?
Having taught college classes during which we discussed racism, sexism and homophobia mostly in the abstract, I would have welcomed the opportunity to have a genuine outspoken racist, sexist or homophobe in the room to air out what so many other people keep to themselves, as long as we can keep the discussion civil. No cursing, crying or throwing dangerous objects at one another.
As the corporate world has discovered, the workplace has become increasingly diverse. That puts a new premium on learning how to work and live with people who may be quite unlike ourselves in many ways. The campus is an excellent place for us to learn how to get past these differences so that we can focus on the many things that we have in common......
Little local stories like this one reveal a lot about big cultural shifts in this country. One of the more troubling trends has been the seemingly open-ended way some college lecturers and administrators define certain forms of speech or assembly as "discriminatory."
As an African-American male, I appreciate the concern that universities have to prevent unfair discrimination, but I don't want to be protected from the power of ideas. Experience has taught me that, if you're nervous about your ideas, you probably need to re-examine them and come up with better arguments. After all, you can come up with better arguments by challenging those with whom you disagree than you can by trying to silence them.
27 September, 2004
DOWN WITH "HILLBILLIES"
One disadvantaged group of people for whom Leftists seem happy to use a derogatory term are "Hillbillies" -- presumably because they are white. In fact there seems to be no recognized politically-correct term for hillbillies. So I am going to coin one. I propose that they should be called "Elevated Americans". So next time a Leftist says "Hillbilly", shriek "RACIST" and say in a freezing tone: "I presume you mean 'Elevated American'"! And add: "Would YOU like to be called a 'hillbilly'?"
A PARTIAL VICTORY FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION IN ONE UNIVERSITY
"An English professor at the University of North Carolina illegally subjected a student to "intentional discrimination and harassment" because he was "a white, heterosexual Christian male" who expressed disapproval of homosexuality, the U.S. Education Department's Office of Civil Rights has ruled. Professor Elyse Crystall violated student Timothy R. Mertes' civil rights, the agency said, by improperly accusing him of "hate speech" in an e-mail sent to students after a class discussion in which Mr. Mertes said he was a Christian and felt "disgusted, not threatened" by homosexual behavior.....
The ruling was hailed by Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican, who requested a civil rights probe five months ago after learning about the student's plight from a Raleigh talk-radio show. "This vindicates this young man's First Amendment rights to speak out, as he has acknowledged, as a Christian," Mr. Jones said. "So I'm going to look at this as a victory for students in this country who feel that they have a right to express themselves. If you don't have that right in a collegiate classroom, what rights do you have?"
The department's letter said no penalty or further action was necessary because Ms. Crystall had apologized for her actions and the university had convened faculty workshops to discourage race and sex discrimination against white, male, Christian undergraduates. Mr. Moeser, Ms. Crystall and Mr. Mertes did not respond to inquiries yesterday.
The federal ruling comes as Mr. Moeser and UNC administrators at the Chapel Hill campus have moved this month to shut down a male Christian fraternity there, Alpha Iota Omega, on the grounds the student group is violating the university's anti-discrimination policy because it excludes non-Christians and self-professed homosexuals from membership. The fraternity has filed a federal lawsuit against UNC to protect its membership policy from university interference. "This adds another example to what is a problem at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and also, I believe, it's a problem across this nation," Mr. Jones said of the UNC effort to shut down the fraternity. There have been similar efforts against Christian student groups at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Oklahoma and Southwest Missouri State University.....
Mr. Jones said Ms. Crystall "didn't challenge [Mr. Mertes] in the class," but instead afterward "went around the environment of the classroom and e-mailed every student" to attack Mr. Mertes by name. The attack caused him to receive personal threats, and his car was vandalized, the congressman said. In her e-mail, Ms. Crystall told students: "I will not tolerate any racist, sexist, and/or heterosexist comments in my class. What we heard Thursday at the end of class constitutes 'hate speech' and is completely unacceptable, it has created a hostile environment. I am deeply sorry and apologize to those of us who are now feeling that the classroom we share is an unsafe environment, for those of us who feel vulnerable or threatened. I will do my best to counter those feelings and protect that space from further violence."....
The department ruling said Ms. Crystall "went beyond a permissible reference simply describing the student" and illegally targeted him for a charge of "hate speech" because he is "white and male."
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
26 September, 2004
"REDSKINS" CORRECT AFTER ALL?
The real idea is to offend whites, rather than avoiding offence to anybody else
"A poll of American Indians found that an overwhelming majority of them are not bothered by the name of the Washington Redskins. Only 9 percent of those polled said the name of the NFL team is "offensive," while 90 percent said it's acceptable, according to the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey, released Friday. Annenberg polled 768 Indians in every state except Hawaii and Alaska from Oct. 7, 2003, to Sept. 20, 2004.
The survey found little disparity between men and women or young and old. However, 13 percent of Indians with college degrees said the name is offensive, compared with 9 percent of those with some college and 6 percent of those with a high school education or less. Among self-identified liberals, 14 percent found the term disparaging, compared with 6 percent of conservatives.....
A panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team's trademarks in 1999 on the grounds that the name disparages American Indians in violation of federal trademark law. But last year, a federal judge ruled the team can keep its name, finding insufficient evidence to conclude it is an insult to American Indians..... "
LEFTIST JIHAD DENIAL
A very incorrect reader went to a greenie/antiwar meeting in Birmingham (U.K.) a couple of days ago and upset the good people there by circulating the historical truth about Islam. He was given short shrift but seems to have upset the meeting to some extent. The luminaries speaking at the meeting were Messrs. Benn, Monbiot, Rees & Yaqoob. Below is a message he circulated to the Green/Left group concerned afterwards
"If Holocaust denial is a crime, how much more immensely greater a crime is Jihad denial? Sad to have to say this but the anti-war meeting reminded of that saying "All that is needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." And indeed four good(?) men (incl one woman) on the platform did do that nothing, along with a load of people in the audience.
A person handing out an alternative soundly-argued viewpoint was suppressed by force and threatened. The speakers made no attempt to respond to his points, other than to pretend they had not been made. And not the slightest attempt was made to discuss the challenging claims. Indeed so desperate was the need to avoid actually debating, or actually allowing critical thinking to take place, that they had to accidentally "forget" to have the normal session of questions from the floor.
I was even told a bizarre new conception of democracy consisting of the (supposed) right to not discuss or defend the views one expresses from a platform. In my book of ethics, you have no right to make assertions without a willingness to also hear and respond to those who challenge them. And certainly not while alternative perspectives are being actively suppressed in the same room.
The intellectual bankruptcy of the meeting organisers and presenters was clearly on display. I also note that Mr Benn made an extremely and seriously inaccurate claim about Christianity (extremely offensive etc so he should be chucked out and ostracised???), namely the assertion that burning at the stake is/was endorsed by Christianity. It's sad to see such enormous ignorance in a man so famous and privileged.
The Christian texts are the Gospels (the old testament is merely the Jews' history book). They preach a totally unambigious message of loving everyone including those who kill one. You really should be ashamed, Tony, and apologise for that enormous offense to the many saints who were murdered for just telling the Christian message. When was the last time you died for expressing your views, Tony??? (Sure I appreciate you are, like me, only human.)
In summary, whoever it was that handed out those leaflets should surely have at least been granted a hearing?
P.S. Big Benn also made a different outrageous claim the other week, that the countryside is subsidised by the cities. Really? Without the work of countryside people the city-dwellers would all starve, whereas the countryside does not need the cities (they are just a parasite on the land). A UK farmer kills himself once every week from financial distress. And Benn tells us that it is they that are the parasites. Frankly he does not deserve the fuss that is made about him. He has no useful new ideas, and a very serious lack of accuracy too."
Below are some of the Koranic texts the meeting did not want to know about:
Koran 2:216: "Fighting is prescribed for you".
Koran 9:29: "Fight the unbelievers till they pay the Jizya (heavy tax on unbelievers) and are subdued."
"If they accept Islam, desist from fighting against them. . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya [heavy tax on non-Muslims]. . If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them" (Sahih Muslim, book 19, no. 4294).
Koran 48:29: "Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are merciful to one another, but ruthless to unbelievers"
Koran 4:34: "Men are in charge of women ... good women are obedient ... from those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them and scourge them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great."
The Koran also decrees it is lawful to rape women you capture in warfare: Koran 33:50: "O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives . and those whom thy right (sword) hand possesses of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee." Koran 4:24: "Married women are forbidden to you except the captives your sword hand possesses."
Indeed Mohammed himself raped women on the same day that he killed their husbands and fathers. Such is Islamic "compassion".
25 September, 2004
REALISTIC ART INCORRECT
"A London art college is considering banning drawings and paintings of nudes from its walls after complaints about the nature of some student artwork. The artist Maggi Hambling, who has taught life drawing at Morley College since the 1970s, described the decision as 'incomprehensible.' Morley College has sent out a questionnaire to staff and students asking whether they think the practice of displaying paintings and drawings of the naked human form in public spaces should continue. No decision will be taken until the results are collected at the end of this week."
THE INTELLIGENTSIA PUT IDEOLOGY BEFORE FACTS
"Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich predicted environmental apocalypse in "The Population Bomb". He maintained that "hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death" in the 1970s. When it didn't happen, he merely delayed the day of reckoning-numerous times. So long as Ehrlich's prognostications furthered the right agenda, wealthy and influential admirers celebrated him. Foundations awarded him millions of dollars in prizes and grants (including a quarter-million dollar prize from the Heinz ketchup fortune). The "Today" show invited him to conduct a twelve-part series on the environment. And college professors have pushed the number of his books sold well into seven figures........
Famous sex researcher Alfred Kinsey stacked the sample groups of his surveys with pimps, prostitutes, imprisoned sex offenders, and homosexuals. The late Indiana University professor took pedophiles at their word that their "partners" enjoyed sex. Rather than getting shunned by his peers, Kinsey remains the most cited sex researcher in scholarly journals. His work may have been bad science, but it remains good propaganda.
Dishonesty, at least when it serves the "right" cause, doesn't relegate intellectuals to the fringe. It often elevates the status of men of letters among their like-minded peers. As evidenced by the popularity within such circles of attackumentary filmmaker Michael Moore, Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, and Soviet spy Alger Hiss, the intelligentsia rewards ideological conformity instead of intellectual honesty.
Chomsky, Kinsey, and Ehrlich may be factually incorrect, but because they are politically correct they are superstars within academia. Their inaccuracies, falsehoods, and frauds serve the right causes, so other scholars excuse, overlook, or deny them. If the intellectual morons were few in number or scant in influence, the rest of us could ignore them. Since they frequently find their names on course reading lists, within the endnotes in scholarly articles, and next to "pay to the order" on foundation bequests, our culture ignores them at its own peril.
Reflexive adherence to ideology negates critical thinking. It is the conceit of the intellectual, who believes himself so smart that he doesn't need to think. Ideology provides for him a catchall response to ideas, individuals, and events. Ideology thus makes smart people stupid, creating the intellectual moron".
24 September, 2004
BRITAIN: BLAMING BLACK UNDERACHIEVEMENT ON "RACISM"
"The Guardian newspaper recently published an article in which it reported the findings of the Mayor of London’s commission into the academic failure of black schoolchildren.... It will probably come as no surprise to readers that racism was blamed for the failure of black boys to learn much at school. This is because such an explanation naturally tends to expand the powers of patronage of those in power, and to demand an increase in regulatory bureaucracy. Its truth is another matter altogether. What are the attractions and rewards of truth compared with those of power?
In the first place, it is obvious that racial prejudice, within quite wide limits, is not in itself a hurdle that cannot be overcome. The world is full of minorities against whom there is some, or even great, prejudice, and yet who are notably successful in everything from commerce to the arts and sciences. Of course, in a system like apartheid, in which racial prejudice is enshrined in law, the barriers cannot all be overcome (though even under apartheid the blacks were not one large, undifferentiated mass of the downtrodden, with an invariant degree of lack of personal attainment or accomplishment). But to compare contemporary Britain and its racial prejudices with apartheid South Africa would be absurd.....
Moreover, by concentrating on the boys, the commission as reported in The Guardian omitted the fact that the girls do tolerably well from the academic point of view...
Moreover, the problem of poor achievement by males is no greater in this country than in Jamaica itself. Elderly Jamaicans who return to Jamaica, either on visits or to live, find that the young men who have not left display many of the same characteristics that conduce to abject failure as those who were brought up in Britain.
If raw racial prejudice is not the explanation, then, what is the explanation? I think it is twofold. First, there is a marked lack of stability in the households of young blacks i.e. Jamaicans. This instability is seen in white lowest class households, of course, where it has precisely the same effects, except that the girls are less distinguishable from the boys, from the point of view of failure. Relative poverty does not in itself preclude constructive achievement among children, but when combined with a kaleidoscopically shifting spectrum of social pathology, it most certainly inhibits it.
Perhaps even more important is the culture that the young Jamaicans have adopted for themselves, both in England and Jamaica. It is not exactly a culture that promotes high endeavour in fields such as mathematics, science or English composition, to put it mildly. It is a culture of perpetual spontaneity and immediate gratification, whose largely industrialised and passively consumed products are wholly worthless sub specie aeternitatis....
By refusing even to entertain cultural characteristics as a possible explanation of failure, the combined forces of the Mayor, his commission and The Guardian are in fact serving to enclose the Jamaican black males in the wretched world that they already know and that already encloses them. They are, in effect, saying to them that the fault is not with them, their tastes and the way they conduct themselves, but with society as a whole. They are condemning them to a world of violence, drugs and familial insecurity....
We see in the whole of the approach of the Mayor, his commission and The Guardian the dangers of political correctness, or inhibited speech. It is no longer permissible ever to say to ordinary people that the kingdom of hell is within you, that the blame for your travails lies principally with you rather than with others who are responsible for you. We pretend instead that all problems come from outside, and can be solved by conceptually simple, though intrusive, expensive and infantilising, alterations to the institutional environment. Meanwhile, as they wait for their redeemer, the lives of many people are ruined by resentment and paranoia.
The real racists, in our society at least, are those who persist in ascribing to racism any number of baleful effects. They are not altruists, they are power-seekers."
INCORRECT AUSTRALIAN TV PROGRAM GOES MAINSTREAM
"About the only show that worked on Channel 31, "Bloke's World", will soon have a far bigger audience. TV's most politically incorrect program will be seen on Channel 10 from October 1. Largely undiscovered on 31, Bloke's World is one of those once-seen-never-forgotten programs.
It's not really offensive, not all the time anyway, and it's not really sexist, not quite all the time anyway, and it's mostly good clean humour. Well, there are seconds of good clean humour, the rest can get a bit grubby.
And just because of the title and the fact that the reigning Miss "Bloke's World" is Penthouse Pet Rachel James, we shouldn't assume there's more cleavage tastefully displayed than on Brownlow night.
We're told the new "Bloke's World" will still be fronted by Ben-Wah and Ado, and will still look like it's been shot with a hand-held camera, but it will all be a little slicker and more professional than it ever looked on 31."
23 September, 2004
THE "DIVERSITY" RELIGION IN BRITISH GOVERNMENT
"The D-word is acutely fashionable. And like many words made popular by management consultants, it embodies not a precise concept, let alone something concrete, but a feeling. It seduces by its very vagueness. Because no one really knows what it means, it has acquired a certain mystique, and now everybody’s using it. You can barely move for diversity action plans and diversity monitoring grids in modern public organisations. It’s a good example of a modern-day shibboleth, a code used among members of the same clan, a word used to identify loyalty to, in this case, a project to spread niceness to the four corners of the kingdom. And it’s fair to say that diversity is often used simply as a synonym for niceness. In order to embrace diversity, an organisation must make sure that ‘individuals are valued’ and that the office is a place where ‘harassment, bullying and discrimination are not tolerated’. Far be it from me to suggest these are fairly obvious requirements of any workplace and always have been. We may ask whether or not they have been fulfilled, but why dress them up and parade them under a new banner, accompanied by laws, taskforces and spurious new roles? If you work in Whitehall and you don’t already have an ‘office diversity champion’, the chances are you soon will.
The reason? It’s the unfortunate tendency of the people in charge to want to do something about everything. The assumption that all of society’s problems are amenable to state intervention is a delusion that some governments suffer from more than others. The current administration falls into the former category. They look at our miserable lives and feel responsible, feel that something must be done. They rarely ask whether or not they are the ones best placed to do it.
Reams of paper are produced that might as well be burned on an altar to the diversity god for all the good they do. A ‘Diversity Feedback Questionnaire’ that once landed on my desk asked respondents to rate the importance of various statements from one to five (though it helpfully indicated that if you were unable to provide an answer, entering zero would be fine. Presumably they feel that there is no such thing as a useless statistic). The statements to be rated included these: that ‘individuals are valued for the diversity they bring to the work of the unit’ or, ‘senior management are committed to creating an environment which values diversity’ or, indeed, ‘individual employees within the unit behave in a way that supports diversity’. Erm ...if only I knew what diversity was. Substitute ‘niceness’, however, and you get a reasonable idea of what these people are trying to find out: are we nice enough?
We may moan and groan, even fall about laughing at these little absurdities. We may persevere in refusing to take the idea of a diversity champion seriously (though we risk being accused of un-diverse behaviour, a phrase I heard used at a workshop I had been forced to attend). But there is a more serious side to all this. Some of these activities may create resentment against the very groups of people they are trying to help. And it goes without saying that much money is spent on training programmes aimed at helping those assumed to be labouring under the burden of racism or sexism. Women just below senior Civil Service level receive ‘coaching’ and ‘mentoring’, while ethnic-minority fast-streamers are given the opportunity to attend extra classes on how to get ahead that are unavailable to their non-minority colleagues.
The problem with these schemes is that they are open to a very subtle, but ruinous, form of abuse. Like all forms of social engineering, they do not take account of individual circumstances. Who’s to say that a woman given the extra coaching she needs to get that promotion to the top stream isn’t already in a better position than her male colleagues? She may be rich, or particularly well connected. Similarly, an organisation that automatically sees race as a disadvantage is blinded to the other factors that may be at work. Judging someone by one standard alone and ignoring the fact that they went to St Paul’s and their daddy’s a heart surgeon tends to favour middle-class people who happen to be black or Asian, rather than those who are really struggling. And do we really believe that someone from Northern Ireland or Wales should be entitled to extra training because of their race? I have seen people play the system in this way, but who can blame them for taking advantage of a free leg-up? ....
The diversity agenda is largely concerned with preventing active discrimination, which it assumes is the main reason there aren’t more women or minorities in senior positions. Active discrimination, when people make decisions based on negative prejudices about a certain group, is unacceptable and should be punished severely where it is discovered. But it constitutes only a small part of the reason minorities stay out of senior roles. Most of the time, they decide for themselves not to embark on the road that might lead them to power and responsibility. People, after all, tend to conform to the expectations society has of them. Race is rarely as salient as class in determining aspiration and whether or not we feel comfortable in positions of power and responsibility. A higher proportion of ethnic minority families have lower incomes. It is because of class, then, not race, that they underachieve."
"The vast majority of Australians believe that parents should be allowed by law to smack naughty children older than five, according to research presented at a major international child protection conference yesterday.
In a paper delivered at the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect conference yesterday, Australian Childhood Foundation head Joe Tucci said 70 per cent of Victorians surveyed in 2002 agreed parents should be allowed to smack children over five years old. Mr Tucci said half of the 301 adults surveyed also said it was OK to smack children over two years old. Only 16 per cent agreed parents should smack a child under two.
He said another national study of 500 people in 2003 found 17 per cent believed that a parent who caused injury to a child while administering discipline should not be charged with assault, while one in five respondents believed a parent who injured a child should not be convicted of assault".
22 September, 2004
THE TRIUMPH OF FEMINISM IN BRITAIN
Loss of traditional standards has its price
"The number of women who are seeking treatment at hospital casualty units after being injured in drunken catfights is rising sharply, consultants warn. Late-night brawls between women who have been binge-drinking are resulting in horrific injuries such as facial wounds caused by "glassing", broken jaws and bleeding scalps, where girls have had their hair pulled out.
Hospital staff, already under pressure from the rising numbers of emergency admissions, say that they are struggling to cope with a "disturbing" increase in the number of intoxicated women requiring treatment. In some areas, the number of admissions has tripled in five years.
Don MacKechnie, the chairman of the British Medical Association's accident and emergency committee and a consultant at Rochdale Infirmary in Lancashire, said that casualty units were being inundated with injured young women, particularly at weekends. "There has certainly been a big increase and some of the fights are really vicious," he said. "It is not just cuts and grazes, but fractured hands as a result of them punching other people, and broken cheekbones."
Amjid Muhammed, a consultant at Calderdale Royal Infirmary in Halifax, West Yorkshire, said that about 45 of the 300 patients seen in accident and emergency over a typical weekend were women wounded in drunken brawls. Five years ago, the typical figure was less than 15. He blamed the three-fold rise on the increasing tendency of groups of young women to binge-drink. "There are women who are intoxicated who are hurting themselves by toppling over or having an accident. Then there are women who are injured in fights. It used to be men but now women are turning up in this state - and even worse than the men in some cases," he said.
Mr Muhammed said that one worrying new trend was "glassing" - women hitting other females with glasses or bottles. "That was something we never used to see, but I have seen a few cases recently," he said. "It causes quite serious injuries - a facial glassing can be very nasty.".....
The rising tide of female violence has been blamed on the growing "ladette" drinking culture, where women ape the worst excesses of loutish male behaviour. Recent Government statistics have revealed that almost a third of 18 to 24-year-old women binge drink.....
Lt Col Andrew Cope, a consultant at Peterborough District Hospital, said that he was dealing with a rising number of women injured in drunken fights. "We tend to have the stereotypical image of the male alcoholic, but women are now involved too," he said. "We have seen women hitting each other with glasses and bottles. The trouble is mainly at weekends and bank holidays, when people have too much to drink and get out of control."....
A study by the Schools Health Education Unit in Exeter published last month found that teenage girls were now drinking more alcohol than boys. Research by Lancaster University published this month will show that children as young as 13 are displaying such "ladette behaviour". Teachers interviewed in the study said that girls were drinking at earlier ages and had become aggressively assertive and arrogant.
One teacher from a secondary school in the north of England said: "Their life is about going out and drinking, and it starts very early. I was shocked when I found out that some of the 13- and 14-year-olds quite regularly go out drinking at the weekend." A pupil at the school described girls in her class as "fighting a lot, punching each other and pushing, swearing and spitting on each other. You don't go near them because they will batter you, just like a lad"."
AND IT'S HAPPENING IN AMERICA TOO
"No sooner had sociologists discovered what they dubbed female alternative aggression -- the unpleasant, but one would think obvious fact that pubertal girls snub, exclude and spread vicious rumors about one other -- than these findings were made inconsequential by another shocker: that when it comes to plain, old-fashioned physical brutality, girls are quickly catching up (and in some instances have caught up) with boys."
21 September, 2004
TAXPAYERS TO PAY FOR FAT
"Earlier this year, the federal government discovered yet another crisis of catastrophic proportions - we're too fat. Bowing to incessant media coverage spurred on by those who continually insist that the "sky is falling," the U.S. government officially recognized that America is weighed-down in an "obesity crisis." And, what's more, we can't save ourselves, at least not without the help of those in Washington, or so they say.
Thus, through what seemed to be an innocuous observation, the federal government promised an ominous intrusion into all our lives. By recognizing obesity as a disease, the Feds took their first definitive steps toward inserting bureaucrats into individual decisions about what we eat and drink, assuring us that the federal government would help us change our "waist-full" ways.
Specifically, Medicare authorities announced in July that all language stating that obesity is not a disease would be removed from the Medicare coverage manual, thereby allowing Medicare payments for obesity treatments. With this change, Medicare will soon underwrite diet programs, behavioral counseling and stomach stapling.
Ignoring all of the pseudo-scientific research that tries to absolve overweight individuals from bearing any responsibility for their size, we should be specific about what obesity really is. Obesity is the inevitable consequence of eating too much and exercising too little. Although saying so violates the sacred tenets of political correctness, obesity is the result of two deadly sins: gluttony and sloth. Classifying obesity as a disease flies in the face of this rather obvious, though unpopular, understanding.....
Despite whatever ludicrous excuses the crusading special interests and avaricious trial lawyers may come up with to shift the blame elsewhere, obesity is still a matter of self-control. No one is forced to eat more calories than they burn, and overweight people can see dramatic improvements in their health and appearance by changing their lifestyles.
Nevertheless, the new talking points used in the obesity debate demonstrate just how far we have wandered from medical and scientific reality. Obesity is now dubbed an "epidemic," a contagion needful of containment. But being overweight is not like contracting the flu or the bubonic plague. It results from a lifetime of individual choices. And just because a large number of people choose to over-indulge and under-exert does not make those choices everyone else's fault.
Using our tax dollars to pay for weight loss sends the wrong message loud and clear: "Obesity is not your fault. You cannot lose weight on your own, so we will spend whatever it takes to help you." If government picks up the tab for overeating, then for what will individuals be held accountable? Personal responsibility will be unnecessary, at the cost of individual freedom. After all, since obesity has been officially dubbed as too big for individuals to deal with on their own, Big Brother will undoubtedly come to our aid, every single one of us, limiting all our choices.
SOCIAL CLASS AND MACDONALDS
A good comment from one of my readers on yesterday's post: "The real danger posed by McDonalds is to Leftist ideology. Anytime you wander into a McDonalds you will see a cross-section of society whether it be the bottom rungs of those who have very little (and will never have much) to the very upper classes who often walk in with the family in tow. It is in these 'fast food' chains, and to a lesser extent the shopping malls, where class distinction becomes at least blurred and over time this distinction will vanish. It is the disappearance of class distinction that is so dangerous to the Left and so that is why we have the rise of the 'food Nazis'.
20 September, 2004
ELITIST CLASS PREJUDICE BEHIND FOOD CORRECTNESS
"In the docu-blockbuster-cum-human-experiment "Super Size Me", released in British cinemas over the weekend, New York filmmaker Morgan Spurlock eats nothing but McDonald's meals three times a day for a month.
Sounds radical, right, taking on the Golden Arches of America and charging them with making poor folk sick and miserable by forcefeeding them junk? In fact, Super Size Me, like so many other anti-McDonald's campaigns, comes with a generous side order of snobbery. Its real target is the people who eat in McDonald's - the apparently stupid, fat, unthinking masses who scoff Big Macs without even asking to see a nutritional and calorie breakdown first. Spurlock and his ilk might hate McDonald's, but they seem to loathe the McMasses even more....
So Spurlock grosses out in order to see what it's like to be one of those gross Americans. Fellow American Cosmo Landesman of The Sunday Times praises him for taking a 'kamikaze dive into the gargantuan blubber-gut and buttock-mountain serial heart-killer and cholesterol free fall that is obese America's fast-food blowout'...
It is striking how morally loaded some of the discussions about food are. In one of the funnier scenes, Healthy Chef Alex - a holistic health counsellor who believes in 'integrating appropriate food choices and lifestyle options' - tries to coax Spurlock away from the 'corrupt' world of meat-eating and towards a Good Life of nuts and lentils. Spurlock visits a school where the pupils are calm and attentive and claims that it's a result of their eating healthy school dinners from the Natural Ovens Bakery rather than the sugary fare stuffed down kids' throats in other districts. Food, it seems, is not only about taste, enjoyment or nutrition; what we eat apparently reveals something of our moral character.
In this, Super Size Me chimes with the times. On both sides of the Atlantic there's a large portion of moralising in the panics over obesity, school dinners, junk-food-guzzling and the rest. What is presented as straightforward medical concern for our health and wellbeing is often really a judgement on lifestyle and behaviour - and especially the lifestyle and behaviour of a certain class of people. In debates about 'bad' foods (McDonald's), fast foods (microwave meals), and fat mums in clingy leggings who make their kids fat too by feeding them 'junk', there's a barely concealed contempt for the working classes, who are presumed to be lazy, feckless and not sufficiently concerned with healthy cooking and fitness. It's there in the terminology: they are seen as 'junk' people....
Instead, at a time when few are willing to say what kind of lifestyle is right and wrong, the lower orders are lambasted for their eating habits and lack of food-consciousness - all in the name of helping to transform them into better healthy happy citizens, of course. The moral divide today is ... between those who eat healthily and those who (allegedly) don't, between good foodies and bad burger-eaters.
Such cheap McMoralism is best summed up in a leaflet produced by McSpotlight, an anti-McDonald's campaign group that encourages local communities in the UK to resist the building of new McDonald's restaurants. Under the heading 'Litter, noise and smells', the leaflet says McDonald's will 'result in noise and disturbances at all hours....the smell from the kitchens, from waste storage and from litter disgarded [sic] by customers may become offensive and attract vermin'. What these campaigns really hate about MaccyD's is the kind of people it attracts; in McSpotlight's leaflet, offensive 'customers' and 'vermin' all merge into a mishmash cautionary tale about the apparent horrors of the modern McDonald's. Meanwhile, inside my local McDonald's, normal-looking families can be seen enjoying their Happy Meals....
19 September, 2004
THOU SHALT EAT CORRECTLY -- IF YOU CAN FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT IS!
Diet correctness is always changing but food fascists still want to impose their current fads on everyone else
"Washington is redrawing the food pyramid - the meal-planning chart that virtually every American knows about but few try to follow. And this time, the effort has become an open food fight, thanks to rising concern about obesity - and the popularity of diets that amount to a full-scale assault on time-honored food groups.....
With nearly 1 in 3 adults considered "obese" and nearly 2 in 3 "overweight," the Department of Health and Human Services this year upgraded obesity from a behavior to a disease. That could put new pressure on healthcare insurers to cover medical costs related to the problem. At the same time, Republicans are urging new legislation to protect the food industry, especially fast-food restaurants, from obesity-related lawsuits....
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been revised every five years since 1980, but never as openly or comprehensively as the revision due out next year, which is currently up for public comment. A final version will be released in January....
In the past, the panels summoned by the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to update the guidelines settled for minor tweaks: The "avoid too much sugar" guideline in 1980 and 85 evolved into "use sugars in only in moderation" in 1990, then "choose a diet moderate in sugars."
In the 2005 revision, sugar is dropped from the list of foods to avoid. So are some fats. Instead, Americans are urged to choose fats and carbohydrates "wisely for good health." The most conspicuous loser is salt, which has taken a heavier hit in every revision cycle. The 2005 draft urges Americans to "choose and prepare foods with little salt," down from "less salt" in the 2000 version and "use salt and sodium only in moderation" in 1995.
The number of Americans deemed obese is up more than 54 percent since the 1995 guidelines were issued.
[So the last lot of guidelines clearly did not do any good. So lets try a new set!]
NOVEL ABOUT PC
One of my readers has written a novel featuring the difficulties that PC creates. Details here
18 September, 2004
THE SELF-ESTEEM HOAX
"Throughout America's schools, educators are busy trying to foster a sense of self-esteem among young people, especially minority students. The basic premise is that racism and discrimination cause minorities to feel bad about themselves, and that this low self-image translates into women avoiding "hard" fields like engineering and into blacks and Hispanics doing poorly in school. If only we raise the self-esteem of these groups, the reasoning goes, surely the women will enroll in engineering courses in greater numbers and the blacks and Hispanics will produce higher test scores.....
One reason teachers of a liberal bent support political correctness is that they believe that stern social controls are needed to prevent insensitivity and bigotry from breaking out, and that those things will gravely injure the self-esteem of women and minorities. So, too, many liberal activists don't like standardized tests because some people do better on those tests than others, and liberals worry that poor-performing students may suffer blows to their self-esteem. One school program, Outcomes Based Education, downplays grades and other measures of merit and instead focuses on such things as maintaining "emotional and social well being" or developing "a positive personal self-concept."....
But does a stronger self-esteem make students learn better? This seems dubious. I am the product of a Jesuit education, and institutions like the Jesuits and the Marines have for generations produced impressive intellectual and motivational results by undermining the self-esteem of recruits. One of my Jesuit teachers liked to say that "be yourself" is absolutely the worst advice you can give some people. He's right: this is not the kind of advice that we want to give to Charles Mansion, or Hitler. Both the Jesuits and the Marines are famous for first degrading the pride and self-image of youngsters, and then seeking to reconstruct it on a new and firmer foundation.
Several years ago a group called the California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem (no, I am not making this up) conducted a study to explore the relationship between self-esteem and academic performance. The study found, to its own evident chagrin, that higher self-esteem does not produce better intellectual performance. Nor does it produce more desirable social outcomes, such as lower teen pregnancy or reduced delinquency.
These findings have been corroborated by academic studies comparing the self-image and academic performance of American students with that of students from other industrialized countries. Consistently, American students score higher on self-esteem. Yet on actual reading and math tests the American students perform near the bottom. These results show that it is possible to have a healthy ego and be ignorant at the same time. Similarly, within the United States, black males have the highest self-esteem of any group. Yet on academic measures black males score the lowest. The reason is that self-esteem in these cases is generated by factors unrelated to studies, such as the ability to beat up other students or a high estimation of one's sexual prowess... "
More here. See also here
17 September, 2004
PC HISTORY IS DECEITFUL HISTORY
"I am sitting in front of my computer in Washington, D.C. The electricity is on, and lights shine overhead; outside, I hear planes, trains, automobiles. Down the street, not far from where I live, are the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. None of this would be remarkable except that the purveyors of politically correct history have declared that it never could have happened. All these inventions, which surround our lives, are of "Euro-American derivation," that is, they derive from inventions by "dead white European males." American history, the PC historians say, is not the story of the triumph of Western European technology or its political institutions. Instead, American history is the result of the "convergence of peoples"-from Europe, to be sure, but also from East Asia, Africa, and, long before, Native Americans across the Bering Straight.
I have no problem-no true student of history does-with acknowledging the gifts of Asians and Africans to the development of the United States. No one can deny that their positive contributions have often been ignored. Asian labor-grossly under-compensated-helped build the transcontinental railroad. African labor-before 1865, almost completely slave-based-built the cotton industry. Native Americans, mostly under-compensated, were here well before us (although there's an argument about whether someone was here before them). One can grant that a "convergence of peoples" built America.
But moderate as well as conservative historians have come to the conclusion that convergence theory and PC history have some serious problems. One is civic: A corollary of the belief in the equivalent importance of the contribution of each of the "converging peoples" is multiculturalism, not E Pluribus Unum. America has been enriched by many ethnicities; however, if we have more than one culture, we may not, in the long run, have one nation. You cannot uproot a nation's laws and customs from the soil in which they've grown for centuries and expect them to continue to bear fruit.
There is yet another, more fundamental problem. Convergence theory does not explain the technology by which we work, learn, travel, and live longer than ever before. It does not account for the House or Senate, the Constitution, or the First Amendment. To explain these, you must return to English parliamentarianism, the Magna Carta, maybe even the Athenian agora.
The fact is, we live in a world primarily shaped by what PC historians call "Euro-American" ideas. If one simply analyzes how we transport ourselves, each of our primary means-the steam engine, electrical locomotion, the internal combustion engine, gas-powered engines mounted on wings, jets-are all Euro-American inventions. Computers (the first, it's argued, invented by Byron's daughter, of all people) are of Euro-American derivation. Our medicine has been enriched by the rediscovery of pre-Enlightenment uses of herbs and acupuncture from China and relaxation therapies from the East; we would, however, be lost in the Dark Ages without Pasteur, Salk, and Fleming.
This doesn't mean that non-Euro-American cultures are without value or that their study is worthless. Nor does it mean that Euro-American civilization is morally perfect; no Christian could say that of anything human. Nevertheless, it is simply true that PC historians are teaching young students not just something politically objectionable but also something far worse: They are not teaching history at all. For all their knowledge of separate and discrete facts, they've let their premises drive them to unscholarly, nonhistorical conclusions. Knowledge may be power, but knowledge, in this instance, is certainly not wisdom. As an embarrassed history professor said in the Los Angeles Times after September 11, "It is time to admit that this generation of historians-with some notable exceptions-has yet to deliver to students and to the public a usable and balanced interpretation of the past." ....
The only way to make Euro-American males the only bad guys in town is simply by distorting the historical record. If students were allowed to study the whole of world and American history in context, they'd come away not just with a historically valid understanding of a multipolar world, but with the sure knowledge that evil isn't the unique property of Western civilization....
Unfortunately, many PC historians grew up or matured during the Vietnam era and tend to see everything through that prism. America is their Evil Empire. While many non-Western nations have done evil things, PC history ignores this. As Yale history professor Donald Kagan has said, "the admirable, even the uniquely good elements [of America] are taken for granted as if they were universally available, had always existed, and required no special effort to preserve. All shortcomings, however, are quickly noticed and harshly condemned. Our society is judged not against the experiences of human societies in other times and places, but against the kingdom of Heaven.""
16 September, 2004
INCORRECTNESS IS DANGEROUS
It shows who the real threats to civilization and tolerance are
"But there may be a genuine political climate of fear in some parts of the United States - including my corner of Los Angeles:
Many Republicans are afraid to put Bush-Cheney bumper stickers on their cars or signs on their lawns because they are afraid of physical retaliation from angry liberals.
It is not just that one sees few Bush-Cheney bumper stickers and lawn signs - even in areas in which one knows his support is high. I do not have such a bumper sticker or lawn sign. In fact, most Bush supporters I have asked, even those who are fairly passionate on the topic, just don't think the risk of a key-scratch or broken home or car window, or much worse, is worth whatever benefit one receives from a partisan bumper sticker or lawn sign. There are just too many personal stories of cars and homes defaced and damaged.
The sentiment is not symmetrical: One sees plenty of Kerry-Edwards bumper stickers and lawn signs - even in highly Republican neighborhoods. Indeed,one sees plenty of such stickers and signs that express left-wing sentiments much more intense and partisan than mere support of the Democratic presidential ticket. Not infrequently these stickers and signs mention some form of violence or even death with respect to Republican officials".
From Robert Musil
I think it worth noting that Leftist aggression and intolerance of other views is neither recent nor confined to the USA. At the time of Ronald Reagan's second run for the Presidency, I put a "Reagan/Bush" sticker on the back window of my car in AUSTRALIA only to have it torn off within days. I then put up a sticker promoting a very prominent local conservative politician -- Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen -- and it was soon torn off too. I guess Leftists must feel very threatened by dissent. Since the whole of reality threatens their nutty views, I guess there is a lot of reason for them to feel threatened
15 September, 2004
FOOD SNOBBERY IS BEHIND FOOD CORRECTNESS
"Professor Tom Sanders notes ... 'the best advice at present is to focus on achieving a balanced diet, rather than demonising or promoting certain foods.' Only an idiot would think that eating nothing but one kind of fast food for a month represented the best possible lifestyle. Spurlock was force-feeding himself, consuming as much as 5,000 calories a day - about double the usual daily requirements for a man - and doing absolutely no exercise. No wonder he felt unwell.
But even an unrelenting diet of McDonald's food is not necessarily bad for you. As Dr Ruth Kava of the American Council on Science and Health notes, such a diet may be low in one or two minerals and vitamins, and higher in saturated fat than is usually recommended. But actually, on most measures, such a diet would be entirely satisfactory. Try eating nothing but fruit for a month - the effect would be much worse.
Super Size Me might make good comedy, but it's feeble science. What is so disappointing is that Spurlock's film, which has more in common with gross-out self-abuse films like Jackass than serious documentary, has been given such a reverent hearing - because it keys into the overblown panic about obesity, and the contempt for big corporations. It also appeals to a certain snobbery about McDonald's, among those who prefer their body to be 'a temple', not look like one."
The "sprawl causes obesity" rag digs into your wallet
"The National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control have announced they will give out $5 million in research grants for projects to examine "understanding the role of the built environment in causing/exacerbating obesity and related co-morbidities; and, second, developing, implementing, and evaluating prevention/intervention strategies that influence parameters of the built environment in order to reduce the prevalence of overweight, obesity and co-morbidities."
Your tax dollars at work, folks.
My favorite part is the discussion of how much more of a problem obesity is where crime makes people afraid to get out and walk. So we need to study how improving the "built environment" can help save these people from getting fat. This is like suggesting we study how many calories people burn dodging bullets and running for cover.
NEWS ALERT for NIH and CDC --you clowns. People who can't go out of their house because of crime have a crime problem, not a diet problem. How about we focus our resources on that first?
But no, instead we will get some nice studies about how really nice sidewalks and taxpayer funded gyms in central cities will sweat away the obesity health crisis."
Post reproduced from Out of Control
14 September, 2004
PC FAILS AUSTRALIAN BLACKS
Black activist Noel Pearson speaks:
"In the '60s my family lived in a two-bedroom fibro house, like everybody else in the Mission you know. No hot water, outdoor toilet, bones and tripe to eat at night, you know, terrible diet. Terribly poor. I think the highest wage cheque I ever saw my father draw was $45 for a week's work, you know? And yet despite that material deprivation we were socially strong. There was not the degree of alcoholism as there is today, violence was almost non-existent; there was nobody in jail back then. And yet today we've got all the benefits of life on the safety net and we've got scores of people in jail. Violence week to week, and these tremendous problems. There's a lot of people who share my sense of question about what has happened and it's those people who I think are seriously saying the same thing I am, that we've got to get out of this dependency, because the dependency has killed the will to live really, the will to work. You know, it sounds terribly conservative and terribly old-fashioned to talk about the fact that we've got to restore work, and work was part of our traditional life, you know, a huge part of our traditional life. It was harder work than it is living in this modern society, and yet we tend to think that Aboriginal people and work are somehow foreign to each other".
"At the core of Pearson's thinking is a concept very difficult to many people and it sits particularly uncomfortably with the Left. In Cape York, he says, the practice of each individual getting awelfare cheque, with no strings attached, doesn't work. Welfare without responsibility has made many communities of Cape York 'the most dysfunctional societies on the planet', he says. Noel Pearson is only talking about Cape York, and his 'mob' as he calls them. It's part of the Aboriginal tradition that you speak only for your own 'country', or area.
In white society the idea that each eligible individual has the right to welfare and the right to spend it as he or she sees fit, is fundamental to the welfare system. That's fine, says Pearson, but Aboriginal cultures are based on family and family responsibility.
To the progressive 'Left' his ideas can sound like paternalism. But Pearson is actually talking about giving people more control over their lives. He's adamant the problems will only be solved if the bureaucracies come together as one, and then hand over some of the responsibility to Aboriginal communities themselves".
Pearson speaks again
"I think I've come to a very late-in-life view about the problems of the bureaucratisation of Aboriginal affairs and Aboriginal society. We are inmates of an institution, an historical institution, these communities; and these communities can be really debilitating of individual endeavour and family responsibility and family. I think that we've got to break out of those bureaucratic structures and create more room, more freedom for people to take up opportunities and solve problems. Those are the two things we've got to do. Seize opportunities, solve problems.
13 September, 2004
DO OBESITY WARRIORS ENCOURAGE HOMOPHOBIA?
"I wish I weighed a little bit less. Or a lot less. And I often fear, to paraphrase Kingsley Amis, that I'm heading in the wrong direction, that inside of me is an even fatter me waiting to get out. I'm not alone. A recent study found that 80% of the American people are overweight. Many of us seem to have trouble saying no to that second piece of pie, the super-sizing of fries and the longing to lay on the couch burning up as few calories as possible....
But like everything else these days, the personal is political. Some people say my weight problem is your problem and vice versa. Obesity is related to higher risks of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and lots of other unpleasant outcomes. According to the Surgeon General of the United States, obesity costs the United States $117 billion a year. It's reaching "epidemic proportions." He estimates that as many as 300,000 people may die prematurely due to obesity, approaching the death toll from tobacco.
There are two magic words in the Surgeon General's language-epidemic and tobacco. Using the word epidemic conveys the impression that obesity is a disease and therefore an appropriate concern of the nation's premier public health official. It suggests that personal choice and responsibility are irrelevant. And by invoking tobacco, he sets the stage for regulation and other intervention to help us get thinner.....
But if obesity causes health problems, doesn't that justify government's involvement? After all, if we taxpayers have to foot the bill for some of those higher health care costs, don't we have the right to intervene in each others lives?
I think that logic is grotesque. But it's more than grotesque. It's dangerous. AIDS is a very costly disease, and some of those costs are born by taxpayers. AIDS is associated with certain sexual practices. Does that justify government regulation in the bedroom? I don't think so. But my eating habits or yours don't justify the government's involvement in the kitchen, either."
12 September, 2004
ONLY CHRISTIAN CULTURE IS INCORRECT
Now if she had been a Muslim .....
"A music specialist employed by the Idaho Falls School District #91 is suing the district for refusing to accept graduate credits and cutting her pay after she voiced personal religious objections to teaching rap and rock music. Kay Bannister, who recently began her 36th year as an educator, teaches music to approximately 2,400 students in Idaho Falls each year. However, problems between Bannister and the district began to surface four years ago when she was transferred from junior high band director to elementary music specialist. As band director, she was allowed to choose the music she taught. As music specialist, most of the music is chosen for her, specifically in regards to the annual fifth-grade musical performed for thousands of Idaho Falls residents......
During the 2001-2002 school year, as part of the selected school musical based on an American history curriculum, Bannister was instructed to teach "The Pledge of Allegiance" set to rap music and a Negro spiritual titled "Good News," set to a similar beat.
Because of her strong religious objections to this type of music, she voiced her concerns to the administration. As a result, "I was verbally reprimanded and told to teach this music. I refused as kindly as I knew how. I received an official letter commanding me to teach and conduct the music. I again refused quietly and kindly."
Within a month of her complaint and refusal, Bannister's credits from Bob Jones University, a non-denominational university lacking national accreditation, were called into question and soon deemed as unacceptable credits for furthering her advancement on the pay scale. The district also cut her pay at that time. "The pay cut happened directly during their struggle to get me to teach music I objected to," Bannister said. "They had been paying me for every credit I had submitted to them from BJU since the day I was hired in August of 1997."
"In effect, they have frozen my pay for years to come. It took seven years and thousands of dollars to gain the 36 credits and [master's] degree I received from BJU. This has a significant effect on my retirement pay. My stand is small, but I will be heard," Bannister said
WHEN TWO CORRECTNESSES COLLIDE: ANTI-DISCRIMINATION AND ANTI-FAT
"For the next 12 months, Diane Inch will be preaching the gospel of healthy eating. But whether anyone will listen to her remains to be seen - since she herself tips the scales at 19 stone and admits to a liking for crisps and sugary drinks. The 40-year-old Liberal Democrat councillor will also lecture children and adults in the Cheshire borough of Halton about the benefits of sporting activity, even though she is clinically obese and doesn't play any herself. 'I don't have the time to exercise,' she said as she prepared to launch her campaign yesterday. 'I just pick through the day because of my fast-track life.'
She admits she is a 'prime example' of the obesity epidemic but doesn't think this will put anyone off taking her advice. Miss Inch, a childminder from Runcorn, came up with the idea for a 'Healthy Eating Scrutiny task group' after discussions with other councillors. She will carry out surveys of eating habits and be on hand to 'educate people' about healthy lifestyles for the next 12 months.....
On a typical day Miss Inch, who has a son, says she tucks into a healthy breakfast of fruit and yoghurt, a sandwich for lunch and a salad for evening meal. She does, however, admit treating herself to the occasional takeaway or bar of chocolate.
Between 1995 and 2002, obesity levels among children rose by 25 per cent, with junk food and lack of exercise largely to blame. Experts warn that, without prompt action, diseases associated with obesity will cost the NHS o3.6billion a year by 2010.
Nutritionist and author Natalie Savona said: 'There are different ways at looking how to inspire people to follow best practice whether it is to do with obesity or smoking - scare tactics for example. 'Councillor Inch might be good if she walks around and tells people, "Give up or look like me" but a better approach would be to have someone who not only talks the talk but someone who walks the walk too.'
But Halton council issued a statement saying: 'Members of the health scrutiny group are chosen purely on merit and we are disappointed at the suggestion that personal issues such as this are considered to be relevant.'"
11 September, 2004
GOOSE-STEP REQUIRED IN SAN FRANCISCO
Fireman John Darminin has charged into burning buildings, but said his hottest assignment was serving in union leadership as a Republican. The Redwood City resident and former director of the San Francisco Firefighters Union Local 798 said the union ordered him to remove a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker from his car in 2000 and to take down his Web site that was critical of liberal San Francisco politicians. And those were just some of the many attacks on his conservative political beliefs that have left him bitter. "I thought I was back in the Soviet Union," Darminin said.
The Bay Area prides itself on its openness and acceptance, but many local Republicans said they have been met with intense hostility for their political beliefs. They said they've endured everything from rude remarks to threats and physical violence. Some said the McCarthy-era paranoia about Communists aptly describes how they often feel. "There's a lot of teachers out there that are closet Republicans because they are so afraid if they say anything in their workplace, they will be retaliated against," said Karen King, the chair of the County's Republican Party. "That's the ugliness that I would like to get rid of.....
Harold Hoogasian, a Republican who owns a chain of flower stores in San Francisco, recalled the chilly reception he got when he ran for the city's Board of Supervisors in the early '90s. The office is non-partisan. He said he appeared before San Francisco's Democratic Central Committee to try to get their endorsement, but he was interrupted midway through his presentation by a committee member. "Mr. Hoogasian, are you a Republican?" he remembers being asked. When Hoogasian answered yes, the committee member replied: "We don't need to hear any more from you."
THOU SHALT EAT WHAT WE TELL YOU
Even if ideas of good diet are always changing
A boxful of fat, salt and sugar! Sure sounds yukky: "Parents are sending their children to school with lunch boxes that are packed with fat, salt and sugar. Three out of four of the 5m lunches prepared at home each day fail to meet government guidelines on healthy school meals, a survey by the Food Standards Agency has found. ... The FSA survey looked at packed lunches in 688 schools around the country. The agency has drawn up tips for parents on how to make lunch boxes healthier by including more fruit and vegetables, nuts and fish, and swapping chocolate bars for currant buns."
They recommend nuts, fish etc. and condemn candy bars but don't they know that many schools ban nuts (and peanut butter) because of allergies, that fish quickly goes bad, and that baked goods often have more fat than candy bars? You can't win with food fads!
10 September, 2004
Conservatism incorrect in New York: "God bless Dr. Martin Luther King. It is in the tradition of what he fought for that today even we Republicans in New York City feel we can come out of the closet. And we have been doing so steadily over the past five years. Especially this week, it's a New York I hardly recognize -- certainly not the one where I spent my first nine years mastering the art of hiding. It turns out that for every five Democrats in New York, there is a whopping one Republican. That's not sarcasm; 1 to 5 is whopping, considering that it used to be far fewer, and felt like 1 to 1,000. Only a few years ago, encountering another conservative in New York was a scene reminiscent of the mischievous recognition among non-zombies in the 1978 version of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers.'"
HOW INCORRECT CAN YOU GET?
Behaviour linked not only to genes but to the genes for blue eyes!
"A research project presented by Eric Naevdal, researcher at the Agricultural University of Norway and Princeton University, indicates that there is a connection between blue eyes and drinking patterns. Blue-eyed persons appear to be more constrained or shy in a larger degree than others and use alcohol to fight this in social settings.
According to Naevdal, a drinking pattern will evolve if there are a certain number of blue-eyed people in a setting over time and it will spread to people with brown and green eyes.
"Blue-eyes are a typical example of something that is genetically or hereditarily coded, and of the shyness is part of the package, it is also genetically coded," N`vdal said to the Norwegian paper VG. "If we look at the prejudices that exists in Europe, this fits well with the way a person from southern Europe would describe a Scandinavian, reserved and not very proactive.""
9 September, 2004
TIME TO DITCH THE PC RELIGION THAT DEFENDS ISLAMIC BARBARITY
"With the psychopathic cruelty at a Russian elementary school, have we reached the point where people of goodwill can ask serious questions about Muslims and Islam? Or are any challenging questions still to be dismissed as "Muslim bashing" or, even more absurdly, "racist," as if religion were a race?
The truth is that everyone with a conscience has questions about Muslims and Islam. But the most powerful religion in America, the religion of tolerance, has rendered it almost impossible to ask any such questions. Most people are so afraid of being branded intolerant that the most natural and goodhearted questions are only posed by the handful who have the courage to do so (usually conservative Christians).
But good Muslims should welcome fair questions and not dismiss them as manifestations of bigotry. Most Americans have no a priori view of Islam. As far as they are concerned, it is one more religion that its practitioners ought to be able to practice in peace just as the members of every other faith in America do.
Given this background, it is with the greatest sadness that I feel compelled to ask two questions: First, is there anything in Islam or in the way Islam is now taught and practiced that dulls the conscience and thereby enables many religious Muslims to engage in or support atrocities that other groups, religious and secular, find inconceivable?
Second, the laudable condemnations of Islamic terror made by the Islamic Center notwithstanding, why are there virtually no public demonstrations of Muslims against the unspeakable evils committed by its adherents?
And while posing questions, here are two for liberals: Why are almost the only people asking these questions aloud conservative and religious? Where are you when it comes to acknowledging evil? Yes, some people do shoot children, and good people have a right to ask why".
Some real hate speech: "How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk?... The Union is what needs defending this year. Government of Enron and by Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the same as what Lincoln spoke of" -- excerpted from Garrison Keillor's new book, Homegrown Democrat, (2004) published by Viking
8 September, 2004
SPORTS REALITY OVERCOMES PC -- EVEN IN SWEDEN
"The march of the concept of Human Biological Diversity into the mainstream continues. As Steve Sailer has noted, the clarity of group differences in sports have required a high level of Political Correctness in order to keep people from observing the obvious. Therefore, it is not surprising that it is in the world of sports, where the differences stand out the most that the anti-HBD cordon sanitaire comes crumbling down first.
In a recent science column (on the Op-Ed page!) in Sweden's premier broadsheet "Dagens Nyheter", Jenny Jewert explains why various population groups succeed so exceptionally well in certain sports:
No, the reasons are to be found in biology. The Kenyans have lighter calves and a higher concentration of an enzyme, that causes lactic acid to accumulate slower in the muscles, compared to runners from other parts of the world. The west Africans have a larger share of "fast" muscle fibres and a constitution that is tailor-made for explosive sports. Researchers are Convinced that there is a genetic background for these physiological differences.
The catalyst for this sea change is, not surprisingly, research into the genetic basis of sporting success. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before research into more complex and less observable traits reach a similar stage. Nonetheless, the conquest of the bastion of sports is an important step on the road to mainstream acceptance for HBD. The power of allegory and example is large in public and private discussion; having a widely accepted and clear example of HBD in action will be very useful in winning acceptance for HBD in other areas.
The above is a copy of a recent post on Gene Expression
7 September, 2004
CATHOLIC MASS INCORRECT -- EVEN IN A CATHOLIC COUNTRY!
A decision by Malta International Airport to stop announcing daily Mass on the airport's public address system has annoyed workers who used to find the announcement useful as a reminder. The decision, taken a few months ago, was apparently the result of comments by foreign travellers that to announce that a Mass was about to be celebrated could be taken to be "fundamentalistic and extremist".
Airport Catholic chaplain Victor Enriquez said when contacted that the decision had been taken by the MIA board but he did not wish to comment further about it. One worker said that such announcements were not uncommon at airports abroad. They were made in Milan and Frankfurt, for example. "Why should they be stopped in Malta, a predominantly Catholic country?" he asked.
It is understood that another reason for the announcements no longer being made was so as to restrict the use of the PA system as much as possible to flight information only. But the astounded worker asked how could the PA system not be able to cope with the announcement of one Mass a day and two Masses on Sundays.
SMALL DISTRICT TAKES ON BIG ANTI-CHRISTIAN BULLIES
It is resisting moves that would prevent it from even noticing sexual oddballs -- dangerous or not and regardless of their influence on the children
"Months after narrowly avoiding severe financial sanctions because of its controversial stand against a state anti-discrimination regulation, the Westminster School District resumed the fight Thursday, voting to sue the state Department of Education. Voting 3 to 2, the small Orange County district agreed to become the plaintiff in a case planned and funded by the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian legal organization that recently argued against same-sex marriages before the California Supreme Court.
At issue is a part of the state education code - and the accompanying regulation written to enforce it - that is meant to protect transsexual teachers and students, as well as others who do not conform to traditional gender roles, from discrimination at school.
Mark Bucher, the lawyer the district hired in April, said the definitions of "gender" in the education code and the regulation contradict each other. The lawsuit, he said, is aimed at forcing state education officials to rewrite the regulation. The education code defines gender as a victim's biological sex or the perception of their sex by those accused of discriminating against them, while the regulation defines gender as "a person's actual sex or perceived sex."
The distinction between the two is important to trustees Judy Ahrens, Helena Rutkowski and Blossie Marquez. Citing their Christian beliefs, they have said the regulation is immoral because it allows people to define their gender..... The lawsuit, they said, is necessary to protect districts from discrimination claims that could arise because of the vague definitions.
With state schools chief Jack O'Connell threatening to withhold nearly $8 million in school funding, the three trustees repeatedly refused to revise the district's anti-discrimination policies to reflect the regulation's definition of gender. In April, as a state deadline for compliance passed, the trustees relented and adopted a policy that technically satisfied O'Connell's demands. The threats of financial sanctions were dropped.
To assuage their moral objections, however, the board inserted language from the state code into the district policy to prohibit claims that are based on how a victim perceives his or her sex."
6 September, 2004
THE FEMINIST TYRANNY
Neil Lyndon's world came crashing down after he wrote a pioneering article in The Sunday Times attacking feminism. He was treated as a pariah, and his young son was taken from him. Now that his boy has grown up, the writer has decided to set the record straight:
Ten years ago my life took a peculiar turn. From December 1990 until the middle of the decade, the common round was regularly spiced with unusual surprise. One day, I would open a newspaper and find it telling the world that I must be impotent. Another day, I would read that I must have a little penis. While I was eating lunch at home with the woman I lived with, her eyes might drift over the page of a magazine and, seeing my name, she would read that I obviously couldn't get a girlfriend.
Walking through the aisle of a commuter train, going to the buffet car to get coffee, I would suddenly realise that many of my fellow passengers, casually turning the pages of their morning newspaper, were yawning over photographs from my wedding in 1977 and glancing at banner headlines which told them I had gone off my trolley....
These unusual experiences came my way because I had written some articles and a book. The first and most controversial of these articles was a 5,000-word essay published in The Sunday Times Magazine in December 1990. That essay was given the title (which I felt to be misleading) "Badmouthing". In it, I committed the offence of writing sceptically, even disrespectfully, about feminism. I raised some doubts about the central claims of feminism and I questioned some of the fundamental tenets of its ideology.... I had achieved something that may be unique in our age: I had committed an unpardonable heresy.
In an era of no faiths, no moral certainties and no saints, it is almost impossible to say something that so outrages a common creed that its author will be banished or ostracised. Any view or opinion is permissible on the monarchy, the church, political leaders and other public figures. Treason has been abolished. Indecency does not exist. There are, effectively, no limits remaining on the licence extended to entertainers. Yet my writing resulted not only in my professional ruin: it also made me an untouchable. Over the 20 years of my career before Badmouthing, I had made friends with many fashionable people - writers, actors, sports and television celebrities, some of the best-known names in the media here and in America. After Badmouthing, most of these people cut off all connection with me and have never contacted me since. Neighbours looked the other way when they saw me in the street and strangers shifted away from me on the Underground. These things happened. Truly.
What had I said? What could I have written that was so violently offensive? The starting-point for this essay was to say that an atmosphere of intolerance surrounded men. In advertising, in entertainment and in the news media, it had become commonplace for men collectively to be seen as mentally and culturally inferior - idiotic, im-practical, ineducable, violent and slobbish by nature and incapable of love both as husbands and fathers. My article was probably the first to be published in a major newspaper in the West which said that the routine separation of tens of thousands of children from their fathers through the divorce courts was the most serious human rights issue of our time. I think I was the first journalist to suggest that boys, not girls, might share a collective disadvantage in schools. And Badmouthing was definitely the first article in the national media to observe that, while women's illnesses were the focus of immense concentration and spending on research, illnesses that affected men only, such as prostate cancer, were ignored by medical science.
Many of those observations are now commonly accepted. Government campaigns urge men to be screened and to check themselves for prostate cancer. The position of boys in education and of young men in employment is generally agreed to be a subject for concern. The divorce courts are, broadly speaking, a little more protective towards the relationship between children and their fathers. Looking back on what was published then, I think most people would now feel that the arguments I advanced were reasonable and the evidence I produced was sound.
So what was the trouble? If the essay had concentrated only on the dilemmas and difficulties of modern men and boys, it might have excited debate but probably not uproar.
But I went further. I connected the intolerance that was allowed towards men and the neglect of their disadvantages to the universal dominance of feminism. We could not see that men truly did share some serious social disadvantages, I argued, because feminism had appropriated all gender inequalities to women. If we lived in the society generally described by feminists - a patriarchal society organised by men for the benefit of men - it was impossible in logic for inequalities for men to exist at all. My article was received, therefore, as an assault on the foundations of feminism - and, indeed, that is exactly what I had intended it to be. It followed that, if everybody agreed feminism was correct, there must be something wrong with me. I must be mad. Or morally defective. Or several inches short in the penis. Or sexually inadequate. Perhaps my wife had left me. Or I couldn't get a girlfriend. It certainly was not possible that I might be right on some points or might have a good case in general. That possibility was unthinkable. Everybody at that time either agreed with the essential propositions of feminism or had the good sense to keep quiet. As my treatment was to show, any voice that was raised in dissent would be silenced.......
5 September, 2004
AN AMAZING LEFTIST DENIAL THAT POLITICAL CORRECTNESS EXISTS:
Leftists are quite a showcase of psychological defence mechanisms. They need them. Reality is too often uncooperative with their simplistic theories. Take this example from Krugman. Speaking of the recent Republican convention he says: "But the vitriol also reflects the fact that many of the people at that convention, for all their flag-waving, hate America. They want a controlled, monolithic society; they fear and loathe our nation's freedom, diversity and complexity". An example of the old Leftist "projection" strategy: Accusing others of what is in fact true of yourself. But the simplest defence mechanism of all, of course, is denial. You just refuse to see what is there. I can still remember Western Communists dismissing accounts of life under Stalin as "inventions of the capitalist press".
Unsurprisingly, therefore, we find in The Guardian recently a classic example of denial. A column by Polly Toynbee claimed:
" The phrase "political correctness" is a capacious portmanteau into which all modern conservative fears and dislikes are packed. Since no one on the left ever laid claim to it, in itself it is an empty, meaningless suitcase that signifies no more than the speaker's own reactionary political predilections"
I think in the circumstances that an extended look at some examples of that "non-existent" phenomenon is warranted:
"Around the same time that Oklahoma State approved its harassment policy, a controversy erupted at Oregon State University after the student paper, The Daily Barometer, ran an article by staff columnist David Williams titled "A message from a white male to the African American community." Williams argued that one reason for the social ills disproportionately afflicting blacks is that character and accountability in the black community are undermined by a tendency to rally around prominent African-Americans behaving badly, from O.J. Simpson to singer R. Kelly, currently facing child pornography charges on the basis of a videotape allegedly showing him having sex with an underage girl.
Williams went out of his way to qualify his message, saying he realized his article could be seen as "picking on the worst" of the African-American community and that his judgment on the issue might be suspect because he is not black. "I have never been the victim of racism," he wrote. "I am a white male. This all is very easy for me to say." Williams nonetheless concluded that blacks "need to grow beyond the automatic reaction of defending someone because he or she shares the same skin color and is in a dilemma."
Maybe it was a good column making a necessary point, and maybe it was tired and condescending. But the reaction went far beyond criticism of Williams’ arguments or tone. Following a protest rally, The Daily Barometer ran a groveling editorial that repeatedly apologized for printing the column and called its publication "an inexcusable mistake." Williams was fired from his position as columnist. At a campus forum held a few days later, university president Ed Gray called the incident a "teachable moment" -- the teaching in question, of course, being about diversity and institutional racism, not about freedom of the press. The Barometer’s Forum editor, Christina Stewart, offered yet another apology for letting the offending article appear. (In a twist, it was subsequently revealed that Williams’ column had been inspired by an article on a similar subject by the Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., who is black.)
This case is one of many recent examples of politically correct censorship of campus journalism. April, apparently, is the cruelest month for student papers: April Fool’s Day editions are especially likely to incur the wrath of the sensitivity police. At Carnegie-Mellon University, a joke edition of The Tartan, which contained admittedly (and intentionally) offensive racial and sexual humor, resulted in the paper suspending publication for the rest of the semester and agreeing to future content review by the administration.
Thanksgiving, it seems, can be risky too. In 2003 the South Missouri State University student daily, The Standard, got in trouble for a cartoon in which a pilgrim on the second Thanksgiving complained to his wife that the Indians "brought corn...again." This joke was deemed offensive to Native Americans. The administration is still investigating The Standard’s editor-in-chief, Mandy Philips, and faculty adviser, Wanda Brandon, with possible sanctions pending. It is worth noting that SMSU, unlike Carnegie-Mellon, is a public institution bound, under current law, by the First Amendment.
Litigation by FIRE and other groups has resulted in some victories for free speech. In February of this year, the University of California at Irvine and the University of Colorado at Boulder reversed their bans on "affirmative action bake sales," protests in which cookies were sold at higher prices to Asians and whites than to blacks and Hispanics in order to illustrate the absurdity of awarding extra points to minority college applicants. In March, Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania revised a student code of conduct under which any speech that "annoyed" or "alarmed" someone became a potential target. FIRE and its legal networks had filed lawsuits in both cases.
But larger problems remain. A survey conducted by FIRE last year found that more than half of college students at both public and private institutions believe that a student club espousing traditional beliefs about women’s roles should not be allowed on campus; this view is also shared by a quarter of administrators at public universities and nearly half the administrators at private ones. Other results from the survey confirm that when it comes to unpopular views on such issues as abortion or homosexuality, many college students and administrators hold freedom of expression in fairly low regard. One recent trend is for Christian student groups to be denied recognition if they "discriminate" by requiring their leadership to subscribe to the Christian faith."
So what do we call all that? Political Correctness, political censorship, denial of free speech, Stalinism? Let Polly Toynbee and her fellow Guardianistas take their choice. Any of those labels will do just fine as I am concerned. You could even call it Polly-Toynbeeism and it would soon get known for the tyrannical monstrosity that it is. It is the underlying and inescapable reality that matters.
Peter Briffa dissects other absurd assertions in the Toynbee sermon
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
4 September, 2004
CLASS WAR IN AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS
Leftists have still not accepted Australia's long tradition of Federal subsidies for non-government (mostly church-run) schools
"Thankfully, long gone are the days of the acrimonious debate over state aid. The overwhelming majority of Australians support the existence of both government and non-government schools and accept that parental choice in education is a democratic right.
Not so the Australian Education Union, the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens. All, to varying degrees, argue against non-government schools and seek to penalise those parents who send their children to independent schools. The union's 1998 curriculum policy argues: "that the resources of governments should be wholly devoted to the public systems which are open to all" (4.5).
As might be expected from a left-wing union, the belief is that education should be a state monopoly and parents choosing the non-government system should be made to pay more. Evidence of the union's continued antipathy to non-government schools is easy to find. The union is embarked on a campaign to destroy the Howard Government based on the (mistaken) premise that independent schools are over-funded (visit http://aeu-vic.labor.net.au/ campaigns/).
The Labor Party also is a critic of nongovernment schools and, while acknowledging their right to receive some government funding, argues that many receive too much money and that priority must be given to government schools. To quote Opposition Leader Mark Latham, when interviewed on ABC radio: "We'll be taking money off the overfunded schools..."
While many associate the Greens with koalas and the environment, the party's schools policy is far from soft and cuddly. If in a position of power after the next election, the Greens pledge to abolish the SES system of funding non-government schools and reintroduce the Labor-designed New Schools Policy. The New Schools Policy was introduced by Labor to bolster the ailing government school system by making it almost impossible to establish new non-government schools. The Greens also wish to abolish funding to the so-called wealthiest non-government schools, categories 1 and 2 under the old funding scheme, and to significantly reduce funding to category 3 schools.
The union, the ALP and the Greens also argue that the Howard Government fails to properly fund government schools. Ignored is that the overwhelming responsibility for funding the public system resides with state governments and that, over the past five to six years, such governments have drained schools of resources.
That such attacks on non-government schools are illogical and counterproductive is easy to prove. Every time a parent decides to send a child to a non-government school, more money is freed up for the government school system. With government schools, the average student government recurrent funding (2001-2002) is just under $9000.
On average, students attending nongovernment schools receive approximately $5000 in government recurrent funding - a saving to government of $4000 for each student. Not only are parents who make the choice saving governments money, their taxes also fund the government school system. Based on research carried out by the Productivity Commission, it is estimated the financial sacrifice of non-government school parents amounts to a S4.2 billion annual saving to governments across Australia. Money that can be spent in other areas such as welfare and health. As demonstrated in 1962 in Goulburn, NSW, when the local Catholic authorities closed their system and 2200 additional students suddenly knocked on the door of their overcrowded public schools, the government system would collapse if not for the presence of non-government schools.....
Notwithstanding that non-government schools save governments billions of dollars, such schools have become a target of the Left in the federal election. Why is this so? One reason is because teacher unions define non-government schools as elitist and guilty of promoting a "competitive and culturally biased system of education". While the Berlin Wall may have collapsed, those running the union still believe in the class war and non-government schools are an easy target.....
Ignored is that parents are voting with their feet (32 per cent of students now attend non-government schools, up from 22 per cent in 1980)..."
(The above is excerpted from an article by Kevin Donnelly that appeared in the Brisbane "Courier Mail" on September 2nd., 2004)
3 September, 2004
IS THERE ANY SPHERE OF PRIVATE LIFE THAT THE MODERN DICTATORS WILL NOT INVADE?
"Succumbing to complaints, state officials have relaxed their ban on sugary treats enough to allow birthday cakes and cupcakes back into elementary school classrooms. Texas Department of Agriculture spokesman Allen Spelce said Tuesday that officials rescinded the ban on birthday baked goods last week after concluding such treats are a time-honored tradition. "We didn't realize how important cupcakes were," he added.
Changes to the state's public school nutrition policy caused, of all things, concern, consternation and controversy over the humble cupcake. The policy went into effect Aug. 1. Aimed at improving student health, the policy restricts the amount of fat and sugar in school meals, as well as "the portion sizes of chips, cookies, frozen desserts and beverages."
"We have been taking a number of phone calls from parents, teachers, superintendents, principals and PTA groups," Spelce said. "Everybody has been very positive about the policy. The one question they had been bringing up was the cupcake rule." At Twain Elementary School, parent Irene Lahart called the cupcake ban ridiculous and said she was happy to hear that state officials crumbled under public pressure. She explained that children "want to be celebrated on their birthday.""
2 September, 2004
OBESITY WARRIORS AT WORK
But they love their work: Power!
Hatred of sweetness: "Here we go again. Another day, another 'scientific' study and another group of doctors using junk science to scare the public. A new study entitled, 'Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Weight Gain, and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Young and Middle-Aged Women,' appeared in the August 25 edition of the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA). Like many before them, the authors attempt to strike fear into the hearts of consumers."
Fitness vs. fatness: "Does BMI stand for 'Big Malarkey Index?' asks reporter Carolyn Susman in this morning's Palm Beach Post. ... Susman also describes how the Center for Consumer Freedom has pointed out that celebrities like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Tom Cruise are considered 'obese.' She simply asks: 'You wanna tell 'em?' But setting that aside, and forgetting for the moment the government's 1998 decision to shift its definition in such a way that more than 30 million Americans instantly became 'overweight' without gaining an ounce, the biggest problem with the BMI is that it neglects a growing body of scientific evidence showing that peoples' fitness level is far more important than their weight."
France fusses about child obesity: "France is fighting back against an alarming rise in childhood obesity, and candy distributors in public schools are among the first to come under attack. After a series of often stormy parliamentary debates, a decision was reached to remove about 8,000 machines distributing chocolate, candy and sweet drinks in school recreation rooms. The French media generally applauded the decision, the first significant effort to combat what some call 'a new national scourge.' Protests by the National Association of Automated Sales (NAAS) were disregarded. 'The children will leave school buildings during breaks and buy their sweets outside,' predicts Jean-Loup Bariller of the NAAS, which represents an estimated 13,000 employees throughout France."
1 September, 2004
BLACKS MORE SELFISH AND EGOTISTICAL IN BASKETBALL
Below is a very politically incorrect explanation for the comparatively poor US showing in basketball at the Athens games. I think for once I had better reproduce it in full
Dawkins on hoops in black and white
By Charley Rosen
Darryl Dawkins has never worried about being politically correct. Ever since he made headlines in 1975 when he became the first schoolboy to be drafted into the NBA (Philadelphia — fifth pick overall), Dawkins was never shy about speaking his mind.
According to Dawkins, the outcome of the upcoming Olympic basketball tournament hinges on a subject no one else dares to fully address — the racial components that define basketball as we know it.
"The game is the same," says Dawkins. "The object is for the good guys to score and to keep the bad guys from scoring. But there's a big difference between black basketball and white basketball."
Growing up poor (but happy) near Orlando, Fla., Dawkins learned the former before he learned the latter. "Black basketball is much more individualistic," he says. "With so many other opportunities closed to young black kids, the basketball court in the playground or the schoolyard is one of the few places where they can assert themselves in a positive way. So if somebody makes you look bad with a shake-and-bake move, then you've got to come right back at him with something better, something more stylish. And if someone fouls you hard, you've got to foul him even harder. It's all about honor, pride, and establishing yourself as a man."
Once the black game moves indoors and becomes more organized, the pressure to establish bona fides increases. "Now you're talking about high school hoops," says Dawkins. "So if you're not scoring beaucoup points, if your picture isn't in the papers, if you don't have a trophy, then you ain't the man and you ain't nothing. Being second-best is just as bad as being last. And if a teammate hits nine shots in a row, the black attitude is, 'Screw him. Now it's my turn to get it on.'"
If young black players usually cherish untrammeled creativity, white hooplings mostly value more team-oriented concepts. "White basketball means passing the hell out of the ball," says Dawkins. "White guys are more willing to do something when somebody else has the ball — setting picks, boxing out, cutting just to clear a space for a teammate, making the pass that leads to an assist pass. In white basketball, there's a more of a sense of discipline, of running set plays and only taking wide open shots. If a guy gets hot, he'll get the ball until he cools off."
Why is white basketball so structured and team-oriented?
"Because the white culture places more of a premium on winning," Dawkins believes, "and less on self-indulgent preening and chest-beating. That's because there are so many other situations in the white culture where a young kid can express himself."
As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. When Dawkins and the Sixers squared off against the Portland Trail Blazers for the NBA championship in 1977, Philadelphia's most dynamic players were Julius Erving, George McGinnis, World B. Free, and Dawkins.
"They beat us in six games," Dawkins recalls, "and the series marked the most blatant example of the racial difference in NBA game plans. We were much more flamboyant than Portland, and certainly more talented. We had more individual moves, more off-balance shots, more fancy passes, more dunks, and more entertaining stuff. But everybody wanted to shoot and be a star (including me), and nobody was willing to do the behind-the-scenes dirty work."
Meanwhile, the white players at the core of Portland's eventual success were Dave Twardzik, Bobby Gross, Larry Steele and Bill Walton. Dawkins notes that "Even the black guys like Lionel Hollins, Mo Lucas, Johnny Davis, Lloyd Neal played disciplined, unselfish white basketball. Credit their coach, Jack Ramsay, for getting everybody on the same page."
As much as Dawkins respected Portland's game plan, however, he was never crazy about Walton. "The guy was a good player who could really pass and had a nice jump hook," Dawkins opines. "What made Walton so effective was that he was surrounded by talented players who wanted to win and weren't concerned with being stars. Personally, I think that Walton was, and still is, full of baloney. Back then, he had this mountain-man image, he smoked lots of pot, and I don't think he bathed regularly. And the league let him play with a red bandana tied around his head. To say nothing of his involvement with Patty Hearst.
"If a black player ever tried any of that kind of stuff he would've been banished from the NBA in a heartbeat. Yet in spite of all the messed up things Walton did as a player, now that he's a TV announcer all he does is tear down everybody else. The guy still ticks me off."
During his 15-year tenure in the NBA, Dawkins' signature move was bulldozing to the basket and smashing the Plexiglas backboard to smithereens. He was brash, outlandish, funny, and irresistible. He called himself "Chocolate Thunder," claimed to be from the planet Lovetron, and devised names for his more awesome dunks — among the most noteworthy were In Your Face Disgrace, Cover Yo Damn Head, Sexophonic Turbo Delight, and his classic If You Ain't Groovin' Best Get Movin'-Chocolate Thunder Flyin'-Robinzine Cryin'-Teeth Shakin'-Glass Breakin'-Rump Roastin'-Bun Toastin'-Glass Still Flyin' Wham-Bam-I-Am Jam!
For the past four years, the 6-foot-11, 285-pound Dawkins has been coaching the Pennsylvania Valley Dawgs in the summertime United States Basketball League. In so doing, he's won two championships (2002 and 2004) and distinguished himself as a superior motivator and big man coach, as well as the kind of on- and off-court teacher who can help transform wild young hooplings into mature gamers. As a by-product of his own maturation, Dawkins can also see the pluses and minuses of both black and white basketball.
"The black game by itself," he says, "is too chaotic and much too selfish. No one player is good enough to beat five opponents on a consistent basis. The black style also creates animosities among the players because everybody ends up arguing about who's shooting too much and who's not shooting enough."
But the white game also has its drawbacks: "It can get too predictable and even too cautious because guys can be afraid to take risks and make mistakes."
Dawkins believes that the best NBA teams combine the best of both. "In basketball and in civilian life," Dawkins says, "freedom without structure winds up being chaotic and destructive. Only when it operates within a system can freedom create something worthwhile."
And, according to Dawkins, this is the most difficult task at hand for Larry Brown. "Only Tim Duncan and Carlos Boozer are willing to play white basketball. All the other guys on Team USA really want to go off on their own.
"Unless Brown can bleach some of the selfish funk from their game, they'll be lucky to win the bronze."
(Source. Originally posted 6th August, 2004.)