Sunday, November 10, 2002



My various posts about the ultimately Germanic origins of British conservatism have produced a lively email correspondence. Two of the subtopics that have been prominent are the origins of religious tolerance in Britain and the origins of the traditionally strong British committment to individual liberty. I have posted an extract of one of my more interesting emails on the subject on my �other� website here. My correspondent delves deeper than I do into the origins of both phenomena.



Australian Prime Minister John Howard and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have consistently given wholehearted and vocal support to the US war on terror. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, by contrast, has made clear that it is only the UN that Canada supports, not the USA. So the traditional Canadian �Be kind to dictators� policy now seems to include not only Fidel Castro but also the sadistic Saddam Hussein. Is it cowardice? Or do they have no principles at all? Chretien�s Liberal government must be a great embarrassment to many decent Canadians.



B. Monaro has some awkward facts to shove at the Leftist critics who have recently been accusing our Prime Minister of being �Anti-Asian�.



�Godless� over at �Gene Expression� is very good on all things genetic but excels himself here with a proposal that morality has biological roots. You will need to put your thinking cap on to give it the attention it deserves.



From what it says here, it would seem that China is firmly set on the same �Third way� as Britain�s Tony Blair.

[Present Jiang Zemin] says the new system will blend socialism and the profit motive.

The Swedes must be yawning. They have been doing it for years. The Third way is not of course as good at growing national wealth as more full-blown capitalism is but even a little capitalism can work wonders -- as China�s experience so far has shown.

An email I have just received from one of my regular correspondents, however, stresses how far China has yet to go:

�Don't think for a minute that China is that much different than before. Sure they have a few freedoms that weren't there before but like all good Leftists they control pretty much everything that goes on.

I returned last week from a trip over there having accompanied an American delegation that was meeting with various officials. A senior person connected to the stock exchange gave us a pretty bleak summary of the economy. 75% of the economy is owned by the government.

If you look at the economic numbers closely you will see that the various sectors of the economy are really not doing too well. There are 400 companies on the Shanghai stock exchange. With the exception of 5 the rest are all government owned (60%).

The only growth experienced in China at the moment is in government spending.
All land in China is owned by the government and is leased out to the public on 40 year leases. You want to bet this regime is not Leftist!

China hand too is a bit skeptical about investing in China. He is a seasoned sharemarket investor himself so is well aware of the dangers inherent in the high PE ratios currently prevailing on the recently opened up Chinese sharemarket. He does however paint a picture of enormous industrial growth over there so investors willing to trade high risk for high profit might well come out ahead.



There is a good post on Clayton Cramer�s blog in which he takes on Leftist economist Mark Kleiman over the issue of government funding for private schools. Now that support for educational choice by way of a voucher system is gradually being implemented in the USA, lots of people are asking �but where should we draw the line?� Some of my US correspondents have even asked me that. Should the US taxpayer support wacko schools that (for instance) teach Muslim fundamentalism? One is inclined to say �No� but if we do say �no� the danger is that we will give the green light for Leftist bureaucrats to set up another vast layer of bureaucracy that will end up withold funding for schools that the Leftists disapprove of: Which will effectively give them the last laugh. So the only safe rule is: �Draw no lines�. Fund the lot. It�s a pity that we cannot be more selective but ANY selectivity would be sure to have even worse results than giving open slather. If some fanatical parents use the chance to indoctrinate their kids into some wacko religion, the kids will probably just end up rebelling sometime in their teenage years anyway and modelling themselves on Homer Simpson instead. And as Clayton points out, the schools are ALREADY heavily politicized (in a Leftist direction) so we really have nothing to lose.

Here in Australia and New Zealand, schoolkids at the moment get fed a lot of nonsensical Greenie propaganda about global warming and the like. My impression, however, is that this serves mainly to bore the kids to death: Which I regard as not too bad an outcome. In the end propaganda is no substitute for real education.


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