Tuesday, November 19, 2002


In The New Republic of November 2nd., Andrew Sullivan put out an article in which he noted that crude British working class culture is now well displayed and catered for in the British media and that its export to the United States has been a great commercial success. But he took many paragraphs to say what I have just said in one sentence -- presumably because he took so long to bring himself to mention the word "class". Even after he has mentioned that naughty word, however, he still creates the vague impression that British culture as a whole has deteriorated rather than saying that upper and middle class British culture now has vigorous competition in the British media. His article oozed distaste for the British popular culture he was describing but his conclusion appeared to be ambivalent. He concluded that the culture concerned endeared the Brits to Americans.

A later post of 19th on his blog was much less reserved, however. He commented "What rubes and provincials the British often are".

As a product of the very blunt Australian culture I have got to laugh out loud at that one. If being a rube and a provincial means knowing only about your own neck of the woods, Americans are famed for it. Lots of Americans seem to think that Australia is a small country somewhere near Switzerland! And it seems to be a standard expectation among American tourists here to see kangaroos hopping down the main streets of our cities. Some Americans even have to be told that we speak English here.

But Sullivan does have a point. American tourists are a brassy lot but on the various occasions when I have spent time in the USA, it has always been apparent to me that Americans are much more polite and adept at hiding their real thoughts and feelings than either Australians or Brits. Sullivan sees that as a virtue. I hate to tell him, but Australians often see it as hypocrisy.

Would it not be wiser to can all such silly value judgements of one-another altogether? Politeness and reserve has its virtues. So does bluntness and openness. De gustibus non disputandum est.



I do occasionally get emails from Leftists. Here is an excerpt from one:

[Conservatives] do not think about how society has helped them get where they are and about maintaining a cohesive supportive society, but instead only think of what will immediately put more money in their pocket. The extreme example is the wealth childless business owner who feels that he should not have to pay taxes that go towards educating children that are not his. Yet he fails to realize that without a good education system, there would not be a large amount of reasonably priced skilled professional labor that makes his business run.

To which I replied:

Your thoughts about greed are reasonable IF and only IF you assume that government provision of education etc is important. Conservatives reject that utterly. Almost any conservative these days thinks that public schools are punk. That is why they want vouchers to help them choose a private school instead. The same goes for hospitals, health insurance, superannuation for old age etc. Conservatives object to being forced to pay in taxes money that they know will be spent stupidly. Passing a law to say that everybody MUST take out health insurance and age insurance (of their choice) would be as far as conservatives would like to go. If people got back what they now pay in taxes they would be a lot better able to afford it too.

I might add that the above reply was for what appeared to be an American reader. The Australian situation is a bit different. State schools here are generally quite reasonable -- perhaps in part because the government provides funding for private schools at a level not much lower than the level of funding provided to State schools. That means that the annual fees I pay to send my son to a large local private High School are only $800 (in US dollars).

Kids in almost all Australian schools do however get subjected to some level of lying Red/Green propaganda -- such as "global warming" and "blacks are just like us only browner". That in turn reflects the attitudes of those who teach the teachers -- our very Leftist universities and colleges.

Provision for old-age support is also slowly being privatized. For some years now, it has been compulsory for all Australian employers to put a proportion of all wages into a private superannuation fund of their choice on behalf of their workers.



The Australian media are showing signs of waking up to the awful abuse of the truth that constitutes most of today's "Green" movement. Our "60 Minutes" TV program last Sunday had a long interview with Bjorn Lomborg -- the fact-checking statistician that Greenies love to hate. This article sums it up well.

The disgraceful attempts that have been made to silence Lomborg are also briefly described. See also here for more on that.



Paddy McGuinness, in his usual incisive way shows that the victims of the terror-bombing in Bali recently were doing far more for the Third-world poor than are the "Rent-a-mob" who have been trying to disrupt the current World Trade Organization meeting in Sydney. For once the Australian Press has been almost universal in its condemnation of these brainless thugs.



John Weidner has just put up a good post asking why it is that a Republican President is pressing the issue of North Korea -- where a large part of the population is starving under a crazy Leftist dictatorship -- but not a peep is heard out of the supposedly "compassionate" Leftists. Many thousands of people dying of starvation is OK with Leftists? You betcha! What a fraud their "compassion" is!



And yet, in the four quarters since the [9/11] attack, the U.S. economy has posted an average growth rate of 3%. There's no comparing the characters of these two men, but on Greenspan's evidence, Osama bin Laden managed to do less harm to the U.S. economy than President Jimmy Carter.

From David Frum. Link via Bleeding Brain.



I did a post on October 24th in which I noted the great rise in average IQ that has happened in the last 100 years. I attributed it in part to the greater stimulation young brains now receive from modern entertainment media -- television and computer games in particular. Both have of course long been treated as evils by many of our professionally wise people -- who would keep kids away from both if they could.

I am pleased to see therefore that a new research report has just come out confirming what I said. Far from holding kids back, TV and computer games greatly improve their intelligence. The killjoys still mutter and grumble of course but I am happy to say that my very bright and creative son was always allowed to play as many computer games as he liked.



I imagine that the USA is the murder capital of the Western world (unless we include South Africa) but it looks like Australia is the Burglary capital. See here (entry of Nov. 2nd). There is no mystery why. Our courts just do not seem to treat burglary as a serious crime. I doubt that any victim of burglary shares that view, however. I think our judges need to be burgled a few times.


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