Monday, December 16, 2002


Rafe Champion�s Australian philosophy site has an interesting new essay up about Lawrence of Arabia -- who enlisted Bedouin Arabs to help the British defeat the Turks in the First World War. The author points out that Lawrence taught the Arabs the sort of terrorism tactics they use to this day and traces Arab problems to their fear of women.



David Yeagley has just put up a rather poignant post (Dec. 15th) which points out that he is conservative despite being poor and a minority group member. He may not be as unusual as he thinks, however. The literature on social deference shows that in Australia and Britain, about a quarter of working-class people vote for conservative political parties. The situation is probably not too different in the USA.

Many working-class people do see it as being in their self-interest to vote for Leftist political parties and candidates because those parties and candidates promise them a better deal but, aside from that, it seems clear that political stance is mainly determined by personality needs. If you are envy-ridden you will always vote Left, if you are not, you will judge the parties and candidates as best you can. And lots of poor and working-class people do see through the dishonesties of the Left to the hatred and incompetence that lies beneath and so vote for parties and candidates that will do better for the country as a whole.

Ray, J.J. (1972) The measurement of political deference: Some Australian data. British Journal of Political Science, 2, 244-251.



From Rousseau onwards, Leftists (and now Greenies) have always loved to romanticize primitive, tribal life. Here is a quote from someone who saw it close-up for many years:

"In particular I noticed how tribalism - really only an anthopologist's term for an extreme form of communitarianism - seemed tohave dinned the individualism out of people, so nobody cared or dared to take a lead or differ notably from the others. Some people will tell you tribe (or village, or community) humanizes, brings comfort and security. I thought it was stifling, and brutal in its way."

Read more here.


AN INDIAN VIEW OF Gutnick v. Dows Jones

Indian lawyers have long had a reputation for cleverness and this recent summary from India of the Gutnick defamation case is more informative than most.

Thanks to Randall Parker for the link.



Aaron Oakley shows exactly what is wrong with the Greenie dream of wind and solar power -- and tells us of the piteous experience of the Danes with such nonsense.



Some Leftists are now making the incredible claim that the US mass media are leaning to the politcal Right. Jeff Jacoby has a good counterblast.

If the link given does not load, try here.



Australian courts have given out some crazy judgments at times but I don�t think any of them can hold a candle to this:

A Palm Beach County, Florida, jury found a gun distributor, the original gun owner and a school board responsible for the shooting death of a teacher by a student while failing to find the student who stole the gun and the bullets and who pulled the trigger, killing the teacher, at all responsible for the murder.

Being an American is a legal hazard, it seems. Source. Thanks to Jerry Lerman for another good one.



Because of the immovable Leftist bias in academe, I now rarely write for the academic journals -- but when I did I had lots of �critiques� published. A critique tears apart an article by another author. See here for an example of my critiques. Journal editors dislike publishing critiques because it shows up the inadequacy of their initial evaluation of the paper attacked. A critique therefore has to be pretty compelling before they will print it. So the fact that I had a lot of critiques published shows that there were a lot of truly awful �scientific� papers being published. In particular, a lot of writers on any given topic show a woeful unawareness of what is already in the literature on their topic. I therefore was disposed to agree with the recent finding by Simkin & Roychowdhury (summarized here) to the effect that many academic authors do not in fact read the papers that they cite.

I regret to say, however, that Simkin & Roychowdhury are about as careless as those they purport to criticize. They look at the reference lists given at the end of every academic paper and note that those reference lists often perpetuate mistakes made in citation details given by earlier papers. They conclude from this that the person who repeats the mistake has not read the original paper!

This is a breathtakingly silly conclusion. Listing the citation details of the papers one has referred to is an onerous task and to facilitate it I often copy the citation details I need out of anything I have handy. And I will often use for that purpose a review article of the literature on the topic concerned rather than digging out each of the original papers themselves. But that does not at all mean that I have not previously read any of the papers I list. It just means that I do my referencing task as efficiently as possible. Simkin & Roychowdhury's work can only be described as naive.


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