Saturday, November 30, 2002


As an Australian, I see considerable differences between US culture and my own Australian culture -- and I definitely prefer my own. Most people do prefer their own (Park, 1950). What I find hard to understand, however, is what the most generous nation on earth has done to deserve the hatred of it that is so routinely poured out in much of the world. If I were religious, I would be inclined to think that the America-haters were demon-possessed.

I was therefore touched to read this:

"It was impossible not to be moved last week by the sight in Vilnius of Lithuanians continuously interrupting George Bush's speech on human freedom to chant "Thank you" in Lithuanian"

As one of the former �captive nations�, those guys knew from bitter experience what it is all about.

It was also heartening to read that 81% of Britons say they like Americans.

Park, R.E. (1950) Race and culture Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press



Jim Ryan of Philosoblog has recently blogged on why it is that youth tends towards the political Left. I sent him a note as a comment on his post and think it might be useful to expand on that here:

I think the first thing to do is to repeat an October 16th post from Jim Miller. I did reproduce this post previously (on 30th October) and I note that Andrew Sullivan has recently reproduced it too:

Young People and the Vietnam War: Andrew Sullivan makes a common error in his post on the Bali bombing, when he argues that young people were more likely to oppose the Vietnam war than older people. In fact, polls at the time showed that young people were "more supportive of the war than older people" [John E. Mueller, "War, Presidents and Public Opinion", p. 137]. Even more surprising to some, the more educated a person, the more likely they were to support the Vietnam war. There were similar patterns of support in World War II and the Korean War. The current tendency of young people to be more inclined to support a war with Iraq is consistent with the patterns in past wars, contrary to what Sullivan thinks.

So Jim Ryan seems to have a faulty first premise in his post. What we have to explain is not why young people in general become Leftist but why SOME young people become Leftist.

Just as a personal note there, I was at a large Australian university during the Vietnam war era doing a degree in psychology and there were huge antiwar demonstrations on campus at the time. Yet in my psychology honours class every single male member but one was, like myself, in the Army! The one exception was a Methodist minister who regretted that he could not join up because our unit had parades on Sunday morning and he obviously had other duties on that day! We were of course in the Army reserves rather than in the full-time Army but most of us did full-time duty from time to time too. (And I volunteered for full-time service in Vietnam! No-one can call me a �chickenblogger�). So Leftists may make a lot more noise but that does not mean that they are in the majority.

Jim Ryan's authority for his view about youth seems to be a variant on the much misattributed saying: "If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain." It might be interesting to note that the earliest version of this saying is by mid-nineteenth century historian and politician Francois Guizot, who said: "Not to be a republican at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head". He was referring to the controversy over whether France should be a republic or a monarchy. France did of course have various experiments with monarchy even after the decapitation of Louis XVI. So foolish young people want Presidents and wiser old people want Kings? Maybe. So Jim could clearly have chosen a better authority for his view of the young

Nonethless, it IS true that people who are Leftist in their youth often become more conservative as they get older. In one of my research reports, I found in fact that most older people are quite astoundingly Right-wing (Ray, 1985). So how come?

I think that there are in fact two main reasons why the Left is more attractive to youth:

1). The young do not know much so try sweeping generalizations in order to help them understand the world. Leftists supply such oversimplified generalizations ("All men are equal" etc.). So some of the young are attracted to that. Most of the young do not bother, however. They are interested mainly in the opposite sex so just want politics not to bother them -- a thoroughly conservative response. Those who do adopt the Leftist simplifications do eventually find through experience that the world really is a complex place so tend to give up the simplifications and Leftism along with that. So the simplicity of Leftism is a big attraction to (some of) the young

2). The young are ambitious, want to have it all NOW and want to get the top -- so see "The Establishment" as an obstacle to that. So the more unscrupulous and vicious ones use any tool to attack it: Radicalism as a path to power -- a very familiar theme in history. Leftists are intrinsically power-mad -- as I set out at some length elsewhere.

Ray, J.J. (1985) What old people believe: Age, sex and conservatism. Political Psychology 6, 525-528.



Being a keen history buff, it has always interested me to analyse how the different characteristics of the various English-speaking nations arose. What makes, Americans and Australians (for instance) different from the English even when we share the same general ancestry? An important part of the answer lies in differences within England itself. It seems to be true, for instance, that Anglo-Australians originate mainly from the regional English working-class population whereas the origins of New Zealand are solidly middle-class. And that may in part explain why most New Zealanders seem to loathe Australians -- a dislike that is not reciprocated (despite jokes about Kiwi ovinophilia).

A subject of more moment, however, is how differences within Britain influenced the development of the United States -- and Jim Bennett, author of An Anglosphere Primer, is a mine of information on that. I reproduce here part of a recent email discussion with him on the topic.

(You will have to scroll down. The Permalinks are haywire)


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Friday, November 29, 2002


There seems to be a lot of nonsense around at the moment about offering education in a special mushy form so that �the lesser races� can understand it. Marc Miyake has been especially scathing about the situation in Hawaii, where it is now proposed that �Hawaiian� mathematics be taught in the schools.

Australia�s WogBlog, however has done a delicious spoof of the whole idea in his post of 28th. It helps if you have ever been to the Western suburbs of Sydney to understand it all but I think most people will have a laugh anyway.



A few years ago, Pauline Hanson, a fish-shop proprietor in a traditonally working-class area, gave voice to what a lot of Australians were thinking at the time about official "racial" policy. The immediate popularity of her views in her area caused her to form a new political party called the "One Nation Party". Her basic call was for more restrictions on immigration and a cessation of affirmative action programmes for blacks.

After some striking initial electoral successes, the party broke up -- partly due to infighting among its leadership and partly because Australian politics as a whole took the hint and moved towards a stance more skeptical about immigration. One of my more learned correspondents has written at some length about the implications in the rise and fall of the party here.



The coverups we get subjected to by the Red/Green brigade in academia and the media never cease to astound me. Before reading this blog, who knew that Hitler was a Leftist or that low-dose nuclear radiation is beneficial, for instance?

I have just learnt of another big academic coverup. Who todays realizes that some of the early Australian Aborigines were pygmies? Yes. Like Africa, Australia too had its own pygmy race. I have seen some of the startling early photos of them. They had been wiped out or interbred in most parts of Australia before the white man came but small communities of them survived in the jungles around my own birthplace in Far North Queensland. This article summarizes the extensive scientific research on them that was done before the whole subject became taboo.

So why the coverup? Because THE PYGMIES WERE HERE FIRST. It is THEY who were the original inhabitants of Australia and the Aborigines we normally hear about are not. So the Aborigines are here by right of conquest just as we are and any claim that we took "their" country off them is false. If anybody has the right to "compensation" as the "original owners", it is the now almost vanished pygmies, not the Aborigines. What a blow to the current Leftist "Aboriginal industry"!

So you will now find references to the pygmies or �negritos� only in older books about Aboriginal Australia. Thank goodness for libraries!



There has been a bit of discussion on the blogs about autism. Clayton Cramer had a go at it here and here and now Gene Expression has weighed in. The big question is what causes it -- and there is no consensus. It seems to me that a big part of the problem is that two distinct disorders are usually grouped together under the one heading. There are the withdrawn autistics and the hyperactive ones (the latter sometimes being referred to as having �Asperger�s syndrome�). I would be most surprised if these two very different disorders had a common cause but they are customarily lumped together as �autistic� because both feature pronounced social incompetence.

The theory that has most evidence behind it seems to me to be the theory that autistics have overdeveloped cerebral cortices. This accounts both for the larger heads that autistics tend to have and their often high intelligence.

The withdrawn autism at least does appear to be a type of overload protection. The autistic brain is getting too much stimulation so the autistic switches off to reduce the sensory input. So why is the autistic getting too much stimulation? Because the overdeveloped cortex is firing into the rest of the brain at a rate the rest of the brain cannot fully cope with.

The theory favoured at Gene Expression is that autism is exaggerated maleness of the brain. This may not clash with the theory I favour. From my neurophysiology classes back in the 60s I seem to recollect that females have smaller cortices -- which may account for there being proportionately fewer of them in the top IQ ranges.

Asperger H. (1944) Die "Autistichen Psychopathen" im Kindersalter. Arch. Psychiat. NervKrankh. 117, 76-136. (English translation in Frith, 1991)
Frith U. (Ed.) (1991) Autism and Asperger Syndrome. Cambridge University Press.



China hand has just put up a post on the attitude of young Chinese to the USA. It seems that they want to be friends.

For anybody else interested in China, some other China-oriented sites are
here and here and here. China will be dominating the world in various ways in 50 year�s time so it may be worth knowing about.



Why does the US government pick people with the IQ of a flea to run airport �security�? With boneheads like this in charge, Americans would be safer if the whole lot were sent home to watch TV. This time a paperback NOVEL was deemed to be a deadly weapon. Watch your reading matter when you travel, folks!



�Senior investigators hired to root out fraud and corruption at Los Alamos National Laboratory have been fired -- just days after revealing what they knew to officials with the Department of Energy's inspector general.� More here.

How can anyone NOT be a libertarian with so much evidence of official corruption and incompetence constantly coming out?



A US Dimocrat seems to think he has a right to be linked to somebody else�s blog! How strange! Is there no end to Dimocrat nonsense about rights?


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Thursday, November 28, 2002


"Holiday greetings to the men and women of the Armed Forces, as you gather to celebrate this day of friendship and worship. Some are spending this Thanksgiving Day with family and loved ones; others of you are far from home, standing watch for freedom. Wherever you are, I want you to know that your country is grateful for your service and for your sacrifice. Each of you is in our hearts and our prayers as we give thanks today for the blessings in our lives. On this day sixty years ago, World War II was raging. American soldiers were spread across the globe. Many gave their lives to defeat the Axis powers and save the world from tyranny. Today, we are once again engaged in a battle -- this time it is a battle between freedom and terror, extremism and fanaticism. And today, once again, the men and women in uniform are risking their lives in the defense of liberty. In Afghanistan, you and our coalition forces defeated the terrorists, rescued a country and liberated a people. Today, you are on the ground in dozens of countries, and patrolling seas and skies, hunting down terrorists so that they too, cannot kill again. All Americans can give thanks that our freedom and way of life are defended by the strongest and most skilled military force in the world. And each of us can also give thanks for the American people, whose steadfast support is helping us accomplish our mission in the global war on terror. I salute each of you for your patriotism, your sacrifice, your dedication. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We have a great deal to be thankful for. May God bless you all."

--Thanksgiving Message to the Troops from the Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld



Ira Straus points out that the Pilgrim Fathers were not the real founders of modern-day America and submits that their Puritan influence has been a negative for American thinking.

Alex Robson too is less than enamoured with the wisdom of the Pilgrim Fathers.

Regardless of what one thinks of their religion or of their politics, however, I think one has to admire the heroism and committment of those early settlers and their success at rising above great hardships.



The recent death of Leftist philosopher John Rawls seems to have caused even some usually sensible conservative bloggers to mourn the �loss�. I suppose it is mainly De mortuis nil nisi bonum but I still think a dose of reality about Rawls is needed and in my blunt and irreverent Australian way I propose to supply it:

Rawls is a good example of what computer people call GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). If you start out with crazy assumptions you get crazy conclusions and in Rawls�s case Leftist assumptions inevitably led to Leftist conclusions. Like all Leftists he was unable to deal with the complexities of the real world so he invented an imaginary and vastly oversimplified one wherein only Leftist criteria for a good world are even mentioned. So his basic proposition can be summarized simply: If I know nothing about myself and nothing about the world I am about to enter other than its degree of social and economic equality what sort of world would I choose? And the expected answer is? Wait for it! A world wherein everyone is as equal as possible. The compulsory Leftist conclusion has been reached! Good job, Johnny. So now let�s make the real world as equal as possible.

But look at how crazy his criterion is. What if the �equal� world I chose turned out to be starving? Would it not make more sense to choose an affluent world, for instance? Or a world in which modern medicine and dentistry were available? Rawls of course would claim that he is speaking ceteris paribus but what if other factors CANNOT be held constant? What if very equal worlds turn out to be in general poorer or more tyrannical? -- as indeed seems generally to be the case.

But aside from that, we just do not live in the imaginary Rawlsian world. We DO know things about the world we are in and we DO know things about ourselves and that does and should influence the type of world we prefer. And even if we did not, it is one big assumption to say that we would choose an equal world. Gambling is a very human thing to do and it seems to me highly likely that many people would choose a world of IN-equality precisely because that would give them a chance of doing well and rising above the herd. And is not that in fact precisely the American Dream -- to start out at the bottom of the heap and by hard work and good thinking to rise to the top? Real people everywhere would like to get to good old unequal America so that they can have a chance of becoming rich. But none of the unreal people in the unreal world of John Rawls do. Funny, that.

Rawls is simply irrelevant. He is popular in academe only because his conclusions are Leftist.



There seems to be a bit of a hate campaign going on about Little Green Footballs -- with the accusation that it is a �racist� site. What utter nonsense! What it is, is a good mainstream conservative site with lots of interesting posts that are a tribute to the hard work of their author. As my comment on the matter, I have moved my link to the site to the top of my link list -- though the other entries on my list are not in any particular order.



One of my sources about the attacks on Little Green Footballs was Steven Den Beste. He is a strange mix. He writes at enormous and moderately well-informed length on military matters yet did not know what a permalink was and admitted that he does not know how to put up anything longer than the very short blogroll he currently uses!

As a �warblogger� he would also usually be seen as conservative yet he supports affirmative action -- and does so in a particularly illogical way. His humility in naming his site �USS Clueless� is then admirable.



Apparently the French sometimes describe UN head, Kofi Annan (a negro) as "une Anglo-Saxon."! I guess he does speak English but there is no doubt that the Angles and the Saxons would be amazed.


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Wednesday, November 27, 2002


I have just had one of my posts put up on �Carnival of the Vanities� so have a look. The �Carnival� is where bloggers submit posts which they think deserved more attention than they originally got.



It looks like Australia is now as bad as Britain when it comes to forbidding free speech. An Australian conservative Senator gave a private interview in which he spoke disparagingly but not unreasonably or abusively of Australian blacks so was yesterday found guilty in the Federal Court of breaching the Racial Discrimination Act -- at a cost to him of $10,000. Maybe I will be in the firing-line myself now for reporting it. There is no doubt that Leftists are deadly enemies of our liberties.

See also Alex Robson for more details.



Church schools in the Australian State of Queensland have just had a narrow escape. The Labor Party government in Queensland was about to pass a law that would have forbidden them from rejecting gays as teachers in their schools. An escape clause for church schools (but not other schools) was built in at the last moment after some heavy lobbying. I suspect that a lot of conservative Roman Catholic Labor union leaders burnt the Queensland Premier's ear about the issue. Australia has a lot of Roman Catholic schools.



Ed Mick has just put up a great post comparing the way that the press writes about Islamic militants and the way it writes about the American militia movement.



Good news about the freeing up of world trade:

The Bush administration will seek to kick-start global trade liberalisation by announcing a plan to scrap all tariffs on industrial and consumer goods by 2015.
The White House plans to submit a proposal to the World Trade Organisation to eliminate $US18 billion ($32 billion) in annual tariffs, a move also seen as an American attempt to regain some credibility on the free trade issue after several recent protectionist moves. Administration officials were reported overnight as saying the plan was to "turn every corner store into a duty-free shop".



The alleged recent letter by Bin Laden stressing that it is mainly the existence of Israel that makes him hate the West does not to me sound authentic. Just about Bin Laden's favourite word is "crusader". He likes to fantasize that Israel is just a continuation of the old Christian crusades into the Holy Land back in the 12th century. Yet that word does not appear at all in the recent "letter". I think it just a hoax by some Palestinian.



The poor old Greenies! They can't take a trick! So many of their causes turn out to be absolute nonsense. Greenies have always been able to scare people with talk about what a HORROR nuclear radiation is and how no cost is too much for us to avoid even tiny amounts of it. Forget that there are large variations in earth's natural background radiation and that the people who live in "hotspots" (such as the inhabitants of the ancient and distinguished Scottish city of Aberdeen) are perfectly healthy by normal standards and forget that the incidence of abnormal births around Chernobyl has been no higher than usual after their reactor explosion. No. That is not the worst of it. There is now lots of evidence that low doses of radiation are actually BENEFICIAL!

Practically ever since radiation was invented, it has been used therapeutically, sometimes with remarkably good results. And in Germany to this day the government health service will PAY you to go and have a nice little radiation bath. Such treatments fell out of favour after the bombing of Hiroshima and the discovery of antibiotics but the fact that about half of those Hiroshima citizens who survived the immediate effects of the Hiroshima bombing are STILL ALIVE and that those who have died did so at a fairly normal age should make even a Greenie think. If being in the middle of a nuclear war is not all that bad for you as long as you escape a direct hit, why are we worrying about radiation at all?

The survival of Hiroshima has long been known, however. It is no radiation wasteland. I once owned a very reliable little 1984 Mazda car that was made there. The absolutely astounding and very little known feature about Hiroshima, though, is that those who lived on the outskirts of the city at the time of the bombing have actually had LESS illness than normal. And that finding is no one-off or isolated coincidence. There is now a huge mass of evidence about the therapeutic benefit of low-dose radiation that gets lost amid all the Greenie hysteria.

There is a heap of scientific links on the subject here but a Google search using just the term "hormesis" will turn up many more. "Hormesis" refers to the stimulatory (beneficial) effect that is observed for many poisons when they are administered in low does. It is the theoretical basis for homoepathic medicine -- which the "alternative" crowd love!


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Tuesday, November 26, 2002


If there are any bookbuyers left out there in the Blogosphere, this book by Brink Lindsey looks worth considering. He points out that globalization is just an extension onto the international stage of the long struggle against government intervention in business activity generally. Now that we know how destructive and impoverishing government intervention in business is, we should not be surprised that government intervention in the international activities of business is equally counter-productive. Brink Lindzey also has an occasional blog here.



In his post of 22nd., Twin Ruler points out that the patriotism of the American Militia movement is just another example of �Ethnic Pride�. Leftists are all very much in favour of ethnic pride but see the Militia movement as the incarnation of all that is evil. Clearly, being anti-white matters to them a lot more than being consistent.



I put up a link to an article about reform in North Korea recently and referred the story to Marc Miyake, who is one of the world's rarest people -- someone who reads the North Korean press daily. There would not even be many North Koreans who do that. He has replied that he sees NO evidence in the North Korean press of a shift towards capitalism. Sad.



Amax is pretty enraged at the total lies about global warming being broadcast by our ABC. His solution?

Australians deserve a better national broadcasting service, but in my opinion the only way to clear out endemic political bias is to shut the entire freaking commission down. Furthermore, because of the regular use of ABC broadcasts beyond our shores, our standing in the Pacific area is being compromised by witchdoctor predictions from unaccountable environmental nutters saying whatever they please. It is high time these people were shut down!

I am inclined to agree that a totally fresh start would be the only way to excise the bias in our public broadcaster. Perhaps we could call the replacement entity the �PBS� -- although the American PBS is hardly a flawless model either.



The Progressive Social Policy Centre has lots of good articles up on the need for rationality in politics. Their paper on the destructiveness of political correctness in Britain is particularly good and they also have lots on the way an understanding of our biology should influence the policies we adopt. "All men are UN-equal" seems to be their motto.



Here's a funny one! Michael Medved points out that American blacks watch MUCH more TV than whites. Yet our wiseheads believe that watching a lot of TV is bad for you. So maybe all that TV watching holds blacks back. But how can we blame THAT on whites? Nobody forces blacks to turn on their TVs. Medved's cheeky conclusion is that we should have FEWER blacks in US TV programs so that watching TV is less attractive to blacks!



"Foreign aid is the process by which money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in poor countries.

Attributed to Peter Bauer on Samizdata.



Before the collapse of communism, this Russian guy loses his pet parrot. He looks everywhere, all around the neighbourhood, in the park, everywhere. He can't find the parrot. Finally he goes around to the KGB office, and tells the desk officer his problem.
The officer is a little puzzled. "Look, comrade, I'm sorry you lost your bird, but this is the KGB. We don't handle missing animal reports."
"Oh, I know that", says the guy. "I just wanted you to know, if you find my parrot... I don't know where he could have picked up all his political ideas."


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Monday, November 25, 2002


Brian Micklethwaite is one of the Samizdata team. He has been interested in educational policy for a long time. I remember discussing such matters with him when I was in London in the 70s and 80s. The latest expression of that interest is a new blog devoted entirely to a discussion of educational policy.

His basic dilemma seems to be how to reconcile his strong libertarian principles with some rather conservative instincts about what an education should consist of. For instance, in response to a recent post of mine, he ended up concluding that a �Prussian� system of education has some merit!

I think Brian is crucifying himself unnecessarily, however. There is indeed a continuum of schools from �Prussian� to �permissive� but that is not the usual choice parents have. I can speak only of Australia from experience but certainly here most schools would be around the middle of the continuum. And in the grand old Anglo-Saxon tradition of compromise, I think that is a good place to be. Kids are not allowed to run riot nor are they oppressed.

Another issue Brian has is whether education should be compulsory. I think any libertarian would argue that it should not be compulsory but it is going to be compulsory forever and a day as far as I can see so the only issue that interests me is how to live with that. And maximizing parental choice seems to be the libertarian way to go there.

The USA is now just beginning to use �vouchers� to maximize educational choice but there is huge resistance to it. The Australian system is less purist but achieves something of the same ends with only token resistance. Here the Federal government simply gives subsidies to private schools -- subsidies that come pretty close to what is spent per pupil on government schools. So I send my son to a private school and it costs me a fairly token sum. So �choice� CAN be achieved within the existing system and I am happy to live in one country that has achieved a degree of choice.

Brian also has some grumbles about the bad effect of TV watching and computer games on education but he seems to be rethinking that one in the light of recent evidence that both are beneficial.

The big issue, however, is educational standards and there seems to be a widespread consensus on the conservative side of politics that standards are low almost everywhere these days -- a consensus in which Brian seems to participate. I do too. Education has definitely been �dumbed down� by our Left-leaning educators in recent decades.

The irony of this is that it is those for whom the Leftists claim �compassion� who are most hurt by this. Bright kids will do well in any system. My 15-year-old son, for instance, has written his first novel and dips into Homer from time to time -- and he was NOT taught to do those things at school! Nor did I suggest those things to him either. He just has an enquiring and creative mind.

But average kids who need to be LED into more intellectual effort just do not seem to get that these days. So the Leftists have, as usual, betrayed those they purport to help. I think parental activism is the only cure there. �Vegie� education is all that less gifted kids will get unless parents do start to protest in some way. (In case �vegie� is a solely Australian expression, what I mean is that the kids will be treated at about the level of vegetables).



This might be a bit obscure for many of my readers so I will make it brief:

Philosophers have long argued over how we decide that something "is good" or "ought" to be done. In particular, they obsess over whether we can derive an "ought" statement from an "is" statement. One Good Turn is cogitating on this at the moment and has some suggestions about how conservatives derive "ought" statements.

I had a paper published in one of the academic journals in 1981 that addressed that issue. In it, I looked at the view that "good", "right" and "ought" statements are all essentially pious frauds. They attempt to pass off personal preferences as if they were objective properties. So in the end there IS no real or separate "ought" or "good" or "right" -- only personal recommendations.

I see such a view of values as VERY consistent with the sort of skeptical view of the world that seems to underly conservatism. So conservatives just LIKE individual liberty. They do not feel the need to justify that liking by reference to something else -- though they can of course point out many consequences of it that they would expect to be widely popular.

Ray, J.J. (1981) The morals of attitudes. Journal of Social Psychology 115, 227-235.



Poor old Aaron Oakley! In his post of 23rd he once again goes to the trouble of setting out in some detail what is wrong with the various Greenie calls for use of "renewable" energy sources. He just does not seem to realize the depth of Greenie dishonesty:

Two of the most "renewable" sources of electricity are hydro-electric power and windmills. Yet hydroelectric power involves building dams and we know what a scenic HORROR Greenies think they are. Greenie activism has just about brought a complete halt to dam building worldwide. And windmill farms have come under attack too recently for ruining the scenery wherever they are located: They are "Visual pollution". Aaron just does not seem to realize that NOTHING will EVER make the Greenies happy. You cannot argue with them because we are not dealing with reasonable people there. Greenies are Luddites who just hate the whole modern world -- and nothing will change that.

I guess Aaron must be trying to persuade members of the public who may simply have been taken in by the Greenies. I hope that I can make some small contribution to that also.



I put up a link recently (22nd.) to an unusual claim that Japan is doing much better than we think. China hand is not very convinced by the argument and another of my economically sophisticated correspondents disagrees vigorously also.


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Sunday, November 24, 2002



I got the following figures about convicted burglars from an email by Iain Murray (of England's Sword). He extracted them from "Crime and Justice in the United States and in England and Wales, 1981-96" by Patrick Langan of the Bureau of Justice Statistics and David Farrington of Cambridge University:

Months served before release:

1981 6.3
1987 6.6
1995 6.5

1981 17.1
1988 18.9
1994 18.0

The fact that the US could afford to keep its villains �inside� for three times as long would have protected its people from the villains concerned for three times longer. Nice. One would think that longer sentences would have a greater deterrent effect too.



Lots of people are now identifying China as being in a Fascist phase and a belief in your country�s national distinctiveness and excellence is integral to Fascism so this post from Oxblog is highly relevant. It both confirms the racism of the present Chinese leadership and ridicules it.



Miranda Devine believes that people might be waking up to how irrational and dishonest Greenie activists usually are. Let�s hope she is right.



About prominent French anti-globo, Jose Bove:

Activists have hailed Bov� as a leader of the fight against globalization ..... I've always found this absurd. Bov�'s decision to attack the MacDonald's in the first place was due to a U.S. decision, during a typical trade spat with the EU, to raise tariffs against French luxury goods. This had a devastating impact on Bov�'s livelihood, as "someone who supplies sheep's milk to makers of Roquefort cheese," according to the New York Times. In other words, the initial incident that triggered Bov�'s "protest" was a lack of globalization, not its acceleration. The fact that Bov� and other protestors concluded that the cure for Bov�'s ills was to halt the free flow of goods and services across borders even further is a testimony to the blinkered logic of the anti-globalization movement.

Quoted from Daniel Drezner



I haven�t given "Bad Eagle" a plug for a while. He is a conservative American Indian (NOT an Indian-American) who has been up in arms lately about how people are trying -- in the name of political correctness!! -- to erase the memory of the �Red Indian� in US history.



For the benefit of my readers outside Australia, I thought I might mention that the most prominent politician of our Christian Right -- the Rev. Fred Nile -- has just called for Muslim women in Australia to be banned from wearing the Chador -- on the grounds that it could be used to conceal bombs and explosives. This caused the uproar that was to be expected and -- after an initial hesitation -- our conservative Prime Minister (John Howard) rejected the call. I suspect however that Fred�s call will win him a lot of votes at the next election -- even from non-religious Australians.

I doubt that the risk is high enough for Fred�s call to be implemented but I understand those who ask why we should pussyfoot around with Muslims when they subscribe to a religion that preaches hatred of us �infidels�. If you want to send Fred a message, his website is here. I met Fred myself some years ago and found him to be a most reasonable and pleasant man.



A few people have commented on this interesting article by Jonah Goldberg here. He argues that we are now under so much government restraint (by way of laws and regulations) because most traditional sources of restraint on antisocial behaviour -- morality, customs, religion etc. -- have ceased to have much effect. He also argues that despite the unending hailstorm of regulation coming from our lawgivers, prosperity and technology have made us more free than at any other time in history. He has a point.

If I were British or if I were a US university student, however, I would be less sanguine. You can get put in jail in Britain just for saying "Muslims are scum" and saying the same in many American universities could have you in a whole heap of trouble too. And in Britain the rising tide of crime makes people much less free to go and do normal things whenever they want -- unless they want to be a crime victim. Going for a walk after dark in many parts of London, for instance, would be most unwise. The British government seems to be keener to stamp out political incorrectness (i.e. Leftist incorrectness) than they are to stamp out assaults and robberies.


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Saturday, November 23, 2002


The idea that Leftism is a religion is an old and often recurring one. I have mentioned it myself on various occasions (e.g. here) Stanley Kurtz, however, has a particularly persuasive treatment of the idea in National Review -- pointing out that �liberalism� gives a feeling of mission, of belonging and of being on the side of the angels in a struggle with �demonic� conservatives. He also shows how it offers relaxing simplifications of the real complexities of life in the way that a religion does.



In my post on this blog of 11th, I pointed out that China was now more Fascist than Communist. Quite a few bloggers linked to that post at the time and I have noted a lot of other mentions of that idea on the internet since. The latest is an extensive article in The Spectator.



Gary of Public opinion has had another �musing� in which he came up with the proposal that Greenie activists are "romantics" and have a place as such, regardless of the general utility of what they do. He seems to understand that this is a pretty feeble defence of them and so adds that they are really fairly moderate people who mostly work within the system. Be that as it may, however, I think that people who constantly rely on gross distortions of the truth in order to get us to do useless things that we otherwise would not do must be constantly exposed as being the lying, attention-seeking, destructive misanthropes that they are.

The fact that in his �musing� Gary defends Greenies whilst at the same time disparaging passers-by and equating them with various breeds of dog does rather neatly illustrate what I mean by �misanthropes�. Apparently to Gary, Greenies are people and others are dogs. Charming!

See below for just some of the latest demonstrations of how misleading Greenie claims are.



Amax is a good chap. He not only repeats my jokes but has also just put up some MORE embarrassing statistics for the Greenies. It seems that if we take a statistical series that does show a small amount of global warming over the last century and dissect out that part of the series that comes from the USA, we find that the warming has been least in the USA -- not most as the Greenie claim would require. In simple terms, the rest of the world has heated up a touch but the USA has hardly changed. Odd that, considering all those nasty polluting industries the USA has! Could all those nasty US industries actually be the good guys in the global warming picture? That's what the actual measurements of global temperature would seem to show.

John Daly also reports on a 50 year data series that shows the opposite of what the Greenies claim. Just when do facts begin to matter to Greenies? Never, it seems.



As is their wont, the Greenies and their media allies have exaggerated the importance of the recent oil-spill off the coast of Spain. Acidman has a relevant enquiry:

"What happened to all the oil spilled in the ocean during World War II? Back then, we dumped this kind of spill about once a week, because of Nazi U-boat attacks on our merchant marine fleet and great naval battles that sunk battleships and aircraft carriers. Where is that devastation today?

I hate to mention it but oil is a "natural" product and gets broken down by other natural processes.



�Jonathan Cross, a nine-year-old fourth-grader at the Fred A. Anderson Elementary School in Bayboro, N.C., wore his duck-hunting outfit to school the other day, WorldNetDaily reports:

�But there was something in his pocket he had forgotten about--a shotgun shell left over from an outing with his father and brothers last weekend.
His discovery of the item while on campus has left the straight-A student stunned with a five-day suspension, his teachers in tears, and his parents perplexed over the latest case of "zero tolerance" in the government school system.�

We know what you're thinking: What the heck was Jonathan doing wearing a duck-hunting outfit to school? He was participating --we kid you not-- in the school's official Camouflage Day.�

Quoted from Opinion Journal.

At least Australian schools are not that nutty. The USA has thousands of illegal immigrants flooding across its borders every day and they are going ballistic about an empty cartridge case in a kid�s pocket! More �liberal� craziness at work, obviously.


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Friday, November 22, 2002


Read this and thank goodness for Australia�s immigration laws! At least there is one Western country that has not thrown the floodgates wide open.



The �soft-on-crime� attitude and politically-correct police-bashing of the Left-leaning British government seems to have had the predictable effect: See here.



China hand is having a bit of fun at the moment about fashions in haircuts among the Communist Party elite in China.



I cannot believe this. At this rate the US Democrats will end up the only Leftists worth abusing.



The conventional wisdom is that Japan has been in the economic doldrums for the last 10 years and that the Japanese way of doing business has finally hit a rock. There is a much different view here. It does sound as if we have been looking at the wrong statistics.



The �moderate� position in the nature/nurture debate was once that BOTH heredity and environment form what we are. Science can be very IM-moderate, however, and the science of behaviour genetics has long gone past that moderate conclusion. Over the years, scientists have succeeded in tracking down lots of identical twins reared apart and --- guess what? Identical twins reared apart are almost as startlingly similar as identical twins reared together. So upbringing has hardly any influence on what we become. This flies in the face of what humankind has believed for thousands of years but, as the Scots say: �Facts are chiels that winna ding�.

The leading expositor of this new understanding is Stephen Pinker and, as this article shows, he is so hard to beat on the question that people complain about it.



This joke might be a little bit dated by now but not by much:

A mathematician and an accountant apply for the same job. The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks "What do two plus two equal?" The mathematician replies "Four." The interviewer asks "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes, four, exactly."

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The accountant gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says "What do you want it to equal?"


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I recently (on 19th) put up a post questioning Andrew Sullivan�s claim that the British are �crude� and rude compared to Americans. My underlying point was that he was failing to give proper recognition to the stratified nature of both his own and British society and was making an unfair comparison between British working-class culture and his own no doubt much less working-class environment in the USA.

One of my regular Australian readers, however, has written in with a vigorous defence of Sullivan�s claims that does appear to make a relevant comparison:

I worked in a a trading room in NYC for 15 years and working in that environment allowed me to interact with the London desk very often. So as an Australian I had the unique experience of interacting with both cultures. You see the real animal instincts coming out, as nothing can really be kept in the dark for a long time in a trading environment.

Let me tell you, I found English traders and sales people the very worst group of people to work with. They are very rude and arrogant and need to be told to f*** right off very often. I found Americans to be on the whole a polite bunch who are very hard working and methodical.

I really think that the English do have a class thing about them. Whenever I visited London for business I experienced the true meaning of Yuppy and it wasn't pretty. You would never find an American talking incessently about the new Porsche he bought or the jewels he bought his wife with the bonus he got -- as English traders did. Compared to NY London seemed to me to be a very posy place. Maybe it is new money people. New money people in NYC take it in their stride whereas Brits have to be loud and show that although they don't have class ( whatever that means) they have money.

I know exactly what Sullivan is talking about and believe me, you just don't get a true understanding of Americans through short visits. You really have to live there for a while at least.

I must say that he has a point. Foolish boastfulness and arrogance among the English are certainly far from unknown.

Thursday, November 21, 2002



Australian philosopher Peter Singer is something of a hero on the loony Left but he seems to have had an attack of good sense recently and come out IN FAVOUR OF globalization -- on the undoubtedly true grounds that it will reduce global poverty. This article by Greg Easterbrook (apparently a moderate Leftist) reviews Singer�s book and even makes the point that, as globalization has been progressing, global inequalities in income have been DECLINING. It must be so sad for Leftists to hear even from their own that, under wicked old capitalism, the poor are getting richer, not poorer.



Men and women have always tended to think of one-another as silly. Men see things that women do as crazy and vice versa. But they mostly get on anyhow -- sometimes very well. For a long time women felt that they got the raw end of such comparisons -- being paid smaller wages for similar work, etc. Men, however, felt that they got the raw end of the deal in that they did not have the option of staying home rather than going out to work. And it is not only men who think that women get a good deal out of conventional arrangements. But anyway, feminists ended up persuading many of us that �sexism� is bad -- and so unequal payment to women in the workforce at least has now largely been eliminated.

Radical feminists (many of whom appeared to be lesbians), however, pushed things much further -- declaring men to be the �enemy�. Many women love their men so do not agree with that but a watered-down version of that view has become common, in that many people -- male and female -- have been brought to believe that female ways of doing things are just better: Full stop. This is of course sexism -- prejudice based on sex -- but somehow seems to be permissible and applauded by our media and educational elites who otherwise deplore all forms of prejudice. Any thought that both males and females each have their own spheres of excellence and that both should be equally applauded seems to be abandoned.

This leads to some sad outcomes and I want to mention here just one small example: I recently read an article (not online) by Jannine Barron in the November, 2002 issue of Living Now -- a free newspaper of a distinctly �alternative� bent. The article is on p. 9 and is headed �The solicitor and the partner�.

It is a nice human interest story: A group of women had been involved in a business partnership and decided to call it quits. They therefore wrote out an agreement to be signed by all which would terminate the arrangement. They decided that it should be vetted by a lawyer who would put in all the necessary legal bits. They took it to a lawyer and left it with him to do his part. When one of them called to pick up the revised agreement, however, the lawyer very kindly said that there would be no charge for his work. On being asked why he replied that it was because the agreement concerned was the nicest and most considerate partnership termination agreement he had ever seen.

Once upon a time that would have been the end of the story but on this occasion a generalization apparently had to be extracted from this one event. What conclusion would you extract? The only conclusion I would extract is that lawyer X was an unusually nice guy. Pushed hard, I might have added the jocular conclusion that even lawyers can be human sometimes. But what conclusion did the author draw? The conclusion was about �women� generally: That women do business �differently� -- and the difference was clearly outlined as being more lovingly, kindly etc.

Women are better -- get it? Prejudice in the media is fine -- as long as it is the �right� sort of prejudice.



Gary of Public opinion objects to environmentalism being classed as a religion and says that environmental debates are really debates between scientists -- not debates of science versus religion. Well, he is right about that. Many scientists do (for instance) say that humankind is causing global warming. But what sort of scientists are they? There are some indications of global warming and a lot of indicators of global temperature stability. What do real scientists do in that situation? I will tell you exactly what they do: They "accept the null hypothesis". They conclude that there is no systematic evidence of anything going on and therefore conclude that nothing is going on -- at least until better or clearer evidence is obtained. So scientists who say that there IS global warming going on when there is so much evidence that there is NOT are not acting as scientists at all. They may be defending their Greenie religion or (more likely) they may be defending their research grants but they are not giving a scientific response to the evidence.



I love this quote attributed to Michael Duffy by Gareth Parker:

"There are six times as many Indian restaurants in Britain than McDonald's. Why aren't you worried about Indian cultural imperialism as well as American?"



Two dyslexic bankrobbers walk into a bank shouting:
"Air in the hands motherstickers, this is a fuckup!"


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Wednesday, November 20, 2002


"The Tugboat Potemkin" had a couple of bad trips recently. It started out in a way that would have done Eisenstein proud -- with metaphorical sparks flying from its Soviet funnel. To wit:

"One of the nastier little half-truths circulating in some parts of the blogging world is that the African slaves of the 18th and 19th century were responsible, at least in part, for their own slavery. This plea of mitigation for the slave shippers and slave owners argues that whites only bought the slaves: it was Africans who sold them, so they must be held accountable too.

But our little boat promptly ran out of steam from that point on -- ending the post completely becalmed -- with the admission:

"Of course, like all arguments by analogy, this one will probably fail". Who am I to argue with that?

"But wait -- there's more" (as Tim Shaw used to say). On the "Potemkin's" next trip (post of 20th) we even find arguments that slavery was a good thing in some ways!! It certainly did not take much for me to win that argument (as it was my post of 16th. that the skipper of the "Potemkin" was originally referring to).



China hand is a bit irate at the moment because an ignorant Western journalist failed to realize the huge improvement that capitalism has brought to the lives of the average Chinese.


Thought for the day

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.



(Green on the outside, red on the inside): A great phrase from an excellent article by an Indian here on how the biotechnology that the Western watermelons despise is in fact India's best hope for sustainable agriculture.



I don't agree with Leftie economist John Quiggin very often but I think he was spot-on with this one:

"I picked up an ad for the Mitsubishi Verada in a magazine a while ago, and I couldn't resist mentioning it. It suggests the car might be perfect for an afternoon drive past the houses of:

(a) Your old economics teacher who said you'd amount to nothing
(b) Your first boss (ditto)
(c) Your ex-wife who left you for someone with better prospects

In other words, if you're an embittered loser who's willing to pay more than you can afford in order to impress people you don't like and who've probably forgotten you even exist, buy this car."



A good thought from Thomas Sowell:

The phrase "glass ceiling" is an insult to our intelligence. What does glass mean, except that we cannot see it? In other words, in the absence of evidence, we are expected to go along with what is said because it is said in accusatory and self-righteous tones.



The Brits often seem to be rather proud of their eccentrics but Australia has its fair share of lulus too. I am a 5th generation Australian with some convict ancestry so the following rant gave me a belly-laugh:

"From the first day the First Fleet unloaded its cargo of political prisoners on our shores in 1788, this nation was forged in a struggle against the British Crown and its associated City of London centered Money Power

It is a bit hard to know what brand of wacko is writing this but the term "money power" suggests a remnant of the old Douglas "Social Credit" outfit (mainly influential in New Zealand and British Columbia and generally right-wing in a crazy sort of way.)

Thanks to Samizdata for the link. They have a good sense of humour there as well as good minds.


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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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Monday, November 18, 2002


In case you did not see it in today's papers



Orrin Judd put up some time ago an excellent review of De Tocqueville which shows just how prescient the old-timer was. His arguments sound right and relevant to this day: Excerpt:

"Individual alms-giving established valuable ties between the rich and the poor. The deed itself involves the giver in the fate of the one whose poverty he has undertaken to alleviate. The latter, supported by aid which he had no right to demand and which he had no hope to getting, feels inspired by gratitude. A moral tie is established between those two classes whose interests and passions so often conspire to separate them from each other, and although divided by circumstance they are willingly reconciled.

This is not the case with legal charity. The latter allows the alms to persist but removes its morality. The law strips the man of wealth of a part of his surplus without consulting him, and he sees the poor man only as a greedy stranger invited by the legislator to share his wealth. The poor man, on the other hand, feels no gratitude for a benefit that no one can refuse him and that could not satisfy him in any case. Public alms guarantee life but do not make it happier or more comfortable than individual alms-giving; legal charity does not thereby eliminate wealth or poverty in society. One class still views the world with fear and loathing while the other regards its misfortune with despair and envy. Far from uniting these two rival nations, who have existed since the beginning of the world and who are called the rich and poor, into a single people, it breaks the only link which could be established between them. It ranges each one under a banner, tallies them, and, bringing them face to face, prepares them for combat.



There is rather a good wrap on The Simpsons
here. Excerpt:

"Conservatives and libertarians should appreciate The Simpsons for regularly showcasing much that they hold dear.

"There's no ideological requirement to work here," executive producer Al Jean says by phone. Though free marketeers and liberals write the show, Jean says they agree on this: "We mistrust authorities and people who try to hold people down. We believe more in individuals and families."

The Simpsons are a nuclear family led by an atomic power-plant engineer and a stay-at-home mom. They regularly attend church and occasionally seek spiritual advice from their minister, Reverend Timothy Lovejoy. Marge Simpson even homeschools Bart when he is expelled for misbehavior."



Come to the good old US of A for a Fascist education! No, not in the 1930s -- right now. Jeff Jacoby sets it all out in detail.



Who would have thought that US universities would one day become hotbeds of antisemitism? Once they would have rejected antisemitism outright and condemned it as racism. Yet thoroughly antisemitic they are today -- as Arlene Peck sets out at some length.



I have always thought that it was something of a pity that the Cornish language died out but recent "success" in reviving it seems to me a rather big waste of time. I did however like this bit:

The collection of clergymen and antiquarians who reconstructed the language were helped in their efforts by John Davey, a schoolmaster in Zennor, the last person with sufficient knowledge of the old tongue to speak it. Davey, who died in 1891, is said to have kept his ability alive by speaking Cornish to his cat.

(From The Telegraph of 17th.)



Sasha Castel says lots of nice things about her fellow bloggers but I still rather like this blog being listed under the heading "Wunderbar" (German for "wonderful").



China hand has just tried to explain to us the varieties of Chinese writing but I am afraid that it is still all Greek to me! At least English is uniform in its craziness.


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Sunday, November 17, 2002



At one time Leftists (and others) would condemn racism because it �categorized� people. Treating people as instances of some group to which they belonged rather than as individuals was widely seen as a VERY bad thing. Today that seems to be all turned around. Hatred of Israelis and Jews generally once again seems to have become de rigeur among many Leftists. Why?

One one level it is easily understood: Hitler was a socialist so it is surely no surprise that modern-day socialists should share his views.

It goes deeper than that, however. Leftists now LOVE categorizing people -- as long as the category is one that can be seen as at a disadvantage in some way. It does not even have to be a minority category. In most countries there are slightly more women than men but almost every Leftist will tell you that women everywhere are �oppressed�. Middle-class white males of Anglo-Saxon ancestry living in the �Western� world seem to be just about the only category that cannot be classed as �oppressed�. THEY are the universal ENEMY!

Enormously crass and silly though this all is, it seems to be taken as gospel by many members of the selfsame �enemy� class -- as long as they are also Leftists, journalists, university professors, mainstream clergy etc. Such people seek credit for themselves by treating all others outside their own self-proclaimed group as being especially privileged. Yes. Being in an �oppressed� class is seen by such people as earning the �oppressed� ones great advantages. It is, for instance, a �hate crime� to speak any ill of any member of such a class, but if you say exactly the same thing about any member of the �enemy� class, that is NOT a �hate crime�. THAT is fair comment!

Such Leftist gyrations would once have been called double standards, prejudice and discrimination. Leftists are such moral and intellectual dwarfs that they simply replace hatred of blacks with hatred of whites.

Needless to say, this apparent self-loathing tends to be greeted with considerable glee by most of those upon whom it confers advantages. Why would it not? So we have a modern-day equivalent of a class-war or race-war which, as usual in such wars, is focused on just one enemy. But unlike most such wars, most of the attacking is being done by people within the �enemy� ranks! Fortunately, however, it is only a verbal and financial war. If it were a hot war the traitors would have to be shot!

It probably would be helpful, however, if the war-mongers concerned were seen for what they are -- People who foster intergroup hatred to serve their own self-glorifying ends. They are the modern world�s equivalent of the racists of the past.

They would of course totally reject any parallel: They would say that racists sought the destruction of others whereas they want to foster harmony and help others. But hatred, prejudice and discrimination are strange tools to use if you really want to help others and foster harmony. Welfare programs, for instance, do not require those helped to be members of some �victim� class. Welfare can be targeted simply at need (e.g. level of income). So in the absence of any need for all the hatred, prejudice and discrimination, its widespread use by Leftists surely tells us yet again what is really in their hearts.

And, after all, Leftists have always loved �groupthink� (to use Orwell�s famous term) and rejected the primacy of the individual so it is rather surprising that they ever rejected racism at all. That phase in their history would now however seem to be coming to an end -- showing that their opposition to it was only ever yet another attempt to gain kudos for themselves.



Quoted from Eric Hoffer, writing in the LA Times of 5/26/1968 but still relevant today:

The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.

Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it, Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese-and no one says a word about refugees.

But in the case of Israel the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis



A little while ago, Gareth Parker noted that I had blogged on the historical evidence showing that Hitler was a Leftist. He then added his own comment to the effect that Leftists had long ago �excommunicated� Hitler. I thought that this was an excellent turn of phrase: Excommunicating your brother does not make him any less your brother. It just means that you do not acknowledge him as such.

Gareth�s post did however cause a minor storm at Mental Space -- a Leftist blog complete with Stalinist iconography. They did not like my history lesson at all. The main thrust of their response does however seem worth a comment: It was claimed that it did not make Hitler a Leftist when he called himself a friend of the worker etc. It was pointed out that conservatives also claim to be friends of the worker etc. And that is true. Conservatives do claim to be good for the worker (and for others) in the long run.

But show me one conservative who claims to be a SOCIALIST friend of the worker! Hitler�s party was a �Socialist Workers Party� (�Nationalsoziaslistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei�). How anybody can get anything but Leftism out of that escapes me.

Even the fact that Hitler added the word �National� into the name of his party does not bar it from being Leftist. There are several member parties of the Socialist International that have the word �national� in their names to this day.



The estimable Peggy Noonan has given an interesting dissection of Liberal motivations in her article on the �persecution� of smokers but I cannot agree with her conclusion that smokers have the right to impose their foul smells on others. As a libertarian, I am perfectly happy for smokers to practice their vice among consenting adults in private but it seems to me a serious and totally unnecessary attack on the right of others to breathe unpolluted air if they smoke in the presence of nonsmokers. Just this once, I think that the �liberals� have got it right.



Vin Ferrari has a fascinating piece on the latest Krugman diatribe in which Krugman implies that it is wrong that the political Right should get ANY support for their views via the media!!! Phew!! Welcome back, Stalin.


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Saturday, November 16, 2002



I have often made the point that it is a love of individual liberty that is central to the political Right rather than opposition to change. Most �conservatives� I know would like to see a HEAP of changes in the world around us. So today, I want to give just two quotes to show that anti-State and pro-individual attitudes go a long way back in the history of the British Conservative (Tory) party.

This is about the earliest English Tories:

"Coleridge, the most profound and influential of these theorists, looked to the moral regeneration of the individual, not to the reforming State, and he envisaged the Church of England as the head of a paternalistic society. He despised what he called "act of Parliament reforms", and he exalted the Church as much as he feared the State." (Roberts, 1958).

Of a slightly later period we read:

"Only State aid to all voluntary schools could extend education, but the Tories would not tolerate State intervention in a sphere reserved for the Church. In a grandiloquent speech to the Commons, Disraeli played deftly on this deep jealousy of the State. He raised the spectre of a centralized despotism comparable to those which oppressed China, Persia and Austria, and sombrely warned that the grant would force a return "to the system of a barbarous age, the system of a paternal government"." (Roberts, 1958).

Roberts, D. (1958) Tory paternalism and social reform in Early Victorian England. The American Historical Review, 63, 323-337.



One of my readers is a college student who has been learning too much from my blog. In particular, he noted my post about slavery, where I made the point that it was mainly blacks who sold the slaves. Whites only bought them. He writes:

In a discussion, slavery and reparations was brought up. I brought up the responsibility of blacks for enslaving themselves and there was a full consternation.

He is having some fun with the Lefties but he won't get good grades!



Australia is a pretty irreligious place generally, courtesy of our British forbears, so lots of Australian conservatives are NOT religious. Here an Australian conservative Senator puts rather well how an Australian non-religious conservative responds to demands from the religious Right:

""I think living by a decent set of values is far more important than defending [religious] dogma. I'm confident that if you lead a good life and there is a kingdom of heaven you will be welcome. Your religion is your business and no one else's. My personal view is that when you make your religion an issue, you drag it into the political domain and you tarnish it. It follows that I attach very little importance to [such] arguments.

"My point is quite simple: each to his own religion. If you say to me that doing something is against God's will, then I will respond by assuring you that, if God is annoyed, God will punish whomever has done that thing. The state should never be used as God's enforcer. Over the years, as I have been approaching 50, I can assure you I have had every confidence in God's ability to settle accounts. It has not been my experience that he or she usually waits until you are dead. Many people who have done the wrong thing have met their maker in a practical sense while they were still alive ...

"I simply ask those who, because of their beliefs, have a very genuine concern about this bill, to accept that they are entitled to follow their beliefs. They are not entitled to demand, by legislation, that everybody else does the same."

Hear here!



There is a most heartening article in the Wall St Journal: 'Good News for Europe', which shows that, at least in the economic sphere, liberty is progressing steadily worldwide.

The article does not, however, really ask WHY some countries adopt economically sensible policies and some do not. Chris Brand thinks he knows why and has written a "Letter to the Editor" to tell us all why. I think, however, that Chris's letter will almost certainly NOT see print -- despite being as good an example of science as anything else to be found in the social sciences:

Dear Editor,
It is good to see the Heritage Foundation finding that freedom does countries good and is on the increase (Mary Anastasia O'Grady, 12 November). However, a markedly more important factor in national prosperity is intelligence, as has recently been documented by professors Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen in their 2002 book 'IQ and the Wealth of Nations.' I will gladly supply a review of Lynn & Vanhanen for WSJ if desired, but the main finding is that IQ and Gross Domestic Product correlate at around .65 -- a very high correlation in social science.

In line with the IQ finding, Lynn & Vanhanen's data also show a racial link. Of the world's 21 countries which steadily tripled their Gross Domestic Product from 1983 through 1990 and 1993 to 1996, not one was on the African mainland; whereas of the 27 countries whose GDP decreased by 50% or more, ten were African (Angola, Burkina Faso, Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Madagascar, Somalia, Sudan, Zambia and Sao Tome & Principe). The consensus of modern work is that the average IQ in sub-Saharan Africa is not much above 70. It is time for such realities to be taken on board if Africa is to receive more appropriate help in the future than economists have been offering through the last fifty years.
I am yours sincerely,
Chris Brand.



One of the few things that both the Left and the Right seem to agree on is that "community" is a good thing. And both Leftists and Rightists tend to deplore the destruction of a sense of community among people -- something that seems now all too common in the modern world. Steven Chapman explains what has been killing it:

"Could it be said that it is precisely the rise of the State - i.e. Statism - that has led to the erosion of community/society? Think of it this way: a community or society is, traditionally, an informal thing, depending for its existence on goodwill and mutual dependence among a group of people, however large or small. In a traditional society, everyone needs to stay on pretty good terms with their neighbour because, after all, you never know when you're going to need him/her. Then the State comes along, and tells you that, when the going gets tough, you can rely on it to get by. This new state of affairs relieves you of the 'burden' of maintaining the high degree of goodwill and mutual self-interest which maintains a community/society, and furthermore, because the state is a system rather than a person, no expenditure of goodwill on your part is necessary to get what the State is offering. All you need to do is fill out the relevant forms and provide the relevant supporting documentation to prove that you're entitled to the State's goodies."


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