Friday, January 10, 2003


Orrin Judd is one of many Americans who believe that it is the Christian element of U.S. culture that accounts for America's great success in most walks of life. The view is that Christian morality underpins the trust and co-operation needed for America and American capitalism to function so well. I disagree. I think that the much more nominal religiosity of Australia (demonstrated by much lower rates of churchgoing), combined with Australia's generally high levels of civility and economic success, demonstrates that Christianity is of marginal significance. And an even clearer refutation of the idea that you need Christianity for high civility, high trust, high co-operation, high efficiency, low crime-rates and low taxes is the case of Japan -- which outdoes the USA on all those measures and is not even monotheistic, let alone Christian. The Japanese are superstitious polytheists -- just about the most primitive form of religious practice.

So if Christianity does not make people civil, honourable, ethical, moral and co-operative, what does? Necessity. Moral and legal codes have not changed much since Hammurabi -- who wrote his code many centuries before Moses. Why such little change? Because such codes embody what is needed for civilization to function at all and people who don't live by them will be constrained or punished by ANY society.

So the USA has done well for the same reason that Australia and Japan have done well -- not because of any religious or moral peculiarity but because of its broad acceptance of industrial capitalism -- a British invention but one that has proved widely transferrable. Even Communist China and Hindu India have now taken it up -- with the usual excellent results.

So the attraction of Christianity is not that it makes you rich. Christ did after all say �If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. (Matthew 19:21) and �It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God� (Matthew 19:24) and �My kingdom is not of this world� (John 18:36). Christ�s eyes were fixed on the afterlife. He despised riches. The attraction of Christianity is spiritual, not material.



In response to this, Alf Croucher has emailed me the following thoughts:

Lowered standards would be addressed by the better universities charging higher fees and being able to attract better lecturers with salaries based on merit rather than a standard rates set by governments - the cult of mediocrity has been closely developed by generations of academics concerned to distance themselves from the cares of the world and any need to justify their huge fund votes by any performance criteria. It is the last bolt-hole of mediocrity left in a modernizing world. No wonder they rage and storm. They are being called to account. They are being ordered back to work like the rest of the working populace. Australia can no longer afford slackers. The days of the 4 day week and the long lunch are over and it hurts - especially as they have become used to thinking it as a right. The idea that enforced idleness produces great intellectual output is a great hoax.



We all know that the Greenies hate nuclear power with a passion. The cheap, safe and abundant energy that nuclear power provides undermines all their gloom and doom scenarios for our future so they have to stop it!

So it is amusing that nuclear power does just those things that Greenies say they want. For instance, it shows here how nuclear power helps nations to comply with the U.N. Climate Change Treaty: The amount of carbon emission that nuclear generated electricity avoids each year is equal to the amount of reductions needed to achieve the 1990 levels agreed to in the United Nations Climate Change Treaty signed in Rio de Janiero in 1992.

And it points out here that to build the equivalent of a 1,000-megawatt nuclear plant, a solar park would have to be larger than 35,000 acres, and a wind farm would have to be 150,000 acres or larger. By contrast, the Millstone Units 2 and 3 nuclear power plants in Connecticut have an installed capacity of over 1,900 megawatts of power on a 500-acre site designed for three nuclear plants.

But nothing ever pleases the Greenies.



The Infidel has just had as bit of a moan about the amount of rabid Anti-Americanism that there is in Australia and points out how crazy it is. What he might have added is that our rabid anti-Americans are probably no more common than they are in the USA itself -- and it is the same envious, hating types who are mainly responsible in both cases. In my experience, the ordinary working people of Australia think that America is great.

Australia's only really Left-wing government in the last 50 years -- the short-lived Whitlam government -- is still much revered by Australian Leftists. Paddy McGuinness shows what a disaster they are revering.

Canadian liberals have been getting a bit of a bashing over at The Ville lately. And his answer to animal rights activists is to give KFC a big plug. I like KFC myself.

The Wicked one has a post defending Abraham Lincoln this time -- but still sees similarities between Lincoln and Lenin.

It looks like global warming is not working in London at the moment, either.

Jagdish Bhaqwati has written a rather nutty article which argues that illegal immigration cannot be stopped and that we should therefore simply "adapt" to it. He does not seem to realize that Australia's tough policies (including locking up illegals as soon as they arrive) have pretty well stopped illegal immigration dead in its tracks. So it CAN be done.


Next week's "Carnival of the Vanities will be hosted at Greeblie Blog so keep an eye out for it. There are some good posts there already. I have just added him to my "Favourites" list.


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