Monday, January 27, 2003


Iain Murray has recently commented on a large Swedish study that shows clear psychological disadvantage among chilren from single-parent families. Iain and everybody else seem to be interpreting this as showing that single-parent families are a bad thing.

Such families may well be a bad thing. I believe they are. But the study cannot be used to prove that. We have to be careful about the direction of causation. An amazingly high proportion of what we are is genetically determined (even ideology -- See Martin & Jardine, 1986 and Eaves et al., 1999) so I would say that a more likely interpretation of these results is that those with enough psychological deficiencies to prevent them from forming good relationships tend to pass such deficiencies on to their children. In short, the source of the disadvantage observed in the children is genetic, not social at all. Sad news for interventionists but they will not listen anyway.

Eaves, L.J., Martin, N.G., Meyer, J.M. & Corey, L.A. (1999) Biological and cultural inheritance of stature and attitudes. In: Cloninger, C.R., Personality and psychopathology. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press.
Martin, N. & Jardine, R. (1986) Eysenck's contribution to behaviour genetics. In: S & C. Modgil (Eds.) Hans Eysenck: Consensus and controversy. Lewes, E. Sussex: Falmer



I have written on several occasions now that I trace our modern Anglo-Saxon respect for liberty and democracy to our pagan Germanic ancestors. But I have not given much proof of what the pre-Christian Germans were like. So let me quote a man who knew them well, the ancient Roman Consul and historian Tacitus. Excerpts:

They choose their kings by birth, their generals for merit. These kings have not unlimited or arbitrary power, and the generals do more by example than by authority.

About minor matters the chiefs deliberate, about the more important the whole tribe. Yet even when the final decision rests with the people, the affair is always thoroughly discussed by the chiefs. They assemble, except in the case of a sudden emergency, on certain fixed days, either at new or at full moon; for this they consider the most auspicious season for the transaction of business. Instead of reckoning by days as we do, they reckon by nights, and in this manner fix both their ordinary and their legal appointments. Night they regard as bringing on day. Their freedom has this disadvantage, that they do not meet simultaneously or as they are bidden, but two or three days are wasted in the delays of assembling. When the multitude think proper, they sit down armed. Silence is proclaimed by the priests, who have on these occasions the right of keeping order. Then the king or the chief, according to age, birth, distinction in war, or eloquence, is heard, more because he has influence to persuade than because he has power to command. If his sentiments displease them, they reject them with murmurs; if they are satisfied, they brandish their spears.

In truth neither from the Samnites, nor from the Carthaginians, nor from both Spains, nor from all the nations of Gaul, have we received more frequent checks and alarms; nor even from the Parthians: for, more vigorous and invincible is the liberty of the Germans than the monarchy of the Arsacides.

Our modern-day parliamentary procedures are a little more sophisticated but the basic values and principles seem to me not to have changed at all.



Some recent research by Wiseman shows that �lucky� people create their own luck. It confirms Sam Goldwyn�s famous observation: �The harder I work the luckier I get�.

A British man caught a burglar in his home only to find that the police could not be bothered to prosecute. He took the burglar to court himself and won! Glad I don�t live in Britain.

Here�s a story that will make the day of all animal lovers.

Greenie dimwits who think that the heat output of the Sun is constant and that only human activity could possibly cause climate change need to read this.

In his post of 24th, Bigwig hangs an excellent anti-French rant on the recent �closer ties� agreement between Germany and France but, to be fair, it should be added that the average Frenchman will still always despise Germans -- just as he despises everyone non-French.

The Wicked one has a �we told you so� story about affirmative action and is also having another laugh at Leftist blogger Gary Sauer Thompson

Chris Brand reports that the British press is beginning to think that the paedophilia hysteria over there has gone too far and that people want the government to do more about bogus asylum-seekers.

Michael Darby shows how enormous bureaucratic negligence has made the current Australian bushfires so unprecedently bad. See also Miranda Devine's rather prophetic article

Theodore Dalrymple's article The Starving Criminal once again shows how Leftists prefer theory to facing the facts. I liked his line: "Meals here were solitary, poor, nasty, British, and short."

Great news from China. It looks like the Chinese leadership is slowly backing off from confrontation with Taiwan.


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