Wednesday, March 17, 2004


"Strange Semantics" is an anonymous "cognitive psychologist" -- apparently a cross between a psychologist and a linguist. His views, though Leftist, are somewhat more reasoned than the usual Leftist torrent of abuse featuring words like "scary" so I thought I might make a brief reply to his post about Leftist linguist George Lakoff. He refers to my article on Lakoff and says that I have misinterpreted what Lakoff says in his book about the Left/Right divide. I may well have done that. I cannot take Lakoff seriously enough to study him in any depth. (His work seems to be a branch of that solipsistic body of Leftist thought known as "postmodernism" and, after the Sokal hoax, I think one must suspect all postmodernism of being essentially contentless -- and hence worthy of yawns only). But I was guided in my interpretation of Lakoff by Lakoff himself in his interview here. I think my article is a fair comment on Lakoff's version of Lakoff. A comment on Lakoff's theories by Bernhardt Varenius at the foot of the "Strange Semantics" post is good too: "The liberal worldview, the indulgent parent model, assumes that the world is nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows and children are born good and only become bad if their parents are conservative...." etc.

A reflection on projection: Over 30 years ago I put into the academic literature the view that the Leftists who were throwing rocks and bombs in the cause of "peace" (a common phenomenon at that time) were a prime example of what psychologists call "projection" -- seeing and hating their own faults in others. The slogan at the top of this blog asking why Leftists are always going on about "hate" ("Hate crimes" etc) also embodies that view of Leftist motivations. I suspect that our academic friend at "Strange Semantics" is another case in point. I asked him why he was clinging to anonymity and asked was he ashamed of his views. He replied: "No, I'm not ashamed of my views. I'm just wary of people on the internet". The idea that people on the internet are particularly dangerous sounds pretty paranoid to me but I will credit him with sanity and look for another reason why he holds that view. Lots of conservative bloggers with views that many would violently disagree with -- such as myself -- put their names and personal particulars on their blogs so why is this Leftist blogger so cowardly? What has he got to fear? I think the aggression against conservatives that is so often unleashed by Leftists in power (such as Stalin or modern-day campus Leftists) gives us the answer. He knows how hate- and rage-filled he and his fellow Leftists are and assumes that conservatives are at least as bad in that respect. So he fears from conservatives the sort of treatment that Leftists themselves dish out. That conservatives are generally happy and law-abiding people just does not enter into his calculations.



There is an amusing comment here on a far-Left Israeli historian: "In both books Pappe in effect tells his readers: "This is what happened." This is strange, because it directly conflicts with a second major element in his historiographical outlook. Pappe is a proud postmodernist. He believes that there is no such thing as historical truth, only a collection of narratives as numerous as the participants in any given event or process; and each narrative, each perspective, is as valid and legitimate, as true, as the next. Moreover, every narrative is inherently political and, consciously or not, serves political ends. Each historian is justified in shaping his narrative to promote particular political purposes. Shlomo Aronson, an Israeli political scientist, years ago confronted Pappe with the ultimate problem regarding historical relativism: if all narratives are equally legitimate and there is no historical truth, then the narrative of Holocaust deniers is as valid as that of Holocaust affirmers. Pappe did not offer a persuasive answer, beyond asserting lamely that there exists a large body of indisputable oral testimony affirming that the Holocaust took place."

Jeff Jacoby describes the cancerous way antisemitism is spreading in Europe. European tolerance for irrationality is certainly cause for grave concern. Using the Jews as a scapegoat yet again is a disgrace to civilization. But don't look to Leftists for any "compassion" in the matter of course.

There is a reasonable coverage here (link via Keith Burgess Jackson) of the view that high IQ is both diagnostic of good health and a cause of greater wealth -- which leads to richer people being healthier. It would be surprising if it were otherwise. The brain is just another organ of the body and in general a very well-functioning brain should go with a well-functioning body. Similarly, if intelligence does not help you to get rich, what would? But in any case, these ideas have long ago been put to the test. Starting in the 1920s, Terman followed a group of high IQ kids through their growing up and into adulthood. He found that high IQ kids in fact became healthier, happier, wealthier adults. They were even taller if I remember rightly. But to read of people trying to extract policy prescriptions from the matter makes me laugh. Many natural phenomena are just not "curable", nor should they be.

I commented yesterday that Texas sounded like a place that I would like. With good Texan hospitality, Wallace of Big Gold Dog has responded: "Indeed, I think that you would. And I can say that the feeling runs in the reverse. Having had two short stays in Australia some years ago, I can verify that Texans feel very much at home there. When I tell people who have never visited Australia what it's like I simply have to say......"Well it's a lot like Texas" and they know it's a place they should visit. I've had several friends who, over time, have owned cattle ranches [OK cattle stations] at various spots in your fair land. Come on over...... we'll give you office space in our building to conduct your research on why leftists are so obtuse!"

Spanish jellyfish? Comment from a reader: "We are being unfair to the people of Spain. It is a natural reaction common amongst victims of catastrophe to seek out someone or some group to blame and carry out a response that is within their power to make. Being so close to an election made it almost certain that the government would be the object of the people's anger. We should not be too judgemental and cast shame on their nation for what they have done. We will need them as allies again. We should be careful not to alienate them forever."

Writing on his other blog, China Hand has pointed to a farcical effort by an Australian Leftist government to pander to the teacher's union by commissioning research into smaller class sizes. No attempt was made to show that smaller class sizes improved outcomes by any objective measure. The opinion of the teachers and parents involved was treated as "proof".


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Three more examples of Leftist dishonesty: They blame the 9/11 attacks on "poverty" in the Islamic world. Yet most of the attackers were Saudis and Saudi Arabia is one of the world's richest countries! They also say that they oppose racism yet support "affirmative action" -- which judges people by the colour of their skin! They say that they care about "the poor" but how often do you hear them calling for the one thing that would bring about a worldwide economic boom in poor countries -- the USA and the EU abandoning their agricultural protectionism? Leftists obviously care more about conservative farmers than they do about the poor!

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