Friday, January 31, 2003


All those who have had a close encounter with Blogspot's archiving system and lived to tell the tale know how erratic and mysterious in its workings it is. In the case of this blog, I seem to have done something that offended it mightily as it stopped offering access to most of my archives altogether.

Being the cautious academic type, I keep backups of whatever I write (Yes. And offsite backups too), so I did not suffer the grief that the good Gareth Parker and others have sometimes displayed over such losses, but it was still mildly annoying. Worst of all was that everything I have posted on this blog still seemed actually to be there somewhere, lurking in the depths of the Blogspot servers.

With the help of some canny advice from the good Michael Jennings, however, I have prevailed! I have managed to "republish" my archives. I have induced Blogspot to give them back. Just click on "Archives" (top left of this page) and you will now be able to access the full extent of my blogwisdom. Trawling through the archives of past blog entries is undoubtedly a rare and strange pursuit so I doubt that anybody ever noticed their absence but I feel rather pleased to have them back anyway.

Before Michael's sage intervention, my response was simply to re-post everything written on this blog prior to November 1, 2002 on a separate site: here. I guess I should now take all that down but I will leave it there just in case. I put it there mainly to make sure that Google do not lose it but if anybody wants to go there and mull over my earlier words of wisdom, who am I to object? I have a permanent link to it in the column over on the left of this page.



There is a report of some recent genetic research at Gene Expression which seems to me to be overinterpreted. Unless I am missing something, all it seems to show is that memory and IQ have different genetic determinants. Anybody who knows about idiot savants will not be surprised by that.



Even President Bush seems to think that "diversity" is a good thing. Why? It escapes me. I would much prefer excellence. It seems to me that diversity is what you seek when you don't know what you want. If you don't eat steak, you need a menu, as it were. But this book apparently says that the whole idea is confused anyway. Via Critical Mass

It really is strange that we now have Leftists calling for military conscription. As Dean's World says, have Left and Right switched sides when we were not looking recently? What on earth would the 60s peaceniks make of it?

Jennie T notes signs of reason about Iraq emanating from Canadian Prime Minster Chretien, no less.

Unlikely though it seems, The Spectator believes that Tony Blair's principled stand is on the verge of making Britain a great power once again. One of the Chicago boys goes even further -- saying Britain is still as great as it ever was (pity he can�t spell �cricket�, though).

As the Wall St Journal says: The "antiwar" Left seems to stand only for the proposition that the enemy of my country is my friend

This clinical description of "pathological Narcissism" sounds a lot like Leftist behaviour to me.

Gareth Parker points out some wisdom about Iraq from a political centrist.

Self-defence is now illegal in New Zealand. You are supposed to let yourself get killed. Don�t believe me? Read for yourself. I think most sane New Zealanders have emigrated to Australia by now.

As Razib says in his post of 27th: The mildly genocidal Milosevic is hauled before the War Crimes Tribunal, while the maniacal Mugabe is invited by the government of France to come to a conference. Ah, but he is black....

Iraq to chair Conference on Disarmament. Coming on top of this: "Libya Elected to Chair U.N. Human Rights Body" I have to say that only a Leftist could take the UN seriously.

"Envy used to be just a human failing, but today it is a major industry. Politicians, journalists and academics are all part of that industry, which some call 'social justice'." --Thomas Sowell. Via The Federalist

Chris Brand notes some progress towards realism over asylum-seekers in Britain.

The Wicked one is being facetious at the moment.

Michael Darby blogs about the benefits of genetically modified food and the latest Libyan idiocy at the UN.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


Thursday, January 30, 2003


The German government�s anti-American rhetoric is begining to hurt German exports to the United States. Hooray! About time. Why people think they can be insulting to Americans without Americans getting annoyed I do not know. Americans are very forgiving but nobody is infinitely so. And the critics think THEY are good-mannered. They could learn a lot about courtesy from the very Americans that they knock as being �cowboys�.



The doctrine of predestination is associated with Protestant pioneer John Calvin of Geneva. Luther throught that your salvation depended on your faith. Calvin thought that your salvation depended on your being chosen by God. In Britain, the Scottish Presbyterians were the main enthusiasts for Calvinism but the doctrine was widely influential among early Protestants and even the 39 �Articles of Religion� of the Church of England (issued in 1571) include a version of it. Article 17 says:

Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind ......

But it would seem that the doctrine has now not been heard from the pulpits of ANY mainstream church for many years.

Interestingly, however, I was brought up in a family with Presbyterian loyalties (though with no great religious committment) and throughout my family predestination was constantly invoked during my childhood. I can vividly recall my Aunt Maude and others saying things like: �It was all planned out before we were born, John� and �It was meant to be�. And I have noted similar sentiments coming from others I know with a similar background.

So what it all shows is the persistence of culture. With absolutely no support from the pulpit, old docrines and beliefs live on not as dogmas but as customary beliefs and family traditions. So to dismiss the importance of culture and tradition is to miss a large part of what goes on in the lives of people.



I posted yesterday an email from a reader that claimed that Christianity was oppressive rather than being a fountain of individual liberties. One of my Christian readers has now responded with a spirited defence of the Christian contribution to liberty. See the latest post here.



I have Tim Gillin to thank for this fun story:

Apparently, flag burning in the UK is a "hate crime" if "directed against minorities". Americans are a minority in the UK and some Leftists seem to have forgotten this -- and have spent time in prison for defacing the American flag! How cruel to take the Leftists� favourite pastime away! How will they express themselves now?

See here.



Always Right does a good appreciation of the State of the Union Address.

Michael Darby posts on the implications for Australia of the State of the Union address.

I have been thinking about Bill Whittle. Just a few posts seem to have made him the blogosphere�s favourite conservative. Why? I think it is because Bill really is the decent and caring person that Leftists only pretend to be.

Orrin Judd rightly gloats: Life holds no more beautiful prospect than that of Germany and France isolated from the rest of the West and stuck with only each other. And just that is happening!

It seems that you have to be married to a lawyer to get justice in Britain. Disgraceful cases of government incompetence like this are the one thing that makes me opposed to the death penalty.

Chris Brand thinks that directionlessness is a central problem for modern-day liberalism.

Famous Lefty philosopher and advocate of equality John Rawls has a son who is a libertarian!. (Via Stew)

Postcards from Prison is a fun site.

The Wicked one points out that, unlike politicians, the Queen will not cost the taxpayer a cent in superannuation payments.

Babette Francis points out that Leftist discrimination against men can end up hurting the women it is supposed to help.

Prof. Bunyip describes this site as �Rapist�s wife�. It made me ill anyway.

The Australian Libertarian Society seems to be Canberra-based. A bit ironical seeing that the main industry of Canberra is government! Maybe the nearer you get to government the more you can see its flaws.

You Big Mouth You has lots of good stuff -- from Feminazis to Greenpeace to the Norwegian airforce.

Right-Thinking looks at a tragedy and has some good sarcasm about the uselessness of gun-control laws.

Astounding! A Boston schoolteacher got her students to read books rather than watch TV so the Principal of the school insisted that they MUST watch the TV! (Via Country Store). Bring on vouchers!


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


Wednesday, January 29, 2003


Northern California ranked second to Nashville in the Marine Corps' national recruiting last year. Looks like the weirdos of San Francisco are just vocal, not representative.

It reminds me of Spiro Agnew�s �silent majority� in the Nixon years.

And is similar to this:

After a local "anti-war" demonstation that was said to have brought out 20,000 people, a poll by KATU of Portland, Oregon residents showed the following breakdown on military action in Iraq:

For: 57%
Against: 34%
Not sure: 9%



I wrote recently on this blog: "American Christians think that Christianity is the main source of the high level of respect for individual liberties "

A US reader wrote to me in reply:

What? Individual freedom and Christianity don't even deserve to be in the same sentence together! Christians are all about oppression .... in every way. There are so many examples ... a book could be written on that topic!

It�s not my fight. Would any of my Christian readers care to reply?



Britain may have to pull out of the European convention on human rights if the Government's latest measures fail to stem the flow of asylum seekers, Tony Blair indicated yesterday.

In a significant about-turn, he conceded that it might be necessary to look again at Britain's international obligations to take in refugees. He said the present situation - with alleged terrorists entering the country as asylum seekers and a former Taliban fighter seeking refuge despite having fought against American and British forces - could not be allowed to continue. The Government had to reduce the number of people seeking asylum. "The present situation is unacceptable and we have to deal with it," he said. "I am under no doubt about that at all."

The Government has been forced on the defensive by claims that Britain has become a soft touch for asylum seekers, with 100,000 arriving every year. Many disappear after their application to stay has been rejected.


Note that a Left-wing British economist has also made a comprehensive argument against mass immigration into Britain.

There now seems to be huge popular support for a crackdown on �asylum seekers� in Britain. Australia, of course, stopped the nonsense some time ago so it can be done.



The Seventh Ohio District Court of Appeals in Youngstown, Ohio, has
ruled that it is legal for police to hide cameras in public toilets!

Economics editor of The Australian, Alan Wood, has attacked playwright David Williamson for not sticking to the facts about global warming. It looks like playwrights can be nearly as big a pain as movie stars -- first Pinter and now Williamson. Pinter is demolished by Capt. Clueless here.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again -- at Ipse Dixit

Under the heading, �The arrogance of liberals�, George Will describes Leftist arguments as �synthetic hysteria�

The Wicked one posts on when it is that you need lawyers -- when you are dealing with bone-headed police.

Michael Darby posts on the futility of attempts at world climate control.

Chris Brand writes on how the concept of liberty has been abused by the Left.

More on the shambles that is American airport anti-terrorist screening at Greeblie Blog. Osama would have a big laugh at these guys.

Jeff Jacoby also writes of the continuing absurdity of �security� precautions at American airports.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


Tuesday, January 28, 2003


Jonathan King had an excellent article in yesterday's Australian about the Leftist nonsense that tries to portray the British settlement of Australia as a cause of shame.

He had many good points but I liked this:

The arrival of the First Fleet of convicts in Sydney Cove in 1788 [under Capt. Arthur Phillip] led to the British settlement of all six colonies and to our Federation in 1901. The hazardous voyage of 11 tall ships battling largely uncharted seas for eight months from Portsmouth was an achievement taught proudly to earlier generations of Australian students.

Phillip's safe arrival was a much greater achievement than the highly promoted six-week trans-Atlantic Mayflower voyage of pilgrims who settled America in 1620. Even though the pilgrims travelled one-tenth the distance, they still lost one of two ships and half their settlers in the first winter. By contrast, Phillip lost no ships and delivered 1350 people with few casualties. Today it would be like colonising Mars.



Matthew Cowie emailed me with an extended version of a recent post on his blog:

I noticed your item on how Chapman believes that Bloggers are more conservative because they are older. I agree with widely held view that the internet is conservative because it is an alternative to the mainstream media's leftist bent. However, two other factors could be that conservatism is more a grass roots movement than leftism, which is more of an elitist movement. That the New York Times bestseller lists are overwhelmingly dominated by even nominal conservative writers is evidence of this. As Ann Coulter stated, "Liberals don't read books - they don't read anything," she said. "That's why they're liberals. They watch TV, absorb the propaganda, and vote on the basis of urges.

The second factor could be that the youth are generally more conservative/libertarian and the users of the internet tend to be younger than the general population. School choice and Social Security privatization are heavily favored by Americans aged 18-25, for instance. More polling data is in This article from the Washington Times.

Mathew also has an interesting quiz:

Q: Why don't Liberals read books?

A: They're too busy coloring them.



Does "nice radiation" sound like a joke? It isn't. Radiation CAN be good for you. It's called "hormesis". I blogged on it last November (27th.) and Aaron Oakley has quite a few posts on it at the moment too. And if you are CERTAIN that radiation has to be bad for you, have a think about this:

Should we evacuate Denver?

Denver, in the Rockies, has a higher radiation level than most of the country. Should we evacuate Denver? The answer is that the death rates and cancers are lower in the high radiation areas than in the low radiation areas. Denver has a higher radiation level and lower death rate than most of the country.



I had to laugh! Given the latest Blix report, we seem to be about to go to war with Iraq -- so what is the leader of the Australian Left talking about? BABY FORMULA! What a galoot!

Andrew Bolt has some home-truths that will upset the feminists

The Wicked one has a go at teachers and class sizes.

China Hand thinks Hong Kong needs a sales tax.

There is an articulate defence of SUVs here. I guess you like them or you don't. I would not want to drive a vehicle that made me despised, however.

One of Washington's most senior "news" reporters has just said of the USA under GWB: "We have chosen to promote democracy with bombs instead of largess". An utter fruitcake! The real world is for her a planet far, far away.

Michael Darby is compiling an anthology of poetry.

Chris Brand has some interesting quotes about the Nazi era.

Shishir Yerramilli has added his observations on the role of Christianity and primitivism in the origin of our liberties.

Angela Bell has a link to a rare blast of sanity from the Islamic world.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


I see that a former chairman of the Australian Republican movement is having a predictable shot at the Governor General for expressing support of Australia�s troops. For a pro-Republic activist to find fault with the representative of the monarchy is meat and drink, of course. And what he says is nonsense. The GG is perfectly entitled to express support for the nation, its troops and its military involvements. The previous GG (Deane) was widely praised for speaking up on behalf of Aborigines (which would widely be seen as a �Leftist� cause) so this GG can speak up on behalf of our military committments (if some see that as a �conservative� cause).

The only thing that precedent requires is an expectation of widespread general support for whatever is expressed and Dr. Hollingworth can undoubtedly rely on wide support for his views about the nastiness of Saddam Hussein. One wonders more about those who do NOT see anything reprehensible in the Arab Fascist dictator. Prince Charles, it may be remembered, launched a swingeing but no doubt �controversial� attack on modern architecture -- to much public acclaim. The monarchy and its representatives have to be careful about matters of public interest but do not have to be hollow shells devoid of values.

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.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


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Sunday, January 26, 2003


Orrin Judd and many other American Christians think that Christianity is the main source of the high level of respect for individual liberties that prevails in English-speaking countries.

I respectfully disagree. I have argued that it is our pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon heritage (working largely via Protestantism in recent centuries) that is primarily responsible. The German-speaking, Anglo-Saxon �barbarians� who conquered Britannia and turned it into England 1500 years ago had a form of social organization that was tribal and decentralized rather than centralized and that was consultative rather than despotic -- and those values were never lost.

Razib leans my way in the matter by pointing out that there have been many Christian societies (such as Byzantium) that did not greatly respect individual liberties.

Tim Gillin has been doing some reading on the topic too:

This Christianity versus barbarianism as a source of liberty and prosperity argument is fascinating. My gut feeling is that the barbarians have the stronger case, but of course over hundreds of years these influences will echo off each other too.

Leonard Liggio has an interesting comment about the Christianity and liberty argument, what he doesn't mention here is that the "polycentric" power structure of western europe had German, celtic and "barbarian" roots. Christendom provided a common culture but local rulers competed for power and the loyalty of their subjects, both with each other and the Church.

R&L: What role did Christianity play in the emergence of the components of a free society: free markets, limited government, and the like?

Liggio: I think we have to look at comparative history. Of all the civilizations around the world, why did only the Christian West become both free and prosperous? We are talking about distinctions between civilizations. Asian civilization, for example, did not become free and prosperous, even though it had a lot of cultural creativity. But we must also look at other Christian civilizations, such as the Byzantine, Abyssinian, Georgian, and Armenian Christian empires, all of which lasted for many centuries but did not create the kind of free and prosperous society the Christian West did.

Many scholars have studied this and have come to the conclusion that this is due to the fact that the religious institutions were totally separate from, and often in conflict with, political institutions only in the Christian West. This created the space in which free institutions could emerge. The idea of independent religious institutions is absent even in Eastern Christianity; their religious institutions are part of the bureaucracy of the state. In Western Europe, though, the religious institutions were autonomous among themselves, and totally independent from and often in opposition to state power. The result was the creation of a polycentric system. And whenever this system was threatened by claims of total empire by the political rulers, Christian philosophy was utilized as part of its defense.

So within that space, the economic institutions-often modeled on the religious institutions as autonomous entities-could flourish and survive

Another historian Ralph Raico may be closer too it, and refers to a string of historians working in this field.

" In the past few decades, eminent historians, economic historians, economists, and sociologists have contributed to framing and buttressing this powerful paradigm, our paradigm. It has been presented in works with titles such as How the West Grew Rich and The European Miracle. (In this literature, "Europe" is often a shorthand term for Europe and its outposts, above all the United States.) Scholars of the rank of David Landes, Douglass North, and Jean Baechler have participated in this project.

Although there are, naturally, differences among these scholars, the gist of the view is that Europe developed economically and eventually outstripped the rest of the world largely because it was at once a common civilization - Latin Christendom - but also a radically decentralized mosaic of polities. This created multiple opportunities for economic and also political progress. There was competition among political entities, which came to see that a favorable treatment of property rights retained and attracted productive citizens. On the other hand, when a state behaved as states customarily did and do throughout history - as an "unconstrained predator" - it tended to lose ground to competing states, as Professor Bouckaert has indicated..."

Liggio and Raico, and presumably the other historians mentioned, see "freedom and prosperity" as a by-product of political decentalisation overlaying a wider common culture. The barbarians were generally freedom loving, for example, the Old Icelandic culture, almost 'pure barbarians', there was no pre-existing christian civilization to conquer. They were relatively free but never especially prosperous (although their literary output was remarkable). They developed a decentralised political system that maintained a high level of freedom from overlords for about 350 years.

So a good case can be made that the decentralisation was part of the barbarian heritage. Was this the key ingredient?

Of course Joseph Stromberg points out that the very word "freedom" has a Germanic/Anglo-Saxon origin (Freiheit in modern High German). This might just settle the debate in favour of the barbarians, but then again he points out that "liberty" has Latin roots too!!!! (Liber = �free� in Latin)



This finding will drive the Greenies crazy (Or it should if they are genuine): Fields of sugar beet full of weeds and insects have for the first time challenged the idea that crops genetically-modified to resist weedkillers are bad for wildlife. The experiments suggest that the careful use of GM technology can encourage back the wildlife lost in conventional crop fields - without sacrificing farmers' yields..

Spiked also points out the environmental benefits of GM crops. Saying: When it comes to GM crops, Europe could learn a lot from the developing world

Writing on his �other� blog, China hand joins the throng who cannot understand the Greenie opposition to standard bushfire prevention measures. Do they WANT their precious native species to be all killed in one huge conflagration? It seems so. And it is happening right now. Imbeciliic!

Michael Darby has had a few posts saying that too.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


Saturday, January 25, 2003


Every year -- year after year -- millions of people around the world gather together to celebrate with great ceremony and merriment the birthday of a poet. And there is only one poet so honoured: Robert Burns. For people with a Scottish heritage it is one of the greatest celebrations of the year. And today is the day.

I do sometimes arrange a traditional Burns night on the 25th. -- getting into full Highland dress (kilt etc.), inviting friends over, having the haggis piped in, making the usual speeches (to the haggis, to the lassies etc) and making sure that there are plenty of tatties and neeps to go with the haggis. But not this year. I will however be dining on a Scotch pie, a Forfar bridie, tattie bread and clootie dumpling to finish.

There is however one essential that I never miss: to read, sing or recite some of the great words of the poet himself. So here is the greatest love poem ever written:

A Red, Red Rose

O, my love is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June,
O, my love is like the melody,
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonny lass,
So deep in love am I,
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only love,
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my love,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!

And here is the greatest love lament ever written:

Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon

YE banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary fu' o' care?

Thou'll break my heart, thou warbling bird
That wantons through the flowering thorn;
Thou minds me o' departed joys
Departed never to return

Aft hae I roved by bonnie Doon
To see the woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o' its Luve,
And fondly sae did I o' mine.

Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose,
Full sweet upon its thorny tree;
And my fause Luver staw the rose
But ah! He left the thorn wi' me.

So if you have any Celt at all in you, listen to some of the great Scottish sentimental songs today and open yourself to them. If you shed a quiet tear or two over them, you have a Scottish heart.



Tim Gillin writes:

There is some interesting pro-monarchist stuff floating around the web. This young American liberal is a unusual supporter of British style constitutional monarchy. Amongst other things he is keen to preserve monarchic forms for cultural reasons, he wants to tell his kids about princesses and kings. The Diana craze and Lord of the Rings shows that this is still a powerful impulse. If we feel the need to preserve old buildings and endangered species for the benefit of future generations, what's wrong with wanting to preserve a few living monarchies?

Prof. David Flint also writes of the magic we would lose by removing the monarchy in Australia. As an Australian monarchist I heartily agree.

There is more on the Australian monarchy here



Steven Chapman thinks most political bloggers are conservative because they are old. I think the answer is simpler than that. I think that only conservatives NEED a new outlet for their views. Leftists have their views constantly presented in the mainstream media so feel no need to blog. For more detail of my thoughts on the subject, see my posts of 2nd October and 30th September, 2002 here. Two of the links I mention there are now out of date. One is now here and the other is here



Michael Darby has two more poems by Burns.

The Wicked one has some dreadful puns.

More and more British and European students are coming to Australia for a university education. It's not so long ago that Australians felt that they had to go abroad to finish their education.

Overlawyered wisely refers to his Permalinks as "Durable" links. Even that may be overstating it. See here

P R Seabrook is a self-described bleeding heart liberal (Yes, he does call GWB: "Shrub" -- how clever!) but at least he thinks discrimination against whites is just as bad as discrimination against blacks. Perhaps there's hope for sanity on the Left yet.

Chris Brand reports more on the Finsbury Park Mosque in London and the difficulties of expelling Muslims from Britain.


Comments? Email me. If there are no recent posts here, check my HomePage for a new blog address or visit my "First Draft" site here.


Friday, January 24, 2003


Tim Gillin writes:

The great Peter Jackson movie adaption of J.R.R Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS has been doing great guns in cinemas around the world. Tolkien of course was a devout Christian, arch-conservative and opposed to authoritarian and arbitrary power of any sort.

This recent article at the Acton Society site discusses Tolkien's opposition to centralised state power. This theme has been discussed elsewhere in more detail. This article by William Stoddard for example discusses Tolkien view of decentralised power and finds connections with the anarchic society of old Iceland and the "distributivist" ideas of G.K. Chesterton and Belloc. (There is a critique of Distributivism here)

The author is however unaware that Tolkien attended the same school as Hillaire Belloc whose 1912 book THE SERVILE STATE inspired F.A.Hayek to write his classic ROAD TO SERFDOM written during WW2. Hayek of course influenced Milton Friedman, whose son, David Friedman finds some inspiration in old Iceland for his preferred anarcho-capitalism.

Tolkien was of course an expert on Northern languages, including Icelandic, and Anglo-Saxon culture. His work was an attempt to imaginatively "rediscover" the "lost" mythology of Anglo-saxon England prior to 1066 and the imposition of "the Norman Yoke". In a sense he was the first Euro-skeptic!

It is well known that Tolkien converted C.S. Lewis back to Christianity. The core of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is however not politics or economics but "the Christian virtues". When you explore the dates for Frodo's departure from "The Shire" to the climax of the adventure, you discover the story begins on Christmas Day and finishes on Good Friday (although I am sure other Tolkien fans may disagree on this!).

This longish (15 page) biography of Tolkien is one of the best on the web.



Taken verbatim from the Quick Takes column in the Chicago Sun-Times:

News Item: Securities and Exchange Commission forms Public Company
Accounting Oversight Board to oversee the accounting profession.

News Item: Public Company Accounting Oversight Board members vote
themselves annual salaries of $452,000, with the chairman to receive

From Jerry Lerman, posting of 23rd January.



Hooray! The Wall St. Journal have put an article by Bjorn Lomborg on their editorial page. That should help stiffen the resolve of the Republicans over Kyoto.

I have posted a bit lately about how the Leftist influence has gutted modern academic psychology of most of its claim to be a science. Roger Sandall does a similar but much more witty expose of modern anthropology

Joanne Jacobs reports: Congressional investigators created a fake school -- Y'Hica Institute for the Visual Arts -- in London, and applied for federal loans for three non-existent students to study abroad. All were approved by the Department of Education.

Razib has a long post on the alleged connection between Christianity and respect for individual liberties. He does not seem to realize it but he makes an excellent case for my claim that our tradition of respect for individual liberties is of Germanic rather than Christian origin. (See about halfway through my article here).

Michael Darby talks about the current Australian bushfires and points to crazy Greenie policies that have made this bushfire season unprecedentedly bad.

The Wicked one has two stories about the amazing stupidity of bureaucracy.

Chris Brand says that we should recognize and rejoice in diversity -- by acknowledging racial differences.

An excellent joke on Samizdata

China Hand says that the Chinese are at least frank about admitting that they use bugging devices to eavesdrop on people.

You can carry a loaded gun onto an aircraft in the U.S. and get only a warning if you happen to be connected with a TV talk-show host.


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I live in Brisbane and our daily newspaper is the Murdoch-owned �Courier Mail�. Its headline today is �Bravehearts set sail� -- reporting that Australian troops have just left to join U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf readying for war with Iraq. I wonder how the N.Y. Times would have reported the story? �Troops depart amid controversy�, perhaps. The �Courier Mail� also reports that our Prime Minister has said that Australia would join the U.S. regardless of the U.N. It makes me proud to be an Australian.



All this European mumbo-jumbo about the U.N. makes me sick. The U.N. is just a talking shop for tinpot dictators. Why should the US be ruled by the likes of Libya's Gaddafi or Zimbabwe's Mugabe? And why should Tuvalu have the same vote as India? The U.N. is nothing like a world parliament. And the USA in fact already HAS a resolution from the UN supporting war with Iraq. France and Germany are just envious because they are no longer of prime importance. If they had taken a principled stance like Britain�s Tony Blair, they WOULD still be important.

Jeff Jacoby spells it out too.


Thursday, January 23, 2003


As is now well-known, university teachers in the humanities and social sciences are overwhelmingly Leftist. This has a very bad effect on the disciplines concerned. The very low Leftist standards of honesty and concern for truth are disastrous when applied to what should be science. I have given extensive examples of that elsewhere but here is another example by another author:

In the 1920s, researchers in psychology began focusing on the workplace. Their goal was to discover what factors increased worker satisfaction and ultimately productivity. Perhaps the most famous of these workplace studies took place in 1924. This was the year a team of researchers went to the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric, located just outside Chicago. In an attempt to determine the effect of lighting on work, researchers turned the lights up in one room and kept the original lighting in another. Then they did the reverse, dimming the lights in one room and maintaining the normal level of light in another. From lighting, they went to coffee breaks, length of work week, location of work space, and method of payment. The results were astonishing. No matter what the researchers did, productivity rates in both the regular and the test group increased.

What accounted for that increase? According to the researchers, it was the time and attention paid to the subjects taking part in the experiment. In their view, increasing productivity had less to do with working conditions and more to do with a worker's sense of importance. Their interpretation made social science history. As a result, numerous psychology textbooks have dutifully passed on to students the notion that the "Hawthorne effect" was a scientific finding firmly grounded in solid research. Yet, in reality, the Hawthorne effect was based on very shaky evidence.

According to Dr. Lee Ross, a psychology professor at Stanford University, the number of subjects in the Hawthorne experiment was ridiculously small. Only five workers took part in the study, and two were replaced midway for insubordination and low output. So why were the researchers ready to base such wide ranging conclusions on so little evidence? According to Dr. Ross, researchers trained in psychology have an innate bias. They tend to think that subjective factors matter a good deal. Inclined in that direction to begin with, members of the Hawthorne team were quick to jump to the conclusion they were hoping for: The determining factor in productivity was the worker's sense of personal value.

Dr. Richard Nisbett, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, is even more critical of the Hawthorne effect than is Dr. Ross. Dr. Nisbett calls it a "glorified anecdote." From his perspective, the fact that the Hawthorne effect made a good story is one reason why the skimpy evidence supporting it was ignored. In his words, "Once you've got the anecdote, you can throw away the data." Cynical as that sounds, it may be one reason why the Hawthorne effect still makes its way into textbooks even though criticism of its methods has been around for decades. It does, indeed, make a good story.

(Information drawn from Gina Kolata, "Scientific Myths That Are Too Good to Die," The New York Times, December 6, 1998, p. 18)

Excerpt from here



Some wet academic �historian� now wants Australia to �apologize� to the Turks because Australians and New Zealanders took part in the bungled Gallipoli landing in Turkey in 1915! What is wrong about invading someone you are at war with he does not seem to say. At least the Kiwis have given the idea the raspberry.

And the generalship of Kemal in defeating the Allied forces gave him the prestige to lead Turkey into the modern world anyway. The Turks are as pleased as punch about it. They certainly want no apologies. Leftists just call for apologies, reparations etc. because they think it makes them look big-hearted. Logic does not come into it.



The Infidel reproduces a long anti-Western dialogue (off a chat room) between two Muslims. It shows what we are up against: IQs of about 60!

There is a mocking view of �reparations� from a Filipino-American here. She calculates that the Hispanics owe her bigtime.

An explanation for the "human shield" nonsense: Lefties have a well-documented overly-grandiose sense of their own self-importance. It is what makes them lefties in the first place. I couldn't agree more. See here.

The Wicked one gives Leftist blogger Gary Sauer Thompson a very hard time and also asks what you get when you cross a Greenie with a bureaucrat.

Chris Brand notes that the hysteria over paedophilia is beginning to be questioned in Britan.

A record here of just some of the horrors that the people of the Baltic countries and other minorities went through under the Soviet empire.

Michael Darby remembers the Ukraine famine.

"Spiked" says: The latest phase in the anti-Lomborg campaign makes pie-throwing and name-calling look like examples of serious, grown-up criticism

Andrew Sullivan rightly says: There is something truly sickening in the sight of people who call themselves liberals finding more fault in America than in the brutal, misogynist, homophobic, anti-Semitic dictatorships who are now pitted against the West.

Milton Friedman says: I never met a tax cut I didn't like, and I like President Bush's a lot.

A US Federal judge has ruled that if you get fat from eating Big Macs, it is your own fault. Apparently there are still SOME things Americans have to take personal responsibility for!


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Wednesday, January 22, 2003


There does not seem to be much balance in the SUV debate but let me have a try at it anyhow:

The Wall St. Journal has a rather tongue-in-cheek explanation of why some people like to drive large vehicles and why others hate them for it. And, as this article shows, they are indeed hated. Forbes, however, has a more balanced article (free registration required) on the subject than either of the above extremes. My own first comment on the matter was on 9th December last year:

An interesting article on what Australians call 4WDS and what Americans call SUVs. The article quotes research findings to the effect that they are primarily bought for show and statistically debunks the claim that they are safer. Because of their instability, they are far more likely to roll over than other vehicles. So, overall, they are less safe and more likely to kill those in them. They are also more likely to kill other people in smaller vehicles that they collide with. And, as we also often see on the news in Australia, people accidentally back their 4WDS over their own children at a great rate.

A reply to that posting is to be found here

The reply challenges the finding that SUVs roll over more but I would be surprised if vehicles with such a high centre of gravity did NOT roll over more.

I do feel rather sorry for the people who feel the need to drive such needlessly awkward and expensive vehicles but as a libertarian I think they are entitled to whatever turns them on in the matter.

I personally would not own a SUV if only because I know how much scorn it would cause many of my fellow-citizens to feel towards me. I would rather be scorned for more important things.



Shiny Happy Gulag reports:

Northern Alberta breast cancer patients whose wait to see a cancer specialist has almost doubled should be sent out of province for treatment, says the president of the Alberta Medical Association. Dr. Steven Chambers goes on to say that eight weeks is an unacceptable waiting period to see an oncologist, and these patients should be flown to the US for radiation therapy.

Eight weeks for patients with life-threatening cancers to wait before they can begin treatment. Welcome to the Gulagland state-monopoly health care system.

Note where the doctors would like to send their patients: To that wicked capitalistic USA!



Carnival of the Vanities is up again -- with something for everyone.

Oh Boy! This picture says it all about limousine liberals. Via Clayton Cramer.

Australian Tory reports a study showing that public transport emits more Greenhouse gases than private cars! I wonder how the Greenies will deal with that one? One guess: Ignore it.

More insane political correctness in Britain: Richard Browning was sacked from his teaching job because one of his students photgraphed a toy gun. Via Natalie Solent. If link does not work, try here

China Hand blogs on the terrible destruction wrought by envy in China and notes that Chinese intellectuals are just as parasitic as Western ones.

The Wicked one has what seem to be some totally new thoughts on cloning.

Chris Brand has a lot on the current Muslim situation in Britain.

Our Australian nutjob Leftists are so amazing that even American bloggers sometimes have fun fisking them. See American Realpolitik

Medpundit has some horror stories about lawyers in his post of 19th.: Like the lawyer who slept through his client�s trial and the fact that in many American States you can be sued for complaining to ANYONE about your lawyer! It does seem to leave shooting them as the sole recourse.

This �bra� nonsense certainly confirms what I have often said about Leftists being people who desperately need attention. I guess when they were little and said �Mummy look at me�, Mummy didn�t look.

Dennis Prager (post of January 21st.) says that American Jews vote Democrat because they think that Rightists were responsible for the holocaust. The Leftists have obviously conned them well. Hitler was a socialist.

Michael Darby warns us that Iraq is a North Korea in the making.

Hello Bloggy doesn�t like the French very much.

Lighter moments in science: Man descended from Aardvark. (Under the heading �British News�, of course!).


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Tuesday, January 21, 2003


It has often been said that envy is the mainspring of Leftist politics and I pointed out last year that Leftist impoverishment of the societies in which they live may therefore be not so much stupid as deliberate. I said:

So the economic destruction and general impoverishment typically brought about by Leftists is not as irrational as it at first seems. The Leftist actually wants that. Making others poorer is usually an infinitely higher priority for him than doing anybody any good

We now have interesting experimental evidence that I was right. There is a report here in which some researchers gave people the opportunity of destroying wealth belonging to others as long as they accepted that some of their own wealth would be destroyed in the process too. So how much were people are willing to lose themselves if they could at the same time destroy the wealth of others? Lots! Impoverishing others is demonstrably worth a lot to some people:

Whether or not they are aware of the indirect harm to themselves, a sizeable majority of people in society does indeed want to see the wealth of others burned

Much Leftism really is fuelled by hate. Via Todd LaClair



The Chinese are erecting an enormous number of factories aiming to produce half the world's manufactured goods within a decade or so. For the most part these goods will be aimed at the mass markets, for clothes, toys, shoes, computers, telecommunications equipment and later motor cars. What makes the Chinese development different to anything we have seen before is that they are combining very low cost labor with the world's latest and best technology.

More here



The Australian Democrats have similar policies (if you can call them that) to the U.S. Democrats, but fortunately have only about 5-10% voter support. The party had a big upheaval last year when a backroom body of the party with the intimidatingly Stalinist name of "The National Compliance Committee" tried to discipline the party's Senate representatives for not following the party line. It certainly shows yet again the authoritarian nature of Leftism. Having an outside body dictating to democratically elected Senators has eventually got pretty embarrassing, however, and they are now proposing to abolish it. See here



Pineappletown seems to have his knickers in a knot over oil leaking from ships sunk in World War II! He obviously has not read this. Via Stew



A family doctor has been summoned to a formal hearing over his refusal to put a 34-year-old MALE patient on the list for screening for cervical cancer.

Hard to believe? Males don't have a cervix, of course. See here or here. Via Cronaca. Cronaca has lots of interesting stuff -- particularly if you are interested in history.



As LGF says: Did we need any more evidence that the United Nations is nothing but a hopelessly incompetent, hopelessly corrupt puppet organization for the world's killers and dictators? No? Well, we have some anyway: "Libya Elected to Chair U.N. Human Rights Body". LGF has heaps of unbelievable but true news at the moment.

Government at work: British coastguards have found dozens of phials of anthrax vaccine belonging to the ministry of defence on a beach on the southern English coast.

Cinderella is acerbic about the recent much publicized �Peace� rallies: As expected, various Far Left losers attempted to hijack the peace movement. This sort of protest rally has the same attraction for political extemists that a children�s home has for paedophiles: lots of young, innocent minds ready to be exploited

The Wicked one is now having shots at civil rights, Martin Luther King and fundamentalist Christianity!

Michael Darby points out that hatred for the West is widespread across the Islamic world -- even among our "allies"

Chris Brand asks how it can be criminal just to look at something and rejoices that the University of Edinburgh (which sacked him) is falling down.

Bovination is rather pleased that Australia�s political capital is on fire. He thinks they deserve it.

On 16th, I repeated a story from Jerry Lerman about men being jailed when marijuana was found in a former drug-smuggler�s SUV that they had just bought off the U.S. Customs Service. Jerry has partially corrected that story in his post of 21st. They were jailed in Mexico, not the U.S.


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Monday, January 20, 2003


Rafe Champion has a review essay of Thomas Sowell's book Preferential Policies which highlights the mayhem that can and does result from "well-intended" racism. The bloodshed resulting from such policies in India and Sri Lanka is particularly alarming.



And "Amen" to this from Spiked:

The new 'anti-racist' witch-finders have no time for such outdated concepts as empiricism or evidence. There need be no proof of racist acts; the possessed don't even know they harbour racist thoughts, for they are being 'unwittingly racist'. The demon can infect entire organisations too, rendering them 'institutionally racist'.

Even if there is no proof of it existing, like an elusive phantom, it can be 'perceived' (the 'perception' of racist intent in a criminal in English law actually makes it a racist crime). To deny such thinking is only to indict oneself even further. There is only one avenue for redemption: self-denunciation. Surrender to the new 'anti-racist' priestcraft, for only they know what you think.

True non-racists believe that racial discrimination is wrong. They subscribe to the tenets of the Enlightenment, with its belief in the universality of humanity. Today's 'anti-racists' represent the antithesis. They are the intellectual descendants of pseudo-Freudians, Maoist brainwashers and religious fundamentalists.



Many of those who promote double standards for blacks seem convinced that blacks cannot achieve what whites have achieved. That is part of the ugly secret behind affirmative action. More here



I wrote recently about how hopelessly unscientific I had found my colleagues in psychology and sociology to be when I was employed to teach those subjects at university level. This article about the work of anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon shows that political bias and lack of concern for the evidence prevail in anthropology too. See also here

Tim Gillin comments:

This is a great example of scientific persecution today in the social sciences. Chagnon spent many years in Venezuela studying Indian family structures on grants provided by the Hiroshima victims medical foundation that was keen to develop epidemological yardsticks. Chagnon, by adopting a socio-biological explanation for tribal warfare among the Yanomamo, managed to alienate himself from the anthropology mainstream.

At the same time he managed to document that remote Amazon missions were unintentionally spreading disease. Maybe more than they cured. He thus made two powerful enemies at once.

Into this comes 'investigative journalist' Tierney, a writer who previously wrote articles on talking dolphins and on alleged secret human sacrifice cults in South America. Tierney, presumably fed by Chagnon's foes, wrote a pot-boiler story accusing Chagnon and his partner Neel accusing them of deliberately spreading disease among remote Amazon tribes as part of a Dr Strangelove-meets-Dr Mengele "eugenics" experiment on behalf of the US atomic bomb program.

The accusations were broadcast around the world, the retractions and refutations, of course were not.



Jeff Jacoby points out that the free-trade agreement between Mexico and the USA has done wonders for BOTH countries. Let us hope that the negotions for a free-trade agreement between Australia and the USA bear fruit soon.

Floyd McWilliams has blogged about the strange lengths California men now seem to be legally required to go to during sex.

American Realpolitik notes that conservative America is much happier than Democrat America even when it is less well-off materially.

You knew it, didn't you? It is the fault of British imperialism that Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe is starving his people to death! Layman's logic has the proof.

Michael Darby unveils some truths about Islam.

It's only totalitarian dictators who outlaw their political opponents to keep themselves in power -- right? Wrong! Those wonderful caring moderate Europeans in Belgium are doing just that right now! See here

Natalie Solent explains at length why nursing home staff do admirable work but still get low pay -- and also explain why that is a good thing!

China Hand has the story of what a great occasion Chinese New Year is and points out how handy it is that Chinese can be written either Left-to-Right or Right-to-Left.

Chris Brand thinks it is great that Britain is making university study more expensive for the students.


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Sunday, January 19, 2003


Tim Gillin writes:

Of course the Greenhouse issue has a lot more to it than "mere" competing scientific views or the debate over real versus exaggerated environmental concerns. Regardless of the various positions in those important debates, Greenhouse also has a lot to do with international politics and business. .

This recent article on the web site of the CEI examines some of the political and diplomatic wrangling behind the scenes of Greenhouse. The quote below is of interest. It shows that "protectionism disguised as environmentalism" may be what it is all about. The EU sees the low tax energy policies of North America and Australia as "unfair competition" and want to create a "level playing field" with a definite european tilt.

As the article says, last year EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom revealed the mindset of the European policymakers:

"[Kyoto] is not a simple environmental issue where you can say it is an issue where the scientists are not unanimous," she said. "This is about international relations, this is about economy, about trying to create a level playing field for big businesses throughout the world."

To the EU, Kyoto is about the United States' "unfair tax competition," its government consistently refusing to match the Europeans' zeal for taxing energy use to modify behaviour, particularly repressing automobile use and population.

The more politicized and regulated international trade is the more likely we are to see campaigns of this sort. The US could as easily foster a retaliatory green crusade.

Greenhouse skeptic scientist Fred Singer has recently posted this article detailing his 20 year involvement with the science and some of the politics of Global Warming.It provides a neat history of the atmosphere as a political battlefield.

This article looks at the growing debate on the economic, as distinct from climatological, assumptions behind the IPCC model.



There is an amusing article by Matthew Parris that looks at the misuse of science and the comparison between modern-day environmentalism and mediaeval religion. Excerpt:

For Question Time recently, I was with David Dimbleby's panel in Norwich.
We were asked about floods, global warming and carbon-dioxide emissions. I
said I could offer no more than a hunch: that a change in the pattern of
our weather might be under way, but, if it were, then we probably knew
less than we claimed about its nature or cause. I was unsure, I said, how
important a part mankind played in climate change. I thought the
contribution might be marginal.

The audience's reaction astonished me. 'A sharp intake of breath'
understates. From the whole studio came a sort of low whistling sound - a
sucking-in of air through clenched teeth. It was as though we were back in
the Middle Ages and I had denied the Virgin Birth. The response said more
than 'We disagree.' It said 'You have blasphemed.' Which I had.



I remember Rodney King, after the South Central LA riots, saying "Can't we all just get along?" I've thought about that, and have come to a conclusion: No, we can't all get along.

It's great to have the attitude of "love thy neighbor," and believe that war isn't the answer. But when there are people whose sole existence is based on your destruction, the attitude better be one of a strong defense rather than turning the other cheek

From Arlene Peck -- posting of Decmber 30th, 2002.



Today is National Sanctity of Human Life day in the USA so I have posted both my views on abortion and another view for which I have sympathy here.

Charles Murtaugh reports how hard it is to get Greenies to accept basic scientific principles and procedures.

Michael Darby has postings on Greenie churches and cricket in Zimbabwe.

The Wicked one was previously being heretical about Abraham Lincoln. Now he is being heretical about the wisdom of the American revolution.

Chris Brand re-evaluates Enoch Powell -- prophet of Britain�s present racial problems.

Wow! Leftists REALLY hate SUVs! I wonder why so many Leftists drive them?

AC Douglas is being acerbic as usual -- but his being on the side of bloggers who do not have a �Comments� facility is reassuring.

Occam has a good cartoon about racial �fairness� at the notorious University of Michigan.

Disgrace! Hobbs reports that the infamous dog-killing Tennessee police got only a �reprimand�.

Angela Bell is one of many who are disgusted that so-called feminists are silent about the anti-women outrages of Islam.


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Saturday, January 18, 2003


There has been a lot of amazed discussion recently (e.g. Arthur Silber) about a California case where a man was convicted of rape because a woman allegedly changed her mind half-way through a previously consensual act of sexual intercourse.

For once, however, California was not the first with this particular brand of legal silliness. There was a very similar case in Western Australia in 1987 -- where the alleged rapist did end up spending time in jail. Eventually, however, justice was done and the conviction was overturned. It seems to me that this precedent might be very useful if the California case goes to appeal. In the Western Australian case, however, it did take 14 years for justice to be done ....


If you want to know how Leftist anti-Americans can grievously hurt ordinary decent Americans, you must read this.

But no decent human being could support regimes as ugly and brutal as the regimes of Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe, Pol Pot and Joseph Stalin. But Leftists such as Jane Fonda do support them loudly and clearly. So what does that tell you about the Leftists concerned? Don�t you just LOVE their �compassion�?



Heather Alvis has written to me from the USA about reparations. Heather is partly of American Indian ancestry but I suspect that her views might be widely shared.

Reparations: What a bunch of crap. Being native American, I can say it doesn't bother me. It's past. We are in the present. I cannot see me wanting reparations or special treatment in any way. But that is me. In the case of the African Americans ... I can hardly believe what comes out of their mouths.

As I'm watching 60 Minutes, and hearing about reparations ... the main advocate for it, and one of the news correspondents .. both African American --- are going on about reparations: Each man should get his share -- etc. My thoughts about them are this: They were both so high yellow there's not one but MANY white ancestors in their blood. Today we no longer have Africans. They are not black. They are a mixture, and if we're to pay reparations, based on their ancestors that were slaves, then what about their ancestors that were white? Find me a true black man and we might talk reparations. There are browns, caramels and tans .. but there are no blacks here. How can they pick the ancestor they want to have focused on? They have to consider them all.

I cannot stand to see a man talk reparations when I would be darker-skinned after one week in the sun. It is in the past. We should let it stay there

The reparation I am for, in cases of those that want one --- is a ticket back to the country they were so wrongly taken from. They enjoy our freedoms but if the average black man went to Africa to live he would be screaming to get back to America.

Reparations? No way. "Thank you" is what they should be saying.



An email from �Trader�:

I would like to comment about the Rees-Mogg article and your posted thoughts.

I think that the USA is truly the continuation of the British Empire. The USA was essentially created by a group of libertarian Engishman who wrote one of the most important documents of all time -- the US Constitution. If ever the gift of humanity shows God's handywork it is the US Constitution and the later amendments.

I think that there does exist an American empire if the definition of empire means the ability to project influence around the world. The US does not own colonies like the old simply because a colony by definition cannot be efficently run. But the US is able to project its influence around the world in spades and is also able to show its might in the military sense better than anyone could ever have imagined. Lets face it, the US could simply destroy all the the Middle East with 3 aircraft carriers. It would be that simple.



Brian O�Connell says:

There is a connection between multiculturalism and anti-Americanism. But how can acceptance of the fact that there are no absolutes when it comes to cultural truths lead to hatred of the United States? Follow along and see. We start with a simple and widely accepted axiom: More here



Australian philosopher, Rafe Champion has an interesting article on "Uniting the Right" here which explores the tensions between different groups on the "non left" of Australian politics: A plea for conservatives to learn economics and for economic rationalists to become attuned to the cultural agenda and fight back against the �long march� of the left through the insitutions of civil society.



Michael Darby has a great poem about guns by Henry Lawson and notes the unconcern over human rights abuses in Muslim Indonesia.

Dan James has a succinct solution to the North Korea problem. He thinks the problem is North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il and says: One good smart bomb is all that it appears would be needed to solve most of North Korea's woes. As if we're not tracking his every movement by satellite and GPS, anyway.

The Wicked one has fond thoughts of the Atari 2600.

IQ & PC features a very thorough demolition of the notion of �Inclusiveness�.

An Indian blogger thinks he should start calling his wife �Google�!

Another Indian blogger has some naughty but useful information about the Wall St Journal.


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Friday, January 17, 2003


Kary Mullis, a very skeptical Nobel Prize-winning scientist says here and here that what scientists say often reflects their need for funding more than anything else. Excerpt:

But there just aren't any convincing data to support predictions of environmental disaster. It's all conjectural, and even if environmental change is on the cards, 'What's the trouble with something being out of balance if the natural state of that thing is change?' So-called scientific advisers and media mavens cry up imminent disaster because it's easier to get funding that way. Watch out: these people are manipulating you. And some of the worst of the gloom merchants aren't even proper scientists: 'They are parasites with degrees in economics or sociology who couldn't get a good job in the legitimate advertising industry.'

And even leading Greenhouse scientist and advocate Stephen Schneider says:

"... we are not scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have."

John Daly points out that, although he is now the scientific superstar of global warming, Schneider was a great prophet of global COOLING only a few years ago. So it seems reasonable to conclude that when Schneider opens his mouth it his pocket you hear talking.

So, I regret to say that the appeals to authority that �Greenhouse� advocates are always relying on are about as informative as relying on the authorities of Galileo�s day who argued that the earth is flat. Relying on scientists who depend on getting research grants for their livelihood is to lean on a broken reed. Unfortunately, we must look at the facts ourselves wherever we can.

I myself resigned from my tenured university teaching job at age 39 because I was appalled at how thoroughly unscientific the vast majority of my fellow �social scientists� were (Ray, 1989).

Ray, J.J. (1989) The scientific study of ideology is too often more ideological than scientific. Personality & Individual Differences 10, 331-336. See also here



Britain's Daily Telegraph has just caught up with the Russian data on global cooling reported here on 29 December last year. Excerpts:

The big melt-down should now be well under way. Yet the latest research not only fails to give any evidence for it, but points to the exact opposite: a deepening of the polar freeze

Despite these latest findings, most climate scientists insist that man-made pollution must eventually make its presence felt. Yet the repeated failure of their computer models to match reality is becoming ever harder to ignore - and raises grave doubts about the wisdom of basing government policy on their predictions.

Via Aaron Oakley



The Curmudgeon continues his more-than-courteous references to this blog. Although the readership of this blog is smaller than many (an inevitable effect of its being one of the most academic blogs there is) I note that a lot of the readers seem to be my fellow bloggers.

One of The Curmudgeon�s posts that made me sit up is his news that Pres. Bush is trying to cap damages payments in the courts in order to rein in the cost of liability insurance: Long overdue. Several Australian States have done that already so it is possible. There is a $300,000 cap on ALL liability claims in New South Wales now.



Prof. Bunyip is at his inimitable best in commenting on "human shields"

China Hand has resumed blogging now that China has lifted the blocking of Blogspot. He posts on what cars are selling in China and resolves to try to rein in his Sinophilia.

The Wicked one has a scientific argument in praise of beer and some very skeptical thoughts about African �leaders�

Australian airport security screening is a joke. Even our government thinks so.

The Yobbo is wondering whether to take Tim Dunlop�s advice and stop being anonymous. In view of Iain Murray�s recent experience, my advice is a resounding �NO�. Stay anonymous.

Supermercado reluctantly admits his real surname: �Woolcock�. And adds: �Yes, that's the name and it's the last time it'll ever get a mention on here. And I�ve heard every single sheep-shagging gag known to man

Chris Brand discusses white teachers fleeing from black schools.

Michael Darby excerpts an irreverent interview with John Derbyshire on Iraq and Islam.


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