Saturday, November 01, 2003


Like many American conservatives, the famous Russell Kirk saw conservatism as founded on a belief in God. We irreligious conservatives in Australia, the UK and elsewhere do not exist, presumably. But two of his other themes -- the superiority of the individual over the State and the need for caution about big theory-driven changes to the tried and tested -- would be agreed to by almost all conservatives, I think. As Chuck Colson says here: "Kirk sought to derive policies from the moral and religious wisdom of Western civilization -- as opposed to the utopian schemes of coffee-house dreamers. Kirk's social vision, like that of our founders, depends on a critical mass of virtuous citizens who govern themselves. Instead of a policeman on every corner, a society must imbue each citizen with law-abiding inner disciplines. But government, you see, can't do that. What can are other institutions: families, churches, synagogues, schools, and community organizations _ what Kirk, quoting Edmund Burke, liked to call the "little platoons" of society".



Mike Tremoglie "deconstructs" the philosophy of the mega-Leftist Herbert Marcuse -- who seriously asserted that only whites can be racist. Most Leftists still seem to believe it.

"For any free society to be successful, there must exist not only individual liberty, but also individual responsibility. Sadly, both qualities are dissipating in America today and the standards of personal choice and responsibility that once were applied in the common law have been eroded to alarming levels under our current tort system. Too often, human parasites, ambulance chasers, and even criminals are seeking to benefit from their own negligence or bad luck. Ironically, they are increasingly petitioning the very judicial system that is supposed to protect our rights and freedoms and administer justice -- and winning."

But there's always money to pay the bureaucrats: "Stone-faced parents gathered at the Ottoson Middle School library in Arlington [MA] one recent morning looking determined and exhausted. 'We have all spent so much time in the last six months working to find money to restore what's been cut,' said Jeff Carver, who has two daughters at Ottoson in grades 6 and 9. Parents in Arlington who raised $275,000 after a Proposition 2 1/2 override attempt failed are now wondering where to draw the line. How much should public school budgets rely on private fund-raising?"

When U.S. Army security is as lax as this, it shows how dumb the terrorists are that they have not done more damage.

I never knew Leftists had a sense of humour about anything remotely political but there is a very funny letter in The Guardian -- allegedly from the British tax office to an irate British taxpayer.

The forgotten payroll tax: "It's a huge tax that most Americans don't understand. And most of those who support leviathan government want to keep it that way. They're betting on the apathy and ignorance of the average American when this tax is discussed." Penalizing employers for employing people is NOT a great way to lower unemployment. And anybody who thinks a tax is not a penalty needs a new brain.

The Press a watchdog? The pundits are coming to the wrong conclusions. While the issue is being framed as one of freedom of the press and the press as a 'watchdog' of government, it seems that few people understand that the mainstream media in this country clearly is not a 'watchdog' of the state in any true sense."

The European Union is considering a vast new regulatory program that promises to stall innovation worldwide and eventually shut many U.S. products out of EU markets. Fortunately, trade experts in the Bush administration have been battling against the policy since the beginning. After months of debate, support for the policy is finally eroding in Europe as well."

Public Choice: Politics Without Romance Public choice theory demonstrates why looking to government to fix things can often lead to more harm than good, as one of its leading architects and Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan explains

Government Hinders Environmental Progress, Free Market Advances It:. Attacks on the Lexmark "prebate" etc.

China Hand has some new postings -- including a story about buying a new car in China.

The Wicked one has a joke about romance among the elderly. I can only say that I hope that I am that good if I get to that age.

Chris Brand thinks that the Thernstroms -- much applauded conservative campaigners for less permissive black education -- have missed the elephant in the bedroom.

My latest academic upload (here or here) is a short review of Ivar Berg's book, "Education and jobs: The great training robbery". Berg showed years ago that most higher education was not justified on economic grounds (either for the community or for the individual) and all the Leftist Professors around the place at the moment seem hell-bent on showing that it is not useful on any other grounds either so perhaps one day most people will give up wasting their time and money on it. On the other hand, maybe it is just too good a holiday to give up! How else can you go on a subsidized holiday for years? But academic work in the hard sciences is still worth doing, of course, if you have the high ability, high motivation and lack of materialism required. But as for B.A.s and M.B.A.s -- forgive me while I guffaw! The main use of my "social science" Ph.D. has been to show what a gang of klutzes most of my fellow "social science" Ph.D.s are (e.g. here and here and here and here and here). But at least that is useful, I guess -- given the way people so often get hornswoggled by so-called "experts" these days.


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