Friday, February 14, 2003


AXIS ECONOMICS

Economics writer Martin Hutchinson has two interesting articles here and here on the economics of the "Axis of Weasels" (Germany and France). He concludes:

The important Axis objectives are thus to slow down as far as possible the rapid pace of change in the world economy, to keep the U.S. unpopular in the Third World, so that it is seen as a global bully, and not as a free market economy worthy of emulation, and thereby to preserve against the forces of adverse demographics and economic change both the illusion of Axis political and economic power and the reality of high Axis living standards.


His basic point it that Germany and France are suffering economically from their high level of government spending and government regulation of their economies and want to drag everyone else down with them.

*************************

LEFTIST DARWINISM?

Peter Singer is definitely his own man. His relentless following of certain ethical axioms to their logical conclusions makes him friends and enemies on both the Left and the Right -- though he is mainly in favour with the Left. His latest idea is to reclaim Darwin for the Left. His version of evolution is that we have evolved to be co-operative and he thinks the Left should buy that. If there is any way we can get Leftists to accept anything about human nature and its origins we have at least got the chance of a sensible debate with them so I wish him luck.

*****************************

LEFTY SEX AGAIN

I reported recently several observations from my fellow bloggers to the effect that Leftist women are more sexually willing. Gweilo has a comment on that:

Women who don't give a whit about politics are generally a lot more fun than are those of either political persuasion. The strength of a girl's political opinions is inversely proportional to the amount of fun she's likely to be in the sack.

**********************************

REPUBLICAN RACISM?

Right Thinking has a good fisking of another Celebridiot who badmouths GWB. Sample:

Like most celebrity morons Glover has waited until speaking to the foreign press overseas before running his mouth.

"YES, HE'S RACIST," Glover said in response to a question from a reporter from the Brazlian magazine "Isto E", according to our source's translation.

Strange that a racist would choose two blacks for arguably his two most important cabinet positions.


*******************************

IS “PEACE” ALL THERE IS?

A good summary of the Iraq question by Sine Qua Non:

I continue to be struck by the fact that every single article from Europe, or about Europe's perspective, refuses to examine the current state of affairs in anything other than the false dichotomy of peace and war. Can someone "over there" please try and understand that freedom is more important to us than peace? Would Western Europe have preferred the "peace" of Soviet communism if the US had not established NATO and spent our money acting as a deterrent for their freedom?


******************************

SOME GOOD QUESTIONS

Since life is so good in that bastion of freedom and prosperity known as Cuba, I can't for the life of me figure out why four Cuban coast guardsmen would defect to the evil old USA. What would Danny Glover and Jimmy Carter have to say
about this?

The thing that really disturbs me is how these men pulled their boat right up to the dock of a Key West resort at 4:00am, walked into town fully armed and surrendered to police. Where was our Coast Guard and Navy?


More here.

***************************

ELSEWHERE

Conservative Commentary has some nasty questions for pacifists

Samizdata says that the French have national ID cards but rarely use them but the Brits ask for ID all the time. Score one for the French. British bureaucaracy really is a pain -- and nearly as irrational as U.S. airport security screening.

Ghost of a Flea thinks Canada is the Axis of Waffle!

The Wicked one is harrying the French again -- this time using history.

Michael Darby reports that New South Wales farmers are about to sue their Labor government over its failure to follow elementary bushfire prevention measures.

Chris Brand writes on the bases of intelligence.

**************************

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

**************************

LIBERTARIANISM IS A BROAD CHURCH

In some of his recent postings on Philosoblog, Jim Ryan seems to treat values and rules as interchangeable. I think this is a mistake. Libertarianism can for instance be either a value or a rule. In the first case liberty just feels good so I like it and value it. In the second, we try to maximize liberty because it leads to other things that we like for themselves -- such as security and prosperity. Conservatives like Jim do often seem to overlook the fact that libertarianism is a broad church in general -- ranging from anarcho-capitalists at one extreme to many varieties of minimal Statists. And all but the anarcho-capitalists do allow what Jim says that they do not -- they allow that there are some cases when liberty has to be subjugated to other values -- such as security. A good instance of such subjugation is the fact that most U.S. libertarians do seem to support action by the U.S. government against Saddam.

With a surname like Ryan (though I seem to remember that his mother was Jewish), I suspect Jim has the old Roman Catholic attachment to moral absolutes -- which makes it difficult for him to see that others do not organize their values in such a rigid way. The Catholic church does seem to be the main holdout of moral absolutes. People of all political persuasions are moral relativists these days. In 1981, I reported a study of Introductory Sociology students at an Australian university in which they were asked to respond to the statement: “There is no such thing as an absolute right and wrong”. 77 agreed and only 28 disagreed. I have no doubt what the direction of change would have been since then.

I don’t much like hitting people over the head with my academic research results on this blog but seeing that I have just done it once, I might as well do it again: I also did a general population survey of Californians (Ray, 1982) in which I looked at whether libertarian and conservative attitudes were statistically separable. They were not. Virtually all the libertarians were conservatives too. Despite the usual contentions to the contrary, there really is just one dimension of political attitudes out there in the big wide world of the English-speaking countries -- a Left/Right dimension with conservatives and libertarians at one end and socialists and lovers of big government at the other.

References:
Ray, J.J. (1981) The morals of attitudes. Journal of Social Psychology 115, 227-235.
Ray, J.J. (1982) Authoritarianism/libertarianism as the second dimension of social attitudes. Journal of Social Psychology, 117, 33-44.

***************************

LEFTISM AS A CLAIM OF SUPERIORITY

Parapundit has an excellent post on Leftist motivation that echoes much of what I have put forward on the same subject. Some excerpts:

For the British academics (and some American academics as well) Israel provides a group that is enough like them that they can point at the Israelis, draw a distinction, and say "see, we are better than those folks". Their protest is motivated by a desire for more status

For a lot of young men in college and afterward involvement in environmental and other politically correct protest activities is a great way to meet young women and impress the women with their principled compassion.

One reason academics do not boycott Syria and other countries with worse human rights efforts is they expect more from the Jews than from the Arabs. Why? Because they really believe that the Arabs are not capable of better behavior but that the Jews are. So this boycott is a compliment to the Jews

He also quotes Steve Sailer as saying:

And this is typical, in my experience: whites who proclaim their anti-white feelings don't really care much about blacks or other minorities, pro or con. What they care about is achieving social superiority over other whites by demonstrating their exquisite racial sensitivity and their aristocratic insouciance about any competitive threats posed by racial preferences.

****************************

“THE TRIUMPH OF THE WILL”

An incredible picture here -- Leni Riefenstahl at her birthday party -- aged 101. She should be a great heroine to feminists, Leftists and all moviemakers but she is not. She triumphed in a man’s world and made movies that are still shown 60 or more years later. And she did it all for a socialist dictator! Given the antisemitism of modern-day Leftists, they might rediscover her yet. The picture is from a German Leftist website.

*******************************

ELSEWHERE

A good cartoon about “affirmative action” here.

Liquid Courage does not like religion very much but still thinks that living in a basically Christian country is the best deal there is.

Rabbi Lerner, an antiwar Jew, was banned from speaking at a “peace” rally because he is a Jew. As he says: “there is support on the left for self-determination for every group in the world except the Jewish people.” The Left has returned to its traditional antisemitism with a vengeance.

This link spoofs descriptions of psychiatric illness by showing that Leftism could be described in similar terms.

This IS a funny picture. Not really one for cat-lovers.

Chris Brand reviews a “safe” book on IQ testing.

Michael Darby has a post that points out how events in Zimbabwe affect the whole of Africa.

The Wicked one has a post that compares Abraham Lincoln with certain antidemocratic figures from German history.

**************************

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

**************************


Thursday, February 13, 2003

*******************

LIBERTARIANS VERSUS CONSERVATIVES?

Writing in the WSJ, Susan Lee makes out there is more of a conflict between conservatism and libertarianism than there really is. As I have pointed out at some length elsewhere, concern for individual liberty and a distrust of big government is historically basic to conservatism. Where libertarians and conservatives differ is that conservatives add on a few extra bits and pieces (such as Sunday observance sexual restrictiveness) that libertarians do not -- that is all. And the add-ons vary from one conservative to another. And most of the add-ons seem to be fading away rapidly everywhere except among the religious Right.

*******************************

LEFTIST LOSS OF REALITY CONTACT

The No. 1 Chief “liberal” speaks: “The American people don't want this war. Our global allies don't want this war. So why is President Bush stampeding down the warpath, and not working toward a real solution to disarm Saddam?" Ted Kennedy has not noticed that U.S. opinion polls support the effort to remove Saddam. Ted Kennedy has not noticed that the U.S. has many European allies in the effort to remove Saddam. Ted Kennedy thinks that taking 18 months to make sure that no other solution is possible is a “stampede”. Ted Kennedy has not noticed that Saddam will not disarm unless we make him. It sounds like brain decay except that the brain concerned seems to have been born that way.

*******************************

THERE ARE NONE SO BLIND ....

There is a good article here by Robert Conquest that gives numerous hilarious tales of what serious “liberal” intellectuals deluded themselves into believing during the Soviet era. It shows how Leftists can be utterly blinded to reality by their own wishful thinking. Just one example:

“Liberals” condemned the West as dominated by “greed” yet .............

Corruption of every possible type has flourished in all the communist countries. It is not only that the USSR, for example, became a vast kleptocracy but also that even the supposedly pristine early revolutionaries were anything but immune. In fact, with few exceptions the victorious Bolsheviks lived comfortably through the deprivations of the postrevolutionary period. Milovan Djilas, then a Yugoslav communist leader, was shocked at how his victorious partisans, on entering Belgrade, seized villas, cars, women, and so on. The same was noted of the Sandinistas when they entered Managua.


************************************

THE AIRPORT GESTAPO

U.S. Airport security CAN be made to eat humble pie! About time! This does however seem to be another case of favouritism for well-known 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, for instance.

The average citzen gets shafted by these goons time and time and time again. And the goons would never catch terrorists anyway. As Jeff Jacoby writes, they are only good at catching the ones that got away.

******************************

ELSEWHERE

There is now an Anti-French blog -- heavily satirical. One of his proposals is that France should be banned from invading Iraq!

The anti-war movement is intellectually bereft. Its leaders lie continuously Read more here.

Conservative Commentary has a new heading on his blog -- a quotation supporting the peace movement! But you might guess from whom the quotation comes.

This gave me a laugh: The French are to diplomacy what the British are to cooking. From Useful Fools. Having been brought up on British cookery, I know what he means.

The Latin Americans still regard Simon Bolivar as a great liberator but he had some pretty authoritarian ideas. No wonder liberty is still struggling in Latin America.

Calpundit agrees that India should replace France on the U.N. Security Council. I agree. It is absurd the way 1 billion people and the world's largest democracy is currently being forgotten by almost everyone.

In his article on the weird anti-Americanism in SOUTH Korea at the moment, E. Nough comes up with a good definition: It's this substitution of feelings and warm fuzzies for cold, rational, and sometimes unpleasant thoughts that defines idiotarianism

The Wicked one has some dubious medical advice.

Michael Darby has an unusual reason for opposing capital punishment and is pleased that the England team will not now play cricket in Zimbabwe

Chris Brand has a roundup of recent moves on race and immigration in Britain.

********************************

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

**********************************

Wednesday, February 12, 2003


CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES #21


I am pleased to be the Carnival host this week. A lot of work but interesting. Bigwig can put me down for another turn any time he likes.

So here goes (in order of receipt):

Photomatt has some great hints on how to do your blogroll.

Clubbeaux (No. 1) asks: "Who's a better friend to America, NATO "ally" Greece or Turkey?"

Clubbeaux (No. 2) asks: "What exactly is "tolerance?""

Clubbeaux (No. 3) asks: "When did the postwar world change?"

Revealed Truth has a spoof debate between the contenders for the upcoming Democrat Presidential nomination.

Observations of a Misfit has some coffee secrets.

Dean's World has some thoughts on Christian bashing in the media and elsewhere.

A Small Victory has a great Winter photo essay.

Occam's Toothbrush has found out why "oleaginous" is a good word for the French. (It means "oily"! -- oil, oil, get it?)

The People's Republic of Seabrook is quoting Ronald Reagan! -- and giving us some great pictures from the Johnson Space Center.

The People's Republic of Seabrook (No. 2) has a tribute to astronaut Willie McCool

Amish Tech Support has some hints on how to stop a cameraman filming you.

Useful Fools has a spoof US reply to the North Korean threat.

Useful Fools (No. 2) says that there can be no draft dodgers in the war on terror.

IMAO has a spoof terrorist FAQ

Solonor's Inkwell thinks the war on terror is stripping Americans of their individual liberties.

Ravenwood has a list of celebrities whom he thinks should stick to what they are good at and otherwise shut up.

Ravenwood (No. 2) points out the importance of running credit checks on anyone you plan to employ.

Ravenwood (No. 3) enlightens us about the nonsense surrounding ballistic fingerprinting.

The Declarer thinks we should settle Antarctica before we explore Mars.

The Talking Dog does not like restrictions on the holding of demonstrations. He thinks he might become a protestor himself.

Blogatron describes the Povich talk show as a "particular brand of naked, soulless, grasping evil"

Cognocentric muses about the future direction of the space program

Pete wishes some woman would stalk him.

Pete (No. 2) has a meditation on the space shuttle disaster.

Eleven Day Empire thinks the shuttle enquiry is getting a bit childish.

Eleven Day Empire (No. 2) attacks Lefty economist Krugman as a Luddite for questioning the space program.

Eleven Day Empire (No. 3) attacks other critics of the space progam.

Everything Must Go roadtests a $2 bottle of wine!

Silent Running has some scenarios of what Saddam MIGHT do before we dispose of him.

Kalyr has a post about when certain Rock bands Jumped the shark

Alisa in Wonderland says that the French are brainwashed but they still hate the Arabs more than the Jews.

Viking Pundit explains why celebrities tend to lean Left politically (Post of 10th -- his permalinks are not working)

Tim Dunlop summarizes this entry as Just to think that it all began on an uneventful morn.... (I don't get it so maybe I don't understand Lefty bloggers or maybe his permalinks are playing up)

You Bigmouth mourns the death of a cat.

MTPolitics has a sheep joke.

MTPolitics (No. 2) tears some more chunks out of liberal columnist Morford.

Northwest Notes has a bicycle story.

Acidman is trying to cope with turning 51

Foolsblog has a laugh at a big media writer who still does not realize that the Bin Laden letter is a fake.

Ipse Dixit wants help with a Google bomb.

The Heretic thinks it is OK for celebrities to talk about the war. Freedom of nutty speech you might call it.

Floyd County Fragments has a post for dog-lovers.

Jimspot has some comments on the crazy San Francisco marijuana trial where jurors were told only half the story.

Jimspot (No. 2) is also irate at education authorities in hanging-chad country who will not allow students to fail exams.

Wylie is not very pleased by news about Baptist homosexuals.


The Raving Atheist
questions the interjection of religion into the Columbia space shuttle tragedy.

The Shark has a laugh at the way liberals have flip-flopped over foreign intervention by the USA since the days of the Yugoslav intervention.

The Truth Laid Bear opens a new cross-blog Iraq debate (For the pro-war side)

And Stand Down is co-ordininating the anti-war side of the debate.

Nostradumbass is saying something about Viggo Mortensen but I have no idea what or why. Esoteric humour, I think.

The Rant says that the obstructionism of France, Germany and Russia has resulted in a great deal of speculation, but all of it misses the point. This is not about oil or morality or French insecurities. This is the return of Realpolitik.

Little Tiny Lies has some "Coffee pornography"

Little Tiny Lies (no. 2) also sent his own scam letter TO Nigeria.

Hello Bloggy believes that the strong homosexual influence in Hollywood results in its films being largely anti-family.

Silflay Hraka believes that alcohol is the cause of and the solution to all of life's problems. He likes English Real Ale so he may have a point.

Views on the News points out what a tiny minorrity the nudists for peace are. (Permalink a bit erratic. You may have to scroll down).

I have no idea what This is about. I think it is a shaggy dog story.

NEXT WEEK the Carnival will be at The People's Republic of Seabrook. His Email address.

And THANKS to Bigwig for devising and administering the Carnival.

FINALLY: Fran Mason writes:

A thought to take or leave as you see fit: When Silflay Hraka introduced the Carnival, he asked people to submit one piece, saying that (if I remember right) if they sent more than one, he would narrow it down to one on his own. Lately I've noticed more and more people submitting two or three pieces.


END OF CARNIVAL # 21

*********************

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

****************

THE ISLAMIC “GOLDEN AGE”

Apologists for Islam often speak of a “Golden Age” in mediaeval times when the Islamic world was allegedly more civilized than the Christian world. But that is mostly hype. The Muslim Arabs got most of their civilization when they took over Zoroastrian Persia and most of their ancient Greek texts direct from the Greeks themselves.

Yes. The Greeks did not fade away after the death of Alexander the Great. They continued on in the Eastern Mediterranean just as before. And when they were conquered by Rome, Rome simply took over their culture. The teachers for educated Roman youth were generally Greek. Far from suppressing Greek learning. Rome admired and promoted it. And anybody who knows his Bible knows how strong Greek culture still was in the time of St Paul. St Paul spoke Greek and wrote his letters in Greek to congregations in Greek cities such as Ephesus, Corinth etc.

And St Paul did not labour in vain. Christianity flourished in Greek lands. So 300 years later when the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire was set up it was both Greek and Christian from the beginning. Its headquarters was what we now call Turkey but it extended far and wide at various times. It was founded as a Christian empire by Constantine the Great and continued on as a fervently Christian empire for nearly 1000 years. But its culture was Greek and all the old Greek learning was preserved there. Although the Byzantines called themselves Romans, they spoke Greek -- mainly because they were Greek. And Byzantium coexisted with Islam for 500 years -- plenty of time for Greek culture to percolate across the borders -- which it did.

So the idea that the Muslims preserved ancient Greek learning is a laugh. The Greeks themselves preserved Greek learning and had a great Christian Greek civilization flourishing right alongside the Arab world for 500 years. The Christians taught the Arabs, not vice versa.

So the acclaimed civilization of Moorish (Islamic) Spain in the middle ages was little more than a projection of Byzantine culture and that was theological rather than philosophical and certainly not liberal in any sense. So Islam has not regressed. It has stood still. It was never innovative and is now just about as good or bad as ever it was. If you want to see what it was in the past look at what it is now.

*****************************

THE ABSURDITY OF FEARING AMERICA

Between the Leftist peaceniks and the Conservative isolationists in the U.S. electorate, the idea that any American President could do anything remotely imperialistic is laughable. Americans want to keep their boys at home and need a hell of a lot of persuading to do otherwise.

One Good Turn also has a succinct post on the European idea that American power needs “counterbalancing”.

****************************

R.I.P. NATO

Ranting Screeds thinks that the NATO alliance is dead now that France and Germany have blocked moves to have NATO defend member-country Turkey. I think he is right. I think that this refusal should cause GWB to announce at some time of his own choosing that he now regards NATO as dead and start up negotiations for a new alliance of freedom-loving nations -- which would probably include most of the rest of Europe and could well be based in Poland.

The amusing thing is that the present alliance of France and Germany will probably prove to be very temporary. The average Frenchman hates Germans.

***************************

ELSEWHERE

What a beauty! It took Tim Blair to come up with this one: NASA actually sent up an Arab on the space shuttle long before they sent up an Israeli! No nation tries harder to be fair than the USA.

Arlene Peck says that the Muslim Arabs have cost us an incalculable amount in their quest to force their religion on the rest of the world and that we should seize their oil to pay the cost of that. The USA easily could, but will it?

Ombudsgod reports that Leftist book banning is still going on in American universities. I think a lot of the universities should be renamed as “Madrassas” -- after the Islamic version.

Bigmouth has a fun idea about another rogue nuclear power: South Africa gave up its nuclear weapons. It's time that France did too. We cannot tolerate a power hungry regime in Paris that has nuclear weapons.

There is an interesting article here that compares the globalizing world of today with the globalizing world at the beginning of the 20th century. War and nationalism disrupted the peaceful globalization of 100 years ago so it is well to be cautious that the same factors do not derail it again. If globalization were stopped it would be as impoverishing as it was last time. (Article needs registration)

Detainees in Australian detention centres are the target of religious hatred. From Muslims

Chris Brand thinks Michael Jackson is not so bad.

Michael Darby has an interesting article on Shaka Zulu and what we could learn from him today.

The Wicked one does not like the French very much. Disliking the French is an old British tradition that Americans are taking over with gusto these days

********************************

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

**********************************

******************

Monday, February 10, 2003


SCOTLAND, LIBERTY AND THE CREATION OF THE MODERN WORLD

My sole focus in discussing the historic Germanic and Protestant contribution on this blog so far has been on individual liberty. I believe that the individualism of our Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) forebears has given us the liberties we have today.

There are however other ways in which Germanic and Protestant civilization is often alleged to have played a leading role in shaping the modern world. In particular, the German reformation is seen as enabling a freedom of thought that eventually brought about the English industrial revolution and hence modern civilization as we know it. And as part of that process the scientific, technical and engineering innovations that enabled the modern world do almost all seem to have flowed from Germanic countries -- principally Germany itself and Britain. From the printing press to the steam engine the creation of technological civilization seems to have flowed almost entirely from the Germanic peoples of Northwestern Europe.

I think that there is a large element of truth in this account but do not place any great reliance on it. It seems to me that the account overlooks very substantial contributions from France and Italy for a start (e.g. Marconi, Pasteur etc.) -- though it could also be argued that both the Northern French and the Northern Italians have substantial German elements (e.g. the Franks and the Lombards) in their ancestry.

Another objection is the role of the Scots. In his book How the Scots Invented the Modern World, Arthur Herman points to the very substantial contribution made by Scots to the the development of modern Western thinking and the invention by Scots of much in modern Western technology. So how does that square with the contention that the modern world was essentially a Germanic invention? Surely the Scots are Celts rather than Germanic!

I doubt however that the Scottish case constitutes a crucial objection. Some reasons why:

* To my knowledge both the Chinese and the Russians make similar claims to have produced many great inventions. Most things seem to have had more than one "inventor"

* There is an awful lot that the Scots did NOT invent -- from the printing press onwards.

* The Scottish lowlands (where most Scots live) were thoroughly colonized by the Anglo-Saxons so most Scots have substantial Germanic ancestry.

* The Celtic Scots got at least Germanic culture via Protestantism and the English hegemony generally.

The reviews in the Amazon site linked above are well worth a read.

On the political front however, the Scots show very clearly the Germanic difference. Scotland has long been heavily socialist, returning very few Tory members to the Westminster parliament. When English voters swung very heavily towards Margaret Thatcher in 1979, Scotland actually swung away from the Tories! So the greater Celtic element in the Scots ancestry does seem to make a marked difference in politics. Where the Germanic English favour individualism and conservatism, the Celtic Scots favour collectivism and socialism.

************************

LEFTY SEX

I have had some correspondence from my fellow bloggers (who must of course remain nameless) confirming Andrew Ian Dodge’s view that Leftist women are a lot better as bed prospects. Despite views not much different from mine, one even attends peace rallies for pickup purposes! And another said that he finds ladies of the night more skilled, however. He also points out that they are the REAL capitalists!

**************************

ELSEWHERE

American Kaiser notes German anti-Americanism and thinks America should relocate its military bases from Germany to Eastern Europe. The Eastern Europeans are generally pro-American (sometimes wildly so) and could use the dollars the bases would bring. It might just happen. V.D. Hanson has a similar idea.

Robert Musil shoots down the latest bit of economic nonsense from Paul Krugman -- but only for those with some literacy in economics.

An influential German newspaper (Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) has recently suggested that the present isolation of Germany and France over Iraq (most of the rest of Europe supports the USA) may herald the breakup of the EU. As an Anglospherist and a libertarian, I look forward with glee to the end of that bureaucratic monster. Britain in particular would be far better off signing a free-trade agreement with the USA. More here.

There is a good essay here on why Leftist antisemitism is based not on a hatred of Jews per se but rather on a hatred of success and traditional values.

Orrin Judd has a good summary of the disastrous '70s. Having lived through that time myself, I see much truth in what he says. He is certainly right that to leave Saddam in place would be to repeat the follies of that time.

Prof. Bunyip has a devastating exposure of the barefaced lies being told by Leftist commentator Phillip Adams. He gives the Melbourne Age a pretty effective serve for dishonesty too.

Chris Brand has some further observations on how the Nazi phenomenon still corrupts modern thinking.

The Wicked one has some dubious advice for travellers to Britain

Michael Darby posts on the contentious subject of water rights.

********************************

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

**********************************

Sunday, February 09, 2003


JACKO IS NOT SO BAD

Watched by some 15 million UK viewers, pop idol Michael Jackson (who in 1993 bought off a paedophilia accusation, paying UKP11M) revealed his obsession with children and said youngsters of 12 sometimes shared his bed and/or bedroom at his 'Neverland' adventure complex - one such boy, a former cancer case, was presented, smiling and tightly clutching Jackson's hand. Said Jackson: "Why can't you share your bed? That's the most loving thing to do, to share your bed with someone." At one point he whispered "I am a Peter Pan at heart" - though apparently meaning simply 'lover of children', not an abuser.

The ITV programme (by ITV's Martin Bashir, who once famously interviewed Princess Diana sympathetically about her failing marriage) linked Jackson's love of children to his piteous claims of having been abused as a child - his father beating him (his siblings agree) with anything that came to hand, and his older brothers making love to girls while he was in the same room and had to pretend to be asleep.

Jackson said he would kill himself if he woke up one morning to find the world empty of children for him to love, but he denied any sexual element to his involvements. Although he was already raising three children (supposedly his own biological offspring) apart from their mothers, he said he was thinking of adopting more children, perhaps two from each continent.

{With these revelations, the popular Jackson seemed on course to re-brand the world's image of 'paedophilia'; or alternatively - in view of likely renewed police scrutiny and outrage from paedohysterics -- he might become the world's richest jailbird. In either case, any open-minded person would agree he had done more good for children than many hundreds of Haringey 'social workers' put together.}

Subsequently, columns in the Daily Mail and Sun condemned Jackson as evil, sick and dangerous; the Independent said he was weird but not wicked; the Guardian actually ran a column titled "Why Jacko is a great dad_but only if you want your child to be a tortured genius" (G2, 5 ii 03, p. 14); and the Times said nothing.

At ITV's phone-in, comments were 80% in favour of Jackson. Sales of Jackson's record 'Thriller' shot up by 500% compared with the previous week's performance and his Greatest Hits package 'HIStory' rocketed by 1,000% at British retail chain HMV. Jackson himself understandably condemned Bashir's treacherous interviewing and reportage as "deceptive" and "tawdry"; but it was quite possible Jackson would have the last laugh if there were no complaints from the many children he had entertained at Neverland. {American Nobelist Carleton Gajdusek managed to adopt and help about 50 children before one of them was lured by police to make a complaint.}

Jackson found considerable support at the ITV website and several parents came forward to say they would be sending their children to his Neverland playground.

Americans were not as supportive and Brits and Europeans, but polls showed that even 51% of US adults thought Jackson "misunderstood." In California's Santa Barbara County, where Jackson's Neverland ranch is located, District Attorney Thomas W. Sneddon, Jr., condemned the ``media circus'' around the documentary and called Jackson's admission that he has slept in the same bed as children ``much ado about nothing.'' ``Sleeping in bed with a kid is not a crime that I know of,'' Sneddon told the Santa Barbara News-Press.

In the Observer (9 ii), two articles defended Jackson as surely a better-than-average father - certainly better than some parents seen in supermarkets, and also better than quite a lot of Hollywood parents. Apparently Jackson's older children are nice, bright, unaffected etc. Altogether, it looked as if there was some chance that Michael Jackson could succeed in abating paedohysteria.

------------------------------------

Comments? Email Chris Brand.
Some history.

-----------------------------------


BLOGSPOT BLOCKED AGAIN?

Matthew Cowie is in China at the moment and thinks that the Chinese have blocked Blogspot again. As before, he can post but not see his postings.

********************************

MORE SURPRISING HISTORY

Most of what most people think they know about Nazi Germany is wrong. For instance: It was mainly Britain and America that defeated Hitler. Right? Wrong! 80% of German military casualties were on the Eastern front (i.e. fighting Russia). The Western allies were a sideshow. And I have often pointed to the historical evidence showing that Hitler was a Leftist rather than a Rightist. But wait! There's more:

The idea that Hitler's Germany was a nation of bureaucratized automatons under a single iron rule exists only in the popular imagination. Any comprehensive history of das dritte Reich (e.g. Shirer, 1964; Bullock, 1964) will tell you that power was if anything excessively decentralized and unfocused under Hitler. Hitler's immense popularity and respect in the country gave him ultimate authority but he exercised it only in a desultory and general way -- leaving most decisions and all administration to his subordinates. And he deliberately gave his subordinates overlapping jurisdictions so that they continually had to compete with one-another for power. Power in Nazi Germany was policentric, not centralized.

And nor were his subordinates rigid automations. Contrary to the Hollywood
stereotype, the Nazi armies were far from being filled with rigid bunglers. Their remarkable initial successes against overwhelming odds (Dupuy, 1986) should alone suggest that but see also Singer & Wooton (1976) and Hughes (1986). Both on the home front and in the field Hitler's Germany can be shown to be flexible and improvisational rather than rigid and formal.

Hitler's closest friend and the person he spent most time with was Albert Speer yet when allied bombers destroyed a building containing most of the records of his armaments ministry, Speer rejoiced at the loss. He welcomed the opportunity to make a new start. He was innovative rather than rigid (Singer & Wooton, 1976). And that was also true of Hitler's generals. It was only their flexibility and creative thinking that enabled them to achieve so much against numerically much superior odds. The example of Rommel is of course well known but a better example is in fact Manstein -- architect of the Blitzkrieg on France. At the outset of the French campaign, Manstein faced heavily entrenched French and allied forces that were in no way inferior to the German forces but his bold and innovative Panzer-led strike through the Ardennes outflanked the French forces and routed them completely. And later in Russia, Manstein destroyed two Russian armies even AFTER Stalingrad. So even Hitler's Germany was very much a nation that allowed much scope for creative individualism -- as long as you did not threaten the overall power structure, of course.

The innovative nature of Nazi Germany can also of course be seen in the large number of previously unknown weapons systems that it deployed -- cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, radar and jet aircraft. The Focke company also produced the first workable helicopter -- though it was not used militarily.

So Hitler's Germany was in fact much more individualistic and decentralized than is generally realized.

References:
Bullock, A. (1964) Hitler: A study in tyranny N.Y.: Harper
Dupuy, T.N. (1986) Mythos or verity? The quantified judgment model and German combat effectiveness. Military Affairs 50(4), 204-210.
Hughes, D.J. (1986) Abuses of German military history. Military Review, 66(12), 67-76.
Shirer, W.L. (1964) The rise and fall of the Third Reich London: Pan
Singer, E.A. & Wooton, L.M. (1976) The triumph and failure of Albert Speer's administrative genius: Implications for current management theory and practice. Journal of Applied Behavioral Research, 12, 79-103.

*****************************

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

I like this from Betsy's Page:

Thomas Sowell has another of his tirades against Affirmative Action. His logic is overwhelming and you get the sense that he's very tired of having had to say the same thing for a quarter century. I like his opening.

It has been said that, when Ronald Reagan was governor of California, someone told him that admitting students to the University of California on individual performance alone could mean that all the students at Berkeley might be Asian Americans.

"So what?" was the Gipper's response.


And Jonathan Chait asks why politicians are so afraid to stop affirmative action even though it is hugely unpopular with the voters.

*******************************

ELSEWHERE

Big backdown “Germany offered missiles to defend Turkey, and France refused to rule out an attack on Iraq” More here.

Poor and Stupid defends GWB’s budget against an attack by Andrew Sullivan -- on the grounds that compassionate conservatism costs money.

Mixed Asian says that affirmative action has not really ended in Malaysia.

Chris Brand sums up his argument that liberalism needs rescuing from the ghost of Nazism.

Michael Darby has posts on the Nazi-like behaviour of certain vegetarian and pro-animal groups.

The Wicked one has posts about noise and anti-Americanism.

********************************

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

**********************************
*******************

ISRAEL AN AMERICAN STATE?

In a world where the EU has just been significantly enlarged and the USA has (though NAFTA) integrated the whole of North America into a single economic unit, some unusual thoughts are becoming more and more plausible. As this observation on Israel’s problems by Orrin Judd shows: ...and you have to wonder if the eventual, fate of Israel might not be to become an American state. Such a state would lose its distinctly Jewish identity and become more like a Utah, but would be preserved as a world enclave of Judaism. That would be better than many of the more likely alternatives. And, one might add, if the USA can accomodate the Amish, it could probably also accomodate the Haredim.




ABOLISH THE U.N.?

Mark Steyn thinks that the U.N. has become an irrelevance and that we should abolish it. I heartily agree. If the U.N. endeavours to obstruct the attempt by the USA to dismantle Saddam and his dangerous weapons program, they will in effect abolish themselves of course. It is seldom stated overtly, but President Bush would probably withdraw his representatives to the U.N. if that happened. And then the U.N. really would be nothing but an irrelevant talking shop. The USA kept out of the League of Nations in the 1930s so there is no reason why it could not absent itself from the U.N.

And it is certainly worth noting that U.N. resolutions have not done Israel much good.

(Crossposted on Israpundit)

********************************

THE MALE-FEMALE DIFFERENCE

Goldberg says that men are naturally dominant because of their different hormones etc. Here is a summary of his book. His critics have found him hard to argue with. See here.

Why are there so few women who are top achievers (famous composers etc.) in so many fields? Denis Dutton has made a study of genius and says that females stick closer to the middle in ability. There are fewer very dumb women but also fewer very bright ones

********************************

LEFTIST GUILT

There is a good review here of Allan Levite's book about Leftist guilt. Allan Levite proposes that affluent Leftists are primarily motivated by guilt about their own affluence.

I have my doubts about Levite's theory -- as you will see about half-way through my article here.

*******************************

MORE GREENIE EXCESSES

This gave me a good laugh: Greenpeace now wants to ban peanuts! It certainly shows them up for the crazies they are.

“The envirowackos have won again... birds encroaching on a temporary dry lake have been granted property rights!. Read the whole sorry story here

*********************************

ELSEWHERE

The Curmudgeon gave me a laugh: Another thing. I always thought that if you jumped up off your feet in an airplane, you'd be slammed into the rear bulkhead. After my friends laughed at me, I know it can't be true, but whenever I start to try it - like on the way to the lavatory, I'm too embarrassed to jump up, so I don't really know. I guess it’s all relative!

This gave me a laugh too: The French are to diplomacy what the British are to cooking. From Useful Fools. Having been brought up on British cookery, I know what he means.

Only Australians will understand this but Happy 80th birthday to Vegemite!

Can a megalomaniac get bored by his own propaganda? It seems that He can!

Bridgeblogger Floyd McWilliams has picked up my post about the Germanic origins of the English yesterday and highlights some puzzles in it.

Conservative Commentary has a new heading on his blog -- a quotation supporting the peace movement! But you might guess from whom the quotation comes.

The Wicked one has a sexy-sounding link and more on French corruption.

Chris Brand has more on Hitler as a betrayer.

Michael Darby has posts on subsidies to the arts, free trade and Zimbabwean savagery,