Saturday, April 05, 2003


POSTMODERNISM DECONSTRUCTED

To most people the ideas of postmoderrnism -- that truth is nonexistent etc -- simply seem too bizarre to be worth further consideration. They are just a sort of intellectual masturbation for Leftists. Life goes on BECAUSE we recognize some statements as true and others as false. If I ring the WRONG telephone number I will not speak to the person I want to speak to. A recent article by Simon Blackburn makes a similar point at much greater length and thoroughly dissects the theories of Richard Rorty -- one of the chief postmodernists. Warning though: The first two thirds of the article sets out the postmodernist position. You may want to skip straight to the final third of the article to get to something worth reading.

Simon Blackburn is the professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge and appears to be something of a Leftist himself. He is however thoroughly within the tradition of British empiricism in philosophy. The British have always seen the purpose of philosophy as being to clarify and EXPLAIN whereas French philosophers (and France seems to be the prime source of postmodernism) from Descartes, through Sartre to Derrida have always seen being clever as the prime role of philosophy -- and they have generally equated being clever with an ability to CONFUSE any issue they touch on.

In the circumstances, it is no wonder that the Anglo-Saxons are so much more influential in the modern-day world than are the French. Someone recently said that the French are basically a Chihuahua that wants to be a bull-terrier. The Ango-Saxons really are that bull-terrier. And, as a former bull-terrier breeder, I can asssure you that, despite their power, bull-terriers are extremely good natured.

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SCOTLAND

Freedom & Whisky continues to put up good postings about ongoing socialist idiocies in Scotland. Paradoxically, getting their own parliament seems to have been the worst thing that has ever happened for freedom in Scotland. One explanation for it is that most of the sensible and enterprising Scots left Scotland long ago leaving behind a preponderance of envious no-hopers. Emigration may have been even more dysgenic for Scotland than for Ireland. It was mainly the best and brightest who left Scotland for England and the colonies whereas anybody who could left Ireland. I have ancestors from both so I do have some personal interest in the matter.

Genetics, however, is clearly only one part of the story -- as the great economic success of equally Celtic Ireland in recent times demonstrates. The Irish have been independent from the English since 1922 so have had a long time to work through their political follies. And in the 1980s they finally got around to a real embrace of capitalism -- with tax cut after tax cut after tax cut. They even outdid Mrs Thatcher and a very great Irishman -- Ronald Reagan -- in that regard. So Ireland has now clearly outstripped England in prosperity. Given my continuing great affection for Scotland, I can only hope that it does not take them 60 years to learn the same lesson.

In my academic days I had quite a lot published on Scotland:

References:
Ray, J.J. (1978) Are Scottish nationalists authoritarian and conservative? European J. Political Research 6, 411-418.
Ray, J.J. (1979) How different are the Scots and the English? Contemporary Review 234, 158-159.
Ray, J.J. (1979) Authoritarianism in Australia, England and Scotland. J. Social Psychology 108, 271-272.
Ray, J.J. (1979) Opposition to the Common Market in England and Scotland. British J. Sociology 30, 218-221.
Ray, J.J. (1979) The Scottish paradox. Quadrant 23(10), 27-29.
Ray, J.J. (1981) English attitudes to Scottish nationalism. J. Social Psychology 115, 141-142.

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KINDNESS CAN BE HATED

In a post here of 23rd March I noted:
“Anyone who has read Helmut Schoeck's book on envy will understand very well why America is hated. Paradoxically, their kindness probably gets them hated even more than they otherwise would be: Because it too shows them up as being so much better than most other people.”

Lileks has recently made a related point, saying: “Sometimes I think the reason America is so despised in some quarters is that we fail to live up to other peoples' worst expectations.”

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ELSEWHERE

China hand has a rather alarming report about attitudes to the Iraq war in China. Apparently most Chinese see it as nothing more than naked American aggression. China Hand himself however sees as ridiculous the current Leftist proposition that we should never militarily intervene in the affairs of other nations.

This U.S. Christian site notes that Saddam has become “chic” on many college campuses. He is the modern-day equivalent to Che Guevara in the 60s -- a vicious butcher who is revered simply because he is seen as a “rebel”. It does show what a dangerous ethical vacuum exists inside many Leftists despite their usual protestations of “caring”. That they almost all rose up to defend a Fascist butcher such as Saddam shows once and for all how much they “care”!

Chris Brand takes on the arguments of the libertarians who are against the war.

Michael Darby has a post that argues that the U.S. was too soft on Islamic militancy in the past and that 9/11 was the outcome of that softness.

In my posting of April 3rd here I look at the poor state of research that combines both medicine and psychology to investigate heart disease.

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Friday, April 04, 2003

LEFTIST NONSENSE ABOUT SUPPORT FOR THE WAR

A reader writes:

Contrary to leftist claims that the current war is a big business conspiracy, the CEOs of the largest corporations are actually quite reluctant to support the coalition war effort. At least according to Slate. Their practical globalism promotes caution, the exact opposite of the viewpoint that criticises this war as a war for globalization. Thomas Friedman goes somewhat further and says no two countries with Big Mac franchises have ever gone to war! See here .

As far as the real war is concerned... This BBC site has some statistics providing a brief history of Urban Warfare There are reports that the Iraqi government has been distributing copies of the movie "Black Hawk Down" as a training guide for his forces. This could mean that we shall soon see another example of "life (or more accurately, death) imitating art" but there of course major differences between the relatively small scale operation in Mogadishu and Iraq. The US forces in Somalia lacked armour and had no fixed wing air support. Also the US will probably make use of the Apache, armoured attack helicopters that were not used in Somalia. Of course the urban combat environment will be dangerous even with these advantages. The US military is developing new urban warfare technology including "thermobaric weapons" for the infantry and even robots. These won't be ready before 2006 at earliest.


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WAR CAUSUALTIES

Before the Iraq war, the Left were very big on predictions of many casualties and claimed that nothing could justify such casualties. And of course there have been casualties but the supreme prowess and humanity of the modern American military has been shown by how few there have been. Just for perspective, a reader has sent in these comments -- focusing initially on the casualties Saddam himself inflicted on his fellow Muslims when he invaded the Ayatollah’s Iran some years ago.

Here is what the Federation of Atomic Scientists site says about casualties in the Iran / Iraq war in the 1980s. Casualty figures are highly uncertain, though estimates suggest more than one and a half million war and war-related casualties -- perhaps as many as a million people died, many more were wounded, and millions were made refugees.

Iraq's “victory” was not without cost. The Iraqis suffered an estimated 375,000 casualties, the equivalent of 5.6 million for a population the size of the United States. Another 60,000 were taken prisoner by the Iranians. Iran's losses may have included more than 1 million people killed or maimed. The war claimed at least 300,000 Iranian lives and injured more than 500,000, out of a total population which by the war's end was nearly 60 million.

Without diminishing the horror of either war, Iranian losses in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war appear modest compared with those of the European contestants in the four years of World War I, shedding some light on the limits of the Iranian tolerance for martyrdom. During the Great War, German losses were over 1,700,000 killed and over 4,200,000 wounded [out of a total population of over 65 million]. Germany's losses, relative to total national population, were at least five times higher than Iran. France suffered over 1,300,000 deaths and over 4,200,000 wounded. The percentages of pre-war population killed or wounded were 9% of Germany, 11% of France, and 8% of Great Britain.

I have found it a bit difficult to find figures for the casualties in the various Israel Arab wars over past 50 years but there are figures on the Intifada here and here. Iraqi casualties alone in the Iran/Iraq were about 170 times the total Palestinian casualties in the Intifada. (Close to 500 times if both Iran Iraq deaths are accounted for.) It is common for the US to be criticised as having double standards for supporting Israel but opposing Iraq. The arithmetic suggests double standards are not the exclusive property of one side.

Gulf War 1 casualty figures are here and are, by comparison with other wars, very minor
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As every military man will tell you, every casualty is to be regretted but the present war is as nothing compared to what Saddam himself has inflicted on the Iraqui people and compared to what we inflicted on ourselves by our past follies. Removing Saddam is undoubtedly the best thing we could have done to PREVENT casualties among the people of Iraq. Many more would have died had we left him to carry on as usual.

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ELSEWHERE

If you think that the French should not get off scot-free for their hatred of America, see here

Progress of the war: "Our special forces, working closely with anti-Saddam Iraqis on the ground, are very actively preparing the Baghdad battlefield for collapse from within. Casualties are low. Finally, pockets of resistance in Iraq, Manhattan and Paris have been contained and will turn out to be of no strategic significance." Via The Federalist

Michael Darby has a vivid memoir of the Australian military involvement in Vietnam to remind us that the Iraq war is not the first time that Australians and Americans have fought together.

Chris Brand reviews the “Individual psychology” of Alfred Adler -- a Freudian “rebel”

The Wicked one has some good advice about how to deal with the speakerphone menace.

In my posting of April 2nd here I deplore the way Leftists psychologists just refuse to give up old and failed ideas.

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Thursday, April 03, 2003

Carnival of the Vanities is up again. You might need a microscope to read the font, though.

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IT REALLY IS A NEW WORLD ORDER THIS TIME

There is an article in Tech Central Station by Lee Harris under the title “Our world-historical gamble” that is so long that the editors of the journal even apologized for its length and suggested that people spend several days reading it! It is however a very insightful and important article about what the Iraq affair means for the future so I have pulled out below what I regard as the key quotes from it:

This gives a sense of tragedy to what has been unfolding in the Islamic world. If they continue to use terror against the West, their very success will destroy them.

If they succeed in terrorizing the West, they will discover that they have in fact only ended by brutalizing it. And if subjected to enough stress, the liberal system will be set aside and the Hobbesian world will return - and with its return, the Islamic world will be crushed. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. And the only way to avoid this horrendous end is to bring the Islamic world back to sanity sooner rather than latter.

Nothing but force can break them from their illusion. Not because there is something wrong with them as a race, but simply because they are acting like any other individual who has been permitted to live in a dream world - they continue to fantasize. And who can blame them? It is only brute fact that shakes any of us from the single most cherished of our illusions - the myth of our own grandeur and omnipotence. And this is as true of a culture as of an individual.

The motivations of those who want to murder us are not complicated: To watch an American city go up into a fireball is its own reward.

This is the lesson that 9/11 should teach us in dealing with the fantasists of the Islamic world. A fantasy does not need to make any sense - that is the whole point of having one.

if a nuclear device were to be detonated in downtown Chicago tomorrow, from an unknown source, could we really count on being able to find its "return address" if in fact it was the work of a "rogue" state?

Here we have the heart of our historical impasse, and the only way out of it is to cut the Gordian knot. And this is precisely what the current United States administration has elected to do, beginning with its post-9/11 declaration of the Bush doctrine which unapologetically asserts that states sponsoring terrorism are legitimate targets - the first of the basic, and vital, negations of the concept of national self-determination.

What the critics of this policy fail to see is the simple and obvious fact that if any social order is to achieve stability there must be, at the heart of it, a double standard governing the use of violence and force. There must be one agent who is permitted to use force against other agents who are not permitted to use force.

Our aim is simple. It is to make the Islamic fantasists respect the dictates of reality. If they wish to compete with us, if they wish even to be our enemies, we will accept that, as we accepted this situation with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. But they must be made to accept the basic rules of play - rules that are accepted by the rest of mankind, from the U.S. to Communist China.

And that is why, in order to achieve our end of heightening their grasp on reality, no means should be ruled out. We must be prepared to use force "unstintingly," as Woodrow Wilson declared on America's reluctant entry into World War I. On this count, we must have no illusions. Until they are willing to play by our rules, we must be prepared to play by theirs



His basic point is that we can no longer respect a nation just because it IS a nation. If we do we will just give safe havens to Muslim fantasists who hate us and who will harm us further if they can.

I personally think that with both the Taliban and Saddam out of the way ALL Muslim regimes will get the message loud and clear that they give safe haven to terrorists at their peril. It is notable how quiet Libya’s once very radical Gaddafi became after Ronald Reagan bombed him. The big stick is the only thing some people understand.

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MAKING IT SIMPLE FOR LEFTISTS

A couple of days ago I reproduced an email that I had sent out to a lot of Leftists which makes a similar point to the Lee Harris article: The fate of the Taliban and Saddam as a warning. Only one Leftist replied at length and I excerpt below his two main points:

The difference now is that the US is clearly saying that what they think is more important than the UN. And that's the very catastrophe of this war. In democracy you may disagree with the majority, you have all the right to do so, but if you impose your will through force, that's not democracy anymore, and that's what the US has done in the UN. It's not a matter of opinion regarding the war, it is the core of any possibility of democracy among nations that has been destroyed.

From that perspective this war is telling the whole world: You must obey the US, specially if you have something important for us (like oil) if you don't do so, we may attack you one day.

Saying terrorism is the worse thing possible is just what people in well developed countries may say as they have a couple of accquaintances killed and are unable to see the silent massacres and suffering that the international order brings to poor countries.


Note the usual Leftist failure to come to grips with reality. It is the corrupt rulers of their own countries that keep the third world poor, not George Bush! And to view the collection of tinpot tyrants and undemocratic regimes that make up the U.N. as anything like a democratically elected world parliament is to substitute fantasy for fact. He does however get my basic point that this war is definitely a warning to others. But he thinks it is so nasty of us to give such a warning! He seems to think that we should WELCOME more 9/11 type events!

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ELSEWHERE

Michael Darby defends cosmetics from spurious Greenie claims that they are dangerous.

Chris Brand notes that new 500 page book from Harvard that attempts to explain low black IQs as the result of anything but heredity ends up admitting itself that it does not make a very convincing case!

In this article from my academic past, I reply to a claim that people who avoid AIDS victims are “authoritarian”. I point out that the author concerned does not know how to measure authoritarianism in the first place.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2003


"LIMITS TO GROWTH": DISCREDITED BUT STILL DAMAGING

A reader writes:

This article (PDF format -- summary here) is a little long and the first half may be a little dry, but it provides a very comprehensive treatment of the Limits to Growth scare from the 1970s that has essentially underpinned "environmentalism" ever since.

Marxsen discusses many of the weaknesses of the model and, turning to the real world, argues that it may have become a "self fulfilling prophecy" for all the wrong reasons. Marxsen details how economic growth and prosperity are now being undermined by green tape. His conclusion packs a punch.

"....Environmental catastrophism has driven a massive expansion of the regulatory state, and environmental regulations may have proved sufficient to wipe out almost fully the U.S. multifactor productivity growth that comes from technological progress. Unfortunately, our now stunted productivity growth was theoretically all that stood between modern civilization and the inexorable decline and deterioration that population growth and natural-resource depletion themselves might theoretically bring about. Paradoxically, the otherwise dubious prophetic vision of The Limits to Growth remains potentially akin to a self-fulfilling prophecy, threatening to help usher in a slow-motion version of the very scenarios of collapsing modern society that its models portray..."


The Limits to Growth report was in many respects the brainchild of computer systems pioneer Jay Forrester and was based on his "systems dynamics" ideas which he ambitiously applied to everything from businesses and schools to cities and the whole planet. See here. It was published by the prestigous international think tank "The Club of Rome" founded in 1968 by FIAT industrialist Aurelio Peccei (a brief history is here) and in vulgarised fashion become the Bible of the growing environmentalist movement (even if like the Bible, most followers hadn't actually read it!).

Marxsen mentions some of the work of the late, great economist Mancur Olson. Olson is little known outside of the economics profession but he deserves a wider audience. This article on the sluggish economic performance of Japan and Germany discusses one of Olson's themes, how consensus among powerful vested interests harms national prosperity ("economic barnacles on the hull of society").

This author also mentions to Olson and provides a neat discussion of the popularly repeated myth that big corporations have economic power in excess of whole nations.

By the way here is a great site (in quality of content, if not presentation!) by Stanford computer scientist Jim McCarthy, a technological optimist who addresses dozens of doomsday scenarios.


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ELSEWHERE

A summary of the peaceniks from Wounded Blog:

They stand in the cold and their faces get red, they spend minutes creating these signs and they yell and scream and hold hands all without knowing anything about who Saddam Hussein is, without being able to see the simple logic of why a pre-emptive war makes the most sense.

Hello Bloggy uses the Arnett sacking as a starting point for a thoughtful discussion of how Leftist bias in the media works. He thinks the bias only works when it is subtle. That Arnett was immediately hired by a famous British Leftist rag shows, however, that journalists are safe with even far-Left views.

Always right has an excellent post on the latest court manouevring over affirmative action in university admissions. (Post of April 1st, permalinks not working)

This article from my academic past should not be too hard for the general reader to follow. In it, I put together all sorts of evidence to show that activist Leftists are people who are driven by narcissism to seek extreme power. Their "idealism" is simply the necessary cloak over their own lust for power. It is also suggested that they are basically intellectuals who lack creativity -- theologians rather than philosophers. And they cloak the shallowness and impracticality of their thinking by a constant reliance on lies and on denial of reality.

The Wicked one has what he thinks is an April fool’s joke

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Blogger.com has been really bad in the last 12 hours.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

THE INSANITY WE ARE DEALING WITH

"The Muslims of Australia join with the many hundreds of thousands of Australians to condemn the illegal and immoral invasion by the world's most powerful nations against Iraq which stands no chance of defending itself and its people from the impending massacre."

This statement, issued in the name of Australia's Muslims, invokes racial and religious animosity of the most unrestrained form. It offers not a hint of criticism of Saddam Hussein, whose regime has murdered Muslims on an industrial scale for 30 years. It endorses the combustible allegation that the United States has embarked on a religious and race war against Islam, despite going to the aid of Muslims in recent wars in Bosnia, Albania and Kuwait.


More here. How America is hated for its success and its decency!

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SADDAM AS THE LEFT’S NEW STALIN

The silent endorsement of Saddam's war crimes by the fake peace movement is fortunately highlighted by the indiscreet George Monbiot. This Marxist academic not only accused the US of being a war criminal, meaning Bush, but also claimed that "The five soldiers dragged in front of the cameras this week should thank their lucky stars they are prisoners not of the American forces fighting for civilisation, but of the 'barbaric and inhuman' Iraqis"

A regime that beats and murders POWs, uses civilians as shields, fakes surrenders, beheads women, shreds opponents, shoots down protestors and shells refugee is not barbaric and inhuman according to Monbiot. I always tell people who are rightly outraged by the lying likes of Monbiot that we should nevertheless be grateful to them because they inadvertently tell us what the left is really thinking. And it ain't pretty.


From BrookesNews. Nothing has changed among the Left. They are as “humane” and as “compassionate” as they were in Stalin’s days. What they support shows what sort of people they are.

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REALLY ADVANCING THE CAUSE OF WOMEN

Here is a story that would make any feminist not motivated by hate rejoice. I doubt that we will ever see it reproduced in any feminist source, however. Why? because it is the hated America that is fostering female equality. America is probably the most feminist large nation on earth but when does it ever get credit for that?

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A “CENTRIST”?

Fluffy-Wuffy sums up an Australian politician who allegedly represents a centrist political party. The alleged centrists are in fact Australia’s most Leftist party. Excerpt:

Surreal simpleton Senator Andrew Bartlett doesn't like the idea of liberating Iraq, because "Australia is now diplomatically and militarily handcuffed to the United States. We will be unavoidably now part of Mr Bush's new world order."

Yeah, a world order that involves the removal of children-gassing, women-raping, dissenter-shredding brutes. Sounds like a damn fine thing to me.


In his further comments on Senator Bartlett, he continues to refer to the Senator, with some justice, as “Fartlet”.

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ELSEWHERE

I referred yesterday to the anti-American hate-speech of a Columbia university professor. In his latest “War Room” newsletter, David Horowitz summarizes what the speech concerned shows:
The war in America's streets is not about "peace" or "more time for inspections." It is about which side should lose the war we are now in. The left has made crystal clear its desire that the loser should be us.
For information about the newsletter plus access to older issues see here

A fool and her money are soon parted: Australian human shield Donna Mulhearn is expected home within two weeks after fleeing Baghdad, her relieved family has said. The group arrived in Jordan on Sunday night, after paying a driver the equivalent of $A1,250 to drive them out of Iraq - a trip which would normally cost less than $A16.71 on a bus.

Australia’s major “Leftist” (Labor) party is normally pretty conservative but its leader, Simon Crean, has recently come out against the Iraq war. Result: SIMON Crean's approval rating has plummeted to a record low and Labor's support has slumped to a disastrous level

Michael Darby has an anguished cry from a white African about black inhumanity to blacks.

Chris Brand reports that, despite great efforts to be non-racist, British police are still locking up black youth at an enormous rate.

The Wicked one has a very funny story from India.

In this article from my academic past, I review an enormously silly book by one of the gurus of American “political science”. The nitwit concerned is a TV pundit and author of a textbook widely used in American universities. The review was published in a major academic journal so if you want to see how a Leftist academic can easily be torn to pieces in good academic style, you might find this an interesting read.

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Monday, March 31, 2003


ANTI-AMERICAN HATE-SPEECH

Does anybody really think that a hate-filled abomination like this guy is fit to be teaching kids at a university?

A Columbia University professor told an anti-war gathering that he would like to see "a million Mogadishus" -- referring to the 1993 ambush in Somalia that killed 18 American servicemen. At Wednesday night's "teach-in" on the Columbia campus, Nicholas De Genova also called for the defeat of U.S. forces in Iraq and said, "The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military." And he asserted that Americans who call themselves "patriots" are white supremacists.


This has been extensively reported but The Wicked one has put up a copy of an email that gives you the means of registering your protest.

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DU (DEPLETED URANIUM)

DU is one of the favourite scares of the Greenies. In their simplistic way, they seem to think that anything to do with uranium MUST be bad. So the fact that US troops use DU in their ammunition really suits the Greenies: Two demons in one! But a reader writes:

This article on the Depleted Uranium myth is pretty good. Considering the well known post-war post-battle risks of land mines (see here ), unexploded ordnance (see here) and lost weapons (see here) DU would have to rate as one of the great all time non-problems:

"....It is called "depleted" because most of the lighter uranium isotopes, U-234 and U-235, are removed from natural uranium, leaving behind uranium consisting of 99.8 percent of U-238. The result is 40 percent less radioactive than natural uranium...."

"..What happens to DU if someone eats it? According to a European Union study released in 2001, "most of the ingested DU (between 98% and 99.8%, depending on the solubility of the uranium compound) will be rapidly eliminated in the faeces." The vast majority of any remaining uranium will be "rapidly cleared from the blood" in a few weeks. Similarly, the majority of inhaled DU dust will also be cleared via the bloodstream and kidneys..."


It's a shame fear mongering stories cannot be cleared so easily. It would be better if the energy expended on mythical fears like DU were invested in promoting innovative solutions to real problems like this one about new ways of mine clearing.


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ELSEWHERE

Disgraceful: Some families fear that their brave soldiers will return home to face discrimination, while others are too scared to tie yellow ribbons in their yard for fear of repercussions from anti-war supporters

We should weep! The biggest anti-war rally in Pakistan to date saw Islamic leaders call for a Muslim economic boycott of the United States and for the Islamic world to sever ties with countries in the US-led assault on Iraq.

More evidence of Islamic civilization: KASHMIRI Muslims described the horror yesterday of having their noses chopped off by Islamic militants who accused them of spying for the Indian Government.

Ridiculous! AFTER months of bitter recriminations on both sides, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac have put their differences aside to unite in a dual push to place the UN in a central role in the running of post-war Iraq.

Good show: MOTORISTS in Johannesburg who tooted their car horns outside the US consulate to demand an end to the war against Iraq were slapped with 100-rand ($20) fines, the Sunday Times reported today

Jeff Jacoby compares Arafat with Saddam and agues that we should use the same standards in evaluating both. We clearly do not so far.

In this article from my past academic writings I look at a claim that conservatives come from “authoritarian” families. I point out much evidence to the contrary that the authors concerned ignored.

Chris Brand has some thoughts on how the politicization of psychology and alled disciplines has made it irrelevant.

Michael Darby has an email from France with some ideas about how we might effectively show our displeasure with France.
There are SOME decent Frenchmen.

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Sunday, March 30, 2003


WAR FOR OIL

A reader writes:

About the 'war for oil' argument: We (the USA) are already expecting to pay 75 billion dollars on this war. It is going to go up if the Iraqi's don't start a popular revolution soon (I expect it, once the brown shirt thugs who are intimating people to stay in line, are put down). So, if this drops world oil prices a dollar a barrel (below where it was before it all started) how long is that going to take to pay us back? I have not done the math, but, I'm guessing it won't add up as a good investment.

Anyway, the leftists want it both ways. They want to point out that Bush is an oil man and doing it for his friends in the industry. Well, if they have oil wells, they make more money when prices are high. So, keeping Iraqi a police state with international sanctions is in their interest. It reduces the amount of oil on the world market, thus keeping prices higher....


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FROM A CELEBRITY WHO REALLY IS OUTSTANDING AT WHAT HE DOES

It's rather a surprise coming from a "celebrity", but here we have a very well-balanced comment on the war from a decent man, Tiger Woods:

Obviously, no one likes war. Our Congress and President tried hard to avoid the use of force, but ultimately decided it was the best course of action. I like the assertiveness shown by President Bush and think we owe it to our political and military leaders, along with our brave soldiers to be as supportive as possible during these difficult and trying times. I just wanted to take this opportunity to let our forces know that I am thinking about you and wishing you and your families the best.


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MISUSE OF SCHOOLCHILDREN BY LEFTISTS

In response to this article in "Spiked", a reader writes:
Instead of teachers' unions, principals and governments getting all high and mighty about students rights, they should just say that attendance at demonstrations is unauthorised absence from school. Period. If their parents bring a note, there is probably not much a school can do about it. Although I know of an anthropology professor who used to make himself unpopular in the 1970s by scheduling spot exams during Vietnam protest days. This issue has nothing to do with students rights. If they really feel strongly about an issue they can demonstrate on the weekend. The trouble with that weekend demos, as organiser know, is that they are less disruptive to the working city and that the teen turnout on weekends is poor . Kids would rather be doing something else. The "children's crusade" is cannon fodder tactics. I heard a radio interview with one of the organisers of the Wednesday demo in Sydney this morning (Friday). He said they ran mid-week demos to encourage "civil disobedience" (i.e. skipping school) by school kids.


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DARWINISM AND SYMBIOSIS

A reader writes:

Matt Ridley is an excellent commentator on Darwinism. In this NYT book review he discusses symbiosis in evolution, an oft neglected part of the whole evolutionary story. Some commentators (including left anarchist Kropotkin) see symbiosis and mutualism as justifying 'socialist cooperation' versus ' capitalist competition'. In fact symbiosis is actually closer to the "positive sum game" (mutual advantages) of free trade than is traditional Darwinian competition.


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LEFTIST CAMPBELL BLAMES THE VICTIMS

A reader writes:

Beatrix Campbell retains a regular paid slot as UK commentator on ABC Radio National's Late Night Live program hosted by Phillip Adams. Apparently no other English leftists are available for the role.

When Campbell is not out witch hunting "paedophiles" she offers her views on international affairs. For a noxious example see the verbatim quote reproduced here.

"...In Australia, the English radical feminist Beatrix Campbell, a resident commentator on the ABC's Late Night Live radio program, claimed "the victims of September 11 are also the architects of a mess of their own making and that's what has to be sorted out". In other words, those killed by the terrorists -- including the women and children -- brought their deaths upon themselves. This grotesque piece of blame shifting brought not a murmur of dissent from the host of the program, Phillip Adams...."

I heard the original broadcast and in order to verify what was said, caught the repeat broadcast the next day. I sent a letter of protest to the ABC and the Minister. The producer of the show in an insipid reply tried to argue that she meant the US government, not the NY victims, and that 9-11 was all 'blowback'. This is not what she said and it is not what is usually meant by the term 'architect'.


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ELSEWHERE

Chris Brand considers what Britain might do about its troublesome Muslim minority.

Michael Darby reminds us of the less brueaucratized and less troubled age in which many of us grew up.

In this academic paper from my past I once again point out how unscientific modern-day academic psychology is. The theory was at one time put out that people who are chronically busy are more likely to get heart attacks. There is now a large amount of evidence that shows that theory to be entirely false but some psychologists still write as if it were of some importance. I suppose it is some comfort that my paper did at least get published in a prestigious medical journal.

I have just put up HERE a collection of fun photos showing bureaucracy at work and my Picture Page has some very pretty new pictures too!

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