Saturday, July 12, 2003


From my academic publications I have just posted two papers that might have some interest for libertarians. They both go back to the common perception that the extremely pro-market views of libertarians make them very right-wing or even "fascist". The first posting is of only the most minor interest. It is a letter to an editor of an academic journal written during my anarcho-capitalist days in which I defend myself from just such an accusation. The second posting is an article in a libertarian journal in which I explain the psychological research into authoritarianism for the benefit of libertarians. I point out that although their pro-market views give libertarians something in common with conservatives, their anti-authority attitudes give them a lot in common with the rebellious attitudes commonly expressed by Leftists. (Unlike Leftists, however, libertarians are suspicious of ALL authority, not just some existing authorities). The article also points out that you can be pro-liberty as regards society as a whole and still be dictatorial in your personal life. Certain prominent libertarians do rather spring to mind in that connection.

A later research article dealing with the relationship between libertarianism and the Right/Left divide can be found here. If any of the above links are not responding, alternative links are here, here and here.



It looks like the U.K. Conservative leader might have some balls after all. He seems to want to rein in the all-engulfing bureaucratic monster that the EU has become:

“Mr Duncan Smith made his most important speech so far on European policy. He went to Prague to call for a "democratic revolution" to achieve his vision of a "new Europe" of national democracies, and not of "soulless supranational institutions". In a fierce attack on the Franco-German axis, he accused "old Europe" of trying to bully the rest into believing that they had to accept their cherished ambitions, such as the euro and the new constitution, or else. But Mr Duncan Smith tried to put himself at the head of a campaign by Europe's Centre Right to rally the incoming entrants to the EU to a future in which they did not have to sign up to the euro, the constitution or the common foreign and defence policies of the EU.”


A disgraceful story here of so-called British justice. Being anywhere around when a crime occurs is dangerous in Britain but it is not criminals who are the danger. It is the lax British police. If they cannot find who actually did the crime, anyone who was around at the time will do. It is the same in Australia -- as the Barry Mannix case (PDF) showed. Mannix only got out of jail when the real murderer turned up at a police station and confessed. Nobody should have to rely on that degree of luck. And note that the police who extorted a false confession from Mannix have not been disciplined to this day. So how many more innocent people have they sent to jail?

Let’s hope other moderate Leftists listen to Tony Blair: “Blair said it would be wrong for centre-left governments to oppose globalization and be anti-American in their outlook.”

There’s a big article here comparing economic development in India and China. It seems that the more Westernized Indian economy relies on local entrepreneurship a lot more than does China and could well pull ahead in terms of future economic growth.

The African nation of Benin has apologised for its past role in slavery: “It's so easy to say white man did it to us, but we share in the responsibility,'' Ambassador Cyrille Oguin told an audience Friday at Southern University”. Will they now be included as co-defendants in reparations claims?

This story shows how good the Left-dominated U.S. educational system isn’t. Note that the librarian who wrote the letter would undoubtedly have a college or university degree.

A new survey shows that landowners who support hunting conserve more wildlife than those that don't -- something that lovers of hunting have always pointed out.

A great post on Samizdata about the incidence of liberty in the world. It is still the Anglo-Saxon nations that are on top of that tree. The post is based on CATO's annual international survey of economic freedom (PDF) -- which also shows that there is a correlation between economic freedom and prosperity. It also shows that “increased economic freedom does not lead to greater income inequality”, contrary to what the Left would have us believe.

A Baltimore cop speaks from experience about the 'war on drugs'. He says: “Eighty years of failed drug prohibition have destroyed swaths of urban America.”

UK Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, is advocating turning Martian exploration over to private millionaires: "Mars needs millionaires"

At last! A conservative blogger in Ireland. Visit him soon.

The NEW CRITERION now has a blog here. The New Criterion is a culturally-oriented conservative site.


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Friday, July 11, 2003


The term “feeding frenzy” refers to the way a pack of sharks eat. But the incessant Leftist attacks on the food that ordinary people eat surely deserves that term too. Note that Leftists show their great sympathy for poor people these days by claiming that food is too cheap!

Theodore Dalrymple says that anti-fast food crowd seem to assume that if it weren't for corporations and advertising ...we'd all be eating "health" food. This conclusion of course is nonsense. Traditional British dinners were loaded with fat.

EUFIC, The European Food Information Council adds a note of common sense:

"...when judged by changes in life expectancy, health in our modern society is improving all the time and is not, as is often suggested, getting worse. Progress in medical care, better living conditions and hygiene, better food supply, improved nutrition and the importance of physical activity can be associated with this development."

Of course Hippocrates said much the same in the 5th Century BC:

"Positive health requires knowledge of man's primary constitution and the powers of various foods, both those natural to them and those resulting from human skills. But eating alone is not enough for health. There must be exercise, of which the effects must likewise be known. The combination of these two things makes regimen, when proper attention is given to the seasons of the year, the changes of the winds, the age of the individual and the situation of his home".

But this demented woman and her cohorts agree with none of that: “Diet scold Marion Nestle, who was the keynote speaker at last month's obesity lawsuit conference and complains that food is too cheap in America, went off the deep end yesterday. Echoing the lawsuit-happy John Banzhaf, who told a May 2003 food policy conference that personal responsibility is 'crap,' Nestle said on CNN that she doesn't support 'balance, moderation and exercise' when it comes to food choices. Nestle also argued that parents probably can't be expected to exercise any authority over their children's diets."

And “PETA’s gang of lunatics filed an injunction with the California Superior Court today to prevent the popular chicken restaurant chain from defending itself against PETA’s attacks. Without a hint of irony or self-reflection, the group that covertly supports arsonists claims that KFC is making 'deceptive statements' regarding their treatment of future three-piece dinners."


Wow! What a come-down for the Greenies. A new study has just shown that trees grow twice as fast in New York City, when compared with trees growing in the surrounding countryside. The Greenies have come up with the totally twisted explanation that pollution in cities cancels itself out but that the cities still pollute the countryside and stunt tree growth there. It’s logic only a Greenie could understand. If urban pollution cancels itself out, how is there any left to get into the countryside? Obviously pollution is in the eye of the beholder and what Greenies see as pollution, trees see as fertilizer. The higher carbon dioxide level in cities is the obvious explanation for the finding -- as carbon dioxide is a basic plant food -- but Greenies are committed to demonizing carbon dioxide as a “greenhouse” gas so admitting that it might be beneficial is to be avoided at all costs.

But regardless of what is responsible for the finding, the fact that trees THRIVE in a “polluted” urban environment strikes at the very heart of Greenie claims about the “threat” of pollution. If the only “threat” is that it makes greenery grow faster, shouldn’t Greenies be wanting MORE of that “pollution”?


Sad: After the recent elections, Mexico is still in the grip of its old fascistic Left. The PRI kept Mexico poor for most of the last century and it looks like it will keep up the performance.

Amusing: The French government has banned use of the word “email”. It would make more sense for the Germans to ban it. “Email” is an old German word meaning “enamel”.

As always, Buchanan knows his history -- and the conclusions he draws can be startling. The idea that Congress can simply REMOVE the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court from moral and racial issues was certainly a surprise to me.

The Left are still at their old game of calling anyone stupid who disagrees with them. It shows how much they hate ordinary Americans, though: “Americans, whether consciously or unconsciously, actually pride themselves on their ignorance. It reflects their break with the overly complicated intellectual tradition of 'old Europe.' It's also a source of satisfaction that they have a president who's no smarter than they are. All this is bad news for the American anti-war movement which needs to enlarge its ranks. 'Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens,' wrote Schiller. 'With stupidity even the gods struggle in vain.'"

Michael Darby has just put up a new budget of reading for us here -- with particular emphasis on Zimbabwe, as usual.

If you don’t get a laugh out of the latest offering from The Wicked one you’ve got no sense of humour.

My academic postings here and here have been a bit technical lately. Only for psychometricians.


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Thursday, July 10, 2003


This blog began exactly one year ago today. Below is an extract from the first post I made -- on July 10th, 2002. I think it is still pretty relevant:


"The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind." (H.L. Mencken)

Denial is perhaps best known through the work of Sigmund Freud as a classical neurotic symptom or coping mechanism. Instead of dealing with uncomfortable truths, the neurotic acts as if those truths simply do not exist. This is, of course, very maladaptive and creates at least as many problems as it solves.

Sadly, however, it would seem that reality denial is far from limited to psychiatric cases. Denial would appear to be in fact much more common even than excess egotism. Human beings generally do not handle reality well. That is why humans are such a drug-using species. Whether it be alcohol, cannabis, opiates, Khat, cocaine, nicotine or merely caffeine, few of us seem able to face life without chemical crutches. Straight reality is generally too much for us.

But WHY are human beings so uncomfortable with reality? Why do they use so many means to "escape" it? Again it probably goes back to more primitive times when reality was very oppressive and dispiriting. Only those who could escape reality in some way had the heart to carry on. So a talent for ignoring unpleasant truths was adaptive. In the modern world, however, reality is much more benign and, as Freud saw, denying it can easily descend into the psychopathological.

So any attack on the reality-denying habits of Leftists would appear doomed to failure. Even such an overwhelming reality as the utter collapse of the world's 70 year experiment with Communism caused them not at all to abandon their equalitarian mania but only to change their focus somewhat.

Those who know the erratic nature of Blogspot archives will be surprised to find that the full archive of my earliest postings still exists exactly where it is supposed to be -- here. I forget now why I did so but for the first month or so I used to delete the whole blog and create a new one every time I added a new posting! But I always appended the old postings below the new posting. Complicated.


Stalin once said that there is complete freedom of speech in Russia -- “as long as you agree with me”. Modern day American universities are the same:

"On Nov. 12, 2002, Steve Hinkle, an undergraduate at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, was walking around campus, posting fliers advertising a speech by Mason Weaver, author of 'It's OK to Leave the Plantation'. In that book, Weaver -- an African-American -- traces his own journey "from Berkeley militant to conservative businessman," and argues that dependence on government welfare programs puts many modern African-Americans in circumstances akin to slavery. .... Today, Steve Hinkle remains under threat of expulsion from this hideous institution of 'learning' for trying to post a factual, constitutionally protected flier."

More here


Incredible, astounding and unbelievable! “United States President George W. Bush has expressed confidence in the manner in which [South African] President Thabo Mbeki is handling the Zimbabwean crisis.” Handling it? He’s not handling it at all! Zimbabwe is getting more and more disastrous by the day. Mbeki has done NOTHING.

I must say that I had a bit of a laugh when I heard that German Kanzler Gert Schroeder is cancelling his holiday in Italy because of the bad things Italians have said recently about Germans. Pretty childish. It’s he who will be the loser. Italians and Germans have always scorned one-another but the fact that 10 million Germans holiday in Italy every year shows that most Italians and Germans still manage to get on with one-another.

V.D. Hanson has a good article here on the Mexicanisation of California and on multiracialism versus multiculturalism. He says "The problem is not one of "race". He considers it a virtue that America is a multiracial society. What concerns him is the danger of what he calls "a multicultural" society, one that has lost its sense of common political and civic values. A multiracial society "welcomes all races to learn one language and heritage," while a multicultural society "encourages separate but purportedly equal languages and traditions, and is a prescription for disaster - as we have seen in Bosnia."

A good comment on the ridiculous International Criminal Court that GWB has rightly boycotted: “A US academic has claimed that the International Criminal Court's definition of "crimes against humanity" is vague enough to try the POPE for his stand on issues such as abortion and homosexuality.”

David Flint has a good article on why our intellectuals see themselves as an elite who are alone fit to rule us and points out how they do their best to exclude conservative views from all debate.

An interesting explanation here of why Communists rose to power in so many countries throughout the world in the 20th century. Ignorance among the population was one of the pre-requisites. You can fool such people for some of the time.

From NewsWeekly, not apparently covered elsewhere.. Climate scientists reject the Kyoto treaty on “Greenhouse” gases.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again with its usual select range of thinking.

China Hand has just put up a couple of snippets about corruption and media censorship in his part of China.


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Wednesday, July 09, 2003


I have not so far commented on the shrill Leftist accusations that Bush, Blair and Howard "lied" about Saddam having WMDs because it is so obviously the cry of sore losers. But since even some sensible people seem now to have been sucked in by the Leftist claims over the matter, let me point out that the allies did NOT lie about WMDs. They said that they THOUGHT Saddam had WMDs and that his many years of obstructing UN weapons inspectors meant that there was only one way to make sure that he did not have WMDs. They were right.

And Rumsfeld brought some unanswerable logic to bear on the matter some time ago when he pointed out: "We haven't found Saddam Hussein either, but that doesn't mean he didn't exist."

The real liars are the Left. They lied about Stalin and the Soviets for decades and now they are lying about what GWB and his allies said. Because they are such liars themselves they see it in others at the drop of a hat.



Howard Dean: patriot or anti-American. Howard Dean and his fellow Leninist hardcore Democrats hate the war against Saddam because they believe it promoted US interests. This is their litmus test for condemning any foreign policy: will it benefit the US?
Green economic blueprint is a recipe for tyranny. The greens' economic system could only be enforced at the point of a bayonet and the threat of a Gulag. (Perhaps they are going to lift a few chapters out of Pol Pot's Manual for Economic Autarky).
Why the left support the BBC's neo-Stalinist agitprop that defends treason. The BBC production The Cambridge Spies boils down to a piece of neo-Stalinist agitprop that reveals the moral and ideological bankruptcy of the BBC, an institution that was once even respected by it totalitarian enemies for its integrity.
Arab politicians stayed silent on Saddam's killings fields. Arab parliamentarians spent comfortable nights in luxurious hotels in Beirut, refusing to utter a word of sympathy for the victims of Saddam's mass graves.

Details here


One of my American readers reports on the aggressive nature of his local "wage peace, not war" organization: "July 3, on the way to Austin TX I came across a "Pacifica Radio" broadcast from Houston. WOW - these people were full of venom - Prosecute George Bush and Colin Powell and Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney for war crimes against the Iraqi children; abolish private schools; provide better housing for "the poor" - the most arrogant, self-righteous crowd I have ever heard. Again, these people are well-funded. They are extremely hostile to anything conservative - and very enthusiastic about forcing their cause on others"

The recent BBC TV series "Cambridge Spies" portrays British supporters of Stalin during the 1930s as innocent young idealists. That is wilful deceit. As this article points out, Stalin's unprecedented crimes against humanity were already well-known at the time. Even that famous "Fabian" socialist George Bernard Shaw knew and approved of Stalin's methods. As Shaw said: "Every Russian knows that if he will not make his life a paying enterprise for his country ... an agent of the OGPU [Soviet secret police] will take him by the shoulder and will conduct him to the cellar of this famous department and he will simply stop living." It is amazing that Nazi Holocaust deniers like David Irving get blasted yet Leftist intellectual heroes who openly acknowledged and supported the Stalin Holocaust still get lauded. The Left simply airbrushes the inconvenient quotes from public memory.

The USA is doing better in Afghanistan than we normally hear from the media. Note this quote: “'I have two messages,'' says Ahmmad Nabi Mohammadi, leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Movement of Afghanistan, which has followers in all 32 provinces. ''One is that we strongly request the USA to continue supporting the government of Hamid Karzai. . . . The other is that everyone understand this is the exact government that Afghanistan needs now and to support that government.''

There are some good pictures of life in Iraq before Saddam and during the Saddam era here

There is a good catalogue here of the arrant nonsense that has been used by European intellectuals to justify their jealous hatred of the USA. How DARE a country give such freedom, such opportunities and such a good life to ordinary people! And Americans respect practical men a lot more than they respect intellectuals. Horrors!

Paddy McGuinness on Leftist censorship: He points out that sex is about the only thing Leftists do not want censored and comments: "By all means, let us screen any kind of pornography offered. But then why not let the forces of tobacco, alcohol, fast food, racism, sexism and homophobia loose to speak just as freely?"

Global warming comes unstuck again: "An analysis of more than 240 studies of the Earth’s climate over the past 1,000 years suggests the twentieth century was NOT the hottest and that climate varies naturally. The analysis adds to the growing body of knowledge challenging previous assessments, based on less comprehensive data, that suggest climate was relatively stable until a sharp warming in the late twentieth century."

The Wicked one tells it like it is about Liberia -- where the USA may soon be sending troops.

Rather to the annoyance of libertarians such as myself, the old Left/Right divide seems to be the major way in which people group their political attitudes. In my academic posting here (or here) I list some of the opinions that are grouped in that way.


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Tuesday, July 08, 2003


The Archbishop of Sydney gives a very clear statement of the traditional Anglican stance on homsexuality and points out that it is not the traditional Anglicans who are provoking schism over the matter. If there is eventually a schism, the example of the vibrant and very traditional Sydney diocese shows which way the congregations will go. The Times blames “rich evangelical parishes” for forcing the backdown by a homosexual bishop-designate in the Church of England but omits to mention how the parishes concerned got rich. They got rich by having big collections and they have big collections because they have lots of churchgoers. Without the evangelicals, the Church of England would be a small group of atheistic Leftists in funny hats talking to themselves.


A reader writes:

“In Victoria the State Government is introducing regulations that require all new houses built to be equipped with solar hot water heaters and / or rainwater tanks. See here and here.

Solar heaters and rain tanks are great ideas but forcing people to buy them is not. The government is playing up the great energy savings these regulations will provide and selling the new laws as a 'win' to the environment. But if the savings were really as great as they say, you just wouldn't need to force home owners to adopt these systems. Householders could see the benefits of microwave ovens and adopted them quickly without being forced.

In order to win green votes, mainly from people who are not building new homes, and who are keen to enforce their green faith on others, (see here) the government has forgotten common sense. Solar hot water heaters don't save energy ...people do. And people respond to incentives.

Churchill said “If you destroy a free market you create a black market. If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.” In economic terms this legislation adds up to taxing new home builders to provide them with 'free' energy. Pretty nonsensical and certainly not very persuasive.

And the rainwater tanks and solar heaters will require backup from traditional systems, and over time will require more maintenance and cleaning. Homeowners will need to spend more time up ladders.

Having duplicate systems is in fact a waste of resources. Householders will face higher initial costs, even if there is some a longer term payoff. And the new homebuilders will in all likelihood revert to using the traditional systems as their primary system in the long run. If there are any environmental benefits from these measures at all, they are likely to be much less than the politicians are saying.”


All this furore about same-sex marriages seems a storm in a teacup to me. Marriage arose as basically a reproductive contract so a homosexual union can NEVER be a real marriage no matter how often you call it that, as far as I can see. But Jeff Jacoby has an argument against homosexual “marriages” that does make at least some sense.

I was amused by the picture of authentic Basque culture on the Jennings blog. Apparently Michael has been to Spain recently.

A good bit of sarcasm from the WSJ: “As many as 50 Shiite Muslims are dead after a Friday terrorist attack on a mosque in Quetta, Pakistan, the Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports a pair of suicide bombers murdered at least 13 people at an open-air rock concert in Moscow Saturday.... Boy, it's lucky for the Pakistanis and the Russians that they opposed the liberation of Iraq, or the terrorists would have been really mad at them”.

A fightback against traffic cameras: “A clear spray called Photoblocker can be applied to license plates to make them hyper-reflective and unreadable when the camera flashes."

"The European Commission and the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris) are reprimanding and threatening several low tax countries with blacklisting or other sanctions because of their LOW taxes! Lowering taxes is “unfair” according to these insane bureaucrats

A strange one from Chris Brand: MARITAL CHOICE. In a dramatic breakthrough for the concept of ‘families of choice’ an American businessman began to offer wives for a rent of around $50,000 annually. Both parties sign a contract setting out terms on which they insist, and men are presented with a variety of women from nymphomaniancs through bluestockings to homemakers.

Writing on his other blog, China Hand has a good comment on the uselessness of many university degrees. The article in The Economist that he is referring to is here. Excerpt: “On average, Arts degrees show a negative return. In other words, those graduates earned less than if they hadn't done their degree at all.”

In my academic posting here (or here) I look at the Leftist theory that people who express approval of conventional authority are prone to behaving in an aggressive, domineering way. I show that there is in fact no relationship between such attitudes and such behaviour.


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Monday, July 07, 2003


I have not heard much about "reparations" lately but no doubt it will resurface if ever Iraq becomes boring. The whole idea is of course just another scam to rip off white taxpayers but in case anybody thinks it is an issue that is worth seriously debating, let's have a brief look at it. As far as the USA is concerned, the argument seems to be that Africans suffer a "psychological burden" because their ancestors were brought to America in chains against their will and were subsequently subjected to forced labour. And that burden disables them from achieving much and so needs to be compensated for by giving them lots of money.

There are many reasons why that argument is a nonsense but let me mention two: I am a WHITE person whose ancestors came to my country chained up in the holds of ships and who were subsequently subjected to forced labour. I am descended from two British convicts who were transported to Australia for minor crimes. I even know the names of the ships they came in and my convict great-great grandmother was until very recently within living memory. But has that imposed an awful psychological burden on me and prevented me from achieving? I think you can guess the answer.

And I suppose that several millennia of persecution imposes a terrible psychological burden on Jews and makes THEM unable to achieve too??? But Leftists never do care about evidence or logic!

One of my U.S. correspondents has some good observations on the matter too:

Today, I saw a clip of Condelleza Rice talking to some Palestinian woman-hating macho men telling them to cut out their terrorism. This was just priceless -- these racist sexist subhuman Muslim fanatics taking orders from a Black American female. This was almost too much to handle. This was probably the first time in their lives that they were talked down to by a woman - and a Black one at that. I just love it. And these guys say we are racists.

Ken Hamblin has a talk show. One of his favorite quotes is: "I can't thank those slave traders enough for bringing my ancestors here; if they didn't, I wouldn't be driving this twin engine plane."

In the US, a Black woman with a college degree earns slightly more than Wnite women. This is about as "equal" as it gets. And the Palestinians call us racists. I hope Rice really rubs it in (I would bet she loves it too). This is the best form of "reparations".

And here is another relevant comment:

"What is uniquely Western is not slavery but the movement to abolish slavery. There is no history of anti-slavery activism outside of Western civilization. Of course in every society, slaves have strongly resisted being slaves. Runaways and slave revolts occurred frequently in all slave cultures. But only in the West did a movement arise, not of slaves, but of potential slave-owners, to oppose slavery in principle."

And another reader comment:

"Just recently, some poor Black man in SC was told his land would be declared "Nature Preserve" by the Sierra Club. This family has farmed this land since the Civil War, and now that farming small plots is not productive, he wants to sell it for Urban Sprawl which is reaching out. This poor sucker may not be able to sell his land because of the Democratic-supporting Sierra Club. Yet this guy still votes Democratic. This family has long ago left the Slave plantation - but are now living on another one - the Democratic Plantation. [Hopefully, getting shaken up enough by not being able to sell his land may convince him to vote Republican]."


A most amusing story of a BBC reporter sleeping with the enemy on Tim Blair’s blog. The BBC know who their enemies are.

Another great Church of England “fudge”: The homosexual nominee for the post of bishop, “voluntarily” withdrew his acceptance of the post. Anglicans make evasion of issues an art-form.

Great stuff: The UK government is stepping up its attack on the Leftist bias at the BBC. Lets hope it is a prelude to putting the BBC back onto a path of greater objectivity.

While I understand their feelings, I think the Jewish community is unwise in its efforts to block the airing of holocaust skepticism. It only creates the impression that they have something to hide and there is already enough paranoia about Jews out there as it is. And I do think freedom of speech is too important to be abridged even over this issue.

More black racism: "'Clarence Thomas is my color, but he's not my kind.' So sneered Al Sharpton, the black preacher and presidential hopeful during a recent Democratic candidates forum sponsored by Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH coalition. Sharpton's remark reportedly elicited one of the loudest applause lines. The decidedly Democratic audience apparently shared the insinuation that Thomas is a traitor to the race, not the least because the Supreme Court justice opposes racial preferences."

I have just put up here some safety hints for women that I think all women should read in these dangerous times.

The Wicked one has a big post from an American libertarian that yearns for King George III. He makes the very good point that George III allowed far more liberty to Americans than the present American government does.

In my academic posting here (or here) I look at attitude to authority among schoolchildren.


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Sunday, July 06, 2003


A reader writes:

Environmentalist Jack Hollander has come to the conclusion that "the real environmental crisis" is poverty ..and promoting affluence, not retarding it, is the best way to promote environmental quality. See here and here. Hollander's conclusion is not so radical, even if it is news to the environmentalists. In economic terms, 'wilderness conservation' and 'quality of life' issues are both "luxury goods". Items people demand more of as their incomes rise. The term "luxury goods" in economics is not the same as the common usage and does not necessarily mean Rolls Royces or diamond tiaras. Of course environmentalists assert wilderness is a fundamental need and will bite at the mere suggestion it is a 'luxury good' . However if you look at the way people actually behave (not necessarily how they should behave) these are luxury goods. So Hollander's conclusion merely confirms textbook economic analysis. Originally environmentalists, when the movement first arose in the 1970s, were noted for their desire to promote 'quality of life' issues and promote wilderness conservation. That was of course before the collapse of Communism. Then the rechristened "green" movement was taken over by refugees from the far left ...more interested in promoting foreign policy and social agendas irrelevant to the environment, whilst spinning any real conservation issues in an anti-corporate direction: Thus undermining our most successful method of improving environmental quality. I wonder how long it is before Hollander joins the growing list of Green heretics, like Bjorn Lomberg, Garrett Hardin and Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore? All three have been sent to coventry for not treading the party line.


The "exporting jobs" myth: "As U.S. trade deficits continue to pile up, and as the economy continues in its slow-growth patterns, a number of economic commentators have been accusing American corporations of causing the trouble by "exporting jobs." Now, given the bounty of economic myths that economists and media pundits seem to foist upon us, one should not be surprised at anything we read in the academic literature or popular press, but the newest set of fallacies that we are hearing is especially insidious."

"In the Austrian school's theory of the business cycle, the 'boom' (even though it sounds good) is the cause of the business cycle and all its attendant problems. The 'bust' (even though it sounds bad) is the recovery, where all the problems of the business cycle are put right. The Austrian view is shared by many economy and stock market professionals who dub any retreats from overdone conditions as 'corrections'."

Only the economic ignoramuses would be surprised: "Opponents of NAFTA warned of a 'giant sucking sound' of jobs and investment heading south if the agreement were enacted, but all the evidence points the other way. Since 1994, Arizona's exports to Mexico and Canada have doubled, including more than $1.5 billion in computer and software exports to Mexico in 2001 alone. Arizona's farm exports to Mexico have also soared."


“Lawrence vs. Texas is not a 'gay rights' victory nor is it an attack on traditional values or marriage. Lawrence vs. Texas is a victory for personal liberty and for the Constitutional restraints that bind the government from violating individual freedom."

”The opponents of biomedical progress .... are making the mistake that the ideal of political equality rests on the notion of actual equality. That's nonsense."

I must say I sympathize with those Corsicans who want their island to be independent of France. Their language is not even French. It is an Italian dialect. And even history’s most famous Corsican -- Napoleon -- had no love of France until he came to rule it.

Scotland has just marked the 400th anniversary of the union between the Scottish and English crowns. It was always a dubious advantage for England in my view and is certainly so now. Way back then it did not even put a stop to wars between England and Scotland and caused a civil war in England when Scottish kings would not respect English liberties. And in the here and now the over-represented Scottish electorate has often been instrumental in putting socialist governments in charge at Westminster. No wonder it is only the Scots who are celebrating!

Stupidity gets an apt reward: “A holidaymaker narrowly escaped death when lightning struck her tongue stud in an electrical storm. Becky Nyang, 26, was temporarily blinded, unable to talk and badly blistered by the bolt of electricity that surged through her body via the piercing.”

Some interesting facts: Of 34 Mars missions since the start of the space age, 20 have failed ... Intel has shipped its 1 billionth computer chip ... when you misinterpret the words to a song it's called a Mondegreen. Kids are great victims of Mondegreens. When I was a kid I used to think that there was a line in “Silent Night” that said: “Round John Virgin, mother and child”!

Rafe Champion has a brief note about something that is often overlooked -- George Orwell’s socialist economics.

The Wicked one has a post about hidden cameras in High School locker rooms.

A couple of psychologists have claimed on the basis of very flimsy evidence that Australians are particularly “authoritarian”. In my academic post here (or here) I report much more substantial evidence showing that not to be so.


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