Saturday, July 26, 2003

LIBERALISM AS “PROJECTION”

More on the Berkeley study: I have for some time noted that what Leftists accuse conservatives of (such as “authoritarianism”, ” intolerance of ambiguity” and simplistic thinking generally), is precisely what characterizes Leftists themselves. The very people who accuse conservatives of oversimplification (In the Berkeley jargon: “lack of integrative complexity”) are themselves proud of their “elegant and unifying explanations” that ignore half the data!

Such acusations are what Freud called “projection” -- you see in your opponents the very weaknesses that are most prominent in yourself. Freud saw the process as mostly unconscious but it could be conscious too -- you think that by shouting loudly about a particular fault in others, people might not notice the same fault in you. Even Christ knew of the phenomenon: “Why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye but considerest not the beam that is thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). I have recently received an insightful email from Eleanor Spreitzer that also notes this phenomenon:

Liberals have no sense of humor at all.

They have the emotional maturity of 14 year old Junior High School Students.

The very little humor they attempt relies on ridicule and mocking of someone's looks or "intelligence". I truly believe the Liberal knows how truly inferior he (the Liberal) is, and uses his mockery in a feeble attempt to trick himself into pretending he (the Liberal) is correct and not inferior.

They are masters at accusing Conservatives of doing the very thing the Liberal is doing. Which proves the Liberal knows the action the Liberal is taking is destructive and harmful to our Country. Now we need a very smart Psychiatrist to explain why they do it.

My theory is Liberals are scared to death of "making it on their own" and want bigger and bigger Daddy government to take care of them. Since they are too chicken to admit they want help - they pretend they are only interested in the "little people - the forgotten ones -etc."

What a crock. They only want to help themselves to bigger and bigger government jobs - with financial security for themselves and their own children.

Elite Liberals are the ones that MUST keep the "little people" undereducated and poor and ignorant in order to keep the huge base they need for these government jobs. Absolute proof of this is the fact that the Elite Liberals send their children to the best private schools and insist the poor keep sending their kids to inferior government schools. The Elite Liberals' children are also going to need a huge base of undereducated, poor, ignorant people in order to keep their future big paying Daddy Government Jobs.

And they call Conservatives MEAN SPIRITED. I'm a conservative and I want every child in this country to have the same education the Kennedy Children have; the same education Chelsea Clinton had. I want all children to grow up and be well educated so they can have interesting and profitable lives. Is this Mean Spirited??? NO!

The Elite Liberal wants to keep poor undereducated children in failing schools - so as to keep a permanent base for this enormous Welfare Mess the Elite Liberal must have for himself and his children to survive.

Who’s Mean Spirited? Who calls whom Mean Spirited?

The one (the Elite Liberal) who is truly Mean Spirited calls the one who is not Mean Spirited (the Conservative) - Mean Spirited.

As I said many words above - Liberals are Masters of accusing Conservatives of doing and being the very thing that the Liberals is and is doing.

Elite Liberals are beyond being "Mean Spirited" - they are truly evil. Only an evil person would want to tear down a great country like ours - that so many young men and women have died for - just to make big government jobs for themselves.


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A MIDWESTERN VIEW

One of my Midwestern correspondents also sent me a rather good fisking of the Berkeley “study”. Excerpts:

“Ten meta-analytic calculations performed on the material - which included various types of literature and approaches from different countries and groups - yielded consistent, common threads, Glaser said.”

Stack the deck on what you put into a meta-analysis, and see what comes out.

“The avoidance of uncertainty, for example, as well as the striving for certainty, are particularly tied to one key dimension of conservative thought - the resistance to change or hanging onto the status quo, they said. “

Is this an example of resistance to change? … “Millions of California drivers will see their fee increase, On average, from $76 a year to $234, beginning in 90 days” (I was just griping about having to pay $47.50 for my truck. while my car is only $45.)

“Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form.”

That’s a damnable insult to the man who ended the cold war. If you visit politopia.com, you might be surprised to find out that they rate FDR as closer to Hitler and Stalin.

“The result is an "elegant and unifying explanation" for political conservatism under the rubric of motivated social cognition, said Sulloway. “

Any time I see terms such as “elegant and unifying…” the red flags go up. And just what would be the alternative to “motivated cognition?” Unmotivated cognition = daydreaming?

“As for conservatives' penchant for accepting inequality, he said,”

As opposed to the liberals’ penchant for trying to impose a mediocracy on the US?

“being intolerant of ambiguity,”

Midwesterners would say “Call a spade a spade…”

“high on the need for closure, “

Midwesterners would say “Shit or get off the pot…”

“might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty,"

Midwesterners actually think these characteristics are IMPORTANT.


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ELSEWHERE

THIS is what we have to fear if Leftists ever gain unlimited power anywhere again. It’s horrible reading but you should read it. No wonder Leftists are trying to control the teaching of history.

Keith Windschuttle outlines here the late 19th century policy of 'protection' conducted by a previous generation of 'do-gooders' who sought to confine Australian blacks in reserves and missions -- a policy that the do-gooders of today condemn as “apartheid” and which has now been abolished. But it was NOT conservatives who wanted to isolate blacks -- it was the do-gooders -- the precursors of the Leftists of today -- who wanted to deprive blacks of their liberties.

China Hand has a couple of good posts up at the moment. He has an amusing tale of his stage debut in a Chinese bar and some interesting pictures of a bridge to nowhere that shows the Chinese authorities are not as dictatorial as we might think.

The Wicked one says that GWB is a centrist, not a conservative.

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Friday, July 25, 2003

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THE BLOGOSPHERE DOES IT AGAIN

Well, the blogsphere can certainly be an efficient means of communication. When this Berkeley nonsense about the psychology of conservatism came out, one blogger picked it up same day, other bloggers quickly followed on and a blogger friend drew it to my attention on the next day. I happen to have expert knowledge of the "research" on which the nonsense was based so I blogged on it immediately and -- with the help of an Instapundit link -- 12 hours or so later there were lots of links to my post on other blogs. People who had no prior awareness of me or my expertise in the area had my knowledge at their disposal in a matter of hours. Pretty good!

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CONSERVATIVES ARE HAPPIER

Prof. James Lindgren, Director of the Demography of Diversity Project at Northwestern University, was one of those who saw my post and he emailed me with some more information that upsets the conclusions of the Berkeley group. He notes that the Berkeley group (led by Jost) missed out on some very basic survey data which show that conservatives are much more likely to be happy than are Leftists. He writes:

The Jost article claims that conservatives are angry and fearful and it builds on a literature that claims that conservatives are unhappy. I find this strange, given the decades of superb data showing the opposite. In the NORC General Social Survey (a standard social science database, second only to the U.S. Census in use by U.S. sociologists), the GSS asks the standard survey question about happiness in general. In the 1998-2002 GSS, extreme conservatives are much more likely to report being "very happy" than extreme liberals--47.1% to 31.6%. Earlier years show a similar pattern.

This conservative happiness carries over into most other aspects of life as well. Conservatives usually report being happier in their jobs than liberals. In the 2002 GSS, for example 65.2% of extreme conservatives report being "very satisfied" with their jobs in general, while only 50% of extreme liberals report being very satisfied. When the question is broadened to satisfaction with job or housework, a similar pattern obtains. In the 1998-2002 GSS, 61.0% of extreme conservatives reported being very satisfied, compared to 53.6% of extreme liberals.

As to finances, in the 1998-2002 GSS 34% of extreme conservatives report being satisfied with their finances compared to 26.4% of extreme liberals. More extreme liberals (34.5%) than extreme conservatives (25.8%) report being "not at all satisfied" with their finances.

Conservatives usually tend to report less marital unhappiness than liberals. In the 1998-2002 GSS, 5.1% of those who report being "slightly liberal" say that they are "not too happy" in their marriages, compared to 0.9% of those who are "slightly conservative." Ordinary liberals (3.7%) and extreme liberals (8.9%) also differ from ordinary conservatives (2.4%) and extreme conservatives (4.1%) in the levels of reported marital unhappiness. Indeed, in the 1998 GSS, 18.2% of extreme liberals reported that their marriages were "not too happy," while only 1.6% of extreme conservatives reported marital unhappiness.

Earlier General Social Surveys found that conservatives were more satisfied with their health, their friendships, their family life, and the city or place they live--all in all, a remarkably consistent picture.

Another claim in the Jost paper is that conservativism is driven by anger and fear. Again, their claims conflict with some of the highest quality data available. In the 1996 GSS, questions were asked about anger and fearfulness. Extreme conservatives were much less likely to report being mad at someone every day in the last week--7.3% to 24.2% for extreme liberals. Extreme conservatives were also less likely to report being fearful in the last week--32.5% to 56.3% for extreme liberals. In other words, a staggering one-quarter of extreme liberals report being mad at someone EVERY DAY and most extreme liberals report being fearful at least once a week.

I am surprised that the Jost group was not aware of the very strong and remarkably consistent data that conservatives report being happier than liberals about their lives in general, their jobs, their finances, their health, their friendships, their family life, and where they live. Nor does the Jost group deal with the less extensive data suggesting that conservatives are less fearful and less angry than liberals. I will have to look into more of the studies that Jost cites to see why these fairly obvious patterns are missed. I wonder whether Jost relied too much on studies that either used unrepresentative samples (such as undergraduates) or used biased questions or indices -- asking about issues on which conservatives tend to be unhappy but not about issues on which liberals tend to be unhappy. In either event, the Jost group seems to have missed decades of very high quality survey data that undercut their thesis.


There is not much left of the Berkeley claims after that! I wrote back noting that the Berkeley group led by Jost had missed out LOTS of data that did not suit them. In fact I have just put online here (or here) one of the articles they ignored. The article points out in pretty plain terms the circular reasoning and lack of proper scientific caution behind one of the attempts to show that conservatives are "rigid" and "intolerant of ambiguity". The article has been in university libraries for years and academic psychology has very good indexing services so there is no excuse for the article being "overlooked".

There was also a Leftist article some years ago which claimed that conservatives are generally unhappy. I replied to it here. The Jost group missed that too!

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ELSEWHERE

A nice story here about a U.S. female soldier in Iraq. A top Iraqi general could not believe he was captured by a young woman. Those Arabs had better learn not to mess with American women! American women even terrify lots of American men!

Wow! It looks like Japan is willing to help out in Iraq.

At last! Canada has awakened from its slumbers. They are now telling the Iranians that they have been VERY NAUGHTY!

The South African government says that it is “racist” for white-owned newspapers to pursue allegations of corruption against black politicians. When will the world get totally sick of black misdeeds being covered up by the “racism” slur?

The Wicked one asks whether America is disappearing and thinks that there is not much conservatism in the GOP at the moment.

I have just uploaded another one of my academic articles here (or here). In it I again look at some very dubious "research" that was in the academic psychology literature and show that its conclusions were essentially fraudulent. Taking any academic conclusions on faith is very foolish. You have to look at what other academics say about the subject as well.

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Thursday, July 24, 2003

MORE ON THE BERKELEY ATTEMPT TO SMEAR CONSERVATIVES

For those who have broadband or a lot of patience, there is a link to the whole article here in the form of a huge PDF.

For a start, let me translate the jargon: That conservatives have “motivated social cognition” means that conservatives only see what they want to see. That is really rich coming from the Left when we consider how huge numbers of Western Leftists refused for decades to give any heed to all the reports of the horrors of Stalin’s Russia. THEY undoubtedly had huge talent for seeing only what they wanted to see.

Probably the biggest failing of the article is its historical naivety. Because the authors appear to know nothing of the history of conservative political thought, they accept the old Leftist stereotype that conservatism is essentially opposition to change. That conservatives have historically seen themselves as being primarily champions of individual rights and opponents of big government, they give no heed to at all. One has to surmise that none of the authors has ever even talked to a conservative. If they had, they would have discovered quick-smart that there is HEAPS about the society in which we live that conservatives would like to change. Leftists and Rightist undoubtedy want different changes, but both would want to see lots of changes nonetheless. Attitude to change is simply a red-herring drawn across the trail by Leftists. It has NOTHING to do with who is a conservative today.

This ignorance and naivety on the part of the authors does however lead them into some hilarious pitfalls. Even they have to acknowledge that Communist countries have been ferocious enemies of change in their own societies. So what do they conclude from that? Do they think that they might have got it wrong in seeing opposition to change as so central? No way! They rigidly cling on to their stereotype. So rigid are they in their thinking about the matter that they are forced to conclude that Stalin and Castro are conservatives! If Stalin and Castro are not Leftists, black might as well be white! So they go on to say that the Soviets and their ilk are essentially the same as Reagan, Limbaugh and their ilk. People at opposite ends of the ideological spectum are all the same according to these galoots! No wonder the Wall St Journal thought that the whole article might be a spoof rather than an attempt at a serious study!

That their own cognition is motivated to ignore things that do not suit them is seen in their bland assertion that the old Marxist work by Adorno that they heavily rely on has withstood the test of time despite the huge number of criticisms that have been made of it. HOW and WHY it has withstood the test of time they do not spell out. They certainly make no attempt to show what is wrong with all those criticisms. They seem to believe that we should just take their word for it. Very authoritarian!

But perhaps the best indication of how “motivated” their own cognitions are is the fact that they cite only two of the more than one hundred articles I have had published on the subject. I am clearly one of the major authors (if not THE major author in terms of number of articles in print) in the field that they purport to survey, but they ignore 98% of what I have to say. That sure is a fine way to come to a balanced and scientifically reputable conclusion, don’t you think? With selective reading as severe as that, you could prove anything about anything.

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THE LATEST HEADLINES FROM “BROOKES NEWS”:

9/11: will Congress blame the FBI & CIA instead of itself and the IPS?: After the World Trade Centre atrocity people immediately wanted to know what the FBI had been doing. What they did not know was that under the influence of Marxist think tank Congress had virtually paralysed the FBI and the CIA.

Defending cartels against the Trades Practices Act: Australia's Trades Practices Act is under review by the Government. Unfortunately those reviewing the Act seem to be totally blind to the fallacious economic reasoning that upon which the Act is based. Why is this so?

Taxing animal flatulence -- a government stink tax: The concept of a Flatulence tax is preposterous -- there are simply too many arguments and inconsistencies that repudiate the whole theory of greenhouse gas emissions. There has been virtually no questioning in the media of the veracity of the premises behind the Kyoto Protocol .

A green zealot v free trade: Dr Clive Hamilton, executive director of The Australia institute, seems to have been getting quite a bit of favourable publicity of late. Nonetheless, there are some who are disturbed by his institute's extreme views and its open contempt for the material and social aspirations of ordinary people.

Bush targeted by leftist 'intelligence professionals': A group calling itself the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has demanded that Cheney resign over the issue of Saddam's WMDs. Now who or what is VIPS? This is a question that many have been asking. The answer is simple. It is a front for the notorious Marxist-Leninist Washington-based IPS (Institute for Policy Studies).

The 1968 and the '90s boom: The extent to which media commentators are ignorant of economic history, let alone basic economics, is genuinely staggering. We got a good look at this ignorance when the 1990s boom was compared to the 1960s boom.

Our lying media and Castro: Examples of how the press cover for Fidel Castro by spiking stories and twisting the news.

Details here

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ANOTHER DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO ABUSE CONSERVATIVES

The latest amazing example of Left-leaning doublethink by a political psychologist is here. Writing about modern Eastern Europe in Political Psychology of June 2003, Hilde Weiss says that the "new right" in Europe is “a "modernized" brand of fascism in which neoliberal ideology, instead of anticapitalist resentments, is combined with traditional value patterns.” So to oppose big government (neoliberalism) is Fascist?? Tell that to the founder of Fascism, Mussolini. Mussolini tried his best to subject EVERYTHING in Italy to his control! What the ignorant Ms Weiss is describing is simply normal conservatism, not Fascism.

She also notes without making much of the implications that “anticapitalist feelings are strongly correlated with nationalism and ethnic intolerance”. Get it? The racists are on the Left! How awkward!

(Don't anybody tell her that Hitler was a socialist too!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

RECYCLING MISINFORMATION ABOUT CONSERVATIVES

Some psychologists at Berkeley have just done a big rehash job on the last 50 years of conservative-bashing in the psychology literature. The rehash seems to have attracted a bit of attention in the blogosphere (e.g. here and here and here and here) so I guess I should point out a few things that people might not generally be aware of. Since I have had many articles on the psychology of conservatism published in the academic journals, I might be considered a relevant expert.

For a start, there is nothing new in it. It is the same old refrain that the Marxist Adorno and his collaborators said in their 1950 book: “The authoritarian personality”. Yet that book must have some sort of record for the amount of criticism it has attracted. In the first half of his 1981 book Right-wing authoritarianism Bob Altemeyer summarized the criticism that had been made of it in the psychological literature up to about 1973 and concluded that the Adorno work just could not prove what it purported to prove. Altemeyer, however, then went on to do some research of his own that was in some ways even more ludicrous.

The latest Berkeley rehash is remarkable for its quantity versus quality approach. They seem to agree with the dictum of Dr. Goebbels that if you tell a big enough lie often enough people will believe it. In the Berkeley case the fact that almost all psychologists have been saying the same thing about conservatives seems to be taken as good proof that what they are saying is correct. A survey taken in Galileo’s day would have concluded with equal vehemence that the earth is flat. The Berkeley group seem to have given little or no weight to the fact that psychologists are overwhelmingly Leftist and so lean over backwards to find fault with conservatives. In other words, a survey of biased “science” has just produced more biased “science”!


What would have been much more productive would have been to look at the criticisms that have been made of the orthodoxy. Let me take just one example. The Berkeley group say that one of the five characteristics of conservatives is “Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity”. This is a straight rehash of the old 1950 Marxist nonsense and ignores heaps of evidence that such general traits as intolerance of ambiguity and psychological rigidity simply do not exist. People who are rigid about one thing will probably not be rigid about other things. My paper here sets out the evidence for that at some length. And much the same goes for dogmatism. Maybe there are people who are in fact generally dogmatic but psychologists have not yet succeeded in finding a way to pick them out. Milton Rokeach in 1960 wrote a book that purported to offer a way of picking out dogmatic people but there is now plenty of evidence that the questionnaire he used for that purpose simply does not work. It is an “invalid scale” in psychometrician’s jargon.

So the Berkeley findings can best be summarized in terms of an old computer saying: GIGO (garbage in, garbage out).

For those who would like to see some of the data that the Berkeley results do not take into account, I list below some of my academic journal articles on the question. The best counterblast of all, however, is probably my article here which (Surprise, Surprise!) the most relevant psychology journal refused to print! Isn’t that a good way to get consensus? Just refuse to print anything that does not suit your biases! No wonder the Berkeley group found great unanimity in the the publications they surveyed!

Listed below are just those of my relevant publications that are available online. Most of the relevant articles are still only available from university libraries. More compehensive listings of relevant articles can be found here and here.

REFERENCES

Ray, J.J. (1976) Do authoritarians hold authoritarian attitudes? Human Relations, 29, 307-325.



Ray, J.J. (1979) Does authoritarianism of personality go with conservatism? "Australian Journal of Psychology 31, 9-14.



Ray, J.J. (1979) Authoritarianism in Australia, England and Scotland. Journal of Social Psychology 108, 271-272.



Ray, J.J. (1979) The authoritarian as measured by a personality scale Solid citizen or misfit? J. Clinical Psychology 35, 744-746.



Ray, J.J. (1979) Is the Dogmatism scale irreversible? South African Journal of Psychology 9, 104-107.



Ray, J.J. (1980) Authoritarianism in California 30 years later -- with some cross-cultural comparisons. Journal of Social Psychology, 111, 9-17.



Ray, J.J. (1980) Authoritarian tolerance. Journal of Social Psychology, 111, 303-304.



Ray, J.J. (1980) Authoritarianism and hostility. Journal of Social Psychology, 112, 307-308.



Ray, J.J. (1984) Political radicals as sensation seekers. J. Social Psychology 122, 293-294.



Ray, J.J. (1984). Half of all racists are Left-wing. Political Psychology, 5, 227-236.



Ray, J.J. (1987) Conservatism and attitude to love: An empirical rebuttal of Eisler & Loye. Personality & Individual Differences, 8, 731-732.



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



Ray, J.J. (1990) Book Review: Enemies of freedom by R. Altemeyer. Australian Journal of Psychology, 42, 87-111.



Ray, J.J. (1990) Racism, conservatism and social class in Australia: With German, Californian and South African comparisons. Personality & Individual Differences, 11, 187-189.



Ray, J.J. (1990) The old-fashioned personality. Human Relations, 43, 997-1015.



Ray, J.J. (1990) Letter to the editor about Duckitt's theory. Political Psychology, 11, 629-632.



Ray, J.J. (1991) Are conservatives despairing? Rejoinder to Petersen & Wilkinson. Personality & Individual Differences, 12(5), 501.



Ray, J.J. (1991) Authoritarianism is a dodo: Comment on Scheepers, Felling & Peters. European Sociological Review, 7, 73-75.



Ray, J.J. (1998) On not seeing what you do not want to see: Meloen, Van Der Linden & De Witte on authoritarianism. Political Psychology, Vol. 19, Issue 4, 659-661.



Ray, J.J. & Lovejoy, F.H. (1982) Conservatism, attitude to abortion and Maccoby's biophilia. Journal of Social Psychology, 118, 143-144.



Ray, J.J. & Lovejoy, F.H. (1990) Does attitude to authority exist? Personality & Individual Differences, 11, 765-769.



Ray, J.J. & Najman, J.M. (1987) Neoconservatism, mental health and attitude to death. Personality & Individual Differences, 8, 277-279.



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A FEMINIST MYTH EXPLODED

We all know that feminists think that a woman can do everything a man can do -- and that is probably broadly true. Many feminists take that thinking much further, however. They claim that women who see themselves as fitting into both male and female roles -- as lesbians generally would -- are in fact much healthier psychologically for it. Being androgynous is said to be much better for you mentally than being classically female or classically male.

And there has been much research in the psychological literature that appears to support that theory. When I first had a look at the research concerned, however, it seemed to be very sloppily done -- designed to reach a given conclusion rather than being conducted with proper scientific care. I therefore designed a survey of my own (in conjunction with a female colleague) that would look at the issue in a more careful way. I have just uploaded the resultant paper here (or here). What I found were in fact quite strong correlations -- but they were the exact opposite of the feminist claim. Androgynes turned out to be much more likely to be maladjusted than others. And since my research was much more generalizable and carefully controlled than anything that went before it, one would think that my paper would be an essential reference in any further discussion of the topic.

The paper was published in a widely circulated academic journal nearly 20 years ago now and Google reveals not one reference to it in any academic journal. Funny that! If you reach conclusions that go against Leftist orthodoxy, you might as well not exist in the social sciences, no matter how good your work is. You may begin to see why I resigned from my tenured teaching job at a major Australian university 20 years ago. It took me a while but in the end I did get sick of banging my head on a brick wall.

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ELSEWHERE

Whoopee! Saddam’s sons are dead. It couldn’t have happened to bigger bastards. It should take the steam out of the remaining Baathist thugs too.

For all its air of Leftist holiness, The New York Times is as “greedy” as it gets: “The Gray Lady is a greedy leech, siphoning off millions of dollars in state taxpayer subsidies for private real estate development disguised as a public good. Now, the company stands to benefit from a federal tax-exempt bond program intended to help businesses devastated by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."

An interesting comment on the introduction of free public schooling to America: "Supporters expected poor immigrants to rush to free public schools, but they didn't ... they were already in good schools, and many immigrants had come to the U.S. to avoid such intrusive, controlling government. When New York City offered free schools, attendance didn't increase. Even poor immigrant families valued education enough to pay for what they wanted."

A NAACP double standard? Hard line on South Africa, yet 'no comment' on oppression of blacks in Cuba. Nelson Mandela seems to suffer from the same problem. But Mandela also recently accused GWB of planning a 'holocaust' so maybe we should take his advanced years into account.

"I used to consider white liberals who praise Fidel Castro to be the most despicable people imaginable. That’s probably because I have to deal with these people on a regular basis. I call them Starbuck’s Socialists. You know the type. They spend about ten dollars a day to have other people make their coffee while they read the $20 deluxe edition of The Communist Manifesto at Barnes and Noble. ... But now I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that black liberals who praise Fidel Castro are just as repugnant."

This site has a link to an online petition signed by 17,000 (Yes, 17,000) scientists opposed to the Global Warming hysteria

This site says that it was labour-saving household appliances such as microwave ovens, not Gloria Steinem and the feminists, that ushered women into the workplace and “liberated” them.

Diversity has become a power game, a way not to break down arbitrary divisions but create new ones and, inevitably, a new set of group entitlements and therefore group resentments.

Nobody seems to support legal shark John Banzhaf's theory that fast food is addictive. Now we know why. The scientific research on the supposedly addictive nature of food, with which Banzhaf merrily threatens restaurants, was misrepresented. So say the scientists themselves.

Paddy McGuinness relates a great leftist “compassion” joke. It's a rework of the good Samaritan story. The beat up victim is lying beside the road, and the Leftist Samaritan says 'who did this you? ..he really needs my help' Margaret Thatcher had another variation on the Good Samaritan story. "No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions. He had money as well."

How the wheel turns: "Extreme-right and neo-Nazi groups in France have formed an anti-Arab and anti-Muslim alliance on the internet with extremist Jewish groups, a report published yesterday said. Since the French far right is known for its visceral anti-Semitism, the alliance has puzzled and disturbed anti-racism campaigners and mainstream Jewish organisations." Good to see that even the fruitcakes are now identifying the real enemy of civilization.

Rafe Champion has just sent out an interesting email about the recent history of economic rationality in Australia. See here

The Wicked one has another story -- a true story -- about Leftist “compassion”. Apparently one of the founders of socialism poisoned people willy nilly!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

EISENHOWER AND THE “MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX”

The Left are fond of pointing out that it was Republican President Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower who popularized the term “Military Industrial Complex”. The Left promptly made this entity one of their chief bogeymen. The members of the complex were the conspirators who REALLY controlled U.S. policy according to the Left. Ike’s farewell speech makes it clear, however, that Ike himself did not see things remotely that way. Ike didn't blame the Military Industrial Complex for the Cold War. He laid the blame on Communism: "a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method." Ike also felt the Military Industrial Complex was necessary and thought that its influence might be "sought or unsought." For 60s leftists, "unsought" power for the Military Industrial Complex was inconceivable.

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DOES “THE TRUE ISLAM” MATTER?

Bin Laden and his ilk say that the only law they respect is Islamic law, yet many moderate islamic lawyers accuse Al-Qaeda of committing the Islamic crime of "hirabah" -- which translates roughly as “terrorism”. This article stresses that the Islamic fundamentalists are in fact no more than an extreme sect of Islam who are totally perverting what Mohammed meant by “jihad”. I don’t think that is much comfort, however. The Islamic law punishments for hirabah include life imprisonment, amputation and crucifixion but I doubt if we will ever see an example of THOSE Islamic laws being put into practice. Bin Laden and Co. seem to be wildly popular in the Arab world in fact. I get the impression that Arabs are about as true to the Koran as Anglicans are true to the Bible.

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ELSEWHERE

For those who think that the facts matter: “You won't hear about this from Greenpeace but a UK government report has found genetically modified crops pose a "very low" risk to human health, according to an independent scientific review panel.”

The murderous ignorance of the Greenies is set out on this scientific site. Quotes: "Somewhere on the Earth, on average every 12 seconds, a child dies of DDT-preventable malaria. The United States National Academy of Sciences estimated that DDT saved 500 million lives before it was banned." Speaking of mosquito-borne malaria, Albert Schweitzer said: “"How much labor and waste of time these wicked insects do cause us.. . . but a ray of hope, in the use of DDT, is now held out to us." The Greenies snatched that ray of hope away.

Like many conservatives, I have nothing against any individual homosexual personally and think that what homosexuals do with their own bodies is their business -- but I do nonethless oppose any homosexual influence on children. A slightly complex attitude like that is however too complex for many Leftists -- who rely on simple and invariably false sterotypes for their understanding of the world. Dr Laura, however, gave one of them a good lesson in real-world complexity.

Realism among one group of Australian blacks: “A major indigenous community has lobbied John Howard to stay on indefinitely as Prime Minister, dismissing the left of politics as "clueless" and calling for a new alliance between Aborigines and conservatives”.

This is the best account I have so far seen of Israel’s wall to keep out the Palestinian terrorists. The Leftists are doing their best to find fault with it but it is the only hope of stopping the bombings as far as I can see. Everything else has been tried many times.

A rare display of brains by the politically-correct British police: “Greater Manchester's top policeman, Michael Todd, believes the use of speed cameras leads to many law-abiding citizens developing an anti-police sentiment. So the northern region's Chief Constable has redeployed 200 officers from traffic duty to tackling burglars, robbers and sex offenders.”

“With its aim of making— or remaking— cities on a human scale, the New Urbanism movement is winning adherents across a wide spectrum of political sympathies. But, as Public Policy Manager Phillip De Vous points out, the New Urbanism may be a ripe target for hijacking by anti-growth, anti-sprawl advocates..”

Australia’s waterside workers (dockers, longshoremen) had a big defeat a few years ago when both business and government got tough on their overmanning practices and cut the wharf workforce drastically. PP McGuinness notes that the reforms, portrayed as a return to Dickensian days by Leftist theology, can now be clearly shown to have benefited both the workers and the country as a whole.

The first opinion poll in Iraq post-war: "We started by asking the basic question: was the war against Saddam’s regime right or wrong? Fifty per cent said ‘right’, while just 27 per cent said ‘wrong’"... "By almost three-to-one, Baghdadians expect life to be better (43 per cent) rather than worse (16 per cent) in one year’s time than it was before the war.”

Anti-globos say that globalization and growth is not narrowing the gap between rich and poor countries. What they don't look at is longevity. Our globalized world is helping poor people to live much longer. If lifespan is not a good index of personal welfare, it would be hard to say what is.

There is an appalling story on PC Watch about animal cruelty by blacks. And the authorities refuse to stop or punish it.

The Wicked one has another horror story about the oppressive and irrational antics of power-mad “child welfare” bureaucrats.

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Monday, July 21, 2003

THE AFGHANISTAN AFTERMATH

Leftist 'human rights activists' in Britain and the USA are busily campaigning at the moment for the release of captured Al-Qaeda fighters from U.S. military custody. The people they want released were captured fighting for a terrorist organisation that acted as a kind of “SS" for Afghanistan’s Taliban -- which itself was a dictatorship that rejected all notions of human rights for the Afghan people they oppressed. Nice to see whose side these Western “humanitarian” campaigners are on. Would they campaign for former members of Hitler’s “SS” to be treated nicely too? If not, why not?

In any case, if the Al-Qaeda thugs are ever to be let out of Guantanamo Bay and put on trial, natural justice would seem to require that they are tried in Afghanistan by the people they oppressed. That should be fun!

And in fact, from early on, the Afghans thought Bin Laden and his fellow Arabs were scum -- as this 1998 report of a 1989 meeting with Bin Laden in Afghanistan notes: "The Afghans accepted the Arabi not because of their fighting ability but because of their lavish funding for pay-offs and weapons. During the war against the communist Kabul regime, many Afghans expressed horror at the ruthless nature of the Arabi who tended to kill their victims, notably prisoners, by slashing their throats. Also, I witnessed numerous captured female women and children from communist villages being transported by Arabs across the Pakistani border. According to Afghan sources and human rights groups, they were shipped to the Middle East as slaves. This human trafficking was well known to the Pakistani government and US intelligence."

But Arab slaving -- of both blacks and whites -- has been going on for many centuries of course. As it says here: “Slaves were the luxury goods the Islamic world seemed unable to wean itself off .... Like horses and gold, slaves conferred status, and the most opulent households had thousands”.

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THE ONGOING GREENIE CIRCUS

Get this: “Carbon dioxide concentration was more than 10 times higher than current levels during the Ordovician glaciation, about 440 million years ago”. So if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes global warming -- as the Greenies claim -- how come it was super-high during an ICE AGE? See also here for the real explanation of earth’s temperature fluctuations.

Andrew Bolt has an excellent column in which he points out that Hitler’s Nazis were pioneers of the “Greenie” movement -- believe it or not.

Does Free Trade lead to a 'race to the bottom' as multinationals shift production to countries with the worst environmental records? Anti-globos say yes, but the figures say no.

This article points out that hydrogen fuels are no magic solution for pollution problems as hydrogen needs to be produced somehow. Nonetheless hydrogen fuel does have some advantages. But if we are to use them as a way to move away from 'fossil fuels', nuclear power will need to be used to generate hydrogen fuel. How awful that would be for the Greenie ignoramuses!

It looks like the World Meteorological Organisation thinks that joining the Greenie panic merchants is worth their while. They reported that extreme weather events occur every year somewhere in the globe, “but in recent years the number of such extremes have been increasing". But then one of their own directors admitted that the apparent greater frequency of such events probably just reflected better reporting of such events in today’s world. What frauds they are! They must be desperate for funding. Panics generate funding.

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ELSEWHERE

Fancy that bastard Idi Amin living to 80 -- unlike 200,000 of his victims. Guess who is sheltering him? The Saudis! Great humanitarians sure can recognize one-another.

At Last: The BBC is on the defensive over its role in the suicide of British arms expert, David Kelly.

What fun! Now it is pizza that prevents cancer. I have always just ignored the food nannies. Everybody should. Human beings are omnivores. Our bodies are built to handle all sorts of food without harm.

China’s economy is roaring ahead. Good news for Australia. They buy heaps of our stuff.

The religion of peace again: “Iran's supreme leader has inaugurated a new ballistic missile that brings Israel within range of the Islamic republic.”

Mark Steyn is to the point in discussing Leftist criticism of GWB over Saddam’s possible purchase or uranium for bomb-making: "Democrats who complained that Bush was too slow to act on doubtful intelligence re 9/11 now profess to be horrified that he was too quick to act on doubtful intelligence re Iraq..."

Arlene Peck says that Arabs treat their women worse than they treat farm animals.

China Hand has an interesting post about the health system in China.

My academic article just uploaded points out that “delay of gratification” is a significant topic for economists, sociologists and psychologists but that most of the reasearch literature on the topic is totally unscientifically based. See here (post of 20th) or here. I pointed out the fallacious nature of the research concerned in a widely-circulated psychology journal nearly 20 years ago but nothing seems to have changed to this day.

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Sunday, July 20, 2003

HOMOSEXUAL CLERGY AND CIVIL RIGHTS

With a schism among American Anglicans over homosexual bishops now likely, the following email from an Australian reader seems pertinent:

“The homosexual lobby, at least the 'gay left', aren't satisfied with mere tolerance and equal rights -- i.e. people should free to do what they want in their own homes, provided they don't disturb the neighbours... They want to force 'acceptance' on the rest of the community. And are extremely intolerant of those who just don't want to offer acceptance.. up to and including the use of legal sanctions. If homosexuals want to be ministers or priests or bishops, why don't they start their own church? New churches start up all the time.

The issue is probably not the homosexuals as such, most of whom just want to do their own thing without being hassled, but their self appointed leaders, spokesmen and non-homosexual Leftie guardians, who are really just fishing for causes. THEY are fixated on the US civil rights movement, which they see as a holy crusade and shining example to be emulated.

The Australian Left laud JFK and LBJ for their civil rights reforms, but not our own conservative Prime Minister R.G. Menzies, who did far more for black rights than the Left’s Gough Whitlam did. Gough admittedly started the big spending but the key legal rights reforms were done under conservative Prime Ministers R.G. Menzies and Harold Holt. Leftists see the civil rights model as a one-size-fits-all-model that applies to all minority groups everywhere with a real or imagined grievance. That the civil rights movement may have made a few fundamental mistakes -- e.g. going for affirmative action; allying itself with the welfare lobby rather than fostering economic independence; and its campaigns against private discrimination (formerly known as the freedom of association) -- is not recognised or even debated.”

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THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION SAGA

"See, if you put a number on the value of skin color to benefit a minority, you’re discriminating based on race -- a violation of the 'equal protection of the laws.' But if you wink and nod and pick a lesser-qualified student with a favored skin color over someone with better qualifications and you say that doing so will reach an undefinable 'critical mass' of minority students, well, you’re apparently not discriminating."

"Not only does the practice of affirmative action ultimately neither help minority nor non-minority students, but it undermines the efficacy of our Constitution while belittling the progress of historically mistreated minorities by allowing the same ill that was used against them -- racism -- to be used against others."

Good to see the NAACP being blasted for hate speech and racism by other blacks.

Amusing: The recent affirmative action decision by the U.S. Supreme Court could lead to black enrollments falling -- as Hispanics take the places blacks presently get through racial preferences.

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ELSEWHERE

This bumper sticker gave me a laugh: "Conservatives Are From Mars -- Leftists Are From Uranus" Via The Federalist.

"Since 1980, federal funding for education has grown an astounding 228 percent -- a good track record if your goal is to maximize federal spending. The problem is, liberals don’t care if the spending actually goes towards better educating children. More education spending has not resulted in higher test scores."

Some very interesting statistics: "Polls show that 80% of Americans now support legalization of medical marijuana, and an ever-growing number of states are passing such legislation in spite of federal laws to the contrary. That shows that the American people are wiser than their federal representatives, and that the War on Drugs is fading, but it's still destroying people every day that we put up with it. We're spending at least $50 billion each year on consensual crime. We're losing an estimated $150 billion in lost taxes. $200 billion would cut the income tax load by one- third ... just by decriminalizing consensual crimes."

I’m afraid it’s true: “Environmentalism not only killed 14 U.S. astronauts, but it killed them in a most horrible and public way."

Good news for rationality: "If too many burgers and fries have left your waistline super-sized, don't expect a sweet pay-off in court, senators said Thursday. A bill would prevent people from suing restaurants and food manufacturers for making them fat."

This BBC historical feature discusses the slave trade run by the Barbary Corsairs. For centuries English and Irish people lived in terror of kidnapping by these delightful followers of the “religion of peace”. Recent estimates of the toll of this slave trade show a surprisingly high count. "..for the 250 years between 1530 and 1780, the figure could easily have been as high as 1,250,000 - this is only just over a tenth of the Africans taken as slaves to the Americas from 1500 to 1800, but a considerable figure nevertheless.." Reparations anyone?

"The filibuster has a long history, but its pedigree should not make us proud. It prevented civil rights legislation from being adopted for nearly a century. Now a minority of senators is using it to prevent the Senate from voting on judicial nominees even though a majority of the senators from both parties would vote to confirm if they only could vote."

Tim Blair has a good post about Leftist “compassion”. It shows that what Leftists really are is haters -- especially of anybody who is getting the limelight that they think that they should be getting.

The Wicked one says that Mussolini got one thing right, anyway.

My academic article just uploaded explodes the old Leftist claim that patriotism is a form of racism. See here (or here).

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