Saturday, August 02, 2003


I have three stories to tell which illustrate how civilized Anglo-Saxon politics once were -- stories from New Zealand, Australia and Britain. All of them seem to be true stories but if they are not they should be. Today’s story concerns Australia’s redoubtable conservative Prime Minister Menzies. The time was the early 1950s and the height of the Communist scare. Many conservatives thought the government was not doing enough to combat Communism and some senior Ministers in the Menzies government agreed. Menzies was however a notable lawyer by profession and declared that a recent High Court case limiting Parliament’s powers in the matter had to be respected. This was felt to be an inadequate response so a triumvirate of senior Ministers got together and decided that Menzies had to be deposed, a State of Emergency declared, the Communist party banned and a major expansion of the armed forces undertaken. They decided to deliver an ultimatum to this effect to Menzies himself. Menzies was too imposing a figure simply to be bypassed. They decided to make a surprise call on Menzies one Saturday afternoon. Saturday afternoon in Australia of that era was a time when NOTHING happened. The shops were closed and, if there were no major sporting event happening, people just pottered in the garden, took rubbish to the dump or took a big nap to catch up on sleep missed during the week.

The triumvirs arrived at the Prime Ministerial residence and, as well-known figures, were immediately ushered into the presence of the great man. And what was the great man doing at the time? He was in the greenhouse transplanting tomato seedlings so there would be a good crop for the kitchen! It was the sort of hobby activity any Australian might be doing on a Saturday afternoon in that era. Its sheer normalness and ordinariness did however undermine the resolve of the plotters and Menzies, being a wily old bird, probably realized that something was in the wind so continued to engage them in conversation about tomatoes, the seasons and gardening. When he had finished his transplanting, Menzies asked them to take afternoon tea with him -- which they of course accepted.

During tea Menzies asked them to what he owed the privilege of their visit but with all momentum lost by then all one of them could do was to say weakly that they had come to seek his views on the Communist menace. Being famously quick-witted, Menzies told them that he just that day had come to a major decision on the matter. He had decided to hold a referendum on banning the Communist party. As a referendum is an impeccably proper democratic procedure they could hardly argue -- though all those present would have been aware that referenda are normally lost in Australia. And so the rebels went empty away -- foiled by tomato seedlings.

The referendum was of course held -- and it was lost.

The story was relayed to me many years ago as “inside knowledge” by someone who was in a position to have such knowledge so I have no way of verifying it but I think it conveys very well the sheer mundane safety of Anglo-Saxon political life as it used to be -- the very opposite of the high drama that plagues politics in most of the rest of the world.


It now seems clear that the BBC did invent its claims about British government deception over Iraq. But I guess we all knew that they are now little more than a Leftist propaganda machine feeding off a public who are given no choice about funding them.

Who said National Socialism died with Hitler? Nobody doubts that the Irish Republican Army is nationalist but they are proud to proclaim their socialism too. See here. Leftist thugs and murderers: How unusual! Nothing changes.

As always, nobody can sum reality up like Hayek: “A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers”.

"A Zogby International opinion poll, conducted June 18-21 and released by the Galen Institute, found overwhelming public support for private-sector options in Medicare ... as well as fear the complex drug benefit crafted by the Senate could be worse than the coverage many seniors now have. The poll suggests voters would like the option of enrolling in private plans to provide overall health coverage in Medicare

More British injustice: “In June 2003, a judge in Nottingham, UK, ruled that Brendon Fearon was entitled to sue Martin for damages arising from the leg injury he suffered while burgling Martin's farmhouse.”

From the Federalist: "We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did." --Thomas Sowell

There is an excellent post by Randy Barnett, a law professor, here (post of 23rd.) that points out how lying just seems to come naturally to the Left. Excerpt: “Persons on the Left create in their minds a false world in which to live -- a world that better suits their preconceptions. They are not content to disagree with the goals of their opposition.... They must make up facts about the world that fit their theories.”

Andrew Bolt’s columns are mainly aimed at exposing the dishonesty of the Australian Left but what he says applies elsewhere pretty well too. His article on the International Criminal Court certainly shows how wise GWB was to have no part of it.

The Wicked one has a post on Republican Party socialism.

If anybody has not read the Neal Boortz commencement speech, they are missing a fun dig at Leftist groupthink and “compassion”.

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I look at the constant Leftist claim (“Tell a big enough lie often enough ....”) that they are more “compassionate”. If Dr. Goebbels was right one would expect some compassionate people to be taken in by the Leftist claim and so vote for a Leftist party. I surveyed the supporters of three political parties, a socialist party, a moderate conservative party and an avowedly capitalist party. Compassionate people were just as likely to vote for one of the conservative parties as they were for the Leftist party. Fortunately, it would seem that the Leftist “compassion” claim is widely disbelieved. I wonder why? Perhaps, “You can fool all of the people .....”


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Friday, August 01, 2003


I pointed out recently that the “Intolerance of ambiguity” concept much beloved by the Berkeley group as a means of trashing conservatives is essentially a “unicorn” concept -- no such trait or consistent tendency to behave actually exists. The same person will tolerate ambiguity in one situation but not in another.

It turns out that “attitude to authority” is another such unicorn. An integral part of the orthodox but perverse Leftist claim that conservatives are “authoritarian” is the assumption that acceptance of one sort of authority generalizes to accepting all sorts of authority. For a long time I myself took that assumption as read -- but then the evidence began to pile up.

Much of the evidence concerned is given in Ray & Lovejoy (1990) and more can be found towards the end of my paper here under the heading: How general is attitude to authority?. What the evidence shows is that correlations between attitudes to different types of authority vary from population to population and that attitudes to what would seem like very similar instances of authority sometimes correlate very little.

So it seems that people are very discriminating in what authorities they will accept. Accepting the respect-worthiness of one authority in one field does not at all automatically imply that you will respect all authorites. It will all depend on the circumstances. Conservatives, for instance, have traditionally shown more respect than Leftists for the law and for teachers but the recent antics of the U.S. Supreme Court over affirmative action and the fanatical Leftism of the NEA would almost certainly reveal a much diminished respect for both if a survey were taken among conservatives today.

And Leftists themselves are a prime example of how attitudes to authority can be highly differentiated. Respect for the President of the United States at the moment is undoubtedly zero among virtually all Leftists but the utterances of Fidel Castro are on the other hand still treated like gold. And there was never any shortage of Leftist admirers for the terminally authoritarian Joe Stalin. And what is the basic Leftist program if it is not to replace all the existing "powers that be" with a Leftist regime that will have all-pervasive authority over all spheres of life? Leftists reject much existing authority vigorously -- but only because they want to replace it with another much more powerful governmental authority of their own. The claim that they are generally anti-authority is a joke.

So the whole Leftist claim that accepting one authority is part of a general tendency to accept all authorities is in fact worse than a unicorm concept. It is arrant nonsense. So the old Leftist claim that conservatives are chronic worshippers of authority as such falls flat. NOBODY is -- or at least no significant part of the population is.

Paul Walfield makes the reasonable point that for people who claim to oppose stereotyping, the Berkeley psychologists sure are good at stereotyping conservatives. A bit like the Leftist passion for “diversity” on campus -- a “diversity” that somehow excludes almost entirely any conservatives from the faculty of social science and humanities schools. What hypocrites!


What a truly evil idea: “The national register of pedophiles could be broadened to include suspects, not just convicted child sex offenders”. A great way of condemning the innocent! Even lots of those who are convicted are subsequently cleared when it becomes clear how much of the evidence against them was manufactured by do-gooders who are sure that they KNOW. Go back over some of the stories on Richard Webster’s site to get an idea of the horrors that have been inflicted on innocent people in the past by governments because of the hysterical approach to paedophilia.

Amazing! Government employees being held accountable: “Rail chiefs are facing criminal charges in the wake of damning reports that catalogue a work culture that neglected safety and left passenger lives at risk”. I bet nothing will happen in the end, though.

GOP Socialism: "Yesterday, four Senate Republicans .... unveiled a plan to grant Amtrak $12 billion in operating funds”. Passenger rail is dead in most of the world. Why can’t they let it die?

I certainly do not agree with compulsory vaccinations but I agree that the scares about the MMR vaccine are junk. There is now a ton of evidence that MMR recipients have no more illness of any kind than anybody else. There is no doubt that for some people facts just do not matter. I feel sorry for their kids though.

Typical government parasites: When high school students in Beaver County got sick of seeing pollution in the park, they decided to do something about it, and volunteers from the Blackhawk High School recycling club removed the tires. Now union employees of the Beaver County Public Works Department want to be paid for the cleanup."

Like the good Northern Englishman that I gather he is (Murray is an old Borderer name) Iain Murray has a paen to cricket on his blog. As a fellow devotee of Sir Henry Newbolt, I have to agree with him but his American readers must be a bit stunned. Iain also says that Prison works. No argument on that one.

Useful Fools has some praise of Randall Parker's blogs that I would like to echo. Randall always has heaps of meaty stuff to read. I blog a lot too but I am retired. Randall actually works as well.

PC Watch reports that even Apartheid can be politically correct if you can claim enough victimhood.

In today’s upload of one of my published academic papers here (or here) I again look at the claim that psychological authoritarianism can only be found among Rightists. On this occasion, rather than question the definition of authoritarianism, I simply show that whatever definition you adopt -- even the most incoherent one -- it is still easy to find evidence of psychological authoritarianism among Leftists.


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Thursday, July 31, 2003


I have set out at length here (or here) the historical evidence in favour of the view that Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian and that the political authoritarianism of the 20th century was overwhelmingly Leftist in origin. Does that mean that there is no Rightist authoritarianism? Of course not. Conservatism is intrinsically suspicious of government power, authority and control but there are nonetheless some conservatives who want to use government authority for their own ends -- with some Christian conservatives in particular often attempting to impose Christian practices (Sabbath observance etc.) on everyone else.

Most psychologists, however, tell exactly the opposite story. They are wedded to the view that authoritarianism is intrinsically Rightist. But can they prove it? As the literature surveyed by the Berkeley group shows, they have spent over 50 years trying to do so. Amusingly, however, all their attempts have foundered on their inability to find any way of detecting authoritarianism among conservatives. For decades they relied on the California ‘F’ questionnaire (invented by the Marxist Adorno and his colleagues) to provide an index of authoritarianism but the evidence that the ‘F’ questionnaire does NOT provide an index of authoritarianism eventually became so overwhelming (Altemeyer, 1981; Ray, 1990) that it has now generally been abandoned. Instead, research in recent years has focused on the Altemeyer RWA questionnaire. The RWA stand for Right Wing Authoritarianism. Yet Altemeyer himself (1988, p. 239) baldly states that Right Wing Authoritarians as detected by his questionnaire, “show little preference in general for any political party”! Get it? What he is reporting is that people who show up as Rightist according to his RWA questionnaire turn out to be just as likely to vote Leftist as Rightist! So this last best hope of the conservative-bashers is not in fact an index of ANYTHING Rightist. How can people be Rightist if they vote for Leftist parties? What a circus! And THAT is the sort of psychology your taxpayer dollars are paying for.

(See also here).

(1950) The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper
ALTEMEYER, R. (1981). Right-wing authoritarianism. Winnipeg: University Manitoba Press.
ALTEMEYER, R. (1988) Enemies of freedom: Understanding Right-wing authoritarianism. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
RAY, J.J. (1990) The old-fashioned personality. Human Relations, 43, 997-1015.


Joke! Joke! (I hope): "Federal and local prosecutors will take to the airwaves Friday to try to make neighborhoods safer by convincing criminals that using guns carries a far higher personal cost -- a long, no-parole federal prison term -- than they might realize.

"State governors and legislators believe that ... their governments are now 'doing more with less.' The evidence, however, suggests just the opposite: States are doing less with more. The cost of state and local government services is rising along with spending in such a manner that inflation-adjusted state services are declining, but the states and localities are absorbing an increasing portion of our total output."

A Democrat view of “Green” voters that I rather like: “Older, white, left bourgeoisie, tenured and cocooned in the carapace of self-righteous satisfaction”. He is just peeved because they siphon off Democrat votes of course. He is only being jaundiced, however, in saying that Greenies have no influence. In fact, BOTH major parties pander to them. It takes a Leftist not to see that.

This article points out how overwhelming the Asian, Indian and Jewish presence is at the top of America’s scientific and engineering research tree and asks why. The politically motivated dumbing down of American education would seem to be one answer. Education in India and China still has standards and the USA imports the results of that. Pity about bright American kids, though.

There is a good sendup by Michelle Malkin of the “reparations” shakedown here

There is a good short article on Daniel Pipes here which points out that far from being an Islamophobe, he makes a sharp distinction between moderate Islam and the Islamic extremists -- which is why a lot of Islamic organizers hate him.

The French sure get a big serve in Front Page.

Sometimes the obvious needs to be stated: "New York City's tough gun- control laws did not prevent the City Hall shooting, [legislator Richard H.] Black said. 'Firearms regulations disarm the decent citizen,' he said." How much evidence does the anti-gun lobby need before they realize that it is only the crooks that they are helping?

Dextroblog is another conservative who is pretty disgruntled about the way government keeps growing even under GOP administrations.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again here

The Wicked one definitely has the best jokes. See particularly his post of 28th.

I put online yesterday one of the two academic papers of mine that were cited by the Berkeley group. How they can think that such a tendency as mental rigidity or intolerance of ambiguity exists after reading the vast array of evidence that I marshall there against such an idea escapes me. See here or here.


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Wednesday, July 30, 2003


A unicorn is something that we can describe but which does not exist. There are a lot of unicorns in psychology. And they really come out to play when psychologists are trying to disparage conservatives. Quite a lot of people noted with some puzzlement the “intolerant of ambiguity” description in the Berkeley study of conservatives. And quite a lot of people -- including the Berkeley authors themselves -- got the point that intolerance of ambiguity may not always be a bad thing. When a scientist tries to find some order in a body of data, is he not trying to reduce its ambiguity and give what is there a clearer meaning? After all, the basic scientific principle known as Occam's razor is a very strong statement of preference for the simplest possible conceptual world.

Nonethless the Berkeley intent clearly is to say that intolerace of ambiguity is generally a bad thing and that it is characteristic of conservatives. Allegedly, conservatives need to pretend that everything is cut and dried and simple even when it is not. Conservatives are allegedly simple souls who cannot deal with the complexity of the real world so have to oversimplify their understanding of it. They rush for simple formulas to describe things which in fact are complex.

Conservatives will of course recognize this as exactly what they see in Leftists -- and accusing others of your own faults is of course an old trick. What after all could be a greater and crasser oversimplification than the basic Leftist slogan of “All men are equal” -- when all men are in fact quite clearly different in various ways. So who is right? Is it Leftists or Rightists who are the great oversimplifiers? The answer clearly is: It depends on the circumstances. Leftists are often highly intelligent people much given to hairsplitting argument so while they do undoubtedly sometimes greatly oversimplify, it is not something that they HAVE to do or always do.

And that is what the research data shows: Intolerance of ambiguity is multidimensional and situational. It is NOT a trait or a consistent tendency. And that of course falsifies the customary claim by psychologists that it IS a trait or consistent tendency of conservatives. The trait concerned is a unicorn. It does not exist.

A listing of research findings supporting the view that there is no consistency in intolerance of ambiguity can be found here -- particularly under the heading Multidimensionality.

I will however mention briefly here just one of the crucial findings: The questionnaire psychologists most usually rely on as a measure of intolerance of ambiguity is the one compiled by Budner. Yet the questions in the Budner questionnaire correlate hardly at all with one another! The very measure usually relied on to detect intolerance of ambiguity itself shows that there is no such general tendency! I pointed that out in one of the two papers of mine that the Berkeley authors DID cite but they appear to have given little heed to such an inconvenient fact. They would have excluded all studies using the Budner and similar measures from their data-set if they had. Clearly, their need to disparage conservatives swamped all other considerations -- truth and logic included. One might even describe the Berkeley work as intolerant of ambiguity!


Paul Gigot has just got back from Iraq and reports of Iraqis that “The majority aren't worried that we'll stay too long; they're petrified we'll leave too soon.”

Andrew Bolt points out how totally and arrogantly Leftist Australia’s ABC (equivalent of America’s PBS) is -- despite their denials.

Commiewatch is an interesting site run by a former U.S. Communist. If wackiness amuses you, this is a “Don’t miss”.

There is an amusing bit of Canada-bashing by a Canadian here. It is hard to disagree with his conclusion: “How on earth could a country as pathetic as Canada possibly have a foreign policy? It makes perfect sense that the rest of the world pays no attention to us. We do not deserve to be listened to.” I myself think that Canada’s lack of cojones goes back to when they started putting Frogs in charge of the place in order to keep Quebec happy.

Two quotes that the U.S. Supreme Court obviously does not agree with: "Haven't we learned, at this point, that judging and hiring and admitting and promoting on the basis of skin color is, in fact, divisive and destructive? (And un-American?)" -- Jay Nordlinger. And: "Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction." -- Thomas Jefferson

Sadly This is hardly news: “AS MUCH as £70 billion is being wasted by the UK Government every year because of inefficiency in the public services, a new independent study suggests. A report by economists at the European Central Bank (ECB) concludes that hundreds of billions of pounds could be saved in Europe each year if the EU public sector raised its game and became as efficient as that of the US or Japan.”

Let’s hope he’s right: “Mr. Costa sees ousting Gov. Davis as merely the first step in a systemic reform of this huge state's politics. And there's evidence for his assertion that the movement is not entirely the work of the Republican right, as many elected Democrats claim, even though one wealthy conservative congressman certainly accelerated the process."

A genuine people's hero: "With government spending up to $2.2 trillion a year, there's more room than ever for waste, fraud, and abuse. Three cheers, then, for Representative Jim Nussle, who as Chairman of the House Budget Committee has launched a war to expose the rotten or unnecessary parts of the federal government."

The latest upload of one of my academic articles is another thorn in the side of psychologists who attempt to disparage conservatives. Two of the most widely- used questionnaires when psychologists are endeavouring to show conservatives as a bad lot are the Rokeach “D” questionnaire and the Adorno “F” questionnaire. If you say “Agree” to all statements in either you are allegedly shown to be a raging Fascist. In fact, however, when they are answering questionnaires lots of people agree with almost anything that sounds remotely plausible at the time. Far from being raging Fascists, they could in fact be simply agreeable, apathetic, unconcerned or careless people. In their wisdom, many psychologists discount such possibilities. They seem to think that everything people say in answering questionnaires is deep and meaningful! Hilarious! My paper here (or here) shows how unsafe and misleading it is to do that.


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Tuesday, July 29, 2003


John Jost, leading author of the Berkeley study, has emailed me his reply to Prof. Lindgren’s post showing that conservatives in the community at large are happier than Leftists. A little birdie tells me that Prof. Lindgren now has a blockbuster demolition of the whole Berkeley study in the offing. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, one of my correspondents expresses well a point that I have often made over the years in my comments about the research on which psychologists base their “knowledge” of conservatism:

Here's a point that most of the critics of the study haven't even mentioned. Take a look at the studies on which this meta analysis is based: The overwhelming majority consist of analyses of college students in the US and other countries. Now I have nothing against college students, I was one once myself many eons ago, but is there anyone in the entire world, other than idiotic psychology professors, who believes that you can understand the essence of a political philosophy or the values and beliefs of the the members of a political philosophy by quizzing college students?

I have just posted here (or here) an article I had published over 30 years ago about the main measure of conservatism relied on by the Berkeley authors. My research showed that the questionnaire concerned was basically inapplicable to general population groups. In other words, what psychologists call conservatism among their students is different from conservatism in the community at large. Yet another finding that the Berkeley group “overlooked”!


Gerry Jackson, principal author of Brookes News, is a very bright boy, with an in-depth knowledge of both history and economics. I have just received from him the following email about the German economy in the Nazi era:

It is not generally known that the basic difference between the Nazi and Soviet economies was merely one of form. The Nazi economy was a centrally planned one in which private ownership was nominal. For the sake of economic planning the Nazis dissolved all corporations whose capital was less than $US40,000. A minimum of $US200,000 was required to form a new corporation. This policy eliminated about 20 per cent of German businesses. Compulsory cartels were formed, labour was strictly controlled and four-year economic plans implemented.

Capitalists were transformed into Betriebsfuehrer, that is managers who received their instructions from the Reichswirtschaftsministerium (Nazi equivalent of Gosplan), which set prices, including wage rates, interest rates, dividends and rates of return. It told the Betriebsfuehrer what what to produce and how much, from whom to buy and sell to and on what terms.

It was these arrangements that gave the superficial impression that a market structure was still operating when in fact it was the Party that exercised complete control over the economy, just as in the Soviet Union. The principal difference, apart from appearance, was that the Nazis were smarter at this game than the Soviets.

There is another point. Not only did the Nazis keep businessmen in place they also did not concern themselves with their ideology. So long as these businessmen did not oppose the party they were comparatively safe. Under the Soviet regime party loyalty and class backgrounds were vital ingredients in the economic structure.

Yes. Hitler quite explicitly saw that businessmen were best qualified to run Germany’s industries so made sure they did while the Soviets executed all the “capitalists” could find and gave the job to bureaucrats instead!

I don’t agree with everything Gerry says however. His attacks in Brookes News on such great communicators as Tim Blair and Miranda Devine are in my view absurd. But here is some of the good stuff in the latest Brookes News:

Australian journalists pan US victory and predict disaster. You can always count on a columnist from the Sydney Morning Herald, aka The Saddam Times, to distort conditions in post-war Iraq and malign the magnificent achievement that eliminated one of the planet's most vicious regimes. This time it was Anne Summers stupidly claiming that Iraq was another Vietnam.
Exposing media lies about Bush, uranium and WMDs. Once the evidence is considered, it is clear that much of the media are lying since they have been harping on this trivial issue, deliberately drawing the wrong conclusions, ignoring the enormous amount of relevant evidence about Saddam's regime, treating the oppressed citizens of Iraq with contempt, and denigrating the righteousness of the life-saving actions of the USA and her allies.
For China, there is liberty in capitalism. What Harry Wu described was not a mutation of capitalism or a marriage of capitalist methods with the political imperatives of the Beijing regime but Fascism. Yet Fascism can no more resist the power of the market than communism. The result is always the same. Either the state gives way or grinding poverty overtakes the people.

Details here


There is a lot of sad news in the world but today’s saddest news for me is undoubtedly the death of Bob Hope. A lot of people thought him shallow but I thought he was a great human being and I am very sorry to see him go. I suppose the jealous Leftists will now immediately begin to blacken his name.

There is a fascinating editorial in USA Today about the present Congressional struggle to pass a prescription drug benefit addition to Medicare. It points out that the last such attempt under the Reagan administration was such a disaster that it had to be repealed.

What a lot of rubbish! Israel’s protective wall against terrorists is being compared to the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was to keep people in. Israel’s wall is to keep people out!

The Indonesians want to execute an Imam over the Bali bombing. There should be a lot more Imams and Mullahs and Ayatollahs facing the same fate in my view.

Useful Fools looks like he has landed a big one out there in Arizona. He has some comments on his site from a German lawyer who knows Joschka Fischer (Germany’s thuggish Foreign Minister) personally. The comments are however simply a rave about how “arrogant” America is. Pretty rich coming from a German! If Americans are arrogant what are Germans? When did Americans claim to be the master race?

Writing on his other blog, China Hand gives the BBC a big spray over their continuing smugness about Iraq.

Chris Brand has just had published a swingeing attack on another social “science” -- social anthropology -- here


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Monday, July 28, 2003


I received the following email from a reader:

“Yesterday, at Barnes and Noble Books, sipping my Starbucks, I tried to walk my leftie friend through the similarities between the USSR, which he concedes was Leftist, and Fascism. I listed the reliance on a police state, the use of slave labor, that the party is the state, that they're both totalitarian, that in both systems the individual is squashed, etc, etc, and still, he insisted that because ownership of the means of production is in private hands Fascism is conservative. I list commonalities that normal folks would shudder at, and he slurs conservatism.”

I replied

“I think you should ask your Leftie friend if Sweden is conservative. Leftists usually love Sweden but the means of production are in private hands there. But your friend is correct -- the Soviets were slightly more Leftist than the Nazis because the Soviets used bureaucrats to run industry -- but that just shows that the Soviets were a stupider type of Leftist.”

And here is One thing that the Left will never tell you:

"In Germany, it was first during World War I and its aftermath and later under the Third Reich in the 1930s when the welfare state experienced its greatest expansions. Under the national-socialist regime, in particular, the appeal to "social justice" and the expansion of the social security and protection systems flourished together with the build up of the warfare state."

And there is an interesting review of what made Stalin’s Russia tick here Excerpt:

“The moral degradation of the Stalinist elite was crucial to Stalin's power, especially in the post-war years (1945-53) when his own anti-Semitism was allowed free rein, leading to a wave of arrests and expulsions from the major cities, and when much of Soviet policy was resolved at drunken dinners in his private rooms.”

Andrew Bolt stirred up a bit of a storm
when he pointed out that the world’s first prominent Greenie politician was none other than Herr A. Hitler of Germany. Odd that Greens are still big in German politics! And again as part of the Left too. Andrew replies to his critics here


Another social scientist has bagged the Berkeley study of conservatism. He is a political scientist rather than a psychologist and hopes that the Psychological Bulletin (in which the Berkeley study was published) is a low-rating journal among psychologists. I have sad news for him. It is just about the top journal in terms of prestige among psychologists.

Brian Carnell has an excellent post on the Berkeley “study”, which points out, among other things, that Frank Sulloway, one of the authors of the study, is the same guy who wrote a book arguing that *birth order* is the single most significant driving force in human history, and that the French Revolution is best explained by the birth order of people in the various groups that came to power during the various stages of the revolution!


I have just posted here (or here) another of my academic publications. I report a survey designed to find out whether a feeling of alienation from society is usually associated with Leftism in the population at large. Perhaps surprisingly, it is not. Many alienated people vote conservative and have conservative views. So it is not feeling lost and hopeless that makes a Leftist. Ordinary conservative voters can feel pretty alienated too -- by unresponsive and demanding big government and by political correctness, for instance. Leftists in power are their own worst enemies.

I have of course long argued that ego needs -- hunger for fame and for power over others -- drive most Leftists. And that is a hunger that can probably never be assuaged. Even the “limousine liberals” who already have a lot of power, influence and recognition still want more. After all, from Marx onward, the Leftist agitators and revolutionaries have always been overwhelmingly bourgeois. And the ordinary people who vote for the Leftists generally just hope for more goodies from someone else’s pocket.

An amusing viewpoint: Castro thinks the EU is in the pocket of the USA. He must be the only person in the world who thinks so. But Leftists are never much bothered by reality, of course.

There is an article here that gives the lie to the popular Leftist myth that Fidel Castro is kind to blacks. Afro-Cubans have been prominent in opposing him.

"moderate" Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was responsible for the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes. Such a nice guy and such a big improvement on Arafat!

Useful Fools has a great counterblast to the myth that the USA has a high crime-rate.

There is a post on PC Watch about multiculturalism as a religion.


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Sunday, July 27, 2003


As far as I can tell, there is only one psychologist who has replied to my criticisms of the Berkeley study of conservatism. And what an amusing job he does of it! He says that the rejection by Political Psychology of my paper on Leftist authoritarianism "really got him angry". How does he know it got me angry? What proof does he have? He has none at all. But proof is of course irrelevant to Leftists. They KNOW. They think that their simplistic theories tell them all that they need to know about the world and see the seeking of facts as an inconvenience. In actual fact, I was rather pleased by the rejection. I saw it as a useful illustration of the closed-mindedness of contemporary academic psychologists! And publication on paper is a trivial matter in the era of the internet anyway.

My critic's own closed-mindedness is shown by the fact that he seems to consider that only an acceptance of existing authority can make you authoritarian. That Leftists oppose existing authorities only in the hope of replacing them by much more powerful authorities (e.g. replacing the authority of the democratic State by the vastly greater authority of the totalitarian State) is not apparently authoritarian in his book.

I could go on to fisk him at length but I doubt that there is much point in it. So I will mention just one more point. The claims about the "dogmatism" of conservatives in the Berkeley paper rely almost entirely on Milton Rokeach’s "D" questionnaire. I pointed out, however, that this questionnaire offers a most dubious index of dogmatism. In reply, my critic simply says that the "D" questionnaire is "doing fine". Any proof of that? No. You are expected to take his word for it: Very authoritarian. Let me therefore spell out what he thinks "doing fine" amounts to:

If people agree with a statement but also agree with its opposite, what does that tell you about the statement concerned? Does it not tell you that the statement concerned is so vague and ambiguous as to be essentially meaningless? Yet the "D" questionnaire consists entirely of such statements! Agreeing with a set of vague and ambiguous statements makes you dogmatic? I would have thought it made you tolerant and agreeable! Rokeach and the Berkeley group have clearly got the whole thing back to front. Conservatives DO tend to agree with statements in the "D" questionnaire but I don't think that shows them as being dogmatic. I think it shows quite the opposite. It shows how easygoing they are. So you see what sort of "science" we are dealing with in this affair. It is not even in the same ballcourt as science.

For some other examples of the absurdities that pass for science among psychologists see here or here or here

I have noted previously how rich it is for Leftist psychologists to accuse conservatives of "motivated" (unrealistic) and simplistic thinking when a major complaint that conservatives have always had about Leftists is their refusal to acknowledge anything that did not suit them -- such as the Soviet horrors. For those interested in a fuller demonstration of how simplistic ("intolerant of ambiguity") most academic psychologists themselves are, my article here spells it all out in academic terms.


Arlene Peck has some details of the vicious child-murdering terrorists that Israel is being pressed to release from jail at the moment.

Big Gold Dog has a theory that the difference between liberals and conservatives all goes back to the invention of beer! I think he's onto something there.

The Australian government has refused to sign the Kyoto treaty but still seems to have been buffaloed by the totally unsubstantiated claim that carbon dioxide is harmful. So they are talking about putting in place some anti-carbon dioxide measures. Fortunately, however, business is giving them a hard time over it and the plan may not go ahead.

At least the Oz government has now approved the growing of one genetically-modified crop.

What private business could afford to do this? "New South Wales taxpayers are paying a record $17.4 million a year in wages for 292 public servants who have lost their formal positions but remain on the payroll as so-called displaced officers."

Good to see that India is doing well -- with 8% growth forecast.

Wow! Nice to hear some knowledge of history: "Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, said he didn't believe President Clinton should make a public apology for America's role in the slave trade. He said tribal chiefs bore more responsibility for slavery than European and American slave traders."

The Wicked one has a list of some very funny Country & Western song titles.

I have just put online here (or here) one of my academic papers that reports some survey findings about punitiveness. Leftists are of course soft on crime and one of their ways of justifying this is to accuse the more "punitive" conservatives of all sorts of ill motives. Punitive people are said to be bad eggs in all sorts of ways. My research showed that none of the accusations are true. Punitiveness towards criminals is in fact normal. It is Leftists who are deviant.

Another recent academic upload here (or here) looks at attitudes to conventional authority (police, teachers, the law, the Army). I found that, in Britain, working class people tend to think highly of such authorities. It is rather disconcerting for visitors to Britain to discover how highly the British regard their police but it is an even bigger suprise to discover that the workers particularly are prone to admiration of such authorities. There is no such effect in Australia.


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