Saturday, November 01, 2003


Like many American conservatives, the famous Russell Kirk saw conservatism as founded on a belief in God. We irreligious conservatives in Australia, the UK and elsewhere do not exist, presumably. But two of his other themes -- the superiority of the individual over the State and the need for caution about big theory-driven changes to the tried and tested -- would be agreed to by almost all conservatives, I think. As Chuck Colson says here: "Kirk sought to derive policies from the moral and religious wisdom of Western civilization -- as opposed to the utopian schemes of coffee-house dreamers. Kirk's social vision, like that of our founders, depends on a critical mass of virtuous citizens who govern themselves. Instead of a policeman on every corner, a society must imbue each citizen with law-abiding inner disciplines. But government, you see, can't do that. What can are other institutions: families, churches, synagogues, schools, and community organizations _ what Kirk, quoting Edmund Burke, liked to call the "little platoons" of society".



Mike Tremoglie "deconstructs" the philosophy of the mega-Leftist Herbert Marcuse -- who seriously asserted that only whites can be racist. Most Leftists still seem to believe it.

"For any free society to be successful, there must exist not only individual liberty, but also individual responsibility. Sadly, both qualities are dissipating in America today and the standards of personal choice and responsibility that once were applied in the common law have been eroded to alarming levels under our current tort system. Too often, human parasites, ambulance chasers, and even criminals are seeking to benefit from their own negligence or bad luck. Ironically, they are increasingly petitioning the very judicial system that is supposed to protect our rights and freedoms and administer justice -- and winning."

But there's always money to pay the bureaucrats: "Stone-faced parents gathered at the Ottoson Middle School library in Arlington [MA] one recent morning looking determined and exhausted. 'We have all spent so much time in the last six months working to find money to restore what's been cut,' said Jeff Carver, who has two daughters at Ottoson in grades 6 and 9. Parents in Arlington who raised $275,000 after a Proposition 2 1/2 override attempt failed are now wondering where to draw the line. How much should public school budgets rely on private fund-raising?"

When U.S. Army security is as lax as this, it shows how dumb the terrorists are that they have not done more damage.

I never knew Leftists had a sense of humour about anything remotely political but there is a very funny letter in The Guardian -- allegedly from the British tax office to an irate British taxpayer.

The forgotten payroll tax: "It's a huge tax that most Americans don't understand. And most of those who support leviathan government want to keep it that way. They're betting on the apathy and ignorance of the average American when this tax is discussed." Penalizing employers for employing people is NOT a great way to lower unemployment. And anybody who thinks a tax is not a penalty needs a new brain.

The Press a watchdog? The pundits are coming to the wrong conclusions. While the issue is being framed as one of freedom of the press and the press as a 'watchdog' of government, it seems that few people understand that the mainstream media in this country clearly is not a 'watchdog' of the state in any true sense."

The European Union is considering a vast new regulatory program that promises to stall innovation worldwide and eventually shut many U.S. products out of EU markets. Fortunately, trade experts in the Bush administration have been battling against the policy since the beginning. After months of debate, support for the policy is finally eroding in Europe as well."

Public Choice: Politics Without Romance Public choice theory demonstrates why looking to government to fix things can often lead to more harm than good, as one of its leading architects and Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan explains

Government Hinders Environmental Progress, Free Market Advances It:. Attacks on the Lexmark "prebate" etc.

China Hand has some new postings -- including a story about buying a new car in China.

The Wicked one has a joke about romance among the elderly. I can only say that I hope that I am that good if I get to that age.

Chris Brand thinks that the Thernstroms -- much applauded conservative campaigners for less permissive black education -- have missed the elephant in the bedroom.

My latest academic upload (here or here) is a short review of Ivar Berg's book, "Education and jobs: The great training robbery". Berg showed years ago that most higher education was not justified on economic grounds (either for the community or for the individual) and all the Leftist Professors around the place at the moment seem hell-bent on showing that it is not useful on any other grounds either so perhaps one day most people will give up wasting their time and money on it. On the other hand, maybe it is just too good a holiday to give up! How else can you go on a subsidized holiday for years? But academic work in the hard sciences is still worth doing, of course, if you have the high ability, high motivation and lack of materialism required. But as for B.A.s and M.B.A.s -- forgive me while I guffaw! The main use of my "social science" Ph.D. has been to show what a gang of klutzes most of my fellow "social science" Ph.D.s are (e.g. here and here and here and here and here). But at least that is useful, I guess -- given the way people so often get hornswoggled by so-called "experts" these days.


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Friday, October 31, 2003


There is a real sob-story from a Leftist in The Washington Post saying how the American people are misinformed about the Iraq war. He quotes public opinion poll data showing that viewers of Fox news believe “false” things about the Iraq war. As ChuDogg points out, however, the supposedly “false” beliefs are true! Fox viewers have got it right!

I actually had a look at the poll results themselves and THAT makes clear what was really upsetting our Leftist sobber: Roughly two thirds of Americans have continued to think that America did the right thing by invading Iraq! I suspect technical irregularities in some of the interpretations of the other poll data (cell sizes in some of the crosstabs being very small, statistical significance is unlikely) but the whole thing is a bit too silly for me to bother investigating that.

Even if our sobber were 100% right in his interpretation of the poll data, however, he still overlooks that what most people believe is OFTEN an imperfect guide to the facts. Even if people get the general impression right, they will often oversimplify the details. Not everybody is a specialist. And you will also often get what psychologists call a “halo effect” -- i.e. if one thing is believed, other things that are congenial to the belief concerned will be assumed to be correct as well.

And what viewers of the other networks believe about such things as the “global warming” myth would be interesting too! What you hear from the mainstream media about that is almost pure propaganda.

Discriminations has more details and commentary about the story.



The new issue of City Journal is out, and it includes a cover story called "Why We're Not Losing the Culture Wars Anymore" -- it's about the blogosphere and the revolution in conservative media. Also of interest: Victor Davis Hanson v. Francis Fukuyama on the direction of history; Heather MacDonald on policing in L.A. -- and what challenges Chief Willam Bratton faces; and Sol Stern on the tragedy of school reform in NYC. Plus lots of “Theodore Dalrymple”.


Conservative economic policies have now undisputably trumped communism and it looks like the conservatives have had the last laugh over the feminists too. This NYT reporter has found that lots of able women would rather just be mothers after all -- despite getting top university educations etc. And the percentage of stay-at-home mothers is INCREASING! And as even this Canadian feminist grudgingly admitted: "Certainly it's true that more women are leaving the work force to tend to their families. U.S. Census figures released in 2001 revealed a growing number of women at the peak of their careers were dropping out to stay home for the first time in 25 years”.

A good “Townhall” comment: “The Bush administration's prophecy that its tax cuts would produce an economic recovery is coming true... In a front-page story about the fastest pace of economic growth in four years, there was this rare (for The Times) admission: "Most of that growth stemmed from a sharp rise in consumer spending, driven largely by a continuing boom in mortgage refinancing and checks that were mailed out as part of the recent tax cut." .... Low interest rates and tax cuts are the twin strategies of the Bush administration for restoring the economy following the post-9/11 recession. They appear to be working”. More detail on the recent U.S. economic surge here.

A feminist attacks a good Samaritan: "The price tag for decades of gender warfare is usually expressed in general terms -- for example, through data-filled studies that reflect how 'boys' are slighted in education. The ordeal of Michael Wright -- a student at Oklahoma University at Normal -- captures the human factor. And it leads me to a question: What does the devil look like?" I sincerely hope that the disgusting creature concerned is a lesbian. I would pity any man who got involved with her.

I pointed out recently that because Leftists are great moral relativists it can be fun to use moral relativism against the Leftists themselves when they start using moralistic language. Steven Hamori has gone one better. I have just posted here his argument against socialism in French existentialist and poststructuralist terms. I must confess that it loses me at times. He seems to be saying some pretty nasty things about Leftists, though. Any commentary on Leftism that uses the word “narcissistic” is going to be pretty right.

Brazilian blogger Luis Afonso sends news of continuing Leftist inroads being made into Latin American politics. Among other things, it looks like Brazil is about to become Cuba’s new “rich uncle”! There is a good backgrounder on the Leftist gains in Latin America here.

Chris Brand takes apart a “philosopher” who claims that race does not exist.

The Wicked one has an amusing post on the difference between teachers and educators.

I have just uploaded a short chapter (Chapter 5) from my book, Conservatism as heresy. See here or here. It harks back to something that is quite recent but seems now to be almost forgotten: For 20 years or more France was second only to the USA as an object of hate for the Green/Left. Why? Because France continued holding nuclear tests long after the USA and Britain had halted testing. China continued to hold tests too but that was OK to the Left of course as the Chinese bomb was a “people’s bomb”!! Anyway, my chapter points out that in the awful context of the cold war the French policy was not unreasonable and that the criticisms of it coming from the Left WERE unreasonable.


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Thursday, October 30, 2003


We hear a lot about how Leftist the university and college scene is these days. What needs to be stressed, however, is that it is the waffly subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences that are overwhelmingly Leftist. In my time as a student in the '60s, Leftism was of course famously rampant but even then the students in Engineering courses were very different. Australia had at that time a very conservaive political party called the DLP and all the DLP supporters on campus were engineering students. Even I did not join the DLP though I of course had friends there. I was therefore pleased to get recently the following email from a present-day student of engineering at one of our Australian universities:

"As a PhD student in engineering, it's interesting to note the discussions of my colleagues. It seems that we have opposite tendencies to our counterparts in the social sciences. In the past couple of days, some of their insights have been that if a company can't stay in business by selling it's products, it should look to alternatives and that unions calling strikes to protest against a (perceived) lack of jobs is just plain weird.

As an undergraduate, I recall that the engineering faculty stayed open for business during a strike by academics. The head of school told the staff they could strike if they wanted, but they're not paid to strike, hence no pay if they did. The student union tried bribing engineering students with free beer if we voted - no one did."

Engineeers are practical people and practical is one thing the Left is not. Academic economists are allowed to be conservative too and Stephen Karlson clearly is. His post on the difference between “sex” and “gender” is one I heartily echo. His summary of the central controversy in moral philosophy as “circumstances alter cases” show his limits, however.


Hooray! The British Conservatives have sacked their leader. He rivalled New York Mayor Bloomberg as an alleged conservative who would not know what conservatism was if he fell over it. Whether the British conservatives will be able to find an alternative leader with some guts remains an open question, though.

Australia’s most Leftist newspaper says: “The bombing of the Red Cross headquarters in Baghdad exposes yet again the absurdity of attempts to portray the wave of violence in Iraq as other than a vicious and calculated campaign of terror.” It looks like the excuses (such as the “freedom fighter” label) for Muslim fanatics might be wearing thin even among the Left.

Muslims everywhere seem to get free rein to say the most extreme things about Christians and the West generally so how come it is only Christians who are being prosecuted for “hate crime” when they return the compliment? Easy answer: It is happening under Australia’s most Left-wing State goovernment.

I commented yesterday that the Greenies were probably to blame for making the California widfires so destructive. Ben Shapiro agrees.

Good comment: “It's a good thing the current crop of Democratic candidates weren't running for president in 1944. Instead of defeating Hitler and Tojo, we might have ended up with an "exit strategy" that saved American lives in the short run but cost us our freedom and way of life”

"Democrats have long claimed to be the party of the 'other' guy. They take great pride in telling women, minorities, or those of some 'special' classification, that the only political party which adequately addresses their unique needs is the Democrat Party. However, the 'needs' of these groups are not what drive the Democrats to clamor for their attention.... Take a woman or a minority who happens to be a conservative, and the needs of that person are not quite as important as they used to be. In fact, that person now becomes persona non grata to the Democrats"

How disappointing for the Left: “Panetta is a former Democratic congressman, the former Clinton White House Director of OMB, and Clinton's former Chief of Staff. He is saying that Bush was not lying and that there is no Neocon/Zionist conspiracy.”

What a joke! Another vast and costly layer of bureaucracy that will not catch a single terrorist or wrongdoer: "Beginning with bulk or commercial mail, the Postal Service will require "enhanced sender identification" for all discount-rate mailings, according to the notice published in the Oct. 21 Federal Register. The purpose of identifying senders is to provide a more efficient tracking system, but more importantly, to "facilitate investigations into the origin of suspicious mail."

Exit exams rightly expose grade inflation as a cruel fraud. -- but it is a disgrace that they are needed at all: "Instead of leading to success, grade inflation is more likely to lead to failure, dashed hopes, broken dreams, and public humiliation. Just ask Bridget Green, who in May was looking forward to completing her education at Alcee Fortier Senior High School in New Orleans by graduating as the class valedictorian. ... But despite her superior grades, Green could not pass a math proficiency exam required for graduation ..."

Some good comments here from Victor Davis Hanson about the goodwill between Australia and the USA.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again with its usual big range of reading all in one place.

I have just uploaded another chapter from my book, Conservatism as heresy. See Chapter 1 ("Are people pollution") here or here. When I wrote it, the Greenies just wanted to stop the earth's population from growing. Now they want to HALVE the earth's population. But their reasoning is as idiotic as ever. And I point that idiocy out in no uncertain terms. I also argue that, if we are going to have a population policy, the Western world should in fact encourage a higher birthrate.


Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Wednesday, October 29, 2003


From the many kind and much appreciated emails that I receive, I gather that this blog is continually getting new readers. For their benefit, therefore, I want to repeat some old advice. There are TWO reasons why logging on to this blog may not give you any recent postings. The first is when is having one of their frequent hiccups and whatever I attempt to upload just does not appear. Such problems generally clear up after about 12 hours but not always. There are two blogspot sites that I have not been able to post to for months. I cannot add to them, edit them or even delete them. They just sit there frozen in time. There is no reason why the same thing could not happen to this site. This site too may one day grind to a halt for good.

The second holdup is because of caching. In between any reader and the original site on which a file is held are a large number of servers and any one of these can decide to “cache” a file -- i.e. they see that a file is often called for so hold a copy of it themselves rather than go back to the original source all the time. That is all fine and dandy if the cache is cleared every few hours -- as it should be. But that does not always happen. Sometimes a file sits unchanged in somebody’s cache for days. In such cases, if your file request happens to go through that server, you will get a days-old copy of this blog rather than the current version.

There are 3 solutions to the problem. The first solution is in my hands. I need to put cache-busting metacode into every file I upload. I mostly do that but even that often does not work. The second solution is in the reader’s hands. You can send a “cache bypass” command from your keyboard. Just hit the “Ctrl” and F5 keys at the same time. But that does not always work either. So that is why I have mirror sites -- second and third copies of everything posted on this blog. So if you are not getting anything recent here click on one of the mirror sites listed under “My other sites” toward the top of the green column to the left. The mirrors sometimes get cached too, of course, but you would have to be really out of luck for them all to be cached at the same time. Happy reading!



The Bush Presidency casts a funereal shadow across the Democrats. If the GOP were to increase its black support by about 5 percentage points in the 2004 election while repeating its California success with women and Hispanics, the Dems will end up as burnt toast.
The 2003 Nobel Prize in economics. Why statistics fails to captures human economic activity.
Journalist bigotry among the media's Bush-haters. By lavishing undeserved praise on Barker the venomous Ramsey of the 'Sydney Morning Herald' did draw attention to what passes for learning and intellect among our self-righteous lefty journalists.
Immigration, jobs and growth. The accusation that immigration destroys jobs is a common economic fallacy.

Details here


I posted a big excerpt on PC Watch recently from the now much-noted NYT story by Bob Herbert about black education in NYC schools. A central point was that the no-hoper students sat at the back of the class, were ignored, learned nothing but still got a pass mark. I think from memory that Ogbu’s book about the poor performance of black students in middle class neighbourhoods reported much the same phenomenon in school classes so it is not solely a NYC problem. It has all just stirred a memory in me of what my education many years ago in a small Australian country school was like. There it was the GOOD students who sat at the back. The slower and naughtier students were at the front for greater teacher attention. That was a healthy educational system, unlike the diseased NYC abomination. But of course “slow” and “naughty” students no longer exist in the politically correct world of modern-day U.S. public schools. The policy of the ostrich prevails -- though saying that that is probably unkind to ostriches.

I never thought I would agree with one word uttered by Tony Benn, one of the most extreme Leftists in British politics, but I am lost with admiration of his succinct argument against further British entangelment with the EU. Every word is a gem in my view. Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major does a good job of defending Britain’s traditional political arrangements too -- though at much greater llength.

Wow! Randall Parker has come up with an amazing idea. Scientists have now found a gene crucial to controlling the onset of puberty. Randall gives some surprisingly good reasons why that finding should be used to DELAY the onset of puberty in children. I myself was almost not going to read an article that sounded so outlandish but you may be surprised what a good case Randall makes. Doing it would have to be by parental choice only of course. State enforcement would be a horror.

Neal Boortz (Post of 27th) is probably right that the Greenies have made the California widfires much worse than they otherwise would have been. We have the same problem here in Australia.

Mike Tremoglie points out that U.S. Democrats are good at dishing out extreme abuse and criticism but can’t take it when they get any criticism back.

A good comment from Andrew Bolt about what a disgusting creature Bob Brown (Australia’s chief Greenie) is. He shouted at George Bush in the Australian Parliament in defence of two members of the Taliban!! How pathetic can you get?

The Wicked one has an Irish joke again -- and as someone with substantial Irish ancestry I am really offended -- NOT!

My latest academic upload (see here or here) deals with “projective” (e.g. inkblot) tests. I show how they can be used to give more trustworthy results. Although the article concerned was originally published nearly 30 years ago in the premier journal for projective test users, I see that google has no reference to it by any other psychologists. Like all Leftists, psychologists just KNOW what it right. Nobody can tell them anything except what reinforces their existing beliefs.


Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Tuesday, October 28, 2003


A good comment on the way that America is now governed more by courts than by Congress: "legislators have become little more than clerks to judges and the complainants in their courts--the law as not much more than a brief. When this happens, citizens lose their status as voters or electors and become mere courtroom spectators. How can this be good? Continuing to use the courts in this way -- the ACLU boasting it will get a court to overthrow a law passed by Congress or any legislature -- and then demanding that large portions of American society simply shut up and swallow it is a recipe for a kind of war much more serious than the mere chattering crossfire of talk shows”. It seems to have got to the stage where Americans should be throwing judges into the harbour, not tea-chests. The unrepresentative legal tyranny seems a lot more extensive than anything George III would ever have dreamed of.



Where were the Leftist defenders of "privacy" in this case? A kid was expelled from school because she wrote: "a fictional tale in her private journal about a student who dreams that she kills a teacher." Yet the ability of the USA to protect itself against terrorism on aircraft is held up by “privacy” concerns. It looks like privacy is only protected if can be used to hurt people. Insane.

If blacks can say blacks are to blame for black problems, can I say it too? If not, why not? 'I don’t believe our major problem is racism,' said Kunjufu [to a predominantly black audience at Morgan State University]. 'The greatest demon in black America is fatherlessness. The common variable -- for the (African-American) dropout rate, the incarceration rate and drug use -- is the daddy that didn’t stay.'“

Greenpeace recently staged a stunt in Great Britain where they offered to exchange 'what they described as 'genetically modified milk' for the organic alternative, free of charge' in front of a major grocery chain store. Of course, there's no such thing as genetically modified milk. Just milk from cows raised on genetically enhanced grain. Milk is milk, and Greenpeace is simply preying on the fears of consumers."

"Public" broadcasting is now just Leftist broadcasting: "A student who clicks onto Environmental Defense will find out how to oppose drilling in the Arctic. The American Friends Service Committee lists a "press availability" for explaining how "Bush's Arm-twisting Victories in Congress and U.N. Will Deepen Quagmire in Iraq, Budget Crisis at Home." Equality Now, dedicated to women's rights, cites a "global campaign against sexual exploitation of women by US military forces in South Korea and around the world." Madre, another women's group, is today hosting "the Patriot Act Un-birthday Bash." And so it goes down the line, on everything from abortion to globalization. If you believe that there may be other sides to these issues, you certainly won't learn where to find them from this list"

These legal morons must really hate ordinary, decent people: “An arbitrator has ruled that Chicago taxpayers must fork over $136,036 in disability benefits to a Streets and Sanitation worker who is charged with a brutal assault while on leave with what he said were severe hand injuries. Jan Pruchnicki faces trial for breaking down the door of the apartment of his daughter's ex-boyfriend, throwing him to the couch and beating him unconscious with his fists--at a time when he claimed he couldn't work because of bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. Mr. Pruchnicki's attorney told the paper that his client "at no time engaged in an activity inconsistent with his claim or disability."

Another "subscriber only" article on the WSJ of 25th: "Britain's Directory Misinformation: "British regulators were trying to promote competition when they ended BT Group's monopoly on directory assistance. What they got instead: "A bloody mess." I found what they are talking about here and here. Bureaucracy (public or private) just can’t cope with change or anything out of the routine.

Chris Brand has recently commented at some length about the recent Charles Murray book on history’s top 4,000 geniuses, so I will just note here that Murray says that Western achievements have been amazing but that the rate has declined since the decline of Christianity. Quote: “What the human species is today it owes in astonishing degree to what was accomplished in just half a dozen centuries by the peoples of one small portion of the northwestern Eurasian land mass.... In all, Europeans and North Americans account for 97 percent of scientific accomplishment” Won’t the PC crowd love that! Such a pity for them that it’s true!

The silicone breast implant scare now seems to have just about run its course. There is a good article in The WSJ about what a huge and totally unscientific fraud it was from the very beginning. It sold newspapers, made a lot of lawyers rich and pleased Leftists with its destruction of a large company but that’s all it did.

John Moore has just exposed an “environmental racism” (??) scam in his neck of the woods.

The ironically named blog Last Night’s BBC News has some good links and excerpts. Muslim rapists and the upcoming TV series on the Reagans are well-covered.

One of the best blogs that I know of is “Commonsense and Wonder”. They even link to me occasionally so they must be good! They use a lot of graphics, however, so they can sometimes be painfully slow to load -- which would put anyone off looking at them. There is however a solution! They have a ”Printer Friendly” version of their site that skips all the peripheral stuff and loads like lightning!

My latest academic upload (here or here) is a review of a particularly moronic (but very popular) Leftist book on political psychology.


Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Monday, October 27, 2003


A reader sent me this amusing story

“Some years ago I was at a meeting in Kansas City Missouri, held at the Muehlenbrok hotel. It was a first-class hotel (it was Harry Truman's campaign center) but the surrounding neighborhood was one massage parlor, cheap liquor store or x-rated video/magazine shop after another. This was a meeting of Medical Physicists, very top-heavy in intellect. (With only a bachelor's degree, I was a real light-weight.)

Several of us were taking a noon-time stroll, and passed this top-down Cadillac with a sweet young thing stretched out in the back seat. One young lady, (with a degree in Physics, her father was president of a very big college) remarked that she wondered how that sweet young girl could afford that classy Cadillac convertible she was sitting in.

One of the men in the group tactfully remarked "Do you know prostitution is legal in Kansas City?" - - - She didn't catch on immediately, but a few steps later it sunk in. Beet-red, she remarked something like, "Oh that's what they look like!"

What more can I say?”

I’ll bet that the Physicist lady concerned felt that she knew all about the plight of the poor, though. And I also know how good she would be at running a rough boarding house (See my post of 24th.)


This is a pretty nutty piece of academic research (by P.J. Watson, D.F. Ross & R.J. Morris writing in Personality & Individual Differences of July, 2003) but I thought I might translate it into plain English anyway: The authors thought that Borderline Personality Disorder (i.e. severe emotional instability) would correlate with support for the death penalty. (i.e. Death penalty advocates are fruitcakes, get it?). But what they found was the reverse. The wackos were AGAINST the death penalty. But the research itself was nutty because the people they surveyed were in fact college students -- among whom there were probably NO real Borderline personalities at all. A bit like the loons (Eckhardt & Newcombe) who studied militarism among a group of Quakers. Only Leftist academics could be that stupid. It would be fun if other bloggers linked to this post so that anyone who Googled BPD would see this little gem “deconstructed”.

"Spiked" has a fun article about the twistings and turnings of postmodern "Theorists". Even the word "Theory" is a misnomer for the Leftist mumbo jumbo concerned. Once upon a time you could at least follow what Leftists were talking about. It is a sign of their desperation for something different to say that you often no longer can these days.

I saw a "subscriber only" articles on the WSJ of 25th that sounded interesting: "Millions of women have stopped taking the daily menopause hormones over "new" studies warning about their dangers. But lost amid the headlines and the hysteria was something crucial: the facts" I found what was behind that scare here but note that “The difference is not statistically significant” -- meaning that the apparent adverse effect of the hormones was so small that it was probably a chance result. The voice of sanity on the matter is here. Scientific findings are so often abused by scaremongering journalists and political activists these days that you almost have to be a scientist yourself to sort out where the truth lies. Reading blogs probably helps, though.

Reason argues against the "bioethicists" who arrogantly claim to know what medical treatments should be allowed to people: "Who are 'we' to decide how other people should live? If people do not have liberty to make choices about their own bodies, what liberty do they have?"

Both the President of China and the President of the USA visited Australia last week -- something of a tribute to a nation of 20 million people. Andrew Bolt marvels that it was the head of the world’s freest country that attracted the Leftist protests, not the Communist tyrant. It does show you vividly what Leftists really value.

Arlene Peck has just visited Poland -- where so many Jews died -- and finds that Jews are just a tourist attraction there now. Arlene may not have realized it but antisemitism is still common among Poles -- even though there are now hardly any Jews left there to hate or blame.

Interested Participant notes an instance where a Greenie plan to close down a nuclear power station is likely to result in putting conventional power stations -- with their much greater pollution -- into poor neighbourhoods. So blacks and Latinos will get to breathe more pollution just to prop up wacky Greenie righteousness. But Greenies hate people anyway so that will be OK by them.

A good article on Lomborg here: "The fierce polemics against Professor Lomborg - who accepts the need for all of us to care for the environment - highlights the extent to which the environmental issue has been hijacked by people who are profoundly hostile to industrial development, and regard human beings as the enemies of the environment"

Jonah Goldberg on the French: “The aim is for America to fail and if that means Iraq becomes a bloody quagmire that destabilizes the region, well, maybe that's worth it. The notion that the French really care about the innocent people of Iraq is flatly absurd.”

I have just uploaded another chapter from my book, Conservatism as heresy. See Chapter 34 (“The power elite”) here or here. It explains why Leftists love conspiracy theories and may be the first time I pointed out in print that Hitler was a socialist. I show that the conspirators Hitler suspected (the Jews) work out to be much the same people that other Leftists suspect of conspiracy. The chapter was written 30 years ago for an Australian audience so most of the examples I give in support of my argument will be unfamiliar to most readers. But I am sure that it will be easy to fill in more current examples of the same sort of thing. The chapter also constitutes a short essay on the nature of political power.


Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Sunday, October 26, 2003


A very short lesson in moral philosophy

Leftists make great hay out of the fact that moral absolutism is virtually impossible to defend philosophically. And I agree with them. I too am a moral relativist -- i.e. I believe that there is no timeless and forever fixed right and wrong and that what is right and wrong varies from society to society and has no meaning other than that. That does NOT mean, however, that all ways to live are equally wise -- which is the extension of moral relativism that Leftists usually glide into without people noticing. In other words, some ways of living lead to generally desired outcomes and some do not. That is a simple empirical proposition for which there is much evidence. Most people, for instance, desire material prosperity but only some ways of living lead to that. Laziness, for instance generally does not lead to prosperity so laziness is generally unwise, or, in shorthand, “bad” or “wrong”. So don’t let the sophomoric philosophical debating points of Leftists embarrass you into abandoning talk of “right” and “wrong”. Such terms do have real and important meanings -- even if you are a moral relativist.

And at least from Edmund Burke onwards, conservatives have taken the matter one step further. That some value is merely the custom of a given society is taken by Leftists to imply that the value concerned is NOT worthy of respect or continuation. Conservatives draw precisely the opposite conclusion. That some custom has evolved through trial and error over a long period of time is seen by conservatives as indicating that it is probably a wise and valuable custom that should not be abandoned except for very strong reasons. The custom may not be “right” in any absolute, immutable or unimprovable sense but it may still be very wise and valuable in enabling a civil and healthy society to function and give its members what they desire -- such as peace, security and prosperity. In that sense, courage, honesty, democracy and the rule of law are “right”. Countries where such values are widespread generally have more peace, security, freedom and prosperity than countries where such values are not widespread. Values and standards of behaviour are very important matters indeed.

Amusingly, however, Leftists are very prone to using the language of right and wrong (which they claim not to believe in) when it suits them. They will claim that things like Apartheid or “racism” are WRONG without batting an eyelid. The moral relativists suddenly become moralists. They will happily say things that they do not remotely believe in if it suits their ends of gaining power and influence. I did some research into the dishonest Leftist use of moral language which is reported here. And when Leftists do use moralistic language, it is rather fun to use the arguments of moral relativism to show how shallow their arguments are -- as here. There is a broader coverage of the issues in moral philosophy here.


An excellent article here about the downside of Canada’s “cheap” pharmaceutical drugs. Canadians often cannot get the latest and most effective drugs at all. So THEY come to the U.S. for their drugs!

Most Americans would choose private schools: "A new Gallup poll conducted for Phi Delta Kappa International, whose education surveys command high respect in the teaching profession, reveals a compelling motivation for the fierce opposition teacher union leaders and most public school officials show toward school vouchers: Most students wouldn't attend public schools if they had a voucher."

Madsen Pirie has despaired of today’s British Conservative Party too: “I take the view that Conservatism is both a disposition and a principled political stance. It aims to preserve or to restore the spontaneity of society, and to resist attempts to mould it to preconceived ends. I suggested in a tribute essay that F A Hayek was a Conservative, despite his famous claim not to be so. It is sometimes hard to see those principles at work today”

Chris Brand has a big coverage of the recent UK scandal where -- surprise, surprise! -- some UK police trainees were found to have racist views. Similar results could have been found in any UK working-class group. The workers are much more likely to call a spade a spade. “Spiked” thinks it is all a lot of nonsense too. See here and here and here. I have made clear for many years my view that there IS such a thing as race and that it DOES make a difference. Anybody who thinks otherwise has got his head up his behind.

Jeff Jacoby notes the Hitler-like remarks of Mohammad Mahathir and points out that the worst bigotry in the world today by far is Muslim bigotry: “The Bush administration, no doubt for diplomatic reasons, tried to cast Mahathir's latest screed as simply the invective of a lone bigot. "The comments were hateful," National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice told reporters, but "I do not think they are emblematic of the Muslim world." If only that were true. Unfortunately, while many in the West voiced outrage at Mahathir's poisonous remarks, the Muslim world's reaction ranged from utter indifference to hearty approval. The audience to whom Mahathir spoke -- the presidents, kings, and emirs of the nations that make up the Organization of the Islamic Conference -- rewarded him with a standing ovation.”

The Wicked one has recent posts on selfish savages, mad Mother Teresa and alternatives to Llamas!

At last! A whole book exposing Political Correctness for what it is: “A reader for the politically incorrect” by George Zilbergeld. I have put up more details about it on PC Watch. As well as explaining political correctness, it gives the other side of “correct” thinking on a lot of issues -- which reminds me of my own book of nearly 30 years ago: “Conservatism as heresy”. Even that far back Leftist views were dominant in academe and my antidote to such ideas in fact sold well -- though not as well as the publisher hoped. Most of the book is still relevant today so I have just put up the complete Table of Contents from it here (or here). Some of the chapters are online already so if anybody thinks a particular chapter still sounds interesting they can let me know and I will upload it.


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