Wednesday, March 17, 2004


There is an amusing comment here on a far-Left Israeli historian: "In both books Pappe in effect tells his readers: "This is what happened." This is strange, because it directly conflicts with a second major element in his historiographical outlook. Pappe is a proud postmodernist. He believes that there is no such thing as historical truth, only a collection of narratives as numerous as the participants in any given event or process; and each narrative, each perspective, is as valid and legitimate, as true, as the next. Moreover, every narrative is inherently political and, consciously or not, serves political ends. Each historian is justified in shaping his narrative to promote particular political purposes. Shlomo Aronson, an Israeli political scientist, years ago confronted Pappe with the ultimate problem regarding historical relativism: if all narratives are equally legitimate and there is no historical truth, then the narrative of Holocaust deniers is as valid as that of Holocaust affirmers. Pappe did not offer a persuasive answer, beyond asserting lamely that there exists a large body of indisputable oral testimony affirming that the Holocaust took place."

Jeff Jacoby describes the cancerous way antisemitism is spreading in Europe. European tolerance for irrationality is certainly cause for grave concern. Using the Jews as a scapegoat yet again is a disgrace to civilization. But don't look to Leftists for any "compassion" in the matter of course.

There is a reasonable coverage here (link via Keith Burgess Jackson) of the view that high IQ is both diagnostic of good health and a cause of greater wealth -- which leads to richer people being healthier. It would be surprising if it were otherwise. The brain is just another organ of the body and in general a very well-functioning brain should go with a well-functioning body. Similarly, if intelligence does not help you to get rich, what would? But in any case, these ideas have long ago been put to the test. Starting in the 1920s, Terman followed a group of high IQ kids through their growing up and into adulthood. He found that high IQ kids in fact became healthier, happier, wealthier adults. They were even taller if I remember rightly. But to read of people trying to extract policy prescriptions from the matter makes me laugh. Many natural phenomena are just not "curable", nor should they be.

I commented yesterday that Texas sounded like a place that I would like. With good Texan hospitality, Wallace of Big Gold Dog has responded: "Indeed, I think that you would. And I can say that the feeling runs in the reverse. Having had two short stays in Australia some years ago, I can verify that Texans feel very much at home there. When I tell people who have never visited Australia what it's like I simply have to say......"Well it's a lot like Texas" and they know it's a place they should visit. I've had several friends who, over time, have owned cattle ranches [OK cattle stations] at various spots in your fair land. Come on over...... we'll give you office space in our building to conduct your research on why leftists are so obtuse!"

Spanish jellyfish? Comment from a reader: "We are being unfair to the people of Spain. It is a natural reaction common amongst victims of catastrophe to seek out someone or some group to blame and carry out a response that is within their power to make. Being so close to an election made it almost certain that the government would be the object of the people's anger. We should not be too judgemental and cast shame on their nation for what they have done. We will need them as allies again. We should be careful not to alienate them forever."

Writing on his other blog, China Hand has pointed to a farcical effort by an Australian Leftist government to pander to the teacher's union by commissioning research into smaller class sizes. No attempt was made to show that smaller class sizes improved outcomes by any objective measure. The opinion of the teachers and parents involved was treated as "proof".


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Three more examples of Leftist dishonesty: They blame the 9/11 attacks on "poverty" in the Islamic world. Yet most of the attackers were Saudis and Saudi Arabia is one of the world's richest countries! They also say that they oppose racism yet support "affirmative action" -- which judges people by the colour of their skin! They say that they care about "the poor" but how often do you hear them calling for the one thing that would bring about a worldwide economic boom in poor countries -- the USA and the EU abandoning their agricultural protectionism? Leftists obviously care more about conservative farmers than they do about the poor!

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