Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Any student of psychopathology will be aware that self-deception is a very common human frailty. So it is not particularly surprising when I and many others like me constantly point to inconvenient facts (such as the large influence of heredity) that Leftists ignore. Ignoring facts is very widespread generally, not only among Leftists. It may be useful to point to some other instances of it.

Perhaps the most amusing is the way people are always fussing about their diet. There is a constant stream of talk about what food is and is not good for you. And what is good for you today will almost certainly be bad for you in ten year's time -- and vice versa. Wicked Thoughts often reports such ups and downs as part of his coverage of humorous items in the news. But regardless of the details, almost everyone is convinced that eating "healthy" food and exercising more will make you live longer. Except that it doesn't. All the longditudinal studies of lifestyle change (including diet change) show no effect of such change on longevity. See here for just the latest such study. Fussing about your food is unlikely to add one extra day to your life. But people like to feel that they have some control over their health so the fussing will go on forever as far as I can see. And, sadly, some well-intentioned dietary changes are actually bad for you -- e.g. salt restriction.

Another example of blinkers being desperately clung to is the influence of upbringing on child personality. For at least 4,000 years, people have believed that how you bring up a child has a big influence on his or her "character". Except that it doesn't. All the twin studies of personality variables show that family environment has negligible effect on how a kid turns out -- with genetics being the main influence and with peer influence being a distant second. Even political attitudes are largely genetically inherited. So that's another little illusion of control that the facts snatch away.

A third example is the importance of IQ. In the Frank Ellis affair (much commented on by Chris Brand) loud and confident public assertions have been made in the media by practically everyone to the effect that IQ does not exist and if it does it is not genetically inherited. Yet all those who know anything about the academic research on the subject (e.g. here) know that IQ is highly measurable, highly influential in one's life and that it is at least two-thirds genetically inherited. So again we have to accept the hand we are dealt. Our lives are strongly affected by things over which we have no control.

A pity, isn't it?



In case that post above was a bit depressing, let's have something more entertaining. Go here to read what seems to me like a fairly typical anti-Bush rant. Your job is to guess where it comes from. You may be surprised.



France embraces stagnation: "President Jacques Chirac caved in to protesters on Monday, canceling a law on youth employment that fueled nationwide unrest and raising questions about France's ability to reform rigid labor laws in a globalized world."

More California compassion: "An 82-year-old woman received a $114 ticket for taking too long to cross a street. Mayvis Coyle said she began shuffling with her cane across Foothill Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley when the light was green, but was unable to make it to the other side before it turned red. She said the motorcycle officer who ticketed her on Feb. 15 told her she was obstructing traffic".

Back to federalism: "The Founders designed a vast garment for America that hugs where it should hug and stretches where it should stretch; each state creates its own society, and the Constitution stitches them all together into a comfortable, sensible union suit. 'As this government is composed of small republics, it enjoys the internal happiness of each,' writes Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 9, 'and with respect to its external situation, it is possessed, by means of the association, of all the advantages of large monarchies.' But the collapse of federalism has ruined this valuable arrangement."

The Federal Bureau of Luddites: "Two weeks ago, the FBI's chief information officer admitted that the bureau couldn't afford to provide e-mail addresses for 8,000 of its 30,000 employees. The e-mail shortfall is only the latest in a series of embarrassed confessions the FBI has made about its information technology. The most significant mea culpa came when an attempt to upgrade the bureau's case-management software had to be scrapped last year after $170 million had already been spent. A Justice Department report listed all kinds of excuses, from poor 'enterprise architecture' planning to shifting design requirements. But behind the management analysis is a more implacable problem. Until very recently, being computer-savvy hasn't been considered much of an asset in the FBI, and clues were something you kept to yourself."

Congressional pork includes some real stinkers: "While cutting back on many pet projects, lawmakers have included some real stinkers in federal spending bills for 2006, according to a watchdog group that announced its annual Washington pork menu on Wednesday. $13.5 million for an Irish group that funds the World Toilet Summit? $1 million for water-free urinals? $500,000 for a teapot museum? Those projects, and nearly 10,000 others, account for a record $29 billion in federal pork-barrel spending for the current budget year, Citizens Against Government Waste said."

The latest brainwave of the Wal-Mart haters: Wal Mart threatens U.S. security! "The Dubai Ports World battle has trumpeted the gaping holes in our seaports' security systems, but few ask: Why are U.S. ports so poorly protected nearly five years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001? Why has the government spent just $630 million -- less than 4 percent of the $18 billion-plus we have spent since 9/11 on airport security -- to make ports safer? House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., said it best: '(While we) talk about having strong homeland security, checking 100 percent of cargo containers. In the end, our commercial interests get ahead of us.' Those commercial interests are led by the world's largest retailer and the United States' biggest importer, Wal-Mart."

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE and and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS . Mirror sites here, here, here, here, here and here). I also post several times a week on TONGUE-TIED. There is an archive of my "Tongue-Tied" posts here or here


Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country's labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and "helping" them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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