Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pollyanna speaking

I live in a country where I broadly approve of what the political class does. I don't think Australia's national leadership always gets it right but, given the circumstances in which they operate, I think they do pretty well. As far as I can see, I live in one of the world's most conservative countries and that suits me well. I am pretty content. The few things I am not content about, I address on Australian Politics and also occasionally here. But most of what gives me concerns happens in the USA and the UK, so that is what I mostly blog about.

But if I were a Brit, in particular, I think I would be cross-eyed with dissatisfaction. The huge take of the tax system, the appalling health service, the lack of personal safety (resulting from the combination of gun bans and a high level of crime), the worship of homosexuality and the extensive way BOTH sides of politics pander to Muslim dregs would irritate me to death.

I am particularly appalled by the latter. Several leading members of the Australian Federal government and even some Leftist State government leaders (one summary here) have told the Muslims to shut up or ship out. Their statements to that effect are continually being circulated via email by gleeful American conservatives who cannot believe that any politician could be so outspoken.

Both Britain and Australia have suffered from Muslim bombings but in Britain there is no end to the appeasement -- as we see here and here. But I am sure that both Mr Cameron and Mr Blair have done their market research and concluded that their wishy-washy approach to the Muslim menace has general public support. And the vote shows that. People COULD vote for the British National Party if they wanted to but very few do.

So how can almost the entire British people be so unwise? Unlike conspiracy theorists such as old Adolf and his successors today on both Left and Right, I do not delude myself with explanations in terms of malign outside forces. I think blind Freddy can see that the problem lies in the British people as a whole. Most Brits agree with the Blair/Cameron approach. They know what that approach is and they approve of it and vote for it. The approach is not the work of a few conspirators with big noses in back rooms.

So in those circumstances, the Pollyanna in me comes to the fore. I begin to doubt that the British are in fact unwise. I begin to suspect that there is wisdom in the Blair/Cameron approach. And the source of that approach is not far to see. It is in fact a realization of the teachings of Christianity. See Matthew 5:44, for instance.

Very few Brits these days are anything more than nominal Christians but those teachings are nonetheless the foundation of British conventional wisdom. What is no longer religion is still culture. And that the British culture is a wise one, its historically vast influence on the world rather confirms. American culture is still basically British (or else I would have to write this in Spanish) and even as culturally distinctive a country as Japan governs itself in very Anglo-Saxon ways. The Japanese Diet and the English parliament are very similar and there is no doubt which was the model for the other.

And the English attachment to kindness and consideration pays off. England has very seldom had to fight its wars alone. It is always successful at forming extensive alliances. And those alliances almost invariably put it on the winning side. In Mein Kampf, even Hitler expressed great admiration for British World War I propaganda and there is no doubt that British propaganda has been remarkably successful at portraying the British as the good guys. Nobody can win them all, of course, but even in former colonies, there is still considerable goodwill towards Britain.

But that propaganda has to have some basis. Lies don't work for long. Britain has to BE the good guy it promotes itself as being. And, largely, it is. And that is why it finds allies with relative ease. It is basically Britain's moral claims that eventually brought isolationist America to its side in two world wars (Yes. I know that Hitler declared war on America rather than vice versa but America was assisting Britain long before that).

So whatever the problems the Muslims cause and no matter what Britain ends up doing about that problem, it will act from a position of righteousness. It will be seen as having done all it can to deal with the problem kindly. And that is an asset of great value. Its decisions will be generally respected and supported and its actions will be assisted.



A new declaration: "It is easy to simply blame faceless bureaucrats and politicians for our current state of affairs, and they do bear much of the blame. But blame also rests with those who expect Washington DC to solve every problem under the sun. If the public demanded that Congress abide by the Constitution and pass only constitutional spending bills, politicians would have no choice but to respond. Everybody seems to agree that government waste is rampant and spending should but cut -- but not when it comes to their communities or pet projects. So members of Congress have every incentive to support spending bills and adopt a go-along, get-along attitude. This leads to the famous compromises, but the bill eventually comes due on April 15th."

Minimum wage socialism: "The idea that legislators can help low-income workers simply by mandating a pay raise is the height of hubris. While the minimum-wage rhetoric may sound good, the reality is quite different. Forcing employers to pay low-skilled workers a higher than market wage - in the absence of any changes in productivity - will decrease the number of workers hired (the law of demand). The National Federation of Independent Business estimates that if the federal minimum wage is increased to $6.65 per hour, nearly 217,000 workers would lose their jobs. The long-run consequences would be even more severe, as employers introduced labor-saving equipment and technology. In fact, many entry-level jobs actually pay more than $5.15 or even $6.15 per hour, so the idea that without the minimum wage, workers would be exploited is a myth. In competitive markets, such as fast food and retailing, employers who pay below-market wages will not be able to attract sufficient help. McDonald's is paying up to $8 per hour in Panama City, Fla., for example".

Sowell on the black vote: "Should blacks vote for Democrats or Republicans? Since blacks are not all the same, any more than whites are, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Yet the black vote is more overwhelmingly tied to the Democrats than that of any other group. Most blacks are working people and taxpayers, who are not benefiting from the welfare state programs of the Democrats or from affirmative action. Many live in places where they are more likely than whites to become victims of the violent criminals that liberal judges turn loose and liberal governors pardon. Blacks are also more likely to gain from vouchers that would enable them to pull their children out of failing public schools and give them a chance to get a decent education in a safer environment."

Some sanity about Wal-Mart -- even in California: "Saying "Wal-Mart Supercenter" in some California city halls is akin to yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater -- the first reaction is panic. Not so in eastern Sacramento County. Political leaders here are taking a more pragmatic approach to the corporate giant, discussing issues associated with the behemoth store as they calmly clear the way for the retailer. In Folsom, Wal-Mart's application to build a Supercenter prompted the City Council to create a committee to review the approval process for larger retailers. "We want to make sure we understand all the potential benefits and all the potential detriments," said Folsom Mayor Andy Morin. "We want to handle it in a very pragmatic, sophisticated manner." Meanwhile, a plan for a Supercenter in Orangevale, initially met with hostility from some residents, is now on the fast track to construction."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

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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