Saturday, December 20, 2008

Will the Jews survive?

Now that the Presidential election is over, I have scaled back my coverage of day-to-day politics somewhat and have been writing more on enduring issues -- issues that are more general and which will probably be with us for a long time. As I see it, Obama definitely does not want to be a one-term President and knows he has to stay pretty centrist to achieve that. His appointments so far certainly suggest that. So I am sitting back to watch with amusement the attempt by the Democrats to run America in a non-disastrous way. They have in fact inherited some difficult problems so their struggles should be fun to watch. There are some blessings in being out of power. It is more relaxing. Whatever happens will not be the fault of conservatives. So I have the leisure to think big thoughts.

Some of the things I have written recently have pushed right to the boundary of what may permissibly be said by civilized people -- but I have always run that risk. It is no accident that I am the proprietor of the Tongue-Tied blog. I am an instinctive anti-authoritarian. If someone tells me to do something, my instinct is to do otherwise. And if someone tells me not to do something, my instinct is to do it. I am in other words quite happy to be a rebel against the orthodoxy and am rather supported by the certainty that the orthodoxy of today will be the absurdity of tomorrow. So pushing against speech limits is, I hope, a service I can render to the advancement of knowledge and understanding.

What I will almost certainly be accused of below is "blaming the victim". I am in fact not blaming anyone, merely trying to understand -- and I accept no limits on what I can say or think in that quest. So I hope that no minds will snap shut before they read the whole of what I write below.

So what I want to say a few words about now is that everlasting issue: Jews. How awful it must be to be born into a group that is a perennial source of at least controversy and often hate. I am sure many Jews must pray for Jews to be simply forgotten. But their God seems to have doomed them not to be. I admire Jews in many ways but I am glad that my heritage is less horror-filled. Mind you, as a middle-class WASP male, I too belong to a much reviled group. But we are not as targeted as the Jews, mainly because there are more of us, I imagine.

And that leads into my point: Their small numbers reveal Jews as a biological failure. Reproduction is the prime imperative in biology and reproductive fitness has to be judged by reproductive success. I have always admired the wisdom of Gideon but from a biological viewpoint, strength is in numbers. So the roughly 10 million Jews in the world today is not impressive. If the Iranians were to sail two ships carrying nuclear devices into both New York harbour and Tel Aviv harbour at roughly the same time with some jihadis aboard to detonate them, there would not be much left of that 10 million.

By contrast, there are around one billion Christians in the world. So why have Christians flown so far ahead of Jews in reproductive success? Originally, there were a lot more Jews than Christians. The obvious answer, of course, is that Jewish numbers have been kept down by persecution. But that just leads to the very vexed question of why people have been persecuting them from the Pharaohs on. There are many answers to that but I want here to look at just one.

The contrast between Jews and Christians is all the more surprising when we look at the doctrinal similarities between them. After the destruction of the Jerusalem temple by the Romans and the subsequent diaspora, the Judaism of the Old Testament simply died. Most of the instructions in the Old Testament were predicated on Jews having and ruling their own country and that was no longer the case. So the commands given in the Old Testament no longer COULD be obeyed: No animal sacrifices at the temple etc.

In response, two reworkings of traditional Judaism emerged: Rabbinical Judaism and Christianity. And they were surprisingly similar. It was no longer feasible to stone to death such evil-doers as homosexuals so that was no longer expected of believers. St. Paul simply pointed out that such offenders were still abhorrent but left punishment of them to God. And the Rabbis had to rule similarly. The major differences between the two new versions of Judaism was that the Rabbinical Jews were gene-preserving while Christianity was open to all and actively sought to embrace all men (and women). So Christians rapidly lost any Jewish identity.

So where did the more traditional Jews go wrong? I am going to be blunt. I think that there must be something in Jews that predisposes them to political stupidity. How else are we to explain their ending up on the wrong side of just about every ruler from the Pharaohs to the Babylonians to the Romans to the Popes to the Tsars to the Nazis? I can't be sure what that thing is but it is still in full bloom today. Both in Israel and in the USA Jews tend heavily to lean Left -- at a time when the Left are having a romance with the sworn enemies of the Jews: Muslims. How stupid can you get? Jews just don't seem to be able to see who their friends are. Just about their ONLY friends in the modern world are American evangelical Christians but the actions of the ADL and much else reveal most Jews as despising American evangelical Christians.

And contrast that stupid behaviour with one of the world's most successful ethnic groups: The British. As Winston Churchill said, not for a thousand years has Britain seen the campfires of an invader. While the rest of Europe was tearing itself apart with internecine wars, Britain was securing for itself a couple of continents (Australia and most of North America) plus some rather nice Islands (The British Isles and New Zealand, for instance). And their progeny populate those places to this day.

So how did the British do it? Basically through just one strategy: Allies. The British have always sought allies. That has long been the dominant aim of British foreign policy. Britain never goes it alone. They will even enter wars that really concern them little just in order to preserve alliances (WWI and the Iraq war, for instance). So any description of a war in which Britain has been involved has always been between two sides: "The Allies" and the other guy. But to achieve that, you have to be great compromisers and great propagandists. And the British always have been both. Even Hitler admired British WWI propaganda. But above all you have to VALUE potential allies. And as far as I can see, Jews generally don't. They value their enemies instead. The Iranians may get them yet.

So do I have a clue about what causes such a brilliant people to be so stupid politically? I think I do have a clue. If you read Moses and the Old Testament prophets, you will see that they often describe the Israelites as a "stiff-necked" people (Which I take to mean proud, obstinate, unwilling to bow down to anybody. A more pejorative definition is here). I suspect that Moses and the prophets were right about their people and that enough of the old genetic material has survived in Jews to make the same thing true of most Jews today. St. Luke certainly seemed to think it was hereditary (Acts 7:51) and modern-day Sabras are certainly not often shy and retiring people. Maybe in fact you have to have some of that genetic material to identify as a member of such a reviled group. Such a difficult inheritance seems a pity to me -- from my ethnically British standpoint with its devotion to compromise and the "fudge" (scroll down) as a solution to difficult issues. But I am glad that there are still some people who take on the great burden of being Jews -- given the immense contribution that Jews have made -- and continue to make -- to civilization. And I am sure that I am pretty stiff-necked myself. I would probably not be writing this otherwise.

I look at the issues I have touched on above at much greater length here.



Learning from Japan: Infrastructure Spending Won't Boost the Economy: As the U.S. economy continues to deteriorate and has now entered a recession of uncertain magnitude, many in Congress, the media, and the business community are pushing for a bold federally funded stimulus package that they claim will create jobs, raise incomes, and put the economy back on its path of positive economic growth. Not surprisingly, much of this advocacy stems from a nostalgic embrace of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, implemented in the early 1930s in a failed effort to end the Great Depression that had its origin in the stock market collapse of October 1929. Beginning in 1991-1992, Japan adopted the spending approach now advocated by many in the U.S. Congress when it embarked on a massive nationwide program of infrastructure investment.... and the consequence was two decades of economic stagnation. Less ambitious infrastructure stimulus programs have been implemented in the United States over the past few decades, and numerous independent and government studies have concluded that these programs had little impact on economic activity or jobs.

History Points to GOP Gains in 2010: "Many Democrats have predicted the Republicans were finished after some devastating defeats, only to see them quickly recover and win again. No one gave the Republicans a snowball's chance in hell after Lyndon Johnson crushed Barry Goldwater in a landslide in 1964. Democrats said the GOP was finished, perhaps for a generation. But the Democrats' archenemy, Richard Nixon, took back the White House in 1968 and won re-election in a landslide four years later. The 2008 election resulted in a change in administrations, but recent polls show it didn't change the nation's ideological balance, which is still very much right of center. A post-election Pew poll finds that while the Democrats' advantage in party identification has risen, "the share of Americans who describe their political views as liberal, conservative or moderate has remained stable." About a year from now, we will be in the beginning stages of the midterm-election cycle when the political history books tell us that the party in power almost always loses seats in Congress. That record has been broken only twice in our history. The last time was in 2002 when President Bush was riding high, the Republicans had cut tax rates across the board, and the GOP made substantial gains in Congress. The chances are extremely high that the GOP will gain congressional seats in November 2010, dealing Barack Obama the first political defeat of his presidency."

Caroline Kennedy and media bias: "It is a legitimate question: Why is the resume-thin Caroline Kennedy being treated seriously as a prospective appointee to the U.S. Senate when the comparatively more-qualified Gov. Sarah Palin received such a harsh review? There can be little debate that Palin, as a governor and former mayor, has the superior political resume. More to the point, she was duly elected to both of those positions and has enjoyed an 80 percent approval rating as governor. Suddenly, after a lifetime shunning publicity -- one of her charms -- Kennedy is a likely U.S. senator solely on the basis of having decided that she'd like that quite a lot. The real rub is that she hasn't earned it. The sense of entitlement implicit in Kennedy's plea for appointment mocks our national narrative. We honor rags-to-riches, but riches-to-riches animates our revolutionary spirit. Palin paid her own passage unfreighted by privilege."

Black Congressmen can do no wrong?: "Rep. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, has been accused of failing to report income on a rental house he owns in a Dominican Republic resort, used one of his four rent-control New York apartments for campaign activities, mailed letters on official congressional stationery soliciting funds for an educational center to be named after himself, and used government property to store his Mercedes. In response to the accusations, the congressman said, "I don't believe making mistakes means you have to give up your career." I agree. When a congressman makes these many "mistakes," he should go to jail."

A revealing comment: "Sometimes a newspaper headline is shocking not for the information it provides, but for the way it blows up what you think you already knew. Take this front-page offering in the Dec. 17 issue of The Washington Post: "Welfare Rolls See First Climb in Years." The news isn't that, in this time of recession, welfare rolls are climbing. The news is that the number of people on welfare has been dropping for more than a decade. Wait -- the first time? After a year filled with bad economic news -- from soaring gas prices all summer to surging unemployment and sinking stock prices, it's only now that welfare numbers are climbing for the first time?"

The Employee Free Choice Act Is Unconstitutional: "A top priority of the incoming Democratic Congress and Obama administration is the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act. The EFCA, as is well known, introduces a card-check procedure that allows a union to gain recognition without an election by secret ballot. Thereafter a government arbitration panel can impose, without judicial review, all the terms of an initial two-year collective "agreement" if the parties cannot negotiate an agreement within 130 days. It is commonly supposed that economic regulation is immune to constitutional challenge since the New Deal. That's not the case with this labor law..... There is simply no legitimate government interest in promoting unionization that justifies a clandestine organizing campaign which denies all speech rights to the unions' adversaries. The mandatory arbitration provisions of the EFCA are also constitutionally suspect. True, the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment today is quite lax when the state just restricts how an owner can use his property. But it imposes a firm duty to compensate someone whose property is occupied pursuant to a government decree. The Supreme Court also has established that any company subject to rate regulation (such as in telecommunications, transportation, insurance, etc.) may raise a judicial challenge to secure a reasonable rate of return on invested capital. These Fifth Amendment protections apply to labor markets."


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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Friday, December 19, 2008

Is Atheism Morally Bankrupt?

Ben Shapiro says that atheism is morally bankrupt in the article below. I add some comments at the foot of the article
If you walk around Washington, D.C., on a regular basis, youre likely to see some rather peculiar posters. But you wont see any more peculiar than the ads put out by the American Humanist Association. Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake, say the signs, in Christmas-colored red and green. Sounds great, doesnt it? Just be good for goodness sake. You dont need some Big Man in the Sky telling you what to do. You can be a wonderful person simply by doing the right thing. Theres only one problem: without God, there can be no moral choice. Without God, there is no capacity for free will.

Thats because a Godless world is a soulless world. Virtually all faiths hold that God endows human beings with the unique ability to choose their actions -- the ability to transcend biology and environment in order to do good. Transcending biology and our environment requires a higher power -- a spark of the supernatural. As philosopher Rene Descartes, put it, Although I possess a body with which I am very intimately conjoined [my soul] is entirely and absolutely distinct from my body and can exist without it.

Gilbert Pyle, the atheistic philosopher, derogatorily labeled the idea of soul/body dualism, the ghost in the machine. Nonetheless, our entire legal and moral system is based on the ghost in the machine -- the presupposition that we can choose to do otherwise. We can only condemn or praise individuals if they are responsible for their actions. We dont jail squirrels for garden theft or dogs for assaulting cats -- they arent responsible for their actions. But we routinely lock up kleptomaniacs and violent felons.

It's not only our criminal justice system that presupposes a Creator. Its our entire notion of freedom and equality. We hold these truths to be self-evident, wrote Thomas Jefferson, supposed atheist, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Human equality must spring from a Creator, because the presence of a soul is all that makes man human and equal. Biology suggests inherent inequality -- who would call Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stephen Hawking equal in any way? Biology suggests the sort of Hegelian social Darwinism embraced by totalitarian dictators, not the principles of equality articulated by the Founding Fathers.

Without a soul, freedom too is impossible -- we are all slaves to our biology. According to atheists, human beings are intensely complex machines. Our actions are determined by our genetics and our environment. According to atheists, if we could somehow determine all the constituent material parts of the universe, we would be able to predict all human action, down to the exact moment at which Vice President-elect Joe Biden will pick his nose. Freedom is generically defined as the power to determine action without restraint (Random House). But if action without restraint is impossible, how can we fight for freedom?

If there is no God, there is no freedom to choose. If there is no freedom to choose, there is no good or evil. There is merely action and inaction. There is no way to be good for goodness sake -- that would require an act of voluntary will far beyond human capacity. Atheists simply gloss over this point. The American Humanist Association states on its website,, We can have ethics and values based on our built-in drives toward a moral life. Without a soul, this is wishful thinking of the highest order. Since when does biology dictate a moral drive? If it did, wouldnt man always get more rather than less moral -- wouldnt history be a long upward climb? What about the murderers, rapists, child molesters and genocidal dictators? Are they all ignoring that built-in drive toward a moral life?

Atheism may work for individuals. There are moral atheists and there are immoral religious people. But as a system of thought, atheism cannot be the basis for any functional state. If we wish to protect freedom and equality, we must understand the value of recognizing God. We must recognize the flame of divinity -- free will -- He implanted within each of us.


Shapiro's argument is a common one but ignores the fact that free will is a difficult concept for Christians too. Why does God allow freewill if he knows that it will in some cases lead to perdition? More importantly, however, irreligious people are usually quite moral. Very few Australians are religious but standards of behaviour are little different from the USA -- a much more religious country.

So how come Australia is a civil, prosperous and pleasant place to live? It is because Australians DO have a widely agreed-on moral code -- but it is not a Christian one. It originates from the values of the English working class of yesteryear and can perhaps be conveniently summed up (in its original Australian slang) as the following five "Commandments":

* Thou shalt not dob in thy mates
* Thou shalt not bung on an act.
* Thou shalt not be a tall poppy
* Thou shalt give everyone a fair go
* Thou shalt be fair dinkum

Translating these into standard English yields APPROXIMATELY the following:

* You must not incriminate your friends to the boss, the police or anyone else. Loyalty to your associates is all-important.

* You must not be ostentatious or pretend to be what you are not.

* You must treat others as your equals. If you are seen as being better than others in anything but sport you will be made to suffer for it.

* You must be fair and permissive in your treatment of others.

* You must not be insincere or dishonest.

From Hammurabi onwards, most moral codes have had much in common and the Australian and Christian moral codes do also have things in common but the Australian moral code is not preached in churches. It is simply traditional and widely heartfelt. I have looked recently at why moral codes tend to be similar from society to society. In brief, there are some inborn moral instincts. Such instincts are necessary for social life to exist.

So: Apologies to American churchgoers but people CAN be moral and decent without someone either putting the fear of God into them or inspiring them with the love of Christ.

Final note about religion in Australia: When asked at census time most Australians do put down some religion for themselves. Note, however, that in the last census we had over 5% of the population describe themselves as Methodists -- a denomination that has not existed in Australia for many years. The Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists combined to form the "Uniting" church a quarter of a century ago. In other words, for the vast majority of Australians, Christianity is a token thing.

So, as with the Australian population at large, lots of Australian conservatives are NOT religious. I am one of them.



The Left-Side Of The Blogosphere Reacts To Barack Obama Choosing Rick Warren To Do His Inaugural Invocation : "Although Rick Warren takes his Christian beliefs seriously, he has always come across as a centrist politically. In other words, he can fairly be called "religious," but he's not really a member of the "religious right." Since that's the case and since Barack Obama has spent much of his adult life surrounded by ultra-left wing, pseudo-Christian wackadoodles like Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger, Warren seems to be a sensible choice to do his inaugural invocation. However, Obama's selection of Warren is flipping out the left side of the blogosphere, which is generally appalled by people who hold mainstream Christian beliefs. Enjoy the reaction, folks!

Ga. woman jailed over head scarf : "A Muslim woman arrested for refusing to take off her head scarf at a courthouse security checkpoint said Wednesday that she felt her human and civil rights were violated. A judge ordered Lisa Valentine, 40, to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court, said police in Douglasville, a city of about 20,000 people on Atlanta's west suburban outskirts. Valentine violated a court policy that prohibits people from wearing any headgear in court, police said after they arrested her Tuesday."

Postponing reality: "Some of us were raised to believe that reality is inescapable. But that just shows how far behind the times we are. Today, reality is optional. At the very least, it can be postponed. Kids in school are not learning? Not a problem. Just promote them on to the next grade anyway. Call it `compassion,' so as not to hurt their 'self-esteem.' Can't meet college admissions standards after they graduate from high school? Denounce those standards as just arbitrary barriers to favor the privileged, and demand that exceptions be made. . The current bailout extravaganza is applying the postponement of reality democratically - to the rich as well as the poor, to the irresponsible as well as to the responsible, to the inefficient as well as to the efficient. It is a triumph of the non-judgmental philosophy that we have heard so much about in high-toned circles."

You live in a socialist nation: "The good news is that socialism still sounds bad to us - we don't want to think of ourselves as socialists. The bad news is that we don't know what socialism means. We think it always means more centralized control than what we currently have, no matter what we currently have. A socialist government is one that owns or manages parts of the economy. That's it. A government-run post office is socialist. A government-run train service is socialist. A government bailout of banks is socialist. And so on."

Missing Xmas commercialism : "For decades editorialists, pundits, and other commentators have implored us all to stop all this commercialism during Christmas holidays. The holidays have become too commercial! People just focus on purchasing goodies instead of on the spirituality of Christmas. And so on and so forth the relentless blather went on and on, year after year, even in the midst of the reports on how good or bad have been holiday retails sales. This hypocrisy could be hidden from the consciousness of a great many people for a good while but now it is no longer possible to disguise it. Fact is, what is most missing from Christmas this year is, yes, the healthy commercialism that has been part of it over the last several decades."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Curlypet has a new book out

A very popular writer in Leftist circles is the curly-headed Malcolm Gladwell. His shallow erudition and superficialty seem to suit Leftists well. Oversimplification is a Leftist stock-in-trade after all. Sadwell has made something of a name for himself by downplaying, in traditional Leftist style, the importance of genetics to human ability and achievement. And his new book, "Outliers" just out continues that tradition. In an era when hardly a day goes by without new evidence of some genetic influence on people being recorded in the academic journals of medical genetics and behaviour genetics, Sadwell has to be fast and loose to maintain his position. And fast and loose he is.

I have pointed out the many holes in one of his effusions here. David Brooks has a useful review of his latest book here and there are a few scathing comments on it here.

Gladwell's basic point in his new book appears to be that you need a combination of opportunity, ability and hard work to achieve success in any field. How is that original? I imagine that they were saying the same in ancient Sumeria -- and I certainly would not argue with it as a rough generalization. Gladwell's only contribution seems to be in stressing how hard successful people have worked for their success -- and that is sometimes true. But it isn't always true. Let me speak of the field that I know best: Writing academic journal articles. I have a talent for that. In my heyday, I was getting papers published at roughly the rate of one a fortnight. The academic average is about one a year. So did I work hard at it? Not by comparison with my colleagues. They would often labour for a year over a paper and then have it rejected as not good enough for publication! By contrast, some of my papers were written in one day and were immediately accepted for publication. And very few of my papers took more than a few days to write. So Sadwell is overgeneralizing. If you are a classical violinist or pianist, sure it takes hours of practice daily but in other fields you just have a talent for something or not.

And in good Leftist style Sadwell stresses that a fortunate environment is important for success -- i.e. we have to thank "society" for our achievements. Bill Gates grew up into a privileged family and part of his success stems from that. But what about the millions who grew up in privileged families and ended up good for snorting cocaine only? Environment has some minimal role but it is clearly the least important factor. And the same applies to hard work. What about the millions of kids who dutifully do their piano or violin or ballet practice and end up acclaimed only by their mothers? You can't get away from the fact that exceptional achievement comes from exceptional ability and all Sadwell's fancy footwork cannot hide that. So Sadwell achieves the rather remarkable feat of being at once platitudinous and wrong.

In closing, below is part of an introduction to Sadwell from one of the great British skeptics at The Register:
Have you ever had the nagging sense that there's something not quite right with the adulation that follows Malcolm Gladwell - the author of Tipping Point? But you couldn't quite put your finger on it? We're here to help, dear reader. Gladwell gave two vanity "performances" in the West End - prompting fevered adulation from the posh papers - the most amazing being this Guardian editorial, titled In Praise of Malcolm Gladwell.

It appears that we have a paradox here. A substantial subclass of white collar "knowledge workers" hails this successful nonfiction author as fantastically intelligent and full of insight - and yet he causes an outbreak of infantalisation. He's better known for his Afro than any big idea, or bold conclusion - and his insights have all the depth and originality of Readers Digest or a Hallmark greeting card. That's pretty odd. So what's really going on here? Who is Malcolm Gladwell? What's he really saying? Who are these people who lap it all up? And what is it that he's saying that hold so much appeal? Let's start with the first two first.

Gladwell is a walking Readers Digest 2.0: a compendium of pop science anecdotes which boil down very simply to homespun homilies. Like the Digest, it promises more than it delivers, and like the Digest too, it's reassuringly predictable. The most famous book Tipping Point, takes an epidemiological view of social trends and throws in a bit of network theory. You won't draw anything more profound from this than "we're all connected" - gee! - and you certainly won't get the drawbacks of epidemiology - much of which is now indistinguishable from junk science. A good book to write would be about how how epidemiology became so debased so quickly: it's now merely a computer modeling factory for producing health scares, or in the case of British foot-and-mouth disease, catastrophic policy responses that cost billions of pounds. John Brignell's The Epidemiologists does just that. (For good measure, Milgram's Six Degrees theory, has subsequently been debunked since Tipping Point appeared. Gladwell could have done that himself using a bit of investigative research of his own - but he probably wouldn't have liked the conclusion.)

The next book, Blink published in 2004, asks (in his own words) - "What is going on inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better?" But he ends up pursuing the idea that rationality is overrated - and with only speculative cognitive science to go with, it isn't suprising that this book, too, doesn't get to any conclusion. And the message of the new one? Genius takes hard work. Again, it's something bleedingly obvious, but which leaves deeper questions unanswered. Take two geniuses: George Best and Tesla. What did they offer? Why do we admire them so much? There's obviously much more to each of them than perspiration - but we don't find out, and the book is as flattening and reductive as the others.

Perhaps it's Gladwell's stunning oratory that draws the crowds? Perhaps he's such a magnetic performer, that you go for the ride, not the destination? But when we see a example of the Master at Work - the evidence seems to suggest otherwise. Here's an excerpt of the master strolling the stage at Ted - a presentation called Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce. Gladwell blathers at great length about an obscure market researcher called Howard Moskowitz. Who? On his own website, Howie calls himself "a well-known experimental psychologist in the field of psychophysics". Yet Gladwell describes Moskowitz' market testing of varieties of soup as if he was an unsung genius of the 20th century. All this takes up 15 minutes, but it's so repetitious and predictable, it seems to take about three times as long. (So much for the dazzling oratory Guardian leader writers admire.)

More here


BrookesNews Update

Obama and his advisors won't know what hit them when the economy finally tanks: There is no way that Obama's proposals could lift the US economy out of the recession that is gathering more and more speed by the day. On the contrary, they will do a great deal of damage. Under Obama we might discover just how much the US economy can take
The economy sinks further into recessions while the commentariat wheel out the old fallacies : Recession has arrived and I consider an unemployment rate of 10 per cent to 12 per cent a distinct possibility. Government policies based on stimulating consumption could have the perverse effect of driving the economy deeper into recession and prolonging it
America's deficit: raising taxes is not the solution : Like the alcoholic who keeps falling by the wayside Democrats eventually seek out ways to raise taxes. This fact needs to be continually stressed, especially now that so many Americans believe that Obama has - so to speak - forsworn of the bottle. Taxes are coming and that's it. Moreover, if Obama was serious about 'spreading the wealth' he would propose a wealth that his billionaire supporters could not escape. That he has no intention of doing this exposes him as a fraud and moral a poseur
Manning Clark and Soviet agents of influence: The Manning Clark episode should remind us just how hypocritical, dishonest, self-righteous and morally diseased the the Left really is. That is the real lesson to be learnt and remembered
Benicio del Toro: Che's useful idiot : The gangster regime that rules over Cuba rolled out the red carpet for Hollywood leftists Benicio Del Toro and Steven Soderbergh. Del Toro Starred in Che and Soderbergh, a film that lauded Che Guevara, a coward and a sadistic killer. It tells us what a political cesspit Hollywood has become when political scum like this pair can make a hero out of child-killer who liked to have mass killings take place in front of him while he enjoyed his lunch
Obama and Blago: saga begins: Obama many years in the Illinois, Cook County and Chicago political culture. That culture is rotten to the core. Nevertheless, his media stooges and unthinking disciples assert without a shred of evidence that he is without sin. That not only is he completely innocent of corrupt dealings he was also - until now - completely ignorant of the corruption that surrounded him in Chicago
Unrecognized by Americans majorities - domestic and international threats will change our country forever (blame the media). - Part I: The condition of our education system and the news media entrusted by our founders to keep the electorate 'well informed' has deteriorated to such an extent that the American people are unaware of threats from home and abroad that in a very real sense will change our lives just as a lost military war would
Unrecognized by Americans majorities - domestic and international threats will change our country forever (blame the media). Part II - Islam: If you want America to remain free of Islamic domination, get behind the Myrick proposals and see that your representatives and senators do as well; we can't rely on the press to do that



Your bureaucracy will protect you: "The world's biggest fraud could have been averted if the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had acted on numerous warnings about Bernard Madoff's financial impropriety years ago, the regulator's chairman admitted last night. Christopher Cox, the chairman of the SEC, effectively admitted mea culpa over the scandal after conceding that tip-offs were repeatedly made to the investors' watchdog but never resulted in any investigation. Mr Cox said that in less than a week of checks made into the regulator's oversight of investment businesses run by Bernard Madoff, he had found that "credible and specific allegations" had been "repeatedly" brought to the attention of the SEC but that no recommendations had ever been made to investigate the accusations. The admission comes a week after Bernard Madoff, a 70 year old financier, admitted to his two sons that he was "finished" and that his investment firm was nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme"

UN gives OK to land, air attacks on Somali pirates : "On the same day Somali gunmen seized two more ships, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize nations to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases on the coast of the Horn of Africa country. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on hand to push through the resolution, one of President George W. Bush's last major foreign policy initiatives."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why the university is dominated by the Left

The explanation excerpted below is pretty close to my own explanation. "We know better" is a rumbling subtext in most conversations about the world among academics. Humility is notably absent

In his classic Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942), the economist Joseph A. Schumpeter sketched in a brilliant "Sociology of the Intellectual." Things have not changed much in sixty odd years. The intellectuals he has in mind are distinguished by "active hostility to the social order." Their job, as they see it, is "to work up and organize resentment, to nurse it, to voice it and to lead it." Not everyone who receives a university schooling ends up an intellectual, but a university schooling is nearly universal among intellectuals. The common training provides a common cause. Or, as Schumpeter phrases it, "the fact that their minds are all similarly furnished facilitates understanding between them and constitutes a bond."

That is why, on the academic Left, "read Foucault" passes for a refutation. It is not merely that all university-trained intellectuals share the same references and citations, but what is more important, they accept the same auctores. Their lives have been changed by the same books. Small wonder that they progress rapidly "from the criticism of the text to the criticism of society," for as Schumpeter observes, "the way is shorter than it seems." It is shorter especially for those who read their favorite authors, not as literary critics nor as critics of the philosophical tradition, but as social critics.

Schumpeter traces the history of the intellectual from the monastery, where he was born, to the rise of capitalism, which "let him loose and presented him with the printing press." Similarly, the patron slowly gave way in the last quarter of the eighteenth century to that "collective patron, the bourgeois public." Although the intellectual conceived his role to ‚pater the public, he found, much to his delight, that flabbergasting sells; the public would pay for his "nuisance value."

The major change in the twentieth century was the expansion of the university-the emergence of Clark Kerr's multiversity. The trend only accelerated in the years following the first edition of Schumpeter's book. From 1930 to 1957 college enrollments in the U.S. more than doubled, and between 1960 and 1969 they doubled again, rising to over seven million. The faculty expanded along with enrollment.

The trouble is, as Schumpeter notes, the enormous expansion of the university created the conditions of what would now be called underemployment. "The man who has gone through a college or university," he writes, "easily becomes psychically unemployable in manual occupations without necessarily acquiring employability in, say, professional work." What is such a man to do? He "drift[s] into the vocations in which standards are least definite," like journalism, literature, or scholarship, thus "swell[ing] the host of intellectuals. . . ."

The economic conditions breed discontent-the intellectual feels underappreciated and underpaid-and discontent breeds resentment toward the social order which does not recognize the intellectual's genius and unique value. Add to this the fact that the system of emoluments seems capricious, rewarding some who are no more talented or accomplished than those who are deprived. Fern Kupfer, a four-book novelist who teaches at Iowa State University, fully understands the precariousness of her position:
When one of the graduate students in my [writing] program-looking longingly at my office, my piles of books, the few office hours posted on my door-confessed, "When I graduate, I want to do what you do," I wanted to tell him: "You can't. Because I'm already doing it."

Not "You can, through hard work and literary achievement", but rather, "Back off, boychik, I got here first". What are the chances that such an attitude, such a reality, will breed resentment in the longing student? ...

So too with the modern university intellectual's pose of social hostility. It does not arise from a rational analysis of the American order, but as a distortion of one's own personal circumstances. I should make better money; I should get the social recognition of a doctor or lawyer (my education is equal to or greater than theirs). To conceal the neurosis of this resentment from myself, I generalize it, transforming it into a social ideal. Why should a businessman make more than a teacher? (If a plumber thinks he can earn $250,000, however, he's a joke.)

Thus personal resentment and feelings of superiority are translated into an idealized image of social concern and responsibility. The humanities or social science professor, hating society, sees himself as the better man. And only wishes to associate with those who share his ideals-that is, those with equally idealized images of themselves.

More here



"Spengler" on Mumbai: "Several readers have asked me to comment on the terror attack on Mumbai in November. I will do so with great caution, given the absence of accurate information. I have good reason to believe that the Indian authorities lied about the attack. India claimed that 10 shooters were involved, because nine were killed and one captured. The actual number is closer to 30, I am reliably informed, not counting support personnel in Mumbai who arranged safe houses with extra ammunition and explosives months in advance of the attack. It was not a suicide attack at all, but a new kind of urban terror assault, in which the participants had a reasonable expectation of survival, and the majority did in fact survive. That is an important wrinkle, for a better class of combatant can be recruited for missions in which survival is at least possible. No analyst I know has answered with confidence the question, cui bono? To whose benefit was the attack? It has been suggested that al-Qaeda diverted a Pakistani military intelligence team from Kashmir to Mumbai, in a demonstration of power against India. But there may be another dimension. The Mumbai attack has been a test of a different kind of warfare, the kind that emanates from failed states: the tactics of the Somali pirates"

On government regulations again: "Opposition to government regulation should not be based on some imagined absolutism, namely, that each instance of it will necessarily result in regrettable consequences. No opposition to this and any other coercive public policy ought to rest on grounds of its injustice, on its perpetration of prior restraint! In broader terms, government regulations treat people as if they were experimental tools that may be used as decided by government officials. Something seems (though hasn't been proven) to be hazardous, so then those doing it may be forced to desist. This attitude, of enforced paternalism toward adults, is wrong even if once in a while acting on it will produce good results."

News flash -- FDR didn't fix the economy!: "The New Deal did not end the Great Depression. This statement will come as no shock to FEE supporters, but it will to the many people who never encountered it before. Now people are encountering it -- in newspaper columns and news-talk shows. Why, after years of being taught that Franklin Roosevelt's economic intervention saved the country from disaster, is the general public now being told -- by FDR fans, not critics -- that this is not the case?"

Britain and computers just don't get on: "One of the worst blunders ever seen on Whitehall saw a 'cost-cutting' computer system end up spouting answers in German and leaving taxpayers with a bill of more than 80million pounds. A damning report from MPs today accuses the Department for Transport of 'stupendous incompetence' in its management of a multi-million pound efficiency drive. Workers were left struggling with an IT system that issued messages in German, wrongly recorded that staff were off sick and randomly confiscated staff holidays. Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP who chairs the public accounts committee, said: 'The Department for Transport planned and implemented its shared corporate services project with stupendous incompetence. 'Department for Transport staff do not trust the system, which is hardly surprising when we hear that on occasion it took to issuing messages in German.' Tory MP Richard Bacon, another member of the committee, said: 'We saw the failure to test computer systems adequately with tax credits and with the Passport Agency. 'These were well-known bear-traps but the Department for Transport blundered straight into them. It is way past time that Whitehall learned to stop making the same old mistakes again and again.' "


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Getting Jonah out of the whale

Jonah Goldberg and I agree on most things. I particularly admire how effective he has been at making widely known the historical truth that Fascism is a Leftist phenomenon. Who was it who said: "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics"? It was Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the prewar British Union of Fascists, speaking in the 1960s.

I myself did the academic groundwork of showing how the myth that conservatives were responsible for Nazism was concocted but that research was seen only by social science academics and the social sciences are overwhelmingly Leftist so my findings were no sooner seen than forgotten.

But despite his brilliant emergence from the whale of misinformation that surrounds us all when Fascism is discussed, Jonah still is not completely out. He declared himself not convinced by my recent post about Hitler not being a racist in any conventional sense. Who can blame him? For those inside the whale, it must be a claim redolent of mental illness: A total departure from reality. And yet it is plain historical truth. Most of the countries Hitler attacked were heavily populated by people with blue eyes and fair skin and he allied himself with the non-European Japanese. A pretty strange white racist! But was he a GERMAN racist, then? Not at all. Hitler was quite clear about the group he favoured: Aryans. And Aryans are mostly brown (Indians). But I will return to that in a moment.

What keeps Jonah from escaping the whale entirely is Hitler's antisemitism. He says that Hitler was so clearly anti-Jewish that that alone makes him a racist. I sympathize with Jonah there. As a Jewish person it must be hard for him to think straight about the Holocaust. But I am one of those lucky WASPs who have no such horrors in their past. In fact it was a Conservative-dominated WASP parliament that made a Jew (the outspokenly Jewish Benjamin Disraeli) their Prime Minister just 15 years before Hitler was born. So I can mention freely here something that Jonah knows as well as I do: Jews are not a race. It is only your religious heritage that makes you a Jew. And Israel's Law of the Return is even more expansive than that. It says that you are a Jew if you think you are. And that would have been as clear to Hitler as it is to me. Most of the Jews I have met have blue eyes -- and blue eyes are a Northern European phenomenon, not a Mediterranean one. And there were plenty of blue-eyed Jews in Hitler's Germany. If Hitler was a racist, how come he missed such a stark racial marker as that???

So what WAS Hitler's thinking about race? Let me repeat briefly here what I said previously: In his book Der Fuehrer, prewar Leftist writer Konrad Heiden corrects the now almost universal assumption that Hitler's idea of race was biologically-based. The Nazi conception of race traces, as is well-known, to the work of Houston Stewart Chamberlain. But what did Chamberlain say about race? It should not by now be surprising that he said something that sounds thoroughly Leftist. Anthropologist Robert Gayre summarizes Chamberlain's ideas as follows:
"On the contrary he taught (like many "progressives" today) that racial mixture was desirable, for, according to him, it was only out of racial mixture that the gifted could be created. He considered that the evidence of this was provided by the Prussian, whom he saw as the superman, resulting from a cross between the German (or Anglo-Saxon "German") and the Slav. From this Chamberlain went on to argue that the sum of all these talented people would then form a "race," not of blood but of "affinity."

So the Nazi idea of race rejected biology just as thoroughly as modern Leftist ideas about race do! If that seems all too jarring to believe, Gayre goes on to discuss the matter at length.

And in accepting the notions of Chamberlain, Hitler was, as usual, simply accepting the wisdom of his day. Chamberlain was immensely influential in Germany long before Hitler came along. The Kaiser was so impressed by Chamberlain that he sent free copies of Chamberlain's book to people whom he thought needed it. But in case anybody questions the influence of Chamberlain on Hitler, let me give an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Chamberlain himself lived to see his ideas begin to bear fruit. Adolf Hitler, while still growing as a political figure in Germany, visited him several times (in 1923 and in 1926, together with Joseph Goebbels) at the Wagner family's property in Bayreuth. Chamberlain, paralyzed and despondent after Germany's losses in World War I, wrote to Hitler after his first visit in 1923:
" Most respected and dear Hitler, ... It is hardly surprising that a man like that can give peace to a poor suffering spirit! Especially when he is dedicated to the service of the fatherland. My faith in Germandom has not wavered for a moment, though my hopes were - I confess - at a low ebb. With one stroke you have transformed the state of my soul. That Germany, in the hour of her greatest need, brings forth a Hitler - that is proof of her vitality ... that the magnificent Ludendorff openly supports you and your movement: What wonderful confirmation! I can now go untroubled to sleep... May God protect you!"

Chamberlain joined the Nazi Party and contributed to its publications. Their journal Voelkischer Beobachter dedicated five columns to praising him on his 70th birthday, describing Foundations as the "gospel of the Nazi movement".

So why, then, did Hitler make such a scapegoat of the Jews? To understand that, you need to know that Nazism/Fascism belongs to the "One big happy family" version of Leftism ("All men are brothers", "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer", "We are the ones we have been waiting for"), which derives principally from Hegel. The other version is the class-war version principally promulgated by Karl Marx, who claimed to have stood Hegel on his head.

But immediately after WWI, Hitler's beloved Volk ("people", i.e. Germans. Note that there is a perfectly good word in German for race -- Rasse -- but Hitler did not use it for Germans) was bitterly divided between Communists and others. And that was the worst possible news for a "One big happy family" Leftist. So Hitler needed to find an explanation for that. And the explanation that suited best was to say that Germans were divided only because many of them were being misled by someone -- Jews. And in a sort of a way, he was right. Jews then were as generally Leftist as they are now and many of the class war-preachers in Vienna at the time were in fact Jews. And in Mein Kampf Hitler carefully sets out evidence of that. So Jews were, as ever, the convenient scapegoat. In its explanation for Middle-Eastern turmoil, the modern-day Left has Israel in that role to this day. The more things change ....



Another big British bureaucratic bungle: "A group of MPs has called on the Government to apologise to Equitable Life policyholders and to pay them compensation, thus turning up the heat on Gordon Brown before a formal decision early next year. The Public Administration Select Committee said that it "strongly supports" the findings of a report into the near-collapse of Europe's oldest mutual published by Ann Abraham, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, in July. Ms Abraham found three government departments guilty of ten counts of maladministration over Equitable, berating their failure to spot signs that it was in trouble. She said that the Government should say sorry and set up a compensation fund within six months."

North/South split over carmakers: "Almost 150 years after the American Civil War the struggle to save the country's carmaking industry is once again becoming a battle between the Union and the Confederacy. In this latter-day renewal of hostilities the union is the United Auto Workers (UAW) whose members are mostly employed in Northern states such as Michigan, the traditional heartland of US motor manufacturing. Union leaders have bitterly denounced Republican Senators from the South for scuppering a $14 billion bailout package for General Motors (GM) and Chrysler which, along with Ford, make up Detroit's "Big Three". Many of those who voted against it represent former Confederate states where foreign-owned car plants have sprung up in recent years and are proving to be more competitive than America's domestic manufacturers.... Yesterday Mr Corker said that Capitol Hill negotiations on the rescue deal had been wrecked by the UAW's refusal to accept the imposition of costcutting measures that would have forced the carmakers to operate on the same labour costs as the foreign-owned companies. He dismissed suggestions that self-interest had influenced his position, pointing out that he also had a GM plant in Tennessee which is "very important to my state"."

Better than a bailout: "US Representative Louie Gohmert has a better idea. The third-term Texas Republican proposes to strip Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson of his authority to spend the $350 billion remaining in the $700 billion bailout fund Congress created in October. Instead of being doled out to well-connected banks and Wall Street investment firms, the money would be used to finance a two-month federal tax holiday for every American taxpayer."

Social security: "A Wall Street crook by the name of Bernard Madoff was led away in handcuffs the other day for running a Ponzi scheme that bilked tens of billions from well-off adults who were seeking suspiciously high returns. The Wall Street Journal said it could prove to be history's largest financial scam. With all due respect to the Journal, it is not the largest financial scam -- not by a long shot. Another pyramid scheme that operates in the open is more than 1,000 times larger. It was set up to bilk defenseless children out of their money. Law enforcement authorities know about it. The media know about it. The comptroller general of the United States knows about it and has warned the public about it -- or at least the five percent of the public that isn't watching reruns of 'American Idol.'"


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Monday, December 15, 2008

Assumptions in moral debate

I have written a bit recently on what philosphers call meta-ethics. In other words I have been talking about what morality is in the abstract rather than discussing a particular moral dilemma (such as whether or not abortion is right). Scheule has made the interesting point, however, that we not only bring assumptions to discussions of ethical dilemmas but we also bring assumptions to our meta-ethical deliberations. So if a Leftist says that is it absurd to believe in the reality of something that has no known place or position and cannot be detected by any instrument, we could answer in the usual religious way or we could do something much more radical: We could say, "Why is absurdity a bad thing? Absurdity can be entertaining". We could, in other words reject absurdity as an evaluative criterion. So then we have to find a way of examining what we should think of absurdity. At that point we have obviously fallen into an infinite regress and the discussion cannot go on.

Sadly, I think Scheule is right. Meta-ethical discussions are every bit as much a matter of opinion as are ethical debates. So where can we go from there? The usual philosophical response in such circumstance would be something along the lines of saying that a rejection of absurdity as a criterion makes discourse impossible so therefore we cannot do it. But that is in itself arguable -- as is the nature of what is absurd. So I think that the entire discussion is not a universally available one but rather one that can only take place among people who have certain agreed asssumptions. And asking for shared assumptions between Left and Right is a tall order, and an order that will often not be met.

It is for instance a common Leftist assertion that there are many realities. That seems to me simply confused but it would nonetheless seem to rule out shared assumptions. In fact, it seems to me that "There are many realities" is a deliberate denial of any common assumptions. The Leftist is happy with his emotionally-dominated life and nothing will be allowed to interfere with his emotionally-dominated conclusions. And the denial of common assumptions would appear to be basic rather than a mere stratgem. The Leftist is surely aware that there is a glaring inconsistency between "There is no such thing as right and wrong" and "racism is wrong" yet that inconsistency does not seem to bother him in the least. He sees no problem with inconsistency-- to the point where inconsistency is almost a hallmark of Leftist argument. So the Leftist is quite happy to deny the possibity of rational argument. Making self-contradictory assertions is not rational. The Leftist is quite happy merely to emote.

Leftist argumentation does however remind us that we DO make some assumptions in meta-ethical debates and that could be seen as unsatisfactory. I think a very rough and ready way out is to note that despite our philosophical entrapment, people do nonetheless continue to make morally-influenced decisions and often care deeply about such decisions. So if we must give up asking philosophical questions there are still important questions there to ask, so why not instead ask scientific questions: Something I myself turned to in this area long ago. It is surely at least of interest to do studies of various sorts which detect how people do arrive at moral judgments in real life even if attempts at philosophical simplification have hit a wall.

Morality thus becomes a field of study for psychologists and anthropologists rather than for philosophers. And there have now of course been many research studies of that nature. Pinker offers a useful summary of them. And what such studies tend to show is what I have said above: That we do as human beings inherit certain moral instincts. So morality again emerges as quite solidly founded in the real world and a worthy and important object of discussion. It is a discussion of human instincts or responses to instincts. It is not wholly arbitrary and can be of vital importance. And the criteria we use in such discussions are not arbitrary either. They too are part of what we inherit. So I find it rather encouraging that both scientific enquiries and meta-ethical deliberations can arrive at essentially the same conclusion.



More media bias: "Why did the late Paul Newman’s philanthropy get better press than Richard Mellon Scaife’s? Because liberal philanthropists are altruists, while conservative ones are shadowy puppeteers manipulating strings for their own self-interest. At least that’s what you might think if you compared the media’s leperlike treatment of Pittsburgh billionaire Scaife (who has bankrolled the likes of the Heritage Foundation, the Free Congress Foundation, and The American Spectator, among other institutions), with the glowing portraits of Newman, Ted Turner, Bill and Melinda Gates, and even George Soros. “A damaging blow is dealt by the media when other conservatives considering a donation witness how Scaife and others are treated,” Nicole Hoplin and Ron Robinson write in Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement. “They are left wondering why they would take a chance in investing in a conservative cause.”

Obama aide caught in corruption: "The bullish, foul-mouthed but effective Chicago arm-twister Rahm Emanuel has come under pressure to resign as Barack Obama’s chief of staff after it was revealed that he had been captured on court-approved wire-taps discussing the names of candidates for Obama’s Senate seat. Emanuel’s presence at the heart of the scandal threatens to roil the president-elect’s administration as a Chicago prosecutor builds his corruption case against Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor. Blagojevich has been accused of plotting to sell Obama’s Senate seat - which is in the governor’s gift - in return for financial and political favours. Republicans are salivating at the prospect of tying the president-elect to the notoriously corrupt Chicago machine in which he forged his career."

Bush the regulator: "Since Bush took office in 2001, there has been a 13 percent decrease in the annual number of new rules. But the new regulations' cost to the economy will be much higher than it was before 2001. Of the new rules, 159 are "economically significant," meaning they will cost at least $100 million a year. That's a 10 percent increase in the number of high-cost rules since 2006, and a 70 percent increase since 2001. And at the end of 2007, another 3,882 rules were already at different stages of implementation, 757 of them targeting small businesses. Overall, the final outcome of this Republican regulation has been a significant increase in regulatory activity and cost since 2001. The number of pages added to the Federal Register, which lists all new regulations, reached an all-time high of 78,090 in 2007, up from 64,438 in 2001."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Conservatives are the real liberals

The so-called liberals are just Leftists

As a conservative, I believe my "liberal" credentials will stack up well with that of any of my contemporary peers in the academic, political, social, or religious venues of our day. Let me explain:

I am a liberal because I believe that the best education is one that indeed liberates. It liberates us from the consequences of those things that are wrong and frees us to live within the beauty of those things that are right.

I am a liberal because of my passion for a liberal arts education-an education that is driven by the hunger for answers rather than the protection of opinions, an education that is not subject to the ebb and flow of personal agendas or political fads, an education that is not afraid to put all ideas on the table because there is confidence that in the end we will embrace what is true and discard what is false.

I am a liberal because I believe in freedom-freedom of thought and expression and the freedom to dissent from consensus. I am energized by the unapologetic pursuit of truth. Wherever it leads I am confident in the words, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."

I am a liberal because I believe in integration. Truth cannot be segregated into false dichotomies, but it is an integrated whole. The liberally educated person recognizes that we cannot and should not separate personal life from private life, the head from the heart, fact from faith, or belief from behavior.

I am a liberal because I believe in conservation. There are ideas that are tested by time, defended by reason, validated by experience, and confirmed by revelation; and these ideas should be conserved. We are in fact endowed by our Creator with an objective moral understanding. I believe in nature and its natural law. We do know that rape is wrong, that the Holocaust was bad, and that hatred and racism are to be reviled. Even though we cannot produce these truths in a test tube, we hold them to be self-evident laws that no human being can deny.

I am a liberal because I recognize that, when we exchange the truth for a lie, we build a house of cards that will fall to mankind's inevitable temper tantrum of seeking control and power. History tells us time and time again that to deny what is right and true and embrace what is wrong and false is to fall prey to the rule of the gang or the tyranny of one. We need look no further than the lessons of Mao, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, or Robespierre for such evidence.

I am a liberal because I believe in liberty. I believe liberty is the antithesis of slavery and slavery is the unavoidable outcome of lies-lies about who we are as people, lies about what is right and what is wrong, lies about man, and lies about God.

Here is the question: Are we really free today or are we now becoming more and more enslaved by the constructs of the Ubermensch-the superman-the power brokers, the elites, the "fittest" who have survived in the political arenas of campaigns or campuses? Are we free to live within the boundaries of justice that come from the classical liberal education of the Uni-Versity-Uni-verities-Uni-Veritas-or are we becoming more and more bound by group think, political correctness, and populous power, what M. Scott Peck calls the diabolical human mind?

You see, good education, complete education, liberal education must be grounded in the conservative respect for and the conservation of what is immutable and right and just and real. It should seek to reclaim what has been co-opted and to reveal what has been compromised. It should be free of intimidation and should honor open inquiry and the right to dissent. It should have confidence in the measuring rod of Truth-that unalienable standard that is bigger and better than the crowd or the consensus.

Education-good liberal education-is the business of pursuing Truth. It isn't about constructing opinions. As Martin Luther King Jr. told us in his letter from the Birmingham jail, it is the conservation of the immutable virtues that serves as our strongest justification for our ongoing struggle for freedom, liberation, and liberty. Without such conservative ideas, I am not sure anyone can truly call himself a liberal.

More here



Union blocks automaker bailout: "A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts. The collapse came after bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the United Auto Workers union agree to steep wage cuts by 2009 to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers."

Administration unwilling to see automakers fail : "The Bush administration simply wasn't willing to stand by and watch the American auto industry financially collapse -- the stakes were too huge. So the administration committed Friday to step in and help avoid the collapse of the industry that was once the backbone of the nation's economy. Administration officials are talking with those automakers about conditions that must be met to get the aid and have not made final decisions on the size or duration of the help. "A precipitous collapse of this industry would have a severe impact on our economy, and it would be irresponsible to further weaken and destabilize our economy at this time," Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said"

Iran could be throttled quickly: "An op-ed by Orde Kittrie in the Wall Street Journal highlights Iran's "economic Achilles' heel" -- its "extraordinary heavy dependence on imported gasoline." Since more than half of Iran's gasoline imports flow through Dubai, his call to action could pose the first test of Hillary's independence from her husband's business interests. Most of the gasoline imported into Iran comes through Dubai, located right across the Persian Gulf. Indeed, Dubai is the mainstay of Iranian foreign trade, exporting about $13 billion each year to Iran, including $8.5 billion in goods Dubai acquires from other nations -- especially the U.S. -- and then re-exports to Iran to avoid the U.N. sanctions. If Hillary and Obama crack down on Dubai and on the European countries that supply Iran with gasoline, they could bring quick, acute, intolerable pain to the streets and government of Iran.... Already, Iran has had to introduce gasoline rationing, which has met with huge popular protest. Iran now rations motorists to thirty gallons of gasoline each month at about thirty-five cents per gallon. It doesn't dare raise prices or limit supplies further for fear of triggering a revolution."

Obama's dream-world: "The new president thinks rebuilding the nation's infrastructure is the kind of stimulus the economy needs to start cranking again. But will any of the workers fired last week by, say publisher Houghton Mifflin, DuPont, Viacom, AT&T, Avis and dozens of other white-collar heavy companies, really want to pour cement, dig ditches and engage in the brutal tasks that repairing roads and bridges will create? When Roosevelt created jobs with infrastructure stimulus in the '30s, America was a blue-collar society that employed mostly men. We, white-collar prima donnas, aren't going to benefit from this program, no matter how many billions the government spends. But a lot of illegal workers willing to work hard should do quite well. We'll be getting thank-yous soon from the Mexican government, which could benefit more from this than Nafta"


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)