Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Leftism rots the brain (again)
There is a program being shown shortly on British TV about the connection between race and IQ. So Britain's most widely circulated "quality" newspaper has published an anticipatory article on the subject by a Professor of Genetics at a prestigious British university: University College, London. From the personal particulars he mentions, one gathers that he is also a long-time Leftist activist.
Quite unsurprisingly, he pooh-poohs the idea of any connection between race and IQ. But in the article he makes not one single reference to any scientific fact (despite over 100 years of academic research on the subject) and his only criticism of those who say that there is a connection between race and IQ seems to be that they are all elderly (which is not true and even if it were, so what?). Can academic standards get any lower than that? To read such schoolboyish amateurism from an eminent professor of genetics is about the clearest demonstration one could ask of the fact that the "all men are equal" crowd have lost the intellectual argument. All they have to fall back on is crude political polemics.
Insofar as one can detect any argument at all in his article, he seems to be saying that the unfailingly low standard of average black educational achievement is due to poor education -- quite ignoring the fact that American educators are at their wits' end in trying to find anything that will budge the black/white "gap" in attainment. If our twitchingly Leftist professor of genetics can find ANYTHING that will get blacks achieving at anywhere near white levels he will get a Nobel prize (not that that means much these days).
Our sad professor explains high Asian academic achievement by the "push" that they get from their families. And there is a similar article here which proclaims that low black educational attainment is due to "absent" black fathers. There is a small grain of truth in that. Parental pressure can indeed raise educational achievement to some degree. But since our unscientific professor's article consists mainly of anecdotes, perhaps I can offer a counter-anecdote. Let me in fact offer two anecdotes to show that parental pressure is only a minor factor in intellectual attainment:
My son had zero pressure on him during his schooling and I was an "absent father" throughout. His mother and I split up in the same year that he began school. But he was always a couple of years ahead of his class in reading age and now has a first class honours degree in Mathematics from a distinguished university and is well set for an academic career. How come? I am a high-achieving academic and he has academic genes. He didn't need pushing. He mainly just coasted but the work was easy for him so he still did well.
And I myself grew up in a working class family, which, like most such families, had no expectations of high achievements among its children, and I was in fact discouraged from continuing my education beyond junior school. But my parents were both great readers of books and both had siblings who did exceptionally well at school. So I obviously got good genes from them which enabled me also to cruise and still do well academically.
Explanations for low black achievement in terms of black family patterns do have one virtue: Black families are not going to change any time soon so if that is the problem, we have to conclude that the attainment "gap" is immovable. And it is immovable, though not for that reason.
Decline is a choice. Retreat abroad begins at home
By: Charles Krauthammer
This is not the place to debate the intrinsic merits of the social democratic versus the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. There's much to be said for the decency and relative equity of social democracy. But it comes at a cost: Diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth.
This affects the ability to project power. Growth provides the sinews of dominance--the ability to maintain a large military establishment capable of projecting power to all corners of the earth.... The express agenda of the New Liberalism is a vast expansion of social services--massive intervention and expenditures in energy, health care, and education--that will necessarily, as in Europe, take away from defense spending.
This shift in resources is not hypothetical. It has already begun. At a time when hundreds of billions of dollars are being lavished on stimulus and other appropriations in an endless array of domestic programs, the defense budget is practically frozen. Almost every other department is expanding, and the Defense Department is singled out for making "hard choices"--forced to look everywhere for cuts, to abandon highly advanced weapons systems, to choose between readiness and research, between today's urgencies and tomorrow's looming threats.
For example, missile defense, in which the United States has a great technological edge and one perfectly designed to maintain American preeminence in a century that will be dominated by the ballistic missile. Missile defense is actually being cut.
The number of interceptors in Alaska to defend against a North Korean attack has been reduced, and the airborne laser program (the most promising technology for a boost-phase antiballistic missile) has been cut back at the same time that the federal education budget has been increased 100 percent in one year.
This preference for social goods over security needs is not just evident in budgetary allocations and priorities. It is seen, for example, in the liberal preference for environmental goods. By prohibiting the drilling of offshore and Arctic deposits, the United States is voluntarily denying itself access to vast amounts of oil that would relieve dependency on--and help curb the wealth and power of--various petro-dollar challengers, from Iran to Venezuela to Russia. Again, we can argue whether the environment versus security trade-off is warranted. But there is no denying that there is a trade-off.
Nor are these the only trade-offs. Primacy in space--a galvanizing symbol of American greatness, so deeply understood and openly championed by John Kennedy--is gradually being relinquished. In the current reconsideration of all things Bush, the idea of returning to the moon in the next decade is being jettisoned.
After next September, the space shuttle will never fly again, and its replacement is being reconsidered and delayed. That will leave the United States totally incapable of returning even to near-Earth orbit, let alone to the moon. Instead, for years to come, we shall be entirely dependent on the Russians, or perhaps eventually even the Chinese.
Of course, if one's foreign policy is to reject the very notion of international primacy in the first place, a domestic agenda that takes away the resources to maintain such primacy is perfectly complementary. Indeed, the two are synergistic. Renunciation of primacy abroad provides the added resources for more social goods at home. To put it in the language of the 1990s, the expanded domestic agenda is fed by a peace dividend--except that in the absence of peace, it is a retreat dividend.
And there's the rub. For the Europeans there really is a peace dividend, because we provide the peace. They can afford social democracy without the capacity to defend themselves because they can always depend on the United States.
So why not us as well? Because what for Europe is decadence--decline, in both comfort and relative safety--is for us mere denial. Europe can eat, drink, and be merry for America protects her. But for America it's different. If we choose the life of ease, who stands guard for us? ...
So why not? Why not choose ease and bask in the adulation of the world as we serially renounce, withdraw, and concede?
Because, while globalization has produced in some the illusion that human nature has changed, it has not. The international arena remains a Hobbesian state of nature in which countries naturally strive for power. If we voluntarily renounce much of ours, others will not follow suit. They will fill the vacuum. Inevitably, an inversion of power relations will occur.
Resistance to decline begins with moral self-confidence and will. But maintaining dominance is a matter not just of will but of wallet. We are not inherently in economic decline. We have the most dynamic, innovative, technologically advanced economy in the world. We enjoy the highest productivity.
It is true that in the natural and often painful global division of labor wrought by globalization, less skilled endeavors like factory work migrate abroad, but America more than compensates by pioneering the newer technologies and industries of the information age.
There are, of course, major threats to the American economy. But there is nothing inevitable and inexorable about them. Take, for example, the threat to the dollar (as the world's reserve currency) that comes from our massive trade deficits. Here again, the China threat is vastly exaggerated.
In fact, fully two-thirds of our trade imbalance comes from imported oil. This is not a fixed fact of life. We have a choice. We have it in our power, for example, to reverse the absurd de facto 30-year ban on new nuclear power plants. We have it in our power to release huge domestic petroleum reserves by dropping the ban on offshore and Arctic drilling. We have it in our power to institute a serious gasoline tax (refunded immediately through a payroll tax reduction) to curb consumption and induce conservation.
Nothing is written. Nothing is predetermined. We can reverse the slide, we can undo dependence if we will it.
Obama's big change: He moves America to the Right: "As promised, Barack Obama is bringing change to America. He's making it more Republican. It's not that more people are actually becoming Republicans or calling themselves Republicans -- the number of voters who formally identify with the party is at its lowest point in years. But we appear to be in the early stages of a shift in which political independents, people who not too long ago were sick of Republicans, are now leaning toward GOP positions on some key issues. They still call themselves independents, but they're worried by the left-leaning policies of President Obama and the Democratic Congress, especially on the economy. "The middle, which wanted to move away from George W. Bush, did not want to move this far left," says a Republican pollster who is tracking the shift. "They are tending to agree with what Republicans are saying more and more, despite the previous eight years."
Something really scary for Obama's Democrats: "The collapse of the Democratic campaign for governor of Virginia speaks volumes - chapters, anyway - about what the body politic is trying to tell Barack Obama's Democrats. They're learning, painfully, that campaigning without George W. Bush is baffling, frustrating and scary. Worse, it offers a preview of what the congressional campaigning will be like next year. One Obama doorbell ringer, working neighborhoods in Northern Virginia for Creigh Deeds, says even the promise of free pizza can't lure faithful Democrats to a rally."
Read the bills? How about reading the Constitution?: "You can live in this town for years and still occasionally find yourself gobsmacked by what counts as "normal" by Washington standards. Take the ongoing debate over whether it's fair for us to expect our elected representatives to read the laws they pass and expect us to follow. Recently, Sen. Thomas Carper, D-DE, and Rep. John Conyers, D-MI, scoffed at the idea that they should read the health care legislation working its way through Congress (hey, it's only a matter of life and death). That attitude has inspired the "Read to Vote" campaign--designed to get congressmen to pledge to "read every word of every bill before casting my vote." Is reading the cap and trade bill tough? Tough. If you're planning to regulate every industrial process in America, you may have to do some heavy slogging. It's said that the Roman emperor Caligula posted new laws high on the columns of buildings so citizens couldn't read them and figure out how to avoid their penalties. He could have achieved the same effect by covering the country with such a dense thicket of rules that no one could tell what the law commands. Legend has it that Caligula also made his favorite horse a senator. Considering how lightly most of our legislators take their constitutional obligations, you could probably do worse."
Corrupt agency finally in the gun: "The government's legal aid program for the poor has agreed to recover taxpayer money that it spent inappropriately on a decorative Italian-stone wall, but lawmakers in Congress are now pressing for an investigation into new whistleblower concerns about the program. The Washington Times reported earlier this year that the Legal Services Corp. (LSC) had spent $188,000 on imported Italian stone to decorate a Texas office, an expenditure that auditors later ruled was unjustifiable. But LSC officials will face a congressional panel Tuesday with members who still have concerns with the agency's spending habits and management. The federally funded legal aid program has been dogged for years with questions about how it spends its money, which has included providing its executives with limousine transportation from its Georgetown headquarters to Capitol Hill, $14 Death by Chocolate pastries, and first-class airfare. LSC received $390 million in federal funding in 2009; President Obama asked Congress to give LSC $440 million for 2010, an 11 percent increase, and also eliminate several restrictions governing how LSC can use its money."
Obama the golfer: "President Barack Obama has only been in office for just over nine months, but he's already hit the links as much as President Bush did in over two years. CBS' Mark Knoller — an unofficial documentarian and statistician of all things White House-related — wrote on his Twitter feed that, "Today - Obama ties Pres. Bush in the number of rounds of golf played in office: 24. Took Bush 2 yrs & 10 months." Lots of time to golf... not enough time to decide our Afghanistan policy or send much needed troops to the region..."
Kiss and tell: UK census wants to know your sleeping partner: "Here is some sound advice for anyone having an illicit love affair: if you do not want to be found out, do not arrange to sleep together on the night of March 27-28 2011. That is the night when the Government is going to count the British population, creating a precise, comprehensive record of who was sleeping where, how old they were, what ethnic background they came from, and what kind of central heating kept them warm that night. The 2011 census is already being called a ’snoopers’ charter.’ It is certainly going to give everyone an incentive not to lay their head to rest in the wrong house, at least for that one night. The Conservatives complained yesterday that the 32-page questionnaire is too long, too expensive, and likely to undermine public support for the exercise, especially since anyone who does not fill in the form risks a £1,000 fine. They will be sent out by post but it will be possible to fill them in online.”
Memo to Obama: Capitalism trumps racism: "A new political thriller from PBS, ‘Endgame,’ provides the little-known, true back story of apartheid’s end in South Africa, with credit given to a for-profit mining company. Foreseeing that deteriorating conditions in South Africa would likely result in a total loss of their assets, Consolidated Goldfields initiated secret discussions between representatives of the white South African government and the exiled black African National Congress (ANC), paid for and hosted at the company’s estate in England. These talks resulted in Nelson Mandela’s being set free after nearly 30 years in prison, and the public promise by South African President F.W. de Klerk to end the government-sanctioned system of discrimination known as apartheid. Thus, Malcolm X had it completely wrong when he opined: ‘You can’t have capitalism without racism.’”
So, what’s it all about, this neo-liberalism stuff, then?: "So let’s play a little game shall we? Yes, we are indeed the evil cabal that has imposed neo-liberalism upon the world in recent decades. Yes, it is indeed all our fault: the current recession, the globalisation, the insistence upon light regulation, privatisation, freer trade if no one is quite ready for free trade yet. Yup, it’s us, the neo-liberals, teaming up with the Illuminati, the Rosicrucians and whoever Dan Brown is going to write about next to bend the globe to our will. So what’s it all about then? Other, of course, than the intense pleasure of the exercise of power over mere mortals? This actually …. world poverty rates fell by 80% from 27% in 1970 to slightly more than 5% in 2006. … The corresponding total number of poor fell from 403 million in 1970 to 152 million in 2006.”
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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)
Posted by JR at 1:38 AM