Friday, June 02, 2017

Master innovators again

A few days ago, I pointed out that I am so far from being a white supremacist that I am in fact a N.E. Asian supremacist. The Left will still call me a racist for that but they called a sentimental Christian gentleman named George Bush II a Nazi so I think we can see that they have no truth in them (John 8:44).

The main point of my previous post was however to point out how people descended from German tribes living on the Southern shore of the Baltic 1500 years ago had a remarkable record of innovation -- so much so that they can be seen as having created the modern world. Documentation of that remarkable record can be seen here.

The leading tribe concerned we know as the Saxons but North Germans generally were not too different, as was shown by the rapid Northern adoption of that great Saxon innovation:  Protestantism. Saxon culture rapidly became the culture of all the Northern German lands. The South, of course, remained Catholic.

I now want to make a small update to that. I want to show that innovativeness among the descendants of the old Saxons continues to this day. It is not a mere historical curiosity. Modern day descendants of the old Saxon people in both Britain and Germany are great innovators to this day.  That we have invented unusually desirable societies in which to live is of course very vividly shown by the way most of the rest of the world wants to come and live among us.

But I want to highlight here something less obvious but which is only half-known these days:  The German innovations of WWII.  I imagine that most people know that Nazi Germany was the first nation to deploy both cruise missiles and ballistic missiles (V1 and V2) but that is merely the headline of WWII German innovation. Germany also deployed in WWII the first jet fighter aircraft (the ME 262), the first military radar, the first assault rifle (the Sturmgewehr), the first smart bomb and the first military helicopter.  Germany deployed a range of new technologies that were not fully adopted by the USA until the Iraq war. Germany re-invented modern warfare.

At the outset of the war, German ships had radar while British ships did not.  The British however improved their radars much more rapidly so they gained most from that technology.  It is usually pointed out that both radar and the jet engine were British inventions but the British of course are also descendants of those South Baltic tribes so my generalization about the great innovators is in fact reinforced by that.

I am not going to say anything about the Sturmgewehr as I know that many of my readers will be gun enthusiasts who know far more than I do about the subject.  When it was issued to German troops, however, they were ecstatic.

I must make a note about the Focke helicopters.  They used a twin rotor configuration quite different to what we mostly see today but that configuration puts all its power into lift -- so that is why the heavy-lift Chinook helicopters also  use a version of that configuration.  The Focke helicopters have only one modern-day descendant but it is a distinguished one. The Chinook is a real military workhorse

And then there were the various German smart bombs -- precision guided munitions to be technical.  Germans tried several versions of them and some were very effective -- and effective relatively early on in the war.  The sinking of the allied troopship "Rohna" in 1943 with great loss of life (1,100) was seen as so frightening that the allied powers hushed it up completely.  It has become known only in recent times.  To my knowledge it wasn't until Iraq that the USA used smart bombs in combat.

And Germany did all that despite losing so many top flight physicists and other scientists to Hitler's madness about the Jews.  It was a solely German effort.  Germany also went close to deploying an atom bomb but air raids on the facilities being used for that derailed the effort.

So the ball that Luther set rolling in 1517 in Saxony is still rolling.  New ideas are still proliferating among those of Saxon ethnic or cultural descent right into the modern era. I think most people reading here will know about Alan Turing and the origins of computers and even the internet was a British/American invention.

China will one day swamp us economically but I think that the descendants of those South Baltic tribes of 1500 years ago will remain the great innovators. I am pleased that I speak a version of that South Baltic language: English --JR.


It's not very relevant but it amuses me to note that the British royal family is a Saxon dynasty.  If they had not changed their surname to "Windsor" in WWI, their family name would be "Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha".  "Sachsen" is the German spelling of "Saxony".


Trump’s Tweet That Made The Media Lose Its Mind

From long experience at fixing my own typos I am prety sure he meant to write "coverage"

President Donald Trump’s tweet Tuesday night had people on Twitter asking, “What is ‘covfefe’?”

The president hit send on an unfinished message with a head-scratching misspelling at the end of it. “Despite the constant negative press covfefe,” Trump wrote.

What Trump was attempting to say was unclear, but the tweet left Twitter users speculating what “covfefe” could mean.

By Wednesday morning, the tweet had been deleted, and Trump himself had made a joke about it.



Time for a Food Stamp Diet

Trump's budget has Democrats screaming about the end of the safety net, but true compassion requires reform.

President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget suggests some serious changes to welfare in America. Let’s start with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a.k.a. food stamps. His proposal to trim the number of people on food stamps includes requiring able-bodied adults to work or train for work in exchange for benefits. He also wants the states to start taking a larger fiscal role in welfare. Those are common sense suggestions, which naturally have Democrats in an uproar.

The president’s budget proposals have been labeled a “horror” that will gut America’s safety net. That’s not what’s going to happen, but statists reflexively oppose any program that makes people more self-reliant. After all, how can the government control the masses without them being dependent on it for their every need?

Take the first part of Trump’s plan: worker activation. This means that people who apply for food stamps will have to work a regular job, prove they are physically incapable of work, or take part in community service or job training.

This is not an unreasonable stipulation. When Congress enacted welfare reform back in 1996, establishing a work requirement was one of the single biggest reasons the welfare rolls were dramatically reduced. It wasn’t until Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress loosened restrictions for applying for food stamps that welfare numbers started to rise again.

In 2013 and 2014, Kansas and Maine were able to reduce the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps with basic work requirements. In 2016, Georgia did likewise.

Trump’s call for getting the states more involved should also be a no-brainer. The federal government accounts for 75% of the $1.1 trillion in spending on means-tested aid. Almost all the money that the states chip in goes to Medicaid.

Trump’s budget proposal stipulates that the states start picking up 25% of the tab for food stamps as well. Democrats deceitfully claim that this accounts for a 25% cut in food stamps. That’s not the case. All that is taking place here is making sure states have “skin in the game,” as the saying goes.

The states will take whatever money the federal government gives them. In fact, they have a vested interest in having more people on food stamps because that means they get more money from the government.

In some twisted way, many state officials believe more money for food stamps actually helps the economy. Well, there are more people on food stamps than ever before in the history of the program. Is the American economy better for it?

The goal should be to reduce the number of people on food stamps. Obama, by loosening restrictions and making it seem patriotic to be on the government dole, drove the numbers above 46 million people. That’s nearly one in every six Americans on food stamps. That travesty is what he had the audacity to call Hope ‘n’ Change™.

It’s important to have a safety net for people who are not as fortunate. When the food stamp program was first introduced in 1964, it was believed that it and other welfare programs could provide temporary assistance. But Lyndon Johnson’s so-called War on Poverty and Obama’s actions during his presidency ensured not a safety net, but a spider web people could not escape. Ever since the “Great Society,” Democrats have offered a never-ending handout in exchange for votes. So far, their 50-year-old plan has worked perfectly.

Unfortunately for statists, to paraphrase the late Margaret Thatcher, they’ll eventually run out of other people’s money. The end is already near. The disability insurance fund, for which claims have risen three-fold since requirements were relaxed in the 1980s, would have gone dry last year had Congress not raided another fund to keep it solvent. This is but one pot that is nearly empty. If governments at the federal and state level don’t tighten restrictions for receiving food stamps and other aid, then the day will soon come when there won’t be any help for anybody.



Evidence Proves DNC Fabricated Russian Conspiracy
Just some introductory paragraphs below from a complicated bit of document sleuthing.  I am reminded of the downfall of Dan Rather after he was taken in by faked documents about GWB

New evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the Democrats manufactured the Russian interference story as a disinformation campaign as far back as June 2016.

Information gathered by internet sleuths proves that the DNC, Clinton campaign and Obama administration conspired to concoct the Russia-Trump story, and provides a brand new motive for why Seth Rich was murdered. reports: Understanding the order in which the events happened will be important to understand why it was the DNC and only the DNC could have manufactured the Russian campaign.

DNC announces they’ve been hacked.

The day after, a hacker calling himself Guccifer 2.0 claims to have taken credit for the hack and announces he will be giving his documents to Wikileaks. Guccifer 2.0 vehemently denies being Russian, a façade he keeps up throughout his activity.

Bolstered by Crowdstrike’s report and the metadata in Guccifer 2.0’s documents, media outlets immediately start screaming that Guccifer 2.0 must be Russian agents.

What did Guccifer 2.0 do?

Guccifer 2.0 hosted a WordPress site where the DNC documents could be publicly downloaded. June 15th was the date of the first Guccifer 2.0 leak; further leaks would continue thereafter. I focus only on the first leak, as they contain the metadata which are essential to proving it was a DNC operation.

Guccifer 2.0 leaked a total of 10 Office documents from the DNC in the first batch (many more would come, but none contain the same “mistakes” as the ones I shall detail).

All Microsoft Office documents have metadata entries which contain attributes about the document itself such as the user that created them, the user that modified them, and so on. This metadata is usually invisible to viewers but can be viewed with a raw text editor like Notepad, or on Mac OS, vim.

It would be unusual for a leaker to modify the metadata, but Guccifer 2.0 did, claiming that it was his “watermark.”

In Office, the metadata includes the owner of the Office application who created the file and the owner of the Office application who modified the file.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, June 01, 2017

Clinton wisdom?

Bill Clinton is undoubtedly a clever man.  And his presidency was not terribly ideological.  His good-natured "triangulating" (compromise) is a stark contrast with the unbending righteous Leftism of Obama.  So it is possible that he did have some wise things to say. One that has a certain plausibility is something he said at the opening of his library:

“The Left at its best tears down walls that shouldn’t have been there, and the right at its best stops the left from tearing down walls that should be there.”

It may not have been original to him but it is a pretty good bit of triangulating, whatever else it is. The key is the expression "At its best".  When is the Left at its best?  I imagine that what would mostly spring to mind in that connection would be the succour that the Left gives to the poor.  It could be argued that welfare measures are needed to keep social peace.  If the poor were left to starve they might be more criminal, more likely to mount an armed rebellion etc.

But here's the catch:  Social welfare measures such as old-age pensions, workers' compensation, limited working hours etc were NOT Leftist initiatives.  They were first introduced by Otto von Bismarck in Germany, the reactionary "Iron Chancellor" of Prussia.  And he was followed not long after that by Benjamin Disraeli, the much respected Conservative  Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland at the height of the British empire in the late 19th century. And there has been a broad consensus ever since that at least some government welfare measures are necessary.

So I am at a loss to know what Leftists have originated that could be described as "best".  Is their current promotion and valorization of homosexuality "best"?  It might gain them a few votes among homosexuals but alienates a lot of Christians. Don't they matter? The legalization of homosexuality was certainly an act of kindness but in the USA that has been primarily the work of the courts rather than of either political party.

And the 1964 Civil Rights Act aimed at benefiting blacks got more congressional support from Republicans than it did from Democrats.

So if someone can point me to beneficial Leftist destruction, I would be all ears.


While other controversies rage, work on border wall moves forward

New revelations come almost by the minute in the Trump-Russia affair. The White House moves into full-defense mode. The Trump agenda stalls on Capitol Hill.

A reasonable observer might conclude that is all that is happening in the Trump administration. But even as those troubles fill news sites and cable TV, administration officials are quietly moving ahead on one of the president's top campaign promises: the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Although it hasn't received much attention relative to the president's many problems, extensive planning for the wall is under way, officials are evaluating specific proposals, sites are being studied, and yes, there is money available to get going.

The work is being done under President Trump's executive order of Jan. 25, which declared the administration's policy to "secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall …" The order went on to set a high standard of effectiveness: "the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States" along the border. Finally, the order cited an existing law, the Secure Fence Act, which in 2006 called for the construction of "at least two layers of reinforced fencing" and "additional physical barriers" on up to 700 miles of the 1,954-mile border.

"The executive order calls on the authority in the Secure Fence Act for us to begin immediately," said a senior administration official who recently provided an extensive update on the state of the wall project. In March, U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent out a request for proposals for companies to bid on the construction of prototypes — not little models to sit on someone's desk, but full-scale sections of proposed wall designs that will be put in place on the border. So far, Border Protection has received more than 100 proposals.

"We are evaluating what started out as a solicitation to industry and request for proposals — 18 to 30 feet high, concrete, impenetrable, hard-to-scale, the correct aesthetics," the official said. "We've tried to capture the intent [of the executive order] in the requests for proposals, and those proposals are being evaluated now."

There are some important points to remember before going any further. First, there is no intention to build a wall to stretch the entire border, from San Diego, Calif., to Brownsville, Texas. In his campaign, the president made clear that the wall need not cover every mile of the border. Certainly, no expert who supports more barriers at the border believes it should, either.

And the wall does not always mean a wall. The Jan. 25 executive order defined "wall" as "a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous and impassable physical barrier." Planners say that in practice, that will certainly mean extensive areas with an actual wall. But other areas might have the type of fencing outlined in the Secure Fence Act, or some other barrier yet to be designed.

And that leads to a third point: The border barrier will not look the same at all points along the border. The terrain of the border is different — some parts are so imposing they don't need a barrier at all — and officials plan to design walls and barriers that fit each area, rather than one long, unchanging structure.

Right now, officials are studying how many "buildable miles" will need a barrier. Whatever the precise number, it will be big. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security told Congress that, of the 1,954 miles of border, 1,300 miles, or 66.5 percent, have no fencing or barriers at all; 299.8 miles, or 15.3 percent, have vehicle fence; and 316.6 miles, or 16.2 percent, have pedestrian fence. Only 36.3 miles, or 2 percent, have the kind of double-layer fencing required by the Secure Fence Act. (The law was passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, but neither Bush nor Congress really wanted to build the fence. So they didn't.)

"We've asked the nine sectors on the Southwest border, if you have to meet the standards in the executive order and the Secure Fence Act, where is it that barriers are required to complete the task?" said the senior administration official. "We've then evaluated those areas where the traffic [of illegal border-crossers] is highest." Planners are considering those factors in light of the executive order's "prevent all entries" standard — administration officials are taking that edict very seriously — to come up with areas in which a wall would be the best solution, or where some other type of physical barrier would do the job better.

At the moment, planners believe that about 700 "buildable miles" of the border will require a wall or other barrier. That just happens to be about the same amount called for in the Secure Fence Act.

Does the government have that much land available? The answer is mostly yes. Remember, from the numbers cited above, that there are more than 650 miles along the border with something on them — vehicle fence, simple pedestrian fence, whatever. That means the government has already gone through the land acquisition and approval process required to erect a barrier. "It's federal property now because we've either condemned it or purchased it," said the official.

There's no doubt that hundreds of miles of truly impenetrable barriers would have a huge effect on illegal border crossings. Talk to some experts who favor tougher border enforcement, and they will say that even as few as 100 well-chosen miles of barrier would make a difference.

In any event, there is a significant amount of border land that is already in government hands. "West of El Paso, a lot of the land is public," the official noted, while "as you go further east from El Paso towards Brownsville, a lot of that land is private." Going through the process of condemning or buying land — with all the legal and financial issues involved — will depend "on how we choose the priorities."

Once planners decide where to build, there will then be the question of what to build. If the decision is to build a wall, then the question is: a wall of what? Planners have decided that concrete will definitely be involved, even though it hasn't played much of a role in earlier barriers. Why concrete? "It's an interpretation of the vision," the senior administration official explained. By "vision," he meant it is a way to make Trump's oft-repeated promise of a "big, beautiful wall" a reality. Trump didn't mean a fence.

On the other hand, using concrete presents one obvious problem. Whatever barrier is built, Border Protection agents on the U.S. side need to be able to see through it. That's always been a requirement with earlier barriers. So now, officials are looking for creative ideas for a wall that will still allow them full sight of the Mexican side.

That touches on the most important consideration for planners. A wall isn't just a wall. It is a system — a "smart wall," as they call it. It involves building a barrier with the monitoring technology to allow U.S. officials to be aware of people approaching; to be able to track them at all times; to have roads to move people around; the facilities to deal with the people who are apprehended; and more. "It's not just a barrier," noted the official. (Last year, with the Obama administration still in office, a number of Border Protection officials traveled to Israel to study that country's highly effective barriers; they came home big believers in a smart wall.)

At this point, it's impossible to say what building a smart wall will cost, because officials haven't yet decided on a plan. But how much money does the administration have to get started now? Begin with money that was already to available to the Department of Homeland Security.

"Congress gave us a re-programming for money we were planning to do other things with — mostly technology — to get us through this request for proposals and to get the prototypes underway immediately," the senior administration official said. "That has happened already. We found $20 million to get that effort underway."

"Then, the 2017 budget resolution gives us substantial money to continue doing real estate and environmental planning and design, and then replace some fencing," he continued. "That's in the neighborhood of $900 million."

"You won't get a lot of new fence for that," the official conceded. "You'll get some upgrades. But you'll get some behind-the-scenes work underway — engineering, design, real estate acquisition, title searches, the kinds of things that have to happen to make it work."

That is a start. Republicans on the Hill argue that they got as much money in the recent spending bill as they could for the project, given that they had to work with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown and fund the government through Sept. 30. "We weren't going to get anything passed that said, quote-unquote, 'wall,'" noted one GOP staffer.

The next funding hurdle will come when Congress considers spending for 2018. Most House and Senate Democrats appear determined to stop a border barrier. They say it will be expensive and ineffective, while some Republicans believe Democrats oppose the wall mainly because they fear it will work.



Another disgusting Leftidst "comedian"

CONTROVERSIAL comedian Kathy Griffin has hastily apologised for a shocking photo shoot in which she was seen wielding President Donald Trump’s bloodied, decapitated head.

The veteran comic has long been an outspoken Trump critic, but it’s the gruesome nature of her latest anti-Trump display that shocked fellow celebs and even Hillary and Bill Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea.

The instant backlash to the shockingly realistic photos made Griffin pull all evidence of the bloody stunt from the internet, issuing a video apology in its place. “I sincerely apologise. I am just now seeing the reaction of these images. The image is too disturbing, I understand how it offends people. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in career. I will continue. Taking down the image, gonna ask the photographer to take down the image. I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far, I made a mistake and I was wrong,” she said.

Griffin had earlier posted behind the scenes footage from the shoot with photographer Tyler Shields on her Twitter account, writing: “I caption this ‘there was blood coming out of his eyes, blood coming out of his ... wherever.”

The caption is a reference to comments Trump made about journalist Megyn Kelly in 2015 after a fiery debate exchange.
The video was met with an instant backlash from both sides of the political divide.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

American patriotism versus German patriotism

There is a large Quora thread on the above comparison  here. It says just about all that could be said on the subject but I was rather fascinated by a rather cutting comment from Jens Böttiger.  I reproduce it below:

"In America you show patriotism by attaching a full size US flag on your pickup truck (Or confederate flag for alternative patriotism), singing the anthem before every baseball game, and sending 18 year olds to Iraq so you can later thank them for their service when they roll by you in their wheelchair in Walmart.

"In Germany we show patriotism by voting for higher taxes on ourselves to make healthcare and college tuition universally accessible to our less fortunate fellow citizens, and by picking up after one another to keep public spaces clean and nice for everyone."

Has he got a point?  He might have if it is patriotism that motivates German acceptance of high taxes.  But is it?  Might it not be that Germans have a high need for security and predictability?  A welfare state does provide that. So I think that Jens Böttiger is kidding himself about patriotism being the motive.

His second point is that Germans look after their public spaces better. But might not that be the result of a very German need for order?  I think a need for order is a good thing but let us not confuse it with patriotism.

His point about American patriotism being very public is undoubtedly true.  There is nothing like that in Australia or Britain.  But I see it as being just one example of a much more extroverted society.  Compared with other countries Americans are much more open and "out there".  Americans even talk to one-another in elevators!  Though maybe not in NYC. In Britain NOBODY talks in elevators. And I see the American way as a rather joyous way to live.  Americans greatly ENJOY their patriotic displays.

Australians and British people tend by contrast to be rather embarrassed by patriotic expressions.  Which way is better? Where do the different ways lead?  I don't think they lead in different directions at all.  The obvious comment is that American patriotism is behind America's many wars.  Yet there is not a single major American war in the 20th century that Australia did not participate in too.  Compared to American exuberance the Australian style is laconic but I suspect that the inhabitants of both countries are equally proud of what their country has achieved and become.

Jens Böttiger's final point about America refers to the suffering that America's troops often undergo.  He implies that the suffering is inflicted by patriotism.  But is it? Most of America's wars abroad are indeed a product of American exuberance but that is not exuberance about America so much as an exuberant conviction that America can help other nations with their problems.  Americans have a conviction not that they can conquer but that they can do good. I think that is rather admirable even if it is sometimes misguided.

So I can understand that Jens Böttiger is out of sympathy with American patriotism but I think his arguments are fallacious.  They have a Goebbels-like plausibility but in the end are just propaganda.  It is clear however that he is himself a patriotic German.  He even defends the reputation of Hitler's Luftwaffe in another post.  So it is amusing that he actually lives in America -- JR.


A sad choice for the British general election

By Sean Gabb (an English libertarian)

For the avoidance of doubt, I still intend to vote Conservative in this dreadful election. And, if Labour seems to be catching up in the opinion polls, so, I suspect, will enough people to give the Conservatives a decent majority. The general election is a rerun of last year’s Referendum. There is no other consideration that ought to sway anyone who is looking beyond our present circumstances. We vote Conservative. We leave the European Union. We hope and work for a realignment in British politics. Except for this, however, I would be dithering between another vote for UKIP and a spoiled ballot. Except for Europe, the contest is between an authoritarian hag and a Fenian scumbag.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have made their responses to the Manchester Bombings. According to the BBC,

Theresa May has urged world leaders to do more to combat online extremism, saying the fight against so-called Islamic State is “moving from the battlefield to the internet.”

What she has in mind is outlined in the Conservative Manifesto:

[W]e  will  establish  a  regulatory  framework  in  law  to  underpin  our  digital  charter  and to  ensure  that  digital  companies,  social  media  platforms  and  content  providers  abide by  these  principles.  We  will  introduce  a  sanctions  regime  to  ensure  compliance, giving regulators the ability to fine or prosecute those companies that fail in their legal duties, and to order the removal of content where it clearly breaches UK law. We will also create a  power  in  law  for  government  to  introduce  an  industry-wide  levy  from  social  media companies and communication service providers to support awareness and preventative activity to counter internet harms, just as is already the case with the gambling industry.

If this hardly needs translating into Plain English, I will make the effort. The Conservatives are proposing to censor the Internet. Anyone who, in this country, publishes opinions or alleged facts the authorities dislike will be prosecuted. If these are published abroad, access to the relevant websites will be blocked. Internet companies will be taxed to pay for a Ministry of Propaganda to go beyond anything now provided by the BBC.

We are supposed to think the main targets of censorship will be the radical Moslems. I have no doubt some effort will be made to shut them up. The main targets, however, will be on the nationalist right. These are the ones who will be harried and prosecuted and generally threatened into silence. The only person so far to have lost a job on account of the bombings is the LBC presenter Katie Hopkins. She made a sharp comment on air about the Moslems, and was out. Other than that, we have had a continual spray of propaganda about the Religion of Peace, and how its core texts have nothing to do with suicide bombings or mass-rape or disorder.

In Britain, in Europe, in America, there are powerful interests that are itching to censor the Internet. It is the Internet that has made us cynical. It is the Internet that is giving us the probable truth. It is because of the Internet that the authorities are being held to account. Never let a good atrocity go to waste. Get the people ready for censorship while the bodies are still being reassembled.

Jeremy Corbyn, I grant, has been slightly better. He sees Islamic terrorism as a response to our endless wars of aggression in the Islamic World. He says:

[M]any experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed out the connections between wars that we have been involved in, or supported, or fought, in other countries and terrorism here at home.

There is some truth in this. I will not quote the relevant news releases from the Islamic State. But their consistent line is that, so long as we drop bombs on their women and children, they will blow themselves up among ours. Bearing in mind the scale of the chaos and bloodshed they have unleashed since 2001 in the Islamic world, our leaders are in a weak position to complain.

Even so, if they have been at least unwise, these wars cannot be regarded as the whole cause of what is being done to us. There have been major terrorist attacks in Spain and Germany and Sweden, countries that have not been to war in the Islamic World. There have been attacks in Thailand and India and the Philippines, and in many other countries that stayed neutral. I believe that we should withdraw all our forces from Iraq and Libya and Afghanistan. We should leave the Syrians to sort out their civil war. We should, so far as possible, vacate those parts of the world. I believe we should do this for our sake and for theirs. But I do not believe this would stop the terrorists from blowing our people up or from running them down. Remove one excuse – another would be found.

There is a weak correlation between Islamic terrorism and whether a country targeted has been to war in the Islamic World. There is a very strong correlation between Islamic terrorism and the presence of a large Moslem population. Thailand had no part in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. It has Moslems. It has had terrorism. Slovakia was in the “Coalition of the Willing.” It has almost no Moslems, It has had no terrorism.

Let us suppose Tony Blair had found the common sense to tell the Americans to invade Iraq on their own. There might have been less Islamic terrorism in this country. But do not suppose there would have been none. The wars we fought in Iraq and elsewhere were wrong in themselves. They failed in their stated ends. But the true cause of the mess we are in is unlimited immigration of people who mostly cannot be assimilated, and who have been allowed to establish a demographic and cultural hegemony in large parts of the country. When our ancestors turned up in North America, they formed exclusive enclaves, and felt no obligation to conform to the ways of the aborigines. They thought they were better, and they would have been scandalised by any advice to paint their faces and join in the tomahawk dance. Once their initial colonies were secure, and once their population had sufficiently grown, they took over. Why should it be very different when we are the colonised? Terrorist violence is connected with what we have done to their countries. Much more, it is part of marking new territory and pre-empting opposition.

I could move to discussing what solutions may be available to this problem. But I will not. Instead, I will return to the May solution. If every terrorist outrage we have known in this country during the present century was committed by Moslems, terrorism is not the worst problem we face. I do not wish in any sense to minimise the horror of what was done earlier this week in Manchester. I am not saying this for form. It was a shocking and a disgusting act. But I will quote the words of Lord Justice Hoffman when he struck down an anti-terrorism law in 2004:

In my opinion, such a power in any form is not compatible with our constitution. The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve.

Terrorist violence, on whatever scale, affects those individuals who suffer it directly. A police state harms the nation as a whole. It may be said that we need a police state to fight terrorism. It is better said that terrorism is presently seen by the authorities as an excuse for the police state they have long wanted. There was no Islamic terrorism in this country before the beginning of the present century. There had been a declining level of Irish terrorism before then. There was no credible reason to suppose that any terrorists were using the Internet to further their ends. All the same, the 1990s saw a steady drumbeat of claims that the Internet needed to be censored, and that the normal rules of justice should be replaced by the rules of a police state. The excuse then was drugs and child pornography. At the end of the 1980s, I recall Margaret Thatcher’s claim that we needed identity cards to deal with violence at football matches. I believe that, if every Moslem were to leave this country tomorrow, the authorities would pause to draw breath, and, the day after that, continue demanding censorship, and detention without trial, and identity cards, and mass-surveillance – this time to save us from global warming, or Russian spies, or an impending asteroid impact.

And now to my final words on Mr Corbyn. If our present rulers are in a weak position to complain about terrorism, Mr Corbyn is in a very weak position to call himself a man of peace. I carry no torch for Israel, but Mr Corbyn has, throughout his time in politics, openly sided with the enemies of Israel – which, whatever can be said against it, is a liberal democracy of sorts. It is reasonable to presume that he opposed our wars in the Islamic world less because they were wars than because they were with his friends. Far worse than this, he has been a consistent supporter of Sinn Fein/IRA. I shall think better of his opposition to our wars in the Islamic World when he finally denounces the campaign of armed terror directed by his late friend Martin McGuiness.

But Mr Corbyn will almost certainly not be asked to form a government the week after next. Mrs May will keep the one she has. I will vote to keep her in office. But I take no pride in this. We live in a country with a more degraded public life than the average dystopian novel of forty years ago was likely to imagine.

Yes, I will pinch my nose again the Thursday after next, and vote Conservative – in the hope, and perhaps in the belief, that I shall have a better choice in 2022.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, May 30, 2017


The last 12 hours have been very tearful for me. After a long battle, Chris Brand has just passed away.  Chris and I were born on opposite parts of the world but we could well have been twins. We were the same age, we both had a classical education (though Chris acquired his in  circumstances much more distinguished than mine) and both of us were very self-confident and independent and thought very similarly.  To defy all the nonsense that is taught in our society we had to be very self-confident and independent.  Both Chris and I waged an unrelenting war on political correctness.

Sadly, I never met Chris in person but I am pleased I had a proxy with him up to the end. My stepson Paul and I had always got on exceptionally well.  Paul too is very independent and there was a time in his teens and early 20s when I was the only person Paul would listen to if any kind of advice was being offered.  So when Paul moved to Edinburgh for business reasons I was greatly pleased that I could send him a friend very much like myself.  And Paul did indeed develop a great friendship with Chris.

Something that upsets me about Chris's death is that I could have prevented it if I had known earlier what I know now.  He died in an NHS (government) hospital of hospital-borne infections. He got one after another, progressively weakening him until he had nothing left to fight with.  NHS hospitals are riddled with hospital borne infections and Scottish NHS hospitals are said to be worse even than English ones.  Private British hospitals are however usually free of such infections.  With the benefit of hindsight I would have asked Paul to put Chris in a private hospital very early on.  I could have funded it and he would be with us today.

Curse and goddam the NHS!

It is however a comfort that Chris's wife, Dr. Shiou-Yun Fang [] sat with him to the end.  Perhaps in deference to a Chinese custom she even sat with him for some time after he died.  She is from Taiwan and is a distinguished art historian. Those who enjoyed Chris's thoughts in life may wish to comfort her in her great loss by sending her your condolences and prayers and recollections of Chris's wisdom. I will leave his blog in place for as long as Google permits it. It is IQ & PC.


Trump and the Prime Minister of Montenegro

A report below.  The media made much of this incident, portraying Trump as a rude boor and as a childish seeker of attention.  When I first heard of what Trump had done, my reaction was: "He must think he is President of the United States".

And that really is the nub of the incident. Trump's manners probably were poor in the incident but he reminded us, probably inadvertently, that we don't have to abide by the Leftist gospel that all  men are equal.  It is quite reasonable for the President of the United States to expect special treatment and special priority.

Other Presidents would undoubtedly have abided by the Leftist convention that you avoid any references to inequality. You should pretend where possible that all men are equal.  Other Presidents would undoubtedly have treated other national leaders at the meeting as if all leaders there were equal.  In other words, Leftist assumptions have become good manners.  But now Trump has called that into question as he has called into question many other Leftist assumptions. He has made visible an invisible assumption.

It would probably get Trump further in the short run if he did observe conventional manners and I am, I suppose, regretful that he is not always "Presidential", but his implicit and explicit violation of so many conventional assumptions is a real lesson in how much our culture has become a Left-dominated one. JR

The prime minister of Montenegro, who became the inadvertent star of a viral video of President Trump pushing him aside during a gathering of world leaders, called the incident "inoffensive."

“This was an inoffensive situation,” Montenegro's Dusko Markovic told reporters, according to the Washington Post. “I do not see it in any other way.”

The moment, which shows Trump appearing to shove Markovic while the group of North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders were getting together for the "family photo," made quite a stir on Thursday. Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said he did not see video of the incident, but explained the president was getting into his pre-determined position.



The Biggest Revelations From New Obamacare Study

A report released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services shows a significant hike in the average cost of individual plans since 2013 in 39 states.

In 2013, the average annual cost of a premium for an individual health care plan was $2,784. By 2017, the average annual cost for a premium for an individual health care plan on was $5,712. Thirty-nine states use

Twenty-four states had Obamacare premiums in 2017 that were double the average individual premium in 2013.

In three states, the Obamacare premiums are now triple the average individual premium in 2013.

President Barack Obama promised premiums would go down under Obamacare.

“You should know that once we [have Obamacare] fully implemented, you’re going to be able to buy insurance through a pool so that you can get the same good rates as a group that if you’re an employee at a big company you can get right now—which means your premiums will go down,” Obama said in 2012.

Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a public policy research organization, told The Daily Signal in an email that Obamacare is flawed.

“The key promise the Obama administration made to Americans in the health reform debate was that their premium and health costs would go down,” Turner said, adding:

But year after year, families have seen their premiums soar. This new HHS study, looking at premium costs before and after Obamacare, proves that the law has failed dramatically to fulfill its promise.

Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement that “This report proves what Republicans have been saying for years—Obamacare was sold on lies that failed to deliver for the American people.”

Bob Moffit, a senior fellow and health care expert at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that he is not surprised by the findings of the study.

“Obamacare has literally wrecked the individual market with skyrocketing premiums, crazy deductibles, restrictive physician networks, and a radical decline in plan participation and competition,” Moffit said. “The roots of the current crisis were baked into the law from the beginning, [along with] costly benefit mandates and inflexible insurance regulations.”

Drew Gonshorowski, a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, who studies Medicare and Medicaid, said he is also unsurprised.

“This study shows something that we’ve already known about the exchanges for some time now–that premiums have and continue to rise drastically,” Gonshorowski said in an email to The Daily Signal.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the law cannot sustain itself.

In a report released Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Republican Obamacare replacement plan, the American Health Care Act, will reduce budget deficits by $119 billion from 2017-2026.

Under Obamacare, the number of uninsured is estimated to be 28 million in 2026, according to the report, which estimates that number would rise to 51 million the same year if the American Health Care Act became law.



Trump Is Not Pro-Russia, Despite What the Media Says

Politically, no story is hotter than the one about President Donald Trump and the Russians.

Last week’s appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the election keeps the story alive.

But abroad, Trump hasn’t helped the Russians. In fact, he’s opposed them.

Like many Americans, I completely rejected candidate Trump’s praise for Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin. The fact that President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton had also sought to get on Putin’s good side didn’t make Trump any less wrong.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>

By and large, Trump ran as an opponent of recent U.S. military interventions, including those in Iraq and Libya.

But he made an exception for U.S. action against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and he appeared to believe that the Russians were intervening in Syria to join that battle on the U.S. side.

That was a serious error. Russia’s goals in Syria were to prop up Bashar Assad’s regime and to support Assad’s regional patrons, the Iranians.

Putin’s airstrikes didn’t target ISIS. They targeted the rebels that we were ineffectively trying to support.

And that leads to the phony scandal about Trump’s sharing of intelligence with the Russians.

First, all the Americans in the room have rejected the claim that any secrets were shared.

But even if they were, this isn’t a crime. The collection and sharing of intelligence is an executive branch job, and the president has the right to make his own decisions in this realm.

Yet the fact that something’s not illegal doesn’t make it a good policy decision. Intelligence sharing with allies is smart, and we do it all the time.

The Russians, though, aren’t our allies, no matter how much Trump believes we’re both opposing ISIS. Even if we’re not giving them any secrets, we’re not going to get them to play ball by giving them Oval Office meetings.

But look at what the Trump administration has done in the rest of the world. It hasn’t acted like it believes in being buddies with Russia. Not at all.

There were concerns that Trump would try to buy Russian cooperation against ISIS by lifting the sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Those sanctions have remained in place.

What’s more, the Trump administration has done what the Obama administration wouldn’t do: launch a cruise missile strike on the Russian-supported Syrian regime.

It also called out Russia for arming the Taliban and got Montenegro into NATO—a move the Russians opposed.

Earlier this month, Trump signed a bill prohibiting any U.S. funds from being used to support the Russian occupation of portions of the nation of Georgia.

He also offered “full support” for Georgia’s territorial integrity in a cordial meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, while Vice President Mike Pence backed Georgia’s accession to NATO, defended its sovereignty, and supported its economic reforms.

The Obama administration’s ill-fated “reset” with Russia in 2009 was an effort to back away from the Bush administration’s belated recognition, after Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, that Putin wasn’t a good guy.

So Trump’s support for Georgia isn’t just about opposing Russia. It’s a rejection of Obama’s effort to sidle up to Moscow.

If the Trump administration is supposed to be colluding with the Russians, they’re doing a terrible job of it.

They’ve opposed Russia in Europe, Afghanistan, Georgia, and Syria, while trying—and this is where the Oval Office meeting comes in—to get Moscow to oppose ISIS.

Trump’s effort to win over the Russians testifies to the emphasis the administration is placing on the war against the Islamists. That effort isn’t going to go anywhere: The Russians will play their own game in the Middle East.

I wish the Trump administration would recognize this. But I’d rather have an administration that tries to cooperate with the Russians on ISIS alone than one—like Obama’s—which tries to cooperate with them everywhere.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, May 29, 2017

Another blow to the Statin religion

A study of nearly 3,000 older adults found that giving them statins did not extend their lifespans nor did they get fewer  heart attacks.  Since old people are the high risk group, we have to ask if they do not benefit from statins, who would?

Effect of Statin Treatment vs Usual Care on Primary Cardiovascular Prevention Among Older Adults

Benjamin H. Han et al.


Importance:  While statin therapy for primary cardiovascular prevention has been associated with reductions in cardiovascular morbidity, the effect on all-cause mortality has been variable. There is little evidence to guide the use of statins for primary prevention in adults 75 years and older.

Objectives:  To examine statin treatment among adults aged 65 to 74 years and 75 years and older when used for primary prevention in the Lipid-Lowering Trial (LLT) component of the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT-LLT).

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Post hoc secondary data analyses were conducted of participants 65 years and older without evidence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease; 2867 ambulatory adults with hypertension and without baseline atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease were included. The ALLHAT-LLT was conducted from February 1994 to March 2002 at 513 clinical sites.

Interventions:  Pravastatin sodium (40 mg/d) vs usual care (UC).

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary outcome in the ALLHAT-LLT was all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes included cause-specific mortality and nonfatal myocardial infarction or fatal coronary heart disease combined (coronary heart disease events).

Results:  There were 1467 participants (mean [SD] age, 71.3 [5.2] years) in the pravastatin group (48.0% [n = 704] female) and 1400 participants (mean [SD] age, 71.2 [5.2] years) in the UC group (50.8% [n = 711] female). The baseline mean (SD) low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were 147.7 (19.8) mg/dL in the pravastatin group and 147.6 (19.4) mg/dL in the UC group; by year 6, the mean (SD) low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were 109.1 (35.4) mg/dL in the pravastatin group and 128.8 (27.5) mg/dL in the UC group. At year 6, of the participants assigned to pravastatin, 42 of 253 (16.6%) were not taking any statin; 71.0% in the UC group were not taking any statin.

The hazard ratios for all-cause mortality in the pravastatin group vs the UC group were 1.18 (95% CI, 0.97-1.42; P = .09) for all adults 65 years and older, 1.08 (95% CI, 0.85-1.37; P = .55) for adults aged 65 to 74 years, and 1.34 (95% CI, 0.98-1.84; P = .07) for adults 75 years and older. Coronary heart disease event rates were not significantly different among the groups. In multivariable regression, the results remained nonsignificant, and there was no significant interaction between treatment group and age.

Conclusions and Relevance:  No benefit was found when pravastatin was given for primary prevention to older adults with moderate hyperlipidemia and hypertension, and a nonsignificant direction toward increased all-cause mortality with pravastatin was observed among adults 75 years and older.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 22, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.1442


The Best Trump Budget Cuts, Part V: Less Foreign Aid

President Trump’s new budget is getting attacked by politicians and interest groups in Washington. These critics say the budget cuts are too severe and draconian.

My main reaction is to wonder whether these people are illiterate and/or innumerate. After all, even a cursory examination of Trump’s proposal shows that the federal government will expand over the next decade by an average of 3.46 percent every year, considerably faster than inflation.

For what it’s worth, I’m sure most of the critics actually do understand that government will continue growing under Trump’s budget. But they find it politically advantageous to engage in “Washington math,” which is when you get to claim a program is being cut if it doesn’t get a sufficiently large increase. I’m not joking.

That being said, while the overall federal budget will get bigger, there are some very good proposals in the President’s budget to terminate or reduce a few specific programs. I don’t know if the White House is actually serious about any of these ideas, but some of them are very desirable.

* Shutting down the wasteful National Endowment for the Arts.
* Defunding National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
* Terminating the scandal-plagued Community Development Block Grant program.
* Block-granting Medicaid and reducing central government funding and control.

Today, let’s add a fifth idea to our list. The Trump budget proposes a substantial reduction in foreign aid (for numbers, see line 18 of this OMB excel file).

I hope these cuts are implemented. In part, I want to save money for American taxpayers, but I’m even more motivated by a desire to help the rest of the world. Simply stated, foreign aid is counterproductive.

The great paradox of government-to-government aid transfers is that they won’t work if recipient nations have bad policy. Yet we also know that nations with good policy don’t need handouts.

In other words, there’s no substitute for free markets and small government. That recipe works wherever it’s tried.

My colleague at the Cato Institute, Marian Tupy, embraces the idea of less foreign aid in a Reason column.

President Donald Trump is said to be considering large cuts to foreign aid. Those cuts cannot come soon enough. And he explains why in the article. Here’s the passage that caught my eye.

Graham Hancock’s 1994 book, The Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business, is still worth reading. As the author explains, much of foreign aid is used to subsidize opulent lifestyles within the aid establishment. “Only a small portion of [aid money],” Hancock writes, “is ever translated into direct assistance. Thanks to bureaucratic inefficiency, misguided policies, large executive salaries, political corruption, and the self-perpetuating ‘overhead’ of the administrative agencies, much of this tremendous wealth is frittered away.”

The problems are not specific to the United States. Foreign aid also is used as a scam to line the pockets of contractors in the United Kingdom.

The British aid contracting industry has more than doubled in value from £540 million in 2012 to £1.34 billion last year. The proportion of every pound of taxpayers’ aid money that is spent on consultants has risen from 12p in 2011 to 22p. …Budget breakdowns showed the public being charged twice the going rate for workers. One contractor on a project had a margin of 141 per cent between staffing costs charged to Dfid and the cost at market rates.

By the way, one study even found that foreign aid undermines democracy.

Foreign aid provides a windfall of resources to recipient countries and may result in the same rent seeking behavior as documented in the “curse of natural resources” literature. …Using data for 108 recipient countries in the period 1960 to 1999, we find that foreign aid has a negative impact on democracy. In particular, if the foreign aid over GDP that a country receives over a period of five years reaches the 75th percentile in the sample, then a 10-point index of democracy is reduced between 0.6 and one point, a large effect.

Last but not least, Professor William Easterly explains in the Washington Post that foreign aid does not fight terrorism.

President Trump’s proposed budget includes steep cuts in foreign assistance. Aid proponents such as Bill Gates are eloquently fighting back. …The counter-terrorism argument for foreign aid after 9/11 indeed succeeded for a long time at increasing and then sustaining the U.S. foreign aid budget. …the link from aid to counter-terrorism never had any evidence behind it. As it became ever less plausible as terrorism continued, it set up aid for a fall. …the evidence for a link from poverty to terrorism never showed up. …studies since 9/11 have consistently shown that terrorists tend to have above-average income and education. Even if there had been a link from poverty to terrorism, the “aid as counter-terrorism” argument also required the assumption that aid has a dramatic effect on the poverty of entire aid-receiving nations. Today’s proponents of aid no longer make the grandiose claims of aid lifting whole societies out of poverty.
Heck, foreign aid keeps societies in poverty by enabling bigger government.

Yet international bureaucracies such as the United Nations keep peddling the discredited notion that developing nations should have more money to finance ever-bigger government.

The bottom line is that people who care about the world’s poor people should be advocating for freedom rather than handouts.



Secular Ecclesiology
Ecclesiology is the study of the church. That includes the forms of church government, its leadership, how it worships, its relationship to the people of God and even its sacraments. In modern American evangelicalism, ecclesiology is needed more than ever. With fly-by-night churches built around a single charismatic leader, corruption of church leaders, and community churches spreading like Southern kudzu, evangelicals are losing perspective on the role of churches, their relation to churches and the proper oversight of both church leaders and laity. The lack of sound ecclesiology in many Protestant churches is one of the big reasons many conservatives are migrating towards Catholicism and the Greek Orthodox Church.

Meanwhile, on the political Left, a secular ecclesiology is cementing. In an age where members of the Democratic Party could boo the inclusion of God in their platform and Barack Obama could proclaim the state is the only thing to which we all belong, government is replacing God, abortion is becoming the chief sacrament and tax paying is tithing. The Left is sorting out how government will stand in for the church and, like the Spanish Inquisition, the left-wing Torquemadas will burn at the stake any who dissent. Conservatives are the new heretics.

This is on full display with President Trump’s budget. Under Barack Obama, Congress never actually passed a budget. Through a series of continuing resolutions, the Congress just adjusted funding. President Trump wants to actually govern as intended by preparing a budget and submitting it to Congress for passage. He is dealing with several realities inconvenient for left-wing orthodoxy.

The nation’s debt now exceeds $20 trillion. Barack Obama raised the national debt. If Republicans were to give Democrats all the tax increases they ever wanted, there would still be a deficit and the national debt would continue to grow. Interest payments will continue increasing, depleting money for other things.

Something has to be cut. Waste, fraud and abuse along — presuming they could be eradicated — would not close the deficit. Programs must be cut. The left-wing desire to cut the military is an increasingly irresponsible aspiration considering events like the suicide bombing in Manchester, England. Something, though, must be cut.

As secularism takes on the form of religion in this country, one religious tenet is that the more people dependent on government, the better life is. Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, is challenging that religious tenet. He thinks the appropriate measure for a government program is how many people the government can elevate out of poverty and off government dependence.

Jesus said, “The poor you shall always have with you.” Mick Mulvaney and conservatives believe that means we will always have a class of poor people who must be helped. Secular progressives believe it means we will always have the exact same people poor who will never be elevated out of government dependence. The idea of getting people off welfare and decreasing dependence on government is anathema to people who have come to believe dependence on government is akin to dependence on God.

As a result, there is a newfound hysteria among secular progressives. They are convinced Republicans are going to kill people by consolidating, eliminating and streamlining government programs. If one is convinced greater government means more salvation, a reduction in government means more damnation. This is akin to Christian concerns about saving and losing souls.

Likewise, as abortion becomes the chief sacrament of the Left, letting government cut Planned Parenthood is akin to denying a church of its funding. Conservative areas of the country give more to charity because they have maintained a distinction between charitable aid and government program. Liberal areas of the country are the least charitable because secular ecclesiology has eliminated that distinction and any reduction in funding to any program is an attack on the liberal church.

This leaves us, as a nation, unable to proceed with civility. If one really believes Republicans want to starve old people and throw grandma off the cliff, hysteria and violence are the logical outcome. So too is bankruptcy. The president’s budget is a compassionate budget because it seeks to elevate the poor into the middle class, not keep them dependent. But to the Left, that is heresy.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Was Hitler right?  Are Germans a Herrenvolk?

My heading above is of course exceptionally and deliberately provocative so I think I had better go into damage-control mode straight away.

Anybody who shows any awareness of racial, ethnic or national differences is normally excoriated by the Left as a "white supremacist".  So I think I should point out that I am in fact a N.E. Asian supremacist.  We now have an abundance of evidence that the N.E. Asians (Japan, Korea, China) are on average roughly a third of a standard deviation more intelligent than the average European.  And a third of a standard deviation is a lot, particularly at the upper end of the distribution.  See here for full details on that.

And we don't need IQ scores to conclude that this century will be the century of China.  The economic strides they have already made in recent decades make that an obvious inference, I think.

And although my own ancestry is wholly British, I am quite happy about all that. I see N.E. Asians as patient, hard-working family-oriented people who already have a huge influence on the world so we can know pretty well what the world will be like once they realize their full potential.  I am even prepared to concede to China their nine-dash line. I would object if a N.E. Asian nation showed signs of wanting to conquer some other nation but I think that the dreadful events of WWII have convincingly shown both Europeans and Asians the great folly in that.

With that bit of throat-clearing, I think I can now go on to what I initially wanted to say here.

There is here an extensive article accompanied by a profusion of maps which locates the main sources of economic, cultural, scientific and technological advances in recent centuries.  And it shows something that every schoolkid once knew: That the evolution of modern industrial civilization traces back to innovations made in N.W. Europe, principally in  Britain and Germany.  Other European nations have contributed -- France, Italy and Russia -- but their influence has been nothing like the influence of N.W. Europe.

The article I refer to above is from an anonymous author on an anonymous site.  And you can see why.  N.W. Europe is in fact a euphemism.  What is in fact being referred to is the Germanic countries.  The author has shown not that the Germans are a master race but that the Germanic people generally are a master race of sorts.  They have given us the modern world and the rest of the world has hastened to follow in their steps.

Hitler's term Herrenvolk is  not ideally translated as "master race".  A "race of masters" or a race of Lords would be  better translations.  And that is what Hitler had in mind -- a people who lorded it over a great mass of inferior people.  Each German would be the master of an estate worked by inferior races.  And as a libertarian, that whole idea is anathema to me.

But in English, "master" has another meaning -- meaning someone who is very good at something, a master craftsman, for instance.  And I think it is very clear that Germans, broadly speaking, continue to be master innovators.  There is actually more German ancestry among Americans than there is British ancestry so the combination of those two Germanic nationalities makes the USA still a largely Germanic nation despite the large movement of other peoples into the USA. And the fact that Yiddish is a German dialect is evidence of how strongly Jews have been absorbed into Germanic culture and continue to participate in it.

And that makes Israel a Germanic country too -- bitter though that thought may be. And Israel is not only Germanic culturally but to an important extent also ancestrally.  You don't have to walk for long among the Ashkenazim to see a lot of people who look distinctly Northern European. Ever since Ruth, Jews have always been only weakly endogamous, much to the grief of many a Yiddisher Momma in NYC.  The tendency of Irvings and Sheldons to get into bed with "shicksas" is often deplored by the mothers of the Irvings and Sheldons concerned.  The strength of the feelings involved may perhaps be revealed if I disclose something not normally disclosed:  The literal German meaning of "shicksa".  It means "prostitute".

So I reject Hitler's claim that Germans ("Deutschen") are a master race.  But I think a similar-sounding claim is true:  That Germanic people ("die Germanischen") are master innovators. And combine a Germanic culture with the high IQ of the Ashkenazim and it becomes plain why Israel is a hugely innovative society in scientific and technological matters.

I think that everything I have said so far is entirely factual but no doubt some Leftist will find in it some reason to call me a racist. They called a sentimental Christian gentleman named George W. Bush a Nazi so they live in a world of the borderline insane.  The classic test of insanity is loss of reality contact and that seems pervasive in the words of the American Left.

Now we come to the interesting part, the speculative part:  WHY are Germans innovative? The anonymous author I refer to above has an elaborate answer to that but I think I can give a much simpler answer.  But to do that I think we first have to look at some history.  We have to go back to the time when the Saxons  were a South Baltic people.  They were a very hardy people who normally won their battles with the Scandinavians -- and the Scandinavians were no pushover.  Vikings anyone?  So the Scandinavians got the less hospitable lands North of the Baltic while the Saxons and their allies got the more hospitable and promising land South of the Baltic.

But the Baltic Germans, the Saxons, were restless. Germans always were.  They struck South right down into Italy even during the days of the Roman Republic.  And the Romans had the Devil of a job repelling them. The expansion of the Roman empire stopped at the Rhine. Strikes across the Rhine ended in disaster.

But the Romans had a sort of revenge on the Germans.  They civilized them. The only way the Empire could effectively guard its borders was to co-opt the German tribes adjacent to those borders.  The Romans made Germans into "limitanei", border guards.  And they incentivized that by giving the Germans land for farming.  So Roman ideas spread gradually North to the extent that most Germans took up farming and abandoned their previous lifestyles as hunter-gatherers.

And note that the great Roman defeat at the Teutoburger Wald was at the hands of German tribes led by a ROMANIZED German. Arminius was actually a Roman citizen.  So there had long been a Roman influence on Germans near the borders of the empire.

But the further North and East you went, the less was the civilizing effect.  And when you got to the Baltic, the Germans there, the Saxons, were the genuine originals, not at all softened by civilization. And, like other Germans before them, they too got itchy feet.

So they moved  into lands already occupied by others.  To the South were lands occupied by a mix of Celts and "softened" Germans and to the West was Britannia, the land of the Romanized Celts which we now know as England.  And they came to dominate both those places.  To this day we speak of the predominant people of England as "Anglo-Saxons" and a large and rich part of central Germany today is Saxony. Many people reading this are probably descendants of Saxons. I am.

So it is striking that the two great fountainheads of modern civilization, modern Germany and Britain, both came to be dominated by South Baltic German tribes.  It is to those original South Baltic Germans that we have to look if we want to understand the rise of modern civilization.  It was their descendants who created modern day civilization.

At this point however we can only move into speculation.  We can prove nothing.  Arguments can be more or less plausible only.  So I offer an argument that is much simpler than the one offered by our anonymous friend above.  And under Occams razor that argument has preference.

I think the starting point for an explanation is that the Saxons remained primitive culturally for thousands of years after the beginnings of civilization in the near East.  The ancient civilizations of the Near East required a high degree of group effort for the purposes of irrigation and that fostered a very group-oriented civilization.  And that was copied by others. The Indo-Europeans were originally hunter gatherers but gradually adopted a Near Eastern lifestyle.

But that near-Eastern lifestyle had very important political consequences.  We need to understand what was lost by that. The hunter-gatherer lifestyle was one that did NOT require much co-operation for survival.  The hunter fed himself and his family without being accountable to anyone.  It fostered a very independent frame of mind.  There were occasional needs for co-operation but getting such people to co-operate could not successfully be done except by consultation and agreement. Hence among such people there were frequent consultative assemblies where decisions were made by consensus. It was democracy, in short.

The tribe was governed as much by a "witangemot" or assembly as by a king.  If there was a king he could even be deposed, usually without bloodshed.  Ultimate authority resided in the whole people, as led by their elders.  We do much the same today.

Interestingly, though, sparks of the old hunter-gatherer lifestyle did survive in Europe for a while.  The various city states of ancient Greece and the early Roman republic were substantially democratic, which means that ultimate respect was given to the whole of the people, not to a king-emperor.

So the whole of the European people were originally hunter gatherers with a democratic method of government.  But the Eastern model of government gradually encroached to cover much of Europe, with even the holdouts of democracy in Greece and Rome eventually coming under the control of tyrants.

But up near the Baltic the Near East is not so near and the Saxons were among the few representatives of the old way. The personal independence fostered by a hunter-gatherer lifestyle lived on there.  But the fact that it survived there suggests that the South Baltic was a sort of "goldilocks" environment for supporting the old ways.  It was midway between the crushing winters of Scandinavia and Russia but not lush enough for an agricultural lifestyle.  There were enough juicy animals to hunt and kill for food but never enough for much of a surplus.  The hunt had to be almost daily but it was enough.

So we come to an independence of mind as the key feature of the Saxons.  The whole of Europe had it once but it never succumbed in them.  They were the last survivors of the old ways but it was enough to give rise to something remarkable under the right circumstances.

And what those circumstances were is not very mysterious.  They moved to rich agricultural lands and the easier lifestyle that implies. And being the fierce warriors that they were, nobody could either resist them or push them out.  So they retained their old culture of respect for the individual and the independence of mind that comes from that.  And because they were now prosperous they had time to think. And independent thinking has enormous potential, as we see from that time on.

The process of asserting independence was however hampered by the attractions of civilization.  City life had much to entice one and from top to bottom Europe gradually became civilized. But civilizations has its burdens too -- particularly the need for some form of permanent government.  So the Saxons and other Germans did accept the rule of Kings but it was not to their liking.  Something that helped such acceptance was the church.  The church was itself a heavily centralized institution and it supported the rule of Europe's kings and emperors.

So along comes Luther.  Luther was not the first man to lead a movement hostile to the church.  Predecessors such as John Huss, Giordano Bruno and Savonarola come to mind.  But all the European rebels before Luther were eventually put to death and their movements erased.  So how come Luther survived?  He survived -- wait for it -- because he was a Saxon.  The people of Saxony loved his message of independence.  Even the King was on his side. And that was crucial.  When the whole of Europe was out for Luther's head King Frederick "The Wise" of Saxony hid Luther in his remote Wartburg castle.

So the Germanic spirit of independence emerged in a form of Christianity that suited Northern Germans, a form that put power and responsibility for salvation right back on to the individual, with no intervening priest needed.  We call it Protestantism.  The emergence of Protestantism is proof that the old Germanic independence of mind survived into relatively modern times -- initially in Saxony and fairly rapidly in all the Northern German lands.

And something similar happened in England, that other  great home of Saxon genes.  I refer of course to Wycliffe and the Lollards.  Wycliffe was over a century before Luther in fact. Luther wrote his "Ninety-five Theses" in 1517 whereas Wycliffe  was officially condemned in 1377 by Pope Gregory XI.  Wycliffe  was a great critic of the church and advocated most of the things that we would now recognize as Protestantism.  But he never left the church.  He wanted to reform the church not destroy it.  But his criticisms were swingeing and the church hated him for it. They would have loved to have killed him.  But, again, it was the people and their king who mattered.  Wycliffe was very popular not only with the common people but even with the King and his court.  So Wycliffe survived.  He eventually collapsed in church while saying a mass and died a couple of days later.

Wycliffe did not give rise to a movement that long survived him but he had awakened the old rebellious spirit and that spirit was the principal support for the actions of King Henry VIII.  When Henry dispossessed the priests, the people loved him for it.  They supported their King, not their priests.  Wycliffe had lit a slow-burning fuse that eventually gave rise to an explosion. And that fuse kept burning for so long because it was founded on a Saxon independence of mind among the people.  Wycliffe died in 1384, Henry became king in 1509.

I have more or less come to the end of my tale here.  The next question is why was there a considerable latency between the Protestant reformation and the Industrial revolution?  Why did not one lead directly into the other?  There is much to be said on that topic but I will have to leave that for another day.

But it seems clear that independence of mind, not only in the individual but also in the society as a whole, is the major precondition for continuing innovation. So the respect for the individual that has always been part and parcel of that is both a normal part of daily life and an instinctive driver of political thinking among Germanic people  -- still to this day most noticeably in Britain, Germany and the USA.

The centralizing tendencies that characterize most of the rest of the world are always there too and ready to horn in but it seems unlikely that they will eventually take over

My big article on Anglo-Saxon conservatism includes an extensive history of respect for the individual, starting with my notes about Disraeli -- JR


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)