Saturday, May 03, 2003


The refusal of GWB to declare victory in Iraq may seem puzzling to many but it is an example of considering other people's feelings. If it is going to upset a lot of Iraqis and other Arabs to declare victory, why not be content with the reality without rubbing it in? A great charge that has been always levelled at the British is "hypocrisy" but again that usually meant simply that the British took care not to upset people's feelings insofar as as they could. In many parts of the world even people's lives are not spared. The Anglo-Saxons, by contrast, even spare people's feelings. It is one secret of their success. You usually need allies in a war and because of their civilized behaviour the Anglo-Saxons usually have allies. They had dozens of allies in the Iraq war -- even Arab ones. And how would they have fought the war without Arab bases? Only with much greater difficulty.



Bearing in mind that Clinton slashed the size of the U.S. Navy, this is an interesting email from a reader:

Bush's publicity stunt on the USS Abe Lincoln yeaterday was unequaled in my lifetime. Watching him get out of the jet was just like watching John Wayne capture a town or win a battle. It was priceless. The Democrats just don't have a chance in hell to equal this. A friend with militery connections said the last time a US President visited the same ship, the Admiral had to force sailors to greet President Clinton; without a direct order, few or none would have showed up.

Hats off to the US administration by sending a strong message to everyone by pulling our military out of Saudi Arabia and Turkey - that irrelevance is not just an option - it is reality.

The New York Times, of course, did its best to pour cold water on the occasion.



"The production of eggs in the laboratory for the first time has raised the possibility that two men could become the parents of their own genetic child. Scientists said yesterday that they had grown an unlimited supply of eggs from embryonic stem cells taken from both male and female embryos. The feat was achieved with mice, but most experts believe it is likely to work with humans. If it does, and the mass-produced eggs can be fertilised, it would also mean that infertile women might not have to rely on donor eggs." What an astounding story!



What fun! Garlic seems to ward off prostate cancer! But what if your breath puts the lady off?

Great! Australian “Anti-Discrimination” Supremo Christopher Puplick has resigned over special help he was found to have given to his little (male) friend "Bunny". Puplick was noted for his view that Muslims can do no wrong.

There are some twits in the world. Note this comment:
"THE quick coalition victory in Iraq was, in some ways, unfortunate, former intelligence analyst Andrew Wilkie has claimed. "It has legitimised the war in some people's minds and it will embolden (US President) Bush and (Prime Minister) Howard to be more reckless." ... "I don't believe we should have ignored Iraq or walked away from Saddam Hussein. "But a war had to be the option of last resort." He does not however say what the other options might have been or mention that Saddam had in fact been given 11 years to co-operate before war was resorted to.

I note that there has been a lot of media attention to the decision of some Southern U.S. High School students to hold a private party for whites only. I am rather amazed that anyone questions the right of people to invite whom they choose to their private parties. I am also glad (and a bit surprised) that it is not illegal -- yet.

I am amused that it has now become possible to defame a Presidential candidate by saying that he looks "French"! Traditional English derison of the "Frogs" has now taken root in the USA. Now why would that be?

A very successful Australian -- Rupert Murdoch -- says of Australian education: ""I think the education establishment with its insistence on tenure at a tertiary level, and its power at primary and secondary level - setting bullshit syllabuses - is really doing the country an immense disservice," he says." Good to see someone with his inflence saying so.

The Daily Telegraph UK has an article on the Katyn Forest massacre -- a Soviet deed long blamed by Leftists on the Nazis.

Peter Hitchens thinks British membership of the EU may have been a good idea back in the socialist '60s but the international trend to free trade means it's now obsolete, and exposes the Brits to an ever-sprouting Brussels bureaucracy..

In my academic posting of May 2nd here I try to introduce some rigour into the way psychologists and sociologists study alienation -- a concept that goes back to Marx, among others.


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Friday, May 02, 2003


In my academic postings of April 30th and May 1st. here are two published articles that have never been available online previously. I have scanned them in because they deal with one of the prime beliefs of libertarians -- that the division of politics into Left and Right is inadequate and that there is a second dimension of political orientation which is generally called Authoritarian/Libertarian. So you can be a conservative authoritarian or a Leftist authoritarian or just a lover of authority in general ... etc.

As a libertarian myself, I think that policies can be analysed in that way but, as a psychologist, I was also interested in whether people in general organize their beliefs in such a two-dimensional way. That they do is a claim of long standing in the psychological literature -- going back at least to 1954. There is however, much fault to be found with the evidence on the question and I review that in the two articles concerned. I then go on to do two further survey research studies of my own which were designed to maximize the chances of such a two dimensional organization of people's attitudes appearing. Unfortunately it did not work out that way. The fact of the matter is that it is only the good old Left/Right dimension that influences the clustering of people's attitudes in the general population. I have more to say on the question here. As the articles were originally published in a major academic journal, they can be a little bit technical but if you realize that "Orthogonal" is statistician-speak for "unrelated" or "at right-angles to" that should help a lot.



Greenspan says the tax cut is not needed for growth. How about the tax cut being needed for justice and equity? At present US company profits are taxed when the company reports them and then taxed again when the shareholder gets them as dividends. Why should people who rely on income from investments (mostly retired folks) be singled out for double tax? In Australia a LEFTIST government abolished tax on dividends years ago.



Taranto's latest WSJ column is a good one. I liked this:

"China has prepared a reading list for people staying at home after karaoke parlors and cinemas were shut to stem the spread of SARS," Reuters reports:

Volumes such as the "16th Party Congress Report," former President Jiang Zemin's "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" and "A History of the Chinese Communist Party" headed the list of nearly 100 titles, compiled by China's publishing regulator”.

And he heads a comment on Mexico's Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) celebrations with: "I Cinco, Therefore I Ammo". Descartes would turn in his grave.

I was a bit saddened though by the fact that he had good cause to start off another report with: "Just for the heck of it, let's make fun of the Germans". Germany has indeed sunk low these days. For the people who gave the world Bach, Beethoven and Mozart to be so mocked does show that they have lost their way.



Tony Blair says that the image of GWB as an intellectual lightweight is “complete bull” and “total nonsense”. Since no-one criticizes Blair’s powers, he is in a pretty strong position to know. His account of GWB is worth reading, in fact.

“Israel urged Britain on Thursday to crackdown on anti-Israeli incitement among British Muslims after Israeli police blamed a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on two Britons”. And it would be about time too.

Fidel Castro, addressing a May Day rally of hundreds of thousands of people, accused the United States on Thursday of trying to provoke a war with Cuba. What garbage. The US could take out Castro any time it likes. They just prefer to wait for him to die.

An interesting argument here that it is individual liberty rather than democracy that should come first. Very relevant to Iraq where democracy might install a government of religious fanatics.

“The Bush administration has drafted sweeping plans to remake Iraq's economy in the American image. Hoping to establish a free-market economy in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the US is calling for the privatisation of state-owned industries such as parts of the oil sector, forming a stockmarket complete with electronic trading and fundamental tax reform.” One can only hope that it works.

Condoleezza Rice gives the French and the Russians a good blast here

The United States yesterday closed its last major military mission in Turkey. It is the Turks who have made themselves irrelevant, of course. 95% of Turks opposed toppling Saddam.

Here is an odd one: AIDS patients do not catch SARS. Not much comfort, though.

A true and very moving story in the WSJ under the title "A marine comes home". It reminds us that Hollywood is not America. Thank goodness!

The Wicked one reports that not all craziness is in politics.

Chris Brand has a review of Freudianism and psychoanalysis in which he gives a good short history of it. He is surprisingly sympathetic to it considering that most other academic psychologists regard it as mere quackery.

Michael Darby has a speech from one politician who does seem to want to do something about crime.


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Thursday, May 01, 2003


A reader writes:

I came across this PDF which has a great discussion of the history of the 'noble savage' concept over the centuries and how it has been adopted by Greens. He points out that there is a body of recent scientific work that undermines the idea of indigenous people as conservationists, and that attempts force indigenous people into playing that role either backfire on the conservationists or harm the economic progress of the indigenous people. The historical discussion of the noble savage is the best part of the paper.



The address for my “China” blog is rather long and ponderous so might give problems for readers in China who obviously cannot use the hyperlink here (See to the Left of this page). So for their convenience I have set up a shortcut address for it: Just typing that into the address field of your browser should get you to my “China” blog. If that does not work, will.



This book review tells some of the story of the Amazon misadventures of pop star STING and "THE BODY SHOP"

A couple of older links looking at what the 1990s Green-Left love affair with the rainforests actually accomplished: Ben & Jerry's "rain forest friendly" business goes sour and a Brazilian perspective on the western left's rain forest follies

A look at the corporate money behind the US green activist outfit “Rainforest Action Network” (RAN). It is interesting to note the predominance of money from clothing and oil interests. Although this probably represents philanthropy from multi-millionaire heirs with a guilt complex, cynics may note that firms like Esprit and Levi often compete with cheap Third World imports and harming agricultural development in these countries may help their bottom line!



FORMER British leader Margaret Thatcher has praised Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair for his leadership during the war with Iraq. "The prime minister (Blair) has proved a bold and effective war leader," Thatcher, 77, said on a video played to 2000 business leaders at the annual Institute of Directors convention at London's Royal Albert Hall.

"I do not think many people imagined when the Conservatives formed a government in 1979 that we would so effectively transform the economy, but I am quite sure that nobody thought we would so thoroughly transform our opponents," Thatcher said during the 10-minute interview.


Carnival of the Vanities is up again. And a jolly good job Dave has made of it.

Arts & Letters rate this old Wired interview with Julian Simon as one of their "classics"

There is now a campaign to revoke the Pulitzer Prize from "Stalin apologist" Walter Duranty

The BBC stands accused of repeating the KGB line ..again

Blogging as a business tool (?)

Crikey is a site that provides independent analysis of Australian political and business news. It is now rating two US libertarian think tanks' web sites (the Independent Institute and Cato foundation) as their recommendations as the best 'think tanks'.

Chris Brand notes that some U.S. black activists are getting the message that educational rigour is the way for their kids to get ahead.

The Wicked one has a list of some amazing political coincidences.

Michael Darby tackles briefly the issue of whether a committment to individual liberty entails support for “open-door” immigration.

In my academic posting of April 29th. here I look at the use of “forced choice” questionnaires and point out their folly.


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Wednesday, April 30, 2003


One of my readers has written in with an extensive review of the work of Philip Stott (Professor of Biogeography at the University of London). I reproduce the email below:

This PDF document (49 pages) on this page provides a detailed critique of modern rain forest mythology -- pointing out that rain forests are not nearly as “endangered” as we are usually told. His views are also summarised here.

Stott runs a website dealing with 'little green lies' here that covers a lot of green ground. He seems to be a regular guest on some BBC radio programmes on environmental matters, so he is not an ivory tower scribbler. Here is his "Quote of the week":
"The problem with predicting the course of global climate change... is that global climate is too complex to be adequately modeled."

Stott has lots of other good articles including this one on the Le Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, which are a must see for anyone interested in science and the history of the Earth. I remember them as one of the highlights of my time in LA. The lesson of this great museum is "In nature, change is the only constant. Get used to it." If you ever get a chance to visit the Pits and the associated museum do so.

He has a discussion of his big picture overview of ecology and environmentalism here. He says ecology is in a crisis that the popularisers have yet to acknowledge. The scientific frontline is increasingly reporting a dynamic, open ended 'non-equilibrium' real natural world but the "rear echelon" of popularisers, pundits and propagandists are stuck with an obsolete language of the balance of nature, equilibrium era.

My guess is that the front line may be reluctant to confront these fallacies as it may impact funding and public support for their scientific work as well as conservation programmes. If so, this is really a Faustian bargain for the scientists and can 'cut both ways', they risk having all their professional expertise ignored or tainted by undue association with doom merchants. Stott sees the language of ecology as the hang up and in some ways his comments remind me of the focus 'post-modernist' critics who usually focus on language semiotics etc, however Stott is arguing that the empirical realities are being hidden by obsolete lingo where the post-mods see empiricism as just another lingo.

His discussion of global warming is to the point:

[Global warming] thus in the same category as ..., the assumption that other planets are inhabited by rational beings. While such semi-empirical entities are possible, they are ultimately neither verifiable nor falsifiable because of the continuing technical limitations involved.

The technical limitations of our current climate models and knowledge are, ...horrendous. Even the.. (IPCC) admits openly that we know next-to-nothing about 75% of the main factors implicated. We therefore cannot allow the global warming alarmists' key antinomy to pass unchallenged: namely, that while climate is an exceedingly complex non-linear chaotic system, we can control climate by adjusting just one set of factors.

While the phenomenon of global warming is an empty worry, fundamentally unverifiable and unfalsifiable in a strict scientific sense, it is one that has been empowered with a greater meaning by those who have the motive to do so. Accordingly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, since the early 1990s its intrinsic linguistic emptiness has been filled by a mighty myth, especially in Europe. This myth asserts that current global warming is both faster and worse than at any previous time, that it is not natural, but must be caused by human hubris, and that the main culprit has to be the United States.

The concept has been translated into a matter of faith, transcending "the theoretical use of reason." For the good folk involved, following Kant, global warming has become neither a matter of knowledge nor of opinion, but wholly a matter of morality.

He also makes some interesting points about savannas...

they dominate the tropical world. Savannas occupy no less than 45 per cent of South America, 65 per cent of Africa, and 60 per cent of Australia. .. the majority of people living in the tropics, comprising no less than one-fifth of the world's population, inhabit the savannas, which form the core of the world's monsoonal lands that overall support some 50 per cent of the global population. The savannas in consequence are the single most important terrestrial environment, and are both older than and as diverse as the tropical rain forests. ..

He has a brief intro into the increasingly important field of savanna studies here



It looks like some Iraqis are about as grateful for being liberated as the French are. No doubt they feel “humiliated” that they could not throw off tyranny themselves. What scum!

ETON College is to switch money that it spends on scholarships for the brightest children to funding places based on financial need. How ridiculous! What use is an elite college going to be for a poor kid?

Chris Brand reports poll results showing that the average Brit is a lot more tough-minded than the British government.

The Wicked one is derisive about homoeopathy.

Michael Darby reproduces an emotional speech about Australia’s past wars by a very decent man -- our Prime Minister.

In my academic posting of April 28th. here I comment on another example of naivety about racism by a Leftist psychologist.


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Tuesday, April 29, 2003


The Chinese seem to have become really serious about internet censorship in recent months. They re-blocked Blogspot some time ago and lots of other sites are blocked too -- including at least some Lycos and some Yahoo. I have therefore decided to do my tiny bit towards keeping communications open by putting a mirror of my blog up on a site that China does NOT block. I keep all my blog entries as a file so once I have written my blog entries for the day, it takes me only a couple of minutes extra to put them up on a second site. So in future my blog will also be accessible at the following address: The site concerned is hosted by my local ISP so it may stay too insignificant to be blocked by China. With ISP hosting, the site is also advertising-free, which is a bit of a bonus. I will also be putting up my “China” postings several hours before I put them on Blogspot. Because Blogspot is so trouble-prone, I do not post there until just after midnight, California time, in the hope that the load and the errors will be minimal then. I would be much obliged if anyone with contacts in China would let them know of the new site. I even have some archives there so people can catch up with what was posted in the last 6 weeks or so.



Arianna Huffington, that Leftist enemy of all things American (including big cars), claims that the rapid defeat of Saddam proves that he was no danger in the first place. Since no-one ever claimed that his armies were a threat to the West (that he was developing WMDs that could get into the hands of terrorists was the fear) this is so silly only a Leftist would believe it but David Horowitz has weighed in with a comprehensive demolition of her article in his latest newsletter. He notes that Huffington is one of the many Leftists who single out two Jews in the pro-war camp for demonization and has this comment:

In fact, given the result of the war, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle - to single out the Jews - are more properly seen as moral heroes than as military predators. They have spent twenty-years toiling in the Defense and Foreign Policy communities to effect the liberation of millions of Shi'ites, who were systematically murdered and oppressed by Saddam's regime, knowing full well that these very Shi'ites hate them as Jews and would persecute and oppress them if they could. Yet Wolfowitz and Perle persisted in their efforts because they thought it was the right thing to do for America, and the right thing to do for the Iraqis as well.



Wow! There IS a treatment for SARS available. I hope the bureaucrats let it off the leash soon.

How amusing! France and Germany are to form a new military alliance. Since the average Frenchman still despises the Boche any co-operative endeavours might last 5 minutes at most.

An imperial America? Some want the USA to stay in Iraq for years and TEACH them to be democratic. Fat chance! The USA has done enough for Iraqis by getting rid of Saddam without getting bogged down any further.

“If there was ever a time when it was evident that the UN and its Security Council are useless institutions for solving the major problems facing the world, what happened in Iraq could not be a greater demonstration of that”. Good to see that I agree with Arabic News on something!

North Korea has now put up its shopping list of what it wants in exchange for totally abandoning its nuclear program. Iraq has obviously rattled them. And it shows that GWB was right to respond calmly to their sabre-rattling.

An official audit of Australia’s biggest “natural remedy” manufacturer has found that they were “risking lives by releasing products despite failing to test raw ingredients, or fudging the results of tests. Equipment at its headquarters in Sydney was not cleaned between batches, potentially contaminating products.” A nasty one for the faddists. I have always stuck to what I get from the pharmacist, myself. An old friend of mine had a business just opposite a “health” food retailer and he remarked to me once that he had never seen such unhealthy-looking people as those he saw going in and out of its doors.

The pathetic socialists of New Zealand now cannot provide enough electricity to keep their factories running, let alone keep homes warm in the cold weather. Sounds like Romania under the Communists.

The huge lesbian in charge of the police force of the Australian State of Victoria has now decreed that she will take “affirmative action” to discriminate against male applicants for police jobs. The criminals must be laughing.

Of course, Leftist teachers are not to blame for this: “An 18-member panel of educators has found that writing, which their report calls one of the most important skills students can learn, is woefully neglected in most American schools“. But I am sure the kids know a lot about "Greenhouse" etc.

The Wicked one thinks that any “alliance” with the French is now finished.

Michael Darby has a letter pointing out that “casual” work is a great loophole that allows workers to escape fronm the rigid grip of the unions.

Chris Brand has been told that the two “churchgoing” girls gunned down recently in a drive-by shooting in Birmingham, England, were in fact black prostitutes. Maybe they did go to church too.

My academic posting of April 27th. here is one of my many assaults on the unfounded claim that chronically busy people are prone to heart attacks.


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Monday, April 28, 2003


Steven Hamori Writes:

I read an article by an Arab intellectual where he theorized that one of the Middle East's problems was that the governments controlled the main revenue source. Hence, the people are an afterthought. In a clever rearrangement of words he wrote, 'no representation without taxation'. Made sense.

So, I'd suggest giving the citizens of Iraq all (or almost all) of their oil profits as a yearly rebate check. Then, their elected officials will have to tax the money back as income tax. The citizens will be involved in the process, and not just an after thought...

Three other benefits:
The people will have money to invest. After awhile, maybe oil won't be the main industry. Commerce and enterprise are up there with democracy in making a people more accepting of others (not to mention, giving them something to do other than worrying about us and Israel)...

Second, it would put the democratic government in a position to prosecute those who refuse to participate (with the government) as tax evaders.. That sounds a lot less glorious than whatever spin the enemies of democracy will want to put on their actions.

Third, with this much money in circulation people who want to 'opt out' or not be too involved with the government, well they could still do so. If part of the noncoperation we are receiving, from some, is due to a fight over resources (they want governmental power to obtain control of funding) then this could lessen that. People will have the disposable income to fund both the democratic government and their local Imam's projects. Hopefully, religious competition with government could be reduced.



Well, at least everybody seems to agree that postwar Iraq must be governed by a Federal system. Total independence for the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites would be best but Federation might just work. Why anybody wants to force totally different people to live under the one roof escapes me.

A UN official talking sense! THE UN's chief nuclear monitor Mohamed ElBaradei has said the world should send North Korea a zero-tolerance message on nuclear weapons

The United States is said to be considering a selective shipping blockade against North Korea to prevent the communist state following through on its threat to proliferate nuclear weapons. About time they did something!

The Hollywood anti-war brigade seem to have vanished Airheads!

The Italian monk who gave us Cappuccino coffee is about to become a saint! That should be popular.

Rather silly to be banning horse-meat sales. Horses are just cattle that run fast.

A good story here about how Iraqi soldiers refused to fight US forces because they saw the US as liberators.

About time! The Bush administration is pressing to divert the financing of Palestinian activities away from Yasir Arafat's control.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has ruled that even illegal immigrants who have no known links to terrorist groups can be detained indefinitely. Australia has been doing it for years, of course.

“U.S. troops will stay in Iraq and Afghanistan until stable, democratic governments have taken control, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Saturday”. Looks like a long stay.

Mohammad Mohsen Zubeidi, the just-arrested “Mayor” of Baghdad, supports the restoration of the Iraqi monarchy! He’s pretty feisty for a monarchist. I can't say I care much for other Arab monarchies (yuk!) but European monarchies do very well

The rainforest is not as endangered as we have been told

Fidel Castro has defended the executions of three ferryboat hijackers as a deterrent to a mass exodus. In other words, Leftism is so great that you have to shoot people to stop them escaping from it. Funny that nobody tries to shoot people who leave the USA!

Michael Darby has a story about a senior Zimbabwean “judge” acting like a bandit -- seizing a farm off a white farmer aged in his 80s.

Chris Brand discusses the big topics of psychoticism and psychopathy.

The Wicked one has a post about how disastrous a restricted diet can be.

In my academic posting of April 26th. here, I look at an example of the sort of gross stupidity that shows how unscientific modern-day academic psychology is.


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Sunday, April 27, 2003


A reader writes:

I agree with your analysis of the leftist roots of Nazism. Although in some ways the fascists are actually closer to the modern "Third Way" people like Clinton, Blair, the Australian Democrats than the traditional "working class" social democrats or revolutionary marxist communists. The third way people try to be all things to all people, they don't put one social class above all others, and yet insist on putting the collective interest above all. They don't wish to eliminate private enterprise but regulate it or better still co-opt it, usually through some kind of corporatist structure. Same with the unions, the churches, etc etc.

As I see it there are three main differences between the modern third wayers and the fascists. First, the fascists were advocates of revolution to replace constitutional government by what they saw as "more modern" and "efficient" system of national authoritarian dictatorship. Second modern third wayers are usually strong in their anti-racism, indeed they make anti-racism a centerpiece of their ideology. The anti-semitism of the Nazis, not equalled by the Italian fascists, has no equivalent amongst the modern third wayers. Thirdly, the the third wayers are not advocates of foreign military expansion to glorify their homeland nation state.

These three differences are major differences, and I certainly don't think we need to worry about Tony Blair setting himself up as Fuehrer, but we should note that the three differences aren't quite the rock solid barriers you'd might imagine.

Firstly, third wayers are generally "democratic centralists" and favour constitutional reforms of all kinds that enpower the central state at the expense of private power, local or state government. In someways they are worse than outright abolitionists as they prefer to maintain the facade but gut the real power from the private and local sectors. They are not strict constructionists of their respective constitutions and favour reforms (like the main Republican lobby group in Australia) that centralise power. They have no problems with using technical strategems to subvert their constitutions, for example, through the use of international treaty powers to extend their agenda. They prefer central national power and supra-national power (EU, UN, Kyoto, WTO etc) because they see it as more 'modern' and 'efficient' than the 'messier' alternatives of individual freedom and local autonomy.

I will concede that Blair has advanced the cause of Welsh and Scottish nationalism somewhat but this may be just a tactical concession. In most other countries, third wayers are opposed to traditional federal systems and sometimes advocate 'regional' government as a sop, with "overall direction" and all the financial powers retained by the central government.

Secondly, third wayers are genuine anti-racists for the most part, at least insofar as anyone can be labelled anti-racist. But then again neither Germany or Italy in the 1930s was exactly what we'd call a "multi-cultural" society today. Except for Nazi anti-semitism, the "official racialism" of those regimes was very much oriented to national unity around the central state, reducing regional, religious or class loyalties to benefit the central state. And of course the Italian fascists were nowhere near as anti-semitic as the Nazis.

In some ways today "multi-culturalism" (at least in it's more dogmatic versions) is used by the Third Wayers to advance their democratic centralist agenda. The dominant ethnic communities of their society are generally conservative and generally oppose centralization. Multiculturalism can be used to 'divide and rule' (a tactic the British used in India to maintain the Raj) to enpower the central authority, whilst building constituencies dependent on central government grants and privileges. So in some ways multiculturalism today can play a similar role for the third wayers as "official racialism" did for the Nazis and fascists. Both can be tactics that reinforce the central state.

There is no real third way equivalent to nazi anti-semitism, although "xenophobes" have been cast as scapegoats for policy failure by multiculturalist states and have been subject to extra-legal intimidation, often by ideologically motivated thugs. The irony of course is that 'xenophobia' as witnessed by Hansonism, Le Pen etc is almost always a populist protest movement, a late growing reaction to policy failures by the central state. A further irony is that in many cases these 'xenophobic reactionary' movements are at least as ethnically diverse in their membership as the third way and 'anti-racist' opponents.

Third, the third wayers today are not exactly demanding "lebensraum" overseas but they do not seem to be shrinking violets when foreign military adventures are called either. In particular they have had a major role in advocating and supporting the new wave of "humanitarian interventions" we have seen since the end of the Cold War. Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, East Timor. The list is getting quite long. Blair in a recent press conference let slip that he found the 'humanitarian mission' in Iraq more to his liking than the anti-WMD or anti-terror missions. Most of Blair's fellow third wayers would have supported the Iraq War unambiguously had UN blessing been wangled. Maybe had France had a socialist government rather than a conservative one they would have acted less 'nationalistically' and signed on with Les Anglo-Saxons. In Australia, Hawke was the first Labor PM to advocate overseas intervention, breaking a near century long Labor tradition of isolationism in his support for the first Gulf War.

Listening to many third wayers and they seem to favour foreign intervention the most when the national interests of the homeland are the least. This is the opposite of the conservative notion of foreign intervention only where clear national interests are at stake. To third wayers, it is almost sinful to pursue your national security interests abroad, but they reject both isolationism and pacifism. What they favour is multi-national and/or super-national power. And this power is to be projected to support their ideas of social reform and harmony. In fact this is merely projecting onto the world the same democratic centralist agenda they pursue at home. In short "imperialism without nationalism".

Should we be unduly alarmed at these third way trends? I don't think so, the third wayers are basically decent chaps, democrats and they support the rule of law, however we need to recognise that their ideology is not quite as benevolent as they would have us believe, and sometimes the worst case scenario prevails.

I think this is an interesting thesis but also think that it runs up against the problem of defining the "Third Way". This site gives one view of the matter but, as I see it, the term is used for a pretty disparate bunch of characters -- from what I would call authoritarians like Lee Kuan Yew to moderate conservatives like Tony Blair to amoral centrists like Bill Clinton to Leftist ignoramuses like Australia's Democrats. Though in general, I would think that ALL modern-day Leftists are "Third way" in some sense now that Communism is dead. Only the loonies now think that government ownership of industry is any answer to anything.



Michael Darby has a review of a book of stories about Australian history.

Chris Brand thinks British academia is in a sadly declined state.

In my academic posting of April 25th. here, I review the research findings about stereotyping and show that what goes on in sterotyping is quite different from what is popularly believed.


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