Saturday, August 30, 2003


In a modern democracy, any political party that aspires to win power through the ballot box has to be a centrist party. You have to do your best to offer something to everybody. That’s how you get most votes. Winning over some of the other guy’s voters is the name of the game. Being any kind of a purist just means you will be out of power and thus in no position to push ANY agenda.

An amusing result of this situation is that you sometimes have to go out of your way to do things that you do NOT believe in. For instance, Leftists have to show that they can control government spending or they will not get any conservative votes and conservatives have to support welfare measures of they will not get any left-leaning votes.

So we have the situation today when GWB got into power as a “caring” conservative and promptly tried to prove it by the sort of bone-headed policies that the Left advocate -- such as protecting inefficient steel producers at the cost of American consumers, supporting a potentially huge blowout in Medicare costs and turning a budget surplus into a deficit. Before we get too mad with GWB, however, it is worth noting that the same sort of thing has been going on for a long time -- as Jerry Frankel points out. If GWB’s rhetoric is conservative and his policies socialist, it is also true that past Democrat Presidents have matched their interventionist rhetoric with substantial cutbacks in actual government intervention. Carter and Clinton did more deregulation than GWB has. They did it because America is a conservative country and to impress the American public they needed to do conservative deeds to counterbalance their Leftist rhetoric.

The same has happened in Australia where nominally socialist governments under Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating made enormous changes towards deregulation and privatization and in New Zealand it was the socialist Lange government that cut back welfare and freed up the economy.

And even in the late 19th century, Germany’s Prince Otto von Bismarck, the man who created the world’s first welfare State -- with old-age pensions and worker’s compensation for injury etc. -- was a landowning traditionalist (Junker) who was otherwise a fierce opponent of the socialists of his day. And the great 19th century British conservative Prime Minister who gave Britain’s Conservative Party its name (Disraeli) was also noted for bringing in measures to improve the lot of the industrial worker.

Britain’s Tony Blair, however, seems to be the present-day politician who understands all this best. He is a Leftist leading a very Leftist party so understands that to get his Leftist policies widely accepted he has to talk conservative -- which he regularly does. And of course he puts some conservative policies into effect too -- such as his support for the Iraq war. He is probably such an effective centrist because he can genuinely see merit in all the policies he promotes.

But one thing that NOBODY seems to be able to do anything about is the constant growth of government spending -- as economic historian Randall Holcombe points out.

What we can therefore be glad of in the English-speaking countries of the modern world is WHERE the centre lies -- and that centre does include substantial respect for individual liberties and individual enterprise. Thus NO party can go too far at chipping away our liberties without risking loss of power. The English-speaking countries are conservative countries so regardless of who is in power, the individual will still have to be treated with substantial respect. But even in such countries the location of the centre is not totally fixed. Two great 20th century conservatives -- Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan -- moved it substantially to the Right and moving it further in that direction is our big hope for the future and the reason we have to keep the argument going. If we convince the people, the politicians will follow -- no matter what political party they belong to. That’s democracy.


The anti-democratic judiciary again: "Only one in five Americans approve of the federal court order under which workers removed the Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of Alabama's state judicial building Wednesday, according to a new poll."

More abandonment of standards in the Left-dominated schools: "An independent panel appointed to look into why an alarming number of high school kids bombed out on the June Math A Regents Exam has found the statewide test was too hard. So the scores will be bumped up so that many of those who failed will get passing grades."

There is a rather fun post here about one of the fruitier candidates in the California Recall election.

Natural selection at work: Millions of hard-working Americans are migrating out of high-taxing Democrat-controlled States (such as California) into lower taxing American States -- and gaining huge advantages in purchasing power out of it. We saw a related process in my home State of Queensland some time back. A conservative Queensland government abolished death-duties (inheritance taxes) -- causing so many retirees to move to Queensland that all other Australian States had to abolish death-duties too.

Where are the monuments to communism's victims? There are many monuments to the victims of the National Socialist Hitler but both Stalin and Mao killed more people than Hitler did.

New site: ecoNOT is a newly launched site dedicated to the debunking of "environmentalism" (which its author defines as excluding normal "conservationism"). There is an associated blog here with some good entries on crime etc.

My latest academic upload here (or here) is a review of a book on racial attitudes by British and Indian social scientists which concludes: "The prejudice manifested by the majority of the population is an essentially normal process".


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Friday, August 29, 2003


Interested Participant notes that, despite cutbacks elsewhere, the University of Michigan can still offer a course that teaches initiation into homosexuality! Lots of people object to that, of course but Interested Participant mentions one big reason why they should object to encouragement of homsexuality: “the median age at death of male homosexuals is 40 compared to 75 for married men. For female homosexuals, median age at death is 45 compared to 79 for married women. The differences are explained by 1) very high homicide and suicide rates, 2) high death rates from motor vehicle accidents, and 3) high death rates from sexually transmitted diseases (especially AIDS).”


An acerbic and very accurate comment from Thomas Sowell: "There is nothing new about organizations and movements beginning with idealism and ending up as cynical rackets. Nevertheless, it was painful to listen to speakers who addressed a scattering of people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech. ... the speakers on the 40th anniversary of that occasion clearly rejected the idea of a color- blind society. These were no longer demands for equal treatment but for special benefits, based on the color of their skin. Speakers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson certainly can't afford to be judged by the content of their character."


Fun! One of my correspondents has noted the Berkeley claim that Stalin was conservative because he resisted change once he was in power. He comments: “Have you considered pointing out to the Leftist College Prof crowd that *they* are presently in power in the university?” And they certainly monopolize that power. So are THEY conservative? I am sure that they would really LOVE that suggestion!

Houston school officials appear to have put forth glowing data on students' college plans that bear small relation to the hard reality most students face. That Leftist teachers might put out false statistics that look like nothing so much as the percentage of votes that the leaders of Communist countries used to get at “election” time is hardly a coincidence. Leftists are so hooked on lies that they are not even clever about it.

Jeff Jacoby is having a bit of fun with the Leftists who cannot understand why U.S. crime keeps dropping. What a puzzle!! But, as he says: “[The] downward trend ... first appeared in the 1980s, not long after the nationwide crackdown on crime got underway. The dramatic drop in criminal activity followed an equally dramatic boom in prison construction and a sharp surge in incarceration rates. The conclusion is obvious: Stricter punishment has led to lower crime.” Only a Leftist would find that puzzling.

I have referred to Galileo a couple of times recently. This reference covers some of the complexities of his relationship with the Church. Although his treatment was unjust, there was some sympathy for his views among the clergy.

For decades, “wind power” has been THE Greenie answer as an alternative to coal, oil and nuclear power. Now that technology is beginning to make wind-power look like a more viable proposition, however, the Greenies are saying that they do not want it because of its “visual pollution”. When will people realize that the Greenies are just irrational wreckers whom NOTHING will satisfy?

"While most of official Washington was captivated with the fight on the Senate floor to pass an energy bill before Congress left town for its August vacation, a vicious campaign was under way behind the scenes to smear two leading scientists for pointing out serious flaws in the science behind the theory of human-caused climate change."

There has been a recent claim that birth-order determines whether or not you are conservative or liberal. The evidence on birth-order effects has always shown them to be very slight however. The big influence on political orientation is genetic. The twin studies show that your politics are even more strongly inherited than how tall you are. You are either born with the personality needs that make you a Leftist or you are not. That is why arguing with Leftists is generally so futile. Only aging makes them more conservative, usually.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again.

The Tugboat Potemkin has once again emitted a few angry sparks from its aging Leftist chimney in the form of a great huff over the fact that Andrew Bolt mentioned the psychiatric problems of a children’s book author. Frankly, if I had a child that was being given books to read that were written by a mentally disturbed person, I would want to know about it. Impressionable minds and all that. The Tugboat may stand for censorship of relevant information in the name of political correctness but I think the right to know trumps that every time. As a libertarian, I am against ALL censorship.

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I look at attitudes to Aborigines (blacks) in Australia. The main finding was that no one type of person was much more likely to be critical of blacks than any other. There was however a 5% overlap between conservative voting and attitude to blacks. This means that nearly as many Leftists as Rightists were critical of blacks. Since Australian blacks are a pretty sorry lot by most objective criteria, the slight preponderance of conservatives among their critics probably reflects greater conservative realism.


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Thursday, August 28, 2003


I had five articles published in “Front Page Magazine” last year (here, here, here, here and here) but I have been a bit lazy this year. But my first article for this year has now appeared. It is here. It deals with the Berkeley nonsense about the psychology of conservatism. “Front Page” seems to have nearly a million readers these days so out of that I am hopeful of getting a few more regular readers of this blog.

I have given the links to other posts on this blog about the Berkeley nonsense a little further down this page.


The Left are always telling us that we should have learned from Vietnam to stay out of Iraq. This military writer has a rather different view. Some excerpts:

Iraq is no Vietnam, but there is a lesson from Vietnam that our commanders in Iraq will ignore at their peril: To win, we must think and act differently than our training and military education prepare us to do.

During the Vietnam War, some of the fiercest fighters the war ever saw were soldiers who were known as combat bums and as troops who had gone native.

What they had in common was an obsession with winning, even at the cost of career advancement within the U.S. military.

they began to adopt the lifestyle of the locals in Saigon and elsewhere, and they began to think "out of the box." Ultimately what emerged was an extremely unique style of counterinsurgency warfare - one that may save us both in Iraq and in our current war against terrorism.

It is worth our while today to learn from the Vietnam-era "combat bums" who went native to fight their war. Of all the combat bums, few left us a more worthwhile legacy than John Paul Vann, who fought in Vietnam first in uniform and then later returned to Vietnam as a civilian advisor.

Typically the counterinsurgency leader leaves the familiarity and safety of U.S. institutions and begins to live among the local population - the same people who are recruited by an adversary such as Osama bin Laden and the like. Sometimes this type of mission will include overseeing civilian projects that will improve the lives of the locals. But in all cases, the leader cuts as many ties as possible with the U.S. government and, by primarily relying on his intuition, learns to move among the people like "a fish through water."

A successful counterinsurgent will begin to build trust with the local population...


Yawn! “Yasser Arafat on Wednesday asked militant groups to halt attacks on Israelis”. He has done so many times before. The Palestinians know he has his fingers crossed (or should that be “crescented”?) when he says such things.

The Australian foreign minister has given the churches a well-deserved blast for politicking instead of concentrating on pastoral matters. He particularly referred to the obnoxious behaviour of the Anglican Primate of Australia, who “had blamed the Bali bomb attack on Australia's close alliance with the US.”

Good to see that Australia has succeeded after a long chase in arresting another ship poaching in its fisheries. Because we manage our fisheries in a responsible way, there are always pirates from other nations trying to steal the fish that we protect.

Ordinary Americans have still got what it takes: “According to a recent poll for the Associated Press, nearly three out of four Americans favor manned spaceflight”

More Canadian absurdity: Canadians are now not allowed to smile for their passport photos.

The second part of this article is most amusing. Leftists are always saying that governments are in the pockets of “the multinationals”. It seems however that the labor unions have sold their souls to Coca Cola! The first part of the article is good too: Having a laugh at the Europeans who condemn Americans as warmongers and then want America to intervene in Liberia and such places.

Hooray! Blimps are back. I have always thought that it was irrational that the crash of the Hindenburg discredited airships. Far more people die in modern airliner crashes.

The Wicked one has some more jokes up: An Irish joke, a New Zealand joke and a Schwarzenegger joke.

I have a post on PC Watch about FAT!

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I look at who gets heart disease. Lots of things lead to heart disease but the type of personality you are is one of them. I show that dominant, aggressive people are at higher risk but that being ambitious or always rushing about frantically are not dangerous at all.


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Wednesday, August 27, 2003


Below are posts on this blog over the last month that give more details of how dishonest and distorted the study by Jost et al. was:

The research that the Berkeley group ignored

Their ignorance of history

Conservatives are happy, not angry and fearful

They are seeing their own faults in conservatives

Their way of measuring “dogmatism” is self-contradictory

Another strange belief by one of the Berkeley authors

The folly of using students as your source of information

There is no such thing as a general tendency towards intolerance of ambiguity

Their “Right Wing Authoritarianism” questionnaire is in fact agreed to by lots of Leftists too.

There is no such thing as a general tendency to accept any authority. It depends on the authority.

There was no such thing as a single Nazi “type” and the Berkeley group did not study real Nazis in any case.

The Berkeley theory was in fact borrowed from the Nazis.


The Rev. Brian of American Realpolitik runs a great site for humour which I enjoy visiting. He is a serious humorist (!), however, so I was pleased to get his response to my post on the Bloomberg anti-smoking laws. He writes:

Actually John, the problem with the Bloomberg policies is that people aren't really allowed to segregate. A true libertarian solution would be to let it up to the business to decide. Smokers would gravitate to places where they were welcome, and non-smokers would gravitate to places that catered to them.

Bloomberg has simply banned smoking in publicly accessible buildings. If a bar or restaurant wanted to offer a well-ventilated smoking section they would not be allowed to.

I agree entirely that banning the provision of areas set aside for smokers is unacceptably authoritarian and totally unnecessary. But I have lived through too many years of smokers polluting up all public places to agree that controlling their incursions on other people’s liberties can be left to voluntarism.

Sam Ward also has an interesting comment on the issue.


Bernhardt Varenius of Anti-Socialist Tendencies has drawn my attention to this article. I have yet to find an article written by a Leftist that I find worth fisking but this one tempts me. There is so much about it that is wrong-headed and self-congratulatory. I hope one of my fellow bloggers does a real job on it. I will content myself with taking up his initial point about Leftists being more likely to be highly educated. He thinks that shows that conservatives are stupid. He is right that there is a tendency for Leftists to have more formal education but he fails to ask WHY that connection exists. It would not be because of the heavy Leftist indoctrination that people almost always get in the universities and colleges these days would it?

But WHY are university and college teachers so Leftist? Too easy! They know that they are smart so therefore think that they should be the ones running everything. So they HATE it that people want to run their own lives! And that’s what makes a Leftist. We know what’s good for you is the Leftist credo.

OK. There is one more point that I cannot resist fisking: He says that conservatives were the ones way back who supported the flat earth theory. How he knows that he does not say. What I CAN tell him was that the people who most vigorously resisted Galileo and his ilk were the clergy of the day. And who were the highly educated people at that time? The clergy! So much for the wisdom gained from a higher education!

Parting shot: And it’s not so long ago that the leading intellectuals of both Britain and America were supporting Hitler’s eugenic ideas. Such wisdom!

Pickens, D. (1968) Eugenics and the Progressives. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press


I commented recently on the absurd intrusiveness of the Federal Boxing Administration proposed for the USA. I am afraid Australia looks even more infatuated with government intervention. The State government of Western Australia is well on the way to setting up a Department of Fashion! (PDF). As one of our newspaper columnists commented yesterday (no longer online): “Not that juvenile crime, hospital waiting lists or crowded classrooms should take priority.”

I have said very little about Iraq’s “missing” WMDs because I see it as irrelevant. We went to war because Iraq gave strong indications of having them and that was a good piece of conservative caution. Those who wanted to trust Saddam were the incredible ones. For those who think the issue does now matter, however, a member of Australia’s major Leftist party has written a good short refutation of the whiners here.

Crime Keeps Falling: “Violent and property crimes dipped in 2002 to their lowest levels since records started being compiled 30 years ago, and have dropped more than 50 percent in the past decade, the Justice Department reported” Tougher policing and sentencing deserves SOME of the credit for that but so does the private sector. Bruce Benson explains.

Sensible: “Prime Minister John Howard has stepped up his campaign to keep older workers in the job market by asking for reform plans from a panel of top business advisers.”

A worry for New Zealanders!: A GHANAIAN man was jailed for two years for having sex with a sheep. (via Chris Brand) For my U.S. readers: The relationship between New Zealanders and their sheep is an old joke in this part of the world.

Arlene Peck is pretty scathing about the masculinity of Arab men. Her last sentence is amusing.

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I report a survey of what jail terms people in the community see as appropriate for various crimes. Needless to say, I found that people generally wanted sentences that were many times longer than what the courts actually hand out. I concluded that the judiciary is a major antidemocratic force in the community.


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Tuesday, August 26, 2003


A lot of libertarians seem to get their knickers in a knot over the ban on most smoking in public by New York Mayor Bloomberg. They seem to think that the policy violates some “right” to smoke. But if person X has a “right” to smoke, then person Y has a “right” to breathe clean air. But the two “rights” are obviously in conflict. The only way to give the maximum freedom to both parties is then to segregate them -- which is what Bloomberg is doing -- perfectly libertarian in my view. Smokers see it all as unfair only because (being addicts) they are so used to trampling over the liberties of non-smokers who would like to breathe unpolluted air.


"It has long been clear that the anti-sprawl movement is anti- minority. That racism is not purposeful or mindful on their part, but rather naive and mindless. Like the socialist planners who thought they could do better than the market, but wound up impoverishing millions, these anti-economists would prefer to restrict land use without raising prices. But it is an unavoidable fact that whatever is made more scarce costs more ..."

“Myths and lies spread by the green movement about the consequences of genetic modification (GM) are preventing the use of new crops that could alleviate third-world famine, an international conference has been told in Melbourne. "Genetic engineering has been turned into this Frankenstein technology and a lot of it is due to ignorance," last year's Nobel Prize winner, South African scientist Professor Sydney Brenner told the conference. Kenyan scientist Dr Florence Wambagu said anti-GM campaigners "play around with the anxiety of the public and make them more anxious with myths and lies". Wambagu said poverty, and not development or genetic modification, were causing the loss of bio-diversity in Africa and the continent faced a food deficit without new technologies.” More here

This review of a history of the last 200 years by Mokyr points out how technological innovation is the main influence that has been responsible for our enormous material progress in that time and foresees further huge advances if the political system does not stifle it -- a very real possibility given the influence of the anti-progress Greens and the power of vested interests that would tend to lose out by people being given more choices.

The Bush administration has decided to allow thousands of the nation's coal-fired power plants to upgrade their facilities without installing costly anti-pollution equipment, as they now must do. Industry and EPA officials said recently that the new rule would encourage plant improvements, provide greater regulatory certainty and reduce dangerous emissions. The decision will save billions for consumers and encourage the badly need installation of new capacity. Needless to say, the Greenies and the Democrats are against it.


The ever-meddlesome U.S. Congress is now in the process of setting up a Federal Boxing Administration! As Forbes says: “With all the big problems facing the nation these days-- like a power grid that has trouble delivering power-- you might think that politicians in Washington would be focusing on basic issues.”

Sheer insanity: “Military involvement by the United States and its NATO allies may be necessary to create stability between Israel and the Palestinians, a key senator has said in the US.” Now THAT really would be a quagmire!

French tax cuts! “French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin will this week announce tax cuts to revive an economy that is nearing recession... With unemployment at a 3-year high and gross domestic product down 0.3 per cent in the second quarter, Raffarin is under pressure to lower taxes further to boost consumer spending. The government reduced income taxes by 5 per cent in 2002 and 1 per cent this year.”

Sieg Hillary? "Until Herschel's discovery of Uranus in 1781, it was considered a matter of certainty that there were six planets. But the fact that everyone knew this to be true did not make it so. In like manner, college students and other insufferable connoisseurs of all human wisdom "know" that the historical Nazi Party epitomizes the extreme right-wing.... These supposedly right-wing extremists were calling for national health care, social security, state-run schools, communal land development and centralized government control.

Apostate Ibn Warraq campaigns for the right not to be a Muslim: "But what has been virtually ignored is that there are Muslims, both in the Muslim world and outside it, who want nothing to do with Islam, moderate or otherwise. Most keep their feelings to themselves. Those Muslims who disown or even criticize their faith publicly are likely to be accused of apostasy, a crime punishable by death under Islamic law."

"Every week we read that something we believe is bad for us actually has beneficial health effects. One week it's coffee, the next is pizza -- and every other day it's red wine. But can these stories really be true? That depends how you interpret the facts."

The Wicked one says that interlinked electricity grids are more efficient and provide cheaper power but that more interlinking may nonetheless be quite reasonably opposed.

In my latest academic upload -- of an article published over 20 years ago -- here (or here) I discreetly mock the conceptual confusion of my fellow psychologists when they talk about authoritarianism, dominance and assertiveness. I tried to get them to think more clearly and rigorously but it was a losing battle from the start.


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Monday, August 25, 2003


Japan has a population of over 120 million. Australia has a population of about 20 million. So .....

Japan's asylum seeker policy: "In 2002, some 250 foreigners applied for asylum in Japan. Fourteen, or six percent, were recognized as refugees, and several dozen more were given the right to stay, but not awarded refugee status. The government is considering allowing foreigners to apply for asylum up to six months after arrival (the current limit is 60 days after arrival); however, they would receive only temporary protected status in Japan."

The Australian program in comparison: "On 7 May 2002, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs announced that the overall size of the 2002-03 Humanitarian Program would remain at 12,000 new places, the same number as in 2001-02."

What racists we Australians are!


Under conservative (market oriented) management from both major political parties, the Australian economy has been one of the world's big economic success stories in the last 10 years -- averaging 4% growth year after year despite world upheavals. How come? A recent economics research paper found 3 main reasons:

"Strengthening competition from domestic and overseas sources; Opening the economy to trade, investment, technologies and know-how developed overseas; By providing greater flexibility (for example, less regulatory restriction and a more flexible labour market) to adjust production processes and firm organisation."

Classic free-marketeer recommendations, in other words -- in plain English: Cutting government protection for local industries, allowing in that dreaded foreign investment, reducing government regulation and not letting the unions rule.

The failure of the "social market" economy: Wilhelm Roepke is often credited as the theoretical architect of Germany's postwar economic 'miracle.' Few know that he was actually quite critical of Germany's attempt to fuse a huge welfare State with a free market economy. He thought that the system would fail in the long run. The present big economic problems in Germany suggest that he was right.

Newspapers in Germany have just listed things people on state benefits can get free. They include football boots, Jogging suits, swimming trunks, bras, slippers, wedding rings -- and Viagra. (According to the Brisbane Sunday Mail of August 24, 2003, p. 57). No wonder Germany has 11% unemployment. Why work?


Another great column from Andrew Bolt: "IF you want to wipe the smile off your child's face, make the poor thing read the books that last weekend won the Children's Book Council awards. It's true this year's winners at least aren't as horrific as the books of huge-selling John Marsden... Marsden, who had psychiatric care at 19, has written a score of novels that seem to confront his child readers with his personal demons, yet for some sick reason are critically praised instead of getting the treatment they deserve -- deep burial at the local tip."

Justice at last! "Defrocked priest John Geoghan, a central figure in the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal, was killed on Saturday by a fellow-inmate in the prison where he was serving a sentence for child rape"

Arlene Peck thinks that the Palestinians have the IQ of eggplants and that it is impossible to negotiate with them. I think that everything that has happened over there in the last few years justifies that conclusion.

My top post yesterday noted that the Australian middle-class has moved Leftward over the years. In response, Gerry Jackson of Brookes News emailed me: “For what it's worth, it seems to me that what moved our middle class to the left was the spread of tertiary education, which in many cases is nothing less than leftwing indocrination. Listening to some graduates as they try to talk about economics, history or politics drives me to distraction and makes me realise just how far standards have fallen in some of our faculties.”

Great! American universities are cutting back on the number of classes they offer. Hopefully that will discourage some students from wasting their time with the so-called education that such universities offer. With the exception of economics, the Humanities and Social Sciences have become so unscholarly that scrapping ALL of their courses would be of net benefit to the world.

The Devil’s Christianity: "With the upcoming execution of Paul Hill -- who killed an abortion doctor and a clinic escort -- abortion providers and police are grimly aware that clinics could be the target of further violence and are on higher alert than usual. While facilities that provide abortions say they face threats all the time and already have a number of security measures in place, some abortion rights activists are worried about swirling threats from anti-abortion extremists. Police also are on alert. ... State and federal authorities continued an investigation Friday into four letters sent this week to three state officials and a judge warning about the impending execution and threatening the officials.

The Wicked one highlights the enormously wasteful and neglectful way the U.S. Government uses its taxpayer-funded assets.

My latest academic upload here (or here) looks at attitude to shoplifting among Australians. It finds that Australian skepticism about authority does NOT extend to being permissive about crime.


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Sunday, August 24, 2003


There are reviews here and here of an interesting new history of Australian politics that points out how the middle class have tended over the years to move from conservative to Leftist and that conservative politics now has gained great strength from the working class. I think much the same is true in the USA.

It does remind me of the man who gave the British Conservative Party its name back in the 19th century -- Benjamin Disraeli. He too saw the working class as “angels in marble” (i.e. potential voters) for the Conservatives. And he did something about it by championing working-class causes too.

Another point I liked was that the conservatives in Australia have always stood for the nation as a whole rather than looking after sectional interests. That is extremely relevant today with the identity politics now being so heavily fostered by the Left. Now that they have lost a lot of their old labor union supporters, the Left have tried to make themselves patrons of homosexuals, blacks, immigrants and anyone else they can portray as “victims”. So the old Leftist disregard for the best interests of the whole persists.

Another good bit of history concerns Alfred Deakin, one of Australia’s founding conservatives (note that the major conservative party in Australia is called the Liberal Party):

Deakin's historic 1909 decision to accept a fusion of the non-Labor parties (Deakin's Liberals and George Reid's Free Traders) was not primarily driven by class conflict but by Deakin's view of political freedom and his repudiation of Labor's collective control of its MPs. For Deakin this was a violation of what defines a man: "his judgment and his conscience". As a result, Liberal politics rested in individual freedom, not organised economic interests.

Not much has changed.



Rafe Champion has a discussion here about noted Australian conservative historian Geoffrey Blainey which points out that Blainey had to spend most of his working life outside academe. Only now after many years are the universities beginning to give him the hearing he deserves. Rafe has this pungent comment about Blainey’s opponents:

“As for the Marxists and other labour historians who are upset that Blainey became a fellow traveller with the [conservative] H R Nicholls Society! They need to understand that the real exploiters of the poor and the weak over the last two centuries have not been the factory owners or the capitalist system but the better paid and more organised members of the trade union movement, using the threat of violence on the picket line (and beyond) to maintain their own benefits at the expense of everyone else.



Hernando de Soto from Peru argues that the creation and enforcement of clear private property rights is the first step in alleviating Third World poverty

A former East Timorese resistance leader defends the various U.S. military interventions of recent years and mocks “peace” campaigners by asking how any decent person would like what would probably have happened otherwise

Another example of leftist compassion at work? Foundling homes were the most heavily used form of public charity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.... Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the man whose writings to this day underpin much Leftist thinking about the innate “goodness” of man, consigned all five of his offspring to foundling homes. He tried to find them later, but couldn't.

This article shows how irrational is the Left’s hatred of GWB by pointing out that he is in fact a moderate centrist in most things.

This Canadian says that the Greens are always telling us how much we need nature but he thinks that even nature can be improved upon by human imitations. Given Canada’s climate, I sympathize.

Did anyone say Italians are not practical? “An Italian mayor has assumed the civic responsibility of sponsoring his town folk's access to the anti-impotence drug Viagra. The mayor of the northern town of Varallo, Gianluca Buonanno, persuaded town councillors that in the interests of citizens' sexual health they should give up some of their perks to cover the cost of supplying the renowned erection pill.”

Chris Brand has been posting up a storm lately -- in his usual provocative style -- so I have transferred his latest posts here for convenience.

The Wicked one thinks that even some conservative writers use criticism of the neocons as a covert way of saying “Blame the Jews!”

I have just put up here a brief discussion of the question: “Are all Leftists the same?”

I have put up two different academic postings today. Both are too technical to be of general interest but both thoroughly undermine large swathes of political psychology research and writing. See here and here. Not that anybody took any notice, of course. As a non-science, psychology is immune to disproof of its claims.


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