Saturday, October 25, 2003


I restrict my analysis of the Left almost entirely to the Left in Anglo-Saxon countries as I feel that I lack depth of knowledge about the Left elsewhere but the following comment from an Israeli reader suggests that the Left in Israel is pretty similar to the Left in the Anglo-Saxon countries: "As Israel has been in a war situation for years, some of the Israeli left parties' naive moves have cost a lot in blood. And, back in 73', Israel almost LOST a war due to the ignorance of facts and the sticking to wishful conceptions by the Labor party's leadership". Leftists everywhere seem to be so attached to their simplistic dreams that when reality does not match the dream, reality is ignored for as long as possible. The big yet fragile ego of the Leftist creates in him a need to feel that he has an understanding of world events that other people lack so when his special "understanding" of the world is shown by events to be oversimplified rubbish, reality is simply blotted out, rationalized, explained away or otherwise denied.


I have often pointed out in this blog how the Leftist leanings of psychologists make them unscholarly and unscientific in the “research” that they do (e.g. here and here and here). The carelessness is not only evident when they write on politics, however. My latest academic upload (here or here) is about an issue in personnel psychology and I was able to explode some ludicrous claims there too.

Perhaps most amusingly, my study also showed that a previously unsuspected variable -- “task-orientation” -- was a good predictor of political party preference. Leftist psychologists have spent years searching for non-obvious predictors of vote (e.g. here) without success. The meaning of my finding is that people who want to get the job done rather than laze about tend to vote conservative. Not so surprising when you think about it!

And another thing Leftist psychologists have vainly been trying to find for decades (e.g. here) is a scale (set of questions) that will predict authoritarian personality (domineering, bossy behaviour). It turns out that task-orientation was a good predictor of that too! In other words, people who push others around are often doing so not for its own sake but for a good reason -- trying to make something happen. I published those findings 30 years ago but their failure to confirm Leftist prejudices has ensured that they have subsequently been totally ignored -- despite my doing in one article two things that have now been the holy grail of political psychology for over 50 years.


Italy’s conservative government certainly has courage. With Italy’s fast-aging population, the government’s plan to stop early access to old-age pensions is desperately needed but you can imagine how popular it is. Still, Australia has quietly but very gradually put up the pensionable age for women without significant controversy so there is some hope for rationality in the matter.

A US reader who has recently visited Russia has noted a couple of recent posts on this blog which show that poor people drink a lot of alcohol and comments: "In US cities, you can almost estimate the "poverty level" by the number of liquor stores per block. And the liberals say alcohol caused the poverty - I believe it is the other way around. And in Russia - alcohol was so available I almost couldn't believe it. Almost every gift shop sold vodka and everything else. And it was sold in public places, subway, etc."

It is of course nonsense that cheap Canadian drugs are bad for you but the drug companies can only recover their costs in the US market so until there is worldwide deregulation of drug prices (i.e. never) US consumers will either have to bear drug development costs alone or drug development will grind to a halt. It's not at all fair or just but can you see any US administration going in to bat for the drug companies worldwide? The way the Left have managed to demonize the people who give us the new drugs, it would be a complete waste of time.

But here is a defence of on-line pharmacies

A good article here on the economic failures of the Clinton years -- failures that the US economy is only now starting to overcome. Economic policy changes take a few years to show their effects.

The way illegal immigrants are dying as they try to get into Western countries is a good argument for tough policies like Australia's. They don't even try to get into Australia by boat anymore.

Andrew Bolt points out how Leftist mythology rather than the historical truth is often what we hear in the mainstream Australian media: "IT'S not that they lie. No, it's just that even the nicest journalists are driven by our intellectual culture to peddle bizarre untruths. This was demonstrated perfectly last Wednesday when the ABC's AM program noted the 50th anniversary of the first atomic bomb test on Australian soil."

Surprise! SOME Dems think voters can see reality: Evan Bayh of Indiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas said the antigun image perpetuates the idea that Democrats are 'cultural elites,' alienating them from mainstream voters."

Mike Tremoglie PROVES that Democrat opposition to GWB's Iraq policy is nothing more than hypocritical opportunism by pointing out that Clinton did the same thing in Bosnia (no UN authorization etc) to universal Democrat approval.

The results of Leftist anti-car policy: "Special units of emergency staff with life-saving equipment are to be created to deal with potential gridlock on Britain's roads. Amid rising concern about growing congestion throughout the country, transport officials fear that a whole city or trunk route could seize up -- leaving drivers stranded in their cars.

Chris Brand has more on the Swiss elections and notes the great rise in anti-immigrant sentiment in Britain too.


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Friday, October 24, 2003


I’m no Theodore Dalrymple but ....

In this blog I talk almost exclusively about Leftists and very rarely say anything about myself except in connection with my academic journal articles. A point I have made clear on a number of occasions, however, is that I think it makes a difference that I generally speak from a lot of experience rather than from theory. This also applies to comments I make about “the poor” (or “underprivileged” in Leftist jargon).

One of the great Leftist themes is their “compassion” for the poor. But from what they say it is clear that the average dreaming Leftist intellectual knows only as much about the poor as he can imagine from the comfort of a well-paid middle class job and general middle-class background. I however was born into a working-class family (my father was a lumberjack) so I have always been perfectly familiar and at ease with the poorer members of my society and been able to speak to them using their own idioms, concepts, values and characteristic beliefs. I actually have to make some effort to write this blog in international English as my natural tendency is to express myself in the vivid Australian vernacular. If I were writing this blog solely for an Australian working class audience, for instance, I would be able to convey very accurately my impression of Leftists by saying that they are people who are always “bunging on an act”, who are not “fair dinkum” and who are always “big-noting” themselves -- but I doubt very much that such terms would be universally understood in the way intended. All three terms are, by the way, expressions of extreme contempt among Australian working class people.

Because my background made it possible, I did for a couple of years not so long ago own and run a large boarding house in one of Brisbane’s poorest suburbs (Ipswich). My tenants were almost exclusively long-term unemployed and, yes, I did accept black tenants. The law was of absolutely no use in managing such people. The previous owner of the place was an “outsider” and had experienced financial disaster as a result. Because I understood the type of people I had as tenants, however, I WAS able to manage them and made good money out of the business. And I would not have been able to eject “campers”, single-handedly clear a room full of interlopers or physically throw out druggies if I had not always known the right psychological buttons to push. I always did such tasks with impunity even though I am not physically imposing and even though I was often dealing with hardened criminals. My psychology was practical as well as theoretical -- largely because it was founded on an intimate understanding of the people I was dealing with. If anybody thinks they know the Australian underclass better than I do, I would like to see them do the sort of thing I did without getting their head punched in.

So what were my tenants like? Foolish. Few if any, for instance, were keen shoppers. Almost all would buy a lot of their food and other requirements from nearby service stations and “convenience” stores even though prices there were up to 50% higher than at the supermarket only a short walk further down the road. If that does not tell you that a lot of poverty is self-inflicted, I do not know what would.

And dishonesty and criminality were rife among them. They were always stealing from one-another. Anybody who had anything of value in his room was very unwise to walk out of his room without locking the door behind him. They WERE often unwise of course so there was an awful lot of “lost” money and property among them. If that does not tell you that poverty is closely associated with moral breakdown, I do not know what would.

And despite the fact that all of them lived entirely from welfare payment to welfare payment, all of them could afford to drink (alcohol) and smoke. On “payday”, there was a regular parade of cardboard boxes of “Fruity Lexia” (a cheap but pleasant Australian white wine) into the premises. If that does not tell you that they were not really poor I do not know what would.

Maybe I will say later how I think the welfare system should be reformed in the light of what “the poor” really are like.


Eugenics -- comment from a reader: "If we simply didn't subsidize "the stupid" they would voluntarily reduce their numbers. Housing, Food Stamps, Medicaid, Free Education do not increase the numbers of "high IQ" people - high IQ people are functioning quite well without any of that" It is certainly true that the welfare state has brought natural selection to a grinding halt.

I have noted previously the recent Asian claim that Australia will not be accepted in Asia until its population is predominantly Asian -- an obviously racist claim. View from the Right thinks the claim shows that a policy of non-discrimination in racial matters is futile and should be abandoned.

I normally agree with articles on "Townhall" but this guy sounds like a bureacrat. He wants heavy penaties for the young guy who showed the whole of America how useless their bureacratized airport security is. I think the kid deserves a medal. It is the honchos at airport security that should be in jail.

A horror story about bureaucratized medicine in New Zealand. You would not wish it on a dog. By contrast, I need surgery for skin cancer pretty often and I get it within weeks when I ask for it under my private health insurance here in Australia. I encounter no bureaucracy at all. I don’t even have a preliminary consultation. I just ring up the plastic surgeon’s receptionist, book myself in for a procedure and turn up on the day arranged. I go straight into the plastic surgeon’s private operating theatre and he does the job forthwith. No fuss at all and a trivial out of pocket expense. And if it looks an easy job I get my GP to do the slicing. I have to book him only a couple of days in advance and he costs me nothing at all. No bureaucracy with him either. Just one appointment and it’s all over. Why anybody would have any other system I do not know.

I have just put up here a news release from the UK Libertarian Alliance which condemns the proposed EU ban on “Transplant tourism”. The idea being that people who need (say) a kidney transplant but who cannot get one in their own country must be forbidden from going to any other country to get what they need! It sounds a lot like the Berlin wall to me.

A very popular analytical technique in psychology and sociology is factor analysis. It mostly seems to be used in an attempt to get statistical mathematics to do your thinking for you. In my latest academic upload (here or here) I point out that it is often misused.


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Thursday, October 23, 2003


A reader writes

I read with interest your paper on Indian farmers and IQ. This took me back to my own PhD (done at a major Australian university) on malnutrition among kids in Papua New Guinea in the mid 1980s. I spent 18 months in the bush.

One of my more interesting observations after this period of time was that kids with dumb parents tended to be more malnourished than kids with intelligent parents. My three thesis supervisors were horrified when I proposed to write about it. As I had not used any psychometric tools to test my idea, I was able to be convinced that I should let it drop. Their motivations however, were driven more out of political correctness than anything else.

I subsequently presented a short paper at a conference on a different aspect of my research. I discussed what villagers were doing with their cash cropping money. No-one had ever done a whole-of-village study at that time in PNG. I found that nearly half of all money was spent on alcohol.

I was treated like a leper by old New Guinea academic hands and development studies academics because I had broken a taboo -- it was not appropriate to talk about these kinds of social problems in polite academic circles -- the only true turf was the anti-Western cum Marxist explanation for nutritional and economic inequality. Needless to say, I got my PhD then quickly abandoned any hope of a career in academia. There is no place there for people who are not seriously Left-wing.


I noted a couple of days ago how free trade is a great potential weapon against terrorism so it is good to see that Australian economist (and blogger) Alex Robson has won the Independent Institute's essay prize for an analysis of Cobden's view that the spread of business promotes international peace and freedom. Alex concludes: “Most of the formal theoretical work and empirical studies support Cobden's position”. Alex also had a thoughtful article about the death penalty published recently. Quote: “Emory University economists recently found that each additional execution in the US in 1996 resulted in 18 fewer murders”

Mike Tremoglie also pulls apart the arguments of a death penalty opponent. As I have said elsewhere (PDF), I personally think that the police are so crooked that it would be hard to find evidence convincing enough for something as final as the death penalty. Police corruption is an unending scandal here in Australia. The Police chief himself went to jail not so long ago in my home State of Queensland. And the Amirault case does not do much to inspire confidence in the procedures of American justice either.

A long and very well-informed article on global warming here. Excerpt: "So what is the global warming debate about? It's about the proposition that human use of fossil fuels has contributed significantly to the past century's warming, and that expected future warming may have catastrophic global consequences. But hard evidence for this human contribution simply does not exist; the evidence we have is suggestive at best. Does that mean the human effects are not occurring? Not necessarily. But media coverage of global warming has been so alarmist that it fails to convey how flimsy the evidence really is."

The Weathermen underground Leftist saboteurs of the 60s were clearly driven by gigantic egos. THEY knew what was best for us!

"World Food Day, which is Thursday, seems an appropriate occasion to consider both where our food comes from and also who's hungry in the world. The two topics are connected. Poor nations need to export food to the US and other rich nations, if they're to have half a chance of alleviating poverty there. But rich nations are making it difficult for them to do so. Poor nations don't have much industry, but they do have farms. The corn, wheat, cotton, sugar, rice and dairy products they produce are just about the only things many of them have to trade for what they need from the rest of the world."

There is an aticle in The Statesman which claims (satirically) that “Diana and Elvis shot JFK”. That does summarize well the difficulty many people have with coming to terms with the complexity of the real world -- which makes them good customers for the vicious oversimplifications of the Left.

One consequence of GWB’s big spending: “Some libertarians in good standing are actually thinking of voting Democratic."

The temporary home of Peter Cuthbertson's "Conservative Commentary" seems to have become rather permanent -- for those who follow British politics closely. He seems to be writing up his diary of the recent Conservative party conference at the moment. He seems to have found some signs of life there.

The Carnival of the Vanities has arrived again.

The Wicked one thinks Malaysia’s Mahathir is wrong about the Jews but not stupid.

My latest academic upload (here or here) provides a way of doing objective research into environmentalism and reveals that support for environmental issues is very widespread in the community.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2003


If it is proper that a person is allowed to say whom he welcomes into his own house, it is equally proper that a nation welcome into its own country only those whom it chooses

The recent big gains of the Volkspartei ("People's Party" or SVP) in the Swiss elections seems to be mainly a protest about unwanted immigrants. This sounds familiar: "You must bear in mind that Switzerland has one of the highest levels [per capita] of foreigners in Europe," Ackermann said. "It is near 20 percent of the population, and a lot of people have the impression that no other party [apart from the SVP] is really representing their interests." Ackermann said that in some inner-city areas, there are some schools which have few Swiss children in their classes, and that scares the local people. He also says that the hostility of the Swiss community is directed not at normal guest-workers, nor at genuine refugees, but at the illegal immigrants who are seen as taking advantage of the Swiss social-security system"

I doubt that there is any people who have welcomed proportionately more immigrants into their midst than Australians but they recently gave their government a big victory because of its successful crackdown on illegal immigration -- so to equate a desire for immigration control with xenophobia or racism runs completely against the evidence. On the evidence of deeds, Australians are arguably the least xenophobic nation on earth. The wish for restricted immigration is basically a desire to ensure that the society continues to function as well as it does without disruption from people who do not respect or share its norms, values and customs.

And the claim that Australia will not be accepted in Asia until our population is at least 50% Asian is clearly racist itself. And the low types that Australia DOES let in at times is truly amazing.


Hitler is alive and well in Malaysia: “An unrepentant Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad repeated Tuesday his belief that Jews rule the world” And Canada’s position on such statements? “They're not acceptable, we don't tolerate them, we don't countenance them at all” -- but he did not deny that they are true! In other words, Mahathir is right but naughty to say it.

The WSJ has a big coverage of antisemitism among U.S. Democrats.

Wow! Australia has come to an agreement with China that looks like the first part of a free-trade agreement. It will be great both for Australia’s prosperity and security but what a dilemma it will pose for the Australian Left! To criticize it will be to criticize a Communist country! Erk! The great Leftist taboo!

How times change: General Motors is about to start building Cadillacs in China!

Oh dear! Bitchy, bitchy! “Even pathetic old prunes have their moment in the glare of the gossip mags”

The US Left is worried that half the blue collar workers back Bush. Showing how little respect they really have for the average man, they explain it by saying that blue-collar workers are so dumb that they just like the Bush he-man image. Yet Nixon was no he-man and he actually got a majority of the blue-collar votes. What the Leftists just cannot face is that people might be able to see how bad for the country their policies are.

Jeff Jacoby says: "Americans have been dying at the hands of Palestinian Arab terrorists for decades, yet the US government and media rarely if ever portray Yasser Arafat and his lieutenants as avowed enemies of the United States. The State Department does not demand the extradition of Palestinian killers of Americans, not even when the killers' identities and whereabouts are known"

A libertarian reader thinks that the "do not call" list is a bad idea: "it is really quite worthless - there are poor enforcement mechanisms, and the only effect will be to fine smaller companies that misuse it to lower competition with larger companies. And politicians and charities will still have free rein. Worst of all - in the US telemarketers pay about 40% of long distance bills - and those who have put these people out of business are going to be in for a big surprise when their phone costs skyrocket. I feel about the same about popups - erasing them is simpler than tracking them down, etc.. And I just love to talk to some of the telemarketers - like to refuse to tell them my race, etc. It is really entertaining at times. For my answering machine, I announce that the message is limited to one minute and I have a quick erase button. No problem at all."

The Wicked one is very cynical about New Yorkers but impressed by their policing.

One of the most basic features of conservative thinking is that human society is too complex to be governed by simple rules and theories -- so change must be of a careful, step-by-step nature if unintended consequences are to be avoided. Such a rejection of simplistic theories goes back at least as far as the French Revolution and the writings of Edmund Burke. So it is amusing that, for the last 50 years and more, psychologists have been trying to prove the opposite of this historical truth. They have been trying to prove that it is conservatives who are characterized by simplistic thinking -- the very thing that conservatives have historically rejected! That it is the Left who are the lovers of simplistic theories is however amply evident in the writings of psychologists themselves -- which is what one would expect given the overwhelmingly Leftist orientation of psychologists. I devoted most of my 20 years of writing for the academic journals to pointing out instance after instance of such simplistic thinking -- constantly showing that people are far more complex than the theories popular among psychologists allow. My latest academic upload (see here or here) is just a minor example of that. I show that attitudes to death are much more complex than is usually believed.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2003


As someone who has read and enjoyed just about all the Agatha Christie novels, I was pleased to see that Johann Hari finds a lot of good things to say about her instead of dismissing her in the usual way as just another writer of “Whodunits”. She does of course evoke in her novels the orderly world of British middle-class life as she knew it and Hari recognizes that such scenarios are attractive.

But his claim that she was propagandizing for a world of “Burkean conservatism” is fanciful. She just used the world she knew best for her backdrops. She used Iraq and Egypt as backdrops too (her husband was an archaeologist) so does that mean she was defending Islam?

What Hari is really attacking is a straw man. He claims that Burkean conservatives believe in a natural, immutable order of things -- which is balderdash. What they DO believe in is a largely immutable human nature -- and there is any amount of evidence for that view.


A very good summary here of why the war in Iraq was fully justified. It answers all the critics in a very brief and to-the-point manner under the heading: "Uncovering the Truth About Going to War".

A prominent Australian Leftist says: “Whatever one may think about the decision to use military force in Iraq, and whatever doubts one may have about whether Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, the people of Iraq are better off now than they were under Hussein's rule” And he goes on to give figures showing how far Iraq has progressed in recent months.

There is a slightly heartening article about the Arab world here. Apparently some Arab thinkers realize why the Arab world is so backward and getting worse. And lots of Arabs are listening to them. See also here

Being an oil exporter (something Iraq isn't as yet) is not necessarily the bonanza it is popularly portrayed. In fact many mid-East non-oil states outperform the oil states. Getting something for nothing is not as good as it seems.


Some interesting history: The Pledge of Allegiance was originally a socialist idea designed to thwart Federalism. I am an atheist so people are welcome to pledge or not to their heart’s content as far as I am concerned. I wouldn’t bother anybody about it one way or the other. I was however a Christian fundamentalist in my teens and used to refuse to utter the daily pledge of allegiance to Queen and country that was then customary in Australian schools. As far as I was concerned at that time, my only allegiance was to God. But nobody really bothered me about it. They just thought I was a nut. A reader recently made a good point to me when he said that a lot of the opposition to the U.S. pledge is probably coming from atheists who are insecure in their atheism. I think the main motive for the opposition is just the usual Leftist attention-seeking, however. If they can upset ordinary people they will.

In response to my post yesterday about the “Do not call” list, one reader had an interesting response: “Not everyone who claims to hate telemarketers actually refuses to buy from or donate to them when called. The fact that the telemarketers oppose the list tells me the success rate with people on the list is high enough that it is profitable to keep calling them”.

Government “protection” being useless as usual: "Five undercover agents of the US Department of Homeland Security posing as passengers last week carried weapons through several security checkpoints at Logan International Airport without being detected. ... [A] source who works in security at Logan said the undercover agents, who work for the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, brought knives, a bomb, and a gun in carry-on baggage through several checkpoints at different terminals without being stopped."

Australia: "Victoria's hate laws were thrown into question yesterday when a judge said they might be in conflict with the Australian constitution. ... The constitution does not explicitly guarantee freedom of speech, but in two recent cases -- involving former New Zealand prime minister David Lange and animal rights activist Laurie Levy -- the High Court has ruled on rights to political free speech."

This writer thinks that sexual liberation has made it too easy for guys and too hard for women.

Here’s a lesson that GWB seems slow to learn: Free Trade can be a potent weapon against terrorism.

Chris Brand has answered some of the attacks made on a Danish psychologist who recently called for a VOLUNTARY eugenics program.

In my latest academic upload I take just one page to shoot down a claim by a Leftist Canadian psychologist that Australians are particularly “authoritarian” (see here and here). In his reply to my article, he admitted that he had made up (in his words “estimated”) a key statistic that he had used. Why am I not surprised? For more on the way Leftist academics make “facts” up see Windschuttle’s work and the Bellesiles affair. But the slightest hint of anything irregular in research that conservatives quote causes instantaneous condemnation of all concerned, as Chris Brand notes about the “Burt Affair”. Burt was in fact remarkably accurate in his once-disputed conclusions.


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Monday, October 20, 2003


My latest academic upload (see here or here) is a report of some research carried out in India among a large group of Indian village farmers. My Indian co-author and I looked at the claim that third-world farmers fail to modernize and improve their output because of "resistance to change". We found that attitude to change had nothing to do with it. It was the more intelligent and more highly motivated farmers who modernized and prospered. That naughty old IQ that the Leftists hate was at work again! How inconvenient that all men are unequal!

We know that Leftists also see "resistance to change" as what underlies conservatism -- even though James Lindgren shows from the public opinion poll data that it clearly is not. Leftists themselves are so hungry for change that they tend to see resistance to change under every bed, as it were. They cannot grasp that change as such it is just not a big issue for most people.

I might also note the unusually high quality of the data gathered by my Sikh collaborator in the Indian farmer study. He not only went out and interviewed real live Indian farmers but he sampled carefully those he interviewed and ended up doing a total of 300 interviews -- each of which took 4 hours! I cannot think of a single piece of Western research that was as thoroughly done. Handing out a bunch of questionnaires to your students (or playing tricks on your students) is the usual “research” method of Western psychologists.

It tends to show how shameful it is that research reported in Indian social science journals is almost universally ignored by allegedly "anti-racist" Western psychologists. Deeds speak louder than words! I myself do cite Indian sources. I cited five in the Indian farmer study alone. I can be slightly understanding that American and British psychologists fail to cite relevant sources in German but the Indians even go to the trouble of reporting their findings in English and still get ignored!


Search engines are strange beasts. You can enter the same search term day after day and get radically different results each time. A relatively recently-posted document gets treated in a particularly erratic way. One day the search engine will "find" it and the next day not. Where Google is concerned, it seems to take at least a month until a new document is regularly "found". I have been keeping a eye on the three critiques I recently wrote which demolish three bodies of Leftist writing about the psychology of conservatism. I would hope that anybody taking an interest in any of the "research" concerned would be certain to see my critique of it. I got particularly good results last night. On a Yahoo search using the terms social dominance orientation and Alain Van Hiel, my critique was the second document the search returned in both cases. I hope the ranking eventually settles down like that. Google also found my article on need for closure for the first time yesterday but it came in as about the 70th document on that search. It should move up as they find more links to it, however. This article explains some of the mystery behind Google’s erratic results in the first month.

It is hard to believe but some foolish French firm has just sued Google over the way Google uses its name in search results. If I were running Google I would just bar ANY results for the name of that firm. That would cause a quick change of tune.


A reader has pointed out that the “Townhall” story about cyclamates that I linked to yesterday was incorrect. Despite all the evidence, the FDA has not yet lifted the ban -- though cyclamates are legal in Canada. So US diabetics have been deprived of the sweetener that worked best for many of them.

If you can judge an issue by those who oppose it, guns should be pretty safe in the US. This moronic anti-gun website gives the ban on cyclamates as an example of why government regulation is a good thing!

Since the NYT ran this story, I assume that it is supposed to embarrass Republicans: “Top California Democrat Makes a Surprising Revelation: He Voted for Schwarzenegger”. The implication being that Arnie is not really a conservative, I guess. But Priorities and Frivolities has another explanation.

Even socialists have to face reality eventually: “German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has announced that retirement pensions will be frozen next year as part of reforms to the country's over-burdened benefits system. A weary-looking Mr Schroeder revealed the decision after five hour long talks”

An extraordinary story here for those who have an IVF child (as I do) or who are still trying.

John Moore has a good summary of the movement to give convicted criminals the vote. Criminals are “a natural Democrat constituency”!

Newmark has the sort of intelligent question that we often seem to get only from economists: "Puzzle: why do many telemarketers oppose the Do Not Call list? Telemarketers know they have to place many, many calls to find one poor sucker they can fleece. Why shouldn't they welcome the government's help in narrowing the search?"

There is an unusual Japanese blog called "Shitfit" (!) that consists just of links without any commentary. It makes Haiku look verbose. But a lot of the links are interesting, though.

The Wicked one has an amusing “Letter from a farm kid” with a good sting in the tail.


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Sunday, October 19, 2003


Few readers of this blog will be unaware of the writings of British prison doctor “Theodore Dalrymple” (Anthony Daniels). There is a review of his latest book
here which goes on to compare the British and American situations. It concludes that, as in Britain, U.S. Leftists create and perpetuate social ills: "Here in America, the liberal Great Society programs of the Johnson White House continue to reward the destruction of the family and essentially addict the poor to welfare like it was crack cocaine. When reformers suggest that able-bodied, unemployed public housing residents perform community service in exchange for their housing, it is the liberal elites that join the chorus comparing this simple and logical measure to slavery. Rather than promoting behavior that encourages productivity and civility, these people seem willing to perpetuate the problem. Whether it's in England or here in America, these are prime examples of what I call liberal-elitist guilt. Left-leaning intellectuals who don't want to appear racist or close-minded view behavior they themselves would condemn in their family as "understandable" when it's exhibited in minorities, immigrants or poor whites. Excusing such behavior makes them believe they are showing solidarity with the disadvantaged, and it serves to enhance their own sense of moral superiority.”


I mentioned yesterday the story from The Guardian about a moronic “briefing note” that allegedly emanated from someone in the White House. I note that the U.S. Embassy in Australia has denied that it was issued under White House authority: “The White House issued no such memo”

Nice to have friends: China too now seems to like Australia.

I think this says it all about gun control: “Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), along with 22 Democrats and 40 Republicans as co-sponsors, has introduced legislation to guarantee residents of Washington their Second Amendment right to bear firearms in their homes and businesses. The legislation seeks to lift Washington's gun ban - one of the strictest in America - which forbids law-abiding citizens from possessing handguns. (Even rifles are allowed only on an extremely limited basis.) "The District of Columbia is a failed laboratory experiment for gun control," Souder says. "It has one of the most comprehensive bans on firearms in the nation, and it also has one of the highest violent-crime rates in the nation. "In fact, in 2002 it had the highest per-capita crime rate of any city in the nation. This is not a coincidence. The simple fact is, when law-abiding citizens are forbidden by their government from protecting themselves, they become easy prey for those to whom a gun ban is just one more law to break."

Your friendly bureaucratic protector: “The FDA goes through this sort of backtracking from time to time. They did it with artificial sweeteners, for example, back in the 1970's. First they banned a sweetener called cyclamates, convinced by the testimony of a few rats that it was a carcinogen. Then the tests came back and it turned out that cyclamates were substantially less likely to cause cancer than saccharine, its main competitor at the time. Red-faced, the FDA put cyclamates back on the approved list..... The cyclamates, Alar and silicone breast implant cases represent the human tendency toward a superstitious fear of the new and strange, a tendency which persists even in these enlightened times”

This article points out that making education ever more available to more and more people at lower and lower cost to them is basically a bottomless pit. Education is such a popular cause however that nobody seems to know how put a stop to the crazy spiral involved. That most of the extra credentials earned are meaningless bits of paper and that some of them actually reduce a person’s employability, nobody wants to admit: “Americans, it seems, have never been better educated. Between 1970 and 2000 the number of individuals enrolled in institutions of higher learning increased from about 8.5 million to 15.3 million. Likewise, from 1971 to 2001, the percentage of 25- to 29-year olds in the United States holding at least a bachelor's degree rose 71 percent. So why, as Congress prepares to reauthorize the federal law governing higher education, are policy makers so unhappy?"

According to the national convention delegate surveys... "60% of first-time white delegates at the [1992] Democratic convention in New York City either claimed no attachment to religion or displayed the minimal attachment by attending worship services 'a few times a year' or less. About 5% of first-time delegates at the Republican convention in Houston identified themselves as secularists." That’s a huge gap -- 60% versus 5% being irreligious. The USA really is in the middle of a religious war with only the conservatives defending the rights and values of traditional Christians. I guess competing religions do tend to be intolerant of one-another and there is no doubt that socialism has many of the characteristics of a messianic religion. Stanley Kurtz has a particularly persuasive treatment of Leftism as a religion in National Review.

Jeff Jacoby explains why the “Nobel” Peace Prize is just a political football. It is not even awarded by the same country that awards the other Nobel prizes.
As is now well-known, psychologists Jost, Kruglanski & Co. summarized past psychological research as showing that conservatives are “dogmatic” -- which is a clearly derogatory description (even more derogatory if you realize that psychologists equate “dogmatism” with “closed-mindedness”). Under pressure from public ridicule over their article (particularly over their identifying Communist tyrants such as Stalin, Khrushchev and Castro as conservatives), Kruglanski and Jost did back off their claims considerably in a newspaper article, saying: "but it is also true that liberals could be characterized on the basis of our overall profile as relatively disorganized, indecisive and perhaps overly drawn to ambiguity -- all of which may be liabilities" I wrote a similar conclusion nearly 30 years ago as a result of one of my studies of dogmatism (just uploaded here and here): “We might, in other words, have to take care lest we on one hand condemn as dogmatic, what is in fact a highly adaptive need for simplification, and on the other tolerate as open-minded the merely vacuous”


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