Friday, December 24, 2004


Another good email from Germany: "I saw your link to the "German Idiocy" article and had to laugh. The story fits in quite well with my experiences as an American living in Germany and working in the German academic enviornment. I attended a presentation on Bayesian statistics several weeks ago, where the presenter needed an example of updated probabilities. He began discussing the probability that the U.S. would invade Iran now that the U.S. had invaded Iraq. This led to some in the audience mentioning other countries where the U.S. had been engaged militarily. I quickly shouted out, "Germany!" This shut them up, and the presentation continued without further America bashing."

Lawrence Auster is a pretty old-fashioned conservative himself so his critique of the "paleocons" (who as far as I can see are in fact largely anarcho-capitalists rather than any sort of conservative) got a bit of a reaction. Such internecine feuds are normally of little interest to me but this particular feud involves criticism of "psychologizing". The claim is that one should look only at the argument someone is advancing rather than their motivation for making the argument. That is of course the classic critique of "ad hominem" arguments but in cases when an argument makes no sense at the logical level, I think you have to look at the psychological motivation. It is of course my contention that Leftism can ONLY be understood as a psychological rather than a rational phenomenon. Leftist arguments are so inconsistent from occasion to occasion that one has to look at what is behind such a strange phenomenon. So I am on Auster's side in this one. There is of course an argument against speculative or "pop" psychologizing but my 200+ published academic journal articles on political psychology insulate me fairly well from that charge. I do not however rely on any claims of authority to substantiate what I say about Leftist psychology. I do what all scientists do (or should do): Present evidence for what I say. And again, I think Auster does a fair job of substantiating his points in that way.

Good news: Refusing to be brushed off by Democratic opposition in the Senate, President Bush plans to nominate for a second time 20 people who did not receive up or down votes on their nominations for federal judgeships."

Read this bit of Leftist propaganda: "Freedom has become the political buzzword of the 21st century. George Bush's agenda is to bring democracy and freedom to the rest of the peoples of the world, while his own are slaves to work, crippled by personal debt, and trapped in loneliness or loveless relationships-the shackles of the rich. Now that the surviving Afghanis and Iraqis are enjoying the benefits of Western freedoms, what will this mean for their health?" So where is the quote from? From the British Medical Journal, no less. Another example of the politicization of science. Code Blue goes to town on the story. I blogged on how far Left the BMJ is 18 months ago so the current story is no surprise to me.

Government should fund science?: "Folks like Friedman take it for granted that only the government will undertake large-scale scientific ventures. But where does the government get the money? All government can do is take wealth from those who produced it and give it to those who didn't. The stock answer is that private investors won't finance 'basic research' because it's not profitable in the short run. What this really means is that politicians and bureaucrats can be counted on to see the benefits of basic research more objectively than entrepreneurs. I'd like to see Friedman say that with a straight face."

Bush presses for "guest worker" program: "President Bush yesterday renewed his call for a guest-worker program for immigrants seeking employment in the United States. He said the Border Patrol shouldn't be chasing 'good-hearted people who are coming here to work.' Bush has wanted such a program since taking office four years ago.But the idea was sidetracked by the Sept. 11 attacks and then left on the sideline because the White House did not want to tackle such a heated issue during an election year."

Steven Landsburg is a very clever economist. He has here an amusing but serious defence of Ebenezer Scrooge. I am myself a bit of a scrooge in Landsburg's terms -- in that I live simply from choice rather than necessity -- so I quite like Landsburg's argument. I do greatly enjoy Christmas, however. I have got Christmas carols on the stereo as I write this in fact. One of my favourites is playing: "God rest ye merry gentlemen". I think Christmas carols are wonderful and I pity the poor twisted Leftist souls who cannot participate in the great and joyous emotions they convey. They must be very shaky in their own convictions if any mention of Christianity bothers them. Gloria in excelsis Deo!

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH and SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here


That power only, not principles, is what matters to Leftists is perfectly shown by the Kerry campaign. They put up a man whose policies seemed to be 99% the same as George Bush's even though the Left have previously disagreed violently with those policies. "Whatever it takes" is their rule.

Leftists are phonies. For most of them all that they want is to sound good. They don't care about doing good. That's why they do so much harm. They don't really care what the results of their policies are as long as they are seen as having good intentions

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