Saturday, February 07, 2004


Excerpts on "Occidentalism": "However, the kind of violence currently directed at targets associated with the West, from the World Trade Center to a discothèque in Bali, is not just about the United States. Nor can it be reduced to global economics. Even those who have good reason to blame their poverty on harsh forms of U.S.-backed capitalism do not normally blow themselves up in public places to kill the maximum number of unarmed civilians. We do not hear of suicide bombers from the slums of Rio or Bangkok.

Something else is going on, which my co-author, Avishai Margalit, and I call Occidentalism (the title of our new book): a war against a particular idea of the West, which is neither new nor unique to Islamist extremism. The current jihadis see the West as something less than human, to be destroyed, as though it were a cancer. This idea has historical roots that long precede any form of "U.S. imperialism." Similar hostility, though not always as lethal, has been directed in the past against Britain and France as much as against America. What, then, is the Occidentalist idea of the West? ....

Clearly, the idea of the West as a malign force is not some Eastern or Middle Eastern idea, but has deep roots in European soil. Defining it in historical terms is not a simple matter. Occidentalism was part of the counter-Enlightenment, to be sure, but also of the reaction against industrialization. Some Marxists have been attracted to it, but so, of course, have their enemies on the far right. Occidentalism is a revolt against rationalism (the cold, mechanical West, the machine civilization) and secularism, but also against individualism. European colonialism provoked Occidentalism, and so does global capitalism today. But one can speak of Occidentalism only when the revolt against the West becomes a form of pure destruction, when the West is depicted as less than human, when rebellion means murder.

Wherever it occurs, Occidentalism is fed by a sense of humiliation, of defeat... But nothing matches the sense of failure and humiliation that afflicts the Arab world, a once glorious civilization left behind in every respect by the post-Enlightenment West... Humiliation can easily turn into a cult of the pure and the authentic. Among the most resented attributes of the hated Occident are its claims to universalism... It is when purity or authenticity, of faith or race, leads to purges of the supposedly inauthentic, of the allegedly impure, that mass murder begins. The fact that anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, and a general hostility to the West often overlap is surely no coincidence... But Zionism came from the West. And so Israel, in the eyes of its enemies, is the colonial outpost of "Westoxification." Its material success only added to the Arab sense of historic humiliation... The idea, however, that Jews are a people without a soul, mimics with no creative powers, is much older than the founding of the State of Israel. It was one of the most common anti-Semitic slurs employed by Richard Wagner... "


Eleanor Spreitzer has emailed me an interesting question about what happens if homosexual "marriage" becomes generally legalized: "Are women who give up their children for adoption given the opportunity to chose that their children be adopted only by heterosexual couples or do they have no say in the fact that a homosexual couples may adopt their children? Women who bear children rather than abort them are doing the right noble thing. I certainly think they have a right to demand that their children only go to a heterosexual couple if that is what they want".

When Leftists fall out: Berkeley University recently got most unreasonably shafted over a technicality by the Federal Dept. of Education. Why? The first thing it shows is how nasty bureaucracies can be but jealousy of Berkeley's widespread acclaim in Leftist circles was certainly the cause of the bloodymindedness. Like the rest of America's educational system, the Education Department is sure to be Left-dominated and Leftists hate one-another at least as much as they hate conservatives -- look at Stalin versus Trotsky or the Soviets versus Mao etc. Leftist hate and envy know no bounds. A pity a lot of innocent students got caught in the middle. But who cares about them?

From the Vatican: "The Holy See wants to make peace with the Orthodox patriarch in Russia, and with the Bush administration in the United States. It’s the new course set by its new foreign minister, Giovanni Lajolo"

Safire on Soviet techno smuggling in the Cold War and how the CIA exploited it: "In our complex disinformation scheme, deliberately flawed designs for stealth technology and space defense sent Russian scientists down paths that wasted time and money. The technology topping the Soviets' wish list was for computer control systems to automate the operation of the new trans-Siberian gas pipeline. When we turned down their overt purchase order, the K.G.B. sent a covert agent into a Canadian company to steal the software; tipped off by Farewell, we added what geeks call a "Trojan Horse" to the pirated product. "The pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire," writes Reed, "to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds. The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space."

John Keegan on pointless WMD enquries: "Little or nothing about the past, even about such a well-known episode as the V-weapons, has influenced those who have so violently denounced the Government over the so-called September dossier. Its critics have taken the view throughout that intelligence can and ought to be perfect, and that the editing of the dossier's contents amounted to systematic falsification. Not only does that attitude reveal the critics' complete ignorance of how intelligence is collected and assessed, it also suggests that they have not bothered to read the dossier, included complete in the Hutton report"

The headscarf debate in France: Is the scarf really all that Islamic anyway? And will traditional Catholic nuns still be allowed to wear wimples?

The recent attack on me my a couple of Leftist bloggers relied on a nitpicking old far-Left document that claimed I was a Nazi. I have not previously taken the document seriously enough to reply to it but I have now done so. I have reproduced the document together with my reply to it here -- for whatever interest it might have.

The Wicked one has lots of amusing sports-commentator wisdom.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Friday, February 06, 2004


There is a history of conspiracy theories here that endeavours to show that they are equally prevalent on the Right and the Left of politics. Hogwash! All the current conspiracy theories ("Bush was forewarned about 9/11" and all the rest) come from the Left.

Contrary to what the article claims, Ann Coulter's defence of Joe McCarthy against widespread condemnation is not a conspiracy theory. McCarthy IS still widely and systematically condemned despite being eventually proven justified in the general thrust of his enquiries. And JFK defended McCarthy too. And the idea of a new world order is no fairytale. President Bush senior openly proclaimed such an aim after the first Gulf war. And we have certainly got a new world order now -- though not the one envisaged.

The prime example usually given of a "Rightist" conspiracy theory is Hitler's theory about the Jews. But Hitler was a socialist! He himself from the very beginning proclaimed his socialism and love of the worker and put his claims into practice too. See here.

The fact of the matter is that conspiracy theories (in the 60's, "the CIA" was responsible for everything) are part and parcel of the simplistic thinking that is characteristic of the Left. That is not to say that there are NO conservatives who sometimes entertain conspiracy theories but such theories are nonetheless far and away the characteristic mental hidey-hole of the Leftist who cannot afford to face reality lest his entire conceptual house of cards come tumbling down.


Thomas Lifson on GWB's academic qualifications: "President George W. Bush is the very first President to hold a Masters Degree in Business Administration. Even better (or worse, depending on your perspective), his MBA is from Harvard Business School". Lifson goes on to show that the degree at the time was a very demanding one that could only have been obtained by a lot of ability and hard work. Lifson also points out that what was taught in the degree GWB obviously still applies.

What about the far greater number of Muslim immigrants? "Tighter controls on immigrants from Eastern European countries about to join the European Union were promised by Tony Blair yesterday".

All religions are not equal either: "We do know that in some cultures certain practices and well entrenched customs develop that stress objectives that are incompatible with economic prosperity. So, for example, wherever people spend most of their time striving to appease mystical deities, worshipping their dead ancestors, seeking pure spiritual salvation or paying respect to their elders, they will not pursue the kind of intense productivity that is likely to get them out of poverty. Indeed, in some cultures many people scoff at such an objective, deeming it to be a distraction from more important matters. Yet they also complain about the poverty!"

High expectations are certainly a highroad to discontentment: "Quite a few people would probably rail against Laura Schlessinger, the radio pop psychologist known for her diatribes against abortion, working mothers, and gay rights, even if she said that you should be kind to animals and brush your teeth regularly. When 'Dr. Laura' writes a book which pins most of the blame for modern marital problems on selfish, overly demanding women, that's bound to ruffle feathers. Schlessinger's new book, 'The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands,' is viewed by friend and foe alike as a 'back to the good old days' treatise: for some, a rediscovery of the deep truths we've forgotten in the rush to women's liberation; for others, an attempt to roll back decades of women's progress."

The PETA principle: Lab rats over sick kids: "PETA President Ingrid Newkirk's comment: 'Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we'd be against it.' The lunatics at PETA continue to use their tax-exempt millions thwarting contributions to health charities like the March of Dimes, the American Red Cross, and the American Heart Association."

A terrible injustice by know-all "professionals": "Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) is the psychiatric diagnosis by which a parent -- almost always a mother -- is believed to intentionally harm or kill a child in order to garner attention". The whole idea now seems to be totally discredited and many cases have been overturned in the courts but many innocent parents have had their children taken off them and seem unlikely to get them back.

Theodore Dalrymple has a good article on how a Muslim who has had it all can still be excused of the most utter viciousness because he has experienced "prejudice". I suppose short men who commit rape and murder will soon be excused because women are "prejudiced" against them. And I guess the prejudice against conservatives in our universities means that mudering members of academic selection panels who fail to hire good conservative candidates is OK too. I look forward to seeing it.

Marty is a conservative Australian university student who seems to love provoking the Left. He has reproduced here some of the hate mail he has received in response. It is truly awesome how the Leftists rise to the bait. None of the "compassion" or "tolerance" or "understanding" that they so often advocate is evident -- just furious hate. No wonder Stalin, Hitler and all the rest of the "socialist" dictators murdered so many when they got the chance. There are clearly plenty of would-be Hitlers and Stalins among Australian Leftists to this day.

Tim Blair has another good example of the hatred and racism that lurks just below the surface of a "tolerant" Leftie. Sam Ward has more comments on this charming chap.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again with its usual one-stop shop of blogospherical wisdom.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Thursday, February 05, 2004


Some establishment scientists who back the baseless Greenie ban on DDT seem to be getting a bit rattled by repeated revelations that the ban has caused millions of deaths from malaria in the Third World. They of course disclaim responsibility for the deaths. They get a pointed reply here from Ted Lapkin -- who is one of those who have pointed out recently the holocaust caused by the ban. Lapkin's original article on the subject is not online but there is a mention of it here

Latest from former Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore: "Environmentalists were often able to produce arguments that sounded reasonable, while doing good deeds like saving whales and making the air and water cleaner...But now the chickens have come home to roost. The environmentalists' campaign against biotechnology in general, and genetic engineering in particular, has clearly exposed their intellectual and moral bankruptcy. By adopting a zero tolerance policy toward a technology with so many potential benefits for humankind and the environment, they have lived up to Schwartz's predictions. They have alienated themselves from scientists, intellectuals, and internationalists. It seems inevitable that the media and the public will, in time, see the insanity of their position.."

From "Inside the Beltway" of February 3, 2004: U.S. military training in the war against terrorism has been curtailed and even canceled so as not to "harass" marine mammals. "Vague" language of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, amended last year in the National Defense Authorization Act, has had a "damaging effect" on military training, according to the president of the Navy League, causing "exercises at night and in shallow waters to be canceled or conducted under unrealistic conditions ... to ensure that marine mammals were not 'harassed.' " .... Meanwhile, the deployment of a vital submarine-detection system - Surveillance Towed-Array Sensor System, Low Frequency Active - was delayed, the league president tells Congress, because special-interest groups claimed its sound emissions posed a risk to marine life. The system is considered a centerpiece of the Navy's quest to guard against quiet diesel-electric boats deployed by North Korea and Iran. The Navy already funded a $10 million independent research program, conducted in part by Cornell University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, which found the system could be employed with "minimal risk" to marine mammals. Nonetheless, special-interest groups sought intervention of the courts, and last October, a U.S. District Court in Northern California issued a permanent injunction restricting military operations of the sensor system. The Justice Department has filed a notice of appeal.

The elitist Greenie people-haters: "An old Chinese curse goes, 'may you live in interesting times.' Well, these happen to be interesting times for the Sierra Club. A small chunk of its membership is worried about what it calls 'impact of mass immigration on the environment and quality of life for future generations' of Americans. These dissidents want the Club to promote public policy that will restrict America's future population growth." Immigration control is perfectly reasonable but the Greenies just want to stop immigration altogether as part of their usual anti-people attitude. Conservatives, on the other hand, think SOME immigrants are OK. Immigration is after all an historic American and Australian tradition. But Greenies dislike all immigrants equally. Both Greenie and Leftist ideology is too simplistic to differentiate between different types of people -- though Leftists and Greenies certainly do plenty of differentiation in their personal lives. How many Greenies and Leftists marry blacks, for instance? Equality is for other people, obviously.


With the U.S. Presidential race heating up, and Kerry bringing up Bush's military service record, John Moore's blog has become a major debating place on the subject. See Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry

A remarkable WSJ article about how GWB applies his intelligence in getting to know and understand people rather than in concentrating on intellectual abstractions. That certainly fits well with the characteristic conservative respect for the individual and is the ideal qualification for a job where delegation of tasks to others is important. And in what job could delegation be more important than President of the United States?

Hmmm... It sounds like Australia's new "Leftist" leader is pretty conservative on social issues to do with families too. If he wins the next election, it looks like Australia will have a Prime Minister just about as conservative as our present conservative Prime Minister. Australian politics are very centrist and the centre seems to be moving further right all the time. See also here

Leftists have enormous problems accepting reality but one Israeli Leftist seems to have had it forced upon him. From Opinion Journal: "Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center reports on the recent "World Social Forum" in Bombay, India: "An Israeli backpacker added: "I am a good Israeli. I accept the Palestinian right to violent resistance." He was crushed by the response of Faisal from Tullkarm: "I know better Israelis; they are dead."" Proof again that Islamic fanaticism cannot be negotiated with. Islam originated as a religion of the sword and the sword (or its modern equivalents) is all that gets through to its more fanatical adherents to this day.

Here is another list of quotes proving that the President lied about Iraq having WMDs -- Only the President concerned is of course William Jefferson Clinton. One quote: "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." - President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

I have just put up some more of Chris Brand's recent postings here -- on talking parrots, mad Muslims, the BBC and Zimbabwe.

The Wicked one says that foeign investment is good -- whether you are giving it or receiving it.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Wednesday, February 04, 2004


An Email just received from a reader:

"Greenhouse sceptic John Daly yesterday passed away after a heart attack. During college he was my electronics teacher and generally a great man. I looked up to him as the only teacher (indeed the only person at that time) to challenge the 'politically correct' interpretation of global warming. I hope as time progresses someone else will rise to the legacy of John Daly and show the world that something as complex as our climate can not be reduced to simplified leftist slogans. As far as I have read, no one -- and I mean no one -- has ever come close to arguing successfully against the work of John Daly. There must be good reasons for that."


A good email from a reader:

"Great job infiltrating the Nazis. You are definitely not a cloistered ivory tower academic.

If you remove the nationalism and racism from the party platform of the National Socialist German Workers Party of Hitler it becomes virtually identical to the modern Greens. Here is a partial list of the common positions:

National socialist health care
Strict government oversight of corporations
Extreme labor rights versus employers
High taxes
Big government
Strict gun control
Deification of nature
Aversion to Judeo-Christian theology

If a complete analysis was done I believe you would find many more common policies with very few differences.
I believe you could devise a sociological experiment that laid out the Nazi party platform minus the racism and nationalism and asked people what party had that platform. Most would say the Greens. They would be shocked to find out it was the Nazi platform. I have done this a few times informally with educated leftist friends. It always leaves them confounded and upset with me that I could dare compare the two."

There is already considerable documentation of the Nazi/Green similarities here. See also here. Some historians try to dodge the similarities by saying that the Greenies of today are NOT like the Nazis of history in that the modern Greenies do not have an overt racial agenda (though the Greenies DO think that the poorer countries of the world should stay poor). That misses the point, however. Of course history never repeats itself exactly. Racism and eugenics were very popular among Leftists in Hitler's day. Hitler was being a perfectly orthodox socialist in having those beliefs. Since then, however, the Left have switched sides and now make just as big a play of being anti-racist as they once did of their "racial hygeine" (eugenic) beliefs. And the Greenies follow suit. But they are all still Leftists with the same desire to tell everybody else what to do. And Hitler showed where those desires lead if the people concerned actually get power.


An amazing fuss about a partially-exposed breast. Since it seems to be a matter of such great interest I thought I might mention the probable psychological cause of the event: The breast concerned is obviously an augmented one and it is quite common for women (though not all women) who have had implants to be very keen to display their new assets. Connect the dots.

Lots of people now seem to be waking up to how Leftist psychology works: If you want to know how Leftists tick, just listen to what they say about how conservatives operate and treat it as a confession about the Leftists themselves. From Opinion Journal: "The critics of America and the coalition seem to be engaging in what psychologists call "projection"--attributing their own deficiencies to others. A case in point is Andrew Gilligan, the BBC reporter who claimed the government of Tony Blair had "sexed up" information on Saddam Hussein's weapons. Now that the charge has been investigated, it turns out--and we said it way back in July--that it was Gilligan's report that was up-sexed. The BBC itself reports that Gilligan tendered his resignation Friday, following two Beeb executives out the door."

Bad principle, good politics but peanuts anyway: "Despite a ballooning deficit and objections from members of his own party, President Bush announced that he would increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. It was Laura Bush who confirmed on Thursday the $18 million boost in the federal contribution to art programs around the country.

"The Soviet Union was, of course, the first country to adopt all-round socialized medical care -- the dream of most of America's modern politicians."

The Wicked one is a bit cynical about GWB's recently announced spending cuts.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004


The most successful "big lie" of the 20th century is undoubtedly the Leftist myth that Nazism is just a more extreme form of conservatism. Leftists really hate it when you point out that it was the Conservative Winston Churchill who was Hitler's most unrelenting foe and that Hitler and Stalin were allies until Hitler tried to grab Russia. That conservatives did and do oppose Nazism as much as they oppose any other form of socialism or totalitarianism just cannot be fitted into the Leftist worldview. From the Marxist psychologist Adorno onwards (writing in 1950), the Leftist line has always been to ignore the socialist nature of Nazism and to assert fervently that Nazis and conservatives are allies, not enemies.

As an outspoken conservative myself, I too have obviously been the target of such dishonest accusations. Any outspoken conservative (including of course President Bush) will get called a "Nazi" by Leftists sooner or later and I have certainly been called that many times. I am inclined to think that such accusations are in fact a badge of honour: they show that you are an effective opponent of the Left. And a couple of Australian Leftist bloggers have repeated that old accusation about me recently and been rather competently demolished in reply by Sam Ward. And I have also myself replied to similar criticisms years ago.

In fact, however, I have been more of an enemy of Nazism than most people. Leftists just sit in their armchairs and condemn Nazism in order to make themselves feel good without actually doing anything practical about it. I, on the other hand have actively tried to combat and undermine Nazism. Part of that effort has been in the academic journals for over 30 years -- my sociological observations of Australian neo-Nazis -- in which I went out and got to know lots of actual real-life neo-Nazis in order to describe and analyse what they are really like and what motivates them (see here and here). The first step in combatting something is to understand it and I put a lot of time and effort into understanding what makes modern-day Nazis tick in the hope that it might help me understand Nazi Germany better. The usual Leftist explanations of Nazism are rendered worthless by their perverse determination to identify it with conservatism. And all my work on the subject was published in Jewish academic journals, as it happens. So the occasional Leftist claim that my work was sympathetic to Nazism is the height of absurdity.

Until recently, however, I have kept my mouth shut about another very active way I have combatted Nazism -- my role as a police agent reporting on them. My sociological studies of Australian neo-Nazis yielded not only information of psychological and sociological interest but information of interest to the police too. And I gladly supplied that information to the police -- in order to assist the police in preventing any Nazi thuggery. Since over 30 years have now passed since that time, however, I think any need for secrecy is at an end and I have recently gone VERY public about my police role by telling all to Brisbane's Sunday newspaper. The reporter who interviewed me seemed to know a lot about the matters concerned and I was able to give him enough detailed information about my police and Nazi contacts to enable him to authenticate what I said.

So, far from being a Nazi, I have done far more to combat REAL Nazism than any Leftist I know. But that just makes me a good conservative -- contrary to what the Leftists would have you believe. And, in case anybody thinks that studies of Nazism/Fascism are irrelevant to the modern-day world, they should have a closer look at how things are going in Russia.


Good to see that the social-worker busybodies are at last being held accountable somewhere. These generally Left-leaning know-alls have done enormous harm to innocent people with their false claims of child abuse and some at last are being taken to court over their malicious accusations and prosecutions.

French corruption again: "President Jacques Chirac passionately defended today his former prime minister and long-time political partner, Alain Jupp‚, convicted last Friday in a corruption scandal dating from the days when the two men served together in the City Hall of Paris"

Steve Forbes says new property rights reforms in Egypt may help lead the middle-East out of its current mess

Two good points in an email from a reader: 1). "What was called "Communism" in Russia turned out to be an example of the very thing it claimed to hate: Monopoly Capitalism. Indeed, under the Soviet Command economy everyone and everything was owned by Joseph Stalin. Stalin ruthlessly persecuted his rivals.... 2). To those Leftists who say that there never has been a True Communist society, one could counter that there has never been a True Laissez Faire Capitalist Society either. Laissez Faire means a system of "hands off", where the Government does not regulate Big Business"

The history of education in the UK and USA shows that national levels of literacy at least as high as those of today were achieved through private schools BEFORE "free" and compulsory State education was introduced. And the degree of cultural sophistication in the population at large seems to have been higher then too. The E G West Centre has lots more on the topic. Clearly it is a myth that education without the state would be for the rich only.

George Will says that big government may have to be accepted as inevitable and that the key to the Left/Right divide is really HOW government power is used -- to free up the individual or to promote artificial equality at the expense of the individual. I think he has a good point there. NOTHING seems to stop the growth of government. Too many people are always ASKING for government intervention -- with conservative farmers and businessmen not the least of them.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Monday, February 02, 2004


The latest twist in the wind-power farce: "An Iowa farmer is at the center of a legal battle that could have far-reaching effects for the future of wind-generated power in the United States. The dispute is over whether people who put up wind turbines have the right to connect them to the power grid and sell excess electricity back to utilities". Next thing my local supermarket will be taking me to court to get an order saying that they have a right to sell me their groceries.

No moderation and realism from the Greenies: "The realistic assessment says that global warming is happening, it is probably insignificant and we will be able to adapt to it. If the only counter to that argument is extreme or worst case scenarios, then they should be exposed for the tiny risks they are... Recent weeks have provided a couple of excellent examples of how the environmental alarmist movement works. Emphasis on "extreme scenarios" is still at the forefront of its tactics."

What a dilemma for the Greenies! A flower that detects landmines. What could be greener than that? But wait! It has been produced by a BIOTECH company. Horrors! "A Danish biotech company has developed a genetically modified flower that could help detect landmines and it hopes to have a prototype ready for use within a few years."

"Is the climate really warming? Weather satellites measuring atmospheric temperatures day in and day out from pole to pole report only a minute rise that extrapolates to about half a degree Centigrade by 2100. Is this rise caused by human activities, like the burning of coal, oil, and gas? That's difficult to tell -- climate varies naturally both up and down, so it could be partly non-human."

Global warming alarmists are the ones filled with hot air: "What we know is that the earth's average temperature has warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last century. The National Academy of Sciences reports on their website: 'This warming has been particularly strong during the last 20 years, and has been accompanied by retreating glaciers, thinning arctic ice, rising sea levels, lengthening of growing seasons for some, and earlier arrival of migratory birds.' ... If you stopped reading there -- as most of the knee-jerk, junk scientists do -- you'd be terribly misled."


Fun! I got a bit of a write-up yesterday as part of a story in one of the local tentacles of the Murdoch empire (owners of Fox News). See here. It would be good sport if one of our Australian Leftist bloggers tried to find something detrimental to me in it. Rather to my surprise, the newspaper reporter did quite a fair job of reporting what I said. He sounded like one of the old school and clearly had a personal recollection of some of the events described so that may explain it.

In response to my post of two days ago about Americans being anything but stupid, Wallace, from Texas emailed me: "Thanks......and well said. Although most of us let these kinds of things roll off of our backs, it's good to hear a cheery word. What does upset many of us is the total lack of acknowledgement of the good things the US does overseas. I think as a people we have to be among the tops in generosity in aid both in money and personal effort". My reply was to the effect that Americans are undoubtedly the most generous nation the world has ever seen, so no wonder they are hated: They make the rest of the world look so bad by comparison.

Report from a Louisiana reader about Louisiana Public Broadcasting: "Tonight, they showed a 'nature show' - some island where the foxes were dying - more attention to the foxes than people. But then - switched to dolphins - and this "chick" said - I kid you not - "MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS THE DOLPHINS". Years ago, a friend from Gainsville Fla had a story this "chick" would just love - This guy said that "People just don't understand alligators" - so he swam among them - with the obvious result."

An educational policy of a Leftist State government in Australia: "A flying squad of talent-spotters will work through West Australian high schools identifying and helping students who have the potential to get to university, under a landmark plan announced yesterday."

Some interesting research here on the complex relationship between religion and wealth. It looks like being religious will tend to make you richer -- as long as you are not too fanatical about it.

The collapse of "Theory" in literary studies is amusing. These guys actually think they matter. I have never thought that literary studies of any kind mattered myself. I have never needed someone else to tell me how to enjoy a novel or a poem. I know slabs of Chaucer by heart in the original Middle English not because I ever did a course on him but because I like it. And I think there is no other lyric poet who even approaches Robert Burns but study of him seems very rare in English literature courses as far as I am aware. I guess he is "too popular". What an indictment -- not of Burns but of the puffed-up elitist ignoramuses who see popularity as a negative.

There is an excellent set of comments on this German blog (written in English) about why there is such huge anti-Americanism in Germany. There are lots of good points there but I myself think the main reason for most anti-Americanism everywhere is envy. Envy is after all a major driver of (Leftist) politics generally.

A good article here to make people more relaxed about the rise of China as a economic force. The bottom line is that even while they make cheap things which compete with some of our industries, they also buy things that we make or produce, and as they get richer the will buy a great deal more. Various other common fallacies about China are also debunked.

The Wicked one has a post about anti-gun nuts -- noting that facts don't seem to disturb them.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

Comments? Email me here or here. If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Page is here or here.


Sunday, February 01, 2004


Keith Burgess Jackson has a thoroughly admirable account of what ideology does and how he himself escaped from it here. He makes some basic points about argument there that cannot be repeated too often. He shows by example what clear thinking on political matters is like and I found his article a joy to read. So how's that for a recommendation?

To my knowledge, however, there have never been two philosophers who agree on absolutely everything so I do have a quibble about one point he makes. He relies at one point on David Hume's famous contention that there is an unbridgeable gap between "is" and "ought" statements -- so that you cannot justify "ought" statements by "is" statements. Yet that is precisely what people normally do. An "ought" statement always commends some course of action and when people ask WHY that course of action is commended the reply is often in terms of "is" (empirical) statements (e.g. the commendation of X can be explained as: "X leads to generally desired consequences" or "X leads to consequences that you would like" or "I like X" or "X is the prevailing rule in this culture"). So in my view the fact that an "ought" statement can be explained in that way shows that it is an empirical statement to begin with. Statements in general have all sorts of influences on people (for example, if someone said to me: "Your son has just died", it is clearly an empirical statement but it would also have an enormous influence on me if true. It would cause me to take many actions that I would not otherwise take) and an "ought" statement is an empirical statement with what is expected to be one particular sort of influence -- a commendatory influence. So an "ought" statement is often simply a shorthand (compressed) "is" statement that can be promptly expanded if desired.

As I have shown here, however, "ought" statements are used in a variety of ways rather than in one single way. They always commend but they are not always empirical statements. Sometimes they are in fact very incoherent statements (at best pseudo-empirical statements) and I think Hume's difficulty arose out of a determination to find meaning in incoherent uses of "ought" statements (i.e. when "ought" statements are elaborated as being or emanating from timeless and universal rules that are "known" only in some mysterious and untestable way -- typically expressed by saying "X just IS right", with no further explanation given) and I simply regard that quest as a fool's errand. The world is awash with incoherent gibberish and baseless assertions so there is no reason to be either disturbed by it or interested in it when such assertions occur in moral discourse. When I encounter it, my usual response is to point out its incoherence and untestability and then refuse to have any further truck with such things (as I did here). I expand a little further on my view of what "ought" (moral) statements do here

Being primarily a psychologist, I am of course interested in WHY what I have called incoherent uses of moral terminology arise and I find the explanation given by philosophical psychologist John Maze persuasive: That they are a conscious or unconscious attempt at fraud -- an attempt to persuade by saying that immutable and peculiarly moral properties exist and that they have some claim on us because of that. Maze's work is not online but if you have access to a university library, you can find it in: Maze, J. (1973) "The concept of attitude". Inquiry, 16, 168-205. Maze also had a book published in 1983 called The Meaning of Behaviour which I have not read but which almost certainly would contain similar arguments.


Sowell on the Democrat primary 'debates': It's funny that leftists only protest about light weight intellectual rhetoric when it comes from conservative politicians: "Senator John Edwards, for example, has included among his rhetorical flourishes poor children going to bed hungry at night in America. In reality, obesity is even more common among low-income people than among high-income people.... "

Neil Cavuto has a good reply to the Democrat hatred of "the rich". One excerpt: "You know, not once in my life has a poor person hired me. Rich guys, or at least richer guys, did. Trust me, they weren't all saints, but all the ones I've known were willing to give this Italian-Irish kid from working-class roots a chance . . . whether it be scooping ice cream in a shop or churning out perfume in a factory. Poor people get their breaks from rich people... "

A good article here that points out: "The Democratic presidential hopefuls have been crossing the country this week promising to drive "special interests" and "influence peddlers" out of the White House" and the article then goes on to show that the hopefuls themselves are captive to special interests and influence peddlers -- typical Leftist hypocrisy and non-existent principles.

A good comment from a reader: "Today, the NY Times forbid its reporters from carrying guns in Iraq: Mindless - moral superiority above life itself. Would be a great assignment for Jayson Blair".

Is this how the Iraq invasion has "stirred up" the Muslim world? "Saudi Arabia's top cleric called on Muslims around the world Saturday to forsake terrorism, saying those who claim to be holy warriors were an affront to the faith".

Heterophobia is coming out of the closet in the UK: "But the determination of our new public servants to embrace homosexuality is all too obvious, if at times unfortunately expressed: the document explains that Manchester City Council has a 'bottom-up' approach to gay consultation... "

Interesting that the Hutton report which vindicated what Blair and Bush said about Iraq and shook the BBC to its roots would have been ignored by the major American media except for Fox News publicizing it. Pretty disgraceful.

Not before time: "Yesterday, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved Rep. Ric Keller's (R-FL) 'Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act' (H.R. 339). Keller's bill would protect restaurants from the increasing number of greedy lawyers looking to soak them on behalf of portly plaintiffs who don't know when to put down their forks.... these lawsuits unfairly force restaurants to spend millions defending themselves, and those expenses are ultimately passed on to consumers."

The Happy Carpenter is pretty scathing about minimum wage laws.


The Left have always wanted more spent on welfare and made "Fascism" a swear-word. President Bush deposed a brutal Fascist dictator and sponsored a big expansion of welfare. But instead of being admired by the Left, he is hated with a passion. What does that tell you about the Left? It tells you that they have no principles at all: That everything they have ever claimed to stand for is fake.

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