Thursday, January 20, 2005


Mark Richardson is an Australian conservative who has a definition of conservatism that excludes most people who would normally be called conservatives. He has a blog here and one of his recent articles is here. There has always been a tendency on the extreme Right to see almost the whole world as against them and even I seem to be an extreme Leftist to such people! Mark is however not part of the fruitcake brigade. He has a well-articulated position which amounts to saying that all advocacy of freedom is Leftist (or "liberal" as he calls it) and what makes a conservative is belief in certain hereditary givens -- such as belief in the selfishness of human nature, the tribalism of man and the instinctive and ineluctible rightness of the traditional family. As a rough summary, we might say that Mark believes conservatism to consist of a belief in strong genetic limits on what we can do and become.

Most conservatives would of course agree with Mark about his three conservative themes that I have just mentioned. I myself agree fully only with the first point -- about human nature. I have set out reasons here why I believe that, although it does exist, the tribalism of man is surprisingly weak. And I also see many perfectly healthy, decent and well-functioning people emerging from a variety of family arrangements. I think that there is now overwhelming evidence from the geneticists that what we become is almost entirely a function of our genes rather than of our family environment. Even our political ideology is substantially inherited through our genes. (See e.g. here and here and here). So actual genetic research in fact undermines Mark's belief in the central importance of a given type of family environment.

What I think has happened is that Mark has gone overboard. He is the opposite swing of the pendulum to the Left. The Left believe in NO inborn limits on what human arrangements will work whereas Mark sees limits on every hand. The truth, I think, is to be found in treating what inborn limits we have as an emprical question. Their constant policy failures from the French revolution onwards show that the Leftists are wrong but what is right can only be discovered by trial and error. And that is why conservatives believe that tradition and history are important and useful. They are the laboratory in which we see what works and what doesn't.

And one thing we find in that laboratory is that we do have liberties as well as limitations and the liberties are in fact highly transformative. Giving people liberties of certain sorts -- such as economic liberty -- can be enormously beneficial. And the high value conservatives have always placed on liberty also springs from their belief in the selfishness and untrustworthiness of their fellow man: If you cannot trust your fellow-man to do you good, it is important to be as free of his control over you as possible. So Mark has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. He is right that we do work under some genetic constraints and are hence not totally free but we still can have and do have SOME liberties, and those are enormously beneficial. So it is no wonder that conservatives have long made efforts to conserve and extend liberties -- such as political liberty -- of various sorts, while also rejecting other liberties -- particularly in the moral sphere. Real-life conservatives believe in striking a balance -- which neither Leftists nor Mark do.



We have just seen what I think is a good end to a very nasty case of anti-white racism. A group of four California policemen were trying to subdue an aggressive and unco-operative black teenager and not having an easy time of it. At one stage one of the white officers punched the teenager. It was later agreed by all concerned that the punch was justified. Black activists made a big fuss over it however and the white policeman was then fired from his job by his black boss, charged with misconduct and put through a series of trials. The trials failed to convict him of anything. He then sued the police department for discrimination -- saying that he had been fired and put on trial only because he was white. He has just won his case and been awarded $1.6 million. A great victory for justice and against racism, it seems to me.

Iran buying bioweapons? "Iran's ambassador to Cuba said his country will increase ties to the Communist dictatorship 90 miles from Florida by extending some 20 million in euro credit. United by anti-Americanism, the two countries have grown closer in recent years - a concern to some in Washington because of Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and desire to develop weapons of mass destruction. Cuba has an extensive biological and chemical weapons development program. Plans for more scientific collaboration were announced by Ahmad Edrian, Iran's ambassador to Cuba. They include plans by Cuba to help build a plant in Iran to produce vaccines and medicines".

EU socialism crushes entrepreneurship: "The EU continues to lag behind the US when it comes to entrepreneurship, a poll published on Monday (17 January) by the European Commission shows. The survey - conducted on both sides of the Atlantic - shows that nearly twice as many Americans are thinking of setting up their own business (28 percent) than their European counterparts (15 percent). Moreover, the gap appears to be widening. The number of people thinking about starting their own firm increased by eight percent since 2003 in the US, but only by two percent in the EU." [With all the bureaucratic barriers they would have to face, Europeans are REALISTIC to write off the idea of starting a business]

Talk about special pleading! "Eliminating global poverty, disease and hunger are "utterly affordable" but need concerted action from rich nations, including a massive increase in funding for scientific research addressing the needs of the world's poor. These are among the findings of a comprehensive report by the UN Millennium Project that was presented to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan yesterday (17 January). The report calls on international donors specifically to support scientific research on health, agriculture, natural resource, energy and climate change". [It is capitalism that ends poverty, not science]

There is an article here arguing that homosexuals should be charged more for their health insurance. Why? Because of the very high medical costs associated with AIDS.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again -- with a very large offering this time

My latest posting on MarxWords notes that Marx blackmailed his own mother! Nice type. My latest posting on "A scripture blog" looks at an Old Testament scripture for a change (Isaiah 43:11). Did Isaiah support the Trinity?



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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