Friday, January 21, 2011

Democrat Congressman: Republicans Like Nazis For Opposing Obamacare

Rep Cohen was talking to an empty chamber so even his fellow Democrats presumably see him as of no account -- one of their few wise judgments. They might want to ask him about where that "civility" has gone though.

His comments of course have no resemblance to the truth. Hitler was a socialist who SUPPORTED the expansion of the State into all services. If there is any historically accurate comparison to be made, it is the Democrats who are like Hitler in their policies

Note that the video editors have added on to the end of the video a scene that looks remarkably like the culmination of one of Hitler's Nuremberg rallies in the 1930s. One comparison deserves another.


Leftist hubris heading for a fall

It takes a worried man to sing a worried song, and in a recent speech that seemed like Larry Summers's swan song, the president's now-departed economic adviser warned that America is "at risk of a profound demoralization with respect to government." He fears a future in which "an inadequately resourced government performs badly, leading to further demands that it be cut back, exacerbating performance problems, deepening the backlash, and creating a vicious cycle."

The idea that America's problem of governance is one of inadequate resources misses this lesson of the last half-century: No amount of resources can prevent government from performing poorly when it tries to perform too many tasks, or particular tasks for which it is inherently unsuited.

Actually, government is not sufficiently demoralized. The hubris that is the occupational hazard and defining trait of the political class continues to cause government to overpromise and underperform. This class blithely considers itself exempt from the tyranny of the bell-shaped curve - the fact that in most occupations a few people are excellent, a few are awful, and most are average.

In fact, the bell curve is particularly pertinent to government. Surgeons achieve eminence by what they do "in office" - in operating rooms, performing surgery. Politicians achieve eminence simply by securing office - by winning elections, a skill often related loosely, if at all, to their performance in office.

James Q. Wilson, America's preeminent social scientist, has noted that until relatively recently, "politics was about only a few things; today, it is about nearly everything."

The vicious cycle that should worry Summers is the reverse of the one he imagines. It is not government being "cut back" because of disappointments that reinforce themselves. Rather, it is government squandering its limited resources, including the resource of competence, in reckless expansions of its scope.

Summers leaves a federal government funded by a continuing resolution. Congress has been so busy passing gargantuan legislation to expand government's responsibilities that it has not had enough time, energy or sense of responsibility to pass a budget. And the pathologies of expanding government are becoming worse because of two concepts Summers mentioned in his valedictory - Baumol's Disease, and Moynihan's Corollary to it.

William J. Baumol, Princeton economics professor emeritus, said that in certain economic sectors - e.g., labor-intensive service industries - productivity will increase, if at all, more slowly than in the rest of the economy. The late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's corollary was that such services - e.g., teaching, nursing, the performing arts - tend to migrate to the public sector.

Moynihan noted that if you want a string quartet, you must hire four musicians with four instruments, just as in Chopin's day. "Productivity," said Moynihan, "just hasn't changed much. And when it does - e.g., playing the Minute Waltz in 50 seconds - it doesn't seem to work right." Actually, lopping 10 seconds off the waltz subtracts from musicians' productivity.

Moynihan noted a danger to his party in the tendency for the "stagnant services" to become government services: "The Democratic Party is identified with this very public sector in which relative costs are rising. By contrast, the Republican Party is identified with the private sector where relative costs are declining." The public sector's involuntary tendency to become, regarding productivity, a concentration of stagnation is a reason for government to become more circumspect than it has been about the voluntary acquisition of vast new responsibilities, such as micromanagement of health care's 17 percent of the economy.



Obama's Social Security Talk Is Turning Voters Off, Pollsters Say

President Barack Obama's apparent willingness to consider cuts in Social Security benefits may be winning him points with Washington elites, but it's killing him with voters, who see the program as inviolate and may start to wonder what the Democratic Party stands for, if not for Social Security.

A post-election poll by Celinda Lake's Lake Research Partners found that, by a margin of 3 percentage points, Americans now trust Republicans in Congress more than Democrats when it comes to Social Security -- surely the first time since the program became a signature issue for the Democratic Party in the 1930s. The poll found confidence in Democrats on the issue dropping 14 points just since January 2007, accompanied by a 13-point increase for Republicans.

The public favors congressional Republicans over Obama on Social Security by an even larger 6-point margin. Obama's 26-percent rating is not only less than half Bill Clinton's (53 percent), it's even lower than that of George W. Bush (37 percent), whose proposal to privatize the program went down in flames.

The pollsters had no doubt that the turnaround stems from statements by Obama and other Democratic leaders expressing their openness to cuts in Social Security. "It's the rhetoric that says things like, 'Everything is on the table,'" said Lake. "That's not how the public feels. This isn't a policy debate in the public's mind, this is a core value."

The pollsters also noted a huge disconnect between the inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom that the deficit must be addressed through entitlement cuts and what voters think.

And while increasing the Social Security retirement age is considered a fairly benign change inside the Beltway, 7 in 10 voters oppose the idea, most of them very intensely, said Lake. Opposition is particularly strong among such groups as young voters, women under 55, non-college graduates, independent women and rural voters -- in other words, those much sought-after swing voters.

"Raising the retirement age is a great thing for wealthy professionals, and a terrible thing for low-income women and working men," said EPI's Ross Eisenberry. It's easy for professionals to imagine working a few extra years; much harder for people whose jobs are physically demanding or highly unpleasant.



Obama good for conservatism

America’s debate about government’s proper size and purposes has proceeded against the backdrop of European disorders, such as rioting by French young people. Some of them, although they have not yet entered the labor market (unemployment is 25 percent among those under 25), are indignant that when they do, they will have to remain in it for two extra years because the retirement age has been raised to 62.

Such demonstrations of government-induced decadence—a.k.a. the entitlement mentality—have provided counterpoints to the Great Unraveling. That has been the fate of American liberals’ agenda in the 24 months since Barack Obama’s inauguration. That event was supposed to launch a long liberal epoch, something unknown since the one that ended in 1938, when the nation recoiled against Franklin Roosevelt’s overreaching, which included his attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court by enlarging it. Because the episode that ended in 1938 had lasted only six years, counting it as an “epoch” amounts to defining “epoch” down. Today, the long list of liberal disappointments is still growing:

Organized labor’s top priority—“card check” legislation to make unionization of workplaces easier by abolishing workers’ rights to secret ballots—is dead. So is the environmentalists’ dream of a cap-and-trade regime—or, failing that, a carbon tax. The Environmental Protection Agency, which seems determined to do by regulation what Congress will not do by legislation concerning limits on emissions, is provoking a contest with Congress over supremacy—a contest the EPA cannot win because Congress cannot afford to lose.

The near invisibility and complete futility of last month’s Cancún conference on climate change marked the exhaustion of a U.N. delusion: It was that almost 200 nations were going to negotiate a treaty unanimously requiring a few of them to bribe the rest to reduce greenhouse--gas emissions—and that 67 U.S. senators would vote to ratify it.

Things that liberals thought would be gone by now include: Guantánamo, the Patriot Act, and the Bush tax rates. Having denounced extension of those rates as “odious,” what adjective has The New York Times reserved for, say, genocide?

Regarding the rates applicable to high earners and large estates, most Americans seem to be channeling Mark Twain. When a journalist suggested that the vast wealth of one of Twain’s friends, a Standard Oil executive, was “tainted,” Twain replied, “It’s doubly tainted—t’aint yours and t’aint mine.”

People who, 24 months ago, thought Obama would inaugurate a new New Deal subscribed to the theory that economic difficulties propel Americans leftward. The New Deal experience suggests otherwise:

In the 1932 presidential election, three years past the October 1929 stock-market crash, and with unemployment at 25 percent, the Socialist Party received a paltry 2.23 percent of the popular vote and the Communist Party received 0.26 percent. By 1940, the Depression had proved to be durable in spite of New Deal measures. Or perhaps because of those measures: America’s longest slump was the first to be combated by federal-government activism. In any case, in 1940 the Socialist Party received 0.23 percent and the Communist Party received 0.1 percent.

Conservatism continues to benefit from Washington’s most conspicuous foray into industrial policy—its misadventures with Detroit. The federal government is buying about one in four Ford and General Motors hybrids. The public, always a disappointment to Washington, is not buying enough of them. But Washington is offering a $7,500 tax credit to induce people to buy the hybrid-electric Chevrolet Volt.

Yet a GM ad says, “When you buy a Chevrolet, we’ll invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and tree-planting programs.” Question: Should GM pay back the $26.4 billion it still owes tax-payers before it indulges in trendy spending of other people’s money on tree plantings?

GM’s CEO Dan Akerson says his company is handicapped by government limits on executive compensation at firms that receive federal bailouts. Last year his salary and stock package of $9 million was $8,820,300 more than it should have been: $179,700 is the highest pay for civil servants, which is what executives at such firms are.




PA: Abortion doctor, staff charged with eight murders: "An abortion doctor in Philadelphia has been charged with eight murders, including seven babies who prosecutors say were born alive then killed with scissors. Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, and nine employees from his West Philadelphia Women's Medical Society were arrested Wednesday. He and his staff also are charged with killing a woman who was given a lethal dose of Demerol."

SCOTUS hears “state secrets” case: "For the first time in decades, the Supreme Court took up a dispute over the government's 'state secrets' privilege, hearing arguments Tuesday in a claim brought by defense contractors against the government. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. officials have increasingly invoked 'state secrets' arguments, notably in matters involving warrantless surveillance and interrogation of prisoners, to keep sensitive information out of court."

America not cheesy enough? "While food riots have begun emerging across the globe as a result of surging food prices, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided to funnel 12 million dollars into the popular pizza chain Domino’s Pizza, in what has become known as a secret government bailout. The bailout came from an organization known as Dairy Management, a marketing creation of the USDA. What was the result of the millions funneled into the troubled business? A large-scale marketing revolving around pizzas being made made with 40% more cheese, an attempt to re-design the Domino’s Pizza brand name in partnership with the United States government."

US House: Conservatives call for drastic budget cuts: "House conservatives vowed Thursday to slash domestic programs well beyond the already steep spending cuts promised by GOP leaders, the first sign of fissure between old-guard Republicans and tea-party-backed newcomers. A proposal unveiled by the Republican Study Committee, whose conservative members make up about three-fourths of the House GOP conference, called for bringing domestic agency budgets down to the 2006 levels in place when Republicans last controlled Congress"

SCOTUS: Federal contract workers must submit to background checks: "It is reasonable and proper for the federal government to perform background checks of those who work under government contracts, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The court rejected a challenge from contract workers that their privacy rights were violated by open-ended questions about them or detailed queries about past drug use. The court said it was proper to extend to contractors the kind of background checks federal workers undergo."

America's economic collapse is already happening -- in the State and local governments: "Austerity has arrived in America. At this point, it is not a formal, mandated austerity like we have seen in Europe, but the results are just the same. Taxes are going up, services are being slashed dramatically, thousands of state and city employees are being laid off, and politicians seem to be endlessly talking about ways to make even deeper budget cuts. Unfortunately, even with the incredibly severe budget cuts that we have seen already, many state and local governments across the United States are still facing a sea of red ink as far as the eye can see."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why the Left Hates Sarah Palin‏

The boiling hatred towards such a cheerful, good natured, spontaneous, pleasant person as Sarah Palin that is coming from the Left is certainly remarkable. I think that the reason is obvious. They hate the fact that she is happy. Leftists are all full of misery and hate. And they think their misery is virtuous! But there are other things entwined with that so I put up below several explanations by others. Firstly, the inimitable Evan Sayet:

It just happened again. I spend a fair amount of time at my local coffee shop. I like to do my writing outside and, besides, it gives me an opportunity to try and initiate political conversations with the people who pass by — my hope always being to begin to enlighten them as to what conservatives really believe (and not just what the leftist media tells them.)

Today, the conversation turned to Sarah Palin and my latest acquaintance blurted out: “Oh I hate her.” Since she did not yet know my politics, and since we were in Los Angeles, it is clear that she expected to hear back what you usually hear back in this city: “Yeah, I hate her, too.” Instead, I asked her why.

At this point I could have predicted her response because it’s the same response you get from liberals no matter who on the Right you’re talking about: “Because she’s stupid.” I replied: “Being stupid is no reason to hate someone, but tell me, which one of her policies do you disagree with?” It wasn’t hard to predict her response: “All of them!”

I continued to push. “Well, then, if it’s all of them, it should be easy for you to name one.” Her reply? “They’re too many to list.” “So don’t list them, just give me one,” I said.

This went on for awhile until my new acquaintance finally admitted that she didn’t know any of Ms. Palin’s policies. Before she ran off – Democrats always run off when asked to provide facts to justify their hatred for Republicans – I looked her in the eyes and said, “If you don’t know any of her policies, perhaps you should look into them.” She promised she would. She won’t. If there are two things you can count on with Democrats, they are filled with hate and empty of facts.

But it got me to thinking. Given that these people don’t know any of Ms. Palin’s political positions, what is it about her that they hate? It has to be her life story. Now, to all decent people, Ms. Palin’s life story could not be more laudable. She married her high school sweetheart to whom she remains married and with whom she is apparently still in love.

In the harshest of climes, she and Todd started a small business which, apparently, they ran well enough to purchase a home and raise a family. Despite the long hours required to run a family business and raise children, when Ms. Palin saw that the public schools were not doing a good job in educating her children, she joined the local PTA and was so effective there that the people who knew her best – and in small towns like Wasilla there are very few secrets – elected her to be their mayor.

Apparently, Ms. Palin was so effective in that job that the mayors of the other small towns and big cities elected her president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. After a highly successful stint as chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, she ran an uphill battle against an entrenched Republican governor and was elected to the top position, Governor, of the largest state in the nation. She did that job so well that her approval ratings – despite having ruffled the feathers of the leading political family in Alaska – bordered on 80 percent.

As Ms. Palin’s political horizons continued to grow, she found out she was pregnant with her fourth child, a baby with Downs Syndrome. Despite knowing in advance that this child would require even more attention and care than other kids, Ms. Palin opted to give her child – Trig – life.

So, given that those who hate – hate!!! – Ms. Palin know nothing more than these facts about her, what is it about Ms. Palin’s life story that generates this blind loathing? The answer is that, at every turn, Ms. Palin’s story debunks the myths of victimization and self-centeredness that is at the heart of the modern liberal ideology.

First, Ms. Palin is married with children. The Democrat Party’s treasured storyline is that women with children – especially those who take care of them themselves – are oppressed, victimized and doomed to a life without personal fulfillment. Ms. Palin’s life proves them wrong and the Democrats hate her for this.

If Ms. Palin were a Democrat she would have offed the last child before he was born so that she could have more “me” time to pursue her own wants and pleasures. There is clearly something very “wrong” with this woman who allowed her “special needs” child to live. They hate her for that.

One of the most obvious demographic differences between the Left and the Right is that people without children – those too self-centered and jealous of others stealing “their” attention, angry and hate-filled “feminists,” radical homosexuals and school children too young to have started a family — are just about guaranteed to pull the lever for anyone with a “D” next to their names. Those married with children are just as assured to pull the lever for someone from the Right.

And Sarah Palin ran a small business. Democrats don’t run businesses. In fact, Democrats don’t do anything. If you eliminated from the voting roll everyone who did nothing other than talk – the academic, the newscaster, the actor, the politician – and those who game the system, collecting welfare and years of unemployment benefits and “workman’s compensation” and food stamps, how many people would be left voting Democrat?

Let’s put it this way, if having had a job – having done something that required either physical labor or risking one’s own money – were a prerequisite to work in the White House, Barack Obama would have to fire 94 percent of his top advisers. That’s a real number. Ninety four percent of Obama’s top advisers have never done anything like run a small store, paint a bridge, wire a house for electricity or anything else other than flap their lips.

This is the genesis of the notion that Palin is “stupid.” Liberals are convinced that there’s something “the matter” with people who have jobs. This is what they mean by “What’s the Matter with Kansas,” Kansas being a place where people work – Hollywood, Cambridge Massachusetts, the TV studios in Manhattan are places were people talk. To the liberal, anyone who has a job must be stupid, after all, not everyone is as good a talker as they are, but surely everyone can find one excuse or another to sit at home and collect welfare.

In fact, to the modern liberal, anyone who has a job is not just stupid, he (or she) is dangerous. These people “cling” to their guns and their religion because they toil for their reward. These people are constantly on the verge of violence, whether it’s an attack like the one they caused in Tucson (according to the leftist script) or just by going home and beating their children. Consider the lyrics of “the working man’s troubadour” by Bruce Springsteen:

Early in the morning/factory whistle blows
Man rises from bed and puts on his clothes.
Man takes his lunch, walks out in the morning line
That’s the work, the workin’, that’s the workin’ life.

End of the day/Factory whistle cries
Man walks through them gates with death in their eyes.
And you just better believe, boy, somebody’s gonna get it tonight.
(Why?) Cause that’s the work, the workin’ that’s that workin’ life!

Sarah Palin is stupid and dangerous because, well, to those who have made their millions by doing nothing other than talking, that’s the work, the workin’ that’s the workin’ life. Just in case you think that’s just one example of Springsteen’s take on anyone who has a job, consider the horrors of his “daddy” who “worked his whole life, for nothing but the pain.” In this song, “Adam Raised a Cain,” daddy, of course, beats his children, “now he walks these empty rooms searching for something to blame.”

And, in fact, it gets worse because, clearly, a child who is beaten is going to continue that cycle of violence and beat his child (“you inherit the sins/you inherit the flames”). So, even to the most sympathetic leftist like Springsteen, not one, not two, but three generations are destroyed all because “daddy” had to go to work.

And they hate Sarah Palin because she joined the PTA and made things better. No, no, that’s not supposed to happen. Schools (read: the teachers’ union) need more money, only more money will solve the problems in the schools. Sarah Palin must be destroyed!

And, finally, they hate Sarah Palin because she was a successful mayor and governor. The Democrat Party narrative is that the American people are too stupid to successfully govern themselves and need Harvard and Yale elitists to dictate to them how they should live their lives. If a graduate of the University of Idaho can successfully run the biggest state in the union, then so can a kid who graduated from Texas A & M or even a kid with a degree from Eureka College.

If Democrats disagreed with Ms. Palin on the issues that would be one thing. But they don’t merely “disagree” with her, they hate her and they hate her without caring one whit about where she stands on the issues. They hate her because she is living proof that everything about the Democratic Party narrative is a lie and for this reason she cannot be allowed to be liked — because if Democrats liked her, they might actually listen to her policies.



Palinoia, the Destroyer: What's behind the left's deranged hatred?


Why does their hatred of her burn so hot? Ask them, and they'll most likely tell you: Because she's a moron. But that is obviously false. To be sure, her skills at extemporaneous speaking leave much to be desired. But that can be said of a good many politicians on both sides of the aisle, including George W. Bush, John Kerry and, yes, Barack Obama. And don't get us started on the man who defeated her for the vice presidency.

Whether or not she is presidential timber--and we are inclined to think that she is not--there is no denying that she is a highly accomplished person. She is also a highly accomplished woman, what in an earlier age would have been called a feminist pioneer: the first female governor of the malest state in the country, the first woman on the presidential ticket of the party on the male side of the "gender gap." Having left politics, whether temporarily or permanently, she has established herself as one of the most consequential voices in the political media.

They say she is uneducated. What they mean is that her education is not elite--not Harvard or Yale, or even Michigan or UCLA. They resent her because, in their view, she has risen above her station.

Professional jealousy and intellectual snobbery, however, only scratch the surface of the left's bizarre attitude toward Palin. They explain the intensity of the disdain, but not the outright hatred--not why some people whose grasp of reality is sufficient to function in society made the insane inference that she was to blame for a madman's attempt to murder Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

This unhinged hatred of Palin comes mostly from women. That is an awkward observation for us to offer, because a man risks sounding sexist or unchivalrous when he makes unflattering generalizations about women. Therefore, we are going to hide behind the skirts of our friend Jessica Faller, a New Yorker in her 30s of generally liberal politics. Over the weekend, she wrote us this analysis of Palin-hatred, which she has generously given us permission to quote:
I am starting out with a guess that this stems from her abrupt appearance on the national scene during the McCain-Obama race. She appeared out of nowhere and landed squarely in a position of extreme attention and media power. Her sex appeal might not have been as much of an issue had she been a known entity with a tremendous, watertight political résumé.

Even lacking that, her sex appeal might not have been such an issue if her demeanor on the campaign trail had been more, well, conservative. But here is this comely woman, in a curvy red suit, giving "shout-outs" during the debate with Joe Biden, giving controversial interviews without apology, basically driving in there, parking the car, and walking in like she owned the place.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing. But she couldn't have pulled it off if she were a gray mouse in a pantsuit, and because the devil in the red dress wasn't orating like a professor, it roused an unquenchable forest fire of rage and loathing in the breasts of many women, perhaps of the toiling gray mouse variety, who projected onto her their own career resentments and personal frustrations.

I am amazed at how people still abhor her. I personally do not. I don't feel she would be a good choice to run this country, but she does not deserve the horrific treatment she gets. I can tell you, being privy to the endless, incendiary rants this past week about her, coming from hordes of liberal women--age demo 25 to 45--they rip her to pieces, they blame her for everything, and the jealousy/resentment factor is so clear and primal. I've never seen anything like it.

We'd say this goes beyond mere jealousy. For many liberal women, Palin threatens their sexual identity, which is bound up with their politics in a way that it is not for any other group (possibly excepting gays, though that is unrelated to today's topic).

An important strand of contemporary liberalism is feminism. As a label, "feminist" is passé; outside the academic fever swamps, you will find few women below Social Security age who embrace it.

That is because what used to be called feminism--the proposition that women deserve equality before the law and protection from discrimination--is almost universally accepted today. Politically speaking, a woman is the equal of a man. No woman in public life better symbolizes this than Sarah Palin--especially not Hillary Clinton, the left's favorite icon. No one can deny Mrs. Clinton's accomplishments, but neither can one escape crediting them in substantial part to her role as the wife of a powerful man.

To the extent that "feminism" remains controversial, it is because of the position it takes on abortion: not just that a woman should have the "right to choose," but that this is a matter over which reasonable people cannot disagree--that to favor any limitations on the right to abortion, or even to acknowledge that abortion is morally problematic, is to deny the basic dignity of women.

To a woman who has internalized this point of view, Sarah Palin's opposition to abortion rights is a personal affront, and a deep one. It doesn't help that Palin lives by her beliefs. To the contrary, it intensifies the offense.

It used to be a trope for liberal interviewers to try to unmask hypocrisy by asking antiabortion politicians--male ones, of course--what they would do if their single teen daughters got pregnant. It's a rude question, but Palin, whose 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy coincided with Mom's introduction to the nation, answered it in real life.

Recently we were at a party where a woman in her 60s, a self-described feminist, called Palin a "moron" for having encouraged her daughter to carry her child to term and "to marry the sperm donor." Even apart from the gross language, this was a completely irrational thing to say. First, that Palin's values are different in no way reflects on her intelligence.

More important, why is Bristol Palin's decision to carry her child to term any of this lady's business? Those who claim to be champions of privacy and choice need to do some serious soul-searching if they have so much trouble tolerating the private choices of others.

What about male Palin-hatred? It seems to us that it is of decidedly secondary importance. Liberal men put down Palin as a cheap way to score points with the women in their lives, or they use her as an outlet for more-general misogynistic impulses that would otherwise be socially unacceptable to express.

Liberal women are the active, driving force behind hatred of Sarah Palin, while liberal men's behavior is passive and manipulative. In this respect, feminism has succeeded in reversing the traditional sexual stereotypes. If this is the result, you have to wonder why anyone would have bothered.



Evil hates goodness

Evil can manifest when people project their own badness and shame onto another.

People on the left hate Palin for one simple reason: because she is everything they are not. She is their polar opposite because her life journey has diverged from the prescribed liberal path.

Palin was raised to be self-sufficient and independent since "idle hands are the devil's tools." Little Sarah was up at the crack of dawn, hunting with her dad; in sharp contrast, liberal kids like me were still fast asleep.

Palin didn't have life handed to her on a silver platter, like so many in the ruling class. Instead, Sarah balanced school, chores, jobs, and sports. While liberal girls like me were glued to the boob tube, Sarah had no time for sloth.

Palin attended church with her family on Sundays. On Sunday morning, young liberals like me were recovering from Saturday night.

From her devout Christian upbringing, Sarah learned to be a good girl. In contrast, I learned everything I needed to know about how to be a modern girl from the monthly Playboy Magazine, which was conspicuously displayed on our living room table.

Sarah dated and then married her high school sweetheart; I learned that my body was a commodity that I "owned." And I could use my body -- and allow it to be used -- to temporarily still the pangs of loneliness.

There's a lyric from a Matt Maher song that always moves me to tears. It's when he cries out to God: "Where were You when sin stole my innocence?"

When I hear these words, an unspeakable pain cuts through me. I feel the ache of something stolen from me -- something precious, never quite recovered. And there are countless others out there, similarly robbed, though they have no idea what has gone missing.

And then, out of the blue, Sarah Palin, like a majestic bird in flight, swooped onto the scene of a depraved and deprived nation. With her children and grandchild, her religion and her patriotism, Sarah is the antithesis of everything the progressives stand for. Palin is not just pro-life, but she emanates life -- and good, clean living.

And what does the left do? They try to drag her through the mud to sully her. The hardcore among them want to eliminate her, even if this means putting her life at risk.

The progressives "joke" about gang-rape, make pornographic movies about her, and leer at her legs. (Would any of this be tolerated against Michelle Obama?)

Palin's church was torched during the primary, a vicious crime that was hushed up by the MSM. And now, with the smears about Tucson, death threats against Palin have soared.

Yes, leftists attack Palin because they envy her beauty; and true, she's a political threat. But the main reason for the hatred is something deeper and darker.

Leftists loathe Palin because she has retained something that was stripped from them years ago: a wholesomeness, a purity of heart. People on the left despise Palin because she shines a bright light on their shame and unworthiness, which they try desperately to deny.

The progressives, like that brutal gang of abandoned girls, want to drag Palin down into the gutter with them; they want to spoil her. Of course, their efforts will be futile; Palin is fueled by a Spirit that isn't simply her own.

The left knows only how to point fingers, and threaten, and menace. Why? They are lost, abandoned children as well; they have shunned the only Force who could wash them clean and bring them home again.

More here


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Obama still doesn't understand regulation

It’s a relief President Obama, in an Op-Ed in today's Wall Street Journal, acknowledges that the free market is “the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known.” It certainly is.

The President now says there are some rules “that are just plain dumb” and he’s going to “remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation.” I hope he means it. But even if a president does want cutback, it won’t be easy. Managing regulatory bureaucracy is like pushing string. Regulators want to regulate. Just last year, federal bureaucrats alone added 80,000 pages of brand new rules.

It’s intuitive to believe regulation protects us and makes commerce fairer. I once believed that. But then I became a consumer reporter and I watched regulation fail. Now I know it almost always does more harm than good.

In his Op-Ed, the President praises “common sense rules” like child labor laws and “our most recent strictures against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies.” But what he calls “common sense” has unintended consequences. Stopping credit card companies from imposing penalties on customers who pay late didn’t make those costs disappear.

Since the politicians “protected” us, credit card interest rates rose nearly 2% ... while other interest rates dropped. JPMorgan Chase simply cut off 15% of its customers. Those who want credit will now have to go to pawn shops or payday lenders that charge annual interest of more than 200%. How does that help poor people?

Child labor laws passed to protect children from dangerous factories now keep strapping teenagers out of air-conditioned offices. Labor Department rules are so onerous that businesses that could legally employ teens often don’t. Wendy's won’t even consider hiring anyone younger than 16 because the regulations require time-consuming record keeping, and carry the risk of a big fine. It's “safer” just not to hire young people. How does that help kids?

My friend Sheldon Richman, editor of The Freeman, helped convince me that almost all regulations are unnecessary. In this article, he points out that politicians always say:

“We need more regulation. When free-market advocates point out that the problems were caused by government’s systematic and deliberate weakening of market discipline in order to promote corporate profits through home ownership regardless of income or creditworthiness, the other side seems to want to say, “If we have proper regulation, we don’t need market discipline."

But chanting “regulation” and “oversight” is not a solution to anything... Even if we assume the regulatory body would be populated by honest, disinterested people (a wild assumption, we should realize by now), how would they know what to do? As noted, markets are complex beyond imagination... Sitting in an ivory tower and writing regulations for a complex market is a recipe for stagnation…



129 Million Lies About ObamaCare

“129 Million People Could Be Denied Affordable Coverage Without Health Reform” blares the title of the piece of propaganda thinly disguised as a “study” released this morning by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The purpose of the propaganda was, of course, to generate scary headlines on the eve of the House GOP’s vote to repeal ObamaCare, likely scheduled for tomorrow. The Washington Post and other media promptly granted HHS its wish.

The purpose sure wasn’t sober, high-quality research. While the title shouts that 129 million people could be denied coverage, the so-called study defines preexisting conditions to include those “that would result in an automatic denial of coverage, exclusion of the condition, or higher premiums.” But paying higher premiums is not the same as being denied coverage.

Furthermore, the preexisting conditions are taken from a list of conditions that either qualify a person for a state high-risk pool or could result in a denial of private insurance. But neither of those are the same as saying that someone will be denied private coverage. For example, Crohn’s disease is on the list for high-risk pools, but some private insurers cover it.

Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, is even harsher: “This is appalling,” he said. “This is the most mendacious piece of work I’ve seen out of there is twenty years. The most charitable thing you can say is (the Obama administration) takes credit for things this law doesn’t do. The less charitable thing is they are simply lying.”

Haislmaier points out that many of the things the study claims that ObamaCare ends were already illegal under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. For example, the study claims that prior “to the Affordable Care Act, in the vast majority of States, insurance companies in the individual and small group markets could deny coverage, charge higher premiums, and/or limit benefits to individuals based on preexisting conditions.”

Haislmaier points out that this was true only in the individual market. In the group market, HIPAA limits the denial of coverage to those with preexisting conditions to 12 to 18 months. Those who have been previously insured can get that amount reduced even further. Says Haislmaier, “They either don’t know the law or they deliberately portrayed it as something it isn’t.”

Indeed, the authors make these “unaware-of-HIPAA” errors throughout the study:

—Between 50 and 129 million non-elderly Americans have at least one preexisting condition that would threaten their access to health care and health insurance without the protections of the Affordable Care Act.

Wrong. Haislmaier reiterates that many of those people are in the group market and thus covered by HIPAA.

—In addition, workers with a preexisting condition may be less able to change jobs for fear of losing that coverage.

Wrong. Under HIPAA, if you previously had “creditable coverage,” you can switch to the plan of another employer.

—Individuals with these conditions would at least get charged a higher premium but could also have benefits carved out or be denied coverage altogether.

Wrong. Under HIPAA, an employer group can be charged higher premiums than other groups, but an employee within that group cannot be charged higher premiums than the other employees.

“It’s not like this is rocket science,” said Haislmaier. “They have people at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services who deal with implementing HIPAA!”

He also notes this gem in the “study”: “The new health reform law has already banned lifetime limits in private insurance and has restricted annual limits for group and new individual market plans before banning such limits in 2014.”

Haislmaier notes, “Except when they didn’t by giving waivers to everybody who had a plan with limits,” referring to the more than 100 businesses and unions that had received administration waivers from ObamaCare at the end of last year.

“Might you want to check with the front office before issuing this? So now they are claiming credit for something that, administratively, their own department has undone.”

Ultimately, this study is useless save as an indication of how desperate the Obama administration is to salvage its highly unpopular health care overhaul.



Leftist activism as machismo

One of the under-reported stories from the 1960's is a fundamental change that took place at that time in the male rite of passage. Ever since the first humans began the arduous trek from primitive tribal societies to civilized society, the male adolescent's progression to adulthood included some rite which demarcated childhood from manhood. Most of the time this rite of passage was explicitly designed to evince the young prospective man's physical prowess and courage. There is a clear line of communication from the young tribesman who was expected to kill a lion or bring down a buffalo by himself and the British aristocrat training at Sandhurst. There were always those who did not take part in such rites, but for the culture's elites, evidence of courage were considered a sine qua non to entry into adulthood.

The mass mobilizations of the last centuries allowed everyman to take part in this rite of passage. The Bands of Brothers of WWII, in the retrospective popular imagination, were the apotheosis of courage under fire, solidarity, and steadfastness.

During the Vietnam War the children of the elites, to a much greater extent than in previous wars, avoided serving. This was especially prominent in the children of the liberal elites. As with any complicated and conflictual behavior, all sorts of psychological reactions ensured.

Via the beauty of the reaction formation, the covert anxiety felt by many was transmuted into its opposite. The moral of the Vietnam War struggle, for the counter-culture,l was that the truly brave fought against the unjust, imperialistic war. However, beneath the defensive bravado, the anxiety persisted. Mark Rudd documents this in his Washington Post op-ed over the weekend:
In 1970, when I was 22 years old - the same age as Jared Loughner - I was a founder of the Weather Underground, an offshoot of the antiwar group Students for a Democratic Society. That spring, a small contingent of the Weathermen, as we were known, planned to plant three pipe bombs at a noncommissioned officers' dance at Fort Dix, N.J. Our intention was to remind our fellow Americans that our country was dropping napalm and other explosives on Vietnam, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. I wasn't among the bombmakers, but I knew what was in the offing, and to my eternal shame, I didn't try to stop it.

I considered myself an agent of necessity in a political revolution. I'm not sure if Loughner, who seems to suffer from mental illness, can be considered an agent of anything. But I'm sure that if, as alleged, he pulled the trigger, he had convinced himself that he was doing what needed to be done.

At his age, I had thought myself into a similar corner. My willingness to endorse and engage in violence had something to do with an exaggerated sense of my own importance. I wanted to prove myself as a man - a motive exploited by all armies and terrorist groups. I wanted to be a true revolutionary like my guerrilla hero, Ernesto "Che" Guevara. I wanted the chant we used at demonstrations defending the Black Panthers to be more than just words: "The revolution has come/Time to pick up the gun!"

Mark Rudd's use of his own experience to somehow illuminate any aspect of the Tuscon shootings is curious at best. What is more interesting is that he cannot yet question his own politics:
On March 6, 1970, the Weather Underground's bombs, assembled in a New York townhouse, exploded prematurely. Ted Gold, Diana Oughton and Terry Robbins - three brilliant and passionate young people who had decided that they must become terrorists - were killed. Only by their deaths was the greater tragedy we were plotting avoided. Emotionally shattered, I dropped out of the Weather Underground but remained a fugitive until 1977.

After I turned myself in, I spent the next 25 years trying to figure out why I had made so many disastrous decisions as a young man. One of my conclusions was to pursue only nonviolent action - righteous action still, but without anger or brutality.

It was never Mark Rudd's goals that were problematic, only his means, yet once the Left determines that its goals no longer justifies its means, it is no longer a revolutionary force, but an emasculated one. If you are fighting oppressors who are tormenting the innocent and helpless, every means must be used; after all, true heroes will risk all to protect the innocent. The young Leftist must either question his assumptions or condemn himself as a coward.

Some in the modern Left believe they can attain their goals by stealth; the election of 2010 has made that problematic. At this point the Left is being repudiated throughout the Civilized world. As Walter Russell Meade has pointed out, the Social Welfare model of the last half of the 20th century has failed and we have not yet found a new model.

The great problem for the Left is that they have failed spectacularly. The Soviet Union is now a kleptocracy surviving off oil; China is a State run Corporation; Cuba can barely feed itself and its much vaunted healthcare system is a shambles for all but the well connected who can obtain western (Capitalist) medical care; Venezuela is going off a cliff despite its oil; everywhere Socialism has been tried it has failed to do anything but terrorize and consign its people to perdition.

For the new generation of Mark Rudds, who have not yet surrendered their Utopian ideology, there are few options for exhibiting their courage. They can engage in mindless violence with the anarchists; they can support the oppressed by joining the murderers fashioned in the image of those most lovely of sociopathic killers, "Che" or Yasser; or they can attempt through subterfuge to achieve an impossible dream which has already been repudiated.

The true heroes, men and women of courage, are those few willing to stand up against barbarism in defense of our way of life. This is an intolerable state of affairs.




Iran bans production of Valentine’s Day gifts: "Iran has banned the production of Valentine's Day gifts and any promotion of the day celebrating romantic love to combat what it sees as a spread of Western culture, Iranian media reported. The February 14 celebration named after a Christian saint is not officially banned but hardliners have repeatedly warned about the corruptive spread of Western values. Under Iran's Islamic law, unmarried couples are not allowed to mingle."

CA: Is Berkeley ready to pay for sex change operations?: "While the country’s cities and states are cutting employment benefits, Berkeley City Council members will decide Tuesday whether to set aside taxpayer dollars for city workers to get sex-change operations. The vote, expected this evening, would permit the city to dole out $20,000 in cash stipends from its general budget to pay for the surgeries -- even as a city auditor warns of ballooning employee benefits costs. A new City Manager's report states that the city has unfunded liabilities totaling as much as $252 million."

Do you have a “right” to a job, home or healthcare?: "Americans have always been passionate about their rights. Whether conservative or liberal, we vigorously assert and defend them when we debate national policies like health-care reform or extending unemployment benefits. Unfortunately, the concept of 'rights' is often poorly understood across the ideological spectrum. Some conflate rights with responsibilities. Others label any benefit they think people should have as a right. ... In the Founders' vision, government's sole legitimate purpose is to protect our rights."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Leftists Are Far Likelier to Use Political Violence Than Conservatives

The background of this topic is the belief systems of Conservatives versus Modern Liberals. Consider the following demarcations.

A. Modern Liberalism, aka Socialism

What is fashionably called “liberalism‚” today is not what the term originally meant 150 years ago, when it was used to describe the philosophy of freedom. The Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment all influenced the creation of original liberal theory. For example, the Founding Fathers were all political liberals and the writing of the Declaration and Constitution were the high points of the ideas of political liberalism. But at the turn of last century, socialists began referring to themselves as “liberals‚” and they poisoned the term from its original meaning, allowing leftists to exclusively adopt the term.

B. Conservatism, aka Classical Liberalism

Early writers of Classical Liberalism and the Enlightenment were fixated upon expanding freedoms in every conceivable arena. This was during the ending of the Renaissance, when the Reformation suddenly burst open doors closed by the Church for a thousand years.

The tenets of Classical Liberalism are listed by Amy Sturgis:

"An ethical emphasis on the individual as a rights-bearer prior to the existence of any state, community, or society;

The support of the right of property carried to its economic conclusion, a free-market system;

The desire for a limited constitutional government to protect individuals’ rights from others and from its own expansion; and
The universal (global and ahistorical) applicability of these above convictions."

Real Conservatism is not a violent movement, even though it does espouse a strong military for defensive purposes. But it does so for defensive purposes. Further, while Conservatism supports the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, this is also done for self-defense. To say that a person who supports gun rights is therefore violent would be like saying a surgeon’s goal is to hurt people because he uses knives on them.

Overall, American Conservatism is fixated on our democratic constitutional republic, believing only by following a well-established Rule of Law can we all be safe. Further, freedoms also results from keeping government small and its powers trimmed so that citizens might maximize their own rights. Property is considered sacrosanct, which is the foundation of our capitalist system. So, needless to say, murdering politicians is not a Conservative value.

Moving Beyond Defamation

It is intellectual apostasy to claim Conservative means the same as violent extremism without bothering to study the history. In fact, the opposite is true when one considers that all of last century’s Marxist revolutions were achieved by a minority in a bloody ascension. Also, remember 200 million innocents were killed by leftists like Mao and Stalin making liberalism the most violent and murderous belief system in history. The entire Inquisition killed 30,000 people, while Chairman Mao by himself murdered 77 million!

The reason leftists are willing to murder in the name of politics is because they normally do not believe in God, a hereafter, or even any classic definition of morality. So whatever is done, as long as it serves Marxism, it is good.

According to P.H. Vigor’s A Guide To Marxism, since religion cannot deliver any sense of morality, it is up to humanism to create standards. But, as Virgor notes,

"Moreover, in any discussion involving ethics or morality, the fundamental point for a Marxist is that there is no such thing as an absolute Right and Wrong. Right and Wrong are relative for a Marxist: a thing which is wrong at one time, and in one set of circumstances, will be right in another…It is therefore simply not possible to settle an argument with them by reference to ethical principles—by saying, for instance, that the consequence of a particular policy would be murder, and you cannot commit murder. From a Marxist standpoint, you can—in certain circumstances"

The point here cannot be made too vigorously. There is no moral center found in socialism, Marxism, anarchism, or communism, as we discover in the Bible’s Ten Commandments. There is therefore no such thing as absolute wrong or right action to a true leftist. So,where resistance to Marxism is encountered, a sincere leftist always has the option of picking up a weapon to further his “liberalism.” In fact, virtually every Marxist revolution has involved murderous attacks to gain power.. And this is why leftists will always be infinitely more dangerous than Conservatives.



the G.O.P. Can Cut and Survive

The "Realpolitik" article by Ramesh Ponunu below is controversial but his recommendations are probably right as a short-term strategy. In the long term, vision and principles are also important however

THE new Congress is less than two weeks old, but pundits from across the political spectrum are already urging the newly empowered Republicans to take on Medicare and Social Security.

Conservatives argue it’s the only way to make good on the party’s limited-government rhetoric. Centrists say it’s the only plausible way to bring the budget into sustainable balance. Even some liberals are telling the Republicans to demonstrate the courage of their anti-spending convictions.

Reforming these programs is vital to our nation’s long-term fiscal health — which is why Republicans should resist this advice and leave the issue alone. Reform is impossible this year or next unless President Obama takes the lead on it. What’s more, Republicans have no mandate for reform, and a failed attempt will only set back the cause.

Some Republicans are understandably eager to take on these entitlements. “The third rail is not the third rail anymore,” Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, said in December.

Maybe he’s right. But Republicans have gotten a painful shock every time they have decided it’s finally safe to take on entitlements. Ronald Reagan suffered a defeat in his first year when he tried cutting Social Security’s early retirement benefits. Newt Gingrich’s 1995 Republican revolution fizzled when President Bill Clinton fought him over Medicare cuts. President George W. Bush’s effort to reform Social Security in 2005 ended any political momentum he brought to his second term.

Would-be reformers should draw two lessons from this history. The first is that reform can’t be sprung on the electorate. Reagan hadn’t campaigned on cutting Social Security in 1980, nor did the Gingrich Republicans promise to reduce the growth of Medicare.

Today is no different: while some Republican candidates in the last election spoke forthrightly about the need to rein in these programs — notably Representative Ryan himself, but also new Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky — most of them didn’t.

As a result, if Republicans spend much of the next two years fighting over these programs, voters who depend on them are going to be unpleasantly surprised. Keep in mind that most voters oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare, so they are likely to be very nervous about any proposals to restrain their growth, especially if opponents portray such cuts as excessive. Even worse, most members of Congress are not well informed about these programs, so they’ll have a hard time soothing public anxieties.

The second lesson is that presidential support for reform is a necessary, though not a sufficient, condition for success. As John Boehner, the new speaker of the House, said himself on election night, governing from Capitol Hill doesn’t work — the president has to set the agenda.

If Mr. Obama delivers a good-faith proposal for Social Security, for example in this month’s State of the Union address, then by all means Republicans should offer a serious counterproposal and, depending on their differences, negotiate. If he doesn’t, then Republicans should wait on a new president in 2013.

But they should do more than wait: in the event of presidential inaction, reformers should blame Mr. Obama for the lack of progress and work to make entitlements a litmus-test issue in the Republican presidential primaries. The goal should be to nominate someone willing to make a strong case for reducing entitlement growth as part of a larger strategy to restore American prosperity.

True, reform won’t generate the near-term budget savings the federal government needs to avoid a fiscal crisis this decade. Even the boldest plans phase their cuts in gradually, and they exempt people who are at or near retirement.

But that doesn’t mean that all action on entitlements can be deferred. Medicaid is wrecking state budgets and is set to expand thanks to the Democrats’ new health care law. It is also more politically vulnerable than Social Security or Medicare, which offer benefits to everyone who reaches old age. As they try to undo the health care law, Republicans might also consider capping Medicaid’s growth and sending the savings back to the states. It would be a mistake, however, for Republicans to take the same approach to Social Security or Medicare.

Instead, they should show their budget-hawk bona fides by making spending cuts elsewhere.

They should begin by freezing or cutting government payrolls, including in the legislative branch — something Republicans have already started doing. Message: the federal government is not just imposing sacrifices but sharing them. Then they should get control of the discretionary, or non-entitlement, portions of the budget, which are small only in comparison with entitlements. Only after winning those fights, and probably electing a new president, should the old-age entitlements be up for reform.

There are times when it is admirable for a politician to support legislation for the public good even if it will cost him his own re-election. Some of the Democrats who voted for the new health care law and then lost in November probably feel that way. But that tradeoff made sense only because they knew they could actually pass the law.

There is no point to Republicans’ endangering their seats for legislation, however worthy, unless they have a good shot at getting a presidential signature on it. They will get their answer in the next State of the Union address.




Zogby Interactive: 45% of Voters Say Race Relations Have Worsened Since Obama Took Office: "More than two-fifths (45%) of likely voters say race relations have worsened over the two years that Barack Obama has been president, while 13% see an improvement and 37% see no difference. There was no statistically significant difference in responses between white, African-American and Hispanic voters. Most likely to say race relations have worsened are: voters who are more likely to vote for Tea party endorsements (78%), conservatives (75%), Republicans (68%), NASCAR fans (58%), weekly Wal-Mart shoppers (57%), those who attend religious services weekly or more often (54%) and military veterans (54%). Most likely to say race relations have improved are: liberals (28%), Democrats (24%)"

Mark Levin Threatens to Sue Chris Matthews, Others: "Conservative talk radio host Mark Levin said he would file a lawsuit against anyone in the media who tries to link him to the shootings in Arizona, as Chris Matthews did earlier in the week. On MSNBC’s “Hardball” Tuesday night, Matthews essentially blamed Levin and talk radio host Michael Savage for creating a climate of hate that led to the Tucson shootings that killed six and injured 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. On Wednesday, Levin — an attorney — told his listeners: “I’m waiting for an allegation that is very specific against me because I’m going to sue. I don’t care if they’re bloggers, I don’t care if they’re television hosts, I don’t care if they’re radio hosts. I’m going to drag your a** into federal court."

Governors: We are all conservatives now: "The dismal fiscal situation in many states is forcing governors, despite their party affiliation, toward a consensus on what medicine is needed going forward. The prescription? Slash spending. Avoid tax increases. Tear up regulations that might drive away business and jobs. Shrink government, even if that means tackling the thorny issues of public employees and their pensions.... “The rhetoric has grown very similar,” said Scott D. Pattison, executive director of the nonpartisan National Association of State Budget Officers. “A lot of times, you can’t tell if it’s a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or a liberal.”

Group targeting Glenn Beck funded by Soros: "An organization leading a crusade demanding Fox News fire host Glenn Beck is backed by philanthropist George Soros and is tied to many of the liberal activists that Beck routinely excoriates on his highly rated program, WND has learned. Jewish Funds for Justice, or JFSJ, a charity that campaigns for social change, delivered a petition with 10,000 signatures to Fox News this past week in protest of a program in which Beck specifically targeted Soros, calling the businessman the "puppet master." JFSJ deemed the show anti-Semitic. JFSJ is funded by Soros' Open Society Institute. In 2009, the Open Society provided a $150,000 grant to the JFSJ and its associated group, the Funder's Collaborative on Youth Organizing. In 2010, the Open Society provided a $200,000 grant to last a period of two years."

Krugman’s incoherent moral stance: "The idea that we belong to government is obscene and harks back to an age when Caesars, monarchs, tsars, Pharaohs and such were believed to have been given their realm by God and everything within that realm, including all the human beings, therefore belonged to them. Later these slaves and serfs began to be called subjects, implying that they were all subject to the will of the government. This is were serfdom and even taxation have their origin. Now we have, in 21st century America, one of the most prominent commentators and educators reiterate this horrendous outlook. Incredible. But it gets even worse."

Government restrictions versus free market regulation: "Only monopolies or those involved in limited and restricted markets can afford to provide poor products or services at high prices. If they try that in a market where true competition exists, they will drive business to their competitor. If they don’t listen to the complaints and concerns of their customers, they will drive business to their competitors. Of course, the biggest monopoly is government. Perhaps that explains why so many seem to have a problem with government."

No to state bailouts!: "Many states can't pay their bills. Their unfunded obligations total trillions of dollars. Some of these states will want a bailout from Congress. Do you want to pay for this, or should the politicians and the unions who created these messes feel the pain instead of you?"


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Monday, January 17, 2011

Are racists cuddly?

That question would seem to be answered in the affirmative by the research below. As I have had a great deal published in the academic literature on "ethnocentrism", I feel I should point out an important flaw in the research: It studies something that does not exist!

"Ethnocentrism" is a theory, not a concept. It postulates that people who like their own group look down on other groups. But all the evidence over many years of research shows that not to be true. Liking for your own group does NOT mean that you look down on other groups. Patriots are not necessarily racist and some people are generally benevolent, for instance -- i.e. some people who greatly appreciate their own group greatly appreciate at least some other groups too.

A further problem is that the research below used experimental tasks as its measures of "ethnocentrism". But experimental tasks have a very poor record of generalizing and so are a poor index of stable personality or attitude syndromes. A carefully validated questionnaire would have been a better (though still far from perfect) measure.

So the research is a very poor answer to the question it poses and the last sentence in the abstract below would seem to be totally unfounded. In short, the research is largely vitiated by its psychometric naivety -- a very common problem in experimental psychology.

Nonetheless, from all the things we know about oxytocin, it is probably true that oxytocin facilitates within-group trust, cooperation, and coordination.
Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism

By Carsten K. W. De Dreu1 et al.


Human ethnocentrism—the tendency to view one's group as centrally important and superior to other groups—creates intergroup bias that fuels prejudice, xenophobia, and intergroup violence. Grounded in the idea that ethnocentrism also facilitates within-group trust, cooperation, and coordination, we conjecture that ethnocentrism may be modulated by brain oxytocin, a peptide shown to promote cooperation among in-group members. In double-blind, placebo-controlled designs, males self-administered oxytocin or placebo and privately performed computer-guided tasks to gauge different manifestations of ethnocentric in-group favoritism as well as out-group derogation. Experiments 1 and 2 used the Implicit Association Test to assess in-group favoritism and out-group derogation. Experiment 3 used the infrahumanization task to assess the extent to which humans ascribe secondary, uniquely human emotions to their in-group and to an out-group. Experiments 4 and 5 confronted participants with the option to save the life of a larger collective by sacrificing one individual, nominated as in-group or as out-group. Results show that oxytocin creates intergroup bias because oxytocin motivates in-group favoritism and, to a lesser extent, out-group derogation. These findings call into question the view of oxytocin as an indiscriminate “love drug” or “cuddle chemical” and suggest that oxytocin has a role in the emergence of intergroup conflict and violence.



The evil consequences of the Left's hate-filled class war

I put the article below up late last year. It was written before the Tucson shootings. I am re-posting it here because I think it shows very clearly that the accusations coming from the Left about the Tucson shootings are just projection. They are seeing in conservatives what they do themselves

We often take the class warfare rhetoric of the Left for granted these days, inured to its wickedness by its ubiquity in the media and academia. For most on the Right the class and race warfare rhetoric espoused by leftists is simply another point to debate and an easy explanation for leftist political stances and social mores. But this ideology of hatred does more than affect tax policy, it costs lives. America’s streets run red with the blood of the innocent cut down by the foot soldiers of the secret war America’s Left has initiated.

Clay Duke, the man who opened fire on a Florida school board, was one such foot soldier. But he was also a victim. That the mentally ill Duke took his cues from leftist groups like Media Matters is verified by Duke’s own words. What shocked people more was the reaction of his supposedly sane wife who, having just heard that her husband committed suicide after attempting to murder several innocent men and women, told news crews that her mentally disturbed husband should be an example to all Americans. She called for a violent class war.

I may be unkind to point out the obvious here but it’s clear that this deranged man not only adopted the class warfare rhetoric of the Left, but was enabled by his radical wife. Fortunately for his would-be victims Duke only ended up killing himself, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a victim here. Duke needed help and those closest to him were so mired in their Marxist fantasy world that he ended up dead and his friends and supporters (yes, there are supporters of Clay Duke) continue their radical passion play.

But this has distracted attention from an even more disturbing story. In Cape Cod a series of fires are being blamed on an arsonist who leaves a very telling calling card. From the Cape Cod Times:
Police and fire officials are investigating an arson fire in Sandwich that has a disturbing similarity with a suspicious incident in Barnstable.

In both cases, the arsonist left a calling card, the message, “(expletive) the rich” at the scene.

At 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 24, flames engulfed an unoccupied home still under construction at 16 Boulder Brook Road in Sandwich. Only the exterior of the house had been completed. The home, which was valued at $500,000, had a three-car garage and three bedrooms, but no plumbing or electric service, Sandwich Fire Chief George Russell said.

The heavy damage burned much of the evidence. But the state Fire Marshal’s Office was recently able to rule that an arsonist had set the fire, Russell said.

The following week, on Dec. 2, incendiary devices were found at 43 Trotters Lane in Marstons Mills, law enforcement officials said.

At Trotters Lane, the message “(expletive) the rich,” was clearly spray painted on a fence on the property, Barnstable police Det. John York said.

York said a similar message had been found at the Sandwich property. Sandwich officials have declined to provide details about that case.

“F*@k the rich” is a common battle cry for radicals, including Libertarian Communists and Anarchists of all stripes, even ones who are admittedly well off themselves. But class warfare in America has little to do with actual class, it is simply a call for violence against those who oppose neo-Marxist policies. That is why these mighty “class warriors” tend to be the children of well-off families.

On May Day of this year there was a riot in Asheville, North Carolina organized by a Black Bloc cell. The very left-leaning city’s residents expressed surprise that their stores were attacked, going so far as to claim they were “on the same side” politically. Several people contacted me to tell me that the riot was organized by the local anarchists and socialists using radical bookstores for planning meetings and the dozen or so rioters arrested turned out to be local college kids.

A few months later an anarchist named Casey Brezik slit the throat of a Missouri community college dean in a blitz attack launched during a special event featuring Governor Jay Nixon. Brezik, like Duke, was mentally unstable and his family had declared him an endangered missing adult. While they worried about their missing loved one, local anarchists were providing Breznik with shelter and drugs and setting him loose on the public. It turned out that he had been arrested at the G-20 for assaulting a police officer, but Canada only held him for two days before deporting him back to us.

Like Duke, this “class warrior” was little more than a mentally disturbed weapon used by leftists to inflict as much destruction as possible on innocent Americans.

Racial division is a key strategy of class warfare, and the Left is adept at stirring up racial animosity. The recent riots in Oakland were organized by the Revolutionary Communist Party, who also played a hand in organizing violent clashes between police and illegal immigrants in Westlake, California. In both cases the RCP used racially charged incidents to stir up “revolution” and class war.

But protests turning into riots are the least consequence of the Left’s racially divisive class war.

Over the summer Des Moines was plagued with a series of racially motivated attacks at the Iowa State Fairgrounds where whites were attacked at random by black teens who police reported said it was “beat Whitey night.” Several police officers were attacked and in at least one incident a teen girl brazenly assaulted a woman in front of police for no reason other than her race.

A 4th of July “flash mob” in Philadelphia also included racially motivated assaults on random people.

In the once “up and coming” upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood, a 200 member strong Latino motorcycle gang has been terrorizing the well-to-do residents and the police have been powerless to stop them.

More disturbing were the 2007 murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome. The young white couple was kidnapped, raped, and tortured in a racially charged murder many dubbed the Knoxville Horror. Christopher Newsome was sodomized then dragged to some nearby railroad tracks where he was shot and set on fire. Channon Christian then endured several hours of “horrific” sexual torture before being hog-tied and left with a plastic bag tied over her head in a dumpster where she slowly suffocated.

And while that case became the focus for racial debate the crime had more to do with class envy and the racial divisions promoted by the Left producing criminals with a sense of entitlement to their criminality if the victim is easily perceived as an “oppressor.” The Left stoked the fires of animosity by portraying calls for the five murderers to face hate crimes as racist themselves.

Too many on the Right have been lulled into complacency by the dreary pronouncements of the Left. We think that because there isn’t massive, sustained civil unrest that the Left’s class war is just an idea, a theory that drives the push to reinstate the death tax. But the class war dreamed of by the Left is here and its casualties are the thousands of mugging victims, rape victims and murder victims that we read a few lines about in the local crime blotters. Houses burned, Americans dead and whole sections of our cities given over to the near lawlessness and we still won’t accept that a “class war” has begun?

What will it take for America to wake up and see that the poison the Left has spewed into our culture is killing us?



The widening fight against public-sector unions

by Jeff Jacoby

In New Jersey, freshman Governor Chris Christie has been locked a battle royal with his state's powerful teachers unions. In California, Oakland's new mayor began her first full day in office by demanding that unionized police officers, who pay nothing toward their pensions, be required to contribute 9 percent of their salaries.

In New York, federal prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into whether Sanitation Department workers purposely paralyzed the city with a work slowdown during last month's blizzard. In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick infuriated public-safety unions by replacing costly police details with civilian flaggers at many construction and repair sites.

Now the Midwest is poised to become a major theater in the war against insatiable government unions.

Within days of taking office in 2005, two Republican governors -- Mitch Daniels in Indiana and Matt Blunt in Missouri -- issued executive orders rolling back collective-bargaining rights for state workers. Because public-sector unions in those states had been granted the right to bargain collectively through executive orders in the first place, Daniels and Blunt had only to rescind their predecessors' actions.

Even before he was sworn in last week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had fired a shot across the bow of his state's public-sector unions. Speaking to the Milwaukee Press Club, he said he would consider using "every legal means" to weaken those unions -- from decertifying their exclusive right to bargain on behalf of state employees to modifying state law.

"You are not going to hear me degrade state and local employees in the public sector," Walker said. "But we can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and the taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots." More than 50 years ago, Wisconsin was the first state to enact a public-sector collective-bargaining law, and killing it outright might be too tall an order even for a governor whose party controls both houses of the legislature. But Walker and like-minded lawmakers may well succeed in excluding from collective bargaining the most highly-abused benefit categories, such as pensions and health insurance.

In Ohio, meanwhile, incoming Governor John Kasich has long made ending public-sector collective bargaining a priority. In 2009 he said he wanted to "break the back of organized labor in the schools," and last month he underscored his conviction that government workers who go on strike should be fired.

More here



House panel wants Homeland Security documents: "A House committee has asked the Homeland Security Department to provide documents about an agency policy that required political appointees to review many Freedom of Information Act requests, according to a letter obtained Sunday by The Associated Press. The letter to Homeland Security was sent late Friday by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee."

An extremist and proud of it: "I knew I was an extremist from the time Barry Goldwater announced that 'Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.' That’s because an extremist is just someone who holds a set of positions that is internally consistent, uncompromising, and demands full integrity"

The evils of the drug war: "Most everyone is familiar with the disastrous consequences of the war on drugs: drug gangs, drug lords, drug suppliers, gang wars, muggings, robberies, thefts, corruption of judges, prosecutors, and law-enforcement officials, murders, assassinations, overcrowded jails, asset forfeiture, and on and on. The fact is that nothing good is produced by the war on drugs. All the results are bad."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Royal snub for the Obamas

It was announced several weeks ago that Mr. and Mrs. Obama had not been invited to the forthcoming Royal wedding in Britain. I reproduce below a commentary of unknown authorship on the matter. I have tidied up a few infelicities in it.

Despite official denials, the non-invitation is obviously a slight to the Obamas personally -- principally motivated, one imagines, by the airs that the bumptious Mrs Obama customarily gives herself. What a contrast Mrs. Obama is to the ladylike and discreet Laura Bush! The observation below that Mrs. Obama has "no class" is obviously subjective but in this case richly deserved, I think. That she apparently once called the mother of the groom an "over-sexed clothes-horse" would by itself be fatal. Prince William is devoted to the memory of his late mother, Princess Diana.

I am not sure that all the allegations below are well-sourced -- some would have to be speculation -- but they seem plausible. That Mrs. Obama is burnt up about the non-invitation has to be true, I think

Michelle is livid over the snub and Obama can’t believe it… "What is happening and what can I do about it?" seems to be the thoughts in Obama’s head. Meanwhile, William and Kate have it together.

Prince William and Kate Middleton are planning a royal wedding in April, 2011. It appears that Prince William personally told the wedding planners to strike the Obamas from the guest list. He apparently stated, "He did not want Michelle Obama trying to pull her center of attention ploy trying to upstage Kate on Kate’s wedding day".

Sources reveal that William states, "She may run Obama, but she doesn’t run him or England". The Democrats and Obama would like to play the race card as they have done so many times in America, but it is difficult when other black heads of states are invited to the wedding and will be warmly received.

Now, what are the future King of England’s reasons for snubbing the Obamas to the world and making them a laughing stock? It has nothing to do with America beyond our being so stupid as to elect such a low class imperfection to the office of President and First Lady. The decisions that they make can and will affect the world.

Secondly, Michelle called the Prince's mother Diana an over-sexed clothes horse and further stated that she, Michelle, was more popular than Diana ever was.

Thirdly, Michelle Obama showed her butt at every major social function endeavoring to be the Queen in the limelight. In other words, just a lack of class.

Fourthly, the Queen, William’s grandmother also has her reasons. Obama refused to bow to her, but a few days later bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia . Michelle manhandled her by becoming too familiar by putting her arm around her. The Queen only shakes hands with gloves on… That is the tradition and it is still honored by the Royals. The Queen said to her staff, "Never allow that woman to be in the same room with me again" and she meant every word of it.

The gifts from Obama and Michelle were both tacky and in poor taste… It is all a matter of class. In addition the Queen supported Prince William in his decision, due to the fact the word is out about the lavish booze parties at the White House, the expensive vacations and state visits that cost the American tax payers billions of dollars unnecessarily when the American people need the resources… We here can’t decide if it is just low class, no class, big a_s or all that has just been mentioned.

The Obamas are desperately trying to make it a slight against America. Every past Head of State has always been invited… This is not a state function and William is not yet a Sovereign. It is just a multi-million dollar private wedding and the Obamas have been royally snubbed by the British Royals; not America , just the present classless leaders…


Tone down the rhetoric?

Sarah Palin Effigy Hangs in West Hollywood



Leftist hate speech leads to death threats against Tea Party leader

And the only insanity the threatening guy suffers from is his extreme Leftism

Tucson tea party leader Trent Humphries was threatened today during an interview with ABC. While Trent was speaking at the event, an audience member screamed, “Trent Humphries, you’re dead!”

ABC News held a town hall event today in Tucson, Arizona. Local officials, friends and heroes were at the event. News anchor Christiane Amanpour was the host. The segment will air tomorrow. ABC gathered members from the Tucson community to discuss the tragic shooting last Saturday that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and left 6 people dead.

State Representative Terri Proud was at the event sitting between Trent and the violent audience member. Terri was there to speak about the local gun laws. She described the scene to me just minutes ago:
Trent Humphries, the Pima County tea party leader, stood up to speak during the event. He was being very respectful. Trent told the audience that before we start placing blame on individuals we need to get all the facts.

Trent then told everyone that one of those killed during the shooting was his neighbor and that he was affected like everyone else by the tragedy…

While Trent was speaking- And it was planned that he would speak- one member in the audience and reportedly one of the victims of the tragedy started screaming, “Trent Humphries you’re dead!” The police immediately escorted him out. On his way out he screamed, “You’re all whores.”

The ABC producer said he was not sure if they will show incident tomorrow, or not.

Trent was finished with his statement and sat down. Terri said she was concerned since she was sitting right between Trent and this violent leftist. Trent sat down and ABC continued with the taping. Two police officers jumped in immediately to remove the violent leftist.

Trent Humphries has been receiving death threats all week since the national media and their leftist cohorts began blaming the tea party for the shooting by the leftwing pothead. Currently, government officials are checking his mail for him due to the threats.

Please keep Trent and his young family and all the Tucson tea party members in your thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE….. The unhinged leftist J. Eric Fuller (above) was charged with with threats and intimidation and he also will be charged with disorderly conduct.



Voices of patience and wisdom

by Jeff Jacoby

IN THE EIGHT DAYS since the deadly shootings in Arizona, the nation has been engulfed by a tidal wave of rhetoric and reaction, much of it unnecessary, ungracious, or unfortunate. But amid the flood of words, two voices have spoken with an uplifting decency and grace that should make them memorable long after the hue and cry of the past week has ended.

One of those voices was that of President Obama, whose remarks at the memorial service in Tucson Wednesday night were humane and eloquent, unmarred by the acrimony that has ricocheted back and forth in the political echo chamber. The president spoke movingly about each of the victims whose lives were cut short. He gratefully hailed by name those whose heroism and quick thinking prevented even more lives from being lost. And with no hint of self-interest or rationalization, he urged all Americans not to "use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other."

Obama is the leader of his party and an agile partisan combatant, and there are those who would have him make political hay out of the atrocity in Arizona. Within hours of the killings, Politico was quoting "one veteran Democratic operative" whose advice to the White House was to "deftly pin" the bloodshed in Tucson on the "overheated rhetoric" of conservative activists in the Tea Party.

But the president rose above such sentiments. "Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together."

Obama has been fairly criticized for many things, and many Americans will doubtless have more reasons to fault him as he gears up for re-election over the next two years. But unlike Bill Clinton after Oklahoma City, no one will be able to charge Obama with exploiting the massacre in Tucson for political gain. "More than at any other point in his presidency," wrote one of his fiercest critics, former George W. Bush aide Pete Wehner, following the memorial service, "Mr. Obama was president of all the people and spoke beautifully for them."

Dallas Green wipes away a tear while seated next to his father John Green and mother Roxanna Green during the funeral service for their daughter, 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, in Tucson, Ariz.

Not even the president, however, could match the goodness, dignity, and large-heartedness of John Green, whose 9-year-old daughter, Christina, was the youngest victim of suspect Jared Loughner's rampage.

Speaking through tears as he was interviewed on NBC's "Today" show and on the Fox News Channel, Christina's father refused to pin his daughter's murder on the "climate of hate" and "vitriolic rhetoric" so many others were eager to indict. Unlike the local sheriff who seized the moment to smear Arizona as "a Mecca for prejudice and bigotry," John Green said the killings were "such a random act, such a rare thing to happen in Tucson, Arizona, which is a wonderful city -- and the northwest side is a wonderful community."

The chattering class spent much of the past week calling for new laws and tighter regulations. There were proposals for -- among other things -- a ban on carrying guns within 1,000 feet of a member of Congress; resurrecting the long-discredited broadcast Fairness Doctrine; funding more outpatient clinics to treat the mentally ill; and prohibiting ammunition clips that hold more than 10 rounds. John Green endorsed none of them. "We don't need any more restrictions on our society," he said. New laws and limitations cannot prevent every horror, and if we want to live "in a country like the United States, where we are more free than anywhere else, we are subject to things like this happening."

No one would have faulted Green if, in his heartbreak, he had raged against the monster who shot Christina. Instead he expressed gratitude for "the friends and family we have surrounded ourselves with in this tragedy," and added, with almost incomprehensible generosity: "If maybe that fellow who was shooting everybody -- if he had had some friends and family around him, maybe this wouldn't have happened."

Like most people, Americans talk too much and think too little, especially when it comes to the sins and sorrows of others. There is "a time to keep silence and a time to speak," Ecclesiastes teaches. When a tragedy like the one in Tucson strikes, most of us would do well to keep silence, and to leave the speaking for those with the humanity and wisdom to say something meaningful.



Political Pundits Surprisingly Good At Getting Inside Mentally Unbalanced Shooter's Head

According to media analysts, the nation's TV commentators and political pundits have proved uncannily accurate when describing the deeply disturbed inner thoughts of accused Arizona gunman Jared Loughner. "It's strange, but when it comes to getting inside the mind of this human being who seems to possess no empathy, sense of morality, or hold on reality, and who is motivated only by personal animus and self-glorification, the nation's major political pundits have been amazingly adept," said Horizon Media analyst Bob Cullen, who has studied extensive tape of commentators on all major TV news programs and found their remarks on "what the killer is thinking" to be consistently thorough and detailed across the board.

"It's almost as though they have some way of knowing, firsthand, exactly what this demented and highly dangerous individual with the eyes of millions upon him is going through." Researchers at Horizon Media also reported that a number of prominent TV pundits appeared to be mimicking the exact same chilling gleam in Loughner's eye for what they could only speculate was "dramatic effect."

The Onion


Intellectual diversity and dissent essential to keep organisations healthy

Comment from Australia. Kevin Rudd is the recently deposed Prime Minister of Australia

On his journey to the Lodge, Kevin Rudd argued that Friedrich Hayek, a favourite political philosopher of his opponents, held the twin beliefs that people are naturally selfish and that this was a good thing. In fact, Hayek believed the converse - that our evolution in small bands on the African savannah had produced a species that was naturally given to group solidarity. And Hayek thought that was a bad thing - an obstacle to building a free, modern society.

A brief glance at our world, both today and through history, confirms our natural tendency to solidarity. With brief interludes in ancient Athens and Rome, it took until the 16th century before the penny dropped that society might function without unanimous agreement about the nature of God and the universe - as Elizabeth I put it, providing Englishmen were loyal and law abiding, she need not look into their souls.

It took more centuries for the idea of factions within government to be accepted and ultimately institutionalised. But still the revolution seems only half won.

Among the carnival of dissent and struggle in the marketplace for money and ideas, which has brought humans as close as we have yet come towards a free, meritocratic society, most organisations are run as Good Queen Bess's tyrannical dad, Henry VIII, would have run them - by fiat, with dissent hushed up if it is tolerated at all.

Of course, to get things done, organisations can't be riven with faction and indecision. But just as a Catholic could be a loyal subject of Queen Bess, so dissent within a company can respect its authority and need for decision. It should be possible for an employee to say something like this: "I opposed the dividend policy the company agreed on. I may do so again. But more a majority supported it and I support our firm's need to make and stick by clear decisions."

As James Surowiecki observes in The Wisdom of Crowds, to be wise, a crowd must embody diversity of opinion, some preferably open means of capturing those insights over as wide a range as possible, and independence of individuals within the crowd.

The more such qualities are lacking, the more tenaciously organisations gravitate towards what George Orwell called groupthink, reminding us that Surowiecki's book was offered as a foil to the mid 19th-century book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. That book's topics included markets' endlessly recurring cycles of euphoria and gloom, alchemy, the crusades and other human high points.

Groupthink and complacency feed on each other, and often prevent organisations learning except in a crisis.



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)