Friday, October 25, 2013

Did Obama win the battle only to lose the war?

Janet Daley has some good points below but what she overlooks is that the shutdown should have SEARED into everybody's mind that the GOP fought tooth and nail against Obamacare.  And as Obamacare implodes, the GOP should get some credit for being right and the Donks should get the blame that they deserve.  But then again:

One hesitates to ascribe too much credit to Boehner & Co. but it could be that an awareness of how quicky Obamacare was crumbling lay behind abandonment of the shutdown -- JR

There is now virtually no one in Washington who does not believe that Barack Obama's army won the Battle of the Shutdown. The Republicans took a big hit in the opinion polls and their Tea Party faction was particularly reviled for its bloody-minded insistence on demanding the delay of Obamacare as the price for allowing the federal government to function. That was then.

This is now. That flagship policy on which the White House refused to accept any delay or conscientious doubt is turning into a political car crash for the administration.  So hopelessly unfit for purpose is the website which was supposed to be the portal to a new reformed healthcare future, that it has permitted only a trickle of users to enroll in the brave new venture of universal health insurance. This might have been excused as an early-days teething problem if the White House had not been so vindictively adamant about its refusal to consider any deferment of the rollout. Having insisted that there could be absolutely no relenting on the date of launch of what proved to be an untested, faulty system, makes them look as if they were putting political gamesmanship above responsibility to the citizen.

In fact, the scale of the inadequacy of this programme is raising a pantheon of criticisms of the entire principle on which it is based which could have real long-term consequences for the credibility Obama's policy. Is is right that the federal government should be operating such an enormous universal programme? Is the premise on which it relies – that young, healthy people can be coerced into sharing the health insurance burden against their inclinations – even viable? Is this bizarre mix of state enforcement and private provision in which people are made to buy a product they do not want under threat of legal penalty, the right answer to the problem of escalating American healthcare costs? Even the Obama loyalists in the media and the Leftwing satirists are having a rip-roaring time tearing into the disaster of the Obamacare launch.

So how is this for irony? Now that the Republicans' "shutdown" farrago is over, the delay that they were demanding in the Obamacare programme might become necessary after all. And now that everyone is forgetting about the politically disastrous attempt to undermine it, the president's radical healthcare reform might collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.



Rollout Was Bad, but the Law Is Worse

Barack Obama had just the solution to the train-wreck rollout of He gave a speech. He assured us Monday in the Rose Garden that "nobody's more frustrated by that than I am" about his own website not working. Small comfort. "There's no excuse for the problems," he said. "There's no sugarcoating it." He had, of course, just spent 10 minutes trying to sugarcoat it and would continue to do so for the remainder of his lengthy remarks. In fact, the president spent 30 minutes not explaining what happened or why.

Not to worry, though, there's good news: "The product is good," he says, and even though the website doesn't work, people "can still buy the same quality affordable insurance plans available on the marketplace the old-fashioned way, offline -- either over the phone or in person." So he gave an 800-number to call, but, if callers didn't get a busy signal, they were redirected to ... the website. And the website refers people to the phone number. Press "3" for the Pony Express.

The speech was certainly little more than an infomercial intended for low-info voters. Obama was flanked by a baker's dozen people out of whom only a couple had successfully signed up for coverage, though he claimed, "Thousands of people are signing up and saving money as we speak." No, that was actually just one guy in Iowa trying a hundred times. And by all means, let the successful few tell us how much they've "saved."

Obama's magnetic personality isn't going to fix the law's implementation just because he says the law is great. Because of the massive failure, the White House is even seemingly open to more delay while a "tech surge" works to rewrite millions of lines of code in some indeterminate time. How many more millions of dollars will that cost?

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted that the site had "almost no testing" -- the consumer end wasn't tested fully until Sept. 26, five days before rollout, and it failed those tests -- and that Obama didn't know of the problems until after the rollout. Republicans calling for Sebelius' resignation, however, are missing the point: To suggest she should be held responsible for the debacle implies that a better HHS Secretary might have made it work. Fact is, the failure of the rollout is but a metaphor for the reality that no government bureaucracy is ever going to successfully manage 18% of the U.S. economy, much less a basic commerce website for insurance comparisons.

Obama did say one thing Monday that was more true than he perhaps intended: "The Affordable Care Act is not just a website." Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal notes, ObamaCare's "real goal ... is to centralize political control over health care," and conservatives should keep that in mind as we continue to oppose the law and Democrats are saddled with full ownership of health care.



Some fun

About 4 hours ago, I tried to log on (from Australia) to  I did get on but after a couple of steps, this is what I got:

The System is down at the moment.
We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Please try again later.
Please include the reference ID below if you wish to contact us at 1-800-318-2596 for support.
Error from: https%3A//
Reference ID: 0.cd7755b8.1382607921.61cbcc.238110

Impressive, no?  JR


Interpol Chief: Fight Terrorism With Armed Citizens

In September, terrorists waged a days-long attack on a Kenyan mall, killing dozens. This week, Ronald Noble, secretary general of the international policing agency Interpol, discussed the problem of “soft targets,” using the mall as an example. “Societies have to think about how they're going to approach the problem,” he said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you're going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”

But here's where we did a double take: “Ask yourself,” he added, “If that [mall attack] was Denver, Colorado, if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly? What I'm saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, 'Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?' This is something that has to be discussed.”

Fortunately, there were a couple of armed citizens who took action in Nairobi, saving many lives. But for a European bureaucrat to understand something that the American Left vociferously opposes is really something. Armed citizens can't always prevent attacks, but they can at least be equipped to respond to evil. Our Founders certainly understood that national security begins with armed citizens. That's why they codified that God-given right in the Second Amendment.



What Isn't Racist? According to the Media, Nothing

President Obama's election was supposed to usher in an era of racial unity greater than any Americans had previously experienced. By making the historic move to place the first black president in the White House, Americans signified that they were ready to move beyond the racial conflicts of the past and move forward, arm-in-arm.

At least that's what we were told.  So much for that.

In the last two weeks, MSNBC's Chris Matthews, official hot-air-trial balloon for the Obama administration's public relations strategy, has played the race card incessantly. First, he proclaimed that Republican New Jersey senatorial candidate Steve Lonegan was using a racist "dog whistle" when he stated that Cory Booker's Newark was a "black hole" for state tax funds. Then, Matthews said that tea partiers using the word "we the people" to describe the country signified racism, since not everyone agrees with the tea party program. Then, to top it all off, Matthews declared Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is of Cuban descent, a racist for joking upon his return to Texas, "Gee, it's great to be back in America." That led Matthews into this wild rant: "This 'We're Americans, we white people out here in Texas, as opposed to people who live in the big cities: the ethnics, the blacks, the browns. Those people in Washington, those liberals, they're not Americans.' This guy either has a total lack of understanding of American history and the hell we went through in the McCarthy period or he knows it damn well and is playing that card."

Matthews has not been strapped into the straitjacket yet, but he's getting close.

Meanwhile, Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., went further than Matthews, declaring that the tea party was akin to the Ku Klux Klan. He put out a flyer to his constituents with a burning cross in place of the "t" in the word "tea." The flyer stated, "The Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan." When called on to disown this race-baiting trash, Grayson instead doubled down, stating, "there is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation. If the shoe fits, wear it." Grayson did not explain why the KKK was a group that voted unanimously Democrat, why progressive hero Woodrow Wilson was a huge fan of the KKK, and why KKK former honcho Robert Byrd was treasured by the Democratic Party until the day he died.

Charges of racism have echoed from nearly every left-leaning mouth of late. Opposition to Obamacare: racist. Opposition to President Obama on the shutdown: racist. Don't like the president's tie-shirt combination? Racist.

This is not what Americans were promised. What's worse, it's un-American drivel. Ascribing racial motives to those who have none has become a near pathological condition among those on the left who cannot come to terms that their beloved leader's second term is a policy disaster. Racism is the last bullet in the leftist arsenal. And they're running out of ammo quickly.




Greece: State funding cut off to Golden Dawn party:  "Greek lawmakers voted to cut off state funding to the far-right Golden Dawn party early on Wednesday, the latest effort by the government to clamp down on a party it has branded a 'neo-Nazi criminal gang.' Golden Dawn had steadily risen on the back of an anti-austerity and anti-immigrant agenda to become Greece's third-most popular party, until the killing of a left-wing rapper by a party supporter last month triggered the government crackdown."

Fascism in WA:  "An elderly woman has turned down the City of Seattle's offer to purchase her prime, waterfront parking lot. So, what does the city do? The Seattle City Council voted 8 to 0 to acquire 'through negotiation or condemnation' the waterfront parking lot that belongs to a 103-year-old Spokane woman."

Germany: Vatican suspends “bishop of bling”:  "The Vatican has suspended a senior German Church leader dubbed the 'bishop of bling' by the media over his alleged lavish spending. Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst is accused of spending more than 31m euros (£26m; $42m) on renovating his official residence. The Vatican said it deemed 'appropriate ... a period of leave from the diocese' for the bishop. The suspension comes two days after he met the Pope to discuss the matter."

Obamacare’s real kink: Fuzzy math:  "At an event on Monday to boost the Affordable Care Act after its glitch-rich rollout, President Obama asserted that his signature healthcare plan is a hit because 'prices have come down.' That's the administration's big lie: that Washington can mandate universal healthcare with beefed-up benefits and somehow the plan will save everyone money."


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Socialism and the individual

The extreme forms of socialism (Nazism, Communism, Fascism) show us vividly what lies beneath the "good intentions" of "Progressives" generally.  Writing below, Richard A. Koenigsberg shows us how inimical to conservative ideas of individual liberty socialist ideas are.

From their devotion to the collective rather than the personal, it is hard to avoid the impression that socialists must have dismal personal lives.  Love of family must be largely alien to them.  It is certainly true that Marx hated just about everybody; Hitler's largely unconnected personal life is well-known and Stuckart (excerpted below) appears to have been a "mother's boy" well into his adulthood

Incidentally,  the quote from Stuckart could well have been from Hegel, the philosophical tutor of Karl Marx.  The ideas are just about identical -- JR

Bob Dylan’s song “Like a Rolling Stone” —one of the most popular of the twentieth century—may contain esoteric meanings:

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

However, it also serves as a description of one’s emotional reaction upon coming to live in New York City—the ultimate “Gesellschaft society.”

Sociologists define the “Gemeinschaft society” as one characterized by personal interaction: one’s relationship with other human beings defines the community. The Gesellschaft or urban society, on the other hand, is characterized by the absence of interaction and intimacy among people in the physical environment.

One of the first questions I asked myself when I began living in New York City was, “How can I connect with other human beings?” I knew no one on my block (West 95th Street near Central Park West) and barely spoke to people in my apartment building. What was my “community,” and how would I develop a relationship to it?

I began reading The New York Post and The New York Times—and following the Knicks. Like so many others, my relationship to the community came to be constituted by a relationship with the mass media and “famous people.”

The mass media are so ubiquitous now that we take them for granted. We forget that one has to learn—be socialized into—this feeling that we have an intimate and personal relationship with events and people in the “outer world.”

When I was young, there was a clear distinction between one’s personal life and life presented by the mass media. One had to be seduced into paying attention to “current events” (David Letterman uses the term current events in a satirical way, bringing us back to a time when we didn’t take public events so seriously). We clearly distinguished between our “real lives,” on the one hand, and what was happening “out there”: what we read about in newspapers, heard on the radio, and saw on television.

What is totalitarianism? It is an ideology insisting that public life—the national community—is far more significant than one’s personal life. Totalitarian ideologies insist that there is no such thing as private life: one’s personal existence should be subordinated—always and forever—to the “life” of one’s nation.

Hitler explained to his people, “You are nothing, your nation is everything.” Nazi legal expert Wilhelm Stuckart described the German “Volk community”:

"The community of the Volk is the primary value in the life of the whole as well as of the individual. National Socialism does not recognize a separate individual sphere which, apart from the community, is to be painstakingly protected from any interference by the state. The moral personality can prove itself only within the community. Every activity of daily life has meaning and value only as a service to the whole."

Totalitarian ideology revolves around the idea that there is no domain of life or sphere of reality separate from the national community. Totalitarianism means devotion to “the whole.” The significance of the individual is denied. Totalitarianism means denial of separateness and separation.

The development of the modern nation-state is dependent upon accepting the proposition that one’s own fate and destiny are intimately linked with the fate and destiny of one’s nation. Totalitarian ideology takes nationalism a step further, insisting that the fate of the individual and the nation are entirely bound together: there can be no domain of reality where individuals pursue desires unrelated to the state’s goals.

Embracing the Volksgemeinschaft, Hitler required that individuals identify absolutely with Germany. It was necessary to overcome “bourgeois privatism” in order to “unconditionally equate the individual fate with the fate of the nation.” The Volk would encompass each and every German: “No one is excepted from this crisis of the Reich,” Hitler declared. “There may not be a single person who excludes himself from this joint obligation.” The Volk, Hitler explained, “is but yourself.”

Karl Marx similarly embraced the proposition that separation of the individual from society was intolerable, explaining that “liberty as a right of man” is not founded on the relations between men, but rather upon the “separation of man from man.” Human rights were founded on the “right of such separation”—the right of the “circumscribed individual withdrawn into himself.”

“Man as a member of civil society,” Marx said, is an individual separated from the community—“wholly preoccupied with his private interest and private caprice.” Like Hitler, Marx disdained “bourgeois individualism”: a mode of existence insisting upon the individual’s freedom to pursue personal interests and private aspirations.

According to Marx, “Human life is the true social life of man.” Only by virtue of one’s relationship to society did one become a human being. The ideology of freedom or the “rights of man”—asserting the individual’s right to act in accord with private interests—produced an exclusion from societal life that was “more complete, unbearable and dreadful” than exclusion from political life.

The liberal idea of freedom, from Marx’s point of view—the right to become “released from the shackles and limitations imposed by man”—was the expression of man’s “absolute enslavement and loss of human nature.” Liberation from society was a form of slavery.

The true achievement of “human emancipation,” Marx insisted, would occur only when the individual man had “absorbed into himself the abstract citizen.” Liberation would occur when the individual—in his everyday life, work and relationships—had become a “species being.”

What Nazism and Communism had in common, philosophically, was the idea that there could be no truly human existence unless one’s life was devoted to the life of the community or collective. “Society” was all. The individual was required to subordinate himself to, and live for, “the whole.”

Hitler’s life consisted of his determination to kill off the idea of separation or separateness. This is precisely what “the Jew” meant: someone who was incapable of integrating into a national society. The Jew symbolized a “free-floating individual,” unable to bind to a nation-state—like a bacterium that roamed within a body, but was unable to find a permanent, stable place within it.

In killing “Jewish bacteria,” Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels sought to kill off the idea of individuality: exterminate individuals who were imagined to exist in a condition of separateness from the nation-state. As one ideologue put it, “You will be a Nazi—or we will bash your head in.” “You are one of us—part of the German nation—or you have no right to exist.”

Hitler’s Official Programme (Feder, 1927) put forth as its central plank, “The Common Interest before Self-Interest,” condemning leaders of public life who “worship the same god—Individualism” and “make personal interest the sole incentive.” Nazi totalitarianism was a revolution against individualism—the idea that a human being can exist in a state of separateness from society, the national community.

Germany was everything. That which was or desired to become separate from Germany could not—would not—be permitted to exist. Hitler’s fantasy of mass-murder was generated by his desire or need to destroy anyone and everything that was not part of the German self.

Received via email from Richard A. Koenigsberg, author of "The Psychoanalysis of Racism, Revolution and Nationalism"


"Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days" -- Ecclesiastes 11:1.

For people not used to Biblical metaphors, the quote tells you to good deeds and you WILL be rewarded for them

A single mother has been repaid - and then some - after TV host Ellen DeGeneres heard about the generous act she performed for two National Guard members affected by the government shutdown.

Sarah Hoidahl, a waitress at a Hew Hampshire restaurant, made local headlines after paying the lunch bill for two women who were on furlough during the shutdown.

The bill had come to $27.75, and the 22-year-old, who is living with her mother and 15-month-old son, Ashton, covered it all.

“They were trying to decide what to get, they were looking through the menu ... they mentioned that with the government shutdown they were furloughed and not getting paid. That just got me thinking,” Hoidahl said.   “I just decided I’m going to do something good today, I’m going to buy their lunch for them.”

Paying for the lunch meant that Hoildahl would take home only around $8 - "not even enough to cover gas," she said - but she took care of the bill and left the women a note explaining why. "Thanks to the gov shutdown the people like you that protect this country are not getting paid. However I still am. Lunch is on me!" it said.

That note was later shared on Facebook by the National Guard members, where it was seen by thousands of people, before coming to the attention of Ellen producers. Hoidahl was then then flown to California to appear on the program.

“I always end each show by saying be kind to one another, and our first guest is a waitress from Henniker, N.H., who did just that,” DeGeneres said while introducing Hoildahl to the audience.

The TV host first paid Hoidahl back the $27.75, then gave her a large screen TV – a welcome change, as the family's TV was broken.

“She gave me a TV and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this isn’t happening ... I have a TV, I can watch Ellen now,’” she said.

“Then she brought the cheque book out.”  Hoidahl then sat in shock as DeGeneres signed a cheque for $10,000.

“In that moment when she opened it and I saw it, I just couldn’t even contain my emotions. I just started crying,” she said later.  "I have medical bills, student loans, some debt to pay off. Obviously, I have a 15-month-old.  “And I do plan on donating some of it to charity.”

It still all doesn’t feel real for the mum, who will be heading back to work as normal today.  “It feels like I’m dreaming and I’m going to wake up and I’m going to be like, ‘Oh man, I wish that was real,'” Hoidahl said.



90,609,000: Americans Not in Labor Force Climbs to Another Record

What's 10 million people between friends?

The number of Americans who are 16 years or older and who have decided not to participate in the nation's labor force has climbed to a record 90,609,000  in September, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS counts a person as participating in the labor force if they are 16 years or older and either have a job or have actively sought a job in the last four weeks. A person is not participating in the labor force if they are 16 or older and have not sought a job in the last four weeks.

In from July to August, according to BLS, Americans not participating in the labor force climbed from 89,957,000 to 90,473,000, pushing past 90,000,000 for the first time, with a one month increase of 516,000.

In September, it climbed again to 90,609,000, an increase of 136,000 during the month.

In January 2009, when President Barack Obama took office, there were 80,507,000 Americans not in the labor force. Thus, the number of Americans not in the labor force has increased by 10,102,000 during Obama's presidency.

The labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of the non-institutionalized population 16 years or older who either have a job or actively sought one in the last four weeks, was 63.2 percent in September. That was unchanged from August.

When President Obama took office in January 2009, the labor force participation rate was 65.7 percent.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stereotype threat

Putting it bluntly, Stereotype threat is an invented process to explain why blacks do poorly on IQ tests.  If blacks know that they are expected to do badly they allegedly get all anxious and do even worse than they otherwise would.  But shouldn't the knowledge that they are expected to do badly energize them and make them try harder -- just to prove the stereotype wrong?  I would have thought so but I am not a Leftist.

I have had a bit of a laugh at the theory before (e.g. here) and also see here

The theory has also been used to explain away the fact that women on average do badly on mathematical tasks (those nervous ladies!) and there has recently been some interesting work suggesting that the theory is wrong in that field too.  Steve Sailer summarizes:

"Although the social sciences are considered a bastion of progressivism, it's remarkable how few data-driven ideas they generate in support of their ideology. We can get a feel for this by noting how rare are the "exceptions to the rule" studies that become immensely popular due to bolstering the dominant worldview, such as Hart & Risley's finding that black people don't talk enough and Claude Steele's little study of Stereotype Threat in which he induces black students at Stanford to score lower on a low stakes test of his devising than their high stakes SAT scores would predict. (I wrote about Stereotype Threat in in 2004, suggesting it's not hard to get across the message to black or female students that the professor wants them to not exert themselves fully on this meaningless test. That you can "prime" groups of people to work less hard on an unimportant test does not prove that you know how to make them score higher on an important test.)

Lately, the evidence has been mounting that the existence of Stereotype Threat is quite dependent upon the file drawer function: studies finding its existence are quickly published while studies not finding its existence are in much less demand. A recent article:

An Examination of Stereotype Threat Effects on Girls' Mathematics Performance

By Colleen M. Ganley et al.

... Conclusion

Taken together, the findings from published research, unpublished articles, and the present studies reveal inconsistency in the effects of stereotype threat on girls’ mathematics performance. The discrepancy in results from published and unpublished studies suggests publication bias, which may create an inaccurate picture of the phenomenon. A recent review suggests that this publication bias may also be an issue in the literature on stereotype threat in adult women (Stoet & Geary, 2012). Overall, these results raise the possibility that stereotype threat may not be the cause of gender differences in mathematics performance prior to college. Although we feel that more nuanced research needs to be done to truly understand whether stereotype threat impacts girls’ mathematics performance, we also believe that too much focus on this one explanation may deter researchers from investigating other key factors that may be involved in gender differences in mathematics performance. For example, there are a number of factors (e.g., mathematics anxiety, mathematics interest, spatial skills; see Ceci & Williams, 2010) that have been shown to be consistently related to mathematics performance and mathematics-and science-related career choices and may warrant more research attention than does stereotype threat."



Loving and Hating America

As I've documented in the past, many leftist teachers teach our youngsters to hate our country. For example, University of Hawaii Professor Haunani-Kay Trask counseled her students, "We need to think very, very clearly about who the enemy is. The enemy is the United States of America and everyone who supports it." Some universities hire former terrorists to teach and indoctrinate students. Kathy Boudin, former Weather Underground member and convicted murderer, is on the Columbia University School of Social Work's faculty. Her Weather Underground comrade William Ayers teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Bernardine Dohrn, his wife, is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Her stated mission is to overthrow capitalism.

America's domestic haters have international company. 24/7 Wall St. published an article titled "Ten Countries That Hate America Most." The list includes Serbia, Greece, Iran, Algeria, Egypt and Pakistan. Ranking America published an article titled "The U.S. ranks 3rd in liking the United States." Using data from the Pew Global Attitudes Project, it finds that just 79 percent of Americans in 2011 had a favorable view of Americans, compared with Japan and Kenya, which had 85 and 83 percent favorable views, respectively. Most European nations held a 60-plus percent favorable view of Americans, compared with countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey, with less than 20 percent favorable views.

An interesting facet of foreigners liking or hating America can be seen in a poll Gallup has been conducting since 2007 asking the questions: "Ideally, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move permanently to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country? To which country would you like to move?" Guess to which country most people would like to move. If you said "the good ol' US of A," go to the head of the class. Of the more than 640 million people who would like to leave their own country, 23 percent -- or 150 million -- said they would like to live in the United States. The U.S. has been "the world's most desired destination for potential migrants since Gallup started tracking these patterns in 2007." The United Kingdom comes in a distant second, with 7 percent (45 million). Other favorite permanent relocations are Canada (42 million), France (32 million) and Saudi Arabia (31 million), but all pale in comparison with the U.S. as the preferred home.

The next question is: Where do people come from who want to relocate to the U.S.? China has 22 million adults who want to permanently relocate to the U.S., followed by Nigeria (15 million), India (10 million), Bangladesh (8 million) and Brazil (7 million). The Gallup report goes on to make the remarkable finding that "despite large numbers of people in China, Nigeria, and India who want to migrate permanently to the U.S., these countries are not necessarily the places where the U.S. is the most desired destination. Gallup found that more than three in 10 adults in Liberia (37 percent) and Sierra Leone (30 percent) would move permanently to the U.S. if they had the opportunity. More than 20 percent of adults in the Dominican Republic (26 percent), Haiti (24 percent), and Cambodia (22 percent) also say the same." That's truly remarkable in the cases of Liberia and Sierra Leone, where one-third of the people would leave. That's equivalent to 105 million Americans wanting to relocate to another country.

The Gallup poll made no mention of the countries to which people would least like to relocate. But I'm guessing that most of them would be on Freedom House's list of the least free places in the world, such as Uzbekistan, Georgia, China, Turkmenistan, Chad, Cuba and North Korea.

I'm wondering how the hate-America/blame-America-first crowd might explain the fact that so many people in the world, if they had a chance, would permanently relocate here. Maybe it's that they haven't been exposed to enough U.S. university professors.



Judicial Benchmarks: Ending Discrimination

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides “No state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Nothing has been more of a muddle in the courtrooms than weak-kneed jurists' attempts to reconcile this clear language with the fundamentally discriminatory nature of “affirmative action.” The most recent groundbreaking cases have had to do with public universities.

In the 1978 case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Supreme Court held that racial quotas are unconstitutional but that educational institutions could legally use race as one of many factors to consider in their admissions process. However, the Supremes muddied the water in the companion cases of Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. In Grutter and Gratz, the Court upheld both Bakke as a precedent and the admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School. Nevertheless, in Grutter, it allowed schools to consider race as a factor in admissions for the purpose of diversity. But in Gratz, the Court invalidated Michigan's undergraduate admissions policy on the grounds that the undergraduate policy used a point system that was excessively mechanistic. Got that?

Fed up with convoluted rationalizing, 58% of Michigan voters supported a definitive policy by supporting Proposition 2, amending the state constitution to prohibit discrimination by race in education, government contracts or hiring. That amendment has been challenged in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action now before the Supreme Court. At issue is a question both bizarre and laughable: Does it violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on racial discrimination for a state to ban racial discrimination?

The plaintiff, the Coalition for Affirmative Action, believes it does, arguing that Prop 2 disproportionately burdens minorities in education. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, in an 8-7 en banc decision, that Proposition 2 “placed special burdens on the ability of minority groups to achieve beneficial legislation.” Dissenting Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote that this logic contradicts “elementary principles of constitutional law” and that under the ruling “for the first time, the presumptively invalid policy of racial and gender preference has been judicially entrenched as beyond the political process.” Well said.



Feds try to eliminate housing for the deaf -- at complex built for hearing-impaired

Obama just wants to hurt Americans (preferably white ones) any way he can.

Arizona is defying a federal order to eliminate apartments for deaf seniors at a housing complex built specifically -- for the deaf.

"I think it's about the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while," said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who attempted to negotiate the impasse. "There are a lot of stories of out-of-control regulators, but this just seems to be going to the extreme."

A 2005 federal study found that the U.S. had virtually no affordable housing for the deaf. So the federal government helped build Apache ASL Trails, a 75-unit apartment building in Tempe, Ariz., designed specifically for the deaf. Ninety-percent of the units are currently occupied by deaf and deaf-blind seniors.

But now, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development says Apache ASL Trails violates civil rights law -- because it shows a preference for the hearing-impaired.

"A preference or priority based on a particular diagnosis or disability and excluding others with different disabilities is explicitly prohibited by HUD's Section 504 regulations," says a HUD memo about the project. "There is no legal authority contained in any of Apache Trails funding to permit such a priority or preference."

HUD is threatening to pull all federal housing aid to Arizona unless it limits the number of hearing-impaired residents to 18 people. The agency would not forcibly remove current residents, but wants many of their units to be blocked off to deaf residents in the future once they leave.

However, when HUD approved and helped fund the project in 2008, it did so knowing that the property was specifically "designed for seniors who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf blind."

"It's impossible to walk into this building and not see that real people were hurt and continue to be hurt," said Mary Vargas, an attorney for the residents.

The National Association for the Deaf has also stepped in, calling HUD's actions "atrocious" and "a tragic irony."  "HUD is forcing deaf and hard of hearing residents to live in isolation and firetraps," said the Association's CEO Howard Rosenblum in a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "There is no statute or regulation that mandates any 25 percent quota."

State housing director Michael Trailor refuses to comply with the federal orders. "Quite frankly, the attorneys I dealt with at HUD I would characterize as ignorant and arrogant and much worse, they are powerful," Trailor told Fox News. "And if they worked for me, I would have fired them a long time ago."

State taxpayers and the apartment's developer have spent $500,000 so far fighting HUD. After two years of negotiation, Trailor met with Donovan earlier this year hoping to resolve the dispute.

Trailor said: "He looked me in the eye and said, 'if you say we have taken too long to resolve this, you are right. If you say we haven't handled this very well, you're right. We're committed to solving this -- but to do so can you be patient?'"

Trailor asked "what patience means in terms of time," and was told it would be a matter of weeks.  "It's now been five months," he said.

All 74 units at Apache ASL Trails accommodate wheelchairs. Blinking lights signal when the doorbell rings and when utilities like the garbage disposal and air conditioning are running. A video phone lets residents "talk" with friends.

"It's nice to have a life that's equivalent to other people that are not deaf," said resident Linda Russell. "This building is designed for deaf people, by deaf people, and we know what is best for our needs. And people that don't understand our needs, should not be putting themselves in decision-making positions for us."

HUD provided the Arizona Deaf Senior Citizens Coalition and its developer $2.6 million in funds and tax credits to build the complex in 2008. It is now fully occupied, with 69 of the 74 rented to deaf and deaf-blind residents. They meet daily in a large events room to talk, watch television and play games. The room is largely silent but the residents are animated and busy talking in sign language.

"I've been living here for two and a half years," said 74-year-old Rose Marie Pryce. "I love the deaf environment. We have a great time together. I have lots of friends. (If forced to move) I would be devastated. I would cry. I want to stay here, we need this place."



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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)


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My First Multicultural Experience

The story of Billy Chubbs, an indoctrinated person

John Lennon was a great, great, GREAT man. He truly was the voice of the baby boomers, unarguably the greatest generation to have ever lived. His calls for world peace rang out from the windows of the high class building he lived in, echoing messages of hope across a gentrified Manhattan which at the time had an evil majority population of 70% white people. Lennon was such a great soul that he recognized the importance of ethnic cross breeding, choosing as his life mate Yoko Ono, a Japanese women from a high class family.

Ono’s family had spent their lives living in the lands of evil white men, having sent Yoko to a Christian school to be tutored by more evil white men – so she knew all about their evil by the time she moved to white cities and spent her time hanging out with white people. Evil, evil white people.

John Lennon and his ethnically safe soul mate Yoko Ono

And yes, Lennon had made mistakes in the past – perhaps biggest of all having married a woman from his own cultural and societal background, a white woman, and having fathered an evil white BOY with her. Of course Yoko Ono, who by the grace of not being Western or white was mentally and morally superior by default, quickly put that evil white boy in his place by helping Lennon cut off contact with him, making sure their inheritance was denied and squandered so they couldn’t hatch evil white man plans against the world.

Truly, Lennon and Ono were shining beacons of what a multicultural utopia could be. Just listen to the greatest song ever written.

Stirring is it not? Dig those lyrics brah…

Imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do.

We are so lucky. We truly are. John never got the chance to see how our evil nation states – created to protect and enrich JUST the lives of the people who lived within their borders – are morphing into borderless squares of politically correct corporate fiefdoms.

Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man.

Wow. The world John envisions is so beautiful isn’t it? A world where no one feels hunger, no one feels the need to generate wealth, where we’ll all live in houses whatever size we want built by all of us just to see the smiles on our fellow humans. I mean, imagine a world where, like, we needn’t have to breathe so we could live in the water with whales and dolphins. Imagine a world where beautiful people had to pair up with ugly people so that in the end everyone just has plain and mediocre genes. Imagine a world with nothing that makes us feel any sort of emotion what so ever!

Imagine all the people, Sharing all the world…

John and you other baby boomers, you may have been a bunch of dreamers, but this dream of yours is finally coming true. It’s taken far, far too long but we’re almost there brother. We’re almost there. Thank you for leading we younger generations to it.

I was listening to the above video not too long ago, and it made me reflect on the joys of my own experiences in growing up in a small multiculturally diverse Canadian city. Multiculturalism has been getting a lot of bad rep lately and I honestly find this mind boggling.

I think most of the people saying how multiculturalism destroys peace within a nation or takes opportunity away from those whose parents, grandparents and greater ancestors who built the country are simply haters and bigots. I don’t think they’ve ever really lived in or experienced the joys of being in a multicultural community.

Well folks, old Billy Chubbs has. I spent my childhood growing up in a city that is a shining example of the multicultural utopia currently being created around us. Unfortunately my parents moved me away during 8th grade, so I never got to fully mature in that glorious rainbow of skin colour and differing religions. I think I am worse off for that lack of experience. I can, however, recount some lovely incidents I had during the golden age of my life that I spent within that multicultural Nirvana.
Billy Chubbs first experience with a different culture

There I was, fresh faced and precocious, ready for another day of 1st grade. My colouring books and lunch safely tucked away in my favourite Power Rangers backpack. After a kiss and hug from my mommy I was out the door. The day was bright and sunny. The leaves were beginning to change into their fall colours but for the end of September the weather was exceptionally warm. School was seven blocks away and I took my time meandering to it, watching squirrels gather their nuts, looking at the pretty flower gardens carefully kept in front of the middle class houses. I noticed a lot of them down this street had For Sale signs up but I thought nothing of it – in fact, I enjoyed those signs quite a bit that day, giving each one I passed a satisfying bonk with a stick.

Turning south two blocks away from the school I had my first multicultural experience.

A bit of background on my city first. For most of the 20th century my city was predominantly full of evil white men. It was truly a hell hole; no, there wasn’t much in the way of crime or uncomfortable experiences, but what we had in safety we lost in soul. The city council, baby boomer dreamers that they are, decided to do something about this. The 90s and early 00s were a rough period for the innocent parts of the world. Wars and genocides in African and the Middle East – caused by us evil white men of course – were ravaging the disenfranchised 2nd and 3rd worlds.

Realizing something needed to be done to help their fellow man, and to give our city some much needed culture, our council held several closed door meetings in their suburban McMansions and agreed to accept a lot of refugees from these culturally superior countries.

Our first big slice of multicultural utopia arrived in 1999 in the form of several hundred Somalians. The apartments right by the school had been rented out to them. I had walked this route last year with no incidents and boy howdy, was that ever boring! As a young man what I really craved a bit of excitement on my way to school, and a nice Somalian man provided it. He was sitting on the corner, swaying and smelling of mouth wash. That explained his big toothy white smile when he saw me walking by. He hopped right up and began stumbling over.

Now two weird things happened, which the doctors at the hospital later told me was probably just euphoria from me realizing I was about to experience a non-Western – and therefore superior – culture.

My body went numb and I froze. A voice inside my head said;

This is your brain Billy. I’m releasing Dopamine; it will make you numb.

To which I thought back; Are you trying to kill me?

No Billy, I’m making you not care.

And behind the nice man’s shoulder, there was a bright white light and suddenly an Angel appeared. Apparently, much like our encounter, at the time no one seemed to notice it. The Angel had a sad face and was stretching out his hand, mouthing; You’re going home my child.

Of course, being white AND a man, I knew the Angel did not have my best interests at heart and therefore could not be trusted. Besides, I wasn’t going home! I was going to school! I ignored the silly Angel and stood there waiting to see what the nice Somali man wanted.

He began by trying to teach me his language, and as was his culture’s way it involved yelling at me and pushing me around. As an evil white boy, I had some reservations about standing there absorbing the Somalian culture. For a long time afterward I thought I didn’t run because I was frozen from sheer fear and terror but recently some feminists explained how it was my duty to welcome all cultures, and that my refusal to run was my mind recognizing that simple fact of nature. They couldn’t explain why the Somali then took my back pack off, held it between us and unzipped it to shake all my books and lunch out onto the sidewalk. But those feminists assured me that, as an evil white man, it was my fault.

When I asked what he was doing with it he finally communicated with me in my own evil and inferior language.


Oh! I thought, He is just a hungry hobo. John Lennon says nobody should be hungry, so I reached into my pocket and took out my two loonies for milk money (one dollar coins for the 98% of you reading this who aren’t Canadians) and happily held them out to the man.

The nice man then gave me a Somalian goodbye by kicking me in the stomach with his engineer boot before prying open my hand and taking my two dollars. I tried not to cry as the wind was knocked out of me. I shamefully admit I had a brief thought about why a grown man had struck me, a small child, and if he was white I suppose I would have thought the man a criminal. He was, however, a different colour then me and since I was the white male it was simply my duty to accept his culture.

The teacher made a big deal out of my being late and then of the massive red welt which turned into a 3 inch bruise on my stomach. Then my parents and the police made a big deal out of trying to get me to identify the attackers. When I did they stopped making such a big deal, recognizing that I was not the victim of a crime but just experiencing multiculturalism. They showed me a big binder with a lot of faces inside, asking me if I recognized any of them. There were lots of evil white men inside, a few disenfranchised brown Native Americans and black men but none matched the nice Somali that taught me about his ways. The incident was soon dropped.

I had many more enlightening multicultural encounters after that, the most shameful of which occurred in grade 6 when me and my friend committed a hate crime by attacking some Sikh kids that had earlier cornered my friend’s sister and tried to make her lift her skirt up for them. That was their culture, and we evil white boys should have known better by then. I felt absolutely no revulsion or hatred for the older men in my city and society in general as my Principal and Vice Principal, both evil white men who had fortunately embraced multiculturalism, forced my friend and I to shake hands with the Sikh boys we had attacked for no good reason.

It’s not a crime, it’s their CULTURE.

My friend’s family could not get over their evil whiteness and moved shortly thereafter. My own mother and father tried their best to avoid giving into their hatred, even as in my weaker moments I admit I begged them to leave as well. When our evil white neighbour got hit with a brick in the head walking to his car after work, I guess my mom and dad finally realized that multiculturalism can affect the morally superior baby boomers too, no matter how much they tried to make our city a Multicultural Utopia.

So, the cowards we are, the Chubbs shamefully retreated to a smaller town. The population was almost 90% white and I spent my boring high school years soullessly safe. My grades skyrocketed since my classes were full of calm, boring evil white people who didn’t scream at each other in different languages or bring pellet guns into class. To make up for my shameful ways I attended university, giving tens of thousands of dollars and three years of my life to further the feminist indoctrination institution.

And today, now that my country is thoroughly multicultural, I don’t have to worry about finding any more evil white communities! Chasing careers in a crowded job market saturated with affirmative action laws and immigrant driven wage undercutting, I get to relive my childhood every single day! I just hope those evil white people living in suburbs, gentrified neighbourhoods and gated communities get to experience the sheer joys of multiculturalism one day. After all, they’re the ones who instituted it in the first place and have spent so much time spouting how good it is for everyone. I know they’re afraid of affecting the rest of society with their evil whiteness, but it’s okay. Most of us Millennials and Generation Xers have paved the way for you baby boomers; we have met multiculturalism and it is us!

So come on folks. Erase those borders, open up those gates and for god sakes build a project or two in mostly white neighbourhoods. Multiculturalism ain’t so bad, and it’s-a-comin’ anyways – don’t you want to be ahead of the curve?

Maybe we just need some more examples; why don’t you, gentle reader, share some of your experiences with multicultural utopianism below?



In another world


I found the contrast above profoundly depressing.  So I retreated to my Christian past for strength  -- as under


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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)


Monday, October 21, 2013

Kees Jan can't

Kees-Jan Kan, a young Dutchman, has recently rediscovered one of the most basic facts in IQ testing: That it's easiest to detect IQ differences if the people you are studying (Ss) have a common background.  So if the Ss are all in the same class at school, for instance, a vocabulary test (finding out how many hard words they know) will give you a quick and easy way to sort them out.  And you will find that the guys who know lots of words are also good at a whole range of puzzles, even mathematical ones.

So a common background optimizes your chances of assessing IQ accurately. And to be a bit technical, vocab loads highly on 'g' (the general factor in intelligence), meaning that, where it can be used, it is a powerful predictor of other abilities.  Vocab is however convenient rather than essential in IQ measurement.  Tests designed for use among people who do not have a common background (such as the Raven PMs) don't use it but still work perfectly well.

On those basic facts, KJK has erected an elaborate theory, which comes to the conclusions that IQ is mostly cultural, with a genetic component much smaller that is generally thought.  And it is the cultural part which is hereditary.

To arrive at that, KJK goes via the concept of the "cultural load" of each IQ question -- which he assesses by looking at how often a question has to be altered when you are adminstering it to a new and different population.  And he finds that by removing (statistically) the influence of cultural load, all other correlations are much reduced.

When we look more closely at his data, however (e.g. Table 3.1 in KJK's doctoral dissertation) we find that only two out of 11 question types have a high cultural load:  Vocab and general knowledge.  And the cultural dependency of those two question types has been obvious to everyone since the year dot.

What is interesting however is that the remaining 9 question types have low to negligible cultural load.  In other words, we could remove the vocab and knowledge subtests from the overall test and still have a robust test.  So my conclusion is that what KJK should have done from the beginning is to remove those two flawed item types from his calculations altogether.  Once you do that all his exciting findings melt away.  His findings rely on items that he himself knows to be flawed.

There is a summary of KJK's dissertation at  The Unscientific American -- JR


The New York Times: America Sucks

Dennis Prager

This past Saturday, the New York Times published an article, "Behind Flurry of Killing, Potency of Hate," on the roots of monstrous evil. The article largely concerned a former paramilitary member of the Irish Republican Army, and as such was informative.

But when it ventured into a larger discussion of evil, the moral confusion and contempt for America that characterize leftism were on display.

The article contains a breathtaking paragraph that exemplifies both qualities. After noting that atrocities against groups of people are often the result of the dehumanization of the victimized group, the writer gives four such examples:

"The Hutus in Rwanda called the Tutsis cockroaches, the Nazis depicted the Jews as rats. Japanese invaders referred to their Chinese victims during the Nanjing massacre as 'chancorro,' or 'subhuman.' American soldiers fought barbarian 'Huns' in World War I and godless 'gooks' in Vietnam."

This paragraph is noteworthy for its use of false moral equivalence to justify its anti-Americanism.

Let's begin with the moral equivalence -- equating how the Hutus viewed and treated the Tutsis, how the Nazis viewed and treated the Jews, and how the Japanese viewed and treated the Chinese with the Americans' views and treatment of the Germans in World War I and Vietnamese during the Vietnam War.

In 1994, over the course of about 100 days, Hutus slaughtered between half a million and a million Tutsis. This was not a war between armies, but against a civilian population marked for extinction.

The Nazis murdered about six million Jews, all of whom were civilians. Indeed more than a million were children. The Nazis had targeted the Jews for extinction.

The Japanese likewise slaughtered Chinese civilians en masse and regarded the Chinese as so subhuman as to be worthy of being systematically experimented upon in ghoulish medical experiments that paralleled those of the Nazis.

What do any of those examples have to do with Americans fighting in World War I or in Vietnam?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing about these other three examples applied to America in World War I or in Vietnam.

Nicknames -- even derogatory ones -- for enemies have probably been used in every war by every nation's soldiers. That is not at all the same as a serious view of another racial or national group as unworthy of life, as subhuman.

Unlike any of the other examples, Americans did not have a term that -- by definition -- meant that Germans or Vietnamese were not members of the human race, as are "cockroaches," "rats" and "subhumans."

Unlike any of the other examples, the killing by Americans in World War I and Vietnam was confined to war. No war, no killing. The Nazi and Hutu examples had nothing to do with waging war. The Tutsis and Jews were targeted for annihilation, period. And the Japanese committing of hundreds of thousands rapes, tortures, and medical experiments on Chinese civilians -- such as cutting them open without anesthetic or freezing people's limbs and then cutting them off, also without an anesthetic -- had nothing to do with war aims.

Moreover, what does "godless" have to do with subhuman categories? Again, nothing. Why, then, was it included in this article -- "godless 'gooks'"? Because the Times writer wanted to render the term "godless" as offensive as the term "subhuman." Being largely godless itself, and aiming for a godless West, the left detested the right's calling Communism "godless" -- even though Communists were vocal and proud of their godlessness.

Lumping America's actions in those two wars with the other three examples is typical of the left's defamation of America and of its facile use of false moral equivalence.

But that is how a generation of Americans who have attended college -- including most likely the Times author herself -- have been taught to think. And that is what is taught to your child today at the left's seminaries, our universities:

Nazis, Hutu murderers, Japanese rapists, Americans at war: All pretty much the same.



Monks Slay Regulatory Monopoly in Louisiana Casket Case

Extremely tired reference to Jesus being a carpenter goes here.Courtesy of Institute for JusticeA five-year battle by Benedictine monks in Louisiana for the right to make and sell caskets is over, and the holy carpenters have won. The Supreme Court declined this week to get involved in the fight between St. Joseph Abbey and the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, letting stand a ruling that declared a state-enforced industry monopoly illegal.

The law in question required anybody who wanted to sell caskets to undergo funeral director training and set up embalming equipment, rules that have nothing to do with creating or selling fancy wooden boxes with which to store dead bodies, but everything to do with making sure the funeral industry controlled the marketplace. Reason’s Damon Root had been following the case when the U.S. Court of Appeals struck it down in March, ruling “That Louisiana does not even require a casket for burial, does not impose requirements for their construction or design, does not require a casket to be sealed before burial, and does not require funeral directors to have any special expertise in caskets, leads us to conclude that no rational relationship exists between public health and safety and limiting intrastate sales of caskets to funeral establishments.”

The Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors attempted to bring the case to the Supreme Court, but it is not to be. The Institute for Justice represented the monks. Like me, they are unable to avoid puns related to death when responding to the case being put to rest:

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of review puts the final nail in the coffin for the state board’s protectionist and outrageous campaign against the monks,” said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Scott Bullock.  “The Abbey’s victory in this case will not only protect their right to sell caskets, but the rights of entrepreneurs throughout the country.”

The monks’ victory is one of only a handful of cases since the 1930s in which federal courts have enforced the constitutional right to economic liberty.

Abbot Justin Brown, who heads the monastic community said, “Today is a good day for us at the Abbey.  Knowing that not only has our economic liberty been protected forever, but that we also helped secure the same rights for others makes this years-long battle worth it.”



Calling Fraud for What It Is

It’s been well-documented that someone registered to vote in Washington, D.C. under the name Mr. Barry Soetoro at the White House address of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C. 20500.

If you are a liberal, this spoof is more proof that conservatives are spiteful racists who wish to remind the president of his somewhat obscure past.

If you are a conservative, however, you see the spoof for what it really is: an indictment of a voter registration process that allows anyone to register under any made up name and then vote under that name with the flimsiest of documentation.

When I go pick up my son from school early for a doctor’s appointment, I have to show a valid government I.D., even though presumably my son, who is well-known to me, wouldn’t call a stranger “dad” or get into a car with someone not his dad—at least I hope not.

When I check into a hotel, I have to show valid I.D. for the purposes of positive identification.

When I, as a naturally-born citizen of the United States, travel abroad, I have to stand in line to show U.S. Customs agents my passport that proves I’m an American citizen to regain entry to the country.

When I adopted my dog from the rescue shelter, I had to show I.D. DirecTV verifies who I am before setting up service for me, a hospital won’t admit me without knowing who I am. The list of activities that require the positive identification of a person is long.

It’s probably too long.

And yet, when it comes to voting, liberals support a system where anyone, with a made-up name, can successfully register and vote in the most important function of the ordinary citizen in our representative republic.

You and I and everyone else knows that this is just an attempt to allow fraudulent voting using as an excuse minority populations that tend to poll higher for Democrats.

That this practice of mass, fraudulent voter registration is supported by liberals by using arguments that are inherently racist and do not apply equal justice under the law, is just another example of liberal deconstructionism that turns the concept of “justice” into a tyranny.



ObamaCare's Third World Experience

Closer examination of the design and implementation of the ObamaCare enrollment website reveals a long list of mistakes that could have been avoided, but instead were compounded by politically motivated decisions made by the Obama administration. And problems likely won't be resolved for months.

Late in the design phase of the exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services removed fundamental elements of the site that would have allowed consumers to actually see the cost of insurance so as to reduce “rate shock.” It had become apparent even to the true believers that ObamaCare wasn't affordable or flexible in its options. The truth would have led to reduced enrollment, so HHS opted to reject transparency for the sake of political expediency – and they still got low enrollment. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius still refuses to reveal the true number of enrollees, which private sources estimate is a paltry 20% of the government's target for October.

The administration, fearing Republican and public criticism, opted to keep the construction and testing of the website in-house with trusted campaign tech gurus. Major decisions were made behind closed doors without oversight, like granting the no-bid contract to CGI Federal to build the site. CGI Group, the Canada-based parent company of CGI Federal, was fired by the Canadian government in 2012 for missing three years of deadlines and developing a substandard product that proved unworkable. It will now take several months of continuous patches to a half-billion-dollar website built with decade-old technology and rife with security problems just to gain basic functionality – like providing the correct information to insurers.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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)


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Conservative Capitalism: a strange way to remain the same

My heading above is lifted from an article by the Australian Leftist Grant Wyeth.  My leading post on Friday was also a comment on one of his lucubrations so I thought I might have a bit more fun with him today.  On Friday I solved for him his puzzle over why Left and Right are so starkly different and opposed.  Today I want to solve for him the puzzle in the heading above:  He cannot fathom that  change is in the essence of capitalism so *therefore* conservatives should oppose it, not support it

Like many Leftist writers before him (e.g. Altemeyer), Wyeth's problem is that he wouldn't know conservatism if he fell over it.  His concept of conservatism is the caricature of it that circulates in his own little Leftist bubble.

And he even realizes dimly that he doesn't know what it is.  With a schoolboy level of sophistication, he even turned to his dictionary to find out what it is!  Sad that so many historians have written in vain for Wyeth!  Altemyer is the same.

And what Wyeth found in his dictionary is that conservatives are opposed to change.  That is exactly what Leftists say about conservatives but it ignores one of the most salient facts about politics worldwide  -- that conservative governments are just as energetic in legislating for their agenda as Leftists are.  Both sides busily make new laws all the time.  And the point of a new law is to change something.  The changes that Left and Right desire are different but both sides push for change.  On Wyeth's understanding of conservatism, a conservative government that wins an election should do no more than yawn, shut up the legislature and go home until the next election!

So in good Leftist style, Wyeth ignores one of the most basic facts about politics. That sure is a weird little intellectual bubble that he lives in.  EVERY conservative that I know has got a whole list of things that he would like to see changed.  But Wyeth obviously doesn't know any conservatives.

So Wyeth finds politics puzzling because his most basic premise is faulty.

So what is conservatism?  I have taught both sociology and psychology at major Australian universities but when it comes to politics my psychologist's hat is firmly on.  One can understand conservatism at various levels but to get consistency, you have to drop back to the psychological level.  And at that level it is as plain as a pikestaff.  Conservatives are cautious.  And that is all you need to know to understand the whole of conservatism.

In science, however, explanations just generate new questions and, as a psychologist, I am interested in dropping down to an even lower level of explanation and asking why conservatives are cautious.  And I think that is pretty obvious too. It is in part because they can be.

As all the surveys show, conservatives are the happy and contented people.  And with that disposition, conservatives just don't feel the burning urgency for change that Leftists do.  Leftists cast caution to the winds because they want change so badly.  ANYTHING seems better to them than the existing arrangements.  Conservatives don't have that compulsion.  Leftists are the perpetually dissatified whiners whereas conservatives can afford to take their time and get things right  from the outset.

And why does that difference in happiness exist?  As the happiness research often reminds us, your degree of happiness is inborn and, as such, is pretty fixed.  Leftists are just born miserable.

So we have now  dropped down into a genetic level of explanation. And we can at that level even derive and test a hypothetico-deductive prediction. If conservatives are happy and happiness is genetic, then conservatism should be genetic too.  And it is.  As behaviour geneticists such as Nick Martin have shown,  conservatism has a strong genetic component  -- which suggests that some people are just born cautious.  It is, of course, no surprise that caution and happiness go together.

So I think I have now gone as low as I can go in explaining conservatism.  There are of course even lower levels of explanation possible (tracing the brain areas involved, studying the DNA) but our understanding of those levels of function is at the moment so crude that anyone purporting to offer explanations at that level is merely speculating.

So having gone down the levels of explanation, I now need to go up the levels of explanation too.  What does being cautious lead to?  It rather obviously leads to distrust:  Distrust of the wisdom and goodwill of one's fellow man, both as individuals and in collectivities.  In Christian terms, man is seen as "fallen" and ineluctibly imperfect.

But trust and distrust are matters of degree and conservatives are perfectly willing to give trust when it has been earned.  So where  ideas are concerned, conservatives usually trust only those ideas that have already been shown to work as intended or which extend existing successful ideas.  Leftists, by contrast, trust and put into action ideas that "sound" right to them  -- without bothering to test first whether their ideas really do generate the consequences that they envisage. They usually don't of course.  Leftists are theorists extraordinaire.  They have no use for Mr Gradgrind's "facts".  That theory is  useful only insofar as it is a good guide to facts seems to be beyond their ken.

The enthusiasm for "whole language" methods in teaching kids to read is an example of untested Leftist policy being implemented.  It was widely adopted in the schools but worked so badly that most schools have now reverted to phonics  -- the old "tried and tested" method.

And conservative caution leads to conservatives valuing stability generally  -- because sweeping changes could well not work out well -- and usually don't. Leftists usually seem to think they know it all but conservatives know that they don't.  So conservatives want various changes but also want to proceed cautiously with change.  They want "safe" change, change off a stable base -- a base that embodies what has worked in the past.

And the traditional conservative advocacy of individual liberty also stems from caution.  It is highly likely that a tyrant won't have your particular interests at heart so you want to be free to pursue your own interests yourself.  And in the economic sphere that is capitalism.

I think I have by now said enough to solve all of Wyeth's puzzles below but if I have left anything out, you will probably find it in my big historical survey of conservatism -- JR

ON FRIDAY LAST WEEK in The Age, Waleed Aly wrote a thoughtful piece on the tensions that currently exist globally within “the Right” of politics.

Aly hit the nail beautifully on the head when he wrote that modern ‘…conservative politics [has come] to be built on a contradiction: a pact between the opposing forces of free market-liberalism and social conservatism.’

However, Aly didn’t quite go far enough in explaining just how strange and counter-productive to conservative ideals this alliance has become. Modern political thought tends to view this as a perfectly consistent philosophy, but I would contend that nothing could be further from the truth.

The way I see things, World War II and the Cold War induced conservatives in the West to go looking for the most anti-socialist (both national and garden variety) philosopher and economist they could find. It led them to F. A. Hayek, a man who diagnosed the brutally restrictive machines of state-centric Fascism and Communism earlier than most. However, this was an ironic choice for conservatives, seeing he had also written an essay entitled Why I’m Not A Conservative.

However, as insightful (and misunderstood) as Hayek was (and still is), I think we need to look towards another economist for a more succinct reason as to why this is such an odd match.

Joseph Schumpeter noted: ‘Capitalism is by nature a form or method of change and not only never is, but never can be, stationary.’
Which is why I find it strange that we conventionally call capitalism “economic conservatism”, when the dictionary tells me that conservatives are uncomfortable, opposed, or suspicious, of change.

Schumpeter, however, also observed that capitalism is: ‘…a process whose every element takes considerable time in revealing its true features and ultimate effects.’

This could be considered “conservative”, in that the more rational conservatives believe change needs time to digest, not full-scale resistance. But since the post-World War II period, market-fuelled economic and social change has moved at such a rapid and multiplying pace that surely conservatives would advocate more state intervention against the market, not less?

The train, the car, the aeroplane and the internet – all major inventions fuelled and enhanced by competition and the free exchange of ideas – have been instrumental in breaking down ethnic and cultural barriers as they moved the masses out of the monoculture of the village and into the wonderful world of difference. Firsthand knowledge is the biggest enemy of the ignorant, and capitalism has given us these wonderful tools to gain it.

Furthermore, when it comes to cultural and ethnic relations, the conservative adherence to the market is again odd. If, as Hayek would promote, the state is a physical impediment to exchange amongst humans, then surely the nation is a mental one? The nation is one particularly dangerous form of collectivism that conservatives seem to have overlooked.

Swedish academic Hans Rosling has noted that a capitalist invention such as the simple washing machine was a significant tool in the women’s liberation movement. The massive amount of time it saved allowed women to educate and organise themselves. The result being that within a very short period, women now out-attend and out-perform men in education, and will soon translate this to out-earn.

The state just doesn’t have the knowledge, the mechanisms, nor the self-interest to create change on this scale. And when it has tried, it has ended up with a lot of dead bodies.

The state is a reactionary institution in the purest sense. Its role is to react to what occurs around it, and when you concentrate considerable power and prestige in it, the state is less likely to be comfortable with change that may threaten this power.

This is why I refer to both the state itself, and the ideas of “the Left”, as “structurally conservative”. Presently, “the Right” have the desire to resist change, but “the Left” have all the instruments to do so.

This is something Bob Katter understands with his conservative “Old Labor” instincts. He may be backwards, but at least he is philosophically consistent. There are no homosexuals in the seat of Kennedy, just as there are none in Tehran and Pyongyang. By a head in the sand or a gun in the hand.

However, in a modern liberal society, the issue is lost for poor Bob. The prevalence of gay characters on television now, and the popularity of a prime time show like Modern Family, indicates just how far the state in Australia is behind.

In reference to his own support for gay marriage, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden noted:  “I think Will & Grace probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far.”

Shows such as these are not just educational tools though. Their prominence is actually a reflection of society’s values. They’re shown in prime time for a reason. The state only hears the loudest voices, the market has a much more finely tuned ear.

Aly notes that: ‘Bob Katter’s constituency have long been globalisation’s losers.’

A similar thing can be said about America’s Tea Party movement. I (smugly) call them “Reagan’s Losers”. Yet what The Tea Party miss, that Katter understands, is that they only sow the seeds of their own further discomfort by advocating for increased liberalisation from the state. The increased “freedom” they call for, is actually the freedom that will continue to create significant global, economic and social change.

Theirs is an essentially nationalist movement, they attach themselves to market-liberalism due to America’s national mythology, not due to its cosmopolitan outcomes.

This existential crisis within the Republican Party, along with the rise of UKIP that Aly mentions, the minor parties formed out of the Coalition and the irrational and unhinged rhetoric that spews from elements on the Right these days, are all symptoms of conservatives struggling to reconcile this pact with market-liberalism that doesn’t provide them with the outcomes they desire.

The changes occurring globally and locally in the 21st Century are too strong for this contradictory alliance of ideas to hold. Conservatives are going to either have to learn to embrace the era in which they live, or find a different philosophical and economic model to align themselves in order to resist it.



Even HuffPo is pissing on Obamacare

We read:

More than two weeks into the disastrous rollout of, the website created by President Barack Obama's health care reform law still isn't working right.

"The website that was supposed to do this all in a seamless way has had way more glitches than I think are acceptable," Obama said during a Tuesday interview with KCCI television in Des Moines, Iowa. But the administration won't disclose exactly what's wrong with the health insurance exchange website, or when consumers can expect to see the promise of convenient, one-stop shopping for health benefits and financial assistance fulfilled.

Time remains for these problems to be resolved, but not much. "If things aren't resolved in three weeks, we've got some serious, serious problems," said Timothy Jost, a law professor and health care reform expert at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va., and an Obamacare supporter. "I don't think we're anywhere close to there yet, but if the whole thing collapses, it'll be another generation before we get this problem fixed."



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