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3 September, 2014
Paul Ryan's Way Forward
To take the measure of this uncommonly interesting public man, begin with two related facts about him. Paul Ryan has at least 67 cousins in his Wisconsin hometown of Janesville, where there are six Ryan households within eight blocks of his home. And in his new book, “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea,” he says something few politicians say, which is why so many are neither trusted nor respected. Ryan says he was wrong.
At a Wisconsin 4-H fair in 2012, Ryan encountered a Democrat who objected to what then was one of Ryan’s signature rhetorical tropes – his distinction between “makers” and “takers,” the latter being persons who receive more in government spending than they pay in taxes. He had been struck by a report that 60 percent of Americans were already – this was before Obamacare – “net receivers.” But his encounter at the fair reminded him that, for a while, he and many people he cared about had been takers, too.
The morning after a night “working the Quarter Pounder grill at McDonald’s,” Ryan, 16, found his father, who had been troubled by alcohol, dead in bed. Janesville’s strong sinews of community sustained Ryan and his mother; so did Social Security survivor benefits. When GM’s Janesville assembly plant closed, draining about $220 million of annual payroll from a town of 60,000, many relatives, friends and constituents needed the social safety net – unemployment compensation, job training, etc.
“At the fair that day, I realized I’d been careless with my language,” he writes. “The phrase gave insult where none was intended.” He has changed his language and his mind somewhat but thinks the fundamental things still apply.
“Society,” Ryan writes, “functions through institutions that operate in the space between the individual and the state,” and “government exists to protect the space where all of these great things occur.” Hence government has a “supporting role” as “the enabler of other institutions.” Progressive government, however, works, sometimes inadvertently but often deliberately, to subordinate or supplant those institutions. This depletion of social capital is comprehensively injurious to the culture. And “all the tax cuts in the world don’t matter much if you don’t get the culture right.”
Progressivism aims to place individuals in unmediated dependency on a government that can proclaim, as Barack Obama does: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Meaning, people depend on government for what they are and have.
Few of today’s progressives are acquainted with their doctrine’s intellectual pedigree or its consistent agenda. Progressivism’s founders, however, considered it essential that the nation make progress, as they understood this, beyond the Founders' natural rights philosophy, which limits government by saying (in the Declaration of Independence) that it is “instituted” to “secure” these rights.
Hence Woodrow Wilson, a progressive who understood his doctrine’s premises, urged Americans to “not repeat the [Declaration’s] preface.” Progressivism preaches that rights do not pre-exist government, that they are dispensed and respected by government as it sees fit and to fit its purposes. Those purposes grow unconstrained by the Constitution that progressives construe as a “living” – meaning infinitely elastic – document.
Since 1999, when he became its second-youngest member, Ryan has been an intellectual ornament to the House of Representatives – and a headache for risk-averse Republican Party operatives. They pay lip service to electing conservatives who will make the choices necessary to stabilize the architecture of the entitlement system and unleash the economic growth that must finance the system’s promises. But they want to let voters remain oblivious about the choices required by that architecture’s rickety condition.
Such Republicans are complicit with Obama, who demonstrated the self-destructive nature of his now-evaporating presidency by his contemptuous, and contemptible, treatment of Ryan on April 13, 2011. After he loftily aspired to teach Washington civility, the White House invited Ryan to sit in the front row at a speech in which Obama gave an implacably hostile and mendacious depiction of Ryan’s suggestions for entitlement reforms. Obama thereby repeated his tawdry performance in his 2010 State of the Union address, when, with Supreme Court justices in the front row of the House chamber, he castigated them for the Citizens United decision, which he misrepresented.
Both times, Obama’s behavior bespoke the insecurity of someone who, surrounded by sycophants, shuns disputations with people who can reply. Ryan, however, has replied with a book that demonstrates Obama’s wisdom in not arguing with a man who has a better mind and better manners.
Eric Holder as a cry-baby & Obama as a perpetual adolescent
ATTORNEY GENERAL and all around scum-bucket Eric Holder felt it imperative to rush off to Ferguson, MO, to toss in his two cents worth of gas on a burning fire. He could have pointed out that the reason there is 50% unemployment among the black males in town, men who have nothing better to do than cause mischief for the benefit of the TV cameras, was because three-quarters of them never even finish high school. Instead, he took the opportunity to let them know he shared their grievances against the police because twice in his younger days, he, too, had been – oh, the humanity! -- stopped by traffic cops.
The odd thing is that I am a white man roughly 10 years older than Holder, and I was stopped by cops about a dozen times between the ages of 13 and 21. The first couple of times, I was stopped by Beverly Hills cops because we lived in an apartment just outside the city border, and, so, if I were spotted walking or riding my bike at dusk, on my way home from the playground or on my way to a book store, I would find myself being questioned by the guys in blue. Nobody, they would explain, exaggerating only slightly, walked or rode a bicycle in Beverly Hills after sunset.
Once I began driving, I was stopped on a regular basis even by L.A. cops because I looked too young to be driving legally. Finally, by the time I was going to UCLA, and work on the Daily Bruin would occasionally keep me on campus until late at night, I was often stopped and questioned by those same Beverly Hills cops on my way home. But now it was because, as they pointed out, nobody rode a motorcycle before or after dusk in Beverly Hills.
Whether or not Mr. Holder believes me, I never took it amiss. I did not think they were picking on me because I was young or short or Jewish. I believed they stopped me because I looked suspicious to them, and I figured they were just earning their salaries, and that if I had their job, I, too, would be stopping me and asking a few questions.
What Holder doesn’t mention is that, as a young man, he had been an Afro-haired college activist who had been part of a student uprising at Columbia University that took over and held an ROTC building for five days in 1970. Because even back then, college administrators were a gaggle of cowards, he wasn’t booted out on his butt, but allowed to hang around and get a law degree.
Only someone as race-fixated as Barack Obama would have appointed Holder in the first place or stood by while his attorney general refused to indict the Black Panthers for intimidating white voters in Philadelphia.
Speaking of Obama, the thing I have come to understand about him is that in addition to being a leftist with a scary agenda, a bigot and a narcissist, he is an adolescent. That’s why he’s so lazy. Sometimes, students are bored because they’re very bright and grasp a subject so quickly that they tend to doze off while waiting for their fellow classmates to catch up. Other times, students are bored because they are those other classmates and simply can’t grasp the lesson.
And sometimes, as I believe is the case with Obama, it’s because their minds are so lazy and self-absorbed that the only things they can manage to focus on for any length of time are those amusements such as golf and basketball or attending galas, that simply don’t call for mental discipline.
NLRB goes rogue against small business
Labor Day provides the opportunity to evaluate those government agencies that impact the workplace, and gauge if they are helping or hurting the employment situation in America.
In the six Labor Days since President Obama took office, his appointees have gone to outrageous lengths to compel the 93 percent of the private-sector workforce who don't belong to an organized labor union to become dues-paying members.
While the Labor Department and the National Mediation Board have each pushed hard to create rules that overwhelmingly favor union organizers over those employees who oppose unionization, it is the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which has taken the most outlandish actions in their attempt to tip the balance toward primary Democratic Party funders in Big Labor.
Few need to be reminded of the NLRB's general counsel's failed attempt to compel Boeing Corp. to remain in union-friendly Washington state, rather than relocating to South Carolina. After garnering national headlines and sending Congress into a frenzy, the NLRB backed down from their attempt to stop the aircraft manufacturer's move to the right-to-work state. But the audacity displayed by the agency — that they believed they could dictate company relocation or expansion decisions — made this obscure entity a national talking point of big government gone wrong.
The general counsel, at the same time, filed a lawsuit against two states whose voters had affirmed the right to secret ballots in union elections through their state constitutional amendment processes. The uproar in the states being sued was real, but this NLRB threat largely faded away as Big Labor's attempt to do away with secret elections through congressional action failed.
Now, the NLRB is going off the rails again. They have decided to destroy business franchise/franchisee agreements by allowing the corporations that spin out thousands of small businesses using their name, business model and products to be sued over the alleged actions of a few of the small, independent business.
This strikes at the heart of the independence of almost 1 million locally owned franchise businesses. If the actions of a few franchises can drag the corporate partner into legal action, then the cost of operating this small business model rapidly escalates, and the advantages of splitting profits with local, independent store operators rapidly disintegrate.
If the left wants to change the franchise laws, that is their prerogative. They need to go to Congress and seek to change the law, not go to the rogue, Big Labor-controlled NLRB to rewrite the law.
It's three strikes and you're out for the NLRB's ability to play investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner when it comes to our nation's labor laws. Legislation by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) that would rein in the NLRB's outrageous, one-sided behavior by stripping away the NLRB's adjudicatory authority, returning it to the federal justice system where it belongs.
It is time to rip the power over our nation's labor laws from this rogue body's grip and give it back to Congress and the federal court system. It is time for the House of Representatives to pass Austin Scott's Protecting American Jobs Act.
Price transparency lowers healthcare costs
A study recently published in Health Affairs describes how price transparency drove down the cost of MRIs by almost twenty percent from 2010 to 2012. Compared to patients who did not have the advantage of transparent pricing, patients who knew what their MRI procedure would cost saw a cost reduction of $220 per procedure. Further, price transparency was associated with a significant shift from hospitals to outpatient facilities.
This result is just the beginning. It was not a result of true consumer-driven health policy, but an intervention by an insurer. When a physician referred a patient for an MRI, the insurer required prior authorization before paying for it. When the patient called for prior authorization, the customer-service rep was able to give the patient the choice of a lower-cost provider in the same area. Importantly, the insurer’s rep was able to tell the patient how much he or she would save by using the lower-cost provider.
This is something that healthcare providers resist mightily—for obvious reasons. As a consequence, more expensive providers, especially hospitals, dropped their fees significantly. This resulted in a 30 percent compression of prices.
It is a step in the right direction. The Health Affairs article notes that government dictating price transparency has no effect—as discussed previously at this blog. Nevertheless, there is a lot further to go. For example, one-third of the patients had zero co-pay or deductible, and so were completely insensitive to price. Also, it still requires too much bureaucratic intervention. Why should a patient have to call the insurer to figure out the best price for the service?
For reducing costs, imaging is probably low-hanging fruit. Nevertheless, this experience teaches valuable lessons. Prior authorization alone (when an insurer simply makes a yes or no decision on whether it will pay for a procedure) is a cause of irresolvable conflict between payers and providers. Because the patient remains insensitive to price, if the physician decides to do the paperwork for prior authorization, it does not reduce costs. This was confirmed for Medicare in a Congressional Budget Office estimate in 2013.
However, introducing price sensitivity to prior authorization “softens up” the decision for both patient and insurer: The patient understands that the insurer is trying to get the best bang for the buck, not just prevent access to diagnosis.
What are the next steps?
Private insurers can make prices of credentialed providers even more transparent, by posting fees on their websites and clearly informing patients about how much money they will save by going to low-cost providers.
Private insurers can design ways to financially reward patients who have no co-pays or deductibles to make price-conscious decisions also.
Medicare can also design ways to reward beneficiaries for making cost-saving imaging decisions (likely through Medigap plans, which often cover beneficiaries’ co-pays).
This is still a long way from consumer-driven health care. However, like reference pricing for surgery, this experience should motivate insurers to continue experimenting with letting patients know, understand and respond to the prices of medical care.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED
, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL
, GREENIE WATCH
, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH
, 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
-- 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
2 September, 2014
The self-loathing of the British Left is now a problem for us all
A British perspective on Leftist hate. The reference to Rotherham concerns child abuse of white girls by Muslims-- abuse that was long covered up by political correctness
It’s often been observed that a certain type of British Lefty hates Britain – and that they reserve particularly hatred for Englishness. Back in 1941 George Orwell made this acute remark:
"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution"
So what’s new? The difference today is that this shame and self-hatred now dominates Left-wing thought, whereas it was once balanced by the decent Left: who were proud to inherit the noble traditions of radical English patriotism.
Evidence for this disease is all around us, but shows up particularly in two red-button issues-of-the-day: the independence referendum, and the appalling revelations from Rotherham.
First, Scotland. The latest polls show that the United Kingdom is close to breaking up. This is a remarkable state of affairs when you consider that, a year ago, polls were two to one against partition. How has this occurred? Because we have allowed the British Labour party to lead the No debate.
This was a disastrous decision, given that, as Orwell noted, Labourites and Lefties revile and deride so many of the things perceived as quintessentially British. Take your pick from the monarchy, the flag, the Army, the history of rampant conquest, the biggest empire in the world, the supremacy of the English language, anyone who lives in the countryside, the national anthem, the City of London, the Royal Navy, a nuclear deterrent, the lion and the unicorn, duffing up the French, eating loads of beef – all this, for Lefties, is a source of shame.
The result, north of the Border, is plain to see. Whenever the passionate and patriotic SNP asks the No campaign for a positive vision of the UK (instead of dry economic facts, and negative fear-mongering) all we hear is silence, or maybe a quiet murmur about “the NHS”. Yes, the NHS. For many Lefties, the NHS – an average European health system with several notable flaws – is the only good thing about Britain. It’s like saying we should keep the United Kingdom because of PAYE. Thus we tiptoe towards the dissolution of the nation.
There is a deep irony here. If Scotland secedes it will hurt the Labour Party more than anyone, electorally. But such is the subconscious hatred of Britain and Britishness in Lefty hearts, I believe many of them think that’s a price worth paying: just to kick the “Tory Unionists” in the nuts, just to deliver the final death-blow to British “delusions of grandeur”.
It is a tragic state of affairs. And yet there is worse. Rotherham.
We don’t need to rehearse the facts. We’ve all read them, and reeled away in horror. The interesting question is how and why would any country allow the racialised gang-rape of its own daughters?
Why? Because too many in that country, especially on the Left, most especially in the Labour Party, despise their own ordinary people: the white working classes.
Take this comment by Jack Straw, Labour MP for Blackburn, and Home Secretary from 1997-2001, when the Rotherham atrocities were beginning. “The English are potentially very aggressive, very violent.” It is almost unimaginable that any senior politician would say this of his own people in America, Russia or France. Yet here it comes straight out of the mouth of a very senior politician indeed – along with many other expressions of Guardianista sneering: at the white working classes with their “chav culture”, “BNP values”, “Gillian Duffy bigotry” and so forth.
What kind of message does Straw’s statement send to everyone else? It says that the English are dislikeable, that they are to be feared, and contained, to be treated with contempt. It says that the ordinary English are a nasty race who need to be diluted by mass immigration; it says, in particular, that poor white English people are especially worthless.
And thus, Rotherham.
Yes, it’s infinitely depressing. But we cannot give in to despair. Instead we could listen again to George Orwell, who once said that, however silly or sentimental, English patriotism is “a comelier thing than the shallow self-righteousness of the left-wing intelligentsia”. Orwell wrote those words seventy years ago. It is time we paid attention, and turned the tide.
My Journey from Tyranny to Liberty
BY LILY WILLIAMS
I am an Chinese immigrant who come to America to seek freedom from the Communist China. I was born right before China’s Cultural Revolution and grew up in Chengdu, Capitol of Sichuan province, China. As you know, in China there is only one party that is truly in power: The Communist Party. The government, which is the Communist Party, controls everything: Factories, schools, the press, hospitals, land, and universities. Growing up there, I never heard of such a thing as a “private company." There were no choices of any sort. We were all poor. We had no gas or stove, no TV, no phones, no refrigerators, and no washing machines. In the cities, electricity was rationed. In the countryside, there was no electricity.
Our family of five had to live on the very low wages my parents earned. The local government issued coupons for people to buy everything from pork to rice, sugar, and flour and there was never enough. We got to buy only 2.2 pounds of pork per month for our family of five. We lived in a two room 'apartment', without heat in the winter and no indoor plumbing. I got impetigo every winter from the cold damp winter weather, which was common for kids to get. Eight families lived in our complex, and we had to share bathrooms (holes in the ground outside), one for all males, and one for all females. When the lights were out, no one would replace the bulb for a while so it would be totally dark to go to the bathroom. It became a quite scary adventure at night for us to go there. We had only government run hospitals which were filthy. I was afraid of going to a hospital because I might get diseases. The last two years before I left for college, we moved into a three-room apartment provided by my dad's work-unit. It had concrete walls and a concrete floor, a water faucet and sink, but no heat. It had a shared public restroom without a shower or bathtub - but, it was infinitely better than what we had before.
I was eager to go to school when I turned 6 years old. My parents did not let me to go to school because they needed me to babysit my younger brother who was one year old. They could not afford his child care. I cried for a long time that night. My parents felt so guilty so they bought me a movie ticket next day. Finally, I went to school at age of 7. I was so happy and motivated to be a top student. As a child, we were brainwashed in public school every day. We were taught that two-thirds of the world population were suffering and living in hunger and our socialist country was the best. We didn't think that maybe China should be counted as part of the two thirds of suffering humanity! We believed whatever the government told us because we did not know anything else. I thought the other countries must be hellish if they were worse than we were. Anyway, we chanted daily: “Long Live Chairman Mao, Long Live the Communist Party. I love Chairman Mao." I was so brainwashed as a small child that I could see Chairman Mao in the clouds or the cooking fire. He was like a god to me. We were required to read all of Mao’s Red books, wear Mao’s buttons, write journals, and confess any bad thoughts to Mao.
We were required to conform, not stand out as an individual. I was held back to join the Young Pioneers because I was not humble enough (I told my classmates I should be in the first batch to join due to my 100% grade on every subject and they reported on me). The big powerful state from top to bottom was always watching us very closely: from Beijing’s central government to our neighborhood block committees and police stations. We had no rights, even though our constitution said we did. It was very scary that local police could stop by our home to pound on the doors at night for any reason. The government told us how to dress (Mao’s suit), what to buy and eat (coupons), where to live (household registration system) and what to read (government newspapers). The land belonged to the people (the government actually) and citizens were not allowed to have any weapons or off to prison they would go. Things have changed a lot in China since the open door policy of Deng Xiaoping really got going in the early 1980s; people have more freedom than ever before to start businesses, get jobs in another city, travel overseas, etc, but the political system is still fundamentally the same one party rule.
My favorite teacher in high school told me that he was sent to a Re-education Labor Camp because the Communist Party punished those who criticized the party even though the party was asking for feedback. His health was ruined during those years. He said “China is not a country of laws." I was determined to study law in college. After three whole days, eight hours of testing each day, I scored very high and was admitted by Fudan University (one of the top five universities) in Shanghai law school. I became the first one in my entire extended family ever to go to college. When there I was depressed to find out that what we learned in school and what was reality were totally different things. The society was not ruled by law but ruled by men. After I became a law school faculty member at Fudan University in Shanghai, I had to be careful about what to say in the classroom or during the party political study and self-criticism meetings. My leaders in law school even intruded into my private life telling me, for example, that I received too many letters (I was too social), or I should not go to my boyfriend’s parents’ house for dinner and spend a night. I was a law school faculty member and yet I was still being treated as a child!
I realized I could not really have the personal freedom I dreamed to have if I stayed in China, so I decided to re-enter school in the USA. It was a long and stressful process for me to step down from my position and leave China. I went to the local security office to apply for my passport seven times and was treated as a deserter with papers literally thrown at my face. My law school made me sign a paper saying that I must return to my job in Shanghai after two years of graduate study, or they will eliminate my position and send my personnel file (everyone has one in China which follows you from birth to death) to my hometown in Chengdu, which would be a death sentence for my law teaching career. However, I was determined to leave and did not care about what I had to sign.
I arrived in America in 1988 with $100 in my pocket. The first ten years when I was in the U.S, I still had nightmares about being trapped in China by the government and having to dig a big hole in the ground, into the blue Pacific Ocean, so I could escape, jump into the Ocean, and swim to the United States. Even when I went back to China later to visit with my American husband in 1991, my fears would return. For example, staying at a friend’s apartment in Beijing, one night the police came to pound on the door and wanted to check our papers. Someone must have reported to them that that there was a foreigner in the neighborhood. I was pregnant with our first son at that time, and we were in deep sleep after midnight when the police’s door-pounding scared the heck out of me and brought all the childhood bad memories back. Fortunately, they only wanted to check our papers, or maybe just let us know who was in charge. Another time I was in China during June 4th (Tian An Men crackdown) anniversary for a business trip, I was in a business-friend’s car, when we were randomly pulled over by the local police to check out our IDs and search our car. They did not have to show any search warrant. I used to also travel often to Guangdong Province for business when I worked in Hong Kong. I remember the taxi drivers called the local police “mafia” because of their brutality and corruption.
I did not hesitate to become an American citizen in 1995. Here I could speak freely and have my rights protected. I do not take my new freedom for granted. I vote in every election. As a U.S. citizen, I have worked for private companies in Hong Kong and Denver. Later, I started my own business and worked hard to grow my business. For the past 15 years, my husband and I have raised three children in Parker, Colorado, enjoying a middle class life: kids, a house, a dog, and 2 cars. From the $100 I brought over from China to having my own businesses and properties, I know I am living the American Dream. All the immigrants I know who come to this country do so because they believe America is a land of opportunity and freedom. We know that if you are smart, work very hard, and save your money, you will be successful and make a nice living here. I love this country. I want my children to continue to enjoy the freedom that brought me here. I want my children to have the same opportunity I had to succeed.
By telling my own story, I wanted to share my message with you: big governments do not work; big governments are very dangerous because they eventually use force. Big government attracts people who love power and control. Big government seems to want to distract you and direct your choices to unimportant social conventions yet limit your choices on really important things like speech, self-defense, and property rights. The freedom we have in this country is precious. The governments in the US are essentially pretty good. However, we are losing more and more liberty every day. The two major parties of this country have always expanded the government (federal or state), even when they say they are shrinking them. Whoever is in power always wants to 'do' something, to 'solve' some problem. It never really works because government must use force to solve whatever problem of the day arises. Now the federal government is $17 trillion in debt from all the problems it has 'solved'; we are losing our freedom to choose in many aspects of our life: health care, education, speech, privacy, what we want to buy to protect our families, how much money we want to keep after our hard work, etc., and even in New York drink sizes! Big government is like a cancer; it will grow and spread and keep growing if we don’t stop it. Do not believe things will always get better. I know that people are born the same everywhere, yet their cultures and systems of government can be vastly different. Our culture, our people, and our increasing reliance on more government are, I think, a very dangerous trend.
The country has been on the wrong path for too long, all our governments have been growing bigger for too long. What kind of country is this if we have to work over a half of the year to pay all the taxes and fees: federal, state, city, county; including payroll, phone, gas, car license, eating out, hotel stays, air travel, licenses, tariffs, etc. We are taxed to death for many things we don't want and the country is broke. This is astounding to me. What kind of country is this if the government uses force to take your money and spend the way they see fit and still tell you it is good for you? Are you its servant or master? Do you own yourself or not? What kind of country is this if the government takes away your choice of marrying anyone who makes you happy? Are you a consenting adult or not? What kind of country is this if the government can put you into a prison for what you are consuming? What kind of country is this if we become like a China Socialist Iron Rice Bowl, where people are treated the same everywhere; where it does not matter whether you work hard or not, that you are told "If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." and where you must redistribute what you produce. What kind of country is this where the government monitors our private email and phone calls? What kind of country is this if the IRS can target you based on your political affiliation? Why have we Americans become so unsure of ourselves that we want to be like other countries and to think like them instead of wanting them to be like us? When did this change happen? Where is the America I dreamed of - full of strong men and women without fear of acting on their own behalf?
Big government people have always been attracted to power, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Big government people are perpetually alarmed busybodies who fearfully want to insert themselves into everybody's business here and abroad, telling them what to do or not do. That is why I felt I had to become an advocate for liberty. Let us stop these people now. Wake up and stand up. Remember how this country was founded and what our constitution really protects - Individual Liberty! Vote for liberty, vote for small, effective, and limited government
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED
, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL
, GREENIE WATCH
, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH
, 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
-- 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
1 September, 2014
Some amusing medical news
One of the enduring myths among health freaks is the magical power of fish oil. There has however always been a lot of doubts about that among medical researchers so there have been many studies looking into the matter. The latest review of the medical literature knocks the whole thing on its head. The article concerned is hidden behind a fierce paywall but I think it is too amusing to stay only there. So I am reproducing the abstract below. Reproducing abstracts is not generally considered a breach of copyright. The abstract was in fact sent to me by JAMA so I infer that they want the findings to be known in professional circles
Fish Oil Supplements
Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are present in cold-water fish such as herring or salmon and are commercially available in capsules (over the counter and by prescription), can decrease fasting triglyceride concentrations 20-50% by reducing hepatic triglyceride production and increasing triglyceride clearance. 1 With long-term intake, they may increase HDL-C.
The results of recent studies do not offer any convincing evidence that fish oil supplements either prevent cardiovascular disease or improve outcomes in patients who already have it. 2 3
Lovaza (formerly Omacor), a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), was the first omega-3 PUFA product to be approved by the FDA for treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia (Table). Daily doses of 3-12 g can lower triglycerides by 20-50%, but have not been shown to prevent pancreatitis, which is a major concern in patients with very high triglycerides. Vascepa, the second FDA-approved omega-3 PUFA product for treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia, is the ethyl ester of EPA. In controlled trials, it has reduced triglyceride levels by 22-33% compared to placebo. 4
DHA can increase LDL-C levels, but EPA apparently does not. Fish oil supplements are generally well tolerated. Adverse effects have included eructation, dyspepsia, and an unpleasant aftertaste. Worsening glycemic control has been reported in diabetic patients taking large doses. Fish oil in large doses can also inhibit platelet aggregation and increase bleeding time; whether it could cause clinically significant bleeding has not been established.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can lower high plasma triglycerides, but they have not been shown to decrease the risk of pancreatitis. The results of recent studies do not offer any convincing evidence that fish oil supplements prevent cardiovascular disease.
From The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
JAMA. 2014;312(8):839-840. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.9758. Adapted from "Drugs for Lipids." Treat. Guide Med. Lett. 2014;12(137):1-6.
The Stage Is Set for Executive Amnesty
Just a few weeks ago, it appeared immigration would dominate the news headlines leading up to the November election. But war in the Middle East and Ukraine and riots in Ferguson have pushed the situation at the border down to a few sidebar stories.
Yet the political stakes are high, and the red line of Barack Obama’s promise to take steps on immigration reform by the end of summer – with or without Congress – means there could be an executive action on his part in the next few weeks. “[H]ave no doubt, um, in the absence of congressional action, uh, I’m going to do what I can to make sure the system works better,” he said Thursday. The president has nothing to lose and everything to gain politically.
Most likely his action will be an expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) order, which essentially served as a permission slip for more than 1.5 million illegal aliens who came as children with their parents. Administration insiders believe five or six million more illegals will benefit from any new Obama move. Proponents argue it’s a necessary step to take because resources are limited and Congress didn’t act. Meanwhile, Democrats believe the Republican reaction would be beneficial to their side. They’re just daring Republicans to say the “i-word” should Obama go through with this DACA-expansion amnesty.
But Obama himself made the case against executive action not all that long ago. In 2012, he argued he couldn’t go any further than deferring deportations for children: “If we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that’s not an option.”
Much of this could have been avoided, claims “Gang of Eight” member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “I’ve been warning that [Obama] would do something unilaterally on immigration at some point, despite his denials of any intention to do that,” said Rubio. “My fundamental warning was that if [Republicans] didn’t like the legalization provisions in the bill, it was quite possible, if we didn’t act, that we would get the Gang of Eight-style legalization but without any of the bill’s enforcement mechanisms,” he added, defending his participation.
While Rubio was in favor of the Gang of Eight approach at the time, he now believes it was a mistake. If done again, he would secure the border first, then install broader E-verify requirements and reform the tracking of visa entries and exits. Of course, enforcement is all up to the will of the Executive Branch. And House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), for one, is of the opinion that Obama is “threatening to rewrite our immigration laws unilaterally” rather than provide enforcement.
Nor is enforcement on the mind of governors like California’s Jerry Brown, who introduced Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto by saying all immigrants were welcome in his state, legal or not.
In his speech, the Mexican president called the United States “the other Mexico” and gushed that California had “evolved” compared to other states which “skimp on recognition of … the rights of immigrants.” It’s estimated that 11.4 million immigrants who were born in Mexico reside in the United States, a sizable chunk of the roughly 120 million who populate Mexico. A recent Pew survey found just over one-third of Mexicans would move to the United States if they had the chance, and one-sixth would even do so illegally. That’s about 20 million more for the permanent underclass of likely Democrat voters.
Clearly, much of this immigration furor is political posturing for both the November midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race. But with either result, Obama has the chance to emerge victorious – either he gets a Democrat-controlled Senate to keep House Republicans at bay, or he gets a completely Republican-controlled Congress that will incentivize him to use his pen, if not his phone. Amnesty is just one place where he can whet his appetite for dictatorial power, with climate change being another.
The irony, of course, is that mass amnesty will hurt Obama’s own low-income constituents most by depressing wages and making it hard to find jobs. All net job gains since 2000 went to immigrants.
Thus, despite polls which for years have shown Americans would prefer no greater number of immigrants – if not a decrease in the rate – it’s likely that executive policy will take us in the other direction while ignoring the vital function of border security. The system isn’t actually broken, but the laws aren’t being enforced.
The Democratic Shift to the Left
The Democratic Party is torn between a liberal establishment that wants more government, and an even more liberal wing that wants the same thing squared
It would take a heart of stone, as the fellow said, not to laugh out loud at President Barack Obama's recent comparison between the two major political parties.
"Ideological extremism," he told The New York Times, "is much more prominent right now in the Republican Party than the Democrats. Democrats have problems, but overall if you look at the Democratic consensus, it's a pretty commonsense, mainstream consensus. It's not a lot of wacky ideological nonsense, the way it is generally fact-based and reason-based."
Spoken like a true partisan: My Side is calm and reasonable, and Your Side is full of raving lunatics.
The tea party movement has indeed created a rift on the right between a somewhat conservative establishment and a viscerally conservative insurgency. The struggle between those two factions has provided the grist for roughly 2.3 gajillion news stories over the past few years.
But as Commentary magazine's Seth Mandel put it so nicely a few months ago, "complaints over the last few years about the GOP being pulled to the right by conservatives were not about liberals' desire to meet in the middle and compromise, no matter how much they might decry the supposed extremist drift of the right. What they wanted was their very own Tea Party."
The judgment is, as the president would say, fact-based. You can see that in the fawning adulation that greeted the Occupy protests, which amounted to one long primal scream against capitalism. Whatever the protests lacked in coherence (which was a lot), they made up for in passion. And for a while, the most dangerous place to stand in America was between a microphone and the cadre of Democratic politicians racing to express their proud solidarity with that inspiring movement of starry-eyed young dreamers.
You can see the desire for a Democratic tea party in the cheers that greet Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Tribune of the Proletariat, whose angry tirades against the moneyed interests draw standing ovations and chants of "Run, Liz, run!"
And you can see it in the polls: Two decades ago, 35 percent of active Democrats said their views were mostly or always liberal. Now 70 percent say so. The Democratic Party's mainstream consensus, as the president calls it, has moved decidedly to the left. (Granted, Democrats do not all think alike, any more than Republicans do; generalizations are vexing. But if the president employs them, so can we.)
Just as the Republican Party now has many big-government conservatives—those who think Washington should export democracy abroad and impose virtue here at home—the Democratic Party once had what might be called small-government liberals: those who thought government could make some things better, yet still leave other things alone.
Where is the small-government liberal today? He or she is not to be found in the economic realm, where the mainstream Democratic consensus supports a higher minimum wage, more regulation of business, systemic government control of certain sectors (e.g., education and health care) and massive government intervention in the rest.
Likewise, there is scant dispute on the left regarding the welfare state.
The biggest fight over social programs in the past few years dealt with health care, and it concerned whether to settle for Obamacare or push for single-payer. Liberals who argue that the country might have too many social-welfare programs and spend too much on them are mostly unheard from. To paraphrase conservative author William Voegeli: Democrats do not want the social-welfare state to grow indefinitely—they just want it to be bigger than it is right now.
One might think the small-government liberal shows up in the realm of personal choice. And it is true that on one very narrow band of issues—sex and abortion—liberals agree government should butt out. Yet this is where the butting-out largely ends.
For while liberals largely support, say, the legalization of marijuana, that is not owing to any broader sense that people own their bodies and should be free to do as they like with them—such as ride a motorcycle without a helmet, or engage in sex for profit, or drink a 64-ounce sugary soft drink, or forgo health insurance.
Rather, the contemporary mainstream liberal view of such things holds that individual choices affect the collective good. And since government's job is to safeguard the collective good, government should therefore regulate individual choices. If it allows people to smoke marijuana, that is because it has decided a little reefer now and then causes less collective harm than the harm caused by prohibition.
In other words, the mainstream Democratic view asks how much personal freedom smart public policy should permit. It has little room for the notion that some personal freedom should lie beyond the reach of public policy in the first place.
Does that seem too strong? Then consider the campaign to eviscerate the First Amendment. Democratic leaders such as John Kerry, Sen. Patrick Leahy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and many others—including countless grass-roots activists—want to amend the Constitution to nullify the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, so the government can once again dictate what people can and cannot say about politicians in the weeks leading up to an election. Tellingly, the proposals include provisions stipulating that the press would still be allowed to speak freely about political candidates.
This is a tacit concession that everyone else would not. In that event, rights are no longer trumps; they are simply one more consideration to be balanced against all the rest. Which means they are not really rights at all.
In short, the Democratic Party is torn between a liberal establishment that wants more government, and an even more liberal wing that wants the same thing squared. At bottom, both wings believe the formula for perfection is simple: Put the government in charge of everything, and put the right people in charge of the government. Then just sit back and wait for Shangri-La.
History has falsified that premise time after time. But to the president, it's just plain common sense. Now who's peddling wacky ideological nonsense?
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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.
Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?
Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves
MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.
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)
Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)
Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate
Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists
The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.
Two examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):
Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".
Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."
The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist
Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"
The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.
Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.
It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course
R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. He pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.
FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.
WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse
FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court
Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!
The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!
People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.
America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here
Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?
Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?
Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"
The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."
Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion
A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.
The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges
It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell
Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal
When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann
Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."
It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.
American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.
The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant
The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational
Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.
The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage
Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth
The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?
Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher
The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration
"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)
A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy
"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn
"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)
My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson
"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell
Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)
The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters
Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.
Some useful definitions:
If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.
There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts
Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.
Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.
America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course
The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"
Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts
Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left
Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist
The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left
Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.
The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.
Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.
Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."
The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here
Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies
The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.
Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt
A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.
"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)
Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.
A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev
I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful
The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel
Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)
Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.
"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises
The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.
Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses
Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.
A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.
Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.
Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.
Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser
Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775
"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus
THE FALSIFICATION OF HISTORY HAS DONE MORE TO IMPEDE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT THAN ANY ONE THING KNOWN TO MANKIND -- ROUSSEAU
"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.
Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.
Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance
Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.
Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).
The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.
Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.
"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter
Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable
A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.
"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama
Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist
The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload
A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here
Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16
Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.
Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."
The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.
Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable
Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary
How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes
Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"
"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"
The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"
"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"
Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean
It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier
If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.
3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):
"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)
"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"
During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out
JEWS AND ISRAEL
The Bible is an Israeli book
"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3
"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.
If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)
Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder
To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.
My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.
I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.
If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!
And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!
Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.
I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.
Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.
The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned
Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death
"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.
Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel
Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.
Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.
If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.
Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today
Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope
Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?
The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"
UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.
I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.
I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)
Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia
Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain
Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.
IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.
I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.
I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.
I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address
Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.
"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit
It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.
"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation
My academic background
My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here
I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.
Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide
Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals
As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.
A real army story here
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway
I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.
COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.
You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR"
Index page for this site
DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.
BLOGS OCCASIONALLY UPDATED:
"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
BLOGS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED
"Leftists as Elitists"
OF INTEREST (2)
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Bank of Queensland blues
There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)
Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page (Backup here).
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)
Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: