By JR on Monday, June 30, 2014
More on sperm-donated children
I put up yesterday a report that chilren conceived from donor sperm had a high rate of dysfunction. The article concerned was from a leftist source so gave the impression that just being such a child was upsetting. The impression was that environmental causes were behind the poor adjustment. I thought at the time that genetic issues in the matter had been slighted but was in too much of a rush to note that. Some women turning to donors would be doing so because of husband infertility but many others would be women who were too poorly adjusted to form a relationship with a normal man. And that probably indicated serious inadequacies in the mother and such inadequacies could well be passed on to the children.
A senior medical reader with experience in the matter has confirmed my reservations -- and in fact tells me that it is even worse than I thought. I quote:
"Yes, agreed that children’s search for real parents can be unnerving, but a well adjusted teenager would not become unglued by such or commit crimes or suicide; the maladjustment comes, more likely, from their parents (natural and adopted). I can tell you this from personal experience.
From 1982 – 1987 I worked at [name given]. One of the early pioneers in IVF worked there; we had a string of patients that, in my not so humble opinion, were among the world’s worst adjusted misfits; unlikely they would be fit parents.
Most were well educated, had some money (cash only), and many traveled great distances to come to [that hospital]. Many had tried multiple times elsewhere. Most were amazingly self absorbed (“it’s all about me”) - they radiated self loathing about not conceiving naturally.
I would favor the parents more than “search for origins” for creating abnormal children.
A personal relative was mentally ill; she harassed her adopted daughter by telling her “you are adopted” every day, reinforcing the girl’s feelings of inadequacy; needless to say, no one was surprised when this young lady became screwed up.
I would not at all be surprised if some of the same results (in IVF offspring) occurred in children adopted or surrogated from gay couples; these professionally victimized gays are among the most self indulgent (“it’s all about me”) people alive; this MUST be transferred to the children."
By JR on Friday, June 27, 2014
A very sad centenary
The immediate trigger for WWI was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. That was exactly 100 years ago.
So what caused that dreadful war? The conventional answer -- some remnant of wartime propaganda -- is GERMANY. Yet the actual first declaration of war was by Austria
The murderous Princip was a Serbian terrorist who shot both the heir to the Austrian throne and his wife as they travelled in an open car through the streets of Sarajevo in Bosnia. As a result, Austria declared war on Serbia.
When the German Kaiser heard of the shootings he expressed the opinion that there was no need for Austria to go to war. But Austria declared war before he could make his views known. So it was not the German Kaiser who was a "warmonger".
The Austro/Serbian war would have remained a local Yugoslav conflict except for the NEXT thing that happened. The Russian Tsar had fatherly feelings towards Serbia so HE declared war on Austria. So it was Russia that started the ball rolling. Once Russia had declared war, the German Kaiser had to declare war pursuant to his treaty with Austria. Then the French declared war with Germany pursuant to their treaty with Russia and it was all on.
So it seems to me that the Russian Tsar was the guilty party in starting that war.
As regards the nature of that war, however, it was the Japanese who were to blame. At the beginning of the 20th century, Japan was already a respected military power and their destruction of the Russian navy in 2005 cemented that reputation throughout Europe.
And the Japanese strategy in land warfare was to soften up the enemy positions with artillery fire and then send troops charging against the enemy positions in "suicidal" attacks. But the Japanese were generally up against inferior and less motivated troops so their charges generally succeeded. This was perceived by Westerners as an example of what bravery, martial spirit and heroism could achieve. They admired it greatly. So they adopted the same strategy for themselves in WWI. But in WWI they were up against tougher opposition so the "heroic" tactics were just slaughter that achieved very little other than exhausting both sides.
It was only when fresh troops arrived from America that the end of the war came.
We can only mourn that terrible conflict and the stupidity that made it so terrible
I always think of Gavrilo Princip's deed as a prime example of why one should not do evil deeds in a good cause. Leftists routinely excuse evil or oppressive deeds on the grounds that they are in a good cause. "You've got to break eggs to make omelettes", they say. Stalin thought that killing all the rich peasants would fix all Russia's problems. In fact it just produced big food shortages. Gavrilo Princip thought that shooting the Archduke would get a better deal for Serbs. In fact it brought on the death of the 50 million or so people who died in WWI. -- JR
UPDATE: I have had some expressions of skepticism about the role I ascribed to Japan. More on that here.
By JR on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Leftist America -- another view
Whether or not it was always so, America today is undoubtedly dominated by the Left. As I tediously point out at times, the Pilgrim Fathers were such fanatical communists that only the imminent threat of their group being wiped out by starvation budged them from it. And their "progressive" descendants are not much better. They are certainly just as solidly convinced of their own righteousness and the correctness of their own ideas. They have ditched God but their personalities endure
So anything the Left disapprove of today, from race-awareness to dislike of homosexuality to Christianity gets heavily condemned and censored at least -- and may even get the "offender" kicked out of his or her job. And conservative politicians certainly get an infinitely harder time in the media than liberal politicians do. Any criticism of Obama is "racism" but you can call George Bush a Nazi all you like.
The Left are people with no real morality or ethics at all so you can expect no mercy from them. If you bother them in any way, they will knock you down in any way they can -- even if you are one of a "minority" whom they claim to help. They lack the power to do what Stalin did -- wipe out 20 million "class enemies" -- but they do whatever damage they can
But readers have been divided over my claim that America has always been Left-dominated. That is partly because the Left changes its tune whenever convenience suits so the Leftism of the past is not as visible from today's perspective. One has to be clear on what basic Leftism is for the Leftism of the past to become obvious. In one short sentence, Leftism is an anger-driven hunger for sweeping change.
Another misunderstanding is that I was claiming that America was more Leftist than some other places. I was not. I am quite happy to acknowledge that Leftism is far more dominant in various other countries. That does not diminish its overriding influence in America, however.
I should also add that I have no quarrel with the splendid ideals enunciated at the time of independence and which are still held dear by many Americans today. I just don't think they have ever had much influence on actual policy. They have mainly received lip service only.
I put up yesterday one of the emails that opposed my claims so I think it is only fair to put up another email that was broadly in agreement with me. Thomas Anger, who blogs here writes as follows:
"I don't agree that America has always been leftist because I don't buy into abstractions like "America." There are and have been individual Americans of many political persuasions, most of them confused and contradictory.
That said, as an enlightened libertarian (i.e., Burkean conservative) I do agree with your characterization of the motives of the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. For example, a latter-day romantic, Timothy Sandefur (author of The Conscience of the Constitution), asserted that "The American founders held that people are inherently free—that is, no person has a basic entitlement to dictate how other people may lead their lives." I responded:
"Did they, really? All of them, including the slave owners? Or did they simply want to relocate the seat of power from London to the various State capitals, where local preferences (including anti-libertarian ones) could prevail? Wasn't that what the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation were all about? The Constitution simply moved some of the power toward the national capital, mainly for the conduct of foreign policy and trade. Despite that, the Constitution was a "States' rights" document, and remained that way until the ratification of Amendment XIV, from which much anti-libertarian mischief has emanated."
Later, I wrote:
"Why can't you [Sandefur] just admit that the Declaration of Independence was a p.r. piece, penned (in the main) by a slave-owner and subscribed to by various and sundry elites who (understandably) resented their treatment at the hands of a far-away sovereign and Parliament? You're trying to make more of the Declaration -- laudable as its sentiments are -- than should be made of it."
In sum, the War of Independence isn't all that it's cracked up to be. And there's no doubt that liberty suffered in the long run as a result of the North's victory in the Civil War. But, in my view, those historical missteps have little to do with "left" (or "right") and much to do with human venality and power-lust, which are found in persons of all political persuasions.
The genius of the Constitution was that it provided mechanisms for curbing the anti-libertarian effects of venality and power-lust. The tragedy of the Constitution is that those mechanisms have been destroyed. If you were to say that Americans have gradually lost their liberty through successive and cumulative violations of the Constitution, I would agree with you.
And if you were to say that Americans are the captives of a leftist state, and are likely to remain so, I would agree with you.
In any event, I have been and will remain a faithful reader of Dissecting Leftism, which provides a valuable service in exposing the left's anti-libertarian motives and actions."
By JR on Monday, June 23, 2014
Has America always been Leftist?
As I anticipated, my claim that America has always been Leftist, provoked some of my patriotic readers. Some even insulted me by telling me that I am a pacifist. I was in fact in my youth (in the Vietnam era!) a Sergeant in the Australian Army, so I am no pacifist. That dull document above is my discharge certificate.
What I oppose is not war but wars fought primarily to empower elites and I think both of America's civil wars fall into that category. They were not necessary wars in any sense.
But I did learn something very important from my critics. It was vividly brought home to me how impressive fine words are to most people. When even patriotic American conservatives can be taken in by them, it shows why Leftists have so much influence. Leftists are nothing but fine words. To me fine words are only provisionally important. They have to be backed up by deeds and it is the deeds that matter.
An excellent example of how fine words impress even conservatives is the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. It is full of fine words and noble sentiments. Most political documents are. Stalin's Soviet constitution also was a high-minded document proclaiming all sorts of rights for Soviet citizens -- rights which were denied in fact.
So once you look past the grand generalizations of the Declaration's introduction and get to the nitty gritty of what the Yankee grandees really wanted fixed, you see that it is very mundane, if not ignoble. What was really bothering them was restrictions on their powers to legislate. They wanted more laws, not less! Very Leftist.
And from THAT starting point you can see why the war was fought and for whose benefit. The grandees concerned had a lot of influence and were good at fine talk so they could muster an army -- and they did. And who benefited from the war? Was it the poor farmers and tradesmen who died as foot-soldiers in it? No way! It was the grandees who started the war. They emerged with exactly what they wanted: More power.
I am sorry if that account sounds offensive to people who still believe the original propaganda, but if you ignore the fancy talk and just look at the facts, that is what happened.
I reproduce the most articulate of the objections have received, I will add some further comments at the foot of it. As you see, it is a reasoned letter, not the mere foaming and abusive anger we get from Leftists:
I'm not here to express any kind of anger over your posting, but I will confess a great deal of surprise. You appear to be using the same intellectually dishonest method liberals commonly employ in that you present a great deal of material that is technically factual, but so bereft of context that it presents a completely distorted picture. For example:
"As most Americans learn around the time of Thanksgiving, America was founded by fanatical communists. They forbad private ownership of land and insisted that all produce be shared communally. If that's not communism, nothing is."
They forbad private ownership because the most modern economic theory of the time they knew theorized that this would improve output and standard of living. They tested the theory. The leader recorded the results, saw the problems, and instituted free market reforms. These are not the actions of "fanatical communists." As we have seen in other countries, "fanatical communists" don't care about how many are starving. They stick to the theory despite the facts or cost.
"That was particularly clear to me because I am a citizen of a country which achieved all the objectives of America's civil wars without a shot being fired. Warring armies have never tramped through the Australian countryside."
I assume that you mean independence and abolition of slavery. Quite true. It is far less obvious how well Australia may have fared on independence had they been of equal value to the empire financially and had America not set the precedent that the British could be thrown out.
As for slavery, I am delighted that Australia came to the same conclusions about slavery as other Western type countries without the need for violence on a national level, though I still hold that slavery was only part of the issue.
Anyway, I hope you are justifiably thankful to Christianity, since it was the only religion/movement that united peoples in the nations to abolish slavery. The atheists, Muslims, and other groups were quite content with the status quo as far as slavery was concerned, at least to the extent that none of them were going to put up serious opposition to it.
"So what should we expect of a nation dominated by the descendants of fanatical communists?"
A more accurate question might be "So what should we expect of a nation dominated by the descendants of Europeans?" I think the answer is a society that eventually comes to reflect the type of society that these Europeans set up, which is where we are heading. I note in some of your blog entries that Australia, though better in some instances, has hardly been immune. My theory, unprovable of course, is that most of the types that really tended towards socialism stayed in Europe for a long time. It was the hearty and adventurous that risked life and limb to have opportunity in a new land. Later, as it became safer and more affluent, the parasitic class began to immigrate in mass. So it goes.
"Portraying the declaration as pro-liberty is a joke. It was pro-liberty for the elite only."
From the Declaration: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
In religious circles, I would say that you were "straining out a gnat" to "swallow a camel." Don't misunderstand me: I am making no excuse or justification for how imperfectly the priniciples played out or were implemented. But the goal, the ideal, was there, and it was liberty.
Your takes on the causes behind the US entry into the world wars is interesting. It is also dripping with pacifist venom. I'll not bother to address such simplistic assertions here. If you would like to discuss the matter separately sometime, feel free to contact me. I will only say that history is full of examples of what becomes of nations that avoid war at all cost. The French were a great example in the run-up to WWII.
"So what is the secret of America's outstanding success in many fields? Leftists are usually not much good at producing prosperity so what gives? It's simple. America is a huge beneficiary of the fact that it has Federal elections every two years."
A gross over-simplification as an attempt explanation. I would ignore it entirely, but for one phrase: "America is a huge beneficiary of the fact"
The "fact" is couched in language to make it seem that America won some kind of international lottery, or randomly drew a good card from some deck in a politics game. America had what the men who met and debated and formed the Constitution chose. While not perfect, it was far from random.
"And the USA is 12th on the Heritage index of economic freedom. Australia is third. Our pioneers were villains, not know-all holy Joes."
That is the present. The past tells a much different story. Contrary to your assertion that "Americans are not in fact unusually prosperous" what began its existence as a group of colonies, damaged by internal war and strife, rose in a remarkably short period of time to become the economic world leader. In short order, much older European countries were sending their economists to see how we were "doing it" so that they could share in the prosperity.
Is America in decline? Undoubtedly. Quite sad for me, because I am a patriot, and I see no end to that decline in sight. It's not just a matter of policies and politics, you see, but a matter of faith. While we embraced a Christian identity in our nation, we rose. It was a flawed, imperfect rise, probably because it was a flaw, imperfect Christianity, made of nothing but flawed, imperfect people. Yet while we held to our faith on a national scale, we improved. It may or may not have occurred to you that most of the countries with the best record on civil rights have strong Christian heritages. Those values are in decline now. As a result, so is liberty and prosperity. I accept that, with sadness.
But to try to make the case that the United States was founded or organized in a lingering way on what we consider modern leftist principles doesn't pass the smell check. In a time when monarchy and class systems held iron grip, it led the way real equality, or at least the best that was available.
I've studied my history enough to know that the best of the founding fathers and patriots were flawed. I don't have a problem with that. As a Christian, I understand that all people are flawed. I do my best to honor the good, and accept the bad, the same as I do with people today.
I find it interesting and ironic that at the end of your essay, you speak of honoring the people of America but not national myths. It's ironic because you spend most of your time trying to dispel the myths by pointing out just how horrible the people are. That's a course that seems pretty self defeating to me. To my way of thinking, the only part of American history truly deserving full honor is the documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They state their purpose with wisdom and clarity. Their is no dishonesty in them. The documents, in themselves, never fail. It is only we, as men, who fail to live up to them. And that is why we need them: So that we will constantly have something better than we can ever be to live up to.
You'll not lose me as reader, JR, at least not over this. But I don't think it's your best work. I don't really think it's that good at all. And we'll both survive that opinion.
I hope your weekend is going well. Take care.
If only all disagreements could be stated so civilly! But you can see that he has been taken in by the fine words. He believes in them. I doubt that many of America's leaders ever have, however. Maybe Ronnie Reagan out of them all.
I will add comments in something of reverse order:
He asks why America did so well economically in the 19th century. He seems unaware that Europe -- even Russia to some extent -- also had massive economic gains in the second half of the 19th century. America ended up with a much bigger economy than anyone but that simply reflects the fact that the 19th century was when America began to seriously exploit its huge natural resources. America not only had huge quantities of gold, iron, coal and other minerals but it also had the biggest resource of all -- seemingly unlimited tracts of fertile land that could be used for farming or raising edible animals. And that vast food production was the key to the big population increase at that time. America could simply feed more people. The starving of Eastern Europe and Ireland flocked to it.
And that explanation in terms of natural resources is backed up by the two nations who entered the 20th century with living standards as high as or higher than America. They were Australia and Argentina. Both of those also benefited from huge, freshly exploited natural resources. And I can't help myself from remarking about why one of those fell off the perch and one didn't. Australia is still a great place to live; Not so much Argentina. Why?
I know why but to say why breaches America's biggest and fiercest taboo. But I will breach it carefully anyway. Argentina is 50/50 Spanish and Italian whereas Australians and Americans are predominantly of British and Northern European ancestry. And that difference matters. OK: I have said enough of that.
My critic also thought that I was too glib about WWI. I was certainly brief. But I was dismissive of America's role in that war not because I am a pacifist or a Leftist but because I think American meddling in that war did incredible harm. Wilson dressed up his intervention in the usual high flown talk but let us look at the results.
Before Wilson sent his troops over, the combatants had virtually fought one-another to a standstill. General Ludendorff had been advancing almost up until that point but the men he lost in doing so had exhausted Germany. There is no doubt that some sort of draw would have been declared at some stage and both sides would have gone home devastated but intact and with honour bright. That was how the previous Franco/German fight ended up in 1872.
But thanks to Wilson that did not happen. Germany was defeated, torn apart, degraded, impoverished, and humiliated. And who benefited from that? Who fed on that until it gave him enormous influence in Germany? It was Adolf Hitler. There would have been no Hitler in power had the old German empire endured. I could go into more detail on that but I see Wilson's do-gooder meddling as the prize example of allegedly noble intentions having disastrous consequences. There would have been no WWII except for Democrat President Woodrow Wilson.
I have probably said enough for today -- JR
By JR on Sunday, June 22, 2014
America has always been Leftist
Up until fairly recently, I had always accepted fairly uncritically the orthodox view of American history. But as an amateur historian I do have the pesky habit of going back to the original documents behind history. So a couple of months ago, I actually read through the Declaration of Independence. What I read there shocked me. It was an entirely different document from the orthodox account of it.
It has taken me a while to integrate that finding into a broader view but I think I can now present a view of American history that makes much more sense of both America's past and her present.
I was greatly helped in forming a new view by the abhorence I have always felt towards America's two civil wars (Independence and North/South). As a former member of Australia's armed forces, I am no pacifist but I do feel that wars should be a last resort -- and that applied to neither of America's civil wars. That was particularly clear to me because I am a citizen of a country which achieved all the objectives of America's civil wars without a shot being fired. Warring armies have never tramped through the Australian countryside.
But to begin at the beginning: As most Americans learn around the time of Thanksgiving, America was founded by fanatical communists. They forbad private ownership of land and insisted that all produce be shared communally. If that's not communism, nothing is. They were such fanatics that a third of them had to starve to death before they decided that communism wasn't such a good idea and went back to the way things had always been done in stodgy old England.
So what should we expect of a nation dominated by the descendants of fanatical communists? What we should expect is exactly what we actually got, I submit.
But before I get to that, let me ensure complete clarity about what the core of Leftism is. The content of Leftism changes from time to time. Before WWII, Leftists world wide were energetic champions of eugenics, for instance. Leftists now abhor it. So what is constant in Leftism? Anger. Leftists in all eras are so dissatisfied with the society in which they live that they want sweeping changes to it. And they thirst for power to achieve that. That is Leftism.
So we come back to the Declaration of Independence. There are a variety of things in it but the centerpiece of it is the complaint that, in good communist style, the New Englanders wanted to pass lots of laws to control their fellow man but the king kept obstructing or disallowing such laws. Whether by intent or neglect, the king was the libertarian obstructing the control freaks. And it was over that that the Yankees went to war. Portraying the declaration as pro-liberty is a joke. It was pro-liberty for the elite only. Joe Stalin call your office.
And, in case anyone is not aware of it, the resultant war was at heart a war of the Yankees versus the rest. New York was firmly on the side of the king, for instance. It was a civil war which Yankee determination won, at the cost of 25,000 Yankee deaths. But deaths in war never worry Leftists. Change is the thing. So the Yankee hatred of the British-dominated status quo burnt all other considerations.
And Andrew Jackson, founder of the modern Democratic party, certainly wrought big changes in the territory under his control in the 1830s -- clearing out American Indians and driving them to the then-far-West: Ethnic cleansing.
And then we come to the real horror: The North/South war. "Only" half a million men died there. And for what? EVERY other country on earth abolished slavery without the need for a war. Does that not tell us something? It should. In his famous letter to Horace Greeley, Lincoln himself admitted that slavery was not the main issue. The issue was the dominance of central government. V.I. Lenin call your office. Lincoln didn't call it "dominance of central government", of course. He called it "the union" but the result is the same.
And just about everythinng Lincoln did was without a shred of constitional justification and in fact breached the constitution. Hitler at least had the grace to get an "enabling act" passed by the German parliament. Lincoln just marched on regardless. He destroyed the liberty of the press (there goes your first amendment) and locked up thousands of war opponents (there goes your 4th amendment). But most centrally, Lincoln's whole enterprise was a defiance of the basic American constitutional dispensation that the states are sovereign, not the federal government. Lincoln turned that on its head. The feds now became the main source of power and authority. There is no doubt that Lincoln talked a good talk. He even used to persuade me once. But his deeds reek of Fascism.
A good example of the large gap between his deeds and words is that masterpiece of propaganda, the Gettysburg address. Goebbels admired it for good reason. In case anybody hasn't noticed, Lincoln claimed that his war was to ensure "government of the people, by the people, for the people" -- which was exactly what he had just denied to the South! Only Yankees are people, apparently. Hitler thought certain groups weren't people too.
And then we have two world wars. WWI had nothing to do with America but power-mad Democrat President Wilson got America into it any way. He had such fun influencing the eventual re-arrangement of Europe.
And FDR was worse if anything. He subjected Japan to crippling sanctions until an attack on America seemed the only way forward to them. Anything else would have been an intolerable loss of "face". So FDR got his war. For political purposes he once declared "I hate war" but some at least of his biographers believe that he pined for the publicity and power that a war would give him.
But what about the era of US/Soviet rivalry? Was America Leftist then? It was. Top-rate taxes were enormous, for instance. But the USSR was even more Leftist. The Russian peasants who fought for its creation were even angrier -- for good reason -- than the Yankee grandees of George III's time, so the changes in Russia were very sweeping indeed. And Leftists are very hostile people -- even to followers of other brands of Leftism. Note the icepick in the head that Leon Trotsky got from Joe Stalin.
I could go on but does the dominance of political correctness in America today now seem surprising? It is not. It is just another of the many forms of Leftism that America has produced and will continue to produce. And, unfortunately, the rest of the world has followed America, as it often does. As goes California so goes the whole world eventually.
So what is the secret of America's outstanding success in many fields? Leftists are usually not much good at producing prosperity so what gives?
It's simple. America is a huge beneficiary of the fact that it has Federal elections every two years. So if you get a bungling legislature in power you soon get the opportunity to boot them out. Britain, by contrast, has to wait five years to get rid of an incompetent or destructive government.
And Americans are not in fact unusually prosperous. So many Americans have their knees under government desks that the productive element of the population is much reduced -- with the result that quite a few countries have per head incomes higher than America. According to the CIA, there are 13 countries with higher PPP incomes per head than America. Be that as it may, however, America is by any measure only one of a peleton of high income countries, not the leader.
And the USA is 12th on the Heritage index of economic freedom. Australia is third. Our pioneers were villains, not know-all holy Joes.
It is true that America is not exceptionally Leftist by world standards -- though Mr Obama is working on that -- but that just shows that there have always been angry people, and some groups -- e.g. Russian peasants and British miners -- have been even more angry than New Englanders.
I guess that this post will lose me quite a few readers among American patriots but is being patriotic to a historical hoax really wise? America has many fine people. Be loyal to them, not national myths -- JR
By JR on Saturday, June 21, 2014
A conservative vision for social justice
Below is the blurb for a series of talks given by the AEI. I think it is thoroughly misconceived. If social justice were justice it would not need the word "social" before it. And conceptions of justice differ greatly anyway. Sharia law anyone?
I think all talk of justice in connection with social reform is pernicious. Such talk fosters feelings of entitlement in those whom the "Social justice" is supposed to benefit. The poor (for instance) are told that they are getting a handout not out of generosity but because it is their right, because it is somehow "just" that they should. But from what system of justice does such a right arise? There is none. Help for the needy is simply asserted as being just, without any context for it in any judicial philosophy. It is mere propaganda designed to foster grievance, which is meat and drink to destructive Leftists.
Let conservatives talk about HELPING the needy or the oppressed by all means. There is no need for the slimy Leftist doctrine of "social justice".
And from a libertarian perspective, the whole idea of social justice is laughable. Forcibly taking away one person's justly earned fruit of his labor and giving it to someone who has done nothing to earn it is INjustice. It is theft, regardless of any adjective you put in front of it
This is the first event in AEI's exclusive Vision Talks series. Over the course of the coming year, AEI will convene a group of America's leading scholars, thinkers, and practitioners to offer fresh visions in key areas of policy and public debate. These talks will be filmed and disseminated as standalone videos similar to Arthur Brooks's “Secret to Happiness” talk.
What questions must today’s social justice agenda address? What are the tenets of such an agenda?
Conservatives played a central role in the emancipation and civil rights movements in America, and free enterprise has lifted millions out of poverty worldwide. But conservatives have failed to provide a vital vision for how their principles can foster a more just society today. Current government efforts to expand opportunity and reduce poverty show mixed results at best. Is there a fresh vision that engages the social justice questions of today and the future more effectively?
Please join us for three concise talks on why America needs a new social justice agenda, what that agenda must address, and how that agenda plays out in the most important policy debates of our time.
By JR on Thursday, June 12, 2014
The habitual dishonesty of the Left is a huge political problem
When they hear something confidently asserted, most people tend to accept that as true until they have evidence to the contrary. The Left are kept afloat by that tendency. The facts are against almost every conceivable Leftist proposition. So loudly deceiving people about the facts is essential to the Left.
A very common deceptive tactic is a very old and very effective one: Accusing your opponents of what are in fact your own faults -- what Freud called "projection".
Nowhere is this a more persuasive strategy than in the constant accusations that conservatives are "racist". That is such a big lie and is asserted so often that many people undoubtedly believe it.
A knowledge of the relevant history immediately demolishes that assertion but Leftist control of the educational system ensures that almost no-one gets to know that history. That Hitler was a socialist, that one of Britain's most notable Prime Ministers was both a Jew and the head of the British CONSERVATIVE party are both obvious and large signs that the Leftist accusations are false. British Conservatives made a Jew (Disraeli) their Prime minister. 40 years later, German socialists immolated 6 million Jews. So who is the antisemite? Who is the racist?
Here is another interesting piece of history. In 1905 the sitting British government lost power in a general election to the opposition. The main cause of its loss was that it was too sympathetic to (legal) Chinese immigration. Ask any Leftist which party it was that lost the election and they would undoubtedly nominate a Left-leaning party. It was in fact the Conservative government of Arthur Balfour.
It is true that it was Chinese immigration to South Africa that was the issue but Britain had just fought a long and costly war to assert that South Africa was British territory and public opinion did see the issue as concerning British territory.
And anyone who has read the correspondence between Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (I have) will be aware of the many racial aspersions cast by both those Leftist icons
For a time modern-day conservatives defended themselves from false Leftist attacks by saying that talking about different races and racial characteristics was not at all the same as advocating genocide and did not imply support for genocide. But in recent years, conservatives seem to have become cowed. They avoid all mention of race in fear of Leftist attack.
The truth will never come out that way. And it needs to come out. For example, the lie that all races are equal in all things is very damaging. Leftists are absolutely firm that the black/white "gap" in educational achievement is NOT due to any inherent differences between the two groups. They are sure that it is transient and changeable and rack their brains for ways to change it. But it never does change, no matter what the best brains in Leftism have been able to come up with.
So the inevitable outcome of that is that black under-achievement must not be intrinsic to them but must be due to "whitey": Whitey oppresses and discriminates against blacks, allegedly. And a more poisonous claim than that would be hard to imagine. Blacks tend to believe it and it makes them very hostile towards whites. So we have all the black-on-white attacks and killings that the press does its best to hush up. Many innocent whites are injured and killed because of that great Leftist lie.
Anybody who was familiar with the last 100 years of research into IQ would see that the black-white educational gap is exactly what you would expect from the black-white IQ gap and that nothing will eradicate it -- but Leftists assert that "all men are equal" so cannot accept that.
It may be that all men are equal in the sight of God but divine optometrical defects are not scientifically testable. IQ is.
But I despair of the truth ever becoming widely known now that conservatives have given up defending it. America will continue to stagger on under destructive public policies supported only by Leftist lies.
By JR on Monday, June 09, 2014
Nationalism is Leftist
These days nobody much talks about nationalism any more. Old Adolf is thought to have given it a bad name. But it is essential to understand what nationalism is if we are to understand 20th century history. So how do we define it? And how do we define Leftism?
The essential feature of all Leftism is the desire to stop other people from doing various things they want to do and make them do various things that they do not want to do (via taxation, regulation, mass murder etc.) When (on October 30, 2008) Obama spoke of his intention to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography. He was talking about transforming what American people can and must do. So that is the first and perhaps the most important thing about Leftism: It is intrinsically authoritarian. Ideally, it would militarize society (which was Hegel's ideal). It subjugates the individual to the wishes of a Leftist elite.
Nationalism is not so easy. How do we separate it from patriotism? Both involve strong feelings of support for ones own country -- even a willingness to die for one's own country. I submit that the essential difference is that the patriot wishes only to defend his own country while the nationalist wants to see his country dominate other countries.
On that definition, the Nazis and the Italian Fascists of WWII were nationalists but Britain was not. Britain already had an empire so had no wish for another one.
But what about WWI? Feelings that their nation could conquer all comers were rife among all the main combatants of WWI. And historians generally agree in seeing nationalism as the major psychological motive behind WWI.
So WWI could be seen as proof that nationalism is not Leftist. The workers of the various countries generally fell in line behind their national leaders, even though many had Leftist convictions. Leftism was completely out of the picture in WWI. WWI was not motivated by a desire for social change.
But from another viewpoint, Nationalism is as Leftist as they come. Nationalism regards the group as hugely more important than the individual and the nationalist is happy about the huge degree of regimentation that war imposes. Nationalism is a Leftist dream. So nationalism is about international change as distinct from social change in one country. So the yen for change is still there. Nationalism is just a different brand of Leftism. It is Leftism on a broader canvas.
I should add here a small refinement of my definitions so far: Nationalism can mean two quite different things: 1). A desire of a people for independent existence as a nation -- as in 19th century German nationalism or 20th Scottish nationalism; 2). When the lovers of their own country want to dominate other countries. It is meaning 2 that I am concerned with here. And all the examples of that which I can think of, from Napoleon to Hitler, have been Leftists. So my summary of the matter is that nationalism is a Leftist perversion of patriotism.
And even patriotism often gets a bad name these days. The Left pretend to see nationalism in it. So they equate patriots with Nazis. So again it is important to be clear about the difference between the two. If you do not advocate world conquest by your country, you are not a nationalist or a Nazi.
It's interesting that Leftists have gone from being fervent nationalists (with JFK being the last squeak of it in the USA) to people who decry it -- but that is typical of the turnaround that the Left did after WWII. Because Hitler was such a monumental failure they have had to dissociate themselves from all of his doctrines. They are back to seeking change in one country
And I don't think I should leave the subject before noting that the first successful nationalist of the 20th century was American. TR was not only behind America's temporary acquisition of an empire (in Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico etc) and a great glorifier of war but was also the founder of America's "Progressive" party. -- JR.
By JR on Saturday, June 07, 2014
Conservatives are From Mars, Leftists are From Venus
Below is one version of a plausible theory that pops up every now and again. Both Left and Right have their versions of it. The risible Lakoff has the best known Leftist version of it.
Plausible though it is however, it is demonstrably wrong. If Leftists were feminine in their approach and appeal, then they should surely get a big vote from women. But they do not. At most national elections, the female vote splits roughly equally between Left and Right. Single women tend to vote for a husband substitute (on the Left) while married women resent taxes taking away money that they would rather spend on their families. Overall the two groups of women cancel one-another out.
So WHY is the theory wrong? Simple. It takes Leftist claims about themselves at face value. Leftists claim to be motivated by caring and compassion so the theory takes that as given. But Leftists are chronic liars and twisters of the truth so to accept their own evaluation of themselves is close to moronic. The true nature of Leftists is revealed whenever they get untrammelled power -- as triumphant Communist movements do. When that happens they reveal themselves to be hate-filled totalitarians and mass murderers. Judge them by what they do, not by what they say. Do you really think that Harry Reid would be kind and motherly if he became leader of the Soviet Socialist States of the USA? The Koch brothers would certainly be dead 5 minutes later.
Fortunately or unfortunately, Leftists cannot hide totally their hateful intentions. Everything they enact tends to be destructive to the larger society -- from Obama's attempt to hike electricity prices via the EPA to the hike in medical costs engendered by Obamacare. So some people -- including women -- do ignore the fine words and reject the Left because of their destructive deeds
How angels arrange their affairs is unknown. We humans have only two approaches to the puzzles and battles of life: The first is from Mars and the second is from Venus.
It is Martian to confront a problem with blunt speech and unsparing honesty, and yet to welcome unsparing bluntness in return. It is Martian to attack the enemy at the strongest point of the line, and yet to treat a fallen foe with courtesy. It is Martian to command without backtalk, and to obey without complaint. The Mars approach is most useful when confronting problems that require courage, force, majesty, dispassionate intellect. Results matter; intentions don’t.
It is Venusian to negotiate around problems so as not to provoke a clash of wills. Venus seeks compromise, makes sacrifices and expects sympathy in return. Speech is indirect, diplomatic, because feelings are delicate, easily bruised. Venus avoids ultimatums, and uses speech to seek out secret motives. A Venusian does not call adversaries enemies, but patients, meant to be healed of their ignorance and fear.
The Venusian approach is never used between equals. The seductress beguiles and cajoles a man like breaking a horse, because he is too strong for her, and so she is indirect. Contrariwise, the mother does not want to bark commands at the child. She wants him to learn to volunteer without being asked. The mother molds his character as he will one day be child no more. Her thought is long-term. She wants to teach the child to fish, not feed him a fish. Failure is insignificant if the child’s motives were pure. (Because, after all, children do not lose wars when they fail, or cause economic depressions or the downfall of nations.)
Martians rule by formal law, law carved in stone, law enforced by policemen and hangmen. Mars likes Robert’s Rules of Order.
Venusians rule by social cues and peer pressure to establish pecking orders, bestow honors, snub pariahs, sooth social friction, set roles and expectations.
But peer pressure only works in artificial, civilized, non-productive situations, not a factory where someone counts the profits and losses, not a ball game where someone keeps score, not a war where someone pins ribbons on chests and someone else plants red poppies on graves.
The Martian approach is to do your job as agreed and to go home after, and what you do on your own time is no man’s damn business but yours. The Venusian is concerned with hearts and minds not with tasks and results, so Venus follows you home. She embraces the world.
When left to themselves in their own sphere — not interfering with results-oriented work — not only is the Venusians’ approach healthy, it is useful because it is a peacekeeping function.
Now, everyone reading these words knows exactly which sex is the direct one, suited by nature for war and confrontation; everyone knows which sex is the indirect one, suited by nature for domestic matters and diplomacy. It is a sign of our times that this obvious truth known to all is considered something obviously never to be admitted in public. This generation is as delicate of feeling and as prone to hysteria as matrons of the Victorian Age. In both cases, the hysterics faint at the merest mention of sex.
The two sexes I am discussing here are not male and female, but conservative and leftist.
Specifically, a conservative is one who deals with politics as if it were within the sphere of Mars. A leftist is one who deals with all of life, political as well as personal, as if it were within the sphere of Venus.
Consider each point mentioned above. Political Correctness attempts to soften hard truths and spare delicate feelings. Reason is too masculine and confrontational. Instead of overcoming a rational argument, the leftist merely ascribes a vile motive to the person speaking, and making him an unperson, a pariah, someone we pretend not to be able to hear. Leftists don’t expect to be punched in the face when they lie. Their weapon is gossip and slander, rumor and hysteria, smothering your viewpoint rather than refuting it
Likewise, there are no equals in the leftwing universe. The Nanny-state is condescending. Our worries about national debts or Jihadist threats are dismissed with a maternal tongue-cluck, tut-tut, and we are placated with welfare benefits like chocolate cookies.
When the leftist encounters rebuke, the emotional reaction is not one of a defeated knight shaking hands with his honorable vanquisher, but one of a woman scorned or a woman in mourning, of whose like hell hath no fury. It is the hate of a weak and effete inferior, a scalding hatred. Read Marx. He is from Venus. Adam Smith is from Mars.
Because the Venusian approach works through custom, leftists are lawless. They think everything should be an exception.
Because Venusians regard all rivalry as curable cases of ignorance and fear, they don’t argue rival viewpoints (that is too confrontational) they just declare the science to be settled and the debate to be over, and you to be a fearful dunce.
Because motherhood overlooks no detail of a slow-witted child’s upbringing, the leftist regulates the water volume in your toilet. They follow you home. The right pesters your life from sun to sun, but the pestering left is never done.
All these Venusian qualities are admirable (nay, they are adorable!) when kept in their proper orbit. Imagine a wall called civilization, which consists of coolheaded and hardhearted men willing to work terrible evil on evildoers lurking like wolves without the walls. Within is a domestic garden called convention, where the women raising children may be as softhearted and hotheaded as they wish so long as they do not erode the wall.
Both fail at the other’s task. A Martian will fail if he tries to command the garden of convention by force. The garden of convention must be ruled indirectly, voluntarily, because it is a matter of opinion, learning and character. Force destroys opinion, smothers learning and prevents character growth.
Likewise, Venusians will fail most horribly when they try to man the wall of politics, and take up the sword of law or the pike of war in their soft and feminine hands. The battlefield or factory floor is not a place for feelings, but results. Enemies are not spoiled children to be chided or placated, but slain. Compromise and simpering sacrifice are counterproductive here, because business rivals and bloodthirsty foes will merely exploit any sign of weakness and call you a fool.
Both fail at the other’s task, but both do not quit. Martians are results oriented. When they see their results in the garden are counterproductive, they stop their meddling and return to their duties on the wall.
But when Venusians fail, they redouble their efforts. They do not see their results are counterproductive because they act on faith and do not care about results. When their counterproductive efforts create a bigger problem in the realm of Mars, ruining factories, trampling rights or giving aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime, the Venusians conclude the bigger problem needs more Venus.
To put it charitably, the Venusians are not very analytical. But they are like a sobbing wife of a convict, the wife who never stops believing in him.
So the Venusian continues to negotiate and surrender with deaf and stubborn reality as if with a deaf and stubborn husband, thinking that if she makes just one sacrifice more, reality will relent. Alas, reality is from Mars.
When the world is healthy, Mars rules Venus because reality establishes the bounds and laws of the wall of civilization, within which the garden of convention is free to play.
But when Venus rules Mars, the world is demented.