Emails and articles of interest are posted here by John Ray to make them more widely available
"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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
"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 well-informed 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.
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.
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
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
"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.
Conservatives, on the other hand could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the 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.
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.
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, 1931–2005: "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
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
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.
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
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 black adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old. 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.
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."
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
Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?
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.
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?
Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here
Mirror for "Dissecting Leftism"
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MONOGRAPH ON LEFTISM
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Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
What are Leftists
Psychology of Left
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Pyszczynski et al.
Cautionary blogs about big Australian companies:
St. George bank
Bank of Qld.
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04/09/2006 - 04/16/2006
04/16/2006 - 04/23/2006
05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006
05/14/2006 - 05/21/2006
06/04/2006 - 06/11/2006
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07/23/2006 - 07/30/2006
08/06/2006 - 08/13/2006
08/13/2006 - 08/20/2006
09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006
12/24/2006 - 12/31/2006
02/18/2007 - 02/25/2007
03/04/2007 - 03/11/2007
05/13/2007 - 05/20/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/08/2007
08/05/2007 - 08/12/2007
03/30/2008 - 04/06/2008
12/05/2010 - 12/12/2010
Saturday, August 23, 2003
ARE ALL LEFTISTS THE SAME
All Leftists and all conservatives are obviously not the same so the fact that I tend to lump them all together in some of the things I write does draw the occasional not unreasonable protest. An example from a recent email to me by a moderate Leftist follows:
“I just finished reading one of your articles -- on how it is in fact the left, not the right, which can be characterized as having an authoritarian-complex. As someone who tends to sympathize much more with the left than with the right, I find myself nonetheless greatly interested in much of what you have to say. We shouldn't get so wrapped up in our adgendas and labels to the point where we are unable (unwilling?) to hear what others have to say.
I am curious about whether at least part of the problem you talk about is one of labels -- and I am sure that you are sensitive to this fact yourself, as the care you give to defining your terms clearly shows. Namely, what you call "the right" and "conservative": the philosophy underlying these terms seems to me to be "libertarianism". Or would you disagree? I didn't come across this term in the article I read of yours, nor did I see you cite J.S. Mill, or other proponents of utilitarianist-leaning political philosophies.
I only bring it up because what "libertarianism" entails is fairly unambiguous (in the sense that people who are OK with labeling themselves as adhering to it will tend to have a lot of things that they agree upon), whereas "the right" seems to me to be a much trickier term to use. Is there a "typical rightist"? Or, another way of approaching this -- is the way you are defining "the right" a way that all, or even most, (people who would characterize themselves as) "rightists" agree to?
I think it is great that you are apt at pointing out how certain (most?) people on the left are condescending about looking at how it is impossible that any right-thinking person could be on the Right (e.g. the Berkeley study, which pretty much concludes that only close-minded bigots can resist the left). It is partly for this reason that I am perplexed about why you would want to conflate leftism in Western Democracies with Stalin & Pol Pot.
I suspect that the "truth" (whatever it may be -- I don't claim to know it through-and-through) about what makes "the left" tick is complex, just as it is for "the right" (or "conservatism", or "libertarianism").
Good to hear from you. I address the issues you raise at greater length in my monograph but that does take over 200 pages! See here
But you are right about libertarianism. Since Reagan it has been the most influential strain of conservative thought. But I show in my monograph that anti-big-government thinking has been the major theme in conservative thinking for many centuries.
I lump the American Left in with the European Left simply because the American Left always admired and defended Communism in the days of Stalin and they still treat the Communist Castro like a God today. I just listen to what American Leftist intellectuals actually say, in other words. THEY make the classification of politics into a simple Left/Right camp really easy.
I might also have added...
Anybody closely involved with politics does see all sorts of distinctions between different political groups but IN THE GENERAL POPULATION it is a lot simpler. Instead of politics being multidimensional, all we find in survey data is that good old simplistic Left/Right divide. Reality does not co-operate well with our fine distinctions. See here. So individual Leftists will have all sorts of views but Leftists overall still have lots in common -- and it is what they have in common that I normally focus on.
Some readers might also quarrel with my claim that libertarian thinking has been a dominant influence on conservatives in recent decades. “What about the neocons”? is an obvious challenge. My reply is simply that the neocons did not historically take much interest in economics and so left that field pretty much to the libertarians. The neocons were primarily anti-Communist and are still mainly concerned with foreign policy. I do however take anti-Communism as being a given for conservatives so see the only innovative influence on conservatives as being libertarianism -- with its vigorous revival of free-market thinking.
Friday, August 22, 2003
THE HUMAN FALLOUT
This is an email from honestreporting.com that for some reason does not appear on their website
On Tuesday evening a Palestinian suicide terrorist struck a packed Jerusalem bus, killing twenty and injuring more than one hundred. One aspect of this attack made it uniquely barbaric -- the bus was filled with young children on summer vacation, on their way home from worshiping with their families at the Western Wall. With at least seven children dead and more than forty still wounded, this one has become known in Israel, with a heavy heart, as "The Children's Attack."
Yet many news outlets chose to focus their main reports on the diplomatic implications of Tuesday's attack. Reuters, for example, headlined a story "Bus Blast in Israel Deals Deadly Blow to Truce."
While the political fallout of the bombing is significant, "the story" of a terror attack ?\ especially one targeting children ?\ is far more than diplomatic. With scores of parents still nursing or mourning their children, and children mourning their parents, some reporters submitted human interest stories on the human fallout of this particularly heinous attack:
-- James Bennet of The New York Times wrote a poignant article describing the funeral of a baby, and doctors' noble efforts to treat child terror victims.
-- Associated Press addressed the excruciating difficulties of reuniting families victimized by the blast.
-- The Washington Post ran a touching profile of the child victims of the attack, entitled "Special Sorrow for the Young."
This is a human interest story about Israeli victims that demands broad coverage. Did your local paper print such a story?
HonestReporting encourages subscribers to call the editors of your local paper right now, and urge them to run a follow-up, human interest account of Tuesday's barbaric murder of Jerusalem children and families. Five Americans were also killed in the attack -- a further reason for local human interest in the U.S. (Your local paper can run one of the aforementioned articles, which are easily available for reprint.)
REUTERS' "HUMAN" INTEREST--
Reuters also released a sympathetic, human interest profile -- on the life of the terrorist bomber. Reuters encourages readers to rationalize his monstrous act, describing how the "academic cleric...was embittered by ill treatment" in an Israeli jail, and "infuriated by Israel's killing this month of a distant relative." Further, Reuters confers a modicum of credibility to his mass murder by blandly grouping him among "militants waging a 34-month-old uprising for independence."
On the Israeli side, Reuters did release an article on the religious community hit hardest by the blast. The article, however, was largely a cold, sociological overview that referred to the people as "menfolk" who don "heavy dark frocks and headgear."
Apparently, this is the best Reuters can muster to humanize Israeli terror victims.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
THE IRISH MIRACLE
Ireland is one of the great economic success stories of the last decade. In the mid-1980s, unemployment reached 17 percent, emigration had soared, and government deficits grew so large that IMF intervention became a real prospect. But by the end of 2000, Ireland had reversed its course -- economic growth had reached 10 percent per year in the late 1990s and tens of thousands of emigrants returned home to new jobs.
Professor James B. Burnham explains the reasons for Ireland's change of fortune in an insightful article, "Why Ireland Boomed," from the Spring 2003 issue of THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW.
"The adage 'fortune favors the well prepared' applies especially well to the Irish case," writes Burnham. What happened on the Emerald Island resulted not from a policy revolution but from piecemeal policy changes in a few key sectors, especially deregulation in transportation and telecommunications, tax and spending cuts, and educational reform. Consider two of Ireland's most visible reforms.
"In 1980, Ireland's telecommunications system was perhaps the worst in western Europe." Not only was the government telecom agency expensive and inefficient, it was the largest employer in the country -- a fact that made full privatization a political non-starter. Nevertheless, the innovations that were occurring in the industry meant that the gains from telecom reform -- incomplete though it was -- were impressive nonetheless. About half the jobs gained during the 1990s involved international trade and financial services -- industries that rely on good telecommunications.
Transportation deregulation also contributed significantly to Ireland's boom -- especially "the breaking of Aer Lingus's near monopoly on cross-channel flights to England." As with telecom reform, air transportation was not deregulated fully -- but even partial deregulation had a huge positive effect. Cheaper air transportation brought an influx of financial and human capital. "English tourists and Irish immigrants in the UK alike responded to the lowered costs of transportation to Ireland; businessmen at both ends found that the cost of developing markets across the Irish Sea had been reduced suddenly and drastically." Imagine if Ireland had deregulated fully.
"In short, Ireland serves as a valuable case study to illustrate how large the payoffs can be from better economic policies in the presence of favorable external factors. The lessons learned may have particular relevance for smaller countries and for regions within larger ones, where the dependence on 'external markets' is extremely high and monetary policy in large part is determined elsewhere."
See "Why Ireland Boomed," by James B. Burnham (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Spring 2003)
Monday, August 18, 2003
An email from an Australian reader
The Irving Kristol article you highlighted certainly gives a better definition of the neocons than the unresearched and ignorant ramblings of Australia's op-ed pundits. These pundits seem surprised to discover that many people change their political views over time.
As I read Kristol, the US neocons are for all intents and purposes very, very moderate social democrats. And 'realist' social democrats at that. They are 'realists', both in economics and geopolitics. They know that old fashioned socialist state planning doesn't work and that consumer society is here to stay. They would rather regulate business than nationalise it. They also know that international conflict is not resolved by wishful thinking.
In Australian terms they probably have their closest match with the right wing or “centre unity” (CU) faction of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). The main difference is foreign policy. As the term 'neocon' has mainly been publicised here in the wake of the Iraq war debate this has been obscured. The CU-ALPers are more hung up on the UN than their US neocon peers. Of course Centre Unity Laborites aren't quite as misty eyed about the UN and globaloney as the ALP left and the Greens, who haven't seen an international treaty they wouldn't sign.
If Australia were a super-power the CU-ALP would almost certainly mimic the US neocon position. Why pay for a military and foreign aid machine and have free riding, non-paying Europeans telling you how to run it? As realists the CU-ALP would like to influence US foreign policy so 'talking up' international institutions is a good tactic for them from our non-superpower position. To a certain extent the CU-ALP are also willing to pay lipservice to globaloney in order to keep their Left coalition partners on board. In New Zealand, Labour Prime Minister David Lange let the left have their head with anti-american foreign policy to allow him to ram through his market oriented economic reform agenda. If the left were to defect from their coalition, their electoral chances would sink.
The ALP is of course a "coalition party" just as our Liberal/National Party conservatives are. The ALP coalition is comprised of two major parties, called "factions" that operate as parties within the party. The CU and the Socialist Left. There is a less well organised Centre-Left grouping and a few independents (including a few rural members from WA who were closer to the populist “One Nation” party than anyone else).
My nomination for Australia's arch neocon is the ALP’s former leader, Kim Beazley. On a recent “Lateline” show he made no bones about his and the ALP leadership's commitment to support sending forces to support the US in the event of a conflict on the Korean peninsula. I suspect his forthrightness here shocked many on the left and right.
As a small government conservative, I can appreciate their realism and the more restrained approach to expanding the social democratic state. This applies equally to the American neocons and the CU-ALP ---- at least compared to their Left Social Democrat (LSD) addicted coalition allies.
However they seem blind to fact that power once centralised tends to expand. This is not a Hayekian nightmare but an observation made by many political observers over the centuries from diverse philosophic positions. The liberal Catholic Lord Acton and democratic socialist George Orwell are but two examples. This blindness itself may represent wishful thinking, an exception to an otherwise admirable realist outlook. Of course another weakness of realists is sometimes lack of imagination. This may account for their view that big government is 'inevitable'.
Sunday, August 17, 2003
The Communist Manifesto
By C.J. Maloney
“Man is wolf to man”
In the Grimm brothers' fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood", the little girl
of the title gets eaten by the wolf because, with the wolf wearing her
grandmother's bedclothes, she doesn't recognize the danger until too late.
Likewise, many have fallen for communism because it is frequently cloaked in
sweet sounding rhetoric. Calls for brotherhood, peace, and equality are the
bedclothes hiding communism's base nature.
Despite the end of the Cold War, the Communist Manifesto is still pertinent today because socialism is currently the strongest ideological force in America. Socialism, as shown by all the fascist and communist regimes of our last -- and our current -- century, was, and is, a system which has bought nothing but slavery to the people. Due to our flawed nature, freedom, our Founding Wigged Ones counseled us, must be re-claimed by every generation. It behooves us to be able to recognize a would be tyrant. How does one spot a scoundrel unless you can recognize his methods of seduction? A reading of the Communist Manifesto reveals the wolf under the bedclothes of socialist rhetoric.
“You cause as much sorrow dead, as you did when you were alive”
The maxim that “ideas can be dangerous” is given life when one reads such books as the Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, and Earth in the Balance. Karl Marx, the author of this slender book was a very well regarded "Victorian gentlemen” according to Oxford professor Mr. A.J.P. Taylor, the very pro-Communist college teacher who wrote my copy’s forword. (He calls the book, whose ideas led to the extermination of one-hundred million innocents, a “good deed for mankind”. A perfect fit for Oxford’s faculty he surely made.) He also describes Marx as “ruthless”, having a “weakness for personal abuse”, and that “he could endure no rival for the throne”. Just the guy you want to organize your perfect world, Mr. Taylor, nice pick.
It takes a man with an unshakable belief in his own infallibility to exterminate people he deems expendable. Thus, it pays for the people to be leery of anyone who absolves their plans of all human frailty; which is exactly what Marx did. In the preface to the 1872 German edition, he states that with the passage of time, “the manifesto has become a historical document which we have no longer any right to alter” because he, God’s gift to mankind, had it all figured out. Marx, like all his proteges, bore criticism poorly.
The violent streak inherent to all of a utopian mindset comes from another source as well. Because their plans for society cannot be defended with reason, they must defend it through the use of force. Marx’s labor theory of value, which underpins all communist theories of the workers’ “exploitation” is based upon a childishly ridiculous lack of economic knowledge which permits no rational supporting argument.
Marx posits in the Manifesto that something is worth however much “labor” you put into it. And picking up the football from there, he runs with it. In fact, something is worth whatever someone else is willing to pay you for it. You just hope you’ll make a profit on it -- just ask the former employees of eToys. You cannot defend, or install, an economic system based on such a bone-headed theory without using force. Marx most certainly knew this, he rose at the first Communist League meeting in 1847 London and “denounced brotherhood in the name of class war”. And the Communist Manifesto, based upon the argument that all history is the history of class warfare, is a call to arms -- in the most literal sense of the term.
Our Founding Fathers warned of the dangers to peace and prosperity bought about by factions, and set about to design a government to moderate their influence. Marx, on the other hand, specifically designed a form of government that promotes faction, and urges those created to attack designated “social scum”. The violence and slaughter inherit to all communist regimes is due not to aberrations from Marxist principles but from their faithful implementation.
“For what separates liberals from the extreme left is disagreement over the means.”
Though communism as a political force has been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of all but the willfully ignorant, its ideological underpinnings are alive and well in contemporary American politics.
Mr. A.J.P. Taylor himself describes Communist economic ideas as being “not very different from those later formulated by J.M. Keynes”, who is the patron saint of Big Government. Many of the measures called for in the Communist Manifesto have come to pass in our own land. A “progressive income tax” (which destroys the principle of equality before the law and promotes factionalism), “abolition of the right of inheritance” (the immortal “death tax”), the creation of a “national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly” (the Fed), and “free education for all children in public schools” (our crackerjack New York City school system) have been law since long before I was born.
Among other proposals Marx calls for are the abolition of all property, and he made sure to bring such a policy to include the people’s very bodies. “Equal liability of all to labor”, “the creation of industrial armies”, and “a more equitable distribution of the population over the country” are clearly stated as part and parcel to communism. The enslavement of the people, the forcing of the rural farmers into collectivist farms, the ruthless disregard of human life, and the forced migration of people are all plainly spelled out in those proposals. For those who actually sat down and read it, the Communist Manifesto makes clear that it is specifically designed to enslave the masses- and exterminate all who are deemed expendable.
Despite communism’s blatant call for tyranny and slaughter, it would be unkind, though not unjust, to laugh at all those who fell, and continue to fall, under its spell. They probably did not even read the Manifesto -- most people don’t read the instructions that come with their new coffee maker let alone an entire political treatise outlining the party they follow. How many of the angry little twerps down on St. Mark’s Place -- wearing their repulsive Che Guevera t-shirts -- have actually sat down and read this thing? For that matter, how many NYYRC members have read the Federalist Papers?
We always have been, and always will be, doomed to repeat history because most people find books on politics and history too boring to sit through.
“I heard it was you, talking about a world where all is free,
That just couldn’t be, only a fool would say that”
The lure of socialism, the source of its strength in modern American politics, comes from the fact that it speaks to that most easily spoken to of the Seven Deadly Sins -- mankind’s greed. Nothing gets someone into a vicious lather more easily than the promise that he can live off the fruits of someone else’s labor. The lure of looting is strong; like all base instincts it resides in each of us. And if you task yourself with the creation of a system of government which protects man’s God-given rights, it’s not a good idea to base that system on the principle of greed -- which is exactly what socialism does. Socialist calls for the expropriation of others’ property strikes a chord in mankind’s base nature.
There are many who call the Communist Manifesto a revolutionary document. It is far from it. Communism calls for the submission of the individual to the collective, the oldest and most prevalent form of political organization the world has ever known. The ideal of communism is distinctly reactionary, it is a call not to march forward, but to step back into our primitive past. Communism is about as revolutionary and ground-breaking as Mariah Carey’s “Glitter” album.
The Communist Manifesto is as rabidly reactionary today as it was one hundred and fifty odd years ago. The main difference is that today many of the ideological underpinnings for communism -- such as the wish for equality of results and the promotion of centralized power -- have much more favor among those in power than in the past. With the horror show that socialism put on for us in the very recent past, this should be surprising, but humanity’s flawed nature makes it sadly understandable.
Ronald Reagan was known to read the Worker’s World Daily on a regular basis. He understood that the best and most effective way to fight would be tyrants is to use their own words and ideas against them. Marx wrote that “communists disdain to conceal their views and aims”. The Manifesto, the greatest of socialist political treatises, shows just how true those words are. This makes it an invaluable read for those who wish to recognize the wolf under the bedclothes.
This article was written by a New York Young Republican