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
06/18/2006 - 06/25/2006
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, October 04, 2003
SOCIAL DOMINANCE ORIENTATION: THE REPLY TO
We have never disputed the connection between classical conservatism (a la Edmund Burke), and the construct of SDO. We have merely tried to distill the hierarchy-enhancing aspects of this old ideology from many other components of "conservatism" which have no central or necessary connection with the disposition of societies to create and maintain group-based social hierarchies (e.g., traditionalism, religiosity, sexual restraint, belief in free-markets, devotion to freedom, etc.).
More importantly, however, social dominance theory (SDT)is NOT centrally about SDO, but rather about the interrelationships among the myriad mechanisms (e.g., individual differences, gendered-predispositions, social institutions, system-wide ideologies) that produce and re-produce group-based social hierarchy (where SDO simply plays one role) and how the tendency for society to organize itself hierarchically expresses itself in systems of racism, sexism, classism, ethnic domination, imperialism, etc. If one has not understood that Social Dominance Theory is about formation and maintenance of group-based dominance and NOT just about SDO, than one has not understood the theory at all.
I suggest you read our book, "Social Dominance: An Intergroup Theory of Social Hierarchy and Oppression" so that any further objections you might have to the theory are at least on a correct understanding of what the theory is about. Unfortunately, you are not the only one to think that SDT is just about SDO. If that were actually the case, then the theory would be thin indeed.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
A Man With No Racial Box to Check in 2003? -- From Melting Pot to Boxed-In Society
By Wayne Lusvardi, Pasadena, California
A book review of:
Dvora Yanow, Constructing "Race" and "Ethnicity" in America: Category Making
in Public Policy and Administration
(Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe Publishers, 2003).
In the 1920's a man with a box came to stay
In the 1930's the man with a box went away
In the 1940's a man with a box went beserk
In the 1950's the man with a box left for work
A man with a box could be loving and he knows it
But a man with a box don't work that way
A man with a box could be loving if he tried it
But his rain clouds are permanently gray
In the 1960's a man with a box opened up
In the 1970's a man with a box drained his cup
In the 1980's a man with a box came along
And in the 1990's a man with a box wrote this song
----Song lyrics from "A Man With A Box" by Salad
One might add to the above lyrics from the 1990's song "A Man With a Box" by
the New Wave genre musical group "Salad," that in the year 2003 a man came
along in the State of California with a proposal to go without a box to
check for racial and ethnic categories on government forms, employment and
college applications, and a host of other official public documents. That
man's name is Ward Connerly, who happens to be a black Republican
businessman in California, who has spearheaded the placing on the October
2003 ballot what is called The Racial Privacy Act. And like the lyrics to
the uncannily prophetic song above, the timing of the vote for or against
the Racial Privacy Act comes along at a time when metaphorically speaking
the "rain clouds are permanently gray," as the concurrent historical recall
of California Governor "Gray" Davis has cast a cloud over the whole
The Racial Privacy Act - Proposition 54- has been roundly denounced by a
united front of:
· Health, education, and welfare organizations
· Public employee and farm worker unions
· Legal and civil rights organizations including the NAACP and the ACLU
· Health advocacy and provider agencies including former Democratic
appointed U.S. Surgeon Generals Jocelyn Elders and C. Everett Koop
· Public officials including Governor Gray Davis and including Los
Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and nearly every elected and appointed state
official since the Democratic Party holds a majority in both houses of the
· Numerous university educators, teachers associations, and faculty
associations unsurprisingly including a disproportionate number from
women's, black, Asian, and Latino studies programs.
· The "Faith Community" including several prominent ministers from
Black and Black Muslim churches.
· Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO's) and public utility
· Numerous ethnic, racial, and professional advocacy organizations not
coincidentally including the American Sociological Association, National
Association of Social Workers, San Francisco Black Firefighters Association,
Chinese for Affirmative Action, Latino Peace Officers of Santa Clara County,
and MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund), but oddly
including such organizations as the Anti-Defamation League and the
Intergroup Clearing House to Stop Hate Crimes.
· Republican Gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger.
· Conservative social scientist James Q. Wilson of UCLA and Pepperdine
University (father of "broken windows" crime policy).
The list of opponents runs over 550 organizations and individuals on the No
On Prop 54 webpage. No on Prop 54 has blitzed the media with over thirty
editorials in major state and national media. Remarkably absent from the
list of those opposing Prop 54 are any of the mainline Protestant or
Catholic religious denominations. Of the seventy some educational
organizations and university professors opposed to Prop 54 only two identify
themselves from the hard sciences and mathematics and the remainder are from
the soft sciences, with a heavy representation from sociology and history.
The list of those endorsing the initiative on the Yes on Prop. 54 webpage
· Prominent Black conservatives academics and authors such as Thomas
Sowell, Shelby Steele, and Walter Williams.
· Conservative columnist George Will.
· Gay advocates such as the Log Cabin Republicans and lesbian talk radio host and author Tammy Bruce
· Civil rights activist Charles Michael Byrd of Interracial Voice
· The Libertarian Party of California
· Perhaps sociologically interesting, the Italian Cultural Society of the City of Sacramento, California (see below).
According to the Prop 54 webpage, its proponents have only had about
ten articles published in major media. The list of endorsers numbers about
135 on the Yes on Prop. 54 website and includes the surnames of individuals
from a broad array of ethnic and racial identities. There is an observed
tendency for more of the academics listed on the For Prop 54 website to be
from the hard sciences, economics, and psychology.
Proposition 54 has been mischaracterized by its opposition as
prohibiting the collection of valuable health data by race and ethnicity, as
threatening public safety allegedly by its inability to describe crime
suspects by skin color or ethnicity, as resulting in an incapacity to track
housing discrimination, as jeopardizing race categorical Federal funds, as
sidetracking affirmative action, and as generally "racist." These objections
can be readily refuted by anyone who can access the Yes On Prop 54 website
where they will find that the wording of the proposition exempts health
agencies, law enforcement, Federal funding programs, the U.S. Census, and
academic research. But most of the public rarely bases their votes on
rational information but on what sociologists call "plausibility structures"
and the "spin" created by mass media. As the French social thinker Alexis
de Tocqueville noted about the newspaper in 1845 is still true only more so
with respect to the ability of broadcast media to reach vast audiences: "It
speaks to each of its readers in the name of all the rest." With respect to
political issues sociologist Diana Mutz has observed: "people are responding
to a media-created pseudo-environment" rather than on rational information
or their own personal experiences (see Diana C. Mutz, Impersonal Influence:
How Perceptions of Mass Collectives Affect Political Attitudes, Cambridge
University Press, 1998).
So if the outcome of Prop 54 will be determined more by mass media than
the rational merits of the proposed new law, the critical question becomes
who are we to believe on this contentious issue given that so much of the
media spin on Prop 54 is misinformation promulgated by those who have a
vested interest in its defeat?
A principle borrowed from social psychology called "cognitive
dissonance" can perhaps guide us. Cognitive dissonance is defined in the
Encarta World Dictionary as "a state of psychological conflict resulting
from a contradiction between a person's simultaneously held beliefs or
attitudes (or behaviors)." The cognitive dissonance concept asserts that
people seek to reduce discrepancies between their beliefs and the facts on
any given issue. The public seeks views that are consonant with their
belief systems. Thus, when deciding on how to vote on political issues, one
should often look for those whose views are not consonant with their own
self- interest and run counter to their social location.
One such voice presently stands out from the political crowd on Prop 54, but
to my knowledge has not been heard. A recent book by a woman sociologist of
all people, named Dvora Yanow, from of all places California State
University at Hayward, perhaps meets the "cognitive dissonance" test
articulated above. Yanow is an academic sociologist who works for one of the
very educational institutions that would be affected by Prop 54. Yanow's
book Constructing "Race" and "Ethnicity" in America: Category Making in
Public Policy and Administration (M.E. Sharpe Inc., 2003) has received no
known attention in the media as to shedding light on Prop 54. This is
perhaps because Yanow's book appears to transcend politics and was not
written as an apology for Prop. 54. Yanow's personal website reveals little
about her political views or party affiliation. To this reviewer's
knowledge Yanow, to her credit, has not endorsed or opposed Prop 54.
Yanow's book is an intriguing historical overview of the use of racial
and ethnic categories by government bureaus. Her book is chocked full of
government affirmative action forms, college applications, vendor
certification forms, housing fair lending notices, job training forms, and
police department statistical crime report forms. Perhaps most amusing is a
"Matrix for Generating Race/Ethnicity of a Child" by the California
Department of Health Services that is reminiscent of something out of a Rube
Goldberg cartoon. Without trying to single out any agency for blame or
praise, in one chapter she tabulates the inconsistent racial and ethnic
categories used by the many bureaucratic agencies in the state of
California. Her thesis is that race and ethnicity have always been
state-constructed categories and are an "anthropological and scientific
joke." Her book points out the absurdity of trying to categorize people of
mixed race, people who can pass as white, of categorizing criminals by
eye-balling, of lumping groups that have nothing in common, such as
Asian-Pacific Islander, and of obscuring more important groupings such as
poor whites. She believes racial and ethnic categories are proxies for group
origin identity stories. But Yanow asks "why are identity stories largely
confined to race-ethnic terms, especially when those terms aren't real?"
She states that the continuing use of such categories runs against the grain
of classical liberalism and what it means to be American. She reminds us
that the public has apparently largely forgotten the Nazi regime in which
population control and genocide depended on race-ethnic labeling and marking
by central government.
In a closing chapter entitled "Changing (Ac)Counting Practices:
Meditation on a Problem," Yanow minces few words when she states that racial
and ethnic categories have become the "foundations for the redistribution of
wealth in the form of various publicly funded programs and eligibilities for
their services." She emphatically states:
"Yet we cannot - I cannot conceive of a way in which we can - achieve a socially egalitarian society when we constantly remind ourselves, almost daily, of differences of the sort that are built - conceptually, cognitively, linguistically - into the race-ethnic language that we use. The categories "sell" concepts of race and ethnicity through dispassionate documents and administrative means that most people would not give a second thought to, but that have material consequences...It seems to me, in light of the preceding case examples, quite evident that in order to achieve a socially just society, we need to give up these ways of counting ourselves and find others....Yet perhaps it is time to stop using race-ethnicity as a proxy for economic and behavioral problems, lest our very language continue to perpetuate inequality... Race and ethnicity data, as established under the
OMB (Federal Office of Management and Budget) definitions and Guidelines, provide ways of naming discriminatory practices and seeking legal redress, and they legitimate and provide credibility for claims for governmental assistance (funds for schools, hospitals, health services, Housing, jobs, etc.) and political representation."
Yanow sees a need for some racial and ethnic categories as long as
they meet the Hippocratic test of "doing no harm." But Yanow believes that
real harm results from the current use of race and ethnic categories by
government by: 1) sustaining categories that have no "reality status"; 2)
creating lumpy categories that are illogical and artificial; and 3) imputing
importance to racial and ethnic traits that mask other more important
aspects such as socio-economic status. Yanow believes that we need to
rethink and reframe racial and ethnic categories, but points out that the
process won't be easy.
However, a weakness of Yanow's book for politicians is that she avoids
devising any new categories that might eliminate some of the abuses of the
widely accepted five category system presently used on government forms
(e.g., White, Black, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander, and American
Indian-Alaskan Native). Yanow's book would have been complemented by recent
sociological research on how Italian Americans were once considered as
"non-White," but eventually became "White" (see Jennifer Guglielmo and
Salvatore Salerno, Are Italians White? How Race is Made in America,
Routledge Publishers, 2003). Not widely known in academia or the media is
that 600,000 Americans of Italian-American descent were forced to carry
identification cards during World War II, were restricted from freedom of
movement, 10,000 were forced to relocate, and even baseball hero Joe
DiMaggio's mother was deported to Italy (see Una Storia Segreta: The Secret
History of Italian American Evacuation and Internment during World War II,
Heyday Books, 2001). How did Italian-American immigrants assimilate without
all the redistribution programs of today even though many were identifiably
different by skin color and other physical attributes? How did Italian
Americans avoid the sense of entitlement that pervades so many groups that
immigrate to the United States today? Why haven't Italian Americans come
forward with claims for special treatment under Affirmative Action programs?
Perhaps the reason that the Italian-Americans have been largely ignored is
that their story contradicts the victimology paradigm prevalent in most of
academia and enshrined in government programs.
Yanow's book is a nuanced and balanced contribution and, as such,
perhaps does not lend itself to being used as ammunition for the proponents
or the opponents of Prop 54. Quoting Yanow again:
"I am convinced that we must stop giving accounts of ourselves in
terms of the five gross, lumpy race-ethnic categories (White, Black,
Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander, American Indian-Alaskan Native): they
create, impose, and maintain identities that are, by and large, not
embracing of individuals' lived experiences and, because of the baggage of
meaning that they carry, detrimental to human dignity. And yet, as
convinced as I am of that position, I am equally convinced of the fact that
we need modes of storytelling for collective and individual identity
purposes, including a story of national origins."
Yanow gives us no indication if she has a position on Prop 54. But she
makes it clear that she believes the current categorical system should be
abolished. Perhaps Prop 54 would bring about what Yanow calls for: the need
to devise new and more meaningful categorizations or qualifications for
government assistance and Affirmative Action programs than race and
ethnicity, if not to abolish such programs altogether.
Dvora Yanow is a lone voice in the media wilderness so to speak that
deserves to be heard on the issue of Prop 54. Her book contains some
interesting quotes at the beginning of each chapter. It is perhaps fitting
that we close this book review with the following excerpted quote from a
noted Black scholar:
"The mistake is to assume that birth certificates
and biographical sketches and all the other documents
generated by the modern bureaucratic state
reveal an anterior truth - that they are merely
signs of an independent existing identity.
But in fact they constitute it.
The social meaning of race is established
By these identity papers - by certificates...
And all the other verbal artifacts that proclaim race
to be real and, by that proclamation, make it so."
--- Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Wayne Lusvardi, Pasadena, California, holds masters degrees in social and
public administration and has completed extensive graduate work in
sociology, and works for a large government water utility in the
southwestern United States. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
On the Record
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."- President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."- Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."- Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others, Oct. 9, 1998
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998
"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999
"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."-Letter to President Bush, signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL) and others, Dec, 5, 2001
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."- Sen. Carl Levin (d, MI), Sept. 19, 2002
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."- Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002
"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working
aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002
"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do"- Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 1, 2002
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002
"[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real..."- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003
NOW, THE DEMOCRATS SAY PRESIDENT BUSH LIED, THAT THERE NEVER WERE ANY WMD'S, AND THAT HE TOOK US TO WAR FOR HIS OIL BUDDIES.
Sunday, September 28, 2003
Mussolini tried to undercut Hitler, historian says
By Associated Press
Rome - Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini once privately suggested that the Vatican consider excommunicating Adolf Hitler, a historian said Saturday, citing a document recently disclosed by the Holy See. Experts were surprised by the document, but noted that Mussolini's remark came in April, 1938, the year before he sealed a wartime alliance with the Nazi leader.
Professor Emma Fattorini pointed out that Hitler had invaded Austria shortly before Mussolini's reported remark. The Italian dictator was worried about his own borders, she said. She speculated that Mussolini's aim was "to weaken Hitler and have more power himself, to do it in a way that the Church would stop Hitler a bit." The Hitler-Mussolini relationship was always ambivalent, she said. "They love each other, they hate each other, they study each other," she said.
The Vatican document describes an April 10, 1938, meeting between the go-between from the Holy See to Mussolini, Rev. Pietro Tacchi Venturi and Pope Pius XI. Tacchi Venturi told the pope about his private talks with Mussolini three days earlier. According to the document, Mussolini had advised the Vatican envoy "that it would be worth while with Hitler to be more forceful, without half-measures; not right away, not immediately, but waiting for the most opportune moment to adopt more forceful measures, for example, excommunication." Hitler was born into a Roman Catholic family, but did not practise the faith.
It was not clear how the Vatican reacted to Mussolini's suggestion. Ms. Fattorini said the Holy See has not released other documents that would help explain the case. Dennis Mack Smith, the author of a Mussolini biography, said the Italian leader often made casual suggestions of this type, reflecting his initial doubts about Hitler. "He's not too keen on him in 1938," said Mack Smith, the author of a Mussolini biography. "Hitler actually asked Mussolini for a formal alliance in the course of 1938, but Mussolini doesn't accept this until 1939. Until then, it's something Hitler wanted, but something Mussolini didn't want. He was trying to keep his distance a bit."
In February, the Vatican opened to researchers archives covering its relations with Germany from 1922-39; many other documents are still secret. The Holy See made the 1922-39 documents available years ahead of schedule in a bid to deflect criticism that it was silent in the face of the Holocaust.
A central figure of criticism is Pope Pius XII, who succeeded Pius XI in 1939 and was pontiff throughout the Second World War. The Vatican has strongly defended the actions of the wartime pope.