Black racism again
If a group of whites had objected to a Chinese sculptor being used to portray an heroic white political figure, what would have been the reaction?
The selection of a Chinese sculptor to carve a three-story monument to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall is raising questions about what part of his legacy should be celebrated.
King promoted peace and understanding among all people. His primary fight, however, was to win particular opportunities for blacks in the United States by juxtaposing the plight of an oppressed people against a message of freedom and democracy. A loose-knit but growing group of critics says a black artist - or at least an American - should have been chosen to create the King memorial between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials in the nation's capital. They have been joined by human rights advocates who say King would have abhorred the Chinese government's record on religious and civil liberty.
"They keep saying King was for everyone. I keep telling people, 'No, King wasn't for everyone. King was for fairness and justice,"' said Gilbert Young, a black painter from Atlanta who has started a Web site and a petition drive to try to change the project. "I believe that black artists have the right to interpret ourselves first," Young said. "If nobody steps up to the plate to do that, then certainly pass it along to someone else."
The memorial foundation directing the project seems surprised at the criticism. Ten of the 12 people on the committee that chose the sculptor, Lei Yixin, are black. Lei is working closely on the design with two black sculptors in the U.S., organizers said, and the overall project is being directed by a black-owned architecture firm. The foundation also points to King's preaching - in a quote that will be incorporated into the monument - that to achieve peace, humans must "transcend race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective." "The bottom line is Dr. King's message that we should judge a person not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character," said Harry Johnson, the foundation's president and chief executive. "In this situation, we're talking about the artistic character."
Lei, designated a master sculptor by the Chinese government, is one of nine artists in the field who are considered national treasures in China. He has carved monuments to many of the country's national figures, including Mao Zedong, father of communist China.
Britain in Meltdown
As an Englishman I am dismayed, to put it lightly, at Britain's continuing meltdown. Our so called institutions are falling apart. The government is at best incompetent, the Anglian church ineffectual, and the poor old military-overstretched, undermanned and dangerously short of equipment. Ten years of `New Labour' under the malevolentcontrol of Blair and Brown has seen our public services wrecked, the pensions of millions of diligent workers destroyed, and society falling apart. Only this week we have seen an 11 year old boy gunned down in a British city, possibly by a 12 year old. How bad must things get before action is taken. The Judiciary have lost the plot, a serial child-molester just got a community rehabilitation order, murderers are given light sentences, and illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes have their `human rights' put before those of the victims. The Police spend half their time on paper work the other handing out speeding fines. Only when there is a `media' driven crime is there anything done. If someone breaks into house make them a cup of tea and offer them your wife, because thats all that is going to save you!
The spin of the Blair years has now been replaced by the arrogance of the `Stalinist' policies of Gordon Brown. The results will be the same just presented in a different way. Brown has had some good press coverage, coming from an acquiescent media, giving gravitas after Blair's `Hollywoodisation' of giving an interview. People are too quick to forget that almost all of Britains internal policies have been `controlled' by Brown for many years-'he who holds the purse strings etc'. Money has been thrown at the public services without any regard for cost control or accountability, unheard of in the private sector, with the resulting finantial carnage we see today.
The Military have had regiments cut, funding reduced (in comparison with other departments), and have been thrown to the lions in Iraq and Afghanistan by a government that has no understanding of how it works or what it needs. Not one single member of the government in the last 10 years has served in the military so what do you expect. Several were members of CND (The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) including Blair. They have an active dislike of all things military, but will use them if there is a good headline in it. See Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. They send troops willy-nilly to all the worlds trouble spots (which I support) but with out the right equipment and ROE to win. Yet they will not touch Zimbabwe because of the Foreign Office's misplaced guilt over the Empire, and their love of all nutters everywhere.
The Church of England has been `neutered', by a succession of weak and ineffectual Archbishops of Canterbury. This is a political appointment and which Prime Minister is going to appoint someone who is going to stand up to them. Militant Islam is gaining support due to the governments refusal to act against the `Preachers of Hate'. People who do not accept British Law, prefering to impose Sharia on a subservient population, are using those same British Laws to protect themselves to the benefit of a growing number of dodgy lawyers.
As for the future: Well a Brown victory at the next election will bring more of the same. Worse still Silly Hilly in the White House will cause global chaos. A weak America will allow all those who are at odds with us to run riot. As long as they do not attack America directly they will be safe. Just remember that `lil Billy's idea of fighting the 'War on Terror' was to use his intern as a humidor. The 21st Century is going to be bloodier than the last.
In a period of two weeks during August, more than 11,000 elderly French men and women died of heat stroke. It is important to note this is not nearly the scandal in France that it would be in America. In fact, upon hearing the news, French president Jacques Chirac decided to stay on vacation in Quebec, Canada. Why not? Because, in the words of British historian Paul Johnson, the French - like most Europeans, and like most left-thinking people anywhere - love ideas more than people. The average educated European can intelligently discuss Hegel or Matisse almost as well as the average educated American - who probably never heard of Hegel or Matisse - can discuss real estate or sports.
Europe has given the world Marxism, communism, fascism, Nazism, racism and socialism, all rotten ideas that have caused immeasurable human suffering. But for Europeans and their ideological twins on the American left and at universities, ideas are not judged by their ability to ameliorate human suffering or reduce evil, but by their complexity and apparent profundity. An idea is not good because it produces good - that's unromantic American pragmatism - it is good because it sounds good.
Eleven thousand unnecessary deaths occurred in France largely because socialism inevitably breeds hedonism, selfishness and callousness. As ironic as it may seem, but the fact is that socialism - i.e., cradle-to-grave state welfare - makes people worse.
First, the socialist mind loathes work. In France, the legal length of the work week is 35 hours. Working hard to make more money is an American value that is held in contempt by the Left. The New York Times recently featured an article describing the death of the Protestant work ethic in secular, socialist Europe and the thriving of that ethic in America - and that this explains the far greater productivity and affluence of America. The Judeo-Christian tradition values work; secularism doesn't. And as we all know from watching our children, people with a lot of time on their hands have character problems.
Second, socialism values equality more than liberty. The Norwegian government recently passed a law that the boards of its largest corporations must be half female. The California left - the Democratic Party - just passed a law that no employer may fire a male employee who wears women's clothing at work. Because the Left holds liberty (except sexual liberty) in lower esteem, Europe has raised a generation that does not value liberty nearly as much as Americans do (though we're getting there).
Third, socialism teaches you to avoid taking care of other people. The state will - why should you? If people in France and elsewhere in Europe take less care of their aging parents, it is because they are taught from childhood to allow others - i.e., the state - to take care of everybody. Just as we saw in America when the state stepped in to take care of women who had children without a husband, these women increasingly refused to marry and felt little compunction about having more babies out of wedlock. The bigger the government, the worse the people.
Fourth, as a result of this socialist mindset, people in socialist countries give little charity, while Americans give vast amounts (just as Americans in conservative states give more charity per capita than people in liberal ones).
Fifth, the larger the state, the more callous it becomes. Twentieth-century evil was made possible in large measure by the bureaucratic mentality - the type of person who is merely a cog in huge governmental machine, collectively all-powerful but individually powerless to do anything except take and execute orders. The bigger the state, the colder its heart. (It is also true that the bigger the corporation, the more callous its heart. But unlike the state, corporations have competition and have no police powers.)
As I wrote in a previous column, the future of the world is either European secular socialism, Islamic totalitarianism or the unique American combination of Judeo-Christian religiosity and political and economic liberty. Few Americans are attracted to the second possibility, but vast numbers look to Europe as a model. One hopes that the next time they do, they will note the 11,000 elderly dead in France. But don't bet on it.
Prospective Australian citizens must score 60pc in Aussie values
A PASS mark of 60 per cent will be enough to became an Australian under the citizenship test to be introduced later this year. The draft Citizenship Test Resource Book released yesterday by Immigration and Citizenship Minister Kevin Andrews contains little that is likely to frighten civil libertarians. To become a citizen, applicants will need to correctly answer 12 out of 20 questions in the test, expected to be introduced later this year after legislation has passed through parliament.
The booklet from which questions for the test will be drawn stresses cultural diversity, freedom of religion, a society governed by the rule of law and a nation of proud sports traditions. Sample questions contained in the 40-page book include: What is the floral emblem of Australia? and, In what year did Federation take place?
"It is important that people wishing to become Australian citizens demonstrate an understanding and commitment to Australia and our way of life," Mr Andrews said yesterday. "A citizenship test provides the means of ensuring that prospective citizens have such an understanding. "Before becoming a citizen it is reasonable to expect that a person will understand the core values that have helped to create a society that is stable yet dynamic, cohesive yet diverse. Respect for the free-thinking individual and the rule of law are the foundations of the Australian liberal democratic tradition."
The new test applies only to those seeking to become citizens, not those migrating and settling in Australia on permanent or provisional visas. Special arrangements will be made for those with low levels of literacy or with special needs.
In a section on freedom of religion, the booklet says: "Australia has secular government with no official or state religion. Religious laws have no legal status in Australia." It also tackles the concept of mateship, saying: "Australia has a strong tradition of mateship -- where people help and receive help from others voluntarily, especially in times of adversity. A mate can be a spouse, partner, brother, sister, daughter, son or friend. A mate can also be a total stranger."
In the section Introducing Australia, the guide describes Australia as a nation of immigrants and says the country's history has been built by the efforts of millions of immigrants from 200 countries. Migrants have added to the rich tapestry of Australia, the booklet says, and have become a vital part of our society.
The ANZAC legend is covered, and so is the vexing history of Aboriginal people and their treatment by European settlers. "There has been great debate about how many Aboriginals were killed in the frontier battles. Many more Aboriginals than settlers were killed," it says.
Intending citizens are warned that Australia is also a "sports-crazy" nation and that of all our sporting heroes Donald Bradman is the best-known. While Australian rules is the dominant style of football in four states -- Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania -- more recently soccer has started to attract a larger following among young people.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.