Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Those Mean-Spirited Liberals

Every now and again our learned scholars in the liberal university come up with a study, financed by taxpayers' money, that concludes what every liberal already knows. Conservatives are rigid and not very intelligent. In fact, as one study by two Berkeley professors claimed, the the "whiny, insecure kid in nursery school" probably grew up to be a conservative. [See here for a demolition of that study]

Of course two can play at that game, and so conservative Peter Schweizer took a look at the University of Chicago's General Social Survey and a few other generally available opinion surveys and came to the opposite conclusion in his book Makers and Takers. He found that conservatives are the good guys and liberals are the whiners.

Maybe he got different results because the General Social Survey covers the whole United States while the Berkeley professors only studied a single school in Berkeley, California.

Either way, Schweizer's findings make sense. Liberals are more materialistic than conservatives, he finds. Of course they do. Believing in equality, differences in material things are very important to them. Not surprisingly, when they discover material differences in society, liberals are offended. There is a word for this feeling of offence: Envy. And so it is that liberals are more envious than conservatives.

Liberals celebrate anger. No, we are not just talking about Bush Derangement Syndrome. "Since the sixties, modern liberals have embraced anger as a sign of genuine commitment to the cause," writes Schweizer and their political rage leaks into their personal lives. The General Social Survey shows that liberals are more angry than conservatives and "three times more likely (17 percent to 6 percent) to have actually done something to get back at someone who had hurt or offended them in the past month."

Liberals are stingy with their money. Again, this is hardly surprising. Liberal political philosophy says: People Have Needs, and the government should provide. Thus liberals, when they actually spend money on anyone other than themselves, give money to the activist organizations that advocate for bigger government. Conservatives, on the other hand, give money to organizations that actually help people. Schweizer shows us that the headline liberals of recent memory-the Clintons, Gores, Kerrys, and Obamas-don't give much. But headline conservatives like Bush, Cheney, and Limbaugh do give, and give generously.

But then they would. Conservatives believe that people should help people, and governments should stick to the stuff that governments do best, defending society against enemies, foreign and domestic.

Liberals are less honest than conservatives. Peter Schweizer compares liberals and conservatives using the World Values Survey and the National Cultural Values Survey. Liberals admit that they don't value honesty as much as conservatives. They are more willing to sell "Aunt Betty a car with a bum transmission" than conservatives, and "twice as likely as conservatives to say it is okay to get welfare benefits they were not entitled to." Schweizer's poster boy for welfare cheat is billionaire George Soros, who once "tried to get a Jewish charity to give him money while also receiving public assistance."

Did you know that liberals are not just angrier but whinier than conservatives? Peter Schweizer samples liberal Whine Country using the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, as representative varietals.

But at least liberals are smarter than conservatives. Everyone knows that Calvin Coolidge was "weaned on a pickle," that Ike fumbled his syntax, that Reagan was an amiable dunce, and that President Bush is too dumb to be president. But navy veteran Sam Sewell found one liberal dumber than President Bush. Browsing presidential candidate John Kerry's website he happened upon the results of "an IQ-like qualifying test Kerry had taken in 1966." It showed that Kerry belonged in the 91st percentile on intelligence, a bit lower than President Bush in the 95th percentile.

Conservatives also rank better on political knowledge, according to Schweizer. Here's the result of a political knowledge test conducted in 2000. A high score is good.

Strong Republican 18.7
Independent-Republican 15.7
Strong Democrat 15.4
Independent-Democrat 14.2
Weak Republican 14.1
Weak Democrat 13.3
Independent 9.5

All this may be true, you will say. But how mean-spirited must Peter Schweizer be to drone on for 200 pages about "why conservatives work harder, feel happier, have closer families, take fewer drugs, give more generously, value honesty more, are less materialistic and envious, whine less... and even hug their children more than liberals?" Conservatives had better hug their children more. They have more children to to hug than liberals. Forty-one percent more, to be exact.


On Islamic Antisemitism

by Mark Durie

During the years that responding to Islam has been a significant concern for me in Christian ministry, I have been repeatedly struck by two seemingly contradictory facts: the reality of Islamic antisemitism on the one hand, and its denial on the other.

1. There can be non doubt that antisemitism is hard-wired into Islam's sacred history. The Qur'an and hadiths (traditions of Muhammad) have numerous passages which proclaim enmity towards the Jews. Jews are declared to be deceivers, malevolent, and killers of Muhammad (by poisoning him).

Islam's foundational texts express hostility to four religious groupings: Jews, Christians, pagans, and Muslim renegades. Jihad is mandated against all four of these groups, and whereas the rules of war are the more merciless against the pagans and Muslim renegades - only Jews and Christians being allowed to keep their faith after conquest - of the two 'Peoples of the Book' it is the Jews who attract the most intense expressions of hatred. There is less anti-Christian sentiment in the Qur'an and hadiths than there is anti-Jewish sentiment, and in Muhammad's biography his dealings with the Jews of Arabia - leading to a genocide in Medina, and the bloody conquest of Khaibar - loom much larger and are much more negative than his dealings with Christians.

The Islamic daily prayers include repeated recitations of al-Fatihah, the first chapter of the Qur'an. In these few verses, every Muslim prays that they will be guided on the straight path, not like the Christians ('those who have gone astray') or the Jews ('those who incur Allah's wrath'). This simple contrast, that whereas Christians have lost their way, Jews have fallen under the anger of Allah, neatly summarizes Islam's attitude to the Jews. The celebrated commentator Ibn Kathir, whose translated tafsir is popular among English-speaking Muslims, explains the distinction in his discussion of al-Fatihah:

These two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them. . the Jews abandoned practicing the religion, while the Christians lost the true knowledge. This is why `anger' descended upon the Jews, while being described as `led astray' is more appropriate of the Christians. Those who know, but avoid implementing the truth, deserve the anger, unlike those who are ignorant. The Christians want to seek the true knowledge, but are unable to find it because they did not seek it from its proper resources.

This is why they were led astray. We should also mention that both the Christians and the Jews have earned the anger and are led astray, but the anger is one of the attributes more particular of the Jews. Allah said about the Jews, `Those (Jews) who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath' ([Sura] 5:60). The attribute that the Christians deserve most is that of being led astray, just as Allah said about them, `Who went astray before and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the right path' ([Sura] 5:77).

Here Ibn Kathir is explaining that, wheras Christians are merely ignorant, Jews know the truth but deliberately reject it, thus thus making themselves objects of Allah's wrath.

That this libel is repeated in every observant Muslims' obligatory prayers, seventeen times a day, shows that Islam's rejection of the Jews is not peripheral in Islam. Many years ago I was personally surprised to discover hatred of Jews among the Muslims of Indonesia, a country which has had virtually nothing to do with Jews in its history. When Amrozi, the Balinese bomber, cried out threats against Jews at his sentencing in a Balinese courtroom, this was not because he had ever met a single Jew. His hatred was purely theological.

2. The other reality is that denial of Islam's antisemitic legacy is so persistent and tenacious, in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Even some Jews who should know better deny it:

The historian Bernard Lewis confidently declared in his 1984 book The Jews of Islam, that, unlike Christian antisemitism, Islam's ill-treatment of Jews had no theological basis: it was merely the 'usual attitude of the dominant to the subordinate'.

Iranian Jewish philanthropist and art-collector David Khalili, when asked on Australian radio whether his remarkable achievements as a collector of Islamic art might change Muslims' attitudes to Jews, responded that the idea that Jews are inferior would never have 'crossed any Muslim's mind'.

In the light of these two considerations - Islamic antisemitism and its baseless denial - I strongly encourage readers to familiarize themselves with the work of Andrew Bostom, who has recently published The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism. This brilliant and courageous book is a landmark study of the subject.

My friend Dr Daniel Shayesteh was one of the Iranian founders of Hizballah, became a Christian after he fled from the Ayatollah's murderous regime. He explains in his testimony of the hatred of Jews which he absorbed as part of his Muslim upbringing in Iran, and the intention of the Iranian revolutionaries to destroy Israel. The visceral hatred which shaped Hizballah's dreams of conquest and destruction has not died out, and continues to plague the world. The urgency of this threat leads me to append below one of Andrew Bostom's recent postings, on Hizballah's intentions.


A Decision That Smells Like Rotten Fish

Is this where we're headed? Where President Obama will take us if he can? The "this" to which I refer is a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada holding that "[g]iving exclusive commercial fishing licences to aboriginal groups" does not discriminate against non-aboriginal fishermen. Why not? Well, because it's "affirmative action."
In its decision, the court acknowledged the program "has a detrimental effect on non-aboriginal commercial fishers" and "that the disadvantage is related to racial differences," but found the program falls under the section of the charter [the the Charter of Rights and Freedoms] that protects affirmative action programs from constitutional challenges....

The charter section in question - section 15(2) - gives governments the right to implement a program that "has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups"
Our Constitution, to the dismay of liberals and Democrats, is much more old-fashioned, speaking as it does not of "amelioration" but of the quaint concept of "equal protection," a concept that its adherents (now pretty much limited to rubes, small towners, most Republicans, many Democrats who are not elected office holders or party officials, and most people not employed by a university or in positions of responsibility in large corporations or the media) revere because it derives from the even more fundamental core value that every individual American has a right to be treated by the state "without regard" to race, creed, color, or national origin.

But not to worry. The libs/Dems don't need a Canadian-style Constitution. All they need is a president who will appoint judges who will "construe" the Constitution we have to reach a Canadian result.


Britain: Leftist elitists boil with hate for their Conservative mayor

I was leaning on the wall in a Soho cellar last week, idly scanning acts at the weekly Comedy Camp, when an un-comic train of thought began. The host, Simon Happily, launched into an untypical rant about his intention to boycott the "Pride" march on Saturday. As every Archers listener knows, this is one of the PC pinnacles of the year, when gay pride storms across the capital with rainbow flags, arresting outfits and flamboyant humour.

It should be a matter of quiet satisfaction that London is one of the world's safest places to hold such an event. In cities from Moscow to Jerusalem these marches have been banned or met violence. London is also distinguished by having a community ironic enough to host the Duckie collective's mocking echo entitled Gay Shame. They plan to "celebrate" rival concepts of masculinity with "the aesthetic of a giant minicab office - sticky, brown, stained, a bit pongy... no pink, no heels, no make-up, no floral patterns, no humanity". Oh, come on - what's not to like?

But Mr Happily's rage against the main Pride march was because on the lead float will be the Mayor, Boris Johnson. Who once, musing on civil partnerships, wrote that: "If gay marriage was OK - and I was uncertain on the issue - then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog." Mr Happily quotes this as proving that Boris's presence makes Saturday's whole march "a travesty".

So I started to study the relationship between Boris Johnson and this particular interest group - not because of gay issues, but because it resonates with so much else about the hysterical way we argue in this political age.

The demonisation of clever, wayward Boris throws light on our worst sickness: the politics of enmity. The bald fact is that while the jury is still out on his actual effectiveness, Boris Johnson is an intelligent libertarian with a real desire to do something practical instead of just catcalling from the sidelines. I admired him when he first stood for Parliament - less lucrative than journalism at his starry level - because with unusual shamefacedness he muttered to an interviewer that he wanted to "do his bit". I tended to believe him. Those who write from inside glass houses, never risking electoral humiliation or boring committee-work themselves, should be careful how they throw stones.

But the new London mayor has demonstrated the perils of travelling from the commentariat to public office in a vindictive political culture. To succeed in modern politics you should take care to be a bland, self-preserving, sober, drugless, funless, dull-witted bore for years beforehand. Boris Johnson hobbled himself by being human, erratic and witty. His back catalogue of writings will follow him whatever good he does in real life: the politics of enmity decree it. In the mayoral campaign he was branded a racist merely because of two flippant expressions he once used. They occurred in pieces which, if read in full, were guying the patronising (slightly racist, indeed) way that British leaders love to escape unpopularity at home and be greeted by smiling Commonwealth ceremonial.

He was branded homophobic (though he finally voted against his party line over Section 28) because of the "three men and a dog" and a couple of equally flippant remarks. But read it with any care and you see that he was playing with the idea of mutable social values. It was clumsy - I doubt he had grasped the real argument for civil partnerships, which is social, financial and legal justice - but it was not hostile. Moreover, he has got the point since, and voted in Parliament for the new law. Boris Johnson is not a homophobe. Hedonists rarely are.

Yet during the election campaign lies were spread that he would abolish funding for the Pride march; on race and class too he was hammered without regard to truth.

A disgusting attack in The Guardian called him "this bigoted, lying, Old Etonian buffoon... moneyed creep... he has lied flagrantly, flamboyantly to save his marriage... despises people who are not of his class, which means all of us... a snob's London is a Monday-to-Thursday kind of affair behind fusty doors, in clubs that only just let women in, let alone plebs, in restaurants that don't have prices on the menus, in the Regency offices of magazines whose only distinction is that all the staff are shagging each other".

That reads just as nastily as any right-winger's jeer at sandalled lefties or BNP rant about immigrants. Another writer used the hilariously golf-clubbish expression "he is not one of us" and a pother of petulant glitterati were wheeled out to condemn him - Alan Rickman, Vivienne Westwood, Will Self, Ben Okri, half of Mitchell and Webb, Arabella Weir - that woman who wrote "Does my bum look big in this?" - the usual bien-pensant suspects.

Feeling safe from any charge of hate-crime themselves, they called Johnson everything from racist to mad (not to mention Etonian). Arabella Weir promised that if he won she would throw herself in front of a horse, go on hunger strike and chain herself to railings. I see no reports of her having done so.

It is hate that fuels such attacks, not love of your fellow man. This Saturday those not afflicted with hate-addiction should find it enough that he now backs civil partnerships, regrets the offence and "believes in loving relationships between all sorts of people". He will spend Saturday on a float to prove it, braving whatever they throw at him.

And some will. Once a cardboard demon is created, whether asylum-seeker or Etonian, it is not enough to attack him for what he actually does. Rage is provoked entirely by the need to be enraged. Borisophobes feed their addiction by jeering at his perceived (and entirely earned) wealth, at his accent, his education, his imaginary toff lifestyle. They are no better than any other hate-junkies: racists, bigots, Islamists and Islamophobes, gay-bashers, or the 1950s snobs who used to claim that council tenants kept coal in the bath. Putrid loathing spurts in all directions, fed by the media and opportunist politicians, and sometimes, alas, by clerics. It is all despicable.

To quote Mayor Johnson himself in an interview with the Pink Paper: "All irrational human hatreds are always really about your own feelings about yourself in some way. Anyway, I think it's all bollocks and the sooner we get over it the better." Quite.



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 is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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