Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The America haters within

I live a few miles from Santa Monica High School, in California. There, young men and women are taught that America is "a terrorist nation," "one of the worst regimes in history," that it's twice-elected leader is "the son of the devil," and dictator of this "fascist" country. Further, "patriotism" is taught by dragging an American flag across the classroom floor, because the nation's truest patriots, as we should know by now, are those who are most able to despise it. This is only high school, remember: in college things get much, much worse.

Two generations, now, are being raised on this poison, and the reason for that is this: the enemies of this city cannot come out and simply say, "Do not defend the city." Even the smartest among us can see that is simple treason. But they can say, "The City is not worth defending." So they say that, and they say that all the time and in as many different ways as they are able.

If you step far enough back to look at the whole of human history, you will begin to see a very plain rhythm: a heartbeat of civilization. Steep climbs out of disease and ignorance into the light of medicine and learning - and then a sudden collapse back into darkness. And it is in that darkness that most humans have lived their lives: poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

The pattern is always the same: at the height of a civilization's powers something catastrophic seems to occur - a loss of will, a failure of nerve, and above all an unwillingness to identify with the values and customs that have produced such wonders.

The Russians say a fish rots from the head down. They ought to know. It may not be factually true that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the saying has passed into common usage because the image as the ring of truth to it: time and time again, the good and decent common people have manned the walls of the city, and have been ready to give their lives in its defense, only to discover too late that some silk-robed son of a bitch has snuck out of the palace at midnight and thrown open the gates to the barbarians outside.

And how is this done, this "throwing open of the gates?" How are defenders taken off the walls?

Well, most of what I learned about Vietnam I learned from men like Oliver Stone. This self-loathing narcissist has repeatedly tried to inculcate in me a sense of despair and outrage at my own government, my own culture, my own people and ultimately myself. He tried to convince me - and he is a skillfull man - that my own government murdered my own President for political gain. I am told daily in those darkened temples that rogue CIA elements run a puppet government, that the real threat to the nation comes from the generals that defend it, or from the businessmen that provide the prosperity we take for granted.

I sit with others in darkened rooms, watching films like Redacted, Stop-Loss, and In the Valley of Elah, and see our brave young soldiers depicted as murderers, rapists, broken psychotics or ignorant dupes -visions foisted upon me by bitter and isolated millionaires such as Brian de Palma and Paul Haggis and all the rest. I've been told this story in some form or another, every day of every week of the past 30 years of my life. It wasn't always so.

But it is certainly so today. And standing against all this hypnotic power - the power of the mythmakers in Hollywood, the power of the information peddlers in the media, the corrosive power of America-hating professors on every campus in America. against all that we find an old warrior - a paladin if ever there was one - an old, beat-up warhorse standing up in defense of his city one last time. And beside him: a wonder. A common person. just a regular mom who goes to work, does a difficult job with intelligence and energy and grace and every-day competence and then puts it away to go home and have dinner with the family.

Against all of that stand these two.

No wonder they must be destroyed. Because - Sarah Palin especially - presents a mortal threat to these people who have determined over cocktails who the next President should be and who now clearly mean to grind into metal shards the transaxle of their credibility in order to get the result they must have. Truly, they are before our eyes destroying the machine they have built in order to get their victory. What the hell is so threatening to be worth that?

Only this: the living proof that they are not needed. Not needed to govern, not needed to influence and guide, not needed to lecture us on our intellectual and moral failings which are visible only from the heights of Manhattan skyscrapers or the palaces up on Mulholland Drive. Not needed. We can do it - and do it better - without all of them.

When all is said and done, Civilizations do not fall because of the barbarians at the gates. Nor does a great city fall from the death wish of bored and morally bankrupt stewards presumably sworn to its defense. Civilizations fall only because each citizen of the city comes to accept that nothing can be done to rally and rebuild broken walls; that ground lost may never be recovered; and that greatness lived in our grandparents but not our grandchildren. Yes, our betters tell us these things daily. But that doesn't mean we have to believe it.

Ask the common people of all politics and persuasions aboard Flight 93 whether greatness and courage has deserted America. Through this magical crystal ball - the one we are using right now - we common people can speak to one another. And by reminding ourselves and those around us of who we are, where we came from, what we have achieved together and of the marvels we have yet to achieve, we may laugh in the face of despair and mock those people that think a man with an MBA from Harvard knows more about running a gas station than the man that actually runs the gas station.

It is the small-town virtues of self-reliance, hard work, personal responsibility, and common-sense ingenuity - and not those of the preening cosmopolitans that gape at them in mixed contempt and bafflement - that have made us the inheritors of the most magnificent, noble, decent and free society ever to appear on this earth. This Western Civilization. this American City. has earned the right to greet each sunrise with a blast of silver trumpets that can bring down mountains.

And what, really, is a Legion of Narcissists and a Confederacy of Despair against that?


Sexist men 'earn the most money'

Being a sexist could be a boon in the workplace, according to a new study

Scientists have found men who believe a woman's place is in the home earn thousands more per year than their less traditionally minded male colleagues. They discovered the "macho" pay gap amounts to more than $8,000 a year. The tables were turned among women, however, with feminists earning more than women with traditional outlooks. The difference between their pay packets was much smaller, the research showed, adding up to just over $1600 per year.

Researchers from the University of Florida looked at studies of more than 12,000 men and women who took part in a national study on attitudes. The volunteers interviewed four times between 1979, when they were in their teens and early twenties, and 2005 and each time asked how they viewed ideal male and female roles. The questions included a woman's place was in the home, if employing women led to more juvenile delinquency, and whether the woman should take care of the home and family.

After excluding other factors such as education, the complexity of a job, the number of hours that a person works, the scientists found that sexist men made an average of $8,500 a year more than men who viewed women as workplace equals. For women the situation was reversed, although the difference in wages was much smaller, with feminist women tending to earn around $1,500 a year more than more traditionally minded women. The study also found that couples who both tended to view the ideal place for a woman as the home had a significant earning advantage over those who disagreed.

The findings, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, also found that while there was only a small difference between the pay packets of so-called "egalitarian" men and women, sexist men's wages outstripped everyone else.

"These results cannot be explained by the fact that, in traditional couples, women are less likely to work outside the home," said Timothy Judge, from the University of Florida, one of the authors of the study. "Though this plays some role in our findings, our results suggest that even if you control for time worked and labour force participation, traditional women are paid less than traditional men for comparable work."

Mr Judge, who carried out the study with his colleague, Beth Livingston, said the findings could be explained by the fact that sexist men have historically earned more and they want to keep it that way. "More traditional people may be seeking to preserve the historical separation of work and domestic roles. Our results prove that is, in fact, the case," said Mr Judge. "This is happening even in today's work force where men and women are supposedly equal as far as participation."

He added: "These results show that changes in gender role attitudes have substantial effects on pay equity. "When workers' attitudes become more traditional, women's earnings relative to men suffer greatly. When attitudes become more egalitarian, the pay gap nearly disappears."

The study also found that people whose parents had both worked outside the home tended to have less traditional views on gender roles and that married couples as well as men and women who were religious tended to have more traditional gender role views.

Younger people also tended to became more traditional over time. The study comes just a week after the [British] Conservatives estimated that women in this country would have to wait 187 years for equal pay


Religion versus superstition

You can't be a rational person six days of the week and put on a suit and make rational decisions and go to work and, on one day of the week, go to a building and think you're drinking the blood of a 2,000-year-old space god," comedian and atheist Bill Maher said earlier this year on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien."

On the "Saturday Night Live" season debut last week, homeschooling families were portrayed as fundamentalists with bad haircuts who fear biology. Actor Matt Damon recently disparaged Sarah Palin by referring to a transparently fake email that claimed she believed that dinosaurs were Satan's lizards. And according to prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins, traditional religious belief is "dangerously irrational." From Hollywood to the academy, nonbelievers are convinced that a decline in traditional religious belief would lead to a smarter, more scientifically literate and even more civilized populace.

The reality is that the New Atheist campaign, by discouraging religion, won't create a new group of intelligent, skeptical, enlightened beings. Far from it: It might actually encourage new levels of mass superstition. And that's not a conclusion to take on faith -- it's what the empirical data tell us.

"What Americans Really Believe," a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.

The Gallup Organization, under contract to Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion, asked American adults a series of questions to gauge credulity. Do dreams foretell the future? Did ancient advanced civilizations such as Atlantis exist? Can places be haunted? Is it possible to communicate with the dead? Will creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster someday be discovered by science?

The answers were added up to create an index of belief in occult and the paranormal. While 31% of people who never worship expressed strong belief in these things, only 8% of people who attend a house of worship more than once a week did.

Even among Christians, there were disparities. While 36% of those belonging to the United Church of Christ, Sen. Barack Obama's former denomination, expressed strong beliefs in the paranormal, only 14% of those belonging to the Assemblies of God, Sarah Palin's former denomination, did. In fact, the more traditional and evangelical the respondent, the less likely he was to believe in, for instance, the possibility of communicating with people who are dead.

This is not a new finding. In his 1983 book "The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener," skeptic and science writer Martin Gardner cited the decline of traditional religious belief among the better educated as one of the causes for an increase in pseudoscience, cults and superstition. He referenced a 1980 study published in the magazine Skeptical Inquirer that showed irreligious college students to be by far the most likely to embrace paranormal beliefs, while born-again Christian college students were the least likely.

Surprisingly, while increased church attendance and membership in a conservative denomination has a powerful negative effect on paranormal beliefs, higher education doesn't. Two years ago two professors published another study in Skeptical Inquirer showing that, while less than one-quarter of college freshmen surveyed expressed a general belief in such superstitions as ghosts, psychic healing, haunted houses, demonic possession, clairvoyance and witches, the figure jumped to 31% of college seniors and 34% of graduate students.

We can't even count on self-described atheists to be strict rationalists. According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's monumental "U.S. Religious Landscape Survey" that was issued in June, 21% of self-proclaimed atheists believe in either a personal God or an impersonal force. Ten percent of atheists pray at least weekly and 12% believe in heaven.

On Oct. 3, Mr. Maher debuts "Religulous," his documentary that attacks religious belief. He talks to Hasidic scholars, Jews for Jesus, Muslims, polygamists, Satanists, creationists, and even Rael -- prophet of the Raelians -- before telling viewers: "The plain fact is religion must die for man to live."

But it turns out that the late-night comic is no icon of rationality himself. In fact, he is a fervent advocate of pseudoscience. The night before his performance on Conan O'Brien, Mr. Maher told David Letterman -- a quintuple bypass survivor -- to stop taking the pills that his doctor had prescribed for him. He proudly stated that he didn't accept Western medicine. On his HBO show in 2005, Mr. Maher said: "I don't believe in vaccination. . . . Another theory that I think is flawed, that we go by the Louis Pasteur [germ] theory." He has told CNN's Larry King that he won't take aspirin because he believes it is lethal and that he doesn't even believe the Salk vaccine eradicated polio.

Anti-religionists such as Mr. Maher bring to mind the assertion of G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown character that all atheists, secularists, humanists and rationalists are susceptible to superstition: "It's the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense, and can't see things as they are."


Australia: New State government abortion laws threaten Catholic hospitals

The usual Leftist hatred of Christianity in any form

The Catholic Church's extensive network of hospitals in Victoria faces a "real threat" from planned new abortion laws, Archbishop Denis Hart says. He warned parishioners that Catholic-run hospitals might have to stop running conventional maternity and emergency services if Parliament passed the laws. He warned in a pastoral letter that Catholic staff would face having to break the law if they wanted to maintain anti-abortion beliefs. "This Bill poses a real threat to the continued existence of Catholic hospitals," Archbishop Hart said. "Under these circumstances, it is difficult to foresee how Catholic hospitals could continue to operate maternity or emergency departments in this state in their current form."

Catholic hospitals are central to the state's health system and are responsible for handling about a third of all births each year. A radical shift in how the 14 major Catholic hospitals treat patients could cost the Brumby Government tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Archbishop Hart's opposition to the abortion Bill will place further pressure on undecided MPs in the Upper House, who are due to debate it next month. The church is insisting it won't allow abortions in its hospitals, and at the weekend parishioners were sent phone numbers and electoral office addresses of the state's 40 Upper House MPs. "The . . . Bill, if enacted, will lead to Catholic hospitals and doctors who have a conscientious objection to abortion, acting contrary to the law," Archbishop Hart said.

He said the church did not condemn women who had abortions. "Together with their children, they are the principal victims of the new culture of death," he said.

He has warned that the Bill goes further than existing arrangements, contradicting Premier John Brumby. Women have been able to have abortions in Victoria for decades under the protection of a 1969 common law ruling by Supreme Court judge Clifford Menhennitt. The Brumby Government's Bill decriminalising abortion controversially allows it to be performed at up to 24 weeks' gestation.

In his letter to parishioners, Archbishop Hart said health professionals who opposed abortion would have no option but to terminate a pregnancy if it were deemed an emergency. "The Bill is an unprecedented attack on the freedom to hold and exercise fundamental religious beliefs," he said. "The Bill is seriously flawed as much by what it omits as by what it contains."



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 readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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