Sunday, September 23, 2018



Majority of Swedish Moderate Party Politicians Open to Governing Agreement with Populists

The majority of Swedish Moderate Party politicians would like to see party leader Ulf Kristersson open a dialogue for a potential governing agreement with the populist, anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats.

Moderate Party politicians across Sweden were asked Monday: “Do you think the Moderates will take power through negotiations with the Sweden Democrats if required?” Out of the 609 elected politicians, 324 advocated Kristersson reaching out to Sweden Democrats (SD) leader Jimmie Åkesson, newspaper Expressen reports.

Some respondents noted that it was worthwhile to talk to Åkesson as past exclusion had not worked to prevent the growth of the SD. Another said: “We Moderates want the party in the Riksdag to actively pursue moderate policies and counteract socialism. If this is only possible with SD, it is worth negotiating with Åkesson.”

Ulf Adelsohn, former leader of the Moderates, has also pushed for talks with the populists saying: “I am far away from sharing the views of Communists, but we can still talk to them. The same goes for the SD. But according to the Swedish establishment opinion, it’s only okay to talk with the left.”

Hanif Bali, an outspoken critic of social justice progressives and one of the party’s most popular figures, has also advocated ending the cordon sanitaire around the populists.

“I’m such a person who does not think I’m becoming a fascist by talking to a Swedish Democrats,” he said and noted that he would be willing to cooperate on issues the two parties agree on.

Both parties have proposed policies that are tough on crime, including the option of using the Swedish military to aid police in vulnerable “no-go” areas and both want tougher laws on radical Islamic extremism.

A potential conservative-populist alliance could potentially form a majority in the Swedish parliament if other members of the centre-right Alliance also agree to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats.

Such a government would closely resemble the conservative-populist coalition in Austria in which the Austrian People’s Party led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz formed a government with the populist Freedom Party led by Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache.

SOURCE






The desperation of the British elite

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the interesting question of whether or not the former chief strategist to the President of the United States is too fringe a figure to be allowed to speak in public. A lot of very prominent people seem to think that Steve Bannon shouldn’t be given a platform. And among two venues to have recently invited him, the New Yorker promptly disinvited him from their festival under fire from political heavyweights including former ‘funny man’ Jim Carrey.

By contrast, the Economist managed to hold firm, surviving the withdrawal of a British blogger and going ahead as planned with their live interview. The video of the resulting event is well worth watching:

Not because Steve Bannon says anything new, or anything he hasn’t said many times before. And certainly not because the Economist has its finger on any unfamiliar pulse. But rather because it is such a fascinating meeting of worlds.

Zanny Minton Beddoes herself could almost have been dreamed up by Bannon. She is his ideal foil. The Economist’s editor-in-chief is the epitome of a certain hectoring Davos type. From the moment she kicks off her interview she is as sharply rude as possible to her guest, making it clear to her audience from the get-go that her attitude towards Bannon is akin to that of someone who, having trodden in excrement, must perforce adopt some attitude towards its removal.

Of course anyone not from the world of the Economist might look on this with a certain odium of their own. Why are these people still doing this? Why are they still calling out those names (‘populist’, ‘racist’, ‘far-right’) about opinions held by large tracts – and in many cases the majority – of the public across our continent?Why even now, all these years in, don’t they ever try to listen or learn anything – to adapt and nuance their own views in order to come up with better policy prescriptions of their own? Why the jabbing, the hectoring, the lecturing and deafness? In its own way the Economist demonstrated what has caused some of the movements it itself abhors. Because even when the Davos types present themselves as listening they immediately demonstrate that they are in fact just putting their fingers in their ears and stamping their high, and noticeably well-heeled shoes.

SOURCE







Faith Is Good for You, Harvard Finds

The Bible tells us that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9). So often what passes for “news” is really nothing more than a refresher. A case in point is a new study from published this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology about the link between religious upbringing and subsequent health and well-being.

One not-so-surprising finding of the study, which was done by Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is that, “Compared with no attendance, at least weekly attendance of religious services was associated with greater life satisfaction and positive affect, a number of character strengths, lower probabilities of marijuana use and early sexual initiation, and fewer lifetime sexual partners.” Additionally, among the studies' participants:

“Compared with never praying or meditating, at least daily practice was associated with greater positive affect, emotional processing, and emotional expression; greater volunteering, greater sense of mission, and more forgiveness; lower likelihoods of drug use, early sexual initiation, STIs, and abnormal Pap test results; and fewer lifetime sexual partners.”

These findings aren't a surprise to us here at FRC. For years, we've seen this in practice, and in data like those published by our friend Pat Fagan at the Marriage and Religion Research Institute. It is a demonstrable fact that when faith is allowed to flourish, good outcomes are in store for society at large.

The study's author observes, “These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices. Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being."

Of course, we know that “faith” in a generic sense doesn't always guarantee a comfortable outcome, but an abiding faith in Jesus Christ can anchor a person's soul for whatever he or she may face in life. A study like this won't necessarily cause people to embrace faith, but it does show that a society in which religious liberty thrives will be a healthier society. And any government that wants to promote the well-being of its people should give ample space for people to have the freedom to believe and to live out those beliefs.

SOURCE





New Study on Transgender Suicide

A new study is out that examines the risk of suicide among transgender teens. The results confirm a long pattern of data: Transgender teens attempt suicide more frequently than adolescents generally.

Unfortunately, this data may be used to pressure parents to put their children through radical transition-affirming therapies.

This would be a serious mistake.

The new study assumes the unproven belief that all gender identities are equally healthy and fixed in all children and teens. This is an ideological premise touted by professional medical and psychiatric guilds, not scientific fact.

The study also offers no proof that these radical therapies—puberty-blocking drugs, double mastectomies for girls, and so on—will prevent adolescents from attempting suicide.

If anything, the findings of the survey reinforce the dire need for serious scientific research into the potential environmental causes of gender dysphoria and the risks—both physical and psychological—of medical transition.

The Study’s Findings

The study, titled “Transgender Adolescent Suicide Behavior,” made national headlines upon its release on Sept. 11 in the journal Pediatrics. It revealed that among adolescents who identify as transgender, female-to-male youth have the highest suicide risk.

The researchers examined data collected between 2012 and 2015 from the “Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors” survey. The survey was administered to 120,617 adolescents across the nation between the ages of 11 and 19 years old and focused on 40 developmental strengths known to predict healthy development, as well as risk behaviors, such as depression and suicide.

The survey also asked students to indicate which of the following best described them: female; male; transgender, female to male; transgender, male to female; transgender, nonbinary (neither male nor female); or questioning. It also asked them whether they had ever attempted suicide.

The team found that adolescent girls who identified as male had the highest rate of ever having attempted suicide: 50.8 percent. Adolescents who identified as nonbinary were next at 41.8 percent. Among male adolescents who identified as female, 29.9 percent had attempted suicide at least once. Those who were questioning their gender identity were next with a rate of 27.9 percent.

These stand in stark contrast to significantly lower rates of attempted suicide among the girls in the sample without gender dysphoria (17.6 percent) and the boys without gender dysphoria (9.8 percent).

The authors state that further research into this risk differentiation may help to develop strategies for preventing suicide among trans-identifying adolescents. Ideally, this would include an analysis of suicide attempts based upon adolescents’ biological sex, not just their gender identity.

This is important because overall, biological girls are more likely than boys to attempt suicide—a fact demonstrated by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Given the current data, my hypothesis is that such a survey would reveal that the majority of nonbinary and questioning teens are in fact biological girls.

In other words, it is possible that the much higher rate of attempted suicide among female-to-male, nonbinary, and questioning transgender youth has more to do with factors relating to their biological sex (i.e. being a girl) than it does with anything related to gender identity.

If confirmed, this may help explain the causes, since it is possible that common underlying psychological and environmental factors may be at play triggering both gender dysphoria and suicidal tendencies in a subset of these adolescents.

Unfortunately, the authors of the latest study assume that these disparities primarily (if not exclusively) are owing to adverse treatment of trans-identifying youth by society and by their families—a theory called minority stress theory.

They say more research needs to be done to “comprehensively examine the factors (e.g. gender minority stress) that explain why transgender adolescents experience higher odds of suicide behavior.” Thus, they rule out from the start the possibility that the actual transition from female to male might play a role in aggravating stress and provoking one to suicide.

To support this, they cite a seriously flawed study that alleges trans-identifying youth receive mental health benefits when affirmed by their families. That study’s sample size was very small, it was short-term, and—critically—relied solely upon parent assessment to rate the children’s mental health.

What’s Ultimately at Stake

It looks as though this study, and the future research the authors seem to encourage, will be used to continue pressuring families to affirm their children’s gender identity in lieu of their biological sex, lest they drive their children to commit suicide. Parents will be sent a clear message: Help your child transition, or you may lose them to suicide—and it will likely be your fault.

The result of this will be scores more children needlessly sterilized, placed on toxic cross-sex hormones, and maimed by a double mastectomy as young as the age of 13, and potentially given other mutilating surgeries—none of which have been proven to prevent suicide in the long term.

In fact, evidence suggests that sex reassignment surgery does not improve rates of attempted suicide.

The largest and most rigorous study to examine the rates of suicide for adults following their medical gender transition was conducted in Sweden, an LGBT-affirming country. The study followed participants for 30 years after their transition and found that the suicide rate was 19 times higher among transgender adults than among the non-transgender population.

Clearly, these results do not support the alleged curative effects of transition.

There is another possible explanation for the high suicide rates that has received little attention. As Ray Blanchard and J. Michael Bailey, two LGBT affirming psychologists, have pointed out, it is quite possible that underlying traumas, mental health, and personality issues combine to cause both gender dysphoria and suicidality in vulnerable youth.

And there is reason to suspect this may be especially true for girls. Multiple studies document a dramatic rise in adolescent gender dysphoria throughout the Western world that is particularly prominent among young women. Many of these young women have a history of severe psychopathology or a neurodevelopmental disability that predates the onset of their gender dysphoria.

A recent peer-reviewed study of rapid onset gender dysphoria, in which nearly 83 percent of the youth were female, lends further credence to this possibility. Yet that study was quickly silenced by activists and by Brown University, the university of the author—despite the author’s own liberal leanings and her emphasis on the need for more research. After transgender activists called for censorship, Brown University disconnected its link to the study and issued an apology. The journal that published the study, Plos One, is now submitting it to further scrutiny.

The Brown study pointed to a possibility that challenged the assumptions of transition-affirming ideology. While that study was silenced, the most recent study is being embraced as evidence in favor of transition-affirming therapy, even though it offers no scientific support for it.

More Research Needed

In brief, the new study does not suggest that transition will reduce suicide risk in adolescents suffering from gender dysphoria. It does suggest further research is necessary regarding potential causal factors for gender dysphoria among adolescents.

If anything, the survey reinforces the urgent need for scientists to take a sober look at possible environmental factors that contribute to gender dysphoria among youth, how these may influence the suicide rate within this population, and conduct an honest inquiry into how medicine can help.

Physicians take an oath to first do no harm. Based on this principle alone, all of us should demand a halt to the medical transition of minors until rigorous non-agenda-driven, long-term research is completed.

SOURCE

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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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Friday, September 21, 2018



Political nonprofits must now name many of their donors under federal court ruling after Supreme Court declines to intervene

This will hit fundraising for conservatives as Leftists sometimes attack conservative donors.  Even as eminent a man as  Brendan Eich lost his job over a donation to a conservative cause

Advocacy groups pouring money into independent campaigns to impact this fall’s midterm races must disclose many of their political donors beginning this week after the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to intervene in a long-running case.

The high court did not grant an emergency request to stay a ruling by a federal judge in Washington who had thrown out a decades-old Federal Election Commission regulation allowing nonprofit groups to keep their donors secret unless they had earmarked their money for certain purposes.

With less than 50 days before this fall’s congressional elections, the ruling has far-reaching consequences that could curtail the ability of major political players to raise money and force the disclosure of some of the country’s wealthiest donors.

In an interview, FEC Chairwoman Caroline Hunter said that the names of certain contributors who give money to nonprofit groups to use in political campaigns beginning Wednesday will have to be publicly reported.

Hunter and other conservatives warned the decision could have a chilling effect just as the midterms are heating up.

“It’s unfortunate that citizens and groups who wish to advocate for their candidate will now have to deal with a lot of uncertainty less than two months before the election,” said Hunter, a Republican appointee.

Advocates for stricter regulation of money in politics celebrated the move.

“This is a great day for transparency and democracy,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which brought the case, said in a statement, adding: “We’re about to know a lot more about who is funding our elections.”

The ruling last month by Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell will be challenged on appeal. But in the immediate, the decision forces major groups on the left and the right to scramble and reassess how they plan to finance their fall campaigns.

Nonprofit advocacy groups — which do not have to publicly disclose their donors, as political committees do — will now have to begin reporting the names of contributors who give more than $200 per year toward their independent political campaigns, campaign finance lawyers said.

“Moving forward, these groups will need to disclose to the public any donor that gave money for the purpose of influencing a federal election, regardless of whether they want to sponsor a particular race or specific communication,” said Matthew Sanderson, a Republican campaign finance attorney. “Some groups will not need to adjust their approach to raising funds, but this will be a significant change for others.”

The change could affect heavyweight groups across the political spectrum, including the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity on the right and the League of Conservation Voters on the left.

The case began nearly six years ago when CREW filed a complaint to the FEC, arguing that it should require Crossroads GPS, a major conservative nonprofit, to disclose the names of donors behind a $6 million effort it ran in 2012 against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

The FEC deadlocked on whether to open an investigation into Crossroads and then dismissed the complaint in 2015. The following year, CREW sued the agency.

In her ruling last month, Howell sided with CREW. In her 113-page opinion, Howell wrote that the FEC’s regulation “blatantly undercuts the congressional goal of fully disclosing the sources of money flowing into federal political campaigns, and thereby suppresses the benefits intended to accrue from disclosure.”

She delayed the disclosure requirement for 45 days to give the agency time to adopt a new rule.

Crossroads GPS unsuccessfully sought to stay the ruling, pending its appeal.

On Tuesday, Chris Pack, spokesman for Crossroads GPS, said in a statement: “While we are disappointed the Supreme Court did not take this opportunity to ensure regulatory clarity for nonpolitical organizations that lawfully engage in election activity, we are confident we can navigate through the current morass and comply with the law, as we always have.”

The FEC must now create a new rule for the nonprofits, but it is unlikely to be in place before the midterms. New regulations must be considered by Congress for 30 legislative days before they go into effect — meaning the FEC would have needed to finish drafting a new rule before the court issued its opinion, for it to go into effect by Sept. 17, the court’s deadline.

Ellen Weintraub, the Democratic vice chairwoman of the FEC, said there is “great interest” among the commissioners to provide guidance ahead of the midterm elections, but said it was too early to specify what that would entail.

Tuesday’s development set off a frenzy among nonprofit groups as they tried to make sense of what the ruling would mean for fundraising and spending activity for the 2018 election.

David Keating, president of the Institute for Free Speech, which opposes campaign finance restrictions, predicted many nonprofit groups will turn to super PACs as a solution.

“They may just take the money they have allocated for this and then decide to just give contributions to super PACs that are going to be active in the races and on the issue that they agree on,” Keating said.

Earlier this month, in the wake of Howell’s ruling, the Koch network launched a new super PAC to serve as a sister organization to Americans for Prosperity.

Conservatives said the decision to throw out the FEC rule raises First Amendment concerns about donor privacy.

“If speakers can’t rely on regulations as written, that chills speech. Additionally, it’s unfair to change rules about political speech in the middle of a campaign, and many organizations have already run [independent expenditure ads] during the current campaign,” according to the Institute for Free Speech.

But Jessica Levinson, an election law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the Supreme Court’s order is a “huge win for the public.”

The now-thrown out rule “was a huge gaping hole in our system and it allowed for so much undisclosed money to be pumped through our electoral system. Disclosure is really all there is left,” Levinson said.

SOURCE






'Believe Women' Is Perilous Baloney

Michelle Malkin
    
I have a message for virtue-signaling men who’ve rushed to embrace #MeToo operatives hurling uncorroborated sexual assault allegations into the chaotic court of public opinion.

Stuff it.

Your blanket “Believe Women” bloviations are moral and intellectual abominations that insult every human being of sound mind and soul.

A certain class of never Trump-harumphers are leading the charge on behalf of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s memory-addled partisan accuser Christine Blasey Ford — who cannot recall the year she was allegedly traumatized, where it happened, who threw the party that paralyzed her for nearly four decades, how many were in attendance during her claimed assault, how she got there or how she left.

No matter! Bush campaign hack-turned-ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd doesn’t need any data to analyze. “Enough with the ‘he said, she said’” storyline,“ he declared this week. "If this is he said, she said, then let’s believe the she in these scenarios. She has nothing to gain, and everything to lose. For 250 years we have believed the he in these scenarios. Enough is enough.”

Clinton/Kerry flack Peter Daou echoed the unthinking sentiment: “To everyone on the right who says I’m being selective, I BELIEVE WOMEN whether the accused is a Republican or Democrat. And yes, that includes all the names you’re throwing at me. My default in these situations is to BELIEVE WOMEN.”

Ivy League poobah Simon Hedlin asserted: “Accusers go public not because of any supposed benefits but despite the immense costs.” He argued: “When somebody is credibly accused of sexual misconduct, the default should be to believe the accuser.”

That is a dumb and dangerous default. The costly toll of “believing women,” instead of believing evidence, can be seen in the hundreds and hundreds of cases recorded by the University of Michigan Law School’s National Registry of Exonerations involving innocent men falsely accused of rape and rape/murders.

One of those men whose plight I’ve reported on for CRTV and my syndicated column, former Fort Worth police officer Brian Franklin, spent 21 years in prison of a life sentence after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 1995 who had committed perjury on the stand. Franklin vigilantly maintained his innocence, studied law in the prison library and won a reversal of his conviction in 2016. The jury took less than two hours to acquit him. But his name is still not clear. He recently submitted a 200-page application for a pardon for innocence and cannot do what he wants to do — return to law enforcement — unless the members of the Texas board of pardons and paroles (along with Texas constitutional conservatives who pay lip service to truth, justice and due process) do the right thing.

In Philadelphia, Anthony Wright also served more than two decades behind bars like Franklin. He was convicted in 1993 for a brutal rape and murder of an elderly woman. It was a female prosecutor, Bridget Kirn, who “failed to alert the Court or the jury to what she personally knew was the falsity of (police detectives’) testimony, or otherwise honor her ethical duty to correct it,” according to Wright’s lawyers with the Innocence Project. They have filed a lawsuit directly aimed at the prosecutor this week to hold her accountable for her criminal falsehoods.

And just this week, Oregonian Joshua Horner, serving a 50-year sentence for sexual abuse of a young girl, was exonerated after a dog that the accuser had claimed he shot dead was found alive. There had been no DNA, no corroborating witnesses and no other forensic evidence — just the word of girl whose contradictions and memory problems were explained away as “post-traumatic stress” while an innocent man nearly drowned.

The idea that all women and girls must be telling the truth at all times about sexual assault allegations because they “have nothing to gain” is perilously detached from reality. Retired NYPD special victim squad detective John Savino, forensic scientist and criminal profiler of the Forensic Criminology Institute Brent Turvey, and forensic psychologist Aurelio Coronado Mares detail the myriad “prosocial” and “antisocial” lies people tell in their textbook, “False Allegations: Investigative and Forensic Issues in Fraudulent Reports of Crime.”

“Prosocial deceptions” involve specific motives beneficial to both the deceiver and the deceived, including the incentives to “preserve the dignity of others,” to gain “financial benefit” for another; to protect a relationship; “ego-boosting or image protection (of others);” and “protecting others from harm or consequence.

"Antisocial” lies involve selfish motives to “further a personal agenda at some cost to others,” including “self-deception and rationalization to protect or boost self-esteem;” “enhance status or perception in the eyes of others;” “garner sympathy;” “avoid social stigma;” “conceal inadequacy, error, and culpability;” “avoid consequence;” and for “personal and/or material gain.”

Let me repeat the themes of my work in this area for the past two years to counter the “Believe Women” baloney:

The role of the press should be verification, not validation.

Rape is a devastating crime. So is lying about it.

It’s not victim blaming to get to the bottom of the truth. It’s liar-shaming.

Don’t believe a gender. Believe evidence.

SOURCE







California Poised to Pass Bill Cracking Down on ‘False Information’

California is one step away from going down the unconstitutional road of government-mandated censorship of Internet speech. The California Senate and State Assembly recently passed S.B. 1424, the “Internet: social media: advisory group” act. This fake news advisory act is now on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

According to Section 3085 of the legislation:

The Attorney General shall, subject to the limitations of subdivision (d), establish an advisory group consisting of at least one member of the Department of Justice, Internet-based social media providers, civil liberties advocates, and First Amendment scholars, to do both of the following:

(a) Study the problem of the spread of false information through Internet-based social media platforms.

(b) Draft a model strategic plan for Internet-based social media platforms to use to mitigate the spread of false information through their platforms.

It’s hard to imagine those voting for the bill were motivated by good intentions. In any case, good intentions are not enough. Is it hard to imagine the results of the law will be censorship of views that politicians disagree with and views critical of politicians?

Most likely, Californians are not concerned about “fact-checking” content like “a mile is 5290 feet” or an appeal to form a flat Earth Facebook group; such content poses no threat to entrenched interests. Instead, “fact-checking” will be deployed against those who express doubt, for example, about climate change, vaccine safety, or “educating” children about gender dysphoria.

In a world where most scientific studies can’t be replicated, a consensus should not be confused with an immutable fact.

If you doubt that censorship is the aim of the bill, consider the even more draconian measures that an earlier version of the bill required. Social media sites would have needed to develop “a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false information.” 

The First Amendment makes no provisions for government judging the validity of speech either directly or through mandated “fact-checking.” In legitimate cases of defamation, legal remedies are available, but the bar for a successful lawsuit is high.

Concern Over Fake News is Old News

Concern over “fake news” is not new. Elbridge Gerry, who became the fifth vice president of the United States, despaired at the Constitutional Convention about the impact of “false reports”:

"The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots. In Massachusetts it had been fully confirmed by experience, that they are daily misled into the most baneful measures and opinions, by the false reports circulated by designing men, and which no one on the spot can refute."

There have always been “false reports,” but Thomas Jefferson believed in the wisdom of the public to discern the difference:

"It is so difficult to draw a clear line of separation between the abuse and the wholesome use of the press, that as yet we have found it better to trust the public judgment, rather than the magistrate, with the discrimination between truth and falsehood. And hitherto the public judgment has performed that office with wonderful correctness."

What Jefferson observed in his time is no less true today. It is impossible to “fact-check” the limitless amount of Internet speech. It is no more possible to “fact-check” than it is to centrally plan; in either case, the power of reason is not able to deal with the unforeseeable complexity one would encounter. Knowledge, by its nature, is vast and decentralized.

In Conjectures and Refutations, philosopher Karl Popper observed: “There are no ultimate sources of knowledge. Every source, every suggestion, is welcome; and every source, every suggestion, is open to critical examination.”

In contrast, California’s politicians seem to believe only some ideas are welcome—if those ideas have been “fact-checked” by the heavy hand of government-sponsored boards. 

Why Authoritarians Always Suppress Speech

In his new discussion paper, “The Mirage of Democratic Socialism,” economist Kristian Niemietz of the Institute of Economic Affairs counts “more than two dozen attempts (not counting the very short-lived ones) to build a socialist society.”

“They all,” Niemietz writes, “led to varying degrees of economic failure.” With that economic failure always came “varying degrees of repression and political authoritarianism," as well as severe limitations on “freedom of choice and personal autonomy in the economic sphere.”

Authoritarians, including so-called “democratic socialists,” must always suppress speech. Why? Human beings have boundless preferences and competing goals. These preferences and goals are sorted out by either socialist planners or impersonal market processes. 

As central planning fails, a scapegoat must be found. If only the people were united and working towards the same goals, our plans would succeed, reason the planners. Thus, observes Niemietz, all socialist regimes seek to enforce compliance with their plans:

One of the most persistent features of socialism is the paranoia about imaginary saboteurs, wreckers, hoarders, speculators, traitors, spies and stooges of hostile foreign powers. These phantoms are always accused of ‘undermining’ the economy (although it never quite becomes clear how exactly they do that), which would otherwise work just fine. More generally, the oppressive character of socialist societies was generally linked to the economic requirements of a centrally planned economy. Socialist states did not oppress people for the sake of it. They did so in ways that enforced compliance with the aims of the social planners.

In a future dystopian “democratic socialist” California, the search for “false information” could be weaponized against those arguing for free markets. After Google provides a censored search engine in China, they can no doubt use their new expertise in California to keep up with the latest laws.

SOURCE






What your suburb says about you - and your children's chance of having a successful future: Maps show the divide between Australia's rich and poor

This is as it must be.  There are of course exceptions but most people will choose to live in as good a suburb as they can afford. So suburbs will be reasonably homogeneous in the incomes of their inhabitants -- with the poorest living in the least attractive suburbs.  And economically unsuccessful parents will tend to have economically unsuccessful children. It's not the suburb that makes your poor.  Its the poor who have to choose less attractive suburbs

Australia ranks at number 12 of the most expensive countries to live – but new data has revealed the shocking divide between the country's rich and poor suburbs.

Experts have released a report examining the most advantaged and disadvantaged areas across the nation - and how the suburb where you grow up can significantly impact on your success in later life.

The Children's Geographies report by Senior Research Fellow at the UNSW Jennifer Skattebol and Flinders Associate Professor Gerry Redmond has found that poverty across generations is a major issue in Australia, according to News.com.au.

'A significant number of young Australians who grow up in poverty find it difficult to engage with formal education; they leave school early or cannot navigate from education to the world of work,' the report states. Because the poor tend to have lower IQs

The authors said their research found that children from poorer suburbs have less access to recreational, sporting, and academic facilities, and experience social exclusion across neighbourhood facilities and social networks.

They claim that youths from affluent suburbs are less likely to participate in activities they perceive would be attended by disadvantaged children and, conversely, disadvantaged youths avoided using facilities in affluent suburbs, concerned they would be worse-off if a conflict arose.

A research program titled Dropping Off the Edge identifies advantaged and disadvantaged areas across the country.

In New South Wales, the areas in the north and west of the state were generally more disadvantaged, while regions along the coast and near the southern border fared much better.

Disadvantaged areas included Inverell in the north, and Bourke, Wilcannia, and Broken Hill in the far west.  The more affluent areas were around Sydney, Canberra, and Albury.

In Sydney itself, the north shore and eastern suburbs fared well, but suburbs in western Sydney including Blacktown, Cabramatta and Liverpool are considered disadvantaged.

In Victoria, around Melbourne and parts of the northeast and southwest of the state fared well, but Lakes Entrance in the east, and Red Cliffs in the far north were identified as disadvantaged.

In Melbourne city, areas around Hurstbridge in the north and Flinders in the south were considered affluent

In Melbourne, areas around Hurstbridge in the north and Flinders in the south were considered affluent, while areas around Yarra Junction, Cranbourne, and Sunshine were considered poorer.

In southeast Queensland, areas around Noosa, Moreton Bay, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast were the most advantaged.

Areas to the west such as Beaudesert, Ipswich, and Esk were classified as disadvantaged. The Sunshine Coast fared well, with Maroochydore one of the most advantaged areas.

SOURCE 

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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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Thursday, September 20, 2018



Walter Williams: Reasoning About Race

So much of our reasoning about race is both emotional and faulty. In ordinary, as well as professional, conversation, we use terms such as discrimination, prejudice, racial preferences and racism interchangeably, as if they referred to the same behavior. We can avoid many pitfalls of misguided thinking about race by establishing operational definitions so as to not confuse one behavior with another.

Discrimination can be operationally defined as an act of choice. Our entire lives are spent choosing to do or not to do thousands of activities. Choosing requires non-choosing. When you chose to read this column, you discriminated against other possible uses of your time. When you chose a spouse, you discriminated against other people. When I chose Mrs. Williams, I systematically discriminated against other women. Much of it was racial. Namely, I discriminated against white women, Asian women, fat women and women with criminal backgrounds. In a word, I didn't offer every woman an equal opportunity, and they didn't offer me an equal opportunity.

One might be tempted to argue that racial discrimination in marriage is trivial and does not have important social consequences, but it does. When high-IQ and high-income people marry other high-IQ and high-income people, and to the extent there is a racial correlation between these characteristics, racial discrimination in mate selection enhances the inequality in the population's intelligence and income distribution. There would be greater income equality if high-IQ and high-income people married low-IQ and low-income people. But I imagine that most people would be horrified by the suggestion of a mandate to require the same.

Prejudice is a perfectly useful term, but it is used improperly. Its Latin root is praejudicium — meaning prejudgment. Prejudice can be operationally defined as making decisions on the basis of incomplete information. Because the acquisition of information entails costs, we all seek to economize on information cost. Sometimes we use cheap-to-observe physical attributes as proxies for some other attribute more costlier to observe. The cheaply observed fact that a person is a male or female can serve as a proxy for an unobserved attribute such as strength, aggressiveness or speed in running.

In the late 1990s, a black taxi commissioner in Washington, D.C., warned cabbies against going into low-income black neighborhoods and picking up "dangerous-looking" passengers whom she described as young black males dressed a certain way. Some pizza deliverers in St. Louis who were black complained about delivering pizzas to black neighborhoods for fear of being assaulted or robbed. In 1993, the Rev. Jesse Jackson was reported as saying that he is relieved when he learns that youthful footsteps walking behind him at night are white and not black.

Here's the question: Does the wariness of Washington's predominantly black cabbies to pick up "dangerous-looking" black males or black pizza deliverers' not wanting to deliver to some black neighborhoods or Rev. Jackson's feeling a sense of relief when the youthful footsteps behind him are those of white youngsters instead of black say anything unambiguous about whether cabbies, pizza deliverers and Jackson like or dislike blacks? It's a vital and often overlooked point — namely, that watching a person's prejudicial (prejudging) behavior alone can tell us nothing unambiguous about that person's racial tastes or preferences.

Consider policing. Suppose a chief of police is trying to capture culprits who break in to autos to steal electronic equipment. Suppose further that you see him focusing most of his investigative resources on young males between the ages of 15 and 25. He spends none of his investigative resources on females of any age and very few on men who are 40 or older. By watching his "profiling" behavior — prejudging behavior — would you conclude that he likes females and older males and dislikes males between the ages of 15 and 25? I think that it would take outright idiocy to reach such a conclusion. The police chief is simply playing the odds based on the evidence he has gathered through experience that breaking in to autos tends to be a young man's fancy.

SOURCE






Christian-Bashing Emmys' Ratings Hit New Low

Ratings for Monday night’s politically-charged, Christian-bashing Emmys program fell to a new low for the annual awards show telecast.

The overnight ratings posted a double-digit percentage decline from the previous year’s poor performance, Deadline Hollywood reported Tuesday:

“Snagging a 7.4/13 result in metered market ratings, the NBC broadcasted and Michael Che and Colin Jost hosted 70th Primetime Emmy awards fell to an all-time low on Monday.

“In the early metrics, the Lorne Michaels executive produced and Saturday Night Live alum thick ceremony was down 10% from last year’s Stephen Colbert fronted show of September 16, 2017 on CBS.’

The 2018 Emmys program is also expected to hit an all-time low among a key audience demographic, when the final numbers are released, Deadline says:

“In the final numbers, last year’s Emmys snared 11.8 million viewers and a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49. That translated into matching the previous viewership low of the Jimmy Kimmel hosted 2016 Emmys and a new low among the key demographic. Those are records, based on the first set of numbers we are looking at today, appear very likely to be broken – and not in a good way.”

This year’s Emmys program didn’t waste any time before attacking Christians – comparing them to ex-drug addicts – as the opening monologue declared that:

“The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads.”

SOURCE






British Food tyrants victimize a schoolkid

They can only preach to adults so they love to exercize power over kids

A MUM was furious when a school deemed her child’s lunch box “too unhealthy” — despite it being packed with nutritious food.

Meal time assistants found the food unacceptable, but the baffled mother couldn’t see why.

It turned out the problem was with the three mini cookies included in the box, The Mirror reports.

Mum Laura Lee said that staff at the school stopped her son from eating the chocolate chip biscuits.

She posted a picture of the offending meal on Facebook in a comment thread where teachers had shared stories about the worst school lunches they had seen.



Teachers had seen everything from kids only turning up with Red Bull and Monster Munch to cold McDonald’s leftovers.

But Laura said of her lunch box: “I thought it was pretty balanced — evidently not.”

Others replied to Laura’s lunch box story and were outraged at the assistants’ decision.

Susan McGowan wrote: “Absolute rubbish that he wasn’t allowed to get those small cookies. “Everything in moderation surely.”

Martin Harry said: “I would kick the f**k off big time! “Food is taken off a child and made to be hungry rather than the child eating. Since when was that healthy.”

Some people thought that the blame lied higher up the school’s food chain. Stephanie Hughes commented: “I would be requesting a ‘lunch date’ with the headmaster asking him to provide a proper packed lunch as a way of example!”

SOURCE






White do-gooder sees pervasive racism towards Australian Aborigines

I don't know why I occasionally put up rejoinders to Leftist screeches.  I guess I feel that a full picture of the matters concerned has to be available.  And Leftist writing usually leaves out such an enormous amount of the full story that I really feel annoyed at such deception.

The woman writing below, Caitlin Prince, apparently works in some sort of welfare role among Aborigines and appears to do so largely as a result of her political convictions.  And a big part of those convictions is that Australians generally are racist.  But what evidence does she muster for that conviction?  Just three anecdotes.  But you can prove anything by anecdotes.  I could report far more anecdotes that prove Australians generally to be racially tolerant.  So she falls at the first hurdle in her rant.

So her claim that "defensive anger" is the common response to  accounts of the deplorable situation of Aborigines is also just another anecdote.  That she is a racist is however clear. She criticizes "white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background."  Why does she have to bring their race into it?  Why can she not outline the words and deeds of particular people in her criticisms?  Instead she resorts to lazy generalizations with no detectible substance in them.

Another of her broad brush strokes is to say that "mostly racism is unconscious  and internalised".  How does she know?  Does she have a mind-reading machine?  She does not. Instead she relies on her deductions about the motives behind various words and deeds that she has observed. There is a very long history in psychology of failed attempts to read minds but she is not humbled by that.  She knows better.

One of her observations, however, is probably right.  She says that the poor state of Aborigines evokes feelings of powerlessness in whites.  She does not however confront a major reason why.  Successive Australian governments, State and Federal, Left and Right have all set in train big efforts to improve the situation of Aborigines -- but nothing works. If anything, the situation of Aborigines has gone downhill since the era of the missionaries.  People of all sorts have racked their brains to come up with solutions but none have succeeded.  People feel powerless in the face of Aboriginal degradation because they really ARE powerless.

She says that the problem for Aborigines is "the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations".  If that were so, how come that so many government programs have over a long period been tried in an attempt to help Aborigines?

So the sad state of Aborigines is NOT the result of racism.  It is something in Aboriginals themselves.  And that something is not too mysterious.  They have over many thousands of years adapted brilliantly to a hunter-gatherer life -- but that life is no more.

So what is her solution to the undoubted problems of Aborigines?  It is pathetic.  It is a "national conversation".  She is completely oblivious of all the conversations that have gone before.  She lives only in the present, as Leftists usually do.

As it happens, the lady in my life spent many years among Aborigines providing them with real professional services -- medical services  -- paid for by one of those "racist" Australian governments. She tells me something that the angry sourpuss below gives no hint of.  She tells me that she LIKES Aborigines.  And having seen much of what has been done to and for Aborigines by well-intentioned governments, she is firm in her view that no outside help will do much for Aborigines.  She believes that any solution for their plight must arise from among Aborigines themselves.  I think she is right.



Last week, a nine-year-old refused to stand for the national anthem to protest its lack of recognition of First Nations, and the country erupted in anger. High profile, fully grown adults publicly called her a brat and threatened to “kick her up the backside”.

In the same week, Mark Knight’s cartoon of Serena Williams was criticised internationally as racist, and Australian media doubled down to defend it. “Welcome to PC world” the Herald Sun published on its front page, while Knight accused the world of “going crazy” and suspended his Twitter account.

Meanwhile, two Aboriginal teenagers died in Perth running away from police, and communities pushed again for government action on the high rates of Aboriginal deaths in custody. Yeah — how dare people suggest Australia is racist!

I can’t imagine how it felt to be Aboriginal during this (not atypical) week. Although I don’t have to imagine — Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana), the Aboriginal writer and activist, tweeted:

"We’re constantly stuck trying to remind white people of the humanity of Aboriginal people – particularly Aboriginal women and children. It’s tiring, devastating and as we continually end up back in the same place, clearly not working. Sort your shit out, Australia"

— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) September 17, 2018

Emotions run high when it comes to the topic of racism and First Nations people. The fact that a nine-year-old can elicit such a venomous rebuke from senators and media personalities is testament to that. In my experience though, it isn’t only alt-right conservatives who have strong emotions about this topic. In the past eight years that I’ve worked in remote Aboriginal communities, every non-Aboriginal person I’ve worked with has experienced a strong reaction to the interface of Australia’s race relations.

Defensive anger is a common reaction to having your worldview challenged. Researcher Megan Boler believes it’s an attempt to protect not only one’s beliefs but one’s “precarious sense of identity”; a defence of one’s investment in the values of the dominant culture.

The problem with growing up within the dominant culture is that it’s easy to be oblivious to anything outside of it. As Tim Soutphommasane, the outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner, recently pointed out in The Griffith Review, Australia’s media and political structures are still dominated by white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background. While in reality, Australia is far more culturally diverse, the positions that shape both the nation’s policies and stories we tell about it, are still dominated by Anglo-Australians.

When voices from outside the dominant culture do reach us, their perspectives are unexpected, drawn from life experience beyond our shared frames of reference. Their criticism can feel like it’s come out of the blue.

Knight said his cartoon wasn’t about race. Perhaps he was naive to the history of caricature that represented black people as infantile sambos. His intention may not have been racist. As white people, we often mistakenly believe that racism requires a conscious belief that black people are less human than us, but mostly racism is unconscious  and internalised.

It’s all the more bewildering to be accused of racism when it isn’t your intention, such as a health professional who wants to help, discovering they’ve unknowingly offended their Aboriginal client; or a well-intentioned teacher, who had no idea teaching only in English to a community with a different first language, might cause harm. Or perhaps a cartoonist, who prided himself on insightful social commentary, but had his blind spots pointed out.

Frequently, we react defensively and insist our actions aren’t racist when we’d be better served by realising we didn’t know it was racist  and listening to people of colour to understand why, without minimising or denying their concerns.

Anger is not the only emotional response I see in non-Aboriginal people when confronted with our country’s racism. Some people respond with grief and sadness, others with guilt and shame. Nearly always, there are feelings of helplessness that easily flick over into dissociation, numbness and denial. Megan Boler writes that denial “feeds on our lack of awareness of how powerlessness functions, effects, feeds on, and drains our sense of agency and power as active creators of self and world-representations. By powerlessness I mean a state that is usually silent and mutates into guilt and denial that gnaws at us….”

Our country struggles with meaningful recognition of our First Nations, in part due to these feelings of powerlessness and being overwhelmed. We are divided, black from white, by the privilege of being able to drift off into denial. Aboriginal people remain pressed up against the painful consequences of racism with the daily deaths, incarceration, and illness of their family members. Non-Aboriginal Australians on the other hand, bump along, failing to grapple with the overwhelming task of reckoning with our genocidal history and its ongoing legacy.

People of colour refer to “white fragility”, and while I think the term is fair (if the suffering could be weighed, there would be no competition), unless we respond wisely to emotions triggered by discussions of racism, we’re not going to progress the national conversation. Emerging from denial is like thawing from ice; it comes with the pins and needles of moving out of a long-held, contracted position. It’s painful, and people react emotionally.

I’ve worked for eight years now in remote health. I often feel paralysed, at a loss as to how to break through the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations.

How can I, as one voice, possibly affect it? I want to run away, to not face it. And right there, in the choice to not confront racism, is white privilege.

The moment I choose to do nothing, the moment I stop wrestling with my emotions and slip instead into denial and avoidance, I act out the privilege that has and continues to cause so much harm to our First Nations.

To do nothing is to be complicit.

What a painful thing to have to face.

SOURCE 

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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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018



A defence of political correctness

I like to see how the other half thinks so I do often read Leftist writing.  It is mostly, however, so devoid of facts and reason as to defy comment.  It is mostly just assertion, rage and abuse. But the article below has the feel of saying something coherent so I am putting it up. 

The article, however, seems to be a combination of mere assertion and one-sidedness. A peculiarity  of the essay is that it starts out with a long and reasonable presentation of what critics of political correctness say. It's not until her 9th paragraph that the author is overtly critical -- and her opening blast there is a an attack on the character of President Trump.  That is however an "ad hominem" argument and as such is not worthy of a scholar.

Let us look at in detail anyway.  She asserts that political correctness is no danger because a bad egg like Trump became President.  Her characterization of Trump is however extremely tendentious.  She says, for instance, that Trump "stereotypes Muslims as “terrorists” and Mexicans as “rapists”". 

That is however a very unbalanced assessment of what he has done in the course of his attempts to get America's immigration policy more in America's interests. America has indeed suffered a lot of terror attacks from Muslim Jihadis  --- and horrible crimes, often against women, committed by illegal Hispanic immigrants come to light almost daily. 

Many Americans would therefore quite reasonably see Trump's comments on the matter as simple realism.  They would see his election as a triumph of realism, not as an triumph of political incorrectness.  One does hope that realism is not politically incorrect.

In sum, the woman's comments on Trump are just Leftist boilerplate designed to appeal to anti-Trumpers rather than the balanced assessment we would hope for from a real scholar. Her colleagues at the LSE would resoundingly applaud her viewpoint but it is just one viewpoint with little claim outside similar circles.

Ms Symons then goes on to critique the words of Lionel Shriver and immediately offers a dishonest interpretation of Shriver's words.  She treats Shriver's comments about “gay transgender Caribbean primary school dropout" as a serious proposition, when it is obviously just comedic exaggeration.

Not content with one misrepresentation of Shriver, Symons goes on to another.  She says: "the dichotomy she draws between demographic diversity on the one hand and worthwhile literature on the other implies that writers who are not white and heterosexual produce inferior literature."  That is utter rubbish.  Shriver says nothing of the sort.  She simply says that literature should be judged in a colourblind way -- and accepted for publication solely on its literary merits. 

Symons then trots out the claim that third world writing "enriches" us in some unspecified way. That may be so but it would be nice to see examples of minority literature of an enriching kind that has come to us via preferential treatment.  I know of none and Ms Symons's silence on the matter tends to suggest that she also does not.

Her comments on Tony Abbott also lack context. What Abbott was referring to was the energetic attempts by the Left to suppress comment from conservative Christians.  It was an attack on free speech in deed and in truth.  Ms Symonds is an Australian so it is likely she was aware of that but has decided that omitting it makes a better story. So her judgment of Abbott's orientation is that it "indicates the illiberalism in which anti-PC reactionaries are steeped".  That may be so but it is a mere assertion untethered from any balanced argument.

Ms Symons then goes on to comment on knife crime in London and what she says is reasonable enough but I do not see that she is talking about political correctness

She then asserts that opposition to political correctness "indicates the illiberalism in which anti-PC reactionaries are steeped".  She undoubtedly believes that but I cannot see where she has made a case for that judgment.

She ends by implying that opposition to political correctness is wrong because Mr Trump and Mr Farage oppose it.  And with no apparent awareness of irony she then goes on to condemn "ad hominem" argument!

She is just another of the one-eyed intellectual lightweights I constantly encounter in my readings of Leftist writing. I would be inclined to dismiss her as just a silly little girl but that would of course make me a patriarchal misogynist Fascist and a secret admirer of Hitler so I had better not.  If her defence of political correctness is the best the Left can do, they are a very sad lot indeed

I note that "The Economist" gave the essay below a prize.  They were once a reliable sources of factual reportage and argument.  It seems those days are long gone.  They would now seem to be part of the English establishment, with its arrogant dismissal of people's politicians like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage




Julia Symons, author of the article below. She is an MSc candidate in Global Health at the London School of Economics.


“Drunk on virtue.” Thus did Lionel Shriver, an American author, damn a commitment made by the British arm of Penguin Random House, a publisher, that “its new hires and the books it acquires reflect UK society by 2025.” A conscious effort to ensure diversity is, says Ms Shriver, wholly incompatible with the publisher’s raison d’être of acquiring and publishing good works of literature. If an agent were to receive a manuscript from a “gay transgender Caribbean who dropped out of school at seven and powers around town on a mobility scooter” it would be published, even if its quality were execrable, warned Ms Shriver.

Her screed suggests that the unthinking application of political correctness (PC), in this case in the form of a diversity target, will threaten liberal, Western culture and produce small-minded individuals. Like some of Ms Shriver’s previous interventions on this topic, this one was met with outrage online, with thousands of tweets and column-inches devoted to criticising the author.

Welcome to the culture wars. Welcome to “political correctness gone too far”.

The notion that political correctness has “gone mad” is familiar to anyone who follows even vaguely any aspect of modern political or cultural life. The phrase, ostensibly referring to language or action that is designed to avoid offence or harm to protected groups, has become a sharp criticism. It is synonymous with a sort of cultural McCarthyism, usually committed by the left.

In its modern iteration, it pops up in a couple of different forms. First, there is the use of the word “snowflake” to criticise younger generations—those more likely to be in favour of affirmative action and gender-neutral bathrooms, for instance, who are perceived as thin-skinned and less resilient than their forebears. The second invocation of PC gone mad is “freedom of speech”: specifically the idea that the use and enforcement of politically correct language will endanger it and by extension freedom of thought.

Regardless of how it is labelled, its underlying idea is the same: that measures to increase “tolerance” threaten the liberal, Enlightenment values that have forged the West. Self-styled opponents of political correctness and proponents of free speech may find themselves (mis)quoting Voltaire: “I disapprove what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

When framed like this, it seems utterly reasonable to think that political correctness has the potential to be a menace. Moreover, some aspects of tolerance culture, particularly the actions of students—who frequently draw the ire of such culture warriors—are, in many cases, cloying and precious.

Britain’s National Union of Students, and campus politics generally, is rife with such examples: at one conference, it urged its delegates to use the “jazz hands” motion to express their appreciation, lest the noises made by clapping “trigger” other delegates. Meanwhile Facebook, in its own efforts at tolerance, has made a list of 71 genders from which its users may choose to identify, including genderqueer neutrois and bi-gender. This is farcical and arguably trivialises the very real struggles that transgender individuals face.

However, some easily-dismissed examples aside, the notion that political correctness has gone too far is absurd. That a man who boasts gleefully about grabbing women by their genitals, mocks disabled reporters and stereotypes Muslims as “terrorists” and Mexicans as “rapists” was able to become the leader of the free world should disabuse anyone of that notion. Indeed those who invoke “political correctness” often use it for more cynical means. It is a smoke screen for regressivism.

Let us return to Ms Shriver’s argument. It is untethered from reality. If a “gay transgender Caribbean” primary school dropout were able to gain a book deal with such ease, then where are all of the books by such people? Worse yet, the dichotomy she draws between demographic diversity on the one hand and worthwhile literature on the other implies that writers who are not white and heterosexual produce inferior literature. Moreover, Ms Shriver seems not to have considered that drawing upon the full spectrum of the human experience, particularly by seeking out voices and stories that have been hitherto silenced or under-represented, can only enrich our literature.

It is an illiberal argument masquerading as the opposite. This is common whenever the term “political correctness” is bandied about. Another example comes from Australia’s pugilistic former prime minister, Tony Abbott. During that country’s 2017 plebiscite on marriage equality, Mr Abbott—a devout Catholic, social conservative and ardent ‘No’ campaigner—urged the Australian public: “If you're worried about...freedom of speech, vote no [to single-sex marriage.] If you don't like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks.”

By wilfully conflating several unrelated issues, Abbott managed to frame depriving same-sex couples of the right to marry (and of the rights that accompany it) as a bold and defiant declaration of freedom. That “stopping political correctness” was, for him, not only synonymous with but contingent upon the continued subjugation of certain minorities, indicates the illiberalism in which anti-PC reactionaries are steeped.

Not only is “political correctness” invoked to reinforce prejudices, it is often simplistic and reductive. A 22% increase in knife-crime in England and Wales, largely concentrated in London, has seen alarmist headlines about London’s murder rate eclipsing that of New York’s (true only if one squints hard enough at very particular statistics.) The reasons for this are complicated, but largely to do with significant cuts to the police (whose numbers have fallen by nearly 20% since 2010) and also other social services: in the absence of youth services and clubs, for example, children are more vulnerable to recruitment from gangs. Many experts, including Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick, see this through the lens of public health, in which strategies for prevention are needed, not just enforcement.

For opponents of political correctness this is another consequence of political correctness run amok—and another convenient excuse to attack the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May (hardly a bleeding heart) rightfully placed significant restrictions on the use of the policing tactic known as “stop and search,” which disproportionately targeted ethnic minorities. There was no evidence that it reduced crime in any statistically significant way. However, the reactionaries ploughed on, impervious to facts, with right-wing media outlets such as the Sun and the Daily Telegraph calling for the return of stop-and-search to restore order on London streets.

These phenomena—invoking “political correctness” as a fig-leaf for naked prejudice, and in spite of evidence to the contrary—find their most troubling embodiment in political figures like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage. Mr Trump once stated that “the problem [America] has is being politically correct,” and sees himself as a corrective to that. Mr Farage, too, sees himself as a crusader against political correctness.

Both consider themselves to be “taking back” their respective countries from a varied cast of bogeymen: among them elitists, social justice warriors, Muslims and immigrants. Both seem to want to undermine the very institutions that preserve our rights and liberties.

At best, the notion of political correctness having gone too far is intellectually dishonest; a fallacy similar to a straw-man argument or an ad hominem attack. At worst, it serves as a rallying cry to cover up the excesses of the most illiberal in our society.

SOURCE






The truth about IQ



As a psychometrician, I can vouch for the fact that Peterson is simply reporting what the research shows.







Angela Merkel is learning.  She announces new bid to tackle migration alongside Austria's anti-immigration chancellor as she continues to turn away from her open-door policy in wake of protests

Angela Merkel has said she will work with her Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz to secure Europe's borders, in her latest move away from the open-door policy which has sparked a wave of protests in Germany.

The German chancellor met Mr Kurz in Berlin ahead of a crunch EU summit on migration later this week.

Mrs Merkel, who has faced a backlash since she allowed a million refugees into Germany in 2015, agreed to work with African countries to stop the flow of migrants.

She and Mr Kurz also welcomed the European Commission's plans to increase the staff of Europe's border agency to 10,000 people by 2020, DW reported. 

Merkel told reporters in Berlin as she and Kurz prepared to sit down for their one-to-one talks that 'migration is, of course, a very important issue.'

They were also expected to discuss Brexit. 'We have the same view that we must do all we can to avoid a hard Brexit,' Kurz said in a statement before the meeting.

The German chancellor opened Germany's doors to more than a million refugees fleeing North Africa in the Middle East at the peak of Europe's refugee crisis in 2015.

Mr Kurz, 32, has taken a hard-line stance on immigration since he came to power last year after striking a deal with the right-wing Freedom Party.

The two clashed in June when Mr Kurz resisted German plans to share migrants out between EU countries.

Mrs Merkel said she would not allow EU countries to say that 'we don't want to participate in European solidarity'.

Austria has sided with countries such as Hungary and Italy - under its new government and interior minister Matteo Salvini - who have pushed to tighten Europe's borders. 

Mrs Merkel's immigration policy has sparked a fierce backlash in Germany, as the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party made historic gains at last year's election.

The issue has flared up again in recent weeks after a German man was allegedly stabbed to death by two Iraqi and Syrian migrants.

His death prompted major protests in Chemnitz, in former East Germany, the part of the country where the AfD is strongest.

Mrs Merkel's interior minister Horst Seehofer has pushed for a tougher immigration policy to prevent the ruling CDU/CSU being outflanked by the AfD.

The Austrian leader next travels to Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

He and Mrs Merkel are set to join other national leaders at the two-day summit starting on Wednesday in Salzburg, Austria. 

The border agency, Frontex, said last week the number of people crossing the entire Mediterranean had fallen by 40 per cent from last year.

However the number of migrants crossing the western Mediterranean into Spain more than doubled in the first eight months of this year.

The divergence was due to a sharp drop in people leaving strife-torn Libya for Italy, a main migrant route to Europe in recent years.

SOURCE 






Some irritating cases of lunatic political correctness in Australia

Have you heard the latest? Some council, somewhere in Australia, is removing the wire fencing around council playgrounds just in case children playing there feel trapped and encaged! I would guess it would have only been a few years ago they insisted on putting up the self-same fences to keep vandals and other undesirables out! I really don’t know why I get so wound up about stories like this, after all it is just another case of lunatic political correctness that we have to put up with these days, but it does get me a little mad myself.

Another recent politically correct move is the drive to delete sexual references completely from university campuses, so any notices, posters, letters or signs can’t refer to ‘him’ or ‘her’, ‘he’ or ‘she’, etc. They apparently will only be able to use the words ‘them’ or ‘they’ or other suchlike non-sexual pronouns. The people insisting on this are supposed to be our most intelligent, clever, forward-thinking young individuals, the people who are going to lead us into our bright new future. God help us is all I can say!

Worse still, this silliness is taking root and growing everywhere, from its early start in feminism, when, amongst other things, a woman I knew at that time, insisted I should not call her ‘luv’ (you’ll notice the spelling, that’s important), because it was sexist. I tried to point out to her that the word, spelled as I’ve indicated, had nothing to do with sexual relationships nor did it indicate that I had fallen for her, in which case I might have used the spelling ‘love’ instead. It was, I tried to say, merely a friendly form of address to someone you might not know the name of or who was familiar to you and was (usually), a woman. It carried precisely the same sexual meaning as the term I use to speak to a bloke — ‘mate’! This doesn’t mean I want to have sex with him or give him my children, it was, and still is merely a friendly term of communication. You’d hardly find a person in England, male or female, who doesn’t use the term ‘luv’, but this politically correct lady was deeply offended. As I have said, it’s a great pity she and the other people like her, can’t grow up and find something more useful to occupy their minds.

I agree there are some rules created by these people that do have some worth, like cycle helmets and car seat belts, but the good ideas seem to be in a tiny minority when compared to the irritating and silly ones that bear little contact to reality. Like the student who, a recently demanded that any reference to men should be removed from the English language — she thought the words containing ‘man’ or ‘men’ was offensive to all women, wherever it was used and for whatever purpose, which naturally made me wonder what she would do with such words as ‘human’, ‘menstrual’, ‘manager’, ‘hymen’, or ‘manufacture’, to name but a very tiny proportion of words containing those three offensive letters!

The trouble, and the worry, as far as I am concerned, is why and how did these people get into a position where they can impose all this stupidity on us? There was a time, not so long ago, when Aussies (is that offensive to these people?), of either sex were bright, reliant, strong and cheerful; they were capable of handling almost any situation of their own and they never griped about it — in fact the Aussie personality was the envy of the world. For instance, English soldiers used to gulp at some of the things Australian soldiers were quite happy to say to their superior officers, should it be called for, but now there is a breed of ‘namby-pamby’ young people coming along, who couldn’t change a light bulb, let alone repair a car engine or help a cow give birth to a calf, but that are very quick to complain if things aren’t laid on for them, exactly as they require!

I’m afraid space does not permit me the luxury of delving deeper into this very interesting, if irritating subject, but thank goodness there are still youngsters in this country who do know the score and can look after themselves and others less fortunate than themselves — I pray nothing will happen to destroy that very necessary breed of individual!

SOURCE 

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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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018



PC fail: AD and CE are both based on the life of Christ

No one likes to be criticized; and some people seek a way around one of the fundamental guarantees provided in the U.S, Constitution - the First Amendment.

As a fervent believer in free speech, and an aversion to busybodies, PC be damned.

So here, we are – in the land of PC. In this case, the focus being on one, specific attempt to impose Political Correctness in regard to the use of BC and AD. Who came up with the ridiculous idea of changing BC (before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini -- Latin for "The Year of our Lord") to BCE and CE?

The answer, brief and blunt: an idiot. Some guy - a gut full of righteous indignation - sitting in his office at some university, contemptuous of Christianity (any religion for that matter).

Do not take this as an attempt on my part to paint universities as full of nutty professors. I am not. Sanity generally rules in our nation’s colleges and universities.

In any case, the malignancy spread like wildfire, and legions of Americans were easily persuaded to agree with things they do not agree with. You know the type; they say something; observe that you disagree, and retreat.

There is no denial from the advocates of this ill-considered action. There is hilarity to be found in the fact BCE and CE mean the same thing: They mark history in the dates of the birth and death of Jesus.

Political Correctness is not only an end-run around free speech, such as in the case with BC and AD. Increasingly, it has evolved into a subtle attack on, among others things, Christmas. Not directly, mind you, but a chipping away at edges.

The corporate world, terrified by the prospect of offending some customers, instead hawks “Happy Holidays!” as a substitute for “Merry Christmas!”

Compared to the American Atheist Society, the bending of the business world is mild. Atheists, so determined to wipe the Christian religion from the earth, spend lavishly on its relentless campaign to kill the holiday.

Who needs a Grinch when we have atheists raving and plastering posters on buses and billboards bashing you-know-what?

On one occasion, a guy said something innocuous; stopped, looked at me and said, “I hope this is Politically Correct.” Showing great restraint, I did not murder him on the spot.

SOURCE






Nigel Farage attacks political correctness, the ABC and the Left generally  in rousing Sydney speech

British politician Nigel Farage has told a convivial Sydney audience they are living in the “most exciting political time” in decades, no matter how much the Left refute it.

Speaking at Doltone House, in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Pyrmont on Thursday night, Mr Farage told the audience of 1200 that Brexit had marked the beginning of a global political revolution.

“We are living through the most exciting political times we have seen in decades,” Mr Farage said. “It doesn’t matter how much protesters scream, it doesn’t alter how much negativity we get from the state-sponsored peasants. Are you here, ABC?”

The co-founder and former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who was a driving force behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, told the audience: “We are now living through a global political revolution, and we the people will bring down the Establishment.”

The controversial politician, who is in Sydney as part of a week-long speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand, was met by an energetic round of applause at several points during his speech. Many in the audience gave the British MP a standing ovation as he took his position on centre stage.

Throughout his talk Mr Farage discussed issues such as Brexit, populism, immigration and political correctness.

“I’m not going to bow down to political correctness or be told I can’t do this or can’t do that,” Mr Farage said. “We need politicians to reflect the same values and, you know what, the same flaws we have too.”

Mr Farage also lamented the leadership of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and said in comparison many modern leaders were “as dull as dishwater” and “so politically correct they’re too scared to say what they think.”

At one point Mr Farage joked that despite “current political turmoil across Europe”, “things were arguably even worse” in Australia.

He warned that if the Liberal Party, which recently ousted Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister in favour of Scott Morrison, didn’t “sort itself out” Australia would experience “real, radical change too”.

He later said he was struck by the disconnect between Canberra’s politicians and the Australian people, and hoped Brexit would give Britain the chance to reconnect with their “real friend,” Australia.

He said despite being unpopular with many British politicians “riding the gravy train”, YouTube had cemented his support base. He said he shared US President Donald Trump’s view that Twitter was the future.

Some members of the audience called “lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton when Mr Farage discussed a Mississippi speech he gave in favour of Mr Trump prior to the 2016 US presidential election.

“I’m the only human in the world who was involved in the campaign for Brexit and in the election of Donald Trump,” Mr Farage said. “I’m pretty proud of that.”

Mr Farage said he became disillusioned with British prime ministers after Margaret Thatcher’s leadership.

“I thought the hell with open door immigration, the hell with being ashamed of being patriotic, I’m going to stand up and fight them, that’s how I got involved with politics,” Mr Farage said to cheers from the audience.

There was a large police presence outside the venue but unlike events in Perth and Auckland, the Sydney show didn’t draw any protesters.

During a question and answer session run by tour promoter and publisher of porno mag Penthouse, Damien Costas, Mr Farage nursed a glass of red wine in his hand as he criticised the “baying mobs” for obstructing his event.

“They want to shut down free speech,” Mr Farage said. “They’re not just undemocratic they’re anti-democratic and it’s a monstrous thing to see in a free society. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong.”

“In Perth they were blaming me for all that has gone wrong with the aborigines, what the hell has that got to do with me?”

When asked by a man wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap what kind of future ethnically British people could expect in England due to an influx of non-white migrants, Mr Farage said it wasn’t a case of “Black v White.”

He said that while immigration in Britain had blown out of control, only “a few cultural groups” and terrorists were trying to destroy the British way of life.

He said many immigrants had successfully integrated into British society and adopted British values. “It’s not about people’s skin colour it’s about who they are how they feel,” Mr Farage said.

SOURCE 






UK: Nannying health chiefs want to stop your children eating All-Bran because sugar content makes it a 'junk food'

It has a decades-old reputation as a cereal that families eat to boost their health. Yet now, the ‘nanny state’ is set to label All-Bran as a junk food that should be avoided by children – alongside Special K and Shreddies.

Fruit yogurts made by organic brands such as Yeo Valley and Rachel’s may also be categorised as unhealthy by Public Health England – and banned from being advertised on children’s TV.

The net has been widened after experts reduced the recommended daily sugar limit in a bid to tackle the obesity crisis. A UN report last week found Britain was the third fattest nation in Europe.

But last night Chris Snowdon, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said PHE’s ‘puritanical’ foods assessment model would also lead to pure orange juice – which counts as one of your five-a-day fruit and veg portions – being classified as junk food.

He said: ‘The Government has allowed the nanny state lobby to write policy and this is the outcome. It is worrying how little thought seems to have gone into it.’

Until now only breakfast cereals such as chocolate covered rice pops and sugar-coated cornflakes have been banned from children’s TV ads. However, the independent Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has concluded we should get no more than five per cent of our calories from sugar added to food – half the previous maximum.

The new rules have drawn in Kellogg’s All-Bran, which has 18g of sugar per 100g. All-Bran is also high in fibre (27g/100g) and protein (14g/100g). Fibre helps cut the risk of bowel cancer, while protein helps build and maintain muscles. But this counts for little under PHE’s model.

It is a similar story with other breakfast brands The Mail on Sunday tested, which were also classified as ‘less healthy’ under the new model. They included Kellogg’s Special K, Nestle Shreddies, Alpen Original and Jordan’s Raisin & Almond Crunchy Oat Granola. PHE said the ‘nutrient profiling model’ was a draft which has not been finalised. If, however, it is adopted, all ads for these products will be banned from children’s TV. Cereals which passed the test included Weetabix Classic and Nestle Shredded Wheat.

The British Dietetic Association said the public risked being confused ‘about what is and isn’t a junk food’ while the Food and Drink Federation said the proposed model could ‘demonise’ foods that are ‘a healthy component of a child’s diet’.

SOURCE






Only the 'best and brightest': Australian government cracks down on poorly skilled migrants and welfare parasites amid plan to axe more visas

Poorly skilled migrants will struggle to receive immigration visas amid the government's plan to crackdown on dole bludgers.  Only the 'best and brightest' immigrants will be welcomed into Australia, according to the Saturday Telegraph. Scraping through the 99 different types of visas, those that attract welfare-dependent migrants could face the firing line.

The government has already made steps to weed out poorly skilled migrants by axing the 457 visa in April 2017. The decision almost halved the number of foreign workers and raised the average salary.

Foreign workers were paid an average of $110,000 in the past financial year - an increase of $15,000 - while almost half the amount of skills visas were approved. Almost 70,000 skills visas were approved at the height of the 457 visa program.

Less than 35,000 were approved in the past financial year.

SOURCE 

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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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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