Thursday, May 31, 2007

Marriage in America: The frayed knot

As the divorce rate plummets at the top of American society and rises at the bottom, the widening “marriage gap” is breeding inequality

THE students at West Virginia University don't want you to think they take life too seriously. It is the third-best “party school” in America, according to the Princeton Review's annual ranking of such things, and comes a creditable fifth in the “lots of beer” category. Booze sometimes causes students' clothes to fall off. Those who wake up garmentless after a hook-up endure the “walk of shame”, trudging back to their own dormitories in an obviously borrowed football shirt, stirring up gossip with every step.

And yet, for all their protestations of wildness, the students are a serious-minded bunch. Yes, they have pre-marital sex. “I don't see how it's a bad thing,” says Ashley, an 18-year-old studying criminology. But they are careful not to fall pregnant. It would be “a major disaster,” says Ashley. She has plans. She wants to finish her degree, go to the FBI academy in Virginia and then start a career as a “profiler” helping to catch dangerous criminals. She wants to get married when she is about 24, and have children perhaps at 26. She thinks having children out of wedlock is not wrong, but unwise.

A few blocks away, in a soup kitchen attached to a church, another 18-year-old balances a baby on her knee. Laura has a less planned approach to parenthood. “It just happened,” she says. The father and she were “never really together”, merely “friends with benefits, I guess”. He is now gone. “I didn't want to put up with his stuff,” she says. “Drugs and stuff,” she adds, by way of explanation.

There is a widening gulf between how the best- and least-educated Americans approach marriage and child-rearing. Among the elite (excluding film stars), the nuclear family is holding up quite well. Only 4% of the children of mothers with college degrees are born out of wedlock. And the divorce rate among college-educated women has plummeted. Of those who first tied the knot between 1975 and 1979, 29% were divorced within ten years. Among those who first married between 1990 and 1994, only 16.5% were.

At the bottom of the education scale, the picture is reversed. Among high-school dropouts, the divorce rate rose from 38% for those who first married in 1975-79 to 46% for those who first married in 1990-94. Among those with a high school diploma but no college, it rose from 35% to 38%. And these figures are only part of the story. Many mothers avoid divorce by never marrying in the first place. The out-of-wedlock birth rate among women who drop out of high school is 15%. Among African-Americans, it is a staggering 67%.

Does this matter? Kay Hymowitz of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, says it does. In her book “Marriage and Caste in America”, she argues that the “marriage gap” is the chief source of the country's notorious and widening inequality. Middle-class kids growing up with two biological parents are “socialised for success”. They do better in school, get better jobs and go on to create intact families of their own. Children of single parents or broken families do worse in school, get worse jobs and go on to have children out of wedlock. This makes it more likely that those born near the top or the bottom will stay where they started. America, argues Ms Hymowitz, is turning into “a nation of separate and unequal families”.

A large majority—92%—of children whose families make more than $75,000 a year live with two parents (including step-parents). At the bottom of the income scale—families earning less than $15,000—only 20% of children live with two parents. One might imagine that this gap arises simply because two breadwinners earn more than one. A single mother would have to be unusually talented and diligent to make as much as $75,000 while also raising children on her own. And it is impossible in America for two full-time, year-round workers to earn less than $15,000 between them, unless they are (illegally) paid less than the minimum wage.

But there is more to it than this. Marriage itself is “a wealth-generating institution”, according to Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe, who run the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. Those who marry “till death do us part” end up, on average, four times richer than those who never marry. This is partly because marriage provides economies of scale—two can live more cheaply than one—and because the kind of people who make more money—those who work hard, plan for the future and have good interpersonal skills—are more likely to marry and stay married. But it is also because marriage affects the way people behave.

American men, once married, tend to take their responsibilities seriously. Avner Ahituv of the University of Haifa and Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute found that “entering marriage raises hours worked quickly and substantially.” Married men drink less, take fewer drugs and work harder, earning between 10% and 40% more than single men with similar schooling and job histories. And marriage encourages both spouses to save and invest more for the future. Each partner provides the other with a form of insurance against falling sick or losing a job.

Marriage also encourages the division of labour. Ms Dafoe Whitehead and Mr Popenoe put it like this: “Working as a couple, individuals can develop those skills in which they excel, leaving others to their partner.” Mum handles the tax returns while Dad fixes the car. Or vice versa. As Adam Smith observed two centuries ago, when you specialise, you get better at what you do, and you produce more.

Perhaps the most convincing work showing that marriage is more than just a piece of paper was done by Mr Lerman of the Urban Institute. In “Married and Unmarried Parenthood and Economic Wellbeing”, he addressed the “selection effect”—the question of whether married-couple families do better because of the kind of people who marry, or because of something about marriage itself.

Using data from a big annual survey, he looked at all the women who had become pregnant outside marriage. He estimated the likelihood that they would marry, using dozens of variables known to predict this, such as race, income and family background. He then found out whether they did in fact marry, and what followed.

His results were striking. Mothers who married ended up much better off than mothers with the same disadvantages who did not. So did their children. Among those in the bottom quartile of “propensity to marry”, those who married before the baby was six months old were only half as likely to be raising their children in poverty five years later as those who did not (33% to 60%).

Changes in family structure thus have a large impact on the economy. One of the most-cited measures of prosperity, household income, is misleading over time because household sizes have changed. In 1947, the average household contained 3.6 people. By 2006, that number had dwindled to 2.6. This partly reflects two happy facts: more young singles can afford to flee the nest and their parents are living longer after they go. But it also reflects the dismal trend towards family break-up. A study by Adam Thomas and Isabel Sawhill concluded that if the black family had not collapsed between 1960 and 1998, the black child-poverty rate would have been 28.4% rather than 45.6%. And if white families had stayed like they were in 1960, the white child poverty rate would have been 11.4% rather than 15.4%.

Since the 1960s, the easy availability of reliable contraception has helped to spur a revolution in sexual mores. As opportunities for women opened up in the workplace, giving them an incentive to delay child-bearing, a little pill let them do just that without sacrificing sex. At the same time, better job opportunities for women changed the balance of power within marriage. Wives became less economically dependent on their husbands, so they found it easier to walk out of unhappy or abusive relationships.

As the sexual revolution gathered steam, the idea that a nuclear family was the only acceptable environment in which to raise a child crumbled. The social stigma around single motherhood, which was intense before the 1960s, has faded. But attitudes still vary by class.

College-educated women typically see single motherhood as a distant second-best to marriage. If they have babies out of wedlock, it is usually because they have not yet got round to marrying the man they are living with. Or because, finding themselves single and nearly 40, they decide they cannot wait for Mr Right and so seek a sperm donor. By contrast, many of America's least-educated women live in neighbourhoods where single motherhood is the norm. And when they have babies outside marriage, they are typically younger than their middle-class counterparts, in less stable relationships and less prepared for what will follow.

Consider the home life of Lisa Ballard, a 26-year-old single mother in Morgantown. She strains every nerve to give her children the best upbringing she can, while also looking for a job. Her four-year-old son Alex loves the Dr Seuss book “Green Eggs and Ham”, so she reads it to him, and once put green food colouring in his breakfast eggs, which delighted him. But the sheer complexity of her domestic arrangements makes life “very challenging”, she says.

She has four children by three different men. Two were planned, two were not. Two live with her; she has shared custody of one and no custody of another. One of the fathers was “a butthole” who hit her, she says, and is no longer around. The other two are “good fathers”, in that they have steady jobs, pay maintenance, make their children laugh and do not spank them. But none of them still lives with her.

Miss Ballard now thinks that having children before getting married was “not a good idea”. She says she would like to get married some day, though she finds the idea of long-term commitment scary. “You've got to definitely make sure it's the person you want to grow old with. You know, sitting on rocking chairs giggling at the comics. I want to find the right one. I ask God: ‘What does he look like? Can you give me a little hint?’”

If she does find and wed the man of her dreams, Miss Ballard will encounter a problem. She has never seen her own father. Having never observed a stable marriage close-up, she will have to guess how to make one work. By contrast, Ashley, the criminology student at the nearby university, has never seen a divorce in her family. This makes it much more likely that, when the time is right, she will get married and stay that way. And that, in turn, makes it more likely that her children will follow her to college.

Most children in single-parent homes “grow up without serious problems”, writes Mary Parke of the Centre for Law and Social Policy, a think-tank in Washington, DC. But they are more than five times as likely to be poor as those who live with two biological parents (26% against 5%). Children who do not live with both biological parents are also roughly twice as likely to drop out of high school and to have behavioural or psychological problems. Even after controlling for race, family background and IQ, children of single mothers do worse in school than children of married parents, says Ms Hymowitz.

Children whose father was never around face the toughest problems. For those whose parents split up, the picture is more nuanced. If parents detest each other and quarrel bitterly, their kids may actually benefit from a divorce. Paul Amato of Penn State University has found that 40% of American divorces leave the children better (or at least, no worse) off than the turbulent marriages that preceded them. In other cases, however, what is good for the parents may well harm the children. And two parents are likely to be better at child-rearing because they can devote more time and energy to it than one can.

Research also suggests that middle- and working-class parents approach child-rearing in different ways. Professional parents shuttle their kids from choir practice to baseball camp and check that they are doing their homework. They also talk to them more. One study found that a college professor's kids hear an average of 2,150 words per hour in the first years of life. Working-class children hear 1,250 and those in welfare families only 620.

Co-habiting couples have the same number of hands as married couples, so they ought to make equally good parents. Many do, but on average the children of co-habiting couples do worse by nearly every measure. One reason is that such relationships are less stable than marriages. In America, they last about two years on average. About half end in marriage. But those who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce.

Many people will find this surprising. A survey of teenagers by the University of Michigan found that 64% of boys and 57% of girls agreed that “it is usually a good idea for a couple to live together before getting married in order to find out whether they really get along.” Research suggests otherwise. Two-thirds of American children born to co-habiting parents who later marry will see their parents split up by the time they are ten. Those born within wedlock face only half that risk.

The likeliest explanation is inertia, says Scott Stanley of the Centre for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, Colorado. Couples start living together because it is more fun (and cheaper) than living apart. One partner may see this as a prelude to marriage. The other—usually the man—may see it as something more temporary. Since no explicit commitment is made, it is easier to drift into living together than it is to drift into a marriage. But once a couple is living together, it is harder to split up than if they were merely dating. So “many of these men end up married to women they would not have married if they hadn't been living together,” says Mr Stanley, co-author of a paper called “Sliding versus deciding”.

Most American politicians say they support marriage, but few do much about it, except perhaps to sound off about the illusory threat to it from gays. The public are divided. Few want to go back to the attitudes or divorce laws of the 1950s. But many at both ends of the political spectrum lament the fragility of American families and would change, at least, the way the tax code penalises many couples who marry. And some politicians want the state to draw attention to benefits of marriage, as it does to the perils of smoking. George Bush is one.

Since last year, his administration has been handing out grants to promote healthy marriages. This is a less preachy enterprise than you might expect. Sidonie Squier, the bureaucrat in charge, does not argue that divorce is wrong: “If you're being abused, you should get out.” Nor does she think the government should take a view on whether people should have pre-marital sex.

Her budget for boosting marriage is tiny: $100m a year, or about what the Defence Department spends every two hours. Some of it funds research into what makes a relationship work well and whether outsiders can help. Most of the rest goes to groups that try to help couples get along better, some of which are religiously-inspired. The first 124 grants were disbursed only last September, so it is too early to say whether any of this will work. But certain approaches look hopeful.

One is “marriage education”. This is not the same as marriage therapy or counselling. Rather than waiting till a couple is in trouble and then having them sit down with a specialist to catalogue each other's faults, the administration favours offering relationship tips to large classes.

The army already does this. About 35,000 soldiers this year will get a 12-hour course on how to communicate better with their partners, and how to resolve disputes without throwing plates. It costs about $300 per family. Given that it costs $50,000 to recruit and train a rifleman, and that marital problems are a big reason why soldiers quit, you don't have to save many marriages for this to be cost-effective, says Peter Frederich, the chaplain in charge.

Several studies have shown that such courses do indeed help couples communicate better and quarrel less bitterly. As to whether they prevent divorce, a meta-analysis by Jason Carroll and William Doherty concluded that the jury was still out. The National Institutes of Health is paying for a five-year study of Mr Frederich's soldiers to shed further light on the issue.

Americans expect a lot from marriage. Whereas most Italians say the main purpose of marriage is to have children, 70% of Americans think it is something else. They want their spouse to make them happy. Some go further and assume that if they are not happy, it must be because they picked the wrong person. Sometimes that is true, sometimes not. There is no such thing as a perfectly compatible couple, argues Diane Sollee, director of, a pro-marriage group. Every couple has disputes, she says. What matters most is how they resolve them.

At the end of the day, says Ms Squier, the government's influence over the culture of marriage will be marginal. Messages from movies, peers and parents matter far more. But she does not see why, for example, the government's only contact with an unmarried father should be to demand that he pay child support. By not even mentioning marriage, the state is implying that no one expects him to stick around. Is that a helpful message?


Britain: The rise of the contingent racists

After Margaret Hodge's recent comments, how true is it to say that the working class are more prone to racism than the middle class? Maybe the difference lies in different experiences. As the old New York saying goes: A conservative is a liberal who was mugged last night

Margaret Hodge says that white working-class voters in her Barking constituency are being tempted by the BNP. Mrs Hodge told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend: "The political class as a whole is often frightened of engaging in the very difficult issues of race and ... the BNP then exploits that and try to create out of a perception a reality which is not the reality of people's lives." She said the area's "difficult" change from a white area to a multi-racial community had caused some people to seek out "scapegoats".

There are more and more respected voices suggesting that the indigenous working classes may not be benefiting from competition in the labour market from immigrant competitors (see, for example, the work of Harvard economist George Borjas).

The left-leaning Young Foundation has controversially argued that administration of local housing policy has benefited newcomers, causing resentment among the white working class and contributing to the rise of racism in Tower Hamlets through the 1980s and 1990s. Ms Hodge's remarks on housing policy, that it should favour those who were born here, even have some pedigree in the left.

So it seems that, arguably, the white working classes might very well not be profiting from immigration in the way that Britain as a whole is said to be benefiting. The middle classes, however, seem to be doing very well from it of course: they must be gleeful at the increased competition in certain quarters of the labour market (such as among waiting staff in restaurants and housecleaners).

My question is about the middle classes. Are we right to keep identifying the white working class as more prone to racism than the middle classes? Are Margaret Hodge and others who use essentially the same language effectively saying that the middle classes do not show racism because they do not have to confront "difficult change" locally, to use her language, because such change never visits the leafy seclusion of comfortable areas of north London or the other tidy neighbourhoods where the middle classes live? When I asked a friend if this was right, her answer was that it was a lack of education that made the white working class seek out scapegoats and that the middle classes had this tendency educated out of them.

But does that ring true or is the truth rather more uncomfortable? Do we all bear a latent tendency towards racism, which manifests itself only when we have personally lost something tangible because of immigrants, such as a job or a housing allocation? If that's the case, then maybe the only thing keeping the middle classes from showing racist proclivities is that their homes are indeed getting cleaned, their restaurant tables being served and their dry-cleaning getting done. In other words, are the middle classes contingent racists, whose racism is held at bay by a decent standard of living, but who could turn nasty the day they have to do their own dirty work.


Foolish scapegoating of majority white society

ABORIGINAL culture isn't just nice dot paintings, it includes binge drinking and wife bashing. The facts are that tribal ways do not work, writes Andrew Bolt from Australia

An Aboriginal woman interrupted the Prime Minister's "reconciliation" ceremony in Canberra on Sunday to give him a reconciling spray. "We have been genocided . . . by your Government, your court," she shouted. And newspapers confirm: "The crowd erupted in loud applause."

How they clapped, those "genocided" Aborigines, with government cheques in their pockets and a government lunch in their bellies. That's genocide? Let them confront what's really killing young Aborigines. And it's not some white politician. No, it's their fantasy that you can live tribal ways and get Western outcomes. That Aborigines don't have to choose between "blackfella ways" or health and wealth.

Read Prof Helen Hughes's new book, Lands of Shame. See where black suffering is worst? Where we'll most likely find children sick or neglected, women bashed, men unemployable, and so many parents drunk or idle? It's not among the many Aborigines assimilated to Western culture. It's among the Aborigines who live furthest from it, leading lives more truly "Aboriginal", as deemed by spokesmen with well-funded jobs, white partners and suburban homes.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd now glibly vows to close the black-white gap in life expectancy "within the next generation", and was cheered by the same Howard hecklers for nothing but words. If kind wishes were dollars, Aborigines would be rich. Rudd's promise of a "sorry" and $261 million more in health and education spending to add to the $3.3 billion a year already spent by the Government on Aborigines will solve nothing.

No, we must instead end our love affair with the Noble Savage. You want Aborigines to be richer and healthier? Then give them every help to make lives in Western society and to leave the shattered tribal homes and culture that destroy so many. Already people who have dedicated their careers to black causes are suggesting what was once unsayable.

Prof Peter Sutton, anthropologist and author of the searingly frank The Politics of Suffering, asks how much longer Aborigines can remain in "racially segregated communities" and avoid the need to change their culture. That culture isn't just nice dot paintings, he says. It can also include binge drinking. Or wife bashing. Or letting children decide whether to go to school or -- mostly -- not. Or favouring relatives over better workers. Or blaming sorcerers for avoidable deaths. Or rejecting delegated authority. Or . . . Writes Sutton: "So many are in denial over the need for cultural change if indigenous disadvantage is to be addressed at its roots."

Hughes agrees and attacks decades of apartheid policies that gave us this failed "socialist homeland model" -- a string of cultural ghettoes which leave many Aboriginal children unable even to speak English, their futures destroyed. Cultural change hurts. For Aborigines, assimilating implies a rejection of their past. BUT assimilation will also be fought by intellectuals, whose own culture, as famed psychologist Prof Steven Pinker says, "is loath to admit that there could be anything good about the institutions of civilisation and Western society".

So corrupt is that intellectual culture that a privileged crowd cheers even preposterous claims that Aborigines are being "genocided" by their trying-hard Western government. So corrupt, that it praises instead the broken tribal culture that truly destroys black children. For shame.



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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Legal discrimination against heterosexuals now in place in Australia

This is a rather fun ruling. It would seem to open the way for bars in working class areas to exclude homosexuals on similar grounds -- that they make the heterosexual patrons feel uncomfortable. After that, what is to stop homosexuals being sent to the back of the bus? The body responsible for the ruling below is however as bent as a pretzel so any consistency or application of principle cannot be expected from them. They are guided by Leftist politics not law. It is they who prosecuted two Christian pastors for quoting the nasty bits in the Koran!

A MELBOURNE pub catering for gay men has won the right to refuse entry to heterosexuals in a landmark ruling at the state planning tribunal. The owners of Collingwood's Peel Hotel applied to ban straight men and women to try to prevent "sexually based insults and violence" towards its gay patrons. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last week granted the pub an exemption to the Equal Opportunity Act, effectively prohibiting entry to non-homosexuals.

VCAT deputy president Cate McKenzie said if heterosexual men and women came into the venue in large groups, their number might be enough to swamp the gay male patrons. "This would undermine or destroy the atmosphere which the company wishes to create," Ms McKenzie said in her findings. "Sometimes heterosexual groups and lesbian groups insult and deride and are even physically violent towards the gay male patrons." Some women even booked hens' nights at the venue using the gay patrons as entertainment, Ms McKenzie said. "To regard the gay male patrons of the venue as providing an entertainment or spectacle to be stared at, as one would at an animal at a zoo, devalues and dehumanises them," she said. "(This exemption) seeks to give gay men a space in which they may, without inhibition, meet, socialise and express physical attraction to each other in a non-threatening atmosphere."

The Peel manager Tom McFeely [McFeely -- interesting name for a homosexual!] told the tribunal the plan to refuse entry had been advertised at the hotel, with no objections received. Mr McFeely said most of the regulars at the hotel had responded positively.

A spokeswoman for the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Lobby Group said she believed the ruling made the Peel one of only two men-only venues in Melbourne. "This exemption was not sought to exclude members of the community but to try to maintain a safe space for men to meet," the spokeswoman said. She said gay men at the Peel had recently been ostracised and made to feel like "zoo animals". "It's sad that members of our community would have to go to the VCAT to preserve their rights," the spokeswoman said. "This is one of the only free venues with live music in the area, so certainly some people may feel a bit unhappy about the decision."

The Peel attracted criticism in April over an ad for a gay Anzac Day party that showed a near-naked man in a slouch hat. The hotel used a Shrine of Remembrance guard as the unwitting star of an ad for an Anzac Day eve bash. The ad was published in gay magazines and on the venue's website. It was withdrawn after intense criticism from the Victorian RSL, which called it a "desecration of the Anzac spirit".


Official sex abuse of little kids in Sweden

I was planning to take a break from writing about Sweden, but I just couldn't help it. Swedish journalist Kurt Lundgren had a noteworthy story on his blog this week. A friend told him about a magazine published by L,rarf"rbundet, the Swedish Teachers' Union, the largest union for teachers and heads of schools in the country. The magazine, aimed at preschool teachers who take care of children between the ages of 0-6 years old, included recommendations to not only promote "gender equality" but also "sexual equality" at this tender age. Mr. Lundgren considers the suggestions that are sent out to kindergarten and preschool staff to be clear-cut sexual abuse of children:

"A three-year-old doesn't have to learn queer theory, a four-year-old shouldn't have to be force-fed lectures on gay sex by some sex freak from the Teachers' Union. Children are supposed to play and discover their roles entirely on their own. Children are defenseless and shouldn't be exposed to indoctrination, neither regarding sex nor politics.. (.) One wonders whether parents are aware of the abuses against preschool children that that Teachers' Union's magazine Pedagogiska magasinet is encouraging."

In a kindergarten in Stockholm, the parents were encouraged by the preschool teachers - apparently ideological pioneers - to equip their sons with dresses and female first names. There are now weeks in some places when boys HAVE TO wear a dress. Lundgren considers this sexual indoctrination as worse than the political: "The political nonsense is seeking to alter opinions - the sex freaks seek to alter the children's personality, their mentality and their entire constitution."

After posting this, Lundgren soon received a threatening email: "I have been in touch with the Teachers' Union. They are considering reporting you to the police for what you wrote about queer and gay sex as abuse of children."

Lundgren wrote in reply: "To give sex education to preschool children, to force them to have an opinion on gay sex and queer (lesbians, transsexuals, bisexuality, fetishism, cross over, sex change etc.) I regard as abuse of children. (.) Little children, we are talking about three to six-year-olds here, cannot in the preschool protect themselves from these sexual assaults. Their parents are not there, the children are totally left to themselves. (.) Little children need to be left alone, they are supposed to play without adult supervision."

Some comments left by his blog readers:

"There won't be a police report about this. The Socialist Teachers' Union will probably think twice before doing so. There could be a backlash if the media start writing about queer [theory] directed against children and the parents will open their eyes to what's going on with their loved ones."

"My 11-months-old son will never be allowed to go to a kindergarten. I and my cohabitant reserve the right to raise our son into a thinking, rational and independent individual. He will definitely be allowed to wear a Superman costume, play with cars and build wooden houses if he wants to. I will never force him to wear a princess costume against his will. Presumably it won't be long before parents like us will have our children taken away from us, to be raised in accordance with sound, Socialist doctrines."

"My 13-year-old son had `equality day' [in school] and had to listen to a transvestite. I have myself never encountered or talked to one during my considerably longer life. Why is this important? Today's children know nothing about the crimes of Communism, but everything about the sexual orientation of transvestites."

This last comment is quite literally true. A poll carried out on behalf of the Organization for Information on Communism found that 90 percent of Swedes between the ages of 15 and 20 had never heard of the Gulag, although 95 percent knew of Auschwitz. "Unfortunately we were not at all surprised by the findings," Ander Hjemdahl, the founder of UOK, told website The Local. In the nationwide poll, 43 percent believed that Communist regimes had claimed less than one million lives. The actual figure is estimated at 100 million. 40 percent believed that Communism had contributed to increased prosperity in the world. Mr. Hjemdahl states several reasons for this massive ignorance, among them that "a large majority of Swedish journalists are left-wingers, many of them quite far left."

Meanwhile, Antifascistisk Aktion in Sweden, a group that supposedly fights against "racists," openly brag about numerous physical attacks against persons with their full name and address published on their website. According to AFA, this is done in order to fight against global capitalism and for a classless society. They subscribe to an ideology that killed one hundred million people during a few generations, and they are the good guys. Those who object to being turned into a minority in their own country through mass immigration are the bad guys.

British historian Roland Huntford wrote a book in the early 1970s about Sweden called The New Totalitarians. Huntford notes how equality between the sexes was aggressively promoted from the late 1960s and early 1970s:

"When sexual equality was promulgated, and it was decided that a woman's place was not at home but out at work, there was a rapid change in the language. The customary Swedish for housewife is husmor, which is honourable; it was replaced by the neologism hemmafru, literally `the-wife-who-stays-at-home', which is derogatory. Within a few months, the mass media were able to kill the old and substitute the new term. By the end of 1969, it was almost impossible in everyday conversation to mention the state of housewife without appearing to condemn or to sneer. Swedish had been changed under the eyes and ears of the Swedes. Husmor had been discredited; the only way out was to use hemmafru ironically. Connected with this semantic shift, there was a change in feeling. Women who, a year or so before, had been satisfied, and possibly proud, to stay at home, began to feel the pressure to go out to work. The substitution of one word for the other had been accompanied by insistent propaganda in the mass media, so that it was as if a resolute conditioning campaign had been carried out. Very few were able to recognize the indoctrination in the linguistic manipulation; in the real sense of the word, the population had been brain-washed."

This was closely linked to a campaign for sexual liberation:

"Indeed, the word `freedom' in Swedish has come to mean almost exclusively sexual freedom, product perhaps of an unadmitted realization that it is absent, or unwanted, elsewhere. Through sex instruction at school for the young, and incessant propaganda in the mass media for the older generations, most of Sweden has been taught to believe that freedom has been achieved through sex. Because he is sexually emancipated, the Swede believes that he is a free man, and judges liberty entirely in sexual terms. (.) The Swedish government has taken what it is pleased to call `the sexual revolution' under its wing. Children are impressed at school that sexual emancipation is their birthright, and this is done in such a way as to suggest that the State is offering them their liberty from old-fashioned restrictions."

By old-fashioned restrictions, read Christianity and Christian morality. Huntford notes that this came together with efforts to downplay or attack Western culture prior to the French Revolution. According to Mr. Olof Palme, who was Swedish Socialist Prime Minister until 1986: "The Renaissance So-called? Western culture? What does it mean to us?"

"The State," in the words of Ingvar Carlsson, then Minister of Education, "is concerned with morality from a desire to change society." Mr. Carlsson, who was Swedish Prime Minister as late as 1996, has also stated that "School is the spearhead of Socialism" and that it "teaches people to respect the consensus, and not to sabotage it."

"We have no ethical standards in education, and no rules for sexual behaviour," in the words of Dr G"sta Rodhe, the then head of the department of sexual education in the Directorate of Schools, and thus in some ways the executive officer of government sexual policy. "You see, since there's a lack of tension in Swedish politics, younger people have got to find release and excitement in sexual tension instead."

This was in the early 1970s. Things have gotten worse in the two generations since then. Socialists and state authorities present this policy as liberation of women and sexual liberation. What it is actually about is breaking down rival sources of power: The traditional Judeo-Christian culture and the nuclear family. This leaves the state more powerful, since it can regulate all aspects of life and, most importantly, can indoctrinate the nation's children as it sees fit, without undue parental influence. The state replaces your entire nuclear and extended family, raises your children and cares for your elderly.

- - - - - - - - - -

As writer Per Bylund observes: "A significant difference between my generation and the preceding one is that most of us were not raised by our parents at all. We were raised by the authorities in state daycare centers from the time of infancy; then pushed on to public schools, public high schools, and public universities; and later to employment in the public sector and more education via the powerful labor unions and their educational associations. The state is ever-present and is to many the only means of survival - and its welfare benefits the only possible way to gain independence."

Socialist pioneer Alva Myrdal is the hero of the modern Swedish preschools. She wanted comprehensive education for special child carers who could provide children with competent guidance all day long. What the social engineers discovered later was that despite decades of state-sponsored gender equality propaganda, boys and girls still behaved differently. This disturbed them. Instead of concluding that maybe there are genuine, innate differences between the sexes, which sensible people would do, they decided to indoctrinate children more thoroughly, starting at an even earlier age, to eradicate gender differences.

Toy researcher Anders Nelson at Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology has warned that toys have become increasingly gender-segregated over the past fifteen years: "People often explain [their toy purchases] by saying that boys and girls want different things. But in order for children to be able to reflect on [the toys] they receive, adults have to open their eyes to [inherent gender] structures. To children, these [gender] roles are more unquestioned and instinctual." Mr. Nelson encouraged parents to give more gender neutral Christmas presents. In other words, no Barbie dolls for girls and no cars for boys.

The Swedish Consumers Association reacted angrily to a star-shaped,pink ice-cream because it represented gender-profiling. "Girlie, GB's new ice pop, is pink and has make-up inside the stick. It says a lot about what GB thinks about girls and how they should be," the association said in a statement. According to them, Sweden does not need more products that reinforce existing prejudices about sex roles, so they asked the producer to make the product less gender specific.

Again, this has thus absolutely nothing to do with "tolerance or diversity." It's done in order to break you down and to mold you into a new human being. Great emphasis is placed on destroying the Christian heritage of the native population. Pupils are taught that they have been liberated from the superstition and oppression of Christian nonsense. However, while Christianity has been ridiculed and demonized for generations, so much that some Swedish Christians complain about persecution, Islam is presented in textbooks as a benevolent and tolerant religion, and Islam is granted a high degree of respect in the public sphere.

A bus driver in the increasingly Muslim-dominated Swedish town of Malm" has been fired from his job following revelations that he stopped a woman from boarding his bus because she was wearing full Islamic face-covering, which made her hard to identify. In Sweden, it is thus unacceptable if girls are presented with pink ice-creams or Barbie dolls because this reinforces gender stereotypes, but the burka is just fine. Meanwhile, Sweden is in the midst of the most explosive rape wave in Scandinavian history, largely caused by immigration. While Swedish girls are called "whores" by Muslim immigrants, Swedish boys are told to wear a dress and study queer theory.

Sweden is supposedly the most "gender equal" country in the world. It's also one of the nations most eagerly (at least officially, all other viewpoints are banned) embracing Multiculturalism. Promoting "sexual equality" alongside a rapidly growing Muslim minority is going to become an increasingly challenging balancing act. Sharia-supporters and transvestites of the world unite!


Mainstream media still trying to trash the Duke Lacrosse players

The Washington Post's Mike Wise most unwisely celebrated the Memorial Day Weekend by trashing the members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team, in a tasteless article entitled "Continuing Conflicts" (apparently without a care about the undeserved anguish that it inflicts). With the current Duke Men's Lacrosse Team in the national collegiate semi-finals, Mr. Wise reported:

"Mike Pressler and his family are planning on moving into their newly purchased home in Rhode Island this weekend. The only event that may tear him away is a trip to Baltimore on Monday to watch the lacrosse team he led for 16 seasons play for a national title.

"Remember Pressler? He was the original fall guy in an unseemly American docudrama that pitted the privileged frat-boy culture of a private university against a black single mother, a college student who made a poor career choice to support her children. Stirred by a bungling prosecutor -- and a media contingent overzealously ready to believe him -- a cauldron of race, sex, class and law boiled over and scalded everyone."

Mr. Wise's agenda is obvious: (1) trash the Duke lacrosse scholar athletes for "a poor entertainment choice" (hiring strippers and stripping for hire are legal in North Carolina, even though I wish they were not); (2) extol the false accuser as a loving parent whose only mistake was "a poor career choice" (nothing about her criminal history, mental history or her prior claim to have been gang raped); (3) whitewash the white guy who shamelessly played the race card to win a Democrat primary by suddenly becoming a hero to Durham County, North Carolina's blacks (District Attorney Michael B. Nifong) as "bungling" (as though his grossly prejudicial, pre-primary pretrial public statements, refusal to consider exculpatory evidence and to question Ms. Mangum, agreement with Dr. Brian Meehan to exclude exculpatory evidence from a report on DNA testing and various misrepresentations to judges and defense counsel and threats to defense counsel were simple clumsiness instead of contemptible calculation); (4) excuse the media's rush to misjudgment as the result of overzealousness; and (5) make "everyone" victims.

Give Mr. Wise his due for trying to sell this baloney: "When Duke plays Cornell in today's NCAA semifinal, the focus will be on a team emerging from a travesty, how a group of kids who did not have a lacrosse program to call their own a year ago are two wins away from everything Pressler always wanted for them. But after everything has played out -- from the kids who went from vilified to exonerated, from the D.A. who went from legal crusader to Keystone Cop -- the story of the Duke lacrosse team still doesn't feel right. The more you think about it, the more it conjures up all these conflicting feelings."

Mr. Nifong as Keystone Cop? NOT! (The man is cunning. Example: as I reported last October, Mr. Nifong was so concerned about the then upcoming "60 Minutes" Duke case expose to be broadcast on October 15, 2006 that even before it was broadcast, he demanded that Durham police detectives arrest someone for the killings in a Durham quadriple murder case to deflect local attention from the "60 Minutes" Duke Case expose. Shameless, yes. A Keystone Cop? NO!)

Mr. Wise did include some sympathy for "those kids": "It's not right what Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong did to those kids, and it's not right former and future players have to bear that burden. Their names should have never been sullied like that. It's hard to imagine being the parent of a son wrongly accused of a heinous crime such as rape, the hurt they had to endure. And every letterman affiliated with Duke lacrosse the past few years, whether or not he attended that fateful party, is going to have an indelible stain on his resume."

But Mr. Wise crassly continued: "At the same time, it's hard to embrace everyone as a victim. With all due respect to those 'INNOCENT' bracelets worn around Durham this year, this isn't 'To Kill a Mockingbird II.'"

All of the members of the team WERE victims, Mr. Wise. They were either blamed or even prosecuted for imaginary crimes without good cause (because they were white males from well-to-do or wealthy families). They were accused either of kidnapping, raping and sexually offending or covering up for kidnappers, rapists and sexual offenders. FALSELY accused.

Fortunately, there was no trial. There was not a good reason for a trial of those indicted and to date no authority has had the gumption to try the false accuser for false accusation or the rogue prosecutor for any crime he may have committed in connection with the Duke Hoax. Fortunately, the North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper, publicly acknowledged that Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans were innocent of all the felony charges against them. That's exactly what the bracelets proclaimed. (The bracelets set forth the numbers of the indicted players together with the word "INNOCENT," an obvious reference to the pending felony charges against those players. The words "perfect" and "sinless" were not included on the bracklets.)

Much more here

Multiculturalism entrenched discrimination for Australia's blacks

In 1967, a constitutional referendum gave Aborigines full Australian citizenship -- a bit like America's civil rights act of the same era

THE 1967 referendum, rather than propelling Aborigines into the national mainstream, was followed by an apartheid-like regime in which Aborigines descended into a world of poverty, illiteracy and violence, according to economist Helen Hughes. In a new book, Lands of Shame, Hughes, a former senior director of the economic analysis department at the World Bank and senior fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, argues that after 1967, two main approaches towards Aboriginal people were emerging, one liberal and the other socialist.

"Those liberally minded considered that with the referendum's end to legislated exceptionalism, Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders would be able to integrate into the economic mainstream," she writes. "It was thought that Aboriginal lives would be enriched by participating in the technological and social advances that led to high living standards." Values such as individual freedom and equality between men and women were evolving. Immigration was leading to an ethnically plural society with a reduction in racial discrimination. Aboriginal art, dance and music were being embraced in a broader Australian culture, enabling indigenous traditions to flourish. "Thus it was thought that Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders would not only be able to look back to enjoy their traditions and links with the country, but also look forward to participating in the life of reason that would free them from sorcery and fear of spirits."

Instead, she writes, the Whitlam and Fraser governments steered Aborigines towards the socialist "homeland" model championed by former Reserve Bank governor HC "Nugget" Coombs that wove together anthropology and Marxism. Rather than ending discrimination, it would be "the culmination of 200 years of exceptionalist and separatist indigenous policies". Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser said last night it was "totally and absolutely absurd" to suggest his government allowed a form of apartheid to develop. He said his government had tried to "respect and understand the difference" between indigenous and non-indigenous people.

One of the leaders of the referendum campaign, Faith Bandler, said she had "tended to support" the Coombs approach, but generations of social engineering by governments had rarely taken account of Aboriginal opinion. "It's difficult for one group of people, whose skin is white, to plan and make decisions for another group, whose skin happens to be black," she said.

But confronting critics, including Mr Fraser, who say policies of assimilation and integration from the 1930s to the 1970s not only failed but contributed to the destruction of Aboriginal families, Hughes writes: "It is not true that various policies have been tried and have failed. Policies have always been discriminatory, treating Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders differently from other Australians. "Sadly, the most damaging discrimination in Australia's history has been the exceptionalism of the last 30 years that was intended to make up for past mistreatment."



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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The incorrectness of beautiful women

See Wicked Pics for pictures of some of the ladies concerned -- including Miss Sweden. Amusing that it took a Greek to organize any contest at all in Sweden

This year's Miss Universe pageant is missing one of its most noted contestants: Miss Sweden, a statuesque blonde whose country is one of the few to win the crown three times. Isabel Lestapier Winqvist, 20, has dropped out because Swedes say the Miss Universe competition, airing live Monday night from Mexico City's National Auditorium, is degrading to women and weighed down by scandals.

"We're taking a big beating by being linked to it," said Panos Papadopoulos, the organizer of the Miss Sweden contest, which scrapped its swimsuit competition and allowed women to apply for the position like any other job after heavy criticism from feminists.

Participants in the pageant also are breaking the mold. Miss Jamaica, 25-year-old Zahra Redwood, is the contest's first Rastafarian and the first to appear in dreadlocks. She wants judges to see her as a "Rastafarian promoting the message of peace, love and unity throughout mankind." Miss Tanzania, Flaviana Matata, an electrical technician whose country is participating for the first time, is also challenging stereotypes of beauty with her shaved head [Yuk!]. "I never let anyone define me neither by hair nor clothing as I believe God made me perfect as a pure, natural African woman," she said.

Donald Trump, who now co-owns the contest with NBC, says the Miss Universe Organization has redefined beauty pageants. "With each passing year our ratings continue to get better because of the beautiful and intelligent women who participate in our competitions," he declared.

But the Miss Universe competition is still judged solely on an interview and swimsuit and evening gown competitions, continuing a tradition that began with a spat over a swimsuit more than 50 years ago. California's Pacific Mills clothing company launched the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants after the 1951 Miss America, Yolande Betbeze, refused to pose in its swimsuit.

Miss Universe is considered a wilder rival to Miss America, which offers scholarships and values its talent contest more than its swimsuit competition. Other than Vanessa Williams, who stepped down in 1984 after Penthouse published her nude photographs, Miss America has had relatively few scandals. But risque photos and public drunkenness have increasingly landed Miss USA and Miss Universe contestants in the tabloids.

Miss Nevada USA Katie Rees was dethroned from this year's competition after her racy pictures emerged on the Web. Miss New Jersey USA Ashley Harder resigned when she got pregnant. And before Tara Conner handed her crown to the latest Miss USA, Tennessee journalism graduate Rachel Smith, the telecast opened with a string of news clips about Conner entering rehab for boozing at New York clubs.

Even the outfits in this year's contest have raised eyebrows. Miss Mexico Rosa Maria Ojeda was forced to change her gown to a fruit-and-vegetables motif after Mexicans were outraged by the bullet-studded belt and images of hanging bodies and firing squads in her skirt's original design, which referred to the bloody Cristero war, a Roman Catholic rebellion in the 1920s. Miss Jamaica donned a Bob Marley T-shirt to honor her country's culture, while Miss Ecuador, Lugina Cabezas, appeared holding a fake, bloodstained banderilla, a colorful barbed stick stuck in the back of bulls during bullfighting, outraging animal rights groups.

Organizers say the Miss Universe contest carefully selects women who are intelligent, well-mannered and cultured, and dispute the notion that beauty queens are clueless about international issues. The pageant's Web site notes that Miss Universe 2000, Mpule Kwelagobe, helped build a 400-bed pediatric AIDS hospital and orphanage in her native Botswana, while Miss Universe 1981 Irene Saez of Venezuela went on to become mayor of a municipality and later ran as president, losing to President Hugo Chavez in 1998. "We do change with the times," said Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization. "It really opens doors for people. It's nice for us to pick somebody who is not known, give them a shot and change their life forever."

Sweden is a three-time Miss Universe winner, behind only the United States, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. But Papadopoulos, owner of the Panos Emporio brand swimsuits, which in 2004 bought the rights to the Miss Sweden contest, said Trump's pageant doesn't fit with Miss Sweden's new, more professional image. "The modernization of the international competition has been significantly slower than the Swedish contest, although we see signs of change on the horizon," Papadopoulos said. Miss Universe organizers took it in stride. "We will miss you," Papadopoulos said they told him by e-mail, "and we will miss Miss Sweden."


Responsible censorship in China?

I have some sympathy for this. Upsetting little children is hard to excuse

China has launched a crackdown on scary children's stories including the popular Japanese "Death Note" comic book series, state media said Saturday. Authorities are ordered to seize "illegal terrifying publications" from vendors ahead of China's Children's Day on June 1, the Xinhua News Agency and China Daily newspaper reported.

Communist authorities regularly launch sweeps to seize publications deemed pornographic or socially harmful. They are especially concerned about the influence of foreign books, movies and other pop culture on Chinese children.

One target in the latest crackdown is "Death Note," a Japanese series of comic books about a notebook that can kill people whose names are written in it. The story "misleads innocent children and distorts their mind and spirit," said Wang Song, an official of the National Anti-piracy and Anti-pornography Working Committee, quoted by the China Daily. "Death Note" publications have been seized in Shanghai and areas across central and southern China, the newspaper said.


Free Speech and Hate Speech

Leftist lawyer Gloria Allred likes to say that there's a difference between "free speech" and "hate speech" - the former being protected by the U.S. Constitution, while the latter must be criminalized. Such slogans are easy to make, but where must the line be drawn? Is free speech a radical version of what we like, while hate speech is anything we oppose?

I. Free Speech - Burning the American Flag; Hate Speech - Insulting the Koran

The Left has been near-uniformly opposed to a law or Constitutional Amendment banning flag burning. It has repeatedly been held by Courts that flag-burning is legitimate speech because it expresses one's opposition to American policies, government, people and/or culture.

Burning American flags, spitting on them, walking on them has been a normal part of "welcoming" U.S. Presidents and high-ranking diplomats in the Middle East, Latin America and other parts of the world. It is treated as normal, and American officials claim that such "speech" is welcome because it shows that the "welcoming people" have a mind of their own, and the lack of response from Washington is a sign democracy.

Several months ago, however, someone stuffed the Koran into a toilet at Pace University in New York. The University and mainstream media went on full-alert. PU promised to leave no stone unturned to catch and punish the offender. The Left was in uniform agreement that such acts cannot be allowed.

As such, a distinction was drawn - burning, spitting at and walking on the American flag, the symbol of the United States, is "free speech" to be praised, but placing a Koran, the symbol of Islam, in a disreputable place is "hate speech" that must be criminalized.

II. Painting Jesus in urine and Mary in feces - free speech; Cartoon where Muhammad complains that of being followed by extremists - hate speech

Several years ago, New York's Museum of Modern Arts (MOMA) put up a painting of Virgin Mary in horse dung. Rudy Giuliani and social conservatives protested government funding of this project, as well as a previous painting of Jesus in urine.

Rudy was immediately condemned as a bad lawyer who does not understand the basics of U.S. Constitutional law, while social conservatives were described as "religious nuts" that are destroying the very nature of America by infringing on the Constitutional right to a freedom of speech, free of of religious expression, and separation of Church and State.

Mind you that these so-called "religious nuts" were not opposed to anti-Christian paintings, but rather the government funding of such. Yet, this was too much for the Left - apparently, there's something in the American Constitution which makes it mandatory for the government to sponsor anti-Christian art.

And yet, when anti-Muhammad cartoons were published - first in Denmark, then elsewhere in Europe - it was debated whether such was a hate crime. Several Europeans were dragged into court to face criminal charges and civil suits for insulting Islam. Charlie Hebdo was sued in France for "public insults against a group of people on the basis of religion" after publishing two of these cartoons. This was described by the Great Mosque of Paris as "an act of deliberate aggression" against Muslims.

To its credit, the Time Magazine started its article at the time of these trials, "Voltaire must be spinning in his grave." Others, however, discussed how far Europe should go to be culturally more sensitive and closer to those who believe that they are entitled in burn cars and kill innocents in response to any negative speech about them. Here, freedom of speech did not apply. Muhammad cartoons are hate speech, while paintings of Virgin Mary in feces in free speech.

3. Kill the honkie - free speech; race and gender are not social constructs, but actual biological facts - hate speech

Prof. Steven Pinker of Harvard University, a superstar experiment psychologist and cognitive scientist, wrote a book in 2002 entitled "The Blank Slate" where he describes the interference from the Left in scientific research. College Professors from Departments of Sociology, Politics and Education, who are usually completely ignorant when it comes to science, insist that science Professors repeat the politically-correct mantras that not only are gender and race differences non-existent, but even the concept of gender and race is nothing more than a "social construct" invented by White Male Racists/Sexists.

The humanities Professors insist that since there's an overlap in almost every quality (e.g., some men have larger breasts than some women; some rare Whites have darker skin than some rare Blacks), then race and gender do not exist.

Thus, a scientist cannot state that male hormones cause boys to have a growth spurt during puberty that is unseen in girls. Indeed, even stating that men are on average taller than women is politically incorrect. Saying such immediately draws a response to the effect of: "It's not true that on average men are taller than women. Some women are taller than some men."

That this person does not understand the concept of "average" is ignored as the Left cheers, grateful that someone "proved" that there's no correlation between male hormones and height. [Some women are taller than some men, but that is normally not because of testosterone, but rather due to genetics: tall parents may have a daughter who's 5-foot-8, while short parents may have a son who's 5-foot-5. Nevertheless, the tall girl would be even taller if she were born male, while a short boy would be even shorter if he were female].

Noticing that men are taller than women, that they have different temperaments, different crime rates, different interests and different abilities is considered offensive hate speech. Luckily, it is not criminalized in the United States as of yet. However, saying such will get a humanities Professor fired from college and a college student may be forced into "sensitivity training" or even get expelled.

Noticing that races and ethnicities are different in some ways is even worse, and would make one an unrepentant racist. Never mind that evolution means adjusting to your environment, so groups faced with different environments will wind up being different (meaning that Leftist ideology is a denial of the very concept of evolution).

Defending the idea that human groups may be culturally and environmentally different would get one driven out from academia so fast, it would make your head spin.

And yet, when African-American Professors incite their Black students against Whites, they are praised. The Professor, Nikki Giovanni, chosen to eulogize the victims of Virginia Tech Massacre wrote the following poem:

Can a nigger kill a honkie
Can a nigger kill the Man
Can you kill nigger
Huh? nigger can you kill
Do you know how to draw blood
Can you poison
Can you stab-a-Jew
Can you kill huh? nigger
Can you kill
Can you run a protestant down with your `68 El Dorado (that's all they're good for anyway)
Can you kill
Can you piss on a blond head
Can you cut it off
Can you kill
A nigger can die
We ain't got to prove we can die
We got to prove we can kill
They sent us to kill Japan and Africa
We policed europe
Can you kill
Can you kill a white man
Can you kill the nigger
in you
Can you make your nigger mind die
Can you kill your nigger mind
And free your black hands to strangle
Can you kill
Can a nigger kill
Can you shoot straight and
Fire for good measure
Can you splatter their brains in the street
Can you kill them
Can you lure them to bed to kill them
We kill in Viet Nam for them
We kill for UN & NATO & SEATO & US
And everywhere for all alphabet but BLACK
Can we learn to kill WHITE for BLACK
Learn to kill niggers
Learn to be Black men

Prof. Giovanni has been celebrated as Ebony Magazine's Woman of the Year; received keys from New York, Dallas, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Los Angeles; and dozens of other awards and honors.

Telling young Black students that they are "niggers" unless they kill "honkies" is, thus, free speech. Admitting that some diseases may effect some racial and ethnic groups more than others (making it easier to cure ill people) is hate speech.

So what is free speech and what is hate speech? Free speech is radical speech we enjoy, with positive statements about groups like and negative about those we do not. Hate speech is any negative statement about favored people, or positive expression about politically-incorrect groups and ideas.

Criminalization of "hate speech" should be opposed for many reasons - most basic is the Constitutional right to say what we please so long as it does not physically harm someone.

This is usually countered on the Left with a statement that one is not allowed to yell fire in a movie theater. But yelling "fire" in a movie theater is not mere speech - it is an act. The only reaction one might expect from this is to scare people into running out and potentially injuring one another in the hysteria. Likewise, calling someone to tell them, "give me money or I will kill your child" is not merely speech, it is an act of aggression against a family.

But burning the American flag or the Koran is speech. It is speech meant to express one's opposition to the United States, to Islam, or to the policies promoted by Americans or Muslims. Seeing a burning flag or a burning book does not cause one the same harm as knowing your child will die unless you pay ransom. It does not necessarily cause hysteria that one would expect in an allegedly burning movie theater. That some people choose to react in violent ways is not the fault of the speaker - it is the fault of those who choose to riot and even murder in response to political cartoons.

But just as importantly, we must recognize that any time the government interferes in our speech, it will necessarily take sides with the ideas that are currently politically correct against those thoughts presently deemed morally wrong. That reason alone should be enough to limit government intervention to the absolute minimum.


Only White People Can Be Racists

Canada, lacking a heritage of slavery, is not afflicted with institutional racism. That's what Canadians have always believed, and that's what has put them on the moral high ground vis-…-vis their southern neighbor. Until very recently, since Canada had almost no ethnic minorities other than Native Canadians, this was an easy position to maintain. No ethnics, no racism, no problem!

However, for the last few decades, Canada's new multicultural immigration policies have allowed it to acquire its fair share of fashionable ethnic groups. And now - surprise! - the new immigrants aren't convinced of Canada's lack of institutional racism. No matter how many diversity initiatives are launched, regardless of mulitcultural outreach and dialogue, despite the passage of "hate speech" laws that protect the new groups from even the most tenuous of insults, it's not enough. Canadian minorities are moving resolutely down the path of "No Justice! No Peace!"

The latest skirmish in the ethnic culture wars came about because of a group called New Black Youth Taking Action, which decided to hold a rally in Queen's Park in Toronto on May 15th.

New BYTA is no ordinary hands-across-the-world multi-culti mushmouth liberal anti-racist organization. These people mean business. Their demands include the "[i]mmediate establishment of K-12 black-focused schools; change in the current K-12 curriculum to establish truth; immediate diversion of the $250 million from Brampton (super) jail; and immediate repeal of Safe Schools Act".

The Safe Schools Act was passed in an attempt to cut down the rising level of black-on-black violence in Canadian secondary schools. While I was in Toronto this past week there was a shooting at a local high school in which a 15-year-old African Canadian boy was killed. I gaped in disbelief as I watched the story on the local TV news - how could this happen in Canada? Everyone knows that Canada has banned guns!

But somehow, despite the ban, a gun made its way into C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute and killed a black kid. The Toronto police have identified a suspect and are reportedly close to an arrest, but since the police spokesman makes no mention of "racism" when referring to the crime, one has to assume that the prime suspect is also black.

This is exactly the kind of violence which the Safe Schools Act was trying to stop, but BYTA considers such initiatives to be inherently racist, and wants the act repealed.

Make no mistake: when BYTA calls for the "establishment of K-12 black-focused schools", they mean blacks-only schools. The president of the group is Nkem Anizor, and she is a member of the Nation of Islam, whose separatist views are well known. If a white group called for separate schools for whites and blacks, he would immediately run afoul of Canada's hate speech laws. But, as usual, the favored victim groups are exempt from such rules.

It was only natural that BYTA, in solidarity with its comrades to the south, decided to invite NOI leader Malik Zulu Shabazz to be their main speaker at the May 15 rally. That's when the trouble started.

Mr. Shabazz, like many other Nation of Islam leaders, has a well-documented history of uttering inflammatory anti-Semitic remarks. According to the Anti-Defamation League:

During a protest in front of the B'nai B'rith building in Washington, D.C. (April 20, 2002), Shabazz led chants of:

"death to Israel," "the white man is the devil," and "Jihad." Shabazz also said, "Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel!
Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!"

Despite Mr. Shabazz' impeccable credentials as a certified victim of American racism, this was to big a pill for even Canada to swallow. Canadian B'nai B'rith protested his visit, and the authorities discovered a previous misdemeanor arrest in Mr. Shabazz' history, allowing them to bar him from the country on a technicality.

The rally went on without its celebrity star, but Ms. Anizor gained a huge new weapon with which to bludgeon the charge of "racism" into Canada's obsequious ‚lite opinion makers. Black voices in Canada were being silenced, and the sinister machinations of the Zionist lobby were to blame! ......

There's no denying a history of white racism. There's also no denying a history of black racism, Chinese racism, Arab racism, etc., etc. Heck, there are probably even Hottentot racists - Those stupid Bantus! How many Bantus does it take to put in a light bulb? How do you tell the bride at a Bantu wedding?

But where does it end? When the last white racist either dies or repents of his evil ways, will all the black non-racist anti-Caucasians change their tune?

When current demographic trends play out, and whites become a persecuted minority in a country, will the black people in the same country automatically become racists? Will their white victims automatically have the "racist" stigma removed from their collective character?

What does it profit the black grievance industry to peddle this kind of nonsense? Does their vitriol persuade even a single white person to change his beliefs, and accept blacks as equals? Or - more likely - do their angry accusations generate "racist" feelings where none existed previously?

The ugly fact is that racial grievance-mongers do not serve their own ethnic group well, nor do they reduce anybody's "racist" sentiments.

As Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have amply demonstrated, race-baiting is simply a ticket to a lucrative career. It's the shakedown to end all shakedowns.

More here


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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Remembering Memorial Day (and Danny Dietz)

For much of the news media in this nation and, unfortunately, a majority of its citizens, Memorial Day has become the "start of summer vacation" or "the day of the first barbecue." The news media might write up a little sidebar story on the meaning of Memorial Day or broadcast stations get a little ceremonial "B-roll" for filler in the newscasts, but the real emphasis is elsewhere and, even worse, many American citizens think it is a day to honor all dead - not a day to honor the men and women warriors who died defending and fighting for this nation.

U.S. Major General John A. Logan is the man credited as being the most responsible for founding the official Memorial Day holiday with his issuance of General Order No.11 on May 5, 1868. Southern states refused to officially acknowledge the day as a holiday at first. However, the Confederate Memorial authorized by President William H. Taft and the efforts of former Union officer and President William McKinley to tend to the Confederate dead at the National Cemeteries did illustrate a U.S. reconciliation with its past, but southern decoration days in June remained unchanged until after World War I when Memorial Day evolved beyond a day of tribute to Union soldiers.

It finally became a day to honor all Armed Forces personnel who died in service to the United States. While the Southern states still maintained their own decoration days to honor their sons who had served the Confederacy, the descendants of those men continued the patriotic tradition of their families in the U.S. military and are now among the honored dead we commemorate.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz 25, of Littleton, Colorado joined the ranks of the fallen we honor on Memorial Day a couple of years ago. Dietz died while conducting counter-terrorism operations in Kunar Province, Afghanistan while serving with a Navy SEAL team. A Taliban force that tremendously outnumbered them attacked the SEAL team and a fierce battle ensued that cost the lives of many American soldiers. The Navy report stated: "Despite this terrible loss, the SEALs on the ground continued to fight. Although mortally wounded, Petty Officers (Matthew G.) Axelson and Dietz held their position and fought for the safety of their teammates despite a hail of gunfire. Their actions cost them their lives, but knowingly gave one of the other SEALs the opportunity to escape."

The location of the U.S. warrior's body lay unknown for seven days. He was recovered during a combat search and rescue operation on July 4, 2005. For his actions under fire, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, which is the Navy's second highest military decoration. PO 2nd Class Dietz was returned home to his family for burial where family and friends watched him laid to rest with full military honors. The city of Littleton, Colorado decided to honor his bravery by erecting a statue of Dietz in uniform holding his rifle.

A group of politically correct citizens, however, launched an immediate protest. Their argument was that erecting a statue of a fallen soldier with a gun in his hand would send the wrong message to the community. Why? Because of the Littleton school shootings in 1999. It seems that political correctness puts an American warrior, who courageously died on the field of battle with honor defending his nation, on the same level as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who criminally murdered 15 people.

The opponents have said they would rather see a "peace dove" or a "soldier holding a child" because they are tired of the violence in the world and a "gun" sends the wrong message. In other words, the men and women who have put their lives on the line for this nation, embodied the American warrior tradition and gave their lives in the line of duty are now being categorized in a sub-criminal class by these "virtuous" peace-loving people in the name of political correctness. It is a message growing in volume as some national broadcast personalities and newspaper columnists have spewed the same rhetoric.

I have spent most of my life as a military affairs reporter, interviewed and count among my friends numerous Medal of Honor recipients and soldiers who embody what is best not only about the United States, but of the warrior tradition. To think we don't or morally should never need them is a flawed logic that cannot be explained in this short space.

Korean MOH Lee Mize told me once there are three things that lose wars: disrespect for the enemy, indecision and low morale. The latter is usually brought on by the other two. It is a message that has worked on battlefields throughout the ages and applies to the battle currently waging against political correctness.

The reaction of the opponents to the memorial statue honoring the heroic service of Navy P.O.2nd Class Danny Dietz and the efforts to stop its construction is inexcusable and to use the Columbine shootings as a reason to prevent it is beyond the pale of decency. Mrs. Patsy Dietz, who is Danny Dietz's widow, has stated repeatedly the statue should be a way for parents "to teach their children the difference between two thugs who murder their classmates and a soldier who died fighting for their freedom."

God Bless Mrs. Dietz for the comment. Parents HAVE to be the ones to teach their children the differences, as we know we cannot trust that message to the public school system or those pundits who blame the instruments of destruction for crimes and not the person or persons wielding them. Finally, hats off to the city of Littleton for standing by what is just and honorable and not listening to the voices of ignorance. On July 4, 2007 - two years to the day this brave soldier's body was recovered from Afghanistan - the city will dedicate the life-sized statue of Danny Dietz - rifle in hand.


Respect those who died for their country? Forget it in Gwinnett County, Georgia

Sikhs are allowed to drive buses wearing their turbans in a lot of places but ... No exceptions for the most deserving people of all

A Gwinnett County bus driver wanted to show support for veterans who lost their lives fighting for our country. So today, the last day before Memorial Day, he wore a patriotic hat. Gary Rolley, who's a vet himself, said he was ordered to take the hat off. A supervisor told him it wasn't part of his uniform.

Rolley is proud of the four years he served in the Navy. He is proud to be an American. "I love my country," he said. Rolley said he is paying tribute to all veterans by wearing his American Legion hat, but the he said that didn't' go over well with his bosses at the Gwinnett County Transit Authority. "The supervisor said, 'You are you have uniform; you have to take that hat off.' I explained this was a hat I wear for the holiday."

Rolley said he continued to wear the hat on his bus route. "As we were going down the road, a second supervisor radioed me. He said, 'What do you have on your head?' I said, "Why are you asking me that?" And he said 'Take that hat off now,'" Rolley explained.

Rolley said he turned the bus around and went back to headquarters. "I said 'I'm sorry, I got sick over this. I'm sick to my stomach, and I'm going home sick'," Rolley said. "I turned around and I left." Rolley said patriotic hats have been allowed in the past, and Santa hats are allowed at Christmastime, so he doesn't understand why the rules have changed. "It's just to me a slap in the face to our veterans," Rolley said. He said he wore the hat on Friday because he has the day off on Monday -- Memorial Day. He said he plans to spend Monday honoring American veterans.

The general manager of the Gwinnett County Transit Authority said that Rolley was asked nicely to wear the proper uniform, and he opted to go home. John Autry said there is a standard issue hat that all bus drivers are required to wear.


Heather Mac Donald flames the Bush DOJ

Post lifted from Michelle Malkin. See the original for links

The Bush Justice Department is going after the New York City Fire Department because minorities can't pass the FDNY written exam. Intrepid Heather Mac Donald blows the whistle on career DOJ bureaucrats chasing phantom racism:

"How much longer are public and private institutions going to be held hostage to black and Hispanic academic failure? The Center for Constitutional Rights and other racial advocacy groups point to urban fire departments that have a higher percentage of minorities to prove that the FDNY is discriminating. But these departments have simply caved in to similar law suits and discarded their qualifications criteria to a degree that New York has not. Organizations around the country are under relentless pressure to change merit standards because of black and Hispanic underachievement, and most have capitulated to some degree. Almost none have been willing to make the case that disproportionate racial representation stems from the lack of qualified candidates, not from hidden sources of bias.

Many a police or fire department, under litigation pressure, has simply dropped its entrance requirements across the board, insuring a lower skill level for the entire department, rather than a sub-group within it. At some point, public safety will suffer...

...What is the Bush Administration thinking? The FDNY suit is clearly the product of career attorneys within the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the DOJ, whose life mission consists in going after phantom racism. But any such suit must surely be cleared with higher-ranked political appointees; indeed, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that he defended the department to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, according to the New York Daily News. Republican susceptibility to race-mongering is well-documented, but after 9/11, one might have thought that emergency responders would get a pass on racial pandering from an administration that claims preeminence in homeland security.
Racial and ethnic pandering that endangers homeland security and public safety. It's becoming the Bush Legacy. Speaking of which, the president will be holding a news conference shortly (scheduled for 11am) to push for the security-undermining, ethnic pandering shamnesty.


La Shawn Barber is all over the story and notes that "We've been down this road before:"

In New York City Fire Department to Lower Hiring Standards, I told you that FDNY decided to drop certain qualifications in 2006 and intended to water down the written test to recruit more minority applicants.

Tests that measure a job candidate's ability to reason and comprehend are, in my opinion, more important than people think, and here is where people get it twisted. There is more to fighting fires than merely turning on a hose and pointing. Fire fighters must be able to understand written instructions, directions, and evacuation plans. They must be able to navigate buildings and generally have good spatial abilities. Reasoning skills come in handy when you're under pressure, trying to save lives.

Evaluating an applicant's ability to reason well and understand is not racist nor discriminatory. It is a legitimate part of the job, any job, even one as "simple" as putting out a fire.

Reader R.F. writes:

My son (Caucasian) decided 2 years ago to become a firefighter. First he had to pass an Entrance Exam. He did (score 87%). Note: average is 69%. 70% is passing. He had to go to Junior College part-time (while working during the day to support himself) and get an AA Degree in Firefighting (2 yrs). He then had to take an EMT (emergency medical technician) course and pass (3 months). He then had to pass the National EMT test. He has now been accepted to the Firefighting Academy and is scheduled to attend for 3.5 months in August 07. He has been saving his money as he will not be able to work while he attends the Academy. In the meantime he is a volunteer for Anaheim, CA firefighting 1 day/week at no pay. He applied, in the meantime, to bolster his chances, and was accepted for employment by Care Ambulance Co. Care is employed by many firefighting city departments. He is paid a whopping $10.95 per hour.

Why should anyone receive preferential treatment? My son has had to work his tail off to get this far. This career needs to be color blind. Each person must be based on ability alone. Our lives depend on it.

Pockets of Christianity left in the Church of England

"Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" -- Matthew 7:14

Ninety-five per cent of Britons are heading for hell, according to the principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, who has been under fire from some staff for taking one of the leading Anglican theological training colleges in a conservative direction.

Richard Turnbull, appointed two years ago, made the claim in a speech to the annual conference of Reform, a conservative evangelical pressure group within the Church of England. If he truly believes it, the figure would encompass at least all non-evangelical Christians, including many members of the Church of England, and those of all other religions and none.

A recording of the speech, made in October last year and seen by the Guardian, was posted last night on the Thinking Anglicans liberal website. In it, Dr Turnbull also warns against the danger of liberalism in the church, talks of "the strategic nature" of evangelical control of training colleges and calls on conservatives to syphon off 10% of their financial contributions to the Church of England to help pay the costs of like-minded colleges. The message excludes even evangelicals who are regarded as more liberal in their beliefs.

Dr Turnbull told them: "We are committed to bringing the gospel message of Jesus Christ to those who don't know [him] and in this land that's 95% of the people: 95% of people facing hell unless the message of the gospel is brought to them."

Traditionally Wycliffe, a permanent private hall of Oxford University founded in 1877, has trained evangelical Anglicans for the clergy, but its reputation has been as an open evangelical college, welcoming would-be ordinands from a wide range of theological and liturgical beliefs.

Critics within the college have accused the principal of taking it in a much more restrictive and exclusionary direction. At least a third of the academic staff have resigned and its best-known member, the Thought for the Day contributor Elaine Storkey, has been threatened with disciplinary action, allegedly for raising concerns at an internal staff meeting.

In his speech, the principal criticised the Church of England for "restrictive trade practices" in limiting funding for its students and added: "I view [my] post as strategic because it would allow influence to be brought to bear upon generations of the ministry...capture the theological colleges and you have captured the influence that is brought to bear." He warns that unless like-minded parishes fund colleges such as his own, they face closure within 10 years. At the same conference in Derbyshire, Reform members agreed to remain within the Church of England for the time being but to set up an advisory panel to support conservative clergy and encourage ordinands of their viewpoint. They were told by one senior member, the Rev David Holloway, vicar of Jesmond, that the church was a dysfunctional body with incompetent leadership.

In an article to be published in tomorrow's Church of England Newspaper - a more broadly-based evangelical publication - Dr Turnbull's message appears rather more tolerant. He writes: "For me and for Wycliffe, inclusive means exactly that, rather than the exclusion of particular views. So issues which divide ... have to be debated in the open, albeit with care and sensitivity ..."



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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.