Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good reason for American pride

By Greg Reeson, a Major in the United States Army who has served two tours of duty in Iraq

Historian Howard Zinn, writing recently in The Progressive, said that this past Independence Day, Americans

"...would have done well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed."

His column was an argument against the basic idea that we should consider ourselves Americans, and instead advocated an "allegiance to the human race," as if the two were somehow incompatible.

He described our soldiers in Iraq as "victims...of our government's lies" and claimed that Americans suffer from "a loss of a sense of proportion." To support this claim, he said nationalist thinking had led us to such actions as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in response to Pearl Harbor, and the killing of tens of thousands in the Global War on Terror in response to the deaths of 3,000 Americans in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a clear indication of our "loss of a sense of proportion." The implication, of course, is that we should have been much more restrained after being attacked by a ruthless enemy, in 1941 and again in 2001.

With all due respect to Prof. Zinn's opinion, I must disagree. I take great pride not in the fact that I am a soldier, but in the fact that I am an American soldier. I am as capable at helping others as I am at hurting them, and I take far more pleasure in the former than I do in the latter. I am immensely proud and humbled to have the honor of representing my nation, as a member of the armed forces, in bringing relief to those who need it, and justice to those who deserve it.

I, and I believe most Americans, love all the symbols of our greatness: our flag, our anthem, our history, and our culture. I have sworn my life to defending the principles upon which this country was founded, and I do believe with all my heart that our nation is special and unique.

I teach my children to respect our flag and our country, and to be thankful for the blessings we enjoy. I get choked up at the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner" and at the passing of Old Glory, and I and my children stand and give proper honors when either occurs. That may make me a nationalist in Mr. Zinn's eyes, but it doesn't make me any less a member of the human race.

And what about that greatest symbol of America, our national colors, that Prof. Zinn would have us put away? Our flag stands for what this nation is: a beacon of hope to the rest of the world, a place where freedom and prosperity are available to all who come here peaceably and are willing to work for it. It represents the values and beliefs that our soldiers are dying for, because they know America is worth preserving. It represents that magical place where people from around the world still long to be, and it stands for justice and equality, the inherent human rights that are sadly lacking in many places around the world.

Do we sometimes make mistakes in dealing with other nations? Yes, of course, but this nation represents a land where good triumphs more often than not, and that is why the rest of the world continues to look to us for guidance and hope. And it is why our enemies seek to destroy us and everything that we represent.

I have been around the world and seen the joy in people's eyes when American help has arrived, and I have felt pride and thankfulness for being part of such a wonderful nation, knowing that few other countries could provide the hope and promise that we do. And I have seen the utter fear in those who know that we have come to right the wrongs on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves against tyranny and oppression. A former commanding officer of mine summed it up beautifully when he said, "When we deploy our forces, one of two things happens: people either say `Thank God, they're coming, or they say, `Oh shit, they're coming.'" Both speak to the greatness of this nation.

The flag, and all our symbols of national pride, mean something because they represent all that is good and right about America, and all that can be good and right in the world. They serve as an inspiration and source of pride not only to most Americans, but also to everyone who wants to be an American or wants their nation to be more like ours.

No, the time has not come to renounce nationalism and symbols of national pride. Instead, now, more than ever, it is time to stand up and be counted. Because now is a time of great peril for our nation, when radical enemies seek to destroy everything we stand for and everything we believe in. And it will take proud Americans, and not proud humans, to ensure that our country and our way of life continue, for us, and for the rest of the world.


Refusing To Evolve: The Leftist Creed

Post lifted from SCA. See the original for links

Why isn't there a single example of a successful `People's Paradise'? How is it that the best of intentioned revolutionaries was never able to produce a functional society? Why is it that societies that espouse economic equality and predicated on well meaning ideals, either secular or religious, have proved to be abject failures?

Leftists mistakenly believe that a collective `unity' of beliefs, thoughts and ideologies empower a society. Their strength, they believe, are in the numbers of those who share their ideologies. Leftists also believe that they have every right to design a society based on what they believe is in the best interest of that society. They also believe that an unwillingness to conform to their ideals, poses a threat, and quite possibly, a danger to the society of their creation.

Capitalism, as Dr Sanity points out, is predicated on the diversity of beliefs, thoughts and ideologies. For example, the Leftists state takes a dim view of anyone or group that might demand lower taxes, changes in the state welfare benefits, or demands any kind of accountability, because less of burden on the individual and less control of the individual by the state, might empower that individual. In the Leftist state, any kind of individualism and real self expression, empowered or otherwise, represents a threat to the state.

Last year, millions of Frenchmen turned out to protest an employers right to fire them from their jobs- even if their job performance was sub par. They demanded that the French government protect them from being held accountable to their employers. There are business owners in France that are afraid to initiate the complex procedures for firing employees, out the fear of retribution and violence.

Despite the leftist of stated disdain for capitalism and materialism, we have noted that: For today's leftist, it is about `the color of one's skin' and not the `content of character. It is about image and not substance. The deliberate obfuscation continues and the blurring of reality continues. As the left indicts America as self absorbed and drunk with materialistic inclinations, they ignore yet another truth: The most self absorbed and materialistic regimes are the leaders of the most tyrannical regimes in Africa and the Arab world, where greed, corruption, excess and deceit are the defining adjectives of those regimes. Those levels of greed, excess, corruption and self serving attitudes rival the most fanatical religious extremists in their tenacious expressions by citizens of all strata in those countries- and these are the leaders the left reveres.

Of course, progressives naturally see themselves as forward thinking. They believe their way of viewing the world is an improvement over the `old way'- hard work for greater personal gain, for example.

(it is interesting to note how `progressives' have aligned themselves with Hollywood- the most narcissistic and self centered group of people on the planet. They are also among the most removed from the real world, believing themselves to be a kind of aristocracy, entitled to material things others would have to pay for. There is much truth to the old saying. `You are known by the company you keep.' The `progressives' have made clear their attachment to the phony aristocracy of Hollywood trumps the relationship they might have with the rest of us, `the little people.')

The only agenda the left have refused to endorse is the only agenda that has succeeded and the one agenda that is gaining ground, worldwide- capitalism. The real revolutions today are not for socialism, but rather, for political and economic freedoms. `People's Revolutions' today aren't about failed Marxist or socialist agendas. Leftist revolutionaries cannot hide the truth any longer. Today's revolutions are about power and the exercise and abuse of power in any way they see fit.

Of course, the `progressives' cannot and will not acknowledge the truth that the greatest philosophers and thinkers were free to think and present their cases to the population. It is the progressives, that want to present their own versions of history, religion and ideologies, without having to explain or defend themselves. Disagree with them and the wrath of the State will come down on you.

It is clear that many `progressives' are actually regressive. The `my way or the highway' kind of thinking is devolutionary, as if any and all disagreements are always invalid. The vitriol and visceral hatred of the current administration is a good example. No difference of opinion will be tolerated. Disagree and the well oiled machine of personal destruction comes out. The shameful display of that truth was evident during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Tens, if not hundreds of millions have died because of leftist `my way or the highway' ideologies. Disagree with the powers that be or want to be, and there are calls of, `Death to.! Disagree loud enough and you are marked for death. We all got a taste of that as the cartoon riots unfolded. That was a clear case of `my way or the highway' unleashed on democratic societies. `My way or the highway' is a nothing more than a regression to a more barbaric time, when disputes, disagreements and different ideas were settled only when blood was spilled. That was an earlier incarnation of `my way or the highway.'

What leftists desperately want you to forget is that we are morally obligated not to get along with those whose ideas are and beliefs espouse violence, hate and evil. We are morally obligated not to give them a platform to preach their hate and we are morally obligated not to equate their values with our own. While we cannot stop anyone from believing what they will, we are morally obligated to deny them credibility.

(It is astonishing to note that while most people would agree that Adolph Hitler would never have been allowed a platform to preach his hate here, there are still those who believe that Josef Stalin, the man responsible for one hundred million deaths, would have rightfully been a allowed a platform.)

Mankind evolved and political expression advanced when societies came to tolerate those with different ideas and beliefs. We advanced because we allowed each of us the freedom the opportunity to achieve whatever it was we were capable of in any endeavor we chose. No one told us what to do, what to think or what to invent. In free societies, possibilities were open to all, irrespective of their political persuasion.

The Soviets produced engineers by the millions. They built the world's largest hotel, the Rossiya, in Moscow, meant to be showcase of Soviet superiority. When you get up close and inside, it is hard to miss the walls that are crooked and floors that are uneven. It is true the Russians led early on in the space race. It is also true that many hundreds of thousands, if not millons, died over the years because money that was spent on the space race was diverted from providing food to Soviet citizens. That malaise infected Communist eastern Europe. Once a net exporter of grain, Poland reached a point where she could barely feed herself. To put that in perspective, at one time Poland grew more grain than France or Canada.

The Judeo-Christian ethic is just that- an ethic, an ideology that was to serve as the basis and foundation upon which a free nation might be built. The Judeo-Christian ethic is not an endorsement of religion- it is an endorsement of ideas, not the least of which is the validity and importance of freedom. The Judeo-Christian ethic has been the blueprint, revised over time, that has come to be a definition of freedom. The ideas contained in those ethics have come to define the boundaries of our freedom and our obligations to out society. We have been blessed with freedom and democracy as a way of life.

It is also true that free societies not only exist, but they prosper and progress as well. If there were no free societies and democracies, our world would look exactly like much of the Arab world today- failed states torn apart by internal strife and political mayhem, with hundreds of millions of people languishing in a netherworld, where their only purpose is to serve the needs and whims of a regime that cares nothing for them and attaches no value to their life.

For the most part, progressives do not want to acknowledge that there is not a single example of a regime they have endorsed that has not resorted to murder, oppression and repression. There are some regimes are authoritarian, caring only about controlling behavior. There are other regimes are totalitarian, seeking to control not only behavior, but thought as well. The only regime ever supported by the left (only to be later abandoned) that made a success of itself was Israel.

Real freedom represents the highest political and ethical expression and aspirations of the human condition.

After witnessing the spectacular and bloody imposition and failures of ideologies embraced by leftists, one can only conclude that those ideologies have proved to be a monumental failure on the scale of political evolution. Leftist ideologies cannot be made to adapt to the real world environment that places freedom atop the evolutionary that scale, because leftist ideologies refuses to adapt and acknowledge that people are best served when free to choose for themselves.

Leftists have failed to adapt and evolve to the reality that accelerating freedom is the destiny of mankind. We are meant to be free choose, free to believe, and free to express themselves in any way they see fit, free of interference. That is the equivalent of debating the merits of the wheel.

Britain's Orwellian vision of government housing

Allocated a silver-level needs certificate, Linda is unlikely to get into the most popular development.but after a year's acceptable behaviour she will be given a secure tenancy certificate. This, however, is a floating security given the owners will be able to insist she moves into one of their smaller premises if her needs change. Next door to Linda is one of six extra care homes.they include video monitoring and biosensors to allow 24-hour video supervision from the district health centre.'

Speaking is Jon Rouse, outgoing head of the UK Housing Corporation, which controls all social housing in the UK (1). The slide that accompanied Rouse's recent speech represented the family of four - Linda, Tom, Dick and Harry - as little lego people. Rouse was not warning us of an Orwellian dystopia; this is actually his ideal of what should happen with social housing in the UK.

In Rouse's social-democratic hell, people will not talk about `social housing' - they will talk about `different degrees of ownership'. Even new tenants will be `gifted' two per cent equity - except that this equity is conditional upon good behaviour, and will be recovered in toto if tenants fall into more than eight weeks' arrears. Furthermore equity in the leasehold is conditional, since the Housing Corporation would have the (until now unheard of) right of first buyback, and there is absolutely no right of succession (meaning you cannot bequest the home to your children). In other words, this `equity' is not ownership at all - except that it does come with responsibilities for the repair and upkeep of your home.

Prime minister Gordon Brown has announced that three million homes will be built and that the state will take up the slack left by the private sector's failure to build enough houses to match demand (2). For many, this is a sign that Old Labour is back. Council housing in particular is something of a nostalgia-trip for born-again Labourites like Jon Cruddas, commentator Lynsey Hanley and London mayor Ken Livingstone.

This nostalgia for council housing is hard to take. There is no principle that says that houses built and managed by the state are any worse than those in the private sector. But in practise, social housing has precious little to do with meeting people's needs, and everything to do with state control over supposedly anti-social elements. The Housing Corporation's thinking about dividing people into Gold, Silver and Bronze levels - imposing tenancy agreements, issuing secure (but floating) tenancy certificates, partial equity, video- and bio-monitoring, 24-hour surveillance, retaining the right of first buy-back - are all drawn from the real way that social housing tenants are intrusively regulated by the authorities.

Throughout its history, social housing has always been intimately related to the perceived problem of social order. In Nathaniel Rothschild's `Four Per Cent Dwellings', which opened in 1887, each landing had its own warden, usually an ex-NCO from the army who would enforce curfews and respectable behaviour. When philanthropists decanted tenants into the subscription-funded Somers Town estate in the 1930s, their bedding was burnt and furniture put into a mobile fumigation wagon.as part of a public ceremony overseen by local dignitaries, complete with the burning of papier mach‚ effigies of rats, fleas and other pests.

Similar things took place outside of Britain. In `Red' Vienna's much-trumpeted inter-war municipal houses, Social Democrat councillors enforced a `social contract' with tenants, which committed them to responsible parenting. Where this was lacking, social workers were on hand to remove children to the municipal Child Observation Centres (3).

In the postwar expansion of social housing in Britain, the charity-laden character of such housing was moderated: tenants were more like citizens and less like supplicants. Therefore, other ways of relating to the estate-dwellers had to be found. Labour's Peter Shore (1924-2001) oversaw the racial segregation of Tower Hamlets' Council Stock in the 1970s, as the London borough used divide-and-rule tactics to win the support of white residents with marginally better estates. Then, 20 years later, in the early and mid-1990s, the council turned around and started threatening white residents, who had believed the promise of preferential treatment, with being evicted for racism (4).

Between 1979 and 1997, the Conservative government stopped new council houses being built in Britain, sold off some homes and transferred others to Housing Associations. The declining stock of council homes shifted the social mix, as the more affluent workers moved out of local authority management. This was when people started calling Council Housing `social housing', meaning that it was primarily for housing people who were a social problem.

In the Nineties, local authorities pioneered the systems of social control that would later be generalised under Labour's Crime and Disorder Bill in the form of the ASBO: that is, the Anti-Social Behaviour Order. Before there were ASBOs there were tenancy agreements. On 24 May 1995, 2,500 council tenants in Cross Farm Road, Birmingham, were warned that they would have to put their children under an 8pm curfew. They were told that not annoying or harassing their neighbours - or allowing their children to do so - was a condition of their council tenancies. Breaches were to be heard by a subcommittee of councillors (5). Councils had expanded the terms of their tenancy agreements to include clauses governing social behaviour on top of keeping up rent payments and looking after the fabric of the home.

In June 1995, the Labour Party, then still in opposition, published a housing consultation paper titled A Quiet Life. It was influenced heavily by the thinking of the (mostly Labour) councillors who had enhanced their powers of social regulation through the issue of housing. A Quiet Life proposed special Community Safety Orders, which could be imposed to regulate behaviour, on the same model as the expanded tenancy agreements. These were later renamed Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. Just as the councils had done when enforcing their tenancy agreements, so Labour proposed dealing with `problem tenants' through the use of professional witnesses (that is, housing officers) and by the lower standard of proof that is normally used in civil proceedings.

Recently the courts struck down an ASBO that was issued in Manchester on evidence supplied by the council, when it came to light that the reports they had solicited against the unfortunate accused were entirely made up. Manchester City Council had told the courts that they had independent corroboration, which was not true - but it was in keeping with the local authority's contempt for the rights of their tenants.

Brown is right that we need more homes. The market is so restrained by bureaucratic controls that it cannot meet the real demand that exists. It does not matter who builds or manages the homes, private sector or government. But council housing was never just about providing homes; it was always about regulating social behaviour. Those who long for a return to council housing are either ignorant of what a trap it was, or more likely, they look forward to the day when they can tie up more of the people they imagine to be `problem families' in bureaucratic regulations.


Reality catches up with another red diaper baby

Having grown up in a home of diehard New Deal Democrats, with a wider family circle that included hard-core socialists and communists, and having come of age in the United States during the turbulent 1960s, every fiber in my body is filled with political and social liberalism.

Throughout the years, I have tried to maintain a universal outlook on life, no matter the winds of change that continually blow across the international arena, relentlessly testing my ideological worldview - especially over the 35 years I have lived in Israel and, particularly, the last 10.

Since the onset of the second intifada, the rise of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hamas's takeover of Gaza, the encroachment of Hizbullah, I am fighting forces within me that are edging to the political right - all the while desperately holding on to a progressive philosophical mindset. In the deepest recesses of my being, I am finding it difficult to maintain my usual equilibrium.

I am constantly doing battle with two competing inclinations - one to preserve my body (my physical well-being) and one to preserve my soul (my moral integrity). And, right now, the urges of my body seem to be getting the upper hand. I feel my corporeal self under siege from all sides. I ache with the historical burden of persecution knocking at my door every minute of the day, fired by forces like those that engulfed us during the Crusades - read Hamas - and expelled us during the Inquisition - read Hizbullah - and led by the warriors of anti-Semitism like Chmelnitski - read Hassan Nasrallah - and those who slaughtered us mercilessly like Hitler - read Ahmadinejad.

HOW DO I maintain a sense of justice for Palestinians whose freedoms have been compromised under Israel's 40-year occupation and continue to advocate for their human rights, when I know they are being swept up by a pan-Islamism characterized by Islamist extremism? No wonder the Israeli Left has gone underground. Many of our cherished values have gone up in smoke.

We hate the security barrier because it steals Palestinian lands, divides villages and separates families, but we sleep better knowing our children no longer play Russian roulette with their lives when they venture out in public. We deplore targeted assassinations, but when the IDF kills terrorists on their way to fire rockets into Sderot, we breathe a sigh of relief - even if innocent Palestinians are caught in the cross fire.

Has the Right read the political map better than we have? Everything that those who opposed the unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza predicted would happen has happened. Hizbullah in the north and Hamas in the south are squeezing us and, at a moment's notice, could wreak havoc upon the country. The internecine fighting in Gaza, where Palestinians killed each other with impunity, proved a harsh reality: These Muslim fanatics are out for anyone's blood that gets in the way of their ultimate goal - spilling the last drop of Jewish blood.

SO, WHAT'S an Israeli liberal Jew to do - turn to our leftist sympathizers abroad to gain some perspective and objectivity? Who are they - the American Center for Constitutional Rights that has issued warrants for the arrest of Moshe Ya'alon and Avi Dichter for war crimes; the International Solidarity Movement or the Christian Peacemaker Teams whose Web sites are veritable wellsprings of anti-Semitic drivel?

You see why I feel besieged - even my natural allies put me on the defensive. We activists for decency and fair play for the other can no longer bury our heads in the sand. We must find a way to reconcile our ideological liberalism with the harsh political realities of a bellicose neighborhood and an indifferent at best, hostile at worst, world community that allows the UN Human Rights Commission to single out Israel for permanent scrutiny. (Silent complicity strikes the Jews again.) Only America has consistently stood by us.

So as not to further darken the gathering storm hovering above, we liberals will have to temper our views and moderate our behavior. Does this mean that we limit self-criticism and curtail what we say and what we do because our words and actions can supply ammunition to our detractors and to those who decry our legitimacy as a state? Does it mean that we sacrifice our moral conscience on an altar of fear? No! But, it does mean that we must carefully weigh the possible consequences of our rhetoric and activities.

It also means that we who are sympathetic to Palestinian suffering cannot become mirror images of our right-wing adversaries - abandoning any sense of balance, thus discounting Israeli pain. More so, even as we concede Israeli offenses, we must acknowledge Palestinian violence and, more importantly, its global implications. With the radicalization of Gaza, surely to be exported to the West Bank, Palestinians are part of a growing Islamist threat to Western stability, and we stand at the forefront of its eventual onslaught.

For those of us born with a liberal spoon in our mouths, the challenge is formidable - almost frantic. Painful memories of our history, presently reflected in the mirror of a dangerous new reality, compel us to examine and reexamine, evaluate and reevaluate our deeply held principles - even as we resolutely cling to our ideals, steadfastly advancing a social agenda that impels Israel to be a "light unto the nations."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Muslim Workers at Nebraska Meatpacking Plant Complain of Religious Harassment

Supervisors at a meatpacking plant have fired or harassed dozens of Somali Muslim employees for trying to pray at sunset, violating civil rights laws, the workers and their advocates say. The five- to 10-minute prayer, known as the maghrib, must be done within a 45-minute window around sunset, according to Muslim rules. The workers at the Swift & Co. plant in Grand Island say they quit, were fired or were verbally and physically harassed over the issue.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has drafted a complaint to be filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The petition compiles testimony from at least 44 workers who had planned to sign the complaint during a meeting Sunday. The signing was changed to a later date because of a logistical problem.

Jama Mohamed, 28, said he was fired in June for leaving a production line to pray. Supervisors would not allow him a break, he said. "Some of them took the (prayer) mat from me; they started shouting, they started telling me to stop it, and one of them grabbed me by the collar of my shirt," Mohamed said through an interpreter. "I was crying at the time this was happening to me, and when I finished I told them while they were doing that I was in the middle of a prayer." Mohamed said he was then called to an office, where a supervisor fired him. Mohamed Rage, chairman of the Omaha Somali-American Community Organization, said Swift had fired at least two dozen workers for praying since May.

Donald Selzer, an attorney for Greeley, Colo.-based Swift, said only three Somali workers were fired for reasons relating to the issue, and that it was for walking off the line without permission, not for praying. Unscheduled breaks can force unplanned shutdowns of lines, Selzer said. "That is a significant number of employees, and there is not much of a way to accommodate that consistent with keeping the production online," he said.

The complaint reprises issues that boiled over in May, when 120 Somali workers abruptly quit for similar reasons. About 70 returned a week later, but union officials worried the issue would resurface through the late spring as sunset came later in the evening shift.



"Mein Kampf" is one of the dozen or so books I keep in front of me on my table where I do my writing. I even read it sometimes. It is a very important document for conservatives to read -- showing as it does how close in thinking Hitler was to modern Leftists -- including the antisemitism, of course

Horst Moeller, a leading German historian, has called for the book to be published openly for the first time since 1945. The Bavarian state authorities own the copyright to Hitler's writings, but maintain an effective ban by refusing all requests to print it. Officially, the book cannot be bought in Germany, Israel, Norway or Switzerland. It is illegal to own it in Austria and to sell it in the Netherlands. But the book is available for sale in the US and Britain, as well as through internet bookshops. About 3,000 copies are sold every year in the UK.

Mein Kampf is the central defining text of racial hatred, a lurid, paranoid diatribe founded on the lie of Aryan supremacy. It is not only evil but amazingly badly written, being repetitious, anti-factual, rambling and turgid, the testimony of a furious, self-pitying failure with a slender grasp on reality and none whatever on grammar. It was a huge bestseller: each newly married couple, graduating student, and soldier at the front was presented with a copy by the Third Reich; Hitler earned more than $1 million a year in royalties. It is wicked rubbish, at once stomach-turning and soporific; everyone should read it, once.

Holocaust survivors are understandably unhappy at the prospect of a book that caused such bloodshed becoming freely available once more in the country that gave birth to Nazism. Yet whatever sympathy one may feel for those who suffered, no book should be banned, however pernicious. Allowed to fester in the dark corners of neo-Nazism, Hitler's ideas continue to hold a spurious glamour for the twisted few: held up to the light, they shrivel. In treating this disease, exposure to fresh air is always more effective than quarantine.

Some argued as much from the beginning. William L. Shirer, the American journalist and historian who covered the rise of the Third Reich, suggested that if Hitler's ideas had been more widely disseminated and understood outside Germany in the 1930s, then the world might have taken action in time to stop him.

The Times was right to publish extracts from Mein Kampf in 1933; the publisher Hutchinson was brave and right to issue a cheap wartime edition in order that British people might better understand what we were fighting for, and against. And Mr Moeller is surely right to argue that Germany has now left the spectre of Nazism so far behind, that it can trust itself to read Hitler's creed without fear of reinfection.

Quite apart from the issue of free speech, there is the practical consideration that book-banning is virtually impossible in the internet age. The Nazis themselves tried, and failed, to ban and burn the "degenerate" books they feared, and in the process lent those works underground status. Today any neo-Nazi with half a brain (rather more than the usual complement), can download Mein Kampf and feel aggrieved and special for having to do so in secret.

The copyright of Mein Kampf in Germany will expire in 2015, and then German publishers will be free to publish it. How much better, then, to produce a cheap, scholarly, annotated version in German now, with a commentary comprehensively debunking it. That would be a mark of moral courage, a demonstration that Germany has come to terms with its past and can look on the evil of Nazism with confident disdain instead of a lingering fear.

Mein Kampf is a historical relic that has retained its power to horrify: it should be preserved and exhibited in the same way as Auschwitz, the killing fields of Cambodia and Holocaust museums everywhere. Germany has struggled to explore and understand its own history with an honesty that stands as a beacon to other traumatised nations, from South Africa to Iraq to Northern Ireland. Hitler's apologia for mass murder is a painful but necessary part of that story. It should be published, and damned.


UK Catholic Church Agency to Cease Adoption Work As Government Forces Homosexual Adoption

Catholic Care, a leading British Catholic adoption agency announced this week that it will cease operations in light of the recently imposed requirement that they must allow children to be adopted by homosexual partners. Catholic Care is the first of the religious social agencies to announce that it can no longer operate under the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SOR's) that proponents claimed would put an end to "discrimination" in the UK.

According to the Daily Mail, the agency, in operation for a century, announced that a vote of its trustees decided to end its services that had placed about 20 children a year into new families. The decision from Catholic Care came a week after the Catholic bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O'Donoghue wrote a letter to Catholic Caring Services, an adoption charity in his diocese, saying that the needs of the child must come before the desire for parenthood. The Daily Mail quotes him saying, "I favour rejection, thus withdrawal from adoption and fostering from December 2008 if all else fails." "We know that what is best for children is to live with married couples. Dilution of that harms children. Children who stay with married parents do by far the best, whilst those with same-sex couples often fare badly, and certainly never as well as a child with a married couple."

In April, when the Labour government passed the SOR's, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims and other religious and ethics groups were united in condemning the move, calling it a means of imposing state-sanctioned secularist doctrine on religious groups orchestrated by the gay lobby. In the weeks leading up to the passage of the secondary legislation, the media was in an uproar over the possibility that adoption agencies run by the Catholic Church might or might not be granted an exception to the law on religious conscience grounds.

Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales warned that the Church would be forced to end its involvement in adopting children rather than comply with what he saw as a law that suppressed religious freedom. A similar decision was taken earlier by Boston Catholic Charities that ended its adoption services in March 2006 when the state of Massachusetts tried to force them to adopt children to homosexual partners.

In the end, Tony Blair, who was said to have been waffling on the issue, decreed that the Church, or any other group, would not be granted any exemptions but that an "adjustment period" would be granted for such bodies to come to terms with the new order.

Homosexual partners have been eligible to adopt children in Britain since 2002 and most non-religious agencies allow it. But the SOR's took the issue to the next phase in forcing religious agencies to allow it against their stated religious principles. Catholic Care served both Catholic and non-Catholic couples.

In comments to the BBC in the spring, Murphy O'Connor said the SOR's were part of a movement to force Christians out of public life in Britain. "Here the Catholic Church and its adoption services are wishing to act according to its principles and conscience and the government is saying: 'No, we won't allow you to ... you have no space, you have no place in the public life of this country.'"


Milestone in Reaching a Colorblind America

Black Group Hails Prohibition of Race and Sex Preferences in Transportation Funding Bill

Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie is hailing a historic congressional vote that prohibits federal funds from being used by the Department of Transportation to create "regulations based on race, ethnicity or sex." Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) introduced the amendment to H.R. 3074 on July 24. The bill appropriates funds for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development for the coming fiscal year. The amendment was almost immediately passed by a voice vote.

"Representative Walberg has displayed the character and leadership long sought from our elected leaders, said Massie. "The task for the citizenry must now be to watch closely that the race-obsessed in Congress do not mitigate the will of the people."

In presenting his amendment, Representative Walberg asked: "Do we really need affirmative action for roads?... The federal government should never view any American as part of a group, rather than as an individual. By granting the Department of Transportation the ability to discriminate based on race or sex, this House would essentially create affirmative action for our nation's highways."

Project 21's Massie added: "Like Neil Armstrong making his first moonwalk, this is a small step for Congress but a giant leap toward creating a truly equal and colorblind nation. It would be shameful for Speaker Pelosi and her cohorts to try to defy the will of the House of Representatives and strip out this amendment behind the scenes."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

British police tell mother: Don't scold daughter 'because of Maddy'

A mother who scolded her tantrum-throwing daughter in a shop was outraged to be visited at home by police who told her it was inappropriate to reprimand the girl in the light of Madeleine McCann's disappearance. Ruth Ball was at home when police officers knocked at her door and and ticked her off about the way she had chastised four-year-old Leigha. The 24-year-old was told that the method she had used to reprimand Leigha was "inappropriate" in the light of Madeleine's disappearance from her family's holiday apartment in Portugal.

Ms Ball was at a newsagent in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, when Leigha started screaming after being refused sweets. She swept her daughter out of the shop and put her in the car to calm down, standing a couple of feet away with her three-year-old son Jack. A few minutes later she got into the car and drove the family home, thinking no more of it.

The following day a policeman visited her at her home in Luton to tell her off. The officer said it was inadvisable to shout at her daughter and shut her in the car after what happened to missing Madeleine. Ms Ball, who works as a care assistant, said: "I'm deeply sorry for what has happened to Madeleine, but why should I let my daughter get away with things because she was abducted? "I am trying to raise two decent human beings, even though I have been advised by the police to let them run riot, turn into thugs and help keep the prison population going when they're older. "Kids learn young. If they learn now that kicking, hitting and screaming gets what they want, what are they going to do when they're adults?"

Ms Ball added that she was shocked that somebody had taken down her numberplate and called police - but even more shocked that officers had visited her at home. Ms Ball said: "Even the police officer said he didn't see the point in him being here. He had to come and show his face and tell me not to tell her off."

The force has been involved in various scandals and gaffes, including three in the space of a fortnight in May last year. First, an elderly farmer was seized by armed police and thrown in a cell after - quite legally - firing a warning shot at a dog that was threatening his lambs. Then it emerged four police officers had resigned after giving remand prisoners special favours - including sexual liaisons with girlfriends - in exchange for false confessions. Days later, the force was criticised when a private school headmaster was found dead shortly after officers sent letters to parents asking if they had any 'concerns' about him. No arrest had been made at the time. In 2004, a dangerous driving case collapsed at crown court because the arresting officer was teaching golf in Spain on a five-year career break.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said: "We received a call from a member of the public concerned for the safety of a young girl she had seen being put into a car. "We attended the address of the owner and it transpired that the child, who was happy with no injuries, had been put in the car after having a tantrum. "If Ms Ball is concerned with what happened or what was said, she is very welcome to contact us."


Illegal sex discrimination on TV?

Post lifted from Ian Ayres. See the original for links

The announcement of Drew Carey as the new host of the "Price is Right" has a slight connection to civil rights. A few weeks ago, when retiring icon Bob Barker was asked at the Daytime Emmy about who might replace him, he mentioned Rosie O'Donnell:

"I believe they're going to have a meeting with Rosie. She knows the show. There's no doubt in my mind she could do the show."

But in a moment of candor, he went on and said:

"Now, whether they want a lady host, I don't know. I've never heard that discussed. As far as I know, they've only auditioned men."

The possibility that the producers of the show don't "want a lady host" is the possibility of a Title VII violation. Title VII prohibits sex discrimination in employment unless the employer can establish what's called a BFOQ or "Bona Fide Occupational Qualification." The EEOC Guidelines do allow intentional sex discrimination in hiring an actor or actress where the sex-specific roles are necessary for the "purpose of authenticity or genuineness," see 29 C.F.R.  1604.2(a)(2). But there is no way that the producers could establish that sex was a BFOQ for being host of "The Price is Right."

The same conclusion probably holds true for hosting "The View." The thought that only women could host a talk show would be difficult to square with existing case law. Probably a dozen different hosts have been employed by The View. They have all been female. There is little doubt that the producers of that show discriminate on the basis of sex in hiring.

Indeed, even John Travolta's portrayal of Edna in the movie Hairspray raises a non-trivial BFOQ question. Travolta, like all of his predecessors, is male. But it's hard to say that casting a man for the part is necessary for "authenticity or genuineness" -- especially when the whole point of his portrayal is that Travolta (unlike Divine) is playing it straight.

Pathological denial in Britain

Some in Britain have come up with an ingenuous way of countering the threat of jihad: They pretend it does not exist

One would think this would be rather difficult in the wake of the recent terrorist attempts in London and Glasgow, but the jihad-deniers use these very incidents to make their case. The failure of the bombs to go off, they argue, is proof that the would-be terrorists were an assortment of bungling fools. What's more, they extend this characterization to all those who swear by the cause. On this view, the whole concept of jihad is merely a silly concoction of some misguided dolts.

An article titled Evil plotters? More like sad and crackpot which ran recently in the UK Times offers a startling example of this line of thinking. This is what its author, the well-known British commentator Matthew Parris, writes:

Something is changing in the public mood, and I think it's this: terrorism is beginning to look a bit stupid. Those pictures of that idiotic and slightly overweight fellow with his clothes burnt off looked pathetic, undignified. It has occurred to even the meanest of intellects that concrete doesn't burn. And it isn't just the technical competence of alleged British terrorists that people are beginning to doubt: it's the whole jihadist idea. What world are they aiming for? Most British Muslims, just like most British everyone-else, think it's all pie in the sky: all rather silly. Yes, silly. Not "evil" as the red tops would have it. [...] We're not talking anything as clever as Evil here: we're talking Weird, we're talking Crackpot, we're talking Sad. The idea of using a Jeep to make a terminal explode was, in the latest lingo, a bit gay.

The trivialization and lightheartedness are hardly appropriate, especially since it was only due to sheer luck that the attacks did not translate into mass carnage. Explosives experts have repeatedly confirmed that had the London's terror plot gone as planned hundreds would have been engulfed by the blast and the accompanying fireball.

Neither are all would-be terrorists mere inept bunglers. Does Mr. Paris need to be reminded of that fatal morning of July 7, 2005? Does he recall the carnage that was unleashed then? Does he remember the destroyed double-decker and the twisted underground carriages splattered with blood? Did that look like the work of some blathering `crackpots' or like a horrific terrorist attack?

It is only a matter of good fortune that Britain has not been hit with more strikes like this. Last year Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, then the head of Britain's counterintelligence service MI5, revealed that her agency was monitoring at least 30 high-priority plots. At one point they were tracking more than 200 hundred cells with over 1500 aspiring jihadists among them.

Such is their determination that London Police Commission Sir Ian Blair warned that it was all but inevitable that some would succeed. How irresponsible, then, for editorial writers to trivialize the danger when those most familiar with its extent are almost certain that Britain will be hit again. Worse still, there is a very real possibility that the next strike will make July 7 look like a minor incident.

Various investigations and sting operations in the last couple of years have uncovered a number of plots of breath-taking audacity. A Muslim convert by the name of Dhiren Barot was, among other things, laying plans to detonate a dirty bomb and flood the London underground by breaching the river Thames. An Islamist cell was scheming to bring down a British Airways airliner with bare hands. The idea was to purchase thirty tickets on a British Airways flight and then batter their way into the cockpit. There were also plots to poison London's water supplies and to attack a shopping center with a giant fertilizer bomb.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more plots in the works some of which are no doubt even more destructive and which may well come to our attention only after they have exacted their terrible toll.

Although we cannot predict when and how they will strike next, what we do know is that many of those who plan these atrocities are intelligent and well-educated individuals, not at all drifting dimwits as some would have us believe. We would do well to remember that the ringleader of London's 2005 terror strike - Mohammad Sidique Khan - was a respected teacher. Those responsible for the most recent attempts in London and Glasgow are all highly educated professionals. One of them, Dr. Mohammed Asha, is a neurologist who earned his appointment at a prestigious university hospital on the strength of his distinguished academic record. Another, Kafeel Ahmed, who apparently drove the explosives-laden jeep into the Glasgow airport terminal, is an engineer who was working toward a PhD in computational fluid dynamics. His passenger, Dr. Bilal Abdullah, is a diabetes specialist. Sabeel Ahmed, another man held in connection with this attack, is also a doctor.

The combination of smarts and advanced education is, in fact, a trademark of international jihad. Mohammed Atta held a couple of degrees from universities in Cairo and Hamburg. Several among his band of hijackers also had at least some college education. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's second in command, is a cerebral surgeon. Bin Laden is a civil engineer himself. Sheik Khalid Sheik Mohamed holds a degree in mechanical engineering degree from an American university. Ramzi Yousef, one of the planners of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, excelled in math and science and holds an engineering degree from West Glamorgan Institute in Wales. In addition to his technical prowess, he is also fluent in English, Baluchi, Urdu and Arabic. We could go on and on. If truth be told, few other criminal enterprises can boast so many clever and university educated conspirators.

To make light of the threat posed by these determined fanatics - as some in Britain are now trying to do - is self-delusional at best and suicidal at worst. The mortal danger we face at their hands will not go away if we pretend it does not exist. It is like sticking one's head in the sand hoping that the jackal will not eat you. This, however, is a fatally misguided hope, since this enemy is too determined, too driven and too smart to let such an opportunity pass by.


Australia: Sexy army recruiter sniffed at

("Digger" is Australian slang for "soldier")

MOVE over Angelina Jolie, the army is using Australia's version of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, to encourage women to join the forces. Posters approved by the office of Chief of Army Lieutenant General Peter Leahy, depict the modern woman Digger as a buxom, full-lipped wonder woman with a sculpted body wearing a tight-fitting uniform. But the posters, on which the female soldier always appears to look like a million dollars - have caused some offence.

Included in the series are images of a uniformed brunette stirring a pot as a cook; wielding a large spanner as an engineer; singing up a storm with the army band and striding across the helicopter tarmac in a skin-tight flying suit. The cartoon heroine fairly bursts out of her white medical gear in the Dental Corps poster. "We want you" is the message scrawled across the posters in Indiana Jones script.

Unfortunately, many women in the military do not believe the "you" as depicted even exists. They believe the posters send inappropriate signals. One senior air force officer was appalled by the portrayal. "I think they are woeful and say a lot about how army males see the world," she said. "They surely couldn't work and we wouldn't necessarily want the type of women attracted by the posters. "I hope the RAAF doesn't go the same way."

The sexy Digger's male comrade is a chiselled-jawed man in skin-tight overalls. A Defence spokeswoman said the posters were not designed for outside recruiting but rather to encourage soldiers to consider a change in trade. "Army accepted that this campaign might not appeal to all personnel," she said. "Professional marketing advice indicated the use of cartoon caricatures would engage the intended targeted audience, predominantly young males in combat-related roles. "In its first week of testing, 450 soldiers indicated a preference to sign-up to a trade transfer, compared with 35 the week before."

According to well-placed sources, the offending posters are about to be recalled. Meanwhile, the TV navy drama Sea Patrol is expected to deliver a recruiting boon to the navy. A website linked with the program will soon be launched so prospective sailors can interact with the Sea Patrol crew. A Defence source said it was too early to judge the impact of the show, but he said its predecessor Patrol Boat had been a good recruiting tool.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

"Londonistan" shows how sick Britain is

A review by Hal G.P. Colebatch of "Londonistan" By Melanie Phillips

Has this book been reviewed before? If so, in light of the recent terror-bombings in Britain, another review may be called for. British Journalist and George Orwell Prize-winner Melanie Philips has written a chilling book, setting out how confused thinking, left-liberalism and obeisance to political correctness have led to Islamicist terrorism and extremism striking deep roots in Britain.

A major villain, she argues, is Blair -- not former Prime Minister Tony in this case, but Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, who emerges as a man driven by fear of seeming politically incorrect. An employment tribunal found that he had racially discriminated against three officers at a training school who had been disciplined for, in one case referring to Muslim headwear as "tea-cosies," and in another case for having, perhaps in honest mistake, pronounced "Shi'ites" as "shitties" and having said he felt sorry for Muslims who fasted during Ramadan. Sir Ian responded to this finding by declaring that he was "unrepentant," repeating that the remarks were "Islamophobic" and declaring that the police must "embrace diversity." When questioned about the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh for questioning Islamic attitudes to women, Sir Ian responded: "There were lots of fundamentalist Muslims who didn't shoot him," revealing a certain logical gap.

Phillips might have mentioned how, in words reminiscent of the confessions of Darkness at Noon or 1984 or China's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, John Grieve, assistant deputy commissioner in the Metropolitan Police Service, and head of its Racial task force, groveled that "I am a racist. I know because Sir William Macpherson said that I am; the Home Secretary said that I am; countless members of the public inquiry said that I am ....The Metropolitan Police Service is an institutionally racist organisation. It must be because Sir William Macpherson said that it is; the Home Secretary said that it is ..."

This was not sarcasm but was intended literally and at its face value. Ray Honeyford commented in the Salisbury Review:

It clearly conveys the impression of a man experiencing inner torment, after having been reduced to the level of a small child by a chastising and tyrannical father. It is not only the words themselves that are disturb, even though they are indeed chilling, coming as they do from the mouth of a mature adult. It is the identity of the person who uttered them that causes the greatest feeling of alarm in the reader.

Melanie Phillips has something shocking on almost every page:

At various conferences to discuss the terrorist threat, senior police officers declared their respect for the Muslim Brotherhood and its mouthpiece in Britain, the Muslim Association of Britain, despite its extremist views and support for terrorism in Iraq and Israel. This enraged secular Muslims who were present, who protested that by cosying up to such extremists the police were betraying the Muslim community.

A particular favorite of the police contact unit appeared to be a Sheik who had called for suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq as a religious duty, and claimed: "We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America!" She documents the reaction of Muslim bodies in Britain to the London terrorist bombing, denial that they were anything to do with Muslims and threat of more to come often being combined in the same sentence.

Former Home Secretary Charles Clarke said that "there can be no negotiations about the reimposition of Shariah law, there can be no negotiation about the suppression of equality between the sexes, there can be no negotiation about the ending of free speech. These values are fundamental to our civilization and are simply not up for negotiation." This was attacked as an assault on Islam. All this is combined with a resurgence of Jew-hatred such as we might have thought perished in the West about 1945.

Melanie Phillips quotes a 2004 Home Office survey which found 26% of Brtitish Muslims felt no loyalty to Britain, 13% defended terrorism, and about 16,000 were prepared to engage in or actively support terrorism. A third believed Western society was decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end. The former Metropolitan Police commissioner, Lord Stevens, revealed that up to 3,000 British-born or British-based people had passed through Osama bin Laden's terrorist training camps. Other surveys gave at least equally alarming results: a BBC poll found 15% of British Muslims supported the 9/11 attacks. Even though these numbers were minorities, with a total Muslim population of 1,600,000, growing rapidly every week, they added up to very substantial numbers in absolute terms.

Four out of 10 British Muslims want Sharia law (which includes punitive stoning and amputation) introduced into parts of the country, and a fifth have sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers who killed 52 people in the London terrorist bus and tube attacks.

Melanie Phillips claims: "British Muslims are overwhelmingly horrified and disgusted by the louche and dissolute behaviour of a Britain that has torn up notions of respectability. They observe the alcoholism, drug abuse and pornography, the breakdown of family life and the encouragement of promiscuity, and find themselves in opposition to their host society's guiding values."

That, perhaps, is where the other Blair, Tony Blair, comes in. Whether on not things will change under Gordon Brown is hard to say, but it is impossible to deny that the Blair government, for all Blair's military support of the U.S. alliance and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has presided over an ethos, first known as Cool Britannia, which could command little respect or loyalty from anyone. What does one make of a society where trading inspectors prosecute the vendors of pornographic videos on the grounds that their content is less pornographic than advertised, and where the Queen is made to confer a knighthood on a notorious icon of the drug culture? That is another aspect of Londonistan and, along with other elements, goes to make a very disturbing whole. Meanwhile, the director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity said in 2006: "The more fundamentalist clerics think it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the government to concede on the issue of Sharia law. Given the Government's record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that."

I am not always in agreement with Christopher Hitchens, but a comment from him is apt here:

I find myself haunted by a challenge that was offered on the BBC by a Muslim activist named Anjem Choudary: a man who has praised the 9/11 murders as "magnificent" and proclaimed that "Britain belongs to Allah." When asked if he might prefer to move to a country which practices Sharia, he replied: "Who says you own Britain anyway?" A question that will have to be answered one way or another.

The implications of the book are compelling, though to borrow a certain title and call them an inconvenient truth would be an understatement: Britain is going to have to bite on some very tough political bullets if it is going to survive as anything like the nation it has been.


A satirical reply to feminist values

By Britain's irreverent Jeremy Clarkson

We know from Big Brother that today's young ladies have replaced their appealing thongs with pants the size of spinnakers, and now comes news that the sales of stockings are in free fall. Down from 10m sales in 2002 to 5m in 2006. According to The Sun's woman editor - as opposed to the real editor, who's a woman - this is because girls have better things to do these days than get dressed up like a Parisian hooker every time they go to the shops. I absolutely understand that. Getting dressed in the morning is something that should never take more than 20 seconds and putting on a pair of stockings and suspenders can take anything up to three hours.

Actually this is only a guess, based on how long it takes me to undo a suspender belt. Even when I'm armed with a head torch and a pair of scissors. Anyway, I fully appreciate that in a postMrs Robinson world, where women work and raise children, stockings are to the wardrobe what the quill is to online banking. But here's the thing, girls. Tell us that you won't wear stockings because they are impractical and you may well find that we'll give up as well. At the moment we tend not to pick our noses when in your company because it is a bit slovenly. But if you're going to slob around in a pair of footless tights and a sack, then you won't mind if we bury an index finger in each of our nostrils and dig away.

I was at London's City airport this morning surrounded by a group of middle-aged chaps who, I presume, were going to Scotland to watch some golfists. At home, each of these men would, I'm sure, eat all their yoghurt and pretend to be interested in Victoria Beckham's opinion on interior design. But at the airport, with no wives and girlfriends to keep them in check, they quickly reverted to type. By 7.45am they were on their third pint and as I boarded my plane, I believe they were beginning a farting competition.

This is not a criticism. I recently spent a couple of weeks camping in Africa with 20 or so other men and you wouldn't believe how neanderthal we became. Or how quickly. Every morning would begin with a conversation about who'd been for their number twos, what the number twos had looked like, what they'd smelt of, how much more there was to come, and whether any records for sheer tonnage had been set. Then we'd move on to who'd crept into whose tent the night before, what it had felt like, and how long, if we were the last 20 people on earth, it might take for one us to sleep with James May.

You might argue that your husband is not like this, but I assure you that beneath the veneer you see at home, he is. He may do the washing up and take the children to the park, but when you're not around, he's like the light in a fridge. He's a completely different animal, obsessed with bottoms, buggery and belching. So, girls, do you want that sort of thing at home? Really? No? Well get down to the petrol station then and buy some bloody stockings.

You may say that tights are practical and warm but have you seen what they do to a bank robber's face? And hold-ups won't do either. Thanks to all that elasticated rubber, they ruin the shape of your thighs and, in all probability, cut off the blood supply to your feet, causing gangrene. And no man fancies a girl, no matter how sparkling her eyes and wit might be, if she is gangrenous. Pop socks, meanwhile, would be completely banned if I were in power. And anyone found wearing them would be made to parade in nothing else through their local town, and then shot.

It must be stockings, with a suspender belt, because what this combination does is mask everything that doesn't matter and lay bare everything that does. A picture is nice, but before you hang it on the wall it needs a frame. And apart from anything else, if you flash your stocking tops at a man you can, and I mean this literally, get him to do anything you want. Unless you have the figure of a bison obviously, in which case he won't do anything at all. Because he will be too busy being sick. Assuming, however, you have legs which clearly belong on a human, you only need let a man know you're wearing stockings and you will be empowered to a point you may have thought impossible.

I honestly believe that if David Milibandilegs really wanted to solve this Russian crisis, he could simply ask Rene Russo to reenact that scene from the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair and Putin would have the Litvinenko murder suspect on the next flight to London. And please, let's not have any of this "ooh, stockings make us sex objects" nonsense because that simply isn't true. We all saw Sharon Stone cross her legs in Basic Instinct and we all tittered in a schoolboy way. But when Rene popped a stockinged leg from that split skirt, I damn nearly fainted with admiration at the size of her brain.

Plainly she'd worked out that what she really needed to gain control over the entire New York police department was not a degree from Harvard. But a pair of 4.99 stockings from Pretty Polly. That makes her smart. As well.


Animal rights extremists not benevolent

With the recent charges that a major National Football League player had allowed cruel dog fights on his home property, the issue of cruelty to animals has been brought to national attention. Nearly everyone acknowledges the obvious - that a person who is cruel to animals, who enjoys sees seeing an animal suffer, is likely to inflict suffering on human beings. Cruelty to animals is one of the very few predictors among children of later criminal behavior. So, aside from altruistic concern for animals, we human beings also have a selfish concern about people who enjoy making animals suffer. People who enjoy hurting animals will very likely hurt us, too.

The problem arises when we assume that the converse is equally true - that just as cruelty to animals leads to cruelty to human beings, kindness to animals leads to kindness to people. It doesn't. Kindness to animals is entirely unrelated to kindness to human beings - except perhaps in the reverse order: People who treat people kindly are less likely to treat animals with cruelty.

But there is no connection whatsoever between treating animals kindly and treating people kindly. You know nothing about a person's treatment of people by knowing that he or she is kind to animals or is an "animal lover." Indeed, if there is any connection, it is more likely to be in the opposite direction. It seems that at a certain point of preoccupation with animals, there is a real chance that such a person may well treat people worse.

In his book "The Nazi War on Cancer (Princeton University Press, 1999)," Stanford Professor Robert N. Proctor writes a great deal about the Nazis' antipathy to animal experimentation. For example, the book features a Nazi cartoon depicting "the lab animals of Germany saluting Hermann Goring" for his protection of them. This Nazi protection of animals is described by the leftist writer Alexander Cockburn:

"In April 1933, soon after they had come to power, the Nazis passed laws regulating the slaughter of animals. Later that year Herman Goering [sic] announced an end to the 'unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments' and - in an extremely unusual admission of the existence of such institutions, threatened to 'commit to concentration camps those who still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property.' Bans on vivisection were issued - though later partly rescinded - in Bavaria and Prussia. Horses, cats and apes were singled out for special protection. In 1936, a special law was passed regarding the correct way of dispatching lobsters and crabs and thus mitigating their terminal agonies. Crustaceans were to be thrown into rapidly boiling water. Bureaucrats at the Nazi Ministry of the Interior had produced learned research papers on the kindest method of killing."

In the case of the Nazis, the moral inversion is particularly dramatic, since the Nazis' opposition to experimentation on animals was accompanied by their support for the grotesque and sadistic medical experiments on innocent Jews and others in Nazi concentration camps.

The ancient Hebrew Prophet Hosea saw this inverted morality in his day as well: "Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves" (Hosea 13.2).

For those tempted to caricature the argument presented here, I should make it clear that no one is making the absurd argument that animal rights activists are likely to be Nazis. Pointing out that the Nazis were major animal rights activists - and that Hitler was a vegetarian - is done only to offer a vivid illustration of how easily kindness to animals and cruelty to humans can coexist.

Human beings are not moderates, but extremists, by nature. Attitudes toward animals provide an excellent example. On the one hand are the innumerable human beings throughout history who have regarded animals as things to be treated as mercilessly as one would an inanimate object. This accounts for the widespread practice of cock fighting and other 'sports' that feature animals painfully killing one another for humans' entertainment.

And on the other hand are those, especially today, who equate animal worth with human worth - such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which inaugurated a campaign a few years ago called "Holocaust on your plate." The program equates the barbecuing of chickens with the Nazi burning of Jews. So, in our appropriate condemnation of those who organize dog fights, let's not fool ourselves about the impact of animal kindness on human beings' character. It simply doesn't exist.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Britain: Remembrance Day parade scrapped for first time in 60 years over 'health and safety' fears

Every year since 1945, the town of Horwich has held a parade to remember its war dead. But thanks to health and safety rules, there won't be one this year. And there are fears that Remembrance Day marches nationwide may be threatened by similar safety demands, which put severe pressure on budgets. Organisers in the Lancashire town have previously relied on brief and small-scale road closures put in place for free by the police, to clear the way for the event.

But this year, senior police officers said although they will still make no charge, a team of marshals must be employed to man the route at a cost of about 50 pounds a day. In addition, organisers will have to pay for each road they want closed. To make matters worse, Bolton Council has increased permanent road closure prices from 300 to 800 pounds this year. These costs could bring the final bill to 18,000 - making the November 11 parade too expensive to hold. Usually it would cost only a couple of thousand pounds.

Greater Manchester Police said the extra security is necessary because another force in the West Midlands was successfully sued when Brownies participating in a parade were injured by a car which drove into them while they were marching.

But Bernard McCartin, of the Royal British Legion's Horwich branch, warned that the cost of imposing further safety measures could affect parades across the country. Mr McCartin, 65, who served with the Royal Observer Corps in Lincolnshire, added: 'This is very disappointing, but there is not a lot we can do. "It is a mark of disrespect to every person who gave their lives for this town."

The former mayor of Horwich, a parade leader, added: "Several hundred people watch this event every year with all sorts of organisations from cub scouts to veterans taking part. "It is a further erosion of what we hold dear in the country." A spokesman for the Royal British Legion said it would be looking into the matter. "The issue of proposed local council and police charging to ensure the safety of Remembrance Day parades is of great concern. It is clear that a change of policy has taken place at local level."

Tory defence spokesman Dr Liam Fox said: 'This is a scandal. To hear that people cannot remember those who gave their lives for this country due to overzealous bureaucrats is crazy. "I'd hope the authorities will be reconsidering their application of the rules to ensure that the parade can go ahead."

However, Steve Rock, of Horwich Town Council, said it did not have the money to help to meet the bill. He said: "People will be upset, but the only way to fund it would be to raise council tax next year." The Horwich parade has been held since 1945. It passes through the town and ends at the war memorial. A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said the force did not charge for policing parades but warned that the local authority does charge for road closures. "To address this, the force has suggested a shorter route that would not involve closing roads and, therefore, not cost the organisers anything."

PC Phil Waring, events planner for Bolton, explained why the safety rules had been imposed. "There was an incident in the West Midlands where the police were successfully sued and, as a result, we have to follow new guidelines and make it safer for people."

Earlier this year, health and safety rules ended an annual duck race in Upper Dam, Lymm, Cheshire, which raised money for charity. The event was so popular that council officials insisted that organisers close a nearby road to meet health and safety requirements. But Warrington Borough Council refused to pay for the closure - and the Round Table, which organised the event, said it could not afford the 3,000 pound bill.


"Diversity" More Important Than Crime Rate, Education When Choosing A Place To Live?

(Post lifted from Say Anything. See the original for links)

Apparently Money Magazine thinks so. A reader emails this along:

Our local community made news this week when Lansing, KS showed up as 88th on Money Magazines list. Having just recently vacationed in North Dakota & South Dakota, I was very curious as to why none of the cities in the Northern Plains made the cut. Looking into it further, 9 cities from California were on the list, but none from ND, SD, WY, etc.

As it turns out, one of the filters used discriminated out the "homogeneous" states. You can't pick up on this from the article or list itself, you have to examine the methodology used to build the list. This information was available on their website.

In the 2nd filter test, they rejected any cities that were more than 95% white. Apparently diversity itself is a significant criteria to be considered a best place to live. It must be, because Money and their consultants put diversity ABOVE other factors such as high education scores, low crime rates and employment statistics. They did not check for those criteria until they had already eliminated the non-diverse communities.
Here's the details about the methodology. They've got a step-by-step rundown of how they narrow down the cities. Racial makeup isn't the first criteria (population size is) but it is the second criterion:

I'm not understanding why a town with 95%+ white people in it would disqualify it as a "best place to live." What would the public's reaction be if we were talking about excluding towns that were 95%+ black?

What's more, this racial makeup wasn't a feature of past "best places to live" rankings by Money Magazine. The methodology for the 2006 rankings certainly didn't include it. On that 2006 list two of North Dakota's cities, Bismarck and Fargo, made the list. This year not one single city from ND made it.

This is a bit frustrating for someone who comes from a pretty racially homogeneous state. We here in North Dakota are proud of our communities, and to exclude them from the "nicest places to live" list simply because our communities are predominantly of white descent is, well, pretty unfair. [Bigoted, in fact]

The End of Reason

Post lifted from Breath of the Beast. The writer makes some excellent points but I still think that he gives Leftists rather more credit than they deserve: He takes them more seriously than they deserve. Leftists are fundamentally intellectually dishonest in any way they can be because reality does not suit them. They cannot afford to be honest. That the reality about them does not suit them is what makes them Leftist. A Leftist IS a disgruntled person and they will put any gloss they can on that disgruntlement. "Idealism" and "compassion" are just flimsy false fronts. Any false front will do. They sometimes even claim that they "support the troops"! What a laugh!

I have been working on the next installment of my Cultural Insanity series and it is on the way, but since posting the first part I have seen something related to it that I would like to report as a separate post. Frankly, I have been a little distracted by monitoring the response to my first Cultural Insanity post; after all although I was trained as an anthropologist and not unfamiliar with psychological theory, in making the analogy between a personality disorder and two very different cultural sub-groups, I was treading on somewhat unfamiliar ground.

I was elated when ShrinkWrapped, a psych-blogger whom I respect enormously picked up on my ideas and posted a not unsupportive discussion of it mixing in material fro Dr. Sanity and Victor Davis Hanson. of it.

A day or so later Solomonia put up a post citing the video of a classic television confrontation between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and “an anti-American Canadian interviewer”, Avi Lewis of Canadian Television.

Lewis, in this clip, personifies the smug, self satisfied, passive aggressive argumentation style of the “progressive left”. But the very slickness of his approach combined with the emptiness of his arguments alerted me to something that I had never realized before about the way they argue. I saw immediately that I had identified another aspect of the psychological blindness that the lefties and Islamists have in common. It points back to my original diagnosis of Borderline Personality.

… They (the left and the Islamists) focus, as Avi Lewis does in this interview,on picking out isolated examples of widely disapproved of, squalid and reprehensible behaviors from Israel, America and The West (as when Lewis says “they shoot abortion doctors in the US”)and insisting that they are proof that we, as nations and a civilization, are not living up to our high ideals. Thus Israel, The U.S. and the west is held to account for an idealized, utopian standard of perfection without margin for error. The fact (and they never stoop to dispute the fact) that Israel, America and the west in general are far better in comparison to the rest of the (far more squalid and reprehensible) real world is avoided when possible and brushed off as rationalization when unavoidable. In the event that it is pointed out forcefully that the rest of the world is so much less democratic and desirable and that it is always an option to leave and that no one leaves- in fact, America is still the great magnet of immigration it has always been as Hirsi Ali does here the leftist will always shift the subject. Lewis counterattacks with a jocular but passive aggressive suggestion that she must have had to go to a special school to learn “these American clich‚s” as part of her application process”. This begs the question which Hirsi Ali asks this dope- "why don't you and your leftist friends go somewhere else?" Naturally, they'll never admit it but there IS no other place that they could tolerate and there is certainly very few that would tolerate them.

For the sake of accuracy I must point out that what I described in the last three sentences above did not occur as I first described it in that comment. What Hirsi Ali actually said was that she did not believe Lewis’ description of the plight of Muslim Americans was nearly as dire as Lewis described it to be. And she offered the opinion that if they were truly feeling under siege that they would do what other people all over the world have done when they have felt to be under siege, they would move away. She pointed out that there is no such population movement as this taking place and that there would not be. The first time through I had thought that I heard this exchange to include a challenge to Lewis on why he persists in living in a western country. I was mistaken. I believe that if she had made that challenge, the exchange would have gone much as I outlined it.

After seeing this post and responding to it in the comment stream I continued to reflect on this new insight into this essential similarity in tactics between the Islamists and the left. It was beginning to occur to me that there was something else, something deeper that I had not reached yet.

Meanwhile, for two days the comment trail on ShrinkWrapped’s post had been quite supportive- until someone with the screen name copithorne wrote a comment using a tactic out of the same family. Since I quote copithorne’s full comment in my reply I’ll let my reply speak for both…

A two sentence fisking:

copithorne says:

"Diatribes about "the left" in which no "leftist" appears -- no quotes, no policy positions -- are expressions of projection of a disowned shadow."

I say:

Leftists who don't bother to read a sincere analysis thoroughly enough to observe that it actually began with a live example of a leftist argument and then label such analysis as “diatribe” are intentionally projecting their own aggressive rejection of discourse on the conservative analyzer. It is not necessary (in informed and reasonable circles) to have exhaustive actual quotes of Hitler’s hate speech to know that he was a genocidal anti-Semite. It is not generally in question that Lenin and Stalin tried to institute a paradise of the workers by slaughtering, starving and persecuting them in their millions. Just so, if characterizations of the left hit their mark and sting to the degree that the only feasible defense seems to be a trivial
pettifogging by attacking the lack of “quotes” and “policy positions” it means that he has no real rebuttal for the characterizations themselves. It is a disingenuous trial lawyer’s trick to subvert meaningful point/counter point with meaningless "discovery” of inconsequential minutia. Note that he neither actually points to a faulty idea nor does he contradict anything ShrinkWrapped, Dr. Sanity, VDH or I say. If there is a disowned shadow in the neighborhood I say copithorne might do well to look and see if it’s connected to his own feet.

copithorne says:

This currently seems to be the total sum of contemporary conservative politics -- the appeal of having enemies on which a person can project material of which they are unable to be self-aware.

I say:

Who is projecting here? All I see is customary leftist rejection of all contradiction to his “ideas” on any technicality no matter how flimsy or arbitrary. It’s the pedant’s refuge, rejecting the student’s ideas and labor because they are beyond him with the
stinking hypocrisy that his footnotes are in the wrong format and his bibliography is not long enough.

So, up to this point, I have been concentrating on understanding how this method worked on a practical level. Now I had begun to see clearly that it was not just intentional blindness to (and twisting of) the the reality of the situation but, in fact, reflected the selective vision of splitting and dissociation. Assuming the unearned and undeserved position of moral, spiritual and intellectual superiority they are not open to dialog but insist on ignoring what we say and either “correcting our papers” or rejecting our thoughts and ideas on technicalities.

Then, on the blog Cuanas, I found another posting of the Lewis/Hirsi Ali interview with this comment posted by a fellow named Irfan Yusuf.

Irfan Yusuf said...

So let me get this right. This woman has little or no knowledge of the varieties of religion or communities she criticizes (apart from her own Somali upbringing).

She was caught by the Dutch telling lies to gain migration status. She told Ian Buruma that she committed "immigration fraud".

And now the Americans are lapping her up as some kind of long last(sp) daughter. Had she not been so anti-Muslim, you'd have tossed her in immigration detention yourself, if not in Guantanamo Bay (heck, her name is "Ali" and that's a common Ayrab (sp) terrorist name, isn't it?).

I can't wait to see how your evangelical conservatives behave when you realize (sp) she is pro-abortion and wants those teaching creation science to be thrown into prison.

What I see here is more like squirming to keep from seeing the truth. At a loss to prove Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrong or even mistaken about anything, Irfan does a crazy little Islamic tattletale dance (oooh, look she is a baaaad girl! Don’t talk to her! Don’t listen to her!) while at the same time accusing us of being blindly anti-Muslim. Here is the answer I posted:

Mr Yusf, exactly how much do you have to know about a bunch of communities in which the leaders and the apparent majority of the citizens consider anyone who worships a different God less human, practice honor killing, celebrate the killing of innocents in terror attacks and vow to make the entire earth into a Caliphate where everyone will be subject to the terror of Islamofascism in order to be qualified to criticize them? Something tells me that when her co-filmmaker and friend Theo Van Gogh was butchered in the streets for the film they made together and a threat against her was pinned to him with the murder weapon she earned the asylum of the United States of America.

If you think a technicality like a lie she told in order to insure her own escape from the hell of living under Islamic rule is going to persuade us to think less well of her you are even more blinded by your cultural disease than most of your compatriots. It’s pathetic that you write it as though we might think that it invalidates what she says and writes. Is that all you've got?

I should also have pointed out to Mr Yusuf that even if some of the more literal minded Christian evangelicals do not find her positions on abortion and evolution to be in agreement with theirs, they will issue no fatwas calling for her death, neither will they justify trying to treat her as a second-class citizen for it. Oh well, he wasn't really listening anyway...

I have been trying to pull this all together in my mind and, in the end, I keep remembering a short, pathetic little comment on ShrinkWrapped’s post that I had ignored as twaddle at first. The commentor’s screen name is Post Hole Digger, which I assume means he is a PhD in something.

Huh, here I thought that what I wanted was to see a world of peace and kindness,and to do toward others as I would want done toward me. I am now ashamed to admit, but I even thought that was actually a good thing. But now you explain that I'm really just insane. Instead of virtues, I have a grave psycho/emotional dysfunction. I just never realized.
This is not twaddle, it is the cry of a lost soul. Post Hole Digger is right, only his sarcasm is misplaced. Both Islamism and Leftism are attempts to see a world of peace and kindness. That is very nice to say but the unfortunate fact is that this is not a world of peace and kindness. There is no such world. This is a world that contains peace and kindness along with hatred, love, avarice, generosity, violence and cruelty. Both Leftism and Islamism are nothing more than ideologies that pretend to be able to control and rationalize the unfathomable complexity of life.

To anyone not enmeshed in their borderline systems the actual out come of their utopian schemes, proven out in the past, is obvious.

The Islamists would have their Caliphate where everyone and everything would submit to the will of Allah. That sounds OK until you ask who is interpreting Allah’s will for us. As it has turned out in the past, it has most often been the most bloodthirsty political infighter or conqueror capable of rising to the top of the Shari a system who has gotten to say what’s on Allah’s mind. The best that The Caliphate has been able to offer in the past has been the more moderate, slightly less megalomaniacal son or grandson of the deceased bloodthirsty political infighter or conqueror.

As for the poor, deluded lefties like PHD, they are destined to be frustrated by their efforts to help their fellow man. But for all their talk about equality, sharing, peace, love and understanding, if put to the test of leadership, they would, like all other leftist/socialists who have ascended to leadership (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc…) turn to violence, coercion and despotism out of their exasperated zeal to reform humanity against its wishes and nature. It is not insane to do toward others as one would want done toward one's self- that is a great moral principal- but it is insane to assume that others are on the same program and have the same vision of what is good.

Australia: Leftist Catholic Bishops' pious but ignorant blather about blacks

By Christopher Pearson

A FEW years ago I had a conversation with a friend who was just about to be made a Catholic bishop. He was apprehensive, he said, because almost without exception the process of gaining a mitre involved a sudden loss of brains and backbone. He felt reasonably confident it had always been a problem, but that the Australian church was in a particularly parlous condition. Happily, he shows no signs of spinelessness to date, nor has he lost his sense of humour. Several of his brother bishops also display some capacity for wit and judgment. While no one pretends they are by any stretch of the imagination an illustrious body of men, as individuals they are often quite rational and well-adjusted. It's when they act as a group that most of them make fools of themselves.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is an organisation philistine enough to have dispensed with the apostrophe in its name, in much the same way that Catholic education has resolved not to teach its charges the rudiments of grammar. To visit its website is to enter a twilight world of dullards; a clerical and lay bureaucracy that exists principally to issue press releases about itself and its doings. As you'd expect, its self-importance and delusions of omnicompetence know no bounds.

I have often had occasion of late to comment on the antics of social justice operatives on the clerical Left. The St Vincent de Paul Society's absurd posture on welfare reform comes to mind, along with episcopal pronouncements on Work Choices that might as well have been scripted by Hawker Britton, federal Labor's chief spin doctors. Then again, Catholic Health Australia head Francis Sullivan gave a ringing endorsement to Medicare Gold just as the wheels were falling off Mark Latham's campaign in 2004.

In each case there was a crude attempt to enlist Catholicism into party politics. St Vinnies quasi-Marxist rhetoric never betrayed the least understanding of the dangers of passive welfare or that keeping the minimum wage relatively low led to the creation of many more entry-level positions. Anti-Work Choices diatribes from the bishops invariably take the side of lower-paid workers, but at the expense of the unemployed, and never seem to grasp how it is that people are priced out of a job. Sullivan's enthusiasm for Medicare Gold blinded him to how unaffordable it was and the ways it distorted health priorities on the basis of age rather than need, but at this distance I suppose it may charitably be classed as a sudden rush of blood to the head.

No such excuse can be made for the latest outrage, a statement issued by the bishops' conference on July 7 on the federal Government's intervention in remote Aboriginal communities. Their lordships had more than a fortnight to think about the moral and legal niceties before delivering a considered opinion. Instead they appear to have delegated the task to an ideologically driven subcommittee. The statement says, among other things: "The response must be designed and implemented so as to support, rather than undermine, the future sustainability of remote Aboriginal communities. Talk of 'mainstreaming' calls to mind the following warning about the dangers of 'ethnocentricity'. The rejection of differences can lead to that form of cultural annihilation (that) sociologists have called 'ethnocide' and (that) does not tolerate the presence ofothers except to the extent that they allowthemselves to be assimilated to the dominant culture."

The Uniting Church, Wesley Mission and the National Council of Churches had already criticised the federal Government's intervention. The statement was simply a sign of solidarity from the Catholic wing of the wet Left. The nifty quote about ethnocide from a dusty 1988 document The Church and Racism, care of the Pontifical Commission on Justice and Peace, was a way of upping the ante. One battle-scarred insider explained it to me as a case of "the theology of the meaningless gesture, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".

Potential ethnocide or cultural genocide is not a charge to be levelled lightly at a government; at least not if the body doing the accusing wants to continue to be taken seriously. Can their lordships have forgotten (or perhaps not noticed) that the Howard Government's intervention enjoys the support of federal Labor, all the state governments, even the Northern Territory Labor government and Aboriginal leaders such as Labor's former party president Warren Mundine, Noel Pearson and National Indigenous Council head Sue Gordon?

Gordon, a magistrate of great experience, recently commented on the problems of an estimated 1000 remote communities with less than 100 members: "Many settlements consist of a few families who've regained access to traditional land through recognition of land rights. We don't believe the Government should be funding communities of less than 100 people. We can't put a school in every remote area. It's just too costly."

Thirty years ago most Australian Catholic bishops had a good grounding in the business of providing parochial schools in remote areas. No one at the time could have accused them of indifference to the pastoral needs ofscattered flocks, but they were hard-headed pragmatists who did their best with limited resources. The present generation seems to imagine any indigenous group, regardless of size and location, is entitled to First World standard schooling and that anything less is potentially a form of cultural annihilation.

Gordon is the head of the Government's NT taskforce and it's safe to say that she would not have lent her considerable authority to the intervention unless she had been convinced the Howard Government was serious about making it work. A lawyer by training, she has repeatedly defended ad hoc measures, including taking control of remote settlements for the next five years, promoting 99-year leases to encourage economic development and private home ownership, and compensation on just terms where land is being taken back into public ownership. She has rejected point-blank claims that the federal plan is a smokescreen for another stolen generation or a land grab or a stealthy attempt to mine Aboriginal sites for uranium.

The bishops' conference statement assumes native title is a self-evident good that should be regarded as sacrosanct rather than the weakest and least fungible form of property right. It also lends credence to the land grab hypothesis. "The Government needs to demonstrate why action to address child abuse in Aboriginal communities requires amendments to land rights and self-government legislation."

On the same day as their lordships' ill- considered response, Pearson wrote a long, trenchant column in Inquirer. He, too, is a lawyer with extensive experience in land rights negotiations, a long-time admirer of the Keating government who'd know a land grab if he saw one. "This is my two-step reasoning for supporting intervention," Pearson wrote. "The first step is that you have to know what happens in these communities, week in, week out. Urban-based critics simply do not know the realities. Neither did 90 per cent of Australia until recently. There is now no excuse because there has been a major expose and official report in almost every jurisdiction. The second step is that once you have knowledge of the realities, you must find their continuation unacceptable. Therefore you support intervention."

On the question of land he had this to say: "If political circumstances became such that we were forced to prioritise, I would place social order ahead of land rights. Of course the land problem is being overstated. I have constantly asserted that the Howard Government's one failing in indigenous policy is that it has Tourette syndrome on some ideological questions. I find the land provisions more clumsy or ill-conceived from the point of view of workability than undermining land rights. If there is a land grab, then it is principally being grabbed for the benefit of Aboriginal families obtaining private leasehold title for housing or businesses."

When it comes to assessing the takeover of remote communities in the NT, the public will take far more notice of Gordon and Pearson than the bishops' conference because they know what they're talking about. If the bishops ever wonder why their authority is steadily dwindling, they'd do well to consider this latest foolishness and take steps to dissociate themselves from any group statement they haven't read and don't wholeheartedly support.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.