Monday, February 26, 2024

The biggest enemy of Gazans is HAMAS

Hamas launched a big terrorist strike into Israel in the full knowledge that Israel always hits back proportionally at attacks on it. It was a deliberate provocation motivated by their undoubted hatred of Israel.

Most Muslims are antisemitic. Their prophet tells them to be. But HAMAS are Islamic extremists. So they start out with religious hatred and add to it envy over Israel's notable success in most ways. Its success is an offence against the lowly place of Jews according to Muslim teachings

Helmut Schoeck has written eloquently about how dire in general it is to be envied and there is no doubt that Israel suffers in just the way that he predicts

And the Leftist "protesters" who claim to be speaking for Palestinians ignore the fact that Gazans are a small minority of Palestinians. Large numbers of Palestinians live in Jordan, the West Bank and Israel itslf. And they live peacefully with Israel.

It is HAMAS that the Left would be demonstrating against if they has any real concern for the people of Gaza. Without HAMAS, peace already reigns between Israel and Palestinians.

It should be noted that there is no clear agreement about who is a Palestinian. The name Palestine as a geographical term goes back to Herodotus but has never denoted a place with any clear boundaries. In ancient times generally, however, terms similar to it do seem to have mostly denoted the central or Southern part of the Levantine coast. So the term Palestine would seem to refer pretty well to what we now know as Eretz Israel. In that case some Jewish Israelis are Palestinians.

By courtesy, however, the term is usually reserved for Arabs with some ancestral attachment to the area. The vagueness of the term does however make it difficult to say precisely how many Palestinians there are in any particular place. If we include members of the Palestinian diaspora, Gazans are a really tiny fraction of the total Palestinian population



‘Good’ girls, ‘bad’ boys? That’s no way to make progress

Nikki Gemmell says boys in the West are angry. They want power and control, she says, pointing to a Gallup poll that apparently shows young men “flinching into conservatism” while young women are embracing and facilitating social reform.

The impetus for girls is fairness and equality, she says, a natural step for the educated. It’s why “the Taliban wants to stop females from being educated”, she wrote on the weekend.

The impetus for boys, says Gemmell, is to preserve what they had. She claims they are hurting, raging and lost.

Let’s put the Taliban to one side, given that in Australia girls are educated, they work, dress as they wish, vote, run companies, and become prime minister.

Lumping girls in the good column and boys in a bad one is not helpful. The world can’t be summed up so simply. Let’s dissect two claims – one about politics, the other about gender, at the centre of Gemmell’s thesis.

Having followed politics for a long time, I can safely say the world is more complicated than saying that conservative equals bad and progressive equals good.

If “progressive” meant only good things, we would do away with elections right now, and make Adam Bandt leader for life. In fact, the Greens are not genuinely progressive. For starters, they harbour anti-Semites.

This word, “progressive”, is often a crock. The progressive Greens are economic dunces; they’d wreck the economy overnight with their taxation and spending policies. We know from experience that being progressive on immigration – in other words, handing over control of our borders to people-smugglers – led to thousands of deaths at sea for desperate people.

So-called progressive policies can be wickedly regressive. When a bunch of elites thought that granting special rights to one group of Australians was such a good idea it should be enshrined in the Constitution, the response from Australians was an overwhelming “no”.

That No vote was the height of social and political equality: it was progressive and liberal.

When I hear claims that “progressive” is all sweetness and light, and comes in the shade of teal, it pains me to point out that most of the teals are frauds.

For all their kvetching about the need for more integrity in politics, and attacking low-hanging fruit such as pork-barrelling, they haven’t shown any interest, on behalf of taxpayers, in getting to the bottom of why the federal government handed over $2.4m to Brittany Higgins. Not a single injured veteran is able to secure that amount of money, no questions asked. How’s that for political integrity.

Nice-sounding words can’t hide poor outcomes. When diversity translates into discriminating against men, the result is neither fair nor equal.

Earlier this year, Caroline Overington reported on a bookshop owner in Melbourne who was concerned that while she had shelves of great women’s fiction writing, “positive stories with men and boys are almost missing from the mix”. We reported that women filled seven of the top 10 places in fiction writing last year. It was the same internationally.

Women coming out on top is great news, so long as it’s not manufactured by booting men out of the mix. Sadly, it’s seen as “progressive” to do precisely that.

Gender quotas are routinely used to fill board seats, sidelining merit. It’s easy to predict what flows: boards end up reflecting a political monoculture comprising people who think quotas make sense. That’s not genuine diversity.

When I wrote extensively many years ago about the importance of phonics when teaching young kids to read, I discovered phonics was described by its opponents as a conservative plot to entrench the political status quo. What on Earth? We’re talking about giving the kids the building blocks to read, a necessary step so they can learn, expand their horizons, think for themselves.

Back then, progressives believed kids learned to read by osmosis, by being exposed to words, and most schools bought their magic pudding. The steady stream of poor literacy results for Australian students reveals how regressive that progressive project has been for kids. Talk about being mugged by reality.

According to a piece in The Financial Times about the Gallop survey, the #MeToo movement is the trigger for women moving to the progressive side of politics. Gemmell repeated the claim. So, let’s look a little closer at this recent progressive movement.

The #MeToo movement has helped women feel empowered to report sexual assault and call out bad behaviour that falls short of assault. But not everything about #MeToo is positive. For example, the oft-repeated mantra that we must “believe all women” can only serve to undermine the presumption of innocence. That’s a dangerous path for a society committed to fairness, let alone fair trials.

There are other, less serious, but equally boneheaded responses to the #MeToo movement. One of Sydney’s most prestigious boys schools told boys in an assembly not to use the word “moist” because it offends girls. That school and others are going co-ed because apparently boys will become civilised human beings by sharing a classroom with girls.

The boys I know aren’t angry about sharing power, let alone classrooms. They’re not hurting, or raging, or lost, as Gemmell suggests. They weren’t born to be at the top of the tree. Nor are they hankering for cosy arrangements to continue. If I had to guess, what annoys both boys and girls – along with some of their parents – are evidence-free anti-male messages that go unchallenged.

Sky News contributor Daisy Cousens says the MeToo movement’s celebrity activists do not actually care about…
Young men and women in Gen Z are entering a world where labels and slogans are routinely used to dumb down society. Just as people are complex, so too are political philosophies.

For those interested in learning about conservatism as a political philosophy, there are plenty of books I could suggest. But let’s cut to the chase: being conservative means looking at what people did before us, holding on to what works and, yes, changing what doesn’t work.

Conservatism is rooted in lived experience, to coin a phrase from the progressive zeitgeist, not crossing your fingers, closing your eyes and saying a little prayer that good intentions will translate into good outcomes.

Now to another point about boys and girls. Gemmell claims Gen Z is “split” and living in “two separate worlds”. I looked at the Gallop results. In the US, Gallop’s news website says “a widening of the ideological gaps between men and women over time has been due to women becoming more liberal at a faster rate than men, rather than women and men moving in different ideological directions”. So, let’s take a breather.

I must live in a different part of Australia to my colleague. Having young men and women waft through our homes for many years, I can vouch for relationships forged above politics and social movements.

These young men and women befriend, work with, partner and marry people who have different views. The reason is simple: in most workplaces, pubs and homes, politics need not be a morality contest; ergo progressive doesn’t mean good, and conservative doesn’t mean bad. Or vice versa.

Perpetuating a myth that girls are progressive social reformers, while boys hanker for the good old days when men ruled the world, will only help to make the world more, not less, polarised.


A complete Leftist nutcase

The co-founder of a Black Lives Matter chapter has slammed Taylor Swift fans as 'racists' and referred to Kansas City's Super Bowl victory as a 'right-wing, white-supremacist conspiracy' in a series of posts on social media.

Melina Abdullah, 51, a professor of Pan-African Studies at Cal State University Los Angeles, took to X, formerly Twitter, to unload her opinions on the pop singer and her athlete boyfriend over the course of two weeks.

'Why do I feel like it’s slightly racist to be a Taylor Swift fan?' Abdullah wrote on February 11, the day of the Super Bowl.

'I said FEEL, not think,' she continued when another user asked her to elaborate. 'Kind of like that feeling I get when there are too many American flags.'

Hours later, after the Kansas City Chiefs were declared the winners, Abdullah wrote: 'Why do I feel like this was some right-wing, white-supremacist conspiracy?!?! Booooooo!!!!'

As her posts drummed up attention from other users, Abdullah doubled down on her stance. 'Folks think they’re attacking me by asking why I think everything is racist…I’m not offended,' she wrote. 'Virtually everything is racist.'

In response to one commenter, the advocate clarified: 'And I’ve also decided to work with all my might and in a community of committed people to upend racism and oppression.'

On February 23, Abdullah returned to social media to post a voice message sent by a man who blasted her as 'a joke,' 'ignorant,' and 'what's wrong with this country.'

'How dare you throw out the racist ideas you throw out on a daily basis?' shouted the man, who identified himself as Ethan George from Texas, before proclaiming that he wished she would 'die.'

'If this is what a tweet about Taylor Swift fans being “slightly racist” brings, I’ll edit myself…Y’all are full-fledged violent white-delusionists,' Abdullah wrote.

The 51-year-old is also a co-director of BLM's advocacy wing, Black Lives Matter Grassroots.

She sued the Los Angeles Police Department in 2020 after they descended on her home during a reported swatting incident.

On August 19, 2020, the LAPD received a 911 call from someone who claimed he had taken people hostage in Abdullah’s Crenshaw home.

In court documents filed with California Superior Court, the mother of three said she feared LAPD SWAT officers would fire their weapons into her home and hurt her children.

She accused the LAPD of failing to contact her beforehand despite having her that contact information and claimed the department staged the incident in ‘retaliation’ for her activism.

She added that police did not actually believe the claims of an ongoing hostage situation.

As proof, Abdullah cited an instance where police allowed her security guard, whom officers did not know, to pass through a perimeter and enter the home as they staged around it.

Two neighbors were also permitted to enter the home to check on her and walk alongside her as she walked out to speak with officers, the lawsuit claimed.

Abdullah deemed the response 'an attempt to put down protest, to target me as someone who's been very visible and vocal in protesting LAPD.'

She was swatted twice more after the lawsuit was announced.

In a separate legal battle, Abdullah and BLM Grassroots accused Black Lives Matters Global Network Foundation Inc. of raising donations off the work of city-based chapters and subsequently leaving activists out of decision-making.

BLM Grassroots is comprised of two dozen BLM chapters across the country, who argued that they were entitled to tens of millions of dollars from the national foundation.

However, the case was thrown out by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge last year after the activists failed to prove they were entitled to the funds among other unsubstantiated claims.

Abdullah said the group was 'stunned and dismayed' by the court's dismissal order.

'As always, the work of Black Lives Matter continues, regardless of the court ruling,' she vowed in a statement.


Why it’s a mistake to deny the science of sex

In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir wrote that one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman. For decades after her claim, feminists have championed the idea that social conditioning is what creates differences between the sexes.

As little girls we are encouraged by our parents to play with dolls. As we get older we are encouraged to be decorative. From the clothes we wear to the interests we pursue, thousands of tiny interactions with the world mould us into the women we are.

But advances in neuroscience are throwing at least some of this conventional wisdom into question. While we have known for a long time that sex may have some subtle influences on the brain (how could it not?), a study published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests such influences may be more expansive than previously thought.

The landmark study, conducted by Stanford professor Vinod Menon, and with Srikanth Ryali, PhD, and academic staff researcher Yuan Zhang, PhD, took a large sample of fMRI brain scans from 1500 young adults between 20 and 35, and then tested whether deep neural networks (AI models) could detect their sex. They could.

The AI models looked at many brain images from each person taken at different times (the brain scans were also taken from people in different regions). It found complex patterns that predicted if a brain was male or female with over 90 per cent accuracy.

The AI could not only tell if a brain was male or female, but the researchers also created explanatory models to predict cognitive abilities based on their images. Because male and female brains are so different, separate models were needed for each sex.

I contacted Professor Menon to ask what this meant. He told me “there were no gender differences (found) in the general intelligence factor, but response inhibition and reward sensitivity were higher in males than females”.

There are a multitude of implications in these findings. Male brains having higher reward sensitivity and variable response inhibition may explain why males tend to be more vulnerable to addiction and ADHD, for example.

The finding that males and females are different may strike many as intuitive and hardly worthy of journalistic attention, much like the observation that water is wet.

One might argue quite reasonably that anyone who spends any time around children knows girls and boys are different, and that these differences are not superficial. Nevertheless, in the world of academia, simple intuition does not go very far. In the scientific fields at least, empirical claims have to be proven with data.

Not only that, but there has been significant hostility from some quarters towards the idea that male and female brains differ at all. This hostility has been grounded in the fear that any discovery of differences will be used to reify gender stereotypes and justify discrimination against women – something female academics are naturally attuned to. Writing in Quillette in 2019, veteran neuroscientist Larry Cahill wrote: “Senior colleagues warned me as an untenured professor around the year 2000 that studying sex differences would be career suicide.”

But sexism does not need any scientific justification to exist. The odious Andrew Tate, for example, uses social media to spread his noxious misogyny and, as far as I am aware, is not relying on any findings from neuroscience in doing so.

Republicans in the United States are restricting women’s reproductive rights – including abortion and even IVF – on theological rather than scientific grounds. And I am not aware of the Taliban subscribing to Neuroscience News.

In truth, sexism flourishes wherever scientific progress is suppressed, not where it is advanced.

And ignorance about the influence of sex on the brain harms, rather than helps, women. For decades, basic research was only conducted on male cells, male animals and male clinical trial participants. Yet we know the incidence of many neurological conditions, from migraines to Parkinson’s disease, manifest differently according to sex. The failure to study how sex influences out of fear it will contribute to sexism means women miss out on having medical treatments tailored to their needs.

The fear of acknowledging sex differences has also, ironically, given rise to another form of anti-female prejudice. Today the denial of biology has metastasised into the denial of sex itself. Trans activists argue that one can literally change biological sex, and that biological males have no physiological advantage over women in sports.

Women are being denied the right to single-sex spaces such as bathrooms and change rooms, and new mothers are insultingly described in government-mandated protocols as “chestfeeders”. This is Simone de Beauvoir’s argument on steroids – this time used to erase womanhood altogether.

Refusal to grapple with biological realities has hampered progress in a way that has helped no one. Indeed, the denial of sex differences has not eradicated sexism but instead has led to the neglect of women’s health needs and the emergence of new forms of prejudice unimaginable just a decade ago.

While there may be some risks associated with new discoveries in neuroscience, these risks are outweighed by the potential benefits. As Larry Cahill has quipped: “The potential to misuse new knowledge has been around since we discovered fire and invented the wheel. It is not a valid argument for remaining ignorant.”




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