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What a lot of emptyheaded poop!

Leftist critiques  of Australian society rarely bother me.  They are usually about as profound as my heading above. I am speaking up today, however.  Under the heading "Racism is the fault line that runs through Australia", career journalist Warwick McFadyen has written the article below.  It is  an eloquent statement of nothing that serves only to exude hatred of ordinary Australians.

Let me start with the heading.  I know what a fault line is in geology but what is it in a society?  Is it a weakness?  Is it a division?  I suspect that McFadyen means it as a weakness but if he means that, why not say that?  Using "faultline" amounts in the circumstances only to a failed pose of sociological sophistication.

And the rest of the article is similarly insubstantial.  His chief justification for regarding Australia as racist seems to be a snort someone uttered in his presence back in the early '80s.  The snort was a reaction to a lovely comment about Aborigines from McFadyen:  He wondered about the "odds being stacked against them, and wondered how to help them".  That's it!  That's McFadyen's principal basis for declaring Australians racist!  Thou shalt not snort, apparently.

To this day McFadyen appears not to have realized that the snort was most probably as much a reaction to his paternalism as it was  skepticism about "helping" Aborigines.

And skepticism about "helping" Aborigines is well warranted.  Ever since the missionaries were evicted from the management of Aboriginal settlements, just about everything that could be tried has been tried.  Authoritarian attempts to force them into white behaviour patterns has alternated with Rousseauvian fantasies about how we should simply respect a people who are more in harmony with nature than we are.

And under both approaches Aboriginal behaviour has slid inexorably down the razorblade to a point where  Aboriginal women and children are abused by Aboriginal men on a daily  basis.  People are better behaved in the slums of Bangladesh.

But McFadyen apparently knows best.  He knows how to achieve what no Liberal or Labor government so far has been able to achieve.  The years that have elapsed since that snort have taught him nothing.

McFadyen goes on to evoke the normal Australian reaction to the way township Aborigines behave  and implicitly condemns it.  But he offers no argument why it should be condemned.

He does however finally get to the one episode of "racist" behaviour that Leftists dine out on:  The Cronulla riots, in which young white men from "The Shire" erupted over the arrogant behaviour on their beaches towards young white women by aggressive Lebanese Muslims.  Like all riots it was no triumph of rationality and there was very little organization to it but it was the inevitable result of politically correct policing.  If the Muslims can get away with everything, vigilante reaction will replace proper police action.  But McFadyen tells you none of that.

And, entirely predictably, McFadyen claims that the old "White Australia" policy was abolished by the leftist Whitlam government in 1973.  It was not.  It was abolished by the conservative Holt government in 1966:  "The March 1966 announcement was the watershed in abolishing the 'White Australia' policy" (See here)

McFadyen then dives into the current controversy about "hate speech".  The present conservative Federal government is exploring options for modifying some very draconian hate speech laws enacted by a former Leftist government  Even the eminent Leftist lawyer Julian Burnside QC agrees that the existing laws go too far.  But don't expect McFadyen to tell you that.

If the McFadyen piece had been any more lightweight, it would have floated away.


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It was only a snort, a short derisive exhalation of air. But it was enough. I was at a barbecue with friends in Kempsey in NSW. The talk turned to the town's indigenous population. I said something along the lines of the odds being stacked against them, and wondered how to help them. That's when the snort from the acquaintance of a friend entered the conversation, and ended it for me.

This was in the early '80s. I lived there for a couple of years and, in that time, I did not see one indigenous person employed in a job in any business in the town. There may have been. I'd like to be proved wrong. The "Abos" - town jargon had moved on from "boongs" - lived on the edge of town, squandering government money on housing they got for nothing just for being who they were. Useless. When they got handouts, they spent them on grog. They were ungrateful, they trashed houses they got for nothing. They were their own worst enemy.

But the descendants of Europe weren't racists. Just ask them. If you dared. They just saw what they saw, said what they said and believed what they believed. They weren't bigots either. Just ask them. If you dared. Everyone was treated the same, they would have said the colour of the skin didn't matter.

Of course, you can't label an entire town by one epithet. It would be unfair. Prejudiced even. But it was the case that what was unsaid - and bigotry is also silence - assumed the form of an atmosphere in which all breathed and lived. It pervaded life. It shaped words and actions. It allowed bigots to be themselves. It allowed the wordless snort that said everything.

Those people of 30 years ago would be happy to know that this country's attorney-general has blessed their right to be who they were. Senator George Brandis said so in the Senate last week. "People do have the right to be bigots," he told the chamber.

In one sense, of course, the senator is right. No one person, nor government, party or instrumentality should be able to mandate who or what a person wants themselves to be. To do so would be to drill into the core of a person's existence and lobotomise it. They can be bigot, bastard, barbarian - in their own home. That is their right. But outside the front door, concept collides with the real world. Not all people are reasonable, not all people are alert to the consequences of their actions. Voltaire, who may or may not have said I disagree with what you say but I'll defend your right to say it, did say this: "Prejudices are what fools use for reason." How will a reasonable person be adjudged able to judge?

Thirty years on from the snort, surely something, somewhere in the nation has changed? And it has. There has been progress in land rights, steps towards recognition and reconciliation, emergence of indigenous culture into the mainstream and awareness of the breadth and depth of history. But through the journey there has been, and still is, a fault line. It is the fracture that runs through the land, and into it falls all the ugliness of attitude to the otherness of foreigners. We are a brilliant success story of multiculturalism - when it suits. And then Cronulla happens. We march with Michael Long on his Long Walk, and then we gibe and joke at Adam Goodes' expense (and then we make him Australian of the Year).

When the White Australia Policy was given its death blow in 1973 by the Whitlam government, after being chipped away at over the previous two decades, the remnants of the policy didn't vanish, they were merely strewn in little pieces over the ground. An optimist would hope time would wear them into dust. As the political debates, explosions of emotion and argument, set off by Brandis' proposals, again have shown, bigotry, racism and prejudice have gone nowhere. You can't argue with where you are, yet we constantly are at war with ourselves, arguing over which spirit and which place has the greater claim to a kind of proprietary morality.

Brandis' proposal will make it unlawful "for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if the act is reasonably likely to vilify another person or a group of persons; or to intimidate another person or a group of persons, and the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of that person or that group of persons".

Vilify is defined as inciting hatred against a person or group; intimidate means to cause fear of physical harm. The standard will be that of "an ordinary reasonable member" of the community, "not by the standards of any particular group". But then there is this: none of the above applies to "words, sounds, images or writing spoken, broadcast, published or otherwise communicated in the course of participating in the public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter".

What? Has there ever been a greater get-out-of-jail clause?

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus tells his daughter Scout: "First of all, if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

I wonder if the owner of the dismissive exhalation 30 years ago ever considered walking in another man's shoes? I suspect not. We could feel sorry for bigots and say they are incapable of ever doing so. They're entitled to be whoever they want to damn well be. They can say what they like. It's called free speech.

It's also a poison that is carried on the wind across the land into our daily lives.

SOURCE



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Methuselah

There is no doubt that the Bible is one of the most valuable historical documents that we have.  Textual critics date most of the OT to around the time of the great Athenians -- Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides, Herodotus, Xenophon etc.  But it also seems clear that the assembly of the OT did include at times much older documents.  Just which those are is of course something that textual scholars continue to debate.

For my money I see Exodus and probably Genesis as very early.  And I base that on the view of the Gods found there.  The Greek Gods were generally very powerful and effective figures.  Nobody pushed them around.  But YHWH as described in Exodus is rather pathetic, much more like the only barely effective Gods of earlier times.  He has the Devil of a time (if I may use that expression) in getting the Pharaoh to do anything and it is only after YHWH has visited plague after plague on Egypt that the Pharaoh relents a little

But that is only the start of YHWH's troubles.  Now he has to keep the Israelites in line.  And he frequently fails. They go off after other Gods all the time.  So I see Exodus as a true account of a quite primitive people  -- much earlier than the sophisticated Greeks.

And that is valuable.  We have no comprehensive account of such a primitive people from any other source.  We have a few scraps of cunieform but that is it.  So how accurate is the OT as history?  From what I see, it always has the last laugh.  Things in it that were once dismissed as myth keep being confirmed as real  by archaeological discoveries.

So what are we to make of the days of Methuselah, when some men lived to be nearly 1,000 years old?  As is usually alleged, it could simply be a mistranslation.  In earliest times there were a variety of number systems in use and interpreting numbers given in one system as if they were from another system could give absurd answers.  They could be out by a factor of 10, for instance.  That this was the mistake is now well-argued for, so instead of Methuselah living to 969 years, his age is now given by some scholars as 96.9 years -- which is very plausible.

I am reluctant however to say that anything as recorded in the Bible is wrong or mistaken. People who claim that often have to eat their words.  So I have an explanation which makes sense of the literal Bible account.

Most people these days accept it as entirely likely that there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.  But they also see it as quite unlikely that we will ever get vistors from extra-terrestrials.  Why?  Because the distance between alternative biospheres is so great.  You would need to travel several lifetimes just to get from one biosphere to another.

But what is a lifetime?  I don't think it stretches credibility too far to say that there may be  some beings somewhere for whom 1,000 years is a lifetime.  And for such a people, interstellar travel may be a more attractive and plausible idea.

So Genesis chapter 5 could be seen as showing that there is such an extraterrestrial people and that they did once visit us.  And that they were humanoid is not a stretch too far.  As biologists say, form follows function.

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A naive survey



James Lawrence Powell has recently updated his survey of academic journal articles concerned with climate.  And he concludes that: "10,883 out of 10,885 scientific articles agree: Global warming is happening, and humans are to blame".

I have probably said most of what can be said about all that on some previous occasion but perhaps a recap of the basics might still be useful.

His big mistake is to get his taxonomy wrong.  Taxonomy is the first step in science but not, apparently, for James Lawrence Powell.  He just does not realize that most climate skeptics would fall into his "believer" category!

The great majority of climate skeptics accept that a warming response to CO2 is a reasonable theory so they don't get detected as skeptics by James Lawrence Powell.  Where most climate skeptics differ from the hysterics is in estimating the magnitude of the warming effect.  Skeptics say that Greenies greatly overestimate and exaggerate any possible effects of CO2 buildup.

I myself can see theoretical grounds for expecting that CO2 buildup will have a warming effect but those same theoretical grounds lead me to believe that the effect will be so minute as to be probably undetectable.

And that is what we find.  CO2 and temperature each go their own merry way quite independently of one-another.  Temperature does vary at times in response to various natural causes (mostly solar) but a response to CO2 is not detectable.

The most glaring example of that is of course the temperature standstill of the last 17 years while atmospheric CO2 has  steadily been rising.  The two variables are clearly uncoupled.

Pumping out exaggerated cries of alarm is of course what Greenies do so the fact that they have chosen just about the most alarming figure possible for the influence of CO2 on temperature should surprise no-one. Reality eventually trashes most of their wild  claims however and this is no exception.

Just for a bit of fun, have a look at the graph below.  It is two excerpts from the temperature record.  The IPCC says that human influence did not begin until 1950 -- so temperature variations before that must be due to natural influences.  Yet the slopes of the  two graphs are virtually identical.  So if one can be all natural, why is the other not natural too?  -- JR



The full graph is here. AMO is a running index of North Atlantic temperatures from NOAA.
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Dianne Trussell and human mating

I knew Dianne Trussell over a quarter of a century ago.  I was her  landlord for a while.  And she was into diving -- with airtanks and other diving stuff prominent among her possessions.  She was happy and optimistic in a fixed-smile, brittle sort of way.

I could see where she was going wrong then but said nothing.  But perhaps now I should say something.

Psychologists have been interested in human relationships for a long time and they have converged on a "trading" view of relationships.  Each partner brings to the relationship something of equal value.  The value will be subjective but is nonetheless real.  The subjective does matter.

And the valued items are very upsetting for those who believe in romance.  Both males and females value physical things highly. Women are particularly fixated on height.  Few women will tolerate their man being shorter than them. This is particularly bad for short men -- making their prospects of offering value to a woman very poor.  So many short men will end up going to  the Republic of the Philippines for brides -- because Filipinas  are usually only 5' or 5"1" tall.

There is one group of women who value the physical above all else  -- Chinese women living in the Western world.  Australia is about 5% Chinese so one sees a lot of Chinese ladies about the place.  And if the lady is attached to a man, he will normally be a Caucasian man  -- a TALL Caucasian man.  If you see one with a Chinese man, he will be a TALL Chinese man.  So lots of unremarkable Australian men get devoted wives that way.  Chinese ladies will put up with a lot in order to get tall fathers for their children.  They know how genetics works and they think ahead.

Men are slightly less rigid.  They look for an hourglass figure in a woman but insecure men will accept a relatively flat-chested woman because they don't like other men looking at her.

But the whole process often grinds to a halt because individuals overestimate the value of what they offer.  There are skinny, gangly, flat-chested  women who think that their own wonderful self is sufficient to interest a man.  So they aim for high value men -- good looking, competent men.  But such men are not interested in them.  Such men can get a much higher value woman -- probably one with a good figure.  So the woman concerned wonders:  "Where are all the men?"  And they keep up that misjudgement into their 30s, by which time most of the good-deal men of their age and circle are married off.

I remember a singles party for people in their 40s and 50s that I once went to.  I was talking to a lady who said:  "Where are all the men?"  I pointed out that there was actually a majority of nen present. She replied: "No, not THOSE men".  She was looking for men much younger than herself.

And I think Dianne Trussell was one woman who valued herself too highly.  She was mixing with divers  -- who would generally be very fit and confident men.  And such men would have a lot to offer and would want a woman with a good figure.  But Diane was flat-chested.  So she would have sparked only fleeting interest from the men she mixed with.  She was fairly tall so could have got herself a short man but her value of herself was too high for that.  Short men will have almost any tall woman who will have them.  They know how genetics works too.

I gather it is the selfsame Dianne who now does alternative things down at Byron Bay.  Alternative things are a way of coping with the fact that you are not getting what you want in life.

I knew she was fishing in the wrong pool all those years ago and it has always bothered me that I said nothing to her about it.

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A true conservative

A seething discontent with the world you live in is what makes you a Leftist.  And because of that, Leftists want to "fundamentally transform" the world around them.  Rather than adapt themselves to the world around them, they want to adapt the world to them.  WHY the Leftist is discontented can and does vary but it is discontent that defines him.

Conservatives, on the other hand tend to be contented people.  They can see a lot that they would change if they could but they don't make a crusade out of it.  They mostly just get on with their own life.

And the Leftist hostility is directed at their fellow-man.  Changing the geography or topography of your country won't butter any parsnips.  It is people you have to change,  usually by force and coercion.  Leftists actually hate their fellow citizens.  So their outbursts of fury at anyone who obstructs what they want are  understandable.

I contrast that with "Supermac", the very aristocratic Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963. He was from the Conservative party.  Some time after his service as Prime Minister, he was elevated to the House of Lords.  In his first speech there, in 1984, he said:

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on."

So the strikers that were causing so many problems and who would never vote for his party  were abused and excoriated as a Leftist would do?  Not at all.  He saw quality in them:  "strike of the best men in the world".  He was not at war with his fellow man.  He admired them.  Such a different attitude from the whiners and abusers of the Left.  Conservatives are the gentlemen.  Leftists are the thugs

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Founder of  Westboro Baptist Church Fred Phelps dies aged 84

Fred must have been as much hated as Osama bin Laden.  America loves its heroes -- rightly  -- and Fred poured scorn on them. But I wonder if any of those who condemn him have actually listened to any of his sermons?  He was an old-fashioned hellfire preacher who was careful to support everything he said by reference to Bible texts.  He was perhaps the last remnant of a once-dominant American preacher tradition.

There is no doubt that he aimed to shock and he certainly achieved that but theologically he was literally correct.  Fred didn't whitewash the Bible.  He preached it.  And if you doubt that read Romans chap. 1 to get God's attitude to homosexuals and Ezekiel 33 for God's expectation of his representatives.  God's  representatives had a duty to warn the ungodly about their sins and any failure to warn was itself a deadly sin.  Fred accepted that duty and discharged it.  There was nothing wrong with Fred's theology.

And if you think Fred was going over the top in warning that whole nations who defended homosexuality would be destroyed by God, ponder the fate of the tribe of Benjamin.  The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals (Judges  chaps. 19 & 20).  America now is in a state of decline too.  Does it too need a moral reformation to save it?  Was the election of Obama a triumph  of the Devil?  Fred was in no doubt about all that.

If you believe in the Bible (I do not) Fred was right.  He was a faithful servant of his Lord.  I sometimes wonder if there are any real Bible students left


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Fred Phelps, who founded the Westboro Baptist Church known for its anti-gay sentiments and protests at soldiers' funerals, has died, his son said on Thursday.

The 84-year-old, who founded the church is 1955, died of natural causes in Kansas at 11.15pm on Wednesday, according to church spokesman Steve Drain.

Previously he said that that Phelps was being cared for in a Shawnee County facility.

His passing comes just days after another son, Nate Phelps, took to his own Facebook page to announce that his father was 'on the edge of death' at Midland Hospice house in Topeka.

Nate Phelps, who left the extreme Christian sect 37 years ago, said his father was excommunicated in August 2013 from the church for advocating more kindness toward its members.

Three of his own children ex-communicated their father, according to WIBW.

'I'm not sure how I feel about this,' Nate Phelps wrote on Facebook. 'Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.

'I feel sad for all the hurt he's caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I'm bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes.'

SOURCE
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Check your carnist ideology

Did you realize that you may be a carnist?  It sounds rather like a medieval theological stance but it is not.  It simply means that you eat meat.  All sorts of weirdos wash up on the shore of Psychology and strict vegetarians are among them.  So the research below is designed to find something wrong with "carnists'.

And it succeeded.  It found that carnists tend to be conservative!  And there is nothing worse that that to a Leftist.  And most psychologists are Leftists.  So from now on lots of Leftists will be sadly eyeing platters of bacon and eggs as they tuck in to their tofu burgers.

The research is actually rubbish.  One of their measures of conservatism (the RWA scale) does not correlate with voting for conservative candidates and the other is largely a measure of racism.  See here and here.  So the conclusions may be correct but the data is insufficient to show it.


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Why do right-wing adherents engage in more animal exploitation and meat consumption?

Kristof Dhonta &  Gordon Hodson

Abstract

Despite the well-documented implications of right-wing ideological dispositions for human intergroup relations, surprisingly little is understood about the implications for human–animal relations. We investigate why right-wing ideologies – social dominance orientation (SDO) and right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) – positively predict attitudes toward animal exploitation and meat consumption. Two survey studies conducted in heterogeneous community samples (Study 1, N = 260; Study 2, N = 489) demonstrated that right-wing ideologies predict greater acceptance of animal exploitation and more meat consumption through two explaining mechanisms: (a) perceived threat from non-exploitive ideologies to the dominant carnist ideology (for both SDO and RWA) and (b) belief in human superiority over animals (for SDO). These findings hold after controlling for hedonistic pleasure from eating meat. Right-wing adherents do not simply consume more animals because they enjoy the taste of meat, but because doing so supports dominance ideologies and resistance to cultural change. Psychological parallels between human intergroup relations and human–animal relations are considered.

SOURCE

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Is monogamy Biblical?

It isn't.  in Old Testament times, it was perfectly normal for a man to have both concubines and several wives.  But that was no invitation to licence.  There were strict rules about how multiple wives were to be treated.  All wives had extensive rights. As it says in Exodus 21:10:  "If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights."

It is only in the NT that we see a move towards monogamy and there is is not any sort of commandment.  It is advice.  As Paul says in 1 Cor. 7 "But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband."

This made made clearer in 1 Timothy 3:  "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach".  So it was only the officers of the church to whom the advice applied and the reason for the advice was that it made the officer look good, not that it was right or wrong.

It may be argued that in Matthew 19 Jesus commanded monogamy.  There are two objections to that.  The first is that Jesus was very clearly on that occasion aiming only to confound the Pharisees and the second is that Jesus was actually forbidding divorce, not forbidding second marriages:  "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  

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Henry Thomas Schäfer

Some years ago I was given a framed print of a famous painting by Schäfer.  I like it and have it on my wall to this day.  And I am not alone in liking it.  Thousands of such prints seem to have been made.  Schafer has been a very popular artist.

So I was surprised that when I Googled his name, I could find out virtually nothing about his life.  I gather that his art is seen as "chocolate boxy" and hence below the notice of anybody seriously interested in art.  I of course deplore such elitism so would like to put a decent biography of him online if I can get more information on him.  I reproduce below the only two biographical notes I could find and hope that there might be a reader of this blog who can tell me more.

"Henry Thomas Schafer was born in the Lake District in England during the mid 19th-century. His exact birth date is unknown; however, his work was most well known from 1873 - 1915. Both a painter and an accomplished sculptor, Schafer exhibited his figurative studies at the Royal Academy in London in 1875, receiving the prestigious Academia award for excellence. Schafer's signature style was his study of women dressed in "goddess-like" classical vestments. It is for these portraits that he is best remembered."

"Henry Thomas Schäfer (British, 1854?-1915).  Henry Thomas Schäfer is a British Victorian-era genre painter and sculptor, elected in 1889 to the Royal Society of British Artists. He exhibited at the Royal Society, the Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy, and other galleries starting in 1873. Several of his paintings have been widely reproduced and distributed in the form of posters."

Below is the picture that hangs on my wall


A Time of Roses

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Are conservatives more emotional?

That good ol' projection again.  As a pretty good general rule, if you want to know what is true of liberals, just look at what they say about conservatives.  Seeing your own faults in others is not only good  psychological defence but it's a pretty good political tactic too.  If one side of politics is (say) full of hate, constant accusations from that side accusing others of hate may well cause uncommitted voters to say, "A plague on both their houses" and believe that both sides are equally haters.  So the constant accusations from liberals that conservatives are guilty of hate speech and racism makes good tactics.

And if there is one thing we know about liberals it is that they are always on the boil.  They are always outraged about something and are constantly protesting.  They are clearly the more emotional side of politics.  You just have to note the utter rage that pours out from Leftists in the comments they leave on conservative sites and on Twitter in replying to conservative tweets.  And their use of foul language is also hugely disproportionate.  And, as has often been said, bad language is the attempt of a weak mind to express itself forcefully.

So the piece of research below is very predictable.  On the basis of the flimsiest evidence, they assert that it is conservatives who are more emotional.

Their evidence is that in portraits of themselves most people show the left side of the face but there is a slight tendency for conservatives to show that side more often.

I could go on but such hugely silly "evidence" just doesn't seem to warrant any further bother.  Leftists will clutch at anything to discredit conservatives.


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Right-Wing Politicians Prefer the Emotional Left

Nicole A. Thomas et al

Abstract

Physiological research suggests that social attitudes, such as political beliefs, may be partly hard-wired in the brain. Conservatives have heightened sensitivity for detecting emotional faces and use emotion more effectively when campaigning. As the left face displays emotion more prominently, we examined 1538 official photographs of conservative and liberal politicians from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States for an asymmetry in posing.

Across nations, conservatives were more likely than liberals to display the left cheek. In contrast, liberals were more likely to face forward than were conservatives. Emotion is important in political campaigning and as portraits influence voting decisions, conservative politicians may intuitively display the left face to convey emotion to voters.

SOURCE

A good summary of the boiling hate continually emanating from the Left is here