Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Cue Card Libertarianism -- Individualism

Individualism is the doctrine that that each human being is sovereign over his own life – that each individual is autonomous in themselves – and as such, no person can become a means to the ends of others. Nothing may be forced on an autonomous individual against his will; if something is desired of you it may only be obtained by your voluntary consent – which you are fully entitled to withhold.

Since individual autonomy is an extension of each person’s ability to think and to choose – that is, of an individual's rational faculty – the upholding of autonomy entails the upholding of reason, and its application in reality. It should go without saying that such an individual recognises this same principle in others.

In establishing what individualism is, it is important to understand very clearly what it is not.

Individualism is not is Subjectivism – doing or thinking what you feel like just because you feel like it. Subjectivism -- or its kissing cousin Hedonism -- is not the hallmark of an individualist, even if you believe as Nietzsche did that your feelings are of a superior strain and entitle you to ride roughshod over others. The individualist lives by his mind, and since he claims the right to do that for himself he respects that same right in others. (The individualist understands that we are not guaranteed success in all our freely-chosen actions: Each of us is free to make our own mistakes; the individualist respects that freedom, but will occasionally exercise the freedom to judge the freely-chosen actions of others.)

Neither is an individualist a Non-conformist simply for the sake of non-conformity (eg., Howard Stern, Madonna, Marilyn Manson et al). "Whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist" declared Ralph Waldo Emerson. Not so. Such a person’s behaviour is still driven by others: “Whatever they do, I’ll do the opposite” says the non-conformist. He wants to shock and outrage – others. He wants to be seen as an 'individual' -- as compared to others. Such a person, however well-tattooed and however weighed down with piercings, is still dependent on the judgement of others. A genuinely independent person conforms to the judgement of his own mind. (He does just occasionally however accept advice, and read maps. Being an individualist does not mean being an island.)

Nor is it sufficient to say that each person is an end to himself, while preaching that he must purge his behaviour of every last vestige of personal inclination and do his 'Duty' (we might at this point hear the heels-clicked-together of Immanuel Kant and his Categorical Imperative, or the carved-in-stone moralising of the religious). An individualist pursues those actions he has voluntarily chosen as being in his rational self-interest (about which he may of course be quite wrong), not those imposed upon him as his 'duty'. As PJ O'Rourke put it so well, "There is only one basic right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." (He is also of course quite entitled to reap all benefits should he be proved correct.)

Nor will it do to say, “We should permit the individual to act on his own judgement, since that way, he delivers the best results for society” (see for example John Stuart Mill, et al). Individualists are not Utilitarians. Such a maxim rests on the assumption that society owns the individual, not that he owns himself, and that the degree of latitude he is 'permitted' may be varied at society’s discretion (witness Mill’s many compromises with statism). Individuals acting together voluntarily in their own self-interest are in fact the only way to deliver "the best results for society" -- but this is a consequence, not a primary justification. As Adam Smith said, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest."

In summary then, libertarians -- and certainly this libertarian -- would agree with the summary given of the doctrine by Ayn Rand: “Individualism holds that a civilised society, or any form of association, co-operation or peaceful coexistence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights – and that a group as such has no rights other than the individual rights of its members.”

This is part of a continuing series explaining the concepts and terms used by libertarians, originally published in The Free Radical in 1993. The 'Introduction' to the series is here.

Replacing Rod

DPF at Blog Central has a good post explaining why the Greens may need to bring in their national campaign manager Russel Norman (ten on the Green list) instead of Nandor at number seven -- the chief reason being that the Greens' co-leader persons need to be one from each gender.

Doesn't mean they will bring Norman in, of course, but if they don't and --- as one commenter at DPF's suggests -- Nandor, Locke or Bradford take over his position, then "the tragedy for the Greens will be compounded."

Donald didn't die of heart attack

NZPA: Green Party co-leader Rod Donald is not thought to have died of a heart attack.

Mr Donald, 48, was suspected of having suffered a massive coronary overnight Saturday but the party's other co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons, said last night that was not the case.

"I understand the coroner has confirmed that it was not a heart attack, and that the cause of death is still unclear," she said.

Meanwhile, The Herald reports that "further tests will be conducted to try to establish the cause of death."

State Opening of a slow Parliament

Today sees the State Opening of Parliament (yesterday was the Commission Opening) meaning that the legislature is officially in session from today -- meaning, in Mark Twain's sense, that life, liberty and property are once again unsafe.

Colin James made the point on Breakfast News that this Parliament at least will be a slow one; that any new legislation will take some time to progress through the House. That at least is a blessing.

If you want to watch the State Opening online, you can courtesy of R2. [Hat tip DPF]

Top-down environmentalism unwelcome

As another expensive environmental conference gets under way, this time in London, a new survey shows that the 'top-down' approach to environmental policy-making is not welcomed by Britons. This poll, conducted by the Stockholm Network in association with Populus is the biggest poll on Britons' attitudes towards the environment in over 10 years. Says Dan Lewis, co-author of the poll, "It's my belief that there can be no serious discussion on the environment or energy issues [in Britain] without reference to these findings." According to a report on the poll by 'The Independent' newspaper:
...the politicians are running ahead of British public opinion, according to a new poll... which will make uncomfortable reading for campaigners.

Nearly a third of the 1,003 adults polled - 29 per cent - ranked climate change as less important than terrorism, Third World debt and diseases such as Aids.

Three out of five - 60 per cent - said "the UK has other, more important domestic issues", and more than a third - 35 per cent - believe the problem is being exaggerated by pressure groups. Yet almost 90 per cent had made some contribution towards combating the problem, such as having their home insulated"
There is no reason to suppose that a similar poll conducted here in New Zealand would show anything different. And while it's clear that a poll is no measure of what's true or right, what's interesting here is that the British public at least haven't bought all the nonsense the environmental movement would have liked them to. Some of the poll's highlights:

§ The UK public is clearly concerned about the environment - 94% of people say that protecting the environment is important for the UK.

§ However, the public strongly feels that Government action in tackling threats to the environment is ineffective. Just 8% rate the effectiveness of national governments on this issue and only 11% think that international treaties on the environment, such as Kyoto, are effective.

§ People do not trust the Government's stance on the environment (credibility rating of -15%) and trust scientists more than any other source for information about the state of the environment (credibility rating of +72%).

§ As a result, it is widely felt that the Government's priorities should be elsewhere, namely on providing good public services (33% say this should be the biggest priority for Government), closely followed by protection from criminals and terrorists (31%).

§ Just 10% of respondents believe that protecting the environment should be Government's main focus.

§ The study overwhelmingly shows that people feel actions by businesses are the most effective (40%) way of combating threats to the environment.

§ 73% believe UK businesses should be forced to tackle climate change, although roughly the same amount (62%) believe that environmental protection shouldn't come at the expense of the UK economy.

§ Clearly the public feels there must be a way of empowering businesses to tackle issues such as climate change, without damaging the wider economy.

Other arising issues:

§ People are unwilling to ‘put their money where their mouths are’ when it comes to climate change.

§ While 94% of people say that protecting the environment is important for the UK, the public would sooner donate money to other global causes such as international medical charities and disaster and debt relief funds, rather than to environmental pressure groups.

§ Equally, when people were asked to prioritise how the Government should spend £100bn on global causes, the environment was the second least popular option.

§ Providing medicine for the world’s poor, reducing trade barriers against developing countries and cancelling third world debt were considered to be more important financial priorities for world governments than the environment.

The poll can be viewed and downloaded online at the Stockholm Network's site.

Perigo remembers Rod

Perigo: "Goodbye, Young Donald! I may be damned to hell for saying it, but I shall miss you."

See Rod Donald, Green Convertible?

Rodin -- Eternal Spring

Monday, 7 November 2005

Rod Donald comments

Blog Central has a summary of the MSM's stories on Rod Donald's passing. Frogblog's Condolences Book remains open, and here's a round-up of comments by bloggers (Feel free to add your own in the comments section, and I'll update the list through the day):

Big News: Rod Donald
NZ Pundit: RIP Rod Donald
Aaron Bhatnagar: Rod Donald
Sir Humphrey's: R.I.P.
Rob's Blockead Blog: Rod Donald
Phil Sage: Rod Donald. RIP!
Not PC: Rod Donald dies
GMan: Rod Donald
Random Contributionz: Rod Donald RIP
Whale Oil: Rod Donald dies
Andrew Falloon: Rod Donald
Morph: Rod Donald 1957 - 2005
Ihatesocialism: Rod Donald
Maori Party: Maori Party Statement on Death of Rod Donald
Bloggreen: Rod Donald, friend, colleague, leader, great man
No Right Turn: Rod Donald is dead
Berlin Bear: NZ Greens Co-Leader Passes Away
goNZo: His heart gave out
Philosophically made: A loss to Parliament and New Zealand
Maria von Trapp: nunc dimittis
Silent Running: Some sad news.
The Whig: Rod Donald Has Died
Cathy Odgers: Rod Donald
Fighting Talk - Hamish: Bye Rod
[UPDATE 1: Spanblather: Goodbye to the great Green ginga]
[UPDATE 2:
Russell Brown: The Contribution
Jordan Carter: R.I.P. Rod Donald]
[UPDATE 3: LibertyScott: Rod Donald]
[UPDATE 4: Joe Hendren: Rod Donald]
[UPDATE 5: Fighting Talk - Lyndon: Rod Donald]

Wake up Europe!

The rioting in and around Paris has prompted Mark Steyn to issue a warning. As always with Steyn, his message is blunt: Wake up, Europe, you've a war on your hands.
...the rioters aren't doing a bad impression of the Muslim armies of 13 centuries ago: They're seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the 'burbs gets you more ''respect'' from Chirac, they'll burn 'em again, and again. In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: ''The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.'' Which sounds an awful lot like a new Dark Ages.
'Brussels Journal' has more comment on Europe's No-Go Areas, and 'The Times' has a summary of France's "burning rage," and Robert Bidinotto reflects on a media showing "desperation to minimize the role that Islamism may be playing in the wave of rioting and vandalism."

This outbreak of nihilism is a sign of some chickens coming home to roost, specifically the chickens of cultural relativism. That is,
...the trendy notion that all cultures are morally equivalent. Western society is no better than any other, the multicult proclaims -- and, in fact, is in many ways far worse: it is racist, imperialist, hegemonic, sexist, etc., etc. On that premise, multiculturalists have for decades tried to appease the world's butchers and barbarians, most recently those who go on nihilistic rampages in the name of Allah. In doing so, these "intellectuals" have only empowered and emboldened the savages...

Tell thugs that they are moral in their aspirations and justified in their grievances, and pretty soon they begin to believe you -- and act accordingly. Appease them when they bomb and behead, and they quickly learn that terrorism works -- and act accordingly. Invite them into your own country while assuring them that they don't have to abandon their doctrines of hatred, and they will accept the invitations -- and act accordingly.
Bidinottto concludes:
Ultimately, the war for civilization is philosophical -- and it is not primarily against Islamists or the proponents of similar death-worshipping doctrines. Without the aid and comfort of Western benefactors and apologists, these backwater barbarians would have no power, prestige, or prospects.

No, the war for civilization first must be waged against the pampered postmodernists of the West -- those poseurs who serve as nihilism's Excuse-Making Industry.

Because multiculturalists are the intellectual enablers of nihilism.
Quite right. And that is the straight-talking that Europe's so-called statesmen need to understand, and to begin using.

Linked articles: Wake up, Europe, you've a war on your hands, The suicide bombers among us, and Jihad begins in Europe?

Sunday, 6 November 2005

Rod Donald dies

Crikey.

RADIO NEW ZEALAND: Greens co-leader Rod Donald dies

Posted at 2:56pm on 6 Nov 2005

The Green Party co-leader Rod Donald has died suddenly of a suspected heart attack.

A party spokesman says Mr Donald, who was 48, died in his Christchurch home overnight.

[UPDATE: Condolences can be left on Frogblog here.]

Jeez Wayne

Rodney Hide points out that poor Wayne Mapp, PC Eradicator-General, still has no idea who or what he's fighting. "Poor Wayne," points out Rodney, " doesn’t quite know what he’s out to eradicate—and how to do it." Nothing like fighting an intellectual enemy with ignorance and confusion, which is what Wayne's recent pronouncements suggest is his 'strategy.'

To demonstrate the extent of poor Wayne's confusion, there's an interview on GayNZ.com that Rodney has conveniently summarised:
PC: “It’s essentially when minorities try and tell majorities how to think. But I’m clearly going to be doing a bit more work on that”.
Mainstream: “Mainstream is essentially what most people think”.

Is Wayne mainstream? Yes - “my views are essentially in common with most people”.
Social engineering: “is when you essentially change the social fabric of the country in ways that people don’t want”.
Free speech and private property: Wayne’s happy that it’s against the law to run an ad that says, “we’ve got a house to rent but no Maoris can apply,” and likewise a similar reference to gay couples. He agrees with anti-discrimination laws.
Smoking ban: “The only thing I’d raised there was actually the definition of the ‘outside’ and the RSAs,” i.e. it’s fine for the state to use its power to ban smoking on private property.
Mininority vs Majority views: “This is not primarily about minorities and majorities. This is primarily about… the things that really offend against common
sense”.
As Rodney concludes, "There’s clearly some work to do."

This is not to say that PC is not something that needs eradication -- it clearly exists, and it clearly needs stamping out. But you can't fight bad ideas except with better ideas, and when you're as confused, as uncertain and as flaccid as Wayne Mapp -- 'majority rules, OK!' -- then it's like showing up at a gunfight with just a very small knife.

Look out for the next 'Free Radical,' (out soon) in which Lindsay Perigo (right) interviews Wayne Mapp. That should have some intellectual interest -- on one side of the microphone anyway.

[NB: Those of you still confused about the roots and the effects of PC might like to add these two links to those I've recommended earlier:
Education & the Racist Road to Barbarism, by George Reisman, an insightful critique of the relativist, multicultural mush of political correctness.
Political Correctness Threatens Free Society, by Ed Younkins, a short review of the basics -- hint: it's nothing to do with 'mainstream views' being offended or imposed upon.]

[UPDATE: Finlay McDonald has found a funny bone and revealed Wayne Mapp's A-Z of political correctness.]

Brunch

Ah... pancakes with bananas and strawberries soaked in Glayva, drenched with cream and drizzled with maple syrup. Mmmmmm.

Add orange juice, freshly ground coffee, good company and the delicious sounds of Debussy's 'Apres Midi d'un Faune,' Carl Nielsen's 'Helios Overture,' and Melodious Thunk playing Duke Ellington, and you realise the world can be a pretty damn fine place to wake up to. Ahhhhhhhh. :-)

I trust you've all had an equally delicious morning.

Saturday, 5 November 2005

Stop Press: Greens against banning something

Crikey! Those apostles of the 'b' word have come out against banning fireworks, and for some very good reasons. Says Rod Donald in 'The Press':
Are you going to ban cars because people have accidents? It gets to the point of the ridiculous. I’m more concerned about young drivers in charge of a one-tonne metal missile than kids letting off crackers.
Good on him. Fireworks have mutated from the noisy, exciting things we threw at each other when I was a kid to culturally-correct things these days that you may only approach wearing an asbestos suit over a Raph Nader-certified hair shirt. And today's fireworks don't even go BANG anymore -- these days they just let out a gentle 'poof.' Bloody sad. No wonder Halloween is taking over. Seee those crackers in that photo up there: they're now illegal. Bloody wowsers and their banning.

Anyway, the Frog's comments on this are equally interesting and sometimes even amusing, and they conclude with a comment that I know will interest some 'Not PC' readers:
While we’re on the subject of Guy Fawkes - check out the trailer for V for Vendetta, based on one of my favourite comics :) .
And BTW, if you want to see some virtual fireworks, you can either tell your significant other where you really were that night you came home late last week, or you can visit Fireworks.Com and upload your favourite picture -- here's my own effort -- or try one of their other virtual bits of fireworks fun. My favourite is the Phantom Fireworks Online, allowing you to let off fireworks over some major American cities.

However you choose to enjoy Guy Fawkes, make sure you DO enjoy it. Let off a few loud explosions for me, if you can.

Pandemic punditry

Further to the post and subsequent discussion below about the possibility of a bird flu pandemic -- and the brief scare in Melburne yesterday when a chap returned from a trip to China with a dose of what now appears to be ordinary flu -- Dr Henry I. Miller at the Hoover Institute has a good short summary of the evidence so far for worrying. Note that the third characteristic is the crucial one and, crucially, the one yet to appear:
During the past several years, an especially virulent strain of avian flu, designated H5N1, has ravaged flocks of domesticated poultry in Asia and spread to migratory birds and (rarely) to humans. Now found from Russia and Japan to Indonesia, it is moving inexorably toward Europe. Since 2003, more than 60 human deaths have been attributed to H5N1. Public health experts and virologists are concerned about the potential of this strain because it already has two of the three characteristics needed to cause a pandemic: It can jump from birds to human, and can produce a severe and often fatal illness. If additional genetic evolution makes H5N1 highly transmissible among humans -- the third characteristic of a pandemic strain -- a devastating world-wide outbreak could become a reality.

Moreover, this is an extraordinarily deadly variant: The mortality rate for persons infected with the existing H5N1 appears to be around 50 percent, whereas the usual annual flu bug kills fewer than one percent.
As I said in the comments below, if you want to keep in touch with the evidence as it appears, here's three such sources of evidence that wil be worth keeping an eye on:
CIDRAP (the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy), the Avian Flu blog maintained by academics at George Mason University, and the collaborative reference site Flu Wiki.

Bitten

My sister has been attacked by a dog.

Story here from the Northern Advocate. I can pass on whatever comments or messages you would like to make.

'Compassion' & 'Just Music'

Two pieces here tonight from Cordair Fine Arts, 'Compassion' -- a sculpture by Danielle Anjou -- and 'Just Music' -- an oil painting by Theo van Oostrom.

Both pieces are for sale at Cordair Art.

Friday, 4 November 2005

It's Beer O'Clock!

It's about that time isn't it.

The beer for tonight is the wonderfully crisp Czech beer Budvar, which is to my delight now appearing in beer chillers around the country in increasing numbers, just in time for summer.

NB: When purchasing your Budvar -- or if you're lucky, having it purchased for you -- do NOT under any circumstances confuse this ambrosia with the sugar-flavoured slops peddled under the Budweiser brand. The difference between the two approximates the difference between Moet and Margue Vue.

'P' madness

The Bay of Plenty murders have inspired the usual media speculation and rumours, including the predictable if evidence-free talk about links with 'P.' It's almost as if, as this neat spoof at Blair's points out, the media themselves might be the locus of the very 'P'-driven frenzy they frequently rage about.

[UPDATE: FWIW, here's a somewhat different view on 'P,' from psychiatrist Sally Satel, which rather demonstrates Blair's thesis. Feel free to comment at will.
Now I enjoy a good moral panic as much as the next person, but I think methamphetamine deserves its dreadful reputation. No other addictive drug combines so expertly the seduction of intoxication (feelings of supreme confidence and energy) with duration of intoxication (over 10 hours) with memory and concentration deficits (presumably reversible) and paranoia (usually reversible). Because the drug inflames the sex drive for hours on end the large number of different partners in a given session virtually ensures high rates of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and syphilis.]

More violence, more social workers. Duh!

Now this is surely going to fix the problem of South Auckland's thuggish and pathetic warrior culture. From NewstalkZB: Call for more youth workers:
A meeting was held last night with 150 community members including police, church leaders and school principals.

Mayor of Manukau Sir Barry Curtis will be talking with Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope today about the need for more youth workers in Mangere and Otara.
A recent survey highlighted some 250 government organisations in South Auckland, all focussed on 'social development' and other bromides. Hasn't helped. Youngsters just keep on doing what they want to -- more social workers on the streets isn't going to stop them. More police on the streets might, but only if those police are focussed on arresting those committing the violence, as the 'new always-arrest' policy maintains will happen. But that doesn't happen at the moment, as a recent story in The Press noted:

[Across the country] over the past 10 years, violent crime has increased in every age group but most notably with 14 to 16-year-olds, where the number apprehended for violent crimes has jumped from 3306 in 1995 to 4112 in 2004...
For 80 per cent of youth offenders, their crime will mean a visit to police youth aid and a warning. They are unlikely to reoffend.

The remaining 20 per cent are referred to the Youth Court.
Oooh! Either "a warning," or an appearance in Youth Court. That must really terrify these young gangsters. Can't wait to see how the 'cure' of more social workers is going to fix things. As I've said here before (see below), in my view it's nannying Governments action that have helped cause the problem -- the answer is not more of the same.

NB: Part three of my own pieces on the problems in South Auckland will be here soon. For the record, here is Part One and Part Two of 'The Warrior Culture of South Auckland.'

[UPDATE: Of course, the problems seen in South Auckland are not confined to it. I learn from Berlin Bear for example that Parisian suburbs have had "seven consecutive nights of rioting..., in which at least 177 cars have been set alight, numerous shops and other buildings looted and/or ransacked and/or set on fire, and shots have been fired at police and firefighters." Oddly however, Berlin Bear finds something wrong with calling these destructive fuckwits 'scum.' Don't want to "alienate... the disaffected youths who are causing the trouble even further with such terms of abuse," whimpers the Bear. Jesus wept! You can tell he's an academic.]

[UPDATE 2: The problems in Paris put those in South Auckland in the shade. Cox and Forkum have the cartoon (right) and some news that explains why.]

Duncan on Islam

Duncan has a very good, very short piece this morning summarising his opinion of Islam. I concur, and commend it to your attention.

Political Correctness: A classic documentary now online

I thought it was time that a classic documentary on Political Correctness was taken out and dusted off: a forty minute radio documentary put together by Lindsay Perigo and Deborah Coddington for BBC World Service Radio just over a decade ago. (I've transferred it to MP3 and put it online, with links below.) How far have we come since then?

The documentary covers the orgins and effects of political correctness, the local and overseas manifestations of the phenomenon, and of course takes the piss out of PC whenever possible. The case of Anna Penn is discussed (Penn, if you recall, was the trainee nurse failed for being 'culturally unsafe' -- ahem, 'deficiency-achieved' -- in 1993, despite having a 92% average in the rest of her course) and there is also commentary from and interviews with luminaries such as journalist Carol du Chateau, economist and commentator Walter Williams, then-lecturer Rodney Hide, scientist and former Professor Robert Mann, andphilosopher Gary Hull.

Hull points to post-modernism and its relativist, deconstructionist cousins as being responsible for political correctness. Says Williams, the corruption of language that political correctness demands brings to mind George Orwell's important point in 1984, that "to introduce totalitarianism into society, you first have to corrupt the language."

How far have we come since 1993, and how much closer to 1984? You decide. Feel free to forward a copy to Wayne Mapp. He might learn something.

Linked MP3s: Political Correctness, Part 1, and Political Correctness, Part 2.

[Brought to you by SOLO, for Sense of Life Objectivists, and The Free Radical magazine. Visit both today, and see what's new!]

Thursday, 3 November 2005

SH1 RMA Protesting

Motorists on State Highway 1 will no doubt already be familiar with the signs of the Resource Users Association in farmland beside the road. Their blood is worth bottling.

If you have a site next to a main road, and you want to host one of the Resource Users' signs, then get on to Warwick Cheyne, the RUANZ President. Tell him I sent you.

Hamilton house - some progress

To be fair, Hamilton isn't totally bereft of good things. Here's a sneak preview of a pretty exciting house going up there -- yes, it's one of mine.

(This is turning into a bit of a photoblog this afternoon -- if only I had TinCanMan's dexterity with laying out all the pics.)

The Black Hole that is Hamilton

Look, I know Hamilton has had a tough time finding a decent slogan -- 'Hamilton: More than you expect!' and Hamilton: Where it's happening!' were two recent efforts -- but this, ah, minimal effort which I spotted today is rather amusing.

Hamilton: The blank canvas? Hamilton: The Black Hole?

What's your guess?

Getting Frank with Google Earth

My tempting time-waster at present is Google Earth, and I've just found a truckload of Google Earth plugins (they call them .kmz files) that take you directly to various Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, where you can then fly around to your heart's content. There on the right for example is a screeen capture of the site of the Ennis-Browne house just outside LA.

This is a wonderful tool for seeing architecture in its context -- or at least, at present, seeing the context of the architecture; you still need to know the architeture whose site you're looking at. And in a short time you can have an architectural tour of the globe -- or even an engineering tour if you prefer: that's a screen capture of the Hoover Dam down there on the left.

Links: A collection of Google Earth Frank Lloyd Wright plugins

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Transmission Gully -- the full background

LibertyScott has chapter and verse on all the Transmission Gully project hoo-hah: if you think you know about this project, then check with Scott's analysis to see if you really do-- he has been immersed in the project for years, and he knows whereof he speaks.

Prebble: Wrong, wrong, wrong

Richard Prebble's 'The Letter,' a gossip sheet purporting to give you all the inside stories around the traps, is maintaining instead a proud record of giving you the scoops without letting the truth get in the way of its good stories. The failed guess-work this time is over Prebble's claims about Jim Sutton and his property-buying. Said Prebble:
Former Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton did not decide to resign voluntarily, he was pushed. His crime? Firstly for having the biggest swing against him and secondly for announcing that he had bought a house in Waikanae and was going to stand for the Wellington Labour list next election. Sutton was valuable while he was a rural voice but the party had no need for yet another MP who wants to live just the distance needed to qualify for the Wellington housing allowance.
Trouble is, like many of Prebble's predictions and punditry, it's not true. Sutton has bought property in Wainouiomata, not Waikanae, and for raising horses, not to claim a housing allowance. The Letter has now been amended to make this change. (Compare it to the cached copy here.) But this isn't the first thing Prebble has got wrong in his Letter -- indeed in the same Letter he both misspells and incorrectly predicts Brash's new Chief of Staff. With so many failed predictions, none of his breathless revelations can be relied on. The thing is worthless.

Henry Hazlitt once described the work of John Maynard Keynes as lacking both truth and originality. "What is original... is not true, and what is true is not original." The same might be said about Prebble's rag. The former MP is an embarrassment who can't leave the limelight. Time to take his state pension and bugger off out of it.

Incompetent Design

If you enjoyed Penn & Teller skewering Intelligent Design fruitcakes on Prime last night in their show 'Bullshit,' or if perhaps you caught up with my own recent efforts in that area (see here for Part 1), then you might also enjoy the new theory of Incompetent Design developed by a University of Massachusetts geology professor.
To combat the Intelligent Design idea, Wise has come up with his own theory: 'Incompetent Design.' This theory challenges the idea of Intelligent Design with the argument that if the human body were designed, the designer did a terrible job in doing so...

Picking on three examples of where evolution is very obvious: [the] pelvis slopes forward for convenient knuckle dragging like all the Great Apes, but only because of an extreme bend in our vertebrae do we walk upright. It?s the kind of mistake no first year engineering student would make. So it?s either evolution or bad design? Wise said.

Wise also explained that the human mouth also has far too many teeth, with wisdom teeth becoming impacted and needing removal. Wise also criticized the design of the sinus cavity, crammed between our expanded braincase and shortened muzzle, which is so easily clogged, that a plumber would be ashamed of it.
Linked article: UMass professor presents new theory of 'Incompetent Design'

War on Drugs keeps locking them up

Taken from Hit and Run:
Based on the latest figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the 'Drug War Chronicle' estimates that more than 530,000 people were behind bars for drug offenses in the U.S. at the end of last year. Drug offenders accounted for about 25 percent of jail inmates, 21 percent of state prison inmates, and 55 percent of federal prison inmates. The total number of people behind bars was about 2.3 million, an all-time record, giving the U.S. an incarceration rate of 724 per 100,000--the highest in the world, according to the Chronicle, which says [the US] even beats out China this time.
New Zealand has about 6,250 New Zealanders locked up, most of whom deserve to be there. About nine percent however are in there for drug offences, about 600 people. Most drug offending here is at the 'no threat to anyone' end of the scale, but NORML's Arrest-o-Meter calculates there have still been 118470 New Zealanders arrested for cannabis possession since Labour taking office in 1999, and they say "NZ has the highest recorded cannabis arrest rate in the world, at 606 people arrested per 100,000 population per year. The United States is second with 247 arrests per 100,000 population per year."

Drug offending is a victimless crime, but the state still keeps locking up and arresting people for no other reason than that the state disagrees with what they put in their bodies. It's archaic.

MG Rover warning

David Russell of the Consumers Institute warns 'The Chinese are taking over the bankrupt Rover MG' so 'Don't buy Rovers!' and 'Never nasty MGs!' As all simple people stay close around Russell's reasoning, I guess that's it then for New Zealand's Rover and MG owners. Says Dynamic Dave in his own words:
"Buyers of MG Rover cars may find themselves unable to get parts and service in years to come. Worst of all, they may be unable to resell these vehicles at anything like the purchase price," Consumers’ Institute chief executive David Russell said. "Our only possible advice is to completely avoid these vehicles."
Can anyone tell me why the fuck this guy gets so much air time to talk so much shit? Rover MG shut down production in April and were declared bankrupt; the news to which Russell is now responding is that production may now beginn again in China. Most recent MGs and Rovers have hardly been worth stepping across the road for anyway (unfortunately that means most of them since 1976), and most MG and Rover buyers are pretty clear what they're getting anyway without needing Russell's advice.

It's still sad that they went belly up again, but they really died as real car makers in 1980. Somewhere, sometime, there's a story to be told here about how state intervention killed the British motor industry. In the meantime, why not continue to enjoy your classic MGs and Rovers even as David Russell tries to talk down their price. I'm sure if you've got the smarts to buy one, you've also got enough smarts to do that.
Original clay figures, by Helen Hughes.

Tuesday, 1 November 2005

Bird Flu, or not?

Is the Bird Flue pandemic another Spanish Flu disaster in the making, or just a Y2K for 05 -- all talk? The always thoughtful Jack Wheeler has his own doubts about the predictions of pandemic:
One more calamity to freak out about now, it seems, is an impending “pandemic” of the Asian Bird Flu virus known as H5N1. Every day we read about five billion more chickens or turkeys or geese in China or Romania or some other country being infected and killed.

A batch of folks in Vietnam have died of it, and the scare stories mount about how any day now, the virus will mutate, enabling not just bird-to-human infection but human-to-human. Then, the stories claim, the pandemic is on.

Well, maybe. All these comparisons to the Spanish Flu of 1918 are shaky.
Read on to see Wheeler's reasoning, and the measures that he's taking for personal protection. And read on here to see Tim Selwyn's sneezy update to the 'Dead Parrot Sketch': "Why did the chicken cross the road? To spread bloody bird 'flu everywhere, apparently."

Top 40 magazine covers

A panel from the American Society of Magazine Editors (yes Virginia, there is a society for every breed of committee-joiners) has voted on the 40 best magazine covers from the past 40 years. There are some goodies amongst them, and also some donkeys (sorry).

There is a 6mb Powerpoint available here if you want larger images.

BTW, did you know that surveys have shown that nine out of ten men who've tried Camels preferred a woman? Just thought I'd share that.

[Hat tip, The Goodness]

New site poll: TVNZ?

Cripes TVNZ is a shambles. The argument for a state broadcaster is apparently that they're neutral and independent. Bzzzzt. Wrong. That they provide a quality product, one that private broadcasters wouldn't bother with? Bzzzzt. Try again. Um?

What would you do with the state monolith if you had the chance? Don't let my line of questioning influence your vote. ;-)

Sketch models -- Organon Architecture

Some 'sketch models' I'm playing with at the moment for what promises to be a very interesting project...

Monday, 31 October 2005

New Zealand in Iranian sights

Cox and Forkum's cartoon (right) highlights the most commented upon threat made by Iran's new president in his recent 'Kill them all' speech: his call for Israel to be "wiped off the map." But that wasn't the only threat made; as Amir Taheri reports, "the new generation of Iran's Islamic revolutionaries" now wants to "play chicken" against the entire West, including New Zealand.

Blogger RegimeChangeIran points out (with pictures) that Iran's chief strategic guru and the architect of the so-called "war preparation plan" currently under way in Iran, Hassan Abbassi, has us here in New Zealand in his sights. In a lecture given in Tehran,
he claimed that the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and the Gulf states were all "children of the same mother: the British Empire." As for France and Germany, they are "countries in terminal decline", according to Abbasi.
"We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization," said Abbassi in 2004, and he has now made clear that we Kiwis are included in those plans.
We must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles. There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them. Once we have defeated the Anglo-Saxons the rest will run for cover.
As we know, the Clark Government ran for cover long ago, but it's about time they woke up to this threat. Although our new foreign minister has leapt into action, calling Ahmadinejad's threat "unhelpful" -- that should put the wind up the mullahs! -- he and others seemed to have overlooked Abbassi's comments. It might be time for the Clark Government's previous position of crawling appeasement (coupled with the assertion that we here in Godzone enjoy an "incredibly benign strategic environment") to be seriously rethought. Urgently.

[UPDATE: Just so you're clear about the nature of who's threatening whom, Atlas Shrugs offers a comparison between 'The Week in Israel vs the Week in Iran.' While Israel enjoyed a busy week of achievement, scientific advance and medical breakthroughs, Iran endured another week of bloodshed, murder, threats and death. Said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at an Oct 30 cabinet meeting, “if we were permitted to hang two or three persons, the problems with the stock exchange would be solved for ever.” ]

Welfare's inhumanity to immigrants

Two recent cases have made Julian reflect this morning how New Zealand's welfare state has made an inhumane mess of our immigration policy. "Isn't it incredibly inhumane," he asks "how the socialists treat people like cattle - as a cost-benefit calculation?" It sure is.

I had similar thoughts a few years ago when the Tampa refugees were being shunned by all parties, thoughts summed up in the titles of two pieces I wrote: " Welfare State Leaves Boat-People to Die," I said, leaving "Bloodstains on the Refugee Red Carpet."

And Tibor Machan makes a similar argument, that the biggest problem withe the welfare state is not that it might lead to even greater control by government, but that it habituates people to brutality like that seen in these immigration cases above:
    Sure, a problem with the less Draconian evils of the welfare state is partly that they could habituate people to accept coercion from governments, making the march toward a dictatorship more probable.
    However, that’s not the biggest problem. It is far more serious that the welfare state is a lingering political, moral, and economic malady already—it constantly violates individual rights, and people suffer from that plenty. Never mind how much worse it all could get.
Linked article: The Inhumane Immigration Policy of our Welfare State

Tragedy of the Bunnies

Here's a good, short, colourful online game to help you understand the subtle concept of the Tragedy of the Commons. It's called the Tragedy of the Bunnies.

As the person who sent it to me warned: "You might want to turn the music off though..."

[Hat tip Robin]

Liar, liar your credibility is on fire

Not every property owner rolls over when they're targeted by environmental activists intent on deception. When the Center for Biological Diversity posted a series of photographs on their web site purporting to show "the supposedly 'devastating' impacts of ranching, mining, lumbering, and just about any other productive use of the Western lands that you can think of," one Arizona rancher cried foul.

Some of the posted photos ostensibly 'demonstrated' the destruction caused by rancher Jim Chilton's 425 cattle. Trouble is, the photos were a complete pack of lies, as Chilton proved in court. The Center is now $600,000 poorer.

Linked Article: VIN SUPRYNOWICZ: Nature cult's devious tactics exposed

Teaching economics

Pete Boettke at The Austrian Economists suggests there are just a few important lessons freshman economic students need to be taught. "Focus on first principles (opportunity costs and spontaneous order), and the interpretation of a wide variety of human relationships that can best be explained with the use of these principles" he suggests, " and you will make the subject matter of economics come alive and be exciting to students and leave them wanting more. "

He has two book recommendations which follow this menu: The Economic Way of Thinking by Paul Heyne, which explicitly promotes the above view, and Tim Harford's The Undercover Economist. "The persistent and consistent applications of opportunity cost reasoning and explaining how order emerges out of the behavior of individuals even though it is not anyone's intention to promote the overall order is revealed throughout The Undercover Economist in a vareity of illustrative stories from throughout the developed and developing world."

Personally, Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson (complete book online here in PDF) would be my recommendation, but then I haven't yet read the other two.

Sunday, 30 October 2005

Ralston next

After doing for TVNZ what he had previously done for Metro magazine, Bill Ralston's days as news and current affairs boss at the state broadcaster look to be numbered after network head Ian Fraser reportedly heads for the exit door. No great loss.

Let's make Australia a nuclear waste dump!

Bob Hawke's suggestion last month that Australia should offer itself as the solution to the world's nuclear waste storage problem has, naturally, fired some controversy. As Christopher Pearson said at the time, "Some will say that Hawke was just floating an unsaleable idea on a whim or, as one green activist put it, saying something outrageous because he was suffering from relevance-deprivation syndrome. I think he meant exactly what he said, and it was a premeditated and well-timed intervention into a national debate that was in danger of going nowhere."

Hawke's proposal has been taken seriously. An ABC-Radio podcast at Ockham's Razor hosts a physicist going through the reasons why, as a friend who sent me the link says, "the Aussies would be mugs NOT to allow a nuclear waste storage facility to be built inland from Perth." Says the physicist, it would be in Australians' self-interest. Feel free to comment.

Bring on the activist judges

"Those goddamn activist judges!" That's a complaint frequently heard around the traps, and with the question of the next Supreme Court appointee still unanswered, one being hotly debated in the States at present. The complainst about judicial activism and the debate around it frequently features two apparently opposed ideas: that of original intent -- a theory often supported by conservatives -- and the idea that law, treaties and constitutions are 'living documents' that empower an activist judiciary to feats of ultra vires legerdemain. (Students of the Treaty of Waitangi will be familiar with this debate.)

Tara Smith blasts that dichotomy sky high. As Don Watkins summarises her argument, "'judicial activism' is a package deal. The question is not whether a jurist is 'activist' but what their activism consists of. Proper judicial activity, she says, should involve the interpretation and application of abstract legal principles -- fundamentally, the basic principle of 'rights'."
The salient question in assessing any nominee, then, is not whether a judge takes action, but the factors that guide his actions. To be qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, a person must, at minimum, understand three basic facts: First, that individual rights are broad principles defining the individual's freedom of action. The familiar rights of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness subsume a vast array of particular exercises of this freedom, some explicitly named in the constitution (e.g., the freedom of speech) and some not (the right to travel). Second, he must understand that the government's sole function is to protect individuals' freedom of action. As Jefferson explained, it is "to secure these rights, [that] governments are instituted among men." Third, he must recognize that our government properly acts exclusively by permission.

Articles I, II and III [of the US Constitution] specify the powers of the three branches of government and the 10th Amendment expressly decrees that powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved by the states or by the people. The government, in other words, may do only what it is legally authorized to do.

These, correspondingly, are the considerations that should guide a judge's decision-making. It is precisely because action from judges is often needed that principled action--action premised on the basic principles of our republic--is essential. Only a nominee whose record demonstrates that he is so guided is fit to be entrusted a place on the Court.
Linked article: The Need for an Active Supreme Court Justice

'Prisoners Dilemma,' & other crap

Ayn Rand hated chess. That surprises me, but her reasons were interesting:
I could never play chess. I resent it on principle. It involves too much wasted thinking. Chess is all ifs,' and if there's one thing I cannot do mentally, it's handle anything more than two 'ifs.' In chess, you must consider hundreds of possibilities, it's all conditional, and I resent that. That is not the method of cognition; reality doesn't demand that kind of thinking. In cognition, if you define the problem clearly, you really have only one alternative: 'It is so' or 'It is not so.' There is not a long line of 'ifs' -- and if your opponent does this, you will do that. I can't function that way, for all the reasons that make me a good theoretical thinker: it's a different epistemological base.
Rand was not one who thought in 'conditionals' -- as she says, for her the accurate definition of a probem is the key to its solution. How unfashionable. As Don at Noodle Food muses, Rand's reasoning parallel his own "total disdain for game theory and much of modern economics (I'm speaking of the economics that tries to analyze all individual decisions in terms of cost/benefit analyses). Such theories do not refer to anything in reality. Take the classical prisoner's dilemma... In every analysis I've ever read, one question is never even considered..."

Read on here to find out just what that question is.

Saturday, 29 October 2005

Random Quotes

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
--Dante

"We are reluctant to admit that we owe our liberties to men of a type that today we hate and fear -- unruly men, disturbers of the peace, men who resent and denounce what [Walt] Whitman called 'the insolence of elected persons' -- in a word, free men."
-- Gerald W. Johnson

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
-- Edmund Burke

"Those who 'abjure' violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf."
-- George Orwell. Oft quoted as: "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm them."

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear."
--Mark Twain

"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
--Frederick Douglass

"We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents."
--Mark Twain

"Ugliness corrupts not only the eyes, but also the heart and mind."
--Henry Van der Velde

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."
--Oscar Wilde

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak."
--Robert Heinlein

"High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people."
--Oscar Wilde

"First God created idiots, this was for practice. Then He made School Boards."
--Mark Twain

"The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them."
--Mark Twain

"The rule is perfect; in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane."
--Mark Twain

"Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform."
--Mark Twain

"There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry."
--Mark Twain

"Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault."
--Oscar Wilde

Maths Tests for UK Schools, both state & private

A: MATHS TEST FOR STATE SCHOOLS

Name _____________________________
Nickname__________________________
Gang Name_________________________

1. Simon has 0.5 kilos of cocaine. If he sells an 8 ball to Matt for 300 quid and 90 grams to Ollie for 90 quid, what is the street value of the rest of his hold?

2. Damon pimps 3 bitches. If the price is £40 a ride, how many jobs per day must each bitch perform to support Damon's £500 a day coke habit?

3. Crackhead wants to cut the kilo of cocaine he bought for 7,000 quid to make a 20% profit. How many grams of Strychnine will he need?

4. Trev got 6 years for murder. He also got £350,000 for the hit. If his common law wife spends £33,100 per month, how much money will be left when he gets out? How much more time will Trev get for killing the slapper that spent his money?

5. If an average can of spray paint covers 22 square metres and the average letter is 1 square metre, how many letters can be sprayed with eight fluid ounce cans of spray paint with 20% extra paint free ?

6. Liam steals Jordan's skateboard. As Liam skates away at a speed of 35mph, Jordan loads his brother's Armalite. If it takes Jordan 20 seconds to load the gun, how far will Liam have travelled when he gets whacked?


B: MATHS TEST FOR 'PUBLIC' (IE., PRIVATE) SCHOOLS

Name________________________________
_____________________________________
_____________________________________
_____________________________________
_____________________________________
(If necessary please continue on a separate sheet)
Prep School _______________________________________________
Daddy's/Mummy's Company ____________________________

1. Harry smashes up the old man's car, causing x amount of damage and killing 3 people. The old man asks his local Chief Constable to intervene in the court system, then forges his insurance claim and receives a payment of y. The difference between x and y is three times the life insurance settlement for the three dead people. What kind of car is Harry driving now?

2. Fiona's personal shopper decides to substitute generic and own-brand products for the designer goods favoured by her employer. In the course of a month she saves the price of a return ticket to Fiji and Fiona doesn't even notice the difference. Is she thick or what?

3. Tristram fancies the arse off a certain number of debutantes, but he only has enough Rohypnol left to render 33.3% unconscious. If he has 14 tablets of Rohypnol, how is he ever going to shag the other two thirds?

4. If Verity throws up 4 times a day for a week she can fit into a size 8 Versace. If she only throws up 3 times a day for two weeks, she has to make do with a size 10 Dolce and Gabbana. How much does liposuction cost?

5. Henry is unsure about his sexuality. Three days a week he fancies women. On the other days he fancies men, ducks and vacuum cleaners. However he only has access to the Hoover every third week. When will he stand for parliament?

Friday, 28 October 2005

Capitalism is colour-blind

Thomas Sowell shares a 'non-mainstream' view on the death of Rosa Parks. (Who'd have thought it.) Sowell points out that the racially-segregated seating she won deserved fame for opposing barely existed in the American South until municipal transit systems operated by the state replaced privately-owned transit systems:
Many, if not most, municipal transit systems were privately owned in the 19th century and the private owners of these systems had no incentive to segregate the races.

These owners may have been racists themselves but they were in business to make a profit -- and you don't make a profit by alienating a lot of your customers. There was not enough market demand for Jim Crow seating on municipal transit to bring it about.

It was politics that segregated the races because the incentives of the political process are different from the incentives of the economic process. Both blacks and whites spent money to ride the buses but, after the disenfranchisement of black voters in the late 19th and early 20th century, only whites counted in the political process.

The lesson: Capitalism is colour-blind; governments aren't. As Owen McShane commented, this is "the history we seldom hear."

[UPDATE: Article link added: Rosa Parks: Pursuit of Profit vs. Racism. (Sorry to those who were looking for it earlier.)]

Adding to my Blogroll

I'm just adding two new sites to my BlogRoll, Keith Windschuttle's SydneyLine -- like Denis Dutton's Arts & Letters Daily although nowhere near as prolific with it, but still with some great links -- and Lib on the United Kingdom, another pommy libertarian. [Hat tip Julian]

Supporting unemployment for women

With the exception of the economically illiterate and the Greens (but of course I repeat myself) most people these days accept that minimum wage laws make no economic sense: to the extent that they raise wages for low-paid workers beyond what employers can otherwise afford to pay, they also raise unemployment for low-paid workers. Not much good for low-paid workers, then. Linda Gorman provides chapter, verse and history on the topic in the Concise Encycopedia of Economics...
Unfortunately, neither laudable intentions nor widespread support can alter one simple fact: although minimum wage laws can set wages, they cannot guarantee jobs. In reality, minimum wage laws place additional obstacles in the path of the most unskilled workers who are struggling to reach the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.
So much, so straightforward: Minimum wage laws cause unemployment.

But here's an interesting thing. While liberals these days support minimum wage laws despite the fact they cause unemployment, Marginal Revolution points out that at the turn of last century 'progressives' supported them for precisely the opposite reason: because they do. These progressives wanted their women 'kept where they belong' -- at home -- and the unemployment caused by minimum wage laws was one tool to achieve that.
Unlike today's progressives, the originals understood that minimum wages for women would put women out of work - that was the point and the more unemployment of women the better!

Much more on the secret history of the minimum wage in Tim Leonard's paper, Protecting Family and Race: The Progressive Case for Regulating Women's Work.
[Hat tip Stephen Hicks once again]

Victa Horta -- Horta House

Victor Horta designed this Brussels house for himself in 1893, and with its design he invented Art Nouveau.

His intention was to use the new materials of steel and glass to begin to liberate architecture from the past. 

His treatment of the traditional European house form is still just pure delight. A film exists that "describes the development of the Art Nouveau movement in Brussels, Vienna and Germany and introduces the viewer to fascinating personalities - Horta, Hoffmann, Van de Velde, Ohlbrich, Mahler, Klimt and Schiele."

You can download all 65MB of it here, if you're keen, like I am. :-)

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Thursday, 27 October 2005

PC, & 'The Great Postmodern Essay Generator'

Seen this? The postmodern essay generator -- ideal for embattled students who can now generate gibberish at the push of a button. Try generating one for yourself and just revel in the nonsense. [Hat tip here to Keith Windschuttle, the author of The Killing of History, and proprietor of TheSydneyLine website, both highly recommended. Hat tip also to Stephen Hicks, who recommended Windschuttle's lectures and essays on postmodernism. Both Hicks's book and Windschuttle's work provide invaluable real help for embattled students caught in the ibid thickets of postmodernism.]

And given the talk about "eradicating political incorrectness" around the traps today, Windschuttle's links to Jim Ball's list: antidotes for political correctness and reading lists for every young woman might come in very useful (you might compare the suggested lists with my own suggested reading list for a young man). Hicks's own book, Explaining Postmodernism, might also prove useful, particularly as it points out so well the connection between postmodernism and PC. As I argued at 'Blog Central' when this subject came up before once before:
Political correctness is not just harmless stupidity; it is the imposition of pre-digested opinions, usually by those in some position of power. It is the replacing of thought with rote.

Author Stephen Hicks argues that political-correctness comes from post-modernism, and is simply post-modern relativism applied to speech and personal beahavious.

In his book 'Explaining Post Modernism,' which I highly recommend - especially to students - Hicks contrasts the Enlightenment view of the world with its nemesis, the post-modern politically-correct position that seeks to overturn Enlightenment values:

"The contemporary Enlightenment world prides itself on its commitment to equality and justice, its open-mindedness, its making opportunity available to all, and its achievements in science and technology. The Enlightenment world is proud, confident, and knows it is the wave of the future.

"This is unbearable to someone who is totally invested in an opposed and failed outlook. That pride is what such a person wants to destroy. The best target to attack is the Enlightenment’s sense of its own moral worth. Attack it as sexist and racist, intolerably dogmatic, and cruelly exploitative. Undermine its confidence in its reason, its science and technology. The words do not even have to be true or consistent to do the necessary damage.

"And like Iago, postmodernism does not have to get the girl in the end. Destroying Othello is enough."

Does any of that sound familiar?
Do you think 'Political Correctness Eradicator' Wayne Mapp knows what the hell I'm on about? (Do you, dear reader?) Given what Mapp said in his speech about the subject that got him his new job job, probably not, as Rodney explains.