Thursday, December 25, 2014

hope everyone had a good Christmas

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. And I hope you made the most of it, while it's still legal to celebrate Christmas. Here's an image to remind us of how Christmas used to be.

Joseph Clark (1834-1926), A Christmas Dole

Sunday, December 14, 2014

politically incorrect movies - The Green Berets (1968)

The Green Berets, released in 1968, is one of those movies that had liberals frothing at the mouth back in the 60s. Co-produced and co-directed by John Wayne (who also starred) it dared to be a Vietnam War movie that didn't take the standard knee-jerk liberal anti-war line. It upset liberals even more by being a major box-office hit. And it's a pretty good movie.

It's also worth pointing out that it's more realistic than most of the later anti-Vietnam War movies.

Here's the link to my full review of The Green Berets.

Monday, November 24, 2014

politically incorrect writers - Sydney Horler

Sydney Horler (1888-1954) belonged to the breed of thriller writers that Alan Bennett described as the “snobbery with violence” school. The type of thriller writer that upsets sensitive leftists (poor darlings). Horler compounded the offence by being extremely popular, and nothing enrages leftists more than non-PC authors who sell books by the truckload.

Tiger Standish was Horler’s most popular hero, featuring in a series of novels in the 1930s. The first book in the series, titled simply Tiger Standish, appeared in 1932. Here's the link to my review of this book.

Horler wrote no less than 157 novels. He not only wrote politically incorrect books, he was also a social conservative and (perhaps his most heinous offence of all) a Christian.

Tiger Standish could be considered to be the poor man’s Bulldog Drummond, and he’s even more politically incorrect than Drummond. While I wouldn’t claim that Horler’s thrillers  were in the same league as the Bulldog Drummond books (to be honest he’s not even close) there’s still a certain amount of enjoyment to be derived from them. He definitely belongs in the guilty pleasure category.

Friday, November 21, 2014

politically incorrect movies - Death Wish

Movies don't come much more politically incorrect than Michael Winner's 1974 vigilante flick Death Wish. You won't find any sympathy for criminals in this movie. And you won't find any nonsense about crime being caused by poverty or by the wickedness of capitalism. The movie's prescription for dealing with crime may be a little extreme but its real crime (in the eyes of liberals) is that it suggests that extreme solutions might actually work, and that they might prove to be the only solutions that do work.

Death Wish is the story of a self-confessed bleeding heart liberal who comes face to face with the reality of crime. He doesn't remain a bleeding heart liberal for very long when that happens. Like most liberals he wasn't worried by violent crime when it happened to other people, and to other people's families. When it happens to him it's a whole different story.

Death Wish ignited a firestorm of controversy when it was released in 1974. Not surprisingly critics hated it and audiences loved it.

I have more to say about this important movie on my film blog. Here's the link to my review.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

politically incorrect writers - Mickey Spillane

I just can’t get enough of politically incorrect writers, and Mickey Spillane (1918-2006) was about as politically incorrect as a writer could possibly be. If you really want to upset a liberal buy them an omnibus edition of Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels. Mike Hammer really was the ultimate tough guy private eye.

Spillane pushes liberals’ buttons for all sorts of reasons but undoubtedly his biggest crime in their eyes was his success. It’s hard to argue with a guy who sold 225 million books.

Mike Hammer approaches crime in a manner that liberals will find extremely confusing. He doesn’t think society is responsible for crime; he thinks criminals are responsible for crime.

Spillane burst onto the literary scene in spectacular fashion 1947 with his debut novel I, the Jury. He became the first writer of private eye novels to top the New York Times bestseller list.

I’ve reviewed four of the twelve Mike Hammer novels on my Vintage Pop Fictions blog - I, the Jury, My Gun is Quick (published in 1950), Vengeance Is Mine! (also 1950) and Kiss Me, Deadly (which appeared in 1952). 

Spillane did some acting as well and in the The Girl Hunters (1963) he plays the role of Mike Hammer himself.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Crimea: The Great Crimean War 1854-56

Trevor Royle’s Crimea: The Great Crimean War 1854-56, published in 1999, is an exhaustive and fascinating study of one of the most controversial conflicts of the 19th century, a conflict that has considerable relevance on our own era.

In the early 19th century the Ottoman Empire controlled a considerable slice of eastern Europe but the empire which had once seemed likely to dominate the entire continent (they went very close to capturing Vienna in 1683) was now clearly in decline and had become known as the Sick Man of Europe. The problem was what to do if the Sick Man actually died. A further problem was that the British at least suspected that the Russians might be planning to hasten his demise. British policy was to maintain the Ottoman Empire at all costs. It was obvious that if it collapsed Russia would strengthen its position in eastern Europe and central Asia, and perhaps strengthen its position just a little too much. As always the British feared for India. And if Russia gained control of the whole of the Black Sea she would have unrestricted access to the Mediterranean.

In the early 1850s a dispute between Orthodox Christians and Catholics over control of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem gave the Tsar Nicholas I his opportunity, and brought Russia and France into collision. The Ottomans declared war on Russia and the subsequent Russian naval victory at Sinope left Russia effectively dominating the Black Sea. Britain and France then declared war on the Russians, a move that eventually led to the landing of an Anglo-French invasion force in the Crimea.

The Crimean War is widely regarded as a classic example of a futile and unnecessary war. That’s perhaps not entirely accurate. The Tsar did have a sincere interest in the rights of Orthodox Christians within the Ottoman Empire and the British did have legitimate reasons for fearing an imminent Ottoman collapse and for fearing the consequences that were likely to follow. The so-called “Eastern Question” bedeviled European politics for a century and provided the spark that ignited the First World War. The echoes continued for another century, the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia in the late 20th century being a result of the failure to solve the question satisfactorily. There were real issues at stake. Whether it was wise for the British and French to become directly involved was another matter. The French Emperor Napoleon III wanted to restore France to the dominant position she had held in Europe prior to the defeat of his uncle and namesake in 1815 and saw the war as a means of achieving this. The British government was to a large extent stampeded into war by the hysteria of the British press.

The Crimean War ended in defeat for Russia but it proved to be far more expensive in money and lives than had been anticipated and the final result was not entirely satisfactory from Britain’s point of view. The campaign in the Crimea exposed disastrous faults in the organisation of the British Army’s supply and medical services and those faults cost the lives of many more British soldiers from disease than from the actual fighting.

The dangers of being drawn into eastern European wars was a lesson that European statesmen had to learn again in 1914, and it seem that the lesson may have to be learnt yet again in our own day. Of even greater relevance today are the astonishing parallels between the demonisation of Nicholas I in the British press in the early 1850s and the demonisation of Vladimir Putin by an equally irresponsible and hysterical media. 

Royle gives a very fair account of the war, recognising the extreme difficulties faced by Lord Raglan as British commander in the Crimea, and refusing to demonise any of the main actors in the drama. The only real villains are the British press. Royle’s book can be warmly recommended.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Could even Labour be worse than David Cameron?

With "conservative" Prime Minister David Cameron planning sweeping crackdowns on what's left of freedom of speech in Britain it's surely time to ask - can even Labour be worse than this? The argument  that even a lousy Conservative government is better than having a Labour government is now looking rather threadbare. Trying to scare potential UKIP voters by telling them that they may be helping Labour gain office now seems beside the point. The only possible hope for Britain is for the Cameron Conservatives to be utterly smashed. Then it may be possible to build an actual conservative party out of the ruins.

I've been saying for some time that traitorous so-called conservatives like Cameron are more dangerous than avowed leftists. This would seem to prove my point. In David Cameron's Britain this is what the Justice and Security Act means - " It prevents those accused by the government from seeing the evidence against them, or the witness testimony against them. The individual concerned would also be unable to submit evidence – or even enter the courtroom, if it is deemed to be in the court’s interests. In fact, the court will not even have to inform the person concerned of why they have been taken to court, or even that a trial is taking place. It could mean that the first a person hears of a case against them, is when the police turn up to take them to jail to begin their sentence."

1984 has well and truly arrived.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rotherham, Islam and the decay of western civilisation

Peter Frost in his recent post at UNZ Review has some interesting things to say about the Rotherham scandal. I disagree with much of what he says but he does make some valid and pertinent points. 

It’s obviously crystal clear that the main problems are the catastrophic policies of multi-culturalism and mass Third World immigration but I think Frost is right in believing that there are other things going on here as well. It does seem as if many immigrants (especially Muslim immigrants)  are assimilating, but in dangerously wrong ways - that they are adopting the very worst aspects of our own rapidly collapsing civilisation while at the same time maintaining the very worst features of their own cultures. They are embracing the mindless hedonism, the obsession with sex, the nihilism, the victimology and the identity politics. From their own cultures they are maintaining the contempt for outsiders.

They are also taking advantage of the disintegration of the family unit in western culture, which has led to so many teenage girls becoming virtually victims waiting to be happen. 

These immigrants are also taking advantage of their knowledge that the police (especially in the UK but also to a large extent across the western world) are always going to take the side of non-whites against whites. The few fathers of victimised white girls who tried to get something done about the problem found themselves being arrested. 

The net result of all this is that for the mainly Pakistani grooming gangs their horrendous activities were made ridiculously easy, and almost risk-free.

Frost also makes the point that other non-white groups apart from Muslims are over-represented in these kinds of crimes. 

Islam and immigration are certainly major parts of the problem but unless we can address the serious failures of our own civilisation we can expect many more Rotherhams.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Scotland - the end of a dream

So Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom. While the SNP will undoubtedly make brave noises about continuing the fight the reality is that the dream of Scottish independence was never much more than that - a dream.

It could be objected that other European countries with comparable populations, like Norway and Denmark, manage to be independent nations. But how independent are they? They remain independent for precisely as long as their more powerful neighbours choose to allow them to do so. What happened in 1940 when Germany decided that Norwegian and Danish neutrality was no longer in Germany’s interests? Denmark resisted invasion for six hours. Six hours. Norway put up a tougher fight but in that case the Germans, with negligible sea power, had to invade by sea. Norway lasted 62 days.

The lesson is that independence for very small countries is largely an illusion. If you lack the capacity to defend yourself independence will always be an illusion. An independent Scotland would be entirely reliant on the UK for its defence. 

When you are economically dependent as well then independence is even more of an illusion. The reality is that an independent Scotland would be ruled from Brussels rather than London.

Part of me is sad that Scotland will never again be a sovereign nation but living a dream can be a dangerous thing. I’m more sad that the United Kingdom itself is no longer a free nation but merely a province of the EU empire. A United Kingdom free of the chains of the EU would offer Scotland a great deal more freedom than a make-believe Scotland subservient to Brussels.

A referendum on British independence from the EU would be a great deal more meaingful than Alex Salmond’s pipe-dreams.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

anti-immigration Sweden Democrats make huge gains in Swedish election

The Swedish election has been almost all good news. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats made huge gains, more than doubling their vote and their representation in parliament. The rabid loony Feminist Initiative party failed to gain a single seat. The Greens lost ground.

If even the Sweden, the European country which has been most determined to embrace self-destruction, is starting to come to its senses there may be hope for all of us.

And the gains made by the Sweden Democrats were in spite of desperate efforts by the other parties and by the Swedish media to discredit them and to try to bully Swedes into not voting for them.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

politically incorrect books - Bulldog Drummond (1920)

Books don't come much more politically incorrect than the Bulldog Drummond novels of H. C. McNeile (published under the pen-name Sapper). The first in the series was Bulldog Drummond, published in 1920. Apart from being politically incorrect these books are enormous fun. My review of Bulldog Drummond can be found on my book blog here.

Things get even more politically incorrect with the second book, The Black Gang.

The first four Bulldog Drummond novels from the Carl Petersen tetralogy which I recommend in its entirety.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Obama and the Ukraine - not stupidity and cowardice but cunning

A lot of conservatives seem to view Obama’s Ukraine policy as another example of the man’s stupidity and cravenness. In fact I’m inclined to think the whole crisis has played out exactly as Obama hoped it would.

America’s Middle east policy is now a smoking pile of rubble decorated with severed heads. What Obama desperately needed was a diversion elsewhere to stop people from examining that smoking pile of rubble too closely. The Ukraine crisis was made to order. The best thing about it is that 99 percent of the American population haven’t the foggiest notion of what the crisis is actually about. Even people with an extensive knowledge of the history of the region have trouble untangling all the nuances. Which means that the American people will believe whatever their media tells them. It’s the kind of crisis politicians love because they can’t lose, because even if they do lose they can pretend they won and no-one will be any the wiser.  

When Obama’s Ukraine policy turns out to be a lot of hot air his Administration will simply announce it as a foreign policy triumph. The media will cheer - Obama the Great Peacemaker has averted war. There will be demands for him to be given yet another Novel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee will almost certainly oblige. The godawful mess in the Middle East will be pushed off the front pages, for a while at least.

This is not an example of stupidity and weakness. It’s an example of political cynicism and rat cunning of the highest order.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

towards a minimalist foreign policy

There’s an interesting post at the Upon Hope blog on the differences between traditional conservatism and paleo-conservatism, making the case that the chief difference is the approach to foreign policy, with paleo-conservatives favouring isolationism and traditional conservatives favouring an interventionist foreign policy.

Mostly I agree with the points made in this post. I agree that a do-nothing foreign policy is impractical. Where we possibly differ is in the nature of interventions that should be pursued. My own view is that the wisest course to follow is one of minimalist intervention. The objective should be to remove the immediate threat and then get out.

As an example, in 2003 I think the wise policy would have been to invade Iraq, destroy and weapons of mass destruction that were found, destroy Iraq’s capability to produce such weapons in future, give the Iraqi military the mother of all bloody noses, and then withdraw. I do not believe the objective should have been to change Iraq’s government. I believe Saddam Hussein should have been left in power.

This does not mean that I was a fan of Saddam Hussein. I simply believe that regime changes forced upon a country by outside intervention will generally not work. The result is likely to be massive instability and that instability is likely to result, in the fullness of time, in an even worse regime.

I do not believe it is possible for the West to impose “freedom” and “democracy” on other countries by force. If a country does not have the traditions that underpin democracy then it is unlikely to survive. Even more importantly if the basic cultural beliefs and structures that are necessary to democracy do not exist then democracy is very unlikely to survive. Most of the Islamic world does not have these traditions and cultural beliefs. To put it simply, these countries do not want democracy. They see democracy as a mortal threat to their culture, and they see democracy as being responsible for what they perceive to be the wickedness of the West.

In such circumstances it is better not to destroy an existing stable government, even if that government is by western standards an extremely unpleasant government. It is not only possible but probable that you will end up with a worse situation. By installing a weak democratic government you are providing a golden opportunity for radical Islamists to seize power.

Democracy will not work in situations where most of the population is hostile to the very idea of western institutions. 

There is another reason why exporting democracy is a bad idea. Democracy in South Africa was only achieved as a result of meddling by outside powers. The results have been catastrophic. Democracy can only work when the population is culturally and ethnically homogenous. When a nation is divided on racial lines the inevitable result is voting on racial lines. This means that minorities are rendered powerless and defenceless. Such is now the plight of the whites on South Africa, subject to slow genocide by a supposedly democratically elected government. 
The results in Zimbabwe, once again as a result of international meddling, have been even worse. As former Rhodesian leader Ian Smith pointed out years ago, democracy in Africa means one man, one vote, one time. The inescapable end result will be a one-party state.

I am certainly no pacifist, nor do I believe in isolationism. I do believe there are occasions when military action is desirable or even necessary. A weak foreign policy will always be disastrous. What is needed is a strong foreign policy that demonstrates our unwillingness to allow other states to threaten our vital interests. I do however believe that such a strong foreign policy should not be motivated by well-meaning delusions that western-style democratic institutions can be exported to the Third World.

Monday, August 18, 2014

homosexuality and choice

Liberals seem to be fond of the idea that just about everything is a social construct. They seem to be especially keen to view gender and race as social constructs. In the case of gender they have gone beyond the social construct idea and now view gender as something you can pick and choose at will.

Oddly enough they seem to be extraordinarily reluctant to view homosexuality as a social construct, and even more reluctant to view it as a choice.

This seems rather odd. While the whole concept of social constructs is largely nonsense it is, to many people, very attractive nonsense. It implies the possibility of freedom. So if it is seen as a positive thing that people can go shopping for the gender that most appeals to them then why do they not view sexuality the same way? Why do they cling to the notion that where homosexuality is concerned it is a biological given that cannot be altered?

My own personal experience suggests that homosexuality very often is a choice. Certainly there’s little doubt that lesbianism is a choice. I have personally known four lesbians who abandoned their initial choice of lesbianism and chose to become heterosexual. That is anecdotal evidence to be sure, but it is four separate anecdotes, and it has been noted that the plural of anecdote is data.

Homosexuality seems to be a much better fit for both the social construct and choice explanations than race or gender. Race is fairly obviously a reality. Gender on the other hand is an imaginary concept to begin with. Gender is a grammatical term. Words have gender. People come in two sexes, male and female, although you will have a very difficult job to convince liberals of such an obvious biological fact. Gender as applied to people is essentially meaningless. 

Homosexuality on the other hand seems highly likely to be at least partly a choice. A choice based to a considerable degree on peer pressure, social pressure, an immature desire to shock and fashion. You can’t change your race, your ethnicity or your sex but you can certainly choose to be homosexuality. I am not suggesting that is always the case but I suspect that in a substantial number of cases it is a choice.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

time to give apartheid a second chance?

In the wake of the events in Ferguson Fred Reed argues for a new approach. In fact he seems to be arguing that we need to give apartheid a second chance. It might not only be the only hope for white civilisation but also the only hope for black culture, or for other "minority" cultures.

He may well be right. And in fact apartheid is simply multiculturalism taken to its logical conclusion.

Of course this would mean the inevitable destruction (or at least fragmentation) of any nation that tried it, but it might be a way to salvage something from the wreck.

It's certainly obvious that our current approach, based entirely on wishful thinking, is never going to work.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why I am not a Christian

I believe that the decline of Christianity has been a major factor in the decline of western civilisation. The nihilistic atheism that now dominates our culture fills me with sorrow. But I cannot be a Christian. This announcement by the Catholic League that they are quite happy with seeing Jesus being portrayed as a character who curses, smokes pot, drinks, hits on women and acts as the getaway driver for a drug deal.

There is something not only deeply unhealthy but actively nauseating about a religion that indulges in that amount of self-hatred and groveling to the forces that are openly attacking their faith.

This remark by Pope Francis on why gays are A-OK is another reason.

The worst enemies of Christianity are the leaders of the Christian churches. It is impossible to respect that kind of sniveling cowardice.

Christianity has become the ultimate loser religion. To some extent this kind of weakness has always been inherent in Christianity - an excessive desire to identify with the dregs of society, a tendency to wallow in guilt. In the past these weaknesses seem to have been counter-balanced by other factors that created a certain self-confidence. Self-confidence is now a quality entirely lacking in Christianity.

A society without religion will inevitably collapse into mindless hedonism, moral relativism and nihilism. But what do we do when we have a religion that encourages those very evils?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Abbott's cowardly and groveling backdown

The Abbott government's cowardly and groveling backdown on their promise to repeal the obnoxious Section 18c makes it clear that neither Tony Abbott nor his government can be trusted. Any conservative who believes that a vote for Abbott is a vote for conservative principles is living in a dream world. This is a government with no principles at all. And not the slightest trace of a backbone.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

time to take the razor to the arts

In the 2014 Budget the Abbott federal government made some small cuts to arts funding. The Australia Council budget of $222 million annually was cut by around $10 million. While it’s pleasing to see cuts being made this really is a pathetically timid and inadequate beginning.

The issue the government needs to address is whether the government should have any role at all in the arts. State-subsidised “art” is almost always dire and more often than not the results are not art at all but political propaganda. This might have seemed like a great idea in the heyday of the Soviet Union but it is hardly appropriate in a free society.

State subsidies to the arts have the effect of enforcing political correctness in the arts. Any writer, artist or film-maker hoping for a government grant knows that even the smallest trace of political correctness, even the faintest hint of independent thought, will be enough to ensure that they miss out on a grant. The arts cannot possibly flourish in such a Soviet-style system. 

The reality is that a great many people who currently describe themselves as artists or writers are merely deluding themselves. If you cannot make a living from your art that probably means your art isn’t any good. If no-one wants to buy your art then the obvious conclusion is that you should start looking for another job. You should not expect the taxpayer to support you in luxury for the rest of your life. We also need to ask ourselves how many artists and writers we actually need. If a large proportion of these people can’t support themselves from their art then it is likely that the art and literary markets are suffering from a serious over-supply of artists and writers.

Government subsidies for the arts are nothing more than welfare payments to a self-appointed elite of spoilt parasites. It’s time the arts gravy train was cancelled.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

fighting the mass media addiction

In Addicted to Distraction Bruce Charlton argues that “the mass media is evil - indeed in modernity it is the very source and focus of evil.” He believes that the only way to deal with mass media is to avoid it, and that “the most dangerous delusion is that you personally can filter the Mass Media, decode and see through its biases, selections and lies to discern the truth of the situation.”

He tells us that overcoming this addiction will be unpleasant in the short term but that the long-term rewards make the effort worthwhile.

I have myself tried, reasonably successfully, to break my addiction to the mass media. I do not watch any contemporary television. I do not watch any movies made within the past thirty years, and very few made within the past fifty years. I do not read contemporary fiction. I avoid newspapers. I cannot say that I have broken the addiction entirely but I think I can say that I have gone a long way towards doing so. And it is worth doing. 

I have to admit that my own cure has been a partial one. The difficulty with going cold turkey on mass media is to find a substitute. I’m not the sort of person who enjoys gardening or going for long walks. I’m the sort of person who avoids exercise like the plague. I have no interest in sports or games. My own solution is to immerse myself in the past. 

I still watch television; I just don’t watch the television of today. I still watch movies but the movies I watch are generally movies made seventy or eight years ago. I read novels, but I confine myself to novels written prior to the Second World War. I do not lack for entertainment. In fact I find myself facing an embarrassment of riches. Not only do I still get entertainment - the entertainment provided by the popular culture of the past is infinitely superior to that provided by the dreck that constitutes modern popular culture.

I’m not sure that Bruce Charlton would regard me as cured. He might well think that my cure is a bit of a cheat. I still consume popular culture even if I limit myself to the popular culture of the past. I have to admit that my approach is something of a compromise but then life is very often a matter of accepting compromises. 

My own view is that the mass media is certainly toxic, and that it becomes more toxic with each passing year. By confining my exposure to popular culture to the popular culture of the past I at least avoid the more virulent strains. There is still a good deal of propaganda in the movies and television of the past but opposing viewpoints do occasionally get a hearing. The propaganda is less strident, and not so remorseless. It is easier to avoid the more extreme propaganda. In the past there was still room for dissenting voices.

Avoiding mass media altogether is unquestionably a desirable goal. Those unready to take such a drastic step might find that my approach has something to recommend it. 

I have found that the more I focus on the past the more rewarding it becomes. My enthusiasm for the books, movies and television of the past has led me to create several blogs devoted to these subjects - Vintage Pop Fictions (devoted to pre-1960 genre fiction),  Classic Movie Ramblings (dealing with the movies of the past) and Cult TV Lounge (television of the 50s, 60s and 70s).

My main motivation in starting these blogs was that almost every existing blog and website I’d found devoted to these subjects had a leftist bias. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

the liberal jihad

It is only when you understand that modern liberalism is not a political ideology but a religion that you can comprehend the liberal attitude towards dissent. To modern liberals, dissent is not dissent. It is heresy. It is sin. To disagree with liberal dogma is evil.

This also explains why modern liberals want to control every aspect of our lives. They live in constant fear of falling into sin. The only way to avoid sin is by constant vigilance. And sin is regarded as an infectious disease. If one person is allowed to maintain a sinful viewpoint or to live a sinful life is a threat to the entire Church of Liberalism. It is not enough for heretics to be marginalised and harassed - heresy must be utterly exterminated. The suppression of heresy is a religious duty. When liberals seek to destroy freedom of speech, when they seek to destroy academic freedom, when they force dissenters to conform to liberal orthodoxy, they are acting out of a sense of religious obligation. To show tolerance or mercy would be to betray their religious faith.

If liberalism were really a political ideology liberals would not be concerned by the existence of dissent. As long as a political party or movement can command the majority vote the existence of a dissenting minority is an irrelevance. But that’s not how liberals see it. Any dissenting minority must be extirpated or forced into conformity. The survival of even one heretic is an affront to religious truth. Every single heretic must be forced to recant.

Liberalism as religion also explains the attitude of one of the leading liberal sects, environmentalism, towards science. They tell us that as far as global warming is concerned the science is settled. The notion that science can ever be settled is a fundamentally unscientific and anti-scientific notion. It is a religious notion. There is no need to look for scientific evidence. Global warming is a revealed truth. It cannot be questioned. It is not subject to doubt. All that is required is faith. And religious discipline.

Liberalism today is more like a jihad than a political ideology. It is a war on unbelievers.

liberalism and intolerance

From Damon Linker's article How liberalism became an intolerant dogma: "What makes libertarianism a dogma is the inability or unwillingness of those who espouse it to accept that some people might choose, for morally legitimate reasons, to dissent from it. On a range of issues, liberals seem not only increasingly incapable of comprehending how or why someone would affirm a more traditional vision of the human good, but inclined to relegate dissenters to the category of moral monsters who deserve to be excommunicated from civilized life — and sometimes coerced into compliance by the government."

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dirty Harry revisited

Dirty Harry was one of the more controversial Hollywood movies of the 1970s, and four decades later it can still provoke very heated responses. What made it controversial was not so much the subject matter, or even the stance taken by the movie, but the fact that the movie was clearly intended to be deliberately provocative.

I hardly think it’s necessary to spend too much time on a plot synopsis. This is a movie that is well and truly, for better or worse, part of our cultural fabric. But for those who may somehow have contrived to miss this movie, here goes. Inspector Harry Callahan of the San Francisco Homicide Squad is no stranger to unpleasant cases but he is about to face a case that will take him to the edge. A serial killer who calls himself Scorpio, has demanded $100,000 or he will kill a random victim every day. There are no obvious leads and all the police can do is to increase surveillance - the killer favours shooting his victims from the rooftops of tall buildings so the police are trying to cover as many rooftops as they can and are putting considerable reliance on helicopter patrols.

These routine precautions are very nearly successful, but this killer seems to have uncanny luck in being able to slip away from neatly impossible situations. After almost being killed by the police Scorpio decides to up the ante. He kidnaps a 14-year-old girl and doubles his demand for money. Callahan gets the very unpleasant, and very dangerous, job of acting as the bagman when the City decides to pay over the money. Callahan and his partner are almost killed, Callahan is viciously beaten, but Harry gets his man. Or at least he thinks he’s got his man, until the DA informs him that he infringed the suspect’s civil rights and that Scorpio will walk free. Harry knows that this is not the end of the case, that guys like Scorpio go on killing because they enjoy it, and that sooner or later he will get his chance to nail the killer. The question is, will more innocent lives be lost because the DA allowed Scorpio to walk free?

Dirty Harry was greeted by howls of outrage from liberals in general and from liberal film critics in particular. What really fueled the outrage was that the movie was a very deliberate and calculated assault on certain cherished liberal beliefs. Harry Callahan does not see criminals as victims and if he has to choose between the rights of a suspect and the rights of a victim he has no hesitation in ignoring the rights of the suspect. He is quite unapologetic about it, and the movie is equally unapologetic about it. It’s important to note however that the movie doesn’t suggest that the rights of suspects should be ignored; it merely suggests that it’s a delicate balance and that the balance may have shifted too far. The movie also points out the unpalatable truth that the rights of suspects and the rights of victims of crime are in some cases absolutely irreconcilable. Whether you agree or disagree with the movie’s stance there’s no doubt that it’s an effective statement of that stance.

What gives the issue particular bite is the fact that the bad guy, Scorpio, is very much aware that the legal system is stacked in his favour. He knows how to play the system and he does so ruthlessly. He uses this to taunt the police.

Some critics at the time took their opposition to the movie to remarkably silly extremes. When people (as Pauline Kael did) start throwing the word fascist around it’s always a bad sign. 

I usually try to avoid becoming bogged down in overtly political interpretations of movies but in the case of Dirty Harry there’s really no way of dodging the issue. 

There’s also a sense in which Dirty Harry can be read as film noir. The Scorpio case will plunge Harry Callahan into a nightmare world in which he scarcely knows which way to turn. He is both physically and psychologically beaten to a pulp. He tries his best but he always seems to be too late to save anyone. Whether his descent into the noir nightmare world is the result of his own character flaws is something that can be debated. Maybe he could have handled some situations more effectively, but the fact is that any police officer faced with a case such as this one would come up against the same problem, a criminal who knows how to use the system. Harry becomes increasingly obsessed and perhaps his sanity is even threatened. Harry has never questioned his own moral code but now it seems that knowing what’s right isn’t enough. By the end of the movie he’s an embittered man, his faith in the system hopelessly shaken.

This is an exceptionally well-crafted and stylish movie. Don Siegel was a great action director and he is in top form. The first half hour of the movie takes place mostly in bright California sunshine but then it all starts to get very dark, with lots of night shooting with absolutely minimal lighting. 

This is the movie that made Clint Eastwood a true cultural icon. The role had been offered to various other actors, including Steve McQueen and Robert Mitchum. Frank Sinatra was actually signed to do it at one stage but had to back out. 

Mention must be made of Andy Robinson as the psycho killer - it remains one of the most disturbing performances of its type.

Dirty Harry has lost little of its edge. It can still push people’s buttons and it’s still a stylish and effective crime thriller. And it’s one of those movies you just have to have seen. Highly recommended.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

the never-ending spiral in energy prices

So we got a letter today informing us of yet another huge increase in electricity prices.

My prediction is that the Abbott Government will not win a second term unless it does something to halt the insane spiral in energy prices. A spiral driven entirely by the deluded apocalyptic fantasies of the green moonbats.

The disastrous Budget may have already doomed the Abbott Government, a budget that did nothing to address the real issues of insane government spending. The ABC is to be permitted to go on wasting $1.4 billion a year of taxpayers' money. Arts bludgers continue to live off the fat of the land on their arts grants. Money is still being wasted on environmental silliness.

If this proves to be a one-term government they will have nobody to blame but themselves.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

freedom of speech and dangerous ideas

Uthman Badar, a spokesman for Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, was to given a lecture at the Sydney Opera House as part of the so-called Festival of Dangerous Ideas. The subject of his lecture was to be "Honour killings are morally justified" - certainly a provocative enough title. After predictable howls of outrage the lecture has been cancelled

What depresses me about all this is that many conservatives are expressing delight that the lecture has been cancelled. None of those who reacted with outrage to the proposed lecture know precisely what arguments Mr Badar intended to use at his lecture. The furore that erupted had nothing to do with the lecture's content. The title was enough.

The problem with this is that we can't have it both ways. Conservative speakers are frequently silenced by the same methods used against Mr Badar - a campaign of hysteria in the media, and more particularly on social media. If we as conservatives truly believe in freedom of speech we have to be consistent, and we have to recognise the rights of people to express views that we may find extremely repugnant. That's what freedom of speech is all about. Freedom to express opinions that may offend, outrage, anger and provoke many people. You either believe in freedom of speech or you don't. If you do then you have to see the silencing of Mr Badar as yet another infringement on freedom of speech.

It's quite likely that, given the opportunity to hear his arguments, I would find myself disagreeing very strongly indeed with Mr Badar. No having been given the opportunity, I can't say for certain. No matter how strongly I might disagree with him I still believe he has the right to be heard.

It seems that freedom of speech is still the most dangerous idea of them all.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms

In A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World economic historian Gregory Clark confronts the key questions in economic history - why did the Industrial Revolution occur when and where it did and why has it not been replicated everywhere?

Clark argues that living standards remained substantially unchanged for 100,000 years after the appearance of anatomically modern humans. The birth of agriculture 10,000 years ago may actually have led to a decline in living standards. Until 1800 the entire world was held in the grip of what Clark calls a Malthusian Trap - every small improvement in technology merely had the effect of allowing population growth which immediately cancelled out the benefits, leaving living standards basically unchanged. 

All this suddenly changed in England around 1800. The pace of technological improvement suddenly accelerated to the point where escape from the Malthusian Trap was finally possible. Living standards increased rapidly, and have continued to increase. 

But not everywhere. The Industrial Revolution was replicated in many countries, but not others.

Economic historians have come up with many possible explanations of these events, but most of their theories fail to explain why, even when all the necessary pre-conditions for economic growth seem to be in place, some parts of the world stubbornly refuse to advance.

Clark has his own ingenious explanation for the Industrial Revolution in England. Based on  studies of wills Clark argues that the rich in England enjoyed much greater reproductive success than the poor. It is important to note that Clark is not arguing that the ruling class as a whole reproduced at a faster rate than the poor. The aristocracy, being the ones who did most of the fighting in wars during this period, enjoyed no greater reproductive success than the average. Those who did produce significantly more surviving children were the wealthy middle classes. Because of the Malthusian Trap the greater reproductive success of the rich led to downward social mobility for many of their offspring. In this way the genes of the rich middle classes slowly percolated their way downwards into the population as a whole.

And the rich middle classes were the ones who carried the genes most useful in starting an Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution came about by natural selection.

Even more interesting is Clark’s explanation for the perplexing fact that while many countries have achieved the same startling rates of economic growth that England enjoyed in the 19th century, many have not. Most curious of all is that many countries with very low wage rates have been unable to compete successfully in world markets even in industries in which such low wage rates should have offered them astronomical advantages. Clark suggests that the low wage rates in places like Africa and India were offset by the poor quality of the workforce. In the textile industry for example Indian factories typically employed eight workers to do jobs that were done quite successfully by a single worker in England, western Europe and North America.

The reason some countries are rich and others are poor is of course a subject of extreme political controversy. Clark was clearly aware that he was wandering into a political minefield and for this reason he has been very very cautious. At times perhaps too cautious. It is notable that not once does he address the most controversial consequence of natural selection - differences in intelligence. While he is prepared to argue that some countries have failed to advance because of their lower quality workforce he is reluctant to speculate on the ways in which their workforces may be deficient. 

The most important consequence of Clark’s argument is that there is very little that can be done to achieve economic takeoff in much of the Third World. No matter how much time, money and effort are expended in trying to create the right pre-conditions for growth the results are likely to be bitterly disappointing. If natural selection has not favoured some nations with the genes most suitable for economic success then those nations are likely to remain permanently backward.

The weakness of Clark’s argument is of course that not being a geneticist he is unable to offer hard evidence for most of his contentions. However, given that it is increasingly apparent as Nicholas Wade states in his book A Troublesome Inheritance that “human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional” then Clark’s argument that natural selection has played a vital role in economic history seems entirely plausible. It is to be hoped that geneticists will take up the challenge and start looking for the hard evidence.

A Farewell to Alms is an exciting and stimulating and very readable book that raises more questions than it answers, but it raises the right questions. Highly recommended.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

smarter, not stronger

Most conservatives seem to be convinced that the United States needs a stronger foreign policy. In fact what the current mess in Iraq demonstrates is that the US needs a smarter foreign policy. A more realistic foreign policy. One that is based on an acceptance that democracy is not a magical solution to Third World problems. 

Democracy does not work well in countries with significant religious and/or ethnic minorities. Iraq has a significant Sunni minority and a signifiant Kurdish minority. Holding such a country together requires an authoritarian government rather like the one Saddam Hussein used to lead. In the absence of such an authoritarian regime the best answer is usually partition. Democracy will almost inevitably lead to chaos and civil war. That such an outcome is now likely should surprise no-one.

The US needs to understand that stability is more crucial than democracy.

The US also needs to accept that well-meaning interference in complex situations like Iraq and the Ukraine is more likely to do harm than good. Smarter, not stronger, is the answer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Necessary wars, just wars and successful wars

War is a very unpleasant business but there are times when unpleasant things cannot be avoided. If a war has to be fought it is essential that it should be fought in such a way as to achieve something. The fact that there might be just cause is not enough. If the war fails in its objects it is sometimes the case that it would have been better not fought at all.

The Second World War is usually thought of as being the outstanding example of a just war. Perhaps it was, but what did it achieve? The ostensible cause was the German invasion of Poland. Britain and France declared war, presumably in order to save Poland. In fact Poland was invaded anyway and not only suffered six years of misery under the Nazis but a further four decades of misery under communist domination. If Britain and France went to war to save Poland it has to be said that this was a war that failed spectacularly to achieve its objective.

Of course it could be argued that the real aim was to stop German aggression and prevent the spread of totalitarianism. In fact the war ended with the whole of eastern Europe under the heel of totalitarianism, a situation that continued for more than forty years. The war cost sixty million lives. The subjugation of China to Maoist totalitarianism was an indirect result of the war and that subjugation added several tens of millions of additional dead. Hardly an impressive success.

If the war is regarded in terms of national self-interest the story is equally grim. The two powers that declared war in 1939, Britain and France, were as a direct consequence of the war reduced from the status of great powers to the status of third-rate powers.

The real question of course is whether not going to war would have led to worse consequences. Had Britain and France not declared war there’s no doubt that Germany and the Soviet Union would still have carved up Poland would there’s equally no doubt that Germany would eventually have gone to war with the Soviet Union. This had always been Hitler’s intention. And it was always going to be a hideously destructive conflict. The mass murders carried out by the Nazis would undoubtedly have occurred. But it is unlikely that the final death toll would have exceeded sixty million, and it might well have been considerably lower. The actual results of the war were so appalling that it is difficult to imagine how things could possibly have turned out worse.

While war with Russia was always Hitler’s intention, war with Britain and France was most certainly not his intention in 1939.

One also has to consider the possibility that while Britain and France might not have been able to avoid war an eventual war with Germany that war might have been better fought under much more favourable circumstances. The best time to have stopped Hitler would have been much earlier, in the early or mid-1930s. At that time German rearmament had only just begun on a serious scale and Germany could almost certainly have been crushed quickly and at a much lower cost. Even in 1938 when the crisis over Czechoslovakia first erupted it is likely that the war could have achieved its aims at a much lower overall cost. Czechoslovakia was a respectable mid-ranking military power with a well-equipped army and a large and modern armaments industry. British and French intervention might have had some chance of saving Czechoslovakia. In 1939 the chances of saving Poland were nil.

If you’re going to go to war it’s a very good idea to have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, and it’s an even better idea to have a clear notion as to whether such objectives really are achievable. In 1939 Britain and France had no such clarity of vision.

Even more importantly if you’re going to wage a war as part of an alliance it’s wise to be realistic about your allies. If their objectives are totally at variance with your own, as was obviously the case with the ill-advised alliance with the Soviet Union, you need to think very carefully about the extent to which it is wise to support that ally. Propping up the Soviet Union in 1941 was probably a good idea. Continuing to send aid once the danger of an imminent Soviet collapse was over was foolish and naïve. Giving Stalin the means to overrun eastern Europe was sheer stupidity. The Soviets overran eastern Europe with Sherman tanks and Studebaker trucks. Had Britain and the US limited their aid to Stalin eastern Europe might have been saved from decades of totalitarian misery. The British were particularly foolish in late 1941, sending Stalin the modern fighter aircraft that could have saved Singapore.

War is a horrible thing. It is even more horrible when it is waged for no useful purpose.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Magic, delusion, reality and the Left

Kevin Williamson makes some excellent points about magical thinking and pandering to delusions in this article about the trans madness.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Rudyard Kipling's Kim

Published in 1901, Kim is generally regarded as Kipling’s masterpiece and the novel was undoubtedly instrumental in gaining its author the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907. 

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) remains a controversial figure but even decades of political correctness have failed to put a serious dent in his literary reputation. Despite his stature as the pre-eminent imperialist writer he remains immensely popular in India.

Kim can be read as a tale of adventure but it is in fact a complex multi-layered novel. Kipling was a complex man and this is an ambitious novel.

The background to the novel is the Great Game, the struggle or power and influence in central Asia between the British and the Russians. While the British were obsessed by the supposed threat to India the Russians were probably more interested in Persia. the problem was that both powers saw control of Afghanistan as crucial. The struggle was conducted through a mixture of espionage, bluff and attempts to gain influence over the various native rulers.

Kim is caught between two worlds, in more ways than one. The son of an Irish soldier, he grew up on the streets of Lahore believing himself to be Indian. He not only thinks in Hindustani, he dreams in that language. When he discovers the true circumstances of his birth he adapts to being white without in any way rejecting his sense of being Indian. He is capable of thinking of himself as being wholly white and wholly Indian. He is also caught between the worlds of the flesh and the spirit. He becomes an adept at the Great Game, playing the game of political intrigue and espionage with great skill. At the same time he is a devoted disciple of his lama and is drawn to the pursuit of spiritual perfection and rejection of the world.

It is no accident that Kipling chooses to make his hero an espionage agent. It is a useful metaphor. A spy is after all someone with a dual existence, a dual personality.

The India of the Raj was itself caught between two worlds. Almost everything in this novel is concerned with themes of duality. Even Kim’s lama displays this quality. He seeks to reject the world but is drawn back to it by his affection for Kim.

Kipling sees no particular need to resolve these oppositions. The world of action is as valid as the world of the spirit. 

The novel can be seen as a tale of adventure, a coming-of-age story, a spiritual quest and a very affectionate portrait of India. Kipling was born in India and his love for the country was sincere and passionate. Anyone expecting that a novel by such a renowned enthusiast for imperialism can be dismissed as racist will be sorely perplexed by Kim. Kipling’s view of imperialism was much too complex and subtle to be dismissed so glibly. The hero remains, throughout his adventures, as much Indian as British. Kipling of course saw no conflict between the two.

Kipling’s answer to the various opposing dichotomies facing his characters seems to be to embrace such oppositions rather than to try to resolve them.

Most of the non-white characters in the novel see no particular conflict of identity. The Afghan Moslem Mahbub Ali and the Bengali Hurree Babu serve the British with courage and enthusiasm, not because they are traitors to the own nations but because they believe  they are serving the interests of both their own people and the British. Of course the possibility that Indians may have been strong supporters of British rule and may have been prepared to give their lives for it will not please modern readers brought up to believe in the Cult of Gandhi. The fact that the ethnic cleansing that followed the partition of India after independence cost a million lives illustrates the reasons so many Indians supported the Raj.

Kipling was not just a highly skilled but also an innovative and daring story-teller. Kim is a fascinatingly complex novel. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

the non-existent European far right

One of the more depressing things about the recent elections for the European parliament is the way the established parties and the media have once again been allowed to get away with characterising any dissent as a movie to the far right. That the established parties and the media have tried to paint parties such as UKIP and the Front National in France as parties of the far right is not surprising. It’s standard operating procedure. What is really depressing is that almost nobody is challenging them on an assertion that is simply an outrageous lie.

The Front National is a moderate party of the Centre-Left. It is at most very mildly socially conservative. It is not a party of the right at all, much less a far right party. In economic terms it is not even slightly conservative. It just happens to be a nationalist party.

UKIP is vaguer on economic issues but seems to be moderately centre-right with slight libertarian tendencies.

Even the Golden Dawn in Greece appears to be more of a radical socialist party than a party of the right.

Nationalism has absolutely zero to do with left and right. It is perfectly possible to be a leftist and a nationalist, and it is perfectly possible to be a conservative and an anti-nationalist. Immigration has, or at least should have, nothing whatever to do with political ideology. 

The hysteria about the entirely imaginary rise of the far right in Europe is merely an unscrupulous and dishonest strategy to discredit nationalism. Anyone who dares to question the dogma of multi-cultural and unlimited Third World immigration is immediately labelled as a fascist and a member of the far right. Rather ironic, given that fascism is essentially a leftist ideology. 

This is something that needs to be resisted. You do not need to be a political conservative to be concerned at the disastrous failure of multi-culturalism and the mortal threat that mass Third World immigration poses to our civilisation.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

a very unsurprising betrayal

It now seems highly likely that the Abbott Government in Australia will back down on its promise to restore free speech. Supporters of the government are reacting with shock and dismay. But why should anyone be surprised by this betrayal? The Liberal Party in Australia has long since ceased to be a genuine conservative party. Like the Conservative Party in Britain and the Republican Party in the US it is now a Centre-Left party with a smattering of neocons. And anyone who believes that neocons will stand up for a principle like free speech is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

At least the avowed parties of the Left like the British Labour Party and the Australian Labor Party are quite open about their determination to eliminate free speech and to destroy our civilisation. No matter how dangerous, stupid, deluded and wrong-headed their principles might be they do at least operate according to those principles. So which is worse, a party that believes in something evil or a party that believes in nothing? The Leftists have guts and are prepared to fight to achieve their aim of destroying the country. The so-called conservative parties are in many ways far more contemptible. They are merely sniveling cowards, deserving of no respect whatsoever.

What is desperately needed is a genuine alternative. Conservatives can expect nothing from any of the established parties. I personally do not see the Palmer United Party as likely to provide the real alternative that is needed. I do not see them taking a stand on stopping immigration. Not now and not at any time in the future. The time is surely ripe for the emergence of a true conservative alternative like the Front National in France. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

a truly bizarre alliance

If you want evidence of the deep irrationality that pervades the world today you have only to look at Jewish responses to the rise of nationalist parties in Europe.

For example, this bizarre story in the Jerusalem Post - 

Stupidity on this scale simply defies belief. The Jews are to serve the role of useful idiots, helping to keep parties of the Left in power, parties that are committed to aiding and abetting the Islamification of Europe. And they have somehow convinced themselves that this will end well for them? They genuinely believe that this will make Moslems well-disposed towards them?

From the Moslem point of view it’s a clever short-term strategy. Anything that helps to keep left-leaning parties in power will allow them to continue to build up their numbers until they are in a position to consolidate their invasion of Europe. After that they will turn on those leftist parties and their treatment of the Jews will become even more savage than it already is. 

It’s a classic case of learning the wrong lessons from history. The Nazis were right-wing, therefore all right-wingers must be Nazis. This conveniently ignores the fact that the Nazis were not right-wing. National Socialism was an ideology of the Left. 

It also ignores the fact that the new European nationalist parties are the only ones prepared to take a stand against religious violence, which makes them in reality natural allies of the Jews. 

Most Jews however seem to be incapable of understanding that Europeans have a right to be nationalists, just as Israel has a right to be a nationalist state. The most dangerous enemy of European nationalism is Islam, just as the most dangerous enemy of the Jews is Islam.

It makes one wonder if Jews are really as smart as we’ve been led to believe.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

European elections - plenty of good news

The European Parliament elections have been generally good news, with UKIP winning the largest share of the vote in Britain and the Front National set to do the same in France. Right-wing and/or nationalist parties have improved their vote in most European countries.

It seems that Europeans are finally waking up to the evil empire that is the European Union.

The news from France is especially heartening. Not only has the Front National come out on top, the Socialists have recorded their worst-ever electoral performance.

It will be extremely amusing to see the established parties desperately trying to spin the results and pretend that it isn’t happening.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History

Nicholas Wade’s long-awaited (and for liberals much-dreaded) new book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History proves to be as stimulating as one would expect from this author.

The book, as the author states right from the beginning, falls neatly into two halves. The first half presents the fairly overwhelming evidence that human evolution did not suddenly and magically stop at some date in the distant past. The second half, as Wade freely admits, is more speculative as Wade explores the possible ramifications of on-going human evolution.

The scientific consensus since the 1970s has been that race has no scientific basis and that for some obscure reason human evolution suddenly ground to a stop. There’s little doubt that Wade is right in arguing that this consensus (rather like the climate change consensus) is based on a mixture of ideology, wishful thinking and fear. Any scientist who pursues research into the subject of race knows that he is quite likely committing professional suicide and will stand a good chance of being hounded out of academia. The idea that every species on the planet is subject to natural selection with the single exception of our own is clearly patently absurd. 

Wade presents the argument, based on recent scientific work, that human evolution is not only still happening but that evolution works far more quickly than we used to assume. Significant changes can occur within a fairly small number of generations meaning that the   effects on humans can be seen within a few centuries. Wade explored this subject in much greater depth in his excellent 2006 book Before the Dawn.

This first half of the book is dangerous enough but the second half is pure dynamite. If humans are in fact subject to natural laws and if evolution does work over comparatively  brief time-spans then there are likely to be very real differences between races. The most important aspect of his argument is that cultural changes can be driven by genetic changes and those genetic changes can then in turn drive (or accelerate) cultural change.

The change from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural societies that started to occur around 15,000 years ago are likely to have been made possible in part by genetic changes and once the societal change had occurred then evolution, very naturally and inevitably, would lead to further genetic changes. The kinds of social behaviours that are advantageous to hunter-gatherer societies are very different from those that are advantageous to agriculturalists. One telling example is that hunter-gatherer societies that have survived into modern times are extraordinarily violent with truly horrendous murder rates and a positively terrifying death toll from incessant warfare. This is no problem for such societies. If anything it is useful in keeping population numbers low enough to avoid the danger of starvation. Such violent behaviour is not merely disadvantageous to agricultural societies; it would make such societies entirely untenable.

The same argument applies to the change from small-scale agricultural communities in which a tribal organisation is extremely useful to urban communities and the development of modern states, in which tribal organisation is entirely unworkable. Some genetic changes may well have played a role in this transformation of human society and once the transformation was underway those genetic changes, such as a considerably lower propensity to violence, would accelerate.

Wade extends the argument further, drawing on the work of British historian Gregory Clark, arguing that the Industrial Revolution may have been partly fueled by small but significant genetic changes and that these changes occurred in some parts of the world such as Europe but did not occur elsewhere. This provides a convincing explanation for the extraordinary and dramatic dominance of the West over the past few centuries. It would also explain the otherwise mysterious fact that attempts to impose western-style economic and political systems in places like Iraq and Haiti have failed so dismally, and for the equally mysterious but undeniable fact that massive amounts of foreign aid have failed to produce any benefits in the majority of African countries.

Wade is clearly aware that he is walking into a minefield and at times, not surprisingly, he treads very carefully. On occasions, especially when dealing with intelligence, he refrains from connecting up the dots although the dots are certainly there to be connected. I don’t think Wade can be blamed for this. He goes as far as it’s possible to go in the current repressive political climate and to have connected up some of those dots would have meant giving up any hope of having the book published.

As it stands A Troublesome Inheritance is an audacious, provocative and immensely stimulating book. Both the author and the publisher (The Penguin Press) are to be commended for having the courage to publish it. Very highly recommended.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

the sad plight of a once-great nation

It seems that in modern politically correct Britain halal meat is becoming more or less compulsory. Needless to say the Leftists who are usually beating the drum about animal rights are not saying a word about this. Being politically correct is clearly more important than animal welfare.

Mind you, nothing about cowardly cringing modern Britain surprises me. Not even the fact that you can now get arrested for quoting Winston Churchill.

Friday, April 18, 2014

morality and fashion

A recent exchange on an internet forum got me thinking about morality. Of course most conservatives (possibly excluding some neocons and libertarians) would agree that there has been a decline in morality over the past half century. But perhaps it’s a bit more complicated than that.

The fact is that most people today probably believe they are as moral as any previous generation. In fact most people today probably believe they are considerably more moral than any previous generation. 

The explanation for these two conflicting viewpoints would seem to be that social conservatives on the one hand and the majority of people today on the other hand mean very different things when they speak, or think, about morality.

Up until the 1960s morality was a more or less universally accepted set of codes for behaviour. These codes were relatively stable and they were generally shared even by people with differing political ideologies or religious beliefs. That’s a generalisation of course but I think it’s basically fairly accurate.

Since the 1960s morality has become a number of widely differing codes of behaviour that change rapidly and sometimes unpredictably. And these codes vary wildly depending on one’s political ideology or religious beliefs.

In fact since the 1960s morality has become to a large extent a matter of fashion. The problem is that most people today are quite unaware that what they believe to be the moral codes now generally accepted by society are merely matters of fashion. And they do not realise just how very dangerous this is. It is dangerous for society, but it is also dangerous for the individual because it means living in a constant of tension. If you have somehow failed to keep up with this year’s model in some area of morality then you can suddenly find yourself quite unknowingly transgressing some rule that you didn’t even now had changed. 

For social conservatives the main peril is social disapproval, but social conservatives have become so accustomed to social disapproval that we generally don’t worry too much about it. It’s the liberals one has to feel sorry for. Their entire sense of self-worth is totally bound up with their rigid adherence to the very latest changes in political correctness. One false step is for them social death. It’s no wonder liberals are always angry - they live in a perpetual state of stress.

Of course one could legitimately question whether a morality that changes constantly can truly be described as a morality at all, but that’s another issue.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

1950s Hollywood anti-communist movies

I’ve been getting into 1950s anti-communist movies recently. These movies have for years been dismissed by liberal film critics as paranoia movies. In fact they depict the activities, the methods and the mindset of communists pretty accurately. And at least a couple of these movies can be regarded as pretty good examples of film noir.

I’ve reviewed two these films recently on my classic movies blog - RKO’s 1949 production The Woman on Pier 13 (originally released as I Married a Communist) and Warner Brothers’ 1950 offering I Was a Communist for the FBI. The latter was based on a true story. Both movies deal with communist infiltration of labour unions, which was in fact one of the favoured methods of the Communist Party at that time, both in the United States and in other countries.

If these movies have a fault it’s perhaps that they let the unions off the hook too easily, but Hollywood has always been a union so it was unlikely that a movie critical of the union movement was ever going to get made. In fact given the large-scale real-life communist infiltration of Hollywood and the domination of Hollywood by liberals it’s surprising that these anti-communist movies got made. The only problem with the movie industry’s response to communist infiltration, the blacklist, is that it didn’t go far enough.

Both of these movies are worth a look, both for their historical interest and as worthy examples of the film noir of the period. They're a reminder of a time when Americans were still willing to fight back against leftist tyranny.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

evangelical atheism

One of the many unsettling features of life in the West today is that atheists on the whole are more religious than Christians.

Over the past couple of decades atheism has been taking on more and more of the characteristics of a religion. When you talk to n atheist these days it’s obvious that their faith is very important to them. This is very odd indeed. There have always been atheists but atheists who display all the classic features of religious enthusiasm and religious extremism used to be comparatively rare. Most atheists used to be motivated by scepticism. Atheists today are increasingly motivated by faith.

Atheists have also become extremely defensive. The fact that some people still believe in God angers them. They regard religious belief in the way the Catholic Church used to regard heresy - as something threatening that needs to be stamped out.

We have also seen the curious phenomenon of evangelical atheism. A growing proportion of atheists have become aggressive proselytisers.

What’s most disturbing about this is that atheism has adopted all the worst features of organised religion without any of religion’s compensating good features. Atheists have become religious bigots. They seek to impose their beliefs and their values on others.

By comparison Christians today seem at best lukewarm about their faith. Most of the established churches have largely abandoned actual Christianity in favour of a vaguely spiritual warm and fuzzy socialism. It is increasingly rare to find Christian clergymen who are prepared to defend their beliefs. Instead they seem obsessed by the desire to compromise with their enemies, to the point that they are prepared to surrender on virtually every point.

The dangerous thing about evangelical atheism is that it is usually accompanied by evangelical leftism. Leftism of course has always been a religion. People do not adopt leftist beliefs for logical reasons. They are motivated by an unfortunate mixture of guilt, self-hatred and self-righteousness. leftism is fundamentally irrational.

Adding evangelical atheism makes the mixture even more toxic. It produces a truly demoralising belief system. You just have to ask yourself when was the last time you met a happy atheist. Atheism has not only become a religion, it has become a religion of anger, misery and despair.