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Essential Reading

Cursed by XY chromosomes

zeg boys small2Modern educational theory some years ago embraced the notion that the problem with little boys is that they are not little girls.

Roughhousing in the playground? Evidence, surely, of incipient testosterone poisoning. Rambunctious in the classroom, which can make a teacher's job somewhat more difficult? Quick, off to the school nurse for the daily dose of calm-'em-down pills. A near-instinctive urge to turn pencils, fingers, even bite-sculpted sandwiches into imaginary guns? Clearly yet one more example of the male urge to dominate and destroy.

Fortunately, thanks to the feminist sensibility that shapes Big Chalk's approach and agenda, strong women are on hand to make sure the boys behave themselves. Other threats to peace and tranquility are, as Zeg notes, somewhat more problematic.

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Questions of loyalty and security

community organiser bows

From Elliot Abrams' review of former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's new book on his time in Washington:

When Oren speculates about why some American Jews ... are so critical of Israel, his answer is not politics and ideology but insecurity. “I could not help questioning whether American Jews really felt as secure as they claimed,” he writes. “Perhaps persistent fears of anti-Semitism impelled them to distance themselves from Israel and its so often controversial policies.”

But nothing in the book substantiates this opinion, while a great deal that Oren writes about Obama and his entourage—from Jeremiah Wright to Rashid Khalidi in the past, to those who have manned his White House staff in the present—points to a very simple answer: Around the world, the Left has turned against Israel. Are American Jews on the Left really afraid of pogroms, or are they afraid instead of disloyalty to the Democratic Party and accusations that they are “moving Right”?

The review, in Commentary, and can be read in full via the link below.

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From the Octoberists to Obama...

the left's all starsWriting at The American Thinker, Scott Powell compiles a potted history of the Left's infiltration and ascent:

...Fast forward to 2008, and we find the long march through the institutions resulting in the New Left being embedded in constituencies that provided a base of support and policy positions for the Obama presidential campaign. And while Barack Obama had a very unconventional background of lengthy associations with Marxists and anti-American radicals throughout his formative years and early adulthood, a nearly twenty-year membership in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “hate America” church, and an extreme left-wing voting record, the major media–now enveloped with the blinders of political correctness–made little effort to report on his background or examine his substantive qualifications. Barack Obama was both the culturally cool and articulate black candidate who provided a means for national redemption for a racist past, while also being the one candidate who provided a blank slate upon which people could project their own desires for hope and change.

Scott's focus is on the US, but swap a few proper nouns and he might just as easily be writing of the transformation scathingly identified by Kim Beazley Snr in 1970:
When I joined the Labor Party, it contained the cream of the working class. But as I look about me now, all I see are the dregs of the middle class. When will you middle-class perverts stop using the Labor Party as a cultural spittoon?
If you are ever inclined to wonder how and why a party allegedly representing the horny handed sons of toil came to regard global warming, gay marriage, open borders and a slather of other terminally trendy causes as the great moral issues of our age, Powell's essay -- available in full via the link below -- will explain a lot.

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Climate alarmism: just say 'know'

thatcher the chemistThat's settled then: it is a huge mistake to take seriously the warnings and admonitions of the grant-gobbling elite of what passes for the "climate science community". Indeed, going by what molecular biologist Ben Wade writes in today's Age, while those same prophets of soaring thermometers are very good at getting their names and views into the popular media, they are to science what bunyip hunters and yowie stalkers represent to zoology -- embarrassments afflicted with a terminal case of confirmation bias.

But don't take it from a climate sceptic, heed Wade instead. Good scientists, he writes,

are always qualifying their statements with 'we are confident that' rather than 'we know that'.

If Wade, himself a warmist, is to be taken at his word, then the likes of David Karoly, Tim Flannery and oodles of white-coated, computer-modelling weather watchers are not "good scientists",  as they are way ahead of the curve in proclaiming oracular diagnoses of the sweaty perils poised to drown, scorch and acidifying our much put-upon planet.

"We know that," Karoly states in one of his many and frequent sermons, "increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are causing large-scale changes in temperature." He also "knows" man-made climate change is sparking massive bushfires and said as much within days of 2009's Black Saturday infernoes, when bodies were still being raked from the ashes and silence might have been a more tactful response than told-you-so crowing. More than that, as Karoly explains in this video, he "knows" that floods and heatwaves are proof of runaway climate change. Like so many of his warmist brethren, he also "knows" just which crimps on growth and prosperity must be embraced to avert any more of it.

Not that Karoly is alone in "knowing" that mankind is the cause of global warming. Do a google on "we know climate change is happening" and statements of absolute certainty are summoned to your computer screen by their tens of thousands.

What Wade must not have known is that the very same space on the Age op-ed page was occupied just three days earlier by another all-knowing sort, Sir Crispin Tickell, who cited his own influence on Mrs Thatcher's thinking as the prod that made her a global-warming activist. Surely, as a purported conservative, Prime Minister Tony Abbott would wish to follow her example, he argued.

What Age readers could not have known (and Age editors neither bothered to learn nor pass along) is that Tickell originally "knew" it was not warming but global cooling that threatened us all. He wrote as much in the 1977 first edition of his book, Climate Change and World Affairs. By the "revised" second edition of 1984, however, he had climbed aboard the warmist wagon and was sounding alarms for all they were worth. Age readers might have appreciated a little background on that remarkable about-face, just as they would have profited from the knowledge that Thatcher, a chemist by training, had both the garden-variety common sense and scientific nous to recognise, albeit somewhat late in the piece, that she had been gulled. By 2002, in Statecraft: strategies for a changing world, she was writing:

The doomsters’ favorite subject today is climate change. This has a number of attractions for them. First, the science is extremely obscure so they cannot easily be proved wrong. Second, we all have ideas about the weather: traditionally, the English on first acquaintance talk of little else.

Third, since clearly no plan to alter climate could be considered on anything but a global scale, it provides a marvelous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism. All this suggests a degree of calculation. Yet perhaps that is to miss half the point. Rather, as it was said of Hamlet that there was method in his madness, so one feels that in the case of some of the gloomier alarmists there is a large amount of madness in their method.

Indeed, the lack of any sense of proportion is what characterizes many pronouncements on the matter by otherwise sensible people. Thus President Clinton on a visit to China, which poses a serious strategic challenge to the US, confided to his host, President Jiang Zemin, that his greatest concern was the prospect that “your people may get rich like our people, and instead of riding bicycles, they will drive automobiles, and the increase in greenhouse gases will make the planet more dangerous for all.”

It would, though, be difficult to beat for apocalyptic hyperbole former Vice President Gore. Mr Gore believes: ‘The cleavage in the modern world between mind and body, man and nature, has created a new kind of addiction: I believe that our civilisation is, in effect, addicted to the consumption of the earth itself.’

And he warns: “Unless we find a way to dramatically change our civilisation and our way of thinking about the relationship between humankind and the earth, our children will inherit a wasteland.”

But why pick on the Americans? Britain’s then Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has observed: “There is no greater national duty than the defense of our shoreline. But the most immediate threat to it today is the encroaching sea.” Britain has found, it seems, a worthy successor to King Canute.

The fact that seasoned politicians can say such ridiculous things – and get away with it – illustrates the degree to which the new dogma about climate change has swept through the left-of-centre governing classes….

Thatcher penned those words all of 13 years ago. Yet Tickell makes no mention of her later scepticism. As fellow op-ed contributor Wade might put it, the career diplomat "knows" which facts are problematic and, hence, best omitted.

For those with nothing better to occupy their time -- collecting string or weighing navel lint, for example -- Wade's article can be read in full via the link below.

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Why not call him 'Mr Smith'?

finkelsteinAnyone can be a journalist these days, as Melbourne University is proving with a new and free online course that aims to teach would-be reporters how to go about the job of keeping the public informed. Of course, modern journalism, as defined by our tertiary institutions, requires the correct perspectives and passions, which is why one of the course's videos (viewable via this link) is something of an education in itself. A mock press conference, it presents a sleazoid property developer detailing his plan to drain a marsh and build 89 new homes.

The general and obvious wisdom to be drawn:

  • shifty businessmen despoil Mother Nature to line their pockets
  • councils are the handmaidens of conscienceless profiteers
  • shifty businessmen don't like to answer questions
  • development is bad

But they are not the only lessons Melbourne University's Dr Margaret Simons and  Dr Denis Muller would appear to be imparting. Do notice the name of the developer in the picture atop this item, a screen grab taken from the instructional video.

To which ethno-religious group do you reckon the fictional "Mr Robert Finkelstein" might belong? Why that particular surname?

A note seeking explanation for the choice of name has been sent to Drs Simons and Muller. While we await their reply, why not get an education in modern journalism by signing up for the course via the link below.

 

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