Thoughts on Obama’s highly religious weekly address?

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Discussion by: yumyumbob2

Obama posts weekly addresses in which he usually talks about economic or social issues, however this week (April 19) he talked about the religious value of easter. It is not unusual for him to mention his religion, but this is a whole different magnitude. He stated : "These holy days have their roots in miracles that took place long ago.  And yet, they still inspire us, guide us, and strengthen us today.  They remind us of our responsibilities to God and, as God’s children, our responsibilities to one another. " He procedes to give a brief description of his belief that Jesus died for our sins. He then makes the valid point that "The common thread of humanity that connects us all… is our shared commitment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves." He does, mentions nonbelievers later in that paragraph, so there is an acknowledgement that we exist.

I was shocked by his pushing of a religious message. Christians are a majority in America, but I did not think that the president's weekly address was the right place for religion, although he has the freedom to say what he wants. What do other people think of this? Are you angry? Indifferent?

181 COMMENTS

  1. far to british to care but I think it’s ill advised

    it sounds like he’s pandering to the religious who make up such a majority in the US but I think this is not necessary any more. “nones” are on the increase in america, at a rate that shows up religion as on its way out. my advice would be leave religion well alone as the right wing of america is doing a spectacular job of alienating themselves with it. by not mentioning religion you don’t alienate most religious people, by mentioning it you will alienate non-christians and pander only to a demographic that isn’t going to vote democrat anyway

  2. I agree with SaganTheCat, It is ill-advised anf it looks as if Obama has been ill-advised on this, although it is no great surprise as religious groups try to muscle in everywhere. Over here Cameron has become more of a bible-thumper where before he left most of that to people like Pickles and Warsi.

    Many politicians still overestimate the power of the religious lobby and by doing this are allowing them to cling on even longer. Census data here is confusing as many still register the religion of their parents despite never going to church and, in many cases, probably not believing. The truth is probably that non-believers and certainly agnostics are the majority. Unfortunately, until the the likes of Obama and Cameron face up to this religious groups will still have a far stronger voice than they deserve.

  3. He then makes the valid point that “The common thread of humanity that connects us all… is our shared commitment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”

    Really? Is it really a valid point that we have a ‘shared commitment to love our neighbors as ourselves’? I’m damned if I know a single person who loves his neighbour as himself or that is committed to such an unnatural goal. To love everybody equally is to love no one. Some people have no understanding of human emotions.

    That religious people spout this pious nonsense because they believe it sounds good doesn’t surprise me, but that some atheists also subscribe to it is strange. I thought we had more sense.

    I am actually indifferent to Obama’s religious remarks since I don’t think they’ll have much effect in the world. However, I am angry about his cosying up to Muslims and Islamic states and isolating Israel. That is inexcusable but also unsurprising, since destroying Israel is part of the progressive liberal agenda and Obama is a progressive liberal.

    • In reply to #3 by keith:
      >

      Really? Is it really a valid point that we have a ‘shared commitment to love our neighbors as ourselves’? I’m damned if I know a single per…

      OK, the point is that a central aspect of morality is treating others as they want to be treated. Being the self-centered animals that we are, it speaks to people when it is phrased as “loving their neighbor”. It is hard for people to put on a veil of anonymity and think about how actions affect other people. We see the world through our own eyes, not anybody else’s. You can disagree with the wording, but that was not my point. My point was that this phrase was not religious in nature like the rest of the address.

      I am actually indifferent to Obama’s religious remarks since I don’t think they’ll have much effect in the world.

      They will have an effect on the world. It is seemingly trivial things like this, things like having god in the pledge of allegiance and on our money that make people think we are “one nation under god” and “founded on a Judeo-Christian belief system”. These beliefs help reinforce the notion that it is okay to use religion to dictate laws against homosexuals and against stem cell research or other issues like this. Putting any religion in the government has this effect.

      • YumYumBob2,

        In reply to #3 by keith:

        Really? Is it really a valid point that we have a ‘shared commitment to love our neighbors as ourselves’? I’m damned if I know a single per…

        OK, the point is that a central aspect of morality is treating others as they want to be treated. Being the self-centered animals that we are, it speaks to people when it is phrased as “loving their neighbor”. It is hard for people to put on a veil of anonymity and think about how actions affect other people. We see the world through our own eyes, not anybody else’s. You can disagree with the wording, but that was not my point. My point was that this phrase was not religious in nature like the rest of the address.

        Okay, I see. I just thought you were of the opinion that the whole of mankind was a suitable object of a person’s love. Just as religious people commit themselves to believing nonsense because they think that belief is good for them, so some people commit themselves to loving their neighbour. My own opinion is that trying to believe or trying to love is a waste of time. You either believe or you love or you don’t. Trying doesn’t enter into it. By the way, I think what you had in mind when you talked about trying to see things from another person’s perspective was John Rawls’ ‘Veil of Ignorance’, not a ‘veil of anonymity’.

        I am actually indifferent to Obama’s religious remarks since I don’t think they’ll have much effect in the world.

        They will have an effect on the world. It is seemingly trivial things like this, things like having god in the pledge of allegiance and on our money that make people think we are “one nation under god” and “founded on a Judeo-Christian belief system”. These beliefs help reinforce the notion that it is okay to use religion to dictate laws against homosexuals and against stem cell research or other issues like this. Putting any religion in the government has this effect.

        I kind of agree with you. I too don’t want gays to be discriminated against or for stem cell research to be halted, though I’m still not convinced that gay marriage is a good thing (I get my views on this from a gay writer, Lee Harris). However, I feel such professions of Christian belief that Obama uttered at Easter to be the least of our worries, though I’m sure you see it as the thin end of the wedge: allow the president to say a few pious things and next thing you know the New Inquisition has started.

        From my perspective I would rather form a concerted front with Christians against the real enemies of civilisation, namely the Islamists on the fascist right and Cultural Marxists on the left, the latter now forming the status quo in the West rather than being the counter-culture that it was in the 1960s (just look at Hollywood, the BBC, the arts, the mainstream media, academia etc.) However, it still likes to imagine itself storming the bastians of The Establishment run by old fuddy-duddies who are evil and, even worse, old fashioned.

        You see, although for many years I was one of the most fervent atheists on this website and was one of the first to join it in 2006, I now find I have much more in common with Christians tan with progressive liberal atheists in regard to what I consider to be a good society. I actually preferred the West when it was run along mildly conservative, mildly Christian lines (i.e. pre-1960s) and it may turn out to be the case that the kind of world that I like is one in which religion plays a very mild role, even in public life. Just as long as it remains mild and the faithful don’t insist that we all join in then I really can’t get upset about Obama’s Easter address. However, I can get upset about almost everything else he has done since being in office. He surely has to be the worst president that America has ever had, except perhaps for Jimmy Carter. He is certainly the most divisive and crusading radical. Someone like Obama is far more dangerous than say, George W. Bush who, I must admit, was a bit stupid.

        • In reply to #14 by keith:

          He surely has to be the worst president that America has ever had, except perhaps for Jimmy Carter. He is certainly the most divisive and crusading radical. Someone like Obama is far more dangerous than say, George W. Bush who, I must admit, was a bit stupid.

          Ok fess up. Your day job is at Fox News yes? What exactly and specifically is Obama dangerous to other than the prehistoric views of grumpy old white male conservatives who miss the 1950s when every (white man’s) house had a freshly painted picket fence and a new car in the driveway, a respectful wife chained to the kitchen sink baking apple pies, niggers knew their place and the prospect of one in the White House was an impossible nightmare and every American (white of course) knew that America was the gosh darned bestest country in the whole damn world although of course they only had a very vague idea of what the rest of the world consisted of other than the bits they’d already bombed.

          I suppose you also think that universal health care is communism, that poor people are lazy, rich people are “job creators”, the unemployed are spongers and that Texas ranchers who graze their cattle on public land without paying the fees because they don’t recognise the existence of the Federal Gummint are heroes.

          Bush was “a bit stupid” ??? That’s like saying water is a bit wet or hurricanes are a bit blowy. Bush was a full on no holds barred retard who invaded a country that hadn’t done anything wrong, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, put the National Debt through the roof by waging two wars and cutting taxes at the same time and presided over the collapse of the banking system and the economy of not just America but in turn the rest of the world too. He was a lying, arrogant, offensive cretinous mass murderer who deserved the end of a rope a damn sight more than Saddam ever did. Obama’s been trying to clean up the shitstorm Bush left behind him for 6 years now, hindered at every turn by Republicans who’d rather the country went to hell before they’d help a filthy Democrat nigger in “their” White House.

  4. YUK ! I want to vomit. I suppose Obama is an astute politician and is playing to the assumed gallery.

    Anyone who has read the Bible knows that it is a book with far more death and destruction in it than most others.

    “Jesus died for our sins” YUK, YUK !

    Not my bloody sins !

  5. Why does anybody care about this? It’s a Christian holiday and he made reference to it. Agree with them or not Christians are a large section of our population and as President he represents them as much as you, and so if wants to mention it in his weekly address then go ahead.

    • In reply to #6 by Mormon Atheist:

      Why does anybody care about this?

      Day needs to be secular / neutral, especially from the u.s. government(!), plus is the easiest way to include all citizens. Every year the White House has an official Easter Egg Hunt for kiddies. Very cute, fun, feel good event – it suffices, leave it at that.

  6. It’s calculated political spin. Nothing is said by any politician in America that isn’t sensed check with focus groups and polling. Dropped in we unbelievers at the end. A Dollar each way. It wouldn’t surprise me if Obama was actually an atheist. But sadly, the American Taliban are so powerful that no one can get elected to any position in America if they profess belief in god.

    “In God We Trust”. On every US currency note.

    • In reply to #9 by David R Allen:

      But sadly, the American Taliban are so powerful that no one can get elected to any position in America if they profess belief in god.

      Hi David – I think you wrote ‘if’ instead of ‘unless’ in this sentence…. 8-) Mac.

  7. Doesn’t anyone want to recall how early in Obama’s presidency everybody thought he was a closet atheist? Well, not everybody, because I always figured him to be totally Christian, and I think he is showing it more and more now. He isn’t “pandering”–what he says is what’s on his mind. If Romney or some other Republican talks like that, he is considered a bigoted bastard. If a Democrat talks like that, well, cut him some slack–he has no choice but to “pander.”

    • In reply to #10 by 78rpm:

      If Romney or some other Republican talks like that, he is considered a bigoted bastard. If a Democrat talks like that, well, cut him some slack–he has no choice but to “pander.”

      It amazes me how hostile the democrats are to atheists. We are a major demographic, but the democrats want to distance themselves from us. They feel the need to pander to the religious right, but they barely acknowledge us. I think there are two reasons for this:
      1. The democrats know that we are repulsed by republicans and their bigoted religiosity, so they know that we all vote for them already.
      2. American culture as a whole is so biased against atheists that politicians are scared of us. They think the votes lost by not reaching out to us are fewer than the votes lost from religious people of they were to reach out to us.

      • In reply to #11 by yumyumbob2:

        It amazes me how hostile the democrats are to atheists. We are a major demographic, but the democrats want to distance themselves from us.

        I don’t agree that democrats are “hostile” to atheists. That seems like victimization to me. The fact that democrats are (I agree) overly solicitous to Christians doesn’t count as hostility to atheists IMO.

        But I do agree that in general democrats are a lot more concerned about not offending Christians than atheists. And there is a simple reason for that: you are wrong in saying that atheists are a “major demographic”. There probably are a good percentage of Democrats who are atheist/agnostic/don’t give a damns but that doesn’t count as a demographic. A demographic is people who vote based on a single issue or set of issues. There are a large number of poor and middle class people who are also very strong Christians. Some of them will still vote democratic. The democrats need to worry about offending them and will sometimes go out of their way to pander to them.

        On the other hand most non-religious democrats are like me. They are more concerned with issues like climate change, gay rights, not declaring more wars, etc. than about whether Obama says some prayer or religious nonsense. We know it’s pandering. We don’t like it. But we have far more important issues we care about.

    • In reply to #10 by 78rpm:

      Doesn’t anyone want to recall how early in Obama’s presidency everybody thought he was a closet atheist?

      Sigh. Yes I do. It was an example of the kind of idiocy that passes for political punditry that people took that seriously. I’m not saying you are an idiot but the people on blogs and the media who proposed it IMO were. It really amazes me how people can make a living saying things that are so clearly and demonstrably nonsense. An even worse example were the claims about Iraq and WMDs and Al Queda.

      But back to Obama he wrote a book and he was very honest about his beliefs and he clearly said he was a Christian and that is one of the things I came to understand about Obama, unlike most politicians he actually means what he says most of the time.

      If Romney or some other Republican talks like that, he is considered a bigoted bastard.

      Romney, well not Romney he doesn’t say anything but “get me another martini Consuela” these days but Republicans say very hateful things and barely get called out on them. What exactly did he say here that justifies calling him a “bigoted bastard”? He’s saying religion has a long tradition and provides comfort to a lot of people. How in the world does that even come close to “bigotry”?

      BTW, this is one of the things I really don’t like about the New Atheist movement. It’s turning into yet another bunch of people who seem to want to scrutinize every word people say and take offense at every little thing. As much as I’m for gay rights and women’s rights it’s an aspect of those movements that I’ve never cared for. It’s just a waste of time and petty and now it looks like lots of atheists are going the same direction.

  8. Expecting politicians to say anything other than what will get them the most votes is like expecting a new Coke Ad to appear explaining how we are better off drinking water. They will say anything to improve their position. Saw the South Korean Prime Minister describing the Caption of the ferry that recently sunk as a murderer. Never mind checking the facts; just straight to the press with a simple headline that makes him look good, moral, etc. It is a terrible problem that politics tends to attract the self loving and shallow types and that the political process + media will tend to make these tendencies even worse. Worse in recent years because the only way you can get elected is by promising stupid policies and with ever increasing levels of information technology the voters are more able to check that the promised stupid polices are actually implemented. Think we would be better off with a more managed form of democracy than the showbiz type in most countries. There would have to be less wastage and better long term planning. Australian public policy is just a joke every 3 years we get a complete turn around on major issues like tax, the environment, etc.

  9. Sounds exactly like the British Prime Minister this week….unusually for him….This should raise alarm bells….Both of them at it….I smell trouble coming….Some new Western crusade for Christianity ? …..Those two addresses are probably a prelude to some New war campaign against Islam or better still Russia…..

    • In reply to #18 by Light Wave:

      Sounds exactly like the British Prime Minister this week….unusually for him….This should raise alarm bells….Both of them at it….I smell trouble coming….Some new Western crusade for Christianity ? …..Those two addresses are probably a prelude to some New war campaign against Islam or bett…

      Sounds like a global trend. They must have got their heads together.

      PS. I haven’t read the rest of the comments. I’ll bet they’re say the same things. — only better!

      • In reply to #26 by Nitya:

        In reply to #18 by Light Wave:

        Sounds like a global trend. They must have got their heads together.

        Global as in Lead by America….got their heads together as in Obamas hand is up the back of Cameron like a glove puppet…..
        Even Putin is being seen to bow to religion…a bit…..

  10. Light Wave

    Sounds exactly like the British Prime Minister this week….unusually for him….This should raise alarm bells….Both of them at it….I smell trouble coming….Some new Western crusade for Christianity ? …..Those two addresses are probably a prelude to some New war campaign against Islam or better still Russia…..

    Hmm. Better not mention keeping the Russian bear at bay. Keep him in the bloody Black Sea at all costs. Christians on both sides ? Send for the nearest theologians to decide God’s word.

  11. After reading Dreams From My Father (or whatever it was called) I was under the impression that he was an atheist, generally agnostic or perhaps deist. Almost six years later now, I suspect he is an ecumenical theist and christian.

    Keep in mind that Pres. Obama is not a leader in the traditional sense. He is a moderator. He doesn’t tell us where we’re going, show us the way and take us there. He tell us where he’d like to go (good start) and tries to get us (or Congress) to synthesize a plan from every competing voice and executes (or delegates) whatever can be pulled out of the planning stage.

    His religious beliefs may go the same way… synthesis and moderation. His religious lecture also seems to follow this habit of inclusion, common denominators and popular appeasement.

    Don’t get me wrong. If it seems like I’m bad-mouthing him it is only that he has been too laissez-faire for the circumstance he inherited and the dichotomy of the contemporary political atmosphere.

    • AllusiveAtheist

      If it seems like I’m bad-mouthing him it is only that he has been too laissez-faire for the circumstance he inherited and the dichotomy of the contemporary political atmosphere.

      No one has done more to dichotomize the contemporary political atmosphere than Barack Obama. He is a crusader for equality with no interest in why, over and above white and republican meanness, inequality exists. I really don’t recognise the ‘facilitator’ that you are describing. Please name a president who has racialised so many issues and caused so much ill-will, albeit with the help of his race-hustling friends.

      What I see is a man who has been too much praised. After he won the Nobel Peace Prize simply for being black. Now he has come to believe the image the liberal press has created for him. He might be a ‘moderator’ but only of the people who already agree with him. Anyone with genuinely different views is ignored.

      • In reply to #21 by keith:

        No one has done more to dichotomize the contemporary political atmosphere than Barack Obama.

        Name one specific thing Obama has said or done that “dichotomizes” the political atmosphere. He is a democrat whose policy positions by and large are what in most nations would be considered conservative. His healthcare reform law — which the opposition equates with communism — is a set of options developed by the Heritage Foundatin (a right wing think tank) and first adopted by his Republican opponent Mitt Romney when Romney was governor of Massachussets.

        In fact Obama has faced unprecedented vitriolic opposition from the irrational theocratic misogynistic opposition. That’s not rhetoric. I could give you specific examples of how the Republicans are theocratic and misogynistic, trying to impose Christianity on the nation and fighting basic rights for women such as the right to control their own body and to be paid equally for the same work as a men.

        And it’s also not rhetoric to say unprecedented opposition. The filibuster is a rather archaic procedural trick in the US congress. In the past it was a measure of last resort for the political opposition, pulled out very sparingly on extremely divisive issues. In fighting Obama the filibuster has become the norm for the Republicans. They’ve essentially changed the congress from majority rule to requiring a super majority, the far larger number of votes required to over turn a filibuster, to approve almost anything. And as a result this Congress under Obama has been one of the least productive in our history.

        The Republicans’ Unprecedented Obstructionism By The Numbers

        It is because of this irrational opposition that the US and hence the world since the US dominates the world, has done nothing on climate change. US treaties require approval in the Congress. There is no way ratification of things like the Kyoto accords would ever make it through. It’s not even worth consideration.

        BTW, there are plenty of things Obama has done that I don’t like. The drone strikes for example are clear violations of International Law. But to say that he is the one who “dichotomizes” the political atmosphere is bullshit.

        • Red Dog,

          There is so much wrong with your post that I can only bring myself to address the first part of it. The rest would take a whole evening which I just don’t have.

          Name one specific thing Obama has said or done that “dichotomizes” the political atmosphere.

          He got involved in the Trayvon Martin affair when he should have done. Would he have said, ‘If I had a son he would look like Trayvon” if he had seen the hoodie-wearing, gold-tooth 17-year-old rather than the cute photo of him as a 12-year-old that was given to the media and peddled incessantly?

          He called the detective stupid who had asked a black professor for his ID since he was breaking into his home. Would Obama have said the detective was stupid if the professor had been white? Er, I don’t think so. Race relations are at an all-time low yet Obama came in claiming he would unite the nation. 93% of blacks voted for him, as did many Hispanics. Whatever happened to voting according to policy rather than colour? Of course it could also be the case that they voted for him because he was clearly going to give them the most stuff.

          He has clearly lied about the Bengazi incident in which a US Ambassador was murdered and he has lied about the actions of the IRS. But you just asked for one thing, so I’ll stop there.

          He is a democrat whose policy positions by and large are what in most nations would be considered conservative.

          He is trying to make America follow the social welfare states of Europe, just when it is becoming clear to most people that that model is failing. He has added trillions of dollars to the deficit to finance his social programs and there is nothing conservative about that. Basically, his job was Community Organiser and that is what he has continued to be as President.

          His healthcare reform law — which the opposition equates with communism — is a set of options developed by the Heritage Foundatin (a right wing think tank) and first adopted by his Republican opponent Mitt Romney when Romney was governor of Massachussets.

          I don’t know who dreamt up Obamacare but it is clearly just another form of wealth distribution with middle-class workers subsidising lower-paid workers and those who don’t work at all. Please read this: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/john-perazzo/obamacares-stunning-redistribution-of-wealth/

          In fact Obama has faced unprecedented vitriolic opposition from the irrational theocratic misogynistic opposition. That’s not rhetoric. I could give you specific examples of how the Republicans are theocratic and misogynistic, trying to impose Christianity on the nation and fighting basic rights for women such as the right to control their own body and to be paid equally for the same work as a men.

          The reason there is so much opposition is because he is a crusading socialist and it shows in his policies. You seem to think that anyone who disagrees with Obama does so out of spite rather than because they think he is misguided. Obama believes that black people are oppressed by whites, that illegal aliens are somehow not illegal aliens, that the poor are never to blame for their poverty and that by simply giving them other people’s money they will turn into paragons of virtue and that women earn less than men for the same job. To put you right on this last one, please read this article by Thomas Sowell, the great American economist: http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2014/04/15/statistical-frauds-n1824357/page/full

          By the way, Thomas Sowell is black so I’m sure you’ll listen to him more attentively than you would a white economist. Sorry, that’s all my time and energy spent.

          • In reply to #25 by keith:

            .He is trying to make America follow the social welfare states of Europe, just when it is becoming clear to most people that that model is failing.

            Be careful with your assertions. Parts of Europe are not doing well it’s true. Perhaps they should not have joined the EU in the first place ( I’m thinking of Greece in this instance). Other parts of Europe would put the US to shame in he area of social equality. Perhaps you should travel out of your little bubble and check out the countries of Scandinavia. You’d be in for a surprise.

          • Hi Nitya,

            Be careful with your assertions. Parts of Europe are not doing well it’s true. Perhaps they should not have joined the EU in the first place ( I’m thinking of Greece in this instance).

            You have things the wrong way round. Greece didn’t collapse economically because it joined the EU. It was a virtual third world country before joining. The reasons things have gone so badly there is because they thought they could afford the most generous welfare system in Europe while still having a rubbish economy. The reason they believed this is because they thought the EU would allow them to indulge themselves. Had they not joined the EU they would have been more prudent but the real problem was their ridiculous welfare system, not the EU. By the way, I have actually been to Greece. Have you?

            And just in case you’re tempted to reprise the old furphy that Sweden has the highest suicide rate in the world, you could avail yourself of the statistics. . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sucide_rate.PNG

            Thank you, but it hadn’t crossed my mind to talk about suicide rates. I don’t really know what the suicide rate would have to do with social policies that either work or don’t work. Still, I suppose it gave you the chance to show off your ability to link to websites.

            You have to remember that until recently Sweden was a virtual mono-cultural and mono-racial country and such social welfare programs seem to work well in those circumstances. But it is becoming less homogeneous and cracks are appearing. It is now commonly accepted that a nation can have a generous welfare system or multiculturalism but it can’t have both. Or do you see America as a successful melting pot? America couldn’t be further from being mono-racial and to imagine that what works well (kind of) in one place will automatically work well in a different place under different circumstances is naive. Apart from that there are many reasons why Sweden is likely to be successful, almost regardless of the political system they employ. It is for the same reason that the Germans and the Japanese will do well under almost any circumstances. I’ll let you guess what they all have in common.

          • In reply to #48 by keith:

            .By the way, I have actually been to Greece. Have you?

            Well Keith, as a matter of fact I have! Not only Greece but during the course of my life I’ve been to almost all the continents on the globe, and many , many countries. I’ve been to most of Europe including the former USSR. I’ve visited North America on several occasions and have spent a short time in Japan and even as far afield as Morocco. So being insular is not a criticism you can hurl in my direction.

            Let’s just look carefully at this paradise you’d have us live in. It’s possible to cut out welfare altogether and just leave people to starve or live a hand-to-mouth existence by alternately begging, stealing or otherwise engaging in criminal activities with a very high risk of capture and death. We could house those too young or unable to cope, on the nearest garbage dump to eek out a living scrounging for recyclables.

            Unfortunately in the type of paradise you imagine, there are no funds for public services. This means that you have to pay for the protection of your person and personal property ( no funds for police, sorry). You have to provide for all your own infrastructure as very little tax means very little in the way of public amenities.

            Such places exist already, so I suggest you check them out for size and see if you’d enjoy your new life without the responsibility of contributing anything towards your fellow human beings

          • Hi Nitya,

            Good that you have travelled. Sorry for insinuating that you hadn’t. I was just getting sick of being called a redneck who had never been further than his own backyard. Generally the people who accuse you of not having travelled are precisely those who themselves haven’t.

            Actually I don’t want to live in a lawless, dystopian world, strange as that may seem. What I had in mind was charity and welfare on a local level. I don’t think anyone minds giving money to people who they feel they deserve it. The only way you can judge such things is if you actually know the people and their circumstances. This is how things used to work and now the world is a whole lot richer than it used to be, so there is no need for us to imagine scenes of Dickensian poverty being the result of withdrawing unconditional benefits.

            I suspect you already know why some people like me baulk at large scale welfare schemes. One is that it creates a government bureaucracy that has every incentive to keep the situation as it is. If they do too well then they will be out of a job with a nice pension and long holidays. But worse than this is that making benefits too generous and easy to attain is that it tends to take away any motivation to work or to gain skills that a potential employer might need. I should know, I grew up with such a mindset. I left school at 16 with no qualifications because I just didn’t see the point in studying when I didn’t want to. And there was no real need for me to do so because I could go straight onto benefits, which I did.

            Luckily I dragged myself out of that trap but I can easily understand how some people don’t and why, when offered the choice of either working or getting social security, some choose the latter. Such an abuse of a nice idea is a real shame for the people who genuinely would be helped to find their feet again with a little temporary government assistance. Yet all too often such welfare takes away the incentive to take responsibility for yourself. It’s simpler to let someone else do it. And school children know this. Had there been no safety net then I would have been forced to try harder at school and might have left with a bit more knowledge and some qualifications.

            I have Spanish friends who are struggling with the economic situation over there and this is none of their fault. Accordingly, I would happily donate a large percentage of my salary to them, much more than I currently give in income tax. What I don’t want to do however, is to subsidize modes of living that I am against and which are facilitated by government intervention. For example, like everyone else I am happy to contribute towards the building of roads, the fire service, the police, the army and the things that all people in a society benefit from. However, I don’t want any of my money to go towards funding Islamic organisations that are anti-western, nor do I want to contribute towards people who have no intention of working and never have.

            This is why charity at a local level is preferable in my opinion. It also makes the giver feel good, which he doesn’t necessarily do when he gets his monthly wage slip and sees how much has been deducted. You have to be an unusual kind of person to glow with satisfaction when reading the items ‘deducted’ from your salary. People can choose who they feel genuine sympathy for and give accordingly and they won’t give to people who they know are free-loading. The message will soon get through and the free-loaders will start making more of an effort to gain our sympathy by actually doing something. I think when people know they are relying on the beneficence of others they behave better towards them. As things are, there isn’t a surlier or more embittered group of people than those on welfare. Gratitude is generally not one of their sentiments. They feel that their dole check is given to them by the government who they assume has an endless amount of money at its disposal. I doubt the thought ever crosses their minds that that money comes from other people. It certainly didn’t cross mine.

            Incidentally, you accused me of dreaming of a welfare-less paradise but let me tell you that it is generally people on the left who imagine that any kind of paradise can be achieved. Conservatives tend to see the world in terms of trade-offs and very small steps towards a better society. There are no perfect solutions, only slightly better and worse ways of doing things. I think it is generally accepted that Utopian thinking, like communism, is a trait of the political left, not the right.

            By the way, thanks for keeping it civil. People on the left often think they are not only right, just as we on the right do about our own views, but they also believe that they are more moral and virtuous and that conservatives are either heartless or evil. And since the right is evil then lefties sometimes think they can be as rude as they like.There is nothing more dangerous than someone convinced of his own virtue. You, at least, haven’t gone down that road.

          • In reply to #67 by keith:

            . charity and welfare on a local level. I don’t think anyone minds giving money to people who they feel they deserve it

            This is exactly why I don’t like welfare, dependent on the whim of the donor. It’s selective. In those Dickensian and pre-Dickensian days that’s how the system worked. This is how the system works in places such as Saudi Arabia or so I’ve been told by people who have lived there on contract. In practice the recipient must be able to cosy-up to the person dispensing the largess. If deemed undeserving or in some way not appealing in the eyes of the donor no money comes your way. In-groups receive, out-groups do without. Those expressing this sort of personalised, charity based welfare system wish to select their sort of people as worthy of help. It can usually be narrowed down to * their brand of religion*.

            I would happily donate a large part of my salary to them

            This sentiment is easy to say, but far more difficult to put into practice. When faced with the prospect of parting with one’s hard earned cash, I very much doubt that this would be the actuality of the situation ( with the exception of your good self, of course). I think there’s a huge gap between the lip service people express re charitable donations and what they actually give.( if it’s a tax deduction, I’m sure receipts are kept, but why not?) Often the charitable donation is given out of self interest. A now deceased Australian was widely praised after he donated a medical device to every ambulance in the country. I was less impressed because he had made use of such a device after being rushed to hospital with a heart attack. I would have preferred that he simply paid his share of tax.

            I left school at 16………..there was no real need ( to work) because I could go straight onto benefits, which I did

            I hate to sound too superior here, but where were your parents? We took great pride in the fact that we established the work ethic and I hope the value of education in our kids. There is no way we would have accepted our kids spending the day lazing around on the beach while we worked. Fur would fly!

            As a final comment….I’m pleased that you thought that I offered a civil response in reply to your post. In actual fact it was a very angry response ( I’ve calmed down now), you misjudged my tone. In my mind it was a bit of a rant. Now I’m pleased that it didn’t come across that way as ideas are better expressed with a cool head IMHO.

          • In reply to #72 by Nitya:

            Those expressing this sort of personalised, charity based welfare system wish to select their sort of people as worthy of help. It can usually be narrowed down to _ their brand of religion_.

            Well, yes, that is exactly why I like it. I had already stated that I don’t wish to give to religious groups, idlers, people who have made themselves homeless (generally homelessness doesn’t just happen), people who pretend to be ill, drug addicts etc. I want to support the kind of people who I think are living good lives. I think rewarding people for leading irresponsible lives only encourages them. Maybe you think that drug addiction simply happens, or that homelessness could strike anyone. I don’t adhere to this vision of people merely as victims and never as agents. So what you see as a negative (choosing who to give money to) I see as a positive. At least we both understand each other though we disagree. Oh, and I don’t know why you tagged on ‘their brand of religion’ at the end. This is not a question of religion for me, or for many other people. I would quite happily give money to Christians if they held the same values as I do (minus their ridiculous religious beliefs).

            I would happily donate a large part of my salary to them

            This sentiment is easy to say, but far more difficult to put into practice. When faced with the prospect of parting with one’s hard earned cash, I very much doubt that this would be the actuality of the situation ( with the exception of your good self, of course).

            Thank you for the kind solicitousness. I had, however, already imagined what it would be like to have chunk of my wages given over to people I like and respect. I have no illusions about my generosity but I think I can say for sure that I would happily give to the people I have in mind, mainly because they live more frugal and virtuous lives than I do. However, I don’t want to include the above groups in my charity because I think doing so actually encourages their bad lifestyles.

            A now deceased Australian was widely praised after he donated a medical device to every ambulance in the country. I was less impressed because he had made use of such a device after being rushed to hospital with a heart attack. I would have preferred that he simply paid his share of tax.

            I see your point but it seems to me that you are railing against human nature. It is a simple fact that we are more interested in ourselves and our illnesses than we are in other people and their diseases. I can see why you would prefer a ‘View From Nowhere’ kind of neutrality. This even-handedness is great when it comes to things like justice, but if you try to extend it to other spheres i.e. how people should spend their own private money, I think you are over-stepping the mark. It is a simple fact of life that we are more interested in some things than other and I see nothing wrong with this.

            I left school at 16………..there was no real need ( to work) because I could go straight onto benefits, which I did

            I hate to sound too superior here, but where were your parents?

            Go ahead, feel superior but you are making my point, not yours. My family would have been there for me had it been necessary but the state had largely expanded to fill that role. I had already watched all the episodes of ‘Play for Today’, the Mike Leigh and Ken Loach films, as well as all the kitchen sink dramas from the Angry Young Men and internalised their message. Had there been no state largesse (of other people’s money) I would have made that calculation earlier on and remained on better terms with my family. As it was the state opened up an avenue for me that was attractive to a 16-year-old, namely, to dispense with my family and live off benefits. Let me just add that I only lived off benefits for 3 months before finding a job as a shop assistant.

            I’ve been very much in favour of the Scandinavian system from the time that it was described as Democratic Socialism. The system was largely ridiculed and unjustly accused of having the highest suicide rate in the world. These claims were deliberately misleading as it turns out. There was a suggestion that western purveyors of propaganda wished to tarnish the repution of these countries because they feared that their success might catch on.

            I have to say that this makes no sense. If they were so successful, why wouldn’t other countries simply copy the Scandinavian role model? Didn’t they want to be successful? Why would they want Sweden to fail when they could have made a great trading partnership? After all, it is in every country’s interest that other countries be prosperous, just so long as they don’t outcompete others too successfully. America carried out the Marshall Plan in Europe after WWII so as to have someone with whom they could trade. It simply wasn’t in America’s, or anyone else’s interest, to have a poor Europe. So why did some people not want to copy Sweden’s success? I have a horrible sinking feeling that I know what your answer is going to be. Because the powerful elites and politicians wanted to keep the poor under the thumb and in poverty. Please tell me you aren’t going to argue that. And please don’t argue that you merely wrote ‘there was a suggestion’ since if this wasn’t your own belief, why did you bother including it?

          • I thought he was intelligent but this has changed everything for me, he’s a nut case like the rest of them

            In reply to #81 by keith:

            In reply to #72 by Nitya:

            Those expressing this sort of personalised, charity based welfare system wish to select their sort of people as worthy of help. It can usually be narrowed down to _ their brand of religion_.

            Well, yes, that is exactly why I like it. I had already stated that I don’t wish…

          • In reply to #82 by zula:

            I thought he was intelligent but this has changed everything for me, he’s a nut case like the rest of them

            In reply to #81 by keith:

            In reply to #72 by Nitya:

            Those expressing this sort of personalised, charity based welfare system wish to select their sort of people as worthy of help. It can usu…

            Zula, all I can say is that you must move in very restricted circles if you think that someone who wants to give his money only to people who he feels deserves it is a ‘nutcase’. Believe me, you would be shocked, shocked I tell you! at some of the views out there.

          • In reply to #81 by keith:

            Hi Keith. Wow! There’s so much in this post with which I disagree, but I think I’ll focus on just one.

            . I have to say that this makes no sense. If they were so successful, why wouldn’t other countries simply copy the Scandinavian role model? Didn’t they want to be successful? Why would they want Sweden to fail when they could have made a great trading partnership? After all, it is in every country’s interest that other countries be prosperous, just so long as they don’t outcompete

            Therein lies the rub.

            Is it in the best interest of a country to have a well educated, egalitarian society? Or is it in the best interest for a country to have workers fighting tooth and nail to deliver a product at the cheapest possible price? That’s the situation we’re in now. We don’t have the best things we have the cheapest. Everything is so damn cheap that our workers at least, can’t compete. All this fits neatly into the ideal of free enterprise.

            The citizens of a country are sold the line that fits in with the aspirations of its leaders. The propaganda machine continually pumps out this message and people take it onboard as the truth. The message can be as obviously stupid as saying that Canada is a communist country because it has universal health care! I’ve never heard anything so ludicrous in my life, and yet there are people with university degrees saying this in all earnestness.

          • In reply to #83 by Nitya:

            Firstly Nitya, there is no need to include the bit about Canada, healthcare and communism. Since neither of us subscribes to this nonsense, why bring it up? Some people foolish enough not to spend all their time reading back over all my previous posts might just get the impression that I had claimed such a thing. It is less guilt by association than guilt by appearing in the same paragraph!

            Well, I happen to agree with Milton Friedman that free trade is the way forward while you appear to subscribe to the idea that protectionism from competition which keeps prices prices artificially high and makes jobs for whole government departments, thereby making the whole system less profitable, is best. Although you are not advocating a communist system, all the disadvantages that accrue to such a system are built into your model, the main one being a lack of incentive to become more efficient since you are protected from the competition of the market.

            I said in an earlier post that it wouldn’t really matter, within reason, what system countries like Sweden, Germany or Japan implemented because these countries are just good at what they do. This might sound a little racist, but I am neither Swedish, German nor Japanese so maybe I am allowed to say it. Whether this is genetic or cultural I couldn’t say or a little of both I can’t say. However, someone might like to try introducing the social democratic model that you say has been so successful in Sweden into say, Nigeria, and see how well it goes.

            When you only have a sample of one it is difficult to know whether its success is due to the political structure or the many other relevant factors involved. My guess is the system you are describing worked moderately well as long as Sweden was full of Swedes. back in 1970s Sweden had a lot of what sociologists call ‘social capital’. In the multicultural and multi-racial state that Sweden now is, I suspect that this model wouldn’t work nearly so well.

          • In reply to #84 by keith:

            In reply to #83 by Nitya:

            Firstly Nitya, there is no need to include the bit about Canada, healthcare and communism. Since neither of us subscribes to this nonsense, why bring it up?

            Okay, I’ll pay that one. Was foolish to mention it. I have personal reasons for latching onto that piece of supposed wisdom, but I should not have let it intrude.

          • In reply to #84 by keith:

            . When you only have a sample of one it is difficult to know whether its success is due to the political structure or the many other relevant factors involved. My guess is the system you are describing worked moderately well as long as Sweden was full of Swedes. back in 1970s Sweden had a lot of what sociologists call ‘social capital’. In the multicultural and multi-racial state that Sweden now is, I suspect that this model wouldn’t work nearly so well.

            There you go with the racism again! By ‘social capital’ do you mean the fact that they were one racial group, because ‘social capital’ means something different to me.

            It appears that you have a jaundiced view of ‘foreigners taking over the country and bleeding it dry’!

          • In reply to #87 by Nitya:

            There you go with the racism again!

            It depends what you mean by racist. If racism is believing that all races aren’t exactly the same in all ways then yes, I am a racist. Why do you think it is that men are better at sport than women? Probably because they have more testosterone in their bodies which builds muscles and also makes them more aggressive in general. Why do you think that 64 out of the last 64 100m Olympic finalists have all been of West African origin? Could it have anything to do with higher levels of testosterone?

            If you think that it is poverty that has driven people of West African origin to excel at the only thing open to them i.e. sport, this still doesn’t explain why none of them have gone in for long distance running where the tall, slim East Africans excel. If we are all the same, how do you explain these differences? Could it be that over the 40,000 years since they largely stopped interbreeding the east Asians, the whites and the Africans diverged to some extent? Among scientists working in this field it is common knowledge that different races excel at different things and this has something to do with where they evolved: cold or hot climate, difficult or easy to survive etc. Are these scientists racists?

            Is it racist to say that east Asians have slightly bigger brains than other races and also have a higher average IQ? What part of this is racist? Believing it? Saying it aloud? However, if racism means that I dislike people because of their race then no, I’m not a racist.

            By ‘social capital’ do you mean the fact that they were one racial group, because ‘social capital’ means something different to me.

            It is slowly becoming accepted, even in liberal circles, that one downside of multiculturalism is that it tends to reduce a nation’s social capital. This is not a question of what you personally define as social capital. It already has a fixed meaning and is affected by certain social arrangements. This is true whether you like it or not.

            It appears that you have a jaundiced view of ‘foreigners taking over the country and bleeding it dry’!

            Did I really say that? Ah, who cares whether I said it or not. If you throw enough mud, eh? The truth is that I am more interested in the cultural impact of immigration than the economic, though I think both are negative. Whether you feel that multiculturalism is better than a society like say, Japan, that is virtually mono-racial and mono-cultural is a subjective question. I think Japan is great and one reason is precisely because it is not multicultural. The economic question is a little more objective. Perhaps you would like to read this article from the BBC this year. I’m sure you will agree that the BBC is hardly a bastion of conservativism.

            http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25880373

            How do I turn links into text?

          • In reply to #87 by Nitya:

            In reply to #84 by keith:

            It appears that you have a jaundiced view of ‘foreigners taking over the country and bleeding it dry’!

            Obama’s faith is relatively benign when compared with neo-conservative dogma, witness this discussion. Religious rightwingnuts constitute the most serious hazard to improving the world. While RR zealots panic over any and all the “others” who conspire against their pure sanctuary, most especially Muslims, while the sick and the poor end up as scapegoats too. Little wonder Rigorous Rightism remains so contemptuous towards climate science, which is also a socialist/communist plot in cahoots with UN. Paranoid psychoticism in my opinion.

            I found the following obituary to the pseudoscientist and academic racist J. Philippe Rushton, who was a financial supporter of the BNP. Very illuminating I thought -

            Rushton’s myopic bias was clear in his claims of an inversely proportionate brain-to-penis size ratio, as represented by blacks, whites and Asians (with a lack of logical mechanisms linking each of those faulty premises to one another and IQ). His ‘academic racism’ will have its legacy in heated pseudoscientific web comments, fooling themselves at to what the consensus view in science is, as well as policy-makers and police who exist trapped in a worldview of hatred and prejudice.

            “His remaining acolytes will continue to consider his work both ‘ground-breaking’ and ‘persecuted’, when he was neither. His science was very simply bad”.

            Give me Obama’s Xian faith to irrational, hateful conservatism every time.

          • In reply to #89 by Len Walsh:

            Hi Len.
            Unbelievable! How could anyone approve of such a source of information? I’ve just skimmed your post because I’m reading this on the run, so to speak. I’ll have to read more carefully when I get home. I’m gobsmacked , anyway!

          • In reply to #89 by Len Walsh:

            I remember Christopher Hitchens once on the Sean Hannity Show saying, ‘I’m sorry to have to say this but you give the impression of never having heard any of the counter-arguments to God before’. Hitch was probably right and Hannity had almost certainly never engaged seriously with the counter-arguments to his religious dogma. The discussion was asymmetrical inasmuch as Hitch was totally familiar with the arguments for God, while Hannity wasn’t familiar with the counter-arguments.

            I find myself in precisely the same position with you, gentlemen. Len and Nitya (primarily), you sound so astounded by what I wrote that you give the impression of never having engaged seriously with those arguments. I feel like someone who has just told a couple of savages that the world isn’t flat and they are now standing there incredulous, mouths wide open, not sure whether whether to laugh or attack. I feel that there is an asymmetry between us, since I also used to believe what you two believe, probably because we went to the same kind of schools, watched the same kind of news, read the same kind of newspapers etc. But one day I decided to stop paying lip service to my alleged open-mindedness and instead read some people who had opposing views to mine. And I changed my mind. I saw that my views had never really been mine. I had simply breathed them in, like air, from my surroundings.

            Gentlemen, I suggest you too take a step outside your mind and rather than immediately calling anyone who disagrees with you a racist, instead try looking at the arguments.

            Just as a counter-balance to your obituary (Which I have to say I thought was in bad taste, both the writer’s and yours, Len), here is a link to what several people said about Rushton’s book Race, Evolution and Behaviour.

            http://www.harbornet.com/folks/theedrich/JP_Rushton/Race.htm

            Just let me quickly tell you what your definition of a reliable source is: one that accords with your own world view. By definition then, anyone who disagrees with you (Rushton, Murray, Jensen, Lynn) are unreliable sources and racist. Can you see a problem here? Can you see the similarity between your own ideological closedness and that of Sean Hannity?

          • In reply to #94 by keith:

            In reply to #89 by Len Walsh:

            “I feel that there is an asymmetry between us, since I also used to believe what you two believe”

            No, you didn’t, although your arguments are familiar and irrational doctrine to me Keith. Ideologues imagine any criticism must emanate from opposing ideologies because it’s inconceivable to them that their dogma could be in error. You’re simply projecting. I agree with David R Allen’s approach and reject ideologies, preferring to weigh the evidence. My considered opinion of the Religious Right is based on cognitive science through the prism of psychiatry but you’re under no obligation to concur, being free to seek a second opinion. The underlying pathology of neo-conservatism is best described as paranoid psychoticism I reckon.

            Taking David’s cue I enjoyed exploring your historical remarks and also the links you have furnished. Arkrid Sandwich and others have exposed your thinking most eloquently and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. Your concern about Obama’s speech, given your location, is truly astonishing. I’m guessing you hate the UN and the IPCC but would be happy to concede I’m wrong about that, if you’ll tell us so.

          • In reply to #89 by Len Walsh:

            “I feel that there is an asymmetry between us, since I also used to believe what you two believe”

            No, you didn’t, although your arguments are familiar and irrational doctrine to me Keith. Ideologues imagine any criticism must emanate from op…

            Thank you, Dr. Walsh. I feel I’ve been well and truly analysed. That you could know so much about me! I was under the impression that I used to believe all races were the same, but apparently I didn’t. I now know this because you were able to assure me that I didn’t. You know me better than I know myself! And my goodness, there were so many big words and all so close together that I could hardly keep up!

            Anyway, thanks for pointing out what was wrong in my previous posts…You did do that, didn’t you? Yes, of course you did.

            Bye for now Len,

            Keith

          • In reply to #100 by keith:

            Dear Keith. I fear I’ve undergone a sex change since we last spoke. I’m female I’ll have you know and I thought that was quite obvious by my writing style etc. I’ve also managed to drop my iPad and it has lost all vital signs, so I’m commenting from the confines of my phone. ( not a completely successful procedure).

            I’m highly tempted to do a bit if armchair psychoanalysis as well, but perhaps I should refrain as you could rightly call me to task on that one.

            So, I’ll try to keep it scientific. There is very little genetic evidence separating the different races. There is more difference displayed between individuals of the SAME race. The whole race agenda is a construct!

            The sooner you start to view people as people the happier you’ll be as a person, I can assure you. Now stop reading your hateful literature and start living your life. You are just wasting valuable thinking time trying to blame other working people for the ills of the world. We are all just trying to get by as best we can.

          • In reply to #101 by Nitya:

            In reply to #100 by keith:

            Dear Keith. I fear I’ve undergone a sex change since we last spoke. I’m female I’ll have you know and I thought that was quite obvious by my writing style etc. I’ve also managed to drop my iPad and it has lost all vital signs, so I’m commenting from the confines of my phone

            First, a Field Citation for Nitya for services above and beyond the call of duty to this forum, in that Nitya continued to return fire despite the fact that her IPad crashed, and resorted to a hand held device, said fire being of a rational nature.

            Also thanks to Nitya for prompting my aged Random Access Memory to recall some professional development I did that discussed tags and labels we apply to people. It’s a short hand we all employ, myself included, where we assign a label to a person, as a short hand description of the properties of that person. They’re a conservative. They’re a liberal. The labels contain a series of tick boxes whereby we attribute characteristics to the person. Conservative. White. Usually Christian. Free market. Small government, anti gay rights and on and on. A liberal. Tree hugger. Social services. High tax. Regulation. Peace movements. etc etc.

            The list of labels we use in general discussion is endless. Gypsy. Croat. Serb. Islamist. Christian. Arab. Black. Gay. German. Anglo Saxon. Racist. Hippie. Collingwood supporter. Glaswegian. Scouse. Blue blood. Irish. You get the idea. (as you read each of these labels, did you get a flash of a stereotype. Be honest.)

            The lecturer on this course got us to question the use of labels, and the mistakes we make by assuming that the person in front of us conforms to the properties of the assigned label. He was right of course. It is easy and lazy to say that “All black people can run fast, jump high, but are lazy and of a lower IQ than Anglo Saxons.” It’s as stereotype. It’s a label. The lecturer then went on to encourage us with any interaction with anyone, to start with a blank slate. To build an assessment of the person from their words and actions, not from their label. This is very difficult to do. But there is merit in the technique. It could save your life. Clearly not all black people are identical. Some can’t even slam dunk a basketball.

            You can see from Keith’s posts that he is applying labels to groups of people. He is attributing characteristics to groups of people based on their race, which is by definition, race-ism. So he is wrong. I am probably picturing Keith as a Rush Limbaugh clone and may have been a bit cruel to Keith. So thank you Nitya.

            Take each person you meet on their merits. They’re, we’re all homo sapiens, with individual characteristics, that should be judged individually on their merits.

          • In reply to #105 by David R Allen:

            .The list of labels we use in general discussion is endless. Gypsy. Croat. Serb. Islamist. Christian. Arab. Black. Gay. German. Anglo Saxon. Racist. Hippie. Collingwood supporter. Glaswegian. Scouse. Blue blood. Irish. You get the idea. (as you read each of these labels, did you get a flash of a stereotype. Be honest.)

            Hi David. Of course I do, but I’m not alone. I have a tendency for group-labels; labels that lump together all the characteristics that I associate with a particular line of thinking. In fact I came across a book at one stage that neatly categorised people into two groups, tough/tender. There are occasional anomalies, but I find that these broad categories usually apply. It is not a good idea, I agree. Better to take everyone on merit!

            You may be pleased to know that I’ve fixed the problem with my iPad! Since taking possession of this wonderful device 2 1/2 years ago, it has become an extension of my person? Light-weight, accessible, user friendly, my praise for Mr Apple knows no bounds. Anyway, yesterday I dropped it on the floor and the screen became black. Even though I went through the correct procedures to bring it back to life, it stayed black so I assumed the worst. This story has a happy ending I’m pleased to say. The tech guy fixed it in a jiffy when I took it with me to buy a replacement. There is a god!

          • Hi Nitya,

            Dear Keith. I fear I’ve undergone a sex change since we last spoke. I’m female I’ll have you know and I thought that was quite obvious by my writing style etc.

            Sorry for assuming you were a man. That must have been quite horrible for you! There is nothing about your writing style that might have made me think you are a woman. Had you included lots of smiley faces and OMG!s then I might have guessed. I’m not sure what the ‘etc.’ could have been. The smell of perfume that wafted up from my computer every time I read one of your posts, perhaps?

            I’m highly tempted to do a bit if armchair psychoanalysis as well, but perhaps I should refrain as you could rightly call me to task on that one.

            Thanks goodness. Trying to psychoanalyse someone at the end of a computer, or even face to face come to that, is a bit like trying to read the future from the tea leaves in your cup. You know how Freudians think no tunnel is an actual tunnel but merely a metaphor for the female sexual organ? Well, Len gave me some of that. Just like Magic Meg with her tea leaves and crystal ball, Len is sure he can look into my soul and trust his intuitions implicitly. Thanks for sparing me a repeat of that nonsense.

            So, I’ll try to keep it scientific. There is very little genetic evidence separating the different races. There is more difference displayed between individuals of the SAME race. The whole race agenda is a construct!

            Sorry, where is the science in that? You see this was all debunked decades ago. I think it was Richard Lewontin, the Marxist scientist, who put this one about. Let me explain. There is also more genetic difference within females than there is between say, you and me. Does this therefore mean that there are no significant differences between me and you? I mean, I’m quite pretty but I’m sure most people could still spot the difference.

            Or let’s take a sport analogy. Liverpool are now top of the league. Their best player, Louis Suarez, has scored 30 goals. The worst Liverpool player has scored only 1 goal. Sunderland are bottom of the league. Their best player has scored 12 goals and their worst has scored one goal. Therefore the difference in goal-scoring ability within the Liverpool team is greater than it is between the two Liverpool and Sunderland. Therefore there is no difference between Liverpool and Sunderland, right? Wrong. Still, nice try Richard and you have fooled a lot of people who are determined to look only at evidence that supports a certain kind of world view.

            The sooner you start to view people as people the happier you’ll be as a person, I can assure you. Now stop reading your hateful literature and start living your life. You are just wasting valuable thinking time trying to blame other working people for the ills of the world. We are all just trying to get by as best we can.

            Thanks, Nitya, for worrying about my happiness. I am actually quite happy as I am. And there is nothing hateful about the literature I read. Or maybe it is hateful in the same way that The God Delusion appears hateful to religious people. It may not be nice that the universe is cold and uncaring, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t true and that it is ‘hateful’ to state that there is no caring father above us.

            I am also aware that almost none of our present problems would disappear, even if there were no races. It just exacerbates things, just as religion does. But pretending that there are no races won’t help. Race can be predicted from a blood sample so the idea that it is only skin deep is silly. There are also various diseases that only affect some races, like sickle cell disease among blacks and Tay-Sachs among Ashkenazi Jews. This is useful information to a doctor when diagnosing his patients.

            To say that there are no races is like saying there are no breeds of dogs. The only difference between the two is that man (and woman, sorry!) steered the evolution of dogs from wild to domesticated and bred them into different breeds over the last few hundred years. This is artificial selection. The main human races on the other hand have been separated for over 40,000 years and natural selection has made changes to their genomes to help each group better adapt to their particular environments. No one questions this with animals so why the problem with humans? Aha, because progressive liberalism requires that we believe that we are all exactly the same, even when it is clear that we are not. But evolution didn’t suddenly stop 40,000 years ago just for one species, even though some scientists with a political agenda would like to make you think so. Please don’t be taken in by them Nitya.

            By the way, sorry about your ipad. It wonder if I could have predicted you were a woman from this bit of information? For example, it could be true that women drop their ipads more often than men due to the colossal amount of stuff they carry around with them. What do you think? Or is this sexist? I bet it is.

          • In reply to #106 by keith:

            Hi Nitya,

            Sorry for assuming you were a man. That must have been quite horrible for you! There is nothing about your writing style that might have made me think you are a woman. Had you included lots of smiley faces and OMG!s then I might have guessed! I’m not sure what the ‘etc.’ could have been. The smell of perfume that wafted up from my computer every time I read one of your posts, perhaps?

            Classic stereotypical labeling. I rest my case.

          • In reply to #107 by David R Allen:

            Classic stereotypical labeling. I rest my case.

            Classic humourless product of PC indoctrination. I rest my case.

          • In reply to #110 by keith:

            In reply to #107 by David R Allen:

            Classic stereotypical labeling. I rest my case.

            Classic humourless product of PC indoctrination. I rest my case.

            Mmm. Excuse me Keith. I know you’re not talking to me, but… just a technicality. First. Political Correctness (PC) is an ideology. As you’ve been reading my work, you will see that I dismiss ideologies. Secondly, PC is a label, which of course I find less than helpful in assessing the worth of a person. As for “Humourless” I guess that is for others to judge. I’m just pleased you spell it correctly.

            But I digress. The question I would ask is:- “Who is more dangerous to the world. A person who holds Keith’s views, or a person who holds my views. ” Or as Keith likes to lump us all together, “our views”. Who is more incendiary. Who is likely to provoke a conflict if their policies were implemented. Who is more likely to breech the new Golden Rule, “First, do no harm.” Who is further out on the bell curve of accepted wisdom. Who would Obama vote for. Who, if they ruled the world, is more likely to sheepdog the races into labels and tags. Who is more likely to use force to enforce their doctrine. So if you judge the relative merits of Keith’s position and mine, who would score more highly on the “Civilized” scale, or the moral and ethical scale.

            So, is Keith’s position “Good”.

          • In reply to #117 by David R Allen:

            As you’ve been reading my work…

            Without wanting to be rude, describing your writing as ‘your work’ might be overstating its importance.

            …you will see that I dismiss ideologies.

            This is the second time you have claimed you dismiss ideologies. You may be unaware of this but nobody believes they subscribe to an ideology. If Fidel Castro said ‘I dismiss ideologies’, should we then take him at his word? I can’t believe that anybody is so naive to believe that saying ‘I dismiss ideologies’ means anything. You’re pulling my leg, right?

            Secondly, PC is a label, which of course I find less than helpful in assessing the worth of a person.

            Yes, PC is a label, just like man, ostrich and fruit. What is your problem? Do you find the label ‘fruit’ ‘less than helpful’?

            As for “Humourless” I guess that is for others to judge.

            Why? Why can’t I judge? Hang on a minute. Isn’t ‘the others’ a label? Dave, I find that less than helpful.

            I’m just pleased you spell it correctly.

            I’m happy that you like my spelling. I’m also pleased that you can spell ‘spell’ correctly. So we are both pleased. Yippee!

            But I digress. The question I would ask is:- “Who is more dangerous to the world. A person who holds Keith’s views, or a person who holds my views. ” Or as Keith likes to lump us all together, “our views”. Who is more incendiary. Who is likely to provoke a conflict if their policies were implemented. Who is more likely to breech the new Golden Rule, “First, do no harm.” Who is further out on the bell curve of accepted wisdom. Who would Obama vote for. Who, if they ruled the world, is more likely to sheepdog the races into labels and tags. Who is more likely to use force to enforce their doctrine. So if you judge the relative merits of Keith’s position and mine, who would score more highly on the “Civilized” scale, or the moral and ethical scale.

            Yaaaawwwwnnnn. Sorry, fell asleep there. So who are you asking? If you are asking me, why are you addressing me in the third person singular?

          • In reply to #106 by keith:

            . Definitions of race are rooted in taxonomic classifications first developed in 18th- and 19th-century Europe. Race has overlapped with a debate about species known as the species problem.

            . Since the 1960s scientists have understood race as a social construct imposed on phenotypes in culturally determined ways, rather than a biological concept. A 2000 study by Celera Genomics found that human DNA does not differ significantly across populations. Citizens of any village in the world, in Scotland or Tanzania, have 90 percent of the genetic variability humanity has to offer. Only .01 percent of genes account for a person’s appearance.[20] Biological adaptation plays a role in bodily features and skin type. According to Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, “From a scientific point of view, the concept of race has failed to obtain any consensus; none is likely, given the gradual variation in existence. It may be objected that the racial stereotypes have a consistency that allows even the layman to classify individuals. However, the major stereotypes, all based on skin color, hair color and form, and facial traits, reflect superficial differences that are not confirmed by deeper analysis with more reliable genetic traits and whose origin dates from recent evolution mostly under the effect of climate and perhaps sexual selection”.[2][21] [22] [23] [24] [24][25] [26]

            The above is part of a much longer article in Wikipaedia. Of course I’ve been selective and chosen the paragraph that most suits my agenda, in the the same way that you would select evidence that supports your particular way of thinking. ‘What the diff?’ I hear you say. Well, your way of thinking leads down a path of racial vilification and tension. In-group out-group biases are not helpful in creating a happy community. I think it’s a great pity that you cannot absorb anything of value from other cultures but only choose to highlight perceived abuses of the system.

            The smell of perfume wafted up from the computer as I read your posts, perhaps

            That made me laugh at least. So you’re not without a sense of humour. I thought that the writing of women has been analysed in the past, and is shown to contain more question marks and commas? The silhouette that appears when you tap on my generic avatar is that of a female, but I guess you haven’t been checking out any previous posts in search of enlightenment.

          • In reply to #113 by Nitya:

            Hi Nitya,

            Well, I heard a lot of stuff about us both each being selective with our quotes but I didn’t hear an admission from you that you were perhaps wrong to have been taken in by the Richard Lewontin line. Had I been you, I would at least have had the good grace to acknowledge that I had perhaps been misled. However, like Dave, Len and Phil you quickly moved on to your next point and acted as if nothing had happened. This happens again and again. People tend ignore to any argument that they can’t immediately counter and swiftly move onto the things they can (or think they can). If they can’t even do that, they start complaining about your ‘tone’ or turn your harmless jokes into horrific acts of sexism (thanks for not doing that).

            I don’t know how I would go about countering your point that all of us just link to the things that support our own views. I sat back for a minute and tried to think of a scholar that you might respect and see what they had said about race. Steven Pinker came to mind. He is generally respected by all sides. Here is what he said about race:

            “Reality is what refuses to go away when you do not believe in it, and progress in neuroscience and genomics has made these politically comforting shibboleths (such as the non-existence of intelligence and the non-existence of race) untenable.”

            Is Pinker just another racist who hates other races and is, deep down, frightened of them? You seem to be mistaking two positions. One is to accept that race is a reasonable concept. That is what both Pinker and I do. The other is to despise other races and fear them. I don’t actually know anybody who feels like the latter, though there probably are such individuals about. However, in the imaginations of people like Len and Dave they seem to be everywhere. Do you feel the same? Are all people who believe in race racists in your book? I hope not.

          • In reply to #116 by keith:

            However, like Dave, Len and Phil you quickly moved on to your next point and acted as if nothing had happened. This happens again and again. People tend ignore to any argument that they can’t immediately counter

            Nope. I don’t have a problem with anything that Pinker proposes or the way he proposes it. I think there is a huge void between his position on genetics and IQ and its social relevance and the creation of public policy, and yours. You are not wrapping yourself in his views when you talk the way you do about these matters.

            The huge contribution of cultural inputs and other tractable inputs to academic performance, as evidenced by those racially the same but culturally different, Pakistani/Indian, Caribbean/African) works quite independently of any genetic contribution and denies your original point that public policy in this area of education must conform to “known genetic facts”. Besides, they are not facts until the effects of gene expression and epigenetic phenomena are explored (like how the effects of malnutrition can echo on down a few generations, a very likely source of reprioritisation of calorific usage.) They are facts for you because they suit you.

          • In reply to #126 by phil rimmer:

            Nope. I don’t have a problem with anything that Pinker proposes or the way he proposes it. I think there is a huge void between his position on genetics and IQ and its social relevance and the creation of public policy, and yours.

            What public policy did I advocate? As for social relevance, would you say that the findings on genetics and IQ have no social relevance? Surely you can’t believe that. And what views on the social relevance of genetics and IQ do you attribute to me, Phil?

            The huge contribution of cultural inputs and other tractable inputs to academic performance, as evidenced by those racially the same but culturally different, Pakistani/Indian, Caribbean/African) works quite independently of any genetic contribution and denies your original point that public policy in this area of education must conform to “known genetic facts”. Besides, they are not facts until the effects of gene expression and epigenetic phenomena are explored (like how the effects of malnutrition can echo on down a few generations, a very likely source of reprioritisation of calorific usage.) They are facts for you because they suit you.

            I don’t know where you got the “known genetic facts” from. You put it in inverted commas so I am assuming you think I said it somewhere. This gave you an opportunity to waffle on a bit about the effects of genes we don’t know about. Anyway, I’m damned if I remember using those words. However, if you can point me to them then I’ll concede the point.

            You seem to misunderstand. Some people think that what we become is due to an interaction of our genes and our environment, generally cultural. There are other people, generally on the political left, who refuse to accept that genes play any role at all in things such as intelligence and behaviour. There is no one who believes that genes account 100% of intelligence or behaviour but there are indeed people who believe that culture accounts for 100% of them. I belong to the mixed crowd. How about you? You see, I hope you weren’t suggesting that the Pakistani/Indian, Caribbean/African split in academic achievement (i.e. mainly cultural) implies that genes play a nugatory role?

          • In reply to #100 by keith:

            In reply to #89 by Len Walsh:

            Thank you, Dr. Walsh. I feel I’ve been well and truly analysed…Anyway, thanks for pointing out what was wrong in my previous posts.

            You’re very welcome Keith.

            Happy to help explain your formerly puzzling envy towards Obama.

          • In reply to #67 by keith:

            This is why charity at a local level is preferable in my opinion. It also makes the giver feel good, which he doesn’t necessarily do when he gets his monthly wage slip and sees how much has been deducted.

            On your model for direct giving of money from a rich person to a poor person. Why does communism always fail. What is the evidence, not the ideology. Why will communism never be a serious threat to the world. What is it about the psychological profile of all of humanity that makes it inevitable that it will fail. We have millions of years of evolution hard wired into our brains to make us on the whole, selfish. We have a self interested altruism to support near genetic relatives or persons in positions of power, like priests and chiefs. It’s called sucking up. You see it everywhere today. Nitya’s Saudi example is one. But that is the limit of our giving. We won’t en masse, give enough money in direct charity to avoid a Dickensian starving crime ridden underclass.

            So your ideology, of direct charity, is an example of backwards thinking. You’ve come up with an idea, but you haven’t tested it against the evidence to see if it works. That’s exactly my point will all ideologies. Every decision you make, should be based on evidence, tempered by ethics and morality. The utopia you describe in your direct charity ideology, is the same as all utopias , and it will fail for the very same reasons. That is why I subscribe to no ideology. Give me a problem. I’ll check the evidence. I will make my decision.

          • In reply to #25 by keith:

            Red Dog,

            There is so much wrong with your post that I can only bring myself to address the first part of it. The rest would take a whole evening which I just don’t have.

            I hear you Keith, and it applies to your post too. I’ll try not to address the symptoms of Keith’s post, but try and point to the cause. I met Keith dozens of times in my touring of the US. But Keith’s only live in the US. This puzzled me so here is my hypothesis.

            The United States of America has been the undisputed leader of the political and economic free world for the last 100 years. America did not need to listen to anyone else. It was a closed shop. They ruled the world. They decided what was what and how things were. There media was self absorbed and internalized and any reporting of the rest of the world was done from an American perspective, and how the rest of the world would be just fine if they did as we did. (Echo’s of religion here)

            I think America might be stuck in the past, around the 50′s and 60′s still fighting communism and the cold war. Still believing in the “American Dream” a dream that was never true and is a nightmare for most Americans. Keith, and his fellow travelers still project this profile in the things Keith writes. It’s the poor’s fault they poor. If only blacks behaved like whites everything would be fine. If only everyone went to church and had a husband, a wife, and 4 kids the world would be perfect. The greatest political threat is communism. The greatest military threat is Russia, although someone has finally found China on the map.

            My hypothesis is that the rest of the world has moved on. Civilization has moved on. What was valued in the 50′s is no longer valued. How we came to think of stuff as civilized, has been updated by advances around the world. But America hasn’t moved on. It’s still stuck back there. It can’t move on because it still thinks of itself as the only country that matters in the world. They think they need no one else and the world will continue to dance to their tune. There media is still internalized and fails Americans by failing to report the changes that have happened around the world in the last forty years. The America media is still reporting in Leave it to Beaver terms. It is no wonder Keith still writes the stuff he writes. Nitya is right. Keith needs to travel the world. Not just the 10 day cruise, but he needs to go and live and learn from the rest of the world.

            I will use but one example. I love this idea Keith promotes that universal health care is somehow communism. The mental gymnastics to get from “Universal Health Care” to Communism is amazing. The rest of the world has realized that to be a civilized society, the state must provide for all it’s citizens, not just the rich. Universal health care is the norm around the rest of the world, especially in the G20 states, those that most parallel America. They’re not communist. They haven’t descended into one party rule. They still have vibrant free market economies with much less debt and with much better economic performance than America.

            It is a powerful instructive observation to read how Keith thinks. This is why I have pondered long and hard to try and work out why Keith thinks like he does. A little homework for Keith. Obama is on the right and a conservative by modern civilized world standards. What does this mean for the Republican’s and the Tea Party. In Australia, they would be considered a lunatic fringe, and would score around 2% of the vote. And we’re not communists. Discuss in 400 words. Keith needs to name the communist countries of the world that are a threat to the march of civilizations. Seriously, I invite Keith or anyone who still thinks communism is a threat, name these threatening countries.

            And finally a plea to America. It’s time to catch up. You are fast becoming a failed and irrelevant state. We, the rest of the G20 desperately need America to catch up and become a civilized, rational and informed member of the modern world. We need America journalists to act as the fourth estate, and inform America. We need America to look outwards, and not inwards. We need Keith to realize that he is just plain wrong in the things he writes.

          • Hi Dave Allen,

            I’m on my way out and I just had time to quickly scan your post. I am not American. I am British, have worked in various European countries and now work in Asia. To a large extent this negates everything you wrote in your long post.

            I don’t know where you get the idea that I think universal health care is communism. We have free health care in Britain and Britain is not a communist country. The problem is that the NHS doesn’t really work. It is too big and has no reason to be more efficient since it is funded by the tax payer. If it were efficient I would love a single payer system.

            I used to believe all the things that you appear to believe so our position are not exactly symmetrical. I came back from university spouting all the cultural Marxist ideas of white oppression of blacks still being a problem in modern day America; of women earning lower wages for the same job (it never is exactly the same job) and that the best way to help the poor is to give them money. It took a while for e to see that I had been stuck in the ideological bubble I had grown up in. But now after seeing both sides of the argument I tend to come down on the side of conservativism. I wonder if you have gone to the trouble of genuinely understanding the other side, rather than just assuming that people who disagree with you are all ignorant bigots?

            As with Red Dog, I could have taken longer to go through your post but since you seem to have drawn your own conclusions already, it would be a waste of my time to do so.

          • In reply to #37 by keith:

            I don’t know where you get the idea that I think universal health care is communism.

            Probably from remarks like these.

            I don’t know who dreamt up Obamacare but it is clearly just another form of wealth distribution with middle-class workers subsidising lower-paid workers and those who don’t work at all.

            From my perspective I would rather form a concerted front with Christians against the real enemies of civilisation, namely the Islamists on the fascist right and Cultural Marxists on the left, the latter now forming the status quo in the West

            Communism. Socialism (Communism Lite) Marxism. All of the above.

            I did a stupid thing folks. I started reading Keith’s post going back over time. I know, I know. I’ve wasted a half hour of my life and I can’t get it back. It appears that if you are not a white Anglo non muslim, perfectly fit and healthy person capable of participating in the work force you are a serious problem to humanity, and Keith. Nothing was spared. No minority, race or colour met with approval. If you are sick and can’t pay, that’s your problem. If you are the product of parents less than perfect and healthy, and you suffer consequences, that’s your problem. There is nothing that is not your problem, unless you fit Keith’s narrow definition of acceptable.

            It reads like a best of Rush Limbaugh. If Keith is from the UK as he states, and has traveled as he says, then he would need to be blind to think that Obama by world standards is not a conservative. If his definition of conservative doesn’t include Obama, then Keith’s conservatism much be so far out to the right, that if it was a planet, he would be out past Pluto.

            Obama care is an attempt to get America to catch up with the rest of the civilized world. That Keith opposes this, suggest he likes the less civilized world of pre WW2 Europe. Enough said.

            Keith, you adhere to an ideology. I don’t. Just think about how ideologies are created. They are ideas, like Marx with Das Capital, and Hitler with Mein Kampf, or Adam Smith with wealth of nations. What do all of these ideologies have in common. They are backwards thinking. Some guy comes up with and idea and tries to shoe horn it onto the world. Communism. Capitalism. Environmentalism. Mysticism. Just about anything that ends in “ISM” (Except autism) is an ideology. They all fail because they come up with the idea first, then try and force to evidence to fit their idea. They all fail. I take the view that on any topic, you research the evidence first, then allow your views to reflect that evidence, and change your views as the evidence changes. Thus, I hold to no ideology. I am not a leftist liberal pinko socialist trying to steal from the rich and give to the poor. I’m not Keith with his “its all your own fault” right wing views.

            So Keith, if your views are coloured by an ideology, which having spent the last hour sampling your posts, I would say they are, in my view your ideas are wrong, for the reasons stated above, that all ideologies are wrong.

          • In reply to #39 by David R Allen:

            I did a stupid thing folks. I started reading Keith’s post going back over time. I know, I know. I’ve wasted a half hour of my life and I can’t get it back.

            LOL. I agree. Just for the record when I see that someone’s replies to me reach a level that I think is just so full of distortions, irrationality, or venom I just stop replying. It’s not worth it. And that is the case with Keith. Anyone who thinks that the ACA — an idea dreamed up in a right wing think tank and first advocated by people like Romney — is socialism is no longer worth talking to as far as I’m concerned. The most appropriate replies to his comments IMO is this short clip from youtube

          • In reply to #39 by David R Allen:

            In reply to #37 by keith:

            I think you took one for the team. Thanks.

            I often talk about how right wing views simply reflect a set of moral values that are non negotiable. (Left wing values seem to be a subset of those values and are equally entrenched. We need to think of them, perhaps, as a set of moral aesthetics. ) I have also conceded that these different sets of hard/firm wired values may be useful at different times, anxious conservers during times of danger and limited resources, open handed liberals during times of peace and plenty.

            The problem is as you say the unexamined dogma (on both sides), the lack of self awareness, that gets attached to those personal values. Off the peg solutions to brand new problems aren’t the best we can do and are poorly negotiated between us. If we can get beyond political dogma we can talk together, but reason and evidence must be used to decide whether it actually is, as Fox news says, a Code Red (as they must always do to justify their claim to the reins) or not and evidence and reason must be used to drive policy.

          • In reply to #42 by phil rimmer:

            In reply to #39 by David R Allen:

            In reply to #37 by keith:

            I think you took one for the team. Thanks.

            I hadn’t realised that richarddawkins.net was a progressive liberal team. Stupid of me.

          • In reply to #50 by keith:

            In reply to #42 by phil rimmer:

            In reply to #39 by David R Allen:

            In reply to #37 by keith:

            I think you took one for the team. Thanks.

            I hadn’t realised that richarddawkins.net was a progressive liberal team. Stupid of me.

            I hope its not! Nope that’s not my point at all. My point is about the muddling of political dogma with perfectly natural and various politico/moral predispositions. People treat their own political views as suitable for all to adopt too often. They are not. But analyse a little deeper and you are back on.

            I called on this site to be more politically engaged but absolutely not at the level of the political dogma of party politics. If we can have discussions that are more analytical, less about the tired old rhetoric of left and right that would be cracking.

            I’ll be honest I had stopped reading your posts a while ago, where I would avidly read other right wingers, because I got no new insights into “right” thinking. That’s why I thanked DRA. I stopped reading the non analytical lefties for the same reason.

            A case in point. You identify Sweden’s growing welfare problem as a cultural/racial one. I wrote recently about Denmark’s growing racist and isolationist aspirations that flows from the self same problem. The problem is not that race is the root issue, it is only what makes it visible. The problem is a country that has hugely invested in itself. Denmark has average personal rates of all taxation at 78%. Any new and substantial immigration that doesn’t immediately contribute at the same level will be viewed as pinching their nest egg.

            It is the lack of curiosity when you get to your political home ground and fail to dig behind that, that leaves me with no new insight.

            EDIT: In further defence of my attempt at political openness I have argued long and loud across the web at any attempt to tie Atheism advocacy to left leaning politics as in Atheism plus. That conservatism is underrepresented in “New Atheism” is as much to do with the behavioural time constants that conservatism naturally represents.

          • In reply to #55 by phil rimmer:

            Yes, a little bit disingenuous I think, Phil. One of your points was indeed what you have just claimed it was. However, before that you wrote, ‘You took one there for the team. Thanks.’ This is what I commented on and also what I quoted and this is not what you just claimed to have written.

            I’m sorry Phil if my posts lack insight. They are the best I can do. If I could write better then I would, believe me. Maybe I should remind you that you are under no obligation to read what I write. Rather than leaving the website and you could just, you know, skim past my posts.

            For me ‘dogma’ means continuing to believe something even in the face of contrary evidence. Quite why you think what I write is dogmatic, I am not sure. As I mentioned earlier, I too used to be on the political left. It was how I was educated and what I had drilled into me at university. I thought all racial problems could be solved by levelling the playing field so that minorities have a fair chance, and that by taxing the rich at ever higher rates the problems of poverty, or relative poverty, would be overcome. I no longer believe either of these things and the reason I don’t is because of what I ave read over the past couple of decades. Is this dogma? Presumably you assume that anyone with my views can’t possibly have bothered engaging with the issues seriously i.e. I don’t agree with you.

            I think you are wrong about Denmark. One of the reasons it needs such high levels of tax is precisely because of its generous welfare system and the people who take advantage of it. I don’t don’t know about the specific example of Denmark but I do know that many immigrant groups are overrepresented when it comes to state benefits in most European countries. You write:

            Any new and substantial immigration that doesn’t immediately contribute at the same level will be viewed as pinching their nest egg.

            Well yes, how would you view it? If someone comes into a country and takes out more than he puts in, sometimes putting nothing in, I don’t know how else you could look at such a state of affairs. Please tell me what I am missing.

          • In reply to #56 by keith:

            In reply to #55 by phil rimmer:
            This is what I commented on and also what I quoted and this is not what you just claimed to have written.

            I said

            I’ll be honest I had stopped reading your posts a while ago, where I would avidly read other right wingers, because I got no new insights into “right” thinking. That’s why I thanked DRA.

            For reading your stuff. I am absolutely talking about ALL that I wrote. I haven’t ignored my first comment.

            The eye watering taxation of the Danes and the very high levels of taxation of the Swedes is exactly what they have elected for themselves to create their highly nurturing society. Any class of immigrant that are immediately not up to earnings speed will be seen as taking advantage. It is the weakness of such an unusual state of affairs. The point you made is that it was about mono-culture versus multi-culture. A race thing. It is not.

            Likewise with black folk and maths. You are not content to analyse the data you find but are happy with right political dogma. I’ve spent the last half hour looking at US and UK ethnicity and education data and read a couple of papers on this. It is absolutely clear that worse performances are got where failure is more dangerous (in unequal, low welfare societies) and reliable earning through less ambitious routes mitigates the risks. Its a cultural thing and fixable. In the UK the near median performance of Africans in maths contrasts dramatically with the poor performance of Afro-Caribbeans pointing clearly to mere cultural artifacts. This stuff is tractable. Research and a bit of money spent can fix these things.

            Bring proper facts and you’ve got my undivided attention.

          • Hi Phil,

            It seems you still haven’t got my point about your ‘You took one for the team’ comment. Whether this is a wilful misunderstanding or not I can’t say. Never mind. Let’s move on.

            As you can imagine, I am against an overly generous welfare and benefits system. If your tax is 78% then this is too much. One of the only reasons Europe has been able to afford its generous welfares systems is because the U.S. took over the job of defending and paying for the defence of the West. It is no surprise that Obama is now cutting down the military. A nation can’t afford a strong military and a generous welfare system. Anyway, the point is that immigrants are overrepresented as welfare recipients in most European countries, including Sweden and Denmark, and this only exacerbates what is already a problem.

            Any class of immigrant that are immediately not up to earnings speed will be seen as taking advantage.

            This is not just a short term problem while immigrants settle in, as you try to suggest. They are over-represented as welfare recipients on a long-term basis. And this is not an either/or situation of either the taxes being too high or the immigrants being 100% responsible for such high rates. Both are problems. This article sums up the latest thinking on the subject: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/08/mass-immigration-or-the-welfare-state-because-we-may-not-be-able-to-have-both/

            And you still haven’t answered my question as to how a native population should look upon people, who are sometimes hostile to the native culture, arriving and immediately receiving money from a common ‘nest egg’, as you call it. Why wouldn’t this rankle? It would certainly rankle with me. You say that Denmark has ‘growing racist and isolationist aspirations’. The country has racist aspirations? I’ve never heard of a people aspiring to racism. Did you really mean this or did you just get carried away by your own rhetoric?

            If you want to believe that there are no differences between races in academic achievement or that any differences that do exist are due to cultural factors then that’s fine with me. I just don’t think the literature bears this out. As you probably know, blacks have an average low academic achievement rate, regardless of the country they live in. Pouring money into raising black standards has been tried in various cities in America where planners and educators were invited ‘to dream’, regardless of cost. It made no difference at all.

            It is almost certainly the case that African populations do so badly academically due to poverty. No one can learn when there are no schools and people are hungry and the environment you live in is riven by high levels of crime. No one is suggesting that this low black achievement is purely a genetic problem. It does, however, have a genetic element to it. And the fact that the people are hungry and commit high rates of crime is also not unconnected to genetic factors (intelligence, high levels of testosterone and aggressiveness etc.).

            If you are right that Africans in the UK do just as well academically as the average student this could be due to them being a self-selecting group i.e. you need a certain amount of gumption and money to leave your country in the first place. And no one is saying that no black person can achieve academic greatness. Thomas Sowell is one of my favourite writers on economics and politics and is clearly brilliant. Walter Williams is also much more intelligent than I will ever be. The claim is merely that on average black IQ scores worldwide are lower than those of other groups and this remains, even after taking all cultural factors like poverty into consideration.

            I find it touching you feel that because a problem is cultural then it is therefore tractable. It is certainly more tractable than if it were purely genetic. However, the West has been wealthy for quite some time and it has been trying to solve various ‘cultural’ problems with money and the problem abides. Of course, I’m sure you would say that the West is not trying hard enough. It should make things more equal by taxing the wealthy and big corporations at ever higher tax rates. What this tends to do is to make it harder for wealth creators to compete with countries that don’t have such crippling tax rates and everyone in the economy grows poorer. Reagan lowered the tax rates and more revenue came in during his term in office than any previous office. Because the economy took off then the lower tax rate represented a slightly smaller slice of a much bigger cake. Of course, there is the added problem that if you tax people at 78% they will either find ways to get round it or simply start escaping to places where they won’t be taxed so heavily. And of course being a Muslim is a cultural thing rather than genetic. Good luck with trying to change that cultural and therefore tractable ‘artifact’. The West has been trying to change it for 1,400 years without much success.

            If you would like some data on racial issues then try Richard Lynn’s book ‘IQ and the Wealth of Nations’ or watch this video of J.P. Rushton laying out the facts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1mgrTGeDPM.
            Or try this audio on the same topic. The girl with the soppy voice only talks for a minute. The rest is Rushton himself.

            Of course, both men are vilified as racists but I’m sure you’ll understand that anyone who came up with the conclusions they did, no matter how solid the data, would have their reputations trashed by progressive liberals who simply don’t like those conclusions. Steven Pinker writes about all this in The Blank Slate.

          • In reply to #58 by keith:

            No one is suggesting that this low black achievement is purely a genetic problem. It does, however, have a genetic element to it.

            I’m not racist but…

            You are exhibiting text book systems of fear of the other. That tribe that lives in the next valley. All my perceived problems are caused by them. Those others. Those people who do not act or look like me, or share my values.

            Thomas Sowell is one of my favourite writers on economics and politics and is clearly brilliant. Walter Williams is also much more intelligent than I will ever be.

            See, I even know and admire so of those black people, so I’m not a racist. Your latest post has all the hallmarks of “master race” syndrome. It’s all their fault that I have to pay so much tax because they’re (them. Those others) all so lazy and sponge on me. I know you won’t answer me, but I would value your opinion on my evidence based decision making rather that ideological based decision making.

          • In reply to #59 by David R Allen:

            This is all very strange. First you assume I am someone who has never been out of the United States, when in truth I have never even been there and have travelled quite widely. You never actually acknowledged that you were totally wrong on this. Would you like to do so now?

            Now you claim I am afraid of ‘the other’. This is funny since I have chosen to live among ‘the other’. I find many westerners self-obsessed and this is thrown into stark contrast when placed alongside my Asian friends.

            Anyway, nice try at Freudian analysis. However, I shouldn’t give up your day job just yet. Incidentally, what is you day job? Psychologist?

          • In reply to #61 by keith:

            In reply to #59 by David R Allen:

            This is all very strange. First you assume I am someone who has never been out of the United States, when in truth I have never even been there and have travelled quite widely. You never actually acknowledged that you were totally wrong on this. Would you like to d…

            On the internet, all women are super models and all men are Olympic athletes. I’ve go no way of testing the veracity of anything you say, just as you have no way of checking any of my bona fides. No not a psychologist but I did post a topic for discussion on this forum entitled “A Psychological Profile of God.”

            But on a psychological level, there are a few million years of evolution hard wired into your brain to fear the other. To fear a native group on the ridge. You are also hard wired for good evolutionary reasons to exhibit loyalty to your tribe. This manifests itself today as sports fans, and the conflict in Ukraine. This tribalism WAS a good survival strategy, but through an act of intellectual will, which is very difficult, it is possible to override your fear of the “other”. I try to see myself as a citizen of planet earth first, before any other tribal instincts. I would like my passport to read, Citizen of Planet Earth.

            People who identify race as an issue, are letting this very base evolutionary drive override what should be a rational decision to accept every homo sapien as a member of the one species. I note from your writings, that you have trouble with this. I would need to spend an hour over coffee in discussion to decide whether you are just ill informed, the shallow end of the bell curve, or whether you are way out their with Governor Wallace, a died in the wool racist. But like all empirical problems, I do not have enough data to make an informed decision. I can point with probability, but not with certainty.

            As for living with the “Others” that can be a two edged sword. It may reinforce your views of racial difference, the reference to black people’s IQ’s, or it may moderate your views. Given you wrote the preceding, I would suggest that your assertion that you have lived among the “Other” is no defense to my allegation.

          • In reply to #58 by keith:

            I described 78% as eye-watering and the exceptionally high welfare level it pays for as problem-making with under-contributing immigrants. Why on earth are you lecturing me on my own points. Keep up. The point, to re-iterate, is that the issue is not the clash of cultures as you claim but purely an economic one. As economies level up this problem will diminish.

            Without such high levels of welfare as in the UK it turns out that immigrants can be more easily net contributors right from the outset-

            Immigrants to the UK since 2000 have made a “substantial” contribution to public finances, a report says.

            The study by University College London said recent immigrants were less likely to claim benefits and live in social housing than people born in Britain.

            The authors said rather than being a “drain”, their contribution had been “remarkably strong”.

            The government said it was right to have strict rules in place to help protect the benefits system.

            Immigrants who arrived after 1999 were 45% less likely to receive state benefits or tax credits than UK natives in the period 2000-2011, according to the report by Prof Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini from UCL’s Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration.

            They were also 3% less likely to live in social housing.

            “These differences are partly explainable by immigrants’ more favourable age-gender composition. However, even when compared to natives with the same age, gender composition, and education, recent immigrants are still 21% less likely than natives to receive benefits,” the authors say.

            As you grudgingly admit, culture is tractable. Your original claim was that money spent on fixing say academic performance levels was a waste because these problems were intractable. If UK maths results in GCSEs show that Caribbean and Pakistani perform badly but African Indian and white British perform around the median, the mechanisms in play are clearly mostly cultural.

            You called me part of a liberal team after I had spoken about trying my best not to be partisan. Thanks. The team I had in mind was a team that struggles to be non partisan but admits to those problems and the sometimes seemingly intractable complexity in these things and, certainly tries not to have to wade through tired old partisan dogma.

            Thank you for your youtube link of a presentation from a recent American Renaissance Conference. It explained plenty. Race is the problem now what is the question. Arse about face analysis.

            For you it seems everything has to be that one notch more essentialist. Its not economic, its cultural. Its not cultural, its racial.

          • In reply to #76 by phil rimmer:

            Could I add that the 78% ( or whatever the eye watering amount) is not a flat rate! It’s still incredibly high .Anyway, people are not leaving in droves. After an initial exodus, high tax contributors have decided to stay on regardless because they like to see their fellow countrymen live in dignity.

          • In reply to #77 by Nitya:

            In reply to #76 by phil rimmer:

            Could I add that the 78% ( or whatever the eye watering amount) is not a flat rate! It’s still incredibly high .Anyway, people are not leaving in droves. After an initial exodus, high tax contributors have decided to stay on regardless because they like to see their…

            The 78% as state before is the averaged totality of all taxes, income and sales, duties and mandated insurance requirements. People do not leave in droves. The great majority find it very congenial as most of life’s outrageous slings and arrows are mitigated against. They have a democratically accountable state working for them, maximally uncorrupt. As we discussed before, some have found it culturally a little flat though. But that could get fixed with richer immigrants. And how any country can survive without decent Indian restaurants is beyond me.

          • In reply to #78 by phil rimmer:

            . some have found it culturally a little flat though.

            Ha ha! Ah yes, I well recall! It probably sounds as if I have some cultural ties with Scandinavia as I’m such a strong advocate. This is not so. My heritage stems from the UK with maybe a drip of French blood.I’ve been very much in favour of the Scandinavian system from the time that it was described as Democratic Socialism. The system was largely ridiculed and unjustly accused of having the highest suicide rate in the world.

            These claims were deliberately misleading as it turns out. There was a suggestion that western purveyors of propaganda wished to tarnish the repution of these countries because they feared that their success might catch on. I have always viewed the Scandinavian countries as a sort of ideal.

          • In reply to #80 by Nitya:

            In reply to #78 by phil rimmer:

            But this has nothing to do with my position at all. I’m sad that you think these naysayers relate to it. I am a strong espouser of the work of Wilkinson and Picket and the creation of more equal societies. Their argument that the American ideal life of personal freedom and capability is alive and well and living in Denmark is profoundly true. Denmark won the race first. But fixing primary problems causes secondary problems, particularly when there are people with a wide spread of moral aesthetics looking to pick a fight. The problem of living together has not entirely gone away.

          • In reply to #91 by phil rimmer:

            Hi Phil.
            I’m reading this in haste as I mentioned in my comment # 92

            Actually, I think that I’ll need through the last few comments to get the gist of our exchanges. I’ll be back later.

          • In reply to #91 by phil rimmer:

            I’m glad to read that you’re a ‘betterist’. I think I am as well. It’s great to be able to see that other nations are able to address the same problems in a different way , for example the way the Japanese manage to handle huge numbers of passengers on their public transport system! They do it so efficiently ( and the platforms are SO clean).

            That’s the main benefit of travel IMO. If we didn’t learn anything in the process, the whole exercise would be a waste of time. What a shame we get locked into one way of doing things and fail to see success stories all around us.

            I figured that the 78% tax rate was a combination of all taxes in Denmark. The statistics I found stated 65% on the top margin of the income tax scale & a huge 25% VAT. Unfortunately that’s the price you pay if you want to live in a society that aims to help and support people. The fact that high earners still living there speaks volumes to me.

            Well, I hope I’ve made sense. I have difficulty reading what I’ve already written. I need a new device ASAP.

          • Dave Allen,

            I find it hard to know if you are writing for the benefit of like-minded people on this website or to me. It seems to me that you are writing for the former e.g.:

            I did a stupid thing folks. I started reading Keith’s post going back over time.

            unless you fit Keith’s narrow definition of acceptable.

            If Keith is from the UK as he states…

            Keith’s conservatism much be so far out…

            Since you are not addressing me I’m sure you won’t mind if I don’t respond.

          • In reply to #25 by keith:

            Trayvon Martin was killed with malice aforethought. I suppose that’s an “affair.” I’m glad you pointed out that he was a hoodie-wearing, gold-tooth 17-year-old. That makes it so much easier to see that he had it coming and bigotry was not a factor. Did Obama’s comment dichotomize the political atmosphere? Or did he empathize with a dead teenager in a dichotomized political atmosphere?

            You’re not telling the whole story. The detective did act out of hubris. That was a stupid thing for a law enforcement professional to do.

            “Race relations are at an all-time low…”

            lol. That claim is so ridiculous you should be blushing. This degree of hyperbole should be reserved for comedy.

            Of course it could also be the case that they voted for him because he was clearly going to give them the most stuff.

            Unlike fortunate America. Why do people vote conservative? It wouldn’t be to protect their assets from the society that allowed them to get where they are? And what did Obama even suggest he would give people? Access to health care? What a sugar daddy.

            “…clearly lied about the Bengazi…” “…lied about the actions of the IRS.”
            Clearly? I’ve heard and seem mistakes based on limitations of available evidence. But I’ve also seen and heard polemic baseless rants and a narrative of deliberate deception from Fox and other new-like entertainment outlets. When are they going to back these claims up? And the IRS targeted groups that self-identified as being against paying taxes? Egad, such villainy. Of course we’re supposed to believe conservative polemicists That this was a conspiracy of oppressing “the opposition.” Christian ideology and faith are bad enough. This conservative ideology and faith is nauseating.

            Who dreamed up Obamacare? Affordable healthcare for everyone? A nation where the infirm can seek help without undue threat of bankruptcy? The idea that Americans would be treated with dignity regardless of health or financial status? I don’t know who dreamed it up but I’d for for him/her before the one who claims America lacks the resources to treat its citizens like fellow human beings.

          • In reply to #25 by keith:

            He got involved in the Trayvon Martin affair when he should [sic] have done. He has clearly lied about the Bengazi incident in which a US Ambassador was murdered and he has lied about the actions of the IRS. The reason there is so much opposition is because he is a crusading socialist…

            What a filthy swine. Thank god he didn’t add to the heinous crime of commenting on a shooting by doing something really trivial like invading another country out of choice, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants, driving another 4 million out of said country in fear for their lives, massively increasing support for Al Queda and Muslim fundamentalism where it never existed before which then blew back on the rest of us by way of bombings here in the UK, in Europe, India and other places. The rest of the world is still paying for Bush’s arrogance and aggression (you’re either with us or against us!) in suicide bombings, constant security checks and general paranoia in daily life.

            Crusading socialist? You are a crazy person. You haven’t the faintest idea what socialism really is. By the standards of any properly civilised country (you know, those bizarre places like here in the UK that have universal healthcare) Obama would be a fascist. The left wing of American politics is still to the right of the right wing in most other democracies. As for the American right wing, that’s just plain old batshit crazy by normal people’s standards. Then there’s the Tea Party which is batshit crazy even by American standards.

            America is a sad anachronism in world terms. A bunch of gun toting, poor people hating, racist, misogynist bible thumpers who think they’re still fighting the Cold War, seeing “reds under the bed”, living an American Dream that never existed and whose little world collapsed when a nigger got into their White House. I mean goddamit it’s called the White House for a reason. It’s the place from which white men rule a white country, buck niggers tend the fields and bitch niggers cook and clean house. Everything started to go to hell in a hand basket after Rosa Parks got uppity. Oh for the good old days when you could still saddle your horse, strap your handgun on, ride out across your estate and see “Strange Fruit” hanging from tree branches to teach the other niggers to know their place.

            A health care system that works for profit and gouges everyone who comes into contact with it is an affront to rationality and civilised life. You people spend twice as much per head on it as most other countries for worse results and to leave millions outside its scope. Most of your national debt is down to your absurd health care system, your constant warmongering and the idiocy of thinking that reducing tax rates on the rich creates jobs and more tax income. Clinton managed to reverse much of the harm done by Reagan and Bush Senior. Obama is trying to reverse the harm done by Bush Junior but he was left in such a deep shit hole it’s a big struggle.

            Carter might not have been your best president but not a single shot was fired in war during his presidency and he’s tirelessly devoted another 40 years of his life to world health and peace issues. He might not have been your greatest president but he’s a shining example of a great man. What has Bush Junior done after he fucked Iraq, your national debt and the entire world’s economy? Vanished without trace other than to produce the occasional daub that a 5 year old would be embarrassed to paint.

            [Last paragraph removed by moderator.]

          • In reply to #36 by Arkrid Sandwich:

            In reply to #25 by keith:

            He got involved in the Trayvon Martin affair when he should [sic] have done. He has clearly lied about the Bengazi incident in which a US Ambassador was murdered and he has lied about the actions of the IRS. The reason there is so much opposition is because he is a crusadi…

            How in the world did we go from talking about Obama’s address over Easter to solving all of Americas problems by lining up Republicans and Tea Partiers to be shot and to hunting down Sarah Palin? I hope it was a rant that got out of control and that it isn’t really your opinion. If it is your opinion then you seriously need to reevaluate it.

      • In reply to #21 by keith:
        >

        No one has done more to dichotomize the contemporary political atmosphere than Barack Obama.

        This is partially true. If he weren’t black then racist opposition would merely be opposition.

        He is a crusader for equality with no interest in why, over and above white and republican meanness, inequality exists.

        So you admit inequality exists? Except for this one sentence you seem to blame everything on the victims.

        I really don’t recognise the ‘facilitator’ that you are describing.

        I agree that you don’t.

        Please name a president who has racialised so many issues and caused so much ill-will, albeit with the help of his race-hustling friends.

        If I could only name one I’d go with LBJ. But you’re putting the cart before the horse, confusing cause and effect. Both Pres. Johnson and Obama are dealing with the effects of racial issues. They did/do not make racial issues out of non-racial issues. But neither did/do they seek to deal with social and economic issues while ignoring the effects of bigotry and the inequality you mentioned.

        What I see is a man who has been too much praised.

        Anyone with any degree of success is going to be overpraised by some. Take George W. Bush and Ronald Regan for instance.

        After he won the Nobel Peace Prize simply for being black.

        He actually won that for not being George W. Bush. The world breathed a sigh of relief and dared hope for a rational America. But I’ll agree he hadn’t actually done anything that really merited that award.

        Now he has come to believe the image the liberal press has created for him.

        Is that true? I doubt it. And if he did think of himself the way the press portrays him he would need serious psychiatric care

        He might be a ‘moderator’ but only of the people who already agree with him.

        Well, I called him a moderator. But where I don’t agree with him it’s typically because he comes out too conservative or too acquiescent to conservative interests. by international standards he’s fairly conservative. Does that make him a conservative or a moderate? I guess it could make me, and the majority of the civilized world, ultra liberal… but I’m familiar with too many ultra liberals to allow myself to be confused with them.

        Anyone with genuinely different views is ignored.

        If only. If that were true the Affordable Health Care Act would be thousands and thousands of pages shorter.

        • In reply to #30 by AllusiveAtheist:

          Hi AA,

          Yes, I certainly admit that inequality exists. I don’t think that anyone with eyes in their head could deny that. The much more interesting questions are why does it exist and can we do much about it? The plain truth is that some people are born more intelligent than others and are fortunate to have parents who think education is useful. This implies that there are people who are not so intelligent or have parents who place little emphasis on their child’s education. Please tell me how you would go about bringing equality to this situation. Blocking up the intelligent child’s ears for half the class so the less intelligent can catch up? Rotating children to different parents so that each gets a share of the good and bad? Let me guess, you would throw more money at the problem. Well, it’s already been done. Often there are more dollars per child spent in poorly performing schools than in better schools and it makes no difference. there are simply children who are academically good while others aren’t and these traits often run in families and in races. Or let me guess, you don’t believe in races? You think they are a social construct made up by racists and scientists who have no idea, right?

          Barack Obama and most of the people on this site seem to believe that the only reason black people fail is due to white oppression and racism. Just how oppressive and racist can America be if it voted in a black president (twice) and has carried out affirmative action programs to favour blacks and Hispanics (to the detriment of mainly east Asians) since the late 1960s? Of course, if you adhere to the belief that all people and races are born exactly equal in all ways, then you will think that any differences that accrue must be due to policies that are, intentionally or unintentionally racist. However, if you take the trouble to read the scientific literature on this you will see that although there are disagreements about how much difference is due to nature and how much to nurture, there is practically no scientist working in this area who believes that all races are equally good at all things. But maybe you are more interested in taking up a righteous stance and denouncing as a bigot and racist anyone who disagrees with you than actually reading any of that literature. So, just in case you are one of those people who sniggers at Christians’ ignorance of science and their loathing to learn any, I recommend you take a look at the relevant literature. I will be happy to link to it if you ask me to.

          The fact that you think LBJ polarised views on race I found astounding. You are right in saying that he inherited a situation that was always going to be hard to deal with but he didn’t polarise views. He managed the transition from apartheid America to equal rights America. However, this was not the case with Obama. The hard work of levelling the playing field had already been done. He racialised issues that didn’t need to be racialised and he did it for the reason stated above, namely, that he believes that inequality can only be due to white oppression rather than to black people adopting dysfunctional modes of living, as well as being on average less adept at skills needed in the modern world (Maths, Computer Studies, science). And before you spit coffee all over you computer screen at such blatant racism, please first check that this is not, horror of horrors, true.

          Anyone with any degree of success is going to be overpraised by some. Take George W. Bush and Ronald Regan for instance.

          Was Bush praised? That must have been while I was reading the Huffington Post because missed it. I thought he was vilified by the press and most of the general public. He certainly was in my country.

          Ronald Reagan was of course the man who broke the evil Communist empire of the USSR, for which the people of Eastern Europe are eternally grateful to him. Just ask them if they revere Obama or Reagan. The latter is without doubt the greatest American President since WWII.

          by international standards he’s fairly conservative. Does that make him a conservative or a moderate?

          By ‘international’ I assume you mean ‘European’ or ‘of European heritage (Canada, Australia etc)? If you think the Anglophone countries plus Europe = international then don’t you think you are being a little bit west-o-centric? How un-progressive of you. No, Obama is neither a conservative nor a moderate but a cultural Marxist, just like you.

          Bored now. Bye.

          • In reply to #47 by keith:

            comment read, and dismissed

            Your opinions are wrong. Even your objective claims are pitifully wrong. Normally I don’t mind refuting the delusional in the interest of interested third parties. But I’m not worried about any fence sitters finding your ideological rhetoric convincing. Nor would I expect any amount of supporting evidence to unwind the tangle of selection bias of anyone who would find your unsubstantiated claims convincing.

          • In reply to #60 by AllusiveAtheist:

            In reply to #47 by keith:

            comment read, and dismissed

            Your opinions are wrong. Even your objective claims are pitifully wrong. Normally I don’t mind refuting the delusional in the interest of interested third parties. But I’m not worried about any fence sitters finding your ideological rhetoric…

            Phew, well that’s a relief! For a moment I thought you might have to respond to my arguments. Much easier just to insult people, eh?

            By the way, I tend to agree with you that there is no chance of me influencing anyone on this site because everyone has already made up their mind. It is indeed an oasis of open-mindedness! Actually, even the idea that the people here have ‘made up their minds’ isn’t quite true, since it has been made up for them. They have just absorbed the currently fashionable views largely undigested from the world around them. To call these views ‘theirs’ is not quite right since no actual thinking went on. It would be more correct to say the people here have been sufficiently well indoctrinated for there to be no risk of them changing their minds.

      • In reply to #21 by keith:

        No one has done more to dichotomize the contemporary political atmosphere than Barack Obama.

        What absurd crap. He’s bent over backwards to try and get consensus from the insane republicans in Congress only to have them repeatedly refuse to compromise on anything and try to thwart everything he proposes even if it’s something they originally came up with like Massachusetts’ health care system (Romneycare) which near as dammit is now Obamacare.

        Obama doesn’t even have the word dichotomise in his vocabulary. He’s a born negotiator, compromiser, facilitator. I don’t know what colour of spectacles you see the world through to spout what sounds very like one of Fox New’s bullshit talking points although I suspect I can guess.

        • In reply to #31 by Arkrid Sandwich:

          In reply to #21 by keith:

          No one has done more to dichotomize the contemporary political atmosphere than Barack Obama.

          What absurd crap. He’s bent over backwards to try and get consensus from the insane republicans in Congress only to have them repeatedly refuse to compromise on anything and try t…

          Sorry Arkid Sandwich. Your post has made me see the light. By the way, have you ever heard the phrase, ‘”Shut up”, he explained’?

    • In reply to #20 by AllusiveAtheist:

      After reading Dreams From My Father (or whatever it was called) I was under the impression that he was an atheist, generally agnostic or perhaps deist.

      No offense but then you weren’t paying very close attention. I don’t have a copy of the book but I’m pretty sure he said he was a Christian in that book. But in any case I did find an interview he gave when he was still a senator, here is the link:

      Obama on faith: The exclusive interview

      And at the beginning of the interview he says: “I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith.”

      You can’t get much clearer than that. I saw this happen a lot with my friends when Obama was running for president. People tended to do a lot of wishful thinking and think he was a lot further to the left or embraced ideas they liked even though he was always clear about what he actually thought. I disagree with him quite a bit but I admire a politician who actually says what he thinks and does what he says and for the most part, especially grading on a curve for US politicians, Obama does that far more than most.

      • In reply to #24 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #20 by AllusiveAtheist:

        I believe it was toward the end of the book that he was meeting with church groups to try to build a community solidarity. My perspective was certainly biased but his joining a church seemed a bit like an affectation. And being christian is certainly politically expedient. Basically I believed he was a christian in name only. I was probably wrong though.

        • In reply to #29 by AllusiveAtheist:

          In reply to #24 by Red Dog:

          In reply to #20 by AllusiveAtheist:

          I believe it was toward the end of the book that he was meeting with church groups to try to build a community solidarity. My perspective was certainly biased but his joining a church seemed a bit like an affectation. And being ch…

          In my recollections of the book, he gave no indication that he was going to be spouting religious mumbo- jumbo in years to come.

    • In reply to #41 by Nordic11:

      Did anyone consider that he is just stating what he believes? Many of us in America agree with him.

      I don’t agree with him but I agree that he is just saying what he believes. That was the point I was trying to make earlier. We’ve all, but especially those of us in the US, gotten so used to politicians just reflexively saying what is expedient that it’s hard to accept when we have one like Obama who I think mostly says what he really thinks and does what he says.

      • I see what you mean. I believe deeply in the separation of church and state, but I don’t have a problem with politicians making genuine statements of faith or nonbelief for that matter as long as they don’t have a political or legislative agenda. I read Obama statements as an effort to inspire us toward unity and love as a nation and not toward some political divide. I don’t think he’s pandering to the religious. He knows his second term is dead, and most evangelicals hate him no matter what he says.

        Thanks for the thought provoking thread, Redog!

        In reply to #43 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #41 by Nordic11:

        Did anyone consider that he is just stating what he believes? Many of us in America agree with him.

        I don’t agree with him but I agree that he is just saying what he believes. That was the point I was trying to make earlier. We’ve all, but especially those of us in th…

        • In reply to #45 by Nordic11:

          Did anyone consider that he is just stating what he believes? Many of us in America agree with him.

          Oh thanks, a like-minded person!

          I see what you mean. I believe deeply in the separation of church and state, but I don’t have a problem with politicians making genuine statements of faith or nonbelief for that matter as long as they don’t have a political or legislative agenda. I read Obama statements as an effort to inspire us toward unity and love as a nation and not toward some political divide. I don’t think he’s pandering to the religious. He knows his second term is dead, and most evangelicals hate him no matter what he says.

          Thanks for the thought provoking thread, Redog!

          Oh hang on, not like-minded at all, or at least not one bothered enough to argue the point. Still, I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies that you didn’t join in the howling mob.

  12. Hi Red Dog,

    So let me get this straight. In post #12 you say this:

    On the other hand most non-religious democrats are like me. They are more concerned with issues like climate change, gay rights, not declaring more wars, etc. than about whether Obama says some prayer or religious nonsense. We know it’s pandering. We don’t like it. But we have far more important issues we care about.

    So here Obama is pandering. Now is post #43 you write:

    I don’t agree with him but I agree that he is just saying what he believes. That was the point I was trying to make earlier. We’ve all, but especially those of us in the US, gotten so used to politicians just reflexively saying what is expedient that it’s hard to accept when we have one like Obama who I think mostly says what he really thinks and does what he says.

    So which is it? Is he the kind of guy who panders to public opinion for political expediency or is a straight talking guy who means what he says? It seems to me you want it both ways and will flip as the situation demands.

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  14. David R Allen

    Keith, you adhere to an ideology. I don’t. Just think about how ideologies are created. They are ideas, like Marx with Das Capital, and Hitler with Mein Kampf, or Adam Smith with wealth of nations. What do all of these ideologies have in common. They are backwards thinking.

    Certainly Hitler and Adam Smith were reactionaries. I don’t think the same can be said of Marx, who was in favour of the emancipation of the working class, ie. the majority of humans. Definitely not “backwards thinking” in my book.

    Incidentally Das Kapital doesn’t express any ideology, it analyses how capitalism works and how it arose.

    • In reply to #65 by Mr DArcy:

      Certainly Hitler and Adam Smith were reactionaries.

      I think it’s unfair to Smith to group him with Hitler. He wasn’t that much of a right wing guy from what I know. I haven’t read his stuff or any bios of him but Chomsky sometimes will reference him as an intellectual adopted by the right who isn’t as right wing as people think. For example, from Smith’s book The Theory of Moral Sentiments:

      “This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and powerful, and to despise or, at least, neglect persons of poor and mean conditions, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments. “

      Source: Adam Smith Wikiquote

    • In reply to #65 by Mr DArcy:

      Certainly Hitler and Adam Smith were reactionaries.

      One more reply regarding Adam Smith not being a reactionary. From an interview with Chomsky:

      DAVID BARSAMIAN: One of the heroes of the current right-wing revival… is Adam Smith. You’ve done some pretty impressive research on Smith that has excavated… a lot of information that’s not coming out. You’ve often quoted him describing the “vile maxim of the masters of mankind: all for ourselves and nothing for other people.”

      NOAM CHOMSKY: I didn’t do any research at all on Smith. I just read him. There’s not research. Just read it. He’s pre-capitalist, a figure of the Enlightenment. What we would call capitalism he despised. People read snippets of Adam Smith, the few phrases they teach in school. Everybody reads the first paragraph of The Wealth of Nations where he talks about how wonderful the division of labor is. But not many people get to the point hundreds of pages later, where he says that division of labor will destroy human beings and turn people into creatures as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human being to be. And therefore in any civilized society the government is going to have to take some measures to prevent division of labor from proceeding to its limits.

      He did give an argument for markets, but the argument was that under conditions of perfect liberty, markets will lead to perfect equality. That’s the argument for them, because he thought that equality of condition (not just opportunity) is what you should be aiming at. It goes on and on. He gave a devastating critique of what we would call North-South policies. He was talking about England and India. He bitterly condemned the British experiments they were carrying out which were devastating India.

      Source: Education is Ignorance

    • In reply to #65 by Mr DArcy:

      David R Allen

      Keith, you adhere to an ideology. I don’t. Just think about how ideologies are created. They are ideas, like Marx with Das Capital, and Hitler with Mein Kampf, or Adam Smith with wealth of nations. What do all of these ideologies have in common. They are backwards thinking.

      The point I am trying to make is that the ideology comes first, followed by the attempt to shoe horn it onto the world. Communism. Capitalism. I am of the view that the evidence should come first, then the decision should follow. That’s why I say that decisions by ideology are backwards thinking. I might be a bit rusty on the examples I select, but I hope you can see the principle I am trying argue.

  15. I’ve always viewed the U.S. President as a puppet, and just hoped it’d improve toward giving the figurehead actual say.

    In response to the OP’s question, I guess I’m somewhat angry, that various vote-chasing and lobby-influenced presidential recitals continue to spit in the face of Jefferson’s hopes.

    Countless respectable commentators, journalists and sidelined political hopefuls remind us daily that the vote relies upon god, adherence to mentioning god, giving thanks to god……

    I’m often read as pivoting the attention to the Islamic detriments to humanity. The current topic however, Is well put.

    My home nation is probably no better, but when the constitution of the United States is secular, and history shows it was bastardised in the 20th century by an unbelievably successful religion, I feel Americans should be as angry as one can be, at what continues to claw chunks out of the founding principles.

    If I were American, I’d be in a state beyond “angry”. I’d look before WWII, and truly absorb what the brilliant people such as Jefferson wished for a nation, before it saw fit to allow “In god we trust” be placed, printed on the bills. I await the taking back of America by the secular and sensible. It might well save this little planet.

  16. Thanks for your thoughts Red Dog.

    Firstly I didn’t group Marx, Hitler and Smith into an “unfair” comparison. I was responding to David R Allen’s remarks, where he did exactly that and classified their ideas as “backwards thinking”. I think we can agree that Hitler’s ideas, such as they were, were backwards thinking ? I suppose it depends on how you define “reactionary” ? To me, Adam Smith, for all the nice things you quote about him, was a vehement supporter of the then rapidly rising capitalist system. A system that now enslaves pretty much all of the world’s current population. (Including the so-called socialist or communist countries). I regard support for that system as “reactionary”. Others won’t.

    In his famous pin factory example, Smith said this:

    ”One man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head: to make the head requires two or three distinct operations: to put it on is a particular business, to whiten the pins is another … and the important business of making a pin is, in this manner, divided into about eighteen distinct operations, which in some manufactories are all performed by distinct hands, though in others the same man will sometime perform two or three of them.”

    What Smith left out of his analysis of how pins could be made using less labour, therefore cheaper, was all the other costs of production. The labour involved in mining the metal, the labour involved in the element of transport, the labour of building the factory, The mining of the fuel to melt the metal, and so on and on backwards. Smith only looked at the last process in production, and not all that had gone on before it making such production possible. Like Chomsky, Marx also had kind words to say about Smith and Ricardo. He regarded them as attempting a scientific analysis of capitalism, after which only came the “vulgar economists”, who’s purpose in life was to justify capitalism, and generally do their masters’ bidding.

    I am far off topic. I had better stop here.

    • In reply to #70 by Mr DArcy:

      Thanks for your thoughts Red Dog.

      Firstly I didn’t group Marx, Hitler and Smith into an “unfair” comparison. I was responding to David R Allen’s remarks, where he did exactly that and classified their ideas as “backwards thinking”. I think we can agree that Hitler’s ideas, such as they were, were…

      BTW, I didn’t mean it as much as a criticism, I thought you might be interested to see that someone who is held up by people on the right as an idol actually said (at least IMO) some pretty progressive things. Kind of analogous to the way the right worships Reagan as the law and order fiscal conservative and ignores the fact that he broke the law so that he could sell stinger missiles to people who support terrorism (Iran) and ran up the biggest budget deficit of any president in history up to that time.

      But I think your analysis of capitalism and Smith are far too simplistic. I actually even think Marx would think your analysis of capitalism is far too simplistic. I’m not a Marxist or an expert on Marxism but I know a bit about him and he didn’t just view capitalism as pure evil. He thought it was a significant step in the progress of humanity and a major improvement over economic systems of the past such as Feudalism.

      And I think Capitalism has problems and needs reforms but I also think it can be pretty great if used appropriately. It’s like democracy, it’s awful and full of problems but it’s still better than anything else that has ever been used or proposed. BTW, by capitalism I include what many people in the US would consider socialism: systems such as the Northern European nations with free healthcare, education, etc. To me those nations are models for the rest of the world and examples that capitalism when practiced with appropriate controls can make a lot of sense.

      I actually think it would be an interesting area of research to apply biological principles and things like game theory to produce a science of economics that was consistent with biology and I think such a science would show the theoretical reasons why Capitalism can be such a force for progress. That of course is completely groundless speculation and way off topic.

  17. Red Dog on Marx’s view of capitalism:

    He thought it was a significant step in the progress of humanity and a major improvement over economic systems of the past such as Feudalism.

    Exactly right ! Not that the kings, queens and the aristocrats gave up their feudal system easily ! Oh no ! The king of England’s head was chopped off well over 100 years before the French king’s head was chopped off, which in turn was well over 100 years before the Tsar in Russia was shot, – or whatever happened to him and his family.

    Yes Marx regarded capitalism as progressive in the sense that it drove the dominance of the feudal land owners, the aristocrats, not into complete submission, but into retreat. The means of production were vastly increased, and far more wealth could be produced in factories, than from any farm, – using wage labour of course ! Without human labour, there is no new wealth produced. Machines are labour saving, but what makes machines? Human labour ! Yes capitalism was a progressive force in doing away with the old feudal system, and massively increasing the means of producing wealth. But Marx’s view, (and mine), is that capitalism had long outlived its progressive usefulness to humanity. Now production was only carried out for profit for the capitalists, no profit no production. Human needs never enter into the equation. If you can’t afford it, you can’t have it. Just look at the world around you. 85 individuals own as much wealth as 3, 500, 000,000 individuals ! The spirit of free enterprise indeed !

    • In reply to #79 by bluebird:

      In reply to #78 by phil rimmer:

      some have found it culturally flat, though

      That is their misfortune.

      that could get fixed

      It ain’t broken.

      as we have discussed before

      Yes, cease.

      Absolutely not. Denmark can have its cake and eat it. It has achieved marvelous things. It is the perfect society to continue to be fine-tuned. The DPP is not a seemly sight in that country. Its roots should be understood. Can they fix it? Yes they can.

    • In reply to #95 by bluebird:

      In reply to #90 by phil rimmer:

      Absolutely not.

      sigh. As Lili v S. would say, I’m tired – tired of arm chair quarterbacks needling other countries.

      I utterly resent that unfounded imputation on my motives here. I am flummoxed how you think the practicalities of politics are to be discussed with this level of sensitivity in play. I can only invite you to read back through my posts on equality in societies and my warm and approving endorsement of the Scandinavian political/social/moral adventure.

      I thank you at least for showing keith that we don’t share dogma as he imputed. I am not an idealist, I am a Betterist. Things can always be better.

      • In reply to #96 by phil rimmer:

        things can always be better

        Let them work it out.

        how any country can survive without decent Indian restaurants is beyond me

        My neck of the woods ` b-b-q joints and Mexican eateries are the norm. We manage to survive, barely.

        • In reply to #97 by bluebird:

          In reply to #96 by phil rimmer:

          things can always be better

          Let them work it out.

          No. I want it here. This isn’t anything about Denmark. Its only about how to do equality and do it for all. They are in the vanguard. Other peoples problems are all versions of our problems. What the UK gets wrong, what the US gets wrong, France, Germany, China, Japan and what they get right and why is interesting, important and educational.

          Have I got it in for Danes?

          Why would I have it in for ANYBODY?

          >

          how any country can survive without decent Indian restaurants is beyond me

          My neck of the woods ` b-b-q joints and Mexican eateries are the norm. We manage to survive, barely.

  18. In reply #59 Len Walsh

    Hi Len. As I’ve described in my last couple of posts, I’m writing under difficult circumstances so please excuse the flaws, inconsistencies, non sequiturs and general mish-mash of ideas and responses.

    I agree with your psychological projection assessment. I think there are a lot of psychological things going on when racism is brought up. Especially the concept of the inverse correlation with IQ and penis size ! I mean to say! Reminds me Hans Eynsenck, whose work has been widely discredited.

    • In reply to #103 by Nitya:

      In reply #59 Len Walsh

      Hi Len. As I’ve described in my last couple of posts, I’m writing under difficult circumstances so please excuse the flaws, inconsistencies, non sequiturs and general mish-mash of ideas and responses.

      Nitya, your inspiring performance helps me to cope with life, especially so without Katy Cordeth to keep them honest. Evidently some bigots imagine that they’re smarter to compensate for their feelings of sexual inadequacy. A desperate consolation it seems, for miniaturised men like Rushton and his rabid disciples.

      I agree with your psychological projection assessment…the concept of the inverse correlation with IQ and penis size

      I endorse David’s comments regarding your efforts to defend reason against such furious, fanatical fire.

      • In reply to #108 by Len Walsh:

        Nitya, your inspiring performance helps me to cope with life, especially so without Katy Cordeth to keep them honest.

        Ah, Katy. Whatever happened to her? We used to have some nice discussions. I remember she had exactly the same views as everybody else here. Why did she leave the site? Did she get fed up of all the mutual backslapping and halo-polishing? I can imagine that would get tiresome. You are probably all secretly pleased that I have popped by to liven things up a bit, right? Like an intruder into a wasps nest, the wasps are brought together in the act of repelling the intruder.

        By the way, I suspect that these constant expressions of support like ‘Well done!’ and ‘You took one for the team!’ are really expressions of worry that one of your number might become a heretic. It’s a bit like prayers in church, with everyone desperately trying to convince both himself and the others through acts of communal confirmation and group support. In effect what you are doing is saying, ‘Don’t listen to him, Nitya. You are one of us. Remember that!’

      • In reply to #108 by Len Walsh:

        . I endorse David’s comments regarding your efforts to defend reason against such furious, fanatical fire.

        Thank you very much! David’s comments certainly conjured up some heroic images. I saw myself tapping away on my phone in a frenzy!

        I imagine Keith is now livid with the thought of all that mutual backslapping! Humans are humans after all. Not sure about the comparison with Katy Cordeth ( her sense of humour was far more caustic than mine). Truth to tell, I was a little bit afraid of her. I was very, very careful not to make any comment that would incite a caustic response. I’m a coward at heart despite all my frenzied typing.

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  20. I am really surprised because, underneath it all, I think Obama and Michelle could be atheists. But I guess I’m wrong. And, what surprises me more, is I think of Obama, underneath it all, and Michelle, are freer thinkers than this. They had certain associations in their younger years in Chicago that, to me, implicated them as rather radical thinking. At least I hoped so. So what is going on? Is Obama really that religious? Is he trying to connect with the massive religious believers? Especially Christians? As opposed to Muslims? (of which he has been accused of being one) Would he be so deceitful, while bringing his daughters to church? I have wanted so very much to believe in Obama. I know he is very aware of the filthy rich and huge corporations, the Federal Reserve, the banking system, the mortgage companies, the food conglomerates, the military, etc., etc., as controlling, manipulating, cheating and stealing from “we the people”. I can’t believe he is not aware of the blindness of the overwhelming number of the “faithful” and their ignorance to reality and to being led like sheep. Is Obama above being bought? Or coerced? Is he worried about his legacy and the library they will build?

  21. Clearly Obama’s religious message was complete bollocks which I doubt even he believes. But pandering to an overwhelmingly religious population is hardly anything to be surprised about. However it pales into insignificance compared to what the really insane in the USA believe. Sarah Palin has just trumpeted to an NRA audience that water boarding is “how we baptise terrorists”.

    It’s hard to put into words my disgust at this. After WWII Japanese soldiers were executed for war crimes for water boarding American ones. It’s funny how something is torture if some people do it but acceptable if others do it. I suppose as always the victors write the history books. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Rove threw the Geneva Convention into the trash bin along with rationality and common sense. 10 years later the American right wing nutocracy apparently still thinks that what they did was right.

    • In reply to #124 by Arkrid Sandwich:

      t’s hard to put into words my disgust at this. After WWII Japanese soldiers were executed for war crimes for water boarding American ones. It’s funny how something is torture if some people do it but acceptable if others do it.

      I agree. I think it’s one of the things for Americans to be proud of in their history is that up until Bush torture was never sanctioned as a legitimate punishment or approach to getting intelligence. That included when we fought a two front war with Japan and Germany who both practiced it. We could achieve victory over these two major powers without torture but Cheney and his neocon pals pretend it was needed to fight a few nuts hiding out in caves.

      I would be against torture even if it worked but the amazing thing is it clearly doesn’t. If you have any doubts (and if you can stand reading something that will disgust or enrage you) read the book The Black Banners by Ali Soufan.

      Soufan was an FBI investigator who specialized in terrorism and specifically Al Queda both before and after 9/11. He was one of the few FBI agents who spoke arabic and was familiar with Islam. He’s a fairly right wing guy, he takes a few shots at Clinton’s handling of the Cole that I thought weren’t quite fair and when Bush won the presidency he was glad to see a Republican get the oval office again.

      But after 9/11 it was no longer a question of ideology but basic competence. One thing that is amazing about the book is how easily Soufan could get most of the Al Queda guys to flip once they were in custody. They all have stories about how Al Queda screwed them. You might think that guys who sign up to blow themselves up wouldn’t care about salaries and benefits but it’s not the case. Time and again they were promised minor things like money to pay for an operation for a family member that Al Queda leadership went back on and at the same time they would see the same leadership putting out lots of cash to move their 9th teen wife somewhere.

      Time and again after 9/11 Soufan will literally be in the middle of an interrogation where a terrorist is starting to give highly valuable info and it’s interrupted by people from the CIA working directly for Cheney and Rumsfield who know nothing about interrogation and they start torturing the prisoner. All useful cooperation stops. Of course they soon have the prisoner saying things but they are at that point saying what they think the interrogator wants to hear, e.g. confirming lies about links between Al Queda and Iraq.

      If one was a conspiracy minded person one might think the purpose of torture was never to get information at all but rather, as when it was used by the Soviets, to get forced confession that fit with the propaganda message.

  22. What public policy did I advocate?

    >

    Often there are more dollars per child spent in poorly performing schools than in better schools and it makes no difference. there are simply children who are academically good while others aren’t and these traits often run in families and in races.

    Races is code for genes in your account. Or are cultural factors intractable too? Your policy is to give up bringing extra help to those who need it on the basis of proven genetic inheritance.

    You count extra help to some as doing down others.

    You see, I hope you weren’t suggesting that the Pakistani/Indian, Caribbean/African split in academic achievement (i.e. mainly cultural) implies that genes play a nugatory role?

    Nope. Thats why I have always said “cultural contribution” at every turn.

    My point is that you pick up a few facts and string them together into a just so story to drive your view of public policy. Here researchers pull a wide range of researched facts together and make observations like these

    The broad racial comparisons obscure considerable heterogeneity within the
    panethnic groups. High-achieving Asian American groups, such as South Asians,
    Chinese, and Koreans outperform whites on a number of measures, but
    low-achieving Asian American groups, such as Cambodians and Laotians, have
    outcomes comparable to African Americans. Similarly, Hispanics, Cubans, and
    to a slightly less extent South and Central Americans have much higher educa-
    tional outcomes than Mexicans.

    Big effects everywhere not accounted for by race/genes.

    The black role model crisis is one of recently acquired insights only just having policy formulated to deal with it. Poverty and fear runs in families and communities. It will takes decades of sustained help before the ship starts to turn.

    Your fairness detector works on equality of treatment I surmise. Mine works on equality of outcomes, convinced as I am that securing a society with more equal outcomes will create more productive, robust and happy societies.

    • In reply to #128 by phil rimmer:

      What public policy did I advocate?

      Often there are more dollars per child spent in poorly performing schools than in better schools and it makes no difference. there are simply children who are academically good while others aren’t and these traits often run in families and in races.

      Races is code for genes in your account. Or are cultural factors intractable too? Your policy is to give up bringing extra help to those who need it on the basis of proven genetic inheritance.

      No, races are races and genes are genes and nothing is code. Genes run in races, or are you going to tell me that you don’t believe this? Black people being black has nothing to do with their having genes that protect them from the burning sun? Come on Phil, try and keep up.

      I was not advocating any policy here. I was just pointing out that lavishing money on certain low achieving groups so as to achieve that mythical goal, equality, generally doesn’t work. The left believes that money is the solution to every problem. It isn’t. The only way you are going to achieve equality is by holding back the high achievers. Why do you think it is that pupils differ in ability within a classroom? The environment is, after all, the same for all students. I think you will tell me that the home environment is probably different. I will agree with you and then ask you what you intend to do about this. Swap the parents around on a rota so that every child gets a chance to stay with both good and bad parents? That’ll work, I’m sure.

      You see, I hope you weren’t suggesting that the Pakistani/Indian, Caribbean/African split in academic achievement (i.e. mainly cultural) implies that genes play a nugatory role?

      Nope. Thats why I have always said “cultural contribution” at every turn.

      Er, “Huge cultural contribution”. Let’s be accurate about this, please.

      My point is that you pick up a few facts and string them together into a just so story to drive your view of public policy. Here researchers pull a wide range of researched facts together and make observations like these

      The broad racial comparisons obscure considerable heterogeneity within the panethnic groups. High-achieving Asian American groups, such as South Asians, Chinese, and Koreans outperform whites on a number of measures, but low-achieving Asian American groups, such as Cambodians and Laotians, have outcomes comparable to African Americans. Similarly, Hispanics, Cubans, and to a slightly less extent South and Central Americans have much higher educational outcomes than Mexicans.

      Big effects everywhere not accounted for by race/genes.

      So you think that Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans have the same genes as ‘low-achieving Asian American groups, such as Cambodians and Laotians? Sorry, but I disagree. The only thing they have in common is that they are from the same continent, which is rather big. One group evolved in a very cold climate while the other evolved in a warmer one. That makes a big difference.

      As for the Cubans et al, I’ll happily agree that culture can be the only explanation for differences when genes are the same (whether all those people you lumped together as genetically identical: Hispanics, Cubans, South and Central Americans are really so is a moot point but I’ll let it go, just so I can get on with my point. Hispanics by definition have an admixture of white genes, which is not necessarily true of say, native Peruvians).

      So let me ask again: Are you under the impression that I think that culture counts for nothing? If so, then you haven’t been reading very carefully. Since you have just conceded that you believe that genes play a role in IQ then we seem to agree that both play a role. So why all the talk of Cubans and Koreans? What are you trying to show me? That it is all just culture when even you don’t believe that?

      The black role model crisis is one of recently acquired insights only just having policy formulated to deal with it. Poverty and fear runs in families and communities. It will takes decades of sustained help before the ship starts to turn.

      Good luck with that one. I’m sure the solution is just around the corner.

      By the way, I partly agree that this crisis among blacks is a relatively modern phenomenon, at least at its present severity. Black Americans were closing the gap with whites on various indices up until the mid-1960s, which is precisely when liberals started teaching black people that all their woes stemmed from whites. From that moment it all went bad. If you want to see all this from a black perspective, read some articles by Thomas Sowell. It is the well-intentioned liberal programs to give blacks a leg up that have caused most of these problems. However, unlike Sowell I think that some of the features of the present crisis (fatherlessness, teen pregnancies, children left to siblings to bring up, crime) existed among blacks in attenuated form before present-day America, both in Africa and America.

      Your fairness detector works on equality of treatment I surmise. Mine works on equality of outcomes, convinced as I am that securing a society with more equal outcomes will create more productive, robust and happy societies.

      That’s very noble of you but just how do you intend to achieve equality of outcome? Perhaps you are unaware that it has been tried before and the result has always been an unhappy one. And what kind of equality do you mean? Equality of income? You think a doctor and a shop assistant should earn the same? If so, what would induce someone to study for 6 years and work ungodly hours, just to get the same take-home pay as someone who works in Tescos?

      And what about people who save? Would their money be confiscated if they saved too much and wealth inequality resulted? Who would finance new projects if no one saved any money? It takes capital to start a new business. That’s why its called capitalism!

      Or do you mean equality of academic achievement? How are you going to bring that about? By stopping up the ears of the clever students while the less bright try to catch up? If you had bright children of your own, would you be happy with that? And schools would have to be monitored to make sure they weren’t turning out better-than-average students. I’m sorry to say this but I’m not convinced you’ve really thought this ‘equality’ malarky through properly.

      Do you remember when I mentioned that you have a tendency to deal with things you think you can deal with and leave the rest ignored? What about the “known genetic facts” that you accused me of writing? Did you find it? If not, did you ignore it?

      • In reply to #129 by keith:

        In reply to #128 by phil rimmer:

        So you don’t want to stop trying to improve the academic outcomes of the poorer groups of society?

        I was not advocating any policy here. I was just pointing out that lavishing money on certain low achieving groups so as to achieve that mythical goal, equality, generally doesn’t work.

        So you would not approve a policy that didn’t “lavish” money etc etc.?

        The left believes that money is the solution to every problem.

        Whats that to do with me? I’m a capitalist who despises political dogma of all stripes.

        The only way you are going to achieve equality is by holding back the high achievers.

        So the whites were held back as the blacks levelled up in the fifties (by your account)? How did that happen? More equal is my interest. When things are better we can better see how to make things better again.

        Why do you think it is that pupils differ in ability within a classroom? The environment is, after all, the same for all students.

        Of course not. How simple is your model of the world? Homelife, expectations and the world of work all have their impact.

        I think you will tell me that the home environment is probably different.

        You’re not dumb!

        I will agree with you and then ask you what you intend to do about this?

        Just unambitious.

        Educate kids about life in their future homes. Restore role models where needed. Perservere.

        Swap the parents around on a rota so that every child gets a chance to stay with both good and bad parents? That’ll work, I’m sure.

        This is faux dumb. Is this the only way you can see culture being tractable? Or is it just some way you can repeat your point that helping the poorer must involve stealing from the richer?

        The genetic parting of the ways of Pakistani and Indians since 1947 accounts for the huge educational mismatch? Or did something culturally interesting happen?

        On equality.

        I am a huge supporter of the work of the Wilkinson and Pickett. My support is about finding evidence for policy (whatever it says) and being guided by it, and shunning all political dogma.

        When setting up a branch of the Equality Trust, they soon attracted some old-school communist back from the wilderness, who thought the Wilkinson and Pickett data supported absolute equality of outcomes. It did absolutely nothing of the sort, of course. The data shows only that more equal societies sampled today gave better outcomes on a wide range of measures, than less equal. These outcomes are the economic performances of those societies, levels of freedom/mobility, health, well being, education, robustness, creativity etc. etc. It is patently clear that substantial variations of outcome need to be tolerated and are not contra-indicated by their data. Some citizens want easy lives, some want challenges, some want families, some spectacular careers, some just wanted money and thrived on work and risk.

        The squash ‘em flat brigade had made a mistake. The data did not support squashed flat in outcome, only more equal enough that makes more stable, more investable, more robustly rich and happier. I’m not sure were optimum is. I have already suggested one country where they are close to current optimum. I would like to see a few more parameters in the mix to help us decide how equal. Cultural vibrancy is one. The efforts of Geert Wilders to set his country’s culture in aspic is a pale but obvious shadow of the theocrats that you and I have little taste for.

        • In reply to #130 by phil rimmer:

          So you don’t want to stop trying to improve the academic outcomes of the poorer groups of society?

          No, I want to stop wasting public money on the impossible goal of equality. Whenever a new survey comes out and shows that blacks are once again doing much worse academically than all other groups, it is determined that this must be due to racism and oppression and more money must be thrown at the problem. If you can find a less expensive way of helping black and other low achievers, then why would I be against such a program? By the way, my main gripe is that blaming white oppression for the failure of blacks in society breeds resentment among blacks and leads to black-on-white crime where some blacks think white people have it coming to them. We have to stop blaming ourselves for their failure and so do they.

          So you would not approve a policy that didn’t “lavish” money etc etc.?

          There are too many negatives here for my poor brain. Do you mean “So you would not approve a policy that “lavished” money etc. etc. Then the answer is no, I wouldn’t want to keep lavishing public money on projects that didn’t work. However, if this is not what your question meant then my answer is yes, I would approve a policy that didn’t lavish money etc. etc. Who wouldn’t approve a policy that didn’t cost much?

          So the whites were held back as the blacks levelled up in the fifties (by your account)?

          No one is saying that the gap can’t be narrowed. Just that it can’t be narrowed to zero. I also want it stressed that evidence of a gap is evidence of racism and oppression, or of whites not trying hard enough. All the liberal programs since the 1960s that were implemented to narrow the race gap have actually worsened the situation. The policies that were in place at the time when blacks were closing the gap should be re-introduced. Simply sweeping away all the obstacles that had until then been placed in the way of blacks should have been enough. The idea of a leg up turned into a source of income for race hustlers and anyone wanting to attribute his or her failure to whites. The genuinely gifted blacks suffered by being tarred with the same brush.

          Educate kids about life in their future homes. Restore role models where needed. Perservere.

          Ifind this touchingly naive. Do you really think that teaching failing children about life in a future home would turn things around? Phil, be serious. If it was that easy, do you think someone wouldn’t already have tried it. Some children are just not academically inclined, and in this group blacks are over-represented. Other children are very academically inclined and north-east Asians are over-represented in this group. The idea that talking to children about their future home could make them see the light and turn them around is quaint to the point of absurdity. I should know, I am a teacher.

          This is faux dumb. Is this the only way you can see culture being tractable? Or is it just some way you can repeat your point that helping the poorer must involve stealing from the richer?

          If you know of some way of lavishing money on failing children and programs that don’t work while not taking money away from children who achieve, and all this without increasing the overall education budget I would like to hear it. In fact I’m sure all governments would like to hear it.

          The genetic parting of the ways of Pakistani and Indians since 1947 accounts for the huge educational mismatch? Or did something culturally interesting happen?

          You clearly didn’t read me properly. I think I wrote that Pakistanis and Indians are genetically the same so any gap in achievement must be due to culture, or in this case, religion, which boils down to the same thing. Where did you get the idea that I didn’t think the difference was due to culture? Because you had it in your head that I think all differences are due to genes?

          Just let me get a couple of things straight because I think you are attributing positions to me that I don’t hold and that I certainly haven’t stated here. I believe in the bell curve when it comes to intelligence and I think that the black curve is shifted slightly to the left of whites. This is not a controversial position among scientists working in the field, though no doubt the majority of people on this site would be horrified to hear that some people actually believe this. The white average, in turn, is shifted slightly to the left of north-east Asians, who in turn are slightly to the left of Ashkenazi Jews (who can’t really be called a race). On this bell curve will be lots of blacks who are more intelligent than the white average but a greater percentage fall below that average. Do you agree so far?

          Now, I don’t advocate simply giving up on the academically disinclined. I would give them the same teaching time as everyone else. But to make your goal that of academic equality is an impossible goal, simply because some children are brighter than others. You say that all you want to do is narrow the gap and that you realise that no gap at all is unrealistic. But how will you know what is realistic? How will you know when we have narrowed the gap as far as it can be narrowed? After all, there is always another trillion dollars that can be borrowed from China to try to squeeze out another 0.01% of inequality from the system. And even if there are some academically gifted children out there who are failing for reasons other than academic disinclination or inability (I’m sure there are), these children will always exist in any system. The task is to chose the least worst of all options. There is no a perfect solution and people will always be able to point at some ailing child and say, “Aha! So you think that it’s okay that she is failing to you, you heartless moron?” Basically, I don’t believe that spending ever greater amounts of money on classrooms and computers and various other details is going to make much difference. And I certainly don’t think that teaching failing pupils about their future homes will make any difference at all! I can hardly believe that you wrote that.

          I personally think the way ahead is streaming and this means sending gifted children to schools where there are other gifted children and keep the academically disinclined separate so that their disruptions don’t disrupt the good students. I think this is the way to go, especially for gifted black children, who tend to get lumped together with academically disinclined children, simply because they live in the same neighbourhood.

          That’s all I have time for. I have to go to work. Still ignoring “known genetic facts”? Perhaps you ought to address that next, just to get it out of the way. And how about addressing your assertion that say, Koreans and Laotians are genetically the same? I hope you aren’t going to ignore this one too, as if it had never been pointed out to you.

          • *In reply to #132 by Keith

            . No, I want to stop wasting public money on the impossible goal of equality. Whenever a new survey comes out and shows that blacks are once again doing much worse academically than all other groups, it is determined that this must be due to racism and oppression and more money must be thrown at the problem. If you can find a less expensive way of helping black and other low achievers, then why would I be against such a program?

            I’ve noticed that you’ve sent a few more posts on the subject but I confess I haven’t read them all. I imagine that they contain the same sort of stuff, so I’ll just offer a general, all encompassing reply.

            I’m not sure if the topic of a level playing field has been discussed as yet, but this is the area on which I’d like to comment. Your children or any children you are likely to have in the future, will most likely enjoy an enriched environment. This means that they will grow up exposed to a wide vocabulary, enjoy various enriching experiences, have ready access to books and can expect to be treated kindly and fairly. It’s not really a matter of money and educational toys, it’s the result of the input provided by parents who occupy this area in society. I’d guess that the offspring of any person who comments on this site would be exposed to the same level of experiences. The expected outcome of an enriched environment is academic success, and/or success in life generally, with maybe a few hiccups along the way.

            In an effort to level-out the playing field, governments attempt to compensate for the deprivations these children face. It is an enormous task and short of actually getting inside the family and trying to put things right, it usually amounts to providing financial band-aid solutions to a very big problem.

            Can you cast a sympathetic eye on the sort of deprivations that exist? Limited vocabulary, fewer life experiences, lack of nourishing food, perhaps poor role models, possibly traumatic survival stories from refugees, parents who are absent for a great deal of the time due to a heavy worklload and on and on.

            I would really like to know what your vision of the future would be, if you had the power to change things. What measures would you put in place in order achieve the goal of a perfect society?

          • In reply to #133 by Nitya:

            You seem to think that ‘deprivations’ come out of thin air. I don’t think agree. I think there are good reasons why some people end up ‘deprived’ and these reasons can often be traced back to the self-destructive choices rather than them being deprived by society.

            Crusaders for equality often concentrate on outcomes and have little interest in why, for example, my brother-in-law is much richer than me. We both went to the same school. His father worked in a factory and his mother was a housewife. My father was a draughtsman and my mother was a teacher so from a certain point of view, I was advantaged while he was deprived. In reality he worked a lot harder than I did. We both left school at 16 but while he did an apprenticeship, I lazed around. He became a good engineer, saved his money and finally bought the small factory he had worked in all his life. This involved financial risks, long hours of work and lots of worry, as well as the need to acquire new skills.

            However, all some people see is that he now lives in a nice house and is relatively well off. Presumably they believe that he had ‘advantages’. Crusaders for equality are simply not interested in why some people become richer than others. They are much more interested in feeling good about themselves and playing Robin Hood by confiscating other people’s money to give to ‘the deprived’.

            Regardling your question, I think that in terms of what the government can do the playing field has already been levelled enough. The obstacles to advancement that some people and races had to overcome in the past are no longer in place. And pointing to the failure of certain groups to do well in society is not evidence of the existence of prejudice and malice on the part of the rest of society. It has always and everywhere been the case that some groups outperform others. The problem is that the government can’t change people’s genes, nor their temperaments, nor can it swap their parents for better ones.

            There are various groups like the Jews and American Asians who had to overcome poverty and a certain amount of racism to triumph in America and rise to the top of American society. But now they have done it by hard work. If they hadn’t done so, people like you, Phil, Dave and Len would be blaming ‘society’ for their failure. But they didn’t fail, so you ignore their success and instead look around for another group from who you demand the government take money to those who fail. Failure in your book is always someone else’s fault and must be the result of ‘deprivation’. I however think you need to look at the way people live to explain their circumstances. You see people merely as victims while I see them as agents. Even so, once they actually pull themselves together and make something of themselves they then lose their ‘deprived’ status and for you become ‘the advantaged’ or ‘the privileged’.

            There is no perfect society. This is typical of how the left thinks. There are merely different ways of partially solving problems that life throws up; problems that have been with us since we became human.

            Nitya, if you are genuinely interested in my views, perhaps you could be kind enough to read my previous posts. It takes a couple of minutes to read them but much longer to write them.

          • In reply to #134 by keith:

            In reply to #133 by Nitya:

            I just like to add one last thought. It wasn’t too long ago that women were put in the same basket of being mentally inferior. Once opportunities were made available to us the notion was quickly put to rest. The same applies for those who can trace their origins to east Asia.

          • In reply to #136 by Nitya:

            In reply to #134 by keith:
            It wasn’t too long ago that women were put in the same basket of being mentally inferior.

            A succinct distillation of the flaw in Keith’s argument. Well said.

          • In reply to #134 by keith:

            And pointing to the failure of certain groups to do well in society is not evidence of the existence of prejudice and malice on the part of the rest of society. It has always and everywhere been the case that some groups outperform others. The problem is that the government can’t change people’s genes, nor their temperaments, nor can it swap their parents for better ones.

            The Master Race argument Mein Fuhrer.

            I wonder what you would write if you were born black to a crack addicted mother with no family structure. I wonder what you would write if you through no fault of your own, you had a lesser intelligence, or autism, or a physical deformity. Would you write it is my fault that I don’t drive a BMW. Would you write that your life of crime on the streets would have been different if you had been born into a modest middle class family to a white anglosaxon protestant family. Life’s a lottery Keith. You might have been born in sub saharan Africa and died of malnutrition before you were 12 months old. Be a little humble. Be a little thankful. Be a little kind to those, who through no fault of their own, are less able to achieve your perceived model of success. But I suppose that would require the application of morals and ethics. Nice try.

            You make the mistake of attributing laziness and lack of achievement to genes and race. Laziness and lack of achievement knows no racial boundaries. The glasses you wear reinforce the ideologies you adhere to. You name any race you like I will point to laziness and lack of achievement. As I wrote below, you use labels, then attribute a string of properties by the use of that label. Firstly, this not rational. Secondly, it is certainly not an ethical or moral position, but then, you probably have no concern for ethics or morals, just who ends up “With the most toys wins.”

          • In reply to #137 by David R Allen:

            You make the mistake of attributing laziness and lack of achievement to genes and race. Laziness and lack of achievement knows no racial boundaries. The glasses you wear reinforce the ideologies you adhere to. You name any race you like I will point to laziness and lack of achievement.

            (Sigh). Oh boy, I can’t believe I have to explain this. Okay Dave, do you know the difference between a statistical statement about a whole population and an individual case? No? Then here goes. If I say to you that men are on average taller than women and you then point to a tall woman who is walking past, do you think you have refuted my claim? No? Good, then you have finally understood.

          • In reply to #142 by keith:

            In reply to #137 by David R Allen:

            You make the mistake of attributing laziness and lack of achievement to genes and race. Laziness and lack of achievement knows no racial boundaries. The glasses you wear reinforce the ideologies you adhere to. You name any race you like I will point to laziness an…

            And when you survey the children of second generation middle class African Americans you find no difference in academic achievement. I wonder why all those poor and disadvantaged blacks do so poorly. Obviously not the conditions they live in.

          • In reply to #143 by David R Allen:

            And when you survey the children of second generation middle class African Americans you find no difference in academic achievement.

            No difference between what? If you mean that there is no difference between second generation middle class African Americans and middle-class whites then you are wrong. The children of black middle class parents barely reach the academic standards of white working class children. Where do you get your information from? Do you just make it up?

  23. I’m not sure why the original poster was so surprised. Obama is a politician. He has great interest in saying things to the electorate to gain favorable views. This is neither new nor unique nor surprising. Obama has always spoken the warm and squishy things about religion ever since he was a candidate for president. He throws the non-believers a bone once in a while (heck, I suspect he is one), but in the end and like all others in his profession, he knows who butters his bread.

  24. . You seem to think that ‘deprivations’ come out of thin air. I don’t think agree. I think there are good reasons why some people end up ‘deprived’ and these reasons can often be traced back to the self-destructive choices rather than them being deprived by society.

    *In Reply #133 Keith

    Why should the children of people from the poorest strata of society be forced to suffer because of the choices made by their parents? They were not in a position to be able to make a choice about the sort of family to which they belong. By intervening in desperate cases, many success stories come to light. In the model you suggest, these success stories would be less likely,if not impossible. It would appear to me that both you and your brother-in-law were very fortunate in your choice of parents. Well done you. In both cases you’ve inherited more than your fair share of brains as well.

    Regarding the success stories tied to those of Jewish and Asian ancestry, I’ve deliberately avoided making comment. I’ve been tempted a couple of times and decided to delete those sentences. In Australia, an honours list of school leavers is published after the HSC results come out. I think it’s fair to say that the majority of those honored are from an Asian heritage and quite frequently from non-English Speaking backgrounds. Jewish students notoriously feature in these lists as well ( though they’re a little harder to identify). So what is this telling us? Perhaps they have a higher IQ than the general population? More likely however, is the fact that families in these cultural groups place an extremely high value on educational achievement.

    This brings me back to the unpleasant task of commenting on your notions of racial superiority in the case of black people. When children from these groups are given a chance, the differences begin to fade away. This is a long term project, though to date there are success stories. Obama must be a great role model for all those smart African Americans.

    In my opinion, discussing race as a means of putting people down is offensive. I find your comments offensive. To give praise where it is due, I think they’re very well written, especially in light of the fact that you reply very quickly ( it takes me much longer to harness my thought processes and construct an argument). This is probably all that I have say about this subject as I think I’ve exhausted every avenue. I’m sorry that you feel so strongly about topic and I wish that I could make you think twice about your position, but I realise that this is highly unlikely.

    • In reply to #135 by Nitya:

      Why should the children of people from the poorest strata of society be forced to suffer because of the choices made by their parents?

      It’s a very good question and one that I have thought about, believe it or not, for decades. Children are by definition innocent and they have done nothing to deserve being born into a dysfunctional family. The problem is that once you are committed to a society that underwrites all the bad decisions of the most irresponsible element in that society (e.g. people who have children that they have no intention of providing for, people who have children that they often don’t even want) then that irresponsible element inevitably gets larger, not smaller, and ever more innocent children are born into ever more dysfunctional families (actually, generally not families but to single uneducated mothers who can’t cope).

      If you know anything about Game Theory you will know that in a scenario where cheats are allowed to go, not only unpunished but actually rewarded, they will prosper and proliferate. You probably baulk at the word ‘cheats’ but what do you call people who insist that other people pay for their upkeep and that of their numerous offspring while the responsible save up and plan for chlidren? Until society stops encouraging people to act irresponsibly then the whole of society will pay the price.

      If you only look at the short term then your thinking looks kind and generous (generous that is, often at the expense of other people) while I appear hard-hearted and uncaring. But when you look at the long-term implications of your ‘kindness’ you’ll see that you are maintaining a system that actually encourages irresponsibility and the debased lifestyles that leave tragic human wreckage in their wake. As long as the irresponsible know that other people, through the agency of their government, will clean up any mess after them and they won’t be made to face the consequences of their actions, why would they bother to act morally? What fun is acting morally?!

      If your ‘kindness’ reduced the number of children born to unsuitable parents then I would be 100% behind you. But the opposite occurs. While the hard-working middle-classes provide for themselves and their 1.4 children and eke out an existence while duly paying their taxes (which grow ever higher to pay for all the people on food stamps and other benefits – 25% of black Americans now receive food stamps – as well as the huge government bureaucracy that services these welfare recipients), the irresponsible flourish. They have no need to act prudently because they know that bleeding-heart liberals will defend them and refer to them not as ‘irresponsible’ but as ‘the vulnerable of society’. And these people churn out innocent children at a higher rate than we can train social workers and build prisons.

      The incentives for people to act prudently, e.g. for a woman to at least try to choose a suitable husband rather than merely a baby daddy, have been stripped away. We now have a situation that was depicted hilariously in the movie ‘Idiocracy’.

      I know that you want to highlight the plight of the poor children who are born to imprudent people and I can see your point. Despite what it may seem, I don’t have a heart of stone. It’s just that I find this determination to be kind, often at the expense of other people and the long-term good of society, very short-sighted and often driven by a vainglorious self-image (progressive liberals are the most self-righteous bunch of sanctimonious halo-polishers in the world, don’t you agree?)

      Incidentally, back in the 1960s American was still 93% white. It is now down to about 77% and shrinking fast. You probably don’t think this matters, but who do you think will pay for all those food stamps, benefits, Affirmative Action programs and Obama wealth distribution programs when whites have been reduced to say, 40%? Will the illegal Mexicans soon to be given amnesty step up to the plate to support America’s poor blacks? I very much doubt it. I personally don’t see any reason why an America dominated by Mexicans and blacks wouldn’t start to resemble a cross between Mexico and Nigeria. Just look at what has happened to Detroit. That, I suspect, is the future of America. Can you think of a reason why this wouldn’t happen?

      Black-on-white crime is high and Hispanics, like blacks, are also over-represented in America’s prisons. If Obama and his stripe keep implying that white people are to blame for the plight of the poor, as well as for the alleged plight of blacks and Hispanics then I don’t think the consequences will be pretty. Members of La Raza already believe that their land was stolen from them by the Gringo and can’t wait to get it back. There is also a sizeable section of the black community that laps up every Hollywood blockbuster about slavery and white oppression. With leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson they don’t need any added incentive to hate whites.

      How long do you think white people will stick around once they are reduced to a beleaguered rump, blamed for all of the woes of the people around them? The more of a minority they become, the more dangerous it becomes for them to stay. At some point America could become like Zimbabwe where the whites have to escape to some white-friendly country like Canada or New Zealand.

      Nitya, try not to be influenced by the silly posts that equate my views with those of Adolf Hitler and his ideas about a Master Race. I hope you have more sense than that.

      • In reply to #140 by keith:

        In reply to #135 by Nitya:
        It’s a very good question and one that I have thought about, believe it or not, for decades. Children are by definition innocent and the…

        Another silly post I suppose from me I suppose Keith. At least you’ve “Come Out” in public. Credit where credit is due. You are finally spelling out what you have been hinting at, but haven’t been brave enough to write. What I find fascinating is that you write a whole lot of paragraphs like this, then you sign off asking everyone to think your a nice person.

        In short, you start off arguing for eugenics and forced sterilization. You then use greed to justify paying no taxes. You then go on to point to the Mexicans and Africans and what they will do to the “Whites” when they become a majority. Are you sure you’re not a Klansman or a member of that English Defense League. Obama. Obama care. The beginning of the end for the white world?

        BTW Can I have a couple of paragraphs from you on the world “Civilized”, “Morality” and “Ethics.” I can’t wait.

      • In reply to #140 by keith:

        .Nitya, try not to be influenced by the silly posts that equate my views with those of Adolf Hitler and his ideas about a Master Race. I hope you have more sense than that.

        Do you honestly think that I’m so feeble minded and lacking in resolve, that I’d let others do my thinking for me?? I can assure you that I’m more than capable of coming to my own conclusions! I thought your comment was belittling and unwarranted.

        if your ‘kindness’ reduced the number of unsuitable parents…

        I’m a great advocate of family planning and think that it should be a high priority especially among the poor, however I tremble to think of what you have in mind after reading these statements. I suspect a degree of coercion is in line with your thinking. As dreadful as having unwanted children may be, forced sterilisation of the underclass is even worse!

        . Who do you think will pay for all those benefits..

        As David said #141, you are beginning to sound like a Klansman. Are you aware of the amount of venom and vindictiveness you’re pouring into your writing? Read though a few paragraphs of your own posts ( especially #140) and you should be appalled by what you read! I am.

        • In reply to #144 by Nitya:

          Do you honestly think that I’m so feeble minded and lacking in resolve, that I’d let others do my thinking for me?? I can assure you that I’m more than capable of coming to my own conclusions! I thought your comment was belittling and unwarranted.

          I don’t know if you are feeble minded because I don’t know you. If you were, you wouldn’t be alone on this website.. Actually my point was less about your mind, which seems to be fine, more or less, than about your character. It’s very hard to go against the flow of public opinion, especially when it is as one-sided as it is here. I have to make myself argue for what I believe is true. I would much rather just agree with everyone else and be on the side of the angels than the demons. It’s just that that would be lying and cowardly.

          if your ‘kindness’ reduced the number of unsuitable parents…

          I’m a great advocate of family planning and think that it should be a high priority especially among the poor, however I tremble to think of what you have in mind after reading these statements. I suspect a degree of coercion is in line with your thinking. As dreadful as having unwanted children may be, forced sterilisation of the underclass is even worse!

          You can stop trembling, I have no coercion in mind, nor forced sterilisation (where do you get these ideas from?) I just had in mind making it more difficult for people who are a burden on the state to expect others to pay for them. If you call asking someone to support themselves and their children coercion, then almost everything is coercion. After all, what do you call insisting that some people support others in their debased lifestyle, if not ‘coercion’?

          Anyway, you can breathe out again. No sign of any sterilising needles or pills.

          By the way, that’s great that you are an advocate of family planning. However, I don’t see how you advocating family planning changes the situation, namely, that many poor and uneducated people couldn’t care less what you advocate. Advocates are ten-a-penny. It’s actually changing things that is difficult.

          Perhaps you ought to get down off your moral high horse for a moment. After all, what kind of morality is it that forces one group of people to finance another group, no matter how irresponsibly the latter behaves? Quite why you are so sure you occupy the moral high ground here is beyond me.

          Who do you think will pay for all those benefits..

          As David said #141, you are beginning to sound like a Klansman. Are you aware of the amount of venom and vindictiveness you’re pouring into your writing? Read though a few paragraphs of your own posts ( especially #140) and you should be appalled by what you read! I am.

          Okay Nitya, I’ve just read through a few of my paragraphs and I have to confess that I wasn’t appalled. Now back to the question. Who do you think will pay for all those benefits? I’m assuming you have an answer since you find my question so outrageous. It strikes me that that outburst of righteous outrage was perhaps so much squid-ink to distract me, or maybe yourself, from my question.

          • In reply to #146 by keith:

            After all, what kind of morality is it that forces one group of people to finance another group,

            It’s called civilization. Being civilized. You’ve raised morality. Defined as:-

            “principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.”

            As you admit in your last post, you’re not on the side of the angels.

  25. in reply to keith 145

    No difference between what? If you mean that there is no difference between second generation middle class African Americans and middle-class whites then you are wrong. The children of black middle class parents barely reach the academic standards of white working class children.

    I would be interested to know what you think is the significant part of your above statement is.

    Do you mean there is an actual fundamental biological difference in the academic ability of an ethnic group?

    Is white middle America the same as black middle America? Salary? Affluent areas? Health Care? Access to private or high standard of education?

    Leisure facilities? Opportunities to play express themselves and other things that make kids happy?

    How long has black middle America even existed? Since 1968 perhaps? That is hardly a level playing field or equal starting point.

    The reason I ask this is that working class white boys are now officially the worst performers in UK schools.

    I do not think anyone will stampede towards the conclusion that being white right now means you are inherently less likely to be academically successful.

    When Black working class boys were bottom prior to this, the press were citing everything from rap music to absent fathers for poor performance

    (white kids don’t listen to rap of come from single parents!)

    If the area is poor, run down, has high unemployment, drug and gang problems, the children that grow up in those areas will perform lower on average for obvious reasons.

    This is the same with health in the UK, there are post codes that are much more likely to “give” you a shorter life, with higher morbidity and predictably, these areas are not in the green belt or affluent parts of the country.

    The lines of latitude and longtitude on their own do not make people ill, can you see what I am getting at Keith?

    • In reply to #148 by Pinball1970:

      Hi Pinball,

      Yes, I can certainly see what you’re getting at. The significant part of my statement was to simply refute Dave’s claim that black middle class children perform equally well, academically speaking, as white middle class children. He made this assertion without even knowing whether or not it was true. It simply should be true according to his model of how the world works.

      Whether all aspects of middle class black children’s lives are precisely the same as those of their white counterparts is impossible for me, or I suspect anyone, to say. You could say that simply having a black skin changes your environment, at least your psychological environment. However, for as long as IQ scores have been kept blacks have scored quite low and these scores tend to predict academic achievement quite well, so IQ tests seem to be measuring something tangible, even if some people disregard them as the meaningless toys of white supremacists who wish to show their superiority (whites do not come top of IQ rankings by race). This pattern of low black IQ scores is one that repeats itself pretty much wherever you look in the world.

      Like you, I also read a few months ago about the way that the children of white working class parents (or was ‘working class’ a nice way of saying ‘the white underclass’ i.e. not actually working?) came bottom of all racial/income groups in the UK. Thomas Sowell, the great black economist looked for what both black Americans and the British white working class had in common and that common factor, in his mind, was resentment and grievance. Both groups have been taught for a long time that they have are victims and have been dispossessed and a spirit of resentment arises. This attitude impacts negatively on academic performance. The children of immigrant families to the UK don’t have that sense of grievance and throw themselves into school work with more enthusiasm.

      Though it is hard to tease apart factors like these, I can well believe that Sowell’s analysis is correct. However, this doesn’t suggest that we can therefore disregard biological factors. Since scientists working in the field know that intelligence is affected by both genes and environment (a culture of resentment and grievance is part of the environment) and intelligence affects academic performance, and genes run in races and the average IQ scores of different races have remained pretty steady over the decades, the fact that white working class children are now the lowest achievers in the UK in no way suggests that the genetic factor in academic performance has been reduced to zero, nor that there is no general correlation between race, IQ and academic performance. It just means that a cultural factor is particularly strong in this case.

      • In reply to #149 by keith:
        >
        The significant part of my statement was to simply refute Dave’s claim that black middle class children perform equally well, academically speaking, as white middle class children. He made this assertion.

        The error that Keith makes in his ideology is that he assumes that everyone has the same knowledge he does. Has access to the same social outlooks. .Has the ability to access knowledge on a level playing field. In short, Keith assumes that his Brave New World would be utopian if everyone thought like Keith. Let’s test Keith’s assumption.

        For someone to have the aspirational outlook of Keith, they would need to accumulate knowledge and wisdom from birth, that would enable them to climb the greasy pole of prosperity. Keith’s doppelganger is Keeff, black, single mom, substance abuse, unloved. Unwanted. It’s not Keeff’s fault. But in Keith’s world, all babies are born equal. For Keeff to become Keith, firstly, he would need a healthy diet to thrive, to grow those neurons to their maximum potential. He would need a loving and nurturing family life that promotes the values of education, thrift, hard work. Keeff would need to live in a safe and secure neighbourhood where the local school is highly prized and attracts the best of the teachers.

        So when Keeff reaches maturity, he will think, I will now plan out my career. I will acquire the higher learning I need. Tertiary. University. I will be thrifty. I will have the knowledge to make wise investments in factories like Keith’s brother in law. I will understand markets and real estate so I don’t waste money. I will need to become desirable to a healthy middle class female of any colour capable of producing and rearing healthy children that will also miraculously inherits Keith’s world view.

        So given Keeff’s upbringing, what chance that he will somehow acquire skills necessary to fulfill the demands President Keith will force on him. What chance the next generation of children across the entire planet will suddenly become Mini Keith’s. There is Keith’s ideological utopia and there is reality. Keith’s utopia will never happen, because the Keeff’s of this world can never know the instructions, let alone have the skills to achieve Keith’s demands.

        In a world run by President Keith, there would be a small narrow middle and rich class, and a massive, poor, hungry and desperate majority. Will Keith’s world be a safe place for Keith’s. Will it all be sweetness and light with the white families safely going down to the shopping mall. Will their house need alarms, electrified fences, security guards like Johannesburg. Will there be low crime. Social cohesion. Will there be acceptance by the Keeff’s of the world that they will forever be an underclass. Impossible to acquire the skills needed, worldwide, by billions of Keeffs. Will the world look like Blade Runner.

        Fantasy world. Real world. You have to deal with what you’ve got in any decision making. It’s is a waste of neurons to plan for things that are impossible. You can aspire and ideologize all you like, but when it comes down to it, you have to deal with what is outside your front door. What is the probability of President’s Keith’s world coming to pass. If this is minisculely low, should Keith try and improve what’s possible, or continue to dream on.

        I would suggest a slow, long term improvement by assistance to the Keeff’s of this world, so that they can acquire the knowledge to escape their upbringing. That would also require assistance to Keeff’s mom, Keeff’s neighbourhood, Keeff’s school, and access to higher education for these backward IQ races. (The greatest improvement in quality of life in the third world comes from educating women, the future mothers.) They can never do it on their own, because they don’t even have the knowledge that it is possible. Through a long, long process of improving the knowledge of the poor, you end up with a better world. How much you invest in this improvement will be a measure of how many more Keeff’s can aspire to become Keith’s.

  26. However, for as long as IQ scores have been kept blacks have scored quite low and IQ scores tend to predict academic achievement quite well. This is a pattern that repeats itself pretty much wherever you look in the world.

    Most tests do not require the child to tick an income box, however there is a box selection for race. It seems to me that all black students are lumped together by SES. Considering that a disproportionate number of black students are lower income, how have middle classed black students been identified? Please show substantiation for your claim.

    • In reply to #150 by QuestioningKat:

      Most tests do not require the child to tick an income box, however there is a box selection for race. It seems to me that all black students are lumped together by SES. Considering that a disproportionate number of black students are lower income, how have middle classed black students been identified?

      What factors, would you say, have rendered a disproportionate number of blacks lower class? Could a lower average intelligence have anything to do with it? And are you talking about students or pupils? Surely students are people in further, voluntary education. Is this the group you mean? Surely not.

      Please show substantiation for your claim.

      Er, what is my claim exactly? That IQ scores tend to predict academic achievement quite well? That the pattern of low black achievement repeats itself pretty much wherever you look in the world?

    • In reply to #153 by keith:

      I thought this was a terrific article from today’s Spectator

      (For those that can’t be bothered reading the Spectator, it’s another diatribe on the master race, versus the lesser races.)

      Red it. So what. The first question I ask when ever anyone puts a proposition to me is, “So What”. Does what the person say, mean anything. For every reference you cite supporting racism, I will Call, and Raise you another expert. But back to So What.

      There is a million years of evolution in my brain to make me look at cleavage and a million years of evolution in a female brain that makes them want to display cleavage. Does this give me a license to ogle every young girl that walks past with a cleavage showing. Obviously not. But why not Keith. Why shouldn’t I stare at cleavage. This is where you need to actually apply a bit of intellectual acumen. Think about it. Why shouldn’t you stare at cleavage. Because you are civilized. Because you are enlightened. Because it is good manners, executed by good people. What is the civilizing force. What has happen to humans since the enlightenment. We’ve learned that sometimes we need to override base instinct, because that is savage, tribal, and results in very bad things.

      Back to your Spectator article. You want to believe this, so you can attribute blame for what you see around you to those “Others”, and would if you could, enact laws based on this type of genetics, or eugenics. No health care. No social security. No free education. What happens to you in life is your fault. Is this civilized. Is this enlightened. Is this the peak of a million years of evolution, that you are incapable or overriding your base instincts, because you now know, or should now, from ethics and morality, that what you argue is bad, verging on evil.

      Civilized? Uncivilized?

    • In reply to #153 by keith:

      I thought this was a terrific article from today’s Spectator

      And another thing. You argue that we should submit to our genetic inheritance. We are all positively dripping with 30,000 year old stone age evolutionary traits. Cleavage. Selective altruism. Tribalism. Russians versus Ukraine. Orthodox Christian versus Catholic. People dying because of 30,000 year old tribalism. Russian speakers. Ukrainian speakers. Classic primitive motivations, solved the only way 30,000 year old stone age tribes people know how. Kill each other.

      Because it is in our genes, does that make it right. It might explain stuff, like Russia V Ukraine, but does that make it right. In 30,000 years, we’ve learned a fair bit. Should we submit to primitive urges, as you would have us do, or should we through an act of intellectual will, rise above our genes and decide matters on the basis of morals and ethics.

      Should you Keith, say to yourself, “Sure, blacks aren’t as intelligent as I am but it’s not their fault, it’s in their genes. But that doesn’t mean I should pick on them. Maybe, as a modern civilized human being, one who inhabits RDFRS, I should override my stone age brain, and think about issues using the knowledge available to me, after hundreds of years of enlightened thinking. Maybe I should override my selective altruism, because I know that leads to tribalism and war, and act kindly to all homo sapiens, everywhere on the planet. Maybe if I tried this, the world would actually improve, become more peaceful, and more rational.

      • In reply to #155 by David R Allen:

        You argue that we should submit to our genetic inheritance.

        I have never believed we should submit to our genetic inheritance. My position is the same as Richard Dawkins’, namely, that I am pleased that we can and do override our selfish genes. Where do you get your ideas from? Could it be that you mounted your hobby horse and rode it off into the distance, not even bothering to read what I wrote?

        Regarding your previous post, and the one before that, (and the one before that) I am well aware that I have been lucky to have been born into a civilised age in a civilised culture and that there is nothing wrong with me, either physically or mentally. I also know that this was due to luck rather than my own virtue. I also know that some people have not been so lucky. However, you appear to think that I am unaware of this. You seem to think that if I was aware of it I would automatically subscribe to your anti-science view of races. All I can say is that you mind and logic work in an odd way.

        Dave, I really don’t know why you keep on about this. Have you yourself only just discovered the idea of determinism and because the idea is new to you, you assume that it is also new to everyone else?

        So rather than let you keep banging on about what I don’t believe, let me tell you what I do believe. The modern obsession with equality and the belief that all races are equal at all things is both wrong and dangerous. When black people in America notice that they don’t succeed like others do then some of them conclude that this must be due to racism and white oppression. After all, if all races are equally good at all things, how can it be that blacks occupy the lower rungs of society unless through white malice? They are supported in this belief by white liberals and blacks like the Obamas and various race hustlers. This, I suspect, is one reason why some black men often feel justified in killing, raping, mugging, burgling whites and making them the object of the ‘knock-out game. These blacks people feel they are merely getting their own back on their oppressors. White liberals are a party to this incitement to crime.

        I think it is unconscionable that the media and the liberal left keep this fantasy going when all it does is to breed resentment among blacks towards whites. The sooner black people realise that their lowly position in society might not be due to racism and oppression but to their own seething resentment and dysfunctional lives, the sooner they can start to put things right, stop hating whitey and white people will be able to walk through black neighbourhoods safely.

        Obama is a pedlar of this politics of resentment; resentment of the poor towards the rich, and blacks towards whites. No one has done more to foster hatred between these groups. This is why I find him dangerous and why I think the do-gooders who parrot the line that blacks are merely victims of white prejudice are really just hate-mongers stirring up trouble while all the time seeing themselves as latter-day Robin Hoods.

        Dave, I know you won’t understand any of that but please try not to keep using my posts as a springboard for your own obsessions and an excuse to go after me like some rabid witch-finder general.

        • In reply to #156 by keith:

          In reply to #155 by David R Allen:

          Nothing personal Keith. It’s just when I collect the information you write, convert it to data, analyze the result, and do my threat assessment, I find that the world you promote breaches the Golden Rule, “First, do no harm.” I know I will never convince you of anything. It’s the same as trying to reason with a religious fundamentalist, nothing I can say or do could possibly reach you. But the reason I debunk your arguments is not for your edification, but for anyone else who happens to read what you write, and you eloquently argue your case, and to give those third party readers a rational rebuttal, so they don’t scream off and join the English Defense League, thus creating a worse, not better world.

          This is your key factual error, which prevents you from seeing the world as it actually is.

          When black people in America notice that they don’t succeed like others do then some of them conclude that this must be due to racism and white oppression. After all, if all races are equally good at all things, how can it be that blacks occupy the lower rungs of society unless through white malice?

          I don’t know if you are able to project your psyche into another person, empathy, walk a mile in their shoes, but for those that can, consider if this fits with Keith’s explanation above. You are a slave taken to America in 1750′s. Your descendants are slaves until the American Civil War. While you are nominally free of slavery, you are in an apartheid regime, separate drinking fountains, schools and buses, employment, pay levels, education opportunities until the civil rights movements of the 1960′s/70′s. Even after the civil rights legislative changes, peoples minds haven’t been changed, the same mind you project in this forum. Blacks are still second class citizens.

          They are not politically and socially equal even to this day. Your argument fails because your family, that began in the 1750′s at the same time as the incarcerate slave, has always been in power. Has always had access to the full range of resources of the society. Has always had a privileged position. It is only in the last thirty years that America is even vaguely getting close to a level playing field. So you argue in your posts, that these are equal positions, and that genetics is the cause. You’ve had 260 years of privilege, and African American’s have had at the most 30 years or nominal equality, (Prejudice as you display still runs deep however) that it is their fault, and nothing to do with history. This is not a level playing field. Now I apologize in advance, but if you post a ridiculous argument, then forgive me for employing ridicule in debunking your position.

          I do note you grudging acknowledgement that luck of birth does count for something. That Keith might have been Keeff, and would have had a terrible life in comparison, just because of luck, not genes or fault. I don’t care what your write about genes or eugenics, it doesn’t give anyone permission to treat anyone with prejudice. That is your fundamental error. You claim permission to discriminate or keep the status quo, because “those blacks aren’t as smart as us whiteys.”

          I had to wear my stereophonic headphones turned up loud to plow through the stereotypes you rely on in support of your argument.

  27. You know, when I used to post regularly on this website we occasionally got the odd Christian dropping by to debate us. Though I generally thought most of them were a bit nuts, that didn’t stop me from defending them when one of ‘our own’ started posting nonsense.

    However, it seems that now people can post the most worthless drivel and as long as they are part of the team, no one says a word against it. I can’t decide whether this is because a) no one is actually reading any of this stuff, b) people here actually agree with this nonsense or c) they don’t agree with it but feel loyalty to a team member.

    I’m not sure which possibility depresses me more.

  28. Dave,

    Presumably you believe that it is not only me and some black people who are the beneficiaries and victims of fortune but everyone alive or who has ever lived. After all, it would be strange to think that only some people fall under its sway. Therefore all the best and worst people in history, including Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot were subject to the whims of fortune. Had Pol Pot been born in another place in another time with different genes he wouldn’t have been Pol Pot. This is your point about luck, right?

    Even if you are right, does acknowledging the role of fortune in men’s lives make you feel any better disposed towards the concentration camps, the gulags and the mass killings, or the doctrines of anti-Semitism, communism or anti-intellectualism? No, of course not. Then I am sure you will understand why my acknowledging the role of fortune in black people’s lives doesn’t remotely tempt me to change my beliefs about the rottenness of Affirmative Action or the incendiary belief that racial inequality is a quirk of nature that is within the power of white people to put right. Inability to achieve equality proves either malice, incompetence or both on the part of white people. Such beliefs are unrealistic, no matter what we believe about the role of fortune in our lives.

  29. In reply to Leith 149 refute Dave’s claim that black middle class children perform equally well

    Hi Keith

    I do not doubt the results of the study you quoted refuting Dave, I was mainly asking what conclusions can one really make from a study like this?

    149as long as IQ scores have been kept blacks have scored quite low and these scores tend to predict academic achievement quite well, so IQ tests seem to be measuring something tangible.

    Again I do not doubt this but you have already implied IQ and intelligence are not clear cut biological features that you can define in terms of genetic inheritance (or race black/white) alone.

    Defining nature versus nurture w.r.t. IQ is not so clear cut either.

    I would give Matt Ridley’s book “Genome” chapter 6 on intelligence/IQ a go if you haven’t already read it.

    Relevant to this discussion, the books gives some quite shocking examples that the white ruling class went to to define black genes & genomes as inferior, this has been alluded to by Dave and a couple of others.

    It also outlines how one’s IQ is made up from separate elements: genes, family & home life, peer groups and how this can change with age.

    Not merely ones IQ changing as you get older, it means the influence of your inherited features and acquired experience alters as you get older!

    • In reply to #159 by Pinball1970:

      In reply to Leith 149 refute Dave’s claim that black middle class children perform equally well
      Hi Pinball,

      as long as IQ scores have been kept blacks have scored quite low and these scores tend to predict academic achievement quite well, so IQ tests seem to be measuring something tangible.

      Again I do not doubt this but you have already implied IQ and intelligence are not clear cut biological features that you can define in terms of genetic inheritance (or race black/white) alone.

      My claim (actually not mine but scientists working in the field) is that intelligence is influenced partly by genetic factors and partly by the environment with the two interacting (as explained in Matt Ridley’s Nature Via Nurture). No one doubts that Einstein wouldn’t have become so intelligent if he had been starved in childhood or been made to tend sheep all day in some uninspiring landscape. Equally, no one really believes that every Anatolian shepherd could have become an Einstein if only they had been given the right environment. Er, I take that back. That is precisely what most of the people on this thread appear to believe. The thing that I was arguing was that intelligence is known to have a large genetic component and that genes are what distinguish races. I don’t see why this is so incendiary.

      I would give Matt Ridley’s book “Genome” chapter 6 on intelligence/IQ a go if you haven’t already read it.

      Thanks, I read it many years ago, along with most of his other books, and enjoyed it immensely.

      Relevant to this discussion, the books gives some quite shocking examples that the white ruling class went to to define black genes & genomes as inferior, this has been alluded to by Dave and a couple of others.

      Inferior genes, eh? How does that work? I have to say that this is a rubbish argument. Just because some fool jumped off the Eiffel Tower a hundred years ago and dropped like a stone while flapping his arms like a demented chicken didn’t prove once and for all that heavier-than-air flight is physically impossible.

      It also outlines how one’s IQ is made up from separate elements: genes, family & home life, peer groups and how this can change with age.

      I’m not sure why you are telling me all this. I have acknowledged the nurture part of intelligence from the start. It is the people who I am arguing with that deny that genes play any role in intelligence that you should be sending your comments to. Perhaps you haven’t really read my posts at all but have instead tried to divine from the comments of others what I believe.

      Not merely ones IQ changing as you get older, it means the influence of your inherited features and acquired experience alters as you get older!

      I’m not sure what this means. Scientists think that as we grow older we come more under the sway of our genes. This explains your bit about our ‘inherited features’. However, what your claim that “the influence of your … acquired experience alters as you get older!” might mean I can’t say. Are you saying that experience influences us? If so, then I and the rest of the world agree, but was it really worth saying? If this is not what you meant then perhaps you could take another run at explaining it.

      • In reply to #169 by keith:

        In reply to #159 by Pinball1970:

        In reply to Leith 149 refute Dave’s claim that black middle class children perform equally well
        Hi Pinball,

        as long as IQ scores have been kept blacks have scored quite low and these scores tend to predict academic achievement quite well, so IQ tests seem to be mea…

        So what. Does any of what you write or continue to repeat ad nauseum give you , or anyone license to discriminate. You say yes. I say no. It is uncivilized in 2014 to discriminate on racial lines.

  30. In reply to Keith #158 etc etc

    There’s a fundamental flaw in your arguments regarding race. The notion of race, is merely a collection of characteristics that are common to a group of people. Hair colour, skin pigmentation, eye colour and hair texture, perhaps the shape of the nose and presence of an eyelid. These are superficial differences at best. The underlying characteristics that make someone homo sapiens sapiens are the same across the board. Would you expect a breed of dog ( let’s say poodle) to be noticeably different because of its colouring? No! The differences you point out occur because of the process of socialisation. The effects of socialisation can be changed and that is why governments see fit to level the playing field.

    • In reply to #161 by Nitya:

      In reply to Keith #158 etc etc

      There’s a fundamental flaw in your arguments regarding race. The notion of race, is merely a collection of characteristics that are common to a group of people. Hair colour, skin pigmentation, eye colour and hair texture, perhaps the shape of the nose and presence of…

      Nitya, if it were true that races only differ in the colour of their skin and a few other trivial things then I would completely agree with you. I can understand why you would think my views were weird if you think that races only differ in the tilt of their nose and the texture of their hair. But just because they differ in these superficial ways doesn’t mean that they don’t differ in more significant ways. This would be like claiming that Golden Retrievers and Dobermans are basically the same because their colour and shape is a little different.

      I would like to know if you have actually made any effort to confirm whether the differences between races really do start and end with eye colour etc. or whether you have just assumed this to be the case. In an earlier post I wrote that black people (men and women) have a on average more testosterone in their bodies than whites and quite a lot more than north-east Asians. Would you say that this was trivial? The behaviour of men and women is quite different. Might it be the case that testosterone levels have something to do with this? Black women generally give birth to their children after 39 weeks while whites do so after 40 weeks and north-east Asians after 41. Black children mature much more quickly and become sexually active earlier than children of other races. Blacks, probably because of the extra testosterone, have much better muscle definition which allows them to dominate many sports. This extra testosterone probably also makes them, on average, more aggressive than say, your average Chinese man.

      The weird thing about all this is that even if I were to convince you that all of the above is true it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference because you are simply not interested in the truth. You simply want to sit there polishing your halo and claiming that anyone who disagrees with you, whether right or not, is some kind of Nazi while you are a caring, tolerant person who believes that socialisation is everything, despite scientists agreeing that it isn’t. Quite how your attitude differs from religious people whose fixed views are immune to all counter-argument I fail to see.

      As I have told you before, I too used to hold the same beliefs as you and assumed that anyone who deviated from them must be a bigoted, uneducated and racist. Of course, I held these beliefs, not because I had thought them through but because everyone around me also held them and it’s easier just to go along with others.

  31. I haven’t read Obama’s books (Nelson mandela apart I have never read a politician’s autobiography) but various sources have put forward that he rarely/never attended church until he got involved in politics in Chicago and having an affiliation with a church was a massive political leg-up. Obama is undeniably well-educated and smart which makes me think he is a Thomas Jefferson style-agnostic/deist. He may do a Tony Blair and only reveal his true colours after leaving office (though I expect he will wait until demographics move in his direction).

  32. In reply to nitya #161 Hair colour, skin pigmentation, eye colour and hair texture, perhaps the shape of the nose and presence of an eyelid. These are superficial differences at best.

    You have mentioned this twice now, I do not understand what you mean by “superficial” and “at best.”

    Genes are present, perform a function or they do not, there is no such thing as superficial (leaving aside epigentics)

    I do not agree with some of the things Keith has said regarding race and IQ but genetic traits associated with race are there.

    Race is probably not the best word , populations prevalent in certain geographical locations but that hardly rolls off the tongue.

    Skin pigmentation resulting from melanin synthesis is important for uv protection against melanoma.

    Albinism (melanin dysfunction or absence) can be race associated and is thought to be connected with a range of genetic disorders including the lung, bowel, olfactory function and parkinsons.

    Then you have lactose metabolism, alcohol metabolism, sickle cell and beta thalassemia, duffy neg and pos in malaria and those are just some of the diseases!

    Yes we are all H sapiens but that is ignoring 250,000 years of natural selection and mutation.

    • In reply to #164 by Pinball1970:

      I mentioned these characteristics in order to distinguish the concept of “race” from the negatively loaded qualities pushed by Keith.

      . . Definitions of race are rooted in taxonomic classifications first developed in 18th- and 19th-century Europe. Race has overlapped with a debate about species known as the species problem.

      . Since the 1960s scientists have understood race as a social construct imposed on phenotypes in culturally determined ways, rather than a biological concept. A 2000 study by Celera Genomics found that human DNA does not differ significantly across populations. Citizens of any village in the world, in Scotland or Tanzania, have 90 percent of the genetic variability humanity has to offer. Only .01 percent of genes account for a person’s appearance.[20] Biological adaptation plays a role in bodily features and skin type. According to Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, “From a scientific point of view, the concept of race has failed to obtain any consensus; none is likely, given the gradual variation in existence. It may be objected that the racial stereotypes have a consistency that allows even the layman to classify individuals. However, the major stereotypes, all based on skin color, hair color and form, and facial traits, reflect superficial differences that are not confirmed by deeper analysis with more reliable genetic traits and whose origin dates from recent evolution mostly under the effect of climate and perhaps sexual selection”.[2][21] [22] [23] [24] [24][25] [26]>

      The attributes given to various “races” do not include attitude to work, or perceived “moral” shortcomings. I can’t see how a prevalence of lactose intolerance as seen in Asian groups, or sickle cell anaemia, or thalassemia found in the inhabitants of certain geographic locations, makes a difference when talking about the sort of negative character judgements made by Keith.

      The point I’m trying to get across is that there is a wide variety of characteristics in any population that is not isolated. My grandson has red hair, blue eyes and fair skin. Do you think this is accompanied by various character traits as well?

  33. In reply to Nitya #165
    My grandson has red hair, blue eyes and fair skin. Do you think this is accompanied by various character traits as well?
    Hi Nitya

    Do I think melanin production affects behavior?

    Freckles hair and skin colour?

    From an evolutionary point of view what sort of mate would a red brown colour dog attract in a pack of grey dogs? More or less?

    Would the other dogs recognize the difference in a positive way? Would this affect pecking order? Would the different colour affect any other biochemistry? In feeding? In the brain? Behavior? (remember the Parkinson link, lung and bowl links, ability to deal with direct sunlight with albinism?)

    The short answer is I do not know because I am not an anthropologist/scientist but I know enough not to discount such a visible trait without a second thought.

    In the 1970s the one ginger haired youngster in my class was teased and was called names, it made him withdrawn probably sad and resentful.

    In the 1990s my partners nephew saw his red hair as something of a trophy and was proud of it because he was different , the environment can change.

    Catherine Tate a red haired UK comedienne did a whole sketch run on being ginger and there was models campaign on red is beautiful (or something like that) that was made into a documentary.

    Looks matter, skin colour matters, the shape of your nose matters, symmetry, smell the sound of your voice all matter because we are great apes and pick mates friends and foes on all those criteria.

    • In reply to #166 by Pinball1970:

      In reply to Nitya #165

      Do I think melanin production affects behavior

      The examples you’ve shown only demonstrate the social consequences of particular colouring, which is more or less what I’ve been saying all along. Individuals or groups are stigmatized because of the amount of melanin in their skin, hair and eyes!

      I’m reminded of a social experiment conducted a good few years ago, in which a class of volunteers is divided according to eye colour. Brown=good, Blue=bad.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Elliott

      This experiment quickly descended into an unpleasant experience for the “underclass”. Selection of this group was completely arbitrary and they may have been selected by drawing lots just as easily.

      • In reply to #172 by Nitya:

        In reply to #166 by Pinball1970:

        In reply to Nitya #165

        Do I think melanin production affects behavior

        The examples you’ve shown only demonstrate the social consequences of particular colouring, which is more or less what I’ve been saying all along. Individuals or groups are stigmatized because o…

        Thank you for reminding me of the Jane Elliot experiment with the colour of eyes. If Keith is brave enough to watch this, he will change his mind.

        Have a look here Keith.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqv9k3jbtYU

        • In reply to #173 by David R Allen:

          In reply to #172 by Nitya:

          In reply to #166 by Pinball1970:

          In reply to Nitya #165

          Do I think melanin production affects behavior

          The examples you’ve shown only demonstrate the social consequences of particular colouring, which is more or less what I’ve been saying all along. Individuals or grou…

          Ha ha! I wouldn’t be so hopeful! There’d be another well rehearsed explanation I’m sure.

  34. in Reply Keith #168

    Keith, I haven’t contributed six replies to your comments in order to do any halo polishing; nor am I planning to accumulate brownie points to ease my way into heaven. In my experience I’ve always found it better to take people as I find them. It’s difficult not to harbour prejudices of some sort, but in the past I’ve encountered some surprises. As a result, I have friends and acquaintances from a wide variety of backgrounds. At times it’s wise to keep quiet ( especially with my Orthodox friends), as our views are polar opposite, however I’ve found that it’s worth making the effort.

  35. in reply to Keith#169

    I have not read all of your posts but I agree with some things you said about race.
    To ignore the differences for fear of offence is wrong.
    However to state that whites are inherently smarter than blacks because studies have demonstrated it begs the questions.
    How robust were the studies?
    Level playing field?
    What was the motivation behind the studies?

    • In reply to #175 by Pinball1970:

      in reply to Keith#169

      I have not read all of your posts but I agree with some things you said about race.
      To ignore the differences for fear of offence is wrong.
      However to state that whites are inherently smarter than blacks because studies have demonstrated it begs the questions.
      How robust were…

      Two bell curve graphs, that mostly overlap, and have a slight divergence at the edges. Basically irrelevant.

    • In reply to #175 by Pinball1970:

      I have not read all of your posts but I agree with some things you said about race. To ignore the differences for fear of offence is wrong. However to state that whites are inherently smarter than blacks because studies have demonstrated it begs the questions. How robust were the studies? Level playing field? What was the motivation behind the studies?

      Among whites and blacks there is a standard deviation of one, which translates into 15 IQ points. This has been the result of pretty much every IQ test that has ever been taken over the last century, including ones done at top universities run by progressive liberals. The 15 IQ points difference is not really in question. What is in question is what it means. Do IQ tests accurately measure intelligence? Is there some factor other than intelligence which hasn’t yet been taken into consideration that holds black people back? Even though researchers have eliminated or factored in all the noise from the tests, these questions refuse to go away, simply because the results are not the ones people want to hear!

      Some researchers leave their field of study because they can see where their results are leading. They decide that it simply isn’t worth having your career and your reputation trashed and the lives of your family threatened by ‘kind’ people who refuse to accept that a researcher who finds deviations in innate IQ scores between races could be due to anything other than racism. He has no desire to have his lectures disrupted, boycotted and to have to enter the university by the back door accompanied by a team of bodyguards. Just read one or two of the comments by one particular member on this site and I think you can picture him at the forefront of a righteous mob campaigning to get a lecturer who has the ‘wrong views’ banned from his campus.

      Your questions suggest that you have a very low opinion of people who run IQ tests. Would you ask the same questions if they were researching the gerbil? I’m sure the robustness of their methodology would be just fine then. Do you imagine they haven’t thought about factors that might skew the results and try to get round them? You must either think them bigoted or stupid. In general they are neither.

      One way of teasing out nature and nurture in intelligence is to look at identical twins separated at birth and brought up in very different surroundings. You can then get some idea whether nature plays a role in intelligence and behaviour or not. It is now quite clear that nature plays a large role in both. (See Stephen Pinker’s The Blank Slate and the science writer for the very politically correct New York Times Nicholas Wade’s brand new book A Troublesome Inheritance.

      As regards intelligence in race, children of mixed marriages generally have an IQ exactly between those of its parents. If IQ were purely due to the environment then you would expect children of middle class mixed couples to have a ‘middle class IQ’ and if the couple was working class you would expect their child to have a ‘working class IQ’. Yet this is not what researchers find. Children of mixed marriages in the USA have an average IQ of around 93, precisely between the averages of the two races.

      The same happens in South Africa. The lives of mixed race people are very similar to those of blacks in terms of environment and social status, yet the former have a higher IQ.

      You ask if the playing field is level. I imagine what you are asking is whether the researchers compared like with like e.g. white dentists with black dentists rather than white dentists with black shop workers. The answer is that I don’t know, but my guess is that they didn’t, for one very obvious reason. You see, most dentists probably have the same IQ, regardless of their colour. It is just that in a population with a lower average IQ you will find fewer dentists, fewer doctors, fewer architects and so on. Selecting the high achievers from the black race and comparing them with average achievers from the white race would be pointless.

      And so we are back to the old problem. Why are there so few black dentists? Is it due to a lack of black role models? Or maybe to a white conspiracy to keep black people out of dentistry? Or is it that too few black people meet the intellectual criteria to slog through medical school and pass dental exams?

      Many cities across America nowadays are scrapping written tests for things like the fire service and other municipal jobs, simply because too few black people can pass them. When this happens the cities are sued by race activists for not complying with the legal hiring quota. Rather than continue to pay out millions of dollars in compensation to black applicants who fail municipal tests, cities have now decided that the best thing to do is do away with exams for many public jobs, hire by quota, and resign yourself to a poor quality service. This is bad for your citizens, including blacks, but it saves you bankrupting the city due to having to pay out huge sums in compensation and tying up the city in endless costly court cases.

      I actually disagree with you when you say that causing people offense shouldn’t stop us from telling the truth. I think you should always try to avoid causing offense unless it is necessary. The truth is that I’m not that interested in intelligence per se. I understand that south-east Asians have pretty much the same IQs as black Americans (Africans, who generally have no admixture of white genes, have an average IQ of around 70, two standard deviations lower than whites). The reason I go on about black IQ and not south-east Asian IQ is because south-east Asians don’t blame white people for all their woes and feel justified in killing, mugging, robbing and raping them. Neither do south-east Asians have a whole entourage of white liberals championing their cause and confirming them in their resentment and grievance.

      Black people have been told for decades, from kindergarten to the grave, that they are just as intelligent as whites. The only reason they under achieve is because white people have privilege and are either overtly or covertly racist. Such teaching is a recipe for racial tension, which people like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and other race hustlers are more than happy to encourage. After all, that is their day job and what pays their wages.

      If there were no blacks (or progressive liberals) who blamed whites for black people’s inability to rise to the top of society in the same numbers as say Jews, north-east Asians and whites, then I would happily keep my mouth shut about the subject of race and intelligence. However, with white people often on the receiving end of a beating, mugging or worse, or ‘just’ the victim of Affirmative Action where the white applicant is passed over for a university place or job that is then given to a less well-qualified black person, then I think it is necessary to put politeness to one side and speak the truth. Black people are, on average, less intelligent than white and this is one of the factors holding them back. The other two factors, in my opinion, are that their culture doesn’t value education in the same way that say, the Chinese culture does, and their resentment towards society, which has been taught to them since the 1960s by black mischief-makers and white liberal do-gooders wishing to play Robin Hood.

  36. In Reply #177 Keith

    I understand that south-east Asians have pretty much the same IQs as black Americans (Africans, who generally have no admixture of white genes, have an average IQ of around 70, two standard deviations lower than whites).

    These figures are absurd. In commenting about people from South-East Asia, do you mean Vietnam? Vietnamese students do well in our school system.

    • In reply to #179 by Nitya:

      These figures are absurd. In commenting about people from South-East Asia, do you mean Vietnam? Vietnamese students do well in our school system.

      Presumably you understand that I was saying that Africans have an average IQ of 70, not south-east Asians? Sub-Saharan Africans have an average IQ of 70, which is 15 IQ points lower than black Americans.

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