A late addition, thanks to Peter Patton, a nice piece by Peter Craven on being proud of our cultural achievements. It just shows how smart we can be in some areas while we have blind spots in other areas. Hence the importance of civil dialogue across party lines.
That commentary reminds me of a beautiful paper written years ago bythe late Len Hume about the so-called cultural cringe. It first appeared in an academic journal, was reprinted as a pamphlet by CIS and I put it on line by arrangement with Hume’s widow.
Pete Craven mentioned Barry Humphries as one of our cultural treasures, there is a section about him in one of the Rathouse Revivalist issues with a picture by Kilmeny Niland and a report on the little-noticed encounter when Karl Popper met Barry Mackenzie.
Dumb research on “Australian racism“. Sorted out by Lorenzo Warby.
In what is wrong with this “research” effort, the only question is where to begin. First, 102 people is a tiny sample. Second, agreeing that the White Australia Policy “saved Australia from many problems experienced by other countries” does not demonstrate racism. One can agree that monoculturalism has advantages without being racist. Moreover, a majority of flag-fliers did not agree with the statement. So, tagging an activity which a majority of those engaged in where found not to be racist as associated with racism is slander by correlation. (As is typical, the media reporting is worse than the actual study.)
Keith Windschuttle defends the Constitution from charges of racism.
Far from being a racist document, the Australian Constitution … puts all Australians on an equal footing, no matter when they or their ancestors arrived here. Indeed, it would be not only racially discriminatory but also socially divisive to endorse this report and give some Australians status and privileges not available to others simply because of their ancestry.
At the review of the Fair Work Act. Just don’t mention
the war productivity. And don’t involve the Productivity Commisssion!
Is it just the Crows or does the reference [regarding the brief of the review] to “economic issues” sound like an after-thought?
If it was, Bill Shorten appears anxious to assist in ensuring their irrelevance to the review. As the Employment minister said in announcing the FWA Review by John Edwards, Ron McCallum and Michael Moore, “Real economic prosperity and growth requires fairness and security in the workplace. This review reaffirms the Gillard Government’s fundamental commitment to these aims.” [v]
But it would be good if we all knew the cost of a kinder, gentler IR system, which coincidentally just happens to generate work for union officials. The way to do this is to examine FWA’s impact on productivity to date and project what will happen on the basis of existing evidence. Given its resources and terms of reference this will be impossible for the review in the five months it has.
Gosh is there nobody who can help, an organisation that could have started on the necessary groundwork before Dr John Edwards et al got cracking?
Well what about, and it’s just a stab in the dark you understand, the Productivity Commission?
Oddly enough, the Commission was ignored when the review was established and, entirely understandably, knows when it is not wanted. Minister Shorten’s officials say they have not asked for a submission from the Commission and the PC says it will accordingly get on with its work.
A warning for Craig Thomson? Too much sex on the sideline!
Steve Horwitz responds to some misrepresentations of his claims about gender gap in pay in the US.
JamesK on the Open forum posted the Larry Summers memo on US economic policy. “8. Greg Mankiw, economic adviser to Mitt Romney, was dubious about the stimulus. Greg Mankiw is the only economist we have consulted with who refused to name a number and was generally skeptical about stimulus.”
Pete Klein on O&M posted a list of all the economists who were consulted.
(For the record, the economists consulted — supposedly representing the full spectrum of legitimate opinion — were Robert Reich (recommended stimulus: $1.2 trillion over 2 years), Joe Siglitz ($1 trillion over two years), Paul Krugman ($600 billion in one year), Jamie Galbraith ($900 billion in one year), Dean Baker and colleagues ($900 billion), Marty Feldstein ($400 billion in one year), Larry Lindsey ($800 billion to $1 trillion), Ken Rogoff ($1 trillion over two years), Mark Zandi ($600 billion in one year), an unnamed group of Fed officials (over $600 billion), Adam Posen ($500-700 billion in one year), and an unnamed group at Goldman Sachs(!) ($600 billion). So, we’ve got left-wing Keynesians, right-wing Keynesians, moderate Keynesians, Robert Reich who wouldn’t know a Keynesian from a Kenyan, and Goldman Sachs. How’s that for diversity of opinion?)
Peter Klein again on apes imitating humans, will it work if they don’t have insight? In the comments I suggest that the answer is NO.
In “A Bend in the River” by V S Naipaul the store at the bend in the river in a third world country is “nationalized” by revolutionaries. In addition to selling things in the front of the shop, they knew that some stuff had to be done in the back office as well. That was where the owner used to drink whiskey while he did the books, prepared orders for stock etc. So every evening the new owners sat in the office drinking whiskey and shufflilng pieces of paper.
On a grander scale you have the whole Melanesian “cargo cult” phenomenon where the natives observed the US forces coming in during WW2, and building airstrips where planes arrived to deliver cargo. The natives did their best to imitate the strips, in the expectation that more cargo would arrive.
Then there is the phenomenon of scientism where people imitate what they think are the inductive methods of the natural sciences.
“A Conservative Teacher” in the US reports how the Cold War is taught by liberal teachers.
The lecture notes that I am looking at that were delivered by the liberal teacher in my school are one-sided liberal spin. They begin by pointing out that the Cold War wasn’t really a war- that the United States was just scared of losing its position of power in the world and so reacted to an emerging Soviet Union by pretending that there was some sort of Cold War we were engaged in. The definition of ‘Red Scare’ according to this liberal teacher was ‘the unjustified fear of communism in the United States’. The teacher then goes on to attack McCarthy- “known as a lazy and corrupt politician,” “played up imaginary fears of communists to gullible public,” and “made up evidence of spies to get re-elected.”
He also has some detailed notes on Obama’s State of the Nation Speech. He sounds like JC!