Archive for April, 2013

Gillard’s profligacy

April 30, 2013

Four ways of spending money
The French writer Frederique Bastiat, observed in the first half of the 19th century, “There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.”

Thus, according to the good economists and most conservative commentators, there is general consternation at the inability of the Gillard/Swan team to reign in their compulsive spending. More than that; there is incredulity and dismay. Still, when listening to the usual suspects in the media there is clearly little understanding or ability to understand the unforeseen effects. 

Many will have read the famous Four Ways of spending money as outlined by Milton Friedman, but it bares repeating as a cogent way of understanding why government spending — especially of those with Gillard’s reckless disposition — is so dangerous.

There are four ways in which you can spend money.

You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money.

Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost.

Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! 

Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get.

And that’s government.

FOUR WAYS OF SPENDING

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Terrorism will slowly teach us lessons

April 29, 2013

Tolerance waning in spite of Left’s entrenched dhimitude

One can often despair at the avoidance of the M… word or I … word by our obsequiously tolerant media in Australia.

There is however some light at the end of the tunnel. According to the distinguished international expert on Islam, Daniel Pipes, there is a lesson to be learned from the recent Islamist inspired atrocity in Boston. Westerners, in spite of the pervasive dhimmitude throughout our society crippling intelligent commentary, are starting to wake up to the threat of terrorism.  

 What it will do is very important: it will prompt some Westerners to conclude that Islamism is a threat to their way of life. Indeed, every act of Muslim aggression against non-Muslims, be it violent or cultural, recruits more activists to the anti-jihad cause, more voters to insurgent parties, more demonstrators to anti-immigrant street efforts, and more donors to anti-Islamist causes.

 He says we have evidence of this happening if we look at Europe, which he says is about 20 years ahead of Australia in this regard.

One sign of change is the growth of political parties focused on these issues, including the UK Independence Party, the National Front in France, the People’s Party in Switzerland, Geert Wilder’s Party for Freedom in The Netherlands, the Progress Party in Norway, and the Swedish Democrats. In a recent by-election, UKIP came in second, increasing its share of the vote from 4 per cent to 28 per cent, thereby creating a crisis in the Conservative Party. 

Pipes quotes the changing public attitudes in France to Islam. If some in Australia are fearful of visits by the likes of Gert Wilders, we had better get used to a coming change in public attitudes and consequently in the political climate, especially those of the sycophantic Left. This change in attitude is inevitable if Muslims continue to spoil things for themselves. Having travelled extensively in North Africa myself and loved Arab people and their culture — before the Islamist radicalisation since the 1970s — I think this would be a great tragedy. Pipes quotes’ attitudes of the French in a recent survey. 

Particularly revealing for an understanding of the media’s poor approach to reporting on Islamic terrorism, but not surprising, is the attitude of the Left towards religion revealed in this survey. It noted that Islam is the only religion in France, including Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists and Jews —  that attracts a more favourable attitude from the Left than it does from the Right. Overall however, 

• 67 per cent say Islamic values are incompatible with those of French society;• 73 per cent view Islam negatively;• 74 per cent consider Islam to be intolerant;• 84 per cent are against the hijab in private spaces open to the public; and• 86 per cent favour strengthening the ban on the burka.

If this “prejudice” seems unreasonable, how do those who still believe in “moderate” Islam explain away the troubling beliefs within the so-called moderate Muslim communities in the West?

 From a Pew Research survey in 2007:

26% of younger Muslims in America believe suicide bombings are justified.
35% of young Muslims in Britain believe suicide bombings are justified.
42% of young Muslims in France believe suicide bombings are justified. (35% overall).
22% of young Muslims in Germany believe suicide bombings are justified.(13% overall).
29% of young Muslims in Spain believe suicide bombings are justified.(25% overall).

This story has some way to go but resistance to the West’s submission is growing. Hopefully this will lead to more intelligent solutions and policies.

Terrorists “co-exist” in Massachusetts

April 21, 2013

Dhimmitude in Princess Fluffy Bunny worldview

COEXIST

It started with the vile headline in Salon, “Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber Is a White American.” by the white American writer David Sirota. Obviously this is as objectionable and outrageous as if the writer had expressed the hope that the bomber had been Muslim, or Jew or Gay. But I guess they don’t see it that way. Dhimmitude reigns.

We all know that there is an extraordinary aversion to using the M… word or I… word in relation to terrorism, especially by the Fairfax press and our ABC. But this sickness is just as prevalent in the USA. Mark Steyn, in his inimitable manner, analyses Sirota’s dilemma:

Twenty-four hours later, Mr. Sirota had a second feather in his cap. The two suspects in the Boston bombing turned out to be Caucasian males — that’s to say, males from the Caucasus, specifically the North Caucasus, Chechnya by way of Dagestan. Unfortunately for his delicate sensitivities, the two Caucasians were also Muslims. 

But that was not the end of ironies for Steyn. The two Chechen brothers stole a get-away car:

And, in their final hours of freedom, they added a cruel bit of mockery to their crimes by carjacking a getaway vehicle with a “Co-exist” bumper sticker. Oh, you must have seen them: I bet David Sirota has one. The “C” is the Islamic crescent, the “O” is the hippy peace sign; the “X” is the Star of David, the “T” is the Christian cross; I think there’s some LGBT, Taoist, and Wiccan stuff in there, too. They’re not mandatory on vehicles in Massachusetts; it just seems that way.
I wonder, when the “Co-exist” car is returned to its owner, whether he or she will keep the bumper sticker in place. One would not expect him to conclude, as the gays of Amsterdam and the Jews of Toulouse and the Christians of Egypt have bleakly done, that if it weren’t for that Islamic crescent you wouldn’t need a bumper sticker at all. But he may perhaps have learned that life is all a bit more complicated than the smiley-face banalities of the multicultists.

Vale Margaret Thatcher

April 21, 2013

A complex women with a complex score card

This is a late commentary I know, but there is value in picking over the bones from the storm of both hatred and adulation of the last two weeks.

One of Mrs Thatcher’s more defiant actions against the complacent flow of government softness and conformity to unquestioning political correctness was her decision in 1989 to refuse to send a British representative to the celebration of the bicentenary of the fall of the Bastille. As British historian Andrew Roberts observed, it was “a sublime gesture of defiance against republicanism, revolution and terror.” He imagined how they must have fumed in the Foreign Office.

A chastening article by the much admired Theodore Dalrymple certainly was a corrective to the sometimes overwhelming sycophancy of conservative commentators:

Her cultural effect on the country was, overall, disastrous … she introduced the commercial spirit not only where it was needed, but where it was harmful. Almost all the legalised corruption for which the British public administration is now so notable can be traced back to her  …

She believed in management as a science in the way that Latin American peasants believe, or used to believe, in miracle-working Virgins. As a consequence, she introduced business practices (such as high and rising emoluments and perquisites) into the public sector without the disciplines of a real marketplace.

Nor did she appear to understand one of the most important lessons of the Soviet Union, namely that in centralised bureaucratic systems the setting of targets results not in efficiency but in organised lying to pretend that they have been met.

The result has been Soviet-type corruption, moral, intellectual and financial, some of it legal and much of it compulsory. Those who work in or for the public administration – it is increasingly difficult to tell them apart – have been comprehensively corrupted by this process.

Indeed, where legalised corruption is concerned, Thatcher was John the Baptist to Tony Blair’s Christ.

These are very strong words but worth pondering in her legacy.

On a brighter note, the irony of having a strong competent women as Prime Minister does indeed make the Sisterhood squirm, as it should. Claire Berlinski, in The Spectator of 13 April sums up her importance to women:

She was and will always be supremely significant to women. Unlike other women to whom she is often compared, she compromised no essential aspect of her personality. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, consciously displaced what femininity she had to reveal a drive for power; Eva Peron forsook her rationality, if ever she had it; Sarah Palin her dignity. Thatcher sacrificed nothing, except perhaps her relationship with her children. She made use of everything.

She was also singular in that in her success in capitalising upon her femininity, she has had no equal in political history, yet she had no use for feminism as a doctrine. She achieved things no woman before her had achieved, exploiting every politically useful aspect of a female persona and disproving every conventional expectation of women. She proved herself a rebuttal to several millennia’s worth of assumptions about women, power, and women in power. For women now aspiring to power, there is history before Thatcher and history after; no woman in politics will ever escape the comparison.

The last word goes to Steve Hilton, a former director of strategy for David Cameron. Above all, she discomforted the Establishment, one of the reasons she was so disliked:

I saw her as thrillingly anti-establishment; as much of a punk, and as brilliantly British, as Vivienne Westwood, who once impersonated her on the cover of Tatler. Margaret Thatcher had the virtues most valued in today’s culture: innovation, energy, daring. She was Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Lady Gaga all rolled into one — and a thousand times more consequential than any of them.