Archive for the ‘Social’ Category

Chairman Xi

October 19, 2017

The recent state-of-the-nation address by the Chinese leader Xi Jinping has officially confirmed what most people already expected. China is planning to replace the US as the most powerful nation in the World – economically, politically and militarily. Something that even 20 years ago would have been viewed as a fanciful dream is becoming a reality. This post will look at how and why the West is about to get knocked off its perch.

The most telling part of Xi’s statement is that China does not intend to emulate the West’s political system. This makes perfect sense – to get where the West is now China needs to adopt the solutions the West had used to achieve its current dominance, not the policies it is employing at the moment. What made the West incredibly successful and allowed it to project both hard and soft power to all corners of the World was free-market economy. We need to realise that at present China, although nominally communist, is in fact much more capitalist than any country in the West. This is precisely why it has enjoyed phenomenal rate of unbroken economic growth in the last few decades and is now positioning itself to overtake the Old World. It is the capitalism, stupid!

For the readers of the blog who are too young to know what I am talking about, pure capitalism is a system based on free exchange of goods and services, which limits the government intervention to the matters of public safety and national defence. The closest the West got to it was the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the 19th century US. The problem with capitalism is that the smart and resourceful will get very wealthy while others will not, leading to social tensions fuelled by jealousy. Socialism successfully explored the fractures created by unequal distribution of wealth. Where socialism sparked revolutions (like in Russia, China, Cuba or Cambodia) the citizens quickly became equal but only in their shared misery. All other developed countries suffered a creeping influence of socialist ideas which, eventually, put the West in its current position. So what exactly killed the economic vitality of the Old World?

As individuals, families, social groups or whole countries get comfortable in their success they also become keen to legislate security. But any policy aimed at forcing a particular social outcome goes against the spirit of capitalism and blunts its entrepreneurial thrust. While it may sound morally comforting to fight racism, sexism, discrimination or take from the rich to support the poor all these interventions will hit the growth rate and, eventually, lead to stagnation. If the equality of access to all opportunities on offer were conducive to maximum growth it would have naturally emerged in a capitalist economy, without the need for government intervention. But if we have to legislate to make employers pay taxes for those who do not work, offer child-rearing leaves to both men and women and print fat content on bottled water it is precisely because all those actions kill economic growth. And when tax intake dwindles, to keep funding the bloated social programs, welfare states have to borrow. This is where the West is at present – visionless, overregulated and burdened by debt.

China’s rise to prominence is remarkable because it used the very handicap that had held it back – state authoritarianism – to suppress the social dissent created by wealth inequality. While a socialist revolution in a communist country is unthinkable the Chinese leadership made sure that the rich were allowed to get richer unmolested, making the poor less poor in the process. The stats of China having lifted 500 million of its citizens out of poverty are staggering. This is as perfect an example of benign dictatorship as we will ever see. Compared to China’s effort at eradicating poverty the pathetic, ideologically-driven and ultimately counter-productive actions of the likes of UN are a disgrace.

I wish the communist-capitalist China all success on its path. I also wish the West courage to analyse its failures with a view to reign in the unaffordable welfare programs and re-create conditions for growth.

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The Brave New World of Holland

May 17, 2016

A while ago I wrote about the experiences of the female journalist who investigated the leading New Zealand surrogacy website:

Before I go into what she found there let me ask you what you think about surrogacy. You may believe it is a noble idea of helping the couples who would like to become parents but cannot conceive naturally. This is what I thought before reading the article but the reality is much more complex. The forum described in the article was full of people who wanted to experience the joys of parenting outside what is normally understood as a traditional family. (…) I think we should stop and think what this really means in the context of the social reality around us.

Looks like, in the light of the recent developments in the Netherlands, there is one more social innovation we should collectively stop and think about. Quoting from the News:

When we think about euthanasia, many of us picture an elderly person. They’ve had many good years, but an illness has ruined their quality of life. They’re in pain, and they want to end things on their own terms. For many people, this is an easy concept to accept. But a recent case in the Netherlands is getting a lot of media attention, and it’s troubling ethicists. A sexual abuse victim in her 20s was allowed to go ahead with assisted suicide as she was suffering from “incurable” post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Dutch Euthanasia Commission.

There is a wealth of angles here and good on the News for exploring them:

Nikki Kenward, from disability rights group Distant Voices, said: “It is both horrifying and worrying that mental health professionals could regard euthanasia in any form as an answer to the complex and deep wounds that result from sexual abuse.”

UK Labour MP, Robert Flello said: “It almost sends the message that if you are the victim of abuse, and as a result you get a mental illness, you are punished by being killed, that the punishment for the crime of being a victim is death.

 

Assisting a victim of sexual abuse to commit suicide sounds dodgy, does it not? At least some psychiatrists agree:

 

Australian psychiatrist and mental health campaigner Professor Ian Hickie echoed these sentiments, labelling the girl’s euthanasia “entirely inappropriate”. “It makes all sorts of poorly substantiated assumptions about causation, available treatments, supportive care and prognosis. It really demonstrates how the current concepts around euthanasia cannot be applied to mental illness”.

 

But maybe this was just an isolated case of a euthanasia request approved on the grounds of serious mental illness? Apparently not:

 

Beyond the example of the 20-year-old, there is an overall rise in the number of people with mental illness using voluntary euthanasia in Holland. Whereas just two people had themselves euthanised in the country in 2010 due to an “insufferable” mental illness, 56 people did so last year.

 

According to some this is not necessarily a bad thing:

 

While euthanasia opponents find this statistic alarming, Dr Nitschke has the opposite response, and finds the figures “reassuring”. “It shows that in Holland there is the acknowledgment that serious mental suffering can be as debilitating as physical illness and should not be excluded from the option of an elective death to finally end their suffering. The increase reflects the growing acceptance of this within the medical profession”.

 

So should euthanasia be available to all those who want to take this option?

 

Nitschke (…) told The Guardian, “the reality is, a portion of our population will suicide and I don’t think we should make it so hard. We need to acknowledge that suffering comes in many forms and if a rational person sees death as a solution, it’s their decision, it should be respected”.

 

My pick is that within our lifetime euthanasia will go the way of other social innovations like abortion and elective surrogacy. From a last resort desperate measure it will become a universally accepted lifestyle option – though “lifestyle” may not be an ideal term to use here. The incremental mechanism which will lead to this outcome has been described in my post on pushing the social boundaries. It is only a matter of time.

Syringue-8

 

Is democracy bipolar?

March 14, 2016

So the Germanwings pilot who deliberately crashed his plane in March 2015 killing all 150 on board appears to have been suffering from severe depression. The information about the illness was not available to his employers because of the privacy laws. These laws are meant to prevent the discrimination of people with mental or other illnesses in the workplace. It has to be said that in this particular case the laws worked a treat – the suicidal pilot was allowed to fly so the workplace discrimination was successfully prevented. A minor downside is that the plane ended up embedded in the side of a mountain but this should not unduly worry the privacy advocates, should it?

The report into the causes of the crash now recommends that the privacy laws be relaxed to allow the airlines better access to their pilots medical records. In a masterpiece of Orwellian logic:

 A union representing German pilots welcomed the recommendations as a “balanced package of measures”, but it said strict rules on data protection needed to be developed in conjunction with criteria for suspending confidentiality rules.

So yes, there should be more access to the medical records but only if there is more data protection. I believe that, considering the current public mood, some waivers of the privacy laws will probably get implemented. Then the conspiratorial faction of the unions will kick up a fuss about the workplace discrimination and, with the support of the loopy Greens, bring back the protection of the medical data from the prying eyes of the employers. And then another nutter will sit behind the rudder of an airliner…

This spectacle – fits of tightening and relaxing of the privacy laws – has been going on for as long as we had democracy in the West. Laws introduced as a knee-jerk reaction to tragic incidents get diluted over time to appease the more paranoid/anarchist/anti-government faction of the voters. There is no long-term view adopted on which provisions best suit the interests of the public; just a series of convulsive changes driven by lobby groups. The media obligingly report the proceedings so the public will be subjected to the alternating scares of unsafe pilots and spying employers. Is there a better way?

Well, how about the airlines deciding how much they want to know about the pilots they are looking at employing and then letting us know the standards they apply? One airline might require access to full medical records and even carry out occasional drug detection and psychological tests of their pilots. Another airline would employ anyone with a valid license to fly. Having been informed about the above recruiting rules – which airline would you choose to fly with?

N.B. I have written on da-boss about the nutty medical rules for pilots before

Poor effort by the Child Poverty Action Group

January 7, 2016

In three recent post on da-boss (herehere and here) I complained about the misleading poverty stats used by social activists and politicians to promote their pet causes. Well, looks like I am not the only person in Aotearoa to have picked it up:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11570087

Jamie Whyte’s piece is so good I will quote from it liberally:

There is no poverty in New Zealand. Misery, depravity, hopelessness, yes; but no poverty. The poorest in New Zealand are the unemployed. They receive free medical care, free education for their children and enough cash to pay for basic food, clothing and (subsidised) housing. Most have televisions, refrigerators and ovens. Many even own cars. That isn’t poverty.

I agree – if we accepted this as poverty we would need to invent a new word for the plight of kids in Chad or Sudan because the two do not belong in the same realm. But wait – there is more:

Why then do we keep hearing that more than 20 per cent of New Zealand children live in poverty? Those who tell us this do not mean by “poverty” what most people do. They have a statistical definition: you live in poverty if your household’s income is less than 50 per cent of the national median (after tax and housing costs, and adjusted for the number of adults and children in the household).

For example, the Herald recently published an article by Susan St John, spokeswoman for the Child Poverty Action Group, that claimed 220,000 children live in poverty because they “fall under the stringent 50 per cent after-housing-costs poverty line”.

Alas, the measure is not stringent; it is ridiculous. It means, for example, that doubling everyone’s income would have no effect on the amount of poverty in New Zealand. Our incomes would all remain the same percentage of the median.

Yes, you read it right – according to one popular definition of poverty doubling everyone’s income would not make anyone less poor! But how do other countries stack up in the poverty count?

Using this definition, a 2014 Unicef report claimed there is more child poverty in Japan than in Hungary and more in the United States than in Greece. This at a time when the Greek economy was in tatters, unemployment was running at 27 per cent and masses of Greeks were queuing for handouts at soup kitchens.

It is a relative rather than absolute measure of poverty. Being an American pauper means having half the income of the average American. Being an Indonesian pauper means having half the income of the average Indonesian. Never mind that an American “pauper” may be richer than the average Indonesian.

This is exactly what makes this particular definition of poverty meaningless in terms of people being able to lead a normal, dignified life. So why do the likes of Child Poverty Action Group use it?

Why would anyone use such a preposterous definition of poverty? Interviewed by The Guardian, British poverty campaigner Peter Kenway defended it on the grounds that “it is a simple and reliable statistic which has played a huge part in propelling poverty up the policy agenda.”

This is exactly why i hate activists who only care about pushing their particular bitch “up the policy agenda” at any cost – including distorting the reality.

-PHOTO TAKEN 23AUG02- General view of Alexandra township, commonly known as Alex, a slum overlooking..

 

The (not so) happy New Year in Cologne

January 7, 2016

The main square in Cologne was always known for occasional excessive revelry but the 2016 New Year celebration added a different dimension to the problem. The place became a scene of an organised mass assault on women by up to 1000 young men of “North African or Arab appearance”.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35241808

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/06/europe/germany-cologne-assaults-arms-length/index.html

The scenario developing in Europe follows very closely my predictions made in a number of previous posts (for example here and here). On 5/8/2015 I wrote:

It is crucial to realise that the current social structures of Europe have been designed to set loose boundaries for the co-habitation of the populations sharing common views like personal responsibility, tolerance, freedom of expression and separation of church and state. We know how to deal with drunken revellers, people who park on a yellow line or an occasional tax cheat. The laws which have evolved reflect this focus. But these laws are totally inadequate in dealing with a determined threat to the very foundation the societies enacting them are based on. And the political process which could in theory change the laws has been overwhelmed by the leftist, soft-minded thinking.

The inability of both the law enforcement and political elites to deal with the current challenges has been very clearly demonstrated on the New Years Day in Cologne. The police were helpless when faced with an organised mass assault. Unprepared and outnumbered, it is doubtful they even tried to stay in control.

The politically correct media first failed to report the events. When things blew in their face the German broadcaster ZDF issued a half-arsed apology but without mentioning the issue was hushed up because it involved ethnic minorities. Then the (female) mayor of Cologne Henriette Reker advised women to keep safe by staying “a certain distance of more than an arm’s length” from unknown men during public celebrations. This comment, while sensible in many circumstances, enraged the women who were subjected to a gang assault in Cologne.

After some faked outrage the German politicians swiftly moved to warn of a possible backlash against African and Arab immigrants. If true, their comforting claims that the Cologne thugs were not recent arrivals actually imply the ethnic communities do not integrate over time which is arguably even more alarming. But the most pathetic aspect of this sorry saga was the response from the women’s  advocates.

Barbara Steffens, equality minister in North Rhine-Westphalia, told the BBC there needed to be greater recognition of the issues women faced on a daily basis, and more “social condemnation of male abuse of power”. “It is still the case that women who have been raped are often not believed, abuses are trivialised, lewd jokes and sexist comments are tolerated, and women are reduced to their bodies. We need to work on that, to create a tangible culture of respect.”

The above statement is completely idiotic in the context of an organised mass assault by a gang of youth from ethnic minorities. It is not a generic male abuse of power that has led to the outrageous act of banditry in Cologne. It is the mass immigration to Europe of people from the cultures which respect neither women nor Western laws.

Unfortunately this is just the beginning of a social upheaval in Europe. I believe that mass assaults, riots, rapes and looting by gangs from the ethnic minorities will soon challenge the social structures of the West. The police force is totally unable to deal with problems of this scale and, absent political will to take some drastic steps to face the threat, the very survival of Europe as we know it will be in question.

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Does Islam condone violence?

November 20, 2015

The question crops up every time an atrocity is committed by terrorists claiming to act in the name of Islam. Invariably, reasoned voices in the media argue that the people who commit mass murder cannot be Muslims because Islam is a religion of peace. The debate which follows tends to get circular. This is largely because in the West we assume that, almost by definition, religions are about personal beliefs, spiritual development, charity and compassion. From this point of view Islam – being a religion – cannot possibly inspire or condone violence. In this post I will try to answer the title question by adopting a different perspective.

I look at Islam just like any other social idea i.e. applying conventional logic. Muslims are the followers of Muhammad. Muhammad was crystal clear that his message must be accepted in its entirety. He actually referred to those who followed him but did not do everything they were instructed to do as “hypocrites” (these day it is more common to hear about “heretics”). So was Muhammad ‘s teaching one of peace? Here are some direct quotes from Quran to help you decide for yourself:

Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.”

Quran (3:56) – “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah”

Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

Quran (9:73) – “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.”

Quran (9:123) – “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”

Quran (17:16) – “And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.”

Quran (25:52) – “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness…”

Quran (66:9) – “O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.”

To my mind it was not. Actually, Quran and Hadiths are full of incitements to violence yet this is what Muslims are expected to accept as the word of Allah. But what about the people claiming to be Muslims who do not accept these teachings? Well, according to Muhammad himself they are not Muslims but rather hypocrites/heretics. They are like people who claim to be Christians but do not accept the Genesis or sanctity of Christ. If you heard someone say “I am a Christian but I do not accept what Christ said” you would probably respond “Ha – that means you are not a Christian!”. The same way people who do not accept the holy and infallible words of Quran, including the above blood-thirsty passages, are not really Muslims.

The above steps of logic are very simple. The only reason the issue gets muddied up is that we tend not to apply cold logic in dealing with religion. However, I do not see Islam as a religion because it has political ambitions. This is similar to the way we normally view Nazism. We could call it a “religion” and stop worrying about what it proclaims. People would then be able to gather to read “Mein Kampf”, listen to Hitler’s rants, wear Nazi uniforms, parade with the swastika flags etc. But this is not how we look at it. Nazism is a totalitarian ideology which has historically caused a lot of misery so we outlawed it. Barring the tag “religion” Islam is the same and should be viewed the same – as a totalitarian ideology.

Of course Islam could become a civilized proposition by disowning the violent passages in Quran and Hadiths – this is the “reformation” Hirsi Ali and others have been talking about. It would be a massive theological challenge which would undoubtedly lead to bloodshed in the Muslim world. Alternatively Islam could drop the political ambitions and become a true “religion” – a set of rules which people may choose to follow or ignore in their private lives. But, since Quran instructs Muslims to conquer the World, this will also never happen. So we in the West are caught in this impossible quandary. We are the heirs to the tradition of rationalism yet we feel we have to suspend rational thinking to justify doing nothing about a bunch of misfits in our midst openly following murderous instructions compiled in medieval Arabia.

The end (of Europe) is nigh

November 15, 2015

I have to admit that the recent terrorist attack in Paris caught me by surprise. That jihadist operatives roam freely around Europe posing as refugees is common knowledge. That criminals can obtain automatic weapons in countries where ordinary citizens are not allowed to have them should not be news to anyone. That there is a steady supply of young men willing to give their lives in the name of Allah on a mission of killing infidels has been well documented. What surprised me is that the ISIS even bothered to prod the decaying corpse of Europe.

A culture amounts to a set of values complete with the population willing to uphold them. The Western culture, in all its variants, has been remarkably successful in enhancing the living standards and individual freedom of its beneficiaries. As a result it spilled over the areas which used to be dominated by other cultures, less efficient in creating material prosperity and generating social advancement. However, the participants of the Western culture have grown complacent, taking the freedoms and riches they had access to for granted. What we are witnessing at present is the terminal phase of the decline of the West, as it is being overwhelmed by the cultural invaders.

Islam, in its scripturally dogmatic form, has at its core  ideas which are alien to the Western culture. It holds that religious commandments trump secular laws. It believes that women have less rights than men. It does not accept democracy. It obliges its followers to convert or conquer the lands governed by infidels. One would think that the West would actively oppose an aggressive, expansive ideology which challenges its values. However, deterioration of critical thinking has eroded the West’s ability to recognise, let alone act against the threat.

The video linked below is a striking example of the suicidal madness which has gripped the West:

It is a Swedish social engineering effort promoting the idea of sharing their country with foreigners. That these foreigners, arriving in huge numbers in the last decade or so, aspire to values which have little to do with Sweden’s way of life, has not occurred to the producers of the video. What we are treated to instead is a band of elated multi-culturalists ecstatically yelling “This is my country, this is your country – I am so happy to share it with you”.

With a sizable contingent of useful idiots at influential positions in Europe it is surprising that the ISIS even bothered to stage another attack. I would have thought that all they had to do is accept the invitation from the Swedish video and displace the local populations so eager to welcome them. Life can be stranger than fiction.

Of mice and men

August 19, 2015

John B. Calhoun was an American ethnologist and behavioural researcher renowned for the series of studies of the rat and mice populations. In 1968 he initiated his most famous experiment in which he released four breeding pairs of mice into a carefully designed enclosure dubbed “Universe 25”.

The mice had abundance of food, water, nesting material and no natural predators. The objective of the experiment was to track the growth of the mice population in these conditions, which might have parallels to the social behaviour of humans on an increasingly overcrowded Earth. Based on his previous research Calhoun did not expect a happy ending and he was right. Here is a brief account of what happened in Universe 25 (after Mysterious Universe):

During this [first] phase, the mouse population of Universe 25 roughly doubled every 55 days until by day 315 their numbers had reached 620. (…) The enclosure wasn’t truly overcrowded, as it had been designed for up to 3,000 mice, but rather, it had developed a very unbalanced distribution of individuals. This persistent gathering and eating in overcrowded gathering points seemed to result in three times more socially immature mice than socially established ones, suggesting that they were somehow losing their ability to form social bonds. That was around the time when the perfect society of unlimited resources that Calhoun had so meticulously created began to crumble.

So social dysfunction started well before the population reached the limit of the available resources.

From around Day 315 of the experiment, a wide variety of odd behavior started to surface among the animals. Some male mice who had no social role in the face of the burgeoning population suddenly seemed to lose their sense of purpose and became detached from these natural roles. They stopped trying to defend their own territory or pregnant females, lost interest in those around them, and whereas they would normally emigrate to other broods they found none willing to accept them and so became listless wanderers tending to congregate in the center of the Universe where they spent their days mindlessly eating or fighting amongst themselves. These males were seen as the “outcasts” of the society.

If the mice universe was meant to show what might happen to us, humans, we see a growing population of unattached males with no family responsibilities and little interest in the society in general. Not a good sign.

The more dominant males among these became markedly more vicious and violent, attacking others without provocation and fighting for no apparent reason. Many of these roving males would roam about attacking or mounting, essentially raping, other mice indiscriminately, regardless of gender or relation. The non-dominant males conversely became extremely meek and passive, with some of them becoming the targets of repeated attacks by other males while refusing to fight back. In some cases, cannibalism occurred among the mice, and there was generally a descent into feral, violent behavior punctuated by intense bursts of shocking brutality.

This is getting really ugly. Does indiscriminate raping and intense bursts of shocking brutality not remind you of the exploits of the Islamic State? How about the West becoming “extremely meek and passive”?

The female mice were not having much more luck. In the absence of any males willing to protect their nests, mothers began to become highly aggressive towards trespassers, essentially taking on the role typically reserved for the males. Unfortunately, this went into overdrive. Young mice were banished before they were weaned and often mothers ignored their young or seemingly forgot about them. Some females became unusually aggressive towards even their own offspring and would even sometimes attack and kill their own young, while others became morose hermits who refused to mate. All of this led to a quickly sinking birthrate and an infant mortality rate of over 90% in some areas of the enclosure. 

This is truly frightening – aggressive females turning against their young, with a resulting precipitous drop in the birthrates.

The final phase of the experiment was ominously referred to as “the death phase” or “die period.” By Day 560, the population increase had plunged to next to nothing, partly due to the alarming mortality rate that had reached nearly 100% and partly due to a disinterested attitude towards procreation that began to be exhibited in many of the male mice.

More on the males disinterested in procreation:

Amid all of this turmoil and degradation within Universe 25, there was also a new generation of mice emerging that had not ever been subjected to a normal social upbringing and showed absolutely no interest in fighting, courtship, mating, raising young, or much of anything really. Calhoun referred to this aberrant group of mice as “the beautiful ones.” These “beautiful ones” were completely detached from society, had completely lost touch with normal mouse behavior, and spent all of their time eating, sleeping, or incessantly grooming and preening themselves, leading them to having a fine, robust, healthy appearance with keen and alert eyes, hence their name. Calhoun often referred to these mice as “handsome,” however, their beauty was truly only skin deep. Inside they were empty. 

Some interesting thoughts on how mind degradation leads to physical decline:

Calhoun liked to refer to this drastic detachment and lack of will to participate in society as the “first death,” or basically the death of the animal’s spirit, which would occur before the “second death,” or physical death of the body. Once this “first death” was reached, the mice were no longer really mice anymore but rather empty husks merely killing time awaiting the inevitable death of their body and an end to their pointless existence. They had in a sense lost all will to live in any useful manner.

And, finally:

This was the unstoppable slide to catastrophe, the point of no return, the “behavioral sink” that Calhoun had talked about, and the mouse utopia’s apocalypse came crashing down as all of these factors conspired to cause the population to start barreling rapidly towards extinction until there were none left. Universe 25 had ceased to exist.

In the context of its human parallels, I am finding the decline of Universe 25 both fascinating and scary.

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A perfect storm in Calais

August 5, 2015

In social processes where tensions build up incrementally the events can quickly take a dramatic turn set off by a trigger. Due to the chaotic dynamics of human interactions these triggers can be difficult to predict. I have long thought that the acute phase of the social implosion in Europe will start at one of the known flashpoints like the ethnic districts of Brussels, Malmo or on the outskirts of Paris. The recent events in Calais have made me re-evaluate this assumption.

What is brewing on the French side of the English Channel has the whole marks of a perfect storm. There are thousands of desperate migrants with nothing to lose. The transport infrastructure which was designed to handle a visa-free transit of visitors between friendly countries. Societies which have grown soft over decades of prosperity and are blind to the seriousness of the challenge they are facing. Inept political elites focused on short term survival and slaved to the politically correct dogma. A centuries old animosity reactivating between two countries lurking at each other over a 40km wide stretch of frigid waters.

The migrant crisis in Calais exposes a fundamental weakness of the “united” Europe and also the bankruptcy of the post-modern West. We have no idea how to deal with a committed and sustained attack against our cultural identity. In the social reality where any criticism of other value systems is viewed as racism it is impossible to publicly expose the threats. As a result the Barbarians are already past the gates and the alarm has not even been sounded. Europe cannot deal with hundreds of thousands of immigrants who flood it every year, without the dissolution of its social fabric. The multi-cultural social experiment has been a dismal failure and the fragile balance in place now will implode as masses of fresh immigrants put additional strain on the welfare budgets. The illusory unity of Europe will be exposed as wishful thinking when individual countries start kicking the can down the road by opening their borders to let the undesirable fresh arrivals flood their neighbours.

It is crucial to realise that the current social structures of Europe have been designed to set loose boundaries for the co-habitation of the populations sharing common views like personal responsibility, tolerance, freedom of expression and separation of church and state. We know how to deal with drunken revellers, people who park on a yellow line or an occasional tax cheat. The laws which have evolved reflect this focus. But these laws are totally inadequate in dealing with a determined threat to the very foundation the societies enacting them are based on. And the political process which could in theory change the laws has been overwhelmed by the leftist, soft-minded thinking. These are the components of a perfect storm approaching the European coast in Calais.

As long as thousands of migrants heading for Lampedusa and Sicily are allowed to enter the EU they will become a hot potato being passed between the member states. They will gravitate to where social welfare provisions are more generous and where ethnic ghettos already exist. They will cross permeable borders and congregate at choke points like Calais. This is where law enforcement agencies, trained to operate speed cameras but ill equipped for dealing with any real challenge to public safety, will fail to contain the threat. Even if Europe manages to somehow find home for the thousands currently camping at Calais, thousands more will turn up, emboldened by the success of others. And as long as the Europeans keep fishing people out of the Mediterranean waters, thousands will always be at hand to join the camps in Calais.

Contrary to what the immigrant advocates pontificate the problem is not that Europe does not share the load of migration. The problem is the load is too great for Europe to share. Due to the idiotic foreign policy of supporting the so called Arab Spring, the protective ring of secular countries around Europe has been shattered, opening the way for uncontrolled mass migration. In this sense Europe only has itself to blame for what is happening but this does not make the spectacle any less painful to watch. Sadly, I think we should get used to the images like the one below in the news from Europe.

_84581489_calais_pepperspray_afp

The anatomy of scientific fraud

July 18, 2015

Hardly a day goes by without the media reporting the results of recent scientific research into our health and well-being. Sometimes these news items (the three examples linked below are all taken from the recent issues of New Zealand Herald) appear perfectly reasonable:

Exercising cuts risk of breast cancers – scientists

Women aged 50-plus urged to do at least five hours of exercise a week.

sometimes they sounds a bit puzzling:

Bad moods ‘make sugary foods taste less sweet’ – study

Our emotions affect flavour and can dull the sweetness of sugary foods, according to a study. The research also found sour foods taste even more sour when you’re feeling down.

and sometimes downright weird :

Drinking orange juice may raise risk of skin cancer – research

Drinking just two glasses of orange juice a day could increase your risk of getting the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The study reported in the screenshot below falls between puzzling and weird but otherwise does not look out of the ordinary:

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So what – eating chocolate can aid weight loss and has a number of other health benefits. If drinking orange juice can cause skin cancer then the chocolate study findings do not strike as particularly suspect. This, however, was not your normal scientific study but rather a sting operation. It was carried out by a journalist John Bohannon who set out to prove that it is possible to publish a paper based on seriously flawed research in scientific journals and that mainstream media will report these findings as fact.

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here’s How

You might think that Mr Bohannon had falsified the results the paper was based on. It would be very difficult to detect outright fraud like this but this is not what had happened. The study had really been carried out and its results reported truthfully. The paper is a joke not because Mr Bohannon lied but because the statistical methods employed were flawed and no one picked it up:

Here’s a dirty little science secret: If you measure a large number of things about a small number of people, you are almost guaranteed to get a “statistically significant” result. Our study included 18 different measurements—weight, cholesterol, sodium, blood protein levels, sleep quality, well-being, etc.—from 15 people. (One subject was dropped.) That study design is a recipe for false positives.

Think of the measurements as lottery tickets. Each one has a small chance of paying off in the form of a “significant” result that we can spin a story around and sell to the media. The more tickets you buy, the more likely you are to win. We didn’t know exactly what would pan out—the headline could have been that chocolate improves sleep or lowers blood pressure—but we knew our chances of getting at least one “statistically significant” result were pretty good.

So they recorded 18 different physiological measurements but only reported the ones catchy enough to make the headlines and – because of the statistical variation caused by a small study population – they were always going to get some statistically significant results to report. Very clever.

According to the publisher of the Health News Review, Gary Schwitzer:

“[John Bohannon is] really only scratching the surface of a much broader, much deeper problem,” Schwitzer says. “We have examples of journalists reporting on a study that was never done. We have news releases from medical journals, academic institutions and industry that mislead journalists, who then mislead the public.” And the pressure to publish or perish, he says, can lead well-intentioned scientists to frame their work in ways that aren’t completely accurate or balanced or supported by the facts. “We are really mired in a mess, the boundaries of which few people really have a sense for,” says Schwitzer.

Chocolate, anyone?

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On a positive note…

July 13, 2015

The analyses of the current state of the World affairs posted on da-boss may at times seem negative. This is because my critical mind accepts no compromises and I am prepared to write about issues in a direct way. It does not mean that I enjoy dwelling on the negative aspects of reality but simply that from my perspective there is not much to cheer at present. The Western World has lost its way as a result of fiddling with the fundamental rules which should govern a healthy society. But things are not beyond repair and this post will present some ideas on how sanity can be restored. A word of caution – readers used to consuming politically correct fluff may find the contents below deeply disturbing so discretion is advised.

Here is what I believe is required to make the Western World viable both economically and socially:

  • Reinstate the concept that private property is sacrosanct and out of reach of the grabby hands of the governments. This is so fundamental that I despair at having to explain it in detail during private conversations. If a government feels it can take 30% or 50% of the wages it could also take 80% or 100% if it felt like it. There is no definable limit here and if they can decide how much to take they must feel they own the lot! But where did the idea that the government owns our income even come from? Is it not completely fundamental that, not being slaves, we own the fruits of our labour? If I came to take half of what you earn I would be accused of theft. If I brought a bunch of mates with me we would be accused of an organised crime. But if a tax collector does the same it is legit? My critical mind is telling me this does not sound right.

But how do we fund social spending if no tax is collected? Well, maybe we do not need to …

  • Abandon all forms of income re-distribution and leave the sphere of social welfare to charities and private donors like Bill Gates or Prince of Saudis. Of course, with no income tax in place, we will have a lot more Bill Gates-es and wealthy princes so the needy will be well looked after. Ask yourself why the professional bureaucrats and university trained social workers are supposedly better at attending to peoples’ needs than those who made it in the ‘real’ world and accumulated stacks of life experience in the process. And, as demonstrated in my recent post, these guys are only too happy to share their wealth!

So what about the job myriads of state agencies do in the social area? The item below is so radical those with high blood pressure, mentally fragile or otherwise infirm are advised to skip it:

  • Stop all social engineering like affirmative action, enforcement of gender equality, fighting racism, teaching cultural sensitivity at schools etc. Let people sort things out themselves at a family, community and church congregation levels. Collecting money through taxes and throwing it at social problems introduces costs, inefficiencies and ideological bias to the process. Let those who are successful in life help and mentor those who are not.

Ok, but how do we pay for the army, police and judiciary?

  • Fund the essential services necessary for the survival of the country through land tax, not income tax. This way those who own real estate will pay the state for protecting it and those who own nothing will pay nothing. Fair? You bet!

But how can we make it all happen in the World where general populations will never vote to have the right to put their hand into other peoples’ pockets curtailed?

  • Replace democracy with nomocracy where the law (Greek: nomos) is written by the citizens with a financial stake in the society – landowners, business people, professionals etc. Of course, just like Henry Ford, they will very quickly realise that to sell more goods they have to first make sure the masses can afford them – which is what it is all about!

Those of you versed in history may have picked up that my disturbingly radical proposals actually describe how the Western World was run say 150 years ago. This is when the West sold its goods to China (not the other way around) and when people from Angola were desperate to move to Portugal for a better life (not the other way around).

War rape

July 6, 2015

It is tempting for a blogger to only deal with the easy topics and frame them in a way sure to please the target audience. I have in the past been guilty of writing meek posts but this will not be one of them. Every now and again we become aware of horrors which move us so deeply that we feel compelled to share our outrage. For me one such issue is war rape. This post will liberally quote from the online articles which have brought the underreported, ugly side of war rape to my attention. These sources are linked in the footnotes below.

Of all the secrets of war, there is one that is so well kept that it exists mostly as a rumour. It is usually denied by the perpetrator and his victim. Governments, aid agencies and human rights defenders at the UN barely acknowledge its possibility.

So adding to the horrors of being raped is the fact that various humanitarian agencies are reluctant to even admit that the problem exists. This is a shameful reflection on the hypocrisy of the West who prefer not to see what does not fit comfortably in its value system. As a result the survivors have nowhere to turn for help:

They will probably be ostracised by friends, rejected by family and turned away by the UN and the myriad international NGOs that are equipped, trained and ready to help women. They are wounded, isolated and in danger. In the words of Owiny: “They are despised.”

The bureaucratic inertia and narrow-mindedness of the aid organisations appear to be the main reason behind their inaction:

“There was never a recognition that this is a phenomenon that needs to be addressed,” Blume told Thomson Reuters Foundation. “All of us have been complicit in neglecting to address this issue.” (…) But so far, stigma and conflicting interests within the humanitarian sector have prevented specialised services and programmes tackling this problem from becoming mainstream.

Although not officially recognised, the issue is painfully real. The effects of the past trauma can even affect the spiritual life of the victims

“It kills your spirit,” says Steven Kighoma. “You can’t go to church because you feel you’re unclean before God.”

Part of the reason why rape is so frighteningly common in the war-torn countries is the fact the perpetrators are likely to remain unpunished:

The question is: in lawless war zones where order has broken down, how can you stop rape happening? “The law is a clumsy instrument when it comes to dealing with the perpetrators. The chances of bringing people to book are relatively tiny,” admits Dolan. It’s a subject that will be looked at in June at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London, the largest ever event of its kind. One priority is to stop the culture of impunity. There should be prosecutions of high level military leaders who give orders for rape to be used by soldiers, says Dolan. Currently, there have been very few.

For most of the victims this means there is never a sense of closure:

But many of the scars never completely heal. “You think you’re guilty; you blame yourself for what happened. You feel helpless,” Kighoma says, four years on. “It’s hard to forgive the people who did this.”

There is also little support for the victims in their own families and communities. This is, at least partly, because of the gender stereotypes which exist in many societies:

When men returned to their communities after being attacked, they faced a wide range of psychosocial challenges, including stigmatisation, and so did their families. The study quotes a respondent as saying, “When a man is raped, his family is also raped.” As men struggle with no longer feeling “like a man”, their families often experience social stigma if community members learn of the attack. “The whole family is not respected – his wife is considered lower than other wives in the community,” Christian told IRIN.

If you are interested in reading more about the men war rape here are the links:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/jul/17/the-rape-of-men 

http://www.trust.org/item/20140515154437-het27/ 

http://www.curiousanimal.com/male-rape-secret-weapon-war/

http://www.irinnews.org/report/93960/health-rape-as-a-weapon-of-war-against-men  untitled