Thursday, October 31, 2002



BIG HEADS = BIG BRAINS

This report originally appeared here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/UK/This_Britain/2000-09/he­ad260900.shtml

but has now been taken down.

A reference to the academic journal (a journal in which I myself have had quite a bit published) from which the report derives is however given for those who wish to explore the matter further.

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Big heads are the smart ones, but pointy heads are not

By Roger Dobson 26 September 2000

Bigheads really do have something to brag about - they are cleverer, say scientists. A team of psychologists in America have found that people with big heads, especially fat heads, are more likely to have higher IQs than those with smaller heads. But pointy heads - people with taller as opposed to wider heads of academic inclination - may be the least intellectually endowed of all.

Although it is known that people with larger brains can be more intelligent, probably because they have more brain cells, the role of head size itself has been less well studied. Some, indeed, have believed head size to be independent of brain size, arguing along the lines of big garages not necessarily having big cars inside. But the researchers from the University of Western Ontario set out to show that bigger really is better.

They measured pairs of brothers aged 20 to 35, noting the width, depth and height of their heads, and scanned their brains to calculate brain volume. After taking the measurements, the psychologists put the men through a battery of intelligence and cognition tests. They found that greater width, length and perimeter all pointed to greater intelligence. Reporting their findings in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, the researchers said: "A larger head size indicates greater intelligence. Overall, the indication is quite clear that the size of the head predicts the size of the brain." However, they noted: "Oddly, head height was negatively correlated with IQ.'' The widest head in their study group measured 16cm between ears, and the narrowest, 13.5cm. Length, from front to back, ranged from 21.2cm and 18.2cm. The tallest was 17cm, and the shortest, 14.6cm.

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Posted by John Ray

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Monday, October 28, 2002


Comments? Email John Ray:
Email: jonjayray@hotmail.com.
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See also: http://jonjayray.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 27, 2002




Another good observation:


ROGER SAUSE ON "DEZIS"

I have recently received an interesting email from Roger Sause. Excerpts:

" Over the years the Left has garnered tremendous political capital out of smearing conservatives as "Fascists" and "Nazis." The truth is however, that these Democratic Socialists or "Dezis" have far and away more in common with Hitler's "Nationalist Socialist" (Nazi) movement:

The Nazis rose to power after World War I left Germany in a fractured sociopolitical divide. The Dezis rose to power after the Vietnam War left America in a fractured sociopolitical divide.

The Nazis attacked their political adversaries (the incumbent republican
government) as "November criminals" who sold the working class out with the
Versailles treaty and other "covenants" to protect the financial interests of
the German aristocracy.

The Dezis accuse Republicans of protecting the special interests of "Big Oil," insurance and pharmaceutical companies, ect., at the "expense of the working poor" and the environment.

The Nazis used class warfare tactics by assailing the rich as "blood suckers" who siphoned all of their wealth from the "working class" through dubious means.

The Dezis demagogue about "tax cuts for the rich," "the people versus the
powerful," and "fighting for working families."

The Nazis demonized a religious sect (Jews) as being subversives who sought political power and the imposition of their values on the German people.

The Dezis demonize a religious sect (Christian conservatives) by leveling
similar accusations today.

The Nazis made gun sweeps and disarmed the German people before they made
their most egregious moves on other civil liberties.

The Dezis advocate banning the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms) and have incrementally moved us in that direction over the last thirty years.

The Nazis drove a wedge into the nuclear family by organizing the Hitler Youth movement, where they sought to indoctrinate the "future of Fatherland" at the earliest age possible.

The Dezis have exploited the public education system to indoctrinate our children to a more Left wing sociopolitical sympathy, and seek to expand this influence with things like "universal preschool" and "Early Head Start."

The Nazis infiltrated the news media and arts to create their "Ministry of Propaganda" and shape social mores.

The Dezis pulled a similar coup where today 90% of the news media and 95% of Hollywood vote in lock step to support them and their ideals.

The Nazis were so successful at all of these tactics that their constituencies were willing to ignore the criminal backgrounds, shady associations, and other warning signs surrounding Hitler and his henchmen.

The Dezis too have been successful at diverting attention away from the criminal activity and overall sleazy behavior of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Al Sharpton, Tom Hayden, Marion Berry, etc.
".

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Posted by John Ray

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Tuesday, October 08, 2002

CONTENTS:

Below are two articles by Ron Brunton.
The first deals with the place of fox-hunting in British life
The second deals with generally Leftist politicians who are relabelled as Right-wing only because they oppose immigration.

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Copies of his papers were kindly provided by Ron Brunton and posted here by: John Ray: jonjayray@hotmail.com.

Sunday, October 06, 2002



Class Envy Hits a Tribal Ritual

(From: Brisbane Courier-Mail
5 October 2002)

By:
Ron Brunton


There are few recreational activities I am less likely to take up than fox hunting. But had I been in London last Sunday week, I would have joined the 400,000 people who participated in the Countryside Alliance’s Liberty and Livelihood march, which was called largely to protest against the British Labour government’s attempts to ban fox hunting and other forms of hunting with dogs.

The campaign against hunting offers a telling example of the sentimental humbug and authoritarianism that are widespread amongst contemporary progressives, and not just in Britain. For once I find myself in agreement with Prince Charles, who suggested that if fox hunting was a pastime beloved by ‘blacks and gays’, it would not be subjected to such an onslaught. Ethnic and minority cultures are protected and celebrated, while venerable home-grown traditions are despised, particularly if they are associated with the hated ‘establishment’.

Fox hunting using dogs is an ancient practice, which in some parts of Europe can be traced back two thousand years. In England, the late 14th century verse romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight included a detailed account of horsemen hunting a wily fox with hounds and horns, although at that time the nobility usually preferred to hunt deer and wild boar. But as these latter species declined, and as changes in landholding and methods of enclosing land increased the required skills as well as the dangers of fox hunting, it became more popular.

By the 18th century, fox hunting had developed into an organised sport, and the English carried it with them to their colonies across the world. It is Australia’s oldest equestrian sport, dating back to 1811, when the Sydney Hunt Club was formed.

Nevertheless, calling it a ‘sport’ may not fully capture the essence of fox hunting. A number of observers have argued that it has all the distinguishing features found in rituals amongst tribal and other traditionally oriented peoples. In support of this interpretation, the English anthropologist Garry Marvin recently listed the relevant characteristics of fox hunting: ‘its pageantry and ceremony, its highly regulated and formal nature, its direction by specialists, the attention paid to elaborate dress codes, a complex lexicon not easily understood by outsiders, archaic forms of address between human participants, the continual references to notions of tradition, and the use of a specific form of music’.

And just like ritual in tribal cultures, fox hunting plays an important social role in many parts of rural Britain, bringing together a wide variety of individuals in a co-operative activity that enhances communal solidarity and people’s sense of purpose. Indeed, despite all its associations with the upper classes, fox hunting has long been a socially inclusive activity, drawing enthusiastic participants from all walks of rural life.

There are even parallels between the reverential attitudes that tribal hunters are said to adopt towards their prey, and those held by British hunters. Kaoru Fukuda, a Japanese anthropologist who studied fox hunting in the Scottish border country, wrote that many of her informants spoke of their admiration and respect for the fox, and their attempts to ‘get inside the mind of the quarry’ and ‘experience the environment and the event as animals do’. This is not so different from the kind of assertions about hunting that are made by contemporary spokespeople for North American Indian and Aboriginal groups.

So why is there such an overlap between the people who go into a frenzy of righteous anger over the hunting of foxes and other species by Britons and other Westerners, and those who are enchanted by the cultural practices of tribal hunters?

Despite what sentimental urban-dwellers might believe, this differential outrage cannot be justified in terms of the relative amount of suffering that animals experience. Of the many ways of killing foxes, hunting with hounds is amongst the most humane. The British government appointed Burns Committee of Inquiry acknowledged that ‘in the vast majority of cases’ insensibility and death ‘follow within a matter of seconds once the fox is caught’. While the same could be perhaps be said of animals targeted by experienced contemporary tribal hunters if they are using properly maintained rifles, other tribal hunting methods can be much less benign.

Neither is it reasonable to claim that fox hunting is purely for pleasure, whereas tribal hunting is a subsistence necessity. In today’s world, many Aborigines and other tribal peoples are no longer dependent on hunting for their food, but continue to hunt because they want to maintain their cultural traditions, and because they enjoy the experience. And fox hunting, as well as providing the sole source of employment for many thousands of people in Britain, also helps to control the numbers of what is, after all, a significant agricultural pest.

Certainly, there are animal rights activists who do express their concern about tribal hunting practices, and who say that they should be more regulated or otherwise restricted. But these politely voiced concerns never coalesce into passionate campaigns of angry protest and civil disobedience of the kind that have been mounted against fox hunting for decades.

The key to the difference is that perennial blight on British society, class envy. The majority of the population appears happy for the government to ban an activity that has shaped cultural traditions in rural Britain for generations, because they see it as a kick in the face for those arrogant toffs who like to strut around in fancy hunting gear. Preserving culture will always take second place to social resentment.

encompass@m140.aone.net.au


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What's Right is Wrong Except When It's Left

(From Brisbane Courier-Mail, 11 May 2002)

By:
Ron Brunton


What do you call an openly gay man who believes in same sex marriage, gender equality and liberalised drug laws, and who criticises a religion which he sees as intolerant and homophobic? If progressive commentators are any guide, the correct answer seems to be a 'far rightist', or 'right wing extremist'. It sounds like a poor joke; but this how large sections of the world's media have chosen to describe Pim Fortuyn, the maverick Dutch politician who was murdered this week by a genuine extremist from the environmental group, Ecology Offensive.

Worse, some of those who cheerfully called Fortuyn an extremist drew the line at using comparable terms to describe his alleged assassin, Volkert van der Graaf. Van der Graaf was merely an 'activist' - or at worst, a 'militant' - and there was no suggestion that his organisation might be associated with the left.

Fortuyn was basically a social libertarian, and many of his views were those advocated by the counter-cultural movements which developed in the 1960s and 1970s. His often quoted remark that immigration should end because his country was 'now full up' would have passed without comment had it come from a green complaining about environmental unsustainability. In any case, the remark was not inherently unreasonable, given that the Netherlands has the highest population density of any country in the European Union, with 16 million people living in an area two thirds the size of Tasmania.

Similarly, had it been Christian fundamentalism which Fortuyn condemned, attacking the unwillingness of bigoted 'bible bashers' to accept the personal freedoms allowed in a liberal secular society, the left would have praised him. But it was Islam which he criticised, urging that Moslem immigrants should assimilate to Dutch society and culture and accept mainstream values of tolerance and equality.

Nevertheless, unlike many of his adversaries who denounced him in the name of cultural diversity, Fortuyn's views on freedom of speech were consistent. After a Muslim cleric in his home city of Rotterdam was charged with making strongly anti-gay statements, Fortuyn defended the man's right to express his views, stating 'an Imam should be able to say about me that homosexuals are worse than pigs. My only demand is that you mustn't incite violence'.

So labelling Fortuyn as 'far right' only seems to emphasise the obsolescence of the categories of 'left' and 'right' as useful descriptors of differing political positions. To a large extent, 'left' and 'right' serve merely as tribal identifiers, although their unequal moral status in contemporary discourse means that there is considerable asymmetry in their use. People on the 'left' are much more likely to use the tag for public self-identification, and to use 'right' as a way of demonising their opponents, than the other way round.

Certainly, the differences between the views of people who proudly locate themselves on the 'left' and the views of many of those whom they characterise as being on the 'far right' are not nearly as all-embracing as the left's animosity might suggest.

As an example, take Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French politician who suffered a massive defeat in last Sunday's second round elections for the presidency after the left held its nose and voted for the scandal-mired Jacques Chirac with the slogan, 'better the crook than the fascist'. Le Pen - a genuinely unpleasant character who can fairly be described as a reactionary - denounces globalisation and America, two of the left's chief hatreds. He places himself on the side of the 'little people' against corrupt and wealthy elites, and claims to be 'socially on the left', though 'financially on the right'. But even so - again like many of his bitter opponents on the left - he supports strongly protectionist economic policies. Indeed, as a number of European commentators have pointed out, many of the people who now vote for him formerly voted for parties of the far left, such as the Communists.

One of the charges levelled at Le Pen - with some justification - is that he is anti-Jewish. In 1987 he made the notorious remark that the Nazi gas chambers 'were a mere detail in the history of the Second World War'. But the left's condemnation of Le Pen's anti-Semitic sentiments would be more credible if it displayed similar outrage about the wave of physical attacks on Jewish individuals and property that have engulfed France over the past eighteen months, and which are overwhelmingly being committed by radical Muslims. Unfortunately, significant sections of the French left are allowing their pro-Palestinian sympathies to expand into an anti-Semitism that is far more threatening to French Jews than Le Pen's more old fashioned version.

Nevertheless, there is one issue that really does seem to divide the left from the disparate collection of views which leftists lump together as being on 'the far right' - the attitude towards the West. Leftists have become at best highly ambivalent about Western culture and institutions, and at worst extremely hostile. As a consequence, assimilation, which the left once strongly championed in the face of racism, has become anathema.

Of course, Western traditions are neither homogeneous nor internally consistent, and authoritarian collectivists like Le Pen can appeal to them as readily as libertarian individualists like Fortuyn. But this doesn't matter; what the left cannot abide is any claim that Western values and achievements are superior to those of other societies. Those who make such claims have to be demonised. And that is why Pim Fortuyn was called a 'right wing extremist'.

encompass@m140.aone.net.au

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Posted by John Ray

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