Saturday, February 18, 2006

A fine moment for democracy in the USA

There was an item in The Australian today (sourced from The Times) that highlighted one of the finer moments of the democratic system in the USA.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco Systems copped a pasting from the House Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, in particular the committee chairman, Chris Smith (Republican).

Drawing parallels with IBM’s collaboration with Nazi Germany, Mr Smith said: “US technology companies today are engaged in a similar sickening collaboration, decapitating the voice of dissidents. Women and men are going to the gulag and being tortured as a direct result of information handed over to Chinese officials.”

As is so often the case in the USA, it’s the legislature that’s driving the push for the proverbial freedom and liberty.

As reported, the arguments of counsel for Yahoo, et al, seemed comparatively lame, to say the least.

For example, “Yahoo argued that the presence of the internet in China did good, even when censored.”

Hmm, fair enough... much as lead has some relatively benign applications besides the making of bullets.

Yahoo faced the harshest criticism. The company was accused of giving Chinese authorities personal information about users of its email service that led to the jailing of two dissidents.

Shi Tao, a journalist who used an anonymous Yahoo email account, was sentenced last year to 10 years’ jail after sending a government message about the Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary to foreign colleagues. ...

Michael Callahan, [Yahoo’s] general counsel, said that in the case of Shi Tao, Yahoo was unaware of the intentions of the Chinese Government, and the company was legally obliged to comply with China’s demands.

Exactly!! “We wuz only following orders, m’lud!” Where have we heard that shtick before?

At least Google, in its business plan for China, resolved not to provide email and other such services so that it could avoid such conflicts.

But, one wonders, if Google were to provide such services to Chinese citizens, would it do the noble thing and refuse to comply with its “legal” obligations to the Chinese Government?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A leftie society is a girlie society

By Piers Bolt

Applied Hermeneutics’ token right-wing commentator, Piers Bolt, examines the implications for civilisation-as-we-know-it of a recent research study.

I’ve been saying it for a while now, but at last I’m vindicated by the findings of a crucially important research study from the prestigious University of Warwick in the UK.

This research has found that parents are more likely to vote for left-of-centre parties the more daughters they have, while having more sons makes people lean more to the right. For each daughter born into a family, the probability of the parents’ voting left-of-centre rises by 2% (that’s in the UK, while in Germany that probability rises to 2.5%).

Co-author of the study, Professor Andrew Oswald, said, “These findings are really intriguing. They may be telling us that, even in the privacy of the ballot box, we are all moulded by primitive evolutionary forces that we are barely aware of. It has been a longstanding idea in western society that parents influence the behaviour and psychology of their offspring. This work reverses that habit of thinking. It suggests that children shape their parents.”

It’s all very intriguing indeed, but what’s really disturbing are the subliminal motivations that apparently underpin these troubling behaviours. The study’s authors contend that “there are subconscious reasons behind the observed voting decisions”.

The authors assume, probably correctly, that women are inherently collectivist, or left-leaning, while men are individualistic, or right-leaning. This divergence is credibly explained by the fact that women rationally put greater importance on ‘public goods’, i.e., public spending on perceived imperatives such as community safety, health and education.

The emerging problem for free western societies is that, as men acquire female children, those men tend to shift in their political orientation. Due to subliminal concern for their daughters, men “become sympathetic to the ‘female’ desire for more public spending and thus a steeper income tax schedule”.

What all this means for the governance of western societies is that a social fabric awash with estrogen inevitably gives rise to an ascendancy of income-redistributing rentseekers who, despite themselves, cannot see the error of their ways.

Further, the potential crisis highlighted by this study points to the extreme urgency of formulating population policy aimed at achieving an appropriate mix of the sexes in order to ensure an optimal political orientation in the broad population.

The Free West needs an appropriate mix of male and female – Yin and Yang – in order to finely balance the Active and Passive Principles at work in our civilisation. Crucially this will ensure the electoral success of sensible people, such as George W. Bush and our own John Howard, who alone seem able to implement sensible policies.

The stakes are high, and already one can see the beginnings of a population policy front in the culture wars presently wracking Western societies. I’m not saying that we in the West should emulate the cultural practice of selectively aborting female foetuses, as evidently happens in India, but we would certainly need to look at policies that would tend to favour the production of male children.

There’s much, much more to be said on this critical issue, but it will have to wait for now because my wife requires me to accompany her to our daughters’ choir recital.

See? It’s crunch-time, folks!