Catallaxy Files

polymathic pontification, bleeding heart economic rationalism and liberal secularist contrarianism

email: jasonsoon AT



  • Jason Soon
  • Heath Gibson
  • Jack Strocchi
  • Andrew Norton
  • Sarah Strasser
  • Teresa Fels


Intellectual heroes



  • Centrist
  • Leftish
  • Statist quo/flaming pink
  • Sui generis
    Saturday, June 21, 2003
    Nelson the central planner
    Somewhat belatedly, my detailed take on the Nelson higher education reform package went up on the CIS website (pdf) this week (with an op-ed in The Canberra Times, for those who don’t want to know the detail). The gist of it is that introducing price signals for all students is an important step forward, but introducing more controls over allocation of subsidised student places is a step backward.

    How many times does this kind of thing have to be discredited before even Liberal governments get the message? As my full paper shows, the government’s policy on place allocation will cause the problem it is intended to prevent, big shifts in numbers away from rural universities, along with increased unmet demand, less responsiveness to student preferences, and administrative chaos. I’d like to think it was all a devious plan to utterly and finally discredit central planning, but regrettably I suspect it is just a routine policy stuff-up.

    Friday, June 20, 2003
    C-File's discovers the missing WMD - the F-22 Raptor - and gets Howard off the hook

    Amidst all the hoo-hah about missing WMDs the Cultural Left seems to have forgotten that it is just as important to have allies with good weapons as it is to have enemies without them. Whilst browsing military porn sites, this C-Filer came accross the image you see below.
    And their is substance to the stle. The buzzword amongst "war nerds" is Air Dominance, which is defined as the ability to defeat all air- and ground-based threats. A number of other countries are pushing ahead with state of the art fighters, but none can match the F22 for style, performance and lethality.
    The plug in says enough, but this press release spells it out:
    The F-22’s integrated avionics gives it first-look, first-shot, first-kill capability that will guarantee U.S. air dominance for the next three decades.

    Does the attitude of this plane remind you of something?

    You don't have to be a "war nerd" to appreciate the strategic benefits of allying yourself with the biggest bully on the block. But it helps.
    Australia simply must have some of these planes if we are to build a credible military profile into the 20th Century. I call upon the Government to bite the budgetary bullet and splash out on the F-22. Please.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2003
    They're not all alike
    Steve Sailer has a very interesting article up on America's Scotch Irish and the other white tribes of America (disclaimer: the article is hosted on a dodgy US nativist website whose other writers I'm not exactly a great fan of, but Steve is always worth reading):

    Fisher identified four "folkways" from Britain that spread out across the continent westward at roughly the latitudes at which their ancestors first settled. They remain highly influential in American politics to this day.

    The bourgeois Puritans, intellectual and moralistic, largely originated in Eastern England. From 1629 to 1640, they settled New England, and their descendents later spread across northern tier states like Minnesota, Washington, and Oregon. (The most famous representatives are the Adams family.)

    Cavalier aristocrats and their indentured servants from class-ridden Southern England moved to the lowland South from 1642-1675. George Washington and George Wallace illustrate the South's gentleman and populist sides, respectively.

    Calm and business-like Quakers and others from the North Midlands of England and Wales settled Pennsylvania and the rest of the Delaware Valley in 1675-1725. They invited German Mennonites and others of compatible habits to join them. Pennsylvanians spread out across the Middle West. Although he was born in Boston, Ben Franklin became their ideal.

    Finally, the bellicose folks from the violent Scottish-English border region - and especially their descendents who had settled Ulster - came to the Appalachian backcountry from 1718 to 1775. Their descendents spread west across the upper South. The prototype: the ferocious Andy Jackson. They're typically called "Scots-Irish," although Fischer doesn't like the term because it makes them sound as if they spoke Celtic languages, when they actually spoke English and were culturally quite different from Scottish Highlanders or Irish Catholics ...

    The predominance of backcountry Presidents is remarkable," Fischer told me. "There have been more than from any other British group." (All Presidents except Martin Van Buren and John F. Kennedy had a large number of British ancestors.) Fischer discovered that 19 American Presidents were descended in large part from Appalachian settlers.

    "The family tree of George W. Bush is as close to pure Yankee Puritan as any Presidential candidate's in many decades," the Brandeis professor observed. Dubya's New England-raised father, President George Bush, always had to battle against "the wimp factor." Despite having been the youngest aircraft carrier pilot in WWII, the captain of the Yale baseball team, and a successful Texas oilman, President Bush's prep school mannerisms struck many Americans as effete.

    ... Although the younger Bush benefits from his family's powerful connections in the Northeast, his personal style is radically different. "Bush has mastered the idioms of the backcountry culture he grew up in down in Midland, Texas," Fischer pointed out. "His subsequent education at Andover and Yale didn't seem to much affect his down-home manner."

    New geo-politics of terrorism lead to changed geo-economics of oil

    Browsers of C-Files will no doubt be bored witless with this C-Filers endless victory lap around the internet after hearing, Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of GW II, confirm his pet theory of the wars rationale - the Ditch Saudi/Hitch Iraqi thesis. Wolfowitz conceded that the hunt for the WMDs was a furphy cooked up as a bureaucratic compromise. He then went on to outline the real reason for moving into Iraq:
    "Almost unnoticed, but huge," was the need to maintain U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia as long as Saddam was in power

    Actually, Wolfowitz was getting the direction of causation ass-backwards. The US had to drop Saudi Arabia as it's main Gulf Oil client state, so long as:

    • US bases in Saudi provoked fundamentalists revolt

    • Saudi religious leaders use oil revenue to fund terrorists

    Iraq was the most convenient and deserving place to recruit a new Gulf Oil client state.
    The Left are still whingeing about being conned over the rationale for the war, but the public has turned off as fresh mass graves in Iraq are being turned over.
    But Iraqi is not the only flame in town. The Guardian reports that the US is interested in diversifying it's oil supply portfolio to oil-rich African states. After going through the obligatory anti-multinational rant it quotes Duncan Clarke, chairman and chief executive officer of Global Pacific and Partners International, on the real strategic rationale for this move:
    The US geostrategic view is that all crude oil is good, and all non-Opec oil is especially good. The goal is to take the Saudi hand off the spare oil capacity spigot
    [empahsis added]
    You heard it first here.

    Monday, June 16, 2003
    Jews are touchy about genocide, so "Hamas delenda est"

    Nice liberal-minded people don't like to admit it but the reality is that alot of political problems are win-lose and can only be solved by the massive application of superior fire power. Although the first cause of ME violence is the imprudent decision of Yiddish intellectuals to settle in the middle of a desert and compete with Arabs as arid-land farmers, it seems that the proximate cause of the latest escalation in the blood-bath has been the genocidal battle-tactics of Islamacists.
    Demography is destiny in the ME. The school bus attacks seem designed to have a massively adverse effect on Israeli demograhics, given the comparatively low birth rate of Azkhenazi Jews versus the high birth rate of Palestinian Arabs.
    The most shocking Islamacist attacks have been against bus loads of re-productive age-cusp teenage females. These tactics are designed to provoke a frenzied response from Israeli security forces. This will escalate the conflict's rate of demographic attrition , an area where Arabs have a comparative advantage which offsets Israel's impressive-but-exodusing techno-nerd class.
    In short, the Middle East political problem can be demographicly defined as a destabilising dis-equilibrium:
    These attacks are also grievous culture-shockers, as the death of a pre-marital teenager will maximise parental grief, given the amount of resources dedicated to bringing up the youth, the impossibility of reproducing after menopause and the loss of grandchildren-prospects.
    This will make the conflict more bloody and destructive, given the escalating tendency of sectarian-fuelled blood feuds. To avert a (possibly fundie Paki-supplied) appocalyptic Armeggedon, one or the other party to the dispute must quit the disputed territories. Since this is not likely to happen voluntarily, Israel will not be safe until it builds a wall segregating the Jewish and Arab populations. This will put a nice biblical touch on the IDF's old-fashioned form of border-protection against fundamentalist terrorists.

    The NYT has an article about Hamas' role in the Palestinian war against Israel. Money quote:
    Time and demography are on our side.




    < Home  |  Archives