What “austerity”?

What “austerity”? By Scot Summer.

Here are the ratios of government spending to GDP in some major economies:

Germany: 43.9% (2017)
Britain: 41.1% (2017)
Canada: 40.8% (2017)
Australia: 36.2% (2015)
Switzerland 34.0% (2015) …

It’s not obvious why a country devoting 41.1% of its GDP to government spending is not able to provide basic government services and a safety net for the poor. …

I have an alternative explanation. Progressivism leads to a virtually infinite number of “unmet needs” Patch one hole (say health care) and lots more will pop up, such child care, or free college education. Patch those holes, and still more unmet needs will pop up, such as housing and high speed rail. Combine that with the inefficiency of big government, as well as all the problems identified by public choice models (i.e. special interest groups), and you have a recipe for continual disappointment.

Each time I visit France my first reaction is; “Where the heck did all these homeless people come from?” Doesn’t the French government spend 57% of GDP? Yes they do, and yet somehow Paris has homeless people all over the place. Maybe they need to spend 67%. Or 77%.

Government can be viewed as a means by which people can spend other people’s money. Government takes money off everyone using the threat of violence, and then a few select people get to choose how to spend it. This is inefficient, as everyone now knows, but there is an even bigger problem.

Government creates inequality. Most big fortunes and the rich class on top are made by exploiting government rules, contacts and give-aways — ordinary workers don’t get a look in. Inefficient, and a cesspool of soft corruption.

hat-tip Matthew

Can bumbler Birmingham protect western civilisation in our universities?

Can bumbler Birmingham protect western civilisation in our universities? By David Long.

It seems that the academic left in Australia, the same New Class left that captured the Australian Labor Party and the union movement during the years of Gough Whitlam’s leadership and have only cemented their power since, has emerged yet again to take a stand against the Ramsay Centre’s plan for a university degree on Western Civilisation.

The Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, took to the pages of the Australian newspaper last Friday to castigate the left-wing academic unionists at the ANU who rallied to “deny Australia’s history and culture, including freedom of speech that’s supposed be a facet of our universities.” Unfortunately, he showed an appalling lack of knowledge of the fundamental difference between culture, history and what Western civilisation actually meant. …

Australian universities, like their British counterparts, are captives of the twin methodologies of positivism and historicism. The former assumes that all moral choices are subjective and incapable of objective proof which contradicts the express purpose of Western Civilisation; the latter assumes that all moral values are relative to their time, an assumption which logically leads to nihilism and the complete repudiation of Western Civilisation.

The Western Civilisation course which the Ramsay Centre proposes was once known as a liberal education, an education in literacy and books which cultivated an open-mindedness, freeing a person from false opinions. In his 1959 lecture, What is Liberal Education, Professor Leo Strauss explained both the purpose and the meaning of a liberal education: that it consists in studying with the proper care the great books which the greatest minds have left behind. He explains that “Liberal education is the antidote to mass culture and to its corroding effects” which explains in part why it is so hated by the left. Anything which examines the premises of their lifestyle is a danger to their existence.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

‘UK behaving like Saudi Arabia’: Geert Wilders calls for release of Tommy Robinson

‘UK behaving like Saudi Arabia’. By RT.

“I am here because I am shocked and outraged. What happened in the United Kingdom last week is an absolute disgrace,” the Dutch parliamentarian said while standing outside the UK Embassy in the Hague. “Freedom of speech is being violated all over Europe, and also in Britain. The lights of freedom are going out. Islam critics are taken to court, jailed, or targeted with fatwas.

Calling Robinson a “freedom fighter,” Wilders called on the UK – “once a bastion of freedom of speech” — to stop “behaving like North Korea and Saudi Arabia” and “gagging its people” while Muslims are “pampered, protected and defended.”

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Sajid Javid named Britain’s new Home Secretary as Amber Rudd resigns

Sajid Javid named Britain’s new Home Secretary as Amber Rudd resigns, by the ABC.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has named Sajid Javid as Britain’s new Home Secretary after Amber Rudd resigned amid an immigration scandal. …

Mr Javid, whose parents came from Pakistan …

The new Home Secretary, who likely ordered Robinson’s arrest, is likely a member of the religion of peace. How trendy!

hat-tip Stephen Neil

What is America Fighting For?

What is America Fighting For? By Pat Buchanan.

Looking back, only one great power survived the last century as a world power. The German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires did not survive World War I. World War II brought to an end the British, French, Italian and Japanese empires.

The Soviet Union and the United States were the only great surviving powers of World War II, and the USSR itself collapsed between 1989 and 1991.

Then, in 1991, we Americans started down the well-traveled road of empire, smashing Iraq to rescue Kuwait. Heady with that martial triumph, we plunged into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Though still embroiled, we are now talking war with North Korea or Iran, or even Russia or China, the former over its annexation of Crimea, the latter over its annexation of the South China Sea. …

Defeating Nazism and fascism was a cause. Defending the West against Communism was a cause. But what cause now unites Americans? …

Democracy crusading is out of style as the free elections we have demanded have produced Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, and nationalists, populists and autocrats from Asia to the Middle East to Europe.

Perhaps our mission is to defend and protect what is vital to us, to stay out of foreign wars where our critical interests are not imperiled, and to reunite our divided and disputatious republic—if we are not too far beyond that.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Culture Wars: Where Are We Now?

Culture Wars: Where Are We Now? By Rod Dreher commenting on an interview with sociologist James Davison Hunter, coiner of the term “culture wars.”

Hunter says that conservatives may have a culture war advantage in government, but have badly lost elsewhere. To use a Marxist term, liberals control the major means of cultural production (the news and entertainment industries, the academy, etc.).

Because liberals control “the credentialing institutions of our society,” he says, those who want to get to a middle or upper middle class life are going to have to kowtow to liberal culture — a culture that likes to think of itself as open, but which is as closed as any other. Hunter: “So the Harvard Law School prides itself on its diversity, but it’s a diversity in which basically everyone views the world the exact same way.”

Here’s the key insight: Hunter believes that the total dominance progressives have in the culture-making institutions of our society means that their vision is going to win in the long run. …

The victory of progressives in the culture war will not bring peace, because it cannot bring peace. Religious and moral conservatives may well be sidelined in defeat, but that only means that the culture war will rage on other fronts. As Hunter avers, there is no way to settle these issues absent a shared source of cultural authority. …

If orthodox Christian beliefs are a barrier to full participation in the middle and upper middle class, then a lot of people are going to cast them aside. … When being a Christian costs us something in terms of social access, professional success, and economic prosperity, then we are going to see far fewer Christians.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Gunman kills two police officers, one civilian in Belgium terrorist attack

Gunman kills two police officers, one civilian in Belgium terrorist attack, by the BBC.

The man’s motive is not yet clear but the incident is being treated as terrorism.

Police sources quoted in local media said the man was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic).

Actually “Allahu Akbar” means “Our God is Greatest”. It is a clear statement of Islamic supremacy. Hate speech.

Earth to the BBC and euro elites: The motive wasn’t clear?? He was shouting “Allahu Akbar.” How stupid do they think we are?

Jordan Peterson and the Failure of the Left

Jordan Peterson and the Failure of the Left, by Carol Horton.

I’ve always identified strongly with the left-leaning side of the political and cultural spectrum. …

If you follow the news stream, it seems that virtually every right-thinking left-leaning (pun intended) journalist, blogger, and social media maven agrees: Peterson is an alt-right wolf in professorial sheep’s clothing, a self-serving charlatan who dresses up old-school misogyny, racism, and elitism in faux-intellectual, fascist mystical garb.

I don’t buy it. I’ve read and listened to enough Peterson to make up my own mind and that’s not how I see him at all. Rather than being forthright about this, though, I’ve tended to cower silently in my alienated corner, fearful that revealing my rejection of the stock anti-Peterson narrative will cause my progressive friends to denounce me and the social media mobs to swarm. …

The hyperbolic uniformity of the leftist attack on Peterson is emblematic of the growing tendency to reduce left-of-center thought to the status of a rigidly simplistic ideology. Increasingly, what passes for progressive political thought today offers little more than a scripted set of weaponized hashtags (you must be pro- #metoo and anti-patriarchy, no further thought required). This narrowing of our public discourse is disturbing, and worrisome on multiple, mutually reinforcing levels. …

No doubt, I’m not the only person who’s wondered what all the fuss is about, decided to take the time to listen to one of Peterson’s YouTube lectures, and come away feeling that the Left’s commentariat is trying to sell me a fake bill of goods. The gap between Peterson’s obvious intelligence and the Left’s scathing denunciation of him as an alt-right idiot is simply too large for many of us to ignore. …

The Left’s attack on Peterson is so unrelenting, so superficial, and quite frequently so vicious, that many of us who work and/or live in left-leaning social environments feel scared to speak up against it. We don’t want to alienate our friends, damage our professional reputations, or attract the attention of fire-breathing activists.

The left is now brittle, stupid, dishonest, and repulsive:

The problem here is not simply that this is unpleasant for people like me. More importantly, our silence further impoverishes everyday political discourse by eliminating more nuanced left-of-center voices. This, in turn, reinforces the already powerful trend toward weaponized hashtag ideology instead of serious political thought. It also drives more people to right-of-center alternatives or away from politics altogether. …

It may be that I’m actually not as alone as it seems. Although I can’t prove it, I suspect that there are many others who feel as I do but are keeping quiet, as they don’t want to risk the blowback that comes with countering the often frightening force of today’s ideological tides. …

I’m much more concerned with — and disgusted by — the endless stream of tendentious and dishonest articles from leftists critics that grab onto such statements and blow them out of proportion, while aggressively erasing everything else the man has ever said or done from the record. …

I find it even more aggravating that such distortion is typically coupled with a predictable string of gratuitous insults (Peterson is a misogynist, a racist, a transphobe, and so on). Then there’s the self-righteous hand-waving towards some grandiose, yet utterly vague political project (“abolish patriarchy” etc.). If I didn’t have a longstanding commitment to equalitarian politics, I’d be so turned off by these dynamics that I’d want nothing more to do with the Left whatsoever. …

The real difference between conservatives and leftists:

Conservatives of this stripe mistrust radical movements that are ready to rip apart a cultural fabric that took generations to weave in pursuit of some idealistic vision of social justice. They believe that there is such a thing as ‘human nature,’ and that it’s highly fallible, and inevitably bedeviled by problems such as envy, corruption, and greed.

Consequently, such conservatives have no faith in leftist visions of a transformational ‘revolution’ that will definitively destroy oppression and establish a truly just society. Instead, they see them as dangerously naïve, and likely to produce violent anarchy and/or repressive authoritarianism. While acknowledging the realities of social injustice, they believe that political reforms need to be cautiously incremental — in a word, conservative.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Jordan Peterson and the left-wing smear machine

Jordan Peterson and the left-wing smear machine, by John Sexton.

We saw this left-wing smear machine in action just a few days ago. I highlighted an example from a debate in Toronto where Michael Dyson claimed Peterson was an example of white privilege and then called him a “mean, mad, white man” when Peterson dared to object. And that was only one of several possible examples I could have pointed to from that debate.

Here’s another example. Writer Michelle Goldberg accused Peterson of saying women “shouldn’t be allowed to wear make-up” at work. When he denied that, she told the audience he’d said it in an interview with Vice and told the audience to Google it. But if you Google it, you’ll find that in the full interview Peterson says explicitly, “I’m not saying that women shouldn’t do it and I’m not saying that it should be banned.” The video below contains video of both events. Could Michelle Goldberg have looked this up on her own? Probably so. So why didn’t she do that before rolling out this attack in a debate?

Peterson doesn’t get a fair shake from the left because the goal is not to engage with him but to make him appear so toxic that no one will be willing to engage with him.

The classic in this genre is the now infamous “interview” of Peterson by Cathy Newman. I’m putting the word interview in quotes because this isn’t really an investigation of ideas, it’s a series of increasingly silly attacks designed to convince viewers that Peterson is toxic and/or irrational.

Carol Horton is correct. The left isn’t listening to Jordan Peterson, they’re just trying to destroy him as efficiently and quickly as possible. That dynamic says a lot about the left, none of it very good. Kudos to Horton for having the courage to stand up to the mob. …

I wish I could say I was optimistic about Peterson’s chances, but I’ve seen the left’s scorched-earth playbook in action before and it usually succeeds. Throw enough garbage at the wall and eventually, a few bits stick. Those become all the excuse a compliant media needs to silence the target. Frankly, it’s a credit to Peterson’s quick wit that he’s survived as long as he has given both the degree to which he’s willing to challenge the left’s assumptions and the firepower they are deploying against him.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Russian Investigative Journalist Shot Dead in Kiev

Russian Investigative Journalist Shot Dead in Kiev, by Sergai Bobylev.

A prominent Russian investigative journalist was shot dead on Tuesday in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev.

Arkady Babchenko died from his injuries on the way to the hospital after being shot in the back near the entrance to his Kiev apartment, Ukrainian law enforcement said on social media. …

Babchenko, a Chechen war veteran and a staunch critic of President Vladimir Putin, left Russia out of safety concerns after covering the conflict in Ukraine. His murder follows the earlier death of Ukranian-Belarussian journalist Pavel Sheremet by car bomb in central Kiev in 2016.

‘Roseanne’ Canceled at ABC Following Racist Tweet

‘Roseanne’ Canceled at ABC Following Racist Tweet, by Lesley Goldberg.

ABC, in a stunning move, has decided to cancel its Roseanne revival following star Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet Tuesday.

muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj

— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) May 29, 2018

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said Tuesday. …

Barr subsequently apologized: “I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me — my joke was in bad taste.”

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger also weighed in on the decision to cancel Roseanne: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing,” he tweeted. …

Barr’s tweet prompted a massive outcry across social media, with thousands condemning the actress-comedian’s comments and calling on ABC to cancel her series. The Disney-owned network’s decision to cancel the comedy marked the first time the network has taken action in response to one of Barr’s controversial tweets. …

Roseanne was slated to return in the fall for an expanded 11th season of 13 episodes as ABC looked to build on the show’s momentum. In a victory lap of sorts, Barr was the centerpiece of ABC’s upfront presentation to Madison Avenue ad buyers earlier this month. The revival was part of a larger effort by Dungey — broadcast’s lone African-American network topper — to cater to the underserved community who turned out in force to elect Donald Trump.

The End of ‘Roseanne’, by John Podhoretz.

A mere nine hours after Roseanne Barr posted an astonishingly racist tweet about Obama intimate Valerie Jarrett, the American Broadcasting Company did something that has never happened before in the history of broadcasting: It canceled TV’s #1 show.

The show was heralded as the first program to try and make sense of the Trump era, and it generated an enormous audience that dissipated some over the course of three months but was still in powerhouse territory.

Networks like ABC build entire weekly schedules around giant hits like Roseanne, so its departure from the airwaves isn’t just a matter of replacing it with another half-hour. This was a decision that had to sting and sting hard.

So, if you are not sufficiently PC, one tweet or statement is enough for you to lose your job — even if the PC broadcaster had to can the #1 show on TV to do it. Barr’s apology did nothing but encourage the PC mob.

Of course, the real crime of Roseaanne Barr was to be non-PC and popular on TV. So they took away her TV show.

Notice this only works one way. Disgusting “jokes” about non-PC people occur nightly on liberal US TV, and Australian TV copies the tone if not the volume. Has Kimmel or Colbert been canceled yet? I don’t think so.

Their jokes are funny and edgy. Ours are bad and a firing excuse.

Who is Valerie Jarrett? By The Wrap.

Jarrett, who is African-American with no ties to the Sunni Muslim organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood, was one of most senior and long-term presences in the Obama White House and a lightning rod for right-wing critics. …

During the Obama administration, rumors swirled on right-wing blogs that Jarrett secretly intended to promote Islam in the United States and that she once expressed her desire to make America a “more Islamic country.”

Barr is currently starring in a wildly successful reboot of her old comedy series “Roseanne” on ABC, but has faced rising backlash from some online over her combative Twitter presence.

Australia follows: Network Ten cancels Roseanne Barr’s hit show after racist tweets. By Joe Flint.

Network Ten announced it was cancelling Roseanne in Australia this morning, tweeting: “Network Ten has also confirmed it will be removing Roseanne from TEN and ELEVEN effective immediately.”

A Network Ten spokesperson said, “Network Ten is appalled and disgusted with Ms Barr’s racist tweet.”

The decision came after America’s ABC made the same move, declaring the tweet “abhorrent” and “repugnant.”

Not that “racist” means anything consistent any more, but:

Steve Sailer:

Today’s news in which 65-year-old actress Roseanne Barr, having pulled off one of the more stunning comebacks in TV history — first reassembling her great supporting cast (John Goodman, Laurie Metcalfe, etc.) and then winning giant ratings — blew up her revived “Roseanne” show with a pretty suicidal tweet reminds us again of why the concept of Rule By Actresses had never occurred to any political political theorist before.

hat-tip Charles

Censorship so you won’t know: Rehov removed

Censorship so you won’t know: Rehov removed. By Scott Johnson.

Rehov’s video [Behind the smoke screenrevealed the reality of the so-called “peaceful demonstrations” against Israel’s alleged “blockade” of Gaza. Rehov exposed the “demonstrations” as terrorist assaults on Israel staged by Hamas. Rehov invited viewers: “Watch Hamas hate speeches. See how they build their propaganda at the expense of brainwashed, deceived and manipulated unfortunate people. Understand why Israel has no choice but to protect itself using lethal force.”

Rehov’s videos have now been removed from YouTube and Rehov’s account shuttered “for violating YouTube’s community guidelines.” What is happening here?