Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Charles Taylor doesn’t get it

Charles Taylor is one of Canada’s most eminent philosophers, a Roman Catholic, a three time candidate for the NDP, and well decorated for his accomplishments. I heard him back in 1967 lecturing at McGill University on political science, where he demonstrated to me a complete misunderstanding of philosophers prior to the French Revolution. I mean howlingly wrong.




Thirty years later, or thereabouts, I heard Taylor again after a conference on communitarianism in Ottawa in the 1990s. Communitarianism is a view of society promoted by Amitai Etzioni, an Israeli immigrant to the United States.The founding idea of communitarianism is that  the community has rights; and it may reduce to something as simple as: where your neighbours mow their lawns, mow yours too. It is vain and socially detrimental to assert your “right” to turn your lawn into a weed-infested wild prairie in a carefully maintained garden suburb.

Wikipedia says:

His writings emphasize the importance for all societies to have a carefully crafted balance between rights and responsibilities and between autonomy and order.


Etzioni said to me that one of the most important aspects of Canada is its very strong sense of community order, which is stronger than that sense in the United States.

The meeting was held in the same building as the old Ottawa Press Club, and thus Charles Taylor, who had been one of the speakers, was interviewed by the CBC right after the conference. We were sitting in the bar of the old Press Club and we saw Taylor being interviewed live on CBC, saying something utterly wrong about Etzioni and what the conference had been about, rhetoric that communitarianism was a left-wing phenomenon about greater social spending rather than what Amitai Etzioni says it is, which is a call for the legitimacy of higher senses of community order.

Glendronach and I sped to the elevator, and to the CBC floor, whereupon the door opened and there appeared all six feet three of Charles Taylor, whom we greeted with a loud collective spontaneous cry of

“No it isn’t!”

And that pretty well sums up my view of Charles Taylor. I do not have the specialized knowledge of the subject to dispute him in his specialist domains, but wherever his views intersected what I already know about (politics, philosophers pre-French Revolution, and now the niqab issue) his rubber does not hit the road.


Today’s report in Huffington Post says:

Taylor said Harper is fueling anti-Muslim sentiment and that, in turn, makes alienated Muslim Canadians easier targets for recruitment by radical Islamist terrorists.

“Ask yourself what are the recruiters for Islamic State saying? They’re saying (to Muslims), ‘Look, they despise you, they think that you’re foreign, you’re dangerous, you’re not accepted here, so why don’t you come with us?'” Taylor said following a speech to the annual summit of the Broadbent Institute, a social democratic think-thank.

“The more you make it sound like that (is true), the more you’re helping them. And it’s strange that people don’t see this.”

Let us try to dissect this for a moment.

  • we despise those aspects of Islam which suppress the freedom of women to be present in society, and this is not a modern trend. Christianity has always allowed women to be socially present since its inception. Pagan societies too. Consider the existence of Byzantine Empress Theodora, AD500-548, co-ruler with the Emperor Justinian. Or how about Boudicca, the Celtic queen of the Iceni tribe who led the rebellion against Roman rule in Britain in AD 60-61? Women have been in power a long time on this side of the religious fence;
  • we do think many Muslims are foreign, in consequence;
  • they are dangerous, as has been amply demonstrated;
  • their practices are not accepted here;
  • so why do they not return to Islamic countries and practce their barbarous religion and social system where they came from, rather than try to colonize us?

Professor Taylor, what would you have us say to them? That we approve their social exclusion of women, their jihad, their violent intolerance of religious freedom, their attempts t o colonize us for Islam?

Who would believe it if it were ever said?

Taylor continued:

“We’re in a context where Islamaphobia is very powerful in the West,” he said.

“It’s perfectly understandable emotionally. We have to get over it and the worst and the last thing we need is for our political leaders to surf on it and encourage it.”


The fear of Islam is actually one of the few indicators that western society is healthy, and has a sense of itself as a community, despite the endless articulation and elaboration of “rights” of the individual against the community, so constantly promoted by our out of control legal culture. Islamo-phobia is healthy, same as Nazi-phobia, or Commie-phobia. Totalitarian political ideologies should be resisted by liberal society, and not, as Charles Taylor would have it, embraced as just another part of life’s rich tapestry. You do not let weevils ruin the tapestry.



I love Camille Paglia

My favourite excoriator of the political Left, in its American manifestation, is Camille Paglia. She is a rational exponent of western culture, a fervent exponent of  responsible sexual behaviour, of personal responsibility in general, and a fierce debater against political correctness in all its forms. Sure, she talks too fast and too loud, but so do 80% of Americans.

“The absolute collapse of any intellectual standards in American colleges…”

“I can feel the nothingness in American  cultural criticism…”

“The conservative movement has been a victim of its own success…”

“sexuality is a delicate interaction of culture and biology…”

“Western culture is an advanced state of decadence…”



What is the degree of intersection between  the read-meat conservatives who like the defence of gun ownership and the cultural conservatives who think western culture and art are hugely important and, in general,  superior?

The noble lie of Andrew Coyne

Andrew Coyne wrote something so untrue in the Post today that I cannot believe he expects us to believe it. I cannot believe he believes it. So why did he write such patently contrafactual assertions?

I believe he is engaging in the noble lie. It does not become him.

In politics, a noble lie is a myth or untruth, often, but not invariably, of a religious nature, knowingly told by an elite to maintain social harmony or to advance an agenda. The noble lie is a concept originated by Plato as described in the Republic. –Wikipedia

This is what Coyne wrote:

Likewise, there is a serious critique to be made of the government’s approach to this issue, and to Canada’s Muslim population generally. It would be fair to accuse it, if not of scapegoating and marginalizing Muslims itself, then of acting with reckless disregard for that possibility — not because many of the terrorists we face today do not profess the Islamic faith, but because it has been too willing to allow others to make a more general association between the two, terrorism and Islam, or at best too slow to reject such thinking.


The government “has been too willing to allow others to make a more general association between the two, terrorism and Islam, or at best too slow to reject such thinking.”

This sentence is so wrong in many ways. First, it is not terrorism; it is jihad. It is a sacrament of Islam, like baptism, eucharist, marriage and last rites are with most Christians.

Second, there is a direct association between Islamic belief professed by jihadists and the  jihad they carry out.

Third, what business is it of any liberal-democratic government  to prevent in any way the conclusions of its citizens that there is a rational, causal, demonstrable connection between the profession of Islamic faith by many who call themselves orthodox Muslims and acts described as terrorist?

What is a liberal like Coyne doing, by implicitly calling for the government to suppress discussion of what everyone is concluding from the evidence of their own eyes? How could the government reject such thinking when everyone not motivated by Islam, willful blindness, or political correctness, sees the link, and thinks this way?

Why should we not be angry? Why should we not be fearful? Why should we not link the eliminationist anti-Semitism of jihadists, and of Islamic preachers calling for same, to the Holocaust?

Here is where I think Coyne and John Ivison, in his column on the same page, step over the brink into fatuity.

Basically what both are saying is that the duty of tone control comes before the duty to tell the truth, indeed, that tone and context control ought to prevail over the truth. I hope these guys read the same paper they write in.

I have seen the damage done to Quebec by the ugly threats that agitation against the suppression of English language rights “disturbs the social peace”. And I am watching two men who ought to know better say that the “social peace” has been disturbed by the Prime Minister.

No, gentlemen, the social peace has been disturbed by Muslims flaunting our rules and expecting to have their actions approved of, and by Muslims murdering us, and expecting to conquer us and subdue us to a revolting ideology.

As Chiheb Esseghaier, the railway bomb plotter,  explained to the judge,

The day before, again in the jury’s absence, he’d painted a picture of what he’d sincerely like Canada to look like — no alcohol, “no pig meat,” no music, no theatre, no churches, no synagogues and no “hypocritical” mosques, and, of course, women locked in their homes except for emergencies and if they go out on those rare occasions they must be fully covered.

I wish Coyne would read his own paper. We do, and have drawn our conclusions. Prime Minister Harper is following, not leading, public opinion, French and English, in this country. And we are fed up with people trying to deflect us from stating publicly the necessary conclusions we have reached.

Don’t be like that!

The New Yorker is a magazine of comfortable liberal opinion, with good writing, great cartoons, plush ads, and an alarming tendency to stick its head in the sand rather than confront its readership with ugly facts.

This week’s case in point is a book review by staff writer Kelefah Sanneh on the subject of a massive tome written by leading black sociologists. The debate inside sociology concerns structuralists versus culturalists. Structuralists believe institutional racism and poverty explain American black performance, culturalists argue that the culture – the set of values shared many American blacks – results in their relatively greater poverty, criminality, and levels of family breakdown, compared to whites, Latinos, or any other American ethnic group.

For most of the New Yorker’s upscale readership, the only exposure they will have to this debate is through the magazine itself. Attitudes towards a phenomenon are often more important than what the phenomenon is in itself, so the function of the New Yorker is to comfort those who might be afflicted by illiberal thoughts with the soothing balm of correct thought.

Let the New Yorker article speak for itself:

Orlando Patterson, a Jamaica-born sociologist at Harvard with an appetite for intellectual combat, wants to redeem the culturalist tradition, thereby redeeming sociology itself. In a manifesto published in December, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, he argued that “fearful” sociologists had abandoned “studies of the cultural dimensions of poverty, particularly black poverty,” and that the discipline had become “largely irrelevant.” Now Patterson and Ethan Fosse, a Harvard doctoral student in sociology, are publishing an ambitious new anthology called “The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth” (Harvard), which is meant to show that the culturalist tradition still has something to teach us.

The article reviews the debates generated by  Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s famous description in 1965 of the decline of African-American families, the increasing matriarchy, the descent into crime of fatherless boys, and the prediction – which turned out to be accurate – that the result would be an explosion of crime. In fact, the US murder rate doubled in the decade from 1965 to 1975.

Orlando Patterson, the black sociologist, came to Moynihan’s defence, arguing in later years that Moynihan had given too much credit to the structuralist side of the argument: that black underperformance was the heritage of slavery and racism. Patterson felt that Moyhnihan had got it mostly right by his largely cultural interpretation of American black pathologies.

At this point the New Yorker’s reviewer, Kelefah Sanneh, points to the drop in crime rates, and in particular the black crime rates, that have occurred since the 1990s as the strongest argument against the culturalist interpretation.

But the contemporary era has been marked by the opposite discrepancy: even as the new culturalists were resurrecting Moynihan’s diagnosis, the scourge of crime was in retreat.

And why was this so? One part of the answer is demographics. The baby bust, and in particular, the decline in the the relative number of young black males, has led to corresponding drops in the number of crimes committed by young males of all races, and in African- Americans. While demographics does not explain everything, the number of males over 15 and under 24 as a proportion of the society exerts a powerful effect on crime. (An excellent article “Is violent Crime Increasing?” on crime rates in America is found here). Another explanation for the drop in American crime is that enough young black males were imprisoned that crime had to drop, since about one-third of them have been imprisoned at some time in their lives.

Sanneh then uses the apparent drop in crime rates committed by American blacks as the large fact that a culturalist interpretation of American blacks fails to answer.

I cite the article “Is Violent Crime Increasing?” on the effect of imprisonment.

After 1975, the expected cost of violence began to rise. First, while the police continued to make arrests for about half the violent offenses they recorded, arrests rose considerably faster than victimization rates. Thus, if victimization rates are our best indicator of the underlying trend in violence, the percentage of violent offenders getting arrested must have risen. At the same time, those who went to prison were staying longer. The net effect of these changes was that violent offenders could expect to spend more time in prison. Judging by murder and victimization rates, the violent crime rate was about 10 percent lower in 1988 than in 1975. Yet the fraction of adults in state and federal prisons more than doubled during this period. In part, this was because we were locking up more people for drug-related offenses. But those who committed violent crimes could also expect to spend considerably more time in prison in 1988 than in 1975.

Thus demographic change – including the reduction of the number of young black males- and tougher imprisonment policies – had their effects on levels of violent crime.

All this was as available to Sanneh as it was to me, with ten minutes of rummaging about in the Internet with search engines.

Sanneh concludes his attack on Orlando Patterson and the culturalist interpretation thus:

Black cultural sociology has always been a project of comparison: the idea is not simply to understand black culture but to understand how it differs from white culture, as part of the broader push to reduce racial disparities that have changed surprisingly little since Du Bois’s time. Fifty years after Moynihan’s report, it’s easy to understand why he was concerned. Even so, it’s getting easier, too, to sympathize with his detractors, who couldn’t understand why he thought new trends might explain old problems. If we want to learn more about black culture, we should study it. But, if we seek to answer the question of racial inequality in America, black culture won’t tell us what we want to know. 

The last sentence is the kicker. Though everything in the review of evidence shows considerably worse performance by the generality of American blacks compared to the generality of American whites, this fact is not explained by black culture. Okay so what explains it?

The implicit invitation is to blame white racism, but suppose the answer lies deeper than attitudes.

If black culture will not tell us about black inferiority, try this thought experiment. What if all American whites were instantaneously removed and replaced by Japanese?

Those who know the Japanese know they think that their race/tribe/nation is ineffably superior to all others. Conformity and obedience to the requirements of their tribe/race/nation are the supreme values. Tenth generation Koreans living in Japan may not have full Japanese citizenship. No one may immigrate to Japan.  Thus Japanese find American white agonizing about race to be incomprehensible. They are very nice about their race-ism, but they are not apologizing for their views of themselves, nor of you, whiteman.

By this act of magic, you would achieve the total replacement of all American whites by a group of people who find it inconceivable to apologize for “racism” because for them, “race” is the basis of all social cohesion, hierarchy and meaning. No guilt, only calm acceptance of the racial nature of human existence. What would happen then?

Again, Sanneh’s last sentence:

But, if we seek to answer the question of racial inequality in America, black culture won’t tell us what we want to know. 

Maybe not. Maybe we need to recognize the superiority of Japanese culture, in this thought experiment. In short, the inequality does not proceed from racism; rather, race-ism is the result of differences  experienced by people of different tribes in dealing with one another (and the same applies to tribes, nations, and any conceivable group with discernable characteristics) . Racism, in short, is more about observation of real differences and acting on those observations than some inherent sin tainting the observer of a difference.

That, I suppose, is now a heresy and a thought crime.

Consider, if only for a moment, whether Sanneh would have made the same argument to a culture that could not compute what the matter was with race-ism/tribalism/nationalism. It would not work. The effect of not being able to understand what is wrong with race-ism, would focus the issue not on attitudes, but on the actual differences that generate the attitudes in the first place.

For the mind liberated from the burden of concern about race-ism, the world can be seen in its true light. It is not made prettier or uglier; it is to see the world as a competition and collaboration between genetically different but similar peoples. Expect friction.

Why I love Steve Sailer

“By contrast, political correctness struggles are all about rigging debates by ruling out opponents’ best arguments ahead of time.

Thus, an inevitable difference between sports and identity politics is that competition encourages excellence in sports, while political correctness dumbs down debate.”

“…If your group can be criticized for your stereotypical faults, you are less likely to obsess over the mote in your opponent’s eye, because you can be called out for the beam in your own. Thus, a culture of open debate leads to more civility than the current rules by which the rhetorically privileged—such as blacks, women, Jews, gays, and miscellaneous—can demonize white men qua white men without fearing verbal pushback for their own faults. Rhetorical aggression is inevitable in a culture without reciprocity.”

“By contrast, a rhetorically armed society is a polite society.”

Sailer can also be read at his regular posting site, the Unz Review.

Remember: the correct term is “climate change”

The Left – the bananarama sort anyway – are nominalists. Things are according to what they are named. A rose to them, by any other name, might be a sign of moral turpitude. Or it might be the new name we call those things formerly known as roses, but which are now called “pink exfoliated flower ovaries” on pain of apology and social exclusion.

I shall never forget a Canadian woman of this sort who corrected an American for calling them “Eskimos”. She said, with great kindness: “the preferred name we use in Canada is Inuit”. A smile of gladness spread across the face of the American leftie as she received the communion wafer of political correctness: she had a new stick with which to beat the politically incorrect back home.

So it is with the transition from  “global warming” into “climate change”. Say “global warming” and you are actually referring to a real thing (or not); say  “climate change” and , as well as showing yourself to be one of the enlightened, you have also escaped any pretence of holding a disprovable proposition. Heating up – climate change; cooling off- climate change. Floods, drought: it is all change we have caused.

The difference between weather and climate is whatever the Left says it is.

Thus this weekend’s comic pages had this gem from the usually astute Wiley Miller:



“First of all,” says dad from the armchair, “the correct term is climate change, and the increasing severity of storms is all indicative of….”

“No preachy science junk on a Saturday, okay?”

Dad asks the well-behaved daughter: :How long is his anti-knowledge trend going to last?”

-“As long as there’s an Internet”.

The obvious implication, for the politically minded, is to regulate the Internet so that no facts contradictory to the dominant  man-made global warming narrative are allowed.

Just you wait my friends, this is coming to us, and its backers will not be confined to the political Left, or the Muslims, though they will lead the way in being offended.

It will not be justified on the basis of science, or knowledge, because the proponents of this sort of repression are ignorant of science and lacking in knowledge. It will be justified on the basis that some narratives are just too insensitive to be tolerated.

Remember, the correct term is climate change. Correct as in 2+2-4? Ah no! Correct as in “in conformity with the latest emanation of the anti-church of political correctness”.

The one thing I will say in favour of Islam is that, in Islam,  what is correct and incorrect does not shift weekly. It is ordained by God from the time of Mohammed’s revelations for evermore. That is why the cultural Left and Islam are on the same course, and will eventually converge. People of that sort, having developed no internal morality, and believing no internal morality is legitimate or possible,  will seek certainty and permanence in Islam’s arbitrary rules about what is correct – or incorrect (haram).

In Islam they are neither Eskimos nor Inuit; they are only kuffar, and may be treated accordingly. Islam claims to be a simple and practical guide to all of life’s problems, and its unflinching, unyielding rules are intended to avoid precisely the moral confusion which freedom allows.

With Islam, the labels are attached by the culture/religion/society rather than by personal inclination, and they never change.

So when Islamic Dad says “the correct term” for this is that, he is backed up by an entire culture, society and legal system, by force of death, if necessary, administered by one’s male relatives to general applause.

It is a Leftist’s dream come true. Stay tuned folks, this is where we are heading.


Egypt’s President calls it as it is

From Raymond Ibrahim, this report of President Sisi of Egypt calling for an Islamic reformation:

Speaking before Al-Azhar and the Awqaf Ministry on New Year’s Day, 2015, and in connection to Prophet Muhammad’s upcoming birthday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a vocal supporter for a renewed vision of Islam, made what must be his most forceful and impassioned plea to date on the subject.

Among other things, Sisi said that the “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years” are  “antagonizing the entire world”; that it is not “possible that 1.6 billion people [reference to the world’s Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live”; and that Egypt (or the Islamic world in its entirety) “is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

The relevant excerpt from Sisi’s speech follows (translation by Michele Antaki):

I am referring here to the religious clerics.   We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before.  It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.  Impossible!

That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world.  It’s antagonizing the entire world!

Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.

All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.

I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.

I have two observations. The first is, yes, true, and about time. Its significance is that what he says is true and that he says it at all.

The second is this. I checked all the usual anti-Islamic sites: Vlad Tepes, Front Page Mag, Jihad Watch, and Gates of Vienna, and I found no coverage of this epochal speech by mid-day Monday January 4th. Raymond Ibrahim blogged the speech on January 1st 2015.

Were all the anti-Islamicists dumb-struck? They can usually be relied upon to have pictures and text of every Islamic idiocy, criminality and act of aggression within hours of its commission, and every act of dhimmitude reported within the same time.

So why so slow to report on Sisi’s speech? Does an act of sanity on the part of an Islamic leader (or secular leader of a majority Islamic state) cause them too much distress? Or do they confer with each other until they can figure of what  “line” is to be taken?

I am reminded of the report of a tourist in France watching the young intelligentsia refuse to answer a political question at breakfast. He was waiting until the French communist newspaper, Liberation, was printed so that he knew what the line would be on the issue of the day.

Okay, you anti-Islamic bloggistas, here is your line on the Al-Sisi speech from Commander Dalwhinnie: it is hugely important!  It could signal the start of something important in the Islamic world, for which we fervently pray. Moreover, it will empower more western leaders and citizens to say aloud what is obvious about Islam at this stage of its evolution: it is a murderous creed and it is pissing everyone off.

There is only so much reality people can ignore before they emerge from their politically correct bastions to observe the obvious – and comment upon it to their equally liberal minded neighbours. This may be just such a pivotal moment.

Quite possibly the most racist thing you will read this year

Confessions of a Public Defender drew this comment from Allen West, who agreed that it described the situation of American black underclass behaviour.
By “racist” is meant “describes the behaviour observed without resort to exculpatory ruses such as blaming the situation on other people’s racism”. So in this sense, the description offered by the unnamed American public defender is not racist at all; it is merely an accurate description of the behaviour observed.

This quote is drawn from a description of the thugs who beat two girls at a cash register.

This inability to see things from someone else’s perspective helps explain why there are so many black criminals. They do not understand the pain they are inflicting on others. One of my robbery clients is a good example. He and two co-defendants walked into a small store run by two young women. All three men were wearing masks. They drew handguns and ordered the women into a back room. One man beat a girl with his gun. The second man stood over the second girl while the third man emptied the cash register. All of this was on video.

My client was the one who beat the girl. When he asked me, “What are our chances at trial?” I said, “Not so good.” He immediately got angry, raised his voice, and accused me of working with the prosecution. I asked him how he thought a jury would react to the video. “They don’t care,” he said. I told him the jury would probably feel deeply sympathetic towards these two women and would be angry at him because of how he treated them. I asked him whether he felt bad for the women he had beaten and terrorized. He told me what I suspected—what too many blacks say about the suffering of others: “What do I care? She ain’t me. She ain’t kin. Don’t even know her.”

The anonymous Public Defender concluded:

However, my experience has also taught me that blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.

I do not know the solution to this problem. I do know that it is wrong to deceive the public. Whatever solutions we seek should be based on the truth rather than what we would prefer was the truth. As for myself, I will continue do my duty to protect the rights of all who need me.


What makes so difficult public discussion of events, such as those that took place at Ferguson Missouri this year, is the total inability of any public figure to refer to a commonly observed but absolutely forbidden-to-mention reality of how American blacks of the underclass actually behave.

This vast and effective social prohibition makes it possible for many people to believe that the police are oppressing the black underclass, and that this is bad. Whereas, in truth, they are oppressing the black underclass barely enough to let white liberals drive to work in safety and tut-tut as they tune into National Public Radio reporting on Ferguson Missouri and police over-reaction.

It is so much easier to blame white racism, or anything handy, than to confront the reality of racial differences.

I notice the same thing with the Conservative government and global warming. They are allowed to say anything except that the phenomenon does not exist.

Whence do we get these vast and effective limits on thought and speech?

The inability to tolerate the truth is the persistent trait of the politically correct. The truth is what they insist that it is, and there is no objective standard against which to measure. In addition, there is no reason whereby to measure, there are only various “narratives” based on sex, class and power. The politically correct have abandoned faith in reason, because reason and objective standards stand in the way of their wish-fulfilment social policies. The only issue is who controls the “narrative”, in short, who shall rule.

It is by abandonment of faith in reason that we engender the social agreement to enforce the rules on what may be said and thought, that makes these prohibitions possible. There is no KGB doing this to us. It is we alone who are to blame.

moral diversity

Jonathan Haidt is an American social scientist. His major work is “The Righteous Mind”. It concerns the moral foundation of people’s views of politics, and everything else. His work is a must-read for people who think about why liberals (in the American sense) and conservatives differ so much. He explains himself clearly and I urge you to check out his videos. Go to youtube and enter “Jonathan Haidt” and you will be greatly  rewarded.

Haidt says there are five axes of moral difference among people, and that, by and large, liberals act on two – harm/care, and fairness/unfairness – and that conservatives act on all five of them, which include the first two and add sanctity/defilement,authority/rebellion, loyalty/treason. Haidt is one of those rare people who has argued himself from being a leftist to being a centrist by reflecting on those virtues which conservatives value, and which liberals, in general, do not.

His insight into liberals is that their obsession with harm/care – which is usually understood as equity – leads to a sacralization of victims, on the one hand, and group-based results, on the other. If one’s idea of morality is limited to that set of concerns, you will never understand centrists and  conservatives, and you will ignore other extremely important moral concerns. Worse than not understanding your compatriots, you will offend their senses of decency, justice, proportion, fairness, and sacredness. This is only one of many important insights his thinking gives rise to.

“How many of you ants want to bail out your grasshopper neighbours?” This question, he says, is the moral insight that gave birth to the Tea Party.

An example he cites to a liberal group is this: “Would you let you 14-year old daughter choose her dentist? [pause] Then why would you allow her to choose her abortionist?”

One of the issues he speaks of is the total lack of diversity within the moral framework of most liberal institutions. The liberal institutions are always talking a great deal about diversity. According to Haidt, they have no idea what diversity actually consists of. They think it means a bunch of people from sexual, religious,  ethnic or other-defined  minorities being in the same place at the same time, but all thinking and speaking exactly alike, rather like a Maoist poster where jut-jawed workers, peasants, soldiers and intelligentsia look upwards and to the right in solidarity with an identical idea, each with his fist raised in defiance of something.

What liberals fail to imagine is that morality might be broader than fairness/unfairness and harmful/not harmful, to embrace a broader set of moral considerations: sanctity, loyalty, and deference, and their opposites.

The intolerance of moral diversity is the essence of the political left. It leads to a closing of the academic mind. As to that issue, read this: How Academia’s Liberal Bias is Killing Social Science