Archive for category World

Dormez-vous, France?

"Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé !"

“Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé !”

The most brilliant minds of France are escaping to London, Brussels, and New York rather than stultify at home. Walk down a street in South Kensington – the new Sixth Arrondissement of London – and try not to hear French spoken. The French lycee there has a long waiting list for French children whose families have emigrated.

I grimly listen to my French friends on this topic.

From a senior United Nations official who is now based in Africa: “The best thinkers in France have left the country. What is now left is mediocrity.”

From a chief legal counsel at a major French company: “France is dying a slow death. Socialism is killing it. It’s like a rich old family being unable to give up the servants. Think Downton Abbey.”

From a French publisher: “In the past 10 years, the global village has become a reality. The world economy has become so important that a nation-state can no longer play the role that it did 10 years ago. The French have not woken up to that.”

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Deep Optimism

Matt Ridley learns you a lesson:

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Happy tyrannical birthday, Cuba!

NEW YEAR’S Day marks the 55th anniversary of Cuba’s communist revolution. It is the only full-blown dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere. As Human Rights Watch noted in April, no other country in Latin America is ruled by a regime that “represses virtually all forms of political dissent.” More than half a century after Fidel Castro seized power with the promise that “all rights and freedoms will be reinstituted” — and more than seven years since Raul Castro succeeded his brother as tyrant-in-chief — Cuba is consistently rated “Not Free” in Freedom House’s annual index of political and civil liberties worldwide…

There is only one dictatorship in the Americas. On New Year’s Day it turns another year older. Cry, the beloved island.

The Castros are thugs and Guevara was a psychopath. The good people of Cuba deserved better these past 55 years.

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Pope trope

" ... Will it ever stop? Yo – I don't know. Turn off the lights and I'll glow ..."

” … Will it ever stop? Yo – I don’t know. Turn off the lights and I’ll glow …”

Greg Mankiw on the unfortunate economic musings of Pope Francis:

First, throughout history, free-market capitalism has been a great driver of economic growth, and as my colleague Ben Friedman has written, economic growth has been a great driver of a more moral society.

Second, “trickle-down” is not a theory but a pejorative used by those on the left to describe a viewpoint they oppose. It is equivalent to those on the right referring to the “soak-the-rich” theories of the left. It is sad to see the pope using a pejorative, rather than encouraging an open-minded discussion of opposing perspectives.

Third, as far as I know, the pope did not address the tax-exempt status of the church. I would be eager to hear his views on that issue. Maybe he thinks the tax benefits the church receives do some good when they trickle down.

I’d like to add, fourth, that the Church did such a great job that it only took seventeen-hundred years before it significantly improved the quality of life of all Europeans, which just happened to coincide with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of capitalism.

h/t Instapundit

UPDATE: David Harsanyi elaborates. A must-read. (h/t Kathy Shaidle)

UPDATER: Ludwig von Mises:

Of course, as a rule capitalists and entrepreneurs are not saints excelling in the virtue of self-denial.  But neither are their critics saintly.  And with all the regard due to the sublime self-effacement of saints, we cannot help stating the fact that the world would be in a rather desolate condition if it were peopled exclusively by men not interested in the pursuit of material well-being.

(h/t Cafe Hayek)


Kooky Suzuki

David Suzuki, not satisfied with merely taking Canadian taxpayer’s dollars in order to spew his misanthropic stupidity, participated in a public question-and-answer forum recently on the taxpayer-subsidized Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Humans are maggots, baby

“Humans are maggots, baby.”

Posted below are a few snippets of the reaction to the appearance.

From the left-wing Media Watch:

The Canadian geneticist was given the podium to himself, in an honour previously granted only to Bill Gates and a handful of Australia’s political leaders.

And even his supporters must have been disappointed…

When challenged on the claim that global warming appears to have slowed or paused over the last 15 years Suzuki seemed somewhat surprised… So why was Suzuki given the stage all to himself if he is not a climatologist and is not across the subject?

Suzuki supporter davrosz:

Love David Suzuki, but sad ABC #QandA is spreading doubt about climate science again. Why do we keep having this ridiculous conversation.

The Daily Telegraph‘s Miranda Devine:

David Suzuki’s appearance on the ABC flagship program Q&A spelled the death of any credibility left in the fag end of the climate alarm movement.

The Herald Sun‘s Andrew Bolt:

The only rational response to Suzuki’s astonishing admission of utter ignorance would have been to say to him: “Sir, you are a phony and imposter. Get off the stage and don’t waste our time for a second longer.”

Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That?:

How in God’s name could people take this man seriously?

Climate blogger Joanne Nova:

The man is emphatically an activist who might as well be innumerate. He is unburdened by data, evidence or logic. Why is the ABC giving him such a hallowed space, which is usually only given to PM’s?

Australian blogger Don Aitkin:

What in blazes does he know? And why on earth is such a know-nothing given pride of place on a top ABC talk show? I expected a tough, well-informed, competent scientist. What I got was a feeble apologist. From a sceptical perspective the event was a success: Suzuki is such a dreadful exponent of the faith that  I would think he loses twenty supporters every time he answers a question.

The Sun News Network’s Ezra Levant:

Last week in Australia, David Suzuki did something he hasn’t done before: He allowed himself to be interviewed in a situation he did not control.

It was a disaster.

Saving the best for last, don’t forget to check out Ezra’s beautiful five-part summary of the Suzuki appearance (part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).

Insert your favourite responses to the Suzuki meltdown in the comments below.

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South Asians Are Not Racist

So argues Satya Sharma, everyone’s favourite Marxist associate anthropology professor at the U of Sask, and a man seemingly oblivious to irony.

We last met Professor Sharma when he railed against “corporatization of the university’s decision-making process” as it leads to “declining support for humanities, fine arts, social sciences and the library.”

Today, he attacks the social science of his university colleague:

The story, Thousands of immigrants flock to Saskatoon (SP, May 9), featured an ill-conceived attempt at analysis by Prof. Ken Coates of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

I take issue with both the immigration data and Coates’s analysis.

Note that mongers of competing grievances don’t mix well.

This influx of immigrants is exciting news. Saskatchewan was not a hot spot for immigrants during much of the latter half of the 20th century, so why is it so attractive today for newcomers?

The reasons are simple. Canada’s three big cities – Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal – have priced themselves out in terms of real estate value, rent and cost of living for immigrants. There’s also a perception that Saskatchewan’s economy is booming, although many residents might disagree.

If real estate prices were the primary factor, you’d think you’d see immigrants flocking to, say, New Brunswick than Saskatchewan, especially since Saskatchewan’s booming economy is merely a “perception”.

Canada is a land of the Inuit, First Nations and waves of immigrants. The early white settlers from Western Europe consider themselves privileged and have a strong sense of ownership of the country. Their activities and institutions caused much suffering to aboriginal groups through racism, discrimination, disease, war and ill-treatment, causing First Nations numbers to dwindle.

Ah, it’s about “privilege”, the latest buzzword in the ongoing saga to legitimize critical theory to the unwashed. I.e., differences in society are nothing more than psychological constructs in which one sociological group is “perceived” to hold power over another.

Which would have been news to the 19th-century “white settlers from Western Europe” known as “the Irish”.

The aboriginals now are the fastest growing group in Canada, which has made the early immigrant population anxious. We see numerous examples of it, especially in public policy and neglect.

“Early immigrant population” groups (i.e. Whitey) want to keep aboriginals down, you see. Because they are both racist and privileged.

And “anxious”, apparently.

Immigrants from across the globe have been coming to Canada steadily since the 1960s, although the current Conservative government has tightened the rules and made immigration in the family category particularly difficult.

Indeed. Note the severe drop-off of “family class” permanent-resident immigrants after the Conservatives came to power in 2006.

After early racist immigration policies toward non-white groups, governments of all political stripes have realized that Canada cannot survive without immigrants, regardless of colour.

Recent decades have seen an annual inflow of 200,000 to 300,000 immigrants needed to meet Canada’s labour shortage and to contribute to the safety net for the country’s aging population.

These newcomers, mostly non-whites, pose no challenge to the aboriginal population and have not done so at any time in history.

I agree. Even though the off-reserve aboriginal unemployment rate is almost double that of non-aboriginals and many unskilled labour positions previously available to aboriginals are being increasingly taken up by immigrants, immigration of productive workers does benefit us all.

But since the story was simply pointing out a “perception” issue and, as noted above, “perception” matters more than reality, Mr. Sharma shouldn’t be complaining.

The data used in The StarPhoenix, especially concerning South Asians, are totally wrong, but the paper is not to be faulted. The Harper government changed how Statistics Canada collects data, making long-form household surveys no longer mandatory.

“Totally wrong” being a statistical term introduced by Harper’s new-and-improved StatsCan.

These newcomers are highly underrepresented in the data. I have been doing research in Saskatoon’s South Asian community since the early 1980s. Even back in 1984, the city had close to 4,000 South Asians, the majority from India. Among Indians, Hindus were a majority at about 2,200. Their numbers are much higher today, well above 3,000.

If Mr. Sharma is so sure of his data, then why does he need the long-form census?

Within the past decade there has been a significant jump in the ranks of immigrants from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Muslims in Saskatoon number close to 10,000, many coming from Ontario. Many Sikhs, too, have move [sic] to Saskatoon from British Columbia.

Good. Glad to have them. Hope they enjoy our cheap housing.

To attempt an analysis on the basis of wrong data is fraught with difficulty. To make sweeping generalizations on the basis of such data is foolhardy.

Though it’s perfectly fine to make “sweeping generalizations” on how “early white settlers from Western Europe [considered] themselves privileged and [had] a strong sense of ownership of the country.” Especially since there was no long-form census data available at that time to support such an analysis.

I am surprised that as a historian, Coates makes an argument about immigrants vis-a-vis aboriginals that amounts to accusing newcomers of being racist and insensitive toward aboriginals, considering them as competition for employment, and being ignorant of Canada’s policies regarding First Nations. It’s far from portraying the truth.

Would it be racist for this Whitey to suggest that Mr. Sharma should learn how to read more carefully?

In the offending article, Professor Coates actually said, “I’m not suggesting for a second [recent immigrants are] racist or aggressively anti-aboriginal, they just don’t buy into the public policy agenda that says dealing with these historic grievances is in fact an obligation of the current population.”

He’s not saying immigrants are racist; he just doesn’t think they care about First Nations concerns as much as guilt-tripped Whitey. That’s his opinion as a professional social scientist. Prove him wrong.

Oh, and he also said, “You’ll also notice among First Nations people that’s an area of concern. They’re saying if you have these temporary worker programs, you’re basically taking entry-level jobs from First Nations people who need to get into the workforce. So that’s a potential source of tension and concern.”

In other words, the perception of increased competition for jobs comes from First Nations people, not immigrants. Sharma has it backwards.

Personally, I wouldn’t say that South Asians in general are any more racist than those from other cultures — although this story goes right out and says just that — but this is based on the fact that I haven’t developed many relationships with recently immigrated South Asians other than with those who work with me. My knowledge on those particular cultures is limited.

I will say, however, that I think the concerns of both Professor Coates and Mr. Sharma seem to be overblown. Canada is one of the most tolerant countries on earth. Here, animosities between various cultures are almost entirely held as perceptions (there’s that word again) rather than outright hostility or aggression. When’s the last race riot you’ve seen in Saskatoon, for example?

I just don’t see the value in adjusting governmental policies and initiatives to appease the grievances between aboriginal and immigrant groups (sorry, leadership) while most members of these groups seem to just want to get on with their lives.

Can’t we all just get along?

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Ahead of the Curve

Sept. 12, 2012:

The common theme about the US Embassy attacks are that they were based on an insult to Islam from a movie. I’m having some difficulty believing that.

Sept. 26, 2012:

Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.

Once again, small dead animals is ahead of the curve. In this case, two weeks ahead.

The larger question is whether President Obama suffer politically for his blatant lie to the American people and, no less, to the families of Ambassador Stevens and of the three other men killed during the attack.

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