Monthly Archives: October 2011

Twisted logic of the day..

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Interesting cases of “small-talk ” from my workplace today:

A young Muslim colleague, very nice and rather innocent guy, but keeps rambling about Turkish “scholar”, – read: Charlatan /Muslim Guru Harun Yahya , – says to me: How do you stay so young ? – Well, – let’s see.. , no smoking, no drinking, a vegan /sometimes pesco-vegetarian diet.. and, and, – (“triumphantly”): Never cheated on my wife !

(You know: Going through a divorce is, in most cases , especially hard on men.)

YES ! – he exclaims, – and you know, that is why we in the Muslim world punish women hard, when they are disobedient ! – (Ed: Whippings, Stonings, Death Penalty..)

You see the logic..

Me to my (Christian) Nigerian colleague: So did you read through the article ? – (on why IQ’s of Sub-Saharan Africans are so low). – Him: “Not just yet, but let me tell you this: As Jesus says: Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that.. , (etc.), – and let me tell you also: What is intelligent to you, may not be intelligent to others !

Sure sure.., makes sense.., makes sense.., but still..

The cartoonist: (Couldn’t just find it, so from memory only, and without graphics):

Fat, smug Arab boasts, triumphantly, to fat, smug beer-drinking, pork-eating Dane: “In our lands, we may have several wives“! – Fat, beer-drinking Dane: “Heaven forbid ! – and thank God, that we are protected by law against that, as we are only allowed to have ONE” !

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Disease, Violence, Malnutrition, Pollution, Illiteracy: Five Scourges that Cripple IQ in Sub-Saharan Africa

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by guest blogger Hank Pellissier

 All people are created equal, right? We’re all the same species, we’re all physically and mentally cousins. But if that’s true… why do academic tomes like Wealth and the IQ of Nations insist that the average Sub-Saharan African’s IQ is 30-40 points lower than an East Asian’s IQ?  How can that book give Hong Kong an IQ of 106 and Equatorial Guinea a mere 59?

In 2002, Wealth and the IQ of Nations posited frightfully low IQ numbers for Sub-Saharan Africa.  When the book’s authors – Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen – recalculated the data in their 2006 update, IQ and Global Inequality, they arrived at equally abysmal figures: Sierra Leone (64), The Congo (65), Zimbabwe (66), Guinea (66), Nigeria (69), The Gambia (66), Senegal (66), Mozambique (64), Gabon (64), Central African Republic (64), Equatorial Guinea (59), Liberia (67), Lesotho (67), Angola (68), Niger (67), South Africa (72).

These numbers were lambasted by other researchers, and a rival study, led by Jelte M. Wicherts of The Netherlands, claimed a much higher average IQ for the SubSaharan region: 82. But even this lags excruciatingly far behind East Asia and the Western world. Why?

An answer is emerging that has nothing to do with “race,” “racism,” or “data manipulation.” If we assume that both the maxim “all people are created equal” and the above-mentioned IQ stats are TRUE, there’s only one viable explanation, which is:

SubSaharan African intellectual strength is severely maimed after
conception, in gestation and early childhood.

melodrama1 Disease, Violence, Malnutrition, Pollution, Illiteracy: Five Scourges that Cripple IQ in Sub Saharan AfricaFully optimizing the potential of the  human brain is  extraordinarily difficult in the Sub-Saharan. Why? What post-conception horrors afflict the region’s IQ, reducing it to a level 33% below East Asia and the West?

The brain-poisoning culprit is a monstrous concoction of diseases, violences, malnutritions, pollutions and illiteracy.

Harsh news, isn’t it? Painful to comprehend and accept. Decent humans are “egalitarian” – we want to believe everyone remains equal in mental ability, no matter how disparate the environments. I appreciate this idealism, but it is anti-scientific and counter-productive to view our brains as impervious to outside harm. My article seeks to promote assistance to those who live in places where brains are under duress. I want their environments improved, so their neurological functions can thrive. My ambition in this essay is both humanitarian and techno-progressive; after explaining the causes, I’ll propose attainable solutions that can elevate Sub-Saharan IQ and alleviate suffering.

 Disease, Violence, Malnutrition, Pollution, Illiteracy: Five Scourges that Cripple IQ in Sub Saharan AfricaFirst, let’s catalog all the brain-maiming factors of the area. Nigeria will be primarily used as a source of dismal statistics, because it is the most populous nation in the region, with about 150 million citizens.

DISEASE:  Two recent studies – a 2010 report from the University of New Mexico and 2011 research from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada – have strongly correlated low national IQs with high rates of infectious disease. Their findings mirror what Jared Diamond claimed in his 1997 best-seller Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – i.e, endemic diseases thwart human advancement.

nigeria2 Disease, Violence, Malnutrition, Pollution, Illiteracy: Five Scourges that Cripple IQ in Sub Saharan Africa

In my email correspondence with the biologists at the University of New Mexico, I was informed by the above study’s lead author Christopher Eppig that, “Based on our own research… a social policy aimed at elevating IQ would want to focus on reducing the infection rates and durations of the infections that are most costly to the brain, which we predict include malaria, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and intestinal worms.”

Below I have outlined the damage caused by each of these four maladies in Sub-Saharan nations.

Malaria: Every year there are 225 million cases of malaria worldwide, with 90% occurring in the Sub-Saharan region, where 3,000 die everyday of the disease. Nigeria alone accounts for 25% of the planet’s malaria cases, with 30 million of it’s citizens annually contracting the scourge, leaving 300,000 dead.  The “brain insult” of malaria is horrendous. One international study defines cerebral malaria “as the presence of coma” leaving victims with neurophysiological impairment to brain regions associated with planning, decision-making, self-awareness, and social sensitivity. Young Sub-Saharans are alarmingly vulnerable to drastic IQ reduction due to the malarial threat because, as University of New Mexico researchers state, “From an energetics standpoint, a developing human will have difficulty building a brain and fighting off infectious diseases at the same time, as both are very metabolically costly tasks.”  Its crucial to realize here that developing nations, like the entire Sub-Saharan, have a far higher rate of mental retardation. A 2008 Rush University Medical College (Chicago) report observed that “Surveys in high-income countries show 3 to 5 per 1,000 with severe intellectual disability… Estimates from developing countries, however, have found prevalence rates from 5 to as much as 22 per 1,000.” Malaria is listed by the researchers as one of the “major contributing causes” in Third World mental retardation.  remedy: Recently in Lagos, two mosquito nets were distributed to each family – a total of 4.1 million nets – in a fresh attempt to curb the sickening menace.

Diarrhea: The diarrhea rate in Nigeria is 18.8%, with 150,000 children dying annually of the disease. Diarrhea weakens the immune system and can quickly lead the sufferer to malnutrition, pneumonia, and a host of additional plagues. University of New Mexico researchers note that, “if exposed to diarrhoeal diseases during their first five years, individuals may experience lifelong detrimental effects to their brain development, and thus intelligence. Parasites may [also] negatively affect cognitive function in other ways, such as infecting the brain directly…” remedy: Nigeria launched a Handwashing Campaign in 2008, plus a hygiene program to construct one million latrines. Studies indicate that handwashing can reduce diarrhea by 30-47%.

Tuberculosis:  Nigeria has the 4th highest TB rate in the world, with more than 400,000 cases per year. Tuberculosis – commonly associated with the lungs – has the potential to attack the brain, causing Tuberculosis Meningitis (TBM). Although this occurs in only 1% of TB cases in developed nations, reports indicate that TB leads to TBM in Nigeria between 7.8-14% of the time. The result? At least 20% of survivors are left with severe brain damage. Tuberculosis also creates a severe toll on the immune system, retarding the cognitive development of young children. remedy: TB “carriers” in Nigeria need to be identified early and treated regularly with antibiotics in services that extend throughout the nation, especially rural areas that have relied on herbal concoctions with a low rate of success.

Intestinal Worms (helminth infections): Nigerian schoolchildren are widely at risk of three intestinal parasites: roundworm, whipworm, and hookworm. One study revealed a 54.9% infection rate in urban public schools, 63.5% infection in rural public schools, and 28.4% in private schools. Intestinal worms have been associated with reduced IQ in many studies; one estimate is that “the average IQ loss for children left untreated is 3.75 points per worm infection.”  remedy:  Improved sanitation via clean water, soap, improved latrines, and elimination of garbage around schools. Plus, de-worming at a cost of only 50 cents per child.

VIOLENCE:  Being subjected to violence, or witnessing violent activity, puts a traumatic burden on children that leads to cognitive decline.  How steep is the subtraction? A 2002 study  from the Children’s Hospital of Michigan concludes that “a child experiencing both violence exposure and trauma-related distress… would be expected to have a 7.5-point decrement in IQ and a 9.8 decrement in reading achievement.”  The SubSaharan region is catastrophically violent in numerous categories; I have listed only four below.

Civil Strife: Myriad bloodbaths have soaked the Sub-Saharan in the last thirty years, including recent and current conflicts in The Congo, Ivory Coast, and religious terrorism in Nigeria, plus past nightmares in Rwanda, Burundi, Biafra, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Liberia, Uganda, Central African Republic, and others. Is it accurate to define the entire region as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome?  Perhaps.  A recent survey of Liberians revealed that 71% of those questioned had witnessed a beating, 47% witnessed a killing, and 33% witnessed the killing of a family member. How does a pervasive atmosphere of violence affect children’s cognition? A Stanford Hospital study suggests that, “children’s risk for learning and behavior problems… rises in correlation to their level of trauma exposure….children experiencing four types of trauma were 30 times more likely to have behavior and learning problems than those not exposed to trauma.” remedy:  Political stability is needed, with dedicated administrators. Hopefully, they’re encouraged by the Mo Imbrahim Foundation that awards an annual $5 million prize to African leaders who demonstrate good governance.

 Domestic Violence:  A 2011 Harvard Medical School report notes that “Witnessing domestic violence is a traumatic childhood experience associated with reduced IQ scores.” Unfortunately, wife-beating is all-too-common in SubSaharan Africa. A recent Nigerian news report claims that, “More than 50 percent [of wives] say they have experienced domestic violence at the hands of their husbands.” Counter-intuitively, “more educated women (65%) are in this terrible situation as compared to their low income counterparts (55%).” Are the children watching? Another study says that 46% of Nigerian women reported being abused in the presence of their children. remedy:  A cultural sea-change that elevates women’s rights and prosecutes domestic abusers; a staggering 97.2% of Nigerian women say they are unwilling to report the abuse to Nigerian police.

Child Sexual Abuse:  Multiple studies assert that children subjected to sexual abuse suffer parallel damage to their brain development. For example, a Yale University study has linked childhood sexual abuse to “long-term deficits in verbal short-term memory” – a result that resembles the damage observed in “patients with combat-related PTSD.” Is child sexual abuse common in the Sub-Saharan?  The Lancet reports that 33% of girls and women in Swaziland claimed they were victimized by sexual violence before reaching the age of 18. In Nigeria, rape is reportedly on the increase, particularly child rape. A 2008 news article from Kano, the commercial hub of northern Nigeria, claimed that, “The suspects are usually males between the ages of 45 and 70 while their victims are mostly girls of between three and 11 years.” The article notes that many rapes are never reported because “parents want to save the honor of their daughters and protect their families from embarrassment.” remedy:  Cultural change is needed, promoting the rights of children and prosecuting those who abuse them.

Female Genital Mutilation: Although FGM is a “traditional ritual” it needs to also be regarded as a violent, traumatic episode that can likely damage the cognitive development of the victims, generally girls aged 4-12. The World Health Organization (WHO) agrees, asserting that FGM has posed a “mental health risk” to 92 million African women. In the Sub-Saharan region, the following rates of FGM prevalence exist in the 15-49 age category, representing tens of millions of women and girls: Ivory Coast (36.4%), Gambia (78.3%), Guinea (95.6%), Liberia (58.2%), Nigeria (29.6%), Sierra Leone (94.0%), Guinea-Bissau (44.5%), and Senegal (28.2%).  I have written about FGM in greater detail at the ieet.org website.  remedy: Outlawing FGM.

MALNUTRITION: Prior to the recent focus on infectious disease hampering IQ levels, the prevalent opinion in scholastic circles was that malnutrition was the brain’s primarily oppressor. On the website nextbigfuture, author Brian Wang asserts that “if everyone had optimal levels of of micronutrients the IQ of over half the world would be increased by up to 20 IQ points.” The Sub-Saharan would be a primary beneficiary of improved nutrition, especially infants, children, and pregnant women. Below I’ve listed only two dietary ingredients needed for optimal brain development; additional nutrients that also need to be considered are zinc, calcium, folic acid, Vitamin A, and magnesium. I’ve also advocated breast-feeding, because the nutrition it provides has been frequently linked to higher IQ scores.

Iodine Deficiency: If a pregnant mother’s diet is low in element #53, her child’s IQ can be severely hampered. Cretinism is the worst result of iodine deficiency, with its shocking retardation of physical and mental development. A recent report indicates that every year 900,000 Nigerian children will suffer an IQ loss because their mothers didn’t ingest enough iodine during their pregnancy. How large of an IQ loss? The website micronutrient.org suggests “the loss of intellectual capacity by as much as 10 to 15 percentage points.” remedy: Add iodine to all salt distributed in the Sub-Saharan.

Iron Deficiency (anemia): An alarming 75.6% of Nigerian children are anemic, claims micronutrient.org.  This lack punishes developing brains. “Various tests of cognitive skills associate lack of iron during infancy and early childhood with significant levels of disadvantage, affecting IQ scores by as much as 5 to 7 points,” notes nextbigfuture.com. remedy: Food fortification, especially wheat flour and cereal.

Lack of Breastfeeding:  Recent research by Oxford University and Essex University asserts that infants breastfed for just four weeks are granted a 3 point IQ boost. Many specialists advice breastfeeding for at least six months because fatty acids in the mother’s milk aids infant brain development. Unfortunately, breastfeeding rates in the Sub-Saharan are among the world’s lowest.  UNICEF calculates that only 31% of the region’s mothers breastfeed, a low figure compared to East and South Asia’s 43-44%. Breastfeeding is also more hygienic; bottle-feeding can infect newborns with diseases like diarrhea, especially in areas with contaminated water. remedy: Breastfeeding prevalence in the Sub-Saharan has made enormous strides in recent years, leaping up from a mere 24% in 1996. Continued education is needed.

 POLLUTION: Numerous elements and molecular compounds are severely debilitating to human brain development. I’ve listed two dangers below; additional chemicals that cause harm in the Sub-Saharan are cadmium, manganese, petroleum hydrocarbons, mercury, and others. Water pollution and soil contamination are merit attention.

 Lead Poisoning: The brain-toxic 82nd element is pervasive throughout the Sub-Sahara. Leaded gasoline wasn’t phased out until 2005 with settling fumes caking the soil, and subsequently, the agricultural produce. Illegal mining operations in northern Nigeria recently used lead to refine gold ore, horrendously contaminating both the ground and the water. The NGO “Doctors Without Borders” discovered in 2010 that 90% of the children under 5 in the state of Zamfara, Nigeria (population 3.6 million) had lead poisoning.  In Kabwe, Zambia, lead concentrates in children are also 5-10 times the permissible USA EPA level. Researchers also recently discovered that “96% of the consumer paints available in Nigeria contained higher than the recommended levels of lead.” The effect of lead on IQ varies in research reports, but a 2001 study, from School of Public Health University at Albany Rensselaer (New York) estimated that lead exposure in children caused a “permanent loss of IQ of approximately 5 to 7 IQ points.”  remedy: The World Bank and other organizations have allocated funds for massive clean-up operations.

Air Pollution (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons):

lagos2 Disease, Violence, Malnutrition, Pollution, Illiteracy: Five Scourges that Cripple IQ in Sub Saharan Africa

Lagos – with its 12 million residents – has severe air pollution, largely caused byauto fumes and burning garbage. The Nigerian city does not have the worst air in the Sub-Saharan, however, that unfortunate honor goes to Gaberone, Botswana, which was voted 7th Worst in the World in a recent Time magazine survey. Research in Krakow, Poland and New York City claims that air pollution exposure before birth lowers IQ by 4 points, because smog harms the developing brain. remedy: Sub-Saharan cities need energy-efficient public rail systems, and vehicles and industry need stricter emissions controls.

 ILLITERACY: In the Sub-Saharan, a mind-boggling 58% of the population is illiterate. Benin is the worst with 82.4% illiteracy; only 11.9% of its women can read and write. In Nigeria, nine million kids don’t go to school, instead they just “roam the streets.”  Illiterate children don’t take the standard “Alpha” IQ test, instead, they tackle the non-verbal Revised Beta Examination.  Barely literate children are at an extreme disadvantage with the language-based Alpha. remedy: Strides are being made. Emphasis needs to be placed on getting more girls to attend school (i.e., changing cultural attitudes) and in encouraging students to attend secondary schools.

The tragic liabilities above have created a climate so vicious to brain development, it’s amazing the tormented IQs aren’t even farther behind the 3-digit East Asians and Westerns.  My desire is that charitable benefactors will invest in correcting the gap.  Many NGOs have studied IQ correlation and causation and they’ve correctly surmised that improving IQ will elevate per capita income and quality of life.

Techno-progressive solutions are critical now – a prime current hope is that internet access and low-cost computers in the Sub-Saharan will accelerate the residents into an egalitarian future. This is rapidly happening: Nigeria’s internet connectivity tripled from 2000-2008, leaping from 8 to 24 million, according to Accender Africa. With correct policies and intentions, Sub-Saharans can, in the future, be equal to all, by every material and mental measure.

references:

National IQ estimates by Lynn and Vanhanen
Wicherts IQ estimate
University of New Mexico study on infectious disease
Carleton University research on infectious disease
definition of cerebral malaria
Rush University Medical College report on the varying rate of retardation malaria nets distributed in Lagos
diarrhea rate in NIgeria
Tuberculosis Meningitis rate in NIgeria
intestinal worm infection rate in NIgerian schools
IQ loss due to intestinal worms
average IQ loss due to trauma
survey of Liberians experiencing violence
Stanford study of the consequences of trauma
Mo Imbrahim Foundation Prize
Harvard study on IQ loss due to domestic violence
Nigerian wife-beating
news article with statistic claiming educated Nigerian women are beaten more often
Yale study on the cognitive damage caused by child sexual abuse

Swaziland statistic on child sexual abuse
Sexual abuse in Kano, Nigeria
WHO and female genital mutilation

IEET.org article on FGM
Nigerian iodine deficiency
Breastfeeding research
UNICEF statistics on breastfeeding rates in the Sub-Saharan
Lead phased out of Africa in 2005
Lead pollution in Zamfara, NIgeria
Lead pollution in Kabwe, Zambia
Lead in Nigerian paint
Lead causes damage to IQ
Gaberone, Botswana air pollution
air pollution studies in Krakow, Poland and New York City
Benin illiteracy
Nigerian street kids
Accender Africa

Hank Pellissier is an Affiliate Scholar, and regular contributor, to IEET.org – the Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technology

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Some thoughts on political biases, neuronal correlates, Pirates..

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I’ve been a subscriber to PressDisplay for some time. Using monitors allows me to check how often a term, – say.. “transhumanism”, “singularity”, “Denmark”, – appears in newspapers worldwide.
Today, for instance, I received 41 monitoring alerts for “Denmark”. – Actually, I rarely read any of them, as I am definitely “suffering” from an information overload, but occasionally I do find the time..

So what is rotten / not-so-rotten in our little kingdom..

Chicago Tribune / Health News: The food police have stormed Denmark

“Food Police”.. ? – Ha, – I like that one, and of course, according to critics, Denmark is a “Nanny State”  engaged in social engineering..

-  Big meal, -eh.. deal.. I say, and it’s unlikely    Some thoughts on political biases, neuronal correlates, Pirates..to change people’s eating habits anyway. Critics are also saying this “fat tax” is likely to hurt the poor, since they eat more junk-food.. – True enough.. , but may I point out, that eating healthier foodstuffs is not necessarily expensive, – e.g. potatoes are (a lot) cheaper than French fries, – baking your own (wholesome) bread is far cheaper than buying (white) bread, etc.

The Telegraph, UK / Culture News Director Von Trier clams up

At the Cannes Film Festival, Von Trier made “controversial” comments about Hitler and the Nazis, saying: “I sympathize with him a little bit” (?!) – A stupid thing to say of course, but defending himself, Von Trier says: “I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally“. All the same, his remarks could be “a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes”.. , for which reason he is being questioned by police..

Much ado about nothing, I say, and here’s why: Lars Von Trier grew up believing himself to be Jewish. His father was Jewish, but on his mother’s deathbed she revealed to him, that his biological father was Fritz Hartmann, who had German roots. The first Hartmann came to Denmark from Germany in 1762, – thus Von Trier’s statement: “I thought I was Jewish, but found out I was actually “a Nazi“..” – (By the way, Fritz Hartman was not a Nazi, – on the contrary: he was active in the Danish resistance movement).

So what else is “rotten”..

Oh yes, – the Social Democrats are back in power, after 10 long years with a “conservative” government, a coalition of “Liberals”, – read: libertarians, – and Conservatives, dependent on the Danish People’s party, infamous for alleged Xenophobia, Islamophobia, Nationalism, and anti-EU sentiments…

So you think I’m happy now.. – Well, I ain’t ! – Or, rather, I really don’t care too much which government we have. In Denmark, you may be a socialist at heart, a conservative at heart, a libertarian at heart and what have we.. , – at the end of the day, Danish realpolitik always ends up being more or less social-democratic.. , or, perhaps.. , social-liberal..

I am a social liberal myself, no doubt. In fact I strongly believe that any truly intelligent person, – who is also endowed with at least some empathy for his / her fellow beings, – must be a social liberal. I mean.. a libertarian, who refuses any responsibility for anyone save himself is.. well.. an asshole ! – A socialist, on the other hand, – at least the ones willing to sacrifice individual freedoms on some Utopian altar, are, in my view, brainwashed idiots, – well-meaning idiots perhaps, but extremely dangerous !

Social liberalism, therefore, is the only viable answer. Liberalism + (social) responsibility.

Unlike the US, where Democrats are a diverse bunch, i.e. Liberals, Progressives, Centrists, and even Conservatives and Libertarians, we have in Denmark a social liberal party in the true sense of the word. They are called “De Radikale” – the “Radicals” – (there is nothing “radical” about them !) – so naturally I would vote for them, right ? – Here you are in for a big surprise, ’cause I despise these social liberals even more than the Danish Peoples Party !!

How can this be.. – Well, – with Social Liberalism tends to come also.. an arrogant and self-righteous attitude of I-am-better-than-you,-you-are-a-racist..

To tell you the truth.. ,                                     Some thoughts on political biases, neuronal correlates, Pirates..
I actually became a non-voter -
(Danish: Couch-voter) – for the
first time, as I simply could not
move myself to vote for any party
, but it is really a BIG paradox that,
being a self-declared Social-Liberal,
- I would not dream of voting for them !

Now, – some psychologists suggest that what you dislike the most in others is really “a shadow” of yourself, i.e. if you hate arrogance and / or self-righteousness, you are likely to suffer from these traits yourself.. , but then being a social liberal involves more than simply an arrogant attitude of being “above” common folks..

Paradoxically, this feeling of being a better – and smarter- person is rooted in a postmodern outlook that favours subjectivity and relativity. In turn, this allows for a very high degree of tolerance towards just about anyone’s “opinion”,  even including the most ardent believers, fundamentalists, radicals.., who are not the slightest bit subjective, – hate the very word relative, – and are themselves strongly in-tolerant. Tolerance of intolerance  is a major weakness of a postmodern outlook…

Then there is the element of Political Correctness, – yet another paradox, considering social liberals’ postmodern outlook, i.e. any opinion or faith is of equal value.. – I like calling a spade a spade myself, but this is causing constant strife with moralizing social liberals / postmodernists.. – Perhaps they are not that tolerant after all.. (?!), – perhaps, deep down, they are really.. closet-fundamentalists…

You see, therefore.. , – it may be possible to find me in the political spectrum, as in the world’s shortest political test, but for the reasons I have stated, it is somewhat misleading..

The ideal party would be.. social liberal, in the sense that liberalism should include social justice, but there is far more to it.., – read on to find out..
You may say I am.. an anarchist who, to a certain extent, accepts “the legitimate role of the state”, – (another paradox..). – I therefore have no problem with mentioned “fat-tax”, and I have no fear of social engineering, in so far as any law is social engineering to some extent.

However, – I am a social liberal with strong anti-postmodernist and anti-PC sentiments..

- I have just been reading this article on the neuronal correlates of Liberal versus Conservative thinking, according to which Liberals are more or less hardwired towards scientific thinking, as apposed to religious beliefs.. – This is maybe true, – (although twice as many self- identified  Republicans have a 4-year college education.. ), - but.. – “scientific” thinking.. has it’s knockers and it’s boosters even amongst Liberals.
No doubt science-sceptics are to be found primarily amongst Republicans /Conservatives, but scientific “truths” have also been under intense scrutiny from postmodernists, – not scientific findings in themselves, but the very epistemological foundations of science. Postmodernists go as far as saying there is in fact no such solid foundation.. – There may or may not be a human-independent reality, but at the end of the day, all knowledge is language-dependent and a product of  group/social processes, – i.e. all knowledge is necessarily subjective and relative..
Hardcore postmodernists will  even go as far as accepting all “knowledge”claims as “really true”,  just because the relevant community accepts them as true.. , – (and this is part of the rationale  for the apparent tolerance of intolerance..).

Not surprisingly, scientific thinkers inclined towards a more old-fashioned, rational scientific realism, are at odds with such postmodernist gibberish. For a superb illustration of this deep division amongst scientific thinkers, remember or read about the Sokal affair, – an experiment to test the intellectual rigor of an academic,  postmodern magazine and “to learn if such a journal would “publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if it (a) sounded good and (b) flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions.”

As it turned out, that was in fact the case !

Now, – what really concerns me, is when scientific relativism spills over and becomes cultural relativism.. to the point where it becomes a criminal offense to utter anything “exceptionalistic”, – say, for instance: Western, (Social) Liberal, Secular values and societies are far superior to the rest of the world, and the dumbest religion of all is Islam.. !

In the US, you are fortunate to have the first amendment, – (although I am told it is only really taken seriously in more progressive neighborhoods..), – but in Europe, socalled hate-speech is taken very, very seriously, and – you guessed it – social liberals support such laws whole-heartedly..

Personally, I am more or less a fundamentalist Freedom-of-Speech supporter, – the only exception being incitement to violence… , so.. summing up:

My perfect party is..

- Social-Liberal
- anti-Postmodern
- Secular
- IN-tolerant of intolerance ! – (Don’t tell me: another paradox.., – there is no escaping.. )
- simultaneously Libertarian /Anarchistic and supportive of Social Engineering
- Politically IN-correct !
- deeply committed to Freedom of Speech !
- supportive of racial and cultural diversity, based on common values, – i.e. Human Rights, – therefore decidedly anti-Multiculturalism..

Meanwhile.. in Berlin.. – as reported in this interview, – the Pirate Party
is gaining ground…

These so-called Pirates also self-identify             Some thoughts on political biases, neuronal correlates, Pirates..
as social-liberals , – support Freedom of
Speech and Human Rights in general.. ,
but I remain sceptical.., as I suspect they
too are “infected” with postmodernist
thinking, and most likely they also identify
as Multi-culturalists..
They claim to support Freedom of Speech
whole-heartedly, are in favor of Internet
privacy, etc., – but how about hate-speech laws…

I will of course give the Pirates the benefit of the doubt..

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