The world’s press is in the hands of the left, and their priorities are the ones you see in the news. What do they care about? Whatever it is, it is not Palmyra. The only way something might be done is if there were a rise of international indignation at the potential destruction of these ancient ruins and this could happen only if every news outlet in the world spoke of this destruction. For the record, from Hal Colebatch on what might be done:

Effective ground intervention cannot be expected from the US, which, under the fumbling, bumbling Obama administration, has made so many policy errors that Obama’s mere loyalty is actually being called into question, and not only by conspiracy-obsessed ­paranoids.

The world’s policeman, whose reassuring presence on the beat we have taken for granted for decades, has chucked away his badge and headed for the saloon — or rather, in this case, the golf course.

So it looks as if saving this treasure of the human heritage is up to us — that is, to the English-speaking countries, plus the rest of civilisation that takes the traditions and heritage of civilisation seriously: France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan, for starters.

The Italians, at least, might care to save their Roman fore­fathers’ work, and to show the ghosts of those forefathers that they too can resist onslaughts of the Barbaricum.

Despite post-Cold War cuts, these countries still command quite powerful armed forces, and a combined expeditionary force to save Palmyra may not even have to do any fighting: their presence, with manifest determination and modern weapons, may deter ­Islamic State.

This is the kind of thing that needs to be done. Which means it won’t happen.

ANOTHER ARTICLE ON PALMYRA: This should not even be a political issue, but one that everyone can agree on. Why aren’t we taking out those flag waving ISIS trucks? from The American Thinker:

Let me make a simple suggestion: Bomb those flag-waving trucks!

I’m sure that you’ve all seen those parades of trucks celebrating and waving those ISIS flags.

Take them out. Send ISIS a message that their advances will be met with U.S. force. Fire missiles from ships in the Mediterranean and use strike planes to deliver a message.

The flag-waving trucks are a demonstration of ISIS’s advances. Stop them. Blow them up with a display of bombs and missiles unseen by these terrorists.

What are you waiting for Mr President? You can’t run out the clock on this one!

We live in darkening times.

The most educated ignoramuses in history

reading percentages

On Christmas Day we were at friends who had other friends we had not met before. And one of these friends – wearing the largest diamond ring I have ever seen, not that it is relevant – brought up in conversation that she never read. Nor did she bring it up after some prodding, or as part of an explanation for anything else. She brought it up as a matter of some pride, as if this were some kind of evidence of a higher intellect and refined taste. So, I asked her about this. Was it true that she never read any fiction, ever? And if not, why was this a good thing? No never, she said, had never read Dickens, or Shakespeare, and never wanted to and never would. So I asked – but only once I had reached the staircase – whether she would admire someone who had told her that they hated travel, and never wanted to go anywhere? But we know the answer to that, and would she anyway have seen the point?

I was reminded of this in reading Hal Colebatch’s article at Quadrant Online dealing with Celebrity Culture and Literacy’s Decline, which is mostly about the UK. This is not from Colebatch, but from someone he quotes, who was teaching would-be journalists:

These were people who were mostly studying for A-levels in media studies … The standard of literacy in their written work was roughly what I would have expected to find 25 years ago in the work of one of the less-able classes of nine-year-olds in an inner-city state school.

I cannot tell if this is a form of “these kids today”, or whether we are on the edge of some kind of descent into much worse. We may have enough people to run the technology, and if the rest of the population is pig ignorant, how does it matter? I am, of course, with Colebatch in seeing these trends not just as a disgrace but as a fearsome menace, although I would happily listen to someone who told me otherwise. I think this is the part of what he wrote that worried me most:

In June 2007 the think-tank Civitas claimed that issues and knowledge vital to education had been scrapped in schools in favour of trendy subjects and fashionable causes. No major subject area had escaped, its report, The Corruption of the Curriculum, claimed. The authors included Chris McGovern, chairman of the History Curriculum Authority. It said traditional subject areas had been hijacked to promote fashionable causes such as gender-awareness, the environment and anti-racism. In science-teaching controversial reforms had made fewer, not more, pupils interested in the subject. The new science curriculum replaced laboratory work and scientific probing with debates on abortion and nuclear power. In geography, it concluded, children were no longer taught facts about the world but how to be global citizens.

The state education system apparently paid little regard to teaching mathematics, physics or science. Only 7 per cent of pupils were educated in private or fee-paying systems (including the last remnant 164 grammar schools) but these comprised 40 per cent of pupils specialising in maths and physics at A-level. In 2005 there were only 3000 undergraduates studying physics and eighteen university physics departments—nearly one third—had closed since Labour came to power in 1997. By 2006 chemistry departments had also closed at some of Britain’s best universities, including Exeter, King’s College London, Dundee, and at Sussex, which had previously produced two Nobel chemistry laureates.

In my own area – the history of economic thought – the major issue of the moment is whether we should shut the entire enterprise down as a component of economics, and move it over into the history and philosophy of science. Till now, HET has been about the historical development of economic theory, and has been almost entirely undertaken by economists, who are the only people who know enough about economic theory to actually do it. This shift would turn it over to the sociologists of knowledge, who would have no need to know in dealing with any economics question, which way was up (for supply and demand curves, say), but could endlessly pontificate on power relations and white privilege.

But that is only mentioned as an example. This is not the informed citizenry the enlightenment wished to create. These are the fodder for a succession of revolutionary mobs, know-nothings about everything other than global warming, social injustice and their own desires.

In unity there is treason

Hal Colebatch takes the domestic shame of half the population and exposes the Australian left to ridicule on the American Spectator website. WINNING THE PM’S HISTORY PRIZE AND UPSETTING THE LEFTY LUVVIES is the heading, but the sub-head is more to the point:

A study of labor union treachery during World War II.

The part that was always something of a mystery is why our communist unions would subvert our war effort while the Japanese forces were on the march in our direction. Here’s the answer:

It does not take a very profound knowledge of World War II to know Stalin was not at war with Japan until the very end, and had nothing to lose by Australian Communists damaging the Pacific War effort. An important and scholarly U.S. book, Stalin’s Secret Agents, by M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein, reminds us that Stalinist Russia was not at war with Japan until the very last few days of the war (after Hiroshima). Japanese ships were still coming and going out of Vladivostok through nearly all the war. Most importantly, the authors point out that Stalin did not want a quick and overwhelming allied victory in the Pacific until he had moved troops from Europe and was positioned to take a share of the spoils.

The left are a menace at all times and in all places. There is a kind of insanity that pervades everything they do. It is impossible to understand their actions then, but you would think they would be at least somewhat ashamed of what they did, and I suppose their denial of the facts does show that they are unwilling to accept the reality of the kinds of things they once stood for. But how different are they now if this is the kind of thing that comes out of their keyboards. Colebatch again:

There was some applause at the end of my speech but it did not take long to discover that, with a conservative author winning a major national literary prize, probably, as blogger and wag Tim Blair said, for the first time ever, the leftie luvvies were furious (Tim telephoned Perth to tell my daughter). Twitter was going berserk even before the ceremony finished. Leading the charge was one Mike Carlton, whose own entry, a rehashing of a naval engagement in World War I, had not won a prize. (I had previously written critically of another book by him and received a delightful note from him replete with four-letter words, a practice that is said to have got him sacked from the Sydney Morning Herald.)

He claimed my book was both “badly researched” and “fiction,” though how it could be both I am not sure. It could only be untrue if I or the ex-soldiers, sailors, and airmen who contacted me with first-person accounts, the various memoirs, unit histories, and official documents that I quoted from, were lying. I believe the man who risked their lives to defend our country were telling the truth. Where possible I quoted service numbers to help ensure accuracy.

Carlton also claimed that one of my informants, W.S. Monks — who said a strike at the end of the war prevented him and other men returning from Japanese prison-camps from being disembarked from HMS Speaker — did not exist, despite the fact an hour-long interview with him exists on YouTube.

They have no shame, these people, only their delusions.

Australia’s not so secret war

Tim Blair has gone after the critics of Hal Colebatch’s Australia’s Secret War: How Unionists Sabotaged Our Troops in World War II which had the audacity to win the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, or at least shared one with someone else. This has apparently sent the unusual suspects off into a frenzy.

What is astonishing to me is that the sabotage continued past the Soviet Union entering the War. We had the same problem in Canada, but the moment that the Soviet motherland was under attack, everything changed in a nanosecond. That unions were still at it in Australia long after, and especially out here where we were all by ourselves in the South Pacific, shows an insanity that defies description.

Yet in the Orwellian world we seem to inhabit, apparently nothing is ever settled if it in any way is discrediting to the left. You cannot even mention that Alger Hiss was just maybe perhaps possibly a Soviet agent without bringing half the world down on your head. So I won’t.

The interesting part about this episode is that the left understands how important it is to fortify the line and never concede anything ever no matter what. The critics of Colebatch’s book would have to do an awful lot of research to seriously erode the evidence that has been brought together by a serious scholar, which is what Hal Colebatch is. It is the usual demonstration effect. Do not go there if you know what’s good for you. So once again I won’t.