The ESB and the Culture of Entitlement

I note that hundreds of ESB workers gathered today outside the ESB headquarters on Dublin’s Lower Fitzwilliam Street. They don’t want to pay a €78.4 million annual dividend they owe to the exchequer, because the ESB pension fund is in a €1.6 billion shortfall and this would be hard. The unwashed workers of the private sector can only dream of the day they can say this to their creditors .

Forgive me for not shedding a tear for some of the best paid workers in the country (average salary: €85,000 before pension contributions).  These are people who enjoy almost unparalleled job security in a semi-state company that operates in a tightly regulated market ensuring that they have no effective competition.

This is the organisation that demanded an old lady in Offaly, Teresa Treacy, be thrown in jail for refusing the ESB access to her own land where she tended a plot of native trees. Contrast this with the widely loathed outfit that is Shell. Shell in fact pleaded for the Rossport Five to be released from prison after they had violated a court injunction and interfered with  Shell’s pipeline in Mayo.

ESB workers, admitted Brendan Ogle, secretary of the ESB group of unions, are “spoiled”. Undoubtedly a man of the left, he added:

“The trade union movement collaborated in the creation of the wealth stroke debt and we made sure that the gap between that those who have and those who haven’t in society grew through the eighties, through the nineties, into the noughties to the day the IMF arrived on the door.

And the trade union movement and the Labour party collaborated in that for 25 years and none of us did anything about it.”

I disagree with the popular idea that the gap between rich and poor increased in Ireland during the boom years. But there are different kinds of equality and inequality. Public sector and semi-state unions created a protected caste of workers before the 1990s, and they still cushion their clientele from market forces today.

The power of Ireland’s unions was well symbolized in Dublin’s unattractive Liberty Hall, for a long time the country’s tallest building. For decades, unions  made sure that companies were run for the benefit of their workers, and not the customer. This led to absurdities like all banks being closed at lunchtime, the only time when most working people could actually go to the bank. Their power has diminished somewhat, but that sense of entitlement, that led the puzzlingly beatified union leader Jim Larkin to beat workers who refused to go along with his strikes in their own homes, is still with us.

America’s Immigration Policy as a Global Welfare Scheme

Here’s a very telling insight into how immigration policy is decided in America today. A group of 13 female Senators are criticizing the current immigration overhaul plan precisely because of its emphasis on a merit system. Their argument? Because many foreign women are less educated and less skilled than men, it would amount to discrimination against them.

Well, I suppose it is no more nonsensical than the New York Times recent suggestion that the illegitimate children of US servicemen and bar-girls abroad should be fast-tracked to US citizenship. Because one thing America has a crippling shortage of right now is illegitimate children.

This is only the natural conclusion to Ted Kennedy’s 1965 Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act, which placed considerations like family reunification and being extra nice to colored people ahead of America’s economic interests. It has prevented the country from maintaining a national character, as had been done previously by the National Origins Formula, to preference the nationalities of people already in the United States. That’s why 80-90 percent of immigrants are now from the Third World, whereas previously 97 percent of immigrants came from Europe.

America’s emphasis on family reunification has been grossly unfair. It squeezes out many talented young people from developed nations like Britain who would be a real credit to the country and would love to be there. As the interesting Stephen Steinlight has pointed out, a single immigrant can end up getting citizenship for most of a village in Mexico, or even half the population of an entire town in the West Bank.

Is America importing the best? No. Immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, places that supply the vast majority of newcomers, are less entrepreneurial than natives and immigrants from countries like Canada and Korea. Current Hispanic immigrants and their descendants are not advancing economically and entering the middle class, as did immigrants of old. Instead, America has been importing an underclass of people with an illegitimacy rate of 53%, who are crime-prone, and have test scores that are not reaching the level of whites even after two and three generations.

Yet nobody cares. When it comes to handing out visas, it is simply each according to her need.

See also:

Randmesty?

Preserving Freedom Can Mean Restricting Immigration

Are Women The Privileged Sex?

The Privileged Sex

In my days as an undergraduate, I submitted myself to medical experiments for money. That was a low point, but there were no substantial risks. Being part of a treatment group, I occasionally stayed overnight with other members in accommodation close to a laboratory. One thing I observed in this group was that there were no females. There was not one in the group of about 20 people I stayed with. I never saw any around the facilities, apart from staff. When I put this to a researcher, I was informed that the use of women in clinical trials is discouraged, and has been for decades. The impetus for this was the Thalidomide scandal in the late 1950’s, when pregnant women in a clinical drug trial ended up giving birth to children with fin-like arms or legs. Non-approved drugs and treatments can harm males as well, but that doesn’t seem to matter as much.

Visiting Dublin’s woefully-named Mountjoy Prison as a law student, I could not help get taken aback by the radically different conditions male and female prisoners have to endure. The men of Mountjoy are confined to an actual prison.  Its a bad prison at that, one of the last in Europe where they still practice slopping out. The women, on the other hand, live in self-contained apartments superior to what many people live in at university.

Thus, women get the benefit of medicine once its safety has been verified using male guinea pigs. Much like how they benefit from the safety that requires the sacrifice of men and boys in combat. Much like how they benefit from welfare programs penned by mostly male legislators, or easier justice dished out by mostly male jurists. Examples of female privilege are abundant, now and throughout history. Why the notion that women have a tougher time of it than men has so thrived in face of these facts is quite the mystery.

Its a problem that’s recently been tackled by my one of my favorite historians, and my favorite military theorist, Israel’s Martin Van Creveld. Van Creveld’s The Privileged Sex has just been published in English, being previously only available in German. His is a thesis well worth reading.

Van Creveld contends that for every disadvantage women have endured, whether man-made or as a result of biology, they enjoy a privilege that that is equally or more important to their lives. These range from being spared the obligation to fight in wartime, to the hardest of labors in general. Too many female writers, inclined to see oppression in all places and times, ever mention these privileges (guilty males, even less so). Our perceptions of gender relations have also been skewed by popular stories concerning the alleged historical exploitation and oppression of women. Many of these are without foundation, and if seriously scrutinized turn out to be invented for political-ideological reasons. Feminists have, for instance, portrayed societies that permitted a man to have more than one wife as sexist, with a view of women as being like cattle. Yet in many places this arrangement was simply a way of looking after widows. It was the best possible way of looking out for their welfare at a time when unattached women would have had a difficult time even surviving. They claim women were persecuted in Nazi Germany, yet German women were more likely than men to vote for Hitler. Another example is the portrayal of witch-hunts as part of the general oppression of women. Yet how could these have been anti-woman, when in some countries just as many or more men were executed for witchcraft? In nearly all places men accused of witchcraft were more likely to be executed or face stiffer penalties than their female peers. Not to mention that it was overwhelmingly women accusing other women of being witches, and prosecutions for witchcraft often reached their height under female rulers like Catherina De Medici, Mary Queen of Scots, and ‘Good Queen Bess’ herself. Indeed, some authorities, like James VI of Scotland, had to abolish the general commission against witchcraft because it had become a mere vehicle to settle scores among mostly female rivals.

Similarly, we are told that women do not thrive in the fields of science and engineering because males have kept them out of these vocations. But not even Stalin was able to force females to study technical subjects. Today, officialdom is most satisfied that girls vastly outnumber boys in our medical schools. Yet very few have addressed the disastrous consequences of this. After their expensive training, in most places covered or heavily subsidized by the taxpayer, only a tiny percentage of female graduates remain full-time doctors. They largely avoid the most stressful work in hospitals. A huge proportion quickly leave the profession entirely. In Ireland, only 10% of female GPs intend to pursue full-time practice in the long-term. Some, like the journalist Kevin Myers, have estimated the figure at even less than that, remarking that this is “not a health system; it is a first day on the Somme”. Thus, we in the developed world have to make up the difference by importing doctors from poor countries that need them most.

Discourse on domestic violence is similarly dominated by a presumption that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators. For a long time, studies have been casting doubt on this perception. Erin Pizzey, the founder of the UK charity today known as Refuge, has been subjected to death threats and boycotts because of her claims that most domestic violence is reciprocal, and that women are equally as capable of violence as men. Reciprocal violence is indeed the most common pattern, and a study of 55,000 US military personnel found that women are just as likely to physically assault their partners. We also know from the US Dept. of Justice’s Survey of State Prison Inmates that women are 24% more likely to kill their children than men, and 32% more likely to kill relatives, children included.

So why does the myth of the oppressed female continue?

Fans of Richard Dawkins might say it is the result of a mental gene, or meme, that predisposes people to believe in certain things. It does seem that we have a natural distaste for seeing women harmed or treated harshly. You are 200 times more likely to see a man die on screen than a woman. It is telling that Hector says to his wife in The Iliad that men would rather die than watch women dying. Its one of the reasons that even in Israel, where women are conscripted, very few serve in combat units and they are exempt from reserve duty. Van Creveld says that in his decades of teaching at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, not one female student has ever had to miss one of his classes for this obligation that affects many of the young men. Its hard to quantify all the ways women are treated gently and paternalistically in the sphere of law and order. When police respond to an incident, women are much more likely to get off with a warning than men. This applies to every single category of offence, and is even true when factors like prior arrest records are controlled for. In Britain, women are six times as likely to be acquitted of manslaughter, and have an easier time convincing juries that they acted under provocation in cases of murder. Their charms work on male cops, jurors, and judges as much as female ones. This happened even to female Nazis on trial for their roles in the euthanasia program.

The love does not appear to be reciprocal, if only from the amount of fictional works by female authors imagining a future utopia without men, from Mary Bradley’s 1890 novel Mizora to more recent works like Joanna Russ’s The Female Man (1975) or Dorris Lessing’s The Cleft (2008). Are there any males fantasizing of a world without women? Nonsense. We like them too much.

The Complaining Sex

This brings us to something in the nature of women. Of course, feminism as an ideology should never be synonymous with being female. But there are forms of feminism that give political expression to something almost inherent in the gender. Women are the complaining sex; they seek attention and often seethe with a mysterious resentment. Freud might have put this resentment down to penis envy. Coupled with male deference, we have a prescription for disaster. Now, not all women possess the traits just described. History is replete with examples of women with nothing but contempt for those living on the privileges of their gender. The first known female commander, Queen Artemisia of Caria, Van Creveld tells us, told Xerxes that Greeks were as superior to Persians as men are to women. Queen Elizabeth I was fond of cracking what would be called today misogynist jokes.

Yet the grievances of woman appear to be as endless as they often are baseless. In the medical sphere, Florence Nightingale was perceptive enough to admit in Cassandra that many female patients are merely seeking attention. Patterns of suicide (a supreme form of complaint) in the sexes are a good indicator. Men are significantly more likely to kill themselves than women. But worldwide, women are four times as likely to attempt suicide. Perhaps they are remarkably incompetent. Perhaps they are practising the fine art of appearing vulnerable.

Is feminism related to this dynamic? Just as female patients, such as Freud’s Dora, have based their lives around imagined illnesses and relished the attention, so others find a purpose in grievances, real or imagined.

Some insight may come from the anorgasmic woman, or female frigidity. This has caused no end of anguish in men, who are expected to bear the blame. Yet frigidity is quite a often a ruse; a way to lash out at a male partner. Simone de Beauvoir was quite candid about the subject, finding the courage to address it after being ‘cured’ of her frigidity by the American writer Nelson Algreen. What de Beauvoir writes in The Second Sex on the subject of frigidity could well describe the mindset of the extreme feminist. Replace the word ‘frigidity’ with ‘feminism’ and you get the point:

Resentment is the most common cause of feminine frigidity; in bed the woman punishes the man for all the wrongs she feels she has endured, by offering him an insulting coldness. There is often an aggressive inferiority complex apparent in her attitudes… She is thus revenged at once upon him and upon herself if he has humiliated her by neglect, if he has made her jealous, if he was slow in declaring her intentions, if he took her as a mistress while she wanted marriage. The grievance can flare up suddenly and set off this reaction even in a liaison that began happily… Frigidity… would appear to be a punishment that woman imposes as much upon herself as upon her partner; wounded in her vanity, she feels resentment against him and against herself, and she denies herself the pleasure.

I will end with another quote, from Van Creveld himself, in the final chapter of The Privileged Sex: “It would be nice… if from time to time, amid the torrents of invective feminists spew at us, we occasionally heard a pleasant female voice saying “thank you, Mate”.”

With that, I and most men would be quite content to be guinea pigs and beasts of burden for the privileged sex.

See Also: Women in Combat

The Inaugural Young Professional Lobby for Israel

On Wednesday I joined over 70 young professional types for a lobby of Parliament organised by Israel Connect (the youth wing of the Zionist Federation). This was held in partnership with Christian Friends of Israel. It was also the first of its kind, in being exclusively for the under-30’s.

Israel’s Deputy Israeli Ambassador, Alon-Roth Snir, opened with a briefing on the Middle East situation, focusing on the political turmoil in the Arab states and the problems Israel faces when nobody is quite sure who will be in charge next door in a year’s time, or even six months. While its hard to point to a time where the situation in the Middle East has been rosy and ordered, this level of uncertainty is unprecedented.

The Deputy Ambassador grabbed attention in February this year when he was disrupted by a gang of 40 thugs at the University of Essex who caused a lecture to be cancelled. Essex, I am told, has been traditionally dubbed ‘Red Essex’, but such displays of fanaticism are not uncommon. The sheer level of vitriol on campus can be intimidating for people with pro-Israel leanings, to the extent that many I know admit its not worth the trouble of speaking out.

Here is where lobbying events like this can help. What was most remarkable at the Israel Connect lobby was the amount of sincere cross-party support for Israel on display in Westminster. Young friends of Israel, who often have to deal with so much hostility, particularly  on campus, should be heartened to see the level of backing we actually have.

While I am sure one doesn’t have to be a particularly discerning reader to realize that my own views are far from left-wing, when it comes to Israel, opinions should no be split on a left/right basis. I am quite convinced that this is what the enemy has been attempting to do; namely, trying to bring the entire left into their camp with the aim of automatically precluding anybody of  a ‘progressive’ bent from supporting Israel. This is an effort all friends of Israel have to fight ferociously. It is perhaps our single biggest challenge.  The middle 80% of the population should be entirely open to us.

So while I am a Conservative, I most enjoyed hearing from people like Labour’s Fabian Hamilton MP, who spoke about his positive experiences in bringing Muslim colleagues to Israel to witness the reality there.

Louise Ellman MP also highlighted the importance of  putting across Israel’s case to our MPs, especially those who may not have strong opinions on Israel, so that they are not solely hearing misleading information from the anti-Israel side.

All well and good, but I would add that this is an effort that should not be confined to MPs.

Fabian Hamilton 2- IMG_4055

Fabian Hamilton MP speaking.