Old folk at lunch

Thursday, July 28, 2005

THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF WOOLLY HATS



Just to take our minds off more serious concerns for once, I thought I might point out something I have noticed that other people might or might not be able to confirm from their own experience. I have noticed that people whom Australians would call "drongoes" (foolish and stupid people) are very prone to wearing woollen hats -- beanies etc. Australians very rarely wear hats of any sort even when they should (given our high incidence of skin cancer) so people wearing warm head-coverings do tend to stand out. And from listening to such people and observing them for many years I am much struck by the low-grade intelligence that seems to prevail among such wearers. No doubt that would not apply in really cold countries such as Russia where furry hats significantly enhance survival but Australia is a generally warm country where few people feel the need for top-deck insulation. So when I see a beanie-clad head in the streets, I immediately identify the person concerned as one best kept away from: as someone with a probably significant tendency to crime and violence. Having been for some years a boarding-house proprietor in a down-market suburb, I am well aware of the fact that crime and violence is a common way for drongoes to cope with life.

So why the association between social pathology and a desire to keep the head warm? I think it is no mystery at all. The brain uses up about 20% of the body's energy. It is a huge consumer of calories in relation to its mass. So the head is normally the last part of the body that feels cold. Having the brain inside the head working is like having a radiator inside it. And as far as I am aware, active brains use up more calories than less active ones. So the people with the relatively inert brains put out less heat from the head and thus feel the cold in their heads more than others do. So an unusual need for warm head-coverings suggests an unusually inactive brain. That's my theory anyway.

Friday, July 22, 2005

PATRIOTISM, IMMIGRATION AND THE SUDANESE



After having lived for various periods of time in the USA, the UK and India, I am firmly convinced that Australia is the best place in the world in which to live. I imagine that 99% of Australians would agree with that. But I have never been patriotic. I have always seen faults as well as advantages. I am pleased to be an Australian but not proud to be Australian. If I identify with any group at all, it is with the Anglo-Saxon population worldwide. The Anglos versus the non-Anglos seems to me the differentiation that is most useful in identifying locations of civility and moderation.

But I don't see even the Anglos as a whole as being the pinnacle of anything. Most things in this life could be improved (with the exception of J.S. Bach) and I think that applies to populations as well. But how? I see some role for eugenics as long as it is voluntary and the success of the NYC Ashkenazim in almost eliminating Tay-Sachs disease from their community is a shining example of that. And human genetic engineering will undoubtedly in the future be a great boon too.

One thing I would particularly like to see is the minimization of the "Yobbo" or "Chav" component of Anglo-Saxon communities. And I think that SELECTIVE immigration is the only way of doing that which is currently feasible on a large scale. Just because the percentage of "good" genes (however defined) in one population is slightly higher than the average does not mean that there are no similarly "good" genes elsewhere. So a rational immigration program would aim to bring in the bearers of those good genes from wherever they are found and thus dilute the percentage of "bad" genes in the immigration-receiving country. And that I think is broadly what Australia's past immigration policy has done. We have very civilized Asian minorities which greatly enhance the amenity of our country.

The "refugee" component of our immigration program is however a worry. There appears to be some degree of selectivity even in that component of our program but only time will tell if it is sufficient. The disastrous situation in Sudan has led the Australian government into allowing into Australia a considerable number of Sudanese and I see them even in the streets of suburban Brisbane. Given the social pathologies that are uncontrovertibly associated with populations of African origin worldwide, I think it is most likely that the quality of life in Australia will be diminished by the Sudanese presence. I make no apology for predicting that Australian kind-heartedness will have been to our detriment in this instance.

So I am glad Prof. Fraser has raised the issue for debate here in Australia.

In case anybody thinks that I get it wrong above by attributing to genes what should be attributed to culture, I can only say that studies come out almost daily which show that more and more human attributes are genetically determined. Read here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here just for starters.