Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Thought Leader

"The Leftist intellectual" could be an alternative title to this


Little boys and girls in ancient Athens grew up wanting to be philosophers. In Renaissance Florence they dreamed of becoming Humanists. But now a new phrase and a new intellectual paragon has emerged to command our admiration: The Thought Leader.

The Thought Leader is sort of a highflying, good-doing yacht-to-yacht concept peddler. Each year, he gets to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative, where successful people gather to express compassion for those not invited. Month after month, he gets to be a discussion facilitator at think tank dinners where guests talk about what it’s like to live in poverty while the wait staff glides through the room thinking bitter thoughts.

He doesn’t have students, but he does have clients. He doesn’t have dark nights of the soul, but his eyes blaze at the echo of the words “breakout session.”

Many people wonder how they too can become Thought Leaders and what the life cycle of one looks like.

In fact, the calling usually starts young. As a college student, the future Thought Leader is bathed in attention. His college application essay, “I Went to Panama to Teach the Natives About Math but They Ended Up Teaching Me About Life,” is widely praised by guidance counselors. On campus he finds himself enmeshed in a new social contract: Young people provide their middle-aged professors with optimism and flattery, and the professors provide them with grade inflation. He is widely recognized for his concern for humanity. (He spends spring break unicycling across Thailand while reading to lepers.)

Not armed with fascinating ideas but with the desire to have some, he launches off into the great struggle for attention. At first his prose is upbeat and smarmy, with a peppy faux sincerity associated with professional cheerleading.

Within a few years, though, his mood has shifted from smarm to snark. There is no writer so obscure as a 26-year-old writer. So he is suddenly consumed by ambition anxiety — the desperate need to prove that he is superior in sensibility to people who are superior to him in status. Soon he will be writing blog posts marked by coruscating contempt for extremely anodyne people: “Kelly Clarkson: Satan or Merely His Spawn?”

Of course the writer in this unjustly obscure phase will develop the rabid art of being condescending from below. Of course he will confuse his verbal dexterity for moral superiority. Of course he will seek to establish his edgy in-group identity by trying to prove that he was never really that into Macklemore.

Fortunately, this snarky phase doesn’t last. By his late 20s, he has taken a job he detests in a consulting firm, offering his colleagues strategy memos and sexual tension. By his early 30s, his soul has been so thoroughly crushed he’s incapable of thinking outside of consultantese. It’s not clear our Thought Leader started out believing he would write a book on the productivity gains made possible by improved electronic medical records, but having written such a book he can now travel from medical conference to medical conference making presentations and enjoying the rewards of being T.S.A. Pre.

By now the Thought Leader uses the word “space” a lot — as in, “Earlier in my career I spent a lot of time in the abject sycophancy space, but now I’m devoting more of my energies to the corporate responsibility space.”

The middle-aged Thought Leader’s life has hit equilibrium, composed of work, children and Bikram yoga. The desire to be snarky mysteriously vanishes with the birth of the first child. His prose has never been so lacking in irony and affect, just the clean translucence of selling out.

He’s succeeding. Unfortunately, the happy moment when you are getting just the right amount of attention passes, and you don’t realize you were in this moment until after it is gone.

The tragedy of middle-aged fame is that the fullest glare of attention comes just when a person is most acutely aware of his own mediocrity. By his late 50s, the Thought Leader is a lion of his industry, but he is bruised by snarky comments from new versions of his formerly jerkish self. Of course, this is when he utters his cries for civility and good manners, which are really just pleas for mercy to spare his tender spots.

In the end, though, a lifetime of bullet points are replaced by foreboding. Toward the end of his life the Thought Leader is regularly engaging in a phenomenon known as the powerless lunch. He and another formerly prominent person gather to have a portentous conversation of no importance whatsoever. In the fading of the light, he is gravely concerned about the way everything is going to hell.

Still, one rarely finds an octogenarian with status anxiety. He is beyond the battle for attention. Death approaches. Cruelly, it smells like reverence.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Why are Parsi elites welcomed, while Jewish and Chinese elites are reviled?

Foreign ethnic elites who have a disproportionate influence in their host society's economy are called market-dominant minorities. The two best examples are the Chinese who settled southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, and the Ashkenazi Jews who lived mostly in the Pale of Settlement in eastern Europe, and more recently in western Europe and its offshoots.

In her book World on Fire, Amy Chua looks at how the presence of market-dominant minorities can easily spark ethnic tensions, as the lower-status natives feel envy and anger toward what they come to perceive as an intrusive race of bloodsuckers. Again the Ashkenazi Jews and the Chinese provide the strongest examples -- no matter where they go, the locals usually come to view them with antipathy. Occasionally that escalates into full-blown ethnic riots, like the pogroms against Jews in eastern Europe and the series of anti-Chinese riots in Indonesia.

Explanations for the psychology underlying the native masses' hatred of ethnic elites tend to portray the envy and resentment as an inevitable consequence of the presence of market-dominant minorities. Yet there is a clear counter-example of a market-dominant minority group that has been welcomed wholeheartedly by most of the host society -- the Parsis of India, who have a disproportionate influence at the higher levels of the Indian economy.

Even though they are only one case, it is such a strong counter-example that it must make us reconsider what truly underlies the psychology of anger toward ethnic elites. The Parsis, like the Jews and the Chinese, are not a native ethnic group of the society where they have strong influence, having come from Persia into India. (While they do share some genetic and cultural heritage, it would still be like a group of Armenians settling and wielding much control over the economy in Ireland.) They also came to their high status gradually through greater intelligence and industriousness, not through force. And they have been living in their host society for hundreds of years -- plenty of time for the seeds of envy and rioting to have been sown.

And yet, there has been no history of pogroms against the Parsis. If anything, they're seen as more of a national treasure, not that Indians worship them or anything. All the ingredients for an explosion of ethnic hatred and rioting would seem to have been present for centuries, so what gives?

The general consensus by native Indians and by European observers, for at least the last several hundred years, is that the Parsis are incredibly charitable, preferring to spread around their wealth. (See some representative quotes in their Wikipedia entry.) They themselves emphasize this aspect of their community in the phrase "Parsi, thy name is charity." Most importantly, they aren't only generous toward one another, but toward the masses of their host society. A 20th-century Parsi captain of industry, J.R.D. Tata, was right out of the progressive mold of Andrew Carnegie and Milton S. Hershey.

So, it looks like the primary way that they've avoided the fate of so many other market-dominant minorities is to not behave like a bunch of greedy gold-hoarders. They don't give away all of their wealth, but they do donate enough to prove their generosity. Moreover, no one sees them as doing so without any real care for others -- i.e., just being charitable to gain approval or to keep the would-be rioters content. All observers seem to agree that it's out of a sense of duty and empathy.

And it's empathy where the Ashkenazi Jews and the Chinese are lacking. I touched on this in a longer post about why they tend not to be very good social scientists. Popular stereotypes everywhere that they've settled depict Jewish and Chinese people as brusque and rude, whereas the opposite stereotype prevails about the Parsis. They would also not fail basic tests of the recognition of facial emotions like the East Asians do. And unlike Jews, the equally high-IQ Parsis haven't produced scores of fruitcake intellectuals and political "thinkers," from Karl Marx to Ayn Rand, whose failures stem from nothing more than their inability to get other people.

In general, looking over this list of famous Parsis, they don't seem to produce many autistic or nerdy people. It looks more like professionals, entrepreneurs, and entertainers. (The Han Chinese have over 10,000 times as many people as the Parsis, and yet they can't produce a single Freddie Mercury.)

What was it about their niche in India that preserved their empathy, unlike other market-dominant minorities like the Chinese and Jews? Beats me, I don't know their history well enough. Something about the types of white-collar jobs they held must not have selected for having a dim and suspicious view of other people, unlike the case of Jewish tax farmers in Europe.

Their story should give us hope that it is possible for an ecological niche to select for higher average IQ, as well as for business skills, while not corroding our social nature. Sadly they do have very low birth rates, but then what brainy group these days does not?


Friday, November 8, 2013

Move over Mrs Queen - Philip is our king


Like a surreal sitcom or a movie Ealing never made is the island in the South Pacific where Prince Philip is worshipped as the ‘son of the local mountain god’.

In the jungle there are bamboo tabernacles ‘filled with royal mugs and Jubilee cake tins.’ A mouldering pile of newspaper clippings about Prince Charles’s organic farms is a Holy Relic.

The locals who pray to His Royal Highness on ‘telephones made of creeper vines’ expect him any day to appear from the clouds, bringing forth a ‘huge shipment of fridges, guns, trucks and washing machines,’ says Matthew Baylis, like ‘some messianic version of Sale Of The Century.’ Is it truly Prince Philip they want or the TV show’s host Nicholas Parsons?

It is easy to mock. Baylis, who because he’d joked: ‘I’ve brought English weather with me!’ was taken by the natives for a witch-doctor, thus the one personally responsible for the endless unseasonal rain, tries to portray himself throughout this book as: ‘a clumsy clown blundering into that frail, delicate mountain society.’

He certainly has a hard time keeping a straight face when he outlines the pidgin dialect, where ‘bugarup’ means broken and ‘rubba belong fak-fak’ is a condom.

Prince Philip’s private secretary, Brigadier Sir Miles Hunt-Davis, is Big Ass Dear Summer Lance Daisies. If HRH didn’t know that before, and is reading this over his breakfast egg, I don’t want to be responsible for his choking to death laughing. But it could happen.

The cult began, it seems, when the Royal Yacht sailed around Polynesia about 40 years ago. The good natives on Tanna, ‘a kidney-shaped isle of 18,000 souls,’ 18 km in extent, which cost the Empire £23,362 annually to run and which yielded £10,719 in sandalwood sales, liked the sound of this man of French, German, Russian and Danish descent, who’d operated a searchlight during the Battle of Mattapan and had diverted enemy shells away from HMS Wallace in the war.

Prince Philip was ‘an all-action chap, the very kind they admired on Tanna,’ and, furthermore, he ‘didn’t belong to France or England or America, or any of the other nations the Tannese knew.’

They saw him as a foundling or changeling out of mythology, a baby who’d been taken from Corfu in 1922 in ‘his orange-crate bed,’ distinguished himself as a fighting hero, married a princess and lived in a castle. Covered with his medals, he looked made of metal.

This is no nuttier, in fact, than Germanic myths about Siegfried or the Vikings and Beowulf.

A theme in Baylis’s book, indeed, is how religions evolve, the combination of imagination, fancifulness and wishful thinking.

The Tannese believe Buckingham Palace, ‘a big house with soldiers around it,’ means ‘back-e-g-home-paradise,’ because the prince ‘is sick with longing for Tanna.’ Like Siegfried yearning for Valhalla.

Good sport that he is, HRH has sent ceremonial clay pipes and signed photographs to the islanders, two in 1978 and another in 2000, ‘veritable icons’ kept in a hut on stilts.

In gratitude and reciprocation, Prince Philip has been promised ‘three virgin wives’, if only he’d return to his village.

Kwin Lisbet, his current wife, could come, too, they added.

Were he to get Big Ass Daisies to dispatch, on his behalf, an autographed copy of his gripping book, Competition Carriage Driving, I have no doubt that Siko Nathuan, the current chieftain, would extend the islanders’ warm invitation even to Fergie, who could be allowed a job in the kitchens.

As Baylis acknowledges, it all sounds ‘barking mad’, the product of ‘mud-bespattered tribesmen, deluded by their home-grown drugs’. Baylis has had experience of the latter.

‘Kava’ is a lethal brew, made from a fibrous root, milled in a mincing machine and mixed with rainwater and spit. It is drunk straight from a coconut shell and makes you collapse and have visions. Baylis also knows what it is like to spend months eating nothing but yams: ‘My stomach began to boil with angry gasses.’ So he has done his best to be as the Tannese are, and he fell in love with them.

The touching brilliance of Man Belong Mrs Queen is that the ‘machete-wielding cultists’ are taken seriously. Like a professional anthropologist, Baylis comes to appreciate how a society that seems at first so alien is nevertheless ‘inherently sensible and logical.’

For example, if Prince Philip is ‘unpopular, misunderstood and mocked’ at home, the Tannese can see that his belief that ‘rising populations lead to epidemics and food shortages’ is not an ‘attack upon the poor and hungry’ but makes utter common sense.

How weird, in fact, Europeans must seem to the South Seas islanders - pale ghosts appearing on floating houses, killing people with ‘exploding sticks.’ When Westerners took their shoes off, it seemed that they had no toes - the Tannese hadn’t seen socks before. The maddest thing the natives ever heard was the story of wives in England and the U.S. who go out to work in order to earn money to pay for the women who look after their children. Indeed, what kind of topsy-turvy world is it that has nannies?

And what about taps installed by well-meaning missionaries? The tribal elders destroyed them, because otherwise what would women do all day, if they couldn’t spend three hours walking to the well and three hours walking back? With time on their hands they’d gossip and squabble, that’s what. There’s wisdom there.

If the Tannese exchange vegetables and daughters with neighbours at festivals, don’t we do that at the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells?

Furthermore, if young tribesmen, at initiation ceremonies, are ‘starved and fed rotten food, beaten and deliberately bewildered,’ how does that differ in essence from a traditional English public school education?

The only thing that worried me was the National Dress - ‘a cover for the penis made of a dried palm-like pandanus leaf and secured in place by a belt around the waist’ - because you’d not get away with wearing that in Windsor Castle, though you probably could in Balmoral.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Famous 'Nazi in all of us' experiment manipulated: Australian psychologist

ARGUABLY, there is no more famous experiment in psychology. In 1962, Dr Stanley Milgram took a group of normal people, put them in a laboratory, and ordered them to electrocute someone.

Two thirds obeyed - applying, they thought, 450V shocks to an actor who writhed in apparent agony. For a world looking to explain how the Holocaust had happened, how ordinary people could commit unspeakable acts simply because they were ordered to, the Milgram experiment offered an insight. It is an experiment that has found new resonance with each generation - with those looking to understand the My Lai massacre, the Rwanda genocide and Abu Ghraib.

There is just one problem. According to an Australian psychologist who has reviewed the original recordings of the test and spoken to some of those involved, it could be that Milgram's experiment explains nothing at all - except his willingness to manipulate results. "It became clear to me that Milgram had an idea of the kind of results he wanted," Gina Perry said. "He enacted the experiment to ensure that result".

Ms Perry's investigations began as an attempt to interview the original subjects of the experiment for a book. However, the more she researched, the more she became concerned that they had been treated unfairly by Milgram - and by history. "It's a bit heart breaking to listen to the recordings. These people have been so unjustly depicted. They have been portrayed as evil incarnate."

The volunteers were told that they were testing the extent to which punishment aided learning. Split into two groups, one half would be learners - who would have to remember word pairs - the other half teachers, who would electrocute the learner if he or she made a mistake. In fact, the learners were all actors.

If the teachers refused to electrocute the learners, an experimenter would prompt them to do so four times before giving up. What is not widely known though is that there were 24 iterations of this experiment, with slightly different setups. In only one - the famous one - did 65 per cent obey. "Overall, over half disobeyed," said Ms Perry.

Even among those who obeyed, the experiment was not as described. On one occasion far from having only four promptings, a subject was ordered 26 times before obeying, Perry recounts in her book Behind the Shock Machine.

"The common perception is that they were all slavishly obedient - that they entered a zombie-like state of compliance," Ms Perry said.

"When you listen to the recordings you can hear people bargaining. They're concerned, they're worried, they're distressed.

"You can hear them emphasising the right answer, wanting to get the learner to pick up the right answer." On several occasions, people even offered to swap places with the learner.

Then there was the issue of how many actually believed it was real. Candid Camera was the most popular TV show in the US at the time. A lot of people told Ms Perry they expected to see a TV crew afterwards. A lot said they had spotted tell-tale flaws in the experiment. "The whole focus of this experiment is that there's a Nazi camp guard inside all of us," Ms Perry said.

"We've come to accept it as a statement about humankind." She added, however, that it simply cannot show that.

Other psychologists cautioned that Milgram, who died in 1984, could not be so easily dismissed. "Yes, this undermines certain findings, but this effect has been found in many other experiments," Gisli Gudjonsson, from King's College London, said.

"In those days ethical rules were different. We mustn't lose sight of the fundamental truth though, that ordinary people - most people - are capable of very cruel things when put in certain circumstances," she said.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Downton's etiquette errors give Countess the vapours: Stately home hostess reveals blunders in period drama dining scenes

Fiona, 8th Countess of Carnarvon

It is enough to make a butler lose his composure. For Downton Abbey has been accused of basic etiquette errors – by the lady of the house.

The Countess of Carnarvon, the mistress of Highclere Castle where the series is filmed, has criticised the ITV1 drama’s repeated faux pas.

Among them, says Lady Carnarvon – who writes a blog in which she reveals how a stately home should really be run – are the incorrect setting of the table for dinner and the lack of servants.

‘It’s the little details,’ she says. ‘Glasses are back to front and things are set wrong.  ‘Setting up the table is an art. Knives, forks and spoons are set from the outside in, beginning with the bread knife and working through each course to cheese.

‘A pat of butter is impressed with the intertwined Cs and coronet and placed in front of each guest.

‘The wine glasses and water tumbler are arranged to the top right of each setting. Downton prefer a different arrangement.

‘I don’t want to step on people’s toes so I’ve tried a few times to  say, “Do you know you’re setting the table wrong?” I do feel, after  all, that it’s my dining table and obviously we wouldn’t set it like that. 

‘They look at me blankly and I sort of try once more and then I give up… and now I try not to look because it’s easier.’

Other tips from Lady Carnarvon, whose husband the 8th Earl of Carnarvon owns Highclere, near Newbury in Berkshire, include butlers wearing white gloves to keep fingerprints off the glasses.

She has previously said a stately home of Downton Abbey’s size would, in the early 20th century when the programme is set, have had up to 60 domestic staff.  At the end of the third series, the fictional Crawley family had only about a dozen servants.

Her observations will delight  the small group of Downton  fans that takes to the internet  after each episode to point out anachronisms.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kevin Rudd - hero or psychopath?

I have argued elsewhere that many leading Leftists are psychopaths so I find the analysis below reasonable. The point that psychopaths have some advantages is made below and I also have an academic article to that effect

A GIANT ego. A narcissist. A micro-manager. An impulsive control freak. A haphazard and secretive decision maker.  This is not what Kevin Rudd's political enemies think of him. It's what many of his colleagues do.

Whether openly or whispered in hushed tones to journalists, this is the picture once painted by his fellow ministers, MPs, public servants and diplomatic associates.

It's a decent rap sheet - one that easily tops the usual bile directed at colleagues or opponents in the den of iniquity that is politics. But nothing that borders outlandish.

Then, one day, the dam broke. The outspoken and literally outgoing member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons took to Twitter and publicly declared his former leader a "psychopath". Among other less than genteel terms.

Gibbons is a man who is routinely and rightly pilloried for making crude, stupid and nasty remarks in the name of cheap publicity.  But this time the term took off, which perhaps says more about Rudd than it does about Gibbons.

So is it true? Is the man running this country really a psychopath, given the aforementioned ferocious descriptions appear to tick plenty of the boxes that define such a diagnosis?

Firstly, one has to demystify the term.  Such a designate is no longer deemed by experts to be the exclusive domain of murderers, serial killers and rapists.  No, you could indeed be sitting next to one. Your boss could be one, or, perhaps more likely, your high-flying CEO in his spacious corner office suite.

In fact prominent Australian psychotherapist John Clarke claims that between one and three per cent of the Australian population could be certifiably deemed psychopathic, and he warns not just police to keep a look out but companies and political powerbrokers.

Anthropologist Stephen Juan suggests that one in 10 companies are headed by a corporate psychopath.

It seems psychopaths are everywhere, and they are more likely to wear a suit and tie, than carry a bloodied weapon or be pointing a sawn-off shotgun.

"One of the misconceptions about psychopathy itself is that people think a psychopath goes out and kills people. By definition, they are somebody that is recklessly indifferent to any physical, emotional harm they may cause," criminal mind expert Steve van Aperen said.  "There are certainly many undiagnosed psychopaths in business and politics."

Juan says often people get confused between the terms psychopath and psychotic, which makes people less inclined to label someone as the former and thus grouping them with such fiends as Ivan Milat, Charles Manson or Martin Bryant. The distinction is reality, he says. Those suffering from psychosis have lost grip on reality. Those deemed psychopathic are very much aware of it, and are attempting to control it.

They are often easy to spot, Juan says, and follow a defined set of traits that set them apart from normality.  "The corporate psychopath is the type of psychopath that gets into politics because they are usually exceedingly ego-oriented - it is all about them. So even when they get criticism, it is still all about them," he says.  "They love the centre of attention. Good or bad they see themselves being the centre of the universe.

"They are the great users, the great manipulators, they often have aides and underlings do work for them, and expect blind loyalty but they don't give loyalty in return. They use everyone for gain.

"Everything is about them. If you talk to them in a conversation about your issues, they will immediately turn it around to their issues. It's as if no one exists other than them."

They are always exploiting issues for their own gain, says Dr Juan.

They climb the corporate ladder very effectively, they are often very charming and articulate, often very good looking which they use to their advantage.

It is the only thing they exist for. Themselves. They can't be trusted, they will lie to your face and deny they have when they are caught. They never own up to their own actions, they are always blaming others. They are polar opposites in public and private, with the former a place for their charm offensive to be exercised, and the latter a dark place of indifference and loathing.

It's the psychopath's modus operandi; a persona that they can't escape from, a disguise that soon becomes arduous to hide.

In a bid to unmask those with psychopathic tendencies and prevent crime, Canadian criminal psychologist and FBI adviser Robert D Hare created the Psychopathy Checklist in the early 1990s that remains the gold standed for reference.

Its defined set of traits include impulsiveness, superficial charm, grandiosity, callousness, manipulative, lack of remorse or guilt, propensity to blame others, poor behavioural control, egocentric.

Whether unfairly or resoundingly just, Kevin Rudd's name has oft been etched beside those traits, by members of his own camp or from across enemy lines.

His impulsiveness is well documented, from rushed decision making done without proper consultation with colleagues or stakeholders, to his "policies on the run" such as the changes to the Fringe Benefit Tax system that  crack down on salary-sacrificed cars, to the detriment of the struggling car industry.

On these rash methods, he is internationally renowned.  "He makes snap announcements without consulting other countries or within the Australian government," said a US Embassy official of Kevin Rudd in a leaked memo to the Whitehouse.

Superficial charm? The opposition have climbed aboard this freight train, frequently referring to the PM as fake. Even Fairfax editors denounce the man who is smiling, caring Kevin the Queenslander, but is vastly different behind closed doors, where no cameras lurk.

"Much has been written and said about Kevin Rudd when the camera is rolling and Kevin Rudd in private," editor of the Launceston Examiner, Martin Gilmour said.  "Based on my experience on Thursday morning when the doors closed, he was about as engaged and charismatic as a silt rake."

Grandiosity? Egocentric? Enter stage left, former opposition leader and intimidating hand-shaker Mark Latham.   "I mean this guy is a once-in-a-century egomaniac," said Mr Latham in his jilted-lover tome.

Poor behavioural control? The RAAF air hostess who copped a Rudd spray because his special meal wasn't available; the foul-mouth tirade delivered while filming a video message in Chinese; the exodus of 16 staff from his office in his first year as PM due to his "short fuse and unreasonable demands" and the current rumours that 80 per cent of his staff hate his guts.

In a News Corp Australia survey of 30,000 voters last month voters were given a list of words to describe Rudd.  The results were stark: smug, manipulative and egotistical.

Claude Minisini spent 15 years within the FBI's behavioural science division. In his opinion, Kevin Rudd is your classic organisational psychopath. Ticks every box, allegedly.

"One of the traits of a psychopath is a lack of remorse. Has Kevin Rudd shown that? In relation to the pink batts saga, has he ever come out and said sorry to individuals for him making that bad decision? The answer is no," Ms Minisini said.

"Is he indifferent, or does he rationalise having hurt or mistreated someone else? I suppose he ticks that box too. I would certainly say that he is impulsive. Has he failed to adequately plan ahead? I suppose he ticks that box too. Is he irritable and aggressive? Yes, he probably ticks that one.

Research conducted by Western Sydney University professor Peter Jonason claims that while Machiavellianism is apolitical in its nature, there is a "left-leaning bias for those individuals high on psychopathy".

"Psychopathy may thrive in more liberal areas because of the lessened focus on law and order. And thus, it is within liberal areas that psychopathy may have a freer reign, therefore, freeing up men to benefit from such an approach to life," he said.

But there are other known traits of the psychopath that Rudd bypasses. Psychopaths are usually submerged in sexual promiscuity (not sure a visit to Scores counts) and have poor marital relations.

Despite the obvious shortcomings, several clinical psychologists and researchers believe possessing the traits of a psychopath could be advantageous for someone seeking political power.

A research paper lead by Emory University's Scott Lilienfeld explored such issues, pinpointing which US presidents were more likely to exhibit psychopathic traits.

"Some psychopathic traits, such as interpersonal dominance, persuasiveness and venturesomeness, may be conducive to acquiring positions of political power and to successful leadership," the paper claimed. It cited Winston Churchill and Lyndon Johnson as perfect case studies, claiming both possessed very real characteristics of a psychopath, but who "managed to parlay these traits into political success".

<a href="http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/kevin-rudd-hero-or-psychopath/story-fni0cx12-1226694584192">SOURCE</a>

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Charles Chenevix Trench

(Obit. of 29 Nov 2003)

Charles Chenevix Trench, who died on Wednesday aged 89, became the author of a wide variety of popular historical works after serving as an Indian Army officer in the 1930s, winning an MC during the Second World War and then becoming a district commissioner in Kenya.

Employing a crisp, anecdotal style, he wrote 19 books, including three classic accounts of British India: The Indian Army and the King's Enemies, 1900-1947; The Frontier Scouts; and The Viceroy's Agent.

His interest in the 18th century led to Portrait of a Patriot, a biography of the demagogue John Wilkes who nevertheless established important constitutional freedoms, and The Royal Malady, a witty study of George III's madness which drew on the unpublished papers of the King's physician, Sir George Baker, and the diary of Dr John Willis. He also produced The Western Risings, a judicious account of the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, and Grace's Card, Irish Catholic Landlords 1690-1800.

Charley Gordon was a reassessment which revealed a humorous element in the Victorian general who had been attacked by Lytton Strachey; and The Great Dan showed the strong imperial streak in the Irish nationalist leader Daniel O'Connell. There was also The Poacher and the Squire, a survey in which Chenevix Trench drew on personal experience, since he admitted that he had done "a bit of big game poaching" in India, although he had also been concerned with game preservation in Kenya. Two other amusing potboilers were A History of Horsemanship and A History of Marksmanship, which reflected his love of the outdoors.

The Desert's Dusty Face, describing his career in Kenya, was a collection of true stories which abounded with Wodehousian wit and jibes at American hunters. It was written to make readers feel as though they, too, were making a safari around a remote district.

A descendant of an Archbishop of Dublin and the son Sir Richard Chenevix Trench, a member of the Indian Political Service, Charles Pocklington Chenevix Trench was born on June 29 1914 at Simla, India. He was educated at Winchester, concluding after a year that he must be rather "wet" because he had not been beaten; he proceeded to take steps to remedy this deficiency.

"With some difficulty, and after several warnings about untidiness and so forth, I succeeded," he recalled in a letter to The Telegraph. "It was, of course, disagreeable, but left no permanent scars on my personality or my person . . . For my last three years I spent most of my spare time fishing, and tying trout flies for sale at the local tackle-shop. Although these pursuits contributed nothing to the honour of the house, I was neither persecuted nor mocked for them."

After reading PPE at Magdalen College, Oxford, Chenevix Trench was commissioned into Hodson's Horse, the Indian cavalry regiment, which was serving in Persia, Iraq and Syria on the outbreak of war. He then attached himself to the 12th Lancers for the closing weeks of the British First Army's advance into Tunisia in 1943.

The following year he was sent on a course at Benevenuto in Italy, from which he took "French leave" to visit a brother Hodson's Horseman, who was GSO 1 of 8th Indian Division. This led to his attachment to 1st/12th (Northwest) Frontier Force Regiment with which, as a fluent Pushtu speaker, he was put into the Pathan company. When the company commander was killed, Chenevix Trench took over, and a few weeks later led a successful night attack on the German position on the last ridge overlooking Assisi.

By then, however, his regiment had tracked him down, and demanded his instant return to Syria. Here he learned that he had been awarded an immediate MC for his conduct during the attack near Assisi; the citation recorded that Major Chenevix Trench had "set a magnificent example of coolness and disregard for his personal safety", and that "the success achieved by C Company was largely due to his inspiration and leadership".

In 1946 Chenevix Trench retired from the Army to follow his father into the Indian Political for the 18 months until Partition; he then became district commissioner in the Kenyan colonial government. He served in the Northern Frontier district, before moving to Nanyuki. In addition to learning Swahili, he was the only officer in the district who spoke Somali, essential to understanding the problems posed by infiltrators from over the border.

When he made his two-week safaris, Chenevix Trench insisted on being accompanied by the troop of tribal police, which was mounted either on Abyssinian ponies, or on horses which they had been allowed to catch on European ranches for £5 each; this enabled him to get a far closer feel for the people and their way of life than if he had travelled by vehicle. The only interruption came during the Mau Mau emergency, when his combination of Kenyan and military experience led him to be brought back to Nairobi as GSO 2 (Civil) to the Director of Operations.

During the run-up to independence, the colonial administration decided to hold a census of the population for the benefit of the incoming native government. But one British officer of the King's African Rifles, who was responsible for the count, was unsure about how to record five soldiers who had registered as "Jesus Christ", and four who claimed to be "Agatha Christie". Chenevix Trench, the returning officer, was writing an article about Jacobean table manners when he was asked for advice. Without looking up, he replied "Doesn't matter a bugger provided you don't call any of them Son of God!"

After independence in 1963, Chenevix Trench retired once again to embark on a new career. His cousin, Anthony Chenevix-Trench, who had just been appointed Headmaster of Eton, invited him to join the staff. However, he decided instead to go to Millfield, in Somerset, where he taught English, Swahili, Urdu, history, symbolic logic and polo for six years. He now retired for the last time, to Nenagh, Co Tipperary, to concentrate on his books, and on hunting, fishing and farming; one year he named two turkeys Hitler and Goebbels, so that he would not mind killing them for Christmas.

For 20 years he composed a lucid monthly article on current affairs for that pillar of Empire, Blackwood's Magazine, under the pseudonym "The Looker On"; he also reviewed books regularly for the Irish Times and the Irish Independent.

Charles Chenevix Trench married, first, Jane Gretton, with whom he had a son, who predeceased him, and two daughters. After their divorce he married Mary Kirkbride, with whom he had two daughters.


Explanation of the name:

Melesina Chenevix was a society beauty of Huguenot extraction.  In 1803 she married Richard Trench, who was also well-connected.  She was so highly regarded by her two sons Francis and Richard that, after her death, they changed their surnames to Chenevix-Trench.  Richard went on to become Archbishop of Dublin in the Church of Ireland (Anglican).  He was also a well-regarded poet and an intellectual of his day. He had 14 children and  Charles Pocklington Chenevix Trench  (above) was one of his grandsons (via Richard Chenevix Trench).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Cuckoo’s Calling: publishers' embarrassment at turning down JK Rowling detective novel

Publishers have been left red-faced after discovering that they rejected the latest novel by JK Rowling, one of the world’s best-selling writers.

The book, named The Cuckoo’s Calling, was critically acclaimed but had sold fewer than 500 copies before the Harry Potter creator was unamsked as its author at the weekend.

One leading editor bravely admitted that she had unwittingly turned down the crime novel, which was billed as the debut of a former soldier, because it failed to stand out from all the other manuscripts sent in by hopeful authors.

Kate Mills, publishing director of Orion, said she thought the work was “perfectly decent, but quiet” and confessed she could not find a unique selling-point with which to market it.

The editor added: “When the book came in, I thought it was perfectly good - it was certainly well written - but it didn't stand out.

“Strange as it might seem, that's not quite enough. Editors have to fall in love with debuts. It's very hard to launch new authors and crime is a very crowded market.”

The Cuckoo’s Calling was published in April under the name of “Robert Galbraith”, who according to his biography was a former plainclothes military policeman who had left the Army in 2003 to work in the private security industry.

It achieved glowing reviews and laudatory quotations for the cover from well-known crime writers.

However, suspicions were aroused by the author’s assured writing style and skill at describing women’s clothes and people’s appearances, leading some readers to speculate that an established female novelist might be behind the book.

Further detective work by The Sunday Times uncovered the fact that Mr Galbraith and Miss Rowling shared the same publisher and editor, and on Sunday she confessed to the deception.

The 47-year-old Harry Potter author said: "I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience.

"It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name."

The publishers said The Cuckoo’s Calling had sold some 1,500 copies in hardback, but figures compiled by Neilsen Bookscan suggest that the number bought from British retailers was actually 449.

This changed dramatically overnight with the revelation of the book’s actual author. Orders on Amazon.co.uk shot up, propelling the novel from 5,076th place to the top of the sales chart.

It was not clear why Miss Rowling offered the book to other publishers before it was accepted by Sphere, an imprint of Little, Brown, which last year published her first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy.

Her spokesman said: “I can confirm the book was treated like any new novel by a first-time writer. We are not going into any more detail than that or commenting further.”

This is not the first time that Miss Rowling has faced literary rejection. In 1996 the manuscript of her first Harry Potter book was turned down by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury picked it up for an advance of just £1,500. The series went on to sell more than 450 million copies worldwide.

Her decision to choose a male pen name raised a few eyebrows. She was forced to publish the Harry Potter books as “JK Rowling” because her publishers were worried that a woman’s name on the cover might put the target audience of young boys.

Miss Rowling’s spokesman said she could not comment on why the author chose a male pseudonym.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

In praise of porridge

When determining the greatest invention in human history, one would usually consider the wheel, the Internet or even sliced bread.  But one academic, an expert in the study of DNA, has found it was something far simpler - a humble bowl of porridge.

Alistair Moffat, who has studied the development of early humans through his research into DNA markers, has argued the move of hunter-gatherer societies into farming was pivotal to the building of nations.

Speaking at the Chalke Valley History Festival, he said the "greatest revolution in our history" came from the development of farming, which in turn brought porridge.

Before porridge, he claimed, women were compelled to breast feed their children until the age of four or five years, because fragile milk teeth could not cope with the meat and vegetation enjoyed by hunter-gatherers.

The action of breast feeding, a natural contraceptive, as well as the necessity of carrying babies around as they moved, meant women often had long intervals between giving birth.

Mr Moffat, whose next book is entitled "The British: A Genetic Journey", claimed feeding children porridge left women free to have more children, who then went on to populate the Earth.

Speaking at the Chalke Valley Festival this week, he told an audience: "This is true.

"The greatest revolution of our history wasn't the invention of the iPad, it wasn't the invention of the steam engine, it wasn't all the things you might might lay your mind to.

"The great invention, the greatest revolution in our history was the invention of farming. Farming changed the world because of the invention of porridge."

Mr Moffat, whose company Britain's DNA recently found Prince William had Indian ancestry, added: "Hunter-gatherer bands were mobile, they had to be because they ended to move between ranges.

"And they could not carry infants - more than one infant - around with them at a time. Imagine North American Indians with a papoose.

"It couldn't be the case that hunter-gatherer bands had lots of children at the one time.

"They ensured that this could not be the case in one particular manner; nursing. Breast-feeding makes it very difficult for a woman to conceive.

"In hunter-gatherer societies, infants were breast fed for much much longer until the age or four or five years old. The reason for that is that mother's milk was their sole source of class one protein, because of the softness of their teeth.

"Their teeth simply could not cope with the roots, fruits and berries and so on that we're the staple of the hunter-gatherer diet.

"When farming was invented and cereals were grown, charred, ripened and mashed into a pulp - porridge - it could be spooned into the mouths of infants and was extremely nourishing. And it allowed women to stop breast feeding after one or two years and so the birth interval halved and the population rocketed.

"Farming also involved not mobility but stability; the ability to nurture land and make it production, to look after your domesticated animals and so on. And as populations expanded they had to move. All of these surplus children had to move.

"And you watch a particular chromosome marker rippling across Europe at this time."


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A wise woman

UK mum Fran Bunce sells all her belonging to raise money for deposit on home

JUST how far would go to get a leg up on the property ladder? One determined young mum is living in an empty shell after selling everything she owned to scrape together a home deposit.

Industrious Fran Bunce wasn’t going to let lack of funds lock her out of home ownership, so the 28 year old embraced the "whatever-it-takes" approach to raise enough money for a $7000 deposit she needed to get off the rental roundabout.

The software engineer used websites and classified ads to flog all her worldly goods.

Items sold by the mother-of-one included a motorbike, sofa, bed, mirrors, fridge-freezer, light fittings, dining room table, cushions and dishwasher.

She even parted with many of her prized possessions, including precious jewellery and ornaments, and sold most of her vast collection of shoes - while her nine-year-old daughter Summer sold her toys and games, the Daily Mail reports.

To supplement her fundraising, Miss Bunce, who lives in Bath in England, also retrained as a beautician so she could work evenings and weekends.

She told the Daily Mail she was thrilled to own a house  but is now living in an empty space after selling everything.

"I have sold whatever there is you can sell, you wouldn’t believe it. I had friends messaging me asking if I was selling my whole life," Ms Bunce said.

"I’m over the moon to have finally done it, but I’ve been left in a bit of an empty shell now. I’ve got a mattress on the floor and my daughter has got her bed and that’s about it."

Miss Bunce decided to sell her possessions after she worked out she could halve her monthly outgoings if she bought a house.

She sold many of her items to strangers and managed to negotiate prices with fellow tenants for white goods like her fridge and dishwasher.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Are you a precariat, new affluent worker or elite? Study reveals there are now SEVEN social classes in the new jargon-filled British class system

  • Study comes five decades after hit Frost Report sketch on three classes featuring John Cleese and the Two Ronnies
  • Elite people make up six per cent and have savings of more than £140,000 and top university education
  • The 'Precariat' group sits at bottom of the classes and make up 15 per cent of Britain and earn £8,000 after tax
  • More than 160,000 people have taken part in BBC's Great British Class Survey

By Steve Doughty, Social Affairs Correspondent


There was a time when the  British class system was quite simple.

Often the subject of satire – most notably in the Frost Report sketch of the 1960s – it basically came down to Upper, Middle and Lower.

Half a century on, however, the BBC and academics claim that is outdated and we now fall into seven social groups.

Scroll down for video and to take the test yourself

Top dogs: There is an 'elite' - just 6 per cent of people - who have savings of more than £140,000, many social contacts and education at top universities, according to the BBC's Great British Class Survey

Top dogs: There is an 'elite' - just 6 per cent of people - who have savings of more than £140,000, many social contacts and education at top universities, according to the BBC's Great British Class Survey

At the bottom: The 'precariat' group is 'marked by the lack of any significant amount of economic, cultural or social capital', said Professor Mike Savage, of the London School of Economics and Political Science

At the bottom: The 'precariat' group is 'marked by the lack of any significant amount of economic, cultural or social capital', said Professor Mike Savage, of the London School of Economics and Political Science


Wealthy: The average age of this group is 46 and they tend to work in management or traditional professions and mainly come from middle class backgrounds

For instance, if you’re a van driver on less than £160 a week who doesn’t like jazz, you must be a member of the Precariat.


On the other hand, if your income is over £89,000 a year, you have a comfortable  private pension, and you go to dinner  parties with lawyers and dentists, you belong to the Elite.

The new social scale, backed by the BBC and called the Great British Class Survey Experiment, tries to take into account the music we listen to, the people we mix with, and the likelihood that we use social networks, to determine where we stand.

More than 160,000 people took part in the poll via the BBC website.

New class

New class: Only six per cent of people are classed as Technical Middle Class. People in this group tend to mix with people similar to themselves and enjoy highbrow culture and tend to live in the suburbs

Bang in the middle

Bang in the middle: The New Affluent Workers are youthful and are sit in the middle in terms of wealth. Many of the group tend to live in former manufacturing areas in the Midlands and North West

On the decline

On the decline: A much smaller percentage than may have been expected are in the Traditional Working Class group, which has the oldest average age at 66

Financially insecure

Financially insecure: The 19 per cent of Britain that are classed as an Emergent Service Worker tend to be young and have low scores for saving and house value but spend time enjoying emerging culture and socialising

Freshly-identified classes include a Technical Middle Class, which contains aircraft pilots, radiographers and social researchers, and New Affluent Workers, children of the old working class who went to new universities, many of them people working in sales.

pugh eigtht cartoon.jpg

Call centre workers and chefs fall into an ‘Emergent Service Sector’ of educated young people in insecure jobs who are well versed in popular music, sport and social networks.

The Precariat – a word coined from precarious and the Marxist jargon proletariat – make up nearly one in six of the population.

The survey said they have tiny incomes, no savings, rent their homes, have the least cultural interests of any social class, and are ‘the most deprived’.

A high concentration of the Precariat, the survey claims, can be found in Stoke-on-Trent.

One of the academics who drew up the new scale,  Manchester University sociology professor Fiona Devine, said it  presented a ‘more sophisticated, nuanced picture of what class is like now’.

She added: ‘It is what is in the middle which is really interesting and exciting, there is a much more fuzzy area between the traditional working class and traditional middle class.’

But author and social commentator Jill Kirby said: ‘This survey has kept sociologists busy, but it is a doubtful use of BBC resources. It does show how difficult it is to categorise people.

'But it also shows there is plenty of social mobility – even the Precariat can escape more easily than the working class of 50 years ago.’

The BBC scale, produced with the help of the state-run Economic and Social Research Council and academics from six universities, follows the 1980s teachings of French philosopher Pierre Bourdieu, who said class depended on culture, taste and who you mix with as well as the kind of job you have.

The report said: ‘We have been able to discern a distinctive elite, whose sheer economic advantage sets it apart from other classes.

'The fact this elite group is also shown to have the most privileged backgrounds is an important demonstration of the accentuation of social advantage at the top of British society.’

It said fewer than four out of ten people are counted as part of traditional working or middle classes.

The Frost Report sketch from 1966 made fun of the British class system but was acclaimed for its simplicity.

It featured Ronnie Barker saying to a tall John Cleese: ‘I look up to him because he is upper-class.’ He then added to small Ronnie Corbett: ‘But I look down on him, because he is lower-class. I am middle-class.’

Now click here or scroll down to take the test.

which one graphic.jpg

Experts: Professor Mike Savage (left), of the London School of Economics and Political Science, carried out the research with Professor Fiona Devine (right), of the University of Manchester

Experts: Professor Mike Savage (left), of the London School of Economics and Political Science, carried out the research with Professor Fiona Devine (right), of the University of Manchester


Friday, June 21, 2013

OBITUARIES: Donald William McElwain AO, ED, FBPsS, HonFAPS 1915-2000.

(Mac was Head of the Dept. of Psychology during my time at UQ -- JR)

Don McElwain was one of the foundation members of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies and was a member of its interim Council from 1962 to 1964 and Council from 1964 to 1974. He was the Chairman of the Psychology, later Education and Psychology, Panel from 1973 to 1978. The Institute was to occupy much of his commitment and interest. He had deep respect for the vision of the Hon. WC Wentworth and the founding members who contributed so much to ensure the secure foundation. The initial work was to salvage at-risk languages but the focus quickly broadened to include the widest coverage of all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life. McElwain gained great satisfaction from the progress of the Institute with its broad compass of academic and social contribution. In an interview (15 February 1969) recorded by the then Director of the Queensland Art Gallery, Laurie Thomas (1976:248-52), he said, `In general I am in agreement with the policies of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. I think the policy of land ownership by Aboriginals has important psychological implications in that a person owning land has, in part, freed himself from the overwhelming feelings of dependency that many Aboriginals have'.

He spent many long hours late at night or on early foggy mornings at Canberra airport as the sole Queensland member travelling to Council and committee meetings in the early days of the Institute. He had great admiration for the steady and careful direction of Fred McCarthy, the founding Principal. He quickly recognised the important contribution of the members of the early Council. With the appointment of Dr Peter Ucko he saw changes which brought rapid expansion that created a university-like structure which profoundly advanced the growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies in Australia. The growth, and particularly the controversies, in archaeological and linguistic scholarship brought him much excitement and pleasure.

His interest in cross-cultural psychology goes back to childhood in New Zealand where the Depression influenced the community. He was conscious of the prevailing narrow attitude towards Maori and was concerned at the failure of many to appreciate the richness and complexity of their culture and heritage.

Donald McElwain was born in Wanganui in the North Island of New Zealand on 8 May 1915. He was educated at Wanganui Technical College where he won a scholarship to Victoria University College in Wellington. The Depression was still pressing on the rural communities and the University of New Zealand permitted students to complete first-year university at selected high schools before transferring to Wellington, so his first-year studies were done concurrently with his last year of secondary studies.

He took his BA in 1933 in Education and Philosophy, and his MA with First Class Honours in Education in 1934. While at the university he was a resident of Weir House. Catherine Webb, later to become the wife and life-long partner and collaborator of Ron Berndt, was a student at the same time. He was awarded the New Zealand Postgraduate Overseas Scholarship to undertake post-graduate studies at University College London. On completion of the degree in 1937, Dr McElwain returned to Wellington where he was appointed as a statistician with the Social Science Research Bureau of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

In 1939 he was appointed as Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Western Australia where Hugh Fowler was Head of Department. In 1940 both he and Fowler were members of the Davidson expedition (Fowler 1940), working with Aboriginal groups from the Gasgoyne area of northwestern Australia.

In June 1942, following the appointment of Fowler to the position of Director of Psychology in the newly established section of the Adjutant General's Branch, he was called up by the Australian Military Forces and appointed Assistant Director and Officer in charge of the Research Unit of the Australian Army Psychology Service. He remained a consultant to the Australian Army for more than 40 years and was the Colonel Commandant of the Australian Army Psychology Corps from 1976 to 1980. He served as a member of the interim Council of the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

While serving with the Army during the war he was involved in a large number of research projects concerned with the selection and psychological adjustment of serving soldiers. Later he was to advise the Australian Army about selection procedures for a locally raised military force in Papua and New Guinea. This was a difficult task, given the large number of languages in that country. This ruled out the use of traditional group assessment procedures. Very few of those tests which claimed to be culture-free lived up to their title, so new techniques and instruments had to be developed. The resultant work was a milestone in that a psychological instrument was developed which could be used with very remote populations and at the same time had high validity when used with standard Australian populations and special populations such as the deaf (Kearney and McElwain 1970).

In 1995 he joined with Dr Alex Sinclair, a consultant psychiatrist from Melbourne and Col. EF Campbell, the Director of Australian Army Psychology, to conduct the first survey into the mental health of Papuan and New Guineans (Sinclair 1957). When the University of Papua and New Guinea was established, there was an attempt to encourage him to apply for the vice-chancellorship, but he steadfastly refused, arguing that it was essential to have a Papua New Guinean in that position.

In 1946 he had been seconded to the University of Melbourne to establish the Department of Psychology until the professor-designate, Oscar Oeser, was able to be released to take up duty. McElwain was appointed the Senior Lecturer in Melbourne and, in 1952, Associate Professor in that Department.

In November 1955 he was appointed foundation Professor and Head of Department at the University of Queensland where he remained until his retirement in 1983. The university had rejected efforts to introduce the teaching of anthropology and there seemed to be little likelihood of the establishment of the discipline in Queensland. By his initiative he was responsible for the formation of anthropological teaching in Queensland. The demand for psychology was strong and when a new lectureship was established the job description required an appointee to have breadth in social theory. This led to the appointment of Dr Donald Tugby who held dual qualifications in anthropology and psychology. Subjects were introduced in anthropology. From this initial appointment the demand for further teaching grew until an independent Department of Anthropology and Sociology was established in 1964.

Over the years McElwain became a recognised leader in the field of cross-cultural psychology. The University of Queensland was the first Australian university to offer courses in cross-cultural psychology. He also introduced a subject, The Psychology of Art', in which Aboriginal art had a predominant place.

In 1949-50 he was a Nuffield Fellow in the Social Sciences at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. In 1963 he was invited to be a Senior Technical Expert of the United Nations Technical Assistant Board (International Labour Office), attached to the Government of India. In 1971 he was appointed Visiting Professor at the School of Education, University of the South Pacific.

He became an Associate of the British Psychological Society in 1944 and was elected a Fellow in 1948. He was a member of the Australian Association of Philosophy and Psychology, and, in 1946, was its President. In 1944 he was one of the seven Fellows and Associates of the British Psychological Society who signed a petition requesting the formation of an Australian Overseas Branch. He was Chairman of the Australian Branch for 1958-59 and was Editor of the Australian Journal of Psychology from 1949 to 1960. During this time he produced the AJP's first twelve volumes and journal's two monograph supplements. He was a foundation member of the Society and served on its Council and a number of committees. In 1973 the Society conferred on him the rare honour of Honorary Fellowship (Anon. 1974). There is a limit of 15 Honorary Fellows in a membership that currently stands at over 12,000.

Much of his most influential writing was in the form of submissions to governments and others. In the early 1960s he found that the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Fred Schonell, had nominated him to prepare the University of Queensland submission on child welfare legislation. With John Keats they examined the Aboriginal legislation to see how it would be affected by the changes. The result was that they petitioned the Attorney-General and brought about major change in, not one, but two pieces of Queensland legislation.

Through his professional life of over 40 years, Professor McElwain was a devoted and accomplished teacher. His clear lucid style matched with his academic integrity and scholarship made him one of psychology's greatest exponents. He was equally committed to promoting Aboriginal and cross-cultural studies. Thomis (1985:396), in highlighting the achievement of the University of Queensland, reported that `McElwain and Sheehan in psychology, have ... reached new heights in their respective fields and brought distinction to the university through their achievements'. He was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday list 1981 for services to psychology.

Donald McElwain married Marie LeRoy in Perth in 1939. She was a distinguished artist and they had a son, Sean, and a daughter, Suzanne. Marie died in 1983. In 1986 he married a fellow psychologist, Dr Madge Horan, who survives him.

He was an imposing man but of gentle disposition and never possessive or territorial. He was impressive. In a recollection of the early period of the Australian Council for Educational Research, Moore (2000:18) describes a perceived demarcation dispute: `Beneath him (the psychiatrist Ashburner) the psychologists initiate radical selection methods under Captain McElwain. At ACER the Major is referred to as the "office boy", McElwain is referred to as "God".'

There will never be another psychologist quite like Don McElwain. Universities have changed and no longer value the great generalists and integrators. The place of great teachers and scholars is not recognised unless they are also great publishers. During his academic career the climate was receptive to new ideas and he unselfishly devoted himself to the values of a university life that rejoiced in the success of colleagues and students.

When he died in the early hours of Monday 26 June at the age of 85, a chapter closed in the history of academic and professional psychology in Australia.


Anon. 1974 Honorary Fellowship, Australian Psychologist 9, 81-2.

Fowler, H.L. 1940 Report on Psychological Tests on the Natives in the North of Western Australia, Australian Journal of Science 2, 124-7.

Kearney, G.E. and D.W. McElwain 1970 The Queensland Test Manual: A Manual for Use with Assessment of General Cognitive Capacity under Conditions of Reduced Communication, Australian Council for Educational Research, Melbourne.

Moore, D. 2000 Memoirs of Psychology 1943-6, A Continuation of Memoirs 1939-1943, The ACER, InPsych 22(4), 8-20.

Sinclair, A. 1957 Field and Clinical Survey Report of the Mental Health of the Idigenes of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, Government Printer, Port Moresby.

Thomas, L. 1976 The Most Noble Art of Them All: The Selected Writings of Laurie Thomas, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane.

Thomis, M.I. 1986 A Place of Light Liberty and Learning: The University of Queensland's First Seventy-Five Years, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane.


McElwain, D.W. 1944 The Scope of Mental Testing, Medical Journal of Australia 126, 573-5.

-- 1944 Some Considerations in Selecting the Army Test Battery, Bulletin of Industrial Psychology and Personnel Practice 2, 1.

-- 1945 Psychology: Wartime Lessons for Post-war Industry, Institute of Industrial Management, Melbourne (28pp).

-- 1949 The Use of Films in Teaching Psychology. In N.H. Rosenthal (ed.), Films in Instruction, Robertson & Mullens, Melbourne, 44-8.

-- 1949 The Establishment of Norms for Heights and Weights of Infant and Pre-school Children in the City of Melbourne, Melbourne City Council, Melbourne (48pp).

-- 1949 The Application of Psychological Methods in the Armed Forces of Australia. In F. Baumgarten (ed.), Progres de la Psychotechnique 1939-1945, A. Francke, Berne, 72-83.

-- 1950 A Review of Psychology in Australia, Journal of Occupational Psychology 24, 141.

McElwain, D.W. and A. Lubin 1950 A Note on the Notion of Psychological Significance, Australian Journal of Psychology 2, 43-51.

McElwain, D.W. 1951 A Suggested Method of Combining Criterion Groups, Australian Journal of Psychology 3, 47-54.

-- 1955 A Near Century of Psychology in Melbourne, unpublished ms (Psychology Part III Final Lecture 1955), Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, October (39pp).

McElwain, D.W. and D.M. Griffiths 1957 Report on the Possibility of Using Psychological Procedures as an Aid to Recruitment in the Pacific Island Regiment, unpublished report for Department of Army, Headquarters Northern Command, Brisbane.

McElwain, D.W. 1960 The Psychological Imperative, Australian Journal of Psychology 12, 40-57.

-- 1963 Report to the Government of India on an Aptitude Programme for the Selection of Trainees for Industrial Training Institutions, International Labour Office, Geneva.

Oeser, O.A. and D.W. McElwain 1963 Notes on Psychological Research. In W.E.H. Stanner and H. Shells (eds), Australian Aboriginal Studies: A Symposium of Papers Presented at the 1961 Research Conference (Canberra, ACT), Oxford University Press, Melbourne (for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies), 346-52.

McElwain, D.W. 1966 Transcript of Talk ... to the Executive Committee of the Australian Pre-school Association, May 1966, Special Schools Bulletin 3(4), 12-15.

-- 1966 The Cognitive Abilities of Aborigines, University of Queensland, unpublished paper delivered to second general meeting of AIAS (42pp).

-- 1967 Cognitive Factors in Counselling and Selection, Report SPC/TMS/T16, South Pacific Commission: Technical meeting on the selection and assessment of pupils for promotion or vocational guidance, Goroko, 1967.

-- 1967 Studies of Some Aspects of the Cognitive Ability of Aboriginal Children, unpublished paper delivered to research seminar on education for Aborigines, Monash University, Centre for Research into Aboriginal Affairs, (18 leaves).

Kearney, G.E. and D.W. McElwain 1967 The Queensland Test Manual: A Manual for Use with Assessment of General Cognitive Capacity under Conditions of Reduced Communication, unpublished ms, Department of Psychology, University of Queensland.

McElwain, D.W. 1968 Some Aspects of the Cognitive Ability of Aboriginal Children, Special Schools Bulletin 5(1), 1-14.

-- 1970 Problems of Aboriginal Education. In In-service Conference on the Education of Aborigines ... Report, 13-20.

-- 1970 Report, Professorial Board, Committee Appointed to Investigate Examining Procedures (rev. ed.), University of Queensland, St Lucia (iv, 132pp).

Kearney, G.E. and D.W. McElwain 1970 Queensland Test Handbook: A Test of General Cognitive Ability Designed for Use under Conditions of Reduced Communication, Australian Council for Educational Research, Hawthorn (181pp).

-- 1970 The Queensland Test: A TV Training Videotape (two versions), University of Queensland Television Unit, Brisbane.

McElwain, D.W. 1973 Remarks on Testing in the Pacific. In L.J. Cronbach and P.J.D. Drenth (eds), Mental Tests and Cultural Adaptation. Papers Presented at a Conference held in Istanbul on July 19-23, 1971 under the Sponsorship of the NATO Advisory Group on Human Factors and the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council, Mouton, The Hague, 211-15.

McElwain, D.W. and G.E. Kearney 1973 Report to the Public Service Board on the Selection of Non-standard Populations for the Australian Public Service, unpublished report.

Bianchi, G.N., D.W. McElwain and J. Cawte 1973 The Dispensary Syndrome: Origins of Bodily Preoccupation and Sick Role Behaviour. In G.E. Kearney, P.R. deLacey and G.R. Davidson (eds), The Psychology of Aboriginal Australians, John Wiley & Sons, Sydney, 341-51 [originally published as `The Dispensary Syndrome in Australian Aborigines: Origins of Their Bodily Preoccupation and Sick Role Behaviour' in British Journal of Medical Psychology 43, 375-82 (1970)].

McElwain, D.W. and G.E. Kearney. 1973 Intellectual Development. In G.E. Kearney, P.R. deLacey and G.R. Davidson (eds), The Psychology of Aboriginal Australians, John Wiley & Sons, Sydney, 43-56.

Kearney, G.E. and D.W. McElwain 1975 Psychological Research in Aboriginal Australia [Review of Australian psychological studies], Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Newsletter 4, 27-55 (also as a separate publication).

-- 1975 Survey of Psychological Research in Aboriginal Australia: for the Psychology Panel [the Psychology Advisory Committee], Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (49 leaves).

McElwain, D.W. 1976 Problems of Problem Solving. In Kearney and McElwain (eds), Aboriginal Cognition: Retrospect and Prospect, 133-41.

Kearney, G.E. and D.W. McElwain (eds) 1976 Aboriginal Cognition: Retrospect and Prospect, Proceedings of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Conference on Cognition, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra, and Humanities Press, New Jersey.

Kearney, G.E. and D.W. McElwain 1976 Introduction. In Kearney and McElwain (eds), Aboriginal Cognition, 1-15.

Callan, V.J. and D.W. McElwain 1980 General Considerations in the Research with Ethnic Minorities, Australian Psychologist 15, 181-7.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Researchers claim people who give their children 'soft' names are left-wing

The name you choose for your baby gives away your political affiliation, new research has revealed.

Conservatives tend to choose more masculine-sounding names for their children with lots of K’s and B’s.  They are also fond of choosing names with lots of D’s and T’s because they sound tough.

The study showed that people with more left wing views do the opposite and tend to include a lot of feminine words.  These include L sounds and soft-A endings such as Sophia.

The findings may give a clue into how the likes of David Cameron really think - he chose Nancy, Florence, Arthur and Ivan for his kids suggesting that he is really more liberal than conservative.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has two sons, called Daniel and Samuel, who seem more in keeping with his left-of-centre political beliefs.

The US researchers looked at birth records from 545,018 babies born in California in 2004, representing 52,589 different names.

They then compared the names to voting returns in each neighbourhood and used these as an indication of their parents’ political inclination.

The study found that ‘soft’ sounds, like the L in ‘Lola’, the A in ‘Ella’ or the Y in ‘Carly’ were more likely to be found in areas which voted on the left.

Examples of this include ‘Julian’ or ‘Liam’ for a boy or a girl’s name like ‘Malia’ - one of US President Barack Obama’s daughters.

Conservatives by contrast went for ‘harder’ sounds such as Track, Trig, Bristol and Piper, names chosen by the family of former vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Lead researcher Eric Oliver, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, said that the difference could be to do with perceptions of names that are linked to wealth.

Traditionally masculinity has been linked to economic success, so by giving your child a more masculine name parents could in theory be hoping they will become wealthy too.

Professor Oliver said: ‘The fact that we would find any kind of systematic differences, much less the magnitude of differences that we found - I really did not anticipate that.

‘I think most of this happens unconsciously...underneath there is a lot of signalling going on’.

Another finding related to the kind of names that parents chose.

Liberal parents are more likely to choose an obscure name to denote status whilst conservatives usually opt for something more conventional, the study showed.

Left-wing mothers and fathers try to use obscure cultural references to inflate their social position and show how smart they are.

This could explain why many actors and actresses, who usually have left-wing views, choose odd names for their children such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who count Pax and Shiloh among their brood.

Conservatives by contrast tend to opt for traditional names like John, Richard, or Katherine because the elites in society have them and they want their children to be part of the club.

The findings have not yet been published but were presented at the 2013 Midwestern Political Science Association Annual Meeting in Chicago.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Scientists work out how to make the perfect cup of tea


Although Britain drinks 165 million cups of tea a year, there is little agreement on how it should be served.

In a bid to settle the centuries old argument, scientists have now got together to formulate a step-by-step guide for the perfect cup of tea.

And whether you prefer to brew your English Breakfast in a mug or teapot, there is one area in which the experts unanimously agreed - for the best results steer clear of disposable cups.

Speaking on the chemistry of tea, Professor Andrea Sella from University College London said the perfect cuppa is about "patience, love and care '.

But he said the smooth surface of a china cup or mug made not only keeps the natural tannins in the tea from sticking to the side, but the sounds, such as the teaspoon clinking against its hard surface were "comforting '.

"You want a smooth, impervious surface, you don 't want cup to bind the tannins. And also from a psychological aspect, it provides a lovely association of things like drinking tea with your grandmother which foam cups do not. '

Using freshly drawn water in the kettle ensures the tea can express its full flavour, as repeated boiling reduces the oxygen content and makes the water harder, giving the brew a chalky film.

Simon Hill, tea buyer from Taylors of Harrogate said: "Always use freshly drawn water, as the longer it boils, the less oxygen it has and the less flavour the leaves impart.

And as for temperature, let the kettle come to the boil and click off. Then give it a few seconds before pouring. '

Controversially, although harder water -- common in the south and east of the country - results in a residue forming on the tea 's surface, for many connoisseurs it produces a better cup.

"Although it doesn 't look nice, you may get a bit more flavour and body from the minerals reacting with the tea, ' said Mr Hill.

Temperature also plays a crucial role, with the experts advising drinkers wait a few seconds before pouring the almost boiling water on the tea. For more delicate teas, such as green and white, waiting for the kettle to cool to 80c is essential to ensure the leaves are not damaged.

"When the water is even 10c hotter, it doubles the rate of chemical reactions. In coffee for example, water at 100c can cause a bitter taste. With black tea, the temperature is less of an issue, but in green teas, it can damage the flavour, ' Professor Sella.

It was the British that started first started drinking milk with their tea, and have never lost the habit.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival (must keep), Mr Hill said: "When tea was first imported to the UK in the 18th Century lots of people couldn 't afford the fine bone china services.

The cups available couldn 't withstand the heat of the boiling water and would shatter, so milk was added first. It also helped to get rid of the bitter taste of some of the cheaper teas. '

Although brewing time in a mug is slightly reduced compared to a pot, scientists suggested three minutes allows the flavour to best develop.

The experts recommend around five per cent of milk in the cup -- and adding it first if pouring from a teapot -- which helps bind with the harsh tannins and make it a smoother, more enjoyable drink.

"The proteins in the milk clump together with the tannins, making a black tea much more easy to drink.

But adding milk to hot water causes it too "cook ' slightly, so the ideal would be to pour the tea into your milk and then enjoy, ' said Professor Sella.

"The ritual of tea making is also important. Making it in teapot and pouring it in porcelain cups invariably tastes better, even though from a chemical point of view it should be the same however you serve it. '

Finally, the secret is patience. Drinking your tea too hot just causes the mouth to burn. A wait of six minutes allows the brew to cool down to 60C, the perfect temperature for sipping.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

LOL. Chinese lady is the expert on cream teas!



There are Chinese doctors, Chinese pharmacists, Chinese restaurateurs. Is there anything the Chinese can't do for us? She's actually a Senior Lecturer in Pure Mathematics at the University of Sheffield. Yet another Chinese mathematician! Formidable in an attractive young lady

A freshly baked scone, a layer of fruity jam and lashings of cream -- the ingredients for a traditional cream tea couldn 't be simpler.

But according to one expert you will also need a tape measure, scales and perhaps a degree in maths.

Dr Eugenia Cheng, of Sheffield University, claims to have devised a statistical formula for the perfect combination of jam, cream and scones.

The mathematician concluded that the best weight ratio is 2:1:1, which means an average scone, weighing 70g, requires 35g of jam and 35g of cream.

Dr Cheng set the ideal thickness of the scone, with all its elements added, at about 2.8cm, allowing a relaxed open width of the mouth when taking a bite.

The equation also specifies the thickness of the cream and jam layers.

Wrangles over whether it should be jam first or cream, and whipped cream or clotted, have been running for generations, with references to the sweet treat dating back to the 11th century.

The Devon tradition is to slather the scone with cream first, while the Cornish -- who also lay claim to inventing cream teas -- prepare their scones the opposite way.

Dr Cheng 's formula is a victory for Cornwall, with jam spread first due to avoid it running off the edge.

Another rule in the scientific method is to use clotted rather than whipped cream. This is due to the excessive volume of whipped cream needed to satisfy the weight ratio. The thickness of the layer should not exceed that of the scone.

Dr Cheng said: "Building a good scone is like building a good sandcastle -- you need a wider base, and then it needs to get narrower as it goes up so that it doesn 't collapse or drip. '


A cream tea


Friday, May 17, 2013

Joe McCarthy was a piker compared to FDR

In 1950 Leonard E. Read faced one of the most difficult challenges of his life as he prepared to appear before a hostile congressional committee. His friend W. C. Mullendore warned that the committee was out to destroy him:  "You should be under no illusion whatever but that the intention is to smear and not look [for] information, enlightenment and the philosophy of freedom. You are going against a bunch of cutthroats who have very vicious motives. "

Read was not the only target of this committee. Even more in the crosshairs was Edward Rumely, who had refused to divulge the names of those who had purchased controversial books he published.

When modern historians, most of whom write from a left-wing perspective, chronicle the  "witch hunts " of the 1940s and 1950s, they rarely have in mind the likes of Read and Rumely. Neither fits their formal victim profile. Read, of course, was the founder and president of FEE and the future publisher of The Freeman. Mullendore was his close associate and a trustee of the organization. Rumely was the president of the Committee for Constitutional Government, a group that defended the free market and limited government.

Read and Rumely were not alone. Ever since 1933, many prominent New Deal and later Fair Deal Democrats had relied on the same methods of guilt by association, character smears, and other forms of intimidation to attack conservative and libertarian critics of the growing federal bureaucracy.

Why have most historians ignored these witch hunts? Part of the reason is undeniably the political bias of historians. They tend to be sympathetic to the New Deal and Fair Deal and, in many cases, causes much further to the  "left. " This has encouraged a natural human tendency to overlook the dark side of those causes and an unwillingness to sympathize with conservatives and libertarians who may have been their victims. But some of it has to do with the methods used by the New Deal witch hunts, which were often informal and avoided head-on attacks. For example, in New Deal or Raw Deal? Burton Folsom describes how Franklin Roosevelt worked closely with his good friend and Treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau to use the Bureau of Internal Revenue against political opponents. Roosevelt arranged audits against such prominent opponents as the wealthy anti-New Dealer Moses Annenberg, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer; former Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon; and conservative U.S. Rep. Hamilton Fish, who represented Roosevelt"s hometown in New York.

In addition to informal pressure, the New Deal witch hunt also included congressional investigations. The first of these was the Special Committee on Lobbying Investigations (better known as the Black Committee) -- named after the committee chairman, Senator Hugo Black of Alabama. Black was a committed New Dealer. From 1933 on he targeted companies and organizations that opposed Roosevelt"s policies. In 1936 he went after the American Liberty League, which united Democrats and Republicans who opposed the New Deal. In this effort Black pioneered the use of the so-called dragnet subpoena. He also teamed with the Federal Communications Commission to require Western Union, a private company, to turn over copies of thousands of telegrams sent by New Deal opponents. At the time the FCC required Western Union to keep a copy of each telegram sent.

The next phase in the New Deal witch hunt began in 1937, when Roosevelt tried to expand the U.S. Supreme Court after it had overturned key New Deal legislation. No one was more important in mobilizing public opposition to the  "court-packing scheme " than Edward A. Rumely. Rumely was born in LaPorte, Indiana, in 1888 and became wealthy as a manufacturer of tractors. He got involved in politics as an enthusiastic supporter of Franklin"s distant cousin, Theodore Roosevelt. Rumely depicted himself as a Theodore Roosevelt Progressive for the rest of his life. (Favoring TR and limited government was a curious combination that Rumely and others were able to rationalize somehow.)

In 1915 Rumely purchased the New York Evening Mail with funds borrowed from an American citizen living in Germany. Rumely later claimed he did not know that all such loans had first to be funneled through the German government. Nevertheless, he was convicted under the Trading with the Enemy Act and served time. Although President Calvin Coolidge issued a full pardon, Rumely"s enemies brought the case up repeatedly to discredit him over the next three decades.

During the 1930s he turned against the emerging New Deal, which he feared was undermining individual liberty by centralizing power in Washington. He found common cause with his friends publisher Frank Gannett and conservationist and civil-libertarian Gifford Pinchot. On the same day that Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his court-packing plan in 1937, the trio organized the Committee for Constitutional Government (CCG). Gannett wrote the checks, and Rumely ran day-to-day operations. In fighting the court plan, the CCG led perhaps the first successful offensive against the New Deal and pioneered the use of direct mail.

Despite an overwhelming three-fourths Democratic majority, the Senate rejected the court plan. It was the first major congressional defeat for the Roosevelt administration. Hugo Black, however, received the ultimate reward for his loyalty when Roosevelt nominated him to the Supreme Court the same year. Not even news that Black had once belonged to the Ku Klux Klan deterred Roosevelt from nominating him.

After the court plan lost, New Deal Democrats almost immediately launched a counterattack against the CCG. In 1938 Senator Sherman Minton of Indiana, another ardent New Dealer and Black"s successor as head of the lobbying committee, announced a sweeping congressional investigation targeting forces opposed to  "the objectives of the administration. " Minton had actually been Roosevelt"s first choice for the Supreme Court appointment that went to Black, but Minton had turned it down because he preferred to stay in the Senate. At the top of his Senate agenda was the investigation of the CCG. He issued yet another dragnet subpoena, this time for the CCG"s records, and sent his staff down en masse to the CCG"s office, where they began copying files. After watching this go on for several hours, Rumely ordered them out, charging them with an illegal  "fishing expedition. "

Minton"s undoing was his proposed bill to ban newspapers from publishing articles known to be false. The public backlash over a perceived threat to free speech led to the collapse of the investigation. Like Black, however, Minton"s loyalty to the New Deal was ultimately rewarded with an appointment to the Supreme Court by his former Senate ally, President Harry S. Truman.

The CCG continued to be a stumbling block for the New Deal and later the Fair Deal. After 1937 the committee distributed over 82 million pieces of literature criticizing such policies as expanded government medical insurance, public housing, and labor legislation. In an article for Collier"s, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes presented the administration"s case against the CCG. He called it a  "devilish petard " and said it had been  "arousing mob spirit, that miasmic, bloodthirsty degrading emanation out of the dim past. "

The New Deal witch hunt reached its apogee during World War II. Once the United States entered the war, Roosevelt put constant pressure on Attorney General Frances Biddle to crack down on critics of his foreign policy. Most notably he wanted Biddle to prosecute the publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Robert McCormick, a powerful critic of the New Deal and entry into the war, for sedition. To his credit, however, Biddle resisted this pressure. Finally, though, he began to relent by, for example, ordering wiretaps on key administration critics such as Joseph Patterson, publisher of the New York Daily News. In addition, the postmaster general barred dozens of anti-administration periodicals from the mails. Finally, and much more quietly, Roosevelt ordered Treasury Secretary Morgenthau to launch a new round of tax audits on such prewar noninterventionists as Rep. Fish.

In 1944 a U.S. House committee chaired by Clinton Anderson of New Mexico launched a second major lobbying investigation. Many New Dealers, notably Wright Patman, were upset about the CCG"s campaign for a constitutional amendment to limit taxes to 25 percent of income. Patman characterized the CCG as the  "most sordid and most sinister lobby ever organized. " He charged that it represented the  "Quisling reserves " of Hitler because it was trying to  "sap the power and strength of this government at its tenderest spot, its purse strings, in time of war. "

Like Minton, Anderson subpoenaed the names of the CCG"s contributors. After Rumely refused to comply, the Committee cited him for contempt. A court acquitted him in 1945, finding that the subpoena was improper because the CCG was not a political organization. The most important result of this event was the Lobbying Act of 1946, which required lobbies (broadly defined) to disclose the names of all contributors of $500 or more. Although the CCG decided to register under protest, it found an inventive way around the reporting requirement, or so it thought. Instead of accepting cash contributions over $490, it took them in the form of book orders.

After Truman"s 1948 upset victory, Fair Deal Democrats promised again to scrutinize lobbies such as the CCG. The New Republic declared triumphantly that the  "New Deal is again empowered to carry forward the promise of American life " and that it was high time to investigate  "the great lobbies and the millions they have spent . . . to defeat social legislation. " The AFL and CIO agreed on this goal, as did two of the best-read columnists in the United States: Drew Pearson and Walter Winchell.

One of the early targets was FEE, which Pearson condemned on the grounds that it was  "flooding the country with propaganda aimed at undermining the Marshall Plan, rent control, aid to education, and Social Security. "

After a failed effort to set up a Senate-House joint committee, the House assigned the investigation to a committee led by Rep. Frank Buchanan of Pennsylvania. Buchanan was not only a stalwart Fair Dealer but had his own axe to grind because the CCG had successfully fought expanded public housing, a goal he had championed. He defined lobbying in the broadest possible terms to include groups that had an indirect influence on the formation of public opinion. The committee sent out a probing questionnaire to 166 businesses and organizations, most of them opponents of the Fair Deal. The Buchanan committee ignored lobbying by government agencies, but perhaps for the sake of balance a questionnaire also went to the Civil Rights Congress, an organization with close ties to the Communist Party.

When Buchanan"s staffers, armed with a dragnet subpoena, arrived in force at FEE"s headquarters in early 1949, Read reluctantly cooperated. It became readily apparent to him, however, that the investigators were leaving no stone unturned in the hope of finding something -- anything -- to discredit the organization. It was also clear that the committee had formed a working alliance with key New Deal interest groups and journalists. Almost immediately after the committee rummaged through FEE"s offices, someone leaked the information to Drew Pearson. Pearson"s column publicized the best-known names on FEE"s  "secret " contributor list and quoted liberally from internal correspondence. Mullendore expressed his outrage about the leak in a letter to Buchanan:  "Those who seek to extend the power of government try to close the mouths of citizens who dare to oppose them. . . . Your inquisitorial and extremely burdensome demand for information which you have no moral right to demand is a most alarming example of the use of this means of intimidation. "

For its part, the CCG ramped up its anti-Fair Deal efforts by promoting purchases of John T. Flynn"s book The Road Ahead. Flynn warned that pro-New Deal pressure groups were pushing the United States, like Britain, into socialism. Harper &amp; Brothers sold the book for $2.50, but the CCG cut the price to a dollar, thus encouraging bulk purchases. From 1949 to 1950 the CCG distributed an amazing ten million copies.

Despite Mullendore"s warnings, Read agreed to testify before the committee. Ever the optimist, he used that venue to educate the members, and he had some success. He found a sympathetic audience among the leading Republican members, and even Carl Albert, a member of the majority, admitted Read was  "far more effective than the average buttonhole artist, so-called, around the capital. "

While most of Read"s testimony explained FEE"s mission to inform and educate Americans about free markets, he also challenged the legitimacy of the committee"s investigation. To Read, under the committee"s all-inclusive definition, lobbying  "becomes synonymous with communication of thought -- all thought. The Bible communicates ideas that may affect legislation. . . . The list is endless. "

Rumely agreed to answer all the Buchanan committee"s questions except the one asking the names of those who had purchased The Road Ahead. Pointing to the First Amendment, he asserted that the committee had  "no power to go into a newspaper publisher and say, "Give me your subscription list." And you have no power to come to us. " If the House wanted to cite him for  "contempt and bring me to trial, " it would  "get an education on the Bill of Rights. "

By this point the press had turned against the Buchanan committee and its methods. Editor and Publisher found it guilty of  "an invasion of the guaranteed right of the American people to own, hire or use a printing press without interference. " Similarly, the Cleveland Plain Dealer called the investigation  "Fair Deal Intimidation. " Even Buchanan"s hometown paper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, condemned the probe. Frank Chodorov, a leading libertarian and future editor of The Freeman, asked during the period:  "Why did the Committee want these names? Simply to discourage support of the anti-collectivist organizations by harassment and intimidation. . . . Buchananism, then, is a step in the direction of thought control. "

The Buchanan committee presented three separate contempt resolutions for a House floor vote in August 1950. Each had the support of most Democrats. The first and most-publicized centered on Rumely. The second resolution focused on Joseph Kamp, head of a much smaller group, the Constitutional Education League. Unlike Rumely, Kamp had stated he was willing to cooperate but was unsure exactly what the Buchanan committee wanted from him. The last of the contempt resolutions dealt with William Patterson, head of the Civil Rights Congress. Like Rumely, he had refused to reveal the names of contributors.

In the floor debate Rep. John W. McCormick, the Democratic majority leader, went to bat for the committee. In language as extreme as just about any smear uttered by Sen. Joseph McCarthy, he condemned Rumely as  "a spy in World War I, and a man who is nothing but a Fascist, who is an opponent of American institutions and American Government. " Virtually all those opposed to the resolution were conservatives, with the notable exception of Rep. Vito Marcantonio. As the lone American-Labor Party member in the House, he was easily the most left-wing person in Congress. Marcantonio portrayed himself as an absolutist champion of free speech even for a  "fascist " like Rumely. If Rumely"s conservative defenders truly valued free speech, he challenged, they would also vote against the contempt resolution for Patterson. Despite his claims, Marcantonio"s record on free speech was at best mixed. During World War II, for example, he had urged tough action against critics of the war.

The final vote on the Rumely resolution was close but went against him. Nearly all Republicans, joined by Marcantonio and 42 Democrats, almost all from the South, opposed it.

The Patterson contempt resolution also passed but by a much more lopsided majority. Although the debate took place at the height of the McCarthy era, Republicans cast virtually all their 109 votes against it. By contrast, those southern Democrats who had opposed the Rumely resolution were not about to vote against the Patterson resolution even though the charges were essentially the same. For the southerners, race and anticommunism apparently trumped all other considerations.

In April 1951 a federal judge gave Rumely a six-month suspended sentence for contempt and a $1,000 fine, saying he would have sent him to jail save for his advanced age. Rumely"s old nemesis, Walter Winchell, exulted that he  "got real satisfaction out of the conviction last week of Edw. A. Rumely. . . [a] convicted pro-German agent. " Few newspapers or columnists agreed with Winchell. Even The New Republic and Drew Pearson, who had egged on Buchanan at the beginning, steered clear of the controversy.
The Last Laugh

It was Rumely who had the last laugh, however, when in 1953 the Supreme Court overturned his conviction 7-0. Two justices recused themselves because of possible conflicts of interest. In a separate opinion the Court"s most  "liberal " members, William O. Douglas and Hugo Black, endorsed Rumely"s free speech and privacy rights in no uncertain terms. When it turned to the Buchanan committee"s demands it declared:  "If the present inquiry were sanctioned a publisher would be compelled to register as a lobbyist with the federal government, would be subjected to harassing inquiries. A requirement that a publisher disclose the identity of those who buy his books, pamphlets or papers is indeed the beginning of surveillance of the press. "

By this time some prominent New Dealers were losing their appetite for investigative crusades against the conservatives and libertarians. For one thing, they were too busy beating back McCarthyism. By championing Rumely"s free speech, they could better fend off charges of hypocrisy. Even before the House cited Rumely for contempt, for example, the pro-New Deal columnist Marquis Childs pointed to him as an example of how the First Amendment protected  "rightists " just as much as communists. In addition, lawyers for two victims of McCarthyism, Owen Lattimore and Corliss Lamont, cited the Supreme Court ruling in defense of their clients. Rumely had become a case study in the need to protect free speech. It was quite a turnabout for a man whom the left only a few years earlier had roundly condemned as a fascist, a federal convict, and a German spy.