Wednesday, September 27, 2006



In Today's FeuilletonsWednesday 27 September, 2006Much to do about "Idomeneo". The decision by Berlin's Deutsche Oper tostrike the Mozart opera from its programme for fear of violent reprisals from the Islamic community has unleashed a storm of protest in the feuilletons. What has become of Germany's famedstate-subsidised cultural courage? The opera house's decision meets with little understanding and much outrage. Fortuitously coincident with the uproar is a conference on Islam in Germany, which opens today in Berlin.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006




O projecto de construir ao lado do terreno destinado às Olimpiades de 2012
da maior mesquita da Europa com uma capacidade de até 70.000 fieis provoca uma séria reflexão sobre os princípios liberais e a sua aplicação.

1.Até que ponto o liberalismo permite planeamento urbano e ordenamento territorial?
2.Será uma consulta à população uma possível solução? E qual a população a consultar? Local? (No caso em questão parece que a maioria da zona de West Ham é muçulmana.) Londrina? Nacional?
3.Terá a proveniência dos fundos (neste caso Arábia Saudita) alguma pertinência?
4,E se Lisboa tivesse uma população muçulmano mais significativa e esta quizesse seguir o exemplo britânico, qual seria a posição liberal?

Ver “The shadow cast by a mega-mosque” por Philip Johnson
e outro artigo sobre o mesmo assunto:

Saturday, September 23, 2006




Um artigo excelente sobre a recente aula do Papa, Socrates, Kant, Ciência, Razão e a civilização europeia.

Thursday, September 21, 2006



Teórias de conspiração

O debate sobre a natureza das teórias de conspiração tem vindo a renascer ultimamente. É pertinente o que disse Karl Popper na Sociedade Aberta e os seus Inimigos, Vol.II, p.94-95.

“In order to make my point clear, I shall briefly describe a theory which is widely held but which assumes what I consider the very opposite of the true aims of the social sciences; I call it the ‘conspiracy theory of society’. It is the view that an explanation of a social phenomenon consists in the discovery of the men or groups who are interested in the occurrence of this phenomenon (sometimes it is a hidden interest which has first to be revealed), and who have planned and conspired to bring it about.

This view of the aims of the social sciences arises, of course, from the mistaken theory that, whatever happens in society—especially happenings such as war, unemployment, poverty, shortages, which people as a rule dislike—is the result of direct design by some powerful individuals and groups. This theory is widely held; it is older even than historicism (which, as shown by its primitive theistic form, is a derivative of the conspiracy theory). In its modern forms it is, like modern historicism, and a certain modern attitude towards ‘natural laws’, a typical result of the secularization of a religious superstition. The belief in the Homeric gods whose conspiracies explain the history of the Trojan War is gone. The gods are abandoned. But their place is filled by powerful men or groups—sinister pressure groups whose wickedness is responsible for all the evils we suffer from—such as the Learned Elders of Zion, or the monopolies, or the capitalists, or the imperialists.

I do not wish to imply that conspiracies never happen. On the contrary, they are typical social phenomena. They become important, for example, whenever people who believe in the conspiracy theory get into power. And people who sincerely believe that they know how to make heaven and earth are most likely to adopt the conspiracy theory, and to get involved in a counter-conspiracy against non-existing conspirators. For the only explanation of their failure to produce their heaven is the evil intention of the Devil, who has a vested interest in hell.

Conspiracies occur, it must be admitted. But the striking fact which, in spite of their occurrence, disproves the conspiracy is that few of these conspiracies are ultimately successful. Conspirators rarely consummate their conspiracy.

Why is this so? Why do achievements differ so widely from aspirations? Because this is usually the case in social life, conspiracy or no conspiracy. Social life is not only a trial of strength between opposing groups: it is action within a more or less resilient of brittle framework of institutions and t traditions, and it creates—apart from any conscious counter-action—many unforeseen reactions in this framework, some of them perhaps unforeseeable.

To try to analyse these reactions and to foresee them as far as possible is, I believe, the main task of the social sciences. It is the task of analysing the unintended social repercussions of intentional human actions—those repercussions whose significance is neglected both by the conspiracy theory and by psychologists, as already indicated. An action which proceeds precisely according to intention does not create a problem for social science (except that there may be a need to explain why in this particular case no unintended repercussions occurred). One of the most primitive economic actions may serve a an example in order to make the idea of unintended consequences of our actions quite clear. If a man wishes to buy a house, we can safely assume that he does not wish to raise the market price of houses. But the very fact that he appears on the market as a house buyer will tend to raise market prices. And analogous remarks hold for the seller. Or to take an example from a very different field, if a man decides to insure his life, he is unlikely to have the intention of encouraging some people to invest their money in insurance shares. But he will do so nevertheless. We see here clearly that not all consequences of our actions are intended consequences; and accordingly, that the conspiracy theory of society cannot be true because it amounts to the assertion that all results, even those which at first sight do not seem to be intended by anybody, are the intended results of the actions of people who are interested in these results.

The examples given do not refute psychologism as easily as they refute the conspiracy theory, for one can argue that it is the sellers’ knowledge of a buyer’s presence in the market, and their hope of getting a higher price—in other words, psychological factors—which explains the repercussions described. This, of course, is quite true; but we must not forget that this knowledge and this hope are not ultimate data of human nature, and they are, in their turn, explicable in terms of the social situation— the market situation.”



The perils of showmanship
The following article about the opinions of the leading Australian philosopher, the late David Stove, may be of interest to those who are following the renewal of discussion about Darwinism. Others who may be interested in debate about whether Karl Popper was a liberal or a social democrat, a relativist or a realist, may also find the article of interest.


There is nothing so absurd or incredible that it has not been asserted by one philosopher or another.

THERE IS ALWAYS something immediately enjoyable about watching, listening to or reading apparently outrageous attacks on received opinion. Reductio ad absurdum is, after all, a time-honoured trick of rhetoric. The attempted dictatorship of 'political correctness' nowadays makes the trick even more liable to work. According to those who listened to the lectures of the Australian philosopher David Stove, he was a virtuoso in the genre. Professor Michael Levin says: 'Reading Stove is like watching Fred Astaire dance. You don't wish you were Fred Astaire, you are just glad to have been around to see him in action'.

There is, however, a problem with ridicule, especially if we ourselves have our own reasons for not liking its victims. It is liable to obscure solid grounds for criticism and play into the camp of the adversary by providing facile, spurious or distorted arguments. This would seem to be the case with some of Stove's writing as exemplified in the two books under review. Not that he isn't worth reading. His provocative style is such as to make many readers stop, think and re-examine their own preconceptions. On the other hand, those unfamiliar with the subject matter, especially among the younger generation, are likely to be seriously misled about some of his targets and to mistake rhetoric for serious argument.. Stove, who died in 1994, was a conservative, an anti-communist and desperately at odds with the fashionable Left-wing views prevalent in the academy. He taught Philosophy at the University of Sydney for many years and according to his friend and literary executor, James Franklin:

“The list of what he attacked was a long one, and included, but was certainly not limited to, Arts Faculties, big books, contraception, Darwinism, the Enlightenment, feminism, Freud, the idea of progress, leftish views of all kinds, Marx,....metaphysics, modern architecture and art, philosophical idealism, Popper, religion, semiotics, Stravinsky and Sweden...Also, anything beginning with ‘soc’ (even Socrates got a serve or two).”

Two of these targets, among others, appear in two recently published books by Stove: Popper and Darwin in Against the Idols of the Age (1998) while Anything Goes, Origins of the Cult of Scientific Irrationalism (Ed. Roger Kimball, 1999) gives Popper pride of place.

Stove against Darwin
In “Darwinian Fairytales”, the third section of the former book, Stove fails to present the most cogent arguments for his case. Now, Stove is not a creationist and seems to accept Darwinian evolutionary theory up to a point. Where he objects is when it comes to mankind and here he brings big guns to bear on the concept of the “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection”. He takes as his premise that the idea of competition for survival in Darwinian theory was inspired by Malthus and is mainly concerned with the getting of food and that this competition is essentially within each species rather than mainly between species. But Darwinism holds that it is the latter kind of competition which is the motor force of species differentiation while it is sexual selection that is the significant factor within a species. Human beings, Stove believes, are not generally subject to competition for survival (despite all the obvious exceptions) or we would not have hospitals, social security arrangements and other examples of altruism and co-operation.
He overlooks entirely that competition for survival in all species is not simply over the getting of food but, perhaps more important, over the avoidance of becoming someone else's food. After all, it is likely that most organisms will give first, or at least equal, priority to avoiding being eaten by others over having a meal themselves. This priority seems evidenced by the fact that hunting, eating, digesting and excreting follow remarkably similar patterns among all species from insects upwards. However, the really enormous differences between species are the stratagems adopted for protection against predators—from butterflies to zebras, from hedgehogs to tortoises. If we follow this line of reasoning then we have little problem in applying the Darwinian idea about struggle for survival to mankind and presenting altruism, hospitals and social security as part of our protective stratagems. We can argue, if we are Darwinians, that physically fragile humanoids developed co-operation and communication skills as their means of protection against predators and the elements..

Stove in fact leaves Darwinism's most vulnerable aspects untouched. These, persuasively criticized by others, include the mystery of consciousness, especially human self-consciousness, and the apparently insuperable problem of how there can be the gradual selective evolution of organs which have survival value only when they are fully developed, the paradigm case being that of the eye. And this is to leave out the truly formidable challenge to Darwinism, whether of the orthodox or neo variety, of recent advances in molecular biology—but perhaps Stove's rather early death excuses him in this latter respect. If we wish to have a go at the weaknesses of Darwinism it would be more useful to look at some of the extensive recent literature on the subject and an accessible overview of some of the main criticisms to be found in, for instance, the work of Raymond Tallis. When we have looked at these we cannot help reaching the conclusion that Stove simply did not understand Darwin well enough to criticize his thought and that others have done this more successfully.

Where Stove's critique of Darwinism does have leverage, however, is when he sets his sights on the much-hyped 'selfish gene', popularized by Dawkins. Here Stove is at his best, mixing wit with a perceptive critique.


More troubling than the above is the smaller of these two books. Anything Goes: Origins of the Cult of Scientific Irrationalism. It is troubling because irrationalism and relativism in philosophy of science are widespread, influential and deserve dissection and Stove is quite right in his denunciation of some of those responsible. He is also especially interesting in his analysis of 'how irrationalism about science is made credible' which forms Part One of the book. The titles of its two chapters are elucidative:
'1. Neutralizing success words' and
'2. Sabotaging logical expressions'.
As the epistemologist Susan Haack says, Stove's analysis of certain linguistic devices used in sociology of science is genuinely illuminating. So, too, are his criticisms of Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend.

Stove against Popper
Unfortunately, however, these three musketeers are extended by Stove to a gang of four. He sees Karl Popper as their forerunner and the prime originator of scientific irrationalism from whom the succeeding three took their inspiration. By means of caricature and highly selective quotations Stove makes Popper out to be the villain of the piece. This endeavour cannot be left uncriticized, especially because each author of the respective prefaces to these books appears to accept Stove's grossly unfair caricature with little demur.
It is not easy here to produce a rebuttal of the required brevity or to embark on a boringly technical argument for and against Popper's epistemology, but justice does require some attempt to be made. It must first be stated quite unequivocally that certain of Popper's epistemological positions, once widely accepted, have in recent years come under forceful criticism from many quarters. Like so many innovators, Popper did to some extent become a prisoner of his own creation, extrapolating too far and clinging so tenaciously to certain views that they reached the point of dogma. Nevertheless it is one thing to criticize and quite another to misrepresent.

Venerated by many distinguished practising scientists and immensely popular for many decades among the educated general public, Popper never encountered the same acceptance among professional philosophers. Nor did he expect to do so because, apart from their lack of interest in his special sphere which was the philosophy of science, he declared virtual war on what was then the prevailing school, namely philosophical analysis. He stated at the outset that he was interested in the discussion neither of definitions nor of meaning. What interested him passionately was the problem of the growth of knowledge and he was convinced that the key to its solution was to study the growth of scientific knowledge. As he said in the preface to Objective Knowledge: an Evolutionary Approach, “The phenomenon of human knowledge is no doubt the greatest miracle in our universe.”
This study became his life's work, but he was also passionately interested in political philosophy and conclusions he reached in the philosophy of science led him to believe that his ideas in this area were relevant to politics. His best-known work was indeed political and The Open Society and Its Enemies as well as The Poverty of Historicism vaccinated generations of students and intellectuals against the virus of Marxism and totalitarianism. It is indeed ironic that the anti-communist Stove should find Popper so objectionable when there is probably no academic figure in the last half century who has done as much to combat their common enemy. In fact on many matters Stove and Popper were on the same side. Against irrationalism and relativism, against Freud, against philosophical idealism, against scepticism, critical of some aspects of Darwinism, and, much else.

What Stove really loathed and derided in Popper was his stance against inductivism and his denial that it played any part in science. It is this position of Popper's, and what he believed followed from it, that Stove saw as leading to a whole host of other consequences and eventually to the irrationalism in Science studies protagonized by Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend.

Induction (or the procedure of inferring a general law from its instances, acting on our belief that the future will be like the past) received its first great critique from David Hume, and Popper freely acknowledged his debt to the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher. Stove was the author of a book on Hume and therefore familiar with Hume's argument, with which he disagreed.

But Popper made the rejection of inductivism the cornerstone of his entire philosophy, holding that there can be no logical justification for it. Logic, for Popper, is deductive or it is not logic. (At least until late in his career, when he turned towards greater stress on probabilism). From what the unphilosophically-minded might regard as nit-picking, Popper drew immense conclusions. They were shattering, because hitherto, at least from the time of Bacon, induction had been regarded as the hallmark of the scientific method. Scientists, it was thought, corroborate their theories by observation and experiment and having done so expect these to be replicated. This expectation, or generalizing from the known to the unknown, Popper thought was in fact not the method of science. We cannot know the future and in science it is always likely that something will turn up to alter what was previously thought of as an immutable law as happened with the overthrow of Newtonian physics by Einstein's relativity hypothesis.

So, Popper concluded, scientific laws are not immutable but are always hypotheses. All you can have are better or worse theories and the scientist's work is to produce ever-better theories. The only logically and practically acceptable way to do this is to try to falsify your theory by appropriate testing: the method of trial and error. This, Popper says, is what scientists actually do in real life. Scientific method is basically one of testing, making public and criticizing. Failed theories are abandoned and the search begins again, either by trimming or adapting the old theory or formulating a new one. So a good scientific theory should be framed in such a way that it is testable, in other words falsifiable. If this is not the case then the theory is neither a good theory nor even a scientific theory.

Demarcating science
Popper was interested in finding a criterion for demarcating science from non-science and he concluded that such theories as Marxism, Freudianism or astrology do not meet the criteria required of a genuinely scientific theory. They are couched in such broad terms that they are invulnerable to falsification. Whatever happens their proponents regard them as either corroborated or unfalsified. They are theories against which no arguments or criticisms can count.
Whatever the justice of his views on induction, Popper's conception of falsifiability proved a rich field and he mined it for theories in the realm of his other passion: politics and social questions.. Having thrown out positive corroboration as crucial in favour of its negative, namely falsifiability, and having made criticism the essential method for this, he proposed a similar approach in the political and social spheres. The aim of government, of the State, should never be the positive one of trying to make people happy, a quite impossible aim. Happiness is a private matter and conceived of differently by every individual. On the contrary the only feasible objective of government is the negative one of reducing misery. Suffering, starvation, disease and the rest are objective, public and measurable and it is the State's job to try to minimize them because the only justification for the existence of government is the protection of the citizen. To this end freedom to criticize, to discuss and debate solutions are essential. So for Popper democracy means freedom of criticism and institutional arrangements that provide for the removal of unsatisfactory rulers without bloodshed. He deduced from this position the enormous importance of institutions and an institutional tradition, of gradual reform as against revolution, and wrote and lectured widely on these subjects, declaring untiringly that the political systems of Britain, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were the best models so far known.

Popper’s philosophy of science
Now none of this can be unacceptable to a reasonable person, least of all to a conservative. What has stuck in the throat of many people is that Popper makes his anti-inductivism bear too much weight. To deny the possibility of inductive knowledge is to fly in the face of everybody's everyday experience, including that of our dogs, cats and most other sentient beings. If we did not start by assuming regularities and their more or less indefinite replication none of us would survive for a moment. Indeed, we would be unable to learn anything at all. It would seem, in fact, that all of us, including animals, have an innate predisposition to use induction. Popper did not accept this: he thought that what is innate is the predisposition towards using methods of trial and error. However, to object to induction on the grounds that it does not use the rules of entailment of deductive logic, is to extend the criteria of formal systems and mathematics beyond what is appropriate. Deductive logic is one thing, inductive logic is another and their modes of justification are distinct. In science both logics would appear to have their place. Indeed in the areas of logic and epistemology we can find an ever-growing literature in which even deductive logic is questioned and alternative logics proposed.

Popper's great contribution to the philosophy of science was to highlight the importance for good theorizing of the need for clear articulation so that it is immediately, or as immediately as possible, apparent what would be the conditions for falsification. Such procedure is both practically and intellectually economical and nurtures the critical approach and in no way encourages relativism.

Stove will have none of this. In a dizzying dithyramb he inveighs against Popper, not only ignoring his closely woven arguments, but accusing him of such crimes as denying the accumulation of scientific knowledge, of irrationalism and of self-contradiction. The aim of science in Popper's view, Stove alleges, is not to seek truth but to find untruth. Popper's insistence on the provisional nature of scientific theories, on what he calls 'conjectural knowledge' is regarded by Stove as irrational in the extreme. Popper, in effect, denies the accumulation of scientific knowledge because, if it is all provisional, then it cannot be knowledge. Knowledge, for Stove, always means knowledge of the truth, and truth cannot bear the adjective 'conjectural' (as though truth were absolute). He implies that to talk about 'conjectural truth' is rather like talking about somebody being 'a little bit pregnant'. So the concept of 'conjectural knowledge' is a nonsense, a contradiction in terms and meaningless, and leads to the denial of objective truth found in the relativists. Stove makes much of this with his usual darting wit. But his objections are unconvincing. Without entering into the sorely disputed question (among philosophers) of what constitutes truth it seems no more unreasonable to talk of 'conjectural knowledge' than to talk of 'partial knowledge', which everybody does without batting an eyelid. All Popper means by 'conjectural knowledge', is 'the knowledge we have so far on the basis of our unfalsified theories', that is, those theories which when tested are found to have verisimilitude with empirical facts. This is something we hear every day when we are told about 'the present state of knowledge'. So the proposition that absolute truth is unattainable does not entail relativism and, indeed, seems undeniable to most people.

That Popper believed fiercely in objective truth (in its non-absolute sense) is evidenced from his constant stress that the job of the scientist is the quest for truth. He also thought that this was an unending quest, for our ignorance is infinite before the infinity of what is to be known and the finite nature of our knowledge. This is not the place to examine Popper's somewhat bizarre theory of 'epistemology without a knowing subject', what he called World Three, that mysterious sphere in which are stored books and all man's artefacts, but any serious study of this shows just how much Popper believed in the objectivity of knowledge.

So, because of his misreading, Stove sees Popper as the ultimate progenitor of the real irrationalists including the unspeakable Feyerabend whose relativism led him quite openly to declare that schoolchildren should be taught astrology and myth as equally valid explanations of the world along with science. Popper's frequent and extended criticism of these attitudes is regarded by Stove as mere quarrelling between inmates of the same stable. He totally ignores the historical fact that the actual forerunners of relativism in philosophy of science were the sociologists of knowledge going back to Mannheim, examined and combatted by Popper himself in many writings. Today, of course, relativism in science studies, rather than coming mainly from Stove's three musketeers has sadly been given a new boost by philosophers of cognitive science in conjunction with artificial intelligence theory such as Stitch, the Churchlands and their disciples.

Those who wish to have a more informed and balanced view of Popper's ideas would do well to read Anthony O'Hear or Susan Haack. The latter should be of especial interest also to adversaries of all forms of relativism, gender feminism and the corruption of the academy.

For anyone acquainted with what Popper actually wrote, Stove's wholesale condemnation, can only be regarded as dogmatic and unjust. This is serious because in the present academic atmosphere of relativism, irrationalism and sub-marxism, there could be no better antidote for today's students than to read what Popper has to say about these matters.

Reading Stove's opinions about him will do little to encourage them in this direction. The trouble is, as indicated at the beginning of these comments, that Stove's style is frequently so engaging and humorous that many readers will be taken in.
Patricia Lanca

(First published in The Salisbury Review, Summer 2001 under the title: “The Perils of Showmanship”.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Causa Liberal

Causa Liberal

WHEN THE POT CALLS THE KETTLE BLACK: A response from the kettle

Como a metodologia de debate público tem muito a ver com comportamentos e princípios liberais eu estou convencida, ao contrário de CN, que é precisamente este blog um dos lugares mais aprópriados onde discutir este assunto..

Desde das minhas primeiras participações neste maravilhoso mundo do Blog, decidi não ceder às provocações de determinado tipo de comentárista. Não aceito debates que principiam com insinuações, argumentos ad hominem, falácias genéticas, a falácia do homem de palha e outros truques de má fé. Digo má fé porque, naturalmente, não posso neste caso atribuí-los à ignorância. Quando CN screveu o seu primeiro comentário sobre palavras minhas entrou logo a matar (e sem me conhecer de parte nenhuma) com o seu habitual sarcasmo e a presunçao (falsa) que eu tieria determinadas posições que ele confessadamente detesta. Apesar do meu silêncio persistiu no mesmo estilo. E assim continua até hoje alegando ou insinuando que eu apoio os chamados neo-conservadores, que Churchill e Thatcher são os meus herois e por aí adiante. Os “neo-conservadores” parecem ser uma verdadeira obsessão de CN. Saberá ele que a própria expressão é, de facto, uma invenção da esquerda e um dos epítetos favoritos dessa gente? Aliás outras obsessões são Churchill, Thatcher e o “erro” de classificar os terroristas islâmicos como islamo-fascistas. Estas também, tal como o ódio a Bush, são mesmo obsessões da esquerda. Não estou a insinuar nada. Estou a afirmar, sem receio de contradição, que grande parte das atitudes políticas de CN não são atitudes de um liberal, mas sim atitudes típicas da Extrema Esquerda. Sei do que falo: catortorze anos de miliância comunista ensinou-me alguma coisa.Falo, evidentemente, das atitudes políticas e não das económicas. Assim entende-se as simpatias de CN por AJP Taylor.

Resolvi a semana passada quebrar o meu silêncio e escrever sobre o Taylor por julgar necessário explicar aos portugueses (tantas vezes ludibriados pelo brilho falso da imprensa estrangeira) quem foi essa figura que eu conheci de nome e reputação quase toda a minha vida adulta. Agradeço ao CN por ter pegado no assunto. Talvez agora, devido também aos extractos da Wikipedia (seleccionados por ele) ao menos algumas pessoas irão ler o artigo completo da Wiki. E agora algumas palavras que julgo pertinentes sobre metodologia.

1º McCarthyismo. Embora entendido como insulto, eu pessoalmente não o considero como tal. O senador americano tinha modos desagradáveis, mas o facto é que a grande maioria das pessoas chamadas a testemunhar perante a sua comissão eram, sim, comunistas. Este facto é agora reconhecido por todos menos a esquerda. Até chegei a conhecer pessoalmente alguns deles. É evidente que para um liberal a própria ideia de uma comissão de inquérito sobre as opiniões políticas das pessoas é repugnante. Todavia temos que recordar a época: o começo da Guerra Fria e o desmascaramento dos espiões atómicos soviéticos. Tal como hoje com o problema actual do terrorismo. temos que nos lembrar que o primeiro dever do Estado é o de proteger os cidadãos. Há males menores. Coisa que alguns libertários e todos os pacifistas esquecem.
2. Falácias de raciocínio. Talvez não seja relevante referir as suas posiçóes políticas para avaliar as competências de um biólogo, um médico ou outro perito em ciências naturais. No caso de um especialista em História Política é certamente relevante conhecer as suas posições políticas. Quando estudo a história social e política é para mim importante saber que tanto Eric Hiobsbawm quanto Christopher Hill foram membros activos do PC britânico. Como é para mim relevante que Taylor até o fim da vida simpatizou com a URSS e considerou Lenine o seu principal heroi. Aliás as atitudes de Taylor referidas no meu artigo não são da sua vida particular. Pelo contrário, foram posições públicas, posições que ele nunca escondeu e que sempre invocou, até o ponto de alguns suspeitarem que ele assim fez com o intúito de aumentar a sua notoriedade e, por conseguinte, os seus rendimentos como publicista. Se eu tivesse repetido essas suspeitas sem mais nem menos, entáo aí sim, estaria a fzer um processo de intenções e usar de um argumento ad hominem. Agora estou a repeti-los não por assim pensar, mas para exemplificar o que seria realmente um argumento ad hominem.

Assim, (atenção também LAS) eu não estava a praticar nem o McCarthyismo, nem utilizar argumentos ad hominem quando chamei atenção para as posições políticas de Taylor, relevantes repito, para qualquer avaliação das suas interpretaçóes históricas.

Finalmente, acho importante em qualquer discussão política conhecer as fontes de informação dos nossos interlocutores. Se eu fosse convidada a discutir, por exemplo, os argumento económicos contra o socialismo acharia relevante que soubesse à partida que o meu interlocutor apoiava as ideias expressas em Das Kapital. Assim daria o relevo apropriado a determinados pontos. Até aí tudo bem. Se soubesse que o interlocutor também costumava usar os conhecidos truques de retórica em vez de argumentos substantivos então nesse caso recusava a minha participação.

Assim aconteceu com o caso de CN. Tenho idade, experiência e leitura suficientes para reconhecer as fontes dos seus argumentos. Também idade e experiência suficientes para não querer gastar tempo com refutações e contra-refutações fúteis. Por princípio não costumo usar a arma da insinuação nem de argumentar a respeito de milhentas citações de autores que todos podemos facilmente consultar.

Por isso acho que, tal como no caso de AJP Taylor, seria proveitoso para o esclarecimento de todos, referir outras fontes do pensamento político de CN, tais como Patrick Buchanan, Lew Rockwell, Hans Herman Hoppe, Justin Raimundo e outros heterodoxos da “Far Right” americana que andam a enganar alguns liberais. Razão: a estranha coincidência do pensamento dessas figuras (e aparentemente de CN) tanto com o pensamento da extrema esquerda como o da exrema direita. Certos sectores do palaeo-conservadorismo americano constituem realmente, como diz Tom Palmer do Cato Institute, um “fever swamp”, um pàntano febril, para os europeus ingénuos que nunca sonharam com a existência de tais fantasistas.

Para a elucidação de CN e ajudá-lo a evitar mais um desparate, só um último reparo.. Sugerir que Taylor não podia ser germanófobo porque se dedicou ao estudo dos seus queridos Habsburgos indica desconhecimento dos usos académicos no mundo anglófono. Os britânicos cultos sempre fizeram uma rigorosa distinção entre germânicos e austríacos, tal como a fazem os austriacos eles próprios. Toda a gente no Reino Unido sabe que nem todos que falam alemão são alemães: alguns são suiços, outros austriacos. È como tentar provar que alguém não podia detestar os brasileiros porque gosta dos portugueses. Igualmente para os ingleses e os americanos. Aliás, Taylor fez toda uma teorização sobre o assunto e a natureza inerentemente bélica das antigas tribos alemãs, atitude que lhe custou muitas amizades na universidade.

Não pensem os meus críticos que é agora que vou ceder às provocações e entrar numa discussão sobre os desméritos intelectuais dos habitantes do tal pântano. Não tenho nem tempo nem disposição para isso. O que irei fazer, dentro em breve, é indicar alguns locais na Internet de fácil acesso. Assim poderão os interessados tirar as suas próprias conclusões e revelá-las nestas colunas.

Sunday, September 17, 2006



Em recentes posts na Causa Liberal, e também em Wars 4 Status Quo, Carlos Novais tem referido o nome de A.J.P.Taylor como um “conceituado historiador” e por conseguinte, entende-se, autoridade credenciada relativa a algumas posições controversas. Na realidade Taylor, por causa da sua dedicação às pesquisas nos arquivos oficiais goza de alguma respeitabilidade académica unicamente enquanto especialista em documentos diplomáticos. Como historiador não se interessava senão pelo que vem escrito nos documentos. A opinião generalizada é que o seu volume na Oxford History of England 1914-45 foi um tour de force nesse domínio. “He revelled in the unforeseen connection…and in certain paradoxes”. But “ideas, intellectual movements, were of no importance. For him (as for Hobsbawm) high art was an irrelevance because it had ceased to be popular. He declared that Charlie Chaplin, not Virginia Woolf, was the most important artist of the first half of the century. Nor did he mention the triumphs of the scientists and technologists.” (Noel Annan no seu livro Our Age).

De facto Taylor era o protótipo do professor inglês excêntrico que se deliciava em chocar os colegas e também o público. Oxford nunca lhe concedeu a cadeira que ele cobiçava. Continuou a leccionar, adorado pelos alunos, mas na última parte da sua vida dedicou mais energias à vida de publicista na imprensa e na rádio onde as suas posições populistas tornaram-no bem conhecido de um vasto público.
Foi sempre um dedicado esquerdista. Os pais foram ambos comunistas activos e a mãe trabalhou na Internacional Comunista. Ele próprio passou dois anos da juventude no Partido Comunista e nunca explicou o que motivou a sua desistência da militância activa. Todavia continuou até o fim da vida no seu apoio indefectível à URSS e insistia sempre que o seu grande heroi era Lenine.

As suas análises idiosincráticas da política internacional foram sempre influenciadas pela sua germanofobia. Tão intenso era o seu ódio aos alemães que tomou parte activa na campanha a favor da expulsão da minória alemá (dois milhões de seres) da Sudetenland (Checoslovákia).

A campanha teve êxito e os sudetas foram deportados das suas terras ancestrais numa limpeza étnica que logo manchou a Checoslovákia mesmo antes da descida da cortina de ferro.

Durante os anos ‘30 a política de Taylor era de zigue-zague, mas sempre a favor da URSS. Depois da Segunda Guerra o seu revisionismo foi precursor do de David Irving e outros quem mais tarde negavam o holocausto embora Taylor não foi tão longe. O seu ódio aos alemães não o impedia de considerar Hitler um estadista cujo principal defeito era falta de previsão. Durante a Guerra Fria, Taylor foi um fervoroso anti-americano, apelando para o desarmamento nuclear e, mais tarde, condenando a política estrangeira de Reagan.

A postura que lhe granjeou uma notoriedade duradoira foi a sua atitude quanto a um membro proeminente da rede de espiões pró-soviéticos dirigida por Kim Philby. Tratava-se de Sir Anthony Blunt, um especialistaa em História de Arte e “Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures” Quando este foi desmascarado, desapossado das suas multiplas honras e obrigado a demitir-se da British Academy, Taylor demitiu-se voluntariamente por solidariedade com o amigo dos soviéticos.

A postura de Taylor como campião de causas impopulares encontra-se amplamente documentada na Wikipedia onde os cibernautas podem facilmente confirmar que Alan Percivale Taylor realmente não merece menção como autoridade séria sobre a história política contemporânea.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Activistas pela paz

Activistas pela paz ajudam terroristas

Como jovens esquerdistas são recrutados para combater contra
Israel. Ver:

Friday, September 08, 2006



Eis uma análise de Roger Sandall do fracasso económico de alguns paísesafricanos duas gerações depois da independência: Dereliction express: Care and maintenance in Africa and beyond... Uma lição de economia aplicada.


A Inglaterra estará a deixar de ser um país cristão?É do conhecimento geral que o Reino Unido não é um país laico. No entanto parece que está em vias de tornar uma terra de perseguição religiosa---isto é, um país onde se persegue o cristianismo!How Britain is turning Christianity into a crimeDaily Mail, 7 September 2006How long will it be before Christianity becomes illegal in Britain? This is no longer the utterly absurd and offensive question that on first blush it would appear to be.An evangelical Christian campaigner, Stephen Green, was arrested and charged last weekend with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.... ver este artigo de Melanie Phillips no Daily Mail de 7 Setembro.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Crónica de Nenhures

Eis um excelente exemplo da assimentria com que a imprensa trata de assuntos sérios. Guernica é icone internacional da Guerra Civil de Espanha ilustrado pela pintura de Picasso.
O massacre de Katyn ignorado ou negado durante longos anos ainda merece o siléncio da esquerda. Foi muito inconveniente a admissão tardia dos russos. Ver mais no apontamento ilustrado em A Voz Portalegrense

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Uma Voz Essencial

Ao passear pela blogoesfera encontrei hoje por puro acaso o site
Bonito, muitas imagens e documentos com imenso interesse sobre um passado recente português. Pode-se ou não simpatizar com alguns dos autores focados, o que é certo é que o site é tudo menos politicamente correcto. Pode ser o que alguns chamam saudosista. Infelizmente muita gente não tem a mínima ideia da produção intelectual que havia durante a vigência do antigo regime, isto é, ignora uma grande parte da história do século vinte português. As diversas oposições ao salazarismo encarregaram-se de re-escrever a história, ou por vezes até mudá-la ou distorçá-la.

Felizmente os tempos são outros e o mundo do blog abriu novas e excitantes espectativas. Este site preenche muitas lacunas.

Um pequeno exemplo pessoal: sõ agora é que descobri no site da Voz Portalegrense do dia 23 de Julho deste ano, não só uma referência mas também a imagém da capa do meu livro sobre os últimos meses de Humberto Delgado . A falta de publicitação e as falhas na distribuição, quando apareceu em 1998, de Misérias do Exílio constituem uma história exemplar de como as esquerdas hoje fazem a sua censura.
Aconteceu também com o meu O Bando de Argel, embora este não foi totalmente silenciado. Nos primeiros anos após o 25 de Abril, apesar de toda a repressão que então havia, a imprensa era menos monolítica e havia alguma possibilidade de debate.

Com certeza o facto de As Misérias do Exílio ser mencionado na Voz Portalegrense e de eu louvar este site irão me valer (mais uma vez) do epíteto de salazarista. Não o mereço. Quem não acredita pode ir ao Google e inserir o nome de Patrícia McGowan Pinheiro. Ficará surpreendido ao encontrar Oldest Ally: A Portrait of Salazar's Portugal, publicado em Londres em 1961. O livro não ganhou as simpatias do regime: durante onze anos foi-me proibida a entrada em Portugal.

Hei de voltar a este tema das censuras contemporâneas noutra ocasião.

Entretanto os meus parabens para A Voz Portalegrense e Bem Haja!

Patricia Lança

Saturday, September 02, 2006



Portolani, known also as portolans, were early maps used by seafarers to find their way round the coasts of the Mediterranean. As they were produced by draftsmen on dry land from the accounts furnished by medieval sailors they were not very accurate, but they were better than nothing and gave mariners some idea of the dangers to avoid. This site aims to chart some of the dangers facing modern navigators who must cope with even rockier costs.


Projecto de reconquista

Projecto da reconquista de Al Andaluz

Já há muito o plano foi anunciado.


Friday, September 01, 2006



The following post is by courtesy of Melanie Phillips omitted due to some technical glitch



August 31, 2006
The war against Israel (5)

An interesting take on the Lebanon war from an IDF captain:

This was perhaps both the most cynical and barbaric disregard for innocent civilian lives of all of Hezballah’s and Iran’s strategic choices. It was also the most successful. It was predicated not on its knowledge of its enemy (Israel) but its true genius lay in its knowledge of the press. The calculus was simple: launch a rocket from within a civilian population; if you kill Jews that’s a victory. If the Jews hit back and in so doing kill Lebanese civilians, that’s a victory. If they don’t hit back because they’re afraid to hit civilians, that’s a victory. Now repeat the process until you kill so many Jews they have to hit back and in so doing kill more Lebanese civilians. That’s the ultimate victory, because they know that in striking just those chords exactly what music the press will play. The awful truth, which the Western Press was manipulated to ignore or downplay, was that Iran, through its terrorist operational arm Hezballah, had invaded Lebanon from within. Hezballah did not protect Lebanon, they occupied it and they used those Hezballah occupied territories to launch Iran’s offensive in response to the West’s ultimatum to cease development of nuclear weapons.
From a military perspective there can be absolutely no doubt as to the results of Hezballah and Iran’s offensive against Israel. It was a defeat. Every part of their war plan except the manipulation of the media failed. Hezballah expected and planned for a massive charge of Israeli armor into Southern Lebanon. The amounts and type of anti-tank weapons they acquired and had operationally deployed in their forward positions as well as their secondary and tertiary bands of fortresses and strongholds through Southern Lebanon attest to this fact. They intended to do in mountainous terrain what Egypt had so effectively done in the Sinai desert in the Yom Kippur war. In that war, Sinai indeed became a graveyard for Israeli armor. Hundreds of tanks were destroyed. Whole brigades were decimated in single battles by the Egyptians’ highly effective anti-tank missile ambushes. In that war almost three thousand Israeli soldiers were killed. That was Hezballah’s plan. It was a good one. And it failed.
Far from the prevailing impression in the media, the IDF was not “badly bloodied” nor “fought to a stand still,” much less “handed a defeat.” Just prior to the cease fire, Israel suffered twenty nine tanks hit. Of those, twenty five were back in service within twenty four hours. Israel suffered one hundred and seventeen soldiers killed in four weeks of combat. As painful as those individual losses were to their families and to the Israeli collective psyche which views all its soldiers as their biological sons and daughters, those numbers in fact represent the fewest casualties suffered by Israel in any of its major conflicts. In 1948, Israel suffered six thousand killed. In 1967, in what was regarded as its most decisive victory, Israel lost almost seven hundred killed in six days. In 1973, Israel lost two thousand seven hundred killed and in the first week of the first war in Lebanon, Israel suffered one hundred seventy six soldiers killed.

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Novo artigo no site da Causa Liberal:"A Gender-Neutral Society?"Por Patrícia Lança