Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, June 23, 2016

“Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”

Oh.  My.  God.  Scott Adams (author of the Dilbert™ cartoon) knocks it out of the park in his blog post Why Gun Control Can’t Be Solved in the USA.  The title of this post comes from that one.

Go.  Read.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Report from the Trenches - "Apparently Hysteria has a Price Tag"

My local Merchant O'Death reports:

Six working days after Orlando and I feel slightly vindicated in regard to my earlier prediction. After a SLOW start to the week, we are now out of "cheap" ARs. We had eight or nine Ruger AR556s and a couple of 1st Gen S&W M&P-15 Sports all of which are gone as of close of business today. We still have four Daniel Defense rifles of differing models as well as a couple of higher end Colts and a lone LWRC model. Apparently hysteria has a price tag and it is under a grand. We are out of 30-round P-Mags but still have some 20-rounders and a truck load of 40-rounders left. Had a guy come into the shop today in full blown panic mode wanting to buy 30-round mags "before thy are banned again!!!" I informed the gentleman that all we have left are commercial, steel mags. He looked at me like a monkey doing a math problem and then asked if we were getting any more P-Mags in. I replied that I wasn't 100% certain as there had been a run on them. He then asked how much the steel mags were. I gave him a price of $17.99 and then he asked how much the P-Mags would cost. $15.99 was the reply, $16.99 if he wanted windows. He looked at me like a dog does when it hears a weird sound and then said he would wait for the P-mags. Apparently hysteria has more than one price tag. Got lots of phone calls today asking about our existing stock of ARs. When told that all we had left were the DDs, LWRC and Colts, the response was almost a universally despondent: "Okay, thanks."

Had lots of calls about lowers as well as parts kits. We still have a good supply of both. Same for ammo. We still have AKs, M-1As and AR-10 platforms on the shelves. Interest in pocket pistols and revolvers have picked up a bit but only just. Same with reloading components. Our distributors haven't been totally cleaned out but rifles and mags are leaving their warehouses with much haste.

I did notice a large number of phone calls from women asking about ARs today. The rest of the crew commented on this as well. A couple of the calls were from women who were calling for their husbands/boyfriends as evidenced by the fact that I could hear the lazy bastards in the background correcting the female caller when she misspoke. I have no doubt that those dudes will last a long time if things go sideways. (I do wish someone would invent a sarcasm font)

Can't wait to see what happens next week.
So they got off to a slow start, but things are picking up as Congress starts making "BAN 'EM!" noises again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

George? Meet Ben.

So George Takei, the guy who votes for the party that actually put him and his family in a concentration camp, asks:
It’s safe to assume none of us actually wants to see ISIS-inspired terrorists armed with semi-automatic rifles, able to attack at will within our own borders. But to prevent that, we must address a rather tricky question: How much liberty must we concede?
George, meet Ben. Ben Franklin:
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
The answer to your question, George, is NONE.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Frying Pan, or Fire?

So the 9th Circus says "No," the D.C. District Court says "Yes." Not exactly a circuit split, but Scalia's still dead and there are 4 vs. 4 Justices on the Supreme Court at present given Heller and McDonald.

Think it doesn't matter who ends up in the White House in January? I gotta go with Michael Bane:
(I)t is my opinion (and the opinion of some of the finest activists and Second Amendment attorneys — people who have been on the front lines for DECADES) that there is a good chance the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms cannot survive a Hillary Presidency with taking some brutal hits, or be destroyed altogether. Should she be elected, we will be facing an Executive, a Judicial (remember, Scalia's gone, along with the 5-4 stand on the Second Amendment) and probably a Legislative attack. Secondly, with Obama's successes in weaponizing Federal agencies, we can expect attacks from those agencies, including the IRS, the EPA, Homeland Security, TSA, not to mention a reinvigorated BATFE.

"Those agencies along can do staggering damage to the gun culture without any vote in Congress. All it takes is a willingness to wield them against us.

"In the face of what I know to be a guaranteed attack from a blood enemy, I do not give a DAMN what Trump said or did years ago, or whether Ted Cruz says this or that, or whether any of the Republican weasels in Congress, who have turned their back on us for years, have to say! If Trump turns on us — which I do not believe will happen based on my own research and my own conversations — so be it. We will face that and deal with it. And we'll likely be able to deal with it from a position of strength. But with Hillary it is all-out war from Day One.
I don't "Unconditionally support Donald Trump," but when I leave the voting booth in November, his name will have the blackened oval next to it.

And may Dog have mercy on us all.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Stereotypes

I know some of you enjoy these, so here's the latest free content from my fishing over at Quora.com's well-stocked pool.

Back in October of last year I answered this question: "What are the most practical and effective steps we can take to reduce gun violence in the US -- mass shootings, domestic violence and gun crime generally?"

Here's my answer:
You are aware that the United States has experienced about twenty years of DECLINING violent crime - including homicide?

Table 1

Homicide has declined from 8.2/100,000 population to 4.5/100,000 since 1995.  That's a 45% drop.  Whatever it is we're doing, we should keep doing it.  Oh, right - with respect to gun laws, we're making it easier for people to get concealed-carry permits.

And the number of people with permits is increasing.

Report: Number Of Concealed Carry Permits Surges As Violent Crime Rate Drops

And, of course, we've had record shattering gun sales numbers over the last decade.

What The Left Won't Tell You About The Boom In U.S. Gun Sales

So apparently More Guns = Less Violence.

Now if we want to address the "non-mass shooting/gun violence" we really need to identify where it's happening and who is doing the shooting and getting shot, and contrary to popular opinion it's not Joe Average "just snapping" and killing his significant other.  Yes, that does happen, but it's the exception rather than the rule - unless Joe Average has a long rap sheet and is involved in the drug trade along with his significant other.

People who commit murder overwhelmingly fit into a small, easily identifiable demographic:  They have a fairly long history of interactions with law enforcement, usually with an escalating level of violence, and the majority of them live in urban areas.  And not only urban areas, but specific neighborhoods of urban areas.  And they tend to be young and male.  And, yes, I'll say it because facts are not racist:  young black men are disproportionately both the victims and the perpetrators of homicide. 

Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008

In fact, if homicide was actually treated as a disease, epidemiologists would call this "a clue," and would work aggressively to reduce deaths among this relatively small demographic that skews the national statistics so very badly.

Instead, we talk about passing "gun control laws" that only affect the people who AREN'T out there murdering.

With respect to reducing mass shooting incidents, in a nation of 300,000,000 people these events are about as common as people getting killed by lightning strikes.  Yet in almost every case they share these commonalities:

  • They occur in "Gun Free Zones."
  • The perpetrator has a known history of mental issues and likely has been treated with psychotropic drugs, but has never been involuntarily committed.
  • The perpetrator only stops when he decides he's finished, or when confronted by someone else with a gun.
  • They want attention, that's why they do it.

So if we want to lower the number of these incidents, first I recommend that we stop putting the names and pictures of the perpetrators on TV, magazines and newspapers.  Second, I recommend that we stop thinking that "Gun Free Zone" signs have any effect on criminal activity.  If someone's willing to rob you, rape you, and/or murder you, do you think a SIGN is going to stop them?  And honestly, with ten people dead and seven injured, would a defender with a gun, right there right then, actually have made the situation WORSE?  This guy was willing to risk his life to protect others, but was disarmed by those "Gun Free Zone" signs.
I got a few positive responses, but just this Tuesday it was discovered by someone new. Here's that exchange:

Dimitrios Tolios:
Your whole post is listing facts but fails to avoid deductive fallacies.

There is no correlation of concealed weapon licences and reduction in homicides, as in “bad guys think twice before committing a crime”. None whatsoever.

You can quote mine statistical data for a lot of things that increased since 1995, and then attribute the reduction in violent crimes to…say, cellphones. Vast increase in cellphones, the probability of a “victim” or someone in the vicinity having a cellphone and calling for help - and as of lately recording you too - is insanely more probable to deter a “baddy” vs. the fear of a vigilante shooter. Its a loose probability, but still far more plausible than the fear of “the white hat gunner”.

For the biggest part of the late 90s and early 2010s there was a huge % increase of MP3 players…with your deductive logic I could correlate the decrease in violent crimes to listening to good 90s music…but that again would be a deductive fallacy.
Me:
“There is no correlation of concealed weapon licences and reduction in homicides, as in “bad guys think twice before committing a crime”. None whatsoever.”

No, the correlation exists. As you note, increases in “smart phones” and MP3 players also correlate. It is causation that cannot be proven statistically. (Incidentally, your use of the word “vigilante” says a lot about your personal bias on this topic.) Yet if the worst thing you can say about the massive increase in concealed-weapons permits nationwide is “It may not have contributed to the dramatic decrease in violent crime,” then I submit that “More guns = more crime” has been decisively dis-proven, no? And hasn’t that been the chant of gun-control forces forever?
Dimitrios Tolios:
The definition of vigilante is irrelevant to personal biases: “A member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate.”

If you don’t like the use of this word that describes nearly perfectly the way legal possession of concealed weapons would deter crimes with the implied threat of capital punishment without due process, well, tough luck.

Now, for how many guns are “too many” according to people, or when a critical mass is reached after which adding more is irrelevant, or which chants touch which simpletons on one side and which on the other, makes no difference. Its another fallacy to think that a popular belief has any merit “ad populum”.
Me:
“If you don’t like the use of this word that describes nearly perfectly the way legal possession of concealed weapons would deter crimes with the implied threat of capital punishment without due process, well, tough luck.”

So do these meet your definition of “the way legal possession of concealed weapons” deters crime?

Felon with gun killed by man with concealed carry permit, Orlando police say

Police: Customer with concealed carry license kills robber; 6 more people shot

Fatal stabbing near Oceanside motel

Man with concealed weapons permit shoots, kills robber in double-shooting, Grand Rapids police say

Police: Concealed permit holder stopped armed robbery of Vernal restaurant | KSL.com

Man With Concealed-Carry License Shoots Would-Be Robber, Police Say

Man with concealed-carry gun permit foils Akron robbery attempt

Now in a few cases above we won’t be seeing any recidivism from the perpetrators of the crimes since they’ll be pushing up daisies and not contributing to future violent crime, but in each case crimes were deterred with either implied or actual deadly force, what you term “capital punishment.”

Here’s a clue as to the difference: “deadly force” is legally authorized - to anybody - in the immediate defense of life and health of oneself or others. The threat of deadly force is legally valid to stop the commission of a felony involving deadly force (see the fifth example - robber had a knife, defender had a gun, nobody got killed). Cops have that power as do private citizens. Capital punishment is punishment carried out by the State only after due process of law. The two are not equal.

Vigilantism as you express it involves the use of deadly force not to stop a felony in progress, but one or more persons being “judge, jury and executioner” after the fact. That’s why vigilantism is illegal. It's literally outside the law. Self-defense and defense of others is well within the law.

Your personal bias seems to indicate that you believe self-defense is “vigilantism,” or you cannot tell the difference between them, because the word not only isn’t “nearly perfect,” it’s completely wrong.

Now, for how many guns are “too many” according to people, or when a critical mass is reached after which adding more is irrelevant…

And again, you misinterpret. If your theory was correct and we reached a “critical mass” at some point in the past “after which adding more is irrelevant” then violent crime would have reached some plateau that, at best, would have remained constant with respect to population. But that’s emphatically not the case. Violent crime has been on the decline for the better part of two decades while the “number of guns” in private hands has skyrocketed, especially over the last decade. Thus the argument you hand-wave away as irrelevant is, as I note, disproven. Yet it’s the fundamental one on which “gun control” arguments - and you admit this - are based: “There are too many guns.” You just suggest that adding more hasn’t had any further deleterious effect.
Dimitrios Tolios:
I did not put out the argument more guns = more crime. You did. And you swiftly rushed to say it is dis-proven, not based on scientific research, just by arbitrarily pairing statistical facts: Fact 1) A has gone up, Fact 2) B has gone down, thus A lowers B.

Also the # of legal guns out there is irrelevant out of context, as for example a single gun owner might own hundreds. % of people asking for stricter gun control is going up. That’s a statistical fact. The sales of guns are statistically rising far beyond population growth. Thus it is not a “A equals B” type of a stretch to think that gun ownership could be going up overall, but a large % of those guns go to the same people. Good, law-abiding people that want to have guns and don’t feel satisfied with one. Or ten. Much like I like to have many photographic lenses & cameras for example “just to be ready”.

All these are a matter that needs serious studies and research to produce any significant findings. All the links you’ve posted are no “Studies”…are - again - by definition anecdotal. Even when something is based on a true account, it is still of not scientific significance in itself.

As for the vigilantism and what is after the fact and what before the fact, well, I hope you realize that this is out of the control of any individual, police representative etc. It is not the time of Minority Report (yet), the “offence” has to come before the 3rd party responds, with deadly force or not. It has to be after the fact.

Also, if “trained” police officers clearly & often misjudge situations that “threaten” them, and automatically warrant the use of deadly force, giving to all individuals the right to “hold their ground” and do the same, is a recipe for more and not less grief for all parties involved.
Me:
“I did not put out the argument more guns = more crime. You did. And you swiftly rushed to say it is dis-proven, not based on scientific research, just by arbitrarily pairing statistical facts: Fact 1) A has gone up, Fact 2) B has gone down, thus A lowers B.”

No you didn’t. You didn’t have to. It’s been the mantra of the gun control side for decades - and one you appear to agree with when you stipulate to a “critical mass” argument. And you misunderstand the argument. It isn’t that “1) A has gone up, 2) B has gone down, thus A lowers B” it’s that the argument is that 1) if A goes up then 2) B must also - and it hasn’t. Dodge that all you want with your “critical mass” argument, but it’s 3) C a fact. It hasn’t gone up, it hasn’t remained level - it’s gone down.

“Also the # of legal guns out there is irrelevant out of context, as for example a single gun owner might own hundreds. % of people asking for stricter gun control is going up. That’s a statistical fact.”

Is it now?

Gallup: Only 2% Say 'Guns/Gun Control' Among Nation's Most Important Problems

Poll: More Americans oppose stricter gun control

Despite lower crime rates, support for gun rights increases

Why Are Americans Buying So Many Guns?

That’s Gallup, CNN/ORC, Pew and Rassmussen. All of them disagree with your “statistical fact” concerning the percentage of people in favor of stricter gun control going up, and at least one details an increase in the number of new gun owners in the U.S.

All the links you’ve posted are no “Studies”…are - again - by definition anecdotal. Even when something is based on a true account, it is still of not scientific significance in itself.

Yet you’re in favor of disarming those people so that you feel safer.

Tell each of them that they’d have been better off unarmed.

It is not the time of Minority Report (yet), the “offence” has to come before the 3rd party responds, with deadly force or not. It has to be after the fact.

Care to parse that sentence so it makes some kind of sense? I don’t want to misinterpret it.

Also, if “trained” police officers clearly & often misjudge situations that “threaten” them, and automatically warrant the use of deadly force, giving to all individuals the right to “hold their ground” and do the same, is a recipe for more and not less grief for all parties involved.

And THAT is the “more guns = more violence” argument. “Oh noes! If mere citizens are allowed to carry guns, there’ll be shootouts over fender-benders and Wal*mart sales!” We heard that in each and every state contemplating “shall-issue” concealed carry legislation, and it never happened anywhere.

Cops walk into situations in progress. Citizens are the ones the situation is directly affecting. They’re pretty damned sure whether there’s a crime going on and who the assailant is. The cops have to figure it out when they get there.

Are you advocating the disarmament of police so that there will be “less grief for all parties involved”?
Dimitrios Tolios:
Your links are not relevant, much like your imposed correlation between more guns being bought vs. violent crime going down.

People have more disposable income in shear numbers, they buy lots of pointless consumer goods, some buy guns.

Very few people consider gun ownership being a OMFG most important problem…gun owners that identify themselves as little more than gun owners are those making a big deal out of it.

And that is the reason you are so obsessed with your totally inconclusive and uncorellated discovery, and you quote-mine headlines that inside the text or the actual polling number speak of fluctuations that happen between 1–2 years, and ofc is something totally natural given the small actual # of people being polled. You are so invested in this Truism tho, that you are committing all logical fallacies in the book, talking in circles and destroying one straw-man after the other.

You want trends: Gallup historical data on Guns. Like, google search #1…it is not in favor of your arguement.

And Gallup is not the only polling organization.

 photo Gun Ownership in America.jpg

Give or take the % of people with guns in their homes are the same or slightly declining. If it is true that more and more guns are being sold, it has to be true that the same people are buying them

 photo Estimated sales.jpg

Meanwhile:
 photo mass shootings1.jpg

 photo mass shootings2.jpg

You devolved this ad nauseum to a personal arguement starting from the point that I am your stereotypical gun-control arch-enemy. Something that was never stated or implied.

As for the “dissarm police” thing, again, another strawman that was never implied. What was said is that policemen prove themselves too often to be applying excessive force…are you arguing that the Police doesn’t need more training?

“Citizens are the ones the situation is directly affecting. They’re pretty damned sure whether there’s a crime going on and who the assailant is. The cops have to figure it out when they get there.”

Thats hillarious…exaclty the “vigilante” stereotype that I did not mean to imply but you accused me of: the “citizen that is pretty damn sure” that whomever wronged them (according to their own account) should pull a gun…

Sorry mister, you are hopeless…good luck.
With all the typos, I could almost see the foam at the corners of his mouth. So I had to get in one last shot:
“Your links are not relevant…”

Because you say so, right? You made an assertion - the percentage of people in favor of stricter gun control was growing. I gave FOUR DIFFERENT POLLS that refuted that assertion. But they’re “not relevant.” Check.

“…much like your imposed correlation between more guns being bought vs. violent crime going down.”

Once again, with feeling: You’re misunderstanding (deliberately?) my argument. MORE GUNS DOES NOT MEAN MORE VIOLENT CRIME. And your counter argument was that some “critical mass” of guns had been reached at some point in the past. If that were true, then VIOLENT CRIME SHOULD BE STABLE. But it’s NOT. It’s been trending down for the better part of two decades. I’ve repeated myself twice now. Perhaps this time you’ll get it?

People have more disposable income in shear numbers, they buy lots of pointless consumer goods, some buy guns.

Right. More people are in favor of stricter gun control, but they go out and drop several hundred dollars not on a new HDTV or computer, but a gun. Pointlessly. Just because. When was the last time you spent $300–$500 on something that didn’t really interest you? Grasping at straws much?

And Gallup is not the only polling organization.

No indeed. Which is why I included Pew, CNN and Rasmussen.

“Give or take the % of people with guns in their homes are the same or slightly declining. If it is true that more and more guns are being sold, it has to be true that the same people are buying them.”

Obviously math is not your strong suit (much like understanding the difference between correlation and causation). I’ve addressed this question of DECLINING GUN OWNERSHIP!! before. If you use the General Social Survey results the percentage of households containing a firearm has dropped from 50% in 1970 to 35% in 2012. If you use the Gallup numbers

Self-Reported Gun Ownership in U.S. Is Highest Since 1993

the percentage has declined from 50% in 1991 to 47% in 2011.

According to this site:

Total Number of U.S. Households

the total number of households has increased from 63.5 million in 1970 to 114.8 million in 2010. In either case, that's a net increase of 8 million households in which there is a firearm over those two periods. Assuming one firearm owner per household, that’s minimum 8 million NEW firearm owners. And there’s reason to believe that this number strongly under-represents reality.

And now you shift the goalposts to “mass shootings”? I think we’ll skip this one and move on.

You devolved this ad nauseum to a personal arguement starting from the point that I am your stereotypical gun-control arch-enemy.

Oh no! You give yourself far too much credit. Stereotypical, yes. Arch-enemy, no. You’re the average, everyday gun control supporter. You’re absolutely sure of your “facts” and completely unaffected by anything that contradicts them. When confronted by someone who can refute you, you bob, weave, obfuscate and move the goalposts. Commonly the next step is reasoned discourse

Thats hillarious…exaclty the “vigilante” stereotype that I did not mean to imply but you accused me of: the “citizen that is pretty damn sure” that whomever wronged them (according to their own account) should pull a gun…

So if confronted by an armed robber, they should….?

Sorry mister, you are hopeless…good luck.

Pot? Meet kettle.

Understand, I don’t write these things to change your mind. I do it so that the truly undecided can read what people like you have to say and what I have to say and perhaps look into the facts for themselves and make up their own minds. Judging from the polls, this has been pretty effective! ;-)
No further replies today, but the thread is still up.  "Reasoned discourse" has not yet been implemented.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Remember "Civility in Politics"?

Wandering around on Facebook today I ran across a golden oldie from Roberta X, the meat of which was this quote:
What is clear is once anyone has become so convinced that one of the two halves of the Running Things Party comprises every human vice and ill (and no few I had previously thought limited to the animal kingdom), then there's no further reason to talk. The attitude itself is what gives rise to purges and pogroms, killing fields and death marches -- no matter who espouses it or what virtues they ascribe to themselves and their supposed peers, or even practice. Persons who speak like that will murder you -- or hand you over to be used up and killed -- if they even suspect you might be a member of a group they loathe; and they will sleep soundly that night. Left, right, center; amoral and "practical" or rigidly moral and unworldly, it doesn't matter: once that level of dehumanizing rhetoric has infected someone's mind, they are like an armed landmine.
That was in reference to this particular little screed at DailyKos which I won't bother to excerpt from.

I'll quote the whole fucking thing, but not the overwhelmingly supportive comments:
Murdering, Lying, Thieving, Rat-F*** Republican Pieces of Sub-Amphibian Sh**...

...mendacious, death-loving, frothing, lamprey-mouthed, inhuman, abominable, atrocious, verminous, rapacious, sadistic, bullying, invasive, grasping, psychopathic, twisted, warped, animalistic, belly-crawling, mouth-breathing, illiterate, innumerate, know-nothing, imbecilic, sheep-raping, horror movie extras masturbating into wads of money while fantasizing about war collateral damage...(inhale)...puppy-torturing, vacuous, mindless, nihilistic, evil, diseased, soulless, morally bankrupt, greedy, insecure, envious, kleptomaniac charnel-house mascots stewing in universal hatred for all life...(inhale)...toxic, ugly, bestial, humorless, loveless, compassionless, demonic human-shaped ruins forever slouching toward Bethlehem in search of some fresh nightmare to wreak on the defenseless via other people's money and heroism...(inhale)...Satanic monkey-shit-throwing, cowardly, chickenhawkish, parasitic, baby's-candy-stealing, wife-beating, minority-purging, syphilitic Confederate poltergeists with erectile dysfunction...

...perverse, prurient, crocodile-eyed, necrophiliac mass-producers of human misery and gleeful destroyers of truth, justice, and the American way...sepulchre-hearted human deserts walking the Earth only to look for more victims...silly, stupid, ignorant bastards proud of every good thing they've never done, every person they've never been considerate toward, every fact they've never learned and will never acknowledge, and every virtue they will never possess or even attempt to comprehend...preternaturally drunken, bleary-eyed, zombie-like, empty vessels who wander aimlessly until given instruction by their masters...unthinking, unquestioning, unfeeling diabolus ex machina mockeries of the human condition, perpetually acting out a burlesque of the basest and least interesting psychological dysfunctions...

...face-chewing, self-devouring, medieval barbarian museum dioramas and depraved Nazi homunculi preserved in formaldehyde to frighten children...sick, ominous, loathsome, Nosferatu-impersonating Gollum-acolytes feasting on the flesh of our society while complaining about its taste...tax-evading, sommelier-abusing, election-buying, yacht-aficionado hemmorhoids flying flags of convenience and berating their six-year-old Chinese employees for requesting bathroom breaks...

Republicans, you vile, repulsive, scum. You're not leading this country. You're not contributing to this country. You're not even part of this country. You are the maggot-ridden rot that arises in this country's damaged flesh; you are the vultures constantly picking at us to see if we're weak enough yet to become your next meal; you create problems where none would otherwise exist, just to further weaken America and quicken your own insatiable appetites; you are garbage, and you are traitors. And you are not welcome in this country anymore.
Note that this was during the 2012 election cycle.  As I asked back then, what happened to that "New Civility" thing we were all supposed to be supporting after the Gabby Giffords shooting here in Tucson?

Now we have the Left making excuses for physical assaults on Trumpists.

So I've added a fifth quote to the masthead of this blog, a proclamation by Billy Beck made several years ago and obviously prophetic.

Yup.  Our "austerity riots" are going to be spectacular.

ETA: Scott Adams, author of the comic strip Dilbert and predictor of a Trump presidency for months now, has come out to endorse Hillary for his own personal safety.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Quote of the Day - Truth in Fiction Edition

I just finished reading CTRL ALT Revolt! by Nick Cole, the novel self-published by the author when his publisher refused to release it. (Read the link.) It's set in the near future, somewhere between now and when Idiocracy is set. I picked it up on Kindle for $0.99.

It was way underpriced.

Now I get the excuse he was given as to why they wouldn't publish, but in reality the entire book is about as un-PC as it can be, and often hilariously so.

It must have made his editor cringe. (Or projectile vomit, I'm not sure which.) Either way, I'm sure he/she was running for their "safe space" with their blankie.

But near the climax of the book there's a few paragraphs I want to share with you under the heading of "Truth in Fiction" again:
(T)he truth is the most valuable thing in the world. It's, in fact, the only thing that has value and provides value for everything else. Everything that's false can't be relied on and is therefore actually worthless. Therefore, there's no sense in having it. But if you have the truth, well then, you've really got something there, don'tcha? See, with the truth you can really do anything. The truth makes you very powerful, especially if you own it.
--

The truth was important. But for a long time, a very long time it really hasn't been trading real high in the marketplace of ideas. What's been more important these days is how people feel about things. Regardless of whether they're true or not. For example, you've all taken your social media etiquette classes since elementary school, right? And what's the one thing you learn in those classes? 'The most important thing is not to offend anyone.' Isn't that right? So, you don't tell someone the truth, because, after all, what is truth? Isn't it whatever we decide it to be? Whatever we want it to do? Whatever we want it to be regardless of history, culture, and the belief systems of anyone who doesn't agree with the popular zeitgeist?

--

No, kids, that's incorrect. The truth isn't just what we want it to be. The truth is just so.
And once again, I'm reminded of this.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Recycling

From December 22, 2014, a topical repost in keeping with today's QotD:


Quote of the Day, from the end of the interview:
Peter Robinson: How’s my generation’s project of holding on to liberty coming along?

Thomas Sowell
: Not well. One of the reasons I’m glad to be as old as I am is that it means I may be spared seeing what’s going to happen to this country, either internally or as the result of international complications.

Robinson: You think that America’s greatest days are gone? Full stop? That it’s irreversible?

Sowell: Nothing is irreversible. But I think that we’re like a team that is coming to bat in the bottom of the ninth, five runs behind. We can win it, but this is not… I wouldn’t bet the rent money on it.

Robinson: Last question. What would you say – talking about Milton (Friedman) talking to my generation – what would you say to the next generation, to your grandchildren’s generation about the America for which they should be preparing themselves?

Sowell: Since I don’t know what that America is going to be, I don’t want to say anything to them. By the time they get here I think the issue will have been settled one way or the other.

Robinson: By then it will be irreversible.

Sowell: Either we will have pulled out of the dive, as it were, or else it will be all over.

Quote of the Day - Thomas Sowell Edition

None of this is rocket science. But you do have to stop and think -- and that is what too many of our schools and colleges are failing to teach their students to do. - Socialism for the Uninformed
And that's by design.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Servile State

Another reason I won't do überposts anymore is that others do them so much better than I.  Here's today's Quote of the Day, from Richard Fernandez's recent piece, Greetings Slaves (highly recommended):
Where both Belloc and Orwell may have erred was in assuming the Servile State could fix the sustainability problems that doomed Leninism. The hope of finding a lasting formula for collectivism lies at the heart of the USSR's reboot as the EU and Hillary's socialism in words but crony capitalism in deeds strategy, in contrast to Bernie Sanders' hair-on-fire socialism. Nobody argues with the collectivist goals, just about how to pay for them. Both the EU and its American imitations are attempts at finding a socialism which can pay the bills. Unfortunately the present political crisis raises the possibility that the Servile State itself is inherently unsustainable.
Here I get to attach an image that I find highly appropriate for this post:

 photo Bernopoly.jpg

Go read the link.

Reruns

First, I'd like to thank everybody who linked to The Last Überpost.  It has gathered the highest number of pageviews of any piece I've actually written:

 photo Stats.jpg


The first two were YouTube videos, and the third was a reprint of a Usenet post by "FlimFlam" - the nom de plume of J. David Phillips, a pawn broker from Crystal River Florida who defended his life with a .25ACP Beretta. It still gets a few hundred hits a month from people Googling ".25ACP stopping power".

I've been spending some time perusing the archives.  Damn, I wrote a lot!  So I'm thinking that every now and then I'm going to re-post something from the archives as front-page stuff.  I'll try to make sure it's still relevant, and to the best of my ability I'll try to make sure the links still work.  Whaddaya say?  Good idea or not?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Dreaming

I had a long car ride yesterday (eight hours of windshield time, six of it as a passenger). To pass the time the driver and I discussed a lot of different things, and one of the questions he asked me was "What is your 'grail' car?"

A 1962 Jaguar XKE.

But not just any '62 XKE.

Just for shits-'n-giggles I did a little looking and found this:
 photo 62_XKE.jpg

1962 Jaguar XKE Series 1 FHC

Full numbers matching car all numbers are pictured in this ad, engine block, head, chassis and transmission number. Purchased in 1974 as a complete driver quality car. In early 1980 it had a low-end driver quality at best repaint in correct factory color (now shows lacquer cracks, dings, shiny but not driver quality some overspray etc…) and the seats were removed to be recovered. The seat tracks were lost and this Jag was never driven again. We purchased a new pair of seat tracks from Welsh Jaguar and bolted the beautifully restored seats back in the car. Stored the past 36 years the engine does not turn over by hand or with a battery, we do not want to force it. This is a great find and very close to rust free with no signs of damage history. Please view all 97 pictures including detailed chassis pictures. Clear TN title and worldwide shipping is available we price our cars to sell and this early correct XKE will have a new owner soon. Aggressively priced for quick sale.

Stock# 885794

Sold AS IS no warranty. Payment due within 72 hours of auctions end. All sales are final no return or refund.
If I were to win the lottery tomorrow, I would buy this car for the advertised price, drive to Tennessee with a trailer to pick it up, contact Dave Kindig at Kindig-It Design, and drive it there with the following instructions:

  • When it's done, I want it to still be visibly a '62 XKE
  • I want it thoroughly modern in all other respects - 
  • Modern fuel-injected engine (I'm thinking BMW I-6 with turbo or supercharger)
  • Modern six-speed transmission, either manual or manumatic with what Clarkson calls "flappy-paddle" shifter
  • Full suspension upgrades to handle the power increase (~400Hp)
  • Air conditioning
  • Power windows
  • Electric-assist power steering (and a smaller, but still wood-rimmed steering wheel)
  • Wide tires (tasteful fender flares as necessary)
  • Alloy knock-off wheels
  • Modern power 4-wheel disc brakes
  • Decent sound system (besides the engine)
It's nice to dream.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Quote of the Day - Not a Cat Meme Edition

Thomas Sowell instead, from his National Review op-ed Grim Choices:
More than two centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson said, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." If so, can people who cannot be bothered to look up from their electronic devices expect to remain a free people?


Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Last Überpost

This blog is now thirteen years old. I started TSM on Wednesday, May 14, 2003. I missed the blogiversary last year, and the year before that I put the blog in semi-retirement.

In preparation for this post, I went back and read some of those first pieces I wrote just to see what I had to say back then.

Nothing's changed much, really.

In one early post I wrote:
I am who I am, I think, primarily because of reading. I feel pity for people who don't or won't or can't read for pleasure. Short of a bodice-ripper, I don't think there's a book out there that can't teach you something. (Oh, wait. Battlefield Earth...No, that taught me never to read L. Ron Hubbard again.) My primary influence was Science Fiction. At about 12, I discovered The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. I, and I was never the same kid again. I went for SF, and I found Robert Anson Heinlein.

Exposing a pre-pubescent to R.A. Heinlein is a dangerous thing. Especially when you set him up with things like Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, and The Menace From Earth, and then you hit him between the eyes with Starship Troopers and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. And then follow those with Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love. Anything that man wrote, I read. Even his crap was better than most people's best work.

But I also read Asimov, Clarke, Poul Anderson, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Silverberg, James Blish, Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, Ben Bova, Alan Dean Foster, Piers Anthony... Many more. It's called "speculative fiction" for a reason. It awoke, or at least encouraged, an interest in how things work - from cars to guns to computers to governments. But Heinlein's responsible for my politics. I found Henry Louis Mencken and P.J. O'Rourke much later. By then the foundation had set.

I'm not a Libertarian, though. Nor am I a Republican or a Democrat (though that's what my voter registration says - I like screwing with their primaries.) I'm sure as hell not a Green. I don't "affiliate." I figure that anyone willing to run for elective office should be immediately disqualified. At least, anyone willing to run for national office. I've forgotten who said it, but someone did: "Anyone who rises to the level of national politics is either a cutthroat or a useful idiot." Or both. The ones that are both are the really dangerous ones.

My politics and my personal philosophy are also based in the works of two other writers: John D. MacDonald, and Robert B. Parker. Their characters of Travis McGee and Spenser, which I read through my adolescence, resonated with my personal sense of rightness and honor, socially responsible independence: in short - morality.
Note that "school" was not mentioned in that excerpt. In an earlier post I pointed to an LA Dogtrainer Times piece (link now broken) about how a school valedictorian couldn't write a research paper with a bibliography, so the "Collapsing Schools" theme dates back to the beginnings of the blog.

In an even earlier piece I said:
I am strongly interested in the rights of individuals, in particular the restrictions upon our government to respect those rights.

As such, I'm not much of a fan of the government we have. In fact, I used to use this signature line:

The Constitution may not be the finest work ever set to paper,
but it beats whatever the government's using these days.

So it comes as no surprise that I'm not real enamored with the Republicans, and I find the Democrats abhorrent. Of course, I think the Greens are flakes, and the Libertarians tend to be flakes of a different shape.
My opinion of the Republican party has declined precipitously over the last thirteen years.  As has my opinion of the Democrat party.

And here we are.

In October of 2003 I wrote Not with a Bang, but a Whimper? decrying other bloggers abandoning the ideological field. Toren Smith of The Safety Valve was quoted:
After thinking it over for a while, I think The Safety Valve has run its course. Frankly, I'm tired of getting all bent out of shape about the stupidities of the world, which seem to be getting worse and worse as time goes by. The last few months it seems every day brings worse news about the corruption of science, the destruction of society by PC-think, the complete and utter end of rational political discourse, and the hydra-like expansion of government powers. International politics has gone insane. California is heading into the socialist shit pit, and most of the US seems poised to follow sooner or later. I may escape temporarily to someplace like Texas, but sooner or later I'll probably have to head for Belize or the Caymans.
--

To hell with rubbing my face in all the downer crap that's out there. Yes, I know--even if you don't go looking for politics, politics will come looking for you. But I'm going to try crossing the street, at least for the time being. And if necessary I'll shoot the bastard with my carry piece. And in the meantime I'll let my friends like Kim and James and the rest of the gang off to the right in my blog links "gaze into the abyss."
They're clearly tougher than I am.
It took me eleven years, but I got there, too.  I just didn't (completely) quit.

I have concluded that the problem isn't the government, though.  Quoting Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us."  THAT I blame on the government.

Packing thirteen years of blogging into a few paragraphs (using words that mostly aren't mine, naturally - I'm nothing if not consistent) I'd like to state my case one more time for the record.

Educator John Taylor Gatto studied the history of American public education after he got out of teaching in the the New York City school system.  In his book The Underground History of American Education he noted:
At the start of WWII millions of men showed up at registration offices to take low-level academic tests before being inducted. The years of maximum mobilization were 1942 to 1944; the fighting force had been mostly schooled in the 1930s, both those inducted and those turned away. Of the 18 million men were tested, 17,280,000 of them were judged to have the minimum competence in reading required to be a soldier, a 96 percent literacy rate. Although this was a 2 percent fall-off from the 98 percent rate among voluntary military applicants ten years earlier, the dip was so small it didn’t worry anybody.

WWII was over in 1945. Six years later another war began in Korea. Several million men were tested for military service but this time 600,000 were rejected. Literacy in the draft pool had dropped to 81 percent, even though all that was needed to classify a soldier as literate was fourth-grade reading proficiency. In the few short years from the beginning of WWII to Korea, a terrifying problem of adult illiteracy had appeared. The Korean War group received most of its schooling in the 1940s, and it had more years in school with more professionally trained personnel and more scientifically selected textbooks than the WWII men, yet it could not read, write, count, speak, or think as well as the earlier, less-schooled contingent.

A third American war began in the mid-1960s. By its end in 1973 the number of men found noninductible by reason of inability to read safety instructions, interpret road signs, decipher orders, and so on—in other words, the number found illiterate—had reached 27 percent of the total pool. Vietnam-era young men had been schooled in the 1950s and the 1960s—much better schooled than either of the two earlier groups—but the 4 percent illiteracy of 1941 which had transmuted into the 19 percent illiteracy of 1952 had now had grown into the 27 percent illiteracy of 1970. Not only had the fraction of competent readers dropped to 73 percent but a substantial chunk of even those were only barely adequate; they could not keep abreast of developments by reading a newspaper, they could not read for pleasure, they could not sustain a thought or an argument, they could not write well enough to manage their own affairs without assistance.

Consider how much more compelling this steady progression of intellectual blindness is when we track it through army admissions tests rather than college admissions scores and standardized reading tests, which inflate apparent proficiency by frequently changing the way the tests are scored.

--

Back in 1952 the Army quietly began hiring hundreds of psychologists to find out how 600,000 high school graduates had successfully faked illiteracy. Regna Wood sums up the episode this way:
After the psychologists told the officers that the graduates weren’t faking, Defense Department administrators knew that something terrible had happened in grade school reading instruction. And they knew it had started in the thirties. Why they remained silent, no one knows. The switch back to reading instruction that worked for everyone should have been made then. But it wasn’t.
In 1882, fifth graders read these authors in their Appleton School Reader: William Shakespeare, Henry Thoreau, George Washington, Sir Walter Scott, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Bunyan, Daniel Webster, Samuel Johnson, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others like them. In 1995, a student teacher of fifth graders in Minneapolis wrote to the local newspaper, "I was told children are not to be expected to spell the following words correctly: back, big, call, came, can, day, did, dog, down, get, good, have, he, home, if, in, is, it, like, little, man, morning, mother, my, night, off, out, over, people, play, ran, said, saw, she, some, soon, their, them, there, time, two, too, up, us, very, water, we, went, where, when, will, would, etc. Is this nuts?"
Yes, it is.  And no one did anything to correct it.  What has the result been?  A Daily Mail article Thursday covers the publishing of a vanity-press book ostensibly written by a Democrat Congressman. Here's the part I find pertinent:
'Voters claim they want substance and detailed position papers, but what they really crave are cutesy cat videos, celebrity gossip, top 10 lists, reality TV shows, tabloid tripe, and the next f***ing Twitter message,' the congressman gripes in the book.

'I worry about our country's future when critical issues take a backseat to the inane utterings of illiterate athletes and celebrity twits.'
The product of 100+ years of public schooling, with the accelerating aid of the Department of Education (established in 1979 under the Carter administration) has brought us to this point where significantly less than half the population of the country understands the system of government or economics they live under.  Or is even interested in understanding them.  I've quoted from the 1983 report A Nation at Risk before, too.  It's author had this to say in the preface:
Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. This report is concerned with only one of the many causes and dimensions of the problem, but it is the one that undergirds American prosperity, security, and civility. We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people. What was unimaginable a generation ago has begun to occur--others are matching and surpassing our educational attainments.

If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.
I'm convinced this was intentional.  As the anonymous Congressman states:
'Voters are incredibly ignorant and know little about our form of government and how it works,' the anonymous writer claims.

'It's far easier than you think to manipulate a nation of naive, self-absorbed sheep who crave instant gratification.'
Yes, it is. Which is how Donald Trump ended up the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee this year.

Across the Pond, it's no better.

In 2004's Those Without Swords Can Still Die Upon Them, I quoted Steven Den Beste:
In my opinion, the four most important inventions in human history are spoken language, writing, movable type printing and digital electronic information processing (computers and networks). Each represented a massive improvement in our ability to distribute information and to preserve it for later use, and this is the foundation of all other human knowledge activities. There are many other inventions which can be cited as being important (agriculture, boats, metal, money, ceramic pottery, postmodernist literary theory) but those have less pervasive overall affects.
I agree with that, but I went further:
I believe that there are three things crucial to the rise of individual freedom: The ability to reason, the free exchange of ideas, and the ability to defend one's person and property. The ability to reason and the free exchange of ideas will lead to the concept of individual liberty, but it requires the individual ability to defend one's person and property to protect that liberty. The ability to reason exists, to some extent, in all people. (The severely mentally retarded and those who have suffered significant permanent brain injury are not, and in truth can never be truly "free" as they will be significantly dependent on others for their care and protection.) The free exchange of ideas is greatly dependent on the technologies of communication. The ability to defend your person and property - the ability to defend your right to your own life - is dependent on the technologies of individual force.

--

Individual, private possession of firearms isn't the only thing that permits individual liberty, but it is one of the essential components in a society that intends to stay free. An armed, informed, reasoning people cannot be subjugated.

So what do you do if you want to fetter a free people?

1) Remove their ability to reason.

2) Constrain their ability to access and exchange information.

3) Relieve them of the means with which to defend themselves and their property.

Which of these seems easiest, and how would it be best accomplished? And best resisted?
But I concluded this year that I was wrong.  Our ability to reason was destroyed, rendering the other two requirements moot.  From a tactical standpoint, this is known as exploiting a single point of failure.

How was this accomplished?  Philosophy.

I've quoted Ayn Rand from her 1974 speech to West Point graduates, Philosphy, Who Needs It? on a number of occasions.  Once more:
You have no choice about the necessity to integrate your observations, your experiences, your knowledge into abstract ideas, i.e., into principle. Your only choice is whether these principles are true or false, whether they represent your conscious, rational convictions - or a grab-bag of notions snatched at random, whose sources, validity, context and consequences you do not know, notions which, more often than not, you would drop like a hot potato if you knew.

As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation - or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind's wings should have grown.

Your subconscious is like a computer - more complex a computer than men can build - and its main function is the integration of your ideas. Who programs it? Your conscious mind. If you default, if you don't reach any firm convictions, your subconscious is programmed by chance - and you deliver yourself into the power of ideas you do not know you have accepted.
I have discussed on a number of occasions (there's links in the left sidebar to some of them) the difference between the philosophy of John Locke - responsible for the success of the American Revolution - and the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau - responsible for the disastrous French Revolution and all the horrors of socialism that followed.  But as reader Oren Litwin noted in a comment long ago, now lost when Haloscan went away, but archived here in a couple of places:
If the non-socialist end of the political spectrum cannot create a political philosophy that is both good theory and emotionally appealing, we're doomed.

Any political philosophy that is not self-reinforcing is by definition not the best political philosophy. Libertarianism (with a small "l") features a stoic acceptance of individual risk (i.e. the lack of government intervention) for the sake of long-term freedom and prosperity--yet takes no measures to ensure that the society educates its young to maintain that acceptance of risk. The equilibrium, if it ever exists in the first place, is unstable and will collapse.

This aside from the fact that libertarianism is emotionally cold and unfulfilling to most people, who have not trained themselves to consider lack of outside restraint to be worth cherishing.
Rousseau's philosophy has the advantage of being beautiful in theory, and attractive to human nature, as illustrated by this cartoon I recently discovered:

Socialism's Appeal photo Socialisms_appeal.jpg

And 100+ years of public education has resulted in this electorate:

 photo Ignorance.jpg

We didn't use to be like this. Dinesh D'Souza wrote in his book What's So Great About America:
In America your destiny is not prescribed; it is constructed. Your life is like a blank sheet of paper and you are the artist. This notion of being the architect of your own destiny is the incredibly powerful idea that is behind the worldwide appeal of America. Young people especially find the prospect of authoring their own lives irresistible. The immigrant discovers that America permits him to break free of the constraints that have held him captive, so that the future becomes a landscape of his own choosing.

If there is a single phrase that captures this, it is "the pursuit of happiness." As writer V. S. Naipaul notes, "much is contained" in that simple phrase: "the idea of the individual, responsibility, choice, the life of the intellect, the idea of vocation, perfectibility, and achievement. It is an immense human idea. It cannot be reduced to a fixed system. It cannot generate fanaticism. But it is known [around the world] to exist; and because of that, other more rigid systems in the end blow away."
This was more recently echoed by immigrant Craig Ferguson in the opening to his book, American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot:
One of the greatest moments in American sports history was provided by Bobby Thomson, the "Staten Island Scot." Born in my hometown of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1923, he hit the shot heard round the world that won the Giants the National League pennant in 1951. Had Bobby stayed in Glasgow he would never have played baseball, he would never have faced the fearsome Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca in that championship game, and he would never have learned that if you can hit the ball three times out of ten you'll make it to the Hall of Fame.

Today I watch my son at Little League games, his freckled Scottish face squinting in the California sunshine, the bat held high on his shoulder, waiting for the moment, and I rejoice that he loves this most American game. He will know from an early age that failure is not disgrace. It's just a pitch that you missed, and you'd better get ready for the next one. The next one might be the shot heard round the world. My son and I are Americans, we prepare for glory by failing until we don't.
But in 2012 Aaron Sorkin in his HBO television series The Newsroom hit a nerve around the internet with a speech on why America isn't the greatest nation in the world. Embedding no longer allowed, but by all means, please watch the whole thing.  And listen carefully at the end when McAvoy concludes:
We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed by great men.  Men who were revered.
Men like Huntley and Brinkley, Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid and Walter Cronkite. But the media is part and parcel of the problem as well, because its acolytes are immersed in the same philosophy Rousseau espoused, and it's not the one of failing until you succeed.  No, as illustrated by Professor Brian Anse Patrick in his book The National Rifle Association and the Media:  The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage, members of the media see government as the Church of State, and they are its clergy - handing down to the laypeople only those truths they believe we should have.  And that same philosophy moved through the colleges of education producing the teachers and administrators that gave us the electorate we have today, that has apparently selected Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as our choices for the next President of the United States.  That actually gave Bernie Sanders, a socialist, a pretty good shot at the brass ring.

All because we've never been taught what government really is - a necessary evil, best kept small and watched closely.  Those of us who understand that have learned it strictly on our own, and we are vastly outnumbered.  People think we live in "a nation of laws."  Iowahawk in his inimitable way illustrated the problem with that thinking this morning:

 photo A Nation of Laws.jpg
We have a myriad of laws, each selectively enforced, but never applied to those in power.  Want to wash someone's hair for pay in New Hampshire, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, or Texas?  Be prepared to go to school first or at a minimum pay a license fee.  This is known as "freedom."

In 2003 Reverend Donald Sensing wrote a piece, Bush Republicanism = Roosevelt Democratism? in which he said:
Because the present-day Republicans and Democrats are both big-government activists, they have a foundational philosophy that is the same:

America is a problem to be fixed, and Americans are a people to be managed.

--

A friend of mine emigrated here from Romania after Ceaucescu’s regime fell. He told me the other day that Americans are over-regulated. Think about that; a man coming from a communist country believes that Americans are over-regulated. It chills.

--

I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.
Five years later I asked him if his position had changed any. He replied:
Yes, most definitely it has. The demise of freedom in this country has accelerated even faster than I imagined back in 2003. With the unconstitutional power grab embodied in the "bailout" bill that passed last week, the federal government now controls the core of the American economy, the credit and investment markets. This is not one step short of a controlled economy, it is a controlled economy. The secretary kommissar of the treasury now has the permanent mandate to intervene and indeed take control of the markets in any way he sees fit, anytime he desires.

Surely no one is so naive as to think this power will be used only rarely and delicately as time goes on. Rather, the socio-economic engineering urges of future kommissars will be ever less restrained. Remember Steven den Beste's dictum: "The job of bureaucrats is to regulate, and left to their own devices, they will try to regulate everything they can." No one seeks or accepts high, powerful, federal office in order to do little.
The government also now controls the home mortgage and student loan industries.  To mix in a pop-culture metaphor, the Federal government is now Negan, and we are boned.  All it has to do is kill or imprison somebody once in a while to keep the rest of us in line, surrendering half our shit.  Who gets into office is immaterial.  The machine goes on until it eventually will collapse under the weight of its own corruption.

And when that happens our "austerity riots" will be SPECTACULAR.

So I'm pretty much done being outraged by it all.  Check back from time to time.  I may post cat memes.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Quote of the Day - Truth in Fiction Edition

From James Corey's Expanse series novel Abbadon's Gate:
If humanity were capable of being satisfied, then they'd all still be living in trees and eating bugs out of one another's fur.
I just finished book 4, Cibola Burn and purchased book 5. This is just plain good SciFi - interesting ideas well presented, good characters with great dialog, humor, horror, adventure, exploding spaceships, aliens. What's not to like?

Monday, May 09, 2016

Smart Diplomacy

Bill Whittle is in rare form:


Quote of the Day - Tam Edition

From her post Because I hate using good material at an away game... from a bit back:
We used to do assimilation. You would move here and we would hate you and make you live in ghettos and organize political parties against you, and your kids would learn our games and our songs and our language and move out of the ghettos and be our tradespeople. And your grandkids would be our doctors and lawyers and aldermen and would forget your language and we would add your food to our menus and take one of your holidays and hang it on our wall as a trophy and use it as an excuse to get drunk every year.

But not any more. Now assimilation is imperialist and racist and bad.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Gun Blogger Rendezvous XI

It's on.  The dates are Sept. 8-11, and the Silver Legacy is taking reservations now.  Details are here.  (Yeah, that's me behind the trigger of my .300 Win Mag Remington 700.)  Luckygunner.com is the primary sponsor again this year, and if you register before June 1, you get $150 worth of ammo from them that they'll deliver to the Rendezvous freight-free.

In Other News...

...I've got 1,000 .223 cases and 1,200 Hornady 75 grain HPBT Match bullets on the way.  I've got 500 cases prepped and ready to go, and 250 projectiles already.  Primers and powder are on hand.

I've got a busy few weekends ahead.