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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Doing the Jobs Americans Just Won't Do

Doing the Jobs Americans Just Won't Do
Local authorities call the wave of kidnappings an epidemic. According to the Associated Press, some of the hostages have their fingers, legs, and heads cut off; while others are bound and gagged in pools of water before being zapped with electrical devices. If the victim is female, she is often raped while her husband is forced to listen on the other end of a telephone line. If their demands aren't met, corpses are soon discovered in the desert, gunshot wounds to the skull and body.

Do these descriptions originate from Afghanistan, a brutal Iraqi prison, or the war-torn region of Somalia? No, all these reports came directly from the southwest portion of the United States. Specifically, Brian Ross of ABC News reported, "Phoenix, Arizona has become the kidnapping capital of America, with more incidents than any other city in the world outside Mexico City, and over 370 cases last year alone."

On average, this means there is one kidnapping every day. Arizona radio host Darrell Ankarlo says two or three abductions go unreported for every one that is. The vast majority of kidnappings are connected to Mexican drug cartels and illegal immigrants coming across the border. Phoenix Police Department detective Phil Roberts states quite clearly, "Phoenix is ground zero for illegal narcotics smuggling and illegal human smuggling in the United States."

The motive is obvious. Whereas drug dealing and scurrying illegals through the desert brings in billions of dollars, Tim Gaynor of Reuters reported that "ransoms can range from $50,000 to $1 million."

The reason kidnappers demand such a high price is because their targets are often "coyotes" — drug smugglers or dealers who carry large amounts of cash. As Detective Roberts said, "There's a lot of illegal cash out there in the valley, and a lot of people want to get their hands on it."

Kidnappings have largely been contained to the Mexican crime underworld. Although overseen by drug lords, the actual perpetrators are illegal aliens looking for a quick buck, or cheap Mexican laborers. Sam Quinones of the L.A. Times describes the process used to locate these "grunts."

"Certain Phoenix bars are known as places where kidnappers recruit, much the way builders go to Home Depot to hire day laborers." - Arizona as Dangerous as 'Pakistan,' Says Top Phoenix Cop
Read the whole thing. The "reporter" is a flake, but the facts are accurate.

I think I need to go to the local gun shop and pick me up a bazooka.

Demand is Still High

Demand is Still High

The CMP reports via email:
ORDER BACKLOG. Normally, we average receiving 2,000 - 3,000 sales orders per month and ship an order in 2-3 weeks. However, these are not normal times. Since October, 2008 we have been receiving 5,000 - 10,000 orders per month, which is several times normal. As a result, we are very backlogged and running several weeks behind on processing orders. Our staff is working up to 12 hours per day 7 days a week, and only today finished the 4,000 orders we received on 1 December alone (except for those 1 Dec orders with credit card or other problems). Customers with outstanding orders should expect orders to ship approximately 100 days from the date the order was received by CMP. We expect to recover from this surge in another 3-4 months (assuming the number of orders being received drops somewhat).

COMMUNICATION RESPONSE DELAYS. CMP is receiving hundreds of calls a day, as well as hundreds of emails. Each morning there are dozens of voicemails from the night before. Because of the large volume of constant calls in the daytime, it may take a few days for response. We have a state of the art phone system for a company our size, but the volume of calls is causing the system to do unexpected things. We apologize for any delay in responding to emails or telephone calls.

CMP STORES CLOSED 15-31 MARCH, 2009. In addition to the heavy volume of mail and estore orders, the shopping activity at both stores has been significantly higher than last year. As a result, we have had to divert more sales staff than planned from processing mail orders on the days the store is open. Both CMP stores will be closed 15-31 March. The Sales staff at both locations will work on processing mail orders in an effort to quickly reduce the backlog and shorten delivery time.

ORDERS OUT OF SEQUENCE. In normal times, CMP processes sales orders in date sequence as received, regardless of item being ordered. To help reduce the mountain of orders, we are separating the rifle orders from non-rifle orders. We have dedicated two of our staff to process the non-rifle orders without regard to dates of rifle orders still in the queue. This will result in an out of sequence delivery time for many orders, but will reduce the amount of pending orders quickly.

BUY NOW FEATURE ON CMP AUCTION. We have started using the "buy now" feature for selected items on the CMP Auction site. We are listing the M1A1 carbine, one at a time with this feature. Buy now price is $3,000. We will also list some M1A1 carbines for the regular bidding process.

LAKE CITY. .30-06 SOLD OUT. On 20 February, we posted the Lake City .30-06 ammunition as sold out. We fully expect to be able to fill all orders already in house and those in the mail on 20 February. It may take another 100 days to ship some of the orders just received.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

This one, I'm sure, will be getting a lot of play. From Van Der Leun:
Man one: "Did you see that article in that magazine last week?"

Man two: "Which magazine?"

Man one: "You know, the one with Obama on the cover."

Man two: "With Obama on the cover? Christ, they all have Obama on the cover. It's getting so the only place I want to see Obama's picture is on a milk carton."
Heh.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's All A Matter of Perspective

It's All A Matter of Perspective



Click to really embiggen, (zoom in if your browser shrinks the image) and scroll all the way down. Trust me, it's worth it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WORD

WORD


I have a short list of webcomics that I read every day. Dilbert is about #10 on that list.

Maybe I should move it up.

Your Moment of Zen

Your Moment of Zen:



From Pixdaus. I may make this a regular feature.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Don't Read Icelandic, But . . .

I Don't Read Icelandic, But . . .

Reader and fellow-blogger NinjaViking illustrates graphically that the militarization of police forces is not restricted to North America.

I feel so much safer now.

Quote of the Day - "Cultural Framework" Edition

Quote of the Day - "Cultural Framework" Edition

I should be in bed asleep, since I'm writing this at 9:45PM for delayed posting tomorrow, but . . .

Perusing my Sitemeter stats tonight, I ran across a post from 2004 that links to a piece that, well, I just can't describe, but I've decided to archive here in case the originating site ever disappears, since new posts apparently stopped in June of 2006.

LeeAnn of the defunct blog The Cheese Stands Alone wrote about being called in to HR for being "intimidating":
Sorry, You Forgot To Give Me A Lobotomy With My Nametag

Just got home from work. Am purple with aggravation, frustration, and disbelief. Cannot possibly speak rationally right now. Also apparently have lost all my pronouns somewhere between the car and here.

Breathe deep. Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean.......

Okay, I'm better now.
Here's the thing... I was called into the HR office today, because one of my coworkers (let's call her Blondie) wanted to file a complaint against me. The complaint stated that I made her feel "threatened".
I was slightly reassured, however, that they'd given the problem to the Intern. This bodes well in favor of this being silly enough to count as training for her, apparently. The Intern is approximately 12 years old and has not blood but political correctness flowing in her pre-pubescent veins.
"How" I asked the Intern, "in the world does she think I've threatened her?"
Intern: "You've made no overt action. She feels intimidated by you, however, and wished to make an official complaint. We felt it was better to discuss the matter with you before taking any action, if necessary."
Me: "Exactly what did I do?"
Intern: "Er... nothing, really.... she said she's intimidated by you, because you talk about people and events that she knows nothing about, and she said it makes her feel stupid."
Me: "You're kidding, right?"
Intern: "We have to take it seriously, it's in the manual. "
Me: "Exactly what was it I said that got her upset?"
Intern: "She mentioned something about medical references, and once you talked about Henry VIII.... it bothers her that she doesn't understand what you're talking about most of the time. Oh, and McGuyver. "
Me: "She's upset because she doesn't know who McGuyver is?"
Intern: "We're not writing a complaint on this. We just wanted you to be aware of her feelings and be more sensitive to her cultural framework."
Me: "Oh, you did NOT just say that."
Intern: "Beg pardon?"
Me: "Nothing, nothing.... okay, so basically if I have to talk to her, I should talk slow, use small words, and mention nothing that happened before last Tuesday?"
Intern: "Did you know sarcasm is considered a form of aggression?"
Me: *backing slowly out of the room* "Uh... okay, gotta go, late for my shift... buh-bye now."

I haven't quite decided how to handle this yet. Part of me wants to completely and utterly ignore Blondie and speak nary one more word to her... ever.
And the other part of me wants to start a discussion about quantum physics and watch her head explode.
I'm probably going with the third path.... I'm going to laugh my ass off.
Any guesses as to who The Intern (much less the cow-orker "Blondie") voted for in the 2008 presidential election? (Though I'm fairly certain "Blondie" screwed up her ballot.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another "Shovel-Ready" Project

Another "Shovel-Ready" Project

Funded by the "Stimulus" bill:


Michael Ramirez, of course.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Now, I love libertarians to death. My CPU practically has a permanent open socket to the Mises Institute. In my opinion, anyone who has intentionally chosen to remain ignorant of libertarian (and, in particular, Misesian-Rothbardian) thought, in an era when a couple of mouse clicks will feed you enough high-test libertarianism to drown a moose, is not an intellectually serious person. Furthermore, I am a computer programmer who has read far too much science fiction - two major risk factors for libertarianism. So I could just say, "read Rothbard," and call it a day.

On the other hand, it is hard to avoid noticing two basic facts about the universe. One is that libertarianism is an extremely obvious idea. The other is that it has never been successfully implemented.

This does not prove anything. But what it suggests is that libertarianism is, as its detractors are always quick to claim, an essentially impractical ideology. I would love to live in a libertarian society. The question is: is there a path from here to there? And if we get there, will we stay there? If your answer to both questions is obviously "yes," perhaps your definition of "obvious" is not the same as mine. - Unqualified Reservations, A formalist manifesto
This from a blog that reader Thibodeaux introduced me to in a comment to yesterday's QotD. The author, "Mencius Moldbug," makes my überposts look brief in comparison, but so far they've been worth the time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Eric Holder can go to hell."


In keeping with my policy of letting other people say it if they do it better than I can, today's Quote of the Day from Larry Correia:
For example, if I talk about how when I lived in inner-city Birmingham, and it was an utter and complete cesspool of crime, poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, teenage pregnancy, and other problems, that’s cool, but then I say that the area was 99% black and seeped in a culture of welfare and institutionalized laziness, then I’m a racist.

You want us to not be cowards, Holder? Then how about I say that inner-city black culture is broken. It has been destroyed by generations being stupefied and milked by scumbags that share your flawed philosophy of entitlements and rewarding failure. You’ve replaced fathers with a welfare check and propped up bad behavior for so long that people like 50 Cent are looked at as role models.

But I can’t talk about that, because it doesn’t agree with the PC worldview, so then I get slandered for it. Hell, look what happened to Bill Cosby.

--

It isn’t about race. It is about ideology. You don’t need to be brave to make fun of Asians, fat people, smokers, Republicans, rich people, Christians, hillbillys, rednecks, Mormons, home-schoolers, gun owners, the military, Fox News, or NRA members. You only need courage if you openly talk about issues relating to any group that votes in a block for Democrats.

Screw you, Holder. You’re the coward.
Read the whole thing.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Same Tune, Different Band

Same Tune, Different Band

Instapundit links to a piece describing how reporters are being laid off, and then taking government positions working for the state agencies or officials they previously covered:
Many 'Star-Ledger' Reporters Turn to the 'Other Side' After Buyouts

At least 16 reporters and newsroom staffers at The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., most of whom left the paper in the past year's massive buyout, are now working for public officials or state agencies the paper covers.

In several cases, writers who covered a specific beat are now working for individuals or agencies upon which they once reported.

With 151 newsroom staffers taking buyouts last October, out of 330 total, that figure represents about 10% of the departed reporters, although some left prior to that round of buyouts.
In January of last year I wrote The Church of the MSM and the New Reformation, a piece on how and why the media acts as it does. The essay was based on a very interesting book, The National Rifle Association and the Media: The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage by Associate Professor Brian Anse Patrick of the University of Toledo. Professor Patrick began his research for the book for his Doctoral dissertation, and completed it early in his tenure at the University of Toledo. He explains:
"I come from a background where my father and uncle were hunters. When I went into the professional world and started writing, I ran into a lot of educated people who were horrified of the NRA and guns in general. I had a completely neutral experience," Patrick explained. "I realized a lot of people had this attitude about a thing that I regarded as a commonplace object, and it was against my experiences with gun culture. I thought it would be interesting to see what the media thought."

Patrick researched media coverage of the NRA and several other social organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union, AARP and Handgun Control Inc. "Even though they have different purposes, they’re still roughly analogous in how they function — they have a large body of people, and they are more or less democratic in how they function. The idea was to study an array of groups. It was important to have a comparison, and I wanted some groups that were middle of the road, some right and some left," Patrick said. He added that it would have been insufficient to only point to examples of negative coverage of the NRA; instead, it was important to compare the types of coverage with several organizations.
The most fascinating thing to come from his research, however, was his analysis of the news media and its front-line members. Patrick studied, in nearly infinite detail, how the "elite media" - defined as the New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report - dealt with the five different groups. He found there was very definite evidence of bias, but that bias wasn't specifically "leftist," or else how could you explain the predominance of negative coverage of the very Left-leaning ACLU?

No, what Professor Patrick found when he analyzed the data was that the bias in the media isn't a Left-Right bias (though the overwhelming majority of people in the media do lean Left), it's what he terms an "administrative control bias."

People who make careers in the media love government. They love it even better when the "right people" are in charge, but, as one much earlier commenter at Instapundit expressed it:
Perhaps the most pervasive way in which journalists are different from normal people is that journalists live in a world dominated by government, and they reflexively see government action as the default way to approach any problem.
Joining the "other side"? Hardly. They're just losing their vestments as the clergy of the Church of State and taking up lay positions.

Same tune, different band.

Friday, February 20, 2009

And in Related News,

And in Related News,

Michael Bane reports on a door-to-door confiscation practice run scheduled for April in Arcadia, Iowa. Like Michael, I'm printing the whole thing for archival purposes:
Guardsmen to conduct urban training at Arcadia in April

By BUTCH HEMAN
Staff Writer

The Carroll National Guard unit will train on urban military operations by holding a four-day exercise at Arcadia.

The purpose of the April 2-5 drill will be to gather intelligence, then search for and apprehend a suspected weapons dealer, according to Sgt. Mike Kots, readiness NCO for Alpha Company.

Citizens, law enforcement, media and other supporters will participate.

Troops will spend Thursday, April 2, staging at a forward operations base at Carroll. The next day company leaders will conduct reconnaissance and begin patrolling the streets of Arcadia to identify possible locations of the weapons dealer.

The primary phase will be done Saturday, April 4, when convoys will be deployed from Carroll to Arcadia. Pictures of the arms dealer will be shown in Arcadia, and soldiers will go door to door asking if residents have seen the suspect.

Soldiers will knock only at households that have agreed to participate in the drill, Kots noted.

"Once credible intelligence has been gathered," said Kots, "portions of the town will be road-blocked and more in-depth searches of homes and vehicles will be conducted in accordance with the residents' wishes.

"One of the techniques we use in today's political environment is cordon and knock," Kots explained. "We ask for the head of the household, get permission to search, then have them open doors and cupboards. The homeowner maintains control. We peer over their shoulder, and the soldier uses the homeowner's body language and position to protect him."

During this phase of the operation, troops will interact with residents and media while implementing crowd-control measures and possibly treating and evacuating injured persons.

The unit will use a Blackhawk helicopter for overhead command and control, and to simulate medevacs.

The drill will culminate in the apprehension of the suspected arms dealer.

Alpha Company will conduct a review of the drill on Sunday, April 5.

A meeting to give residents more information and accept volunteers will be held 7 p.m. Monday, March 2, in the Arcadia American Legion hall.

Kots said the exercise will replace Alpha Company's weekend drill for April.

"We have a lot of extended drills this coming year," he added.

In addition to surveillance, searching and apprehension, the exercise will also give the troops valuable experience in stability, support, patrol, traffic control, vehicle searches and other skills needed for deployment in an urban environment.

"This exercise will improve the real-life operational skills of the unit," said Kots. "And it will hopefully improve the public's understanding of military operations."

The pre-drill work with residents is as important at the drill itself.

"It will be important for us to gain the trust and confidence of the residents of Arcadia," said Kots. "We will need to identify individuals that are willing to assist us in training by allowing us to search their homes and vehicles and to participate in role-playing."

"We really want to get as much information out there as possible, because this operation could be pretty intrusive to the people of Arcadia."
I won't fisk it, because Michael already has. As he says, "If this article doesn't ice your blood, I'm not sure what will".

It's coming, ladies and gentlemen. It's coming. And "frightening the white people" isn't going to stop it.

You Can Lead a Horse to Water . . .

You Can Lead a Horse to Water . . .

Last night I posted a link to the excellent yet depressing essay How Democracies Become Tyrannies at American Thinker. Then, just for the fun of it, I poked at perennial commenter Markadelphia:
(Just a note, but I fully expect Markadelphia to either ignore it, or go off on a really entertaining tangent or twelve.)
Well, he took the bait:
I would be curious as to who you define as a tyrant...President Obama or the entire government?
So, in a horrible mixture of metaphors, it's time to beat the dead horse some more!

Now, despite the fact that the rabid left vociferously accused George W. Bush of being a tyrant throughout most of his term, neither G.W.B. nor B.H.O. are or were tyrants. At this point, neither is the federal government.

The point of the essay is that it's coming, and it was predicted by a philosopher - based solely on his understanding of human nature and his ability to reason (something Markadelphia has shown a distinct lack of capability for) - some 2400 years ago. Worse, the book in which this prediction was made is still available today - in the original Greek and in translation into nearly every modern language. And yet the majority, acting in precisely the way predicted, ignores the predictions and goes blithely on.

But does Markadelphia recognize this?

No, he wants to know, "Who you callin' tyrant?"

One of my favorite (for want of a better word) quotes, one I've repeated here on numerous occasions, comes from the Rev. Donald Sensing:
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.
I could be wrong in my understanding, but I did not interpret that comment - made in 2003 - to mean that Rev. Sensing believed that George Bush was a tyrant, or that the .gov was (yet) tyrannical. It meant that he too saw the progression that Socrates predicted.

And the timetable was short.

The election of Barack Obama is just another stepping stone on the path, another symptom of the decline Socrates predicted in detail. But that observation does nothing more than part Markadelphia's hair.

Once again, the key point of the entire Tyrannies piece, with emphasis:
Flash forward fifty years to the election of Barack Obama and a hard left leaning Democrat Congress. What Americans want today, apparently, is a government that has no intention of leaving any of us alone.
It isn't about (more than peripherally) Barack Obama, or Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or the rest of the Left-Liberal-Collectivist-Progressive-Nanny-State members of Congress. It's about the fact that the voting public put them there.

Just as Socrates predicted they would.

For the reasons he predicted they would.

Could Bush have become the tyrant Socrates predicted? It's possible. Could Obama? It's possible. I don't think we're quite there yet, but who knows what could happen in the next four years? As Rahm Emmanuel said, "Never allow a crisis to go to waste. They are opportunities to do big things." And we all know that passing the "Stimulus" package narrowly averted the turning of our current economic crisis into a catastrophe!

If crisis provides the opportunity to "do big things," what does catastrophe provide?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another Example of Why I Love Mike Ramirez

Another Example of Why I Love Mike Ramirez


And why the LA Times finally had to fire him.

2400 Years, and the Logic is Still Irrefutable

2400 Years, and the Logic is Still Irrefutable

The main themes of this blog have been, since day one: Freedom, Individual Rights, Education, Personal Responsibility.

I have posted, over and over, on the topic of our failing education system and how it has contributed to our national decline.

I have stated, over and over, that our Republican form of government is the best one yet devised to protect the rights of its citizens and promote their prosperity and safety.

And yet 2400 years or so ago, Socrates accurately predicted what would happen to a nation dedicated to the ideal of freedom.

Please read How Democracies Become Tyrannies, by Ed Kaitz in American Thinker. A couple of excerpts:
Back in 1959 the philosopher Eric Hoffer had this to say about Americans and America:
For those who want to be left alone to realize their capacities and talents this is an ideal country.
That was then. This is now. Flash forward fifty years to the election of Barack Obama and a hard left leaning Democrat Congress. What Americans want today, apparently, is a government that has no intention of leaving any of us alone.

--

Near the end of the Republic Socrates decides to drive this point home by showing Adeimantus what happens to a regime when its parents and educators neglect the proper moral education of its children. In the course of this chilling illustration Adeimantus comes to discover a dark and ominous secret: without proper moral conditioning a regime's "defining principle" will be the source of its ultimate destruction. For democracy, that defining principle is freedom. According to Socrates, freedom makes a democracy but freedom also eventually breaks a democracy.

For Socrates, democracy's "insatiable desire for freedom and neglect of other things" end up putting it "in need of a dictatorship." The short version of his theory is that the combination of freedom and poor education in a democracy render the citizens incapable of mastering their impulses and deferring gratification. The reckless pursuit of freedom leads the citizens to raze moral barriers, deny traditional authority, and abandon established methods of education. Eventually, this uninhibited quest for personal freedom forces the public to welcome the tyrant. Says Socrates: "Extreme freedom can't be expected to lead to anything but a change to extreme slavery, whether for a private individual or for a city."
Read the whole damned thing.

And ponder, once again, how we got here.

(Just a note, but I fully expect Markadelphia to either ignore it, or go off on a really entertaining tangent or twelve.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's Not a Rainbow-Farting Unicorn, But . . .

It's Not a Rainbow-Farting Unicorn, But . . .

. . . I like the way this guy thinks!

Phoenix talk-radio station KFYI set up a "Mock Protest" of President Obama and the "stimulus" bill for his appearance at Dobson High School in Mesa today. The idea was to bring protest signs asking Obama to give out things in the name of stimulating the economy. This, in my humble opinion, was the best one:


Other than that, I got nothin' for ya tonight.

On a Lighter Note . . .

On a Lighter Note . . .

A humorous Quote of the Day from JimmyB, the Conservative UAW Guy:
Until this point, I was unaware you could hear someone's face turning red.
I stand corrected.
He's been on a roll after a short hiatus. Go read.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
The whole thing is simply drenched in evil.

Money is taken from us, both individually at corporately, at gunpoint, on authority that ranges from dubious, at the very best, to outright usurped.

This Money is then handed over to men, granted them unauthorized power to decide to whom to distribute it, and even more unauthorized power to decide what conditions to place on its disbursement.

Thus, we are transformed from gold havers and rule makers to supplicants. We apply for the highly conditional privilege of being bribed with our own gold, because failing to do so places us at a competitive disadvantage compared to another in a similar situation.


Too many of us view this as natural, right, and just.

Too few of us hold the whole thing in the disgust and contempt it so richly deserves.
- The GeekWithA.45, It Took The Parasites Less Than 24 Hours To Line Up.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Google: Still Evil

Google: Still Evil

As most of you probably know, Google bought Blogsnot awhile back. Google also agreed to censor the web for those accessing it from China, at the insistence of the Chinese government.

I discovered something fascinating (in a creepy way) tonight. When I write a post, I put the title for it in a block marked "Title," then repeat it as the header to the body of my post. The "Title" space, I suppose, goes out to RSS feeds and such, but if I don't repeat the title in the body, you won't see it. Whatever goes in the "Title" block is made part of the URL for that post, assuming, of course, that the title isn't as long as many of my posts are. It's truncated at twenty letters or so, and "the" and "a" are dropped out. My post last week "Made as China, Norinco", should have carried a URL that reads:

http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2009/02/made-as-china-norinco.html

It does not.

Google truncated the link to http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2009/02/made-as.html

The words "China" and "Norinco" were redacted.

Kinda makes you wonder why, doesn't it?

A Man With a Question

A Man With a Question



Are the Good Times Really Over for Good?

Wish a buck was still silver.

It was, back when the country was strong.

Back before Elvis; before the Vietnam war came along.

Before The Beatles and "Yesterday",

When a man could still work, and still would.

Is the best of the free life behind us now?

And are the good times really over for good?


Are we rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell?

With no kind of chance for the Flag or the Liberty bell.

Wish a Ford and a Chevy,

Could still last ten years, like they should.

Is the best of the free life behind us now?

Are the good times really over for good?


I wish coke was still cola,

And a joint was a bad place to be.

And it was back before Nixon lied to us all on TV.

Before microwave ovens,

When a girl could still cook, and still would.

Is the best of the free life behind us now?

Are the good times really over for good?


Are we rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell?

With no kind of chance for the Flag, the Liberty bell?

Wish a Ford and a Chevy,

Could still last ten years, like they should.

Is the best of the free life behind us now?

Are the good times really over for good?


Stop rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell.

Stand up for the Flag and let's all ring the Liberty bell.

Let's make a Ford and a Chevy,

Still last ten years like they should.

'Cos the best of the free life is still yet to come,

The good times ain't over for good.


That was from Merle Haggard's 1981 album Big City.

Twenty-eight years later his question is more pertinent than ever.

(h/t to Gator in the Desert for the inspiration for this post.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Confidence, Part III

This will be the third blog essay that I am aware of that carries this title, thus "Part III." Good thing you can't copyright a title. (I hope it lives up to the quality of the prequels, though I warn you, this is not a "cheerful" post.) The first was Bill Whittle's Feb. 2003 piece, followed by one at Silent Running in September of 2005.

Bill wrote:
And we are a confident nation. Indeed, the quality that is admired by friend and foe alike, more than any other, is our optimism, our sense of hope for the future. We may be condemned overseas for our many flaws, but it's hard to argue with an optimist who is willing to roll up his sleeves. And when we, as a nation, decide to do something - it gets done. We sometimes fail. We pay the price, fix the failures, and go on.

Footsteps on the moon.

Optimism and confidence colors everything we touch, from our movies and music to our skyscrapers and Space Telescopes. How else to explain the universal appeal of The American Dream, for that dream is indeed universal: freedom, safety, prosperity - and scores of other adjectives that can be summed up in that jaunty phrase, unheard of in a political document: the Pursuit of Happiness.

It is difficult for we Americans to fully grasp the effect we have on the world's psyche, to understand the depth to which American culture has permeated the globe. We dominate the political, economic, military, scientific and cultural spheres as no nation has done before us. This influence is quite invisible to the average American, because it is simply an extension of the institutions we are familiar with at home. We think nothing of seeing McDonald's or posters for The Matrix in Singapore, or Kiev, or Rio de Janeiro.

But imagine a landscape where, let us say, France had the same cultural impact on our shores: La Baguette restaurants on every corner, long lines around the multiplex to see Jules et Jim 2000, French troop transports idling down Interstate 10 in long convoys, French fighters flying to and from French air bases set out in the middle of former farmland, television filled with dubbed French sitcoms named Mon Dieu! and Les Amis, and everywhere on the news nothing but reports of what the French government was doing and how it was going to affect us.

Okay, stop imagining - this is like huffing paint; you can feel the brain cells dying. But this is the effect we have, and there are forces at work in the world, forces besides Islamic Terrorism who would like to see nothing so much as a confident, determined United States taken down a peg. Or two. Or twenty.
From Silent Running:
(Lord Kenneth Clark) said one of the most important features of a civilisation, if not the most, was confidence. Confidence that it would still be around next year, that it was worthwhile planting crops now, so they could be harvested next season. Confidence that soldiers wouldn’t suddenly appear on the horizon and destroy your farm. Confidence that an apple seed planted in your backyard will provide fruit for your grandchildren. That if you paint a fresco, the wall its on will still be standing in a century. That if you write a book, the language you use will still be understood half a millennia in the future. And that if you hauled stone for the great cathedral which had been building since before your father was born, and which your baby son might live to see completed if, the good Lord willing, he lived to be an old man; your efforts would be valued by subsequent generations stretching forward toward some unimaginably distant futurity.

And above all, the self-confidence that you are part of something grander than yourself, something with roots in the past, and a glorious future of achievement ahead of it. When the Romans lost that self confidence, when they began doubting their own purpose, they began to die.

When the Rhine opposite Cologne froze on the last dying day of the year 406CE and the motley horde of Suevi, Alans, and Vandals charged across the Imperial border into the privince of Gaul, that was the beginning of the end merely in the physical sense. They were simply taking an axe to an already rotten tree.

And that is precisely what Osama Bin Laden believes he is doing to Western Civilisation right now. Those planes being rammed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were to instill in us the same fear felt by the centurion in charge of a pitifully small garrison in a lonely fortification as he looked out across the ice at the thousands of savages who were about to overrun both him and his entire world. Osama, and the Islamist movement he represents, have calculated that we are the modern Rome, and that we are bored, decadent, and have no faith in ourselves.
Whittle:
These are hard times, psychologically, to be a person who loves America. Hard because we do, indeed, wish to be liked by the rest of the world. Hard because we know in our hearts that we are good people, decent people who do not leap for joy at the chance to spill the blood of our own children and spend untold treasure just to have the hateful, pornographic thrill of seeing brown people blown to bits.

Yet we are accused of exactly this, and worse. We hear of polls saying that upwards of 75% of countries like England and France see the United States as the greatest danger to the world, and it knocks the wind out of us. No, that can't be right. Can it? Can they really believe that?

Some do. Many do.

Some of this emotion is genuine, real fear and panic brought on by our unparalleled success, and our past miscalculations and blunders. Some of it is envy, pure and simple. Some is driven by pain, the pain of lost greatness and glory. Some is projection, a sense of how tempting it might be to hold such power, from countries with histories of real empires, real governors, and real subjugation.

And some of it - much of it - is intentionally aimed at our decency, our sense of restraint and isolation, our desire to get back to our own happy and safe lives and turn our back on the world lost in the delusion that we long to possess it.

The protestors we have seen recently know this very well. They accuse us of being Nazis. We hear people from Berkeley and Santa Monica railing that they live in a Police State, no better than the one in Iraq. They claim we want nothing but oil, filthy lucre - and ascribe to our determined action the most base motives they can devise: sheer profit. Diversion from economic woes. Racism. Paternal guilt. Bloodlust. The list goes on and on.

Like the terrorists we also face in these quietly desperate times, these people seek to attack us where we are the most vulnerable, and for the anti-American multitudes that means our confidence. They know as well as we do that if we were the cruel, bloodthirsty and vicious killers they claim us to be that they would all be dead in unmarked graves. Gandhi, after all, succeeded in freeing India because his non-violent strategy was aimed at the British - another fundamentally decent and humane people. Had he tried this against Hitler or Stalin we would never have heard of him, for he would be yet another of the nameless, faceless millions taken away in the night, never to be seen again.

Knowing we are a moral people, knowing that we want above all else to do the right thing, knowing that the idea of invasion and war is a hateful and desperate last resort for us, they target their message to our conscience and confidence, little decency-seeking missiles like BUSH = HITLER, NO BLOOD FOR OIL and GIVE PEACE A CHANCE. These people know that the only thing capable of stopping a determined America is America herself. That is why our confidence is under attack in so many ways, and from so many sides.

Is it working?

It is.
It has.

I have, on more than one occasion, been accused of pessimism. My reply is always that being a pessimist has a major advantage - you go through life very seldom disappointed, and quite often pleasantly surprised. The results of November's elections didn't disappoint me. Nothing could have pleasantly surprised me.

See? It works!

One more (Ok, two more) excerpts from Whittle:
You'd think I would be ashamed to use such a jingoistic, hackneyed cliché as 'lousy, stinking Commies.' I am not. Here is a philosophy that has killed no less than sixty million people outright (more like 120 million - Ed.), through executions, forced starvation, Gulags and Great Leaps Forward. They have drawn us into the most filthy fights in Asia, Africa and South America, led us to sully and permanently stain our national honor fighting nasty, brutal wars in God knows how many places, and driven us to back local thugs and dictators whose only redeeming value was their promise to stop this disease from spreading.

Like Islamic Fundamentalists, they are deeply deluded people in love with a fantasy ideology that promises them revenge and the spoils of revolution, rewards that they are unwilling to work for and incapable of generating. Claiming the moral cloak of Robin Hood, these people want to rob from the rich - and keep it.

--

Look at the protest signs shrieking WELLSTONE WAS ASSASSINATED! and ONLY SOCIALIST REVOLUTION CAN END IMPERIALIST WAR! These people are not protesting the war in Iraq. What they are interested in is crippling the US. They know they cannot confront us directly. They have no military assets now that the Soviet arsenal is rusting back into the ground. They certainly don't seem to have jobs, so they're not exactly an economic force. And everywhere their political views have been put into practice, the result has been spectacular: collapse and ruin in the best of cases, and repression, torture and mass murder in the worst.

These people are political, economic and cultural failures. They are losers. But they have a secret weapon. If they cannot attack us head on, in open daylight, then perhaps they can erode, decay, and rot our moral foundations slowly, imperceptibly. And they are doing this. And it is succeeding.

If large numbers of our own people can equate The President of the United States with Adolf Hitler, if we actually believe the US is the source of all the misery in the world, if we despise ourselves and our history and expect to be praised for it, if strength and morality and sureness of purpose can be openly mocked as ridiculous anachronisms, if our institutions can be spat upon, our flag burned and our ethics slandered - if all of this can happen, in public, and we simply accept it, then something is indeed very wrong with our foundation and we had better start paying attention to it right quick while we can still save the building.
And here we are, five and a half years later.

How does the building look to you? It looks to me as though Yuri Bezmenov knew whereof he spoke - more of my own personal pessimism.

Whittle made mention of the Left's "fantasy ideology." In August of 2002 Lee Harris published Al Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology, an essay exploring the "root cause" of the 9/11 attacks. It made a fairly big splash in the blogosphere. An excerpt:
What words or phrase should we use merely to refer to the events of that day? Was it a disaster? Or perhaps a tragedy? Was it a criminal act, or was it an act of war? Indeed, one awkward TV anchorman, in groping for the proper handle, fecklessly called it an accident. But eventually the collective and unconscious wisdom that governs such matters prevailed. Words failed, then fell away completely, and all that was left behind was the bleak but monumentally poignant set of numbers, 9-11.

But this did not answer the great question: What did it all mean? In the early days, there were many who were convinced that they knew the answer to this question. A few held that we had got what we had coming:
"America's chickens . . . have come home . . . to ROOST!" - Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
It was just deserts for President Bush's refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty or the predictable product of the U.S. decision to snub the Durban conference on racism. Others held, with perhaps a greater semblance of plausibility, that the explanation of 9-11 was to be sought in what was called, through an invariable horticultural metaphor, the "root cause" of terrorism. Eliminate poverty, or economic imperialism, or global warming, and such acts of terrorism would cease.

Opposed to this kind of analysis were those who saw 9-11 as an unprovoked act of war, and the standard comparison here was with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. To this school of thought--ably represented by, among others, the distinguished classicist Victor Davis Hanson--it is irrelevant what grievances our enemy may believe it has against us; what matters is that we have been viciously attacked and that, for the sake of our survival, we must fight back.

Those who hold this view are in the overwhelming majority among Americans.
Or at least they were as of September of 2005. Today? Maybe not so much. After all, one of Obama's campaign promises was to end the war in Iraq RFN!

And he won, 52% to 48%.
And yet there is one point on which this position does not differ from the position adopted by those, such as Noam Chomsky, who place the blame for the attack on American policy: Both points of view agree in interpreting 9-11 as an act of war, disagreeing only on the question of whether or not it was justifiable.
And on whether or not we ought to lose.

But here, for the purposes of this essay, are the key graphs from Harris's piece:
My first encounter with this particular kind of fantasy occurred when I was in college in the late 1960s. A friend of mine and I got into a heated argument. Although we were both opposed to the Vietnam War, we discovered that we differed considerably on what counted as permissible forms of antiwar protest. To me the point of such protest was simple--to turn people against the war. Hence anything that was counterproductive to this purpose was politically irresponsible and should be severely censured. My friend thought otherwise; in fact, he was planning to join what by all accounts was to be a massively disruptive demonstration in Washington, which in fact became one.

My friend did not disagree with me as to the likely counterproductive effects of such a demonstration. Instead, he argued that this simply did not matter. His answer was that even if it was counterproductive, even if it turned people against war protesters, indeed even if it made them more likely to support the continuation of the war, he would still participate in the demonstration and he would do so for one simple reason--because it was, in his words, good for his soul.

What I saw as a political act was not, for my friend, any such thing. It was not aimed at altering the minds of other people or persuading them to act differently. Its whole point was what it did for him.

And what it did for him was to provide him with a fantasy--a fantasy, namely, of taking part in the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. By participating in a violent antiwar demonstration, he was in no sense aiming at coercing conformity with his view--for that would still have been a political objective. Instead, he took his part in order to confirm his ideological fantasy of marching on the right side of history, of feeling himself among the elect few who stood with the angels of historical inevitability. Thus, when he lay down in front of hapless commuters on the bridges over the Potomac, he had no interest in changing the minds of these commuters, no concern over whether they became angry at the protesters or not. They were there merely as props, as so many supernumeraries in his private psychodrama. The protest for him was not politics but theater; and the significance of his role lay not in the political ends his actions might achieve, but rather in their symbolic value as ritual. In short, he was acting out a fantasy.

It was not your garden-variety fantasy of life as a sexual athlete or a racecar driver, but in it, he nonetheless made himself out as a hero--a hero of the revolutionary struggle. The components of his fantasy--and that of many young intellectuals at that time--were compounded purely of ideological ingredients, smatterings of Marx and Mao, a little Fanon and perhaps a dash of Herbert Marcuse.

For want of a better term, call the phenomenon in question a fantasy ideology--by which I mean political and ideological symbols and tropes used not for political purposes, but entirely for the benefit of furthering a specific personal or collective fantasy. It is, to be frank, something like the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons carried out not with the trappings of medieval romances--old castles and maidens in distress--but entirely in terms of ideological symbols and emblems. The difference between them is that one is an innocent pastime while the other has proved to be one of the most terrible scourges to afflict the human race.
There seems to be a lot of something much like that going around these days.

It has been an ongoing theme here at TSM since I hit "PUBLISH" on Not with a Bang, but a Whimper? in October of 2003, that things are not going well for the Republic, and they appear to be getting worse. As Bill Whittle said, there's something very wrong with our foundation. The Left exhibits cockroach resilience, while the Right seems ever less willing to even lace up its boots. In that 2003 post I asked this:
So the question is: "Have we reached a critical mass?" Are there now so many people who have gone through the education mills and been taught not how to think, but not to think that we're outnumbered to the point that resistance is futile?
I think perhaps that question has now been answered. In a comment to that post I wrote this:
Given the fact that the Republicans as a party aren't as conservative as they were in the 50's, and the apparent fact that they aren't willing to do battle with the (minority) Democrats (see the judicial nominations, for example) what good does (a congressional majority) do us?
Answer: Obviously not much. And a congressional minority, nothing at all.
Right Wing radio and TV: Again, shining the light, but the cockroaches just come back.
Actually, now most don't even bother to scurry into hiding. Self-confessed communist Bill Ayers recently had the audacity to tell a reporter "This is my property. Please leave." A communist? With private property? What would Marx say?
Dropping ratings: That's people disconnecting from the political process - a net win for the leftists.
Five years further on, in what could be argued was really was the most important Presidential election since Lincoln took office, only about 62% of eligible voters actually voted. "Republican turnout declined by 1.3 percentage points to 28.7 percent, while Democratic turnout increased by 2.6 points from 28.7 percent in 2004 to 31.3 percent in 2008" says one source. And those who did vote? They were staggeringly ignorant of the candidates.

Well, all but one.
Gun control: Delayed, not defeated? That depends, I think, on what the Supreme Court does with Silveira.
SCOTUS punted on Silveira and on Emerson, reversed and remanded Stewart, but it finally gave us a solid victory in Heller. Unfortunately that doesn't mean Obama won't sign a new, even stronger "Assault Weapons Ban" that SCOTUS won't overturn, or won't even address until thirty-plus years after it passes. Remember, Obama doesn't just nominate Supreme Court justices, he nominates all federal judges. There are (or were when I started writing this peice several months ago) 42 vacancies - 12 in the Circuit courts, and 30 in the District courts. Seven of the twelve Circuit court openings are considered "judicial emergencies" due to the length of time the seats have been open and the volume of cases before those courts. One seat on the 9th Circuit has been open since December 31 of 2004.

Think that one will be filled this term? Think it'll be another Alex Kozinski? And Obama just got Eric Holder confirmed as his Attorney General. That ought to give you the warm fuzzies.
California: Ahnold gets elected, and can't fix the problems. He's got to fight a Democratic House, Senate, and judiciary. As someone said, it's like fighting to be captain of the Titanic.
Arnold won that Captaincy. He won re-election to the post. Now he wants $87 billion from the Federal Government - that would be you and me - to help pump down the bilges on his still-sinking ship. Hey, don't all those people in the entertainment media make a lot more than $250,000 a year? Tax them - they don't need it! And they voted for it!
War on Terror: Quagmire! Quagmire! $87 Billion! $87 Billion! No WMD's! No Exit Strategy! We won the war, but the peace is still under contention here.
We're still spending buttloads of cash in the Middle East, but now we're spending metric buttloads of cash here, we're told, trying to stave off a Depression. $700 billion! $700 billion! Another $787 billion has been rubber-stamped by Congress and on its way to Obama's desk for his signature. I'm sure that he'll fix everything else in his spare time between fixing our souls, healing the planet and meeting with foreign leaders without precondition.

Or not.
We did hasten the collapse of the USSR, but Communism lives on in China - and we're shoveling them $$ by the container-shipload.
And, in these tough economic times, we're shoveling even more money off to China because A) even more stuff comes from there now and B) people are increasingly doing their shopping at Wal-Mart.
I am not heartened.
Still plays well five years later, doesn't it?

And I'm still not heartened. But I'm not disappointed!

The one sector of the economy that is doing well? Gun and ammo sales.

In December of 2003 I wrote Pressing the "Reset" Button in response to a question by Jay Solo. Nothing I've seen so far has altered the opinion I expressed in that post, though the scenarios may have changed a bit.

What I've witnessed over half of my life (the time I've actually been paying attention) and especially the last five and a half years (the time I've been writing about it) is what appears to me to be America's inexorable slide away from our individual "pursuit of happiness" towards a pursuit of collective security in what the populace - what few of them who think about it all all - hopes will be at least a gilded cage. It's the pursuit of an illusion, but it's a pretty illusion.

In 1994 Joseph Sobran wrote How Tyranny Came to America, a piece I suggest you read if you have not. There's nothing really new there, but it's good to brush up on your history. In it he wrote:
The average American, whether he has had high-school civics or a degree in political science, is apt to assume that the Constitution somehow empowers the government to do nearly anything, while implicitly limiting our rights by listing them. Not that anyone would say it this way. But it's as if the Bill of Rights had said that the enumeration of the federal government's powers in the Constitution is not meant to deny or disparage any other powers it may choose to claim, while the rights not given to the people in the Constitution are reserved to the federal government to give or withhold, and the states may be progressively stripped of their original powers.

What it comes to is that we don't really have an operative Constitution anymore. The federal government defines its own powers day by day. It’s limited not by the list of its powers in the Constitution, but by whatever it can get away with politically. Just as the president can now send troops abroad to fight without a declaration of war, Congress can pass a national health care program without a constitutional delegation of power. The only restraint left is political opposition.
One interesting example of the fact that we don't have an operative Constitution was pointed out recently at The Volokh Conspiracy: Hillary can't (Constitutionally) become Secretary of State. But as Prof. Michael Stokes Paulsen explains:
Unless one views the Constitution's rules as rules that may be dispensed with when inconvenient; or as not really stating rules at all (but "standards" or "principles" to be viewed at more-convenient levels of generality); or as not applicable where a lawsuit might not be brought; or as not applicable to Democratic administrations, then the plain linguistic meaning of this chunk of constitutional text forbids the appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. I wouldn't bet on this actually preventing the appointment, however. It didn't stop Lloyd Bentsen from becoming Secretary of State. But it does make an interesting first test of how serious Barack Obama will be about taking the Constitution's actual words seriously.
Did anyone take any bets? She's Secretary Clinton now.

If your average American has had an average recent public school education, then he or she hasn't had much of anything to do with civics or history. (See the Zogby poll link above, for example. Or the results of the American Civic Literacy report.) Sobran then gave a very pertinent example:
If you suspect I'm overstating the change from our original principles, I give you the late Justice Hugo Black. In a 1965 case called Griswold v. Connecticut, the Court struck down a law forbidding the sale of contraceptives on grounds that it violated a right of "privacy." (This supposed right, of course, became the basis for the Court's even more radical 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, but that's another story.) Justice Black dissented in the Griswold case on the following ground: "I like my privacy as well as the next [man]," he wrote, "but I am nevertheless compelled to admit that government has a right to invade it unless prohibited by some specific constitutional provision." What a hopelessly muddled — and really sinister — misconception of the relation between the individual and the state: government has a right to invade our privacy, unless prohibited by the Constitution. You don't have to share the Court's twisted view of the right of privacy in order to be shocked that one of its members takes this view of the "right" of government to invade privacy.
There's another example immediately after that one - I do urge you to read it - but Sobran concludes:
The unchecked federal government has not only overflowed its banks; it has even created its own economy. Thanks to its exercise of myriad unwarranted powers, it can claim tens of millions of dependents, at least part of whose income is due to the abuse of the taxing and spending powers for their benefit: government employees, retirees, farmers, contractors, teachers, artists, even soldiers. Large numbers of these people are paid much more than their market value because the taxpayer is forced to subsidize them. By the same token, most taxpayers would instantly be better off if the federal government simply ceased to exist — or if it suddenly returned to its constitutional functions.

Can we restore the Constitution and recover our freedom? I have no doubt that we can. Like all great reforms, it will take an intelligent, determined effort by many people. I don’t want to sow false optimism.

But the time is ripe for a constitutional counterrevolution. Discontent with the ruling system, as the 1992 Perot vote showed, is deep and widespread among several classes of people: Christians, conservatives, gun owners, taxpayers, and simple believers in honest government all have their reasons. The rulers lack legitimacy and don’t believe in their own power strongly enough to defend it.

The beauty of it is that the people don’t have to invent a new system of government in order to get rid of this one. They only have to restore the one described in the Constitution — the system our government already professes to be upholding. Taken seriously, the Constitution would pose a serious threat to our form of government.

And for just that reason, the ruling parties will be finished as soon as the American people rediscover and awaken their dormant Constitution.
To which I pessimistically reply, "Yeah. Right. Like that's going to happen." Sobran needed to talk to Bezmenov.

But the fact of the matter is, the Constitution is moot. When it's politic to do so, politicians praise that document to the high heavens and swear oaths to uphold and defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But when it's inconvenient, it is at best ignored, and at worst used as toilet paper. Justice Scalia once said:
To some degree, a constitutional guarantee is like a commercial loan, you can only get it if, at the time, you don't really need it. The most important, enduring, and stable portions of the Constitution represent such a deep social consensus that one suspects if they were entirely eliminated, very little would change. And the converse is also true. A guarantee may appear in the words of the Constitution, but when the society ceases to possess an abiding belief in it, it has no living effect. Consider the fate of the principle expressed in the Tenth Amendment that the federal government is a government of limited powers. I do not suggest that constitutionalization has no effect in helping the society to preserve allegiance to its fundamental principles. That is the whole purpose of a constitution. But the allegiance comes first and the preservation afterwards.
The fault is ours. We let it happen. Too much of the population lost its abiding belief in the Constitution some time long before I was born. I put the date around the Great Depression, with FDR and the New Deal, after the country was prepped and primed by Woodrow Wilson's presidency. With the New Deal we finally reached the point that Tocqueville (maybe) warned us against:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
The New Deal did exactly that. But entropy can be slow, and the nation had a lot of momentum to overcome. That's been taken care of now, though. The only way to achieve high office in this country now is to be a statist willing to promise redistribution of wealth (though it is generally disguised as "earmarks" and not - usually -blatantly referred to as "spreading the wealth.")

Joseph Sobran said in 1994 that "the time is ripe for a constitutional counterrevolution." I think he overreached. That time was long overdue even in 1994, but the population to support it wasn't there, and still isn't.
When all is said and done, Civilizations do not fall because of the barbarians at the gates. Nor does a great city fall from the death wish of bored and morally bankrupt stewards presumably sworn to its defense. Civilizations fall only because each citizen of the city comes to accept that nothing can be done to rally and rebuild broken walls; that ground lost may never be recovered; and that greatness lived in our grandparents but not our grandchildren. Yes, our betters tell us these things daily. But that doesn’t mean we have to believe it. - Bill Whittle
But what happens when more and more do believe it?

Here's a selection of quotes I've collected - without trying hard - since November from various sources. I have linked to each point of origin. I strongly urge you to read each link.
Mr. Obama's winning platform can be boiled down to one word: change.

Why?

I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now.

This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again.

And that is only the beginning. - History author warns Les Etats-Unix .. something wicked this way comes - Villagers with Torches

--

I have no faith in my fellow Americans any more. Friends of mine who I know are smart, intelligent people are full bore Obama supporters. People are calling for a national holiday celebrating Obama. Politicians' masks slipped and they realized nobody cared. - Fear Itself - Sharp as a Marble

--

The GOP strategist had been joking about the upcoming presidential election and giving his humorous assessments of the candidates. Then he suddenly cut out the schtick and got scary serious. "Let me tell you something, if Democrats take the White House and pass a big-government healthcare plan, that's it. Game over. Government will dominate the economy like it does in Europe. Conservatives will spend the rest of their lives trying to turn things around and they will fail." - How Tom Daschle Might Kill Conservatism, U.S. News & World Report

--

In trying to resurrect conservatism and the Republican party, I fear there's a whole segment of our country we can never reach. These people, whether rich or poor, are not our natural constituents. These are the people to whom things are owed.

We saw it after the Katrina debacle, at the other end of the socioeconomic scale: "Why are you so slow to help us? Where is our money and food? Why haven't you been here, government, rebuilding my house? I know my rights, and my rights include welfare, subsidies, support, and attention. We're not to be treated like those victims of tornadoes in the Midwest who pull themselves together, help their friends, patrol their communities, and rebuild their neighborhoods. No, life is supposed to be easy, big and easy; why aren't you here right now with the support I deserve?" And we hear it from the fat financial community who want the bailout check left at their door while they go on rich retreats to celebrate their good fortune. - Party of Privilege, John Agresto, National Review Online

--

Any future similarities between the coming Obama regime, and the ideas of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson will be oversights. Peter Hitchins nailed it when he wrote "The United States, having for the most part a deeply conservative people, had until now just about stood out against many of the mistakes which have ruined so much of the rest of the world." Conversely, Rep. John Lewis happily told Charlie Gibson that Obama's election was "a nonviolent revolution." And that's the problem. The overthrow of the United States should be a very violent affair, indeed. At least as violent as 1775–1783, 1812-1815, 1861-1865, 1917-1919, 1941-1945, 1950-1953, the WALL and the Desert years that created and protected this greatest nation in history, combined. It will be still, if my interpretation of events withstand scrutiny, and are shared by enough people. Some of whom fly F-22's. - Why I'm Demoralized, Curmudgeonly & Skeptical2

--

This is the state of our great republic: We've nationalized the financial system, taking control from Wall Street bankers we no longer trust. We're about to quasi-nationalize the Detroit auto companies via massive loans because they're a source of American pride, and too many jobs — and votes — are at stake. Our Social Security system is going broke as we head for a future in which too many retirees will be supported by too few workers. How long before we have national health care? Put it all together, and the America that emerges is a cartoonish version of the country most despised by red-meat red-state patriots: France. Only with worse food.

Admit it, mes amis, the rugged individualism and cutthroat capitalism that made America the land of unlimited opportunity has been shrink-wrapped by half a dozen short sellers in Greenwich, Conn., and FedExed to Washington, D.C., to be spoon-fed back to life by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. We're now no different from any of those Western European semi-socialist welfare states that we love to deride. - How We Became the United States of France, Time

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Tocqueville famously warned about that infantilization in the celebrated paragraphs about "democratic despotism" in Democracy in America, that "tutelary" despotism which "extends its arms over society as a whole [and] covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd." As our masters in Washington debate over which industries are to be the recipients of the taxpayers' largesse, it is worth remembering Tocqueville's warning with Friedrich Hayek's admonition that "Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends. And whoever has sole control of the means must also determine which ends are to be served, which values are to be rated higher and which lower—in short, what men should believe and strive for." It is a commonplace to observe that freedom is difficult to achieve but easy, oh-so-easy, to lose. As Hume saw, it is generally not lost all at once, but step by step: government program by government program, regulation by regulation, entitlement by entitlement, until finally, as Tocqueville put it, we find ourselves "nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd." - Freedom Imperilled, The New Criterion

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It is the Democrat Party that has brought this nation to this state of affairs. It has seized our wealth, denied us access to the products under our very soil, removed our God from public affairs, forced our children into pagan schools, murdered our unborn in the wombs of their mothers, shoved their grotesque sexual depravity into the faces of decent people, boasted of its power to grab the nation’s manufacturing base, destroyed our finances and corrupted the votes of free men.

To put the matter as plain as it can be, the Democrat Party has declared war upon this Republic. It is a matter of survival that this Republic declare war upon the Democrat Party.

Better to be dead than to be ruled by the likes of Barney Frank. - The Shape of Things to Come, The Return of Scipio

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It's wrong to cast this as some sort of partisan dilemma. This not about the Republicans vs. the Democrats. This is about the government vs. you.

This is statism vs. individual freedom. The forces that have subjugated mankind since time immemorial are fighting the liberties that have created the greatest prosperity and abundance the planet has ever known. For all the political drawbacks of the classic "libertarian" philosophy, its underlying adoration of personal freedom, the right to be left alone, the right to do as you please as long as you harm no one, this must be rekindled. - Bill of Rights Day, Page Nine

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My reasons for inditing the sucker were, first, to see whether a web column could work and, second, to get away from the strangling grasp of political correctness. A third reason, common I suppose to most columnists, was the hope that, however minor my voice might be, in combination with thousands of others it might engender pressure for slowing the rush into the high-tech medieval twilight that the culture has undertaken.

This by now is clearly quixotic. The civilizational changes we now see are both irremediable and beyond control. The peasantrification and empty glitter of society, pervasive hostility to careful thought, onrushing authoritarianism, and distaste for cultivation are now endemic. I do not know where these lead, but we are assuredly going to get there. - Goodbye!, Fred on Everything
That's just a small excerpt of the folder I've marked "Tough History Coming" where I've been putting links to things pertinent to this essay. Then, of course, this weekend came this:





The cover article is just a few months behind the Time piece quoted above. But Michael Ledeen is correct in his assessment:
To be sure, the basic theme - that the huge "stimulus" and the big big big TARP is leading once-capitalist America down the dangerous road to socialism - is not limited to the skinny weekly. You hear it all over the place, from Right to Left, from talk radio to the evening news (or so I am told; personally, I haven't watched an evening news broadcast since 1987).

There's a element of truth to the basic theme (although not to the headline): the state is getting more and more deeply involved in business, even taking controlling interests in some private companies. And the state is even trying to "make policy" for private companies they do not control, but merely "help" with "infusions of capital," as in the recent call for salary caps for certain CEOs. So state power is growing at the expense of corporations.

But that's not socialism. Socialism rests on a firm theoretical bedrock: the abolition of private property. I haven't heard anyone this side of Barney Frank calling for any such thing. What is happening now – and Newsweek is honest enough to say so down in the body of the article - is an expansion of the state's role, an increase in public/private joint ventures and partnerships, and much more state regulation of business. Yes, it's very "European," and some of the Europeans even call it "social democracy," but it isn't.

It's fascism.
He's right, but if you've read Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism then you understand that - contrary to the meme the Left has been frantically spreading since prior to WWII - fascism and socialism aren't opposite sides of a coin. They are, in fact, conjoined twins. And America's slide into fascism/socialism will be of the smiley-faced, maternal, we-know-what's-best-for-you form, not the jackboot-stamping-on-the-face-of-humanity form.

If you read right-of-center blogs, and especially if you read the comments to those blogs, you have noticed that more and more people are concerned, worried, alarmed, angered, outraged by our descent. We weren't happy when Bush II nationalized the banking industry, and we're really not happy now that Congress has passed the latest "Stimulus" bill.

Our confidence isn't low. We're certain we're fucked.

Vin Suprinowicz says that Americans are buying all these guns and all that ammo not for revolution but instead we're "in a thoroughly defensive mode, stocking up now to avoid the Democratic gun bans they believe are coming." At least, that's what he was saying on November 15.

At some point, however, do we reach a critical mass? The point at which Lord Kenneth Clark described brings the fall of civilizations? Where Bill Whittle - even Bill - admits:
Civilizations fall only because each citizen of the city comes to accept that nothing can be done to rally and rebuild broken walls; that ground lost may never be recovered; and that greatness lived in our grandparents but not our grandchildren. Yes, our betters tell us these things daily. But that doesn’t mean we have to believe it.
It's not just our elites saying it any more. A lot of us ordinary folk believe it now, and that number, I think, is growing daily.

And with that, I'm off to the range.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This is Frelling Ridiculous!

This is Frelling Ridiculous!

Ok, so I go buy a pistol chambered in 9mm EuroPellet. Now I can't feed it!

Sportsman's Warehouse had some .45ACP, some .45GAP and a few boxes of .38 Super +P. Wally-World? I go to the sporting-goods counter and the salesdrone says "Can I help you?" I reply, "You can if you have any ammo." He says, says he: "I haven't got a single round of pistol ammo."

And he wasn't kidding.

Midway? Sold out of damned near everything. Cheaper than Dirt, the same. Georgia Arms? 5-7 weeks delivery.

So I want to know when The Revolution is starting, because I've obviously been left off the mailing list.

UPDATE: Thanks to TexasRed I've got a thousand 124gr. Winchester NATO-spec rounds coming. Much obliged.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
I also have a cautionary note for those who are not part of the militia movement. When large numbers of citizens begin arming against their own government and are ready to believe even the silliest rumors about that government's willingness to evade the Constitution, there is a problem that goes beyond gullibility. This country's political establishment should think about what it has done to inspire such distrust - and what it can do to regain the trust and loyalty of many Americans who no longer grant it either. - Glenn Harlan Reynolds, "Up in arms about a revolting movement," Chigago Tribune, 1/30/1995. (PDF)
(h/t: Michael Bane.)

On a related note, I wonder if there's any way possible to expedite my Ted Brown custom M-14?

Just Words?

Just Words?


My "favorite":
Reagan: “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.”

The current President of the United States: “As President, I will sign a universal health care plan into law by the end of my first term in office.”

Reagan: “The doctor begins to lose freedom. . . . First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then doctors aren’t equally di­vided geographically. So a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him, you can’t live in that town. They already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it’s only a short step to dictating where he will go. . . . All of us can see what happens once you establish the precedent that the government can determine a man’s working place and his working methods, determine his employment. From here it’s a short step to all the rest of socialism, to determining his pay. And pretty soon your son won’t decide, when he’s in school, where he will go or what he will do for a living. He will wait for the government to tell him where he will go to work and what he will do.”

The current President of the United States: “John McCain and Sarah Palin call this socialistic. I don’t when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness."
Via Roger Kimball.

Depressing indeed.

How can I get a copy of this video for my archives? The "Download Video!" button, doesn't.

UPDATE: Thanks to Ambulances, Boomsticks and Coffee I am now hosting this video.