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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quote of the Day - Fractal Leftists Edition

From commenter Windy Wilson to Out of Airspeed, Out of Altitude, and Damned Near Out of Ideas:
   (T)he philosophy of leftists since the Cretaceous or Permian or Mississippian (to reference Kipling): The experts know better how I should run my business, hire, direct and fire my employeees, what sort of refrigerator, stove, Air conditioner, electric light I should buy, what my clothes should be made of, how much and what foods I should eat, what sort of fuel I should put in my car, how big the car should be, ad infinitum. Like some sort of fractal, the same pattern is both writ large and small, and reveals itself in the collapse of the European Union and in the design of the Airbus.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Out of Airspeed, Out of Altitude, and Damned Near Out of Ideas

And there's no place to eject to.

Bill Whittle's latest, "Into the Sea":



Perfect analogy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hey! That's Mine!

Yesterday Tam pointed to York Arms' website where they're advertising their custom-engraved AR-15 lowers.  And this one's mine!




(Click for full size.)

Hopefully it's on its way to me now. I have dies and brass, the internal parts kit for the lower, and an A2 buttstock with a recoil pad. I still need a buffer and spring, the Rock River upper, some bullets and some powder, but I'm getting there. Oh, and an optic.

Once a Month Until the Election

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Idiocracy

Ex-blogger Jed Baer emailed me today to point to a piece at Sippican Cottage.  I won't even try to excerpt from it.  Just... go read. 

And weep for our future.

Quote of the Day - Precious Snowflake Edition

  I have spent hours explaining an essay’s grammatical, stylistic, and logical weaknesses in the wearying certainty that the student was unable, both intellectually and emotionally, to comprehend what I was saying or to act on my advice. It is rare for such students to be genuinely desirous and capable of learning how to improve. Most of them simply hope that I will come around. Their belief that nothing requires improvement except the grade is one of the biggest obstacles that teachers face in the modern university. And that is perhaps the real tragedy of our education system: not only that so many students enter university lacking the basic skills and knowledge to succeed in their courses — terrible in itself — but also that they often arrive essentially unteachable, lacking the personal qualities necessary to respond to criticism. --  The Unteachables: A Generation that Cannot Learn, Janice Fiamengo
RTWT

And from the first comment:
Under rational circumstances, you don’t try to teach Algebra to students who have no idea of what number theory is, don’t know fractions etc. I had many a student try to tell me that adding 1/2 to 1/3 equaled 2/5. I swear to G-d this is true. Yet this type of student is graduated from high school to join the rational thinking masses. This really scares me to death. These idiots out number us 200 to 1. They can be told anything and they will believe it. Yes, they have the right to vote. How can these idiots, who can barely read, are ignorant of basic math, watch television for their ideas of the world, love their sex and drugs, be given such a privilege as to decide the destiny of our country?
Because it's easier to lead them around by the nose than a population that understands the world around them. It's been the plan for a hundred years, and it's paying off in unintended ways.

Read the comments, too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quote of the Day - Economics Edition

From Les Jones:
In the 1988 presidential elections Lloyd Bentsen said “If you let me write $200 billion a year in hot checks, I’ll give you an illusion of prosperity, too.” Man, those were the days. When you could buy the illusion of prosperity for a mere $200 billion a year.

Nine Years, 3,000,000 Visits

Some time between 9:00and 10:00 MST TSM will receive (according to Sitemeter) it's 3,000,000th site visit.

That's chicken feed for a big blog like Instapundit (he probably gets that many hits a month) but for a third-tier gunblog, not too shoddy.

Thanks, y'all.

UPDATE: 9:02 AM



Interestingly, the post the reader landed on came from 2003 - the first year of this blog.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Quote of the Day - Confidence Edition

From Captain Capitalism:
If you recall high school economics or college freshman economics (both were the same, colleges just made you pay extra to re-learn what you did in high school) there were "The Factors of Production."

These factors were essentially the ingredients you needed in order for a business or an individual to "produce" something. There were originally three of them.

Land - you can produce nothing without at minimum some kind of office space.
Labor - the machines will not only not take over the world, they'll just sit there unless a human spends his or her time running them.
Capital - Nobody is doing nothing until they get paid. And that includes the people who produce the tools and machines you'll need to get started.

A fourth one was entered as they realized even with the above three, nothing would get produced. You needed a leader. An innovator. A man with the plan.

The entrepreneur.

Since there it was commonly accepted that there are three original, but most likely four real factors of production.

However, I would like to tender a fifth.

I'm doing this not to make things more complicated or to somehow be enshrined in the Economics Hall of Fame, but because our economy today practically proves there is a fifth and final factor of production that is required to produce, but is not accounted for in the current list. That fifth component is:

A future.
RTWT.

And then read my February 2009 post, Confidence.

Oh Great, Now He'll Be Insufferable!




Those belong to Mr. Completely. Seems he traveled to the Netherlands and won himself an individual Gold and a team Bronze in .22 Rimfire in the European Steel Challenge.

Drop over and give Mike a well-earned congratulations. I wish I could shoot that fast.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Vetting Obama

So, let's start with this list.  Think the New York Times will touch on ANY of these points?



Nah, me neither.

Via Roger Kimball.

UPDATE: DJ points to this:



Well, Mr. President? Put up or shut up.

Quote of the Day - EUtopia Edition


Officials lie like rats in times of financial panic; they do it out of a sense of duty. They will insist that a given country will never leave the euro until the moment that it does; they will say that a deposit freeze is unthinkable until they announce that they’ve done it; they will tell you a bank is rock solid until the moment they padlock its doors. This is all for your own good, of course. They don’t want you to panic — and they want to make sure that your money is trapped when they take it away or turn it from gold into straw. --  Walter Russell Mead, Ratcheting Up The Crisis In Europe

So Bad It's Good

I went out and caught Battleship at the matinee yesterday. As a Science-Fiction film, it suffers from pretty much every problem that has plagued Sci-Fi films from the beginning, beginning with completely ignoring science. But OK, this isn't really Sci-Fi, it's a summer blowup movie.

As that, it's pretty good. And if you remember that this is a film directed mostly at pubescent boys (and older ones that haven't grown up), it has one major redeeming quality:  it does not denigrate the military. In fact, it shows a lot of respect, especially towards retired and wounded service members. In fact one major character, medically-retired Army Lt. Col. Mark Canales, is played by active-duty full-bird Col. Gregory Gadson, a bilateral above-the-knee amputee. Col. Gadson is currently the director of the Wounded Warrior Project for the U.S. Army and not a bad actor.

Hell, I'll admit it, I enjoyed the film, cringe-inducing errors and all.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Quote of the Day - Your Teacher Said WHAT?! Edition

Last one from this book:
Progressivism may be hysterical, but it isn't in retreat; it's on the attack.  And it retains a powerful set of channels for communicating its philosophy, including television, newspapers, and the Internet.

Oh, and the schools.

Toward the end of the 2010 school year, and therefore the writing of this book, Blake brought home a writing project for her fifth-grade class entitled "Understanding Environmental Concerns."  Here's a sample.
Today you read about the environment and the importance of your country's natural resources.  Currently a conflict exists between people who want to reduce the amount of chemicals in the air in order to protect the environement, and those who say it hurts business if we limit the amount of emissions they release.
Now, if you're going to load a question for a bunch of ten-year-olds, you couldn't really do much better than this:  The conflict is between people who want to protect the evnironment and those who want to help (or at least not hurt) business.  Environment or business:  Pick one.
But teachers aren't pushing a Progressive agenda!  Just ask 'em!

As one commenter here has noted, they don't see it for the same reason fish don't notice water - they're swimming in it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Now This is Interesting...

Italian university switches to English

From opera at La Scala to football at the San Siro stadium, from the catwalks of fashion week to the soaring architecture of the cathedral, Milan is crowded with Italian icons.

Which makes it even more of a cultural earthquake that one of Italy's leading universities - the Politecnico di Milano - is going to switch to the English language.

The university has announced that from 2014 most of its degree courses - including all its graduate courses - will be taught and assessed entirely in English rather than Italian.

The waters of globalisation are rising around higher education - and the university believes that if it remains Italian-speaking it risks isolation and will be unable to compete as an international institution.
And this bit is even more interesting:
The need to attract overseas students and researchers, including from the UK and non-English speaking countries, is another important reason for switching to English as the primary language.

"We are very proud of our city and culture, but we acknowledge that the Italian language is an entry barrier for overseas students," he says, particularly when recruiting from places such as China and India.
There's much more to the article, which I recommend you read, but this is the kicker, for me:
Professor Azzone says there is a stark choice between becoming isolated and parochial or trying to compete with these academic superpowers - and he argues that this will require European universities to work together.

"We have to give a sense that we are not a dying country - but we are not large enough to have a critical mass. We need to have a European alliance of strong universities."
(My emphasis.) But Italy is a dying country - that's why they need foreign students.  Italy's reproduction rate has been declining for quite a while, and currently women in Italy bear 1.3 children each - way below the replacement level of 2.1.  That's the definition of a dying country.

Your 18:52 of Zen

Via Rachel Lucas.  I'm not a huge fan of classical music, but I've been exposed to it. My wife is the one with eclectic musical tastes, running from Mozart to Nine Inch Nails.

Here's a performance of the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the Ode to Joy by the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra and a chorus of ten thousand people, Yutaka Sado, conducting, at a concert in memory of those lost in the tsunami last year.

The chorus at 7:00 in raised goosebumps on my arms.




Just...wow.

Quote of the Day - Ideological Purity Edition

From Robb:
The problem with Libertarianism is the same problem with Communism. Not everyone buys into your fantasy.

It’s...why Libertarians are powerless. Instead of trying to actually do something, they spend more time circle jerking in their purity tests than picking up their bowcasters and going door to door trying to explain their positions and heaven forbid - compromising where they can to move forward.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shark Definitely Jumped

OK, the zombie apocalypse schtick has officially jumped the shark.  Check out this Saiga zombie-stomper:




Yes, that's a throwing axe on the side.

My Favorite Carol Burnette Show Clip

Just because:




I can never watch that clip without laughing. Tim Conway's ad-libbing is hysterical.

Have a nice day!

Quote of the Day - Progressive Edition

From Your Teacher Said WHAT?!:
The desire to regulate economic life might be the defining characteristic of Progressive philosophy. It combines a mistrust of the free market in allocating resources; an appeal to a vague and indefinable virtue ("fairness"); a desire to achieve perfection in economic outcomes; a deference to experts over the judgement of ordinary folks; and, best of all, a chance to tell other people what to do. Oh, heck, let's just say it: Regulation is progressivism.

It is also the perfect way to illustrate just how much Progressive thinking depends on treating adults like kids.
From Chapter 10, June 2010: 99.985 Percent Pure: The Price of Regulation

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Quote of the Day - Regulatory Capture Edition

I never cease to be amazed at the number of leftists who imagine that they are going to take down the 1%--when the 1% are funding their political party and movement. -- Clayton Cramer, Billionaires Engaged in Secret Planning Sessions

I Thought About Getting One of Those 5.11 Tactikilts, But...

...decided not to.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Your Teacher Said WHAT?!

I recently received a copy of Joe and Blake Kernen's book, Your Teacher Said WHAT?!: Trying to Raise a Fifth Grade Capitalist in Obama's America. I'm about halfway through it. Joe Kernen is an anchor of MSNBC's morning show Squawk Box. Blake is his young daughter - ten years old when this book was started. The impetus for it is explaned in the preface. An excerpt:
...a couple of years ago, I found the first truly worthwhile reason to rant about the economy. It wasn't unfunded mandates, Medicare insolvency, CEO compensation, or the federal deficit.

It was one nine-year-old girl. And that same girl - by the time you read this she'll be eleven, going on twenty - is the reason for this book.

She's not what I rant about, of course. From the day Blake Alexandra Kernen was born, the day after Christmas in 1999, she's done hardly anything worth complaining about.

--

By the time Blakes's brother, Scott Joseph, showed up two years later, I was an old hand at worrying. In fact, by then I had found an entirely new and durable thing to worry about. Like any father, I worried about whether I would measure up - whether I would succeed in doing for Blake and Scott what my parents had done for me: giving them the values that reflected what their mother and I cherished most. We wanted our kids to believe in God, love their country, and respect the principles of hard work and fairness. We wanted them to value honesty, courage, and kindness, to be polite and respectful.

Simple, right? After all, these principles are widely shared in twenty-first-century America. Our church teaches us that we are obliged to care for people who can't care for themselves; our schools reward hard work and demand respect. Kids learn good sportsmanship from playing tennis and soccer. The heroes of their favorite movies and television programs are generally pretty brave (though occasionally a little goofy; SpongeBob, anyone?).

With one exception. Penelope and I are capitalists - and not just because we've done pretty well out of the capitalist system. We believe that free-market capitalism is not only the most powerful engine for human prosperity ever but also history's strongest force for freedom and human advancement. We beleive - no, we know - that economic freedom is as important as religioius freedom or freedom of speech. We believe that productive work, freely exchanged, is a virtue, just like charity freely given.

Please don't misunderstand this. We're not teaching Blake and Scott that their purpose in life is to get as rich as possible; it's to make sure that everyone is as free as possible. For us, the only difference between defending economic freedom and defending religious freedom is that while the mainstream culture offers no real opposition to the many ways in which Americans worship, there is a powerful current of antagonism toward the way they do business.

Some of the attacks on free-market capitalism are overt: the idea, for example, that capitalism is unavoidably brutal, or at least immoral. Some are of the moren-in-sorrow-than-anger category, such as the notion that we should increase the benefits of the free market by taxing and regulating it into submission. Many are specific to the issues of the moment, like the idea that the best solution to the unsustainable growth of entitlements like Social Security and Medicare is to make them grow even faster (you can't make up some of this stuff).

And that is something worth ranting about: not anything my kids do, but what is being done to them.
A little later:
...if you're anything like me, I can guarantee that your jaw will drop the same way mind did once I started paying attention to the hostility to free-market capitalism that infects almost every movie and television show your kids are watching.
And later still:
One thing I learned is that the most powerful way in which nine- or ten-year-olds resemble grown-up Progressives is in their love of regulating things. There's just no way Blake can see something that's not good for you - like smoking cigarettes, or eating too much fast food - without wanting a law to ban it.
And from chapter 1:
"My teacher says the recession is the banks' fault."

"That's way too simple, Blake. For something as big as this recession, there's a lot of blame to go around."

"And my teacher says it's 'cause we care too much about buying stuff, and it might not be so bad if we stopped."

"Your teacher said . . . what?"
So far, this is an excellent book for pretty much anybody, not just capitalist parents of young children - but especially for them. And especially if they're the victims of our now anti-capitalist culture. But the previous excerpts aren't the Quote-of-the-Day. This is, from Chapter 4, October 2009: Who made my shoelaces?:
Now, I know that Progressives aren't all, or maybe even mostly, socialists, but that's a little like saying that they only have a chronic head cold instead of tuberculosis. When it comes to the economy, Progressives have a reflexive distrust of the market, and for the same reason that Scott does: They believe that it's just as sensible to trust an economic system designed and operated by no one as it is to be a passenger in a car without a driver. Progressives, who are reliably hostile to the idea of intelligent design in human evolution, are positively ecstatic about it in economic planning.

Of course, intelligent design in biology at least argues that the designer is divine and lives in heaven; in Progressive economics, it just assumes that the designer has a PhD and lives in Washington, D.C.

This Blog is 1001 Years Old

There are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand Binary, and those who don't.

On this day nine10 years ago, I hit "Publish" on the inaugural post here at TSM.  Blogger says this is the 5493rd post since I began, and Sitemeter says (as I type this) that the site has been visited 2,977,292 times.  The single most popular post by a huge margin is, alas, not one of my überposts, but a YouTube video.

Someone elses's YouTube video.  The video of the .950 JD Jones rifle.  As of this writing it has been viewed 459,203 times since I posted it on January 11 of this year.  It's still drawing about a thousand hits a day.

So much for my ego.

But now I want to talk about the relatively recent past.

Back in 2007 there was The Great Zumbo Incident™®© in which, as Tam put it,
On Friday evening, a gunwriter who was apparently tired of his 42-year career put his word processor in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
For those of you who were not around back then, Jim Zumbo was a well-respected writer and television personality for The Outdoor Channel. Hunting is his specialty, and he was self-admittedly "not a gun guy." Well, on Friday February 16 Jim Zumbo wrote a blog post after a long, frustrating day of coyote hunting in which he bashed AR-15 pattern rifles (calling them "terrorist" rifles) and recommended that they be banned (his word) "from the prairies and woods."

The reaction from both sides was swift and immediate. Our side won. In less than a full week, Zumbo's advertisers dropped him like a hot rock and the Outdoor Network let him go. He has since won his way back into the industry with a sincere apology and an honest reckoning of the magnitude of his error, but that's not what's important here. During the kerfuffle and its aftermath, I went trolling for sites that defended Zumbo, and challenged his supporters with facts.

One of them followed me home.

Fellow blogger Markadelphia started commenting here in February of 2007 and quickly became a favorite.

A favorite piñata. Threads where Markadelphia commented would have discussions from dozens to literally hundreds of comments long. I've had exchanges with The Loyal Opposition™ before, but Markadelphia inspired enough posts to garner a hall of fame on the left sidebar.

Alas, nothing lasts forever (even though it seemed like it some times) and Markadelphia left his last comment here at TSM in late September of 2010 in this truly epic comment thread (574 comments!) that (as I understand it) will vanish from the aether when Haloscan/Echo pulls the plug sometime soon. Gone, but as the sidebar attests, not forgotten.

And apparently he hasn't forgotten me, either. Early last week I received an email from someone who lurks over at Markadelphia's blog. It appears that Mr. 'Delphia fixates on me and TSM. He even refers to me as "Cult Grand Wizard"!  It's kind of like having your own stalker, but he doesn't leave comments here or send me emails. I don't know if I should be touched or creeped out, really, but the subject of the heads-up email was a post by Mark concerning how the school system in which he works teaches about Communism: Despite Reality, They Can't Let Go. An excerpt:
I had lunch with an old friend and colleague last week who teaches 7th grade Social Studies at the junior high that my daughter will be attending next year. As we were talking shop, she told me that she was at the point in the year when she begins her unit on the Communist Revolution in China. Like many teachers around the state, she uses the film To Live in support of this unit to illustrate what happened in China during that time.

The film tells the story the Chinese Civil War, The Great Leap Forward, and The Cultural Revolution as seen through the eyes of one family. It's a gut wrenching piece that several students always have difficulty with due to its stark and very accurate portrayal of the horrors of communism. If you haven't seen the film, I highly recommend it. I've used it many times myself in class.

In fact, the film is so critical of Communism, that it has been banned in China. My colleague's entire unit takes this same critical approach as well. Twelve and thirteen year old kids in her class (and around the state as it is a Minnesota standard) see with their own eyes exactly what happens under totalitarian regimes.

As she told me of some of the reactions (some students have to cover their eyes or leave the room during some parts of the film), I began to think about the complaints from the right (in particular right wing blog pundits like Kevin Baker), that communism is soft pedaled in schools. Or that the teachers themselves are communists and indoctrinating our children into becoming little maoists. Given the fact that my colleague and many like her have taught this same unit for the last 15 years or more, I simply don't get from where this paranoia arises. It's just not true.
Well, I've watched a film or two at Markadelphia's recommendation, and this one is available from Netflix, so I put it in my queue and watched it this evening with my wife.

"The horrors of Communism"? I don't think so.

The protagonist of the film has a rough life, to say the least. After the end of WWII, he loses what little is left of his family fortune by gambling, his pregnant wife leaves him with their young daughter in tow, he begs on the street. His wife returns to him with daughter and new son in tow when she concludes that his gambling days are behind him, then he becomes the master of a traveling shadow-puppet show to support the whole family. He is shanghai'd into the nationalist Chinese army, and then into the People's Liberation Army with two friends from the same home town. Released from the Army he returns home to his family to find that his mother has died and his daughter is now a mute and almost completely deaf from a high fever. The man to whom he lost his family fortune and mansion to is executed by the People's Liberation Army as a reactionary when he didn't want to give up the mansion, and instead burned it to the ground. His young son dies when the District Chief (his war buddy) accidentally kills him by knocking a brick wall down on him with his government-issue car. Later, his daughter dies from a hemorrhage after childbirth when all of the doctors are locked up because they're accused of being capitalists, and all that's left are young, arrogant students who don't know what to do in the face of a medical crisis.

Yeah, that's pretty bad, but it doesn't rise to the level of "horror." The only death he doesn't blame on himself is the death of the man he lost the family mansion to. His son died not because of Communism, but because he didn't keep him home when he was called to go work at "smelting steel" at the school. His daughter didn't die because the doctors were all locked up - they got one out with the help of his son-in-law. No, his daughter died because he bought the doctor (who hadn't eaten in three days) food, and the doctor gorged himself sick on it and was unable to save her. None of this was the fault of Communism, it was just bad luck.

Now, I understand that this film was made in Communist China, and the director had to soft-pedal it as much as possible. According to Wikipedia,
The film was banned in mainland China by the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television due to its critical portrayal of various policies and campaigns of the Communist government. Zhang Yimou was also banned from filmmaking for two years.
Obviously, it offended somebody in power, but not enough to get him jailed. (They do that to bloggers you know.)  But "horror"? We're talking seventh graders here, twelve, thirteen and fourteen year-olds. Hell, most of them have probably seen Saw and all of its sequels.  This is a slightly sad film, at most.

Mao's policies killed tens of millions. There's a little lip-service given to the fear of being accused of counter-revolution or capitalism, but not a hint that people were dying in the millions. Food is always plentiful, even during Mao's Great Leap Forward, when tens of millions starved to death. In the film the protagonist's son dies in that accident during The Great Leap Forward. From Professor R.J. Rummel's Democide site:
Beginning in May 1958, slogans, exhortations, drum-beating mass meetings, mobilized the whole country in a "Great Leap Forward." The Party hastily built workshops and factories, reportedly half-a-million in Hopei Province alone in less than two months. It erected Iron smelters throughout the country side; 1,000,000 by October, involving 100,000,000 Chinese. It ordered the communes, and "encouraged" millions of urban families, to contribute pots, pans, cutlery, and other iron and steel possessions for smelting. Peasants had to work day and night, fourteen or sixteen hours or more, on these projects.
This is accurately portrayed in the film.
And production statistics zoomed. But top Party officials soon realized that local authorities had falsified the statistics. What factories and workshops produced was often worthless junk; much of the iron produced in backyard furnaces was impure and unusable slag.

All of this demolished Chinese living conditions. In a pre-1937 survey of 2,727 households spread around 136 different areas of China, the average food consumption of each adult male was 3,795 calories. In 1956, official sources reported the daily individual food consumption as less than 2,400 calories--an astounding 37 percent drop. In 1957, according to official statistics, rice production was 82,000,000 tons. This reduced to 340 grams (12 ounces) per person per day; and considering the better rations of officials, soldiers, and agents, the ordinary person got less than 320 grams, as refugees reported, or under half the normal daily calories needed. Although there were nearly 150,000,000 fewer people in 1936, the rice production then was about the same as in 1957. Predictably, in 1956 and 1957 there was famine in certain districts.

Then there were the many the Party murdered during this collectivization period. As best we can estimate, the collectivization and the "Great Leap Forward," as well as the campaigns against "rightists," probable cost about an additional 5,550,000 Chinese lives.

This is not all this economic model, supposedly vastly superior to the free market, cost these poor people. The worst was yet to come. The effects of collectivization and the "Great Leap" were disastrous. Already in 1959, the negative effects on public welfare evident in previous years were multiplying. For example, Honan Peasant's Daily, a provincial newspaper, disclosed that many peasants died from overwork or malnutrition that summer. During two summer weeks, 367,000 collapsed and 29,000 died in the fields. Other papers revealed that over a similar period 7,000 so died in Kiangsi, 8,000 in Kiansu, and 13,000 in Chekiang.
This is not portrayed in any way, shape or form.  I have to wonder, does Markadelphia and/or his old friend and colleague teach about this?
The peasant was trapped by these conditions. With the Party forbidding the peasant from leaving his commune or work place, he could only rebel. From 1959 to 1960, the peasant rose up in arms in at least five of China's provinces, rebellions that the military could not subdue for over a year. It was reported that in Honan and Shantung "members of the militia stole weapons, set up roadblocks, seized stocks of grain, and engaged in widespread armed robbery." In 1959, rebellions took place over a large area in Chinghai, Kansu, and Schechwan; and during the same year Chinese, Hui, and Uighur forced laborers rebelled together and destroyed trucks, mines, bridges, and tunnels.

But all this was part of the buildup to the worst famine in world history. According to the demographer John Aird in an U.S. Bureau of the Census study, during the late 1950s and early 1960s possibly as many as 40,000,000 people starved to death. However, the demographer Ansley Coale, using official Chinese data and adjusting for underreporting of vital statistics, concluded that 27,000,000 died, which is more in line with other estimates. This massive death toll is as though every person in Texas and Virginia in 1999 starved to death.

This famine was largely the result of failed communist policies and the grandest, most ambitious, most destructive social engineering project ever: the total communization and nationalization of an agriculture system involving over half-a-billion human beings and its reduction to military-like central planning and administration, and the vast and hurried "Great Leap Forward."

A wide-scale drought there was, affecting 41 percent of the farmland in 1959 and 56 percent from 1960 to 1961. This doubtlessly triggered the Great Famine and might have caused a million or so deaths had it happened in the 1930s under the corrupt Nationalist regime. But now the agricultural system was in such disarray and social policies were so counterproductive that the greatest of all famines was inevitable.

This, added to privation and famine, was enough for some people. More so than in 1959 and 1960, peasants resort to armed rebellion. During 1961 and the following year in southern China, there was continuous guerrilla warfare, and Fukien Province, across from Taiwan, also saw a serious armed uprising. A former army officer, a Colonel Chung, led some 8,000 peasants to attack the militia and loot granaries in Wuhua. During 1961 alone, official sources admit that resistance included 146,852 granary raids, 94,532 arsons, and 3,738 revolts. In addition, according to General Hsieh Fu-chih, the Minister of Security, there were 1,235 assassinations of party and administrative cadres.
This isn't in the film either.

Shelter is portrayed as always available, even if it's poor and shoddy. Medicine and medical care are scarce, but hardly non-existent. The most damning scene is the death of the protagonist's daughter at the hands of incompetents brought on by anti-capitalist zeal during Mao's Cultural Revolution, but even there the protagonist blames himself. There's a lot of cult-of-personality footage about the Cult of Mao that's probably pretty creepy to a teenager, but again, "horror"? I don't think so.

So on the strength of one film purported to illustrate "the stark and very accurate portrayal of the horrors of communism" Markadelphia rests his case that schools don't really teach socialism to young heads full of mush.  Then can he explain this?
















Or this young valedictorian's 2010 graduation speech? Has Markadelphia forgotten the threads in which it was illustrated to him the various Schools of Education in which Paolo Friere's "Critical Pedagogy" is front-and-center in the curriculum?  What, they pick it up by reading Das Kapital or Quotations from Chairman Mao for fun?

I want to close with one thing further.  In the comments to this post, Markadelphia insists that he was "voted off the island," that is, my commenters voted "2-1" for him to stop commenting here.  I call bullshit.  Where is this thread?  It certainly wasn't here.  When I was forced to switch from Haloscan/Echo to Disqus, the earlier 50,000 comments didn't come along, but I know for a fact that Markadelphia's last comments here were in that epic 574-comment thread, and there's no "vote" in that one.  Here's Mark's comment in its entirety:
You weren't voted out - you left because you couldn't take the heat.

The vote was 2-1. Go back and read the thread. I promised I would abide by the majority's decision. It was a post about the Constitution being eroded.

And, really, I can take anything anyone on there throws at me, especially given the fact that most of it is completely wrong.

Of course, there is the issue (and a sad one at that) of the slide into dementia that is going on over there both by the host and the commenters. I admit to having some reticence at picking on people who have a disability. I don't make it a habit of making fun of people who are so clearly deranged on a number of levels.
Link that thread, Markadelphia.  I want to read that.  I never voted for you to leave.  In fact, I have said on repeated occasions that I would never ban you because you're such a marvelous example of type.  For instance, you try to take the moral high ground by proclaiming "I admit to having some reticence at picking on people who have a disability. I don't make it a habit of making fun of people who are so clearly deranged on a number of levels" but a quick sample shows an average of three posts a month linking directly here (not that I actually see any traffic from you), and those posts include comments like "Cult Grand Wizard."

Keepin' it classy and consistent!  That's Markadelphia!

If nothing else did, nearly three years of Markadelphia illustrated to me why it is I spend the time I do blogging.  SOMEBODY has to counter the derangement.

So here's to nine years of The Smallest Minority.  If I can irritate one person that much, I'm doing my job!

UPDATE:  My most abject apologies.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.  Markadelphia did indeed comment one more time after that thrashing linked above, in my September 17, 2011 post Yes.  Yes, I Do. Only 149 comments in that one.  I'm only 50 and my memory is already fading.  And it does appear he was correct - two votes to leave vs. one vote to stay. 

Wow.  I guess he forgot my standing vote to stay, which would have made it a tie at 2-2.

So, Markadelphia, I apologize for my error.  You were indeed correct.

About that single point.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Match Report - Mother's Day Pin Match

Six people besides myself showed up for the Mother's Day bowling pin match, two of them new, and one of those an actual mother.  Welcome to Carlos and Elda, and I hope they can join us again.  The seven of us brought twenty guns: four Major, six Minor, five revolvers and five .22's. 

I managed to win both Major, with my Kimber Classic, and Minor with my M&P.  John Higgins won Revolver with his S&W model 19 shooting .38's (with pinpoint accuracy), and Jim Burnett won .22 in a come-from behind victory, cleaning my clock in four straight strings.  It took him a little while to find his "A" game, but when he did, there was no beating him. 

The next match is Sunday, June 10 - NOT a holiday.  Hope you can join us.

Friday, May 11, 2012

RIP, Carroll Shelby















If there's an afterlife, it just got a whole lot faster, and a whole lot prettier.  And this world just slowed down a bit.

Julia and Her Son



From The Looking Spoon.

My comment:

Andrew Klavan Explains

In relation to the Thomas Sowell interview below, Andrew Klavan explains how intellectuals understand "Culture."



Very accurately, I might add.

Quote of the Day - Tam Edition

From the Mistress of Snark once again:
I was going to make some comment about what a master stroke of electioneering it was for Obama to use his bully pulpit to get the GOP to pull its teeth out of his economic Achilles' heel and go chasing off after the gay marriage issue, but then I realized it didn't really take any kind of political genius at all. I mean, if you know the dog's gonna chase the stick, you don't have to be Machiavelli to throw it in front of the bus.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals and Society

The Hoover Institute's Uncommon Knowledge program again interviews Thomas Sowell on one of his books, this time it's the second edition of Intellectuals and Society.





If you don't have time for the whole interview, I have a couple of excerpts transcribed, the first paragraph being today's Quote of the Day:
Thomas Sowell: Intellectuals have a great tendency to see poverty as a great moral problem to which they have the solution. Now, the human race began in poverty, so there's no mysterious explanation as to why some people are poor. The question is why have some people gotten prosperous, and in particular why some have gotten prosperous to a greater degree than others. But everybody started poor, so poverty is not a mystery to be solved by intellectuals. More than that, one of the things I wish I'd put more emphasis on in the book is that intellectuals have no interest in what creates wealth, and what inhibits the creation of wealth. They are very concerned about the distribution of it, but they act as if wealth just exists - somehow. It's like manna from heaven, it's only a question of how we split it up.
(My emphasis.)  That paragraph stands alone, but there's much more that goes along with it:
Peter Robinson: And why should that be? Why shouldn't they find that question at least intellectually fascinating?

TS: Because it would destroy the whole vision that they have.

PR: Because it would lead to the answer of free markets...

TS: Well, it would say there are enormous numbers of reasons why people acquire the ability to create wealth, and they vary all over the world. And so, if you find for example that, centuries past, Germans living in Eastern Europe had much higher standards of living than the indigenous peoples of Eastern Europe, intellectuals would say that somehow the Germans had oppressed the people of Eastern Europe. Or the ones that were into genetic determinism would say that the Germans were born biologically superior to the people of Eastern Europe. But anyone with a knowledge of history would know that there are all kinds of reasons why Western Europe as a whole has far greater wealth-producing capacity than Eastern Europe. But of course, that would then cut out the role of intellectuals. They would then have to do what David Hume did, which was he urged his fellow 18th-century Scots to learn the English language because that would open up a whole world to them that they would not have otherwise.

PR: Which leads to another quotation that I found very striking here, in Intellectuals and Society. Part of this you’ve touched on. You write, although intellectuals pay a lot of attention to inequalities among racial and ethnic groups, quote:
"seldom...has this attention been directed...toward how the less economically successful...might improve themselves by availing themselves of the culture of others around them."
That is a VERY arresting formulation. Poor people can improve themselves by availing themselves of the culture of others around them. What do you mean by that?

TS: I mean that the same things which allow some other people to prosper can allow them to prosper if they take advantage of those same things. The Scots were a classic example. They were one of the poorest and most ignorant people on the fringes of European civilization in centuries past. But once they, for whatever reason, began to educate themselves and especially to learn the English language – which became a passion, people all over Scotland, including Hume himself, were taking lessons in the English language.

PR: Hume's first language was Gaelic?

TS: I don't know if it was Gaelic.

PR: It was whatever they spoke in those days.

TS: Yeah. And from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the middle of the nineteenth century, the leading intellectuals in Britain were Scots! I mean, you had Adam Smith in economics, Hume in philosophy, Black in chemistry, you go through the whole list. (Not to mention James Watt.) And so they could do that. But that was an EXTREMELY rare thing for an intellectual to say. Most intellectuals in most countries around the world see the issue as how those who are more prosperous should be brought down, rather than how... and moreover that the people who are lagging should cling to their culture. I don’t know how you're going to keep on doing what you've always done and get results that are different from what you’ve always gotten.
Easy! The culture cannot be wrong, so you do it again, only HARDER!  "Assimilation" is availing oneself of the culture around you, and it is what immigrants to this country did for literally decades.  But now, around the world immigrants are moving into foreign societies and retaining their cultures.  And the intellectuals are telling them toSharia law in England, violent sexual assaults on women in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and here at home the culture of inner-city blacks has resulted in a population with a homicide rate more than six times that of the surrounding cultures, but what are they told to do by their so-called "leaders"?  Not assimilate!

But we're not done yet.

At the end of the interview, Robinson asks Sowell about the upcoming elections:
Peter Robinson: Do you have a candidate? As we record this, the Republican primaries are still grinding on.

Thomas Sowell: There is none of the candidates of either party that would cause me to dance in the streets.

PR: Alright, is there ANYTHING as you look at the current prospect for this country and the Western world that WOULD cause you to dance in the streets?

TS: If I thought that the voters had some sense of realism, and that they were concerned with the larger questions rather than whose ex-wife said what and so on, or what Governor Romney did or did not do when he was head of Bain Capital - if they had some sense of the loss of freedom which is infinitely more important than any of the specific issues by themselves, that is Obamacare really is a HUGE step towards the loss of freedom. And it happens in small ways, but constantly. We can't have the lightbulb that we want in our own home. We can't flush the toilet with the kind of toilet we want. We can't take a shower with the kind of showerhead we want. We can't put our garbage out except broken down by the way that some little Gauleiters have decided we ought to do it. It's just the accretion of these things, many of which are too small to be significant in themselves, but in the aggregate you can see the tendency of this. The people who think they know better and they ought to be telling us what to do. Those people are the danger, and if you don't see that, I'm not sure what the future's going to be like.
We've spent a century deliberately constructing a population that has no sense of realism, and it's not just here, it's worldwide.  The only thing I'm sure of is that future won't be pleasant.
Sure as I know anything, I know this - they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

From My Cold, Dead Hands

There have been rumblings about the .gov salivating over the amount of money sitting in 401(k) plans nationwide, and the "nationalization" of those funds because they're just too risky.  You know, you poor stupid peons just can't be trusted to invest your own money, the government should do it for you.

This rumor gained some traction when the government of Argentina seized $24 billion in private pension assets in 2008.  Now CNN has given column space to one Yvonne Walker, "president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000, which represents 95,000 California state employees."  It seems Ms. Walker doesn't think the employees should control their own money, either:
401(k)s are too risky for retirement

Sharon Edwards of Salem, Oregon, may have to move to Mexico, where the cost of living is cheaper, so she can afford her retirement.

She was always good about saving, but because of forced retirement at 62, the self-employed interpreter is now limited to a $500 monthly budget. Her finances are determined by Social Security, savings and the cost of treating a chronic lung disease. She worries about meeting her basic needs during her later years and thinks about selling her house to finance her expenses.

"When I budgeted for life as a single woman, I didn't budget for 3% inflation, the loss of half of my retirement savings in the market crash, my hearing loss or early retirement," she said.

Almost daily, we hear stories of the crisis stemming from the breakdown of the three-legged stool of retirement: traditional pensions, Social Security and individual savings. For the majority of Americans, one of the legs of the stool is already gone -- traditional pensions. With its replacement, the 401(k), the stool is in danger of tipping retirees into poverty.
It goes on in this vein for a while, concluding:
We need to explore new innovative retirement models that provide guaranteed retirement income for all workers if we are going to be a country where once again working people can reasonably expect to be able to retire.

This year, California State Sen. Kevin De León and Darrell Steinberg, the Senate president pro tempore, made headlines for introducing legislation that would allow private-sector workers to enroll in a modest, state-operated retirement program.

A similar proposal has been championed by New York City Comptroller John Liu. The plan, based on a new retirement model created by New School economics professor Teresa Ghilarducci, would pool employee and employer contributions into a professionally managed, citywide retirement fund.

Although the future of these proposals is uncertain, they are a step in the right direction. Traditional pensions usually outperform their counterparts because they are managed professionally, and because they can use the average life expectancy of their participants for their investment time horizon.

We should look at what has worked well with traditional pensions, which keep nearly 5 million older Americans out of poverty, and use those attributes to reach more retirees. After all, shouldn't retirement stories come with happy endings?
Yes, Ms. Walker thinks that the government should be in charge of investing our money for our retirement because, well, we're just too stupid to do it for ourselves.

Should I point out that San Francisco's public employee pension fund is "drowning in red ink"? So is Los Angeles'.  Detroit's, too, and many others.  So much for their planners being so much brighter than ours.

And what about that second leg of the stool - Social Security?  It runs out of money in 2033, according to the San Francisco Chronicle:
The trust funds that support Social Security will run dry in 2033 — three years earlier than previously projected — the government said Monday.
Except there is no "trust fund." It's full of IOUs from the Treasury Department, and Social Security payouts will exceed income not in 2033, but around 2018 if not earlier.

So no, Ms. Walker, you can't have my 401(k) funds.

Period.

Quote of the Day - Larry Correia Edition

You bitch about America at the protests, where our police handle you with kid gloves. You pose like little anarchist douchebags in your Guy Fawkes masks (my GOD! These people are ignorant of history!) throw bricks at the cops and destroy other people’s property, and then scream and cry about your civil rights being violated, all while demanding to be more like other countries that would just machinegun you in the streets and be done with it. -- Monster Hunter Nation, Hate Mail Response to my Hate Mail! (and I Godwin the hell out of this post)
That's the last paragraph. RTWT.

Monday, May 07, 2012

I Just Received a Survey / Begging Letter from the RNC

It had a questionnaire with 12 campaign questions, and then begged for $25, $50, $75 or $100 to help the RNC win the White House in November.

I filled out the questionnaire, but when it came to the donation amount, I checked the "Other" box and wrote in $0.

Then I attached this:



Romney?  Seriously?


The RNC





Will Get No Money from Me



It goes in the mail tomorrow, postage prepaid.

Keeping in Theme, the Higher Education Bubble in Comic Form

For those out there who don't read XKCD religiously, today's home-run:




My favorite:

Though physics seems to
promise you a Richard
Feynman-like career,
the Wiki-page for
"Physics Major"
redirects to "ENGINEER"
Hey! I resemble that remark!

Now I've Got Another Webcomic to Read!

Dork Tower.  Two of the latest strips:





This series goes back to January, 1997. I've got a lot of reading to do.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

"Better Clench Up, Legolas."

Just got back from seeing The Avengers.

Yes, Joss Whedon is my master now.  I think he just wrote and directed the biggest movie of 2012.  What a blast!  If you like superhero movies at all, you'll love this one.  I'll pay to see it again.

(Updated post title to reflect the actual line rather than my memory of it.)

Friday, May 04, 2012

May the Fourth...

...be with you.


A repost, but a good one!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Bill Whittle on The Other


Lots of Quote of the Day fodder in this one.

Or the Next One...

Today's User Friendly cartoon - a recycled one, as a matter of fact, but still funny and (unfortunately) accurate:

Moms Shoot Free!

Bowling Pin match, Sunday May 13.

Yes, that's Mother's Day.

Usual place, the Tucson Rifle Club action range.

Time: 8:00 AM sign-up, first rounds downrange about 8:20

Handguns only: .22 rimfire, centerfire revolver (.38 caliber minimum), semi-autos (9mm minimum).

You're welcome to shoot your revolver against the semi-auto crowd, but we think it's more fun to shoot wheelgun-vs.-wheelgun.

Cost: $10 for the first gun, $5 for any additional guns. Moms shoot free! Bring about 100 rounds for each. (Gun, not Mom.) You probably won't need 'em all unless you're really good at missing fast.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Lasik

I am myopic and suffer from astigmatism.  I am also presbyopic, which would normally mean my arms are too short, but in my case just means I can't read in dim light anymore.  I'm tired of it.  I want to get my eyes fixed.  Lasik can't fix presbyopia, but it can fix myopia and astigmatism.  I can always wear cheap reading glasses.

So, who has had Lasik surgery, and what was your outcome?  I really want to know.

John Wayne on Liberals





Worth your time.

"Fill Your Hands...."

Damon from York Arms sent me a picture tonight of my new AR-15 receiver in progress:






It'll look better, he says, after it's been anodized. I think it looks cool as hell already.

Note the caliber and custom serial number.

UPDATE: The upper is on order. Now I just have to wait three months....

Quote of the Day - Lawdog Edition

Personally, I think Loyalty Day should follow in the footsteps of our ancestors and involve fire. A Big Fire. A Big Fire in front of various State and Federal Capitals, and involving the ceremonial burning of effigies. Dancing and flowers mandatory; drinking and partying encouraged; and fertility rites optional.

To my mind I'm thinking that watching papier maiche versions of themselves burned at the stake every year would go a nice way towards reminding various political critters of where their loyalties better damn-well stay.

-- The LawDog Files, Beltane
Can I get an "AMEN!"?

The Economy in Rifle Prices

A fascinating (for gunnies) economics article from The Market Oracle: It Can't Happen in America?  It Already Did! Excerpts:
I am sure more than one Southern gentleman desired to own the Spencer rifle to protect his hearth and home during this era, but the 1866 Spencer Repeating Arms Catalog shows the rifle in the 44 caliber retailed for a whopping $45.00.

To a present day buyer this may not sound like a lot but let’s put this in perspective; a frame of reference, which will remain constant throughout the rest of the article.

In 1866, according to nber.org, the average weekly wage of working Americans was $41.18, (adjusted to 1866 dollar), with the average work week being estimated at sixty-four hours. The results were an hourly wage of $0.64. With this in mind it would take a worker dedicating everything they earned from 70 hours of labor to purchase a Spencer rifle.

--

In 1870 the Montgomery Wards catalog (of 1870,) advertised the Sharps (?) 7 shot repeating rifle at $50.00 still requiring the American worker to dedicate 59.25 hours a 15% reduction in hours needed to work before purchasing the rifle.

--

The 1876 Winchester catalog shows the least expensive standard New Model ‘73’ Sporting Rifle with 24 inch barrel in the 44 caliber sold for $45.00; requiring the purchaser to contribute his earning from slightly more than 47 hours of toil before claiming it, as opposed to 70 hours in 1866.

--

As the end of 1880 approached Winchester Repeating Arms August catalog reports that the Model 73 had been reduced in price by 33% to $30.00 from $45.00 in 1876. The American buying public now was able, with less then twenty-nine and a half hours of labor to purchase a Winchester, down nearly 58% from 1866.
I won't give away the conclusion.  Instead, I urge you to give it a read. 

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Carry Your Gun

It's a much lighter burden than regret. - Breda
So a couple of young reporters were beaten by a mob:
Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim.

The victim's friend, a young woman, tried to pull him back into his car. Attackers came after her, pulling her hair, punching her head and causing a bloody scratch to the surface of her eye. She called 911. A recording told her all lines were busy. She called again. Busy. On her third try, she got through and, hysterical, could scream only their location.
When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

May Victims of Communism Day


Today is the fourth annual Victims of Communism Day, a day to remember the people murdered by their own governments in their quest to achieve a "worker's paradise" where everyone is equal, where "to each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities" is the beautiful dream lie.  R.J. Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, has calculated that the total number of victims of Communism - that is, the domestic victims of their own governments - in the USSR, China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cambodia is 98.4 million people.  For all Communist governments during the 20th Century, he puts the estimate at approximately 110 million.  And this wasn't in warfare against other nations, this was what these governments did to their own people - "breaking eggs" to make their utopian omlette.

Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, and another six million people the Nazis decided were "undesirable" went with them.  "Never again" is the motto of the modern Jew, and many others just as dedicated.  But "again and again and again" seems to be the rebuke of history.

The Communists are hardly alone in these crimes.  Rummel estimates that the total number of people murdered by their own governments during the 20th Century is on the close order of 262 million, but the single biggest chunk of that truly frightening number is directly due to one pernicious idea:  That we can make people better.

Why do I own guns?  For a number of reasons, but one of them is this:
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?  --  Alexandr Solzhenitzyn, The Gulag Archipelago

--

The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once. -- Judge Alex Kozinski, dissenting, Silveira v. Lockyer, denial to re-hear en banc, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 2003.
I intend to repeat this post each May 1 that I continue to run this blog.  This is the third time I have put it up.

Last year, Sipsey Street Irregulars had a post to go along with this one.  STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

May Victims of Communism Day


Today is the fourth annual Victims of Communism Day, a day to remember the people murdered by their own governments in their quest to achieve a "worker's paradise" where everyone is equal, where "to each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities" is the beautiful dream lie.  R.J. Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, has calculated that the total number of victims of Communism - that is, the domestic victims of their own governments - in the USSR, China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cambodia is 98.4 million people.  For all Communist governments during the 20th Century, he puts the estimate at approximately 110 million.  And this wasn't in warfare against other nations, this was what these governments did to their own people - "breaking eggs" to make their utopian omlette.

Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, and another six million people the Nazis decided were "undesirable" went with them.  "Never again" is the motto of the modern Jew, and many others just as dedicated.  But "again and again and again" seems to be the rebuke of history.

The Communists are hardly alone in these crimes.  Rummel estimates that the total number of people murdered by their own governments during the 20th Century is on the close order of 262 million, but the single biggest chunk of that truly frightening number is directly due to one pernicious idea:  That we can make people better.

Why do I own guns?  For a number of reasons, but one of them is this:
The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once. -- Judge Alex Kozinski, dissenting, Silveira v. Lockyer, denial to re-hear en banc, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 2003.
I intend to repeat this post each May 1 that I continue to run this blog.

And, if you've got a spare 51 minutes, I recommend strongly that you watch this lecture, "Why Socialism?"