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, August 28, 2012

UPDATE

OK, I'm backlogged. I have another essay on Rights that I owe people from a couple of weeks ago. I've started it, but it looks like another ├╝berpost, and those take a bit. Markadelphia has returned, once again wrapped in his blanket of "I'm not, you are!" I owe HIM a response to something from quite a while back, but that's not gonna happen until after the Rights piece.

I'm buried at work, and I'm supposed to go on vacation starting Labor Day weekend, but it now looks like I'll be tied up for a day or two on an emergency project before leaving for Gun Blogger Rendezvous VII on Thursday of next week - and if you think I'll be doing any non-GBR related posting over THAT weekend, you've got another think coming. Over Labor Day and the days leading up to leaving I WAS going to finish painting the exterior of my house. I still hope to get to that. Blogging will, of course, suffer.

Somewhere in there I need to load some more ammo for the trip, get all my stuff put together and in the same place.

TL;DR version: Don't expect much out of me for a week or three.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quote of the Day - Canadian Perspective

This was in my inbox when I returned from lunch today:
Sir,

I found your blog earlier today by accident, and have enjoyed the ensuing perusal. I wanted to add a smidgen of perspective to your already-comprehensive discussions.

I am Canadian, a long-time shooter, and a student of history. I have extensive knowledge of the anti-gun machinations of my own government, beginning with the FAC program incept in 1978.

During the implementation process of our gun control measures, the plan was at every step argued against by well-reasoned, rational, calm, logical and effortlessly sensible persons who took great pains to carefully explain why further gun control measures were worthless and most certainly would not achieve the results being sold to the general public as their justification.

It eventually dawned on me, as I watched the government repeatedly ignore these eminently commonsensical explanations and forge ahead with complete disregard for logic, that the whole thing wasn't about what was logical or rational. It was about what the government wanted to do. End of story.

I determined then that when governments do things that make no sense and fly in the face of logic that even an utter simpleton could comprehend, it does not mean that senses have been taken complete leave of. It simply means that there are portions of the operative agenda that you have not, for whatever reason, been made privy to.

Gun control is not, and never has been, about what is logical or reasonable. It is far worse than that, because what remains after removing those two as potential justifiers, must be the truth.......

Yours Most Respectfully,
Michael D Young
Ontario, CANADA
...and I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling kids...
Hear, hear for us meddling kids!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yup



Got that one from my brother in email tonight.  Kinda reminds me of this one:

 

In other news, Dinesh D'Souza's new film 2016:  Obama's America is apparently going to be #3 at the box office this week, even though it is in limited release, and it's gaining in per-theater ticket sales with each successive week.  I didn't realize it had opened here in Tucson this weekend.  I'll have to catch it soon.  This is one I won't mind paying full-price to see.

In Bill Whittle's latest Stratosphere Lounge 'cast, he said something interesting (I know, shocking, innit?):
There's no question that American businesses are sitting on tons of money. There's an enormous amount of private capital out there waiting to be spent, and they're not spending it, and rightfully so. They're not spending it because these Marxists in Washington have demonized business, demonized prosperity, demonized success, so rightfully and sensibly companies are not spending money. They're not hiring people or buying new trucks or opening factories because they don't know what the tax rate is. They haven't even passed a budget in three years! They can't predict it.

Then (viewer) Jeremy's made this point - he's said that it's better to have a high tax rate that we know is coming than it is to have an unknowable tax rate, because businesses have to plan ahead. So if Ryan and Romney, Romney and Ryan, are elected in November, I predict the Dow's going to jump five thousand points overnight, and before he's inagurated the economy's going to be up four, five, six percent in growth because of this.

Of course, needless to say, all the liberals will say it's racism and Obama has already gone on record saying he doesn't want Romney elected because Romney's gonna get credit for the economic recovery which is going to be here just any minute. So if Romney is elected and the Dow jumps five thousand points the next day, and everybody starts hiring, Obama's woulda said, "Man, if that election woulda only happened a week later, I woulda won!"
Yup.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quote of the Day

Neil Armstrong, first human being to set foot on the lunar surface has died of complications following heart surgery. He was 82 years old. Jerry Pournelle, scientist and author, and only three years his junior has today's Quote of the Day:
I always knew that I'd see the first man on the moon, but I never dreamed that I'd see the last.
I turned 50 this year. I was seven years old when Neil Armstrong left his first bootprint in the lunar dust. I was 10 when Eugene Cernan left the last bootprint there.  I hope that before I pass, I'll get to see another human being walk on the surface of the moon.

But I'm not holding my breath.

That link also ties to this extremely sad and appropriate XKCD 'toon:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Once a Month Until the Election


And this one:


And this:


And these:

The Thomas Sowell excerpt is seven minutes, the Caroline Glick piece is 50 minutes.  Both are absolutely worth your time.




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two Weeks to Go


Hope to see you there!

Quote of the Day - Leviathan Edition

Essentially central planning is not about the efficient allocation of economic resources, it is about control.

Central planning maximizes the extent of control that the state, and the people running the state, exercise. The desire to control others is a constant in history and is part and parcel of the construction of states. If the state can grab all the land and resources and control who and on what terms people get access to them, then this maximizes control, even if it sacrifices economic efficiency.

This sort of economic and political control — not Marxist ideology — is what central planning is all about. This is not to deny that Marxist ideology supported and legitimized central planning in several 20th-century societies. But it is to emphasize that the emergence and persistence of central planning is often a solution to the central economic and political problem of many elites: to control and extract resources from society.


Why Central Planning? from the Why Nations Fail blog.
And our current system of .gov doesn't have to be socialist to still be all for central planning. Read The Church of the MSM and the New Reformation, if you haven't already.

I think I've got another book to read.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Am a Blank Screen!

I serve as a a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.

-- Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope
I think that screen is fully illuminated now, but I had to post a photo of the Teleprompter of the United States (TOTUS).

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Only Surprising Thing...

...is that he came right out and said it.
Former union boss at Occupy event: Our goal is to 'overthrow the capitalist system and build communism'

Former Amalgamated Transit Union local 689 president Mike Golash, now an "Occupy" movement organizer, was caught on tape Sunday revealing his political goals: overthrowing capitalism in the United States and instituting a communist government.

"Progressive labor is a revolutionary communist organization," Golash said during an Occupy DC "People's Assembly" on August 19.

"Its objective," he added, "is to make revolution in the United States, overthrow the capitalist system and build communism."

Golash said he and his comrades are "trying to learn something from the historical revolutions of the past: the Russian revolution, the Chinese revolution, the revolutions in Cuba and Eastern Europe."

Now, go back and watch the Yuri Bezmenov video from 1984.

Forget the source, listen to his words.

Quote of the Day - "So Do I" Edition

I remember when we had a President that tore down walls to advance independence rather than tearing down the successful to advance dependence. -- In Jennifer's Head, I Thought That Sounded Familiar

Stupid Human Tricks

So you steal a gun from a museum, and then go on a national TV show and get videotaped getting it appraised?
Jim Gordon, who owns a private museum east of Santa Fe, had given up hope of ever again seeing a 1849 .44-caliber Colt Dragoon revolver stolen from his collection last year.

And then the man accused of stealing it during a tour of the Glorieta museum appeared on a nationally televised program about antique guns, trying to get the weapon appraised, according to court documents.

That episode of the Discovery Channel's "American Guns" was seen by Jeff Hengesbaugh, the museum's curator, who was channel surfing in a Gallup hotel when he came across the show in February.

About one year after the theft and after Hengesbaugh attempted to get the gun returned without calling the police, there was suspect Wylie Gene Newton, 65, on television, talking about the $40,000 antique.
The curator then called the cops.
Police detectives in Wheat Ridge, Colo. – where the Discovery Channel show is filmed at the Gunsmoke Guns store – later went undercover and offered to meet with Newton to buy the gun. Newton allegedly bit and was arrested by police on May 10. Newton is identified in Colorado reports as from Erie, Colo., but has an Eldorado address, too, according to New Mexico court documents.

Newton was booked into the Santa Fe County jail on a $40,000 bond Aug. 5. He had his arraignment in state District Court on Friday and will have a bond hearing at 1 p.m. Monday.

He faces a single charge of larceny in excess of $20,000, which is a second-degree felony, according to online court records.
Here's my favorite part, though:
Gordon said Newton called him about a month ago and started talking about the weather. Gordon said he tried to remain patient until Newton got to the point, and Newton eventually said he didn't steal Gordon’s weapon.

Gordon said Newton asked him if he thought he was stupid enough to appear on national television trying to appraise a stolen firearm.

" 'I absolutely do,' " Gordon said he told Newton in response. " 'I think you're totally, completely that stupid.' "
I'd have to concur.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Quote of the Day - Tough History Coming Edition

From the comments to More on Rights:
"In other words I think the only thing that can turn this country around now is to have a strong reinforcement of existing Property Rights by the government"

I'm thinking we might have to explain them TO the Government, at sword point, eventually..

Either way someone's gonna be 'splain'in somethin, at the point of a sword before this plays out..

I've lost faith that it can be any other way..   Look at it this way..   5 years ago "prepping" was something that crazy Mormons did...   Now, there are crazy preppers on TV but..   Thousands of 'real' preppers quietly preparing..

It's not that they ARE doing it.  It's that if someone tells you "I think it's all going to go to hell soon" you argue about 'how' soon is soon..    Not If..


-- Charles Bennett
I've noticed this myself in discussions with customers.  Just last weekend, Tucson had its first-ever survivalist/prepper Expo, and from all reports it was well attended.  Just not covered much by the media.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quote of the Day - Political Realities Edition

This one from Jay G.:
The point of the article is that Obama has [X] days to do this - forgetting, conveniently, that rules are only for those people that the media actually reports about. Remember Frank Lautenberg? Remember how he was added to the NJ ballot at the very last second because Torricelli was in danger of losing? Yeah, I didn't think so. Rules are for Republicans, not Democrats. I found it surpremely ironic that when the Torch withdrew, the hue and cry was that NJ *had* to have Lautenberg on the ballot so that the people of NJ had a choice - ZOMG THEY NEED A CHOICE. Meanwhile, in MA, John F. Kerry ran unopposed...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

More on Rights

Former blogger Publicola dropped me an email this morning which I will reproduce here in its entirety (minus postscripts):
Hope you're doing well. I'll omit the small talk as this has the potential to be lengthy enough (though don't take it as I'm not interested in what you've been up to, how things have been - etc. I is, I just know you probably don't have loads of time, or perhaps even time to load).

Here's what I've been able to piece together over the millennia decades...

Natural Rights (God Given, Vishnu Given, etc...) are simply Property Rights. They're existence is akin to the laws of gravity – they're there and constant you just have to figure out how to define them - after you discover they exists. But unlike Newton's laws, Property Rights are only applicable when dealing with other humans (or sentient, sapient beings in case E.T. ever drops by).

When you're typing out a few paragraphs or an article for submission to a magazine, Newton's laws are irrelevant. When figuring out where to place a semi-colon you don’t refer to the rate of speed of a freefalling object; it simply does not matter. Similarly grammatical rules won't gain you a foot of altitude if you're flying a plane sans an engine. Well, Property Rights, that is to say Natural Rights, are like that. They're not in place so we can write better structured essays, or keep a plane gliding to a relatively safe landing – they exist solely as a way out of the Hobbesian eternal perpetual war-against-all that mankind would otherwise succumb to. A mountain slides down on ya, Tort law won’t help you recover damages, neither will an appeal to Natural Law prevent said landslide from giving one a vigorous full-body deep tissue massage. Heinlein's old allegory about there being no Right to life because the sea can drown you without recourse is misplaced – like saying there's no such thing as lift since it won't prevent you from having a triple run on sentence.

What they will do, and were designed to do, is give an individual an opportunity to become more than a mere sustenance farmer, or hunter-gatherer (though I always thought hunter-gatherers were under-rated – hunting and fishing all day? Every day? Sounds better than a cubicle migration lifestyle to me – though coming by hushpuppies or what y'all call sweet tea would be tricky). In theory, and as much as its been tried in practice, the more a culture (society, civilization, etc..) respects Property Rights the more prosperous the individuals in that society can be, hence the more prosperous that society can be.

America is a good example. We've never been perfect, and I'll bitch and rant for eons about how a lot of things are unjust and immoral here, but relatively no country on earth has had a wider or more prolonged respect for Property Rights (though that's winding down as we type). The 19th century, and early 20th century weren't ideal, but the rate of growth, expansion and our ascendance as a world power can be viewed as a consequence of relatively broad respect for property rights. We had the freedom to build railroads, so we did. (of course by "we" I don't mean the feds). With those railroads we had the ability to pursue commerce on a scale never really done before. But as important as the speed of rail, we had the freedom to engage in commerce without the fear of the feds "nationalizing" our sugar beet farms, or "appropriating" our grazing land to set up wind farms.

Other nations did well to varying degrees in the same time period. But not to the extent we did. Certainly not with the longevity we did. Even with the steady encroachment on Property Rights that the feds undertook in the beginning of the 20th century (which sadly continues today) we had enough of them there Property Rights to keep us afloat despite the infringement of same.

So that "American Exceptionalism" that everyone keeps whispering about wasn't because of some genetic trait or DNA strand that we all just had – it was simply that the government A: afforded some protection of Property Rights (actually a great deal compared with the rest of the world) and B: largely kept off our backs. Again it's relative and by no means was it ever laissez faire or perfect, but for the most part governments had a 3 martini lunch (as opposed to now where governments seem to be alumni of Betty Ford).

But what specifically are Property Rights? Locke had it – at least the beginnings of it - and also unknowingly began to answer the query "What is morality?"

Property begins with your self. Your mind and body are yours and no one else's. You can rent them out, but you can never actually transfer ownership – not while living at least. Through force you can be enslaved (so long as you value life above freedom at least) but this is not natural – it's a perversion (much like N'Sync).   Like any Natural law (Newtonian Gravity, Relativity, that one about not swimming 30 minutes after you eat, etc.) they can be physically violated but not without consequence. When you try to break any part of the law of Gravity the consequences are usually immediate. With Natural Law it's more a delayed comeuppance. But Natural laws were meant to have a long term effect (think decades), whereas Gravity has a short term (though constant) effect (think seconds – very scary seconds).

So you own your body and your mind and they're non-transferable. That means you also own the products of your body and mind; your thoughts, ideas, actions all belong to you. Those however you can rent out and in some cases sell outright. But here's the thing – it has to be consensual. At this point The Right to Contract kicks in.

The Right to Contract is a necessary derivative of Property Rights. In essence it just holds that you can exchange anything you possess (except your mind & body) for anything you wish to possess as long as both parties freely agree to such trade.

As an aside there, are four ways in which humans interact with each other to exchange goods and/or services; Trade, Manipulation (which would include fraud and deceit) Coercion and Force. The last 3 are, to use the technical term, bad. They're bad because they violate that whole Contract law thingy, and pragmatically they have less than cool consequences for all concerned somewhere down the road. Without some means of arbitration, such as a tort system centered on Contract Law and Property Rights, the latter 3 are the most convenient means of exchange, and severely stunt any society's growth, unless you think a feudal-esque system or warlords or Mafioso are somehow growth.

In any event, you own your labor and your creativity, but you can exchange those for other goods or services through Contract.  What you receive in exchange for your creativity and/or labor becomes your Property just as surely as your labor and creativity were your Property. No one can justly or morally take them away from you, though they can be taken unjustly or immorally. Remember, Property Rights are Natural Laws but not Physical Laws. Violating them has negative consequences but not necessarily immediate consequences.

Here’s where you and to some extent I spent our focus for so long (at least when I was writing). It is essential as well as a natural offshoot of Property Rights to be able to protect said property from unjust taking. In other words, this is where Self-Defense comes into play.  Also this is where owning property appropriate for Self Defense emerges.  After all, what security does one have in Property Rights if the thief or thug or congressman (but I repeat myself) can walk in unmolested and waltz out with your property that you acquired through an exchange of your labor and/or creativity?

By most accounts we're a heavily armed society. It's arguable that we have the most liberal self defense laws of any developed nation. That means we have the strongest protection of Property Rights of any nation extant. It's not as strong as I'd prefer, but that relative thing puts us miles above damn near anywhere else on the whole.

Now this is not to say that societies that do not value Property Rights cannot be prosperous to some extent. It's just that such prosperity will be short lived (and in societies short lived isn't a matter of years, more like decades or centuries).

So Ownership of Self, Contract and Defense comprise the three tenets of Property Rights. You'll note (cause I know you're sharp like that) that the consensual nature of Contract (under a properly viewed Property Rights system) negates "free health care" or "free widescreen TVs." In fact looking at this thing like it should be looked at (that is to say, not making exceptions for every whim 51% of the people want) a correct view of Property Rights would hold that permits for individual activity, income taxes, value added taxes, estate taxes (in fact all but the most modest of sales taxes, and even those are iffy), subsidized anything (Social Security, Medicaid, Obamacare, Educational Grants, etc) mandates (Obamacare, conscription, servitude, slavery) are not just bad ideas for long term growth, but immoral.

Touching on morality, that too centers around Property Rights. If it violates Property Rights it's immoral. If it sustains Property Rights it's moral. Everything else is amoral, as morals should be based on consensual activity as no other objective standard, including religious or social mores, can consistently define what and why moral activity is or isn't.

But because of the limiting nature of Property Rights when it comes to collective action there's more of a chance that a boy band will end up in Valhalla than a government of any longevity will keep its Mitts (or Mitt depending on the outcome of that lever pulling fiasco in November) off of Property Rights. It simply limits collective power too much, and all politicians (or at least the overwhelming majority) crave power above all else.

Blame Rousseau and the Pragmatists. Yes, no Right can be respected to any meaningful degree if a majority disregards it. Or as has been said a Right is simply what a majority says it is. Pragmatically at least.

Some time back our military thought it should officially frown upon smoking whilst in flight. So they stopped designing aircraft with cigarette lighters in them. Instead what occupied that little slot was called a "spot heater." As you probably guessed, the "spot heater" had an uncanny resemblance to the cigarette lighter of olden days. In fact it functioned in an exactly identical manner.  Lo and behold our service men did not use it to heat Spot (dogs being cumbersome in a cockpit and all), but to light cigarettes and even cigars. But everyone called it a "spot heater."

Similarly calling health care a Right does not make it so. It's just a more polite name for "medical slavery."  That is the flaw of Rousseau and the Pragmatists; they feel that by using force (a majority vote is simply authorization to use force to impose the majority’s will) and words which do not mean what they think they mean they can create Rights. But this is fallacy, and the consequences, though not immediate, are dire.

A Right can be reasoned, not as a whim of an electorate, but as a principle upon which something else depends. With Property Rights, their purpose is to enable an individual, and thereby a society, to develop in the best way possible. Take them away completely and you'll perhaps see how I define "best way possible."

If you did not have ownership of what you traded your labor and creativity for, if anyone or specific someones could stroll in and remove your DVD player consequence free, then who would bother designing let alone marketing an iPod? A person would put forth just enough effort to exist and a little extra, but why bust your ass when it profits someone else but not yourself?

Rousseau, Marx & Engels, Keynes – they all form a line in which Property Rights are disregarded or in some cases outright negated. The results of their philosophy are all around us.  While temporary prosperity may be argued for some tenets of their faith, overall and in the long run the consequences of their actions catch up to them, and getting spanked is inevitable.

That’s probably enough rambling and hopefully you see my points. But at this stage if you do agree with my reasoning and hold that Property Rights, as I inadequately explained them, are the most important basis of any society that deigns to be free, you'll feel that pang that a person feels when he realizes four months later that the night he was drinking beer with the prettiest girl he ever saw he could have said one or two things differently and she'd have fallen for him instead of hooking up with that jerk who picked on you in High School cause you had better grades and less detentions than he did.

In other words I think the only thing that can turn this country around now is to have a strong reinforcement of existing Property Rights by the government (at sword point if necessary) along with an expansion of, or more correctly an acknowledgement of and respect for, what Property Rights truly are. Those odds are about as good as Thor patting Ricky Martin on the back and saying "Well met, hale fellow; we've awaited thee."

Cheery thoughts, aren't they?
You know, sometimes this blogging thing is no effort at all....

Quote of the Day - Joe Huffman Edition

We had the "conversation". Your side lied, cheated, and took unfair advantage at every opportunity. But still your side lost. Big time.

Your side lost on the safety argument and your side lost the legal argument (see the U.S. Supreme Court decisions D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago). You have no arguments left. The conversation was over years ago and all you are doing now is whining about the outcome. Go tell your problems to a therapist because the adults in this conversation aren't interested in your delusions of relevancy.

-- Joe Huffman: Been there. Done that. Let's move on.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Fisking

I haven't done this in a while, but I ran across a piece in The Economist from last month that I thought I ought to respond to.  It drew (as of this reading) 1979 comments, so others apparently felt the same way.  The piece is Gun control:  Too late, and it's a blog post by "M.S."

Let us Fisk:
PEOPLE'S ideas often don't make any sense when you try to hold them together in your head simultaneously, as Richard Rorty, Daniel Kahneman or Desiderius Erasmus will be happy to tell you. One of the areas in which people tend to have ideas that don't make sense, when you hold them together in your head simultaneously, is that of rights. For example, many Americans believe that our rights derive from God or from the very nature of being human. As Paul Ryan put it in a discussion of Obamacare this month, folks of his political persuasion don't believe that the people have the power to make up new rights; rights come from God and nature. These same Americans also generally believe that our rights are those delineated in the Declaration of Independence and the constitution, including a non-infringeable individual right to bear arms. And yet, clearly, people in most law-governed democracies other than the United States, countries like Britain, Canada, France, Israel, the Netherlands and Japan, do not have an individual right to bear arms. How, then, can the right to bear arms as enshrined in the constitution derive from God, or from the very nature of being human? Is this a special sort of right, one that can be created by the people via government if they so choose? If so, then what stops the people, through their government, from creating other sorts of new rights, like a right to education, or a right to health insurance?
Now, I find this essay interesting because I've spent many hours and billions of pixels discussing "What is a Right?" on this blog - several essays linked over there on the left sidebar attest to this. For me, the question is no longer "What is a Right?" but "Why don't we teach this stuff in school?" because it's obvious we don't. The author of this essay asks the very question I did, but doesn't actually bother to try answering it.

Continuing:
Take this essay by Cliff Stearns, the Republican congressman and (to be reductionist) gun-rights advocate. "Not only is the right to be armed a Constitutional right, it is also a fundamental natural right," Mr Stearns writes. And then, in the very next paragraph: "Once again we can trace the right to be armed to legal and political events in 17th century English history, this time pertaining to hunting and gaming laws." How does a fundamental natural right lie sleeping throughout the first 6,000 years of recorded history, only to wake to full flower due to conflicts over gaming laws in Regency Restoration England? And what of the benighted 95% of humanity who still do not enjoy the fruits of this natural right, including, rather confusingly, the actual English who supposedly roused it from its primeval slumber?
Yes, what of that?

It isn't just rights we don't teach in schools, it's political philosophies. What "M.S." is asking here is "Why does America recognize an individual right to arms when no other political entity does?" This is a question I believe no American ought to have to ask - it should be explained to them from childhood. But let's continue with the piece before I start waxing philosophic:
Perhaps American supporters of gun rights would say that in fact people in every country do have a natural right to bear arms, but their enjoyment of that natural right is denied them by oppressive governments in countries like Britain, France, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and Japan. Meanwhile, the so-called "right" to health insurance enjoyed by citizens of those countries is presumably only a fake right which they do not in fact possess. This just doesn't seem to be a satisfactory explanation. Is the problem that we use the word "right" in two ways, meaning in one sense an inalienable moral consideration which we believe all humans possess regardless of the context of government in which they live, and in another sense an enforceable claim within a country's legal system which commands government and other persons to guarantee certain kinds of treatment to every citizen? Which kind of right would the right to health insurance be? Which kind is the right to bear arms?
As I have discussed at length, one of those - the right to arms - is a right. The other - the "right" to "health insurance" - is not. Calling it a right does not make it one. Yes, "we use the word 'right" in two ways" - correctly and incorrectly. If that's not a satisfactory explanation, I submit that the problem lies not in me, but in the person unsatisfied.

Any "right" that demands that someone else provide a service, a material good, or any other thing of value is not a RIGHT. And "health insurance" or "health care" or whatever term they're using today IS NOT A RIGHT. You can call a tail a leg, but it remains a tail.
The right to bear arms isn't the only right that faces this paradox. They all do, really. In the mid-1980s, the idea that people have a right to have consensual sex with partners of any gender, in whatever position they like, was pronounced "facetious" by the Supreme Court; 25 years later it feels like an obvious, natural outgrowth of the Bill of Rights. If rights evolve this way through the dialectics of culture and history, just how "natural" can they be?
This is a valid point. The first question that must be answered is "Does this purported 'Right' demand something of another?" In the case of consensual sex between two or more adults, no it doesn't. (It's that "consensual" thing.) In my libertarian viewpoint, it's none of the government's goddamned business who inserts Tab-A into Slot-B. That "obvious, natural outgrowth" was something our Founders considered and the author of the Bill of Rights at least attempted to account for. It's the Ninth Amendment that Robert Bork characterized as an "ink blot":
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
And the fact that there are many more rights than just those enumerated in the Bill of Rights was discussed by the Founders at length.

But the right to arms was one of the enumerated rights, and the United States of America is unique in putting that right into its foundational legal document.
Such are the idle thoughts that occur in the aftermath of America's latest episode of horrifying, meaningless mass slaughter. At least, such are the idle thoughts that occur to me. A large segment of the American public these days apparently finds it offensive, not just misguided but actually offensive, to talk about gun control after these sorts of atrocities occur. As economist Justin Wolfers tweeted this morning: "Let's not talk about gun control. It's too early, right? It's always too early. Except when it's too late."

Mr Wolfers is right: the "too early" construction is ridiculous. He's also right that it's too late. It is too late for gun control in America. It's never going to happen. There are too many guns out there, and an individual right to bear arms is now entrenched in constitutional law.
He says that like it's a bad thing.
Gun control in America is as quaint a proposition, at this point, as marijuana prohibition, with two important differences: first, that the government is still for some reason pursuing the absurd project of marijuana prohibition; and second, that guns are actually a significant threat to public health.
Now this I find fascinating. "M.S." acknowledges that marijuana prohibition is "absurd," but does not acknowledge that "gun control" is similarly absurd - unless you take "there are too many guns out there" as such acknowledgement. I don't think it is, because the entire gist of his essay is in favor of "gun control."  Guns are not a "significant threat to public health, the misuse of them is.  But strangely no one seems interested in looking at the people who are misusing them.  It's always easier to blame the gun.
In this sense, gun control is on a long list of things that could have saved many people's lives and made the world a better place, but for which it is now probably too late: a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, EU action to avert economic catastrophe, stopping global warming.
EXCELLENT comparisons!  And a magnificent illustration of the mindset of the author.  A "two-state solution" is a freaking pipe-dream. The "Palestinians" are apparently never going to love their children more than they hate Israel. The EU is constitutionally (no pun intended) incapable of behaving with fiscal rationality, and apparently neither are we because somewhere along the line a great number of people became convinced that things like "health insurance" were RIGHTS, and not commodities that had to be paid for. And "global warming" hasn't happened for about 12 years - with no change in any government policy anywhere - but because that doesn't fit the models, reality must be in error.  That excerpt from the "long list of things that could have saved many people's lives" is four things that won't WORK.

"Gun control" fails everywhere it's tried, but the philosophy cannot be wrong! Do it again only HARDER!
So this is just what one of America's many faces is going to be: a bitterly divided, hatefully cynical country where insane people have easy access to semi-automatic weapons, and occasionally use them to commit senseless atrocities. We will continue to see more and more of this sort of thing, and there's nothing we can realistically do about it.
I will close this post with the words of the father of Christina Taylor-Green, the nine year-old killed in the January shooting here in Tucson that claimed her and five other people, leaving another thirteen wounded:
This shouldn't happen in this country, or anywhere else, but in a free society we're going to be subject to people like this. I prefer this to the alternative.
So do I.

"M.S." is right, we're bitterly divided, but gun control is only one of the points on which the various sides differ, and we know what the gun control side wants.

Quote of the Day - Makes Sense to Me Edition

I think American business did better back in the days of the executive three-martini lunch. Back then, managers were only active and alert for half the day; that meant that in the afternoon, workers could get stuff done unmolested. Today’s mineral-water-and-jogging managers are able to interfere all day long. -- Glenn Reynolds

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Well, it's Descriptive...

Changes considered for firearms bureau

A name and focus change may be in store for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the bureau's acting director said.

--

Jones confirmed ATF is also considering changing its name to the Violent Crime Bureau.
I'm surprised they'd want to hang that moniker on themselves, given the kitten-stomping, child-burning, armed robbery and vandalism, illegal weapons trafficking, etc. But hey, who am I to complain about truth in advertising?

But England Doesn't HAVE Gun Shows!

Where do their criminals get hand grenades?
Caught on camera: Moment grenade is hurled at a house shortly after man was gunned down in similar gangland hit

A video showing the horrific moment two men launch a grenade at a house shortly after a similar attack killed a grieving father has been released by police.

It shows two men approach the house in the middle of the morning before they pull the pin out of the grenade and throw it at the property.

The pair then run off but the effects of the blast can clearly be seen on the video as smoke and dust billows around the front of the building.

The grenade attack seen in the video took place outside a house on Luke Road in Droylsden, Manchester.
(AKA: "Gunchester" - Ed.) No body was injured during this incident.

However, ten minutes earlier, the body of 46-year-old David Short was found at a house on Folkestone Road East in Clayton after police were called there following reports of gunshots.

There had also been an explosion at the address, which was caused by a grenade. It took place after his son Mark, 23, was shot dead as a gunman opened fire in a pub in the city in May. His father had previously branded his son's murderers 'cowards'.
Ah yes, gun-free Britain, that Utopia that the Brady Campaign fights so hard to bring to our shores.

h/t to Phil B., who has left the shores of Britain and settled in New Zealand where they're at least a little saner. And Phil reminds us that hand grenades are illegal for private citizens to possess in the UK. I guess no one told those nice boys who were playing with them.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Another Political Statement

Saw this one at AR15.com:


Well, to be fair, he won received the Nobel Peace Prize long before he implemented that foreign policy.  And most of those theater deaths were attributable to the Remington 870 shotgun, IIRC. 

That billboard's supposed to be on I-12 outside of Baton Rouge, LA.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I Wish I'd Had This Image...

...back when I wrote Those Without Swords...

From Oleg Volk:

Locked for Your Protection

My daughter sent me this one, and I had to share:

Some Political Statements




And Obama's next shot at Mitt:

Quote of the Day - Education Edition

"American students are less proficient in their nation's history than in any other subject, according to results of a nationwide test," the New York Times reported last year. "Most fourth graders [were] unable to say why Abraham Lincoln was an important figure." The exam found 12% of high school seniors "proficient" in American history. -- David Gelertner, The Wall Street Journal: The Friendly, Neighborhood Internet School
Tough to love, much less respect something you know nothing about.

And much easier to hate.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

We all know this one:
If you've got a business…you didn't build that.

Somebody else made that happen.

~ Barack Obama
That's not the QotD. I told you that so I could tell you this:
If you're claiming you got bin Laden...…you didn't do that.

Somebody else made that happen.

~ A Vietnam Vet
(h/t to my favorite Merchant O'Death, Dave, via email.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Bummer

The seventh annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous is only 27 days away, and I'm not going to get my .458 SOCOM upper in time. 

I ordered it on May 3, with an advertised 90-day lead time.  I checked with Rock River a couple of days ago, and here is their response:
The .458’s are running over the approximate 90 day time frame, so it could be 30-45 days before it is available.
Rock River is still advertising "60-90 days" for "most LAR-458 rifles and upper halves."

Regardless, I won't have a "thumper" to bring with me to the Rendezvous. I've got dies, brass, bullets even (some kind people let me have some of their private stash, so I've got about 200 of the 405 grain Remington softpoints to load.)

But nothing to shoot them through.

Ah, well. It'll still be fun.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Back from Obscurity!

I received an email from someone you might have heard of: Kim du Toit. Kim and his wife Connie dropped off the blogosphere completely a few years ago, after being major players. They were quite polarizing (did you ever read Kim's essay "The Pussification of the Western Male"?), but largely loved by the gunblogger community. Well, Kim has always been a writer, but he sent me an email to let me know that he has a novel out for the Kindle, Prime Target. Kim describes it this way:
Prime Target is about the U.S. Government spying on its citizens through data mining, and one man's efforts to stop them. Evil government agents, beautiful women... and of course, guns. Lots of 'em.
He has other books, too, available here.

Nice to hear from him!

I'm Adding These to the Once-a-Month Queue

The Thomas Sowell excerpt is seven minutes, the Caroline Glick piece is 50 minutes.  Both are absolutely worth your time.



Quote of the Day - Lileks Edition

Nothing disabuses you of the idea that dogs are super-extra smart than two dogs together. Alone, you can invest all sorts of things into their actions and expressions. Together, they look like a comedy team that's down one Stooge.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Quote of the Day

From Woodrow Wilson:  Godfather of Liberalism by Ronald Pestritto at Heritage.org:
Progressivism—certainly as expounded by Wilson—understood itself as presenting a rationale for moving beyond the political thinking of the American Founding. A prerequisite for national progress, Wilson believed, was that the Founding be understood in its proper historical context. Its principles, in spite of their timeless claims, were intended to deal with the unique circumstances of that day.

This interpretation of the Founding ran up against the Founders' own self-understanding, as Wilson well knew. This is why much of his scholarship is devoted to a radical reinterpretation and critique of the political theory of the Founding. Wilson understood that the limits placed upon the power of the national government by the Constitution—limits that Progressives wanted to see relaxed if not removed—were grounded in the natural-rights principles of the Declaration of Independence. This meant, for Wilson, that both the Declaration and the Constitution had to be understood anew through a Progressive lens.

Wilson therefore sought a reinterpretation of the Founding—a reinterpretation grounded in historical contingency. To the Founding's ahistorical notion that government is rooted in an understanding of unchanging human nature, Wilson opposed the historical argument that the ends, scope, and role of just government must be defined by the different principles of different epochs and that, therefore, it is impossible to speak of a single form of just government for all ages.
(My emphasis.)  If this is true, and I have no doubt that it is and that it remains true for modern-day "progressives," then when any self-described "progressive" politician takes an oath of office and declares,
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
that politician is willfully and deliberately lying; is, in fact, a domestic enemy of the Constution and should be removed from office.

Here's where we should start: The Congressional Progressive Caucus.

And no, I'm not kidding.  The oath is there for a reason.  Our officials don't declare an oath to support and defend the state, nor do they swear an oath to a leader - they swear an oath to support and defend the founding principles of this nation, not to try to diminish, circumvent, fold, spindle and mutilate them.

Awhile back Randy Barnett wrote a book entitled Restoring the Lost Constitution:  The Presumption of Liberty.  If we hadn't had a hundred years of "progressive" destruction of that document, he wouldn't have needed to.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Last Bowling Pin Match of the Summer

In a related note, the August Bowling Pin match is Sunday, August 12.  Usual place, the Tucson Rifle Club action range.  There won't be a September match because I'll be in Reno that weekend.

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

Handguns only: .22 rimfire, centerfire revolver (.38 Special minimum), semi-autos (.380 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. Bring about 100 rounds for each. You probably won't need 'em all unless you're really good at missing fast.

Hope to see you there!

30 Days Until GBR-VII

Vacation is scheduled, reservations are made.  Trip itinerary is still somewhat up in the air, so to speak.  I may have a traveling companion.  But I'll be there all four days.

Hope you can make it.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Sign is Misleading


He has more than one gun, and knows how to use them all:







Friday, August 03, 2012

Flashback: 1992



I'm not ashamed I voted for Ross Perot in 1992.  I'm ashamed I felt I had to.

Too Little, Too Late?

Milton Friedman from his University of Chicago lecture What is America?

1978:
I'm not arguing that government does not have a role, of course it does.  I am not an anarchist.  But I am persuaded that the problem of our society today is too much government, not too little.  Indeed I am persuaded that government is failing to perform the functions which it alone can perform, because we are trying to have it perform functions which it cannot perform.

In Walter Lippman's phrase, which, I may say, goes back to the 1920's, we are an over-governed society.

I believe we can get back on the right track, only as a public at large comes to recognize that the direction we have been going is a false direction.  A direction that will lead us not where we want to be, but where we do not want to be.  And that we can get back on the right track only by stopping and then reversing that trend.
Veronique de Rugy and Nick Gillespie, The HillCongress isn't gridlocked — it's just totally irresponsible,

2012:
What we're actually witnessing — and have been for years now — is not gridlock, but the abdication of responsibility by Congress and the president for performing the most basic responsibilities of government. Despite the fiscal crisis that Washington knows will occur if it fails to deal with unsustainable spending and debt, it hasn't managed to produce a federal budget in more than three years.

--

The plain fact is that neither party is working honestly to tackle the nation’s fiscal issues. Why stick your neck out when it’s easier to just blame the other side? Given the lackluster economy, the GOP’s smartest option might well be to do nothing but blame the president for the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression. Republicans studiously avoid implicating themselves and former President George W. Bush, who pushed the Troubled Asset Relief Program through in 2008 and then diverted TARP funds to bail out General Motors and Chrysler.

--

Simply put, this is no way to run a country. The problem is not gridlock or ideological fervor. The problem is an increasingly irresponsible government that has for far too long been far too easily let off the hook. Whichever party emerges victorious in November, and whatever happens in the lame-duck session, this much is certain: Unless taxpayers begin demanding their president and Congress act responsibly, and do the actual work they were elected to do,"gridlock" will be the least of our problems.
(My emphasis.)  Thirty-four years later and the problem is only worse.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Quote of the Day - Victor Davis Hanson

Since about 1992, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing, California ranks between 41 and 48 in math and science, depending on the year and the particular grade that is assessed. About half of the incoming freshmen at the California State University system — the largest public university in the world — are not qualified to take college courses, and must first complete "remediation" to attain a level of competence that was assumed forty years ago in the senior year of high school. The students I taught at CSU Fresno were far better prepared in 1984 than those in 2004 are; the more money, administrators, "learning centers," and counselors, the worse became the class work.

I finally threw out my old syllabi last month: the 1985 Greek Literature in Translation course at CSU Fresno seemed to read like a Harvard class in comparison to my 2003 version with half the reading, half the writing, and all sorts of directions on how to make up missed work and flunked exams. It wasn't just that I lost my standards, but that I lost my students who could read.


-- Works and Days, California: The Road Warrior Is Here
RTWT.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Quote of the Day - Point of No Return Edition

We talk like the end of the world is approaching and we act like someone is on the verge of giving us a sweater we won't like, myself included.

Do we think it will be easier to move from sitting on the couch to defending ourselves with violence than engaging in civil disobedience? If we continue to sit on the couch we are most certainly volunteering to resort to violence with little hope of winning. Inaction and cooperation with evil are taking us toward a bloody awful destructive mess. If you disagree, tell me what will make all of this stop. Did Europe stop before it was too late? Liberals will flashmob and sit-in to save a tree. What do we do? Have you found arguing facts an effective technique against liberals?

Most of Obama's angry former voters are angry O didn't produce the free unicorns and rainbows. They don't give a rip about your or their freedom and they will vote for the next messiah as easily as they voted for the current Dear Leader. Not one in a hundred former O voters recognizes they are the problem. The libs can't read our minds and they don't care about our opinions. They have no shame and no limit on what they want control over. If your plan is to be the last one rounded up at least stop claiming to be a citizen. Men died for that and we must find a way to be worthy if there are to be free men in the future. The libs won't stop until they get a sustained push back. No election stops them. No rules limit them. The libs won't allow you to exist apart from their control. You can't avoid them because they will search you out, if only to rob you.

We still have a chance if we take over the GOP and advance liberty. When you settle for one more gee dee RINO because he's not as bad as the lib you are taking away hopes for a peaceful and civil resolution. Once people conclude the system is immune from change bad shit happens.


-- commenter Scott M at Van der Leun's
Which reminds me of another quote, one by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. No, not that one, this one that I also found at Van der Leun's some time back:
In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal.
And all of this began with Gerard's post of an Ann Barnhardt quote on cowardice.