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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 23, 2019

There are No "Solutions" - Only "Trade-offs"

Today's Electric Car Batteries Will Be Tomorrow's E-Waste Crisis, Scientists Warn

Wind turbines kill endangered bird species, electric cars require toxic batteries and run off of coal-fired power plants, The infrastructure necessary to provide charging stations for plug-in EV’s will cost billions and require even more power generation, but no one wants a nuclear power plant in their back yard.

Engineering isn’t about “solutions,” it’s about picking the best options and minimizing the costs of the trade-offs.

Politics is only about getting elected and re-elected. Politicians can promise the moon without any concern about the costs - monetary, environmental, social. And they depend on a public ignorant to the realities. Shouts of “Consensus!” are used to ensure that no one opposed gets listened to.

That’s not how science - or engineering - work. Reality is what remains even if you don’t believe in it.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Second Thoughts on the Second Amendment?

Remember, over the period from 1933 to 1945 the Nazi regime alone murdered approximately 12,000,000 people. In the United States, at our current rate of criminal homicide, it would take 695 years to kill as many people as the German government did in twelve. The Soviet Union? By one estimate between 1917 and 1987, that government killed approximately 62,000,000. Communist China? Between 1949 and 1987, 76,000,000. (Who knows how many since, with the Uyghurs and Hong Kong.)

Individuals kill retail. Governments do it wholesale. As 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in one of his best dissents:
All too many of the other great tragedies of history - Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few - were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.

My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. 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.
The residents of Hong Kong understand that now. And apparently some Americans are starting to grasp it, too.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Quote of the Day - Oren Litwin Edition

From the comments here many many moons ago when he was still a PhD candidate in Political Science, (and followed this blog) Oren Litwin wrote this:
If the non-socialist end of the political spectrum cannot create a political philosophy that is both good theory and emotionally appealing, we're doomed.

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

This aside from the fact that libertarianism is emotionally cold and unfulfilling to most people, who have not trained themselves to consider lack of outside restraint to be worth cherishing.
 Yup.  We're doomed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Quote of the Day - Attorney General Bill Barr Edition

From his Federalist Society speech last week:
In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion. Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the State to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection. Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end. They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.
I've been saying this since at least 2010. See: Al Gore, Pied Piper of the Unconstrained Vision, and Human Redemption Through Government.  This is holy war - jihad, if you will - for the Left.  This is why the Right is not wrong, not misguided, not ignorant, but evil.  And every Republican President after Eisenhower is literally Hitler.

Eric Hoffer observed in his book The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements:
Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents. It pulls and whirls the individual away from his own self, makes him oblivious of his weal and future, frees him of jealousies and self-seeking. He becomes an anonymous particle quivering with a craving to fuse and coalesce with his like into one flaming mass. (Heinrich) Heine suggests that what Christian love cannot do is effected by a common hatred.

Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. When Hitler was asked whether he thought the Jew must be destroyed, he answered: "No.... We should have then to invent him. It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one." F.A. Voigt tells of a Japanese mission that arrived in Berlin in 1932 to study the National Socialist movement. Voigt asked a member of the mission what he thought of the movement. He replied: "It is magnificent. I wish we could have something like it in Japan, only we can't, because we haven't got any Jews."

Monday, November 18, 2019

Got a Couple of Hours?

I'm not a fan of Glenn Beck, but as a friend put it, "sometimes he lays down information that’s tough to refute.” Give this a watch. Your tinfoil hat might blow off.

Friday, November 15, 2019

"Political Gaffe" - When a Politician Accidentally Tells the Truth

Alexandria Occasionally Coherent on the impeachment of Donald Trump, Wednesday: "This is not just about something that has occurred, this is about preventing a potentially disastrous outcome from occurring next year.

IOW, "We're impeaching him because we couldn't beat him in 2016, and we can't beat him in 2020."

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

What Do You Mean "AS THOUGH"?!?

Democrat Sen. Mazie Hirono: 'Believe in Climate Change as Though It's a Religion'
Maybe this wouldn't be such a divided country if skeptics weren't treated like heretics. Maybe these times would be more normal if Democrats thought before they spoke. Of course, they thrive on division. They can't exist without it. Their modus operandi is to set people against each other and then profit from the conflict. And of course, the whole time they have to blame their opponents. That's how they've always done it, and they'll keep doing so as long as it keeps working.

The Stupidest Thing I've Ever Seen the Gun-Banners Attempt

From New Zealand, where they're on their way to (maybe) 30% compliance with their gun ban:

Police meet with gang leaders to try and convince them to surrender guns during amnesty

Illegal guns are remaining in the hands of organised crime as gang leaders refuse to give up their weapons.

Police have met with more than 50 gang leaders in an effort to get them to comply with firearm law changes before an amnesty ends.

But it's proving to be fruitless, as the patched members remain "very reluctant", Police Commissioner Mike Bush told the Justice Select Committee on Thursday.
Gee, ya THINK?
"We have identified over 100 influential gang leaders and spoken to about half of them about how they are managing this and what their approach and attitude toward that [amnesty] is."
Sorry about the auto-run videos.

Monday, November 11, 2019

"A Modest but Tangible Success" - aka, "Abject Failure"

New Zealand's "buyback" is going pretty much as expected - with a projected compliance of less than 30%:
New Zealand Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this week that more than 32,000 prohibited weapons have been returned to the government since collections began in mid-July. Some estimates put the number of newly-banned military-style semi-automatic rifles in the country at up to 175,000.

This would suggest a compliance rate, so far, as low as 18 percent, 16 weeks into the buyback program. With seven weeks left to go until the amnesty period ends, if the current rate of return holds, the New Zealand government is on track to collect around 50,000 prohibited weapons pursuant to the buyback. That would impute a final compliance rate of around 29 percent, at the lower end, which would represent a modest but tangible success for policymakers.

"Owning a firearm is a privilege not a right," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in September as the country's parliament considered new gun control laws.