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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Metastasized Marxism

"An empire toppled by its enemies can rise again.  But one which crumbles from within?  That's dead... forever." - Col. Zemo from Captain America:  Civil War

There is often truth in fiction.
Nation: (n) -  a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own - Dictionary.com
Margaret Thatcher once observed, "Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." - Declaration of Independence

Of all the philosophical ideals ever committed to paper, "the pursuit of Happiness" must count among the greatest, but "all men are created equal" ranks a close second. Of course, these ideals were untrue in practice, but the character of Death expressed another truth in fiction in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather, "You need to believe in things that aren't true.  How else can they become?"

We have been a nation often described as a "melting pot," but more accurately as a "salad bowl" - the individual bits not melted together, but working (more or less) in harmony to be more than the sum of their parts. 

We have never been perfect.  No nation ever has.  But we have been good, a beacon to the peoples of other nations, the "shining city on the hill" as Ronald Reagan put it.  But not perfect by a long shot.

Advisory:  This is my first überpost in quite a while.  You've been warned.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Bleg for a Cause

Like guns and neat stuff?  Chuck Zeigenfuss (US Army, Retired) now runs Hero Labradors.  He raises Labradors for donation to organizations that train them to be service dogs for veterans.  He's running a raffle to raise money for Hero Labradors.  Not many days left.  Tickets are limited to 1,000.  Cost is $25 each.  Prizes are:

New AR 10  custom .308 rifle (Aero Precision)

New AR 15 custom .300 blackout pistol (MagTactical Industries)

Howa model 1500 .223 Rifle (gently used, in excellent condition) 

Walking Stick, custom carved and painted, signed by two MOH recipients (Sal Giunta and Clint Romesha... and possibly more!)

Rustic Labrador signs

House to House: signed by the Author, Staff Sergeant David Bellavia

If you've got a spare $25 and would like a shot (see what I did there?) at a new gun or a good book or a neat item, please go and buy a ticket to support Chuck and his organization.

Quote of the Day - Ed Driscoll Edition

Of course, as with all previous revolutions, eliminating statues of dead people is merely the precursor to eliminating living people deemed by the left to be, as Hillary would say, “deplorable.” And as her former colleague Susan Rice recently added, deserving of being placed in “the trash heap of history.” Recent events would imply that Rice was not speaking metaphorically.
Link.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Quote of the Day - GeekWithA.45 Edition

From the Wayback Machine:

Societies Gone Mad

To the people of my parent's generation, World War II was a reality that they had lived through, and not a bunch of black and white movies starring John Wayne.

Books upon books were written on the subject, to help them digest and understand just how it was that something of that magnitude could actually happen, how it was that an entire European society could go insane and do what it did. (As for the Japanese society, it was insane to begin with, and thus more easily understood)

Yes, as politically incorrect as it is, I stand by what I just said:

"Entire Societies Can and Have Gone Stark Raving Batshit Fucking Insane."



Sunday, June 07, 2020

A Repeat

From October 26, 2019, the Quote of the Day, possibly more valid now than it was then.  I went looking for the Codevilla part of the quote, and forgot about the rest of it.  If you are unfamiliar with Professor Angelo Codevilla, please read his supremely important July 2010 essay America's Ruling Class--And the Perils of Revolution. Please do give it, and the link, a read:

From Interview with Angelo Codevilla, a two-fer - one from the interviewer, David Samuels:
...there is no such thing as America anymore. In place of the America that is described in history books, where Henry Clay forged his compromises, and Walt Whitman wrote poetry, and Herman Melville contemplated the whale, and Ida Tarbell did her muckraking, and Thomas Alva Edison invented movies and the light bulb, and so forth, has arisen something new and vast and yet distinctly un-American that for lack of a better term is often called the American Empire, which in turn calls to mind the division of Roman history (and the Roman character) into two parts: the Republican, and the Imperial. While containing the ghosts of the American past, the American Empire is clearly a very different kind of entity than the American Republic was—starting with the fact that the vast majority of its inhabitants aren’t Americans. Ancient American ideas about individual rights and liberties, the pursuit of happiness, and so forth, may still be inspiring to mainland American citizens or not, but they are foreign to the peoples that Americans conquered. To those people, America is an empire, or the shadow of an empire, under which seemingly endless wars are fought, a symbol of their own continuing powerlessness and cultural failure. Meanwhile, at home, the American ruling elites prattle on endlessly about their deeply held ideals of whatever that must be applied to Hondurans today, and Kurds tomorrow, in fits of frantic-seeming generosity in between courses of farm-to-table fare. Once the class bond has been firmly established, everyone can relax and exchange notes about their kids, who are off being credentialed at the same “meritocratic” but now hugely more expensive private schools that their parents attended, whose social purpose is no longer to teach basic math or a common history but to indoctrinate teenagers in the cultish mumbo-jumbo that serves as a kind of in-group glue that binds ruling class initiates (she/he/they/ze) together and usefully distinguishes them from townies during summer vacations by the seashore. The understanding of America as an empire is as foreign to most Americans as is the idea that the specific country that they live in is run by a class of people who may number themselves among the elect but weren’t in fact elected by anyone. Under whatever professional job titles, the people who populate the institutions that exercise direct power over nearly all aspects of American life from birth to death are bureaucrats—university bureaucrats, corporate bureaucrats, local, state and federal bureaucrats, law enforcement bureaucrats, health bureaucrats, knowledge bureaucrats, spy agency bureaucrats. At each layer of specific institutional authority, bureaucrats coordinate their understandings and practices with bureaucrats in parallel institutions through lawyers, in language that is designed to be impenetrable, or nearly so, by outsiders. Their authority is pervasive, undemocratic, and increasingly not susceptible in practice to legal checks and balances. All those people together comprise a class.
And one from Prof. Codevilla:
(T)he Democrats (are) the senior partners in the ruling class. The Republicans are the junior partners. The reason being that the American ruling class was built by or under the Democratic Party. First, under Woodrow Wilson and then later under Franklin Roosevelt. It was a ruling class that prized above all its intellectual superiority over the ruled. And that saw itself as the natural carriers of scientific knowledge, as the class that was naturally best able to run society and was therefore entitled to run society. The Republican members of the ruling class aspire to that sort of intellectual status or reputation. And they have shared a taste of this ruling class. But they are not part of the same party, and as such, are constantly trying to get closer to the senior partners. As the junior members of the ruling class, they are not nearly as tied to government as the Democrats are. And therefore, their elite prerogatives are not safe.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Pushing an Agenda

Foreign Policy magazine comes out with a shrieking Gloom-'n-Doom piece, A Moment of National Shame and Peril—and Hope subtitled "We may be witnessing the beginning of the end of American democracy, but there is still a way to stop the descent."

What has so frightened author John Allen, "president of the Brookings Institution, a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general, and former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan"?

Well, this:
The slide of the United States into illiberalism may well have begun on June 1, 2020. Remember the date. It may well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment.

The president of the United States stood in the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday, railed against weak governors and mayors who were not doing enough, in his mind, to control the unrest and the rioters in their cities, and threatened to deploy the U.S. military against American citizens. It was a stunning moment. But, in particular, it was notable for three important reasons.

First, Donald Trump expressed only the barest of condolences at the murder of George Floyd, but he also said nothing about the fundamental and underlying reasons for the unrest: systemic racism and inequality, a historic absence of respect, and a denial of justice. All of these factors are centuries old and deeply engrained in an American society that systematically delivers white privilege at the expense of people of color.

Yes, he mentioned George Floyd, but he did not touch on long-standing societal problems at all. He sees the crisis as a black problem—not as something to be addressed by creating the basis and impetus for a move toward social justice, but as an opportunity to use force to portray himself as a “law and order” president. The reasons were irrelevant to the opportunity. Remember the supposed invasion of the southern border and his deployment of federal troops ahead of the 2018 midterm elections? The president’s failure to understand the reality of the problem was on full display when, on Saturday, he attempted to explain that his supporters, the so-called Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement, “love African American people. They love black people. MAGA loves the black people.” Evidently his movement, MAGA, is a coherent thing, and it’s white, which leads to the next point about his speech.

Second, Trump was clear he views those engaged in the unrest and criminal acts in these riots as terrorists, an enemy. He said so, ostensibly as justification to deploy the U.S. military to apply federal force—his “personal” force—against the riots.


I'll admit, I was initially wary of the invocation of the Insurrection Act, until I discovered that, although passed in 1807 it has been used by several Presidents, mostly Democrats, since passage.  An incomplete list:

Rutherford B. Hayes (R), October, 1878 -- to suppress the Lincoln County War

Grover Cleveland (D), July, 1894 -- the Pullman Strike (look into that one.)

Woodrow Wilson (D), April, 1914 -- the Colorado Coalfield War

Herbert Hoover (R), July 1932 -- the Bonus Marchers in D.C. (definitely look into that one)

Franklin D. Roosevelt (D), July, 1943 (while the military was already quite busy with other things) -- the Detroit race riot.  Hmm, sound familiar?

Dwight D. Eisenhower (R), September, 1957 -- Protecting the Little Rock Nine

John F. Kennedy (D) - twice:  September 1962, and September 1963 -- the first for The Battle of Oxford, the second to enforce desegregation of Alabama public schools.

Lyndon B. Johnson (D) - FOUR TIMES: July, 1967 -- '67 Detroit Riot, April, 1968 -- Washington DC riots, April 1968 -- Baltimore riots, April 1968 -- Chicago riots.  1968 was a year of widespread riots.  Sound familiar?

George H.W. Bush (R) - twice:  September 1989, Saint Croix, Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo, May, 1982 -- the Rodney King riots in LA.

I had to go look these up, because no major media outlet bothered to inform me.  For them, history started yesterday.

As far as MAGA being a white thing?  Look here.  If the media won't tell you about how the Insurrection Act has been used in the past, what makes you think they'll admit that not all black people live on their plantation?

General Allen (Ret.) further states:
Finally, the governors have sufficient law enforcement capacity—and, if necessary, the combat power of the National Guard—to handle their respective crises. If not, they can ask for federal assistance. There is no precedent in modern U.S. history for a president to wield federal troops in a state or municipality over the objections of the respective governor.
Neither Eisenhower nor Kennedy got the permission of the governors involved.  Those governors were quite happy with the status quo.  "No precedent in modern U.S. history"?  Pull my other leg.  And the gist of the phone conversation Trump had with the various governors was "You have all the law enforcement capacity you need - use it, or I'll send in troops who will."  Seems it worked.

FUCK I'm tired of this shit.

Quote of the Day - Charles W. Cooke Edition

From his National Review op-ed This is Why We Need Guns:
During the coronavirus lockdown, there was a public debate over whether gun stores should be deemed “essential.” During this outbreak of rioting, such an inquiry seems quaint. Now, as ever, there is no greater prophylactic against a criminal on the rampage than a loaded firearm in the hands of a free man.
Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Quote of the Day - Larry Correia (Again)

This is not a short one.  I'm quoting the whole damned thing:
A friend of mine posted about seeing this: "Where are all you gun owners now that the federal government and police are attacking citizens in the streets?? Now that the National Guard is out oppressing citizens? I thought this was the moment you're waiting for? So why aren't you out there fighting them with your guns? You're nothing but a bunch of fucking cowards!"
My response was the GIF of Nelson Muntz going HA HA. :-D
But I've seen this sentiment a lot too over the last few days, so please if you are so incredibly fucking dumb that you are actually wondering why America's gun culture aren't commuting into the democrat cities you have banned us from in order to get into gun fights with the National Guard on your behalf, allow me to elaborate.
Hypothetical Liberal "Ally" Who Lives in the Suburbs Which Aren't On Fire - "Hey, gun owners! Here is some civil unrest! Why won't you come and help us?"
Snort. Fuck off. 
"Pussies! Why not?"
Well, every single gun nut in America has spent their entire adult life being continually mocked, insulted, and belittled by the left. You've done nothing but paint us as the bad guys.
In Hollywood, we're always evil, stupid, violent, malicious, redneck, racist, murderers. That's so ingrained in the liberal religion that when "ally" Harvey Weinstein was trying to get out of being a sleazy rapist, his repentance consisted of promising to make more movies about how the NRA is bad.
In the news, everything is always our fault. If there is a mass murder, we can always count on the vultures to swoop in and blame America's gun culture. They flog it for weeks on end, 24/7 coverage, hoping for gun control. And if the identity of the shooter doesn't fit the narrative, it drops off the news in mere hours.
And then at the local, state, and federal level, legally speaking, the left fucks us at every opportunity. You ban everything you can get away with. You ban things that literally make no sense. You ban shit just out of spite.
When we fight back against gun control laws, you declare we are stupid because only the police should have guns (hey, aren't those the guys you are protesting right now?)
"Stupid racist rednecks! We live in a civilized society! Don't you realize the police will protect us?" until when your democrat cities are on fire, and you call 911 and the operator tells you sorry, the police can't come to your house right now, please try not to get murdered... How is that strict gun control working out for you?
Then you did everything in your power to chase gun owners out of your sainted liberal strongholds. You passed laws. You banned everything we like. Forced all the shooting ranges to close. Forced most of the gun stores to close. And just generally let us know that our kind is not welcome there.
But now you've started some shit, YOU want US to go into democrat cities, with democrat mayors, and democrat police chiefs enforcing democrat policies which cause strife among democrats, in order to get into gun fights on your behalf?
How fucking gullible do you think we are? Like holy shit. Damn dude!
Because we all know that literally 30 seconds after a gun nut blows away a government employee on your behalf, then all the national media coverage of the riots will instantly cease (sorta like the Corona Virus coverage did) and it'll be back to the news breathlessly reporting about right wing extremist gun nuts, and all you useless fucks would go back to whining for more dumb ass gun control.
You've already thrown the black community under the bus, cheering as their neighborhoods get burned and yours are safe. Seriously, white liberals are the shittiest "allies" in history, and your moral foundation has the consistency of Play-Doh. Your moral compass is a wind sock.
Just a little while ago, gun nuts had a massive peaceful protest in Virginia. Tens of thousands of people turned out to protest gun control proposals from a democrat with a penchant for wearing black face (he still considers himself an "ally" though!) They didn't break any windows. They didn't kill any puppies. They didn't burn any horses. They didn't flip any police cars or murder any security guards. They were downright boring. They were polite, and even cleaned up their litter.
Except then you called them domestic terrorists, and were super sad that they didn't get massacred by the government (said government you are now mad at for killing people, because again, you fuckers ain't exactly consistent)
Liberal "allies" are quick to call gun nuts the bad guys, but we're not trying to disarm people. We want everybody to be able to defend themselves. It's a common thing to see some meme on the internet, showing a black family shooting or posing with their guns, with some caption like "bet this offends the NRA", which is liberal projection, because in reality in my social circles everybody is like, "fuck yeah, good for them". And the harshest complaints I've seen have been about trigger finger discipline or lack of eye protection.
My side isn't the one that wants the state to have a monopoly on force. We know the 2nd is for everybody, regardless of skin color or where you live. You fuckers are the ones who keep declaring we can't fight the government with AR-15s because they have tanks and nukes, but then you bumbling fuckheads try it by throwing rocks?
So not only no, but hell no.
 
Can I get an "AMEN!"?

From the comments to the FB thread:



As I Have Said Repeatedly...

"Gun Control" as proposed means "Gun Elimination" - that is, reducing the number of guns in private hands to a number indistinguishable from zero.

The BBC proves my point in a 2017 piece recently reprinted on Pocket:  How Japan has Almost Eradicated Gun Crime. Excerpt:

If you want to buy a gun in Japan you need patience and determination. You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95 percent.

There are also mental health and drugs tests. Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too - and even your work colleagues. And as well as having the power to deny gun licences, police also have sweeping powers to search and seize weapons.

That's not all. Handguns are banned outright. Only shotguns and air rifles are allowed.

The law restricts the number of gun shops. In most of Japan's 40 or so prefectures there can be no more than three, and you can only buy fresh cartridges by returning the spent cartridges you bought on your last visit.

Police must be notified where the gun and the ammunition are stored - and they must be stored separately under lock and key. Police will also inspect guns once a year. And after three years your licence runs out, at which point you have to attend the course and pass the tests again.

This helps explain why mass shootings in Japan are extremely rare. When mass killings occur, the killer most often wields a knife.

And that's better, because reasons.  And it also glosses over the arson massacres.  The September 2001 Myojo 56 Building fire that killed 44, the October 2008 Osaka movie theater fire that killed 16, and (understandably since this piece was first published in 2017) the July 2019 Kyoto Animation attack that killed 36 and injured 33.  No, the Japanese don't have many mass killings, but it's not because they don't have guns.

The result is a very low level of gun ownership - 0.6 guns per 100 people in 2007, according to the Small Arms Survey, compared to 6.2 in England and Wales and 88.8 in the US.

"The moment you have guns in society, you will have gun violence but I think it's about the quantity," says Overton. "If you have very few guns in society, you will almost inevitably have low levels of violence."

Not necessarily so.  The UK has very few guns in society, and has been the most violent nation in Western Europe.  They're trying to ban knives there now.

Henrietta Moore of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London applauds the Japanese for not viewing gun ownership as "a civil liberty", and rejecting the idea of firearms as "something you use to defend your property against others."

Somehow, I don't think that reasoning would fly in major U.S. cities at the moment.

But for Japanese gangsters the tight gun control laws are a problem. Yakuza gun crime has sharply declined in the last 15 years, but those who continue to carry firearms have to find ingenious ways of smuggling them into the country.

"The criminals pack the guns inside of a tuna so it looks like a frozen tuna," says retired police officer Tahei Ogawa. "But we have discovered cases where they have actually hidden a gun inside."

So, the ownership rate is somewhat higher than 0.6/100 then?  RTWT, but the next time someone says "nobody's trying to take your guns," tell them to fuck off.

Another Plastic Turkey Story

So the media has been ranting about Trump's march through Lafayette Park to St. John’s Episcopal Church, the victim of arson the previous night. 





I could go on, but it's not necessary.  The story is bullshit, like so much coming from the media.  These days, nearly everything.

It's another Plastic Turkey! story, so good, so juicy it just HAS to be true!  ORANGE MAN BAD!!

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Quote of the Day - Re: George F. Will

I've read some of George F. Will's work, and generally found it worthy.  In fact, I transcribed one of his speeches here at TSM, titled "Learned Feudalism" from the 2010 Cato Institute Milton Friedman Prize dinner.  It was witty, erudite, and absolutely accurate.

But the election of Donald J. Trump seems to have unhinged him.  He is the Never-Trumper's Never-Trumper.  Over at Instapundit Ed Driscoll comments on a XiNN piece about Will's most recent Washington Post op-ed calling for a rout of the Republican party to -- one assumes -- "restore" the REAL "Conservatives."  But that's not the QotD.  That honor belongs to a commenter, DoggerelPundit, who I think has accurately described what has happened to Will:
Pierre Boulle drew this man's exact caricature in Col. Nicholson. He was oh so British and so the pinnacle of Civilization with a capital C. Though their prisoner, with his men forced into slave labor, Col. Nicholson would show his uncivilized captors a thing or two about British superiority. He built their "unbuildable" bridge, furthering their war effort in the process. Only at the end did he realize.
Yes, Mr. Will would fit right into Bridge Over the River Kwai.


Thumbnail

Wait Until Carmen Discovers What "Gun Control" Actually Is


Parking Lot Koreans


During the Rodney King riots, Koreatown in Los Angeles was a target of the rioters. The police, like they have in Minneapolis, abandoned the city. The shop owners in the area, their friends and families, defended their businesses, some from the roofs of their buildings - AKA “Roof Koreans.” Since then, anyone who defends against rioters has been termed a “Roof Korean” in the gun community.
Here are some that defended a Minneapolis tobacco store recently. Watch the video, but I want to show you a screen shot you won’t see on ABCNNBCBS or any other major news outlet:
https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-ec7b2ec02f161b726f7cb08e141eea4f
The two self-confessed “rednecks” are being interviewed. The two “gentlemen of color” off to the right there also defending the store, were not. Note they all are carrying the evil AR-15 rifle, but they aren’t shooting anyone.

The Second Amendment is for everybody.


The Practical Result of "Gun Control"

Just over 17 years ago I wrote a two-part post, Is the Government Responsible for Your Protection?  In it, I discussed a couple of cases that proved that there is no "Duty to protect" on the part of the government -- municipal, county, state or federal.  The second example was of Linda Riss, a New York City resident who was stalked by a jilted lover.  She tried to get police protection, but could not.  Until an attacker hired by her ex threw lye in her face, scarring and blinding her.  THEN she got round-the-clock protection.  She sued the NYPD - and lost. 

The dissenting judge in the case wrote this:
Linda has turned to the courts of this State for redress, asking that the city be held liable in damages for its negligent failure to protect her from harm. With compelling logic, she can point out that, if a stranger, who had absolutely no obligation to aid her, had offered her assistance, and thereafter Burton Pugach was able to injure her as a result of the negligence of the volunteer, the courts would certainly require him to pay damages. (Restatement, 2d, Torts, § 323.) Why then should the city, whose duties are imposed by law and include the prevention of crime (New York City Charter, § 435) and, consequently, extend far beyond that of the Good Samaritan, not be responsible? If a private detective acts carelessly, no one would deny that a jury could find such conduct unacceptable. Why then is the city not required to live up to at least the same minimal standards of professional competence which would be demanded of a private detective?

Linda's reasoning seems so eminently sensible that surely it must come as a shock to her and to every citizen to hear the city argue and to learn that this court decides that the city has no duty to provide police protection to any given individual. What makes the city's position particularly difficult to understand is that, in conformity to the dictates of the law, Linda did not carry any weapon for self-defense (former Penal Law, § 1897). Thus, by a rather bitter irony she was required to rely for protection on the City of New York which now denies all responsibility to her." (My emphasis)
As I wrote at that time, this is the practical result of "gun control." Denial of the means to defend yourself, while not providing any other layer of real protection.

This situation has raised its head again in many places, but New York in particular.  Read the New York Post piece Worse than War:  My Night Besieged by Looters and Thugs in New York.  Excerpt:
Every minute brought some new shock and a fresh surge of adrenaline: more and more of those roving gangs, some sticking around for minutes. Squad cars racing down in convoy, sirens blaring. The smashing of windows (a hair salon on the block, I learned in the morning, had been smashed in). The screeching of tires. The shouting of men: “Stop, you motherf–ker!”
Why won’t the men in blue stay in front of our house?
At two in the morning, it couldn’t be denied that one particular roving gang was roving no more; its members were obviously staking out our building. Now cackling, now going ominously silent. Should I race upstairs and bring a kitchen knife? How would this scenario play out? Would they just smash our lobby and leave? What could stop them if they wanted to take the elevators up to our homes?
Not a damned thing.  It's a meme, but it's a fact:


See also Joe Huffman's Quote of the Day.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Seen at Facebook:



This is the sudden exposure to the fact that the police HAVE no "Duty to Protect." Now someone needs to introduce people to the Killhouse Rules:


"Our first purpose was not to be noticed."

A long time ago I read Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for the first of many, many times.  I'm pretty sure I was twelve or thirteen at the time. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, the Earth is governed by a United Nations of sorts, and has turned the moon into a penal colony much like England did with Australia.  Subtle difference, though, without certain drugs and strenuous exercise, spending too long on Luna will result in irreversible physiological changes that prohibit living on Earth again except as an invalid.  The moon, through hydroponic farming using water from lunar pockets of ice, has become the breadbasket of humanity.  A massive linear accelerator is used to send cargo packages of grain down the gravity well to feed Earth.

The population of Luna is only partially convicts as the story begins.  Most of the residents have either served their sentences or been born there as "free people."  Free being a relative term.  The Authority runs the colonies, and there are several. 

The crisis is that if projections are accurate, Luna is going to run out of water soon, and Earth doesn't care and doesn't want to know.  And they want "the convicts" to just do their jobs and feed Earth.

So a small group decides that the only way to save Luna is to have a revolution.  Here's the passage that struck me so many years ago:
Our first purpose was not to be noticed.  Long distance purpose was to make things worse as much as possible.  Yes, worse.  Never was a time, even at last, when all Loonies wanted to throw off Authority, wanted it bad enough to revolt.  All loonies despised Warden and cheated Authority.  Didn't mean they were ready to fight and die.
This popped up over on FB a day or two ago, a Tweet from Jeremy Boreing, one of the producers of Ben Shapiro's podcast and other Daily Wire things, I think:
  1. Instill fear
  2. Lock people in their houses
  3. Drive tens of millions out of work
  4. Remove the pressure valves:  sports, concerts, bars, theaters. lunch with friends
  5. Close the churches
  6. Dehumanize through masking the healthy
  7. Wait
  8. Strike match
I don't think this was orchestrated, any more than I think the WuFlu was a bioweapon, but the groundwork had already been laid and full advantage is being taken.
Marx defined revolution as violent overthrow of state and economic system when workers would come out of their false consciousness and would realize their exploitation done by the capitalist society. According to Marx, capitalism will eventually dig its own grave but the working class should not wait for it to happen on its own and rather catalyze the process to end their misery through revolution.
The next stage after revolution would be Socialism.  We have had more than one generation "educated" in our places of "higher learning" that Capitalism is Bad and Socialism is Good:


I'm not saying that this is that "revolution." I think it's another "wet firecracker," but there will be more of this, more often, until the entire system collapses, because a significant portion of the population, many working in government and media, want it to and are actively, quietly working towards it.  Things have to get worse before Joe Sixpack will be willing to fight and die.

Thing is, I don't think the Socialists are the ones expecting to die.

Quote of the Day - Sarah Hoyt Edition

From a post at Instapundit:

Two things, before my calm gets damaged further.
a) most businesses are not insured against civil unrest. Most will get nothing.
b) when you say “are your possessions worth a human life?”  Most people’s possessions are their lives. They spent days of their lives and strength and health to acquire them.
As for their being “worth” a human life…  Humans who think it’s okay to hurt people and take their stuff are only going to cost more lives in the long run. The right to be secure in your possessions is part of what made America great. Who will work, invest, innovate, if at any minute the government can decide their work is non-essential and brownshirts at the service of the democrats can burn it all down?
You allow this to continue, you have Mogadishu, not the US.

Friday, May 29, 2020

More Quora Content

I posted a link to this story of a 70 year old man defending his wife from an attacker who broke through the front door of their home.  He retrieved a firearm and shot the attacker several times.  I received a comment on the piece, to which I responded.  Here's the thread so far:
Peter Collins: When are you going to post all of the stories of people shooting their kids, or their wives or husbands, or themselves.

You are 9 times more likely to be killed with a gun you own than to kill an intruder or mugger or other criminal.

So, this man killed an intruder - that means nine other gun owners were killed by their own guns.

The odds are against you, 9 to 1. Only a fool bets that longshot with his life.
KB: I don’t have to. ABCNNBCBS and all the other major news outlets already take care of that. What they DON’T typically report are successful defensive gun uses, leading to the illusion that they seldom happen. Even the CDC recently admitted, however, that they happen far more often than most people think.

That news was also not carried by the media beyond a very brief mention.

Now as to your 9:1 ratio assertion, do you have a citation for that, or do you “just know it’s true”? Because the last time I heard something like that, it was 43:1 from a thoroughly discredited “study” performed by a Dr. Arthur Kellerman many years ago.
PC: The media don’t cover so-called ‘defensive gun uses’ very much because they are relatively rare events. The only study, and it is on-going, of this, using actual evidence and verifying the events, finds that guns are used about 2000 times per year in the US to prevent, stop, or mitigate a violent crime. The group doing the study is not a gun-control group, and their definition of ‘defensive gun use’ is broader than I think is justified, but they follow a data-based approach and they are willing to do the hard work to find an accurate figure. If guns were used regularly to prevent or stop crimes, it would be all over the news - when it does happen, the “good guy with a gun” scenario gets huge coverage.

The figure you question came from the Miller study, a peer-reviewed and unassailable study published in one of the trauma journals.

The Kellerman study, far from being “thoroughly discredited,” is a model of excellent methodology combined with careful use of data. I am aware of no serious critique of the study from any qualified source. The conclusions from that study, though, do not really bear on the question at hand. Kellerman was studying intentional homicide only, and that doesn’t provide an answer to the question of whether gun ownership generally confers more or less safety than risk. If the results of a perfectly good study are applied to aquestion that the study did not ask, it is not likely to provide valid or valuable information.
KB: “The only study, and it is on-going, of this , using actual evidence and verifying the events, finds that guns are used about 2000 times per year in the US to prevent, stop, or mitigate a violent crime.” Which study is this? I noticed you didn’t provide a citation.

How about this one? Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control that states:
“Defensive uses of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, [my emphasis - ed.] although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010). On the other hand, some scholars point to radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey [my emphasis - ed.] (Cook et al., 1997). The variation in these numbers remains a controversy in the field. The estimate of 3 million defensive uses per year is based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys. The former estimate of 108,000 is difficult to interpret because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use. [Again, my emphasis.]

“A different issue is whether defensive uses of guns, however numerous or rare they may be, are effective in preventing injury to the gunwielding crime victim. Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.” [Emphasis, well, you know.]
The LOWEST estimate of defensive gun use from a credible source that I’ve EVER seen was from the National Crime Victimization Survey at 80,000 DGU’s per year, 28,000 fewer than noted in the excerpt above. That’s still over 32 times your estimate. That’s on average 219 per day. What is a defensive gun use? Any time a person defends himself or someone else by so much as THREATENING to use a firearm to stop an attack. No shots need be fired, and in the overwhelming majority of these cases, none are. No blood, no news story. But tell the people who defended themselves that they didn’t need a gun. Go ahead, I’ll wait. But The Other Side™ seems to believe that if the defender did not shoot, or more accurately, kill the offender, then it doesn’t count.

Also, I noticed that you still haven’t cited your source for the 9:1 ratio from your first comment. Got a link to that “unassailable” Miller study? I think you misunderstand what “peer reviewed” actually means.

Oh, and Kellerman? He revised his own estimate down to 2.7 times more likely. Basically debunking himself.
PC: Your “study” is a piece of paid-for propaganda that relies on nothing that anyone could conceivably call evidence.

And your slur on Kellerman? No, he revised the application of his conclusion to a different set of circumstances.

If you actually read the study, rather than the claims made by gun fundy websites, you would know that.

And when you claim the number to be between 80,000 and 3 million, you lose all credibility. If you cannot even narrow it down within 2 orders of magnitude, your numbers are clearly phony.
KB: I really enjoy these discussions. So a piece produced by the National Academies of Science is “a piece of paid-for propaganda” because you say so. Interesting. But your uncited, “peer-reviewed” “Miller study” isn’t, because reasons. Kellerman’s 43:1 conclusion is gospel, but when he revised it to 2.1:1 it’s because he used a different set of circumstances - DUE TO THE FACT THAT HIS ORIGINAL CIRCUMSTANCES WERE LAUGHABLE. He’s already been proven unreliable. Why should I trust his revised numbers?

You object to the fact that the estimates between 80,000 and 3 million defensive gun uses means they’re not credible, but ignore the fact that the absolute low end, from United States Bureau of Justice surveys that DO NOT ASK EXPLICITLY ABOUT DEFENSIVE GUN USE still represent almost 220 defensive gun uses a DAY. You simply dismiss these as superfluous.

If you’d actually read the literature — all of it, not just the stuff you agree with — you would conclude that defensive gun usage is real, it’s effective, and it’s far more common than the general public is led to believe.

And that’s why I post these stories. The New York Times certainly won’t.
At this point I expect one or more of three things in descending order of likelihood:

1) He'll respond with more mouth-frothing
2) He'll report me for violating the "Be nice, be respectful" Quora policy
3) He'll go away
4) He'll delete his thread.

That didn't take long:

Kellerman revised the conclusion when the model for the study was revised - that’s akin to revising the number when you revise from mph to kph. If the ratio remained identical under different parameters, that would be questionable. Sorry you don’t understand how statistics work.

Your claim that the “absolute low end” is 70,000 ignores so many studies that show much, much lower numbers. I specifically cited the on-going GVA study which showed around 2000 verifiable cases per year. That’s lower than you claim is the “absolute low end.” Now, what did you say about only reading studies that support your position?

Here’s a challenge - you provide evidence of 110 defensive gun uses, in the USA, on any day in the last 10 years. That’s half what you claim is the ”low end,” so it shouldn’t be hard at all for you to prove. Not a survey, not some poll - actual evidence. I’ll accept if you provide the date, the time, the place, and the name of the victim or the person who used the gun.

So, how about it? Can you prove half your claimed l ”low end,” for any day in the last 10 years?
Oh, we’re still playing? OK. What was Kellerman’s initial model, and what were the objections to it? What was the revised model? I’m quite aware of how statistics work. I’m an engineer by trade.
The “absolute low end” is 80,000 by a survey that doesn’t specifically ask about defensive gun usage. You keep skipping right over that. Don’t you trust your government?

Your “GVA study” again is without a link to the source. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, the “verifiable cases” were media reports of defensive gun uses. Which kind of makes my point - the media doesn’t report on DGUs unless someone is shot or killed. And — if they’re covered at all — most of these reports end up on page B7 of the local fishwrap, not on the national nightly news.

Can I cite 110 defensive gun uses in a day? How am I to do this if the media doesn’t report them? If the people who stopped a crime in progress without firing a shot didn’t report it to the police? For example, the woman at the highway rest stop who confronted a man holding a coil of rope and convinced him that she was not going to be his next victim by showing him her pistol? Tell her she didn’t need it, and she was far more likely to have it used on her than to use it to protect her life. Tell that to the people standing outside a store in Minneapolis armed with rifles protecting it from rioters. It wasn’t looted or burned. Is that one DGU or twelve?

How many defensive gun uses is so low that it makes it OK to disarm the victims? Tell that 70 year old man that it would have been better to have let the attacker beat his wife to death rather than use a gun to defend her, or he could have tried to stop the man and there would be two old people dead or in the hospital. Tell him that the presence of that gun in his house made it 43 times more likely that he or his wife would be killed — not shot to death with his own weapon, but killed by any means — which is what Kellerman’s initial model did.

It’s been fun playing with you, but I think we’re done now.
It's still going. And going.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

"The last time I checked Illinois citizens are also Americans and Americans don’t get ruled"

Judge Mike McHaney for Appellate Court



Mike McHaney is a judge on the Illinois Fourth Judicial Circuit Court. He was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Kathleen P. Moran and was elected to the seat in 2010. McHaney was retained in the general election on November 8, 2016.

On April 27, 2020, Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney granted a restraining order against Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) 30-day extension of the state’s stay-at-home order.  Judge McHaney has overseen two suits against Illinois governor Pritzker's stay-at-home order, in both cases issuing a stay for the individuals who brought suit.  In the latest one, however, is the language that I think qualifies him for the Federal Appeals courts:
Since the inception of this insanity, the following regulations, rules or consequences have occurred: I won’t get COVID if I get an abortion but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy. Selling pot is essential but selling goods and services at a family-owned business is not. Pot wasn’t even legal and pot dispensaries didn’t even exist in this state until five months ago and, in that five months, they have become essential but a family-owned business in existence for five generations is not.

A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will. We are told that kids rarely contract the virus and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are cancelled. Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will. If I go to Walmart, I won’t get COVID but, if I go to church, I will. Murderers are released from custody while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families.

Our economy is shut down because of a flu virus with a 98 percent plus survival rate. Doctors and experts say different things weekly. The defendant cites models in his opposition. The only thing experts will agree on is that all models are wrong and some are useful. The Centers for Disease Control now says the virus is not easily spread on surfaces.

The defendant in this case orders you to stay home and pronounces that, if you leave the state, you are putting people in danger, but his family members traveled to Florida and Wisconsin because he deems such travel essential. One initial rationale why the rules don’t apply to him is that his family farm had animals that needed fed. Try selling that argument to farmers who have had to slaughter their herds because of disruption in the supply chain.

When laws do not apply to those who make them, people are not being governed, they are being ruled. Make no mistake, these executive orders are not laws. They are royal decrees. Illinois citizens are not being governed, they are being ruled. The last time I checked Illinois citizens are also Americans and Americans don’t get ruled. The last time a monarch tried to rule Americans, a shot was fired that was heard around the world. That day led to the birth of a nation consensually governed based upon a document which ensures that on this day in this, any American courtroom tyrannical despotism will always lose and liberty, freedom and the constitution will always win.
Bravo, Judge. Bravo.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Quote of the Day - Larry Correia Edition

From Facebook:
If you want to have an economy it is because you want grandma to die, except when Cuomo signed off on an order that actually literally killed thousands of grandmas that is okay because they were going to die anyway, so nobody should be held accountable, and while we are at it should run Cuomo for president because he looks more presidential than Biden, who is senile, and quite possibly a rapist too, but the rapey bits don't count anymore because we only hash tag believe all women when they accuse republicans, because everything is okay when we do it and nothing is ever our fault, even when things directly under our watch spiral terribly out of control, but also how dare you politicize these tragic events, you cold hearted republican bastards who love money more than people, unless that money is being donated to democrat causes, because then it's good again. - sincerely the Party of Science, Morality, and Goodness.
I'm going to call this kind of train-of-logic stream a Walshing, after Matt Walsh who wrote the first one I came across:
Gender is a social construct, but “I am woman, hear me roar,” but anyone can be a woman, but no uterus - no opinion, but transwomen are women, but “I demand women’s rights!”, but men are women, but men are scum, but drag queens are beautiful, but appropriation is evil.

A Golden Oldie

Back in April, 2006 I wrote a piece titled RCOB™.  It was a fisking of an op-ed by a writer named Nina Burleigh, who I later discovered was the bint who (in)famously said that she'd orally service Bill Clinton "just to thank him for keeping abortion legal."  Ms. Burleigh is an alumnus of the University of Chicago - aka "Mordor on the Lake," and is an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia University, home of the Frankfurt School.  She is also National Politics Correspondent for Newsweek.  And, of course, she's not above making it up as she goes, since a 2019 piece she wrote for the Daily Mail had to be retracted and "substantial damages" paid to the person she slandered - Melania Trump.  That was her second retraction.  In 2018 a piece she wrote for Newsweek was retracted when the editors belatedly concluded they couldn't support her allegations that "Russian bots" were responsible for Sen. Al Franken's downfall.

So we have a woman, given her history, who is anti-theist, ultra-feminist, educated at one college with a reputation for neo-marxism, and teaching at another, yet lives in New York City with a second home in upstate New York.  Must be nice.

Let me give you a taste of that older post:
Glenn Reynolds linked to a Salon.com piece by Nina Burleigh:
"I cringed as my young son recited the Pledge of Allegiance. But who was I to question his innocent trust in a nation I long ago lost faith in?"

Who, indeed? Reader Wagner James Au, who sent the link, writes: "My question is, why do anti-war liberals get so offended when people question their patriotism, when they spend so much time questioning it themselves?"
I read her piece, Country Boy, and my response to it was, almost literally, a RCOB.

Ms. Burleigh and I have worldviews so divergent that we might as well be of different species. There is no common ground upon which we could even begin to attempt rapprochement. And what bothers me most of all is that I see the land that we both live in becoming more and more divided between people like her, and people like me.

Let me fisk, for it is about the only thing I can do to purge myself of the emotions her piece inspired in me:
If you've got a few minutes, go read it.  See if it gives you the same symptoms it gave me.  This is the Left today.  Fourteen years later there are possibly fewer of them, but they are a lot crazier.



Saturday, May 23, 2020

Nasim Nicholas Taleb

I first heard about this man on a Joe Rogan podcast where a guest mentioned him in relation to this quote:
With my family, I am a Communist.  With my friends, I am a Socialist.  With my community, I am a Democrat.  With my State, I am a Republican.  With the Federal government, I am a Libertarian.
That got my attention.

Talib is the author of the 2007 book The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. Looking into him a little deeper brought me these quotes:
Only the autodidacts are free.

Academia is to knowledge what prostitution is to love.

Prediction, not narration, is the real test of our understanding of the world.

Failure saves lives. In the airline industry, every time a plane crashes the probability of the next crash is lowered by that. The Titanic saved lives because we're building bigger and bigger ships. So these people died, but we have effectively improved the safety of the system, and nothing failed in vain.
I think I need to read his book.

Friday, May 22, 2020

I Can Find Nothing to Disagree With in This Piece

I am a pessimist by nature, shocking admission, I know.  But being a pessimist I am very seldom disappointed, and occasionally pleasantly surprised.

I do not expect to be pleasantly surprised by the fallout from this:

Forget About Seeing Any Justice For Obamagate

Excerpt:
Allow me to disabuse you of your naïve delusion that we still live in a country with a justice system and break it to you that no one is going to jail for what was done to Flynn, or for the unmasking business, or for the Russia hoax or, for that matter, for any of the corrupt Dem/foreigner collaborations exemplified by the payoffs received by stripperphile and Bolivian folk medicine enthusiast Hoover Biden.

No one.
To quote David Burge, aka Iowahawk: “We live in a nation of laws in the same way people on 'Hoarders' live in houses of cat food boxes.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Quote of the Day - Matt Ridley Edition

From his recent Uncommon Knowledge interview on his new book How Innovation Works:
The late Hans Rosling, who is one of the so-called Godfathers of rational optimism...he did a poll of a thousand people in the U.S. and they need to repeat it in the UK and a number of countries, and he said: "In the last 20 years, has the percentage of the world population that lives in extreme poverty halved, doubled, or stayed the same?  Which of those do you think is correct?"  In the US about 65% of people think it's doubled and about 5% think it's halved.  The 5% are right and the 65% are wrong.

That's striking enough, but then he says- "Hang on.  If I wrote those three answers on three bananas and threw them to a chimpanzee, the chimp would pick up the right answer 33% of the time.  It would do six times as well as human beings at answering a question about human society.  That's the measure of how much we've indoctrinated ourselves into global pessimism.
ABCNNBCBS and all the rest of media, news and entertainment, are to blame for this.  Good news doesn't sell.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Meanwhile, at My OTHER Site

I joined Quora back in 2013.  In late July of 2019 I opened a personal "Space" there, which I cleverly titled "The Smallest Minority."

I noticed this today:

This blog has at present slightly less than 2,000 subscribers.  I'm pretty happy with the alternate.  Yaaay me!

I Missed My Blogiversary!!

May 14, 2003 I put up my first post here at TSM.  That means this blog is now (carry the one...) seventeen years old.

In seventeen years I've hit "Publish" on 7116 posts, including this one.  I've lost my mother, lost my liver (but the new one is working quite well), gained a kidney (I now have three, but two are decoys), and I had a great-grandson for about 10 weeks.

We've had three Presidents in that time period, and been at continuous war with a noun the entire time.  Now we're in the middle of an international overreaction to a pandemic.

It's been a helluva ride so far.  Judging from what I've been seeing, Bette Davis's admonition is even more valid today:

Saturday, May 16, 2020

When and How Did I Turn Right Wing?

Another Quora question.  Lots of post inspiration over there.  Here's my answer:

I’m 58 years old. That means that in 1974 I was 12. I vividly remember Watergate, and Nixon’s resignation. I also remember Jimmy Carter’s “American Malaise” period. I think Jimmy Carter is a nice man who was a lousy President. I turned 18 in 1980. I cast my first vote for President for Ronald Reagan. I watched as he, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II rapidly accelerated the downfall of the Soviet Union. It was literally inspiring.

Then George H.W. Bush won the office. He was not Ronald Reagan. He was Establishment Northeastern Country Club Republican. When he ran for reelection I voted for Perot in that one. Perot tried to warn us, and he was right.

Bill Clinton became President. Honestly, Bill (except for being a rapist) wasn’t that bad as President, but his wife gave me the heebie-jeebies. Dead people, cattle futures, sexual abuse, etc. etc. etc. and everything rolled off the pair of them like they were Scotchguarded.

It was about this time that I figured out that the Democrats were no longer “The Loyal Opposition,” they were The Other Side™ and they were out to WIN, no holds barred. And they cared not a whit about what the law said, they just had to find an accommodating judge. The Constitution? P’shaw, merely an outdated guidline. Appoint enough Judges to the Federal courts and especially the Supreme Court and you can make the law mean whatever you want. “Social Justice,” you see. Which is the opposite of actual justice.

Then Bush v. Gore cemented that for me. I watched the press conference where, as I noted at the time:
With the continuing legal maneuvers in the Florida election debacle, I have been forced to a conclusion that I may have been unconsciously fending off. The Democratic party thinks we're stupid. Not "amiable uncle Joe" stupid, but DANGEROUSLY stupid.

Lead-by-the-hand-no-sharp-objects-don't-put-that-in-your-mouth stupid.

And they don't think that just Republicans and independents are stupid, no no! They think ANYBODY not in the Democratic power elite is, by definition, a drooling idiot. A muttering moron. Pinheads barely capable of dressing ourselves.

Take, for example, the position under which the Gore election machine petitioned for a recount - that only supporters of the Democratic candidate for President lacked the skills necessary to vote properly, and that through a manual recount those erroneously marked ballots could be "properly" counted in Mr. Gore's favor. They did this in open court and on national television, and with a straight face.

So, it is with some regret that I can no longer hold that uncomfortable conclusion at bay:

They're right. We are.
And I started seriously wondering how we got to that point.

I could go into vast (and hyperlinked) detail here, but I’ll instead just use one word:

Progressivism.

I’m not really a Conservative. Steven Den Beste (PBUH) said it best, and I’m in complete agreement with him. So I invite you to read his explanation. But I’m not a Progressive.

Quote of the Day - Robert Heinlein Edition (reprise)

There are two ways of forming an opinion. One is the scientific method; the other, the scholastic. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all-important, and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything, and facts are junked when they do not fit theory. - Robert A. Heinlein

Friday, May 15, 2020

Quote of the Day - Robert A. Heinlein Edition

[T]here seems to have been an actual decline in rational thinking. The United States had become a place where entertainers and professional athletes were mistaken for people of importance. They were idolized and treated as leaders; their opinions were sought on everything and they took themselves just as seriously - after all, if an athlete is paid a million or more a year, he knows he is important ... so his opinions of foreign affairs and domestic policies must be important, too, even though he proves himself to be ignorant and subliterate every time he opens his mouth. - Robert A. Heinlein
We've been seeing a lot of this attitude lately, mostly from entertainers.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Narrative™

I was recently asked to answer the question: “What do you think of John Solomon? Is he the evil mastermind of the right wing narrative?” My answer in the link basically asked IS there a Right Wing Narrative?

There is definitely a Left-wing narrative. In fact, there are several. Author and former newspaper columnist Stephen Hunter wrote about The Narrative™ in one of his novels:
You do not fight the narrative. The narrative will destroy you. The narrative is all-powerful. The narrative rules. It rules us, it rules Washington, it rules everything.
--
The narrative is the set of assumptions the press believes in, possibly without even knowing that it believes in them. It's so powerful because it's unconscious. It's not like they get together every morning and decide "These are the lies we will tell today." No, that would be too crude and honest. Rather, it's a set of casual, nonrigorous assumptions about a reality they've never really experienced that's arranged in such a way as to reinforce their best and most ideal presumptions about themselves and their importance to the system and the way they've chosen to live their lives. It's a way of arranging things a certain way that they all believe in without ever really addressing carefully. It permeates their whole culture. They know, for example, that Bush is a moron and Obama is a saint. They know communism was a phony threat cooked up by right-wing cranks as a way to leverage power to the executive. They know that Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction, the response to Katrina was fucked up.... Cheney's a devil. Biden's a genius. Soft power good, hard power bad. Forgiveness excellent, punishment counterproductive, capital punishment a sin.
--
And the narrative is the bedrock of their culture, the keystone of their faith, the altar of their church. They don't even know they're true believers, because in theory they despise the true believer in anything. But they will absolutely de-frackin'-stroy anybody who makes them question that....

I, Sniper, pp. 231-232
Remember the JournoList? If you think it’s gone, or something similar does not now exist, I’d like to know what you’re vaping.

And if you’d like an example of The Narrative™ please watch this:

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

More Quora Tolerance

I was asked to answer the question "Is it accurate to say that the left is intolerant of the right's ideas while the right is intolerant of the left's behaviors?"

One of the first answers I saw to the question was by a Scott MacDonald that went like this:
The left is intolerant of intolerance.

The right is intolerant of…

Religions that are not Christianity
Skin colors that are not white.
Political views that are not modern Republican
Sexuality that isn’t hetero
and so forth.

Put it to you this way.

If the left were tolerant, of the right’s intolerance we would be allowing them to walk all over actual minority groups who need protecting, not majority religious groups who want to act like persecuted minorities, just because after a few thousand years people are finally evolving past their ideas.
So I responded in kind:
The Left is intolerant of anyone who does not toe their (ever-changing) ideological line. If you oppose any part of their incoherent philosophy, you must be a:

Racist
Sexist
Gun-hugger
Bible-thumper
Cousin-lover
Homophobe
Islamophobe
Misogynist
Science-denier
Etc.

Oh, and “You want (X-group) to DIE!” (Where X is: old people, brown people, children, homosexuals, etc., etc., etc. depending on the outrage-of-the-day.)

THAT is the “Party of Tolerance and Inclusion.”

Why do I say “incoherent”? Well, consider this “logic” train:
Gender is a social construct, but “I am woman, hear me roar,” but anyone can be a woman, but no uterus - no opinion, but transwomen are women, but “I demand women’s rights!”, but men are women, but men are scum, but drag queens are beautiful, but appropriation is evil. - Matt Walsh.
Note that the people trying to end Freedom of Speech, who protest speakers, who bang drums and fire off air horns to drown out the words of people they don’t “tolerate,” are the Left, not the Right. The Right likes it when the Left runs their mouths. It exposes their hypocrisy and vacuity. And far too often it exposes the schisms between the various victim-groups that make up the Left.

So yes, I think it’s fair to say that the Right does not like the behavior of the Left, and the Left hates the ideas of the Right. Pundit Charles Krauthammer explained it in 2002 - "To understand the workings of American politics you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil."

You do not debate with evil. You do not compromise with evil. You do not tolerate evil. You destroy evil. It’s a religious crusade. They are the Chosen People who will drag us, kicking and screaming if necessary, into their Promised Land. As evangelists, it is not unusual for them to enter careers in education, journalism, and the entertainment media. How better for them to proselytize? And, of course, politics, because how else can they drag us into Utopia unless by force of government? After all, their ideas are so wonderful, they must be mandatory!
My answer was collapsed for violating Quora's "Be Nice, Be Respectful" policy. Mr. MacDonald's is still up.

One of the Funniest Stories I've Ever Heard


Slightly scatalogical. You've been warned.

This is not my story. If it had been, I'm not sure I'd be telling it.

I had a dinner date at a very fancy restaurant. About halfway through the meal, my body informed me that I needed to make a bathroom run - quick. I excused myself and made a beeline for the Men's Room at not quite a sprint, but I was moving with determination.

As I entered, I rapidly surveyed the space: Double vanity, two urinals, and two toilets stalls. No other customer. Unbuckling my belt as I quickly strode to the nearest stall, I managed to get my pants and underwear around my ankles and sat down just as I ripped off a ten-second porcelain-shattering wet fart. I even impressed myself. But as the echoes faded, I heard the bathroom door shut. Someone else had entered in the middle of my performance.

I was mortified. A couple of seconds of silence ensued, then I heard the door on the stall next to mine close, and a voice akin to a movie announcers reverberated off the tiled walls:
"Player Two Has Entered the Game."


http://media.indiatimes.in/media/facebook/2016/May/fb_1462429056_800x420.jpg

If You Need Something Relaxing to Watch - Puppycam!

Quote of the Day - James Lileks Edition

I need to start reading The Bleat regularly again.  Today's gem comes from today's post:
My favorite term is "free-dumbs," which marks the latest continuation of the word "freedom" as a signifier of idiocy. At some point "liberty" fell into disfavor with these people, because the wrong people were insisting that it applied to them as well.

Friday, May 08, 2020

"Anti-Intellectualism"

Those of us on the putative "Right" are often - and loudly - accused of "anti-intellectualism."  One of their favorite memes is this one:


This was most recently illustrated on CNN's Tonight program when two of his guests, well, watch it yourself:


Now, I'm not going to say that there aren't such people on the right side of the divide, but the Left paints us ALL with a brush that should be reserved for a tiny minority. The theme of "anti-intellectualism!!" is wound through their worldview, and I believe it is part and parcel of the Leftist belief that it is they who should be leading us all into a Utopia, if only we'd just stop RESISTING them, and the only reason we resist is because we're too stupid to see that they're right.

Robert Heinlein posited what has been called "The Expert Syndrome."  It goes like this:
Expertise in one area does not impart expertise in other areas, though experts often think so.  The narrower their area of expertise, the more likely they are to think so.
I'm reminded of an old joke:
A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him.

The driver, a young man in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the shepherd, "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"

The shepherd looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answers, "Sure. Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his cell phone, surfs to a NASA page on the internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulas. He uploads all of this data and, after a few minutes, receives a answer.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized portable printer and finally turns to the shepherd and says, “You have exactly 1,586 sheep.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my sheep.” says the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the shepherd says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my sheep? “

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”

“You’re a consultant.” says the shepherd.

“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing required.” answered the shepherd. “You showed up here even though nobody called you, you want to get paid for an answer I already knew to a question I never asked, and you don’t know crap about my business..."

"...Now give me back my dog!"
Mike Rowe talks a lot about our severe and growing "skills gap," described as a distinct lack of skilled labor, caused by decades of telling our children that their only path to a good career is a four-year college degree. The "intellectual" life. And in doing so, the plumbers, carpenters, electricians, A/C technicians, welder, machinists, pipe-fitters, and on and on get older and retire, and too few follow them into what are necessary and decent-paying careers.

Because we need to work smarter, not harder.

Mike illustrates the difference between office-bound "experts" and someone who actually does the job for a living in a twenty-minute presentation. Please indulge me and give it a watch:


The "experts" tell Mike the "proper" way to castrate a lamb. The guy who actually raises sheep shows him the better way to do it.  It's an epiphany for Mike.  The people who are out there actually doing things understand the real world.  They know how things work.  The people in the high-rise office buildings, capitol buildings or university campus offices know how things OUGHT to work, and we should listen to THEM.  They're EXPERTS.

And if you don't, you're an "anti-intellectual."

On top of that, the intellectuals haven't exactly wrapped themselves in glory, but then they seldom (if ever) pay a price for being wrong.  University professors don't lose tenure, cabinet members keep their jobs, or end up as consultants making more money, etc.  Those of us who follow their lead (willingly or not) are the ones who suffer the consequences when they err.

We would trust the intellectuals more if they had to live with those consequences along with the rest of us.  Or if they acted like there was a crisis when they tell us there's a crisis.  Until that happens, I guess we'll remain "anti-intellectuals."

UPDATE 5/9:  Rev. Donald Sensing points to this piece - The Fallen State of Experts:

Excerpt:
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you’re not paying attention to the experts. Epidemiologists tell us that if we do not hide in our houses with the door securely locked, hundreds of thousands will surely perish. Economists tell us that if we do not return immediately to work, civilisation will collapse. Good luck figuring out which expert has the better advice. Is it any wonder a harried Michael Gove blurted out, “I think the people in this country have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.”