Quote of the day—Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

The GPU (secret police) exposed von Meck, and he was shot: His objective had been to wear out rails and roadbeds, freight cars and locomotives, so as to leave the Republic without railroads in case of foreign military intervention!

When, not long afterward, the new People’s Commissar of Railroads, Comrade Kaganovich, ordered that average loads should be increased, and even doubled and tripled them (and for this discovery received the Order of Lenin along with others of our leaders) the malicious engineers who protested became know as limiters.

They raised the outcry that this was too much, and would result in the breakdown of the rolling stock, and they were rightly shot for their lack of faith in the possibilities of socialist transport.

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn
The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (Volume One) page 45.
[I was talking about this with son James last night so I thought I would post it too. Basically the lesson is that progressives have a burning desire to eliminate those that point out reality to them. Some of the most visible battles in our country today are the battle over Obamacare and the right to keep and bear arms. They refuse to recognize the realities of economics and human nature and are willing to have us imprisoned and/or killed when we attempt to explain reality to them.

But it is much more widespread than those. Look at the war against Islamic terrorism. Progressives insisted that we are to blame for our conflict despite the very clear words from the terrorists themselves that they will only be peaceful after all people have submitted to Sharia Law. Or look at how they insisted that stand your ground laws were a factor in the George Zimmerman case. Progressives have beliefs which contradict reality and if they have the power they become very dangerous when reality is forced upon them.

The constant conflict between reality and their beliefs is why the book Nineteen Eighty Four resonates so strongly. It brings to light the inherent conflict of the struggle we are facing. It is a battle between reality and their ever changing beliefs.

They insist that if we would acquiesce to their demands of a complete gun ban or a completely “free” government run health care system the world would be a better place. And they call us obstructionist because we insist what they demand cannot succeed. Today they call us obstructionists instead of limiters. I sometimes wonder if that is deliberate because some of them know the Soviet baggage associated with the word “limiters”.

I don’t wonder what they would do to those that insist upon maintaining a close connection to reality. If only they had the political power to deal with us as they wished our fate would be clear. That path has made countless history books of the most unpleasant nature.—Joe]

A Southerner Repents

Fred’s confession.
Good point, and if I may be so bold, it is right along the lines of what Cliven Bundy tried to say, but stumbled in his inability to articulate and was then pounced upon by all sides. Thomas Sowell said it too, as have many others who never got accused of racism for it.

The truth is a hot-button issue. You have to know what you’re doing when speaking it. It’s not for everyone. Fred can handle it fine.

Quote of the day—Raúl Ilargi Meijer

The inequality that matters most is not wealth, but power.

Power buys wealth infinitely faster than wealth buys power.

Raúl Ilargi Meijer
October 18, 2014
Wealth Inequality Is Not A Problem, It’s A Symptom
[Those that seem to be most concerned with inequality of wealth advocate for giving more power to political elites. Which, of course, makes the symptoms even worse.

I do wish I could escape to Galt’s Gulch.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Anonymous Conservative

Liberals are not designed to flourish under any conditions but free resource availability, and no danger or exposure to reality. Limit resources or add some dangerous reality, and they will begin to drop like flies.

Anonymous Conservative
October 7, 2014
Ebola, Natural Selection, and Facilitating a K-Shift to Conservatism to Save Lives
[I think this is overlooking that fact that liberals (Progressives) seek and hold on to power. In a time of limited resources or dangerous reality they are likely to use that power to take resources through unlawful means. “The good of the many outweigh the rights of the few”, will be the essence of their justification.

I suspect it will only be in a state of partial or full government collapse that his predictions will become dominant. But the interesting thing is that history has shown us that government collapse can occur remarkably rapid.—Joe]

Quote of the day—John Robb

ISIS has become the leading supplier of the most potent drug in the world:

Zealotry

Further, Saudi Arabia is almost certainly one of their leading customers and they brought it on themselves.

More than half of Saudi Arabia’s men are under 21 and most of those boys have been given a religious education in a strict literalist tradition.  Further, they’ve been kept in time capsule, protected from many of the changes influences the rest of us.

To young men like this, ISIS is pure historical heroin.  It’s a jihad in the medieval tradition.

John Robb
October 14, 2014
ISIS is the leading supplier of the most potent drug in the world
[Robb is not some armchair analyst. Read his biography. If his book (Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization) were available from Audible.com I would put it next in my queue.

We live in interesting times.—Joe]

What pendulum swing?

Yesterday a totalitarian want-to-be said:

FBI Director James Comey called Thursday for “a regulatory or legislative fix” for technology companies’ expanding use of encryption to protect user privacy, arguing that without such a fix, “homicide cases could be stalled, suspects could walk free, and child exploitation victims might not be identified or recovered.”

Comey said he understood the “justifiable surprise” many Americans felt after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures about mass government surveillance, but he contended that recent shifts by companies like Apple and Google to make data stored on cell phones inaccessible to law enforcement went too far.

“Perhaps it’s time to suggest that the post-Snowden pendulum has swung too far in one direction — in a direction of fear and mistrust,” said Comey, speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington in his first major policy speech since taking over the FBI 13 months ago.

What?!!! The “pendulum has swing too far” in the direction of privacy? I wasn’t aware that the government had backed off even a tiny bit from their insistence that they get access to everything. As near as I can tell Comey wants the “pendulum” welded to the totalitarian wall.

Schneier has it right.

Quote of the day—Bruce Schneier

We have one infrastructure. We can’t choose a world where the US gets to spy and the Chinese don’t. We get to choose a world where everyone can spy, or a world where no one can spy. We can be secure from everyone, or vulnerable to anyone. And I’m tired of us choosing surveillance over security.

Bruce Schneier
September 19, 2014
Fake Cell Phone Towers Across the US
[A similar statement can be made about gun ownership.

We don’t get to choose between the everyone has guns and only the good guys have guns. The bad guys will always have guns or at least lethal weapons of some sort. And since they get to choose the time, location, and victim they will frequently succeed in their attacks when the innocent are stripped or discouraged from owning guns.

It’s only when the potential victims have the capability of causing near immediate serious consequences that perpetrators give serious consideration to their life choices. If there are not serious consequences then the case can be made they would be stupid to not to take advantage of those who are vulnerable. If the consequences are significantly delayed, as in a possible jail term a year or two in the future, the perpetrators may not be able to integrate those consequences into the decisions being made in the present.

I’m tired of politicians giving us the false choice of tolerating infringements on our right to keep and bear arms in exchange for imagined security.—Joe]

Greatest danger to the world

I find this chart very odd (from Apart From Ebola (And Inflation), These Are The Greatest Dangers To The World):

20141016_worries1

In the U.S. and several Western European nations what people consider the “greatest threat to the world” is “Inequality”. While many of the nations where I envision “inequality” being the most obvious, like India, Mexico, and South America, other issues dominate. Is it an expression of envy by people with worthless degrees or unable to graduate from high school seeking “social justice”? Are these people willing to bring chaos to the world because they believe they don’t get what they deserve? Or is this some sort of guilt for living in a relatively free society?

If guilt then I guess I don’t have any because if I were doing such a survey it would not have even crossed my mind to have that as one of the options.

Quote of the day—Jane Thynne

It would be surprising, as Amis says, that such a warped psychology as Hitler’s could ever be “a considerate and energetic lover”. Yet, once I began to write about the Nazi wives, I realised that the ability of mass murderers to compartmentalise their lives is one of their most disturbing aspects.

A new documentary about Himmler’s home life, called The Decent One, by the acclaimed filmmaker Vanessa Lapa, focuses on the tender personal letters between Himmler and his wife Marga, largely about their daughter Puppi, even as he perpetrated daily atrocities. It raises the same questions as Thomas Harding’s book Hanns and Rudolf, about the private life of Rudolf Höss, the Auschwitz commandant, whose children played just yards away from the camp, oblivious of the horrors occurring there.

Jane Thynne
October 15, 2014
What Hitler’s sex life was really like
[What I don’t think most people really understand is how easy it was, and is, for people to murder people on a mass scale. Hitler and the Nazi’s are viewed as terrible monsters the likes of which have only been seen once in history. Wrong.

People, across differing societies, accept orders to do terrible things to other people up to and including murder them. Read Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Or The Gulag Archipelago. Or The Rape Of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II. Those are just some of the better known instances.

You can’t imagine our government rounding up people and putting them in camps? “That just can’t happen in this country”? Wrong. It did happen. Read Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese American Internment Camps.

The people that inflict these terrible things did not have warning beacons flashing on their foreheads. Many, if not most, were kind to their family and pets and widely admired in society at the time. In both Hitler’s Willing Executioners and The Rape of Nanking, it is documented that the perpetrators sent photos and postcards of their atrocities to their families and the public at large. They were happily doing their jobs for the good of their country and the betterment of mankind.

I think one of the key flags to identify people who do these things are that they believe that the good of society outweighs the rights of the individual. There may be exceedingly narrow circumstances where this is true, Ebola comes to mind but when I hear someone advocate people “make sacrifices for the greater good” I go on full alert. Those are fighting words to me and such a person is, at a minimum, an enabler of, if not an advocate for, the next genocidal tyrant. And as such they deserve all the contempt given Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Cody Wilson

What excites me is giving this world to the politicians. Our strategy is to literalize and reify their nightmare, to give them the world they’re talking about.

Cody Wilson
October 1, 2014
The $1,200 Machine That Lets Anyone Make a Metal Gun at Home
[The options available to the politicians are to blatantly infringe upon numerous other rights or have it clearly demonstrated that they have no practical way to infringe upon the Second Amendment.

That works for me.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Alan Gura

Perhaps in some cases a studied commitment to atheism leads one to the priesthood, but judges doubtless understand the advantage of Justice Breyer’s approach in sanctioning just about any result they would like to reach.  Dispensing with the constraints of text and history, and deferring absolutely to legislative “judgment” overcomes any constitutional “right.” 

Alan Gura
April 11, 2014
Harvard Law Review Forum
The Second Amendment as a Normal Right: Ruling out ad hoc interest-balancing
[H/T Glenn Reynolds.

In this commentary Gura also makes the abortion rights analogy similar to what Lyle has done here.

See also what Sebastian has to say about Gura’s commentary.—Joe]

Not getting it

Either these people just don’t get why we have a problem with their gun control plans, they think they can sneak one past us, and/or (and there is evidence to support this hypothesis) they are just plain stupid.

Via CGL Admin we have A Promising New Approach on Assault Weapons:

Require background checks for all gun sales: This is a no-brainer. Background checks are fast, easy, and effective at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

Require dealers to report multiple sales of long guns: Since 1975, gun dealers have been required to report sales of multiple handguns to a single buyer—and there’s no reason that rule should apply to the sale of a few antique revolvers, but not to the purchase of dozens of military-style assault weapons.

Equalize interstate sales of long guns and handguns: CAP’s report offers a policy equalizer that even gun enthusiasts should support: allow gun dealers to sell both handguns and long guns to out-of-state residents, but require those sales to be reported to ATF and state police in the buyer’s home state.

Require federal firearms licenses for individuals that manufacture guns using 3D printers: We’ve long supported cracking down on guns created by 3D printers, and this is a fair—rather than punitive—way to do so.

Bar possession and use of machine guns by individuals under the age of 16: If there is anything to be learned from the horrible incident last month in which a 9-year-old accidentally shot and killed her shooting range instructor when she lost control of an Uzi, it’s that children shouldn’t have even temporary access to machine guns until they’re old enough to control them.

Require a permit for possession of assault rifles: This is the most innovative of the CAP proposals—a new take on keeping assault weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. Instead of banning these deadly weapons flat out, the report calls for a common-sense permitting process like those already required by most states to carry a concealed weapon.

All these proposals are unacceptable as they create victimless crimes. There is no victim in any of the things they want banned or restricted. That is bad enough but the glaring, no way, I won’t stand for it, obstacle from our perspective is that it creates a shadow registration system of guns and gun owners (maybe we can call this “ghost registration of guns”).This is unacceptable for the possession and use of religious materials protected by the First Amendment and it’s unacceptable for the exercise of the Second Amendment as well.

But what really has me thinking is that our opponents admitted there really weren’t that many crimes committed with “assault weapons” anyway. So banning them couldn’t possible do that much good. We were right all along! Then they almost immediately come back with a “new approach”. If the number of crimes committed with them were statistically insignificant then why do they need any “approach” at all? Why not just leave us alone?

Either they are incredibly stupid or they think we are. If they aren’t incredibly stupid then the reason they can’t just leave us alone is because those guns they want us to get permits for and register is because these guns are an obstacle to them in some way. If present day criminal use of these guns is not a problem then the problem must be some potential future use of the guns that is a issue for them. So what do they have planned that our possession of these guns would be a problem for them?

See also Dave Kopel’s article on the same topic.

Don’t be evil Google

I had an technical issue with Google Wallet and contacted support. They helped me (and pissed me in the process—but that is a different story) and then asked for feedback on both the service and the product. This is the feedback I gave them on their product:

I generally like the technical aspects of the product and the low fees. However I do not like the terms of use forbidding the sale of firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition. The right to keep and bear arms is a specific enumerated right. It’s no different than the terms of use not allowing the sale of books, movies, anything associated with religion, or abortions. These are all rights protected from infringement by our government. Restricting access to rights such as these is what tyrannical, evil, governments do. Don’t be evil Google.

Quote of the day—Nicolas Maduro

We are building peace from within, and for that, you need disarmament.

Let us chase after the dream, after the utopia, the utopia of a Venezuela in peace.

Nicolas Maduro
September 23, 2014
Venezuela’s Maduro launches $47M plan to disarm civilians
[How’s that dream chasing working out for the Marxists?

Private gun ownership in Venezuela was banned in 2012. Yet the country has the second highest murder rate in the world.

Venezuela is also nearing default on its debt, the economy is a disaster, people can’t get toilet paper and many other basic goods, and now they want to spend tens of millions of dollars to “build dozens of new disarmament centers for civilians to surrender their weapons”.

I can’t imagine people who failed to disarm two years ago are going to voluntarily show up at a “disarmament center” to “surrender their weapons”. The government is going to “build peace” by sending armed men out to round up those people who registered their guns.

Marxism never ends up in a peaceful utopia. But it is one of the most certain paths to a police state and massive human suffering.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

The bourgeoisie is many times stronger than we. To give it the weapon of freedom of the press is to ease the enemy’s cause, to help the class enemy. We do not desire to end in suicide, so we will not do this.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
[I haven’t found a convincing source for this so if someone has it or has reasonable proof it is false let me know.

Regardless of its source it does seem that the mainstream media is sufficiently on the side of the oppressors to be mindful of the apparent truth of this quote and does attempt to suppress our point of view.—Joe]

This is not a challenge

From Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Forget Fingerprints, Officials Can Track You All Kinds of Ways:

Another important step in the future of biometric identification is storing information in one portal wherein multiple government agencies will trust the credentials, said John Boyd, director, defense biometrics and forensics, U.S. Defense Department. The challenge remains to carry out the many efforts to identify people effectively but still protect privacy.

That’s quite a challenge. In my book as soon as the government has that type of information the worst of all possible offenders has the information you least want them to have.

It’s a lot like the “challenge” of finding a way such that the person that wants you and your family dead and as well as you and your family both get what you want.

This is not a challenge. This is a time to tell them to leave you alone and then back it up with force if needed.

Quote of the day—Bill Whittle

And of all the promises broken by this man, surely none is more heartbreaking than the one promise that got him elected in the first place: the promise of a post-racial future. He and his progressive cohorts can never surrender the weapon that has gotten them everything, not the least of which is personal political power and trillions of dollars of redistributed wealth. And this latest outrage in Ferguson is yet another example – as if another was needed among the economic wreckage, creeping totalitarianism, and foreign-policy disasters — that he and his leftist cohorts would rather rule over ruins than disappear into the dustbin of history of a healthy and racially healed nation.

Bill Whittle
August 20, 2014
[H/T to Kevin.

I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Quote of the day—NRA-ILA

Gun control supporters would like nothing more than for gun owners to think that resistance to the anti-gunners bottomless pocketbooks is futile. But, we know that no matter how much money the anti-gunners spend, they can’t buy our freedom, because it’s not for sale. Let the anti-gun billionaires know that by Voting Freedom First on November 4.

NRA-ILA
September 12, 2014
Harvard: Millions of Dollars More For Gun Control
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]