Saving This Union

Yesterday after an attempt at writing that felt like I was trying to extrude my brain through my nose (sorry for the graphic image, but that’s exactly what I felt like.  For some reason sinus infections make me slow.  On the good side, it’s now on the way out, I think.  I might help it along with a light hydrogen peroxide solution snort.) I went downstairs to watch an episode of Columbo.

It wasn’t one of my favorites, since I rather liked the guy you know is going to get killed, and this one had way more lead up to the ‘being killed’ than most episodes.

It was the chess tournament episode, and here’s the thing: the challenger is clearly Russian.  He was also a good ol’ boy and you couldn’t help liking him.  Even if, like me, you were aware that the people they let out, even “athletes” (which chess players are sort of sideways) were vetted on loyalty to an evil regime.  (Not saying all of them adhered to it.  Clearly a lot defected, but saying that they had to stealth better than I managed with all my might to stealth in a less evil regime.)  And even though this character is not showing as wishing to defect.

But he is almost little-boy endearing in his escaping from his handlers to go eat snails, and he is clearly a good person in coming to the rescue of … well… thinking he’s coming to the rescue of the guy planning to murder him.

And it got me thinking.

People are weird creatures.  Very weird.  They can believe the most outrageously evil stuff – like that people can somehow be forced to become mere automatons in the service of the state; or that those who’ve worked hard for something should be despoiled; or that a particular race/culture/ethnicity is the repository of all evil in the world; or that a particular gender is not quite human – all while remaining at heart good people.

Were there good Nazis?  Almost surely.  And I mean good people who were Nazis.  And I don’t mean just the ones who had no clue what was going on in the camps.  I mean of course NO ONE WHO KNEW THE DETAILS (the details were unforgivable) but any number of people who thought other people were “cleanly” or “Humanely” being put down and who were essentially good people in everything else.  They just believed Jews (and gays and gypsies) must be exterminated for “the greater good.”  I bet you there were people who believed this who would forego their last morsel of bread to feed a stranger, or take off their coat on a freezing night to give to their neighbor.  And I bet you some of them too KNEW Jewish people and wouldn’t approve of THOSE being killed, making a compartment in their minds called “but he’s not like other Jews.”

Were there good communists?  Of course there were and are, in the same way there are good Nazis.  These are people who think only of the end they desire.  “I want everyone to have a good meal” etc.  They look at the glossy pictures of celebrities wasting in a night sums that would support a family for a year, and they think “why do they need to do that?” From there to thinking all private property should be abolished, it’s a step.  It’s a particularly easy step if your society has long ago foregone teaching real economics or real individual ethics and teaches that all bourgeois virtues come from having bourgeois wealth.  (And also teaches that if you’re poor it’s somehow more “authentic” to be thuggish and uncouth.)

Why am I bringing this up?  Do I think we shouldn’t condemn the “good” members of these evil cults?  Do I think that their good intentions justify their actions?  Do I think we should surrender, because some of them are “good”?

No.  Quite the opposite.  I do think in the “how we got where we are” that some of the older “right wing” – republicans, libertarians, anyone to the right of Lenin – got where we are by doing exactly what I just said.  They knew these people.  They were good people.  They had good intentions.  And up through the late eighties it seemed like the march of international communism couldn’t be stopped, which led to…

The entire attitude we see in RINOS today and which makes us howl and rage, and which is “Their hearts are in the right place; maybe they won’t screw up this time; we will just try to slow them down.”

That misguided tolerance has got us where we are.  It isn’t just the left’s intent and determined long march through the institutions – though it is that too, particularly mass media and mass communication institutions – it is also the soft certainty that these people are good, we like them, and we don’t want to offend them by speaking up.  Because they mean well, really.

The problem of their meaning well is that nowhere have their well-meaning intentions come to fruition.  From Asia to Europe, everywhere communism or socialism has touched it has brought misery and poverty.  And there’s no point at all talking about societies not being “quite right”

Everywhere a touch of economic freedom has gone, even hampered by the society or the culture, or the fact it was so watered down as to be ridiculous, it has brought prosperity.  For a case study compare China and Hong Kong.  North and South Korea.

Yes, this post is in a way a companion piece to the civil war in science fiction, and to “being normal.”  The civil war in science fiction is a mirror of the civil war in the larger society.  (Only we go to battle wearing Spock ears.  Deal.)  Only I think the sides are more balanced in the larger society.  I think the left outstrips the right in science fiction, at least among published authors and those who read NOW.  Because everyone else has been run off.

In the larger society, it’s anybody’s guess, though I think if the issues were brought to point, the left has gone so far left that it commands maybe a quarter of the population and a lot of those are impaired in some way.  Compare the tea parties to the OWSers, not just in size, but in slice of the population.  (And if all you know of tea parties are the media portrayals let me assure you they’re wrong.  I attended two in my region when they first started.  Not only was it not just old white males, but more than half the people were female and we had a slice of minorities probably larger than the general population in this white bread city.  In fact, probably, the larger group was Hispanic (which is to be expected, here.))  And before you bring up the results of the last election: first – unimaginable levels of fraud.  I said it, I stick by it, I saw it up close and personal.  It might or might not have involved a fifth column in the challenger’s campaign.  I think it did, but that’s my opinion.  Second – a media which reports nothing.  Now, still, most of the populations has not heard of Benghazi.  Third – the media portrayal of the opposition as the “church lady” circa 1950.  And it’s no point at all saying that the republicans shouldn’t have furnished them ammunition.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make sure a group that large and that diverse NEVER slips?  The same media who never mentions goofs like Guam tipping over, or the events in Benghazi is quite ready to jump on malapropisms like “real rape” when it comes from the opposition.  And for now, at least, the media shapes “normal” for a good part of the population.

As all groups that are getting suppressed, stigmatized and written off the national discourse, anyone to the right of Lenin has been getting upset.  And considering the effect that the economic policies to the left of Lenin (No?  Crony capitalism is always an effect of communism.  More or less dressing of it is the only difference.) are having on most of our lives and livelihoods, people are getting VERY upset.

I’m hearing more and more “It’s going to come to shooting.”  I have a sinking feeling in my water that it might very well come to that.  I’d prefer not, though.  Look, I have sons.  Also, we do not live in a nice world.  If our world were really the black-and-white world the liberals believe in, where the USA is the big bad wolf and everyone else is a sweet little lamb who wouldn’t hurt anyone but for fear of the wolf, a civil war might not be a bad idea.

Of course if the world really were like that, we’d be dealing with a species other than human and perhaps communism would work.  Who knows?  May be worth an SF story.

But the world is not like that, and the US even if it is rapidly flushing generational wealth down the toilet is still much wealthier than most of the world, and is way wealthier than most of the Americas.  (This btw is taken by the communists as proof of malfeasance.  It’s a religious dogma.)

While we are involved in a civil war – and let’s assume it’s only half as bloody and half as long as our last one – do you think the other nations of the world will sit still?  Forget a Chinese invasion (though G-d knows you shouldn’t) or Russia getting involved on one side or another with a  view to ruling portions of our country when all is done (and if you dismiss that, you should study the roles of France and England on the past civil war) and just think about the people who hate us and who think (and our media has HELPED this perception) all their woes are our fault, and who  think they’re accumulating virgins in heaven – and prestige on Earth – by hitting us with acts of terrorism writ large.

How many cities do you think we’d lose to random acts of revenge?

What I mean is that it might very well come to that.  But do you want it?  Talk about setting us back generations.  Yes, I know you’re furious and I’ve heard the “we have all the guns” boast.  It’s not true, okay?  Yeah, we have most of them.  And sure, we probably could win in days.  Except that you forget how many third world armies would gladly fight on the other side, once it got started.  And would be promised everything they want if they do.

Oh, sure, they’d probably still lose – but I’m predicting we’d all be wading in blood to our ankles before it’s said and done, and parts of the country would be radioactive for a century.

Again, it might still come to that.  And I think the other side wants that – probably more than even the nuts on the “right” – because part of their religion (don’t fool yourself it’s not one) is the belief that history has favorites and that they’re it.  They think in the end they win.  (They might perhaps want to consult the Norse legends, to figure out which said was believed to win in the end.  Never mind.)

But before the shooting starts – in this moment in the heart of the storm – perhaps those of us to the right of Lenin should try something we haven’t tried before.  Perhaps we should try speaking out.

Look, I’m as cowardly as the rest of you.  I spent more than twenty years, between breaking in and finally losing my mind, listening to digs about “the rich” from people who could buy me and sell me outright; I spend years at parties and meetings listening to Marxist pap and not pointing out how stupid it was; listening to public figures on the right being denigrated as “stupid” when it was obvious they weren’t, etc.  And I shut up.  Because I wanted to make a living in my chosen profession.

I’m still not half as brave as I’d like to be, though I try to speak out if I’m present.  And yes, I know I’ll pay a monetary price.  But I don’t go out of my way to look for fights, because I’ll pay a monetary price.  And also because, frankly, I know many good people on their side.  I don’t want to upset them.

But consider—

My grandmother used to say “silence is consent.”

Consider that when they say ridiculous stuff in public like “the fat cats never pay” or other bits of Marxist agit prop and we stay quiet, they don’t know that we disagree.  And they take what they’re saying for normal and tilt further left, until you get stuff like “We live in an evil patriarchy” (in a society where women are LEGALLY given preference for almost everything and while these same people stay quiet on the societies that whip women for showing ankle.)

Every time we internally go “oh, that stupid slogan again” – every time we stay quiet because we like the people as much as we despise their stupid religion; every time we shut up for the sake of peace or a job, or …  We’re allowing “normal” to be moved farther left.  And most people want to be normal and fit in.  And the truly extreme ones then feel more justified in being extreme.

Every time our silence gives consent, what we’re giving consent to is the inevitability of eventual shooting.

You know those massacres that have happened in every communist paradise?  Here the would-be victims are armed.  To quote the title of some Baen anthologies There WILL be War.

Unless we stop it now.  Unless we’re as brave with our words as we eventually will have to be with our guns, if we stay silent.

I came out of the political closet and fought like h*ll to elect a man who would have been at best as statist as George Bush.  (No, he was not my horse in the race, ever.)  I did so because I thought it would keep us from the shooting war.

Now, it might be too late.  Or it might not.  Staying quiet and cleaning your guns might be expedient.  But is it the best for everyone?  What about the good people on the left?  What about the innocents who will be caught in this?  What about the rest of the world that will undoubtedly sink if the US as we know it vanishes.

Yes, we’re all ready to take our piece of flag and head to the bunker, to preserve the idea of the US until we can rebuild it.

But wouldn’t it be better not to let it pass from this Earth?

Speak now.  Maybe we can hold our peace.

 

788 responses to “Saving This Union

  1. I don’t get the despair. On almost every front, the statists are beclowning themselves and the libertarians winning the arguments.

    Now, grant you, I’m for the high frontier, given a chance. “The wonderful thing about space travel,” and all that. But a strong liberal or strong conservative has MUCH more to be gloomy about right now politically than Heinleins Children do.

    • No. They’re not. They THINK they’ll win if the shooting starts, and they half (or more) want the shooting. And that’s why I’m gloomy.

      We’re winning the law front. Which means force is just around the corner, because we “must not be allowed”

      • If an individual party were winning the law front, there might be some grounds for that, but who’s going to issue the force-orders, or upon whom? We’re winning the cultural argument on law in both major parties.

        Statists don’t *need* bullets to try to keep the peasants in line. They have central banks for that.

      • William O. B'Livion

        If shooting starts *everyone* loses.

        And this is from a guy who’s got more guns than most Texans.

        • Sniffles. Her principles don’t allow her to ask for redistribution of WOB’s guns. Sigh.

          • On that fateful day should it come I will loan you and yours each a decent firearm along with a full loadout. Assuming of course that you’re in the neighborhood.

            • As would I, unfortunately you probably wouldn’t be able to share ammo, because my arsenal is somewhat eclectic. Which goes to show that I’m not really preparing for it, because if I was I would be collecting multiples of the same model, so ammo and parts would be interchangeable.

              • I might surprise you. I recently took an inventory and came up with dies and components for something like fifty different centerfire calibers.

                • I was talking between guns I own, other than 22lr’s and 22 mags I think the only thing I have multiple guns in the same caliber is 2 .270 rifles. But you have me beat by a long shot, without going to my reloading bench and checking I think I only have dies for 14 or 15 different calibers, I do have components for all of those except the 375 Big-bore though. (I don’t own a gun in that caliber, I just have the dies to reload for a couple of friends).

          • William O. B'Livion

            I’ve got Ruger mini-30 that I keep just in case something goes wrong and I need to lend a rifle out. I need to get a few more magazines for it before they’re illegal.

            • Yeah, so do I, I’ve got a 5 a 20 and a 30 round mag for mine, but the 30 is a cheap generic and junk.

              • William O. B'Livion

                Any of the magazines for it that aren’t Ruger are f*ing junk.

                I’ve got a couple of the junk ones, and when I get a chance I’m going to disassemble some AK mags and move the internals over to see if that helps.

                • Tell me if it does, as it is that mag is just a handy way to keep spare shells from rattling around in the floorboards.

        • Robin Munn

          If shooting starts *everyone* loses.

          Which is why, when people like Lee Siegel write articles advocating splitting the country in two, I want to say “Go for it! Please!” Because it’s the only way I can think of to restore significant amounts of freedom* without a civil war. (A military civil war, with guns and bullets, I mean — we already have a cultural civil war going on.)

          * Assuming all goes well. Which it wouldn’t, not all of it. But perhaps enough might.

          • Ya know, I used to be against splitting the country, but not any more. Let’s divide it county by county. The “blue” counties can have their socialism, and the rest of us will continue to being conservatives. When the socialist republic collapses, we can incorporate any county that can prove it’s learned its lesson, until the nation is reunited.

            • Won’t happen, Mike. The Blue counties are bankrupt, and the only way they make ends meet is by redistribution – from the Red counties.
              And even so, there are precincts in the counties that trend either Blue or Red (well, maybe not in Chicago or NYC).

          • It would have been nicer if they had tried, as they threatened, after Bush’s election. Because, given how heavily red-state and red-county in blue state the army is, we would then just go into them. The red counties would be hived off a la West Virginia, and the blue remainder would be readmitted when they came up to snuff. Such as no more racial discrimination on any pretext whatsoever, a massive decrease in welfare rolls, etc.

          • Splitting the country won’t save it any more than it did the last time. It will simply define the battle lines. The red states produce food and energy, and the Blue states produce the rules and regulations.

            As to outside powers, I could see Russia trying to reconstruct the old Soviet Union as far west and south as they can, and I could see China expanding its empire to include SE Asia and maybe some chunks of India but neither of them showing up here in person. Support for a favored side maybe, but not an army.

            • You forget the Mexican Occupation of our SouthWest and ignore the likelihood of a Canadian Incursion in the Plains & NorthWest.
              😉

      • There’s a law in the news that will probably be passed soon in Colorado. 100% voting by mail, ballot mailed to every person registered to vote for a very long time in the past. Election day registration at the few remaining poling places.

        • Yep, the same people that have totally destroyed places like California, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota are taking a shot at Californizing Colorado. I knew it was coming as I watched the number of people living on the Left Coast moving here. I’m utterly disgusted. I’m seriously thinking of moving to Wyoming, possibly Montana. I need the higher altitudes and cooler weather, or I’d move back to Louisiana. You can grow fence-posts in Louisiana.

          • I’d skip Montana if I was you, go for Wyoming or Idaho.

          • Yep, the same people that have totally destroyed places like California, … are taking a shot at Californizing Colorado. I knew it was coming as I watched the number of people living on the Left Coast moving here. I’m utterly disgusted

            Yeah, it’s mostly the liberals who move out California and take their sickness with them. We old-school California conservatives tend to knuckle down and stay here, despite the fact that it’s no longer the paradise we grew up in.

            So many white liberals have fled the hell they created, that we’d almost have a chance at taking back the state and fixing it, if it weren’t for illegal immigration replacing the white liberals as fast as they can leave.

            One conservative friend of mine left California for rural Montana. Too many meth-heads. He came back to California.

        • Yes, of course, everyone has told me this fifty times — what no one has told us is how to stop it.

      • I think there’s a few things that need to be said at the beginning of this thread, but I’m coming in very late. First, the current administration is pushing as hard as it can to GET an armed rebellion started. A rebellion would give the president the opportunity to declare martial law, issue executive orders forcing all law-abiding citizens to turn in their weapons AND ammo (including reloading equipment), “nationalize” the Guard, call up the Reserve, and do all kinds of nasty things. Unfortunately, things aren’t working for him the way he wants, and he’s getting desperate. Expect some really UGLY things to take place in the next three years. Obama/Holder may even try to MANUFACTURE an incident that will allow him to finish his scenario, if the right won’t give him one. Don’t shut up (he’d win just as easily if we all went silent), but be careful what you say can’t be used as pretext for something really nasty and unconstitutional.

        • Gnardo Polo

          The problem for Obama is that he doesn’t understand the American character. He thinks that if he pushes people far enough, they will fight back with riots and armed rebellion. The truth is more likely that people will rebel by silently standing firm.

          When the Mormons settled the Salt Lake Valley, the Federal governement sent troops to stmp out polygamy and rebellion. When they arrived in Salt Lake, they didn’t find armed resistance, they found people lining the streets with torches, people who were prepared to burn down everything they had built then let it be taken from them.

          I think Obama may has similarly misjudged.

        • Agreed, things are going to get progressively (heh) nastier over the next three years. But I don’t see them actually pushing forward with a false-flag event. There’s enough chaos, darkness, and stupidity out there that a false-flag event will be unnecessary. Instead, something like another theater shooting, or (G-d forbid), another elementary school shooting will create a cry out.
          How have the revolutionaries been putting it? Bottom up, Top down, Inside out.
          That is, bottom up – increased protests along the lines of OWS, but growing increasingly dangerous to others (as opposed to dangerous to the people who are participating in them, particularly females). That gets encouraged and maybe abetted while things like tea parties and demonstrations agitating for smaller government get increasingly difficult to pull off because of onerous permitting requirements, lack of wealthy donors to subsidize with free food and wi-fi, etc. And the statist/progressives will get all the good media coverage, while those who are interested in smaller government, maximum freedom and its corollary – maximum personal responsibility – will be demonized, belittled, mocked, and misreported on. That gives more fuel for the gov’t to do things like stipulate that small-government people are dangerous jerks who Must Be Stopped, and puts the thought in the tea partiers’ minds (it doesn’t fold in everyone that would be affected, but it’s a useful shorthand) that their peaceful efforts are hopeless, uneffective, and so what now? Continue with the peaceful methods? Or start to get… less than peaceful? It will only take one yahoo with a flag bandanna to justify the action in the minds of those low-information people out there and for the media to claim that they had been justified all along about those dangerous people.
          Top down – once that event comes, the imposition of all kinds of emergency measures which I immediately associate with Star Wars and Palpatine setting himself up as Emperor. At this point, I’m sort of debating in my own head as to who will be the inevitable Jar-Jar speaking in the Senate about the need for “these’n emergency powers”. I know who my money’s on, but who knows?
          Inside Out – with the imposition of emergency powers, suddenly all kinds of things become possible, and who knows what we end up wiith.
          These are the times that try men’s souls. Or at least they very well could be.

      • This sort of thing, violence to prevent the evil other from inexplicably winning, depends on their unshakeable belief that they’re on the side of light and right.

        Here are some handy ways to shake that:
        “have you no shame?”
        “your side killed a hundred million in the last century and is killing people right this very minute. You own that”
        “Socialism is soul destroying and evil. Stop being evil”
        “After enough failed experiments, socialism stops being a legitimate experiment. These days its sadism.”

        There are variations available for all the popular leftist pathologies. It’s just something that must be said. And they will push back. They will get personal. They will go after your family. They will be vicious. And if you make them show the ugliness under their masks, they lose in the only audience that matters, the vast majority that is stealthing.

        • Thing is you cannot shake them. At most you might get them to shut up. You present several valid points, but I have just off the top of my head given examples of their response or reasons why truth will fall away like water on a duck’s back.

          “have you no shame?”
          – Apparently not. They’re perfectly willing to dance in the blood of innocent school shooting victims to get passed gun control laws that would have done nothing to prevent the carnage.
          “your side killed a hundred million in the last century and is killing people right this very minute. You own that”
          – That wasn’t us. It was really you conservatives at fault. And besides that was long ago and far away.
          “Socialism is soul destroying and evil. Stop being evil”
          – You conservatives will lie about anything to cast blame on us instead of yourselves. You are the true evil ones.
          “After enough failed experiments, socialism stops being a legitimate experiment. These days its sadism.”
          – All those failures were because we didn’t try hard enough, or spend enough money. We know better now. We’ll get it right this time.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      What in God’s name is so terrible about being a “strong conservative”? Is a “strong conservative” somebody who dislikes the “if it feels good, do it” which in my opinion is an idea held both by too many libertarians as well as by too many “strong liberals”?

      Sorry Happycrow, but when a libertarians throws around the term “statists”, I hear “mindless dogma” because they too often see no difference between American Conservatives, Nazi, Communists.

      • No. But the state impinging on things which are NOT its business is a slippery slope, Drak. The spirit of our first amendment is right “Freedom of religion” NOT “enforcement of religion” — or lack of religion.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Sarah, and haven’t we seen the “slippery slope” from the libertarian mindset (ie anything goes morally) and where “Freedom of Religion” has become “Religion is Evil”?

          Sorry Sarah but when I hear people talking about “dangers of religion/morality”, I think of Screwtape saying that Hell wants people to worry about the “wrong problem”. One of things he said was “when the real danger is tyranny, Hell wants people to worry about the dangers of too much liberty”. Right now, one of the real problems is lack of morality on the part of the “opinion makers” but Americans are told to worry about the coming of Nehemiah Scudder.

          • There is no danger in religion. There is a danger in a state religion. Trust me, I grew in a country with one. And one that got taken over by the left.

            You want to win the culture? FiGHT in the cultural arena. That’s what I’m saying in the article. You don’t fight immorality with guns. Sorry.

            • Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t fight in the cultural arena but the legal one. Throwing around plentiful Biblical quotes and religious arguments. Should that invalidate the removal of segregation laws?

              • Andrew Drummond

                Our culture has had such a rock bottom respect for law that he absolutely chose the correct venue for that fight- culture and law are so twined together. Arguably, his very success brought about the laws/court opinions/lawsuits that have gotten odd of late (ie, anything that gets framed as having to do with denial of civil rights – women in the military combat arms, gay marriage, abortion come to mind immediately), so that currently, it might not really be the best way to go – ho hum, more manipluation, yada yada stuff. Of course, I used to argue that anything after 1066 was current events, not history, and not worthy of proper, disinterested discussion…

                • See, that’s why people don’t fight it out in the cultural arena!

                • I draw the line for current events around the fall of the Roman Republic, for which we can blame Caesarism. Since that time Caesarites have donned many guises, with Marxism only the most recent.

                  • Nous venons d’ailleurs…

                    At last I found someone who agrees with my view of history!

                  • So you’ve come to bury me, not praise me?

                    • Jason Dyck

                      They’d have to stake you first.

                    • Ugh, keep forgetting to switch accounts. That was me poking the undead imperator.

                    • Clams got stakes!

                    • In Atlantic City (and, presumably, elsewhere) casinos were wont to provide free bus transport and a modest beginning stake to those contemplating visiting their establishments.

                      An appalling number of people think this an act of generosity.

                    • You know, when we were very, very young and very very broke we took that deal. If you can control yourself it’s not bad (we did this twice with our best friends, too.) We’d take the initial stake, plus the vouchers for prime rib dinners for $10 for two people, take the bus up, spend $20 on penny slots “when you run out of $20 you stop playing” go for a walk around nice historical town, come back on the bus. It was the cheapest we could have a day out.

                    • Even at that the casino gets back most of their expenditure and increases their traffic — you were cheaper than shills* and served the same purpose.

                      *BTW – does anybody know how you get a job as a shill? Is there a union, do you have to pass a qualifying test? Or is it just one of those gigs only family members get in on?

                    • I was just saying by being aware the casino wasn’t a charity and controlling ourselves, we got a pretty good deal out of it.

                    • Acknowledged – yet even so the casino benefited from your actions. In your case it was a win-win scenario, for most people it is win-lose.

                    • 1. Please accept this kingly crown, noble sir.
                      2. Will you take this kingly crown?
                      3. I gotcha kingly crown right here. Such a deal!

                    • I used to share living quarters with a cat who would spend an hour in the litter box after attending to his business, pushing sand loudly this way and that, kicking no small amount out — no small feat with a large enclosed pan, but he managed. Still, with all that effort he would inevitably leave the … object … of his elimination exposed to the world.

                      It is with that example in mind that I state: I come neither to praise nor bury Caesar. But phew, what a stench.

                    • I’m now being compared to cat turds? Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

                    • piffle. Given how people normally express their views of lawyers, that comment was a step up.

                    • I thrice did offer you a kingly crown,
                      Which you did thrice refuse. You lack ambition.
                      :mrgreen:

                  • Andrew Drummond

                    Well, I had a colleague tell me I’d studied the Byzantines too closely when I gave him what he described as an “evil” (ie, too convoluted) interpretation on some event or other when we were bs-ing in the grad student office-warren once upon a time. And why do you pick Caesarism? That breakdown began about a century before his death, with Carthage ending and all the rich loot coming in from everywhere.

                    • It was Caesar crossed the Rubicon.

                    • Yeah, but the Rubicon – that hussy – was asking for it.

                    • OMG — Kate, Ruby Con.

                    • Caesar drove a Jeep?

                    • Little known fact. Gave him a huge tactical advantage, till the dang thing ran out of gas. Since they didn’t have the ability to convert it to burn rendered bear fat, he then had to switch to the van.

                      True fact — when I was pregnant with Marsh and Robert was on his Rome kick, we were desperate for anything about Rome that wouldn’t be explicit, and one of the things I found were late 19th century/early twentieth accounts of the legions’ conquests.

                      This was fine, and of course I read them too. I completely understood what they meant when they said “so and so and so and so were in the van” BUT my head kept giving me images of legion commanders driving forth in minivans ahead of the fearsome legions… 😛

                    • You found a non-explicit book about the legions conquests?

                    • Tons of violence, but no sex. It was all about military tactics. Might have corrupted the three year old forever…

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Um… I don’t think she meant that kind of conquests…

              • It was a tactic. It was a tactic suited for the times. These days you’ll find it ineffective. And I’m not absolutely sure this is a shining example. T he laws were in place because of stupid government and they were replaced with other stupid laws. The government couldn’t JUST remove the bad laws, no, it had to bring in reverse-discrimnation-by-the-numbers. And that’s what you get if you fight in the legal arena.

                • Government is in the business of governing. If it repealed laws just because they were stupid, ineffective and counter-productive … government would just have to go out of business entirely, as there would be no profit in it.

                • Some people feel that a civil war is coming because our federal government has become tyrannical.

                • Gnardo Polo

                  The only law that needs to be passed urgently is the Stossel rule: for every law passed, two must be repealed FIRST.

                  • I have this vision of which laws they would repeal and must demur.

                    The devil is in the details and I doubt we’ve a sufficiently long spoon to sup with ‘im.

                    • Gnardo Polo

                      We’re already sitting in the devil’s lap: we pass laws hundreds of pages long that create thousands of pages of regulations. The bureaucracy is too entrenched, and can only be removed by force. Or maybe by farce.

                    • Dorothy Grant

                      Nah, Gnardo, easier way – starve the beast out. It can only fight you if it has funding. Of course, the starving beast is a most fearsome creature, but if you hold out one budget cycle, it will fall and be ripe for the looting and cannibalism by other bureaucracies…

                  • dracona357

                    Make it repeal 10 to pass 1 and I’ll buy in.

        • Actually, it’s freedom from the government imposing a religion (of any type, secularists, you %$^%&^), or from stopping the free exercise of religion (see the current shenanigans the military is going through for how failing to understand that [or blatantly ignoring it] can play out). A few (thousand? million?) people need to be introduced to the clue-bat and Constitution 101.

          • You mean like this?

            http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/pentagon-religious-proselytizing-is-not-permitted.html

            > The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is calling on the Air Force to enforce a regulation that they believe calls for the court martial of any service member caught proselytizing.
            > President Mikey Weinstein and others from his organization met privately with Pentagon officials on April 23. He said U.S. troops who proselytize are guilty of sedition and treason and should be punished – by the hundreds if necessary – to stave off what he called a “tidal wave of fundamentalists.”
            > “Someone needs to be punished for this,” Weinstein told Fox News. “Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior.”

            • Jeff Gauch

              Mikey Weinstein is an idiot. The regulation exists, and for good reason. It just doesn’t do what Mikey (really, what grown man goes by the name Mikey?) thinks it does. The regulation exists to prevent the inappropriate use of command authority in regards to religion, and to preserve unit cohesion by dealing with people who refuse to shut up about their religion to the point of annoyance.

              For crying out loud, warships still end the day with an evening prayer.

              • They still do now.

                Given what else they have been allowed to compel into private, who knows about tomorrow?

                • Rob Crawford

                  They’ll end with a song of praise for Dear Leader and a Five Minute Hate of the Emmanuel Goldstein Of The Day.

          • dracona357

            The problem is that almost every single court decision is de facto establishing atheism as the state religion.

      • To make it clear: You believe you should save people’s souls? Do it with preaching, not laws. TRUST me on this, laws don’t work for that. (If you bother to study Elizabethan or Victorian England, you’ll know that. Being FORCED to go to church twice a week — Elizabethan England — made no one saintly, and being forced to keep quiet about private sins (and I mean VERY quiet) for fear of being killed for them made them worse.)
        A wise man once said “render onto Caesar…”

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          And anybody who preaches is called a new Nehemiah Scudder.

          • And did you think it would be easy? OR SHOULD BE EASY? Have you read the Acts of the Apostles? you don’t have a right to not be called names for preaching. “I send you as doves among the serpents” — is I believe a sentence, though I tend to remember the Portuguese translation. Being a Christian was NEVER safe, nor is it MEANT to be.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              True, but I get “sick and tired” of people ranting about Christians as would-be Nehemiah Scudders when I see signs that it may become illegal to conservative Christians. But of course, as a political Conservative, I’m a Nazi according to the “Good Men”.

              • Of course you get tired. But look if you try to legislate morality and religion, you’ll invite back the wars of religion. When religion gets TEMPORAL power it goes seriously wrong. Trust me. I know that too. It gets corrupted by the sort of people seeking temporal power.

                I think that’s the whole thing about being in the world but not OF the world.

                Waving the buggaboo of the “religious conservative tyranny” is a way the left has kept the right in shreds, and slowly taken all the power. Making it seem like their stereotypes are justified is not a good tactic.

                BTW I’ve banned ten IPs and thereby eliminated most of the trolls. The interesting thing? Some of those IPs harbored both extreme left and “Bible quoters” including one charmer who commented recently for the purpose of assuring me I was going to h*ll apropos nothing, in a post that had nothing to do with religion.

                Does this mean the operation to make all the right sound like religious loonies (Not all religious people are loonies. I’m religious myself. BUT people who come in and comment on a post on economics by telling the person they’re going to H*ll and should convert now — knowing nothing of my religion, btw — assuredly are. Or want to sound like they are.) come from the people who spew Marx all over the blogs? You consider that.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Sarah, on-line I’ve heard more screams about “evil religious people” than I heard screams of “you’re going to Hell if you don’t believe”.

                  • Again, I think those might be false front operations.

                    Actually I think most Christians leave the judging to G-d and believe He can touch anyone’s heart even at the last minute, right?

                    • Robin Juhl

                      False flag? Interesting question….
                      http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/168158/

                    • Rob Crawford

                      I’m not particularly worried about a right-wing religious dictatorship in the US. The supposed threat comes from a coalition spanning Catholics, Jews, lots of Protestant sects (most of which don’t agree with each other), and some oddball groups. Who would get the whip hand? The first sign of someone playing the “evil Papists” card, and the Catholics and Jews and some of the rest are in the opposition. And the religious right in the US is closer to being Judeophillic than antisemitic.

                      Herding cats — hungry cats, half of which are in heat — would be a simpler than holding that coalition together long enough to impose a state religion.

                    • Rob Crawford

                      “False flag? Interesting question….”

                      As I said elsewhere on this event, “They’ll just keep striking matches until they get their Nuremberg fire”.

                    • Rob Crawford

                      Reichstag Fire, of course. That’s what I meant.

                      *sigh*

                      I need a vacation. About two years worth.

                    • Can I come along. About that long a vacation will set me right, I think.

                    • Well, that IS the example we’ve been given….

                    • RE: Vacation… I would recommend three years and a few months, preferably spent in the wilds of Alaska, with all the weapons and ammunition we can carry with us. I volunteer to join the caravan. Just give me a couple of weeks advance notice so I can pack up everything I have (even the trash, at this point — it may prove useful), and load up the truck. U-Haul may be slightly ticked when I don’t return their truck, but that, too, might come in handy. Find a nice place where we can huddle down until the next election and see if the nation rights itself, or begin agitating for Alaska to secede.

                    • Living in the wilds of Alaska is not a vacation. I grew up in the Bush. You go into the Bush even *slightly* unprepared, and my cousins will have to rescue you, and having burly bearded men laugh at you can be humiliating. Now, prepared, and in the company of those who are, it can be a nice place to live. Easy, it isn’t.

                      On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 10:11 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                      > ** > Mike Weatherford commented: “RE: Vacation… I would recommend three > years and a few months, preferably spent in the wilds of Alaska, with all > the weapons and ammunition we can carry with us. I volunteer to join the > caravan. Just give me a couple of weeks advance notice so I can ” >

                    • Yea– it sounds very much like being in the high desert. We get a lot of people who have to be rescued (no water, wandering in the desert). Of course if you are talking about the bush as in Africa or Australia, then it is worse. We have weather, fire, rattlers, etc– but not other dangerous critters.

                    • Okay — on condition I get to play with/teach Timmy, too.

                    • The bush is what Alaskans and Canucks call the woods. Not sure why, since they actually have trees there, instead of bushes like down your way.

                • Rob Crawford

                  “Waving the buggaboo of the “religious conservative tyranny” is a way the left has kept the right in shreds, and slowly taken all the power. ”

                  The archetypes, “Westboro Baptist Church”, have close ties to the Democrat party and are run by a trial lawyer — one of the Democrat party’s most loyal supporting groups.

                  Their bugaboo did not exist, so they invented it.

                • And here’s where life gets interesting. Because — who gets to decide what legislating morality is? Is criminalizing domestic violence legislating morality? Most of humanity, historically, would have said oh yes — patria potestas was more typical.

                  I regret to say that in my experience “You can’t legislate morality” usually means “I get to unilaterally decide what is the proper subject of legislation” — at best. I often see leftists throwing it about with happy abandon about subjects when not wanting to defend their positions with argument but merely declare their side right by fiat.

                  • I prefer to think of it as unilaterally deciding what is _not_ the proper subject of legislation, a category which includes by Word-of-me everything which does _not_ directly and without consent violate someone’s life, liberty (including that of contract), and/or property.

                    Granted, I cannot actually point to the fundamental rights to these things hanging out there in the Platonic realm, nor the assertions at the core of my reductivist turn-it-all-into-one-single-principle version, but since (a) that’s a problem shared by absolutely everyone arguing ethics, the is-ought problem being what it is, and (b) “don’t injure, rob, or coerce people” is approximately the least demanding ethic ever, I feel on pretty solid ground with that one nonetheless.

                    • When you define everything into two mutually exclusive groups, it hardly matters which group you point.

                      And even by your definition and assuming that people will accept it in the abstract, people will argue forever about whether noise ordinances qualify,

                      Not to mention the extent to which the state is allowed to investigate to determine whether you are in fact directly and without consent violating someone’s life, liberty or property. Suppose a neighbor calls in that he saw in a window a bruised, dirty, and fearfully thin child, and he had not been aware beforehand that the people there even had a child — are the police allowed to barge in to discover what the people there are doing to that kid? One can tweak the evidence up or down, but I am sure that everyone would find some case borderline.

                    • Well, there is, I think, a different in motive that is not insignificant.

                      As for the latter: reality is complex, and hard decisions happen on the margins, but that’s why you have to start from the simple principles and work your way out.

                      You can’t just decide that that complexity means you shouldn’t _have_ any simple principles and should go with each case ad hoc, otherwise you end up with what we have now, where it’s virtually impossible to know what the law is, completely impossible to know how it will be applied, and anyone can justify anything. ‘S my point.

                    • ” If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.” Albert Einstein

                      also simplicity

                    • Yeah, but ethics is normative, not descriptive.

                      If we had an example of objectively-correct ethical truth somewhere we could just describe, we wouldn’t have most of these troubles in the first place.

                    • Well, there’s Natural Law, but the obvious problem is that folks will not be convinced against their will. It doesn’t matter if the sky is blue, they’ll refuse to follow a line of reasoning.

                    • Well, the problem you run into there even before the obvious problem of people who won’t be convinced of reality (which I shall pass over at the moment because strategies for dealing with the insane is not my thing) is the classic is-ought problem; the lack of any rational way to get from a description of what is to one of what ought be.

                      I admire many of the attempts made to bridge that gap – actually, the best I’ve seen and one very close albeit not identical to my own reasoning on that point was in John C. Wright’s _The Golden Transcendence, p. 184 of the hardback ( http://books.google.com/books?id=spIBeARFHA4C&lpg=PA184&dq=golden%20transcendence%20a%20statement%20that%20there%20is%20no%20truth%20is%2C%20if%20true%2C%20false&pg=PA184#v=onepage&q=golden%20transcendence%20a%20statement%20that%20there%20is%20no%20truth%20is,%20if%20true,%20false&f=false ) – but there are still necessary axiomata that not everyone will agree on, and which by virtue of being axiomatic, can’t be proven.

                    • When folks can’t agree that, separate of other considerations, “existence is superior to nonexistence”– willful blindness is a bigger problem….

                      Incidentally, I do hope you know he has a blog? scifiwright, I believe, but you can find it by finding him on LJ.

                    • Based on the available evidence, non-existence is demonstrably preferable to existence.

                      All who have switched from non-existence to existence eventually switch back to non-existence.

                      There is no clear evidence that those who have switched from existence to non-existence have ever switched back. (Okay, reputedly there was one guy who not only switched back from non-existence, he switched others as well, but after about forty days even He chose non-existence.)

                      Almost all who exist complain. There is no evidence that the non-existent ever complain.

                      Ergo … non-existence is demonstrably preferable to existence.

                      Those who defend the non-existent state are encouraged to experience it for themselves.

                    • “First, do no harm.”

                      The first law of legitimate government. One OURS hasn’t considered “appropriate” for over a hundred years.

                    • Only if we accept your definition of a state as non-existence.

                  • Andrew Drummond

                    “Because — who gets to decide what legislating morality is?”

                    That’s supposedly why we have a constitution of enumerated powers, IMO.

                  • What I mean is you can’t say “you can’t swear in public, because the Bible forbids swearing” or “You need to attend x church x times a week”

                    This is not an arcane thing. It was NORMAL in most of the world until the constitution was written. Hence the “no establishment of religion” thing.

                    I’m not talking about something that never happened. And yes, I know people who identify as conservatives who think this stuff is a GREAT idea. It’s not. You don’t win souls with that sort of thing, and what goes underground is WAY nastier than what happens in daylight. And yes, I’m aware of how nasty what happens in daylight can be.

                    I’m not totally convinced that the current insanity would have gone as far as it has without state financing via the public indoctrination mechanisms known as schools. And even so I suspect we’re in for a great relearning.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Sorry Sarah, but IMO you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. Sure you may know people who think that would be OK but IMO we should worry more about the morons who say (as one did in TvsP on the Bar) that it is *unconstitutional* for people to vote according to their religious beliefs.

                      For that matter, while you grew up in a country with a state religion, extremely few Christians in the US want a state religion.

                      On the other hand, when I see the stupidity that the Courts and Secularist think is “establishment of religion”, I can see some idiots try to say “No religious person who allowed to vote or hold public office unless they pass a test to see how *secular* they are”.

                    • Just so we’re clear — at the time of the ratification of the Constitution state establishment of religion was perfectly acceptable and embedded in the constitutions of something like twelve of the thirteen ratifying states. The Constitution, which was premised on recognizing state sovereignty, included the religious freedom clause as a bulwark for states against federal tyranny.

                      Because it was a relatively easy matter to move to a state with a more agreeable religion.

                      Some would argue that the 14th Amendment undid state sovereignty, but the doctrine has been ratified within the last couple of decades in SCOTUS decisions debarring certain kinds of suits brought against state governments.

                      NONE of which will serve to undo the nonsense propagated by the Separation of Church and State propagandists, as their goal is not accuracy but shutting down opposition.

                  • They aren’t legislating morality. They are just legislating pragmatic common sense solutions. They are legislating Science — you aren’t against Science, are you? The Science has been settled and you are just being greedy.

                    Apparently “not being greedy” isn’t a moral value. Apparently, not allowing “unfair accumulations of unjust wealth” is not a moral value. Who nu?

                    I will give them some credit on this: most of what they advocate legislating are immoral values.

                  • But Mary we legislate morality all the time. Drinking and driving is against the law – morality legislated.
                    Sex with minors is against the law – morality legislated.
                    Discharging firearms in a city is against the law – morality legislated.
                    (well, except the small Texas town I live in – but if the projectile crosses property boundaries you can get in trouble!)
                    The point is, most laws are a matter of legislating morality.

                    • soon, eating too much sugar/fat is against the law…

                      And that’s what I mean too — take their tobacco restraining laws off my back. No, I don’t smoke. Yes, I have a reaction to tobacco smoke if I inhale too much of it. BUT who are they to dictate, based on phony studies, what an adult (bar/restaurant owner) can do in his property?

                    • “Sex with minors is against the law – morality legislated.”

                      Not for certain favored classes, such as “great artists” like Polanski and Allen. It is only against the law when done by the “wrong” people.

                      See Prosecutorial Discretion

                    • Exactly. No one ever tries to enact a law for any reasons except personal gain or morality. To enact a law against enacting laws that enforce morality would in itself be enacting a law to enforce morality.

                    • Drinking and driving is against the law – morality legislated.
                      “Driving under the influence” — doesn’t just cover alcohol. It means driving after doing something that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Not morality, but public safety. Impaired, you’re far more likely to have an accident, and far more likely to cause permanent injury or damage, including death.
                      Sex with minors is against the law – morality legislated.
                      Sex with minors is primarily designed to reduce or stop harm to those minors. A minor is less likely to understand the consequences of their behavior, and far more likely to suffer significant physical, emotional, and psychological harm from sex, especially when it’s done by someone in a position of trust, or against the will of the minor. Again, public safety, and we’re all footing the bill for the destruction of this “moral” principle.
                      Discharging firearms in a city is against the law – morality legislated.
                      (well, except the small Texas town I live in – but if the projectile crosses property boundaries you can get in trouble!)
                      Exactly. If you don’t know where that bullet is going, you’re liable for whatever it breaks, animal, vegetable, or mineral. Not morality, but public safety (of course, I’d be happier if the law just said that anyone discharging a firearm in a public area would be liable for any damage caused, and leave it at that).
                      The point is, most laws are a matter of legislating morality.
                      Actually, very few laws are based on morality.
                      Most laws are (or at least, should be) based on “do no harm”. If a given action is significantly likely to cause harm to others or property, it should be restricted — either bound by limits, or stopped altogether. That was the idea behind the US Constitution — it created a government that implemented the ideas included in the Declaration of Independence. It was established in order to protect and preserve life, liberty, and property. The Bill of Rights is really a Bill of Government Restrictions — a list of things the US Government COULDN’T do. The federal government was given certain tasks that were its responsibility — enumerated — and everything else was left to the States or local governments. The problem is, the 10th Amendment has been totally trampled by the Fed government. We failed to stop it at the time, and we’re playing hobs with the Devil trying to recapture that original constitutional establishment. Personally, I won’t give up, but I do get discouraged at times.

                    • Rob Crawford

                      “take their tobacco restraining laws off my back”

                      I have a perverse impulse, when I finally get some land, to grow some tobacco. Not because I smoke. Not because I like tobacco — it’s as nasty a crop to grow as it is to consume — but because it’s a way to tweak the blue noses.

                    • It also has a lot of potential as a trade good. So even if you don’t smoke it, it’s not a bad idea.

                    • My great-grandpa (a Mormon) always kept a plug of tobacco around for various things (he didn’t chew or smoke). One of the uses was when a cow had problems (on new grass they can sometimes blow up from the gas in their stomachs). He would push the tobacco down the cow’s throat and the cow would vomit the tobacco and the gas. Saved a lot of cows. I am sure there are other reasons for a good plug around.

                    • Other reasons, Cyn? That one isn’t enough?

                    • I was giving other people an opening to tell their stories about the “devil” weed. 😉 But yes, that is a very good reason–

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Apparently, it makes a good disinfectant for light wounds, so it would be good to carry some while working in the field (my grandfather took out his chaw and slapped it on my uncle’s hand after he stabbed a tobacco spike through his hand, and wrapped a handkerchief around it. It apparently kept it from getting infected)

                    • Louis L’Amour’s characters are forever using it to plug gun shot wounds, presumably because in late 19th Century America effective tampons were not generally available.

                    • snelson134

                      No, it’s actually fairly basic biology: nicotine (along with caffeine and some other stimulants) acts as a vasoconstrictor; that’s the mechanism it raises blood pressure by.vasoconstriction. From Wikipedia: “Nicotine reduces the chance of preeclampsia,[88] and atopic disorders such as allergic asthma.[89][dubious – discuss] A plausible mechanism of action in these cases may be nicotine acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, and interfering with the inflammation-related disease process, as nicotine has vasoconstrictive effects.[90]”

                      So it helps stop bleeding and reduces inflammation; sounds like a wound packer to me.

                    • Not morality, but public safety. Impaired, you’re far more likely to have an accident, and far more likely to cause permanent injury or damage, including death.

                      Pure morality. Entirely resting on the premise that it is your duty to refrain from actions that endanger the public safety, and our right to restrain and/or punish you if you don’t.

                    • Tobacco is a antibiotic/disinfectant (not sure which, but it provably helps prevent infections) and an anti-inflammatory. Therefore it works fairly well on wounds, I didn’t know it worked to help prevent pre-eclampsia (Sarah, next time you get pregnant I’ll buy a roll of Copenhagen and send it to you 😉 ). It also used to be used as a dewormer, I don’t know how well it actually worked for that, but many old timers swore by giving their dogs or cats a pinch of Copenhagen, and at that time there were no really effective dewormers, so it probably worked as well if not better than anything you could buy.

                    • I don’t think I can get pregnant anymore but D*MN. That would have fixed it? (I stopped smoking about six years before I got pregnant.)
                      True story, my son did a study on electronic cigarettes with limited nicotine. His disturbing conclusion (and it did disturb him) — if you have a compromised upper respiratory system (severely premature, TB, etc. like me) you’re better off “smoking” electronic cigarettes with minimal or no nicotine. I do it on no-nicotine, for the slightly anti-spectic vapor thing. And I need to buy new cartridges.

                    • My hubby told me they used it as a parasite killer in Vietnam. It really worked (as a tea.)

                    • Oh, yes, tobacco tea on rose leaves.

              • I think the salient point is that liberal progressivism is every bit as much a religion as is Christianity or Islam. And the LP crowd very much sees Christians as their natural enemy. I can think of no other reason for their knee jerk opposition to anything public that smacks of Christian values.

                • Yep. Very much that.

                • Well, here in dear old Kansas, I can point you at people I know personally who opine, and do so self-statedly on the basis of their Christian values, that the craziness of our liquor laws should be made more so, that education – _not_ just for their own children – should be made to conform to Biblical doctrine, and that my niece should be removed from her adoptive parents because they happen to be gay.

                  And those are people who are in most respects otherwise good and decent people, which is to say, I’m not talking about our local whackos in the form of the WBC.

                  Now, obviously, I know perfectly well that the majority of Christians aren’t like that, and I have precious little fear of a theocracy coming to pass – far less than I do of the Church of Marx and Stupid. But I also know perfectly well than in democratic politics, power often accrues to those who shout the loudest and have the most time and other resource to spend on activism, so there’re going to be more than a few of _those_ people who find themselves empowered by a resurgence of the conservative right.

                  And, not to put too fine a point on it, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend. It does me no good to disempower one group of people whose ideas, they say, entitle them to meddle in my business only to empower another by virtue of ill-chosen alliances.

                  • The problem with that is you probably can’t find three people in America that agree with you on every single subject of legality. We have to do like the left and decide what are the most important battles right now, and band together to fight them. If we win we can go to squabbling amongst ourselves, if we go to squabbling first we are bound to lose. (losing in this case means going to physical war, which is what Sarah is argueing to try and prevent).

                    Look at WWII, yes FDR liked Stalin, but there were an awful lot of people in power in America who recognized the dangers and evil of Marxism. We still allied with Russia to defeat Germany and Japan, because if we would have tried to make it a three cornered war and fought both Russia and the Axis powers, well I won’t guarantee we would have lost, but are chances would have been REALLY slim. So we banded with Russia and defeated the Axis, and then immediately fell into the Cold War. Much like me voting for Romney, the choice wasn’t good, but it was better than all the other choices.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Agree. Seeking “politically pure candidates” is a loser’s game. Mind you, on another site there’s a guy who’s thinking that the “Tea Party Conservatives” are doing that within the GOP. Not sure that I agree with him about what’s happening within the GOP *but* agree that seeking “politically pure candidates” isn’t a good idea.

                  • Andrew Drummond

                    And I’m also in dear old Kansas, and, in my last workplace, one of the lesbian social workers in the shop publicly stated how worried for her safety she was after the Bush-Kerry contest. Several people agreed with her. I just made a little toot-toot sound (here comes the train sort of thing), but I rarely spoke out in that office. And it was hard enough when another co-worker frequently covered me with “he’s really libertarian” comments -it’d have been churlish to damage her reputation too.

                    Simply stated, in your case, the first amendment worked – you know enough about those neighbors of yours that you know how you’ll vote when they bring up something for election. Idiocy revealed and all that. We _should_ be much, much more worried when people don’t speak out until they’re in power, like Mr. Abstention did in Illinois. Or when elections get subverted so the idiots get power anyways.

                    • It’s the last bit that concerns me – actually, not even the subversion. Sure, I can identify them, just like I can identify the progressives and the Marxists and assorted other varieties of lunatic, but the trouble with democracy as a system is that sometimes the lunatics get what they want. And are supposed to, even.

                    • Rob Crawford

                      ” the trouble with democracy as a system is that sometimes the lunatics get what they want”

                      That’s why the US isn’t a democracy.

              • Nehemiah Scudder was a fictional character, unlike Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and all the actual 20th Century religious fanatics who sacrificed hundreds of millions to their god.

                Anybody who would tar a political opponent as Scudderite is engaging in hate speech, delegitimizing disagreement with their racist ideological agenda, “otherizing” people rather than defending their goals and methods.

                That is how you respond to Scudderism, which is, after all, just a variant on sexism, racism and homphobia.

        • Sexual sins have come out of the closet throughly. Has that made them better?

          Let’s put it this way. In the 1950s, there were five known STDs. Now there are over fifty. The ecological niche has clearly opened up for more competitors. And the consequences of STDs are not pretty for the rest of us.

          • Sigh. It’s not the coming out of the closet, Mary. I don’t know if you have kids, but it’s pushed in schools as a virtue. It’s the “if you don’t have sex of all sorts there’s something wrong with you” boomer art obsession now in schools.

            Define “sexual sins” — when promiscuity is being pushed as a virtue, yeah, you’ll have more diseases.

            Other than that if you mean homosexuality, yes, it’s made the psychology better and we’ve pretty much won them over to bourgeois virtues… or at least made them aspire to them.

          • Everyone’s pretty much familiar with the John Adams quote re: the Constitution being intended for a moral and religious people, right?

            The problem is that changing the law doesn’t change the heart. It would be more than just wrong to give any particular religion’s viewpoints on sexual mores or church attendance the force of law, with the attendant enforcement that comes with it. It would be immoral. No one wants sharia to be imposed on the US (nor should it be forced on anyone else). I don’t want a Christian version of that EITHER. (Not least because under any such regime, I and my co-religionists would probably have to leave the country. Again.)

            You want to change people’s minds and hearts? Great. Preach. Pray. Serve. Make the best argument you can in the marketplace of ideas, and back it up by living it as best you can. And that will be much more effective than any legal convention or force of arms. But FORCING someone to do even something that’s good for them will only breed resentment. (Which perhaps explains why it’s been so long since I’ve practiced the piano.)

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              “Marketplace of Ideas”? Didn’t you know? Only Nehemiah Scudder types discuss morality and religion in public. “Good Religious People” keep it in the closet. [Sarcasm]

              • Why in h*ll do you care what they say? No, seriously.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Sarah, it appears that *too* many people buy into that shit. Until I start seeing “push back” on that shit, I’m going to call it a problem.

                  • Again I tell you — it was never meant to be easy. Early Christians faced lions. You face name calling? Uh.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      No, I get “pissed off” when don’t understand the shit that is on-going. It’s easy to say “just preach” when they aren’t speaking out against the shit thrown at Christians. Sure things could be worse but until good people start speaking out against the shit, IMO it will get worse. As for “just name calling”, I grew up the victim of name calling and it’s isn’t fun to be the target of name calling.

                • Why should people care about people who tell them to keep it out of the legal arena and yet not about those who tell them to keep it entirely private? Not caring what other people would think would be a good reason to go on with the laws as well.

              • True, I say marketplace of ideas. What I really want is probably closer to battlefield of ideas.

                Or Idea Thunderdome. Unfortunately, some ideas are like a headless zombie – they won’t stop, they spread infection, and the usual way of taking them down just won’t work.

      • In this case, somebody who identifies as conservative economically and conservative socially. Social conservatives are having a rough time of it electorally, just as economic liberals are.

        • I have no issues with social conservatives, provided they realize it’s not the province of the law. Some issues they SHOULD IMHO be making better: abortion. (They would too, if the media let them.) No fault divorce.

          I am religious — if odd — myself and I understand their point. I just wish they GOT that “Lesgislation is not the answer” unless there are things like human life involved. Then it might be. (I’m open to Heinlein’s idea that murder being legal might not NECESSARILY be a bad thing. That said, I’m not insane to try it.)

          • There are social conservatives who are, in my opinion, doing everything right by pressing it as an issue of federalism. When moral issues are the province of the federal government, inevitably one gets the best morality that Washington DC can buy.

            That very idea is getting a lot of play on the other side of the aisle (though progs call it “The Wisconsin Idea” rather than Federalism) because of drug issues and what seems to me to be the reasonably moral assumption that somebody shouldn’t be thrown into a tiny metal box for smoking the wrong plant. They’re pretty serious about that, too.

            • At Legal Insurrection I suggested that the conservative position be to defederalize social issues, i.e. to take them out of DC and turn them over to the states. By and large people would have none of it.

              As it were, We want to limit the power of the federal government, but enforcing moral absolutes is a nonnegotiable part of its job notwithstanding that much of the country does not see them as such

              • Rob Crawford

                You sure it wasn’t your message but rather its delivery that was rejected?

                • 1. I can’t be sure, but I’m inclined to say that the message was rejected. I tried to express the suggestion in general terms, saying that it would clearly establish a distinction with the Left’s use of the federal government to impose their views. Somebody immediately brought up abortion, saying that it had to be banned at the federal level whereas my intent had been to leave that most contentious of issues for last.

                  2. Although Bill Jacobson is a great guy, I am reducing my participation in that community. My change of attitude started with the people who had breezily declared that the preNovember polls were wrong & a GOP sweep was coming. Some of these same folks promptly stuck their heads right back in the sand as soon as the results came in. (I had thought Obama had a 2 out of 3 chance instead of the 90% that Nate Silver was saying.)

                  Whereupon I started posting that, inexcusable though the grievous November defeats were in view of Obama’s record, conservative reaction to them was more worrisome than the defeats themselves. Yeah, that attitude might influence people without winning friends, but nothing less even gets noticed.

                  3. Back in the Carter years a Hungarian-born colleague muttered to me that America was so screwed up that a band of Tatars could ride in and take over. Instead, we got Reagan, Gingrich and Clinton, and a generation of prosperity.

                  4. I worry about a future war that would make WW2 seem like a playground scuffle. Barring that, I am more optimistic about the future of humanity than the future of America. Wrt the latter, recalling my Hungarian acquaintance, I take refuge in the distinction between I see no hope and There is no hope. Despair is a sin. So is pride, and claiming to know the future is a form of pride.

              • Think about what the #1 “moral issue” is– abortion.

                There is rather a history to “let’s push the definition of who’s a legal person down to the states” in the US, and it didn’t work out so well last time.

                • Presumably you mean Roe and its consequences. If not, please clarify.

                  With the possible exception of raaacism, abortion is the Left’s top pretext for demonizing its opponents. Therefore I’d embed it in the general proposition that when there is significant disagreement within the country, if possible it is not the federal government’s business to pick a winner and squelch the other side.

                  Add Reaganesque optimism to that reassurance of swing voters, and the Right is back on the way to (what used to be) its place as a governing coalition.

                  • Our last civil war was about the definition of “human”– in terms of racism.

                    The simple fact is that abortion is killing a human. That’s biology. Just as the slaves in America being human was basic biology.

                    • That isn’t really what the last civil war was about, but ignoring that, they actually had a better argument about racism than they do about abortion. There ARE genetic differences between race (although most people are so mixed race, regardless of how they look, that these differences are few and far between), there is no genetic difference between a fetus and the babe after it is born.

                      I am NOT defending idiots who don’t consider other races ‘human’, simply pointing out that they at least have a scientific fig leaf. Whereas pro-choice advocates don’t even have that. They can argue over whether it is a life or not, via whether it can survive outside the womb without extensive medical care, but alive or dead there is NO genetic difference. So a six week along fetus is every bit as human as a 20 year old college student.

                    • From the standpoint of anthropologists*, “human” is a consequence of acculturation, not birth nor genetics. This same standard would grant a culture (e.g., Aryans) license to designate representatives of other cultures as “sub-human.”

                      *Acknowledged, anthropologists fall into a special category of academia colloquially designated “fruitcakes,” that doesn’t mean NY Times editorialists won’t push their talking points.

          • Divorce is by definition a matter of law, which can not be neutral.

            • For the most part (read: “no, you _do_ acquire a natural obligation to people you create”), contract law should be more than adequate to the task – if we bring marriage contracts out of their state-defined distributed twilight zone.

              • Japanese proverb: If you chase two rabbits, you will miss them both.

                You can not tell people that their sexual relationships impose on them a transcendental obligation, and then that they are just a contract. One will win.

                • Now, I never said _just_ a contract. The contract, if you’re of such a mind, simply reifies the obligations you believe you have or wish to have in a cleanly/clearly-defined, legally-enforceable way.

                  I am not, by and large, a believer in transcendental obligations – but to such extent as I am, I question whether people who stop believing in their transcendental obligations because they had to write ’em down and sign ’em _really_ believed in them in the first place.

                  (As a side-note, I also submit that one advantage of having to negotiate and write down a formal marriage contract – which shall be the thing and the whole of the thing, legally speaking – is that the process of doing so is likely to clear up a lot of those awkward expectation mismatches, such as those between spouse A who believes in transcendental marital obligations and spouse B who, it turns out, doesn’t so very strongly.)

                  • So what were you talking about, when you mentioned the kid? Another contractual obligation?

                    • No, that’s the exception. (Under that “reality is complex” clause I mentioned elsewhere.) Children can by definition not sign contracts, especially as they wouldn’t exist yet at the time they’d need to, so that’s one of the very few places where even this near-anarchist says there needs to be a law.

                      Along the lines of, “You make a person, you’re responsible for it until it reaches majority and is able to run its own life and be responsible for itself. Jointly and severally. No special pleading, no backsies, and we _will_ enforce this.”

                      I am in general and on principle against imposing any other-than-respecting-the-rights-of-your-fellow-men obligations on anyone that they didn’t explicitly sign up for, but like I say, children are an issue that I don’t have a better way to handle, and since it’s mighty hard to engage in child-producing activities by _accident_ , it’s not as obnoxious as most things in that category.

              • I note that other societies might manage without strong families, but libertarian ones can not, because the children need to be raised right.

                • I am generally inclined to agree, but I tend to think the problem with trying to enforce strong families is the same as the general problem of trying to enforce virtue, which is that the harder you try to do it, the worse you fail.

                  Also, to an extent – and, yes, admitting historical evidence – this also runs into the socialist central planning/government subsidy problem redux, in that defining a solution in advance prevents the discovery process of finding solutions.

                  One advantage of a contractual/free-market model in marriage/family structuring, here, is that it should naturally converge on optima. That’s what free markets do.

                  • And it would without the subsidies for the failed models (like money being higher if you kick the husband/father out.)

                    • You get more of what you subsidize, and less of what you tax. We are currently subsidizing poverty, and taxing wealth.

                      On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 12:16 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                      > ** > accordingtohoyt commented: “And it would without the subsidies for the > failed models (like money being higher if you kick the husband/father out.)” >

                    • Yes, definitely.

                      Given that we have thoroughly demonstrated that throwing money at a terrible mother does not make her good — she was poor in both senses, and only one can be alleviated — the solution for parents who can not look after their children is adoption before the child suffers enough damage to make him unadoptable. Which would have false positive and worse false negatives, but is better than nothing. And a psychiatric exam for the parents — they are definitely a danger to their children and may also be unable to control their behavior.

                    • Ah, but we’re not allowed to do that. Because… because… natural bond, child and mother.

                      If I had a time machine, I’d kill every Romantic writer.

                  • So you are saying that there would less murder, theft, assault, etc. if only those were legal?

                    • No, just that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

                      If you want virtuous people, you get much better results by example, by showing them that the virtuous life is the good life, as it were, and by the gentle art of persuasion than you do by clamping down and trying to force everyone to be virtuous.

                      People hate being meddled with, and if you try _hard_ to monitor them – and especially if you go around browbeating them with what bad people they would be if it weren’t for you, and threatening them with consequences if they don’t toe the line – they’ll do it just to spite you. Hell, they’re already being considered guilty, so they might as well do the crime. ‘S just human nature.

                      Real-world example: Saudi Arabia, and the Committees for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Ever seen how a lot of those guys behave when the mutawwi’in aren’t watching over their shoulders? It ain’t pretty.

                      (And, of course, you never actually get the chance to _develop_ virtue if you’re constantly forced to be virtuous. If you’re never tempted, you never develop the will to resist temptation: example #2, everyone who, at the age of 21, goes out and drinks like an idiot.)

                      Now, what I _am_ saying is that if you want to reduce the rates of murder, theft, assault, etc., you will have more long-term success by building a culture that generally views murder, theft, assault, etc., as intolerably wrong, so that people soak in _that_ notion of virtue from a young age, than you will by putting CCTV cameras and other enforcement apparati everywhere. People have to _want_ to be virtuous, and that can only happen when they’re not forced to ape it.

                    • Can you uncouple good behavior from the Leviathan?

                    • On the gripping hand, most murder, theft, rape crimes are committed by repeat offenders. Even if every one of them still committed the crime (if you argue that deterrence doesn’t work, which is a ridiculous argument) if we executed the offenders on the first offence, the NUMBER of murder, theft, rapes would go down tremendously.

                    • Given that we can do several things at once, I don’t think that is a good argument against the law. You would have to establish that the law would actively hinder the good example to show it’s a bad idea.

                    • There is a point to be made for that as a thought experiment. Not that I’d go all the way with the law of the land, but yes — there is a point.

              • Forgot to say– love your taste in mad scientists.

      • (OH. and **nothing** is terrible about any peaceful political choice. Preference-options != morality)

      • Not mindless dogma; mindful dogma. (Says the dogmatic libertarian.)

        Which is to say that while we do recognize the difference between conservatives and liberals and Nazis and Communists, we also recognize the commonality, which is that all of them deem themselves and their ideas so all-fired important that they can help themselves to other people’s lives, liberties, and properties. Which is to say, the differences between these groups are _quantitative_ (“how statist?”), not _qualitative_ (“statist or not?”); much like, as the old joke would have it, the difference between a $100 hooker and a $10,000 hooker.

        In short: some of these groups are worse than others, yes, but that grand theft is much worse than pickpocketing doesn’t suddenly make it okay to be a pickpocket.

        • Rob Crawford

          Thing is, I’ve seen the self-professed “outlaw” libertarian types get all whiny and refuse to support a candidate that would be an improvement, because that candidate was not their idea of perfection.

          I support Republicans largely because I recognize that the extremists in their midst have NO chance of enacting their agendas, and that there is no other likely brake on the left’s drive for totalitarianism.

          • Eh, there comes a point when the difference between the guy who supports fascist economics and hates civil liberties and the guy who supports fascist economics and hates civil liberties just isn’t worth wastin’ further time on.

            The Republican _primaries_ occasionally throw up someone interesting, but unless things change fairly drastically, they’re going to keep throwing out the same moderate – “both stupid and evil” – mediocrities in the general that they usually do. Which is where we lose interest.

            • Rob Crawford

              So you cannot see any shades of gray? You cannot see any potential progress? You cannot see beyond the head of the ticket?

              We currently have a Department of Justice which holds as official policy that civil rights laws were not intended to protect whites. While neither McCain nor Romney were my ideal candidates, neither would have allowed that to happen.

              • You have a lot more faith in the President’s ability to control the Department of Justice than I do…

                In general, though, sure, there are shades of gray; there are always shades of gray. But we’re not talking about the difference between #222222-gray and #AAAAAA-gray, here – more like the the difference between #334433-gray and #224444-gray, and while technically the latter is lighter, it’s a minuscule difference.

                Which in practice means – well, I’ve been a libertarian in two countries now, in the UK and in the US. UK libertarians generally vote with the Conservatives and US libertarians with the Republicans and both kinds are routinely screwed because both the Conservatives and the Republicans understand the two-party tradeoff perfectly well, and that all they have to do to get the libertarian vote is to be just a _tiny_ bit less awful than the other party.

                (And so long as you keep voting for them on that basis, arguably all you’re ever going to _get_ is “a tiny bit less awful than the other party”. Which is an argument for not playing along and validating whatever slightly-less-awfulness they’ll claim to have a mandate for, but I digress.)

                Whoever won in ’08, and whoever wins in ’12, it is pretty much certain that the budget will look like a drunkard’s tab at an all-night happy hour, the “justice system” will continue to perpetrate its horrendous injustices, the economy will be run along state-corporatist lines, &c., &c., &c., and the general trajectory of the country will remain along more or less the same lines, with maybe a little wobble here and there. Not much for J. Random Citizen to do but keep his helmet on and try to stay out from under; the “government as a natural hazard” school of thought, if you like.

                So, y’know, they can call me when they have a significant improvement to offer. Until then, I’ve got work to do, books to read, books to write, dogs to walk, games to play, beer to drink, and assorted other activities that may not have any effect on the trajectory of the nation, but which have a far greater effect on the trajectory of the Me than trying to split hairs to decide which political-class git is less of one.

                • Well since Dept. of Justice officials like the Attorney General are appointed by the President, yea I do believe the President has some ability to control the Dept. of Justice.

                  By the way there are a lot (and getting to be more) conservatives that are libertarian, or libertarians that are conservative, however you want a parse it. I hesitate to call them Constitutionalists, because that term has come to me nutjobs that aren’t playing with a full deck, but that is basically what they are. Case in point, I am one myself, my personal beliefs are very conservative, but I don’t think my conservative values should be legislated, no more than I think the lefts immoral values should be. I believe we both have the right to decide what is right or wrong for ourselves, and as long as we aren’t hurting or forcing someone else we have the right to act on those beliefs.

                  • Constitutionalists are nutjobs???? since when??? and if they are considered nutjobs to want a return to the Constitutional principles, what does that make the rest of the Country who labels them that? You just hit one of my hot buttons Bearcat. 😉

                  • Some ability, sure, but you know bureaucracies, and the institutional culture of the DoJ, I suspect, would be very much against such a President. Which means by the time it makes it down to the people making individual decisions about cases down there, an order from the President has turned into a mild hint to the attorneys running the Civil Rights Division and things run much as before while they wait the reformist out.

                    Entrenched bureaucracies have momentum and a lot of administrative won’t to pit against the executive will, and I don’t see Congress letting a President do a rip-out-and-replace any time soon.

                    And, yes, there are – I like those guys, and in some ways I trend that way myself; there are a lot more things I think should be permissible than I would permit myself. But while I trust the ones I know, I don’t necessarily trust the people they’d put into power who might be less scrupulous on that point.

                    I might be wrong, in time; kind of hope I am.

                    • To an extent your right about the entrenched bureaucracy, which is why I state the President has some power. No they won’t be able to rip it all out, but do you really think that we would have had Fast and Furious with a different President who didn’t give it his consent? Or if we did that he would have protected and covered for the AG like Obama did for Holder?

                    • Rob Crawford

                      Then why even bother with elections?

                    • Why, indeed?

                      Opiating the people?

                    • In large parts of the country they aren’t bothering with elections, they are just pretending to. See reports on Colorado’s inventive legal plan to ameliorate the bother of holding actual elections with their attendant risks of the wrong people winning.

                    • Even though in the last election the shennenigans were monstrous. And in 2010 too. I guess finding votes in trunks and pre-voting for people was too much work…

                    • Pre-voting is too much work, I mean how do you know how many votes you are going to need? If you pre-vote for more than you need (or for people who are voting for your candidate anyways) you are overworking.

        • You have engaged in a false parallelism. Conservatives are not to Liberals as Nazis are to Communists.

          Calling Conservatives Nazis indicates gross ignorance of Conservative Principle and poor judgement — not a good combination. Your failure of understanding probably stems from failing to realize that not all who claim the mantle of Conservative are actually conservative (see: RINO.)

          By declaring “a pox on both your houses” you are relegating yourself to the sidelines of the political debate, maintaining your supposed “purity” only by relinquishing any opportunity to have an effect (see T Roosevelt, “In the Arena”). You disdain cloth AND disposable as imperfect solutions while overlooking the reality: the baby needs changing.

          • Y’know, I wasn’t actually intending any parallelism – just to point out a commonality – although on second reading, I can see how you might have easily read it that way.

            But you can drop the Nazis (who, in any case, more properly belong to the left) and the Communists entirely from consideration. and just say – with reference only to modern, mainstream, US political groupings – that the common factor between conservatives (even many of the “small-government” kind) and liberals and moderates and independents, between Republicans and Democrats, etc., is “that all of them deem themselves and their ideas so all-fired important that they can help themselves to other people’s lives, liberties and properties”, and be completely accurate, ’cause all of them have some desirable use or another in mind for government-as-an-instrumentality-of-coercion. (Which would be where the statist moniker comes from.)

            On the other hand, over here, we consider a tiny, tiny non-voluntarist government a necessary evil at best, preferably soon to become an unnecessary evil, and then to be buried six feet down with a stake through its heart – and politics, the unlovely process by which factions compete to decide who gets to be in charge of said instrumentality, can be chucked right in there with it.

            These are pretty much diametrically opposed and irreconcilable views.

            Which more or less points out that any alliance is only useful insofar as we get something out of it, and what would that be? When the left are in power, Leviathan grows. When the right are in power, Leviathan grows. When the center are in power… well, you get the picture.

            You can’t relinquish what you never had, and in terms of achieving our first core goal of stripping down our grotesque, overbearing, illegitimate, tyrannical, unethical, morally unconscionable bloatocracy of a government into a minimalist necessary-evil-only rights-and-contract-enforcement machine, whatever opportunities to affect the political debate strategic political alliances give us appear to be about as useful as shipping bottled water to Atlantis.

            (Certainly enough so to make writing off the political arena and slugging it out in the realm of culture and ideas look like a much better plan.)

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Huge portions of the public don’t see it that way. They see the media denigrating anyone on the “Right” (actually, as Sarah said, anyone to the Right of Lenin), and then repeat the pap they have been fed. Look at the way Tim Tebow has been treated, compared to Jason Collins. Tim Tebow is portrayed as a weirdo for taking a moment to pray after a good play, such as a touchdown, while Collins is lauded as a Hero for coming out as gay.

      • Yep. Exactly. And those who are keeping quiet will just get angrier.

      • Perhaps regionalisms are in play. Here in Texas I’ve not heard the first bad word about either of them (except for some “Tebow fatigue” for him being in the press so much)

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Well, yeah – you’re in Texas. I don’t see it as much here in Kentucky, either, but it’s more prevalent than I would like, and MUCH more so in the city.

          Still, my wife (who gets all her news from the MSM) barely heard anything about the abortion doctor from hell, Kermit Gosnell, and thought that Mitch McConnell should be investigated for planning how to defeat his opposition, instead of the people who bugged his office.

          • Sure. Blue Team Zombie Voter Army is Blue Team Zombie Voter Army. But pace Claire Wolfe, I don’t *quite* think we’re at “that awkward phase” yet.

    • When I see intelligent people my age, “well-schooled” at that, get their information from the milk of the media and experts instead of the meat of doing the research themselves, regardless of the conclusions they determine, I am less sanguine about how we’re doing on all fronts.

    • William O. B'Livion

      libertarians winning the arguments.

      Really?

      That’s why we just had a *huge* s*t fight in Denver, Connecticut and New York where we got even more useless gun laws (some of which the people who wrote them ADMITTED would not do anything about gun violence) were crammed down our throat, and in D.C. where we *barely* avoided that? In California they’re >< this far from banning anything that ISN'T a hunting firearm?

      That's why right now they're implementing "Obama Care", which will make it almost impossible for free agents to afford health care?

      That's why in Colorado right now our "Democratic" law makers are cramming down a voter fraud bill. Not as in a bill to prevent voter fraud, a bill that will GUARANTEE that they can generate the results they want. ( http://freebeacon.com/overhauling-the-vote/ )

      That's why at the federal level we're arguing over whether we ought to let 30 million felons (aka "undocumented democratic voters"), largely from cultures where socialism, fascism, communitarianism or other sort of top down wealth transfer mindset is the rule, become citizens…Oh, wait, free immigration and open boarders IS the libertarian position. Talk about a suicide pact.

      Yeah, libertarians might be winning the arguments, but the government isn't listening. The schools (but I repeat myself) aren't listening.

      • Far as I can see, Libertarians “win” arguments, and then everybody else goes along as they were. Most common method of winning is that the other side realizes that any further effort is wasted and leaves. Depending on the libertarian, that may be just after they explain what they believe. (Sorry, no, you don’t get to FORCE everyone else to do what you want in the name of being “free.” People are allowed to disapprove, and you do NOT have the right to jump into the middle of their areas and get your freak on.)

        It sucks, because I’m sympathetic to libertarian theory, but it’s not much good to work with a libertarian group because they’ll stab you in the back the second that you aren’t perfectly in line with what they want. (Note: libertarian GROUPS. Individual libertarians run the range from flipping anarchists that can make deals– of the “bargains with elves” sort— to totalitarians that like sex without consequences and/or pot. The ones I get along with tend to be just minimalist gov’t sorts, and/or idealists.)

      • The big problem in Colorado is that a few counties (Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, Jefferson, Boulder, Larimer & Weld) have almost 90% of the population, and pretty well control everything. The rest of the state may not want to do what the Democrats in those eight urban/suburban counties want, but doesn’t have the political clout to do anything about it. That’s also why five of Colorado’s nine Representatives are “D”, and both Senators. And yep, there’s a lot of influence from California in the state. Definitely time to move on…

        • That is actually the case in most blue states, at least those west of the Mississippi, I’m not as familiar with county demographics back East. Even the Californians we all cuss, if you went by county, the majority of California counties go red.

        • Go west, my friend! It’s lovely just across the border. If I can survive the transition from Sacramento to here, surely coming from CO wouldn’t be too bad. Plus you can help us boo Orrin Hatch at the 4th of July parade! 😀

          But seriously, if I and mine can help any of the Huns or Hoydens relocate to freer places, we’d love to.

        • NO, d*mn it. When I moved here 20 years ago, this state was libertarian. Now TX is getting invaded by the left. No. At some point we stand and fight — even if hopefully not physically. Besides, I wanted to live in Denver since before I knew where it was. Hey, CO legislature, THESE ARE MY MIDDLE FINGERS.

          • Well, I left on state for it, I ain’t movin’ any more. There is a saying about cornering a bear, I don’t recall it exactly, but it boils down to this: DON’T.

            • I’m not a bear. I’m a badger. Or what Pratchett calls a “Bottle covey.” The publishing industry found out what happens when I’m cornered. (Well, not fully yet, but oh, they will.) That should serve as a warning, but it won’t.

              • I am more afraid of badgers than bears (and I am very cautious with bears) 😉

                • I’m more afraid of moose than either one. I’m not really afraid of anything in the wild around here, though moose would come closest. That doesn’t mean I plan on backing any of them into a corner.

                • redwall.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Badgers‎
                  Badgers are large beasts with long lifespans, immense strength, and a tremendous sense of honor…

                  Long lifespan? Considering circumstances of birth and other times should have died, check.

                  Immense strength? Physical — enduring two pregnancies and assorted other stresses … Character — holding to values and principles in spite of ample temptation to sell out, check.

                  Tremendous sense of honor? Ah, well there you have me.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                Heh. One of my friends just yesterday posted a picture of the cover of one of the Redwall books, which has a badger holding a sword.

    • In my case part of the despair is because that beclowning of selves that they are doing – like the recent fake “rape culture” hoax and many fake racial incidents before – is borne in part of desperation, and in part because they are being told over and over again that things are NOT desperate, that all the sensible people agree with them (and you can watch John Stewart forget his rare mockery of Obama from a week before to lick the presidents shoes when the guy shows up on the show… who gives a damn about facts, it’s those stupid ignert conservatives who are the hatey haters!)

      We see people talk openly of kids belonging to the community – not their parents – and CPS kidnapping kids away because the parents leave a hospital to get a second opinion..

      We see states forming de-facto gun registries, and now passing laws to confiscate guns from those who have ended up on other lists due to accusations (not convictions) of domestic violence, PTSD, etc. I think of the Sov Union and how they tagged dissidents as insane, and i shudder.

      Things are getting desperate and polarized.

  2. we need a leader and to break down their firewall i.e. media.

  3. Statists– I really hate that word. It might as well be saying stagnant when the opposite is very true. We would be in better economical health if we were closer to the Constitutional principles… which is saying conservative. Face it– the libertarians have been infiltrated by the liberal left.

    • Sweetie — Statists are NOT what you are painting there. Constitutional principles ARE NOT “Statist” — no one said that ever (even crazy libs.) In fact, they now call constitutional principles “Crazy libertarian.”
      Libertarians with a capital L — ie the party — haven’t been infiltrated, they’ve just become single issue — usually drugs, sometimes pacifism — they’re irrelevant.
      The small l libertarians are people like me.
      “Strong conservatives” as I have met them, to the extent they exist, want “morality laws.” I’m perfectly willing to discuss abortion being made illegal (Or murder being made legal) because there’s something to discuss there. I’m not willing to go to “You kissed your boyfriend in public, that’s a misdemeanor” — and if you think things wouldn’t go that way… they always do. Portugal pre-revolution was a “moral” dictatorship and things always get a little nuts. They didn’t have jail terms for showing leg (thank G-d) but they DID have jail terms for swearing in public.
      When we say “Statists” we MEAN THAT. “People who think the state is the solution.” Whether they think it’s the economic solution or the moral solution, it’s wrong. And by state, in the US we mean “government” NOT what I think you’re thinking “state power.”
      I.e. I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

      • Sarah, some of us consider ourselves “strong conservatives” but we are not social conservatives but fiscal conservatives and economic freedom conservatives. We just don’t adhere to enough libertarian ideological purity to be willing to call ourselves Libertarian.

        • Well, that’s where we go “small l” — it’s more or less my position. The people I hear claiming the label “strong conservative” are uniformly of the “let’s stop impurity on the streets” — and that is stuff that is almost impossible to legislate or enforce, and leads to crazy stuff.

          My mom tells a true story of hearing two street vendors, during the time it was illegal to swear in public. One of them is being led away by a policeman and crying, and she calls out to her friend, “Maria, tell my children I was I was arrested?” “Why are you being arrested?” “For saying sh*t” “F*ck, for that little?” At which point she too got arrested…

          • Jeff Gauch

            I describe it as “Either the libertarian wing of the Republican party, or the sane wing of the Libertarian party, depending on the phase of the moon.”

            Mostly I align with the Cluestick party. As in, I’d like to hit everyone in DC with one (Denver just needs a good neutron bombing).

            • I have FRIENDS in Denver. Also, there’s a very good diner. How about the CO LEGISLATURE?

              • Jeff Gauch

                My sister’s up there. Don’t mind me, between work and the news coming out of CO I’m in a bit of a mood. I really wish I had a lawn so I could yell at some kids to stay off it.

                • My lawn is dead. See post on “In my Copious Spare time” and keep in mind the rest of the family is at least as busy (and Dan busier than) as I am.

                  “Hey kids, stay off my dirt with ants” just doesn’t cut it.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    You could try astroturf…

                    • It would be about 6k to install convincing one. NOT that I haven’t considered it. They just slapped water restrictions on us…

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Ah, you see, I haven’t had enough coffee yet (and I’m drinking non-caffeinated tea today, anyway) to make a serious suggestion. I was talking about the cheapo stuff that’s like 1 inch long and stiff as pine needles. Totally cheesy.

                    • Pretty pebbles. With weedcloth under them if you think that would be a problem. Xeriscaping!

                      On Fri, May 3, 2013 at 9:16 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                      > ** > accordingtohoyt commented: “It would be about 6k to install convincing > one. NOT that I haven’t considered it. They just slapped water restrictions > on us…” >

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Japanese Rock Garden, maybe?

                      OR… simulated Moonscape… (Yeah, me with no caffeine is bad)

                    • Sweetie, any rock/sand garden will suffer from the Not-our-cat’s er… additions.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      It’s generally better to just ignore me when I’m uncaffeinated. Trying to explain when I’m in that state is just a waste of time and energy. 🙂

                      Besides, by now I’ve devolved into smart-alec comments disguised as suggestions. 😉

                      Truly, given your lack of free time, and your comments above about wanting to do flower beds, but the difficulty in getting topsoil delivered, I have no useful suggestions, because all of the things I’ve thought of require more time and effort.

                    • Cover it with cement.

                    • Part of the issue is that the only thing that grows here are weeds and even those don’t grow well. Our house is in an area known as “rock bowl” — i.e. we have ALMOST no soil. What I want to do is make flower beds, with little grass paths. (Pebbles are expensive, get very hot and I don’t LIKE their look.) The plants on the flowerbeds would be from high country gardens and I’d pick a low water lawn, because anything else is a fool’s bet here, but…

                      My big issue is that while I can buy soil for a reasonable amount, getting a dump truck on our street, or getting them to dump a pile of soil somewhere (we don’t have alley access) would be… er…

                    • What you want are raised bed gardens. Easiest method is to get some landscape timbers, do minimal work to get them to lie flat on your ground (might want to dig down an inch or so to set them in) and fill them with soil. If budget allows, set soaker/drip hoses into the soil about an inch below surface. Top with weedcloth and mulch, insert plants, hope for the best.

                      A more elaborate process involves renting a tiller and excavating a foot or more (I dug a set of beds down to the three foot level, but I was younger, stupider and much more energetic then) and put a layer of horse manure in (usually available from neighborhood stables at minimal fees; the one I bought mixed their manure with cedar sawdust for composting) top with dirt and then several inches of topsoil. Use 4X4s spiked to hold them together for the frame. or ues stakes to hold 1X6s in place for the frames (or go internetting for “cold frame gardening”), top with weedcloth, mulch, insert plants. Don’t forget your soaker hose.

                      This process is essentially setting flower pots into your lawn. Fill the area between beds with weedcloth covered in pebbles and/or mulch. If you go the cold frame route you can get planting started much sooner and prolong the growing season past early freezes.

                      It is labor intensive initially but very low effort afterward, mainly because by the time you have proper raised beds built you are sick of the whole d**** thing and want nothing more to do with it.

                    • Pallets can make good starts for raised beds.

                    • oooh. and there’s free beds, and free horse manure on craigslist ALL the time. We just need a “fishing” truck to transport stuff in.

                    • You might check to see if your local..um…water treatment location makes fertilizer.

                      My neighbor’s brother is making pallet raised beds with, um, nightsoil compost to sell, that’s how I know about the pallet idea.

                      For those wondering how they do it: pick the side with the fewest blocks and pull the boards off. Remove the blocks that aren’t on the side. Use the boards you just removed to make it a box– if you have two left over, cut them in half and nail these half-boards to the side, gives you a frame for hot-boxing. Or you can have multiple of various depths.

                    • snelson134

                      So pave it in green concrete….

                    • Get that $6/yard green plastic carpeting. ^.^

                    • Rob Crawford

                      “Our house is in an area known as “rock bowl” — i.e. we have ALMOST no soil.”

                      I’m convinced most of the country has no soil. Here, if you drag your foot along the ground, you cut through the topsoil into clay.

                      I’m still pissed at Illinois. When I was in college they dug a pit for a basement/foundation on campus, about 15-20′ deep, and it was near-black topsoil all the way down. And at the highest point in the county, to boot.

                    • It does make me mad that the best farming soil is covered over in places like Southern California– that place used to be covered in orange groves. *sigh

                    • I can grow stuff in clay. The area I come from is white clay. This has nothing — JUST ROCK.

                    • Dorothy Grant

                      Well, if it’s transporting the soil that’s a problem – hey, you have kids in college, they know other starving college kids, and somebody has to have a truck that constantly gets borrowed for moving… It’s a lot less per load than a dump truck, but sometimes you can pay ’em in pizza and beer…

                    • Dorothy Grant

                      Wayne – I don’t think she would like astroturf, not really. I mean, all those paid progressive operatives trapped to hold still and be the lawn, they’d end up dying from lack of food or water (she certainly wouldn’t provide any without pay!), and that would stink worse than the catboxes.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Well, at least then she would have something to fertilize the flower beds with… 🙂

                    • ROFL. That could have entertainment value. A lot of OWSers all over the front yard, and Greebo peeing on them.

                    • Raised beds actually require more water, so they might not be what you are looking for. I vote you go with Foxfier’s suggestion and get ‘astrocarpet’, low budget and low maintenance.

                    • You could look up Hugulkultur. It is sort of a raised bed with rotted wood as a substrate to hold moisture. It is supposed to be the best thing to come along since rocket stoves, but mine is not doing doing much except looking like I buried Jimmy Hoffa in the back yard.

                    • Looking like I buried Jimmy Hoffa in the front yard (our back yard is two feet wide) could be interesting. It would scare the neighbors…

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Hmm… I could really freak people out by renting a small backhoe and digging up and refilling a bunch of holes to look like graves. I have two acres. That would let me do a bunch of digging. Problem is, it’s all front yard. My back yard, while bigger than that, is still only about 15-30 (it’s wider at one end) feet wide.

                  • Jeff Gauch

                    My mom is rather upset that her tenants on the north side allowed the lawn to die, so you’re not alone. I recommend green spray paint. Concrete works as well.

            • Please give me a bit of windage by offsetting the aim point a bit.

      • As a “strong conservative”, I don’t believe in jail time for public displays of affection. Wearing white after Labor Day …that I could see as a misdemeanor.

        • Or those toe shoes that are absolutely repulsive? Yeah…

          • Under Obamacare it will eventually be necessary to require all women (and men, I s’pose) wear flats. The demonstrated increases in back and foot problems impose expensive medical costs which sensible people should not be forced to underwrite.

            Perhaps a progressive tax on heel height to offset the associated costs would be necessary. Something along the lines of 5% for a two-inch heel, rising to 50% for six-inches?

            Come to think on it, given the medical expenses attendant on promiscuity …

          • snelson134

            I’ll settle for some people (and you’ve seen them at cons) being kept 5 miles away from Spandex on pain of pain.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Strangely, people wearing Spandex, no matter what they look like, doesn’t really bother me. Certain styles of dress, usually ones that show way too many acres (if you know what I mean) of skin, make me queasy if the wrong people are wearing them, but Spandex covers that, so it doesn’t trip the “ewww” trigger.

            • Wearing spandex when you are over a size 7 should be punishable by 6-9 months forced labor.

            • but then half of Kate’s con books would lose their… flair.

      • ‘k I am thinking stagnant– need more coffee– the little “l” libertarian vs the big “L” libertarian– I really think that the word libertarian is co-opted. Plus imho anyone (of any political stripe) who believes that the State should legislate morality (not the normal needed laws against murderers and thieves) should re-look at their politics. They are NOT conservative, libertarian, or constitutionalists. Because of the problem I see with the word libertarian (being co-opted) I prefer to refer to myself as a Constitutionalist. 😉 I should also check the definition before I rant. 😉

        • Yes, Statist is not “states rights” It’s “power to the government.” And though the right gets painted as ALL wanting to legislate morality (And those people have taken to calling themselves Strong Conservatives) they’re a very small faction. Weirdly I’m finding a LOT of people on the left want to legislate TRADITIONAL morality. Maybe not that weird. They also want to legislate my diet.

          libertarian might have been co-opted, but the entire language is upside down. Leninists shouldn’t be called “liberals.”

          If you want the proper term for me, I’m a minarchist — government should be small and limited to the essentials. In morality AND economics.

          • Well– that does make me a miniarchist too actually. I like small government. I see a break-down in my area because we can’t afford big-city ways, but our local government wants to supply big city stuff. Plus the world is upside down– If you defend yourself, you find yourself going to jail–

            • Because it’s easier to jail law-abiding people. Yep.

              Our city has art displays (also known as money for ugly statues and piles of metal) but turns off lights at night, because they’re broke. THIS is your government’s operation. Why would we want them to do more than “common defense” and absolutely essential jobs that people can’t do individually. (And there’s a lot we can do individually. I still say we privatize sidewalks!)

              • Well– shops are supposed to clean their own sidewalks (at least here and other places as well– I bet CA does the sidewalk cleaning there). OH that reminds me of CA and their money problems. We were on a small mountain road on the CA side (two lane) and a CA DOT truck was cleaning the road. It was a road going through a federal park with NO residents. Why? Why? would they clean that road.

                Anyway, let the businesses and the homeowners re-do their own sidewalks. Plus no nuisance law suits if someone gets hurt on that piece of sidewalk… sigh… why can’t people pay for their own stitches?

                • They were not cleaning off snow (it was in the summer) and they were not clearing out trees or avalanches– it was the same cleaning you see on a city street… cleaning the dust and pine needles. *sigh

                  • Crew was being paid to do that job whether it made sense or not. Might as well be thankful that at least they were performing a task instead of getting paid while parked along side the road kicking back and goofing off. As a matter of fact, state DOT workers actually working, should have gotten that on camera, rare event after all.

                • I don’t know about CA, but a lot of places shops are responsible for cleaning the sidewalks in front of them (even on platted streets, where they don’t own the sidewalk), then they are fined if they don’t keep them to spec. I don’t see that as a huge improvement.

              • I get that (jail law-abiding people). Soon even the law-abiding will be criminals (I bet that is the attitude now in most police stations).

                • Rather a common goal in many countries. Simply have so many conflicting laws that you can get someone on something no matter what. Then it’s all a matter of selective enforcement. So effectively the enforcing agency has absolute power and control over everyone. The statist sees this as the ultimate goal.

                • Kate Paulk

                  Soon? It’s already here. It’s “just” not enforced. Yet.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                Don’t get me started on our neighbor to the north (Cincinnati, not Canada), who is laying off cops and firefighters to cover their budget shortfall, but is still planning on building a Streetcar, so that, in 20 years or so, after it’s all in place, it will start generating tax revenue from the increased business along the route.

                • Rob Crawford

                  Yeah, but Over-the-Rhine is gentrifying, so it’s all good. Right?

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    Ow, that makes my head hurt.

                    • Rob Crawford

                      I’m still trying to figure out which genius decided it was a good idea to shut down a brewpub in order to put in an arts magnet school.

                    • SBA? Stoopid brainwashed administrators?

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Where the H*ll did they do THAT?

                    • Right, the school would have provided a lot of business for the pub (art school would have provided even more for a microbrewery, because the beer is more ‘natural’), so obviously that is what we need to take out. *headdesk*

                    • Rob Crawford

                      “Where the H*ll did they do THAT?”

                      Oh, God, this was four, five years ago. The brewpub was Barrelhouse, at 12th and Jackson. It was just two blocks from work, so we got there on occasion for lunch. It’s now the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

                      At least Scotti’s is still there.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Crap. My older son was thinking about going to school there.

                      If you’re that close, you should get together with Sanford and me, sometime. I have met up with him once, but haven’t been able to get anywhere in the past couple of months, because of time and money, but it was nice to meet someone in person.

                    • Yes, we must get together. I arrive in Ohio in three weeks 🙂

                      On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 9:57 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                      > ** > Wayne Blackburn commented: “Crap. My older son was thinking about going > to school there. If you’re that close, you should get together with Sanford > and me, sometime. I have met up with him once, but haven’t been able to get > anywhere in the past couple of months, because of time a” >

                    • Is Ohio coming out the other end of liberal insanity, now? Because the weather sucks, but what the heck…

                    • No. It is like amoebic dysentery, malaria and certain STDs — once you’ve gotten it you have it forever, but it will go into remission and with proper care symptoms can be minimized.

                    • Rob Crawford

                      Ohio’s schizophrenic, politically. Outside the city cores, it’s socially conservative. In the southeast corner it used to be reliably Democrat because of unions, but they are/were COAL MINER unions. Some of those unions were marching for Romney last election.

                      Add in the potential for shale and the Democrat obstructionism of the same, and things start getting really confused.

                    • And I have read in the last few days a comment that of course the cities are the blue parts — outside them, you don’t get to meet so many people.

              • Part of that is an issue of the budgeting process. Funds for certain programs come from one part of the budget (e.g., asset acquisition) while other government obligations, such as operating costs, would be from a different budget category, one which might be depleted by rising prices.

                There are sound and valid reasons for government employing these principles — but most gummints make their allocations of resources for idiotic and invalid reasons.

          • Where does a Ratinal Anarchist fit in?

          • Most people I know who consider themselves “strong conservatives” are really Constitutionalists, but since that word has come to mean nutjob, they don’t label themselves that way, and while they are truly ‘small l’ libertarian, their personal beliefs are conservative, and they don’t want to be grouped in with the ‘if we all sit in a circle and pass the bong around while singing kumbaya offkey, we’ll achieve world peace’ Libertarians.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Right. “Statist” doesn’t mean “Static”, it means “Power to the State”, with the meaning of State being “Government, and all the supporting parties thereof.”

      • William O. B'Livion

        usually drugs, sometimes pacifism — they’re irrelevant.

        Drug legalization and elimination of taxes.

  4. I’ve always thought that the push for gun control was mostly based in feelings of “sticking it” to gun owners – that it was largely motivated by animosity towards a subculture that the gun control believers hated.

    This was largely confirmed for me during the recent months when I saw a lot of gun control activists comments that were explicit statements of the sort: “We need to ban guns and round all of you gun owners up.” It became confirmed that the motivations had nothing to do with reducing crime but about eliminating groups of hated people.

  5. In that first paragraph, I do hope it’s not your brain that is “almost out.” As for speaking out, I am beginning to, I find I can’t help it. Teh stupid, it makes my brain hurt. Since I posted my review of the Redneck Manifesto on my blog (and will be interested tonight to see what my grade on it is, since it was a Cultural Anthropology book review) I have noted that it is the post that gets consistent hits every day. A very small, resonant note.

    • Rob Crawford

      I was framing a reply to SPQR’s 10:53, but then I saw your comment and read your review. My thoughts seem to apply to both:

      This last round of gun control hysteria, I saw the same cultural bigotry, and saw a shocking (to me) willingness by gun grabbers to use terms like “crackers” and “rednecks”. I took it as racial, but perhaps it’s “just” cultural.

      I’m not ashamed to say it’s scary as all hell.

  6. I understand the urge by libertarians to say “A pox on both your houses…” but the problem is that pox is communicable …
    Libertarians need to realize that they need political allies to achieve political goals.

  7. The analogy that occurs to me is that I know Christians who are confident that, as an atheist who has no desire for “salvation,” I am destined for Hell and eternal torment, and who have no problem with praising and worshipping the God who, in their belief, ordained this—but who are still, observably, decent human beings. I count a few of them as friends; I get along with others whom I’m not so close to.

    • I have a bunch of atheist friends. Of course I don’t believe they’re going to H*ll because I think G-d is better than that…

      • Glad someone is in my corner …

      • I think it depends on how you comprehend H*ll to be constituted.

        I think it is to continue knowing there is a G*d, whose love you’ve rejected.

        Of course, a lot of the “saved” will be there too, for the same reason. Just because you “worship” G*d does not mean you haven’t been engaged in idolatry.

        • I found a saying in reading, actually Greek Orthodox theology that I very much like “The doors of h-ll are locked from the inside.”

          • Beloved Spouse will like that one!

            It brings to mind Narnia’s Last Battle, after which the dwarfes sat quietly insisting they wouldn’t be fooled.

            Children of the Light (You Are the Light of the World)
            Rev. G. Bradford Hall
            [SNIP]
            The last of the seven books is appropriately entitled, The Last Battle (Revelation?). In this chronicle, the evil characters are Narnian dwarfs. They are dark and gloomy folk, with sneering grins, who distrust the whole world. The basic issue is that they have chosen to live in darkness, refusing to see the good around them, refusing to believe that Aslan can bring God’s light into their lives and world. So, they live in misery, squalor, and self-imposed darkness.

            Near the end of the story, some of the children who follow Aslan go out into a field where the dwarfs live. They want to make friends; they want to help them see the light and the beauty of the world which surrounds them.

            When they arrived, they noticed that the dwarfs have a very odd look and were huddled together in a circle facing inward, paying attention to nothing. As the children drew near, they were aware that the dwarfs couldn’t see them. “Where are you ?” asks one of the children. “We’re in here you bone-head,” said Diggle the dwarf, “in this pitch-black, poky, smelly little hole of a stable.”

            “Are you blind?” asks another child. “No,” respond the dwarfs, “we’re here in the dark where no one can see.”

            “But it isn’t dark, you poor dwarfs,” says Lucy, “look up, look round, can’t you see the sky and flowers – can’t you see me?” Then Lucy bends over, picks some wild violets, and says, “perhaps you can smell these.” But the dwarf jumps back into his darkness and yells, “How dare you shove that filthy stable litter in my face.” He cannot even smell the beauty which surrounds him.

            Suddenly the earth trembles. The sweet air of the field grows sweeter and a brightness flashes behind them. The children turn and see that Aslan, the great lion himself, has appeared. They greet him warmly and then Lucy, through her tears, asks, “Aslan, can you do something for these poor dwarfs?”

            Aslan approaches the dwarfs who are huddled in their darkness and he growls. They think it is someone in the stables trying to frighten them. Then Aslan shakes his mane and sets before the dwarfs a magnificent feast of food. The dwarfs grab the food in the darkness, greedily consuming it, but they cannot taste its goodness. One thinks he is eating hay, another an old rotten turnip. In a moment, they are fighting and quarreling among themselves as usual. Aslan turns and leaves them in their misery.

            They children are dismayed. Even the great Aslan cannot bring them out of their self-imposed darkness. “They will not let us help them,” says Aslan. Their prison is only in their minds and they are so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out. “But come now children,” says Aslan, “we have other work to do,” and they leave the dwarfs alone in their miserable world.

            These chronicles of Narnia reflect an ancient way of presenting truth through stories – using allegory. Allegorical stories help us see, through ordinary events, another higher level of truth. In this tale, the earthly lion, Aslan, represents the heavenly resurrected Christ who brings hope and life and light into the world.

            What the children of Narnia discover, to their dismay, is that everyone has a choice… to see and respond to that light or to sit in self-imposed darkness unwilling to see the beauty which surrounds them, to smell the violets held under their nose or eat of delights of God’s table set before them.

            We all know people like this who live in the dark. It is a lesson Lucy, Edmund, and the other children will carry with them as they return home through the magical door which separates the mystical kingdom of Narnia from their very ordinary earthly home. It’s a lesson we must all eventually learn as we walk through the shadowy valleys of life.

            There’s a powerful Victorian hymn that for some sound theological reasons didn’t make it into our hymnal, but it does reflect the difficult truth about dwarfs and the possibility of choosing to live in light or darkness once and for all.

            Once to every man and nation
            comes the moment to decide.
            In the strife of truth with falsehood
            for the good or evil side.
            Some great cause, God’s new Messiah
            offering each the bloom or blight.
            And the choice goes by forever
            twixt that darkness and that light.

            [SNIP]

            http://cslewis.drzeus.net/papers/light.html

  8. Anent: “Good” tyrannists…. I just started reading the Patterson biography of RAH and am finding myself shocked — shocked — that RAH considered himself a progressive and a socialist while he was still in the Navy. Didn’t he know that progressivism was/is a stalking horse for all manner of statist evils?

    A lot of people then and now agree with his take on democracy (“Democracy is rule by counting the runny noses of the general population and deciding how to run a country that uses nuclear power? And this makes sense… how?”) without understanding or admitting to the knowledge problem and what we lately have come to understand as the wisdom of crowds — individuals each acting in their OWN interests and NOT trying to lord it over the whole human race.

    But that’s almost a tangent.

    I’ve taken lately to warning my “We aren’t voting ourselves out of this mess” friends that, “YOU will not survive the zombie apocalypse. The surest way to ensure your surviving the end of civilization is to prevent it.”

    Yeah. It’ll be hard work. Yeah, we may not live to see it. Yeah, the end result may be sub-optimal from our perspective. BUT… You. Do. Not. Want. To. See. Civilizational. Collapse. Trust me on this. It will not be as neat and pretty as you fantasize it will be.

    M

    • Heinlein also defined democracy as “How the h*ll did we get in this mess?!?”

      • “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

        • Oriented Strand Board, anyone?

          • People have the awkward tendency to run away or shirk if you try that on them.

            • Its the need to run them through the chipper and subject them to thousands of pounds of pressure and high heat to cure the glue.
              It showed such promise too.

            • No. Homophobic. “Oriented!” 😛

              • Actually proper OSB is oriented in all directions. Each layer has to be oriented in a different direction so the “grain” does not reduce the stiffness in any single direction. The surface layers are set randomly.
                Unless you mean oriented as in ” I think I ‘m turning Japanese”

                • I’ve always found OSB to be most improper myself, probably because it is going off in all directions.

                  • Then it would be better to call it disoriented strand board?
                    When I first heard of OSB I was really excited because I was envisioning the mills breaking the wood down into fibers and using some sort of electrophoresis or antibody attatchment to lay the fibers down in order so the glue could hold them together. I was sad when I found out it was just tiny bits of veneer, mechanically sorted.

                • Bob — I was joking. As in, you used the word “Oriented!” you’re homophobic. You know like using “black hole” makes you racist…

                  • nonono, I got that. I’m just more interested in forest products and pop tunes by the Vapors.
                    I’m slow in responding because I was planting the garden and canning rhubarb. Spring has arrived!

                    • I need to do something about my alleged garden.

                    • Dorothy Grant

                      I broke down and went and planted half my seedlings in a cold rain this morning, because I was finally uninjured enough to handle the shovel that long. The rain slacked off a little, then came back as the temperature dropped below 45 degrees. Maybe they’ll survive, maybe they won’t, but I tried.

                      The other half – next week, maybe, if I get to them. The mint will survive, even if nothing else will.

              • I read that as from the Orient, thus racist. Although more likely it is both.

              • Oriented is racists, of course, because some people are called Orientals.

                To be sure that’s because of the common origin, which is orient mean “where the sun rises.” The opposite of occident, where the sun sets — and yes, most of us (all of us?) are Occidentals.

                A sample of the original usage:

                Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
                Lifts up his burning head, each under eye
                Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
                Serving with looks his sacred majesty;
                And having climb’d the steep-up heavenly hill,
                Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
                Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,
                Attending on his golden pilgrimage;
                But when from highmost pitch, with weary car,
                Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day,
                The eyes, ‘fore duteous, now converted are
                From his low tract and look another way:
                So thou, thyself out-going in thy noon,
                Unlook’d on diest, unless thou get a son.

    • Rob Crawford

      “I’ve taken lately to warning my “We aren’t voting ourselves out of this mess” friends that, “YOU will not survive the zombie apocalypse. The surest way to ensure your surviving the end of civilization is to prevent it.””

      I admit to getting as angry at the “let it burn” types as I am at the leftists.

      Our jobs, as adults, is to keep the Four Horsemen AWAY FROM OUR FAMILIES. It is not to invite them to a dinner party.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      You. Do. Not. Want. To. See. Civilizational. Collapse.

      *sigh* YES. And yet, practically nothing will convince the guy who thinks that having 5 years worth of food and ammo will keep him from having to see much of the downside.

      Some of these people need to read Lucifer’s Hammer.

      • Rob Crawford

        Or read some history.

        Someday I hope to visit the town of Calleva Atrebatum. At least, the site where it once was.

        • Dorothy Grant

          Thanks, Rob!

          Never heard of that town until you mentioned it – now it’s one more interesting thing to ponder, and find any research as it comes out.

    • snort

      I remember a recent discussion where someone explained the difference between conservatives and liberals in that conservatives were ready for a zombie apocalypse and liberals were ready for Utopia. The liberals sneered at the very notion that we weren’t more like the later than the former.

  9. I was sitting around with some guys… they would be, I expect, moderately conservative and/or evangelical. One of them mentioned off hand how if the government checks failed to come in the mail in the big cities, that everything would collapse into chaos and riots.

    I was insulted by this fantasy. In the first place, I do not underestimate the capacity of well armed red necks to create systematic order from the bottom up. In the second place… the idea that we prop up a significant chunk of our society under the threat of such violence. If *that’s* true, that is all the more reason stop the checks. (Heck… I thought we doled out unearned wealth under a system of perverse incentives because we were just such *nice* people.)

    The people around me did not appreciate my scoffing at them. (Yet another example of me *not* winning friends and influencing people.) They assumed that the rioters would simply run rough shod over the entire country because *we* are so nice that none of us would pull the trigger if it came down to it. The way I see it, us “nice” people are irrelevant in this scenario. Maybe I’m unimaginative, but I just can’t see people of Ulster Scot extraction that haven’t been to college standing down.

    Goodness gracious. Your typical nice middle-class working person sees themselves as helpless and sees the majority of Americans as being capable of turning into unstoppable zombies at the drop of a hat. Where exactly would they pick up such ideas…?!

    • “Goodness gracious. Your typical nice middle-class working person sees themselves as helpless and sees the majority of Americans as being capable of turning into unstoppable zombies at the drop of a hat. Where exactly would they pick up such ideas…?!

      From Democrats themselves.

        • What scares me most is that it is effectively a religious precept.

          If I argue that people are actually better than that… and that they’re capable of so much more… suddenly I’m like Theoden at Saurman’s tower. And all anyone can think is how uncouth *I* am. Jeffro is a big meany and all that….

    • Rob Crawford

      “In the second place… the idea that we prop up a significant chunk of our society under the threat of such violence. If *that’s* true, that is all the more reason stop the checks.”

      You’ve never heard this as an explicit argument FOR the dole? I have.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      There IS more truth to that scenario than you might think at first glance.

      If/When checks don’t show up, on a large scale, first there will be marches, and if those don’t produce anything, there will be looting, on a scale to make the Rodney King riots look insignificant. In THIS instance, unlike then, when people start fighting back, like the Korean shop owners who started shooting people trying to loot their stores, the looters will start shooting back, and when leaving the stores, they will torch them as payback.

      Police will be ineffective, but they WILL stand in the way of your rednecks coming in to restore the peace, which will allow it to continue unchecked until either it breaks out into the suburbs, or Martial Law is declared. If it is allowed to break out into the suburbs, it will really escalate, until it does become chaos, though at that point, the gun-owning majority will be able to assert itself. I really don’t know how martial law would play out in that scenario.

      • The rednecks will be able to contain it — the police can’t stop them from keeping the violent out of the countryside.

        Ugly though it would be.

        • There is every likelihood that the police would succeed in stopping them from coming in from the outside to restore order, most would probably turn around at the barricades and go home to protect their own, unless they had family or friends in there that they knew were in trouble. If however the police try to stop them from protecting their own, well there will shortly be less police to do the stopping. A fair number of police will go home to protect THEIR own, which means even less police to do the stopping, of either the rednecks or the looters. From there we have two possible scenarios, a) if it stays on a local level (meaning however widespread, the problems are localized, without national ‘solutions’ being brought in) then the rednecks may be able to either bottle up the troublemakers and smack a cork over them, or simply smash the bottle and spread the troublemakers so thin that they evaporate away; or b) if a national solution is decided to be needed (like martial law) well then it is going to all drop in the pot, and as Sarah said, we will all be ankle deep in blood. Now in a) there will be local areas ankle deep in blood, particularly if they bottle up the problem, but they will be localized and not spread into a national conflict.

          • The mobs would not be undead zombies that just keep coming. Groups of armed readnecks with any kind of property to protect would have far higher morale. I’d expect roving mobs to break up or flee at the first sign of coherent resistance– they’d have a lot of incentive to move on to easier pickings.

            • Yes, that would be evaporate. But only if National assets weren’t brought in to stop the rednecks from breaking them up. Zero tolerance anyone?

              • Then let us encourage the armed forces to remember the invalidity of the Nuremberg Defense.

                • I’m not overly worried about the regular military, they tend much more conservative and constitutional, worst case scenario they split and fight amongst themselves, best case they come in on our side against the government, most likely they are aggressively neutral and sit it out. I just don’t see them obeying orders from people who constantly publicly insult and denigrate them, when the orders are to break their oath and kill friends and family. It is OTHER armed forces that worry me.
                  Remember Obama stating we need a nonmilitary armed force of equal strength to the military?
                  No I don’t think he’ll get it, I think he vastly underestimates the strength of the military, I also don’t think either side gets the entire (or even a large part of) the force of the military unless NBC’s come into play. If it boils over into a hot war I suspect it may spiral into a bloodier mess than our last internal war, because while I suspect we win, without the military wholeheartedly backing one side or the other, nobody has enough overwhelming force to MAKE the other side surrender without overwhelming casualties.

                  • Yes, and it was all talk. He can not train military virtues into his voters because their votes are based on the lack thereof.

                    • No. It’s a pipe dream. He honestly has no clue what HUMANS are like, the result of a stupendously bad upbringing and probably mild aspergers. So, he thinks he can do this stuff.

              • I actually read in the last month, a comment by a woman in some news article where she complained about an alleged movement in the armed forces centered on pledging to defend the Constitution even from the President. I did bring up the Nuremberg Defense.

                • Umm, yep they do, it is that oath they take when join, “to defend against all enemies, foreign or domestic.” That movement succeeded a couple centuries ago, apparently she is a little behind on current events.

                  • I swore the same when I took my naturalization oath. “The words I said and spake it; what those words do make it; that I believe and take it” — if I’m allowed to mangle Elizabeth the I weaseling on the subject of the transubstantiation.

          • If the rednecks cut off the trucks, the police would starve like everyone else.

      • If/When checks don’t show up, on a large scale, first there will be marches, and if those don’t produce anything, there will be looting, on a scale to make the Rodney King riots look insignificant. In THIS instance, unlike then, when people start fighting back, like the Korean shop owners who started shooting people trying to loot their stores, the looters will start shooting back, and when leaving the stores, they will torch them as payback.

        9/11 might actually have had some tiny good come of it; a lot of stores are now giving classes on how to defend the location, and there are at least three TV shows about active resistance. This doesn’t mean a MAJORITY of locations will become fatally resistant to looters, but once folks tip into “fighting is the better option” the risk/reward for the rioters will change, which will give some advantage back to the defenders.

        I really do think folks will be shocked to find out how many people have weapons, from guns to knives to “Oh, this old worn out and shockingly sharp screwdriver that is about two feet long? It’s handy for stuff I don’t want to damage GOOD weapons with” and “See, it’s a pipe wrench– a length of pipe to give you better leverage.”

        • Wayne Blackburn

          “See, it’s a pipe wrench– a length of pipe to give you better leverage.”

          Um… you do know that’s not what a pipe wrench is, right?
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_wrench

          • That is what we always called a ‘cheater pipe.’

          • *grin* Ah, but it is— the Navy uses “pipe wrenches” of the sort I described.

            Confused the booger out of me when I was told to grab one, and I looked for the wrench you use to work on pipes.

            Came to mind because we had the devil’s own time keeping hold of them, folks would steal ’em to hide for similar reasons.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Well, I always knew Navy people were nuts…

              OW! Hey – my dad was a Navy guy!

            • Jeff Gauch

              You should have asked M-div or A-gang. We actually had pipe wrenches, I think the smallest one was 3 feet long. Useful for repel boarders. We hid our cheater bar (better part of 4 feet) because the maintenance manuals said you never use an extension the wrench wasn’t designed for.

              • The mechanics were the ones STEALING the dang things! They taped them under desks as backups!

                • Jeff Gauch

                  All the more reason to ask them. You knew they had them.

                  • I also knew I wasn’t dumb enough to cross anyone crazy enough to be a mechanic. 🙂 (The ones in our geek group would admit they took ’em, too– we ended up just making sure each shop had them inside for inspections or actual emergency.)

    • Rioters show up, make your buildings too much of a problem to deal with, they flow around and head for easier pickings; this can range from “shut the doors and block the windows” to “kill the first guy who tries to come through the door.”
      Once the mob goes by, they are flanked; eventually, parts of the mob will break off as they either have too much to carry or want to go to sleep.

      The riots and chaos wouldn’t last as a mass movement past a week, if wide-spread, and that is counting “significant portion of the big cities are threatened” as “ongoing.”

      Outside of the blob-cities? (You know what I mean.. you go from Seattle, to Tacoma and dozens of other cities or from Olympia to the half-dozen little cities by it without leaving “city;” contrast with Spokane/Spokane Valley and the minimum of miles to the next population center.) Minor riots of folks who think they can get away with it, popping up every few days in flash-mob fashion.

      • Jeff Gauch

        I figure I’d head to Gig Harbor and help hold the Tacoma Narrows bridge. Hopefully the rioters won’t be able to get on the ferries.

        • Why hold it, dropping it would be easier? On second thought, if the goal was to inflict casualties instead of just divert and bottle up rioters, it would make one heck of a shooting gallery.

          • Jeff Gauch

            It’s easier to get my hands on a rifle and/or shotgun than demolition charges. Ft. Lewis is on the wrong side of the water.

            • You don’t need Fort Lewis, I’m sure there is a Wolfkill around there (I think that is the name of the big fertilizer company over there, around here it is MacGregor’s) and lots of gas stations carry diesel. Of course that needs to be hit pretty significantly to go off, a blasting cap isn’t enough, but anything the size of a quarter-stick of dynamite works nicely.

            • besides, anyone who makes neutron cannon’s in their spare time shouldn’t have a problem with a little bridge 😉

              • Jeff Gauch

                Another reason for not taking out the bridge is that it’s not the only way to get to me, it’s just the easiest. Take out the bridge and mob might decide to come around through Olympia, picking up members as it goes. And there aren’t as many good choke points on the root of the peninsula.

                Leave the bridge up and it will attract the mob, including from Olympia, allowing us to thin it out. Hopefully to the point that they decide walking all the way around isn’t worth their time.

    • Dorothy Grant

      Actually, we saw a good example of reality being neither utopia nor mad max in Katrina. The crime wave moved at the pace of (mostly stolen) car travel, less stopping for crimes, sleeping, and hangovers, across Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas (that I know of). Police departments were calling each other and letting the ones not yet hit know what the most likely crimes were going to be (pulling up to a restaurant after ordering take-out, demanding to see the food, and then driving off without paying was actually far more common than armed robbery.) The big exception would be the busses of refugees – they moved faster than the crime wave, and wherever they dropped their loads, an epicenter of a new crime wave would start.

      And in reality, a lot of the gangsters, thugs, con artists, shady contractors, and general lowlife scum got stopped by residents with a threat of armed force, citizen’s arrests, or by the local police. Peace officers in LA and TX I know personally both reported that when the thugs met armed shopkeepers and were subsequently proned out and cuffed, they were protesting “You can’t do this! This don’t happen in New Orleans!” Others… did not survive long enough to learn that they were out of their home environment. After the first wave went through, the niceness and tolerance toward strangers of your average family man and homeowner – that is, citizen with something to protect – dropped like a stone in freefall.

      Whether you view the flow of free money and stuff as trying to support people because we’re such a nice and generous society, or as payoff to keep the rioting and looting down, the truth is that both are true. We started welfare with the best of intentions, but have created a largely morals-free subservient underclass with little to no marketable skills and an unshakeable belief that the rest of the world owes them whatever they want. If the money, and therefore the food stops, they will come boiling out. Not just gang members looking for new marks, either, but mothers looking to feed their children.

      The latter will pull things like finding a “prosperous” house, and abandoning their small children on the lawn, then coming back after they’ve been fed, and taking them away to repeat this elsewhere. (while encouraging their kids to pocket anything loose and worth anything in the house.) Desperation is the mother of invention, and few things are as desperate as a person who, for the first time in their life, is feeling the first brush with actual starvation.

      • Actually most of them don’t have the first clue what starvation is. There is a big difference between missing a couple meals (or even a couple days worth of meals) and being in danger of starvation.

  10. Well that was a pretty unpleasant analogy. A good Nazi? There were over 40,000 “put down” the Jews institutions in progress, from the death camps to only mild “rape hostels” – where Jewish girls were gradually raped to death “in service to the city and army”. EVERYONE in Germany knew what was going on and that Jews had been reclassified as vermin – and everyone who was a Nazi knew (at least the local) methods of how it was being done.

    The question you can take from that is, how can a society be turned such that the majority adopt cultural positions formerly incompatible with (reasonable) moral values and/or (normal) social values and/or (sensible) economic values? And how do you make the adoption and subsequent practice happen in such a way that those who would stand against it fear, seem foolish, seem anti-progress. Because when you do that, the majority just shut up and go with the flow.

    Which makes those who stand against it, who shout, who protest, or who take action… saints who often become martyrs.

    There were no good Nazis. But there probably were plenty of average Germans who got sucked into the national evil and just went with the flow. Every Nazi may not have known what was going on, on a national scale. But every one knew what was going on with Jews in their area.

    40,000 death and torture locations and institutions (ranging from having brutally murdered 25 to 1,000,000 each.)

    There is no forgiveness. My family STILL lives with the impact.

    • I never meant to imply there should be forgiveness. I also have no patience for anyone who defends it or Stalin.

      But the point is exactly that — how do good people end up believing this is necessary or good or go along with it? And some of these people WOULD be good… in everything but that.

      It doesn’t excuse it, but we need to face the fact that not every German at the time was a devil — or we’ll never understand how it can happen again.

      Painting Germans of the time as somehow different from the rest of humanity just means that we’ll feel immune. All the more immune if it doesn’t come with antisemitism (though somehow it always does, doesn’t it?) or goose stepping. We’ll feel safe and not realize what we’re turning into.

      The analogy was intentionally repulsive. These are humans and we are humans. Germany was an advanced, civilized nation, the leader of its time. It can happen there, it can happen everywhere.

      • “Painting Germans of the time as somehow different from the rest of humanity just means that we’ll feel immune.”

        A very key point that I’ve emphasized in the past myself in such discussions.

        • I had the opportunity to talk to people who were in Germany at the time (as children) and who were in the American forces. Up to the time the soldiers found their first camp, they were willing to be merciful to the soldiers and citizens. I think this was closer to the end of the war– when they found the camps the whole idea that a civilized people would exterminate an entire people was sickening. The attitudes changed towards the noncombatants (and soldiers).

          My grandfather said that it was because they knew how close they had come to having the same attitude– don’t forget an entire ship of German Jews were not allowed in any of the European countries– or I believe in America (in 1939 St. Louis). Antisemitism (anti-gypsy and anti-disabilities), I think under the banner of Eugenics, was wide-spread.

          So what I am saying the long way– is that by the grace of G-d we may have had our own Holocausts– Our grandparents were shocked enough to say Never Again.

          • Yes. The idea of Eugenics was VERY widespread and surprisingly “nice” people believed in it and saw exterminating (or sterilizing) entire populations as “a sad thing, but for the greater good.” You catch echoes of this if you buy books from before WWII that weren’t sanitized later.

            It was all “scientific” see, and in the name of “progress”.

            • Eugenics under the banner of “wouldn’t it make humans perfect,” but when they saw it in all its gory details, many people realized that it was not a “good” thing.

              • Rob Crawford

                Sorry, I disagree. Many people simply stopped talking about it in such open terms. We had a freaking Supreme Court justice state that part of the reasoning behind the decision of Roe was too many of the wrong types of babies.

                It’s echoes are still in things like “The Marching Morons” and the film “Idiocracy”.

                The idea didn’t die, just its social respectability.

            • Please read “While Six Million Died” by Arthur Morse. FDR’s social class was brought up with bad ideas about Jewish people.
              I might add that it’s a mistake to assume that the mass murderers were all SS Death’s Head. “Ordinary Men” is a book about a small unit of sad sack 4-F’s who murdered 38,000 people and sent another 45,000 to a death camp.
              When one of the concentration camps was captured, American troops killed some of the Germans who turned over the camp, in sheer rage after taking a look around. Of course, the real monsters had turned the camp over to troops not involved in the Holocaust and fled.

              • Gnardo Polo

                If you have ever seen the movie “The Big Red One”, there is a scene where the American squad led by Lee Marvin liberates a concentration camp. One of the soldiers played by Mark Hamill is going through and opening the ovens with the barrel of his rifle. He discovers a German soldier hiding in one of them with a gun, but the German is out of bullets. Mark Hamill starts firing, calmly, round after round until his gun is empty. Lee Marvin comes up, looks at what he’s done, and hands him another magazine.

                I din’t know how the Americans who liberated those camps didn’t raze the entire country afterwards.

          • The Holocaust did not start with the Jews.

            The Holocaust started with the disabled. And there’s the one where you know that the common Germans were in on it, because they were slaughtering them for weeks after the surrender.

            Meanwhile 90% of babies diagnosed as having Downs Syndrome are aborted, even though the test’s false positive rate means that most of them are perfectly healthy. (Indeed, a woman once recounted her experience with a doctor: both her pregnancies, the tests showed Downs Syndrome, and false positives both times — she knows, of course, only because she told him what to do with his test.) Not to mentions the miscarriages of healthy babies caused by the test.

            • YES– the disabled got it first– I agree with all your points Mary.

            • I will point out we chose not to have the amneocentiosis (sp?) test with either boy because of the danger of miscarriage. we figured if they were disabled we’d deal, but what information it gave us, once we’d ruled out abortion was irrelevant. So, why risk it. we were told “but you could be prepared” — like anyone ever is.

            • “Teddy Kremer”

              Put that in your search engine of choice before you allow anybody to tell you Down Syndrome children are a burden on the world.

      • Good book: They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer. Shortly after World War II, an American professor went to Germany, found a town, befriended some low ranking Nazis, and got to know them. They ranged from a man who was justly sent to jail by Nuremberg for his part in a Krystallnacht attack, to a man who joined to hide his Social Democrat background, which would have gotten him in serious trouble.

        • Read it. Second recommendation.

          • They just ran a “Secrets of the Dead” episode about a POW prison/manor house in the UK for German generals and officers, which was wired for sound by the intelligence guys so they could find out what the other side had been up to and how it thought.

            It was a very nasty look at how split personality somebody could be, just to avoid thinking about how guilty they were. “Oh, yeah, there was this pretty, smart Jewish chick who had to clean our barracks, and I slept with her, and of course she had to be executed. Blah, blah, blah, onto another conversation topic!” The few relatively sane and moral guys really stood out.

            • Yes — it’s based on a book that made use of the several British and America houses like that. There weren’t many references to the Holocaust but it was still rarer for a soldier to be surprised when it came up.

              Here’s an article about it

    • Hmmm. . . well, John Rabe was in China for part of it. . . .

  11. William O. B'Livion

    In the first place, I do not underestimate the capacity of well armed red necks to create systematic order from the bottom up.

    The problem will be the clashes between different groups of “well armed red necks” as well as well armed, well trained non-rednecks who don’t want a god-ordained theocracy. I know quite a few of those Rednecks. Heck, depending on how you define “redneck” I’ve got between one and many in my family. They believe that the earth was created around 4004 b.c., that evolution of *any* kind is “communist lies”, and that their particular set of christian beliefs are ordained by Gawd and while Catholics/Lutherans/whatever aren’t bad people and might be getting into heaven, they’re still *wrong*.

    • “The problem will be the clashes between different groups of “well armed red necks” as well as well armed, well trained non-rednecks who don’t want a god-ordained theocracy. ”

      I find the idea that there are large numbers of people in this country panting for a theocracy to be silly.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I’d call it hateful.

        • William O. B'Livion

          I’m not advocating it. I’m predicting it. There’s a big difference there.

      • Again, the people who come here and say if we don’t become one we will perish come from the same IP as the people calling us racist homophobes because we don’t endorse money redistribution…

        • So you think it might be something similar to that “Conservative Rape Threat” that was in the news recently, where they figured out the gal sent them to herself?

          On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 11:26 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

          > ** > accordingtohoyt commented: “Again, the people who come here and say if > we don’t become one we will perish come from the same IP as the people > calling us racist homophobes because we don’t endorse money > redistribution…” >

          • Overwhelmingly, racist, sexist and homophobic attacks have been proven to be such false flag affairs, done by advocates of banning racism, sexism, homophobia in order to dramatize the “seriousness” of the problems. They see their actions as justified, by the evil they “know” surrounds them.

            It is a form of hate speech, inciting attack on those who don’t get in line with their agenda. Done in the name of opposing hate speech.

            Clearly they don’t teach “irony” in those “Fill-in-the-blank Studies” programs.

      • Yet look at the groundswell for Sharia law in many European countries. Or has the fact that Islam is a de facto theocracy been lost on you?
        Limit the choice to the various and assorted Christian sects and I’d have to agree with you, but that just isn’t the world as we’ve come to know it.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Uncle Lar, the people who claim that there’s a large number of people wanting a theocracy would deny that Muslims want a theocracy. They claim to be worried about Christians. Of course, even when those types admit the existence of RIFs, they’ll claim Christians are just as bad.

          • Which is full-on insane.

            Though I still find the image from PJ O’Rourke about armed Episcopals coming to the door and making people play no contract bridge and eat sandwiches with the crusts cut off at gun point hilarious. (And I’ll note shortly after reading that O’Rourke book, I found a story in Asimov’s that was ALMOST like that — but serious. For some reason evangelicals were going door to door and shooting cats. — what?)

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Ok, that was nearly a tea-spewing comment.

            • Thou shalt not suffer a witch’s familiar to live, perhaps?

              • It’s because cats aren’t in the Bible. That’s also why evangelicals go around shooting Ferraris.

                Catholics have cats in Baruch (if it’s an old translation), so I guess we have to go around raising them from the dead.

            • That would be PETA that wants to go after your cats. They’ll eventually tire of tricking people to turn over strays.

          • They will also tell you Eric Rudolph — a man who openly said he prefered Nietzsche to the Bible — and Timothy McVeigh — who went to his death quoting “Invictus” — are Christians.

            • William O. B'Livion

              Rudolph was a Christian, or at least believed in a Christian God.. McVeigh was raised Catholic, but claimed to be agnostic, although he did ask for the Catholic Chaplain right before being shocked out of this world.

              I’m not knocking Christians–please don’t think that. I’ve got a *lot* of respect for folks who have devout beliefs and try to live by them–as long as those beliefs don’t involve enslaving or killing those who don’t believe in them.

              But believing in God does not make one a saint, and it’s possible to both believe in God and be a murdering bastard.

              • On what grounds do you assert his Christianity?

              • “But believing in God does not make one a saint, and it’s possible to both believe in God and be a murdering bastard.”

                True, but believing in God is not the definition of a Christian either. If it was Satanists would be considered Christians.

          • But then I have noticed with some interest that a trait common to most all liberal progressives is dogged devotion to the current narrative in the face of bald facts to the contrary. Denial seems to be a country they are quite comfortable living in.
            Of course LPs seem to be quite willing to vocally defend a culture in which they would find themselves stoned or beheaded. The fact that they can claim equivalence between Christianity and Islam is ludicrous on its face, which apparently does nothing to slow them down at all.

            • Rob Crawford

              “But then I have noticed with some interest that a trait common to most all liberal progressives is dogged devotion to the current narrative in the face of bald facts to the contrary.”

              The chilling thing is when the narrative contradicts what it was just a few years ago.

            • William O. B'Livion

              This is not a progressive trait. It’s a human trait.

        • Let’s just leave it at the fact that Islam as a theocracy didn’t escape me, Lar.

      • Rob Crawford

        “I find the idea that there are large numbers of people in this country panting for a theocracy to be silly.”

        I hear more highly religious people expressing thanks that all faiths are free in the US than I hear demanding “Christian law”.

        I hear more leftists demanding the suppression of religion and speech than I hear religious conservatives demanding “Christian law”.

        • Just gotta know what they’re saying.

          When they talk about “legislating morality,” they mean “morality I don’t personally share.”

          Murder, theft, rape, slavery, forced marriage, etc– that’s fine.

          Including sex with 16 year olds (or 15, or 14, or anybody post-puberty) by 30 year olds in “rape,” and it’s suddenly controversial.

          Wish folks would just make their arguments on the merits instead of yelling about “legislating morality.”

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            What makes you think those types care about “merit”? For those types it’s all about “does it make me feel good or not”. [Frown]

            • Lots of folks use “legislating morality” as a shorthand. Some of them, I believe– especially here– have and could make an argument for what it is in their head– but they don’t, and instead just accuse folks of wanting to “legislate morality.”

              • They only use that argument because it has a way of shutting down opponents. They aren’t interested in winning arguments, they are interested in legislating their morality.

                “Legislating morality” is shorthand for “STFU and do what you’re told.”

          • Kate Paulk

            My view here is pretty simple. If it doesn’t harm someone else and all parties concerned are fully consenting adults it’s no business of anyone’s but theirs.

            “Harm” being physical/financial for the most part. In other words, murder, theft, assault, forced marriage, rape, slavery and such are all proper subjects for the law. Sex with someone under the age of consent, ditto – with room to argue over what the age of consent should be.

            Getting stoned, masturbation, sex with any other consenting adult or adults… not the business of the law. Traffic rules, mostly as a codification to reduce confusion and accidents, not a flipping revenue generation target.

            You’d tell me where to go if I tried to tell you how to live your life. I don’t have to like or agree with your choices. I just have to accept that so long as they aren’t harming anyone else, they’re none of my business.

            • The argument then shifts to how much harm, and what sort, are sufficient– but at least it’s better than the @#$@# conversation stopper of “legislating morality.” (I wish I was joking, but I’ve had ‘anarcho-capitalists’ argue that dumping raw sewage into the river upstream of me is not ‘harm,’ and anyway in a libertarian country it wouldn’t happen. Wish I was joking.)

              If harm was an EASY thing to define, it’d be simpler.

              • Kate Paulk

                Indeed it does. However, the argument of those idiot “anarcho-capitalists” is so much bullshit. Dumping raw sewage into the water supply upstream of you IS harm because raw sewage carries known, thoroughly unpleasant contaminants which will cause illness and potentially death – ergo, harm.

                Of course my view of the appropriate use of government force is a little odd, anyway. If it involves more than one person and there is an imbalance of power, government should be the arbiter of any misbehavior. So the obvious theft, assault and the like, plus anti-trust, price fixing (which damn well ought to be treated as theft-by-corporation, since it involves effectively forcing people to pay more than they would in an open market) and such. It should not arbitrate anything that involves one person, or anything where more than one party has given informed consent (I’d add that the German guy who paid someone to kill and eat him a few years back was in a mental condition that made him incapable of informed consent).

                Of course, chances of that happening are somewhere south of the likelihood of prize porkers flapping past my window in the next five minutes, so I’m not holding my breath. “Smurf” is NOT my color.

                • *Nods*

                  Thank you for proving my faith in the folks here. ^.^

                  I would argue that suicide that DOESN’T involve anybody else is likewise indicative of the mind not working right– but my view of the proper function of gov’t bakes in a lot of my assumptions about acceptable levels for enforcement. (Example: suicide is illegal, so that folks can help those who are disturbed. If you’re sane and serious about doing yourself in, no acceptable level of gov’t will be able to stop you. Sadly, murder of various sorts is likewise unstoppable– but “the solution isn’t 100%” has never been an argument against something in my world.)

                  • The Daughtorial Unit would hold me sorely remiss if I failed here to point out her answer to the suicide argument: improper disposal of human remains.

                    If suicides embalm and bury themselves this argument is refuted.

                    • What about suicide by cremation?

                    • Go ahead. Do ya good to get used to the heat.

                    • I once upset my friend Rebecca Lickiss very much because as I was pulling trays out of the oven sans oven gloves (don’t ask) she said “You’re going to burn yourself” and I said “Nah. Practicing for the flames of h-ll.”

                      Turns out some devout people take this sort of joke VERY seriously 😉

                    • The Daughtorial Unit advises me that the temperatures required for proper cremation are unlikely to be achieved through casual burning. You would probably have to do a Joe Magarac, which would probably annoy the unions.

                    • Would digging a deep hole under a sturdy branch and filling it half full of active compost, and then hanging one’s self over it (NOT using a nylon rope) be appropriate for everyone, or just the Gaia worshipers and members of the Sierra club?

                  • You know, the sad thing is how low it is. I was reading Rex Stout and they said if Nero Wolfe moved out one in ten murders would go unsolved. I immediately thought “If that were all!”

                  • I would argue that this discussion boils down to whether a person, an individual, owns its own life, or if the life is actually owned, loaned or otherwise controlled by the collective society.
                    If one owns one’s ownself, what you do is up to the individual, and intervention must be by consent. If one’s life is controlled…etc by the collective then individualism and individual action is theft from the collective; on the other hand if you are a drain on the collective (defect, old, have bad attitutes, look funny) that is also theft to accomodate you, so whatever it takes to lessen the burden is acceptable, to whatever standard the collective is willing to deem acceptable.

                    As for a suicide, that lies with each individual to intercede or not. I probably would. The first couple of times, at least.

                    • I would argue that this discussion boils down to whether a person, an individual, owns its own life, or if the life is actually owned, loaned or otherwise controlled by the collective society.

                      Too simplified, I think. Folks have duties, demands on themselves, simply because because they are moral, rational beings. (capability, not activity definition)

                    • I like simple.
                      I will agree that humans have a great, innate capacity for compassion and a massive thirst for justice and moral behavior. (and now for the “but”) I also believe that like any capacity it must be exercised to be of any use, and it must exist in a context that makes sense.
                      I’m musing on why individuals show these behaviors when it seems like they don’t get the return on the investment that, say, not being so would provide. I think it is due to the individual believing in self ownership in some degree.
                      I dunno, what do you think the root cause is?

                    • Because they’re people. God-shaped hole, plus perverse.

                      I don’t see ownership involved– responsibility, perhaps. What you own, you can sell; that metaphor doesn’t work with the human person. What you can own, is an object. Also not suitable for persons.

                    • Forgive me. I am not very interested in what people are inherently – besides taking it into account. I am more interested in under what conditions are the best and most free actions are allowed to come out.
                      As for selling: well, I’d consider the life to be entailed in that way. The conditions of ownership are based on the agreement not to sell, like the family estate. Though taking an oath or working for a company is a form of renting, loaning, or leasing a life. I think there the argument is about whether the individual gets to stand up, raise a hand and take the oath, or if the state gets to gather the individuals with a press gang and lecture them once a week on the laws of war and what they can be put to death for.

        • Well said, Rob.

      • William O. B'Livion

        They aren’t panting for it, but there’s a vast swath of America that is devoutly religious and thinks that the government should reflect those values. Hell, we *all* want the government to reflect our values. Well, those of us who have values we think are proper.

        There’s also a significant number of people (not a *lot*, but it doesn’t have to be a *lot*) who think they’re smarter and better at stuff than other people (google Dunning-Kruger effect) and that they should be in charge.

        When things fall apart people will gravitate to institutions and structures that can provide at least the illusion of putting things back together. When two of these groups meet they have three choices–merge, co-exist, or fight. If one of them is run by someone who’s more power hungry than smart the co-exist will only be a short term option.

        I know of people who are starting to “tribe” up. They are moving to places with like minded folks–in this case devoutly christian an heavily armed and they are talking themselves out of democracy and limited government.

        When things fall apart (and they will, this year, or 1000 years from now) people *will* tribe up, and they *will* do what the tribe wants. This is the inherent nature of people. Well, most people. There will be a few who resist or argue or fight the tide. I’ll probably be one of them.

        And when two tribes go to war…

        • Gnardo Polo

          When things fall apart, people always revert to tribe. Yes, some are making proactive moves to be in a better place (where there are more likely tribe members) but even in places that haven’t started this trend, it will happen. The tribes may just be smaller and more brutal.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Change “government should reflect those values” to “society should reflect those values” and I’ll agree. “Government should reflect those values” comes too close to a theocracy/state religion and IMO a large number of religious people in the US reject that.

          One of the “successes” of the Left is the confusion between “society” and “government”.

          • Yes, well put. Government shouldn’t really reflect much of any ‘values.’ Governments job is to protect our freedom, with that freedom we can choose to live our life according to whatever values we want (as long as those values don’t hurt or restrict others, I can’t practice human sacrifice, because it seriously restricts the value of the sacrifices). Government should not attempt to define society, that is exactly what we are fighting against.

            • William O. B'Livion

              Freedom and liberty *are* values.

              As is honesty, integrity and transparency, and respect for private property.

              These are the values *I* want society and “my” government to have.

              I also want a pony and my own private rifle range. I am not holding my breath.

              Oh, and I’ll skip the pony to get the rifle range.

              • I want a mini-golf course!

                • The first time I read that as “a mini-galt course”, and started thinking “Yeah, I’d scrape up some cash for a workshop from Sarah on going mini-galt…” And then I read the phrase again and felt slightly let down. 🙂

              • I have a rifle range, a three hundred yard one, with the shooting bench at my upstairs window, so I can use it comfortably when the weather is foul 🙂

                And the only time I have found holding my breath to be beneficial is when I am squeezing the trigger.

          • and between “mine” and “everyone’s.”

          • William O. B'Livion

            I think that generally *most* Americans believe that the government should reflect their values because they believe their values are the best.

            Not their *religion*. Their values. We have been taught to believe that, in the words of that idiot piece of multi-cult nonsese “Even Russians Love Their Children Too”. Which might be right, but when it comes to Muslims you gotta ask yourself “What does ‘love’ mean in this context”.

            I also believe (think and believe are two different things here) that most American Christians think that the USA was created by Christians as a Christian nation, and that while we have to “respect” and “tolerate” other religions, we’re a Judea-Christian nation and f* you shut up.

            Note again that I am not endorsing this view–mine is very, very different. I’m just reporting what I see in my family, on Talk Radio, on web-fora that are very, very different from this one.

            I am in agreement with you (sort of) in that I think society would be better if it had values more similar to mine. This then naturally would be reflected in the government. But we don’t go into a crisis with the society we want, we go into a crisis with the society we have.

            • Well America was created by people from a Judea-Christian society* so all those people do sort of have a point.

              *This does not mean that those people doing the creating were practicing Jews or Christians, a fair number of them weren’t. But there might have been one or two of them that weren’t raised in a society based on Judea-Christian values, but I am not aware of them. (and if anybody knows of one, I would appreciate them telling who, and what type of society they came from, if nothing else it would be interesting trivia)

              • Some were Catholic!

                (That was humor, folks; for some unknown reason, some folks like to talk about “Christians, Jews and Catholics.” I am fully aware that Christian philosophy is gonna be Catholic, and no I’m not interested in arguing it if you disagree. It’s not going to go anywhere because you’re clearly using an odd definition.)

                • Gnardo Polo

                  In some fundamental/evangelical sects of Christianity, Catholicism is seen as Not Christian. I’m not sure why that is except for the whole deification of Mary, but I grew up in that kind of Bible Belt culture and STILL don’t get some of the quirks. I just know then when I see them.

                  • To be fair (…I use that phrase A LOT…) I know some folks say “Christian” for the generic Buddy Christ stuff, and the folks with formal teachings are listed separate.

                    It makes sense if you consider that if the Catholic Church is “really” Christian, then the Church Christ founded is still around. Kinda hurts if you were est 1973.

                • As was pointed out earlier, some were Baptist too, but most of the rest were raised

            • snelson134

              also believe (think and believe are two different things here) that most American Christians think that the USA was created by Christians as a Christian nation

              Which happens to be true; you would not have ever had the America you claim you respect and want to keep if the background of the Founders had been anything else, say Buddhist or Muslim.

              And the attitude of most of us that I’ve talked to is far closer to “other religions (including Marxism) are going to respect and tolerate us and quit telling us ‘f* you shut up’ while taking what we’ve worked for to preach their creed.”

    • An American theocracy by religion? Unless it is secular, I can’t see it happening. Too many schism lines in Christianity right now. Now a secular theocracy… I’m more worried about the Church of Marx Triumphant.

    • As someone who considers himself a redneck, and most of my friends also, I take offense to that statement. I know of NO (as in ZERO) rednecks who want a theocracy in any way shape or form.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I’m reminded of the person who visited Ringo’s Tavern to discuss _Princess of Wands_. He was so such that John Ringo was a member of the *Religious* Right because “all conservatives are religious” and “only a religious person could have created Barb”. [Grin]

      • William O. B'Livion

        If you were to ask most “rednecks” (and again we’ll have to question the definition here), no they don’t want a theocracy. They, like most Americans don’t want anyone telling THEM what to do. They’re a bit more sanguine about the government telling Wall Street, the Bankers, etc. what to do.

        I grew up in the mid-west and have a cousin who did both professional wrestling AND worked in the rodeo. You have to take the gravel road to the dirt road to the other dirt road to get to his house. He would never claimed to want a Theocracy, but he *fervently* believes that the US was intended to be a Christian nation and our laws should follow from the bible.

        I’ve got a daughter who was raised by her grandmother in the south, and between that, my military experiences, where I was born and raised and what I hear on Talk Radio there are a *lot* of people out there who believe as my cousin does.

        The don’t want a Theocracy, but they want a government that is informed by the Bible, follows biblical principles and who’s laws follow gods law.

        It’s mostly the progressives and liberals who would call that a theocracy, which would also be incorrect unless it was mostly official religious leaders who made up the government.

        • “The don’t want a Theocracy, but they want a government that is informed by the Bible, follows biblical principles and who’s laws follow gods law. ”

          Most wouldn’t go so far as wanting laws to follow gods law (there is a lot of room for quibbling over a definition there, since other than the ten commandments God didn’t really set down and write up a list of ‘laws’). However the Constitution was written by people that were informed by the Bible (whether they were Christians or not) and follows biblical principles. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” is a foreign concept in most non-Christian cultures. It is also pretty much the underlying concept of our Constitution, so anytime anyone says they want to go back to the Constitution, what they really mean is they want a Theocracy?

  12. Lina Inverse

    “How many cities do you think we’d lose to random acts of revenge?”

    You talk about this like it’s a bug, not a feature.

    Especially when the jihadists don’t distinguish between Blue and Red States and regions and target the better known cities in the former.

    The further unmasking of the Left after Newtown (for example, see SPQR’s “We need to ban guns and round all of you gun owners up.”) has gotten serious people, not your wild eyed conspiracy types, thinking very hard about the shape of a future civil war.

    A number are concluding that one of the agendas will be the wholesale killing of Blue cities, by the simple expedient of taking out their electrical transmission systems. Outside of nuclear power plants, these are unguarded and largely unguardable, and there aren’t even vaguely enough replacements in hand for power plant step-up transformers and all the stuff downstream to repair damage before “enough” people being served by them die ugly deaths due to lack of water and food.

    A relevant SF quote from Dean Ing’s Systemic Shock:

    “The American public had by turns ignored and ridiculed its cassandras: city planners, ecologists, demographers, socialists, immigrants, who had all warned against our increasing tendency to crowd into our cities. Social stress, failure of essential services, and warfare were only a few of the spectres we had granted only a passing glance. We had always found some solution to our problems, though: often at the last moment. Firmly anchored in most Americans was the tacit certainty that, even to the problem of nuclear war against population centers, there must be a uniquely American solution; we would find it.

    “The solution was sudden death. A hundred million Americans found it.”

    I’m not exactly looking forward to this, because I need modern medicine to stay alive and almost certainly won’t survive a hot civil war (we already have a cold one, with plenty of casualties). But I think you should know what some are thinking about how this will play out.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      I will quote Mark Alger above:

      “You. Do. Not. Want. To. See. Civilizational. Collapse. ” And that would do it.

      • Lina Inverse

        And your superior, practical in that it has at least a slight chance of success, alternative to this cold civil war becoming hot is…?

        Are you denying that “If This Goes On-” the war won’t become hot? That’s a debatable point, although if it ends up with “… round all of you gun owners up” it’s not superior nor is it likely to happen.

        • If we can’t turn the culture around at least to some extent — hence the “compromise vote” and fast, what we’ll have is either war or NK. I don’t like either.

          • Lina Inverse

            The big problem, as you’ve been pointing out, is the “… and fast.” The money to keep the Left’s game running … well, it’s actually run out, the only reason it’s still going is that we’re the “least worst” place to put your money and can still borrow at near zero plus or minus real interest rates. It is never wise to try to predict how long such a thing can go on, but we’re all pretty sure it’s “not much longer.”

            I don’t get the feeling we have time to turn the culture around; perhaps our only hope is the superior software we’re running in our minds (compared to other countries, as you’ve previously pointed out and that is pretty obvious, and this is even to some degree true across the ideological spectrum); how will we respond when things at the above fiscal level get ugly?

            Or things could “go to hell” very fast; imagine the effects on the minds of Red State America if they truly come to believe the ballot box is lost, such as William O. B’Livion’s above point about the changes in progress in your own state.

            • There is ample evidence that the majority of the country holds republican values, they simply don’t like Republicans.

              Poll policies and positions without identifying the party associated and republican values are overwhelmingly popular.

              Look at how most areas respond when a hurricane hits. The greater disaster typically occurs when FEMA arrives.

        • Rob Crawford

          “And your superior, practical in that it has at least a slight chance of success, alternative to this cold civil war becoming hot is…?”

          I don’t know, but I’ll do nearly anything to prevent war or collapse.

          “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

          • Lina Inverse

            “I don’t know, but I’ll do nearly anything to prevent war or collapse.”

            Including putting your family and yourself in the queue to the transported to a concentration camp?

            There are worse alternatives to hot civil war. History strongly suggests submitting to the demands of the Left is one of them.

            • Rob Crawford

              I considered adding the following: I will not submit to chains. I will not put others in chains.

              I didn’t think it was necessary.

            • That is an excessively emotional and demagogic argument. “Concentration camps” are highly improbable. It is far more likely they will employ the tactics developed by Stalin and Mao than those of Hitler and Pol Pot. In their brave new world we will be Kulaks, not Jews.

              In the beginning, at any rate.

              • Ah, yes. How can they re-educate me, if I never allowed myself to be educated to begin with? (Ask my mom. Her favorite comment was “You’d rather break than bend.” Also, “Are you sure you want to promise to obey your husband? Because your dad and I have yet to see any obedience”)

                • Also, “Are you sure you want to promise to obey your husband? Because your dad and I have yet to see any obedience”

                  Did she embroider that on a pillow for Dan?

              • So — instead of the tactics of the third and seventh greatest mass murderers in history, we get those of the greatest and the second greatest. How reassuring!

                I note that the first Nazi camps were reeducation ones, for the habitually criminal and workshy. Guess how well they worked?

                • Depends on your definition of murder, Stalin and Mao were the both legal rulers, and they sanctioned the killings, so by the laws of their respective countries they weren’t murders.

                  Just in case you needed something warm and fuzzy to think about while you went to sleep tonight.

                  • snelson134

                    Yeah, one of the Copperhead Congresscritters from downtown Dallas proposed that anyone who refused to obey an un-Constitutional order be prosecuted. Her staff was unamused when I called her office and asked when she was sponsoring legislation to overturn the Nuremburg verdicts….

                    • you sure they were ‘unamused’? Maybe they were ‘confused’ because they didn’t understand the reference.

                    • snelson134

                      Oh, they understood it; the next words out of their mouths were a reference to some chap named Godwin…

                  • So were Hitler and Pol Pot — it’s not a distinguishing trait

                    • Lina Inverse

                      Don’t know about Pol Pot, but Hitler wasn’t, and various people at the time made a big deal about how his Night of the Long Knives was extra-legal and he and his crew were “gangsters” vs. for example Stalin’s show trials which had a veneer of law, even when they admitted faking the evidence (or so I recall about the evidence, there’s a quote that goes something like “Of course the evidence is good, I made it myself”).

                    • On the contrary. Hitler’s legal position was much more secure than Stalin’s. The Bolshevists seized by force what in fact they had gotten in elections, whereas Hitler was actually legally apponted.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Perhaps I misunderstood your intent behind the statement, “You talk about this like it’s a bug, not a feature.” Normally, that’s understood to mean that the person saying it thinks the previous statement is to be desired. If that’s not what you meant, I apologize.

          If it IS what you meant, then it seems pretty cold.

          • Lina Inverse

            Our host put the losing of US cities to jihadists in the context of what might happen while we’re self-absorbed in a hot civil war.

            To those, if it comes to a hot civil war, who plan to fight it by killing Blue cities, “help” in doing that from the jihadists is obviously desired, as long as they continue to stick to Blue State targets.

            • Actually they won’t–

              • Lina Inverse (who is of course, making a name check to the rather bystander-destructive Slayers) apparently is confused about the location of the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and apparently believes that God has destined his/her city to be Zoar.

                Historically, and I hate to point this out, Zoar doesn’t get spared. Sh*t splatters everywhere. People who never did any harm to anybody get slaughtered. And the cities you think are Sodom, without even ten righteous persons in them, are probably chockful of people better than you or I. And yet you are eager to bathe in their blood. I’m really hoping I’ve never met you or shaken your hand, because you disgust me.

                Unless you are God, and know all outcomes and can judge all souls, don’t you dare call for the death of Nineveh and claim for sure that it’s Sodom. And read the Book of Jonah until you understand the moral of the story.

                • Lina Inverse

                  Ignoring reading comprehension issues, one of Niven’s Laws that Jerry Pournelle is fond of quoting is apropos to your and Wayne Blackburn etc. replies below:

                  Never stand next to someone who is throwing shit at an armed man.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    How is that relevant to your actively endorsing the notion of third parties destroying large numbers of innocents, simply because it is easier during the chaos?

                    • Lina Inverse

                      You could start by using your favorite search engine to look up “reading comprehension”.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Perhaps you could use one to look up “clear writing”.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I dashed that off as I was getting ready to leave to catch the bus. Let me be more specific. You have not made a statement that cannot be easily interpreted as meaning you are on either side of the question, even after I put up a provisional apology, explaining that I may have misunderstood you, so I’ll put it directly:

                      Do you believe that having a “Blue” city destroyed by external forces during the process of a hot civil war is a GOOD thing, or a BAD thing?

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Sorry, can’t get behind that. Terrorists and such go for lots of innocent victims, and if your definition of “not innocent” is “lives in a Blue State”, then we’re going to have to agree to disagree, because that puts you WAYYY too close to them in way of thinking, since they consider “Lives in America” to be “not innocent”.

              • Actually I understood her to be Blue and stating that we might think the Jihadists are helping us, because they will only destroy Blue cities (why she assumes we would think that is something I don’t comprehend) but that actually they will be a third front, attacking both sides. I agree with her there, I just fail to see how she thinks we would approve of them, it seems to me the Left is much more approving of jihadists in general. (and know I don’t think most of them would approve of them bombing, say Buffalo, Wyoming; either)

              • One of my best friends, not just a libertarian but an extremely honorable and decent man lives in NYC. (And yes, I tell him every month that I don’t feel right about his living in a place with that big a target on it, but he’s forty and apparently these days they consider that grown up. Sheesh.)

        • “Are you denying that “If This Goes On-” the war won’t become hot? That’s a debatable point, although if it ends up with “… round all of you gun owners up” it’s not superior nor is it likely to happen.”

          Other than declaring Sharia Law the law of the land I know of no other way to better insure that the cold civil war goes up in flames.

          • Watch the law creep.

            Notice that the survival rate of Austrian Jews was much higher than German ones. This was because they got slapped in the face with a lot of anti-Semitic law as soon as Anschluss hit, whereas the German ones had taken them in one by one.

      • Mark Alger

        Yeah, well… I say it for the same reason Lina does. I’d live about a month after a full-on collapse, IF I’d just filled my insulin prescription. Or… however long the supply lasts. IF I can make friends with a pharmacist.

        M

        • I am on chemo and prednisone– and the longest it will last is 90 days.

        • snelson134

          My wife and I are roughly in the same position…. which is why if it comes to that I plan to make sure to take out as many concentrations of Leftist as possible before I go.

          There are things worth both dying and killing for. Making sure the authors of the situation aren’t around to prevent solving it is a worthy goal. YMMV.

        • William O. B'Livion

          Were I in your boat I’d have a chat with my doctor about how I could get and store some extra, if nothing else just in case you need to go walkabout for some reason. Having a 60 or 90 day supply of medicines is a really good idea if possible. It won’t help you if there’s a total collapse, but if there’s a total collapse we’re all f*d in so many ways.

          There’s also stuff here:
          http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=33479

          I’ll need to do something similar for my wife’s thyroid if that’s possible.

    • This week someone, probably in China, hacked into sensitive information about all America’s dams.

  13. I was just reading a very interesting blog that offers a harsh, real-world perspective on “you don’t want a collapse”. Selco survived a year in Bosnia (link) pretty much at Mad Max levels. Some of his stories were funny (a “bad ass” guy who turned out to be a lawyer with an antique machine gun from a *museum* that didn’t work) and some horrifically sad. Good story fodder 😉 Also a good reality check. We really, really don’t want to be Bosnia, even for a year. Selco is right about hard choices killing a little bit of you every time.

    That said, there are ways and then there are ways to speak up. Something I just noticed, in deep cover here in the highly liberal Seattle area–during the last election, hardly ANY Obama bumperstickers. Really. Now I am gradually seeing more show up, but not nearly at the level of the 2008 election. More like protective cover–and I think we still have an opportunity to nudge the discussion out in the open, but not by triggering their allergic reactions . Don’t mention party. Don’t mention names. Just a little sticker with the words “I want my taxes back” or something similar. Say things like “I’m so glad the state has solved all our economic problems so they can focus on gender-neutral language laws” (true story, sigh…). Mention the potholes in the freeway, and then wonder where the gas tax money is going that was supposed to fix them. That sort of thing.

  14. If it comes to shooting the idea of a self-governing people is forfeited. It may be as foolish an idea as Marxism, for much the same reasons.

    Probably not a good day for drawing attention to J. Christian Adams’ PJM post on Colorado’s abolition of honest elections, but ah’m a gonna do it anyway: http://pjmedia.com/jchristianadams/2013/05/02/pay-attention-colorado-democrats-use-election-process-to-enshrine-power/

  15. Sarah, I would love to avoid a shooting war. Believe me. I have a degree in history and my main area of interest has always been military/political. I know as much about what a civil war would be like as pretty much anyone who has NOT lived through one would. However…

    It may very well be too late. I hope I’m wrong, but when gun control nonsense hits Congress just as DHS signs a contract to buy more ammunition over the next five years than the military has used fighting two wars over the last ten plus… When the president complains of being constrained by the Founding Fathers…. When Kentucky and Alabama pass laws nullifying any federal law violating the Second Amendment as well arresting any federal agent who attempts to enforce the same. (Yes I said Nullify. Yes I was referring to the Nullification Crisis.) When the Utah Sheriff’s Association writes a letter to the Obama Administration stating that they are willing to fight and die to protect the right to bear arms… It’s coming Sarah. I get the fact that you have two boys that you don’t want to send off to kill their own countrymen, but here’s the problem:

    I don’t see either side backing down. The first gun control legislation was passed in this country during the FDR administration (I want to say 1934 but I could be wrong). Every time the anti-gun control crowd has been told it’s a compromis. THAT IS A LIE. It’s called incrementalism. A nibble here, a nibble there and suddenly all of our rights are gone. What the left is attempting is to do things slowly so that we don’t realize what’s going on.

    And I honestly don’t think they take us seriously. If anthing, the recent bombing in Boston shows that. The left had all of its favorite propagandists on TV talking about how it was a right-wing Tea Party gun nut. The investigation proved them wrong, but that’s not the point. The point is that the left actually thinks that we’re that incompetent. If and when it comes it’s not going to be a random terrorist strike. It’s going to be something in strength against a target that matters from a tactical/strategic point of view. And it won’t be a coward dropping a bomb on a sidewalk and going after civilians.

    There is a reason that the Obama administration put together a white paper during its first few months of existence declaring all gun-owners, Republicans and retired members of the military as potential terrorists. Do I think the time has come yet? No and I’ll tell you why.

    We’re not ready. The time will be ripe when we have a definable leader. The time will be ripe when we’ve managed to get enough of the military to agree to obey the part of their oath about protecting and defending the Constitution over obeying the part of their oath about obeying the president. The time will be ripe when we understand that a revolution will never be free in a monetary sense and figure out how we’re going to pay for it.

    Now I could be wrong. I hope I am. I hope that someday we can all come together and hold hands and sing songs and laugh and weep at the folly of it all. I just don’t see it happening.

    • OMG — coming together and singing songs is a nightmare, man!
      Seriously, I think we’re in the same position. IT MIGHT be too late. Think of me as being up on the top, banging the bell and screaming “Iceberg dead ahead.” Of course, our efforts to turn might ensure we sink. Or they might not… But as a person of good will I HAVE to sound the alarm.

      • The question is: how many apparatchiks will they have?

        Their “storm troops” are rabble, thugs without even sufficient brains to be cannon fodder.

        Their leadership knows how to name and shame, how to organize demonstrations and how to tell people “nice shop you got here.” They cannot manage an economy or a two-car parade without SFX. Sure, they’ve been drinking their own ink, but when push comes to shove I think they are going to find the ratio of masses doesn’t favor them once they have lost their leverage.

        • Time for one of my favorite quotes. There are a great many folk sworn to not make this mistake again:
          “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling in terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? […] The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!” —Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

    • National Firearms Act of 1934; focused primarily on restrictions on automatic weapons, sawed off rifles, and shotguns. A bit about sound suppressors in it as well. Sold as necessary against their use by criminals.
      Gun Control Act of 1968; established Federal licensing of all gun dealers and restrictions on interstate private sales.
      Firearms Safety Act of 1986; limited private ownership of automatic weapons to those already registered. No new domestic or imported machine guns allowed in private hands even with the proper tax and transfer paperwork.
      Brady Bill; required background checks for all firearm purchases through licensed dealers.
      In all an estimated 22,000 Federal, state, and local firearms laws. And every time a criminal makes a big splash in the news the solution is to pass yet another law that gets ignored by lawbreakers while placing further restrictions on the law abiding gun owner.
      Incrementalism? Bet your ass!
      And the bright shiny poster children for “sensible” gun control, the UK and commonwealth countries. And appropos of nothing in particular, the UN 2010 crime numbers give incidence of rape in the UK at twice and in Australia at three times that of the US. And violent crimes in general roughly equal in the UK to the US while having one fifth our population.

      • You know one of the most interesting things about that 1934 bill? The part about suppressors, you have to go through a bunch of paperwork, get your name on all sorts of lists, and pay through the nose to legally own a suppressor here. While in Europe, the ‘poster children’ for “sensible” gun control, where it is difficult to own a gun period, guess what? It is considered rude (and in some areas illegal) to use a gun without a suppressor on it. They call them mufflers there, and liken them to the mufflers we have on cars, they ask, “is it illegal to drive a car with a muffler on it in America? Then why would you make it illegal to use a gun with a muffler?”

    • Andrew Drummond

      Jim: My dad used to say that a peacable person would bend over backwards to accommodate the other guy, but when he felt his back breaking, he should come up swinging with both fists. IMO, those other people over there are making two errors: they think the same compromising/less confrontational behavior by their political opponents will continue indefinitely, and they continue adding pressure to the situation by immediately pressing for their next victory and abandoning any pretence at magnanimity in victory.

      Sarah said “Except that you forget how many third world armies would gladly fight on the other side, once it got started. And would be promised everything they want if they do.”

      Versions of that thought have bugged me also – the idea floating around that those other people over there will lose once the gun-owners come out of the woodwork. It seems obvious that those people will be outgunned, but they should also have thought about that too, and _they continue in their behavior anyway_. If there are functioning brains anywhere on the side of those other people over there, they’re bound to be thinking about counteractions for after shooting begins. Which all leads to interesting levels of paranoia if pondered too long.

      Seems to me both sides have expectations/assumptions about the other that have potential flaws. That should have us all worried.

      • It DOES have me worried. I have three young daughters, the oldest being seven. I don’t want them to grow up in a war torn nation and I’m not dumb enough to think that this will all be over in a week if/when it gets started.

        There problems I see here are twofold:

        1.) Too many on the right assume that the left will fold at the first sign of a real fight. Not true. Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, etc. were all some hardcore bastards even if they wore red. Yes, as civilians we have more guns. All the government has to do though is give the opposition an official title and an M16 and that advantage goes away quick and make no mistake about it: In case of a rebellion the government will fight.

        2.) The left thinks that the right is not serious. You can say you’re serious all you want but they’re convinced that the right won’t actually go through with a war. The right, so they say, is a small, vocal minority that is on its way out. Yes, I do know whereof I speak. I took graduate level history classes at Wayne State University. Their specialty (not mine) is labor history. It’s Little Moscow in Midtown Detroit. I’ve sat in a seminar room having these discussions. To them, the right is no longer relevant.

        And, as someone with a deep and abiding interest in history I can confidently say that there have been _VERY_ few (if any) wars fought where the two sides did not misunderstand each other to some extent. That’s a large part of how wars get started.

    • It may very well be too late. I hope I’m wrong, but when gun control nonsense hits Congress just as DHS signs a contract to buy more ammunition over the next five years than the military has used fighting two wars over the last ten plus…

      Factoid mutation, isn’t true; I don’t have it on hand, but if you go to the original Forbes article, and go through the link to the PDF that they say shows how much ammo the military used, it doesn’t actually say what they claim. Sorry so vague, still a bit high on c-section drugs and it was a couple of months back.

      I only clicked through because I could not believe someone was dumb enough to be putting out information on how many bullets we used, month-to-month.

      • Yeah, I’ve never seen any info on how much ammo the military uses, what I have seen is that they are allocating over three times as much ammo per year to all DHS (and other law enforcement they claim to be buying the ammo to supply) as the Army allocates to their infantry for TRAINING per year. Since this ammo the DHS is buying is supposed to be used for training it is disturbing on a couple of levels (besides the one where Obama states previous to the DHS ordering the ammo that, “we need a civilian (government controlled) force of equal size and armament to the military.”) Either this means that if that level of ammo is necessary to train DHS LE’s the military is being woefully under trained and shorted on ammo, or that amount of ammo isn’t needed or being used for training, so they are obtaining it for other uses. (basically their lying)

        • I’m no expert, but last time I checked ammo was issued by command– so “infantry training” would be the schools, not all Army infantry.

          DHS also includes a disgustingly long list of folks– again, can’t link it with the wordpress Chrome ap, but their main site has a list of all the departments they do acquisition for; I vaguely remember it includes the folks doing border duty and the Coast Guard when not activated to Navy commands.

          • I do recall Coast Guard and Border Patrol (wonder how they got their ammo before DHS came around?) being listed, as well as IRS, don’t remember who else, just that it is a long list. (and most of them probably have alternate sources of ammo)

            • Individually.

              The idea of DHS was to simplify stuff by making a single chain of command, so you didn’t have fifty-three bazillion different ordering chains.

              It…didn’t work as well as hoped.

              That said, in theory, DHS has to provide all the required ammo.

  16. One way of delegitimizing the dominant liberal paradigm is to wage guerrilla intellectual warfare, advocating le Resistance in daily life.

    Snarky comments about Obamacare or government bureaucrats being trustworthy stewards of our money help undermine the normative illusion, encouraging expression of dissident thoughts. By redefining “normal” we act to enable change. Remember, the only thing keeping Ceaușescu in power in Romania was an illusion.

    • This is a good strategy.

      For the most part, reacting to comments that are put forward is harder than being the first to comment. It turns the table if the snark is against the left from the start, the silence = agreement then switches camps from left to right. It also puts the snark from the left on the defensive as they would have to take the argumentative position.

    • I’m trying. I’m trying. I speak directly to folks, have my data lined up, and am working on the whole wide-eyed-innocent-statement-of-fact thing.

    • Well, illusion that the military, secret police and directed mobs would smash any disidence flat, kidnap any family and destroy all property before shooting the disident, yes.
      They were a brutal dictatorship that knew if they lost power they would wind up like Mussolini.
      And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple.

  17. I frequently thank goodness that my family chose to emphasize the humanity of the Nazi prisoners a grandfather guarded; it got my mind ready for otherwise fine folks who have utterly abhorrent, evil views in one or two areas.

  18. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Agree, Lefties are very willing to put *their* morality into law while telling others that “morality shouldn’t be put into law”.

    • I deduce that this is a response to me. ’cause I’m clever or something.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        No fishing for complements Mary. [Wink]

        Seriously, I tried to reply to your post but it didn’t “stick” to your post.

  19. A link from Instapundit:
    RICHARD FERNANDEZ: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. “While the US is focused on its own domestic dramas, Europe as the Economist puts it, ‘is bleeding out.’ Silently, exsanguinating below the fold, but bleeding all the same.”

  20. Damn! the link was stripped. You can find the entire article at pjmedia.

  21. aAlabamaDill

    Ma’am, reading your blog and the comments(ers) gives me hope. And brings me to tears in much the same way hearing the Star Spangled Banner sung made my eyes water a bit ever since a certain day in Sept. I think there are more USAians out there than anyone knows. I pray so, and repeat to myself frequently a old admonishment-“fear not”. You reminded me of that on a day I needed it. There was another prophet who complained that his was the only knee unbent to idols. He was basically told, nice try, but not even close. I will believe there are more of us than them until I am forced to notice I am on the hilltop of Masada, then we shall draw straws and give a rebel yell. God bless the lady on island, and send us many more Georges! (total sidebar-my dear father in law is a 1st gen immigrant-named George! And as American as apple pie!)

  22. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Have the numbers I promised now, haven’t had time or sense to check the rest of the thread, or other things, probably won’t have sense to come back and look at things for a while.

    This a measure for gender ratio in current engineering seniors for a discipline at a place. Note that this doesn’t directly sample graduating seniors. Further note that I have little idea of the measurement error, and haven’t time to really discuss my methodology.

    I have a bit over 11% female for one discipline, and over a quarter for another.

    This is bigger than the 5% I assumed in my special case scenario.

    Take your pick of the following to explain the difference
    a)Things have changed since I last paid close attention
    b)My earlier internal estimates were off
    c) I was, clearly, assuming a more extreme case to illustrate a potential issue
    d)I under-counted males somewhere
    e)I am a misogynist

    I forget where the original thread was, and feel a need to get the promise discharged quickly to deal with some other pressing business.

  23. A couple of potentially unrelated thoughts, after having reviewed everything y’all have said above.
    #1. Speaking up. Yes, you do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, but my time around cows in my youth reminds me that cows also are attracted to dung as well. As our esteemed hostess has put so much more eloquently in the past, we make the mistake of believing that our ideological opponents regard us the way we regard them – as being generally nice people who have the best interests of the culture and the society at heart, but have a difference of opinion as to what that consists of and how to achieve it.
    They do not. They believe us to be, and I think this is the best word for it as their conviction really is more akin to a counterfeit religious fervor than anything else, heathens and infidels. Look at some of the ads that were used by our Glorious Leader … ahem … I mean, President.
    “Mitt Romney. Not One Of Us.” Which means that he, as the other could be safely hated, scapegoated (see my comment above re: Voting Is The Best Revenge), and made to bear the blame for all of America’s troubles, while the Messianic One Currently In Office promises to assuage all pain, all problems, and all personally responsibility. Note: I’m not saying a Romney presidency would have been peaches, cream, and constitutionalism. Far from it. I’m just pointing out the opposition’s tactics.
    All of which is a stupidly long way of getting to what I really want to say – you’d better know your Alinsky before you really start speaking up. Because they do. It’s kneejerk now, to isolate, polarize, paralyze, mock, etc, those whom they identify as outside their fold.
    They Do Not Play By The Rules Of A Civil Society, Because They Believe Us Unworthy Of Civil Dialogue Do Not Value Civil Society. Which is crazy stupid, considering that they benefit from it. (Man, I need to write my own blog posts. These comments are embarassingly long).
    And for someone who… dagnabit… still occasionally fantasizes about writing for a living, speaking up means that you are either aiming at one particular publisher, or you’re stuck in indie-land. Not that there’s anything wrong with indie. And it’s not just an impact in your life if you’re writing. As a professional in a place that’s very blue, if you out yourself as anything but the accepted orthodoxy (Yay, Statism!), then word can get around quickly and have a real impact on your ability to provide for your family.
    But despite being scary, it’s still (dagnabit) necessary.
    2. But we shouldn’t be afraid to speak up.
    Two quick points and I’m out.
    First, if we really believe what we’re saying above, then it’s our responsibility to wake up as many as we still can. Yes, the time is far spent, there is little remaining and all that. It’s still our responsibility, and if G-d isn’t going to hold us responsible for doing what we can there, I have a daughter I want to be able to look in the eye in twenty years.
    Second, as someone who is religious, I keep thinking about Elisha. Surrounded by an army sent specifically to fetch him, hopelessly outnumbered, his servant says “Alas, my master! how shall we do?”
    And he answered, “Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” After which, the servant of Elisha sees horses and chariots of fire surrounding the prophet.
    I don’t think we’re alone in this fight. At least, I have faith that we’re not.

    • Ditto.
      And I’m not pushing anyone to COME OUT — I know what it’s cost me.
      The weird thing in the end is what it’s given me. Talk to my family about it. Yes, I’m still overworked, but I’m much calmer and weirdly last year was my largest grossing year, between Baen and indie. (Then why do you complain, Sarah? Well… taxes. Also my car which should have been replaced years ago, and a bunch of deferred maintenance on the house demanded attention.)

  24. Flies. Flies are attracted to honey and dung. Dagnabit. Although, given my experience with cows, I wouldn’t put anything past them.

  25. “Decent Nazis”: I recommend to all here my personal favorite “horror movie”, _Conspiracy_; it covers the spread (and division) of opinion even among the NSDAP itself, not to mention the other components of the Reich.

    Specifically, in that film, I would point to the figures of Wilhelm Stuckart (played by no less than Colin Firth), who argues against extermination both on legal grounds (demanding some legal framework be developed first) and on the grounds that “to kill them abandons that half of them which is German” (both were arguments the historical figure made); and Friedrich Wilhelm Kritzinger, who after attending the Wannsee Conference attempted to resign his position in the Reich Chancellery — he was not permitted to, as he was so respected at all levels of the government (a rarity in the backstabbing atmosphere encouraged by Dear Old Uncle Adi) that his departure would have made running the government at all nearly impossible (at the Nuremburg trials, he would openly express his shame at having been involved — the only man to do so).

    As to the Second Civil War: We’re *long* overdue, which means when it finally does light off, it’s going to be that much worse….

  26. “All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war.” Billy Beck, Two-Four Blog, 2009

  27. What is needed is bold leadership from Conservatives. This neccessitates some ignoring of Libertarians. I’m glad to see so many libertarians ‘get’ that most laws are an imposition of morality. I spent a week arguing with a noted libertarian who simply could not ‘get’ that the sanctity of contracts or other such things was an imposition of morality (one I agree with, btw.)

    I do not think a sudden burst of IQ occurred among libertarians. I think Conservatives showed some boldness, and those Libertarians who were able to, got on board when the conversation moved on. We need to move past these silly worries of a theocracy.

    Also, Sarah, I would not be so eager to compare Portugal’s experience with do-gooder’s to America. That said, given a choice between oh, Singapore and any Leftwing dicatorship and any sane person would take Singapore despite being at risk of being caned for spitting gum on the street. Which is to say, your modern worst case scenario of do gooders rightists run amok is not that bad.

    And the obvious answer, as has been made, to the federalist position on abortion is that the last time it was tried, we had Civil War. The parallels between chattel slavery and abortion are many and striking. The likelihood that some future Lincoln is going to say that ‘God is going to permit the searing by nuclear fire to match the searing by saline, the crushing by explosion to match the crushing by forceps, until every drop of innocent blood is repaid…’ grows higher daily.

    And to go with Sarah’s post, yes, there are many apparently decent folk who are for abortion. One answer to this is original sin. None of us are decent.

    • Robin Munn

      … And another answer is ignorance. Many mostly-decent* people support abortion only because they have no idea how horrible it actually is. And the pro-abortion activists are very careful to keep it that way.

      * I agree 100% that we’re all tainted by original sin and none of us are fully decent, but many people do act mostly decent in most areas of their lives.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        *shudder* The story I just saw today about an abortion doctor (NOT Gosnell – he’s not the only one) was, to put it mildly, horrendous. I’m only going to post what they had to do to save the woman:

        “The woman required a hysterectomy, colonoscopy, and several units of blood to save her life.”

        And there’s also this, regarding the doctor:

        “According to Target 8 Woodtv.com in Muskegon, an apparent conflict of interest allowed Alexander to continue to practice after complaints against him were not investigated. “

      • Many mostly-decent people support abortion only because they have no idea how horrible it actually is. And the pro-abortion activists are very careful to keep it that way.

        And I only just now realized the parallel between this and the general ignorance among Germans in the 1940’s about what really was going on in those “camps”. Some knew, of course, but the majority of them had no idea… and the Nazis were very careful to keep it that way.

      • National Review Online’s Jim Gerahty [http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot] points out a large part of the problem:

        42 Percent of Americans Don’t Think Obamacare Is Law
        By Jim Geraghty
        April 30, 2013 9:30 AM
        It is entirely possible that we have a public so spectacularly ill-informed, we are no longer capable of governing themselves. Here’s an April tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation: “Four in ten Americans (42%) are unaware that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is still the law of the land, including 12 percent who believe the law has been repealed by Congress, 7 percent who believe it has been overturned by the Supreme Court and 23 percent who say they don’t know enough to say what the status of the law is.”

        With the public so vague on whether or not Obamacare is actually law, we should take all poll results with a grain of salt. But the law is even less popular than when it passed:

        “Overall, the public remains as divided as ever when it comes to their overall evaluations of the health law. This month, 35 percent report a favorable view, 40 percent an unfavorable view, and a full 24 percent report they have no opinion on the law, continuing a recent trend of particularly high shares not offering an opinion. Partisans remain quite divided, with a majority of Democrats in favor (57 percent) and most Republicans opposed (67 percent).”

        In terms oft he law’s political future, just over half of Americans (53 percent) continue to say that they approve of efforts by opponentsto change orstop the law “so it has less impact on taxpayers, employers, and health care providers”, a view which theoretically encompasses a range of positions from hard‐core repeal supporters to those who believe the law only needs minor tweaks.One in three (including more than half of Democrats) believe that the law’s opponents should accept that it is the law of the land and stop trying to block its implementation, down somewhat from January (33 percent now compared to 40 percent at the start of the year).”

        How do we know the media is downplaying the problems in implementing Obamacare? When 40 percent of Americans are unaware that the law is in place.

        38% of Pro-Lifers Like Planned Parenthood
        By Jim Geraghty
        April 30, 2013 9:50 AM
        As if the Obamacare polling result below isn’t jaw-dropping enough, now there’s this indicator of how ill-informed the public is: “Although 63 percent said that they had a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood, including 38 percent of those who identified themselves as pro-life, 55 percent of those polled did not know that Planned Parenthood performs abortions.”

        I suppose we should be thankful that the public can still differentiate between Kermit Gosnell and Kermit the Frog.

        Do we need to hold a seminar on “Basic Facts in Public Debates”? Maybe have everyone carry some 3×5 index cards saying, “Planned Parenthood is the pro-abortion group”?

        Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens,” which means “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.”

        • Do we need to hold a seminar on “Basic Facts in Public Debates”? Maybe have everyone carry some 3×5 index cards saying, “Planned Parenthood is the pro-abortion group”?

          Pro abort, heck, the #1 abortion provider that’s regularly shown to be lying about what their “services” involve, and covering up child abuse.

          • The local PP chapter has people downtown who have some sort of survey or something, but only for people who support PP.

            Needless to say, I’ve yet to take a survey.

      • Sometimes it’s willful ignorance; I’ve linked this nice page of notes for basic human biology at least a dozen times in the last month.

        And still have arguments with folks about if a fetus is “alive.” The latest angle is that pregnancy is a condition of the fetus, not the mother, and that it’s only post implantation. (Attempted redefinition about half a century ago by ONE professional group, and the majority of their practicing members today do not agree. Classic definition of pregnant is “carrying unborn offspring.”)

        *headdesk*

        • Even if you can get the wilfully ignorant you’re going to run into any number of people in the realm of unshared axiomata. Starting, to take one example, with what exactly defines a being with the right to life and other such fundamental rights anyway.

          Aliveness? Sure, but so are pre-fertilization gametes and an arbitrarily large amount of the rest of the tissue we shed each day, not to mention the entire rest of the biosphere of the planet, so it certainly can’t _just_ be aliveness…

          Humanity? That one’s awkward for many reasons, not least because it’s kind of hard to justify unless you come right out and make a “humans are uniquely special” argument, which is unlikely to convince anyone who doesn’t buy into it for theological reasons.

          (Also, putting on my SF-reader’s and speculator’s hat for a moment, in the event that we ever do run into non-human sophonts or invent artificial intelligence, going the “humans are special” route is likely to set us up to repeat some of the nastiest mistakes of past history, only this time with machine armies and antimatter bombs, so let’s try not to, ‘kay?)

          And there are people who would attach fundamental rights to sentience – or in particular the ability to feel pain – or to specifically self-awareness, or to sapience, or to volition, or to split them up and declare that anything self-aware enough to know its own existence has the right to not have that existence/life terminated, and anything capable of exercising volition ought to have the freedom to so do, and that our uncertainty in investigation such things tells us we should err on the cautious side in declaring which things are, in fact, un-self-aware or non-volitional…

          (That last one happens to be my own position –

          [Which, for the record, in terms of the concrete details of public affairs, is _much_ more restrictive of both abortion and voluntary euthanasia than the modal view, but which would go so far as to point out that neither the _very_ early fetus, which has no brain _at all_, nor the actually brain-dead (i.e., _not_ the comatose or the persistently vegetative, but brains displaying no coherent activity whatsoever) can reasonably be said to possess either self-awareness or volition.

          And of course, there are those people who don’t believe that either self-awareness or volition actually exists, but zombies, even p-zombies, don’t get a vote. On account of declaring themselves nonexistent, belike.]

          – which I’m willing to argue for vociferously as the closest to objective truth that I can get to, and would comfortably build a legal framework on top of, but I must be always aware that I’ve got a certain irreducible number of axiomata down there that I can’t prove any more than anyone else can prove theirs.)

          Really, I’m not sure what all this calls for, except that we’d all be having much clearer (if less comfortably definitive) arguments if we still taught people how to reason metaphysically…

          • Ah, damn. I meant _involuntary_ euthanasia, up above.

          • @#$@#$%$#

            Had about two paragraphs pointing out that most of the objections you raise have already been answered, usually through natural law philosophy; look for “jimmy akin, zombie, moral being” and “TOF blog, dog heads” for examples.

            Gametes aren’t alive in the sense of being a different organism, BTW.

            Basically, the prudent thing is “if it’s an organism of a group known to be moral beings, don’t murder it.” Kind of like not shooting at the rustling in the bushes as a hunter.

            • You’re kind of missing the point, which is not that people don’t _have_ answers. We have plenty of answers.

              My point is that people don’t _agree_ on answers, because those answers rest on axiomata which aren’t necessarily shared, and can’t, by the very nature of the thing, be proved or disproved.

              And unless you have a valid & sound solution to the is-ought problem in your pocket that can eliminate the need for axiomata, that’s not going to change.

              • I think we’re talking past each other…..

                • Just look at it from a war gaming pov.

                  I’m the general of the Conservative Army. I’ve got ten heavy pikemen units, the softest of which are tougher than almost anything else on the battlefield, the toughest of which are dour-handed Jotunn who make NFL linebackers speak respectfully.

                  A group from a neighboring state that should be agreeing with me on the need to defend the homeland against the invasion by the Proggies Horde is a single unit of slingers. Now, more men…good. More tactical options….good. But they demand to be treated as equal to the ten pikemen units when they’re probably about equal to one of them. And they demand a veto on acceptable strategy and tactics for the CA. Basically, they want to be the voice behind the ‘throne’ as it were. And they spend a lot of their time, perhaps a majority, picking fights and brawls with my pikemen so that instead of a peaceful unity in camp, we have squalls and disturbance and mistrust.

                  I’m probably better off cutting them loose and wishing them the best. And if a fair chunk of them decide to cut loose from their own Band and join mine, and follow my rules and discipline, then all the better.

                  And my first rule for the slingers: Quit calling your Conservative brethren, who agree with you about 80% of the time, ‘statists’. And ban the word ‘theocrat’ from your lips unless you’re talking about worshippers of the Death Goddess Gaia. Otherwise, y’know, there’s the door.

                  Conservatives would be honestly better off without this division and rancor. Or we can waste time studying axioms and rehashing arguements to which every man already knows the answer.

                  • I am caught in the middle of this — I am religious but I believe on convincing people on a non-religious level and I’m libertarian as principals of general organization (now I can explain to you why you’d be better off believing and following moral rules, but that’s different from general organization.)

                    I’m sick and tired of my religious conservative friends screaming about amoral libertarians (yeah, some of them are) and my libertarian friends screaming about intolerant religious people. Half the time I want to grab their heads and hit them together.

                    We’re in an existential fight. I’d love for the big battle to be between religious conservatives and libertarians (and I’d be an independent voter siding with whichever one made the best case at the time.) BUT for now we have to fight off the Gaia worshiping communitarians who DO want to kill us.

                    • I am not religious in a sense that I go to church regularly etc, but I do believe and have had the Christian principles taught to me from my childhood. I do know that I could have been a very dangerous person w/o the knowledge of a G-d or a force greater than myself and w/o the Christian values instilled into me. So yes– I understand what you are saying– even so, I really detest it when someone tells me to believe as an emotional response. I need to see it on more levels– Restricting anything to only emotion is imho losing a tapestry of experience to one force in our brains and body. We have a left/right brain split (with a communication bridge) for a reason.

                    • This is why the only “preaching” I do is to people who know me very well. I can explain intangibles to them, if that makes sense.
                      I believe, and this is why I don’t default to preaching in public, that the best way to convert people is through the head. Of course, judging by how the country is working, I’m probably fatally wrong.

                    • I am probably wrong too. *sigh and Odd as well. 😉

                    • My understanding of Religion is that it is about a loving relationship between me and my Creator. Like most love affairs, this tends to be as boring to those not in the relationship as it is fascinating to the participants. So mostly I keep it to one side, no matter how central it is to my life.

                      Like most loving relationships, there is a tendency to create a fantasized version of the focus of one’s adoration and to love that projection rather than He with whom we are actually in the relationship. Thus some of us are likely to find that He whom we thought we loved is not Who we imagined Him to be, and that His pleasure in the nearly dead mice we drop at his feet was in respect to the gesture we were making, not in the mice themselves.

                      Law is ill-suited to inducing people to fall in love, thus it is not effective for promoting religious values, which are an expression of our love for our Creator. Making rules requiring folks to love somebody tends to be counter productive.

                    • I enjoyed this extended metaphor– the mice and cat touch was superb.

                    • Greebo builds altars of mice-skulls in our honor. I wish I were joking. We actually approve not just for the gesture, but because when the fires sent mice into all our neighbors’ basements, we never had the problem.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Don’t you know he’s trying to terrify you with demonstrations of what a killing machine he is? And you probably just humiliate the poor guy with “Ooh, good kitty!” (Runs)

                    • considering he struts, purrs and rubs on my legs, he falls somewhat short of scary.
                      BTW when he gets REALLY happy he bites your shoe, then realizes he’s bitten you and runs away. I’ve learned to wear thick shoes around him. 🙂

                    • thumbs up– Greebo, good thing he hasn’t grown opposable thumbs. 😉

                    • BUT we would still love Greebo if he suddenly acquired an allergy to mouse killing.

                    • Thank-you. I worked hard to avoid it seeming labored.

                      It was either the “gifts of mice” or “Our greatest works are His refrigerator art” so I chose the one I thought best suited to this forum.

                    • No– “gifts of mice” was perfect. 😉

                    • I have a vision of numerous disciplined squares of grim pikemen armed with fell weapons marching out of the pass into the valley to meet the horde of misshapen trolls and goblins hissing and hooting on the far side of the vale, while on the hills above them, a half-mad and half-dressed mass of slingers, led by a redheaded woman, is already slinging stones and dried poop at the horde…

                    • “I believe, and this is why I don’t default to preaching in public, that the best way to convert people is through the head.”

                      This presupposes that said people actually use their head.

                    • Um…. I confess sometimes I think hitting the back of the head might make their ideas fall in the right place.

                    • Gibbs-smack.

                      It’s a valid tactic.

                  • Well, of course we do. We’re _libertarians_ . We don’t do following orders or marching happily in rank and file; it says so right on the tin. (And just to point it out, where picking fights are concerned, this is also how libertarians treat each other, by and large. Where there’re two libertarians, there are maybe five opinions and a keg of beer to argue ’em over. Just the way it is.)

                    But to expand on the metaphor a bit, you’re not getting _recruits_ , you’re getting _allies_ , ’cause our interests may align with yours, but they’re neither identical nor subordinate. And the thing about allies is that they occasionally have to get something out of the alliance.

                    And on that alignment of interests – well, from over here, it does not look anything _like_ 80%. I’ve been a libertarian in two countries now, in the US (where libertarian votes nominally go the Republicans) and in the UK (where they nominally go the Conservatives – who, just to reinforce that this has little to do with theocracy, are about as secular as you please). Do you know what, in all that time, the libertarians got out of this particular alliance?

                    Close to buggerall, that’s what.

                    Y’all got to walk the walk as well as talk the talk, and while some conservatives talk a good small government line some of the time, what y’all offer us, in political terms, is wishy-washy crony-capitalist “moderates” and/or big-government social conservatives, by which I do _not_ mean the reasonable kind who advocate, but do not impose, their values. That is not, by any measure, 80% agreement. The enemy of my enemy is not my friend _just because_ he’s the enemy of my enemy.

                    I’m in this for free minds, free markets, and free men, and that’s what I’ll get out of bed for; not just so that Mitt Romney (who is, by any reasonable definition, a statist), say, can preside over his version of goverment-run healthcare, the TSA’s groping business, and jobs-for-the-boys subsidies, et. seq., instead of Barack Obama. That’s not exactly progress in _our_ direction. Until then, _we_ don’t want _you_ any more than you want us.

                    In short: when you’ve got someone with the character, principles, and integrity of, say, Barry Goldwater or Calvin Coolidge to rally behind, call us. Until then, this Atlas is going to shrug.

                    • Yeah, you cain’t hardly tell those Republican appointed Supreme Court justices like Scalia & Thomas from the Democrat appointed ones like Sotomayor & Breyer. And there ain’t a dime’s worth of difference between Alito & Ginsburg.

                    • Yep, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Raul Labrador, Sarah Palin, and Colonel Allen West agree with Harry Reid, Chuckie Schumer, Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray over 80% of the time.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      And this is one of the reasons we continue to do much more poorly in elections than we should. The Left has dragged the perceived (not actual, but in this case, perception is more important) culture so far away from anything resembling moderation, that no one such as you’re suggesting has a chance of being elected (or likely even nominated) to a position such as President.

                      I keep telling people – if you want to get what you want at the TOP, you have to change it at the BOTTOM first. Get good candidates into State and Local positions, but help elect the “lesser of two evils”, then point out loudly how that’s still not good enough, and explain your positions. With good supporters in local and State positions, you can work to getting things fixed at THAT level, and then point out to people how much easier it is to (figuratively) breathe, with government laying less heavily on their backs.

                      But no, it’s always got to be “give us the guy who is so far out that he has no chance in the current environment, THEN we’ll help”.

                    • Yes, the road is so narrow we can’t just do a u turn. It’s going to take incremental turns.

                    • Some time back I realized that in politics as in fishing, if you want a different kind of fish atop the food chain you must first change the water.

                    • Which is a fine argument, taken it itself, but the thing is, we’re not new to this dance.

                      Libertarians in general have been doing the lesser-of-two-evils thing for YEARS. Hell, I, _personally_ , have been doing the lesser-of-two-evils thing for years.

                      However well it may work in theory, it empirically doesn’t work in practice – even incrementally.

                      It may even be counterproductive for us libertarians, inasmuch as it makes us look unprincipled and makes it easy for the left to tar us with the same brush as the non-small-government right.

                      (Now, I might be inclined to agree with RES’s metaphor below, with the specific caveat that the water isn’t local politics, the water is the culture. But until that water’s changed, there’s damn all point in getting into the politics of it ’cause all you’re going to get from the lesser evil is a differently-graded road to ruin.)

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      If I ever see the other parts being done, I’ll think about agreeing with you, but I seldom hear of (granted, it’s hard for non-Lefties to get recognition of this, but that’s why it’s so much more important to push it out there) any work at local and State levels, and even though you say it’s been tried for a long time, it’s hardly ever worked on between elections. It’s usually, “Ok, we’ll back your loser on the ‘lesser of two evils’ notion”, then the Election, wait a few months, then yell about it not doing any good. It has to be pushed, constantly, until the Party leaders can be pushed out, or else it will fall back to the beginning.

                      The TEA Parties are trying, but they weren’t given enough time before being abandoned by the ones who have this visceral belief that change should happen NOW. They’re still out there working, but the support from a lot of people has dropped off because “It hasn’t done any good”, despite the fact that TEA Party-supported candidates are all that have stood in the way of some very damaging bills, especially in the House, where they are more numerous.

                    • snelson134

                      More is being done than you might think, since the media has figured out that even smearing the Tea Party is less effective than ignoring it.

                    • It doesn’t do a lot of good to vote for someone if you’re talking them down the whole time, then kick the folks who did support him in the teeth every time they don’t do what you want…. The way a lot of libertarians openly talk about subverting the Republican party and abandoning social issues does not help.

                      At least the left leaves in-fighting until the current battle is won.

                      I am still pissed at the opportunists who decided that they’d claim the entire tea party movement supported their issues and only their issues– it’s a rather good miniature of what happens. You worth with the FisCons organizations, and they’ll try to take the entire movement and shut up the SoCons. Never mind that a lot of SoCon things are required. for FisCon movements to work….

                    • 1. Foxfier | May 4, 2013 at 5:02 pm | ,

                      Here’s an example that goes the other way.

                      2. One of my long-term lamentations is that ****Cons stink at coalition politics: with each other, let alone with neutrals and opponents.

                      3. I haven’t continued a couple of our discussions because my back has been out—apparently nothing serious, but stoic is not the first word that describes my temperament—and I don’t feel up to prolonged volleys. There will be other occasions, I’m sure. Consider me as having taken rain checks.

                    • Back to front– if folks stop responding, I tend to figure the return got lower than the cost. That can be “I don’t have time” or “I’m tired of slamming my head against others.”

                      Part of why I think the– *pauses, grins, types*– X-Cons are so bad at the thing the Left does is that we have strong philosophies. It’s not worth winning if you have to lose yourself to do it, basically. (That the Libertarians have a heavy leavening of flatly leftist jerks doesn’t help matters, either– the clear, black and white philosophy most common in Libertarianism makes it VERY EASY for those prone to abuse to “pass” right up until they kick the castle over for their personal desires.)

                      And a “my local group fell apart because those guys won an argument” doesn’t rise to the level of the national politics betrayal where various Libertarian groups joined up with liberal media to subvert the TEA party’s national face. Flipping idiots.

                    • To be clear: the Libertarian groups were idiots because they thought they’d do anything but destroy a group that was advancing multiple causes; they attacked allies before the battle was over, and weakened the movement. Think like if Italy had decided to try to snatch Korea during the middle of WWII.

                    • 1. Back before & after the landslide Goldwater loss, iirc, the Democrats did not take conservatives seriously because they believed we’d never get our act together. It took Reagan’s tour de force to demonstrate otherwise. Now conservatives are back to Square One.

                      2. I’m not familiar with the situation you describe—would appreciate a link—, but I felt that Gary Johnson was treated badly by the 2012 GOP. A self-made businessman and successful two-term governor of a bluish swing state never a “serious” candidate? C’mon.

                      When he tried to do to Romney what Nader did to Gore, I changed my attitude. Afaic his vindictiveness is understandable but not excusable given that the alternative to Romney was Obama.

                      3. A daily dose of casuistry might be just the thing for counterproductively strong philosophies. So sez agnostic gs, whom back in mumble Sister Mary Retribution visualized as a future Jesuit advancing popery in America.

                    • It is important to keep at the forefront of the mind that the MSM declares which candidates to be “serious” and which are “nutjobs.”

                      I suspect only a few of us here are old enough to recall how the MSM (which was far less slanted back then) attempted to define Reagan during the Sixties and Seventies. His ability to rise above them infuriated the intelligentsia and they have sworn blood oaths to never let it happen again.

                      The MSM definition of a “credible” Republican (not Conservative) nominee can be deduced by their approval of McCain & Romney and disapproval of George W. Bush. (Hint: it includes the word “losing.”)

                    • I suspect only a few of us here are old enough to recall how the MSM (which was far less slanted back then) attempted to define Reagan during the Sixties and Seventies.

                      I was born in ’83, and I still didn’t exactly realize that Reagan was a generation ago until some jerk tried to play gotcha by demanding details of how he campaigned. (Because the details of campaign tactics over a generation ago are so relevant to near-instant, broad-based media.)

                    • I have to reply here because the ‘reply’ gets cut off on my pc on lower replies. Sorry.

                      As to the first two replies, ‘methinks the lady doth protest too much’. I come with an amoral argument, and am met with objections as if I had made a moral argument. From a wargaming pov….is amoral, unless you agree with David Drake and Col. Kratman and their ilk that losing a war is the greatest immorality (I think they would say that).

                      Cyn, most of my arguments for Christ and such are reasoned. I think an AI would be a Christian. Its the only logical position. Yes, I’m aware that’s arrogant. Reality is arrogant.

                      I enjoyed the bits about cats. Smoke, a furry long hair like a black smoke cloud, got the unusual pleasure this morn of sleeping on my shoulder as I slept.

                      And now to the cage match.

                      Alastair, your first para points out why Libertarians are not suited to have leadership, no matter how much they crave it. N=# of L in room: N+2=# of opinions. If I want computer programmers, or if I wanted bad puns, I could go to the Libertarians and find a plentiful supply. But I want, no need, soldiers to beat back the Proggie Horde. Many of you are 4-F for that purpose.

                      Its lead, follow, or get out of the way time. And you can’t lead, many won’t follow, and many refuse to get out of the way. Which is why they need to be ignored.

                      Actually, our interests are close to identical. And yes, someone has to be subordinate. And since the Libertarians are the weaker side, its gets to be them. This is not a moral argument. The interests of Free France were subordinate to the interests of Great Britain in WW2.

                      And I’m not interested in allies who as Foxfier ably points out below are unreliable. I’d rather you were attacking me fulltime than when I turned to you for help, and I find you passing mash notes to the other side.

                      This next para. is one of the errors of perception of Libertarians. They look at the GOP as run by Conservatives. Would to God that it were. No, its run by RINOs. I tend to think Libertarians know better, but they make this ridiculous charge anyways.

                      Mitch McConnell is NOT my pal.

                      As to ‘big gov’t social conservatives who impose their values’….I thought we’d gotten rid of this insane ‘impose your values’ nonsense upthread. I was pleased to see so many Libertarians understanding this.

                      And again, as I said upthread, the difference between a run amok socon place like Singapore and your average Leftwing dictatorship makes clear that any sane man would go to Singapore over the Leftland. The worst right wing dictatorship is orders of magnitude less nasty than the worst left wing. Compare Pinochet to Mao. So enough of this false moral equivalence that Libertarians who know better use to dither between choices.

                      It is past time for the train to move out. Enough dithering. Get on the train or get off.

                      Getting rid of the Dept. of Education, Energy, HHS, Interior, Commerce….just to start (That’s Monday.) is pretty much standard Conservatism. Yeah, it is 80%. We disagree on drugs, an on letting porn shops open up next door to daycares.

                      And Alastair, I kinda figured you’d be one of the ones I had to cut loose from the imaginary CA. I’m not that much surprised. May your private war with the Proggies have much success.

                      .

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      When I read comments from libertarians like Alistair Young, I think of the phrase “Perfect is the enemy of good enough”. [Frown]

                    • Which is a valid argument, but which admits the counter “in what way is the alternative ‘good’?”

                    • “Libertarians are not suited to have leadership, no matter how much they crave it.”

                      Here’s your problem, right here, and in assorted other military metaphors. We _don’t_ crave it, want it, or care for it, particularly. We no more want to lead than we want to follow. That sort of hierarchical structure where everyone follows obediently behind the leader in time to the sound of the centrally-planned fifes and drums is _exactly_ what we’re against. Which, not to put too fine a point on it, is precisely why our interests _don’t_ align. Not even close.

                      (I mean, this ought to be obvious. The people whose primary value is liberty have certain, ah, problems with both being told what to do and with telling anyone else what to do. Go figure, right?)

                      ((And ridiculous-charge-wise, if we align with you for political purposes, the GOP is who we get running things. So, y’know, we tend to think what the people our allies would like us to vote for would do is kind of relevant, y’know?

                      And, impose your values — yeah, you mention drugs yourself, and _not_ imposing grand penalties on non-violent people for using chemicals no more psychoactive than either caffeine or nicotine and pissing all over the Fourth Amendment in the process is something of a libertarian value. Also go figure.

                      And again, enough of this false moral equivalence, fine, but also enough of this false dichotomy. The choice is not only between Them and You.))

                      I wish you good luck in your war; whoever wins, we’ll no doubt still be around trying to screw things up as much as possible for the winner.

                    • And again, enough of this false moral equivalence, fine, but also enough of this false dichotomy. The choice is not only between Them and You

                      Actually, … it is. By your own admission Libertarians do not matter, as your inability to organize renders you politically impotent and irrelevant.

                      In the battle between those who support limited government and those for unlimited government you say you want no government. As a result you will be governed.

                    • Libertarians can certainly crave power. I’ve seen some in action.

                      And even if I had not, I would not be persuaded by the argument that ” We no more want to lead than we want to follow.” It is as persuasive as the Communist claims I’ve heard that the atrocities can’t occur because they are motivated by the pure love of mankind. Professing a creed has never ensured that all professing souls are freed of whatever it condemns as faults.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I could see *some* libertarians desiring power in order to prevent what they consider bad actions by others. For example, say a small town votes itself “dry”, the local libertarian “priest-king-judge” then strikes down that law and forces the town to have taverns. Oh sure, the town folk who don’t like to drink won’t have to go into the taverns but they also will have to deal with the problems the taverns bring *and* have to worry that anything else they do to deal the problems will be “vetoed” by the holy libertarian.

                    • Yeah, you caught us.

                      We will aggressively prevent you from ganging up on your neighbors and running them out of business by force. What terrible people we are.

                    • That means that you get veto power over any agreement a group makes if you decide it isn’t pure enough.

                    • No, that means I get veto power over any agreement a group makes where some of the people involved have guns, real or metaphorical, pointed at their heads at the time.

                      Y’know, like duress normally invalidates consent or contract, except without a convenient exception for officially-sanctioned thugs?

                    • You get veto power?? Sez who? I veto your veto.

                      Accepting the benefits of a society entails accepting the rules of that society. By your own argument you are a political freeloader and demonstrably aiding and abetting the enemies of Liberty, as Orwell’s argument about British Pacifists benefitting the Nazis.

                    • Sez “certain inalienable rights”.

                    • You assert rights and include the right to use lethal force in defense of your claimed rights; you are in the ideological position of a whore who claims to be a virgin every Sunday.

                    • You seem to have missed part of your argument there, the part that’s an argument?

                    • You contradict yourself and demand an argument?

                      “I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you an understanding.”
                      — Samuel Johnson, Boswell’s “Life of Johnson”

                    • I am in no way convinced that I have contradicted myself.

                    • Your being convinced is not relevant to having contradicted yourself by asserting a right to employ coercion in defense of your professed non-coercion principle.

                    • Okay, seriously, at this point go look up the Libertarianism 101 FAQ, or download a PDF of _Machinery of Freedom_, or something, ’cause while I doubtless could go through the rest of it myself, I’m not feeling particularly motivated to when the argument’s already been written down a few thousand times – none of this is exactly novel – and besides, this whisky won’t drink itself.

                    • You cannot eliminate your incoherence by demanding I read your manifesto. You have taken the precise position of religious fanatics who assert their theology is supported by their sacred texts and demand others read those texts in order to discuss that theology.

                      On what basis do you presume I give a damn? This is exactly why Libertarians are politically irrelevant except as gadflies, which is to say: politically irrelevant.

                    • No, but what I _can_ do, however, is walk away from a uninteresting argument. Which, incidentally, I presume that you give a damn about because you’re _still here arguing_ .

                      Good day to you, sir.

                    • What I gave a damn about was the question of how far you would go in your proselytization efforts. Apparently, not very. One lousy little self-contradiction and you resort to “if you just read my bible it will all become clear.”

                    • snelson134

                      “Sez ‘certain inalienable rights’ ”

                      I cannot improve on the language of the Most Noble Heinlein for exposing this nonsensical dreck:

                      Ah, yes, the ‘unalienable rights.’ Each year someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What ‘right’ to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What ‘right’ to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of ‘right’? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man’s right is ‘unalienable’? And is it ‘right’?
                      As to liberty, the heroes who signed that great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is always unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it is always vanquished. Of all the so-called ‘natural human rights’ that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.

                    • I’ll take that with its context, thanks, because Heinlein was capable of telling the difference between normative and descriptive statements. Why don’t you try it sometime?

                    • snelson134

                      WRT your remarks, I found dreck to be both normative and descriptive, so Heinlein’s quote fit like a glove.

                    • And guess who gets to decide that there are “metaphorical” guns involved….

                      One would wonder what makes folks follow the deals they enter willingly.

                    • Well, inasmuch as accepting the non-aggression/non-coercion principle is as close to a litmus test/definition that libertarians have, I’m pretty comfortable calling any power-cravers who use the name No True Libertarian. (And they’re probably not a True Scotsman, either.)

                      But seriously. Point me at ’em, and I’ll condemn them every bit as vigorously as would-be authoritarian thugs of any other faction.

                    • After you condemn them, do you follow with a strong letter? Your condemnations call to mind Stalin’s question about the Pope: How many divisions do you have?

                      GLENDOWER
                      I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

                      HOTSPUR
                      Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                      But will they come when you do call for them?

                      GLENDOWER
                      Why, I can teach you, cousin, to command
                      The devil.

                      HOTSPUR
                      And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil
                      By telling truth: tell truth and shame the devil.
                      If thou have power to raise him, bring him hither,
                      And I’ll be sworn I have power to shame him hence.
                      O, while you live, tell truth and shame the devil!

                    • Guess it depends on if you think having veto over all proposed rules and getting to set the ground rules is power or no….

                    • Ah, now, not a veto. That implies that there could be some proposed rules which would be permitted.

                      A _ban_ on all proposed rules, whatever they might happen to be. Not the same thing at all.

                    • So, even by your reasoning, you get to tell EVERYONE what they are allowed to do– and in practice, you get veto over any deals between people that aren’t Libertarian enough. (Such as the pub example before.)

                      That is a thirst for power.

                    • No, I get to tell people exactly one thing: that they aren’t allowed to tell other people what to do.

                      And your pub example, by the way, isn’t a “deal”. A deal is something people come to by mutual agreement. A vote is a larger number of people telling a smaller number of people to comply or else, where else is defined as men with guns coming and throwing ’em in jail, shooting anyone who resists too hard.

                      Now, if everyone in that town has signed a nice _explicit_ agreement giving the majority vote power of veto over what they do with their property, that’s different, I’m fine with that, and good luck to ’em, but that’s _not_ what you mean, now is it?

                    • Again:
                      You are setting the rules. And you get to decide when it’s OK for others to make deals, and when those deals can be invalidated.

                    • A ban??! How will you enforce such an act?

                    • The right of a chap to shoot anyone who tries to enforce rules upon him that infringe on his natural rights, PPLs that will help out with that, even if necessary a tiny minarchic sort-of-but-not-quite-government dedicated to enforcing just that, the usual.sort of thing. There’s actually a pretty extensive literature on possible means to make this work which you’ll have to forgive me for not feeling like retyping into this comment box as a whole…

                    • snelson134

                      Which means it will come down to who has the most guns and the most will to use them. SSDD.

                      You are never going to have a functioning society without rules, and a means of enforcing them.

                    • And Progressives are the ones who bring about Progress. It says so right on the tin.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      And Progress is always good. [Sarcasm]

                    • Alistair,
                      I consider myself libertarian, but I do use my head once in a while, if you can’t see that Obama is even worse than Romney would have been (which would have been a far cry from good) then I can’t see that use yours for much more than a place to hang your hat. Since you don’t seem to be willing to listen to any of us I’ll link to a libertarian who believes what you profess to believe, and possibly he can help you see the light on why the lesser of two evils is better.

                      http://www.michaelzwilliamson.com/blog/item/the-post-in-which-i-piss-off-everybody

                    • Res,
                      Best I can tell Alistair is asserting that we all have the same rights, but some of us have more rights than others.

                    • Oy.

                      No, we all possess those certain inalienable rights in precisely equal measure. But they don’t mean a whole lot if we don’t have the right to individually or collectively _protect_ those certain inalienable rights, now do they?

                      We all have our rights to life, liberty, and property, which implicitly includes the right to defend them against anyone who tries to infringe upon them. Which also therefore implies that your rights can’t protect you when you’re actively trying to take someone else’s away. Non-contradictorily, even.

                    • That means we have the right to defend ourselves from you.

                  • Let’s do a leetle test.

                    I do not know Bearcat. May have seen his posts a few places, but other than seeming sensible and his claiming to be libertarian, I know hardly nothing about him.

                    Now, I’m a Conservative aka a Socon.

                    And I have a claim of 80% agreement.

                    So, what’s some of my top issues from 1-10, and how does that compare to any libertarians that care to compare?

                    1. Abortion. Obvious really, its a Holocaust. Institute some sort of Reconcilliation process.
                    2, Deficit spending. First step as Dave Ramsay would say is to ‘cut up your credit cards’. So, in Year One we zero out the deficit.
                    3. Federalism gets reinforced in a lot of minor ways all across the Union.
                    4. Get rid of the leadership of the GOP. Replace with 75% socons, 25% libertarians, all must swear to be Constitutionalists.
                    5. Stop the hiring of gov’t workers except for military (to include contractors and other tricks to get around the blockage). We start losing gov employees by attrition.
                    6. Get rid of Dept. of Education. Start by block granting without strings and go on a five year to sunset plan.
                    7. Lower and simplify taxes. Repeat. The Laffer Curve works.
                    8. Get rid of Dept. of Energy. Put up a Basic Nuke Plant plan that anyone can quickly use, but then move on to abolition.
                    9. Get rid of No Fault Divorce (but this is a state issue).
                    10. Get the Border Fence up, for realsies.

                    Now, this is mostly a fairly modest list for Year One. One and ten may be in disagreement with libertarians, some of them anyways. But I trust this deflates some pretensions of being a perfect little snowflake.

                    • Oh, what the hell.

                      1. For myself, much much more restrictive than the current pro-choice faction, not total abolition. (Only before week 12 or for legitimate preservation of life, no exceptions.) This isn’t particularly a libertarian position; arguments over who exactly is a rights-holding person are endemic, so pretty much _anything_ here could be a libertarian position.

                      2. Okay, that’s one.

                      3. Don’t care. A city, county or state government is every bit as capable of being a bunch of authoritarian jackasses as the Federal one. Strip ’em all down and it won’t matter.

                      4. Well, if we’re filling out our dream lists here, tightly-written constitutional amendments sufficient to place very large areas of life entirely off-limits from government authority, so that it won’t matter who’s in the seats of power in the future.

                      5. Don’t really care about it specifically; it’ll be taken care of when we start abolishing things. And I’d not exclude the military from cuts, albeit targeted ones: By my way of thinking, we need a force adequate to defense, to special operations targeting small threats, and to inflicting rubble-bouncing Stone Age devastation on large threats. However, the Europeans can pay for their own defense for a change, that nation-building trick never works, and I don’t think we need to intervene in every squabble at the ass end of the world. If we need to enter a national dick-waving contest, we have Florida.

                      6. Abolish all public education, sell it off as fast as it can be bought. The free market will know its own.

                      7. Abolish all taxes except for a flat percentage rate income tax, no allowances or exceptions. (The other half of this plan involves cleaning up welfare and social security, but that’s a different question.) And abolish income tax withholding, such that people are _aware_ of the burden of taxation.

                      8. Yes, but just abolish it immediately.

                      9. Get rid of marriage as a government concern; a matter of private contract between the individuals involved and anyone else (their church, say) they want involved. The details except for some issues of family law can then safely be left up to the people concerned.

                      10. Sure. As long as we fix our immigration laws, too. Which in turn almost certainly means fixing other things _first_ . Not a high priority item, though.

                      But let me also note here that among high-priority libertarian items that don’t get a look-in here and many of which we’d consider rather more pressing are, say, free trade, regulatory burden, currency monopoly abuse, prosecutorial misconduct, civil asset forfeiture, eminent domain abuse, strict liability crimes, the War on Drugs and its side-effects, police militarization, the entire Department of Homeland Security, _severe_ review of all Fourth Amendment law, restrictions upon the freedom of speech, subsidies and tax breaks and other forms of corporatism for everyone, rehabilitation of the Commerce Clause, free market reforms of the healthcare system and all other government-fixed markets, freedom of contract restored to its Lochner-era state, and so on and so forth.

                    • Nation building does sometimes work. Case in point: Japan.

                    • You notice he only made a list of 10, and you listed at least 20 things that you believe should have been in that top 10?

                      Eric,
                      I agree with most of these, this is probably the only place where I ever say a word about abortion, because it is such a hot button topic, and although I have my opinions it just doesn’t punch my hot buttons.
                      9. get the government out of marriage, period. We have had this discussion before, on this site, but I believe you weren’t around so I’ll summarize my opinion. Marriage is a religious construct the government should have no say in who can or can’t marry (to include not being able to marry people) this should be totally up to the religious beliefs of the religious institution performing the marriage. The government can and will record civil unions.

                      10. Not only yes, but H*ll Yes! I said I’m a libertarian, not an Idiot (I know, if I capitalize the L the terms are usually synonymous). First off we need to protect our country against those we wish to harm and or destroy it (and these will become more numerous, the closer we get to our libertarian ideal).

                      Mount Ma Duece’s along that fence, and shoot anybody attempting to cross it without going through customs, no questions ask, it is a free fire zone; and you are getting closer to my opinion of what should be done for border security.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      So… you didn’t notice that he had made a list of 10 points? That explains a lot.

                    • I’m Sarah Hoyt and I approve this Bearcat.
                      I am however more flexible on abortion. We can have the current fully legalized abortion if we also legalize murder. If that doesn’t work, we can always bring back the laws. Of course that’s probably unconstitutional under right to life, which… uh… also would seem to impact abortion. (I’m willing to have a penumbra over the first three months because it’s impossible to tell what’s REALLY going on and a war on abortion could get crazier for civil liberties than a war on drugs. BUT after that? Sorry. My capacity for self-deception is busted.)

                    • But Sarah, we all are aware that a woman knows when she’s preggers, knows whether it is defective, knows when it is a “bad seed.” It’s been shown in countless movies and Romance novels. She has a right to not be punished with a child, right up until that child turns eighteen, twenty-six under Obamacare, and must be free to abort that child to saver her own hopes for happiness. That is why the Andrea Yates* prosecution was an act of oppression by the patriarchy, for daring to assert her vag-inanity.

                      *N.B. – I confess having to [SEARCHENGINE] Mrs. Yates’ name, it’s just been too long, and en route to typing the search string in Google tossed up this “completion” of the “Texas Mother Kills …” string: “Texas Mother Kills Own Child Then Eats His Brain.” Wha??????????????????

                    • People already can marry anyone they want religiously; a couple of lesbians I know got married nearly a decade ago. Getting a marriage license just makes the religious marriage a civil one, and it’s limited to those cases most likely to need gov’t involvement– the ones where a man and woman form a single household to have children.

                    • The main concern I have today re: marriage is that the gov’t will attempt to force churches to perform marriages that are against their religious doctrines, the same way that they have been attempting to deny objections of conscience for paying for or performing abortion, providing services to same-sex weddings, etc.

                    • Exactly. This is why the Portuguese arrangement of having legal marriage be a civil thing and completely separate from the religious ceremony works. You have a “right” to the civil wedding, but the religious one is not needed and is your own business. (Ministers and priests are NOT licensed for civil weddings.)
                      I have the exact same fears you have.

                    • Just because it calls itself a “church” does not justify allowing an organization to deny individuals’ Civil Rights. Just as we, in this country, do not allow discrimination on the basis of skin melanin content, so must we disallow the significant tax benefits these so-called churches receive if they discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender.

                      Ignore the vast charitable contributions of the Catholic Church — they do not allow women as priests!

                      OTOH, as the only solace of an oppressed and designated minority, any criticism of Muslim faith can only be rooted in Islamophobia and racism.

                    • The only possible response to this is: “Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

                    • I have used that line.

                      ….

                      I had to explain what a newsletter was.

                    • Ditto.

                      Part of why I point out that nothing requires a church to have permission to marry folks– the marriage license is just to record the subgroup that the gov’t does have interest in, because it makes up a HUGE portion of legal issues.

                    • Although the guy was writing on a different topic, the history of marriage licenses here is very helpful to draw distinctions.

                    • Alas, reasoned, rational argument is what we used to call less effective when you’re confronted with someone who says your church is being “mean” because it’s being “intolerant.” But I’m happy to take a look at it. It’s all fuzzy, emotional thinking on the other side, and the teeth and claws come out when you try to get people to think about it clearly. Questioning their unexamined premises gets you vitriol.
                      Case in point: member of my family is yelling at the TV because the latest gun control law didn’t pass the Senate. “If you don’t have something to hide, what are you worried about?” says this nameless person (whom I love dearly).
                      At which point I round the corner and say “That shouldn’t be the default position. The default position should be “Government, keep your d$#n nose out of my business!” Which got me yelled at. A lot. With words that I didn’t think a sweet old lady from Texas should be using. We’re all chalking that up to back pain and the fact that this person hates Republicans with a flaming purple passion, but still…

                    • 1. From R. Craigen’s comment at Ricochet:

                      I had a conversation in the faculty lounge not long ago with a colleague who is a hardline pro-choicer. We were each startled at reaching agreement on abortion policy in a matter of a few minutes, with a bit of common sense and honesty.

                      2. In contrast to that example, why is the controversy so inflamed and intractable? In particular, who benefits from the controversy being inflamed and intractable?

                      I am visualizing Michele Bachmann and Jessica Valenti dining together at an expensive restaurant, each lifting a glass of fine champagne, and toasting To the rubes!

                    • I agree with Bearcat except for marriage, so that’s 90%.

                      As to Alastair, again mostly agreement. I could have made a bolder list. I tried for more doable, and also tried for gently disentangling things.
                      #3. I think his not caring about Federalism is short-sighted. Process matters. Also the Founders were Real Smart.
                      #4. The Bill of Rights??
                      #5. Most of this I agree with. Its past time to let the Germans stand on their own. There is the problem of Rogue States/WMD getting easier and easier to use.
                      #6. Well yes. But let’s try to do it smoothly.
                      #7. I’m fine with this. But the charitable deductions are the last to go. A certain lack of trust makes this needful.
                      #8. Very minor disagreement.
                      #9. WOW….finally a serious disagreement.
                      #10. Bearcat’s right.

                      Now as to your second list, I agree to pretty much the lot that I understand, except for the War on Drugs. Some of them I’m not sure what you mean. But I had considered putting reversing Kelo vs. New London on my list.

                      So yeah, my argument stands.

                      We need to move past what I see as delaying tactics and to do that Conservatives need to exercise bold leadership.

          • Eh, might want to rethink your argument there, ” that anything self-aware enough to know its own existence has the right to not have that existence/life terminated, and anything capable of exercising volition ought to have the freedom to so do,” because I don’t get the impression you are a vegan, but that is what that argument is for. That cricket chirping away in your backyard? Yeah, it is aware it is alive, so it has the right not to have its life terminated, run over it with the lawnmower tomorrow and your a murderer.

            • I don’t think anyone’s going to have much luck demonstrating the self-awareness of a cricket, inasmuch as it’s really kind of hard to test for externally; and there are much, _much_ more complex animals that fail such crude tests for it as we have, such as the mirror test.

              (There are some animals which [are eaten and] I won’t eat, for example, or treat as pure property on this basis, including but not limited to all the cetaceans, dogs, and octopodes.)

              • Let one get in your house sometime, then try and step on it. It dang well does ‘know its own existence’, and will try everything it can to attempt from having it terminated.

                • I have a weird relationship with crickets. Portuguese like Chinese keep them in elaborate miniature bird cages. So I think of them as pets.

                  • snelson134

                    Actually, Sarah, I believe it’s Japanese that have the cricket fetish.

                    • Chinese too — with Japanese it’s always tricky because Portugal and Japan did a lot more backandforthing than you’d think — I know because one of Van Gulick’s mysteries centered on it.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Well, all I know about that I got from Mulan, which was definitely Chinese. Of course, being Disney, one never knows about accuracy.

                  • Crickets eat books and other forms of printed paper. Life imprisonment’s too good for ’em, kill ’em all, says I.

                  • They can be annoying, but the worst I can remember anyone doing is taking one outside.

                    • For some reason I get one or two in my house every spring and fall. They like to stay unseen, but not unheard. Unfortunately for them I don’t like to be reminded just as I am sitting down to relax that I have bugs in the house. 🙂

      • Yes, the ignorance is huge. That’s why they’re claiming that an ultrasound is “rape”.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          No, that’s not ignorance. The ones who actually started that claim are intentionally using the most inflammatory language they can come up with to tar the other side with, and doing in with full knowledge that their claims are bulls***.

        • Gah. That kind of comment will get you mentioned on a podcast. Happened to me.

        • Women who suffer ectopic pregnancies are more likely to die if they go in for an abortion than if they do not see a doctor during their pregnancy. An ultrasound would detect that and allow them to save her life.

          But you gotta have priorities.

  28. JJ Timmins

    I don’t necessarily think there has to be, or will be, fighting. Peaceful seperation is a strong possibility. It’s one we should work for by moving to a certain part of the country, influencing the laws, and the culture.

  29. Presented as relevant to some of the topics discussed herein:

    May 3, 2013
    29% of registered voters agree that ‘armed revolution’ might be necessary to protect liberty
    Rick Moran

    A poll conducted by Farleigh Dickenson University found that 29% of registered voters agreed with the statement, “In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties.”

    CNS News:

    Twenty-nine percent said they agreed, 47 percent said they disagreed, 18 percent said they neither agreed nor disagreed, 5 percent said they were unsure, and 1 percent refused to respond.

    Results of the poll show that those who believe a revolution might be necessary differ greatly along party lines:

    # 18 percent of Democrats
    # 27 percent of Independents
    # 44 percent of Republicans

    The poll found that 38 percent of Americans who believe a revolution might be necessary support additional gun control legislation compared to 62 percent of those who don’t think an armed revolt will be needed.

    Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson and analyst for the poll, says:

    “The differences in views of gun legislation are really a function of differences in what people believe guns are for. If you truly believe an armed revolution is possible in the near future, you need weapons and you’re going to be wary about government efforts to take them away.”

    First, it is important to note that the 29% who agree with the statement in no way support the idea of armed revolution. They simply agree with the poll question.

    Second, the professor is on to something. There was a lot of unnecessary hysteria generated on the anti-gun control side, claiming the government was going to go after anyone with a gun – eventually or in the immediate future. While there may be legitimate slippery slope arguments about what was in the bill, such fears were unfounded given the the actual legislation and what was being proposed. But if you believed the NRA and others who claimed the government was coming for your guns, it would seem logical to assume that such a move would be resisted with armed might.

    The left will make a big deal out of 44% of Republicans agreeing with the statement, but since the overwhelming majority of the party opposed the recent gun control bill, we should probably be surprised it wasn’t higher.

    The bottom line is that the chances for an armed revolution are extremely small because the chances of the government going gun grabbing are equally slim.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/05/29_of_registered_voters_agree_that_armed_revolution_might_be_necessary_to_protect_liberty.html

    • Pertinent, as well, is this:

      The New Paternalism
      Cass Sunstein returns. Plus, necrophilia and how not smoking could kill you.
      By Matt Purple on 5.3.13 @ 6:08AM
      [SNIP]
      … Enter the new paternalism, not the same as the old paternalism. Today’s finger-waggers aren’t trying to bring back Prohibition or enact other crushing restrictions on things they don’t like. They don’t want to build a utopian society from the ground-up, as behaviorist B.F. Skinner described in his book Walden Two.

      Rather, they want what most technocrats want: to use science – in this case, behavioral science – to sculpt regulations that do the most good for the most people. They see themselves not as authoritarians, but as pragmatists, looking down at the societal sandbox and moving grains around in ways that improve our lives.

      [SNIP]

      … government can only intervene to stop you from doing harm to someone else. Let’s agree with the paternalists here. There are some things that don’t harm others, but that society should still prohibit. In a swashbuckling marijuana debate with approximately 700 libertarians at the Reason Foundation a few weeks ago, our own Matthew Walther brought up necrophilia to dash the harm principle; having sex with a corpse, even if the deceased consents before death, is simply too degenerate to be allowed in a civilized society.

      But the new paternalists go much farther than this. They argue the harm principle is flawed because people are subjected to certain cognitive biases that prevent them from doing what’s in their best interest. Recent behavioral findings, according to Sunstein, “show that people make a lot of mistakes, and that those mistakes can prove extremely damaging.” Government, then, must intervene in order to help people make good decisions. Sunstein prefers that we be “nudged” towards good choices by a state that provides the architecture to make those choices preferable and easy. Other paternalists think we need to be pushed a little harder.

      Either way, this is stupendously bad logic. As Jean Yarbrough wonders: “If we ordinary humans suffer from cognitive biases that undermine our judgment, don’t these supposed experts as well? Why, then, should we trust them to do any better?” Public officials, as the late James Buchanan demonstrated, act in their own self-interest, not the common good. And even if they didn’t, you and I are only making decisions for ourselves. New York City regulators make decisions for 8 million residents; federal regulators for 312 million. The notion that anyone can rationally play daddy for that many people is nonsense.

      Still, Conly thinks this is all rather simple: “[S]uccessful paternalistic laws are done on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis: if it’s too painful, it’s not a good law.” But no one can accurately calculate all the costs and benefits for millions of variegated individuals. We all have diverse needs and preferences; something that’s a mere annoyance to one person might be lashingly painful to another. Consequently, regulators who try one-size-fits-all policies often end up with unintended consequences they never imagined possible.

      Even uncontroversial examples of government nannying, like the federal crusade against smoking, aren’t as clear-cut as they seem. My favorite study of all time comes from scholars Charles Baum and Shin-Yi Chou, who found that smokers were 7.8% less likely to be obese and that the decline in smoking was the single most significant factor in explaining America’s obesity problem. Tobacco makes you sexy! The point, of course, isn’t that we should all stampede to the nearest CVS and pick up a carton of Marlboros (though an occasional two on a cool night hits the spot). But the anti-tobacco paternalists never calculated that by tamping down smoking, they would help cause an obesity crisis. Having “solved” a problem, they created another one, which we must now allow them to “solve.”

      But let’s set all that aside for a moment and pretend that paternalism is a green-eyeshades matter of costs and benefits, and that government officials act competently. That still doesn’t mean we should surrender our freedoms to a hive of regulators. A crucial part of life, whether we like it or not, is that there are consequences to our actions, whether from imbibing too much alcohol or drinking too much soda. Overcoming these challenges and learning temperance makes us stronger, and we shouldn’t neuter ourselves by letting government achieve that for us.
      http://spectator.org/archives/2013/05/03/the-new-paternalism/print

    • snelson134

      The bottom line is that the chances for an armed revolution are extremely small because the chances of the government going gun grabbing are equally slim.

      Why don’t you talk to the people in New York and California who have already had their guns confiscated under the new state laws before making such a damn fool statement?

  30. I found this tidbit in a Fox News article about the older Tsarnaev brother:
    Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was cremated and his ashes scattered at an undisclosed location after he was executed by his attorney.

    We have attorneys executing their clients when they lose a case? Who knew?

    These people are supposed to be intelligent and well-educated. I see mistakes like this all the time, in all kinds of writing, including fiction by the top authors. They’re the ones that have all those “layers of fact-checkers and editors.”

    If we want to save this union, we MUST teach our children the basics of its primary (some wish it to be the only) language. Teaching them math and science will help, also.

    • If someone with the time and energy would like to make some extra money, collect a couple of hundred of these, organize them in some way, and put them in a book. People will pay good money for it, especially since so much of it’s mocking “professionals” — lawyers, doctors, professors, and such. If you include what’s wrong, and why it’s funny, it could also be inspirational and educational.

    • I see your point; if McVeigh was “executed” at an undisclosed location, how would they know it was done by his attorney? Even assuming the attorney confessed, that is no proof he was the culprit.

      Sure glad they gots layers and layers of editors and factoid checkers to ensure a quality product, unlike those clowns sitting around in their PJs, writing blogs.

      Used to be that the NY Times was written at the reading level of High School seniors, the Wall Street Journal was written for College frosh. Nowadays I can’t decide if the writing has slipped or if it is the target that is drooping — most likely a bit of both and each drives the other lower.

    • Don’t forget the possessive “it’s”.

      Drives me nuts! It’s even on my cellphone!

  31. Presented without further comment:

    First Fully 3D-Printed Gun Unveiled
    By LUCA GATTONI-CELLI on 5.3.13 @ 1:30PM

    Forbes continues its coverage of crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson, a 25-year-old Texas law student who wants to radically democratize gunmaking with 3D-printers. His nonprofit Defense Distributed has produced the first entirely 3D-printed gun, a pistol called the Liberator. Crypto-anarchism began as an online movement of individuals using sophisticated digital encryption to shield their identities from government authorities. A key technological trend of the next decade will be the “Internet of Things,” in which physical objects communicate and interact digitally. A classic example is the refrigerator that notifies its owner, perhaps through a text message, to purchase more milk.
    [MORE: http://spectator.org/blog/2013/05/03/first-fully-3d-printed-gun-unv ]

  32. I can’t add too much to the conversation, except to say that this civil war is likely to be a bloody one. We’re talking about a Left that believes a child born during an abortion is simply a decision to be dealt with between the woman and her doctor. We’ve come to post-natal abortions being something that people actually talk about out loud. Have we gone insane as a nation? I’d say so. There is no ‘bipartisanship’ between the two sides, and this is only one of many issues (illegal aliens, firearms, civil rights, etc) that separate us as a country.

    Sarah, you’re one of the few people I’ve seen who’ve actually acknowledged the idea that after meddling in other nations for so long, we might be on the end of some reciprocal treatment. Arizona guerillas linking up with Spetznatz commandos makes for a good short story, but its also a likely meeting in the event of any sort of societal upheaval.

    The NYC-Chicago-LA axis might control all the mouthpieces, but honestly, you’d see a lot of those people on the first helicopter out of the country once it became apparent how the shooting war would end, which is for the better.

    A house divided against itself cannot stand. Let us hope for a velvet divorce.

    • If they would raise the legal age for post-natal abortions to the same as the SS age, I know of some people I would volunteer for one. Strangely enough they mostly seem to be the type of people that support such legislation.

  33. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    This is a “side note” but I think is important. When talking about the relationship between society (and its values) and government (and its values), IMO we need to think about which government. IE Federal, State or Local. As written, the US Constitution limits the power and reach of the Federal Government. At the time the Constitution was written, State Governments had powers that the Federal Government was forbidden. For example, many of the States had “state religions” and the writers of the Constitution didn’t believe the Federal government had the power to create one. The man (Madison) who introduced the non-establishment clause in the Bill of Rights didn’t think it was necessary *but* introduced it because Virginia Baptists supported him for re-election and wanted it in the Constitution.

    Local governments have more power and because they are closer to the voters will strongly reflect the values of the local society. To prevent that from happening would require higher levels of government to over-ride the “Will of the People” on the local level. IMO that should only happen in extreme situations (for example if the locals want human sacrifices).

    State government will IMO reflect the views/values of the society of that State but because there will be greater “spread of values” can not do it to the degree that a village government could do. Of course, the “city government” of a large city like Chicago would be in the same situation as a state government.

    When we get to the Federal Government, not only will there be a more greater “spread of values” but Constitutionally the Federal Government has greater limits on what it can do in local matters.

    The greatest “sin” of the Left has been their belief that the Federal Government should have power in local matters.

    • Might be good to keep in mind that “in line with” doesn’t needfully mean “requires”– it includes “doesn’t require things in conflict.”

      You don’t have to help push so long as you get out of the way, basically.