Hobbit@Law

Looking carefully at that which is unseen.

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Thinking about: Barbarians

Barbarians

Wikipedia describes that image as a “Historically inaccurate depiction of ‘Germanic warriors’ as depicted in Philipp Clüver’s Germania Antiqua (1616).” The word “barbarian” comes to us – as so many do – from the ancient Greeks and means, essentially, “they who are not us.” A mechanical culture shares common folkways, mores, and laws, and anyone outside of that culture who doesn’t share those traits is the essence of “them.” As an aside, note that a visitor to another culture may well take part in some of those folkways, and observe some of the mores and laws, but that only makes him a “civilized barbarian.” Unless he truly accepts and internalizes those characteristics he will never be more than a civilized barbarian – and given that many cultures also have a strong family, racial, or ethnic component required for admission, some barbarians may never become truly a part of “civilized society.”

The popular perception of barbarians is that they come from outside somewhere, from some other place, and are generally intent on pillaging and plundering the civilized area they are invading. That is an unfortunate misconception, however. Barbarians are simply those who do not subscribe to the local culture. In a science fiction context H. Beam Piper put it well when one of his characters asked, “What do you think the Neo-Barbs are, some sort of Attila the Hun in spaceships?” and goes on to point out that many barbarians are home-grown.

I’d like to offer, for consideration, that perhaps the US should be spending less time worrying about this:

Intifada

and a little more time thinking about these:

Hispanic intifada

and these:

crips

and these:

aryan nation

and these:

american communists

Unless, of course, those (or others) are your culture, as opposed to the “old fashioned pre-War Between The States” American culture of small government, limited taxes, minimal regulation, and general liberty that prevailed even after the war into the late 19th century. Was that culture perfect? Of course not. Four words – Alien and Sedition Acts – demonstrate an intolerance for liberty that even then was growing, for instance. That said, whatever his other flaws and faults, Alexander Hamlton never had to ask permission of anyone to build a home,. clear his land, start a business, or move around – or in or out of – the country.

Barbarians have always, throughout history, played a part in cultures. Sometimes their presence causes the culture to strengthen, sometimes they are the final push that sends a culture toppling. But barbarians, people who “aren’t us,” are there. The question for any culture is “what will be done with them?”

The Chinese have been past masters of simply absorbing barbarians and assimilating them. England, to great degree, is the result of repeated waves of “not us” washing up on the shores and adopting – or mingling with – the local inhabitants (H. Beam Piper again: “English is the result of Norman men-at-arms making dates with Anglo-Saxon barmaids.”). America in its early years absorbed and, to a degree, assimilated European “barbarians.”

Assimilation is no longer an option in America, though. The “not us” have legal rights to maintain their own status and culture with minimal to nonexistent penalties. Try and imagine Roman decrees being written in both Latin and Visigothic.

Which leaves the second option, unfortunately, and that is an inevitable conflict between the “us” and “not us.” The question then simply remains historically who will prevail, and what the results will look like for the remnants and survivors of that clash.

The part of me that revels in history and sociology can’t wait to see. popcorn

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Talking about: Brian’s BUT…….

Blogroll Honors Member Brian Wilson has a post on LewRockwell that nails some language use “in the but,” so to speak. Listening to what people say, how they say it, or often what they don’t say is an essential part of my work, and, as Brian points out, the quibbles and caveats that come in “after the but” are indeed a true test of what a person is actually thinking.on a subject. I don’t hold myself out as any exception to the rule, either. For instance:

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution iterates the normal human right to keep and bear arms, BUT there is a good argument that the “arms” kept and borne should be consistent with what the Founders saw at the time – i.e.individuals have an unfettered and absolute right to keep and bear such arms as may be appropriate for light infantry. Heavy weapons such as tanks, artillery, A-10 Warthogs, and nuclear devices are reserved for group ownership. This comports reasonably well where expensive and very damaging weapons, like artillery, were generally owned by a “company” of sorts.

But (there’s that word again, a quibble to my caveat) if the only choice were to be between “nobody gets so much as a sharp stick” (cf. “Modern England”) and “atom bombs all around,” I’d opt for the second without even thinking twice.

Captain Obvious Sez: Taliban likely to keep fighting

As a fighting season expected to be the bloodiest in a decade gets under way across Afghanistan, a common misconception in Western commentary is to attribute the escalation to a desire to avenge bin Laden.

No kidding. Really? The same guys who fought long and hard to toss the Soviet Union out of their nation when bin Laden’s resume was still in the mail to the CIA will continue to fight to toss out the current imperial occupation forces? Afghanistan’s tribes fighting non-tribes (and each other)? Say it ain’t so! Other, than, you know, “historically speaking,” that is.

Why is it that the American Empire and its subjects presume themselves immune from history and sociology? What sort of imperial hubris afflicts the nation to think that, for instance, if we just kill and bomb and destroy enough that other nations will rise up and love them?

Fun quote for 5 May 11

Rare indeed is the call for “national unity” that doesn’t reduce to “Let’s all come together — on my terms.”

Gene Healy

Which is true. Much like the way gun owners are chastised for their “failure to compromise,” which always prompts me to ask, “Well, what would be a fair compromise to rape or murder?” People are always interested in unity and compromise so long as it’s on their own terms and they get what they want out of the deal, so long as they don’t have to give anything up to get their way.

But that’s not unity, that’s not compromise – that’s just infantile squalling and extortion.

Word for the day: Neo-fascist

Fascism is bad, mmmkay? Any questions?

How about “what the heck is it?” Words and their use are important, and correct – or at least agreed-on – definitions are vital to reasonable communication and understanding. All too often, though, words get tossed about as labels, incorrect labels, and communication and understanding become impossible. So let’s look for a definition of “fascism.”

The Google definition is unsurprisingly slanted: “An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.” Did you catch the “right wing” part? As though the left cannot be fascist? Sure they can’t.

I prefer the Meriam Webster online definition: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Notice the lack of any wings. The Left is generally not comfortable with that being pointed out, of course, since its fascism is clearly for the common good, and thus is – as evil generally is when committed by the Left – excusable. The very epitome of the group over the individual, as it were.

But what is this “neo-fascist” whereof I speak? Well, it seems that “neo-” is now an appendage attached to any noun or adjective describing something that is almost, but not quite like, the original. Makes it sound worse, I suppose. In a classical sense, I suppose that Arthur Dent was drinking neo-tea on the Heart of Gold. As usual, I digress.

Let’s take a moment to deconstruct a bit of Left wing verbiage on the topic. This bit was extracted from Global capitalism and fascism over on al Jazeera. We will note some serious labeling problems, point out other areas which appear to fit standard definitions, and maybe draw a conclusion as to whether we actually need this neo-word – or whether this particular writer has a clue.

21st century fascism in the United States

“Fascist,” “neo-fascist,” whatever. Can’t quibble with the title, really, but it’s the analysis that leads to that conclusion that will be interesting.

I don’t use the term fascism lightly. There are some key features of a 21st century fascism I identify here:

Lack of any opening definition is not a good sign – it presumes that everyone just knows what the word means (which may well be the case) but when one is choosing to label a group or groups with a seriously incendiary term then the least a competent writer can do is offer his readers the definition.

The fusion of transnational capital with reactionary political power

“Reactionary.” I guess we have to presume that’s not a good word either. But I have to wonder if the writer, if being subjected to a severe beating, would get all “reactionary” about his preference for a status quo where he had remained unbeaten, rather than presume that the beater must have a good reason for performing the beating and living with it.

This fusion had been developing during the Bush years and would likely have deepened under a McCain-Palin White House.

And that Nice Mr. Obama shut down trans-national financing? Also, “would likely have deepened under our boogeyman” is not a particularly strong argument.

In the meantime, such neo-fascist movements as the Tea Party

Really? A preference for lower taxes is fascist? I’ll agree, though, that in a nation that was founded by smugglers and tax cheats it’s pretty reactionary to want to go back to founding principles. As we all know (well, those of us who are Good People Who Share The Writer’s Dream) “reactionary” is not good. Unless, you know, it’s an effort to get back to or improve the New Deal, which would make it “progressive,” even though it’s going back to That Which Was Before (a standard definition of reactionary in politics).

as well as neo-fascist legislation such as Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB1070,

I wonder if the writer has ever tried to immigrate into, say, Sweden? Since a welfare state cannot long coexist with open borders, something’s got to change. Arizona’s law was not anti-immigrant, it was anti-ILLEGAL-immigrant, and one really has to question the odd combination of a federal government requiring Arizona to provide services to illegal immigrants, while at the same time refusing to enforce its own laws against illegal immigration.

have been broadly financed by corporate capital. Three sectors of transnational capital in particular stand out as prone to seek fascist political arrangements to facilitate accumulation: speculative financial capital, the military-industrial-security complex, and the extractive and energy (particularly petroleum) sector.
Militarisation and extreme masculinisation

Because, you know, SEIU is altruistic in its demands and the UAW’s “Buy American” campaign is not nationalistic in the slightest.

As militarised accumulation has intensified the Pentagon budget, increasing 91 per cent in real terms in the past 12 years, the top military brass has become increasingly politicised and involved in policy making.

True enough, and thank you for that keen observation Captain Obvious.

A scapegoat which serves to displace and redirect social tensions and contradictions
In this case, immigrants and Muslims in particular.

Very true. Since it became politically incorrect to target The Usual Suspects, new scapegoats needed to be found. It is astonishing how many Americans who’ve never met a Muslim in their lives, nevertheless seem to equate them with the Devil himself, despite the fact that over 1 billion of them did not do anything to harm an American today, nor would they – as best I can tell – be terribly interested in doing so. So long as American troops aren’t marching down their main streets.

Of course, defending your nation is a privilege not granted to others so far as most Americas are concerned. We’re there to help, and we’re going to help, even if we have to kill every person in the country while helping them.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre recently reported that “three strands of the radical right – hate groups, nativist extremist groups, and patriot organisations – increased from 1,753 groups in 2009 to 2,145 in 2010, a 22 per cent rise, that followed a 2008-9 increase of 40 per cent.”

Am I the only person who’s suspicious of a group of “Americans” that is intolerant of patriots?

A 2010 Department of Homeland Security report observed that “right wing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on the fears about several emergency issues.

Says the agency whose budget and very existence depends on playing on fears about emergency issues, so I suppose they know what they’re talking about. H.L> Mencken was spot on when he said, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for right wing radicalisation and recruitment.” The report concluded: “Over the past five years, various right wing extremists, including militia and white supremacists, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point, and recruitment tool.”

Pretty much how the Nazis came to power in Germany, post-Weimar. But they were socialists.

A mass social base
In this case, such a social base is being organised among sectors of the white working class that historically enjoyed racial caste privilege and that have been experiencing displacement and experiencing rapid downward mobility as neo-liberalism comes to the US – while they are losing the security and stability they enjoyed in the previous Fordist-Keynesian epoch of national capitalism.

Essentially correct. Displaced people who are economically disadvantaged are prime recruiting grounds for rabble rousers, more so if those disadvantaged had advantages – or perceived advantages – at a previous time.

A fanatical millennial ideology involving race/culture supremacy embracing an idealised and mythical past, and a racist mobilisation against scapegoats

Not sure how “mythical” the past was, but otherwise fairly correct. The US in the past had higher levels of immigration control (and lower), lower levels of taxation and welfare-statism, and has long had some serious race issues. Sounds like “history,” not “myth.”

The ideology of 21st century fascism often rests on irrationality – a promise to deliver security and restore stability is emotive, not rational. 21st century fascism is a project that does not – and need not – distinguish between the truth and the lie.

I’m a firm believer in the irrationality of any promise to deliver security, particularly when that promise is made by the State. But how is a promise of stability irrational? America has had plenty of periods of stability in the past, so it’s do-able. Now if the writer is suggesting that the methodology might be a problem, then he’s correct. But even that said, fascism can provide stability. For the favored parties. And the survivors.

A charismatic leadership
Such a leadership has so far been largely missing in the United States, although figures such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck appear as archetypes.

AND here’s where he seriously betrays his personal politics, making his analysis suspect, at best. Surely he is not going to contend that Obama’s election was based on experience and competence?

The writer, while making a number of good points, nevertheless allows his affections for All Things Considered Progressive to color his observation and discussion. That coloration detracts from what could otherwise have been an interesting and powerful review of the growth of 21st century fascism in America.

An Empire of Tourists, not Salesmen

One of my favorite jokes goes like this:

What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual.
What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual.
What do you call someone who speaks one language? American.

American tourists have long had a reputation for ugliness, both active and passive, and as someone who’s lived overseas and watched touristas americanus in the wild I can testify to the accuracy of that observation. Ugliness is more than just a manner of dressing – though I wouldn’t be the first to point out the question of “why do Americans dress on tour like they’d never ever dress at home,” it’s more a matter of action. It’s an inherent unawareness of – if not active disrespect for – the local people, culture, and environment. Oh, not every American tourist is “ugly,” and certainly other cultures and nations have ugly tourists,* in various senses of the word, but only Americans have managed, in general, to make an art form of their ugliness. Americans carry with them that fascinating sense of entitlement, self-importance, incuriosity, and permanent-adolescent-center-of-the-universe that characterizes the way they act at home, and so things like common courtesy (let alone courtesy in the native language), tolerance, and an understanding that they’re essentially guests in someone else’s home just go by the wayside.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the same culture that produces tourists like that produces imperial bureaucrats like that, from the highest officials down to the lowliest foot soldier enforcing imperial dicta. How many of our Fearless Leaders (most of whom have never been “boots on the ground” themselves, but I digress) could dicker a good deal on a chess set in Korea’s Itaewon, or talk about SS uniforms at a stammtisch in a little German village whose name I’ve forgotten. For that matter, would they even want to do something like that? The answer is certainly “no,” and would be followed up by “why would they?” Which is the heart of the problem – for all their vaunted “Liberal” values, they don’t actually care about other people – what egocentric does – except to the extent that that “other person” has something they want? Oh, to be sure, they’re very good at feigning an interest; faking sincerity comes naturally to them. But at the end of the day, it’s still all about them.

Which brings us to the alleged oddball nature of the American Empire. Empires, as a general rule, involve soldiers going out and plunder coming back. Again, it’s not an original observation on my part that the American Empire certainly has the “soldiers going out” part down pat – but the plunder coming home seems to be a bit on the sparse side, doesn’t it? It’s been observed again and again how American blood and treasure are being spent, and all for, pretty much, nothing. Seems pretty strange, doesn’t it?

Well … not really. Indeed, soldiers are going out. And, despite appearances, there is plenty of plunder. However, historically, consider where the plunder went that was obtained allegedly more-traditional empires. It wasn’t the average Joe, Juan, Chen, or Xotoltec who got the goodies – it was the Emperor and his cronies who did. To the extent that a returning conquistador spent a few pieces of eight in a local tavern, Jose may well see some of that loot, but it was in a trickle-down method. And the American Empire is no different – it’s not yer averij schlub on the street who’s garnering any wealth, it’s the cronies of the Emperor – or of the empire in general – who get the big bucks.

But wait. There’s no wealth pouring out of Afghanistan or Iraq or Libya or Okinawa or Korea or Germany or any of the other myriad places where Imperial Troops are stationed. So how are the cronies becoming wealthy?

Simple – Americans have, as most other nations and tribes do, a view of themselves as unique in the world (and on top of same) and in this sense they possibly are: America may well be the first empire in history which has been plundering itself from the start. All empires, toward the end of existence, turn inwards and begin decaying and eating their own substance. Rome’s inflation and employment restrictions, Britain’s advanced but deteriorating welfare state, the Qing dynasty’s withdrawal from the oceans, the Soviet Union’s economic collapse – all examples of wealth running out followed by empire running down. Empires cost money, the money must come from somewhere, and at some point the wealth tank needle points to E. America started from a position of using its own national wealth to build and maintain an empire (for the most part – the continental real estate that would be the source of later wealth was generally taken from the locals), rather than coming to that position later in Imperial life. Thus what you have today is the American Empire plundering its own citizens, as it has for a century and a half, to build and hold an empire that provides … not much of anything, as best I can tell, other than “having an empire.” Much of that plundering has been of the future, with debt taken on that will saddle the citizenry for decades to come, even if all spending stopped now. And thanks to the incuriosity of Americans, this plunder is not even noticed – or if it is, it’s actually applauded by people who just don’t think about the consequences of plunder.

Not the beneficiaries of that plunder, of course, politicians, the military, and defense contractors have done well by their share of the plunder. But like all empires, there is eventually nothing left to plunder – and the collapse begins.

The real irony is that America was actually, at one time, on track to be an entirely different and truly first-in-history type of empire. America could have been an actual self-sustaining empire, ruling the whole world, simply by recognizing and playing to what any reasonable observer might have noticed – what was conquering the world was and can never be American troops. What was taking the world was American culture. However, there is a lot of excitement in watching guns and smart bombs (from a safe distance at home, of course) and really very little fun in just being a salesman. Thus we end up with an Army post at YongSan, and not Disneyland, Seoul. We have barbed wire in Baghdad, not McDonalds. Firebases in Afghanistan, not Ford dealers. Money flows out to contractors, who produce bombs and bullets, which produce martyrs and enemies – when instead we could be producing music and movies and finding other ways to season and fry chicken, which would have the money flowing into the nation, rather than out. We could have been selling America, instead of selling America out.

Others have recognized this growth. They may not have approved, but they at least recognized it. And like other imperial ambitions, they opposed it. Unlike other empires, though, it was a tough one to fight. Anybody can argue against bayonets carried by foreigners – but who doesn’t like a good hamburger?

*I had a thoroughly delightful private tour of London from a Scottish bus driver who assured me – correctly – that based on his experience the Koreans that filled the rest of the bus travelling between points of interest wouldn’t care a whit about intervening history, they just wanted the whirlwind “get off, blow through, take pictures at the famous place” tour. As such, he and I spent hours chatting about all of the little places in between the various museums and galleries we stopped at (none of which we stayed at long enough to read any of the descriptions of the contents). He had great fun going into more depth on things than even regular tourists cared about, and I had no end of neat little tidbits and assorted whatnottery to take back home with me.

Let’s talk some gun stuff!

My main claim to national – and international – fame is the ownership of slightly less than half a chapter in Claire Wolfe’s book, Don’t Shoot the Bastards (Yet): 101 More Ways to Salvage Freedom (1999) (ISBN 1-55950-189-8), appropriately entitled “Hobbit and Parker Talk Guns.” Claire’s earlier work, 101 Things to Do ‘Til the Revolution: Ideas and Resources for Self-Liberation, Monkey Wrenching and Preparedness, Breakout Productions; Revised edition (January 1999) (ISBN 1-893626-13-X) (And if you don’t have both of these, why not? Get them. Read them. Now. I’ll wait) had a chapter on firearms and, upon reading it, I had no choice but to send Claire an email which boiled down to a polite form of, “You’re a girl and don’t know nuffin’ ’bout shootin’ arns!”

In whatever form I actually said it in that note, it must have been polite (or funny) enough that email conversation ensued and culminated in a series of questions that she used as the meat of the gun chapter in the subsequent book. Though I believe Parker’s responses were funnier and more informative, I think that I managed to hold my own sufficiently to not embarrass Claire for her generous offer.

So.

Since this is my blog and my interests include firearms, that means that my demented scribblings will, of necessity, include commentary on gun related issues – legal, social, and mechanical. In fact, deep and eternal questions will be asked – and answers given – in regard to those issues! As long as we’re here, let’s start off with some of the most common:

1. What’s the best gun? Great question! Given, though, that guns are simply tools this question is akin to asking “what’s the best screwdriver…?” The answer may well be “none” if the rest of the question is “for hammering nails.” And that doesn’t even begin to address your own personal levels of skill, training, and interest or the ever-necessary response question of “for what?” The best gun for concealed carry is not particularly ideal for taking cape buffalo in the brush, and the shotgun good for quail is not going to be making headshots on gophers at 500 yards. There is, however, an answer (I promised answers, after all), and the answer is “The best gun is the one that you have with you at the time you need it, if it can do what you need to have done within most likely operational parameters.” In other words, the .32 you have with you is better than the .45 at home on the nightstand, though you’re still not going to be using it to do headshots on gophers at 300 yards ’cause that ain’t what .32s are made for.”

2. Fine, smartypants, “What’s the best gun for concealed carry?” “Do not teach your grandmother to suck eggs, grasshopper, the above answer is still perfectly applicable.”

3. Oh, for cryin’ out loud. “What gun do YOU like, Mr. Blog Owner, for concealed carry?” “The one that I have with me, because within the most likely self-defense parameters it will do what I need done.”

4. SWEET BLOODY MARTYRED GHU, WHAT IN THE NAME OF DOG ARE YOU CARRYING RIGHT NOW???
You know, typing in all caps on the Internet is like yelling and there’s no reason to scream at me just because you have difficulty formulating a simple question. Sheeeesh. But, at the moment, it’s a Kahr MK9, 9mm in a pocket holster because spring is here and I’m not wearing a coat around the office. Cooler seasons or casual wear might see either a higher capacity Smith & Wesson such as the S&W 5906 or the SIG P220.

5. You seem to like double action pistols. That’s not a question, that’s a cogent observation.

6. Isn’t the double action pistol an ingenious solution to a nonexistent problem? I’m not a Marine Colonel, I’m a lawyer. I am not concerned only with winning any shootout, but with making sure to win any possible criminal or civil litigation later. Should I have to consider that? No – but until the law on shooting criminals rolls back about a hundred years or so I am stuck with that as being a possibility. A double action handgun removes, for the most part, any allegation that the shooting was accidental or negligent.

7. What’s better, 9mm or .45ACP? Oh, gee, look at the time and the wordcount. I guess we’ll have to leave that for a later date. I said I’d give up answers – but there was no promise of immediacy. Nor, for that matter, of universal accuracy. These are, after all, demented scribblings.

Speaking of demented scribblings, let me offer in closing a fun essay by my friend L. Neil Smith. It’s been around awhile, you may have seen it, but if not, it serves as an excellent example of scribblings which are not demented and as such should be an excellent contrast to my own work:

Why Did it Have to be … Guns?

by L. Neil Smith
lneil@lneilsmith.org

Over the past 30 years, I’ve been paid to write almost two million words, every one of which, sooner or later, came back to the issue of guns and gun-ownership. Naturally, I’ve thought about the issue a lot, and it has always determined the way I vote.

People accuse me of being a single-issue writer, a single- issue thinker, and a single- issue voter, but it isn’t true. What I’ve chosen, in a world where there’s never enough time and energy, is to focus on the one political issue which most clearly and unmistakably demonstrates what any politician — or political philosophy — is made of, right down to the creamy liquid center.

Make no mistake: all politicians — even those ostensibly on the side of guns and gun ownership — hate the issue and anyone, like me, who insists on bringing it up. They hate it because it’s an X-ray machine. It’s a Vulcan mind-meld. It’s the ultimate test to which any politician — or political philosophy — can be put.

If a politician isn’t perfectly comfortable with the idea of his average constituent, any man, woman, or responsible child, walking into a hardware store and paying cash — for any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything — without producing ID or signing one scrap of paper, he isn’t your friend no matter what he tells you.

If he isn’t genuinely enthusiastic about his average constituent stuffing that weapon into a purse or pocket or tucking it under a coat and walking home without asking anybody’s permission, he’s a four-flusher, no matter what he claims.

What his attitude — toward your ownership and use of weapons — conveys is his real attitude about you. And if he doesn’t trust you, then why in the name of John Moses Browning should you trust him?

If he doesn’t want you to have the means of defending your life, do you want him in a position to control it?

If he makes excuses about obeying a law he’s sworn to uphold and defend — the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights — do you want to entrust him with anything?

If he ignores you, sneers at you, complains about you, or defames you, if he calls you names only he thinks are evil — like “Constitutionalist” — when you insist that he account for himself, hasn’t he betrayed his oath, isn’t he unfit to hold office, and doesn’t he really belong in jail?

Sure, these are all leading questions. They’re the questions that led me to the issue of guns and gun ownership as the clearest and most unmistakable demonstration of what any given politician — or political philosophy — is really made of.

He may lecture you about the dangerous weirdos out there who shouldn’t have a gun — but what does that have to do with you? Why in the name of John Moses Browning should you be made to suffer for the misdeeds of others? Didn’t you lay aside the infantile notion of group punishment when you left public school — or the military? Isn’t it an essentially European notion, anyway — Prussian, maybe — and certainly not what America was supposed to be all about?

And if there are dangerous weirdos out there, does it make sense to deprive you of the means of protecting yourself from them? Forget about those other people, those dangerous weirdos, this is about you, and it has been, all along.

Try it yourself: if a politician won’t trust you, why should you trust him? If he’s a man — and you’re not — what does his lack of trust tell you about his real attitude toward women? If “he” happens to be a woman, what makes her so perverse that she’s eager to render her fellow women helpless on the mean and seedy streets her policies helped create? Should you believe her when she says she wants to help you by imposing some infantile group health care program on you at the point of the kind of gun she doesn’t want you to have?

On the other hand — or the other party — should you believe anything politicians say who claim they stand for freedom, but drag their feet and make excuses about repealing limits on your right to own and carry weapons? What does this tell you about their real motives for ignoring voters and ramming through one infantile group trade agreement after another with other countries?

Makes voting simpler, doesn’t it? You don’t have to study every issue — health care, international trade — all you have to do is use this X-ray machine, this Vulcan mind-meld, to get beyond their empty words and find out how politicians really feel. About you. And that, of course, is why they hate it.

And that’s why I’m accused of being a single-issue writer, thinker, and voter.

But it isn’t true, is it?

Ding Dong Bin Laden’s Dead – Again

I believe that under the Professional Code of Modern Blogging Ethics I am obligated, in order to keep my blogging license, to post something about this the third alleged death of Osama bin Laden.

Big effin’ whoop. Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, John Dewey, Franklin Roosevelt, and John Maynard Keynes are also dead, and their ideas and beliefs continue to torment and corrode what little is left of the American Republic. Congratulations, American Military Industrial Complex, you’ve managed to, after ten years, kill a sick old man who was going to die anyway. Now where do I go to get back my country where I can get on a plane with a 20 ounce diet Dr Pepper in my hand, a Leatherman tool in my pocket, and no TSA fingerprints on my crotch?*

In keeping with the ongoing theme of this blog of looking carefully at that which is unseen, let me point out that Obama, for all his deadness, has actually pretty much won the war and destroyed America.. Pretty neat epitaph, if you ask me – how many of the boobus americanus who are dancing in the streets (as though they personally did anything to accomplish the killing) are not likely to have anything near as interesting in their obituaries.

So. Again, with a hat tip to Commander Zero, the death of Roosevelt did not end in a victory for Nazi Germany. I predict that nothing good will come from this assassination, and, in fact, it and its methods will only serve to further galvanize Pakistan (that would be the country through which the American military’s supplies for Afghanistan flow) against America.

The times. They are interesting.

* Hat tip to the Prepare blog for the idea.

Let me introduce The Oregonian

The Portland Oregonian and I have a long history. Portland, Oregon, was my first real “big city living” experience and The Portland Oregonian – more commonly and hereinafter “The Oregonian” or even more often, “The Oregano” – was the newspaper of record for Portland Big City Living. The Oregano was everything you’d expect in a Pacific Northwest main stream media paper – there were no new laws or taxes that the editorial board didn’t love, and every opportunity was taken to piddle on Liberty’s leg.

But what of this history, you ask? Glad you reminded me.

There are two letters I’ve gotten in life that I wish I’d kept. The first was while stationed at Ft. Leavenworth, and was a recruiting letter from 1st SFOD-D. The spec ops guys had been “looking at my file” and thought that I might be suited for their organization. I was leaving military service at the time, in a huff, but sometimes wonder what might have been different if I’d accepted the invitation and made it through the process. The second letter was a choice bit of snark from The Oregano, complaining that I had somehow managed, in my second year of law school, to get 14 or so letters to the editor published despite their strict limit of one letter per person per quarter. The tone was very aggrieved and whiny, as though it were my fault that they only had one source for a libertarian point of view. All but one of the letters involved The Oregano’s predictably left-wing stance on gun control (i.e. “there can never be enough”).

I have since moved on from Big City Life, but still read The Oregano for giggles. And there is no greater giggle to be had than finding yet another eyes-wide-shut sample of Leftist – and I use the word loosely – “thinking.” The Right is by no means immune to the disease, by the way (just how “conservative” is an illegal war of choice, anyway?), but the Left can be particularly egregious in its stupidheadedness.

Here’s the current bit of fun:

Okay. I made that title up. What the headline actually says, for those who haven’t clicked yet, is, “In Portland’s heart, 2010 Census shows diversity dwindling.” But when it comes to The Oregano’s use of “diversity,” well, let me cite to Inigo Montoya:

And for the youtube-impaired: Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

The Oregano will assure its readers, between the lines, of course, that diversity is a Good Thing. That diversity is essential, and that only low-browed knuckledraggers are opposed to the love of diversity.

Oh really?

Mr. Webster – or one of his ilk – defines “diversity” as

di·ver·si·ty/diˈvərsitē/Noun
1. The state of being diverse; variety.
2. A range of different things.

And yet just what sort of diversity lack is The Oregano complaining about? Only color. Well, with a side order of poverty, since it’s the “affluent” who are driving out the people of color (quick aside – why is the phrase “colored people” offensive, but “people of color” is a required descriptor? Just askin’). In other words, The Oregano is fixated on race. I don’t know that you can get any more racist than that.

If The Oregano were truly about diversity, it’d be advocating for ensuring proper numbers of sex offenders, pedophiles, robbers, killers … oh, let me turn the listing process over to another attorney: “Rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, Mugs, Pugs, Thugs, Nitwits, Half-wits, Dimwits, Vipers, Snipers, Con men, Indian Agents, Mexican Bandits. Muggers, Buggerers, Bushwhackers, Bulldykes, Hornswagglers, Train Robbers, Ass-Kickers, Shit-Kickers……and Methodists.” were located in and amongst the Affluent But Unenlightened Masses of Portland, setting an example by making sure that the aforementioned were in their own neighborhoods. In fact, if The Oregano really believed in diversity it would make sure that its own hiring reflected Oregon’s diversity and would include all of the above – and low-brow knuckle draggers – in its own staff.

Of course, The Oregano would never actually do such a thing. The Oregano is the arbiter of what is right for others, and it is a “teller,” not a leader. It is a hypocritical scold, a “do as I say, not as I do” termagant of the worst stripe. And as such it is a perfect fit for Modern America and its hordes of similarly-attituded minions all of whom know better than we do what is good for us and will, if necessary, kill us* to make us better.

*stolen, I believe, from P.J. O’Rourke: if you don’t do as told, you’re arrested and jailed. If you resist arrest or attempt to leave jail, you can be shot and killed, with your shooter only rarely suffering consequences.