Thursday, April 20, 2017

The End of Innocence and Neutrality

Or maybe it's the end of the neutrality of innocence, but it seems to me that the left's voting bloc in America is rife with innocents -- people who have never, for various reasons, had to break a sweat except in a hot yoga class.  We have raised a couple of generations where people have little exposure to the real world, and it is only getting worse when you do most of what you do virtually while sitting on your couch.

It's not that I mind.  I take advantage of it, too.  It's convenient that you don't have to go anywhere, just order it off Amazon.  Doesn't matter what you need, you can get it delivered to your door.  Recreation is a video game for, apparently, millions of people.  Why go to the movies when you can watch it on NetFlix or Prime?  The stuff on there is better than most movies anyway.

The whole idea of "safe spaces" is an attempt to maintain an artificial innocence through denial.  Bullying used to mean a more powerful person abusing someone who could not fight back effectively.  Now it means saying something that another person chooses to find offensive, e.g., not using a pronoun of choice.

Even as the left side of the spectrum expands its bubble of ersatz innocence, many on the right find themselves losing their innocence with regard to the viability of the United States as a constitutional republic.  Those of us who have clung to our Classical Liberal values in addition to our guns and religion are being told that our skin and our sexual plumbing constitute our uniform in this new warfare.  Our brave new world has no place for neutrality.  Moderates will be fired upon by both sides.

I have seen and lived in the best of worlds.  Part of that was, of course, a function of my own youthful innocence.  Though I think we did live in a world of promise and hope -- not the bogus, socialist, utopian bullshit offered by the political class -- but a genuine hope that the world was getting better, life was getting easier, people were less fearful, and, to use a biblical phrase, knowledge was increasing.

The trouble is, to use a hillbilly expression, some people can't stand prosperity.  The story of the football player who committed suicide in his jail cell this week is one more stitch in the vast, tragic tapestry of human hubris that goes back to Eden.  We never know when we are well off and when we ought to leave well enough alone.

Technology can never eliminate the sinful nature of man.  Spiritual problems are not solved by material means.  Modern man believed he could conquer human nature as he had conquered the natural world, taming it and harnassing its forces.  Post-modern man is proof that modern man was an arrogant fool.

I leave you with this thought taken by von Balthasar from the writings of the Church father, Origen, "That which someone cherishes about all else, admires and loves above all else, this is that person's God ... what human beings love very much they want to be gods ...".  The gods of this world, of this age are many, and they totter upon their pedestals.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Woodpiles, Woods Cruising, and Woodsman's Rifles

I knew our Ol' Uncle Remus was a man of great wisdom and insight.  He proves it again:

I toted a rifle in .22 WMR, crank-action, topped with a low power scope. Sighted for ahunnerd yards with 40 grainers. Good for feeling dangerous. It carries well muzzle down. And a big ol' Schrade knife with a quarter-inch thick fixed blade sharpened to where its shadow alone will cut paper. My trusty Sunto wrist compass, natch. Around here compasses are like small town newspapers, people read 'em to make sure they got the facts right. North stayed just where it should be the whole time, a few degrees off the pointer. Check.

As readers know, I have a weird and somewhat inexplicable affection for and attachment to the .22 WMR.  I noted here almost five years ago that I had picked up a used Marlin 982 stainless .22 mag rifle.  It had a scope on it when I bought it, a Tasco 3-9x that I didn't really like, but it was functional.  I couldn't justify buying a new one for it.  However, I had the opportunity to help out a young man who was selling a nice Leupold scope, 4-14x, which I put on my Model 700 .25-06.  This left me with a Nikon 3-9x not attached to anything.  So I put it on the Marlin, and that gives me a happier setup.  

I imagine that Ol' Remus and I are in the last generation of those who appreciate both the strengths and weaknesses of the .22 magnum.  Another fifty years and it will be as obsolete and forgotten as something like the .25-20.

My older brother, many years ago, abandoned his .22 WMR for the .223 because, as he rightly claimed, he could reload ammunition for the centerfire as cheap or cheaper than he could buy rimfire fodder for the little magnum.  I could see his point.  Sometimes, though, I don't want to reload ammunition.  Perhaps when I retire and have less money as well as more time to fill with such activities, they will appeal to me more.   

For now, fifty rounds of CCI hollowpoints will fit in a pocket and, if it came to that, feed and defend me for a month or two.  The .223/5.56mm certainly outclasses the rimfire, especially beyond a hundred or a hundred and twenty-five yards.  That's part of the fun, I guess.  It's like going to the prom with the geeky girl when you could have gone with the most popular cheerleader.  You may lose style points, but you accomplish more or less the same end with a lot less fuss and trouble.  

It's not the most accurate round in the world, but it is accurate enough and more accurate than most who shoot it.  It is not particularly powerful, but it is surprisingly effective if the shooter knows both his limits and the limits of the round.  It is shootable by anyone, plus handguns -- mostly revolvers except fot the Kel-Tec PMR-30 -- are available in the same caliber.  Handguns in .22 WMR are great for small game, if the shooter does his part, and they will work for self-defense, though not everyone's first choice.  

From it's inception, the .22 WMR has been embraced by those who roam in places where ranges are mostly limited.  It's a woodsman's rifle.  I guess that makes me a woodsman.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Odd Numbered World Wars

Most of us know that the Great War, which the U.S. entered one hundred years ago, this past week, disrupted the map of Europe and finished off monarchy as a significant form of government.  A lot of us also know that the Treaty of Versailles set the stage for the failure of the Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism, and thus the vast destruction of the Second World War.  

Check out this piece from the Unz Report, posted on April 6, for a glimpse at the propaganda the newspapers fed American readers.  Some of it might sound a little too familiar.  I recommend reading the whole thing.

I used to believe Americans were the good guys.  The men and women who fill the ranks of the U.S. military are good people, for the most part.  I walked through a park in Fayetteville, AR recently that is named for Medal of Honor winner Clarence Craft and talked with a person who knew Mr. Craft from his volunteer work at the Fayetteville Veterans' Hospital.  He was a good man of great, self-sacrificing courage, but individual courage knows no race, religion, or nationality.

Tariq Aziz was the Iraqi foreign minister during the regime of Saddam Hussein.  He was being interviewed on television before, I suppose, the invasion in 2003.  When asked if he would fight if Iraq were invaded, he replied that he would.  When asked why, he said, "Because I am a patriot."  Even at the time, I admired that.  I thought he was in the wrong, but it seemed to me to be worthy of respect.

We need to ask ourselves, if we believe in liberty and self-determination for individuals, how we have a right to tell nations how they should be governed and by whom.  It's almost as if, in the age of the "United Nations", globalism, and one-world, we-are-the-world sentiments, we have decided that nationalism and love for one's people is the ultimate sin.

I am deeply disappointed in Trump's intervention in the Syrian conflict.  We destablized the region by removing Saddam Hussein then, even as the left protested Bush's action there, the left's president brought further chaos in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria.   I believe that the Syrian "insurgents" are ISIS or ISIS allies, and I believe further that ISIS is a creation of Western globalism.

The war is globalism versus nationalism, and the United States military is the primary force at the disposal of globalism, as has been the case for most of the last hundred years.  American interests were not at stake in WWI.  I am beginning to think they were not at stake so much in WWII -- but I confess to having been raised among people who loathed Franklin Roosevelt as much as the left reveres him and attributed Pearl Harbor to Roosevelt's machinations.  How was Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, or Iraq any of our business?

How much oil have we gotten from the region as a result of our invasion versus how much we have wasted rolling around the damn desert or versus the trillions blown away to bring "democracy"?  That isn't even to mention the blood spilled and the lives destroyed -- American, Iraqi, Afghani, Syrian, Libyan, et al.

As World War III heats up, I return to what I have said here from the first -- individual responsibility, loyalty to family, church, and community -- that's the hope.  Trump was never more than a gambit for disrupting the UniParty and buying time.  He may still do that for us, but he is not capable of really turning things around.  If he succeeds in limiting immigration, we still owe him thanks.  He is not our savior.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Harleys, ARs, and 1911s

I have been asked why I don't ride a Harley.  I've never ridden one, can't even remember throwing a leg over one.  That's not because they are not great, classic bikes, and it's not even because I'm a Yamaha fanboi.  My answer is usually something along the lines of "I like to ride bikes, not work on them."  If you don't "wrench", you're not a real biker, according to some.  I did do some mechanical work on my old two-strokes back in the '70s, cleaning carburetors or whatever.  Don't really care about doing it anymore, but maybe that qualifies me.

Most people who own a Harley for very long start on the path of customization.  They are always adding some performance enhancement, appearance enhancement, comfort enhancement, coolness enhancement.  I admit to replacing the stock muffler on my V Star with a Cobra bolt-on -- and I confess, I just did it to get a better exhaust note.  I added a modest, transparent bug deflector, passenger boards and a passenger backrest because the stock bike lacked those things, and my occasional passenger needed the boards and backrest.  I'm done.  For the FJ-09, I've done nothing.

Again, I have no problem with Harleys or people that ride them and modify them, and enjoy themselves in doing so.  When I see them out or at bike shows, I admire both the bikes and the people.

The point here is that AR-type rifles have a lot in common with Harleys, I think.  There are all kinds of aftermarket equipment, enhancements, and gadgets available for both.  It's the same with 1911 pistols.  You can just do all kinds of things to them.  And Ruger 10/22s, that's another one.  My 10/22 is box stock except for a top rail I added in case I ever want to (or have to) add optic sights.

I've had this Ruger AR now for several months.  I have said before that, though I once had to qualify with an AR, my first impression was negative, but that was 30-some years ago.  Times change.  Everybody loves ARs.  Clinton was going to be elected, and they would be banned.  I'm glad I have one in the safe along with a bunch of 30-round magazines.

I still don't like it.  First, the trigger is just horrible.  I'm not one of those shooters who has to have a minimal trigger pull.  Heavier triggers don't bother me much.  I'm always a little skeptical of a trigger being really light.  But the trigger on that Ruger AR-556 is absolute crap.

Of course, I can easily buy an aftermarket trigger and install it myself.  That's the AR mentality, the Harley mentality, the 1911 mentality.  I have a Remington 700 mentality -- not the lightest trigger in the world, but clean and functional.  I have a Yamaha mentality and a Glock mentality.  Why not just have something that works more than adequately as is?  Again, I'm not criticizing anybody for making a bike, a weapon or anything else "perfect" for them.  I'm just lazy and too average to worry about it.

Given that, here are my thoughts on black rifles in general.  For most hunting and shooting at longer ranges, beyond 150 to 200 yards, I would rather have something other than a .223/5.56.  A .223 is more than adequate for whitetail deer at limited ranges, with proper projectiles and good shot placement.  It's a good varmint round and will humanely put down a coyote out to 250 yard, maybe, if the shooter does his part and, again, with the right projectiles.  I have a single-shot .223 which is a lot more fun to shoot than the AR if I want to do that.

Yes, I know that ARs "own the 600-yard line" in target shooting.  I saw a video of Jerry Miculek breaking an 8- or 10-inch diameter balloon at a 1000 yards with a pistol.  But Mr. Miculek is some sort of benevolent, superpowered mutant sent by God to humble the ordinary inhabitants of this planet.  Also it's a balloon, fragile and with no negative consequences for projectile failure.

At closer ranges, say, inside a house or in the event of a serious social encounter on my property, I would much, much rather have my Remington 870, with the 18.5 inch, rifle-sighted barrel on it (AKA, Geraldean).  My second choice would be this stupidly fun-to-shoot Glock 17, my Springfield XDM or even my 10/22.

Oh, I modified my Glock.  I put a Clipdraw on it in lieu of a holster.  The Glock users' group on Fakebook chimped out.
There no trigger guard, which is completely unsafe.  When I responded that I never carry a round in the chamber, I received the usual arguments that I might as well carry a brick.  Is this the OK Corral?  Faced with an attacker who is too close to allow me to safely draw and rack the slide, I'm not going to be shooting anyway.  That's why I have knives in every pocket.  Currently the Clipdraw is attached for small-of-the-back carry and a right-hand draw.  A few days after I joined the users' group, I unfollowed it.  I like my Glock the way it is, and they were all about changing stuff.  More power to them -- I'm just not interested.  

Which brings us back to the AR.  I put a nice 1.5-4x variable-power scope on it.  That's probably all I'm going to do.  I'll take it out now and then, shoot it, clean it, put it back.  I don't figure on ever shooting anything live with it or even punching much paper.  Like the Glock users' group, it just doesn't interest me, which is probably a sign of some personality defect on my part.

I understand the military people who essentially learned to shoot with an AR.  I think they are great for new shooters.  The recoil is mild.  They can be adjusted to fit smaller or larger shooters.  They are great platforms for building whatever kind of rifle a person needs.  The applications and adaptions are almost endless.  Hunting, self-defense, competition, or just having fun, anyone can build an AR that is perfect for him or her, and perfect for whatever it is a person wants to do with it.

Except me.  It doesn't intimidate me or impress me.  I can see why other people like them, and I can't quite explain why I don't -- but I don't.  The rest of you have fun.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Educated in Public

Want to know why your local government schools consume three-fourths of your property taxes, plus lottery money and state and federal taxes and still cry for more dollars?  This was a comment from Vox Popoli that confirms information I've heard before:

dc.sunsets wrote Is this the Aussie version of Mainstreaming?
In US grade schools, a kid qualified one month to be INSTITUTIONALIZED for behavioral aberrations will sit next to your kid the week he or she is released. (This is not hyperbole, it's two anecdotes from my wife's grade school.) 
We see the news of St. Paul high schools being run by (minority) thugs, but it turns out that "Special Ed Inclusion" is near-universal K-5th or K-6th, and it's not just the 60-70 IQ imbeciles, it's the screamers, the furniture-throwers, the pencil-stabbers who all go into the pot with normal kids. 
No joke: <60 IQ kid gets a full-time paraprofessional, annual cost $10k, so said kid's total cost to the school dist for K-H.S. is easily $100,000 and likely three times the cost of future engineers, plumbers & electricians. 
Fake schools deliver fake educations.
This is public education in America.  Yes, there are good schools.  Yes, your school is different.  Yet standards continue to decline even as costs rise.  Teachers can't teach kids who do not have the capacity to learn or the willingness to learn no matter how much you pay them or how few kids are in the room or how nice the physical surrounding or how generous the pensions or anything else.

Public education is a failure.

The reason I don't care who heads the U.S. Dept. of Education is that it is just another spongy layer of useless bureaucracy soaking up money to line the pockets of bureaucrats and contractors.  I will support public education when local school boards have full autonomy on establishing curriculum, classroom discipline, pay, and whom to hire and fire.  Without all the paperwork, I have my doubts that essentially worthless administrators would be able to justify their six-figure incomes to the locals in rural school districts.  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blinded by Science!

This post relates mainly to pseudo-science spokesmuppet, Bill Nye, and climate change.

This is the link to Ike's 1961 Farewell Address that the above references and links to, if you want to read it first.  Eisenhower was a pretty smart old boy.

The post reminded me of an exchange I had with someone the other day about spanking children.  There has been a study conducted, allegedly, over fifty years that shows how detrimental corporeal punishment is to children.  I said that 50,000 years of experience has proven otherwise.

The first challenger hit me about how I had lived so long.  My reply was that I had spoken with the gods of the copy book headings.  Someone else offered not so much an argument as a condemnation of my archaic attitude.  I pointed out that the same western civilization that had practiced disciplining children for all of its history had also provided the culture and technology that allowed him to condemn them on his smart phone.

A third person attacked on the basis of the advancement of science, saying that we have "progressed" because of the scientific method and thus the results of the study were better than the experience of millions of families over thousands of years, which brings me to the point of all this.

Science is not a unified disciplined.  Physics, chemistry, to some extent biology -- these disciplines are very different from psychology and sociology, for example.  We have advanced tremendously in our understanding of physical science.  Our engineering in electronics is far ahead of where it was fifty years ago.  Most of the advances in medicine are the result of improved technology -- engineering rather than biology.  We do know quite a bit more about genetics than we used to.  No one argues about the value of our studies in those areas.

However, I would like for someone to point out to me some of the positive improvements in my life as a result of advancements in sociology.  I'll sit here and wait if you need a few minutes.   ... Really, I rather think that I would not know if sociology ceased to exist as a "science".

With psychology and psychiatry, I could agree that there have been improvements in the treatment of mental illness, but some of the drugs being used can have frighteningly dangerous adverse effects.  People who commit mass murders are often found to be taking psychotropic prescription drugs -- omelets/eggs, I suppose.

Dr. Spock speculated -- and that's what it was, speculation -- that spanking should be avoided.  That was a lot more than fifty years ago.  A lot of children in my generation were raised by Spock's method.  I was not.  The good thing was, back in those days, you could still get away with punching an obnoxious kid in the mouth.  If his parents refused to straighten him out, there was a good chance his peers would teach him a lesson.  I'm afraid that is not the case anymore.

Aside from the contamination of science with politics and political power that Eisenhower warned about, some things, like the study on spanking, pass themselves off as science but are hardly in the same class as studying the properties of graphene, developing better lithium ion batteries, or building a liquid thorium reactor.

The argument from Science! is, thus, a logical fallacy.  If you have a good family, the odds are improved that it will produce good children, and disciplined, adaptive, socially well adjusted adults.  A good family, history and tradition -- which are at least as much science as is sociology -- tell us, is a mother and a father together in a loving, supportive, trusting relationship, teaching the child their values and passing on their traditions.

Physical discipline is a natural outgrowth of living in an unsafe world.  When failing to obey parents could easily mean death, a little bit of pain helps to inoculate the child against all the dangers that are out there.  We do it because it works.

Morality is pragmatic.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The NYT Fears For Democracy

Actually, the Times fears democracy.

The narrative must be protected.  Read the Neoreactionary analysis.  The NYT link is embedded there if you want to check the original.

Having no restrictions on voting in a representative republic is fine with the establishment power brokers.  Watering down a nation's culture and will through the mass importation of invaders who have no desire nor motivation to assimilate, who know nothing of its history, who share no values, principles or ideals with its native citizens is, in the estimation of the institutional wise men, perfectly in keeping with preserving the West.

The internet is not breaking the hold of the Ministry of Truth media, but it is forming cracks in the outer wall.  There are still people who think that anything on "Today", "The View", or the evening news is fact.  They trust in the "journalistic integrity" of people who hold Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, and Brian Williams as models to be emulated.

Television news is propaganda used to sell soap.