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.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Price of Power

When a person has power, there is risk of corruption.  I find a quote I can connect with at the end:

I have a personal prejudice against tyranny.  I used to be in law enforcement.  I have seen what power can do to people with my own eyes.  I have arrested people and ticke[te]d them.  All power, even lawful power, degrades the person who wields it.  It is not just the victim who is abased.  The enforcer is also dishonored.  I simply will not be a party to authoritarianism anymore. 
If you think power is good I advise you to go out and get power as a cop or a jailer.  Find out what it is really like.  Then come back to your senses when you realize that all power is more or less evil.
As I have probably said before, I had a very brief stint in law enforcement.  I would not have made such a universal application, but I fully understood, even back then, the feeling expressed in the quote.  I am afraid I was not all that good at my job.  I let people slide.  I bent the rules.  I was chewed out more than once by my superiors.  

There is a way to avoid the kind of degradation that the writer talks about, and that is humility.  Oddly enough -- and I'm going to get all philosophical here, it can be frightening to be humble.  Humility requires courage.  I am going to suggest that true arrogance, as opposed to virtuous confidence, can be a function or expression of cowardice.

Humility and confidence are compatible.  Pride and humility are, of course, polar opposites.  In the First Epistle of John, we are told that there is no fear in love, that perfect, i.e., fully developed, love casts out all fear.  God's love makes us both confident and humble.   It gives us courage even as it preserves us from the corrupting influences of any power that might come into our hands, because, naturally, we are going to have power in some form over someone now and then.

This probably goes to why I harbor such a deep distrust of politicians and others who seek power.  It may even be why I have come to be fairly supportive of Trump.  He has a rather foolish, from someone seeking political office, courage.  Most seekers of power will never dare to tell the truth about what they want -- possibly even to themselves.

I believe that the real driving force behind the quest for power is often found in fear, and that fear is probably difficult to name -- something of an existential fear, the fear of meaninglessness.  

I think we can apply this to all the crap about triggering and hate speech and the protesting and rioting that is going on.  We just saw a violent and destructive protest at the University of California - Berkeley over a speech that was going to be given by the fabulous Milo Yiannopoulos.  Humble people would have listened to Milo without fear.  A speech, words, especially if they are not true, are not to be feared.

Humans have advanced, at least in part, because we are able to communicate with one another, record our words in some form -- including the earliest oral traditions -- and correct actions and adapt our behaviors based on our continuing interactions with reality.  As our interactions have now been recorded in written form across generations, we have a good basis for assessing the potential outcomes of a course of action.  If we are willing to make use of them.  This is called education.

Essentially this past week we saw a university, obstensibly engaged in education, violently blocking information that could prove vital to a generation's success and prosperity, if not their actual physical survival.  No one was going to be forced to accept Milo's conclusions or modify their behavior based on what he said.  His statements could have been heard, analyzed, debated, and considered.

The rioters, instead, acted as those under direct threat.  They acted in fear, fearing, perhaps, the potential loss of power that a contradiction to their narrative might entail.  What they lack is clearly humility.

Arrogance has become the hallmark of the modern world whether in science, politics, or religion.  A humble person fearlessly hears those who disagree with him.  He doesn't resort to disqualifying an opponent by labeling them as some despised thing in order to dismiss the other's opinion.  He doesn't appeal to his own authority or position, or that of another, in order to suggest that power or popularity defines truth.

Scientists used to be confident enough in themselves and in their methodology to accept challenges and debate on the basis of data and experimentation.  Now a computer model that has failed in predictive ability is upheld and defended by consensus.  Government funding rather than nature declares the winner of the battle for truth.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Maintaining a Grip

Monday, I did something I don't normally do.  I had a very brief exchange with a person in the comments section of a site.  The person, female, I believe, was ranting about Trump's "muslim ban".  She was questioning why he picked those countries.  The question was answered by another commenter.  She responded that he didn't answer her question.  I explained why he had indeed answered and offered a link to some additional information.

Fortunately, I went on about my business for a couple of days and didn't see her response until today.  It was unhinged.

Look, I hate Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.  I'm sorry.  I just can't stand them.  They may be nice people in private.  Al Capone was probably a nice guy to his friends and acquaintances.  Jesse James, Bonnie and Clyde, everybody, regardless of their crimes and atrocities, has some good points.  Hitler was kind to animals.

Obama is a petty, little affirmative-action tyrant, but he seems to genuinely care about his kids -- or whomever's they are.  As long as he isn't trying to run my life, I don't care.  I don't hate him the way I do the Clintons; Obama is an annoyance.  Like hemorrhoids.

The truth is that we all like to have our biases confirmed.  It's just human nature.  Alex Jones and World Net Daily make good money feeding the self-delusions of people on my side of the fence.  Not everything they say is wrong, but they aren't good sources.

It would be nice if, on the left side, we could point just to sites like the Huffington Post.  Sadly, the unreliable sources of the left include the New York Times, CNN, CBS, etc.  As has been evident throughout the campaign last year and in the two weeks since the inauguration, the media, in general, is aligned with globalism.

We need to stop thinking left and right.  It is nationalism versus a one-world, globalist vision that would eliminate national boundaries and national sovereignty.  The United States has bought into this vision more and more for the last seventy years.  It has not brought us prosperity or peace.

Invasion by "refugees" and illegals results in greater power for and reliance upon government by more and more people.  Crime goes up.  More people are on welfare.  There is a push for more socialism.  Consequently, socialism begins to eat away the country's prosperity.  If it is kept up, the end result is Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, Greece, etc.

When a nation loses its culture through invasion, loses its identity, it is on the way to being made into the same kind of third-world hellhole that the invaders supposedly fled in the first place.

There are people who cannot accept this.  They have a worldview that we can all live together in harmony, that all people, regardless of religion, ethnicity, ability, or background are the same.  They believe that "experts" in the government can more effectively distribute wealth than the free market.  And, like the women I mentioned at the beginning, they are going to cling to that worldview no matter what facts or evidence they see to the contrary.  For every crime by an illegal, they will point to one by a native.  For every abject failure of socialism, they will scream "Sweden" at the top of their lungs while ignoring the demographics, resources, and history that enabled Sweden's socialist experiment.

Their grip will not be loosened by logical argument because they did not reach their position by logical argument.  They do not believe in their own depraved nature or their own capacity to be hoodwinked.

I say that not to disparage those who disagree with me, but more as a warning to myself to maintain a grip on self-awareness myself, to remind myself how easily I can be fooled,  deluded and deceived.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It All Started When He Hit Me Back

I keep hearing how Trump needs to "change his tone", stop tweeting, start acting presidential, stop responding to his enemies -- you know, stop all the stuff that got him elected.

I have bad news for the left in America.  The nice conservatives are dead.  We're having the funeral tomorrow.  You might have heard about it.

It's not like there's a new utopia coming or anything like that.  Trump is talking about trimming 10 trillion in the next 10 years from federal expenditures.  Those sound like real cuts rather than cuts in increases, which is the usual political parlor trick.  Trump certainly knows how to negotiate.  Let's hope he puts that skill to good use.

The left and much of the "decent" right are unhappy because the rhetorical advantage has shifted away from them.  I don't claim to be Alt-Right -- I'm not entirely sure what constitutes that group.  There is a certain amount of right-libertarianism, at least a bit of anarcho-capitalism, and a sprinkling of white supremacy, or at least white separatism.  Primarily, though, it appears to be nationalist as opposed globalist, which is where I might come in.

The Alt-Right is about tactics and winning, which is why Trump became the Alt-Right candidate -- though Trump himself is probably more of a centrist on most social issues.  It is the hyperventilating, hysterical left that believes he is going to shut down abortion clinics, repeal the voting rights act, and jail opposition leaders, war against homosexuals and make sexual assault great again.

I do think the path ahead for this country is difficult and fraught with danger, but that's primarily the doing of the Establishment left and right and its media minions.  The Establishment Republicans are accusing Trump of being thin-skinned, while somehow failing to notice the constant petulance, pettiness, and immature responses of the half-Kenyan bastard for the last eight years.  The Ministry of Truth swings away at those of us who oppose the Establishment, calling us racists, xenophobes, islamophobes, misogynists, and anything else that is convenient.  They suggest that men who own firearms are "compensating" for sexual inadequacies.  They project their own evil onto us.  Yet when we dare to strike back, we are being "mean-spirited".  

As a Christian, I'm all for turning the other cheek in my own personal encounters, when there's nothing more at stake than an insult or minor humiliation.  Like acting in love and helping those in need, meekness is a virtue only when we practice it from the heart.  There is no virtue in forced charity or forced meekness.  In fact, one might even that forced meekness is a function of cowardice.  And keep in mind that courage and honesty are virtues, too.

This isn't about me personally.  This is politics.  Politics is war.  The battles are fought in the minds of the masses.  The weapon is rhetoric, because, honestly, most people are not interested -- if they are capable of -- following logical arguments.  The nice conservatives have tried logic, and they have lost.  The nation has moved left, hooked and towed by rhetoric.  Temporary blockades of logic and dialectic may have slowed the journey to the junkyard of history, but conservatism as a philosophy has failed to turn the country toward tradition and truth.

Rhetoric works because it appeals at an emotional level.  Yes, you had millions of Mexicans out in California still voting for socialism.  But to the American Midwest, Trump looked like a winner.  And he won.  He won despite a tape of him saying something shockingly vulgar.  He won despite his combativeness, his pettiness, his vulgarity, and his disdain for the elite.  He won because he fought back.  He called people out.  He won because he wasn't afraid to be called vulgar and petty.

To continue to win, nationalists must stop being afraid of being called names.  The proper response to being called racist is "I don't care."  Call me a redneck.  Say that I am xenophobic.  Call me a white supremacist.  Say that I hate Mexicans, Muslims, women, gays, whatever.  I don't care.

The word "satan", at its root, means an adversary, an accuser.  Satan's primary weapon is accusation with the intention of causing guilt.  Without the ability to invoke guilt and shame, the devil is essentially neutralized.

The Establishment or the "elites", if you prefer, are like Satan in this regard.  Their rhetoric is negative and accusatory.  The intent is to guilt us into acquiescing to denials of reality that would be ludicrous if they weren't so damaging to the social fabric.  If we don't submit and melt into piles of blubbering shame at their salvos, they have nothing.