Thursday, February 04, 2016

Tyrants and Patriots

The only way for the tyrants versus patriots model of a free society to work is if you have a bloody revolution every ten years to wrest power from the last crop of revolutionaries who have made their pile and blocked upward mobility. Too often and no one has a chance to make it. Not often enough and peace becomes a habit. Tyranny establishes its propaganda machine to make the status quo seem patriotic.

A country constantly swept by armed revolt can never be great, but greatness is itself an enemy of freedom through equality. If we had focused on our own freedom and happiness,  we would never have become imperialists. We might have temporarily united in the face of actual invasion, but only long enough to clear the field for our own intramural contests.

Sitting as we do, upon a vast swath of arable land and tempting exploitable resources,  we had no choice but to eschew a course of frequent cleansing in showers of blood. We had to become a robust nation paying lip service to pure liberty while dealing in all the intrigue and oppression that naturally go with the running of a mature country.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The cost of government

Why do people who chronically complain about the money consumed by government have so little to say about the billions of dollars spent to put politicians into office?

Election debt is analogous to student loan debt. Of course the office holder will look for a quick way to discharge that financial obligation. And office holders have to incur this debt every election cycle.

Term limits won't cure this. It's attached to the elections themselves, because of the way we've let them become absurdly expensive sales campaigns. Whoever is running will need to drum up the cash.

Outside spending is hard to limit, because the government should not be allowed to tell some rich idiot not to spend money on ads supporting a specific candidate or point of view. The only way to control political advertising would be to ban it. While that would be unbelievably wonderful esthetically, it presents an ominous restriction on freedom of expression. Certainly an ad-free election process would force candidates to deal in more substance, or at least better illusions of it. It's worth discussing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The busy schedule conspiracy

While I deride ridiculous conspiracy theories, I don't say there aren't conspiracies. They're just tawdry and temporary, for obvious motives, or they're widespread social manipulations for equally obvious motives.

By praising busy people and holding them up as examples of how we all should live, the social manipulators make sure that people try to be so constantly engaged in pursuits of advancement and acquisition that they never have time to think.

Thinkers connect the dots, see the trends, and voice the alarm that usually goes unheard beneath the clatter of industrious scurrying.

Thinkers move too slowly for the needs of industry. Inventiveness is good. Cunning legal minds come in handy. But free-range observers of society are just sand in the gears.

Everyone falls under the spell of the cult of busyness. I know how absorbing a beloved project or activity can be. That's why it's important to pick your head up once in a while, even if you're in a thoroughly satisfying track, to look around and think about how it all fits together.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Your Right to Bear Arms

Gun ownership says, "I need, want and deserve to control the power of instant death." This is true whether your possession is legal or not.

 Because United States citizens are afforded the unusual constitutional protection of their right to control the power of instant death, they are free to arm themselves against whatever need to commit homicide they might anticipate. For instance, some unsanctioned possessor of the power of instant death, or an attacker bent on causing them pain might confront them. Second Amendment fans also like to point out that the federal government might get too big for its boots and need to be shot out of them. What if fascists or commies took over and started rounding up undesirables? Ha! I'd like to see them try while I've got old Betsy in my warm, live hands. We have a moral obligation to go down fighting.

Then there are the undesirables themselves. They could form groups and start disturbing the peace. Armed bands could begin to roam the landscape, falling on the homesteads of staunch normal people to raid and pillage. This could happen. It could. Combine the epidemic of homelessness with desperate ideologies constantly recruiting and it's only a matter of time before someone figures out how to radicalize a whole bunch of hobos and issue them assault weapons. Why has no one thought of this before?

And what if Muslims try to impose their Sharia law and displace the Biblical law that good Christians want to place over us?

I don't debate any of the arguments in favor of gun ownership. Constitution says you can have them. Go get some. An apocalypse has to hit sometime. And personal crises won't arrive on a known schedule. If you want to be able to blast an attacker back against the far wall with a rain of hot lead, you have to have the tools in reach.

Let's just be honest. Get tee shirts, bumper stickers, embroidered jackets and other regalia that say, "I need, want, and deserve to control the power of instant death." Make sure that is in the front of everyone's mind when they discuss guns and gun control. That's all that really needs to be in anyone's mind when considering firearms. Sure, you can shoot for sport and for fun, perforating paper and plinking at cans and bottles, but that's not why humans invented guns. Guns are the power of instant death. And that is a fundamental human right.

Monday, January 04, 2016

The militia next door

Self-styled patriots have seized a federal government building in Oregon to protest land use regulations they feel represent federal overreach. They're heavily armed and promising to defend themselves with deadly force if the government starts any trouble.

The substance of their grievance is not important. But it got me wondering what it might be like if they'd done it in the woods behind me, rather than in a small structure grandly and misleadingly described by the media as "a federal building."

Consensus among the many experts who fill social media and chat rooms, is that the authorities should simply turn off the water and electricity to the building and ignore the militia men until they give up and go home to hydrate and thaw out. But what if they didn't?

I imagined a patrol of armed men trooping out of the woods to request or requisition supplies from me.

My first move would be to politely refuse them any aid. They got themselves into this, they can put up with the hardships until they figure out how to get themselves out.

In response, they would probably claim to be a revolutionary army and say they would commandeer whatever they needed from me, an enemy combatant branded by my obvious sympathy to the tyrannical central government. Or they might go looking for better luck at a neighbor's house, but let's say my house is the only one convenient to their little revolution fantasy camp.

My next move might be to display, or even use, a weapon in response to their threat of physical force. Or I might already have called in law enforcement to do their job protecting peaceful citizens from armed hooligans.

This is a watershed. If I engage the militia in a firefight, I am acting more like they say they act, taking the law into my own hands to serve a higher cause. The fact that I am using my Second Amendment right to bear arms to shoot at them as they exercise theirs to try to coerce me puts us both strangely on both sides of the law at once. As the aggressors, they are more wrong than I am, but once the firefight starts it comes down to skill and accuracy, no matter who might be "right."

If law enforcement shows up and shots are exchanged, we have another skirmish for the militia set to add to their list of federal acts of tyranny. Remember Waco! Remember Ruby Ridge! Tyrants and Patriots! Win or lose, they've picked up another piece of propaganda to use later.

Once citizens decide that the threat or use of deadly force is acceptable as a routine part of conflict resolution, in accordance with the holy scripture of the United States Constitution, we make government law enforcement agencies an instrument of tyranny and vigilantes the real arbiters of dispute. The money we save on taxes that used to fund law enforcement can be spent on armament, personal fortifications, medical supplies and funerals.

Any quick skim of news outlets turns up plenty of misbehavior by law enforcement personnel as well as trouble made by gun-worshiping freedom fighters. You can't point at either side and say they're the bad guys or the good guys. All you can say is that they are incapable of expressing themselves in a less destructive way. You can be in the cross hairs or the cross fire, but either way you're neither free nor safe. The enemy of freedom is violence, no matter who instigates it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

There's a factory for everthing

The mechanic I go to has a  model car collection. It's accessorized with little plastic car bimbos.


Somewhere, there has to be a plastic car bimbo factory. I often wonder what the workers think in factories where they manufacture weird items for our culture. But then we don't go in for a lot of rhino horn and tiger penis around here, so who's to say what's weird?

I don't think this one was meant to look like she was dumped there. But its where she's hanging out right now.

The shop also has the traditional assortment of girlie calendars. One was up for so long, he finally said: "You know, she's a grandmother by now." He took it down a couple of years later. Interesting observation on transitory beauty.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Contemplating opposites

Consider these gestures:

Open hand, palm forward, middle space: Live Long and Prosper

Closed fist, back of the hand, extended middle finger: Fuck off and die.

I always thought of the Vulcan salute as a nice gesture, but I only realized very recently that it is totally the Anti-finger. You're really giving someone the middle space when you Spock them.