We know about the history and we know about the logic. In his usual impeccable way, Bill Whittle now explains about the grammar:
Yet another day where I start with an apology for not writing more or writing sooner. I had what I think is a fairly severe arthritis flair-up, loaded myself up with anti-inflammatory meds, and took a long nap. Thankfully, I’m feeling better and moving easier, so it’s time to write! Here goes:
Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s slo-mo rush to not-war
After years of hiding his head in the sand, Obama has suddenly realized that there are dangerous people out there, and they’ve got their guns aimed at us. He’s now desperately trying to rush us slowly into something that looks like war, acts like war, and talks like war, but isn’t actually war, and he’s not going to listen to any advice from old fogies like generals or admirals. Jonah Goldberg suggests that, given Obama’s ignorance, reluctance, denial, and ineptitude, Obama might want to slow that “rush” down a little:
We are through the looking glass when it is okay to say that opposition to requiring elderly nuns to pay for birth control is part of a “war on women” but airstrikes and coordinated ground attacks by allied militias aren’t like a “war” on terrorists.
Although we shouldn’t forget that there is one man brave enough to step up and say there is a war go on — John Kerry! Yes, John “Jen-jis Khan” Kerry, has announced that there is a indeed a war going on, between ISIS and . . . not not the United States or the West. (Fooled you!)
Instead, John “yes, there is a war” Kerry has announced that ISIS is at war with Islam. No wonder the folks at Power Line are wondering whether John Kerry is actually a GOP agent, working hard to discredit the Democrats.
Also on the subject of not-War, you can’t afford to miss Daniel Greenfield’s “Don’t Mention the War.”
The horrors of war by lawyer
[I]f the Marines sought to engage in any more than a running skirmish in response to shots fired while they were out on patrol, a battalion, not of fellow warriors but of lawyers, had to review the proposed fight plan first to make sure that it didn’t violate the ROEs. Even knowing about this bureaucratic, legalistic twist on warfare, reading about it in One Million Steps is still a shock. It’s just mind-boggling that lawyers were calling the shots in a genuine ground war (as opposed to the lawyer’s usual field of battle — a courtroom). Wars are fluid, dynamic situations; lawyers are stolid, cautious, and risk-averse. To make fighters in the war dependent on lawyers is insane.
It’s not just on the battlefield that the lawyers’ innate caution is bolloxing things up with it comes to fighting a fast-moving, deadly, and determined enemy. Daniel Henninger explains that way up the line, at the Obama command level, lawyers are also interfering with what should be battlefield strategies (emphasis mine):
The complex elements of modern American warfare include not only sophisticated ground-based troops but air power, unmanned drones, electronic surveillance, and the capture and interrogation of enemy combatants. Every one of those elements of U.S. military power has become a litigation battleground.
However intellectually interesting these disputes over our rights and values, each adds another thicket of legal consideration before, or even during, military action. There are now 10,000 lawyers in the Department of Defense. The legal staff assigned to Gen. Dempsey alone could fill a law firm. No one goes to war in this country until those DoD lawyers—plus lawyers at the Justice Department and White House—define in detail the parameters of battle.
The U.S. military has become a giant Gulliver wrapped in a Lilliput of lawyers.
Indeed, the White House has just announced the our nation’s top lawyer himself — that would be Harvard Law Review editor Barack Obama — will have to sign off on every single strike in our not-war against Islam:
The president hasn’t yet given the green light for an attack on Islamic State militants in Syria, but the U.S. military campaign against the group there is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control–going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes.
Do you remember Jodi Kantor, in The Obamas, telling about Obama’s devotion to his own skills:
Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” (p. 66.)
Now we can add something new to Obama’s list: In his own estimation, Obama is a better military adviser than people who have actually studied and gone to war. This is what happens when a man of few distinguishing qualifications starts believing the media’s PR about him. He’s not just a “black Jesus,” he’s also the second coming of Alexander the Great.
Funny illnesses cropping up all over
I mentioned at the top of this post that I might have had a serious arthritis flare-up. It’s entirely possible, though, that I’m actually getting sick. A lot of wacky illnesses are circulating, not the least of which is the hitherto “unknown in America” mystery virus hospitalizing kids all over the place, which is not a common “back to school” feature.
A Power Line reader has suggested what we’re all thinking: Is this a byproduct of the sick, illegal kids the Obama administration has been shipping all over the US? Perhaps what we’re seeing here is the indigenous people’s revenge: after 300-400 years, they’re going to wipe us out as surely as Europeans did back in the 16th and 18th centuries, when they exposed vulnerable indigenous populations to diseases that had become tolerably endemic in European cities.
The Israel yardstick
I told my mother that an ideology’s approach to Israel tends to be an extremely accurate way to measure whether it’s a good ideology or not. Look anywhere in the world, and wherever you find Israel-haters, you’ll find racism, totalitarian impulses, homophobia, misogyny, a fondness for euthanasia against any vulnerable populations, etc. Knowing this, it’s worth thinking about the implications flowing from the Democrat party’s ever-increasing hostility to Israel.
More evidence that, when he scratch a Leftist, you find an antisemite
Etsy.com, an online sales collective for artists, recently banned the sale of any goods that reference the Washington “Redskins” on the ground that the team’s name and logo are so offensive it would pollute the site to carry them. Etsy, however, is perfectly happy marketing swastikas. Read all about Etsy’s peculiar biases and preferences here.
I’ve never shopped at Etsy, nor had I planned ever to shop there, so I can’t make a statement by boycotting the site. But if I did shop there, I’d immediately stop doing so.
One Leftist anti-Semite just got the recognition she deserves
Over at the Watcher’s Council, council members have voted for this week’s weasel, a Leftist anti-Semite and all around idiot. You’ll have to visit the site to see which specific Leftist, antisemitic idiot won, though.
Jewish gun organization surviving in different form
I believe every Jew should own, or at least know how to fire, a gun. (I also believe all Jews should know self-defense.)
I only recently learned that there was a Jewish pro-Second Amendment in the US, called Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership. Unfortunately, through a disastrous combination of ill-health and health-related fatalities, the JPFO looked as if it was going under. Fortunately, though, those still able to manage the group realized that they needed to reach out for help. The JPFO is now merging with the Second Amendment Foundation, a forty-year old organization with 650,000 members. Yay.
More evidence, if you needed it, that climate change is faith, not science
We’ve discussed here before the fact that, because climate change is a non-falsifiable theory, it’s religious in nature, not scientific. If you’d like further evidence of the fact that climate change must always be accepted as core truth, no matter how the data changes, get a load of this AOL news headline: “Global warming likely to cause colder and snowier winters, scientists say.” And yes, the “news” story attached says just that: global warming means global cooling — Praise be to Gaia!
The scientific consensus was wrong AGAIN
I’ve never liked artificial sweeteners, since I think they taste nasty. Also, while I’m not one of those people who insists on all-natural, all-organic food, I viscerally felt that the body handles real sugar better than fake stuff. In my mind, it was better to eat real sugar in smaller amounts, rather than to load up on artificially sweetened food.
A doctor acquaintance of mine ridiculed me. His argument? If you ever go to a medical conference that offers both sugared and artificially-sweetened soda, the doctors will all go for the artificially sweetened stuff.
Well, in another blow to conventional wisdom amongst scientists, it turns out that artificial sweeteners mess with the body’s chemistry, contributing to obesity and diabetes among other things. Let’s just say that I’m not surprised, either about sweetener’s dangers or about the scientific community being wrong again.
The Orwellian nature of campus “free speech” zones
You and I like this poster:
Over at Penn State, however, the campus authorities wouldn’t like anything about that poster. Although they have a “free speech” area, it turns out that they only allow such speech as they’ve previously vetted and permitted to occur in that area. And we wonder why American college students come out dumber than they went in, despite their glossy patina of Marxist catch-phrases.
A lost America
Caped Crusader sent me the link for a beautiful elegy for an America lost:
We, largely rural kids of the small-town South, represented without knowing it a culture, an approach to existence, and a devastating principle: You can’t impose decency, honesty, good behavior, or responsibility. They are in the culture, or they are not. If they are, you don’t need laws, police, and supervision. If they are not, laws won’t much help. And this is why the US is over, at least as the country we knew.
Read the whole thing here.
I should add that the kids in my community have a good culture too. They don’t run to gangs, they work hard in school, and, except for drugs and alcohol, they’re generally law-abiding. But rather than seeming like the face of America, they often seem like an aberrant group, peeled out of the 1950s, with a stop-over in the 1960s to pick up on the drug culture.
Andrew Klavan takes on Obama’s contention that ISIS/ISIL/IS is not Islam
This isn’t one of Klavan’s best, and I’m not surprised. The administration has cut itself adrift from reality, and it’s hard to parody lunacy. Nevertheless, Klavan gives it the old college try and it’s still a fun video:
I finally got around to watching Captain Phillips. The move is ripped from headlines in 2009, when a Maersk captain got kidnapped by Somalia pirates, and was then rescued when Navy SEALS managed to kill the kidnappers in a sniper tour de force — perched on a rocking boat, the SEAL snipers took out three pirates who were standing within the confines of a closed — and also rocking — life boat. The movie didn’t do much for me as entertainment (more on that later), but I thought it was a splendid argument supporting the right to bear arms.
Since we’re all familiar with the actual kidnapping story, which we watched play out in real time, I’m not giving anything away when I say that the movie’s plot begins when four Somali pirates, traveling in a small, open skiff and armed with semi-automatic rifles and pistols, board a giant Maersk cargo ship. Their goal is to hold the ship’s crew hostage until Maersk’s insurance meets their ransom demand. Things go awry, though, when the ship’s crew fights back and manages to kidnap the leader of the pirate band. When the Maersk crew returns the pirate to his own crew, now ensconced in the Maersk’s fully enclosed life boat, the pirates successfully turn the tables, grab Captain Phillips, and take off.
The musical score indicated that the scenes in which the pirates stalk and eventually board the Maersk ship were meant to be gripping. Certainly, you could see the crew getting nervous. There they were, helpless, as these cruel predators stalked them. The only thing they could do was to turn on their ship’s water cannons in an effort to make boarding difficult. Here’s a nice picture showing the teeny skiff working its way up to the giant cargo ship with all its cannon going full force:
The image reminds of nothing so much as a feisty little mouse stalking a terrified, moribund, drooling elephant. Watching this scene, therefore, my dominant emotion wasn’t fear or anxiety, it was exasperated anger. If the Maersk had been armed with a few semi-automatic weapons or a mortar launcher or two, it could have blown that little skiff out of the water in an instant.
A small skiff would never have dared approach a boat it knew was armed. The only reason the pirates could act with such impunity was because they had the weapons and they knew that the only thing that the cargo ship could do was to spit at them.
At movie’s end, Phillips wasn’t rescued because of his ingenuity or courage (although the script works hard to give him both). Instead, he was rescued because the U.S. Navy out-manned and out-gunned the rag-tag band of pirates.
To me, the movie’s overwhelming message was that, if the outlaws are the only ones with guns, you’re helpless. However, if the good guys also have guns, the outlaws are mincemeat. This is as true within a country as it is on international waters. The Maersk ship was a metaphor for every law-abiding American who is denied the right to bear arms, and who then finds himself staring into the barrel of a bad guy’s gun, aimed right at him.
Thankfully, the Captain Phillips incident helped some of the shipping companies see the light. Rather than viewing ransom payments as a cost of doing business, thereby incentivizing piracy, some of the companies now hire armed guards who can, presumably, knock off a pirate skiff even before it gets within range of water cannons. You won’t be surprised to learn that the pirates, who are now greeted with the business end of a gun rather than the promise of cash, have pretty much gone out of business. Again, this is a perfect metaphor for the Second Amendment, which posits that there are more good guys in America than bad ones and, from that, extrapolates that, if the good guys are armed, the bad guys will retreat.
Aside from that powerful Second Amendment message (which I suspect was inadvertent), the movie left me pretty cold:
It failed as a suspense movie, because I already knew how it ended.
It failed as a hagiography of Captain Phillips, because I had already read months ago that the crew vehemently disputes Phillips’ heroic version of events. One could say that this is just sour grapes on the crews’ part, because they missed out on the money (and because the movie painted them as sniveling union cowards), but the facts bear out one important piece of information: given the prevalence of pirates in the region, ships were told to stay 600 miles off shore, well out of pirate range. Phillips kept his ship within 300 miles of shore, a fact even he concedes. If the crew is right about that incredibly salient point, it may well be right about all the other stuff.
It failed stylistically, because the director, Paul Greengrass, tried to shoot it as if it was a documentary happening in real time. This stylistic choice had two byproducts: First, it gave the movie that jerky, handheld quality you see when documentary filmmakers are running after a subject. I find this irritating. I tolerate it for real documentaries, but find it unnecessary and unpleasant in faux documentaries. Second, the actors weren’t acting, they were mimicking. You could see them sweat (and then inwardly congratulate themselves) as they tried to copy the speech and mannerisms of a real person. They therefore never fully inhabited their characters, leaving them one-dimensional. This made the movie lifeless.
It failed morally to the extent it seemed to say that the pirates were also innocent victims, more to be pitied than censured. Certainly, it’s true that Somalia is a country of abysmal poverty and disarray, made worse by its citizens’ addiction to khat. The pirates are shown chewing khat to get themselves excited for the hunt, and then becoming increasingly paranoid and desperate as their khat supply runs out. When one looks at the dreadful country, all of Somalia’s citizens are much to be pitied. Still, that’s not a license to engage in crime on a mass scale. Moreover, it was clear from the movie that the real malfeasors are the shipping and insurance companies that saw ransom as a cost of doing business, giving the Somalis a rational incentive to engage in piracy. As noted above, without this incentive, the Somali pirate trade pretty much ended.
And finally, the movie failed for a reason unique to me: I don’t like Tom Hanks. I’ve been dragged to see all of his movies over the years, and I’ve never like him. He runs the gamut from maudlin to overacting, a range that doesn’t just leave me cold, but leaves me with a vague, shuddering revulsion.
Saturdays just slip away from me. Now you see ‘em, now you don’t. Suddenly, it’s 1:30, and I’ve accomplished nothing more than making another batch of haroset, which I’m trying to eat in lieu of ice cream. There are things, though, that I’d like to share with you:
The first thing is a plea from the Media Research Center asking for funds to help offset the invaluable assist the Obama administration is getting from a complicit media. As you know, but too many Americans don’t, the media pretends to the American people that it’s independent, even as it shills and covers for the President. The deadline for this particular fundraiser is tonight, which is why MRC gets top billing here.
Speaking of valuable organizations asking for money, the NRA is taking very seriously Michael Bloomberg’s promise to spend $50 million to undermine the Second Amendment in America. The NRA has put together a great fundraising video (see below), and you can donate here if you feel so inclined:
Andrew C. McCarthy is one of those guys who has a binary effect on me. Either I love what he writes or I hate it. This time it’s love, as he talks about the way in which Obama is using his pardoning power to nullify drug control legislation. It’s a typical Leftist move, of course. If you’re a Leftist and don’t like legislation or constitutional rights, you don’t go through Congress to repeal or amend them; instead, you simply announce that you’re the Magic Negro, the man who defines what sin is (“being out of alignment with my own values”), the new messiah . . . and you avoid implementing the law and, if so inclined, actually undo its effects.
It’s not often that you read in just one article a straightforward, commonsensical, easy-to-understand, comprehensive take-down of the global warming scam. You especially don’t expect to see that kind of thing from a world-renowned emeritus professor and former NASA scientist talking to the Yorkshire Evening Post (a paper I read a lot back in the days when I lived in England).
I’ve mentioned before that I had Elizabeth Warren as a professor back in the day. I went into her class ignorant, and came out still ignorant, but also frustrated and confused. Whatever else she was, she was a very poor communicator, which is why I find it so peculiar that the Left considers her a spokesman for their Progressive economic causes. Back in the day, speaking in her breathy, elliptical, somewhat telegraphic way, she managed to say nothing at length.
With those memories in my mind, my metrics say Warren would be a dreadful presidential candidate, so I can understand puckish conservatives urging her to run. Of course, should she run, what will actually happen is that she’ll still be better than Hillary, whom people dislike, and she’ll win the primary. As the first female Democrat presidential candidate, the press will anoint her and that will be the end of it for any Republican opponent. (On that point, please see again my first item, above, regarding the MRC’s plea for funds to de-fang the press.)
Peter Wehner has disturbing RINO tendencies, not to mention the arrogance of his class when it comes to Palin. Nevertheless, he’s an extremely lucid commentator when it comes to honing in on Obama’s failings. I both enjoyed reading and was depressed by Wehner’s elegant laundry list of Obama’a serial failings in every area of presidential endeavor.
You know that I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about narcissists. One of the most dangerous things about them is the way their emotional armor means that they are incapable of acknowledging themselves at fault but must, instead, always deflect blame onto others. This tendency is especially destructive when it exists, not at an individual level, but at a societal level.
Take, for example, Islam: No matter where one looks around the world, once Islam is in charge, the economy collapses, violence increases, freedom disappears, and women, Jews, Christians, gays, and other Islamically disfavored groups are attacked, enslaved, and destroyed. This is a society that is ripe for introspection but, because it’s predicated on narcissism, the only thing it can do when it confronts its disastrous existence is . . . blame the Jews.
We’ve already talked here about the fact that those environmentally friendly wind farms puree birds, while the solar farms barbecue them. That’s not why I’m linking to this PowerLine article. I’m linking because I love the title: MICROWAVES OF THE DESERT; CUISINARTS OF THE SKY.
Cliven Bundy, a private citizen, makes an inarticulate, but arguably valid point that American blacks are as enslaved by the Democrat party now as they were in the antebellum South. The media mangles his argument, and destroys him as a “racist,” making toxic his entirely valid argument that past due monies owed to the government do not justify the Bureau of Land Management showing up at his farm with full military force, slaughtering his cattle, destroying his water lines, and aiming snipers at his home. Think about it. If Bundy were an IRS employee (lots of back taxes there), he would have gotten a bonus, and if he were Al Sharpton (even more back taxes), he’d be palling around with Obama and Holder.
No matter the government’s “right” to the land (which is separate from the justice of its claiming that right), Bundy stands for the increased tyranny of the federal government, one that sees it viewing itself as master, not servant. Indeed, one can argue that, although the government is acting according to the laws it’s made, its laws and procedures have become so fundamentally flawed that, per the Declaration of Independence, our government has invalidated itself:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
But I digress. I actually just wanted to talk about Bundy now being toxic, thereby invalidating ideas unrelated to the subject matter that made him toxic. It’s different if you’re on the Left.
If you’re on the Left, no matter what you do outside of politics, you’re never toxic. Take Paula Poundstone, for example, a convicted child molester. That fact isn’t preventing the Marin Jewish Community Center from opening its arms to her. I don’t know whether Poundstone has reformed or repented, something that makes a difference to me, because I’m a big believer in both. I just know that, if Poundstone was a conservative, not a Progressive, she’d never be forgiven for her sins, and would be persona non grata in perpetuity, as to all matters.
And finally, maybe we are at last seeing small cracks in the damned dam that is political correctness:
Mike McDaniel is one of the best and most knowledgeable thinkers and writers when it comes to guns and the Second Amendment. That’s why it’s worth sitting up and taking notice when he revisits one of his own posts to discuss reader objections. I’ll run you through what Mike has to say and then tell you why I agree with him. This is a long post, but I hope it’s engaging enough to sustain your interest all the way through, so that you’ll take the time to weigh in with your own opinions.
It all started with a post entitled “Why It’s So Hard To Discuss Guns Rationally With Some People,” which Mike published at The Truth About Guns (“TTAG”), one of the internet’s premier Second Amendment sites. Mike’s starting point is the same problem I had when discussing guns with liberal friends in the wake of Sandy Hook: Progressives cannot move beyond emotions and get to actual facts.
Mike, though, didn’t stop with my facile conclusion about how frustrating it is to talk about guns with Progressives. Instead, he looked beyond the emotional drivel and honed in on the core ideologies driving Progressive or, more accurately, statist thinking. These ideologies are
(1) the Progressive’s belief in the state’s ability to solve every problem and its corollary, which is that every individual other than the Progressive holding this thought is incapable of knowing what’s best for him;
(2) the Progressive’s refusal to acknowledge that there is a Higher Power or Being, reinforcing the belief in the all powerful state and further diminishing an individual’s standing; and
(3) the Progressive’s belief that the state is both infallible and unfalsifiable. This belief allows Progressives to argue that, if a specific law fails — say, that a law specific guns fails to stop or even slow gun crime — the answer is to pass the same law, only to make it more far-reaching and consequential.
Mike’s article garnered 355 comments. To Mike’s surprise, the point in his article that got the harshest criticism was his second argument, the one holding that rejecting a Higher Being is what allows Progressives to deny the right to armed-self defense. Here’s Mike’s argument in that regard:
The second factor: a refusal to acknowledge the existence of any power higher than themselves. In essence, they refuse to acknowledge the existence of God. For some, this lack of belief is nothing more than being made uncomfortable by the idea that there is One greater than themselves, than their current maximum, cult-of-personality leader, than the state itself. For others, progressivism/statism takes on all of the characteristics of a religion; it become a matter of unquestionable faith. For such people, believing in God is essentially apostasy.
As it relates to the Second Amendment, these two factors make it not only possible, indeed, mandatory for the progressive/statist to deny the unalienable right to self-defense. If there is no God, the individual human life has only the value recognized by the state at any given moment. The individual exists only in service to the state, and the value of their life is measured by the individual’s adherence to the state’s goals and their usefulness to the elite ruling class. That being the case, there’s nothing particularly unique or precious about any individual, therefore an unalienable right to self-defense is nothing but an annoying impediment to the larger, more important goals of the state.
Indeed, God need not even be involved for the committed statist to deny the existence of any right of self-defense. Any unalienable right is an inherent limitation on the power of the state, and no such limitation can be acknowledged. Whether such rights are bestowed by God or invented as a result of human philosophy matters not. The power of the state cannot be diminished, and if the individual is allowed control over their own existence — if that control is bestowed by God which is far more powerful than the state — the power of the state becomes illegitimate and unquestionably hampered.
In any case, if there is no unalienable right to self-defense, there can be no right to keep and bear arms, or as progressives/statists often argue, such “right” guarantees nothing more than the privilege to carry arms in the military—in the service of the state and its ruling elite—and perhaps for hunting or sport shooting under highly restrictive circumstances.
To such arguments, conservatives and others commonly point to the Constitution and particularly, to the Bill of Rights. This is why progressives/statists argue for a “living Constitution,” which is another way of saying that the Constitution says what they want it to say and means what they want it to mean at any given moment. The better to legitimize whichever progressive/statist policy they wish to implement. This is also why progressives/statists labor to install judges who reflect the “living Constitution” frame of mind. Politics are too fickle; better to have true believers legislating from the bench when it’s not, for the moment, possible to impose progressive orthodoxy through the legislative process when the masses are temporarily rebelling against the elite.
To summarize: For varying reasons, true Progressives cannot simultaneously hold a belief in God and state, so God goes out the window. Without God, the individual has neither innate dignity nor inherent rights. He is, instead, just a cog in the state’s workings and his value can never be greater than that which the state assigns to him. Indeed, inalienable rights are antithetical to an all-powerful state. They cannot exist simultaneously. The moment that the individual is subordinate to the state, the state can make whatever rules it wants regarding arms and self-defense. Usually, these rules benefit the ruling class to the detriment of everyone else. To the extent the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights indicate otherwise, they must be ignored, interpreted out of existence, or amended to make explicit the state’s control over guns and, by extension, self-defense.
To Mike’s surprise, several TTAG readers took umbrage when he argued that Progressives’s elevation of the state over God (or denial of God altogether) is inextricably intertwined with their rejection of guns and the inherent right to self-defense.
Take, for example, “joleme’s” objection:
I was with him until the god comment.
I’m not sure why some pro-gun people need to split pro-gun supporters by making such statements. It’s one of the reason’s [sic] I tend to feel uncomfortable around some large groups of gun supporters. I myself am very pro-gun. I see no reason to limit the 2nd amendment. Inevitably however, it seems like someone always has to start a religion talk and ends up being a “only us god fearing men are in the right”.
I think you need to assess your own religious discriminating views.
Mike was quite disturbed that he could be considered as someone who would discriminate against fellow Second Amendment supporters on religious grounds. He went back through his original TTAG post to see if he came across as a Fire and Brimstone preacher. I can assure him that he did not. And since he’s my friend, I want to assure him further that (a) he didn’t insult atheist gun owners and (b) he was right about the “godly aspect” of America’s constitutional right to self-defense.
As to the first point (that he wasn’t insulting atheist gun-rights supporters), Mike needn’t worry. He definitely wasn’t waiving a discriminatory Bible at people who support the Second Amendment but don’t believe in God. Those readers who took offense seem to have missed the fact that Mike was entirely unconcerned with pro-Second Amendment people. Instead, he was trying to understand how America’s self-defined Progressives can deny an individual’s right to self-defense.
It was in that context — why true Progressives cannot accept self-defense, armed or otherwise — that Mike advanced his theory that rejecting a Higher Being’s existence inevitably means living and dying at the state’s whim. Significantly, that conclusion does not imply its corollary. That is, while Progressives’ collective atheism drives the hives’ hostility to self-defense, one doesn’t need to believe in God as a predicate to believing in self-defense. They are not mutually exclusive ideas.
I can easily believe in armed self-defense for non-theistic reasons: (1) the lesson of history, which is that the greatest number of deaths in the last 150 years have invariably followed a government’s move to disarm its citizens; (2) the fact that mass shootings always happen in “gun free” zones; or (3) the fact that crime goes up when gun control goes up and crime goes down when concealed carry goes up. All three of these are inarguable facts and it’s impossible to maintain a reasonable gun control stand when faced with these facts.
Since the above facts are the arena in which most gun control discussion are carried out, arguing with gun control fanatics invariably ends with them calling you names. Indeed, calling Second Amendment supporters blood-crazed, murderous, child-killing Nazis is the only appropriate response when the facts show that, within the confines of a free society (as opposed to, say, Yemen), guns advance individual safety, rather than destroy it.
None of the above facts rely on God. Both theistic and atheistic individuals can cite them to justify gun rights.
But let’s be honest: Mike wasn’t talking about a specific individual’s understanding of facts or rights. Instead — and this is the second issue Mike raised — he was asking a fundamental question: Why, in America, unlike all other nations, do we have a Constitutional right to bear arms? Answering this question, at a societal rather than an individual level, requires looking at rights inherent in all men, rather than preference among both theistic and atheistic individuals. In this larger context, Mike is absolutely right that the Founders’ belief in God was a prerequisite to their drafting the Second Amendment and the Progressive’s collective belief in the State is the overarching justification for their denying the Second Amendment.
Many of the Founders disdained traditional religious worship, but all were theists. They believed that there was a higher power that created man and elevated him over all other beings on earth, complete with inherent rights that flowed from God, not the state. That belief is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The state is subordinate to these rights, as the Declaration makes clear in the sentence immediately following that affirmative of rights inherent in all men, irrespective of the state:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
The hierarchy is clear: First, God; second, His creation (man); and, third, man’s creation (the state). To ensure that the state retains it’s place at the bottom of the hierarchy, the Founders enacted the Bill of Rights. As I’ve argued (often), the entire purpose behind the Bill of Rights is to ensure that government is subordinate to each individual, and not vice versa. It is within this context that the Second Amendment makes sense: First, it exists to ensure that the state cannot become tyrannical as to the collective of all; and second, it exists to ensure that each individual is protected from the state and that each individual has the right to defend the sanctity of his own life, separate from the state’s needs or power.
On the pro-gun side, incidentally, you can also say that you only need the second and third elements of the above hierarchy to justify guns: man comes first, the state second, and men get guns to keep the state in place. That’s a valid, non-theistic, pro-gun argument too.
But now look at it the other way, from the Progressive’s point of view, which was Mike’s point. The Progressives also have an ideological hierarchy underpinning their conception of man’s relationship to government: First comes the state. Then comes man. There can be no God, because God would, by definition, have to supersede the state in the hierarchy. Man must therefore be subordinate to the state. This means that the state gets to make all the rules and rule number one is: NOTHING CAN THREATEN THE STATE. Moreover, statists fully understand that nothing threatens the state more (as we see on this, the 71st anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising or as we saw with the Bundy & Co. stand against the BLM) than an individual with a gun.
So Mike is right: both the godly and the godless (and yes, that last is said with a light laugh and not meant as an insult) can support an individual’s right to bear arms. However, the only way to deny an individual’s right to bear arms is to deny man’s inherent value vis a vis the state — and that requires a world in which there is no God. The Progressive hive (as opposed to the individual Progressive who attends his leftist church or synagogue) must deny God both as man’s creator and as a counterweight to the state’s absolute primacy in order to justify denying the Founder’s conclusion that each of us is endowed with an inherent right to self-defense through arms.
And think about it: Back in the day, Americans didn’t just call communists “communists.” They called them “Godless communists,” understanding that the Godless part was an intrinsic aspect of the state’s absolute, unfettered power, a power that was and still is invariably accompanied by gun control and the refusal to recognize self-defense as a valid individual right.
As is the case with so many Leftist organizations, on the surface former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s alleged gun safety organization sounds so reasonable: “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” (“MAIG”). Heck, we’re all opposed “illegal” guns, right? It’s only the definition of “illegal” that might trip some of us up.
When I think of an “illegal gun,” I’m thinking of a shoulder mounted rocket launcher, a fully automatic machine gun, or perhaps an otherwise innocuous revolver in the hands of a 14-year-old Chicago gang-banger. It’s become increasingly clear, however, that when MAIG talks about illegal guns it’s envisioning a world in which all guns are illegal unless in the hands of (a) a police department or (b) a Democrat politician’s body guards.
When the Orwellian-named MAIG approached David Lockhart, the mayor of Fort Park, Georgia, he wasn’t interested in playing cute semantic games with an organization dedicated to destroying the Second Amendment. Instead, he sent them a delightful, long letter detailing exactly what’s wrong with MAIG:
I do not support your efforts. I oppose efforts to require private sellers with minimal sales (non-dealers) to perform background checks. I am proud that gun shows are regularly conducted in Forest Park.
If you really want to reduce illegal gun sales, perhaps your energy would be better focused in petitioning the BATF to end its illegal gunwalking. Because of Operation Fast and Furious, Brian Terry was murdered with a weapon sold by our own government.
Your organization claims that the goal is “protecting the rights of Americans to own guns, while fighting to keep criminals from possessing guns illegally,” yet none of your “Coalition Principles” further any such protections. One of the principles is to “keep lethal, military style weapons off our streets.” First, I am awestruck that you would focus on “lethal guns.” It seems that guns’ lethality is the point of their design. That you believe a gun’s “military style” makes it more lethal is asinine, and however you would define such style does not make guns so designed illegal. Your stated goals–protecting legal ownership and eliminating criminals from illegally possessing guns–are belied by your specific objectives. What you propose would convert what is currently legal possession into criminal behavior. You may have fooled other mayors, and you may have other fools who agree with your actual objectives, but you haven’t fooled me.
That your organization was founded by Michael Bloomberg, who criminalized the sale of sodas of a certain size, is telling. It is impossible to believe such a man is really concerned with the protections afforded by our Constitution.
Hat tip: Guns Save Lives
David Burge (aka Iowahawk) reduces the insanity at Fort Hood to a mere 22 perfect and pithy words. (Hat tip: Caped Crusader.)
Imagine, if you will, that what happens at one of these bases isn’t one crazed gunman or disaffected Islamist but is, instead, a sustained, surprise paramilitary attack. Will our sitting duck troops call 911 then too? They are vulnerable to any surprise attack, whether it comes from one or dozens or hundreds of murderously inclined and heavily armed people.
The Taliban has hit Marin County (indirectly). Marin County is headquarters for Roots of Peace, an admirable charity that seeks to advance agricultural development in poverty-stricken areas. It has an outpost in Afghanistan, where it seeks to enable the Afghani people to feed themselves. The Taliban can’t have that kind of thing happening in its country. It therefore sent off some foot soldiers to attack the Roots of Peace Kabul office, killing a child in the process. If radical Islam had a cable-TV station, it’s motto would be “All war, all the time.” One wonders if this will be a bit of reality that mugs that peaceniks who are so self-centered that they cannot envision cultures that have, as their core value, a desire for perpetual warfare.
David Clarke, Milwaukee’s Sheriff, made a splash when he encouraged Milwaukee’s beleaguered citizens to arm themselves:
I think Clarke may have found a kindred spirit in Detroit Police Chief James Craig. During a press conference in which he discussed the rising numbers of homeowners (successfully) using arms to defend themselves, he had this to say:
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a press conference last week that in his 37-year career, he’s never seen as many homeowners defending themselves by shooting intruders. Craig told The News in January he felt the crime rate could be lowered if more “good Americans” were armed, because he said criminals would think twice about attacking.
“It does appear more and more Detroiters are becoming empowered,” Craig said. “More and more Detroiters are getting sick of the violence. I know of no other place where I’ve seen this number of justifiable homicides. It’s interesting that these incidents go across gender lines.”
We want more law enforcement like Clarke and Craig, and less like Marin’s Second Amendment-challenged sheriff.
I also want more of this: An Ebony magazine editor went on a rant against conservative blacks; got called on it; claimed that the person calling her out was a white racist; when she learned that the person calling her out was black apologized for calling him white; and then doubled down on rants that were both anti-conservative black and anti-white. (That’s not want I want to see more of. It’s this next thing I like.) Normally, Republicans would run away screaming from this type of confrontation, leaving the racist Leftist in control of the field. This time, the RNC demanded an apology . . . and got it.
Speaking of the Left’s racial obsessions: Any half-sentient being knows that Stephen Colbert’s shtick is that he created a faux-conservative character who is pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc., and that Colbert, a marginally-talented generic Leftist, uses this character to claim that all conservatives are pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc. That’s why it’s hysterically funny that, when his show tried to highlight (non-existent) Republican racism by having his character ostensibly tweet out a crude anti-Asian stereotype, the Asian community got riled and demanded that Colbert be fired for being an anti-Asian racist. Asians should stop getting their knickers in a twist about stupid TV shows and should start looking at where their real politic interests lie. (Hint: It’s not the Democrat Party.)
Leland Yee has been around forever as a fixture in Bay Area politics. As his name implies, he’s Asian, he’s hard Left, and he represents San Francisco and parts of San Mateo in the California legislature. Since Sandy Hook, Yee’s been very vocal about being anti-guns. He also just got indicted for gun running, including trying to sell arms to Islamist groups. The MSM has been trying hard to ignore his story, as it’s been trying hard to ignore a bunch of other stories about spectacularly corrupt Democrat figures. Howie Carr therefore serves a useful public service when he calls out the media, the Democrat party, and the crooks.
Speaking of crooks, Harry Reid claims never to have called Republicans liars when it comes to Obamacare, despite footage of him calling Republicans liars because of Obamacare. There’s some debate on the Right about whether Reid’s gone senile or is just trying out his version of The Big Lie. My theory is that we’re seeing malignant narcissism in play. As I’ve said a zillion times before in speaking about Obama, malignant narcissists never “lie” because their needs of the moment always dictate the truth of the moment. That is, if they need to say it, it must be true. (It’s nice to be your own God.)
Keith Koffler identifies the four roots of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy. I agree with him, although I would add a fifth, which is that Obama desperately wants to see America knocked down to size as punishment for her myriad sins. Perhaps Obama should read the DiploMad, as he explains why Russia, the country before which Obama is now weakly doing obeisance, has always been much worse than America could ever be, both as a protector and an enemy.
Adm. Jeremiah Denton, Jr. has died at 89. The public learned about Denton during the Vietnam War when, during one of the forced confessions that the North Vietnamese liked to televise to the world, he blinked out a Morse code message — “T-O-R-T-U-R-E” — thereby providing the first proof America had that the Commies were torturing American POWs. During the same interview, he bravely said he supported his country, a statement that led to more torture. Denton was also America’s longest-held POW, spending almost 8 years in the Hell that was the Hanoi Hilton, and various related prisons. During that entire time, he was brutally and repeatedly tortured and he spent four years in solitary confinement (where he was tortured). My heart bleeds when I read what happened to him. But Denton came home and he got on with a full, rich life, including six years in the U.S. Senate. If anyone deserves to Rest In Peace, it is Adm. Denton.
I don’t think much of Stanford. It’s nothing personal. I think all the big universities (and most of the small ones) have become intellectually corrupt. However, Prof. Michael McConnell, at Stanford Law School, has somewhat restored my faith in Stanford by writing one of the clearest analyses I’ve yet seen of the problems facing the government in the Hobby Lobby case. Of course, law and logic will not sway Ginsberg, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer, all of whom are activists much more concerned with making policy than with applying law. As happens too often, Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote — a reality that places way too much power in the hands of a man who seems too often to blow, not where the Constitution takes him, but wherever his fancy for the day alights.
And to end on a light note, two more ridiculously funny Kid Snippets, offering an inspired combination of kid wisdom lip synched by some remarkably talented adult actors:
I have learned something about myself over the past 5.5 weeks: I will never master crutches. After all this time, I still fall going up the stairs, get vertigo going down the stairs, topple over when trying to reach light switches, get abrasions on my skin, and exhaust my injured shoulder. My big hope for this coming week is that the doctor tells me I can ditch the crutches and use a cane or go unaided on my own two feet. In the meantime, though, I’ve got stuff I want to share with you:
In 2008, Obama won in significant part by hooking up with pop culture and making himself “cool.” The implication was exactly what it is in high school: if you hang with the cool kids, you’ll be cool too. Obama was cool because he hung with Hollywood . . . and young voters were cool because they wore Obama t-shirts. Obama is trying to reprise that cool factor with his current campaign to get healthy young people to sign up for Obamacare. Now that actually money is involved, I suspect he’ll have less success than in 2008, when all you needed to be cool was a t-shirt and a vote.
When it comes to understanding how the media functions as the PR arm for the Democrat party, you can’t do better than to read John Hinderaker’s article describing the downstream fallout from the Washington Post‘s cheap and false attack on the Koch brothers. (Hinderaker’s challenge to the original WaPo article is here.) Not only does Hinderaker strip bare the ugliness behind the Post’s defense of its own bad reporting, he also analyzes why the Left is so obsessed with the Koch Brothers, the problems Democrats are starting to have with the “green” worldview, and the money behind the Democrats’ attacks on the Kochs.
Two Democrat politicians, one in Arkansas and one in Alaska, have rather foolishly chosen to attack their Republican opponents for having been in the military. The GOP has done an ad highlighting these attacks and focusing on the fact that there is something honorable about having served in the military. I agree, but for me there’s more than that going on. When I think about military service, what I think about is competence and responsibility. In a society where young people avoid both — and, indeed, are encouraged by law to remain infantile until their 26 — the military forces young people to step up. I know that there are shirkers in the military, but the statistical likelihood is that someone who spent many years in the military is probably a can-do and will-do kind of person.
Over the years, I’ve written about the fact that people who support abortion use a very dishonest debate tactic when they pretend that the world is the same as it was before Roe v. Wade. The implication is that, if abortion again becomes limited to life-of-the-mother (and perhaps rape and incest) cases, young girls will be thrown starving into the streets and children will be raised with the stigma of bastardy. In a world in which single mothers are one of the fastest growing demographics, this is ludicrous. The Left also pretends that women will once again return to back alley abortions, complete with unsanitary coat hangers. Indeed, one pro-Abortion outlet is giving “cute” little coat hanger necklaces to those who donate money to the cause.
Here’s something interesting, though: Just as the pro-abortion crowd lies about the world as it is, implying that unwed pregnant women will once again be driven into the snow (barefoot, of course), so too is it lying about the world as it was. Kevin Williamson finds contemporaneous evidence from Planned Parenthood itself saying that, back in the 1960s, while abortion was illegal, it was also safe — indeed, probably safer than at places like Kermit Gosnell’s House of Abortion Horror.
J. Christian Adams asks a good question: Why does Michelle Obama’s mother live rent-free in the White House? It might have made sense when the Obama’s first arrived in D.C. with two fairly young daughters, but it makes no sense now. I guess, though, that Michelle loves her Mommy and wants to make sure that Mrs. Robinson also gets to enjoy the pleasures of staying in $8,000 per night suites in Beijing (taxpayer-funded, of course).
“White Trash” is not a skin color, it’s a state of mind. One aspect of the WT state of mind is the person who, when he knows someone else is paying the restaurant bill, orders the most expensive thing on the menu. The Obamas are quite definitely White Trash.
In my real-me Facebook world, my friends still cling to the Anthropogenic Climate Change theory. In the real world, actual scientists (as opposed to PhD-holding crusaders looking for large government grants) are finally waking up and smelling the con-job coffee. It remains to be seen whether the climate-change generation is going to be able to walk away from this false God.
A couple of weeks ago, I said that the hate-crime hoaxes coming from the Left meant that I didn’t believe a gay guy who claimed (without corroboration) that his aged Baptist minister grandfather, who had been married for 65 years, confessed on his deathbed that he was gay. Maybe grandpa did; maybe he didn’t. It’s just that, as I said, absent ample evidence, I don’t believe the Left. In that vein, I point out that yet another hate-crime has proven to be a hoax.
Last week, I showed a picture of a school workbook telling students that the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms provided that the government first gives them permission to do so. Someone asked for the provenance of that image. It turns out that (surprise! surprise!) it comes from an Illinois Middle School.
Reading travel tips that Chinese give those of their compatriots heading to America I thought to myself, “What a nice country we have.”
This could be real . . . or not. It’s so deeply, horribly wrong, maybe it’s a hoax:
It turns out that even in Progressive Marin County, law-abiding residents want to carry guns on their persons. In the weeks since the 9th Circuit (!) held that county’s cannot condition concealed-carry permits on the sheriff’s determination that the applicant has made a credibly showing that he or she is in fear for his (or her) life, the upswing in concealed-carry applications has even reached true blue Marin (emphasis mine):
As Californians in some locations have flooded sheriff’s offices with applications and inquiries for permits to carry concealed guns, in Marin, sheriff’s officials say they have been fielding more calls than usual.
Demand is being driven by a federal appeals court ruling last month that made it easier for some residents to obtain the hard-to-get permits. About 56,000 Californians have a concealed-weapons permit in a state of 38 million residents. [Prior to the ruling] In Marin County, the sheriff’s office has issued only 21 concealed weapons permits.”
Those in Marin afraid of guns, though, need not worry that their perfectly nice neighbor, the one who brings casseroles when they’re sick and helps prop up fences in winter storms, will be packing legal heat any time soon. Although the 9th Circuit may have spoken, that’s not good enough for Marin’s Sheriff:
Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle said he doesn’t plan to loosen how permits are issued until the issue has been conclusively decided by the courts. He said he’s not sure how may people have applied for permits since the ruling as most of the inquiries in Marin have been phone calls.
“We’ve had more requests than usual since the ruling. We’ve told people they can apply, but we’re going to apply the same standard of demonstrating ‘good cause’ until it’s finally been decided by the court,” Doyle said. “The decision has basically been put on stay for three weeks to give the parties time to respond.”
Color me cynical, but I’m willing to bet that, if Sheriff Doyle had been in charge, Marin would have been issuing same-sex marriage licenses within minutes of the 9th Circuit’s decision striking down California’s Prop. 8, the much-maligned law holding that marriage is between one man and one woman. A foolish consistency, though, is never the hobgoblin of Leftist minds.
What’s so incredibly funny in all this is Sheriff Doyle’s position on gun rights:
Doyle said he’s a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but believes concealed-weapons permits should be reserved for those who have some sort of verifiable threat in their lives.
“I don’t agree with the adage that the more guns we have, the safer we are,” Doyle said. “We do have business owners that have been robbed and some people that carry large sums of money in the course of their employment carrying concealed guns.”
Properly translated, what Doyle is saying is that “I strongly support the Second Amendment, except for the part where it says that the right to carry arms is inherent in the people, and not dependent on the whim of the government. But otherwise, if I decide someone deserves to have a gun, I might actually give that person permission. Maybe.”
I shouldn’t poke too much fun at the sheriff. He is, after all, a perfect reflection of the county he serves. Everyone here claims fealty to the Bill of Rights, provided that it’s eviscerated to conform with Leftist norms.
Even if Doyle is, as I suspect, a very nice man, I’d rather have Milwaukee’s Sheriff Clarke in charge of our concealed-carry licensing program:
I have to return to my perpetual motion machine, but before I do, I wanted to throw out a few quick links to things I thought were interesting.
Second Amendment supporters cheered when the 9th Circuit (the 9th Circuit!!!) ruled that counties cannot concealed-carry licenses by reserving to themselves the power to determine whether someone is in genuine fear for his life. The Marin County Sheriff finds this ruling offensive, primarily because no one ever schooled him on the Second Amendment:
Marin County Sheriff-Coroner Doyle criticized the ruling, saying it “essentially eliminates the authority of local sheriffs and chiefs of police to establish a ‘good cause’ standard for granting or denying concealed weapons permits that is reflective of the individualized community standards where they serve.” Doyle said he is a “strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but believe this latest court ruling unreasonably expands the scope of that constitutional guarantee, enabling people not only to arm themselves for protection inside their homes and businesses, but also in areas that are open to the public where possession of a concealed firearm has until now been a crime.”
Apparently Sheriff Doyle’s copy of Second Amendment reads as follows: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, provided that this militia is made up solely of government employed or authorized citizens, the right of the people to keep and bear arms inside their homes if they first get government permission based upon a bureaucrat’s determination that they might be in danger shall not be infringed.”
Me? I think that’s a pretty lousy version of the Second Amendment and, thankfully, it’s not the real deal. If Doyle and others would like to have the Second Amendment changed, they need to follow the Constitution’s amendment process, not simply misread the actual document.
Sometimes statements just demand a snarky, sarcastic response. Take for example President Obama’s boastful statement that the stimulus worked, never mind the job-market contraction, sneaking inflation, rising food and fuel costs, etc. Certainly Obama couldn’t care less about these picayune issues, for he said “Anybody who says we can’t compete when it comes to clean energy technologies like solar and wind, they have had to eat those words.” (Emphasis mine.) To which the obvious riposte is, yeah, and words are all that they’ve got left to eat, what with no jobs, no money, no fuel and no food. I was going to say “What a maroon,” but Bugs Bunny’s favorite insult seems too mild when compared to this man’s arrogance and insensitivity.
I’m not making it up about rising fuel prices. Dan Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) has a long, depressing post about the way the green energy movement, which has enriched the Leftist nomenklatura is leaving increasing numbers of people in the First World cold and hungry, with periodic bouts of death thrown in for good measure.
Doug Ross has a cartoon panel that eviscerates Leftist thinking in three frames.