If you blow up the Constitution, you’ll regret it

Predictably, the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting has triggered some talk on the left – and in the mainstream media, but I repeat myself – of repealing the Second Amendment.

I am therefore resharing a blog post I wrote some time back on why repealing 2A would not abolish the right to bear arms, only open the way to the U.S. government massively violating that right. Rights are not granted by the Constitution, they are recognized by it. This is black-letter law.

Thus, repeal of any right enumerated in the Constitution is not possible without abrogating the Constitutional covenant – destroying the legal and moral foundations of our system. The ten in the Bill of Rights are especially tripwires on an explosive that would bring the whole thing down. And of all these, the First and Second are especially sensitive. Approach them at your peril.

I will now add a very sober and practical warning: If the Constitution is abrogated by a “repeal” of 2A, it will be revolution time – millions of armed Americans will regard it as their moral duty to rise up and kill those who threw it in the trash. I will be one of them.

Left-liberals, you do not want this. I’m a tolerant libertarian, but many of the revolutionaries I’d be fighting alongside would be simpler and harder men, full of faith and hatred. If that revolution comes, you will lose and the political aftermath is likely to be dominated by people so right-wing that I myself would fear for the outcome.

You should fear it much more than I. Back away from those tripwires; you are risking doom. Ethnic cleansing? Theocracy? Anti-LGBT pogroms? Systematic extermination of cultural Marxists? In a peaceful, Constitutional America these horrors will not be. If you blow up the Constitution, they might.

806 thoughts on “If you blow up the Constitution, you’ll regret it

  1. I’ve been debating this with all sorts of people for some time, and this is literally the first time I’ve heard anyone say that people are suggesting repeal of 2A.

    I find it much more likely that there are forces who *want people to believe that other people want that*.

    • >the first time I’ve heard anyone say that people are suggesting repeal of 2A.

      Is this good enough for you? The New York Times, no less.

      It’s no means the first time I’ve heard that kind of talk. Tends to come out along with dreams of gun confiscation when the left thinks public outrage might have reached a level at which they no longer need to hide the intention.

      Gun owners are not fooled – we know that’s what they want even when they pretend that they’re only advocating “reasonable” restrictions and “compromise”. As we have learned this, we have become more radicalized.

      • Just because the rhetorical methodology and motive (such as selling newspapers) is pervasive and public doesn’t mean that it’s an accurate reflection of public sentiment in the aggregate.

        Whose interests are best served by promulgating the theory that lots of people want to repeal 2A? Only those whose interests are not served by compromise.

        • Just because the rhetorical methodology and motive (such as selling newspapers) is pervasive and public doesn’t mean that it’s an accurate reflection of public sentiment in the aggregate.

          While true, it does work in the other direction.. media influencing public sentiment.

        • >Whose interests are best served by promulgating the theory that lots of people want to repeal 2A?

          I don’t think it is lots of people. It’s a left-wing minority with effective ideological control of the academy, show business, and the mainstream media. If it were a majority, or near one, they wouldn’t bother with the systematically deceptive, incrementalist tactics they in fact use.

          Besides, whose interests a theory serves is secondary to the question of whether it’s true.

          • > Besides, whose interests a theory serves is secondary to the question of whether it’s true.

            Historically, is not the study of benefits a much more statistically useful proxy than attempting to assign motives that cannot be directly observed? Follow the money (for broad definitions of “money” – payoff, benefit, etc.)

            • >Historically, is not the study of benefits a much more statistically useful proxy than attempting to assign motives that cannot be directly observed?

              Yes. Those who think of themselves as an overclass entitled to rule their inferiors always believe they will benefit from disarming those inferiors – the “bitter clingers” of Barack Obama’s rhetoric.

              The ruling elites of the U.S. were at one time continuous enough with the rest of the U.S. that they did not constitute such an overclass. This has changed during my lifetime; assortative mating and the homogenizing and indoctrinating effects of a left-wing-dominated higher-education system have seen to that.

              Today’s gun controllers act as part of an elite that has talked itself into the belief that the rest of America is composed of violent, racist, misogynist troglodytes that must be controlled by the elite – and thus disarmed.

              • >This has changed during my lifetime

                I should add that if I plotted the frequency and intensity of public agitation against firearms rights since, say, 1965, I’m pretty sure it would track other measures of the increasing concentration/homogenization/isolation of the American overclass over the same period.

                Charles Murray has done a good job of documenting these trends in his 2012 book Coming Apart.

                I am not the first person to notice that American anti-gun agitation looks a lot like elite vs. prole class warfare.

        • Well, I keep seeing people I personally know spewing on Facebook that it’d be a good idea to repeal.

          So, they’re certainly not just A Creation Of Media Manipulators, even if they’re not remotely a majority.

    • If you haven’t noticed it you haven’t been paying attention. Here are some more examples that you seem to have missed. Rep Paul Heroux (D-MA), who’s in a position to know what his fellow Democrats talk about among themselves, says “some of my colleagues in elected office would repeal the Second Amendment if they could”;

    • One of the reasons you haven’t heard it (much) before is that prior to Heller case (2008) the left was under the delusion that the 2nd amendment meant something other than the plain text, because the SCOTUS hadn’t *ruled* on it basically forever.

      Heller was followed by the SCOTUS saying “No, really, it means what it says” two or three more times.

      So they know that other than nibbling around the edges they can’t get any significant bans through the courts.

      The goal has *always* been to take firearms useful for self-defense out of the hands of the peasants. It’s the way Progressives think.

      They’ll “let” us have .22s, double barrel shotguns and single shot hunting rifles.

      • Heller was followed by the SCOTUS saying “No, really, it means what it says” two or three more times.

        Only once, and since then they’ve refused every 2nd Amendment firearms case that’s been appealed to them. WRT to San Francisco’s “Lock Up Your Safety” law, they’ve effectively reversed on one of the most important findings of Heller, that if you own a gun, the state can’t effectively make it illegal to defend yourself inside your home with one.

        The Left can continue to hope that future changes in the makeup of the Supremes will allow them to reverse Heller and McDonald … which will get them exactly nowhere outside of maybe D.C., and Illinois as it gets more Blue.

  2. I predict this latest wave of gun control fever will be intense, but short. We’ll see new levels of bad arguments and general hysteria, thanks to Democrat/leftist/SJW/MSM frustration with Trump, the current fashion for virtue-signaling activism, foreign influence (e.g. Russian bot accounts will play both sides), and social media to magnify everything.

    But I think the Overton Window on guns has shifted in the liberty direction in recent years, so I don’t think this will leave much trace on gun laws, beyond minor and rather pointless tweaks like regulating bump stocks. It will, as usual, result in increased gun sales, and increased defeats of Democrats in Congressional elections, if they decide to adopt as a plank any kind of gun ban for November. (There’s also the internal contradiction of the #Resist types demanding that Trump take everyone’s guns.)

    From a liberty point of view, I’d suggest trying to change the debate to mass murderer control. That’s the real issue, not the tools a mass murderer uses. It has its own civil rights perils, but at least it focuses on the real problem, which is not “assault weapons” or even “guns.”

    “After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.” – William S. Burroughs. (Yes, I know the irony that he drunkenly shot his wife, but his point still stands.)

    • >But I think the Overton Window on guns has shifted in the liberty direction in recent years,

      I think you are right. That doesn’t mean those of us who are concerned about liberty should stop issuing the kind of warning I just did. We got to a better place than we used to be in part because such warnings were issued and received.

      • I think it’s a bit more complicated than that. In states that are gun friendly, it’s trended toward liberty. In states that are not, like NJ and CA, they’ve tended towards more restrictions. The saddest, IMO, is formerly gun friendly NY has been increasingly dominated by the giant voting block that is NYC.

        • >In states that are not, like NJ and CA, they’ve tended towards more restrictions.

          Um…I don’t think so (I mean I don’t think that negates the overall trend). For example, I believe there are no “may-issue” jurisdictions left – IIRC the last holdout was Cook County in Chicago and a court kiboshed that. The number of consitutional-carry states rises every year.

          Yes, some of this was Alan Gura being a hero in the courts. But the kind of really broad-based loosening and abolition of restrictions we’ve seen following Heller doesn’t happen without a broad change in political culture and popular sentiment behind it. That’s your Overton window moving.

          • Several states are may-issue. Indeed, a case that, for a while, had a few counties in Southern California become effectively must-issue was shot down in flames by the Ninth Circuit, and the Supreme Court refused to hear it.

            Wikipedia has a good discussion of which jurisdictions are may-issue, and whether that winds up being effectively shall-issue or no-issue.

          • There are around 7-10 may-issue states, around 6 ConCarry states, and in the middle are the shall-issues states (there’s overlap between ConCarry and shall-issue because several ConCarry states still issue permits for a variety of reasons, and some overlap between may and shall because the laws are may but the practice is shall).

            • >There are around 7-10 may-issue states,

              I must have had may-issue confused with no-issue. Which category did Cook County leave after the Supremes’ incorporation ruling?

              • McDonald v. Chicago was about Chicago banning possession of handguns, not about carrying them.

                You’re thinking about two cases grouped together as Moore v. Madigan, which was decided by the Seventh Circuit in 2013. That case forced Illinois out of the no-issue group into the shall-issue group. Illinois was the last no-issue state, after Wisconsin passed shall-issue in 2011.

                • These are all carry-permit terms, not purchase permit terms.
                  DC and IL were the last no-issue jurisdictions, and both were forced to shall issue by circuit courts and did not appeal to SCOTUS.
                  Several may-issue states are effectively no-issue of carry permits, but legislatively are May-Issue. (This is one of the reasons the current Concealed Carry Reciprocity law is Sun Tzu’s Deadly Ground for anti-gunners; it requires may-issue states to recognize out-of-state non-resident permits; and almost all of those states have all their restrictions on carry bound up in who gets permits, because the politically connected don’t want to deal with hassles).

                  Since Heller/McDonald I don’t think any jurisdiction is allowed to be “may-issue” for a purchase permit, but there are certainly a lot of allowed roadblocks for them that SCOTUS is unwilling to accept challenges to.

                  Since the DC case that forced DC to issue carry permits, there’s another round of lawsuits starting saying that the previous decisions were wrong, see Wrenn – NJ’s NRA affiliate filed one against NJ.

                  • Hawaii is a statutory no-issue carry state, NJ is by practice, and Maryland nearly so (they’re actually known to issue permits when shown real danger, and then revoke them when that’s over). For just ownership NYC and Massachusetts are by statute may issue for all guns ownership, they don’t give a damn about Heller/McDonald, nor have to with the current make up of the Federal Courts.

                    I’m in the camp that national Concealed Carry Reciprocity will result in making things far worse in our modern slave states, many will just follow Hawaii et. al. and outlaw all civilian carry, and the current Supremes aren’t about to call them on that.

                    • Hawaii is a statutory may-issue state, with policy mandates that make it effectively no-issue. Then again, you ahve to have a permit to even own a pistol there… (I have possession of a family heirloom 1911 because my uncle, who it belongs to, lives in Hawaii. I’ll ship it to him when he shows me he has the necessary permit and not before.)

                    • I stand corrected, perhaps I’m remembering a previous Hawaii law which only allowed concealed carry for security guards and the like, or got such a law confused with the law you refer to and that I link to above. Thanks!

                    • If nothing else, all these states must issue under LEOSA, no?

                      I have said a time or two that Congress could force the issue (pun intended) by extending LEOSA to any person not prohibited from ownership, and likewise force possession permit issuance.

            • > because several ConCarry states still issue permits for a variety of reasons

              One common reason, of course, being reciprocity. The optional permits from ConCarry states sometimes satisfy the permit requirements in other states.

              • Indeed. I live in such a state, and have a permit for just such a reason. Also because some municipalities in my state demand a permit.

          • NJ is may-issue. And here that means that you have to meet an impossibly high standard of “justifyable need”, showing that you have had previous violent threats, and you can’t take other actions to mitigate those threats, like moving to another town or closing your business. It’s really that bad.

            The only real ways to get a CCW in NJ are:
            – be a state senator
            – be a judge
            – be a licensed armed security guard (and then you can only carry when you are on duty)
            – be a retired cop
            – be very politically connected and rich

            Hawaii is largely the same. NYC is worse, even though some parts of NY are friendly. California is municipality-by-municipality, with the authority delegated to the local police and district attorney.

            NJ and California have a 1 gun a month restriction to purchasing. NJ requires getting an FID card to purchase long guns and ammo, and to transport firearms, whilst requiring a pistol purchase permit, which takes 6 months to get, for each handgun purchase. Oh, and if you stop to pee on the way to the range with an unloaded handgun in your trunk? Felony.

            Most people in most states have it pretty good, but there’s a handful of states that are shockingly bad.

            • Hawaii is largely the same. NYC is worse, even though some parts of NY are friendly. California is municipality-by-municipality, with the authority delegated to the local police and district attorney.

              By statute, no ordinary civilians can be issued concealed carry permits in Hawaii, and they report exactly 0 to the DoJ or GAO when it did a survey of issued permits etc. a few years ago. NYC can’t be worse since they allow ~60,000 handgun and long gun ownership permits each (I personally counted the totals when the list were released a few years ago), and some of those handgun licenses allow concealed carry. California is by country, with SF being nearly no issue, anywhere from 1-2 to 10 in any given year. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Dianne “Mr. and Mrs. American, Turn Them In” Feinstein had one of the 2 outstanding for a few years.

            • He’s not kidding about NJ. I got the hell out of there.

              There is no right to arms under NJ state law. Everything is set to illegal by default, then certain specific exceptions are allowed, if and only if you can prove you qualify for them. All burden of proof is up to you, you’re assumed guilty.

              • As I routinely say when Jersey comes up–throw the f*king ring in the f*ing volcano and TGFO.

                • The band Chucklehead has a track called A(flat) Traffic Jam. The common refrain? “Get me outta New Jersey!”

        • The saddest, IMO, is formerly gun friendly NY has been increasingly dominated by the giant voting block that is NYC.

          Formerly as in prior to the 1911 Sullivan Act, in which the Irish controlling NYC required a license to possess or carry a handgun, to keep more recent eastern and southern European immigrants in their place.

          • Upstate NY has been gun friendly and kept most of the restrictions downstate until the SAFE act – which is essentially unenforced in UPNY

            • From the department of unintended consequences:

              I have a friend who recently moved to New York. She’s a law-abiding gun owner who has depression. She won’t go get help for the depression because she’s afraid that seeking that help will lead to some judge taking away her and her family’s guns.

              I won’t go into why she chose to move to New York, except to say that it was not a totally unreasonable choice given her unique circumstances, which I will not elaborate lest I unwittingly identify her. But really now, gun control advocates…is that what you intended to accomplish when you advocated aggressive controls on firearms ownership by the mentally ill?

    • Concealed carry permits are not “liberty.” They are a manifestation of tyranny such that people become convinced a privilege is a right. Constitutional carry, as implemented by several states, is an expansion of liberty.

      Heller was a long term loss. It permits gun control, erases “shall not be infringed” and places the 2A under the 14A umbrella of protected privileges.

  3. I come from a country where gun control works similar to car driving. You need to pass an exam proving you know how to operate the gun and you also need to be healthy (psychological test) and not have any criminal history. Anyone can do it. It is understood to be a basic right. For more please see

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overview_of_gun_laws_by_nation#Czech_Republic

    Is something like that being discussed in the U.S. or am I misunderstanding the situation? Right now guns can be bought like groceries, right? Please forgive me my lack of awareness about the problem. I meant to offend no one. Just trying to understand better.

    • >Right now guns can be bought like groceries, right?

      No, they require a Federal background check for certain kinds of criminal offense or for a history of some kinds of mental illness. Not very different from what you describe.

      What I’m warning against is attempts to abolish the Constutional foundation of U.S. gun rights. “Success” would blow up the country. Civil war, revolution, whatever you call it, it would be ugly.

      • What I’m warning against is attempts to abolish the Constutional foundation of U.S. gun rights. “Success” would blow up the country. Civil war, revolution, whatever you call it, it would be ugly.

        Per this, there simply aren’t enough youth in the US for a revolution to happen:

        Sam Harri’s answer to Is the United States on the brink of a political revolution?

        There might be strife and violence, and then lots of voting-based changes over the next years and decades, but nothing approaching the level of a civil war. The demographics simply aren’t there.

        PS: I’m not American nor have I ever visited the US, so I look at this from the perspective of someone who has a genuine hard time understanding the importance US culture as a whole, right, left and libertarians included, puts on its foundational documents. It is so strong, and has so many similarities with how Protestantism approaches the Bible, that it’s as if they formed the sacred scriptures of a secular religion. I don’t mean that offensively or as sarcasm, but analytically. It just seems to fit the concept.

        My own ethical framework is aligned more with Virtue Ethics for ready-made, day-to-day heuristics, reverting to Utilitarianism as the disambiguating method on hard decisions, so I have no fundamental position on gun ownership myself.

        My own take is that if it in a certain context individual gun ownership increases overall utility without causing undue disutility, then in that specific context it’s good and should be defended. If in a different context it causes the reverse, then in that specific context it’s bad and should be opposed. And if there’s no practical difference one way or the other, then we can certainly go for platonic ideas such as uppercase-F Freedom to disambiguate in its favor given that, all other things being equal, then more negative freedom is better than less negative freedom. But that’s about it, and I don’t have enough knowledge of US daily life to know which of those positions I’d be in favor of.

        • >Per this, there simply aren’t enough youth in the US for a revolution to happen:

          I think Harris’s assumptions are invalid. He’s a clear thinker who I respect, but he got this one wrong.

          >It is so strong, and has so many similarities with how Protestantism approaches the Bible, that it’s as if they formed the sacred scriptures of a secular religion. I don’t mean that offensively or as sarcasm, but analytically. It just seems to fit the concept.

          It does. You’re quite right. We’re describing the American civic religion here.

          But while most religions are irrational, not all are. This one is deeply founded in our formative experiences as a nation. It is the only thing that does – or can – unite us given the size of the U.S. and the huge diversity of ethnicity and languages here.

          Here’s an interesting thing for you to think about. The fear and hatred of illegal immigrants that Trump tapped into? (Did not cause, but tapped into…) Here’s something most Americans are at most half aware of, and struggling with. That negativity hasn’t actually got a thing to do with race or any of the other obvious markers.

          It has to do with a widespread perception that today’s illegals do not want to enter the American civic religion – and that some of our elites are, for selfish vote-buying reasons, betraying us by being willing to let them get away with that.

          • “It has to do with a widespread perception that today’s illegals do not want to enter the American civic religion – “

            But that’s a propaganda point, usually made by putting news reports about people who are gigantic outliers on Fox News or Breitbart. I live in California, surrounded by immigrants, and they all get America and want to be part of it.

            That being said, immigrants from Mexico plan to stay Catholic, eat Mexican food, and celebrate Dia de Los Muertos… but the ROTC program at the local High School is filled with Hispanic kids! The “perception” that immigrants don’t want to “enter our civic religion” is just that – and it’s fueled by some of the ugliest propaganda on the planet. As far as I can tell, at immigration ground-zero (I live in a lower-class area about 120 miles north of the Mexican border) everyone is lined up to jump into the melting pot – and also contribute their culture to the melting pot!

            As the descendant of the “Eastern European Anarchists” portrayed in the vile propaganda of the early 20th century, I can tell you stories of how quickly assimilation happens! The worries about “Mexican Rapists” or “Muslim Terrorists” are about as irrational as you can get!

            • >But that’s a propaganda point

              It doesn’t matter. Fear doesn’t have to be based on reality.

              >I live in California, surrounded by immigrants, and they all get America and want to be part of it.

              Troutwaxer, I am not a conservative nativist. I want to believe that.

              But the actual figures about the percentage of people in U.S. prisons for serious crimes who are illegal immigrants are pretty shocking. Illegals are way, way overrepresented relative to their population share.

              Also…you know, it’s easy to dismiss resentment of even legal immigrants when you’re a wealthy white computer programmer with skills in demand. To people like us, all they mean is cool restaurants.

              I have been humbled, recently, by realizing that I was class-blind to the effect of mass illegal immigration on the less fortunate. The oversupply of unskilled labor is great for the price levels on the things you and I buy. It is not so great if you’re the unskilled labor. Blacks are especially hard hit.

              I am reluctantly coming around to Trump’s position that immigration policy has to serve the interests of native-born Americans first and a high-minded desire to welcome the world second. This doesn’t mean clamping it off entirely, but I think it does mean only letting in immigrants who actually can compete economically with people like you and me.

              • The major problem for me isn’t so much the idea of “for the citizens”, but that 99% of the solutions proposed seem to be about enacting milk subsidies to solve the shortages caused by, you guessed it: price controls (the example I like to use for this sort of thing).

                I refuse to pretend that the problem is a lack of subsidies, no matter how unlikely the repeal of the price ceiling is.

                • Completely Free Trade requires the free movement of labor (people) to be consistent. If you can square the circle of freedom of association with that, my hat is off to you.

                  • Free trade does not require open borders and limitless illegal immigration.

                    This is a libertarian delusion.

                  • In theory, I’m for free movement and open borders. In theory, too, anyone who comes here would have to make do on their own to make their own way.

                    In practice, a lot of illegals come here for the welfare. Heck, I remember hearing about billboards in Mexico encouraging people to come here for that purpose! So in practice, I’m not very keen on open borders and free movement.

                    Get rid of the Welfare State, and I’m much more inclined to reconsider.

              • I have been humbled, recently, by realizing that I was class-blind to the effect of mass illegal immigration on the less fortunate. The oversupply of unskilled labor is great for the price levels on the things you and I buy. It is not so great if you’re the unskilled labor. Blacks are especially hard hit.

                Isn’t that the exact same argument protectionists have been making for 250+ years, and that Adam Smith blew away so thoroughly by pointing out that the general interest is always that of the consumers of any given good or service, and the producers are by definition a special interest trying to get government to screw the general interest in their favor? How is labor different from steel or textiles?

                • >How is labor different from steel or textiles?

                  I think you misunderstand. I haven’t rejected the general argument for free trade. I know there is a price-level penalty attached to restricting immigration.

                  I have decided that I am willing to pay a non-zero penalty of that kind so that people less fortunate than I am will benefit, and have less cause to feel that people like me have betrayed them. It’s not taxation; it’s my choice to buy social trust.

                  Their complaint is fair; people rather like me (the gentry liberals who I resemble in pretty much every respect except my libertarianism) have betrayed them, repeatedly, which is why they elected Trump.

                  I don’t think I can buy social trust effectively by trying to discriminate against imported steel or textiles. I do think we could accomplish some good by tightening the domestic labor market some, especially at the unskilled end.

                  • [T]he gentry liberals who I resemble in pretty much every respect except my libertarianism have betrayed them, repeatedly ….

                    Note that the “gentry liberals” often are usually members of the highest capitalist class (or at least the very upper managerial class) – their livelihood isn’t as tied to any particular place.

                  • I have decided that I am willing to pay a non-zero penalty of that kind so that people less fortunate than I am will benefit, and have less cause to feel that people like me have betrayed them. It’s not taxation; it’s my choice to buy social trust.

                    Um, what? It’s absolutely taxation. You’re not just willing to pay, you’re willing to make everyone else pay, at gunpoint. If you were to set up a fund to which people could voluntarily contribute to subsidize employment for low-skilled citizens, that would be one thing. But putting import limits on labor is no different from putting them on steel. Not just economically inefficient, but government corruption, advancing a special interest at the expense of the general interest.

                    • > You’re not just willing to pay, you’re willing to make everyone else pay, at gunpoint.

                      *blink* I don’t understand what initiation of force you think I’m advocating.

                    • Forcibly preventing the importation of labor, which is exactly the same initiation of force that’s involved in forcibly preventing the importation of steel or sugar.

                • > How is labor different from steel or textiles?

                  Mobility. Capital is trivial to move (and in fact has become globalized). Raw materials and finished goods nearly so. Management skill (esp. the highest levels of the hierarchy) is somewhat easy to move, but the basic labor pool is rooted to where they live.

                  “Your job’s gone? So sorry, but hey, we’ve got a real nice replacement job over here in East Elbonia. All ya gotta do is sell your house, your car, and pack up the rest of your worldly goods, and move – with your family. New neighborhood, new customs, new schools, new language, But hey, same kinda work!”

                  • “… but the basic labor pool is rooted to where they live.”

                    Peons and Patrons, eh?

                    As I’ve said before, a large number of our political “betters” are closet Fuedalists.

                    • I’m currently open to work. I’m somewhat open to relocation (although there are places I need to avoid for family health reasons), but one of the resisting factors is the fact that both my wife and I will be a little more distant from our extended families.

                      There are factors that can make individuals *very* closely tied to their extended families. So, while I won’t dismiss advice “pick up and go if you have to”, I also understand that for some people “get up and go” is a *really* hard proposition.

                • If homo sapiens were no more than homo oeconomicus it would be right to treat immigration as an instance of trade, and open borders would be the correct ethical position. But human beings can’t be reduced to the “rational actors” of economics textbooks. The political or religious beliefs a man learned in a foreign country don’t matter to you if you only deal with him as a customer – but if he’s your neighbor they become important.

                  One reason the “gentry liberals” favor open borders is that they don’t have to deal with the immigrants as neighbors, because they’ve isolated themselves from the rest of the country – they don’t have anybody as neighbors, except each other. To this trans-nationalist class, anyone who isn’t a “gentry liberal” is a widget – an economic unit, a worker or a customer, interchangeable with everyone else. It’s the great modern paradox, that these people who take pride in being cosmopolitan are such provincials, knowing so little of the world beyond their homes.

                  • Governments have the right and duty to secure their borders against would-be aggressors; they do not have the right to abuse this authority in order to give an economic advantage to the producers of any good or service over its consumers, i.e. protectionism.

                  • Well said.

                    ‘gentry liberal’ is a good term, I shall remember it. I’ve been referring to these people as would-be aristocrats but I concede that not all are quite that arrogant.

                    • >‘gentry liberal’ is a good term,

                      Not his invention or mine; it’s due to political geographer Joel Kotkin, who is well worth reading. Defining article here.

                    • Thanks. Another interesting writer I hadn’t heard of. There is seriously good reading to be found here ;-)

              • One point that causes people like me to resent the immigration-resenters is how (current) anti-illegal-immigrant measures mean that people like me have to show “papers please!” and prove our legitimacy in order to keep our (STEM, graduate degree required) jobs. Even if we’re native-born US citizens who have lived here our whole lives.

                Even granting that immigration policy should serve the interests of native-born Americans first, I get my back up about having TSA-like measures imposed to enforce that policy.

                • >Even granting that immigration policy should serve the interests of native-born Americans first, I get my back up about having TSA-like measures imposed to enforce that policy.

                  Fair enough. I’m sorry I don’t have a happy answer for you.

                • I don’t object to showing my passport when I start work at a new employer. I view it as a small price to pay to guard my country against the massive negative consequences of illegal immigration.

              • “But the actual figures about the percentage of people in U.S. prisons for serious crimes who are illegal immigrants are pretty shocking. “

                I think you have to ask some questions about data like that. Are we looking at the inability to hire a good lawyer? Prejudice? Unfamiliarity with the new country’s laws or with their new rights? More police patrols in their area of town? Until you know why the data looks this way you don’t understand anything, really.

                Once again, the problem here is one of prejudice. It’s assumed that the illegal immigrants must be at fault. They’re “illegal,” right? However, the real problem is the people who hire the illegal immigrants. They’re the ones who are willing to screw their countrymen over. So at most, illegal immigrants are only half the problem. The rest of the problem is (sigh at my own stereotyping, however realistic it may be) rich white men who are happy to pay illegal immigrants less than they would pay their fellow Americans for the same job and pocket the difference. Reduce the demand and they stop crossing the border.

                • They are here illegally. If it’s wrong for a thief to kick in your backdoor and take your TV because there’s a man happy to fence it for him, it’s wrong for them to trample across the border for cheap wages under the table.

                  • It may well be easier to control things on the hiring side: potential employers of illegal immigrants are less mobile than their employees, and their incentive to break these laws (and therefore the penalty needed to counter it) is nowhere as high.

              • > The oversupply of unskilled labor is […] not so great if you’re the unskilled labor. Blacks are especially hard hit.

                > […] but I think it does mean only letting in immigrants who actually can compete economically with people like you and me.

                A more free market driven justification is the Tragedy of the Commons driven by lowering our own competitiveness through the rewarding those abroad who haven’t strived to be economically viable as humanity transitions away from the agrarian and industrial ages. We should motivate those abroad to seek high-tech skills and push their own societies up the food chain rather than reward those who seek to reproduce in their agrarian oriented culture within our borders.

            • The eastern Europeans have not yet been assimilated. Heck, even many of the Germans from the 1848 revolutions have not been assimilated yet. You can just look at how their descendants constantly vote against American principles.

              • And then look at the Native Americans. They were in the US even before it existed, and still have not been assimilated.

            • When you let in too many at once they congregate in their own communites, this impedes assimilation.

              Often they stay in that and don’t even learn English.

              • Modern telecommunications has also made this worse. In times past these communities might keep speaking the mother tongue, and publish their own newspapers and the like, but now they can be on the phone with their mother back in the old country every day. Lots can watch video channels with programming in their language, they can culturally live in their home country at the same time they enjoy the benefits of a place that’s not run like it. Yet.

                • Oh come on! Current immigrants are assimilating as fast, if not faster, than my dad’s family (Germans) did back in the 1890s. Evangelical Christianity is much healthier among immigrants than it is among citizens: the Spanish congregation at the church I currently attend is growing while the English congregation is stagnant, and the English congregation at the church I grew up in is dead: the Spanish congregation inherited the building. And the Hispanic members of my generation that vote for the Democrats? It’s because they’ve assimilated into the culture of white hipster millennials, not because they’re unassimilated.

                  • But white hipster millenials do not typically go to church.

                    They vote democrat because they favor big governement.
                    When you import people they bring their voting patterns with them

                    • The immigrants convert from Catholicism to Evangelical Protestantism and go to church. Their kids go to school with white hipster millennials and assimilate by peer pressure into white hipster millennial culture.

            • You say they get being American, and then immediately follow it up with how they are keeping their own culture. We’ve already GOT A CULTURE thank you, and your story is precisely why Americans in general are turning against immigrants.

              • I have no problem with pride in ethnic heritage and culture, but insist that the ideals of America are supreme. Where there is conflict, American culture rules.

                Kinda like the British general in India who, upon being informed of the cultural norm of burning widows, responded that his culture executes people that do that. The practice evaporated pretty quickly ;)

              • The problem with that assertion is that ‘their’ culture was there before the US in several states.

                Texas, New Mexico and California in particular _were_ Mexican before they were American, and much Mexican culture is foundational in those areas. Sure some of those Latinos celebrating the day of the dead are Illegals, or even relatively recent immigrants. Other’s ancestors were celebrating their festivals in El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula in the late 1700’s.

            • To the extent that it is propaganda point it’s SPREAD BY THE LEFT, and by the actions of the immigants.

              My wife used to run HR for a small business in Chicago. They hired a lot of entry level labor. She REALLY offended one young lady who had a STRONG Mexican (not Spanish) accent by suggesting that in addition to a drivers license, a passport was acceptable documentation.

              “Why would I have a passport, I was born in this country!”.

              She was in her late teens or early 20s, and had HORRIBLE English. Clearly she had been taught Spanish as her primary language.

              I lived in California for almost a decade and there were LARGE parts of the Hispanic community who were not trying to integrate, did not want to learn English and want the US to adopt more central american policies and cultural norms.

              Their version of Catholicism isn’t exactly mainstream Roman Catholic either–at least in practice.

              As to the notion of “Mexican Rapists” just shy of 1/5th of the prison population in the US are foreign born. 94% of them are in the country illegally. Not all for rape.

              As to Muslim Terrorists, when’s the last time a Norwiegn American cut off someone’s head as a political/social statement?

              • Where people are immigrating from matters or more specifically the cultural values they bring with them matters. I’ve watched one ghetto transformed and rebuilt by Peruvian immigrants with strong religious and family values, that drove out crime, repaired the homes and had zero tolerance for shenanigans. The town was so transformed, it later changed its name in an effort to rebrand and distance itself from the old reputation.

                Mere blocks away another group of immigrants from the Dominican Republic was busy accelerating the rate at which the neighboring town was transformed into a certifiable hellhole under the banner of the Latin Kings.

                The Hispanic immigrants are just as culturally diverse as the Europeans. On the east coast, Mexican’s are only a minority subset of Hispanics, but from the way Californians talk I wonder how much of that crime is driven by the fact that the immigrants are coming in, gang-related, from the cartel to sell drugs… rather than actually looking to make a better life. Is the Mexican crime observation more of a byproduct of the black market economics of the drug war?

                Contrast Mexican Cartels with the bloodshed of the Italian Mafiosos of the prohibition era.

            • You’re lying. My town went from maybe fifty illegals to making up more than half the population in about ten years.

              They brought murder, slavery, rape, robbery, assaults and more poverty and dysfunction you can imagine. None want to be Americans or be part of the system. All want the handouts.

              Tell me how the majority I’ve seen are the outliers.

          • I think Harris’s assumptions are invalid. He’s a clear thinker who I respect, but he got this one wrong.

            Well, he seems to have based his position on lots of hard data. I’ve read the thread and I think there are good points about why he might be wrong about this, but they’re all quite speculative, while his is backed by removing exactly that and looking at what the raw data provides.

            For instance, the arguments about which side the military will go for. It all makes sense assuming the remaining of the planet, including power players such as Russia and China, weren’t looking forwards to a civil war in the US. In fact, Russia seems to be doing its best to entice exactly that. They want it, and are seeding as much divisiveness as possible into American public discourse so as to trigger a war and/or a revolution, to mightily mess into elections, to increase racial and ethnic conflicts, to split the country, or most likely to do all of the above and more. Divide and conquer, basically.

            My own guess then: the US military is well aware of these movements and, if push came to shove, they’d act in neither direction due to its own, but instead according the Nash Equilibrium that involves the US and its enemies. So, what would that direction be? IMHO, helping the whole thing turn into a civil war is the one outcome they’d avoid, as then the US as a whole would risk losing.

            Does this added point affect your perception of the issue? Or do you think your scenario doesn’t change much under it?

            It has to do with a widespread perception that today’s illegals do not want to enter the American civic religion – and that some of our elites are, for selfish vote-buying reasons, betraying us by being willing to let them get away with that.

            Makes sense. I myself think willingness towards cultural integration is the one criteria that should be required from all immigrants to any nation. Most do want it, so those can safely be allowed in. The ones who don’t however, well, let them find a place they like better. That’s simply reasonable, although how to verify this in practice, and fairly, is on its own also a difficult problem.

            • >Does this added point affect your perception of the issue?

              Hm. Yes. Intelligent of you to raise it.

              I think what the Nash-equilibrium considerations would do to the military is tend to paralyze them, suppressing any tendency to weigh overtly in either side. I mean, if you think civil violence is what the damn furriners want, and coming out of barracks is bound to step that up, you’re going to look for every way not to do it. Including refusing orders.

              That’s mildly bad news for the Rebels – their best hope for a swift, relatively bloodless, and victorious end to the Revolution is for the military to land on their side. It’s much worse news for the Loyalists. If you can’t command the military, your claim to be the legitimate civil authority gets far harder to sustain against insurrectionists waving the Constitution at everyone.

              This could flip. If civil unrest gets to Yugoslavia levels, then the military says “Oh fuck, sitting on our hands didn’t work.” and comes out to restore order. That’s how you get to a junta.

              • Part of it would probably depend on what exactly the military thought Russia and China had for an end game, whether they had the same end game, etc. If the end game was just to gobble up neighbors while the West is preoccupied, they might take the rebels’ side. If the end game includes an invasion of the US, they’d probably come down hard and fast to support the loyalists. If Russia and China appeared to have competing nefarious plans at odds with each other, they might stall for time. If the endgame involved the invasion of Western Europe, but not the US, they might come down on whichever side they thought could win quickest with their help, so as to restabilize things ASAP.

          • You’re not going far enough.

            There’s a sense that the elites want to *destroy* that civic religion, by any means possible. And importing vast numbers of unassimilated immigrants from backgrounds actively hostile to that civic religion will do the job nicely.

          • It has to do with a widespread perception that today’s illegals do not want to enter the American civic religion – and that some of our elites are, for selfish vote-buying reasons, betraying us by being willing to let them get away with that.

            I think it might be worse than that. I think a fair proportion of our elites actually do not share the American civic religion, either because they don’t understand it or because they do understand it and oppose it for leftist ideological reasons.

            • Or rightist political reasons. There are a lot of spoiled, rich people attempting to get the government to rewrite laws for their benefit.

        • On the reverence for the founding documents, you’re right, it is a sort of secular religion. There are several factors involved. One is quite literally a civic religion that the US deliberately cultivated to take the place that old-fashioned religion held in other countries. Since the US was not allowed to have a national religion, patriotism filled the niche. Hence such things as the Pledge of Allegiance, and the extreme vexilolatry that seems quite odd to most foreigners.

          But there’s something else too. We look around us and see that the US is objectively one of the best and freest places to live, and conclude that this is not an accident. Somehow the founders got it right, and hit on a formula for creating a free and prosperous society, so we don’t want to mess with it. If we roll the dice again we’re unlikely to do better than we have, and very likely to do worse.

          But above all is a third consideration: legitimacy. Congress only exists because the constitution says so. It only has the right to make laws because the constitution gives it that right. If it ignores the constitution then who the **** does it think it is? What right does it have to do anything, or even to exist? So even if none of the previous considerations applied, we would have to resist unconstitutional purported laws.

          • >secular religion

            IDK. Our focus on the founding documents is more a consequence of two particular bits of American exceptionalism: 1) the idea that federal government can’t do *anything* unless the states/people expressly gave it permission to do so; and 2) the Protestant/common law tradition that ordinary people are capable of and responsible for understanding foundational documents.

            In essence, we’re not treating the Constitution as ‘sacred scriptures’; we’re treating it as a contract that that needs diligent monitoring and active enforcement.

            • That’s my third point. But there is definitely a religious aspect; USAns have a reverence for these documents that they don’t for the ordinary contracts that are much more important to their everyday lives. But this secular religion is most visible in the way USAns treat their flag, which looks kind of creepy until you recognise it as religion. USAns act as if they believed the flag is the country. It’s a classic instance of confusing the map for the territory, the symbol for the thing symbolised.

              • Until recently, it was true that most Americans saw the Declaration of Independence and Constitution (and to a lesser extent the Federalist Papers that illuminated the meaning of the latter) as, if not Divinely inspired documents, as the product of Enlightenment reforms of the flaws in European theories of government. Either way, we all agreed those documents were the basis of American Exceptionalism.

                The Left explicitly rejects American Exceptionalism, and because of its domination of Edu-Info-tainment, has chipped away at it for a couple of generations. The Left’s problem, as always is that it’s not difficult to tear down the axioms of the cultural institutions that you control, but it’s damned difficult to create new axioms that work. And during the interregnum between the fall of the old axioms and the rise of the new, there be a Dark Age.

        • Harris is wrong.

          There’s enough of us old farts who are too smart to take to the streets.

          But we can move and we can shoot, and we don’t want to kill cops and soldiers. We will if we have to, but those won’t be our targets.

          • >But we can move and we can shoot, and we don’t want to kill cops and soldiers. We will if we have to, but those won’t be our targets.

            That’s right. We’ll go after the people who gave the orders. And their propagandists. And their enablers.

          • Sigh. Let me explain this. Again.

            Note that this is not a threat. This is meant to be a realistic assessment of numbers and attitudes. If you find it threatening then you’re misunderstanding what I’m trying to say. The assessment begins below:

            When you add it all together, something like 50 percent of America is Black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Jewish, Pagan, or LGBTQ. Their allies make up perhaps half of the remaining 50 percent of White people. (The more sophisticated Catholics are highly likely to break with the counter-revolution because they remember that they were the Klan’s major target in the early 1900s.) Note that many of the Black and Hispanic people have served in the military and have no objection to owning guns. (And it’s easy for a Liberal to tool up – I damn near bought an arsenal in 2016 and held back because one of the people in my home at the time couldn’t be trusted with guns.)

            If the White gun owners decide to have a revolution, they’ll be 30 percent of the population – at the very most – older by (I’d guess) at least 20 years, and however dedicated to Liberty you might believe yourselves to be, you’ll be seen as highly aligned with Fox News, Breitbart, Trump, etc.

            Further note that no remotely sensible Black, Hispanic, Jewish, Pagan, LGBT, etc., or their allies, will believe in your stated reasons for holding the revolution. They will see you killing people you believe to be Liberals and decide that the White, Old, Racist Guys who watch Fox News have finally gone crazy, and they will do their absolute best to put you down like the Rabid dogs they will believe you to be.

            The simple fact of the matter is that you’re not remotely close to being a majority anymore, and America is still an excellent place to live. Calm down and get used to it.

            End of assessment.

            • I’ll further note that if you want to present a good alternative to gun control the “let’s improve mental health care” idea is a far more potent argument than threatening armed revolution. (This Liberal agrees with you right down the line.) Get together with the “anti-school shooting” crowd, remind them that changing a constitutional amendment is REALLY, REALLY HARD, and note that you are their allies in keeping guns out of the hands of crazy people, and most important, THAT YOU’RE WILLING TO BE TAXED TO ACCOMPLISH THIS.*

              Telling some cute high-school kid who just saw their friends gunned down that they’re anti-American and should be shot if they threaten the 2nd Amendment is… counter-productive to say the least!

              * And moderately inconvenienced. Waiting ten days before you can buy your 5th gun is not the end of the world.

              • I can wait 10 days. Can the young lady who needs to protect herself from a stalker RIGHT FUCKING NOW?

              • <I.Waiting ten days before you can buy your 5th gun is not the end of the world

                … and what possible relation does a waiting period have to the thing it purports to remedy?

                None that I can see; I can’t remember the last time a Scary Mass Shooting involved someone doing it on the spur of the moment with a gun they just bought, or any reason to think any waiting period ever does any significant good at all, let alone enough to counterbalance e.g. Mr. Maynard’s response.

                • I’m assuming a small waiting period for a careful background check or psych lookup, not anything intended to deter self-defense or a crime of passion.

                  • And just how long do you think that “careful background check” should take? And what happens if it takes longer than that? Do you say “sorry, you have to wait”, which lets unelected bureaucrats slow-walk permit applications to the point that they’re effectively denied?

                  • See, you should really learn a bit about what your running off at the mouth about.

                    There is this thing called “NICS”, which stands for National Instant Criminal Background Check System (no, really it does. Government competence at it’s finest).

                    It is a “INSTANT” check system–literally 20 minutes from the time you fill out the 4473, you can get your background check back.

                    This, of course, relies on your precious State to do the right thing–which is to say report what it is supposed to report to the FBI, which it does badly.

                    But no, waiting or “cool off” periods have never shown any statistical effect.

                    • >But no, waiting or “cool off” periods have never shown any statistical effect.

                      Not except for the women who are killed by abusive husbands or stalkers while waiting.

                    • Statistically a very small effect.

                      Of course, 10,000 beaten, stabbed and raped are statistics.

                      One shot is a tragedy.

                • The VA Tech shooter waited out a 30-day waiting period to buy his second pistol.
                  (One of the reasons VA no longer has a one-gun-a-month law, I would suspect)

              • It’s hard to find, but there are a lot of people who ARE advocating for improving mental health treatment.

                I’m one of them.

                It’s just that (a) it’s hard to do, and (b) any realistic improvement in getting psychotics off the street is going to have the left screaming about violating their rights.

                Oh, and waiting periods are useless. They do NOTHING to prevent crime, and in some cases make it easier for people to get victimized.

                • And all the followers of Josef “of course my political opponents are crazy” Stalin agree with you.

                  There have been multiple scientific studies in the last 5 years that claim to show that “conservatives” or Christians are crazy. I simply won’t submit my self or my family to the evaluation of the Leftists in this country who have proven they will lie to achieve power.

                  • Ok, let’s just wander down the street handing machine guns to schizophrenics.

                    Seriously grow the f*k up. You don’t get put into the NICS system because some left wing “intellectual” has a paper printed in a pay-for-play journal. You get put into NICS for being *adjudicated mentally incompetent”. We’re talking real, serious, structural problems with peoples brains where they DO NOT deal with reality very well.

                    Go talk to someone who’s dealt with schizophrenics before. Read Clayton Cramer’s book https://www.amazon.com/My-Brother-Ron-Personal-Deinstitutionalization-ebook/dp/B008E0LRQE about his brother and the mental health system in this country.

                    Then GROW UP and start making sure that the political system in this country continues to distinguish between *mentally ill* and politically unpopular.

                    • You get put into NICS for being *adjudicated mentally incompetent”. We’re talking real, serious, structural problems with peoples brains where they DO NOT deal with reality very well.

                      Per 27 CFR 478.11, the “adjudication” can be made by “a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority”, and starting with the Clinton administration, military man or vet admitting he had PTSD, or who assigned someone else to take care of his finances, got reported to the NICS. Obama was extending this to Social Security disability recipients, but that got spiked by the Republican Congress and Trump shortly after the inauguration.

            • “When you add it all together, something like 50 percent of America is Black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Jewish, Pagan, or LGBTQ. ”

              Demographics and time are working against the GOP and the Tea Party constituency. That is why they are so disappointed by democracy. Democracy follows the majority and they have lost the majority years ago. So, when the new majority wants to take their position, everything is done to prevent them from voting in fair and unbiased elections.

              • You are projecting again. Existence proof: “President Trump”.

                And the younger generation wants nothing whatsoever to do with the lunatics on the left.

                • “You are projecting again. Existence proof: “President Trump”.”

                  Who got considerably less votes than Hilary Clinton.

                  “And the younger generation wants nothing whatsoever to do with the lunatics on the left.”

                  I assume that you want to point to the following of Bernie Sanders as proof?

                  • “You are projecting again. Existence proof: “President Trump”.”

                    Who got considerably less votes than Hilary Clinton.

                    In part because she was worried about losing the popular vote and diverted resources to running that up. In part because California especially has tipped so overwhelmingly Democratic.

                    And of course because Trump wasn’t running a campaign to run up the popular vote, but to win. Such claims based on changing the rules after the game has been played are entirely pointless except as rhetoric.

                    • Certainly Hillary ran a poor campaign. Certainly Michael Moore was right about the rustbelt states. However, also note that Mueller has just filed charges against 13 Russians for interfering with the 2016 election. We may never know the absolute truth, but I personally have no faith in the results.

                    • However, also note that Mueller has just filed charges against 13 Russians for interfering with the 2016 election. We may never know the absolute truth, but I personally have no faith in the results.

                      Which, from all indications, is what Russia was aiming for. Not to put one candidate or the other into office, but to kill Americans’ faith in the system. And Democrats and the media (pardon the repetition) have been cooperating with that aim almost as if Russia were still Communist.

                      (I have also seen speculation that some of the most extreme rhetoric on either side of the culture wars—the articles that make everyone on the other side reshare them with the comment, “Look at what the Liberals/Conservatives are saying now!!1!”—may also be coming from outside with intent to destabilize.

                      (Even if that speculation is wrong, it may be an effective de-escalation technique to act as if it were true: don’t get outraged at the extremes of [what seems to be] the other side; write those extreme views off as Russian trolls.)

                    • All excuses and diversions. Hilary got more votes than Trump, which is not evidence that Trump is more popular than Hilary.

                    • Troutwaxer: If you think the Russians handed the election to Trump on a silver platter by spending less than a thousandth of what the Clinton campaign spent, you’re more gullible than I ever dreamed.

                    • Jay Maynard: the Left including Troutwaxer are once again demonstrates they only support “democracy” when it produces the results they demand.

                    • Jay, I’m not really interested in whether Russian help is what pushed Trump into the winner’s column. I’m interested, with anger and defense of country in mind, in whether the Russians tried to interfere in our election.

                      My view of international relations emphasizes a very peaceful ideal, but if we have proof that the Russians did make a serious and prolonged effort to change the results of our election, we should be bombing the fuck out of them right now, regardless of which candidate they supported.

                      On the subject of Trump vs. Hillary… neither of them deserved to win an election. Hillary because she couldn’t beat Donald Fucking Trump and Trump because he is a corrupt, grifting, loose cannon who’s not qualified to be dog catcher!

                      The whole electoral shit-show was a little like turning on the news and discovering that Satan and Cthulhu are currently locked in battle for dominion over The Earth. Its a very interesting battle, but you know that whichever side wins… you’re fucked.

                      I don’t care which of Satan or Cthulhu (Trump or Hillary) can best be trusted to keep their campaign promise “lots of lube for America,” because I don’t want to be fucked the first place!

                    • Troutwaxer: Tell me, do you think Israel should be bombing the fuck out of us right now because Barack Obama tried hard to get Benjamin Netanyahu defeated in their last election?

                      The whole thing about Russian interference is that they tried to sow discord. They’re succeeding beyond their wildest dreams because of people like you.

                    • I don’t recall all the details of the business with Netanyahu, but IIRC he went above and beyond in treating Obama badly, even violating diplomatic norms in order to do so. I’m inclined to see that particular incident as a man vs. man rather than nation vs. nation. Note my further replies on this subject below.

                  • “Netanyahu’s visit is highly unusual. Not only will he not meet with Obama, but he is taking the most prominent stage outside the White House available to a foreign leader in Washington and directly campaigning against one of the president’s top second-term priorities — a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu appears to have concluded that the proposed agreement is so bad that, in a highly unorthodox move, he will actively join Obama’s political adversaries in an effort to derail the president’s Iran deal-making.

                    The Israeli leader will make the case against the proposed deal in an address to Congress on Tuesday, against the wishes of the White House, at the invitation of GOP House Speaker John Boehner.”

                    A foreign leader addresses Congress against the wishes of The President while opposing the President’s plans? That’s a pretty ugly (and stupid) thing for a foreign leader to do.

                    I rest my case, dude. Obama going after Netanyahu is completely understandable. (Note that I’m not commenting on the policy issues, just the interpersonal issues.)

                    https://www.cnn.com/2015/03/01/politics/obama-benjamin-netanyahu-clash/index.html

                    • So Netanyahu pissed off Obama. Obama retaliated by interfering in the Israeli election using US government funds!! Tell me again how this is any different from Putin trying to interfere in the American election?

              • >Demographics and time are working against the GOP and the Tea Party constituency.

                This always strikes me as mindless exptrapolation. In the end, U.S. political parties are coalitions of groups. The stronger groups in the coalitions will compromise with the weaker groups just enough to get to 51%. And, importantly, they’ll stop compromising once they get to 52%

                For the historically minded, you can see this in real life by looking at Catholics and working-class whites. Both used to be solid D groups. Today, they are both solid R groups.

                • ” The stronger groups in the coalitions will compromise with the weaker groups just enough to get to 51%.”

                  Indeed. But what we see happening in the GOP is the stronger groups within the party radicalizing, driving out all the others. But the membership of the GOP is only 30% of the voters. In the end, less than a third of the voters might actually support the GOP politics. Demographics are changing away from the backbone of GOP supporters, worsening the situation.

                  So, yes, the GOP could capture the political center again. But then they need to appeal to young, educated, and urban voters, and women. Nothing even suggests that the GOP might move in that direction. On the contrary. Everything seems to be geared to please old, white, male, and religious voters from the rural south.

                  • “So, yes, the GOP could capture the political center again.”

                    Begs the existence of the political center. I don’t know of anything more recent than Duncan Black on double peaked preference but I am comfortable looking around me to say the current political center is a trough.

                  • What makes you think that the same kind of polarizing effect isn’t happening in the Democrat Party as well?

                    The Libertarian Party is 100% immune from that effect, but then’ that’s in no small part because the party, being so small, only attracts crazy people that find the other two parties intolerable.

            • >Further note that no remotely sensible Black, Hispanic, Jewish, Pagan, LGBT,

              Wrong by example. I’m a neopagan. And one of the most effective firearms-rights organizations ever was Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership – because when you lost relatives because the SA busted down their doors and put them on a train, and you have any brain cells actually working, you know what civilian disarmament means.

              And where did this “white gun owner” thing come from. Dude, have you been to a range lately?

              Legal immigrants generally join the American civil religion. A substantial fraction of them join the gun culture. I know some of those people. What’s especially funny is talk of Hispanics, a politico/ethnic category fast on the road to dissolving into the “white” population. Last time this happened was the Italians during and after WWII. Before that it was the Irish. You go back far enough, Swedes weren’t considered white men.

              One of the many ways our pathetic tiny nut-fringe of white supremacists is wrong is that they think “white” is a static racial category. You, and Democratic strategists, are making the same mistake. You’re going to lose the Hispanics as a semi-captive voting bloc for the exact same reasons of assimilation that you lost the Italians and the Irish before that.

              • Indeed, Not All [fill in the blank] Are Like That, but you have to have really powerful blinkers to ignore how all these “non-white” groups are majority big government, antigun and the like, starting with the Irish.

                You thesis has worked horribly for California in our lifetimes. Assuming Trump fails WRT to immigration—and he’s a civic nationalist like you, so he’s OK with continued historically massive legal immigration—will you issue us “pathetic tiny nut-fringe of white [not exactly ‘supremacists’]” an apology when Texas turns Blue, antigun, and permanently swings national level politics Blue? I should look at some charts, but I get the impression it’ll happen in our lifetimes, old that we both might be.

                • >You thesis has worked horribly for California in our lifetimes.

                  California is a particularly nasty case of something I discussed upthread. Democrats have deliberately wrecked the cultural machinery of assimilation (one obvious way is “bilingual education”) in order to maintain immigrants legal and illegal as a captive voting block.

                  That won’t last. Nobody likes living as a serf on someone else’s plantation. And elsewhere in the U.S., like where I live, they have not succeeded in monkeywrenching assimilation. Tried damn hard, yes, but it’s still working here.

                  One of your assumptions is false. I don’t favor “massive” immigration; I think a society with 1% immigrants is higher-trust than a society with 15% I think we’re above the optimal level now; the main difference between me and you is that I don’t think I know how far above, while you probably think you do.

                  • Yeah, I live in California. What a hellhole. Maybe I should get together with my family, including the Hispanic daughter-in-law and go to the beach tomorrow. Venice Beach is nice. The foods of a double-dozen different cultures are available, as are their people and art. I can get there over our recently expanded highway system and hear people talking and singing in a dozen different languages… watch beautiful girls from a dozen different races/countries in their bathing suits, all the while knowing that if I get in car accident I was able to buy an awesome insurance policy from Covered California (Obamacare) after the bosses of my company – run out of a Republican state – decided to downsize a bunch of their employees and make us part-timers… man, it sucks to live here.

                    How’s PA?

                    • Yeah Trout and how much fecal matter and used needles are you going to have to walk through to get to that beach?

                    • Wow! You have really weird ideas about California. We have an active monitoring program and close our beaches when there is a sewage spill. (You know, because we’re civilized and make good use of the taxes we pay.)

                      I’ve lived in California for 54 years now and never seen even a dog turd on the CA beaches, much less needles! You need to stop reading Breitbart and get out of you mom’s basement.

                      Here’s a big hint for you: Venice Beach is a huge tourist draw and probably brings in a million dollars a day during the Spring and Summer months. You can bet they keep it clean!

                      (If someone says there are dirty needles or human feces at Venice its just some newbie Real Estate developer trying to chase the Hippies off with ugly rumors. The Hippies keep winning in court, however, probably because the local Hippies got rich off the tourist trade decades ago, so they can hire the really good lawyers. Longtime Real Estate people know better, but the newbie developers keep trying!)

                    • “Family first?”

                      Maybe a little “family first,” but more importantly, there have been panics over immigration since (at least) the early 1800s when the first good-sized contingent of Irish people showed up, and of course they assimilated very quickly, as did the the Chinese, the Japanese, (does anyone remember the phrase “Yellow Peril?” – that was part of the panic over immigration from Asia.) My own ancestors were part of the panic over “Eastern European Anarchists and Agitators,” and we assimilated very quickly too… I just don’t take the whole set of worries about immigration very seriously because I’m on the tail end of that experience – and the son of Ph.D. who’s a third-generation immigrant.

                      My Russian-Jewish great-grandfather had a Communist Party card with only three digits. We’ve moved towards the center since then, with many family members running their own businesses, (not commies, right?) and some of them moving right-of-center, which is what happens when you assimilate – so I find it impossible to panic over stuff like that. When I go down to the corner store and buy cleaning supplies from the lady with the accent, I don’t see an enemy of my culture, I see my great-grandparents.

                      Being Liberal on immigration means nothing more than having a good understanding of your own family history. And yes, family members have served in the U.S. military (one of them was quite the badass during WWII) and worked “patriotically” at things like aircraft factories, or done blood donations during wars.

                      Since most of us are the descendants of immigrants, the whole “I’ve got mine, fuck you” attitude is about as ugly as anyone can get. I don’t doubt that the then-US-citizens called your ancestors some awful names…

                  • Indeed, I saw an article a few years back in which a Hispanic parent said “I want my children to be fluent in English so they can grow up to be doctors, lawyers, or whatever they want to be. The schools want them to primarily speak Spanish so they can grow up to be maids, roofers…”. As long as the desire to assimilate is there, it will happen. And the Left will have to bring in more people who are less likely to assimilate (Muslims) to try to regain their captive bloc.

              • Hey Eric, I replied to your post above and I think it got eaten by the moderation system. Can you retrieve it? Thanks.

              • I’ll try to reply again. Hopefully it won’t get eaten this time.

                I think you’re missing something important here. If you’re going to have a revolution you’ll need to abandon “defending your home from gun-confiscators” and take some kind of aggressive action. So let’s imagine that you start killing gun-grabbers (cops) and serious anti-Gun activists and politicians… Now you have a couple problems.

                First, you get to own your allies. You happen to be a very idealistic, principled gun-owner with a reasonably unprejudiced nature. If you start killing anti-Gun activists and politicians, there will be people flocking to your flag who aren’t much like you in terms of political philosophy. When they start posting on social media about how they’ve taken action against Liberals, N-words, and those goddamn Gays, you get to own that, and any Black, Hispanic, and LGBTQ allies now have a choice to make.

                Second, from the outside it will look like a right-wing revolution, mainly on the basis of who’s getting killed. (When I hear about anti-government types shooting cops, I don’t think “Oh look, a principled gun owner” I think “Someone’s been reading too much Breitbart.”) A ton of people out there own guns because Faux News has convinced them that at any second cocaine-fueled Black men are going to kick down their door and rape their daughters. You may want them on your side, but they will talk to the media… and your revolution’s coverage by the media will be determined by one of two agendas; the Liberal Agenda which you hate and/or the Conservative Agenda which is awash in both subtle and blatant racism. So your revolution will be covered either as “crazy right-wing white dude” or “amazing defender of white people.” I think I’ve got a very good handle on how you think, but people reading your blog AFTER you kill a cop will draw some very different conclusions. (By the way, do you intend to kill Black cops who try to take your guns? You may prefer not to answer that question…)

                I can imagine a very ironic outcome where everything went wrong and you found yourself fighting on the other side of the very war you started.

                • >(By the way, do you intend to kill Black cops who try to take your guns? You may prefer not to answer that question…)

                  Of course I do. What, you think I should give them a pass, or rhetorically pretend I would, in order to virtue-signal about my attitude towards their skin color? That’s…bizarre. Tyrannizing thug is tyrannizing thug and gets a bullet.

                  You have so many false assumptions in the rest of your reply that I don’t know where to start, really. It’s your weird, media-fed lefty fantasy that a pro-2A army would be composed of race-war-seeking troglodytes that I’d have to disown. I hang out with gunfolks, including black gunfolks; it’s not like that at all.

                  Would there be a nutty, vocal minority like that? Sure. Would I let that stop me from doing the right thing? No. The reason you should fear the people I’d be fighting alongside is mostly not racism, it’s extreme cultural conservatism and religiosity. There’s very little market for David Duke’s poison, but a lot for Franklin Graham’s. In the least bad case I can imagine after the revolution, the Constitution gets amended totally ban abortion; I wouldn’t like that, but my options to oppose it would be few. I can easily imagine scenarios in which Wiccans like me would be in deep shit.

                  This belief you have that conservatism is “awash in both subtle and blatant racism”. It’s just wrong. There are a lot of things I am quite willing to harsh on conservatives about, but it’s not 1964 and Strom Thurmond stopped handing out axe handles a long time ago. Conservative racism has mostly (not entirely, the nut-fringe exists) become a myth that left-liberals tell each other to validate their smugness and sense of entitlement to rule.

                  In 2018, the tendency toward religious absolutism among the flyover-country is much more to be feared. The Dominionist fringe is tiny at present in a peaceful U.S., but unlike the racist fringe I think it has growth potential in the chaos of revolution and its aftermath. People will be looking for certainty and religion is good at working that con.

                  I think gays would be more at risk than minorities, too. Until recently, I wouldn’t have worried about this; gay-tolerance was quietly advancing among conservatives at some speed. Unfortunately gay radicals overplayed their hand, especially over the bathroom-laws thing and bullying bakery shops. Even I, a tolerant libertarian, now regret supporting gay marriage; among actual conservatives I read the backlash as being much worse. Old prejudices against “perversion” are coupling with an image of gays as a particularly privileged part of the corrupt elite.

                  • You’re not getting it. I’ll try one more time:

                    “I hang out with gunfolks, including black gunfolks; it’s not like that at all.”

                    I know some Liberal gun-folk, so in fact I totally get you on this issue, but what you don’t understand is this: If you kill a couple anti-gun activists (in other words, “Liberals”) the people who join you after that will not be primarily “gunfolk.” They will be conservatives first and gunfolk second – people who are really jazzed that you killed a Liberal. They will initially be on your side, but their priorities will be very different.

                    “This belief you have that conservatism is “awash in both subtle and blatant racism”. It’s just wrong.”

                    That’s not quite right. I said “your coverage by the media…” In other words, if you kick off your revolution, you get to own how Fox News or Brietbart reports on you and what agendas they impute to your (and your allies) actions. And people will join you (or oppose you) on the basis of this coverage. This goes for left-leaning media as well.

                    I’m not saying that you’re wrong in your opposition to a legislative or judicial destruction of the second amendment. I’m saying that once you get beyond the gun community your actions will be interpreted by other people with their own agendas and their own worries.

                    In other words, you don’t get to dictate how you will be interpreted or how your actions will be reflected in other people’s agendas. You kick off your revolution and then lots of media stuff happens over which you have no control. The existing memeplex will take over and amplify your actions according to the prejudices and agendas of people you have no interest in.

                    But those people will have an interest in you. Can they ride on your coat tails for purposes of their own? Can they use your actions in an election? Can they pretend that you are a friend or an enemy? Can they raise money or political power off your actions? Can they use your actions to jumpstart their own version of the revolution? Can they fill the group with their own supporters and kick you out of your leadership role?

                    The current memeplex is oriented towards an extreme divide between the left and right. You do the math.

                    • >You kick off your revolution and then lots of media stuff happens over which you have no control.

                      That’s OK, a lot of media enablers would be on the target list anyway. Me, I’d be inclined to leave those people alone out of First Amendment respect. But when my rougher co-belligerents boiled over with rage at constantly having been lied to – and about – I don’t think I’d have a good argument against settling scores.

                      I’m not even sure I should have that argument. The media have by and large ceased speaking truth to power, becoming its courtiers and lackeys instead. As the scripted propaganda show-trial that was the CNN “Town Hall” on Parkland well demonstrates.

                    • But when my rougher co-belligerents boiled over with rage at constantly having been lied to – and about – I don’t think I’d have a good argument against settling scores.

                      ideally it would go down something like this:

                      The first real jolt indicating a serious problem with the plan came when television reporter Cathy Carlsen was killed in Norfolk, shot dead while covering the commissioning of the Harvey Milk, the Navy’s newest destroyer. That she was killed was bad enough. That it happened on a “secure” naval base—a federal installation—made it much worse. Her blood splattered across the Admirals’ white uniforms made quite a picture. The videos…

                      […]

                      Then a new photo was released on the internet…. The photo was taken through the Norfolk sniper’s rifle scope just a few moments before the murder. It showed thin black crosshairs and other reference marks across Cathy’s smiling face. And it showed some text added just above her head:

                      If the media lies, the media dies.
                      You take a side, you’re along for the ride.
                      A traitor in front of a camera is still just a traitor.

                      This single act of domestic terrorism immediately dampened the enthusiasm of most of our formerly reliable reporters to continue to carry our water.

                  • > This belief you have that conservatism is “awash in both subtle and blatant racism”. It’s just wrong.

                    Well, speaking as a conservative, certainly the “blatant” part is hogwash. As for the “subtle” part, while I’m not myself inclined to call it racism, there are some problematic attitudes that conservatives have on racial issues. There is such a zeal to crush liberalism wherever its found that blacks are excoriated for voting for the Democrats without a thought or any bit of sympathy for how they ended up on the left. All this does is convince blacks that conservatives are racist and keep them on the left. I do worry that in the case of a hot revolution, this might end up turning into actual racism.

                    >Old prejudices against “perversion” are coupling with an image of gays as a particularly privileged part of the corrupt elite.

                    The really big issue for me is coercion of our approval for gay marriage and the corruption of the courts. This is largely the reason that Evangelicals have been putting up such a fight on the issue: we saw the coercion coming as soon as gay marriage was first seriously advocated. We believe in original sin, so we would otherwise be fairly chill on the issue: First of all, everyone will have something that they’re doing wrong, and for some people that will be homosexuality. While we are bound not to approve of anything that we see others doing wrong, we also know that we will be doing things wrong that we don’t notice, so we can’t get too bent out of shape about what others are doing. Secondly, because we believe in original sin, we tend to think that democracy is a good idea, so while we’ll never vote to approve gay marriage, we’re willing to accept being outvoted on the issue. But because we feel bound by consistency with our stated worldview to say that gay marriage is wrong, we are inclined to vigorously defend our first amendment right to say so, and as the rainbow lobby seems intent on coercing our approval, we are not pleasantly inclined towards them at all. I feel very little gut revulsion towards homosexuality myself, any and all temptation I have ever felt to hate homosexuals has entirely been a matter of the rainbow lobby trying to coerce Christians into saying things that they cannot, in consistency with their beliefs, say, and in their using the courts to misconstrue the constitution to accomplish it.

                    The one other thing the rainbow lobby needs to be careful of, for their own sake, is that for many men, opposition to homosexuality is not a matter of a moral stand on principles as described above, but stems from a revulsion to homosexuality rooted in childhood sexual abuse. When this is brought up, the LGBT crowd tends to object that homosexuals are not more likely to commit abuse than heterosexuals, but that’s not the point. My understanding is that childhood sexual abuse rates are on the order of 15-20% for both sexes, and that abusers for either gender are overwhelmingly likely to be male. This means that for a substantial fraction of the male population, their first encounter with a homosexual was in the context of childhood sexual abuse. If the LGBT crowd fails to confront this issue, then they risk overplaying their hand with abuse victims to an even greater degree than they’ve overplayed with respect to religious conservatives, and risk serious backlash.

                • > (When I hear about anti-government types shooting cops, I don’t think “Oh look, a principled gun owner” I think “Someone’s been reading too much Breitbart.”)

                  Let me quickly disabuse you of that notion, then. The most widely reported incidents of “cops being shot at _qua_ cops” in the past few years have NOT been perpetrated by Breitbart-reading folks. (Or by “principled gun-owners”, for that matter.)

            • > If the White gun owners

              Why bring race into it? Many Black and Hispanic Americans are highly aligned with American civic values and would _NOT_ support gun confiscation. And then you even mention Jewish folks – expecting them to fall in line with a repeal of either the 1st _or_ 2nd amendment is simply ludicrous.

              > The simple fact of the matter is that you’re not remotely close to being a majority anymore

              As Ian Bruene says, President Trump is a clear disproof of this. You’re _significantly_ underestimating the extent to which many in the groups you mention are aligned to American civic values, in opposition to those of the radical alt-left. And _that_, not “White vs. non-White” is what really matters here.

            • Our gracious host is a Pagan, IIRC. Either that or an atheist. I am a Christian. I may fear for the fate of his immortal soul and still pay very close attention to what he says on other matters. I read TCATB going on twenty years ago now. When ESR speaks, I listen.

              The guy that put the Left’s knickers in a twist a few years back by bringing a slung AR-15 to a Tea Party Rally was Black. The Media cropped his head out of the pictures to hide his race, while having kittens about his decision to carry a long gun in public. I am white. I am darn proud of that nameless Black guy for bringing a gun to a Tea Party Rally in a polite, professional manner. I have also attended a political demonstration with a rifle slung on my shoulder. That man, whoever he is, is more my ally than tens of millions of white folks.

              There’s a whole grass-roots organization called the Pink Pistols dedicated to encouraging the LGBT community to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. I am straight. They are not, on account of being gay, my enemies.

              There are also Jewish RKBA groups, not noteably the JPFO and the Zelman Partisans. As I said before, I am a Christian. More importantly, I know that I worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Jews are not my enemy simply because they are Jewish. I am a Son of Abraham, too.

              I am a Southerner, specifically a Texan. I wouldn’t make war on a Yankee just because he’s a Yankee. I’ve lived on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. I was baptized by a Yankee. One of my uncles married a gal from Soiux Falls. Another married a New Yorker. They’re family now, so that’s that. As far as I am concerned, this whole darn country is mine, even Austin, Texas. Yankees can be annoying, but they’re alright, at least as long as they’re really Americans and are willing to refrain from telling me how to live my life. I’m not at all fond of carpetbaggers, however.

              I am a straight white Christian male from Texas. I’m not saying I have a target selection process, but if I had to actively develop one, race, sex, and orientation are no part of it. Politics, however, would be everything.

              • >Our gracious host is a Pagan, IIRC. Either that or an atheist.

                Both. Read this but don’t comment here, please – off-topic for the thread.

                • I haven’t any other comment but ‘Thank you, sir.’ I think I understand you a little better now.

              • And I am a white atheist male from Houston living in Minnesota. I’ll second your target selection process parameters.

                I’ll also note that Sioux Falls is one hell of a lot closer to being Texan in ideology and thought than Austin is. (I happen to live 125 miles from there, and get over there regularly; it’s a place I could live with no qualms.)

                • I am not at all suprised by that. I met some of those distant relations (if an uncle’s in-laws are relations, that is) a few years ago. They were passing through with my Aunt and stopped for barbeque. Nice people. I also expect I’d find a warmer welcome in some households in the Hudson Valley than from the dupes and dopes of Gun Free UT. ‘Even Austin, Texas’ was intended as a joke, and not an entirely good-natured one.

            • I hate to tell you, but I live in an area where Hispanics outnumber all over groups by a fair majority, and many of them would not hesitate to start shooting at anybody who tried to take their guns.

              Ask Mexico what happened to the last guy who came to Texas and ordered us to give up our guns. It didn’t turn out well for him, and that exact same spirit permeates this state to this day.

            • > When you add it all together, something like 50 percent of America is Black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Jewish, Pagan, or LGBTQ.

              Ah, yes. The Sesame Street fantasy of the clueless white liberal, in which all these groups just love each other. If it weren’t for the EVIL WHITE MALES they’d all be singing Kumbaya among the trees, and the flowers, and the bunnies, and the rainbows. And, of course, they’ll all be overjoyed to take orders from their white liberal betters, who know what’s best for everyone.

              You don’t actually know many minority people, do you?

              Let me break it down for you:

              To a first approximation, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians hate each other’s guts, and all three groups revile gays.

              Hell, different kinds of Latinos and different kinds of Asians hate each other’s guts.

              If you have a close (say) Chinese or Korean friend, ask him his honest opinion of (say) the Japanese, or the Vietnamese. If you know the person well enough to get an honest answer, I guarantee you’ll be shocked.

              Also, you might look into the factors that have turned Compton, California from majority Black to majority Latino over the last 20 years, and how that process has played out on the ground (hint: it didn’t involve drum circles or group hugs).

              > Note that many of the Black and Hispanic people have served in the military and have no objection to owning guns.

              Do you actually know any Black or Hispanic veterans (my guess: no.)? They 1) trend way more conservative than the norm for their race and 2) have taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Some of them actually take those oaths seriously.

              What you are assuming that because a majority of these groups vote for Democrats that they actually believe in your agenda. They don’t. They vote for Democrats because Democrats keep the spigot of government largesse turned on. No other reason.

              > Calm down and get used to it.

              No.

              • “To a first approximation, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians hate each other’s guts, and all three groups revile gays.”

                All you have to do is see a Latino-looking guy walk into a convenience store and hear a Black guy say “fucking Mexicans” under his breath to get that “all the minorities get along fine” is nonsense.

            • To paraphrase:

              This is not a threat, but you Americans are a minority in your own country, and if you don’t like it we’ll gang up on you.

              • Most of those Hispanics, Blacks, Gays, Jews, Muslims, Asians, etc., are, in fact, American Citizens, and frequently veterans, public servants, teachers, cops, college students, nurses, doctors, and small-business owners. (As were my immigrant ancestors – are you beginning to understand why what you wrote above is abominably thoughtless and stupid?)

                Maybe you should pull your foot from your mouth, and thereafter refrain from speaking in such a manner.

                I’ll also note that you’re completely missing my point.

                • Most of those Hispanics, Blacks, Gays, Jews, Muslims, Asians, etc., are, in fact, American Citizens

                  ESR’s hopeful civic nationalism aside, most of those people show every day that they are Fake and/or Paper Americans, with the Blacks being a rather special case of something of a society apart, but we brought them here, so….

                  If it comes to an American Revolution 2.0, their paper citizenship isn’t going to matter a wit when the country partitions and ethnic cleansing gets further in gear, e.g. see the previous mention of how Hispanics are displacing blacks in many parts of California. History is clear about the long term fate of multicultural empires.

                  • If “History is clear about the long term fate of multicultural empires” why aren’t we putting in the effort to fix the problem. Possibly solutions include learning their languages, giving them the same rights as everyone else, interbreeding, eating their food, making sure everyone’s kids go to the same schools, and making sure racists can’t harm member of “other” races/cultures.

                    One of the interesting things I’ve noticed is that most political problems are essentially “quadratic” in nature. (It’s been a long time since I had math, so I may be using the wrong term; I mean an equation which has two or more valid solutions.)

                    So when we consider the fate of “Empires with more than one culture” there are two ways of solving the problem: You can “ethnically cleanse” the problematic group, or you can let them into your tribe. Over time, each solutions “works.” However, some solutions are more humane and ethical than others… and people remember how they were treated by other people, sometimes for generations.

                    The penultimate issue here is that all empires eventually fall. No exceptions, regardless of what you may believe. Do you want the people we stepped on on the way up having power over us on the way down? Or would you rather make friends and spread the values of kindness and decency, with the clear understanding that your empire will fall sooner or later, and people are likely to treat you the way you’ve treated them.

                    A thousand years from now some Mexican General just might have the choice of two actions: “They were a great people once; moral, fair, and kind, so make sure that the people of that American village are treated kindly.”

                    Or…

                    “A thousand years ago, they shot hungry people who were attempting to cross their borders. Make sure nobody in that American village survives this night.”

                    Over centuries of time, these are the stakes we’re playing for.

                    • >If “History is clear about the long term fate of multicultural empires” why aren’t we putting in the effort to fix the problem.

                      We used to be pretty good at “fixing the problem” in the U.S. – better than any nation of comparable size ever, I’d say. We insisted on a common language, taught a common culture, and had a strong civic religion centered on the American Revolution and its principles.

                      In my lifetime, the Gramscian left has destroyed or corrupted much of this mechanism. Our schools no longer teach civics. Our overclass encourages a “multiculturalism” that amounts to encouraging immigrants not to assimilate and implicitly denigrating what used to be the U.S.’s shared cultural capital. It has been made fashionable to sneer at patriotism.

                      What we’re left with now is the endogenous desire of immigrants to assimilate themselves. Legals generally have this. Illegals too often do not.

                    • We are clearly having a major crisis of national identity, and that crisis is getting worse as both the left and right head for even worse extremes. I think we were headed in roughly the right direction around 1980 or so. We were anti-prejudice and anti-racism, but hadn’t developed some of the worst ideas of the left – microaggressions or an urge for strong non-American cultures, for example – and we still had ideals of the “melting pot” or “personal responsibility.”

                      These days, between the extreme left (problems already identified in many posts) and the extreme right (problems also obvious*) we’re close to gearing up for a civil war, and the right will lose it.

                      It would be nice if we could find a cultural identity that worked, but was also lacking in prejudice and contempt for the poor. Unfortunately, the right’s war on science and rational thinking is so far advanced that we’ll never be able to put together a set of “best practices for being American,” (although I think that such a thing is well within reach) and teach it to every child.

                      * One thing that’s so obvious about the Far Right that nobody talks about it is the unwillingness of the average conservative to jump into the melting pot with everyone else, and that this is a major part of the problem. If they’re in a city they’ll try something exotic like “Chinese Food” but won’t admit that Buddha wasn’t a demon or that Ganesh and Jesus have a lot in common, and half of them think they own their daughters…

                      Anyway, I’d like to see a “default” American identity we can point people at. Some core values would sure be nice right now!

                    • >the average conservative to jump into the melting pot with everyone else […] if they’re in a city they’ll try something exotic like “Chinese Food” but won’t admit that Buddha wasn’t a demon […] half of them think they own their daughters…

                      What are you smoking, dude? There may be a handful of conservatives somewhere in rural Utah that are like that, but I’ve never met one. Admittedly most aren’t as cosmopolitan as me, but it’s not their fault they didn’t have to learn three languages or live on three and a half continents before they were 13 like I did. On the whole they do about as well as self-described ‘liberal’ Americans when ambushed by a plate of moo goo gai pan or a bronze Buddha, and the next one I meet who thinks he owns his daughter will be the first.

                      Just when I start thinking you’re actually sensible you spout dumb, prejudiced shit like this. It’s disappointing. You want some American unity, start by not coming off like the most snotty stereotype of a clueless gentry liberal.

                    • Troutwaxer, I’m going to reply to this at the end, since this is going to be too narrow to read otherwise.

                    • I don’t know where you live Troutwaxer but where I live (Sydney Australia) it’s the white people who happily eat every one of the dozens of cuisines we have. The non-whites won’t have a bar of it and generally will only eat whatever they grew up with. Asians don’t eat indian who don’t eat middle eastern who don’t eat asian. The meeting ground, alas for your sweeping generalisations, is so-called aussie food. They’ll all eat pizza.

                      (I’m defining ‘white’ the way SJWs do: a person of far north european appearance)

                    • I’ll keep this short, because I’ve had a long bad day, but I’m not worried about the kinds of Conservatives who post on your blog. They’re not going to start a civil war. The fundies and the real rightwing whackos (like the one dude posting on this thread who thinks a CA beach is covered with human feces and needles – what’s up with that?) are the ones who worry me.

                      Folks like Jay, on the other hand? I’m happy to share a country with them – but I don’t think people like Jay are “average” conservatives.

                      The ones who worry me are the ones at furthest ten-percent of the spectrum… probably not appropriate to call them “average” on second thought – they’re just the ones we read about in the news here in CA.

                    • The kind of conservatives who post here my not start a civil war. (But don’t be too sure of that; a concerted push toward firearms confiscation may well change that calculus.) We damned sure will win it, however. The Left would fight back hard, with everything at their disposal, and turn whatever they see as the beginning of a shooting civil war into the real thing – and that’s what will convince the rest of us that shit’s gotten real and it’s time to take up arms.

                      When both sides think they can win a war, then war is much more likely…and nothing scares me quite as badly as the Left’s certainty that they would put down a conservative revolt with the contemptuous ease they speak of.

                      Oh, and while I can’t speak to needles and feces on California beaches, both are far, far too common on the streets of San Francisco. News reports of that are probably what that poster was thinking of.

            • Check your numbers again, because it ain’t even vaguely close to that.

              The US is 12.6% black, 17.1% Hispanic, 5.1% Asian and a couple percent of everything else. The other 65% or so are White of various non-Hispanic types.

              in terms of religion,

              0.6% Muslim
              1.7% Jewish
              1.2% other (including various forms of Neopaganism)

              LGBTQ is around 4%

              Essentially, your preconceptions are based on assuming the numbers of non -White European descended are 25-50% higher than they actually are.

              • Per my calculator I get 42.3 percent of the population when I add your figures.. Add in the White people who are serious Liberals or have family members married to various minorities, and you’ve reached at least 60 percent of the population, possibly more like 65 or 70 percent. I’m afraid that even with your figures, my point about relative strengths still stands.

                Also, I think your numbers for LGBTQ are a little low. This is a percentage which is highly sensitive to how questions are phrased, how answers are interpreted, and how often people tell strangers, even well-intentioned strangers with Ph.Ds that they are Gay. Anyway, it’s not hard to find surveys of LGBTQ folk that put the numbers much higher than 4 percent.

    • This is an old and sadly discredited talking point.

      Many years ago David Brin a then popular writer of speculative fiction suggested in a column in Science Fiction Chronicle that as part of an SJW agenda speculative fiction could raise the issue of a Firearms Owners Identification Card after the manner of driver’s licenses. Mr. Brin apparently wrote in total ignorance of the Illinois experiment. The Illinois experiment was long ago sold to the gun rights people as a reasonable compromise.

      To legally possess firearms or ammunition, Illinois residents must have a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which is issued by the Illinois State Police to any qualified applicant. I have not been convicted of any Felony under the laws of this or any other jurisdiction.
      IL Concealed Carry License – ispfsb.com
      http://www.ispfsb.com/Public/FOID.aspx

      Notice how well protected gun rights were in Illinois both before and after FOID was in place e.g. Chicago where in addition to registering owners individual firearms were registered until the registry was closed so that the already registered owner could not register another firearm. The mere passage of time would then clear the streets of at least all legal firearms.

      The FOID quickly became a necessary but insufficient condition. An increasingly expensive tax on a constitutional right and a signal that when frex a man with a FOID died and his wife didn’t have a FOID card in her own name then there might be guns and ammunition to be confiscated by agents of the small s state.

      The notion that firearms can be bought like groceries in the United States is a lie of ignorance or more likely malice. As when a gun grabber says it is easier to buy a gun than book consider the source.

    • Prior to 1934 (for machine guns and certain modifications) and 1968, guns could be purchased like groceries.

  4. Oh, I agree, this sort of warning is needed. From a persuasion standpoint, I see my post as the Good Cop to your Bad Cop.

  5. I have no dog in this fight being neither a gun grabber nor a gun owner (and am not American in any event) but I simply observe that politicisation of mass shootings by either persuasion is certainly not helping America to resolve its problem with gun violence in general
    nor the more specific problem of the regular mass killing of children and staff in schools carried out by young men in America.

    • “Regular”?

      Media presentation vastly overstates the amount of mass killing going on anywhere in America, let alone in schools.

    • “I simply observe that politicisation of mass shootings by either persuasion is certainly not helping America to resolve its problem with gun violence in general”

      “Gun violence” is a code word used by Leftists to assign blame to the law abiding gun owner and the NRA. The purpose is to deliberately fail to differentiate between general crime, crimes of the insane, suicide with firearms, police use of firearms, and the righteous wrath of self-defense. The phrase “Stopping gun violence” is nothing more than ultimately saying “confiscation” or “civilian disarmament”.

  6. “Thus, repeal of any right enumerated in the Constitution is not possible without abrogating the Constitutional covenant – destroying the legal and moral foundations of our system.”

    Constitutions are amended all the time all over the world. Doing so in the USA will not destroy the USA, just like it did not destroy other countries.

    The times they are a changing. At one time, the constitution recognized and protected the right to own slaves (http://ashbrook.org/publications/respub-v6n1-boyd/). In the same manner, the constitution was changed to force states to recognize the rights of women to vote.

    The right of nut jobs to carry around AR-15 riffles and their kin, or any weapon for that matter, is not part of the foundation of a modern society. The rest of the developed world is doing very well without that right. So a change in the law that will forbid such weapons will not destroy US society.

    A revealing statistic:

    Between 2000 and 2010, [the Academy for Critical Incident Analysis] recorded 57 incidents [of school violence where someone was killed, or a murder was attempted with two or more victims] in 36 countries.

    Half those incidents — 28 — occurred in the United States.

    The population of the other countries totaled 3.8 billion. It’s worth noting, too, that 13 of those countries had never suffered a school massacre.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/15/the-one-number-that-shows-americas-problem-with-school-shootings-is-unique/

    • >Constitutions are amended all the time all over the world. Doing so in the USA will not destroy the USA, just like it did not destroy other countries.

      And they have been here, too. Reread the OP and think about why the First through Tenth are special. If you don’t understand it, study American constitutional history until you do.

      >A revealing statistic:

      No, a lie produced by sophistry with categories and a refusal to normalize by population. If you use definitions that are consistent and appropriate to the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the U.S.’s rate is between France’s and Canada’s.

      • “No, a lie produced by sophistry with categories and a refusal to normalize by population.”

        A single definition and a single measure over 38 countries. That is data. That you want to believe in fairy tales and deny it, that is your problem.

        Whether it is traffic accidents, preventable diseases, homicides, or mass shootings, living in the US is more dangerous than any other country in the developed world. And you are proud of it too. Oh, and you lock up more people than everyone else. The USA has about the same prison population as China and the Russian federation combined. Talk about the land of the free.

        More data: 31% of all mass shootings are in the US, even though it has only 5% of world population.
        https://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/27/health/u-s-most-mass-shootings/

        • >Whether it is traffic accidents, preventable diseases, homicides, or mass shootings, living in the US is more dangerous than any other country in the developed world.

          Only if you don’t count death by government. Over 100 million people were murdered by their own governments within living memory, many of them children. Virtually all such governments have been self-described as socialist (whether “national” or “international” doesn’t seem to make a difference). If you add in the death toll from wars between socialist governments (such as the one between the National Socialists in Germany and the Soviet Communists) the toll becomes higher still.

          Why don’t those deaths count? That’s easy. You’re not counting them because that would expose your “argument” as the facile nonsense that it is.

          For the record, about 8,000 Americans are killed by privately-owned firearms every year. At that rate, firearms will catch up to the death toll for socialism in about 12,500 years (assuming the socialists suddenly stop murdering people, which is unlikely to be the case).

          • “Over 100 million people were murdered by their own governments within living memory, many of them children.”

            Yep, mostly in Russia and China. But in Europe, there was a serious effort to top the charts. And you know what, we learned. That carnage ended 70 years ago. Since then, Europe has been one of the safest places on earth. The people in the US seem to be unable to learn from past mistakes.

            But it seems a rather strange story to tell your children: Sorry lads, but there have to be school shootings, because Hitler, Stalin, and Mao killed 100 million people. The only way to prevent that is to sacrifice a few kids every month.

            • > And you know what, we learned.

              I don’t believe you. There’s still active “ethnic cleansing” going on in the Balkans even as we speak.

              • “There’s still active “ethnic cleansing” going on in the Balkans even as we speak.”

                Yep, outside of the EU. Not everyone learned their lesson in WWI and WWII. But they were not the ones doing the WWII massacres.

                • > Yep, outside of the EU.

                  Spin harder. Now we’ve gone from “Europe” to the “EU”.

                  What about the refugee housing that’s been burned down in Germany?

                  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-222-refugee-homes-burned-or-attacked-arrests-a6763506.html

                  That doesn’t sound like the “lesson was learned” to me.

                  Waiting with amusement for the next spin attempt… probably you’ll come up with some reason to exclude Germany next.

                  • “What about the refugee housing that’s been burned down in Germany? ”

                    Racists are everywhere. You were claiming our governments are going to murder another 100 million people. There is exactly zero evidence that governments in the EU are on that path. On the contrary.

                    • According to the latest published figures I could find, the rate of such attacks against migrants averaged to almost 1,000 “attacks against housing” across 2016, and a grand total of 3,500 attacks against migrants in general.

                      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39096833

                      Despite the protestations of public figures to the contrary, that figure looks to me a lot more like the coordinated first steps toward collective murder than the actions of a few isolated extremists.

                    • “Despite the protestations of public figures to the contrary, that figure looks to me a lot more like the coordinated first steps toward collective murder than the actions of a few isolated extremists.”

                      So, the German government invites refugees to come to Germany and then organizes attacks to drive them out? That sounds rather odd as a policy. I consider the opinion of the German journalists more likely that any coordination is done by neo-Nazi and racist groupings against the will of the government and official political parties.

        • And again you refuse to normalize by demographics. If you insist on comparing very different things, of course you’ll get different results. We have the same thing within the USA, when people compare different states without adjusting for demographics. For instance, a few years ago someone made a point of how Wisconsin has better educational outcomes than Texas, and someone else ran the numbers and found that actually in every demographic Texas did better than Wisconsin, and the fact that WI’s overall performance was better than TX’s is entirely due to their very different mix of demographics.

          • I just like how he’s simultaneously complaining that Americans are more violent than Europeans (true!) – and that Americans are in prison more.

            It’s almost like maybe there’s some connection between the two?

            I mean, if the former, shouldn’t we both expect and desire the latter?

        • Talk about the land of the free.

          Hehe, it reminded me of Dennis Rader, the mass murderer. He was a so-called “compliance officer” which meant that among other things he walked in on people’s lawns and measured the height of the grass leaves. If they were a little too tall, people would get fined. This is also how he found out how to best break into the homes of his victims. I am not aware that in Europe we have people poking around on our lawns and fining us for an overgrown lawn. The US has freedoms that are as preposterous as its restrictions.

          • Give me a break. You Euros have bureaucrats who regulate the shape of bananas.

            Yes, some towns have rules about lawn care. I don’t live in one, nor would I.

            There is no such law for the country as a whole. That’s what you Euros don’t understand. You expect every law to apply equally across the country. Our system does not work like that. Not even close.

          • Dennis Rader is not a mass murderer. He’s a serial killer. There are significant differences, not the least of which is that the latter must avoid the authorities capturing/killing him in order to get to the next victim, while mass murderers often plan their attacks without any prospect of escape, intending to keep killing as long as they can do so.

            Conflating the two can lead to ineffective ideas about how to attack them.

    • > The rest of the developed world is doing very well without that right.

      Tell you what: when you Europeans manage to go for a full generation without genocide or a genocide-equivalent (e.g., “ethnic cleansing”) breaking out somewhere on your barbaric pseudo-continent, then you can lecture us.

      Not before.

    • Once again, Winter, you demonstrate your lack of understanding of American political theory.

      Let me try to put it in terms even you can understand.

      How would you react if the European Court of Human Rights were to decide that it was perfectly legitimate to extract confessions against one’s will by torture, and that that European governments should do so in order to lower the rate at which, say, Muslim immigrants commit crimes? Would that be a legitimate decision for them to make? Would governments relying upon it be acting legitimately?

      The case is exactly the same as attempting to abrogate the right of the people to keep and bear arms, to an American. Until you understand that, and base your arguments on that understanding, all you’ll be doing is blowing hot air in your attempt to turn free Americans into properly subjugated Europeans.

      So in the meantime, please quit lecturing us on how guns are eeeeevil and how we should give them up. You’re just annoying the Americans in the discussion, and changing exactly zero minds.

      • “The case is exactly the same as attempting to abrogate the right of the people to keep and bear arms, to an American.”

        This must be the daftest comparison I have seen this year (but the year is still young).

        What makes it worse is that a considerable majority in the USA that supports stricter gun regulation. And I do not see how a law that keeps guns out of the hands of the criminal mentally unstable compares to a law that subjects people to torture?

        “Until you understand that, and base your arguments on that understanding, all you’ll be doing is blowing hot air in your attempt to turn free Americans into properly subjugated Europeans.”

        It seems to me that Americans are more subjugated than Europeans. You can carry guns, but then the police can shoot you with impunity. We have quite a number of countries with a population less than the US prison system.

        But every country gets the government it deserves. We have ours, you have yours. We do not engage in human sacrifice, and we do not think a few children every month is a small price to pay for the liberty to play with your toys.

        • Fuck off, Winter. It’s not about playing with toys. It’s about defending fundamental liberties of all kinds.

          • The fundamental liberties of people in Stickville go prepare for war with an oppressive gubmint that probably won’t materialize — and will win decisively if it ever does materialize irrespective of how many AR-15s are in the hands of Stickville civilians — must be balanced against the fundamental liberty of schoolkids to go to school without being perforated by bullets.

            Sorry, but we’re comparing a real to a hypothetical here and it doesn’t look good for the gun nuts.

            • You’re assuming that the military will act on the side of those who want to take away the citizens’ guns. That’s a damned big assumption.

              And my ownership of an AR-15 does not infringe in the slightest on the putative right of schoolkids not to become the victims of mass murder.

            • the fundamental liberty of schoolkids to go to school without being perforated by bullets

              Which you protect by having security in the schools, not by taking guns away from law-abiding citizens with draconian regulations.

              Nobody seems to want to talk about the fact that this shooter just walked into a school with an AR-15–no security at the doors, no cameras, nobody to watch who entered. WTF? How is this not just a simple local security problem?

        • And I do not see how a law that keeps guns out of the hands of the criminal mentally unstable compares to a law that subjects people to torture?

          Our laws already keep guns out of the hands of those who have been reliably adjudicated to be criminally mentally unstable.

          The key words there are “reliably adjudicated”; the government has no legal or moral right to deprive someone of their civil liberties without a reliable judicial process to determine that the alleged facts are true. That applies every bit as much to the right to bear arms as it does to the right not to be locked up.

        • > What makes it worse is that a considerable majority in the USA
          > that supports stricter gun regulation.

          This is similar to the statement “9 out of 10 people prefer Harley-Davidson to other motorcycle brands”.

          It’s because 9 out of 10 people don’t know shit about motorcycles.

          And 9 out of 10 people–including most gun owners–don’t know sh*t about either guns OR the law.

          If you buy a firearm from a dealer–where MOST legal transactions take place, and all *new* guns are sold you are run through a background check. Even if it’s at a gun show (in at least two states, California and Colorado EVERY sale at a gun show is required to go through a background check even if it’s a private party transaction).

          A significant minority of the people in this country don’t know that AR-15s are *semi* automatic. They think we need to ban “sales of machine guns”. Which is (a) ridiculous, and (b) was functionally done in 1986. (I say “functionally” because it is possible to buy a fully automatic weapon, but it’s complicated and expensive. It’s MUCH easier to just buy one on the black market).

          Many of the other gun laws out there–things like waiting periods, registration, ballistic fingerprinting, restrictions on buying more than one gun a month etc. are LITERALLY USELESS. They have been shown over and over again to do NOTHING POSITIVE.

          You have a natural right (God given, innate, whatever) to defend yourself. This axiomatically implies the right to reasonable tools to do so.

          But here’s the thing, once you allow a “reasonable” tool for self defense–something that will work on two or three junkies who kicked in your door for whatever reason–there is absolutely NO POINT in banning anything above that.

          Watch this:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzHG-ibZaKM

          Now, Miculek is a freak of nature, and there’s almost no one who can shoot that fast.

          But with about a weeks worth of dedicated practice *anyone* can get to the point where they can reload a revolver pretty quickly. Quickly enough that they could keep up with the pace of any mass shooting except Las Vegas (an outlier along several vectors, and one we’re still waiting to get the results of.)[1]

          It simply is the case that when it comes to shooting up a mall or a school there is no difference between a double barrel shotgun and a AR-15, other than optics. Oh, and survival rates. Shotguns tend to be REALLY final.

          >It seems to me that Americans are more subjugated than Europeans.

          That’s ridiculous. We’re getting close, but you’ve got serious blinders as to what you’re limits are. You’ve had them so long you don’t even recognize them, they’re just natural to you.

          > You can carry guns, but then the police can shoot you with impunity.

          No, they can’t. That’s just pure propaganda. There are police in jail for mis-judging the situation. There are police who have lost their jobs because both they AND the person they shot were mouth drooling morons (here’s a hint, if a police car shows up, put the bb-gun on the table and put your hands up).

          > We have quite a number of countries with a population
          > less than the US prison system.

          That’s about the dumbest thing you’ve ever said. Really. There are 320 million citizens in the US, and 10 to 15 million more.

          If we had the same rate of incarceration as the Netherlands (aka “White middle class Europe” (59 per 100,000) we would have enough people in our prisons to be the 189th most populous country (out of 233, per Wikipedia)

          This leaves out that (a) we keep people in prison MUCH longer than almost all of Europe, and (b) we keep importing people from third world s*t holes who COME HERE to engage in illegal activities (Nearly 1 in 5 people in US prisons are foreign born, and 94 percent of those came here illegally).

          Putting those together, about 15 percent of our *prison* population (not jails, prisons) are illegal aliens who were caught in this country raping, murdering or dealing drugs. And these weren’t usually dime-bag deals either.

          We aren’t the Netherlands, we don’t have 85% of our population of one color, one ethnicity, and *slightly* different beliefs who view each other as part of the same tribe, more or less.

          Which is to say the US isn’t almost all white middle class and come from a strong protestant/catholic worldview, even if we profess to be atheists or whatever.

          When you get out into the middle class (and up) neighborhoods rates of crime and violence drop to about European equivalents, even with the massive numbers of guns. I bet–without knowing exact numbers–that my neighbors and I have more guns among us than some of your shooting clubs, but our neighborhood is incredibly peaceful (then again my reference for this sort of thing is living in Black and Latino neighborhoods in Chicago, and my mostly white middle class neighborhood in central Missouri. Oh, in the latter kids as young as 14 or 15 went hunting ALONE.)

          Gah, what’s the point, your mind is blinkered.

          [1]Note that the Vegas shooting was conducted by an older multi-millionaire. NOTHING was going to stop him from committing mass murder.

          • Wait a minute: what’s wrong with Harley-Davidson motorcycles? What’s preferable?

            (I don’t follow them at all; kinda curious now.)

            • Wait a minute: what’s wrong with Harley-Davidson motorcycles? What’s preferable?

              Other than appearance (if that is what you’re into, I’m not) what is /right/ with them?

              For the most part the are on the trailing edge of technology, they are heavy, they handle like a bathtub on the ski slope, they have similar vibration characteristics to a paint mixer, they have minimal suspension and they are (or at least were, I haven’t been in that market for a long time) WAY over priced.

              I have owned several brands (BMW, Triumph, Honda, Suzuki) over the years and put over 100k miles on 2 wheels from about 2000 to about 2008. Because of the Gurl Child and moving around (I’ve lived on 2 other continents since 2008) I haven’t been riding as much.

              Which brand depends on what you want to do. Honda and BMW are, IMO the best brands for folks who really are “daily drivers”, with BMW winning out HANDS DOWN. Their dealer support is really good. Honda also seems to get this isn’t a hobby.

              Those are both good choices for touring in civilized places too. Although motorcycle shops like to be closed on Sunday and Monday and I GUARANTEE you will break down on Saturday afternoon about 30 minutes before the shop closes.

              The Japanese makers make *good* bikes, but a lot of dealers…they sell toys to middle class rebels (Unlike BMW who sells toys to upper class rebels).

              Harley-Davidson sells barbie dolls to accountants–they buy them to dress them up according to their whims.

              Oh, and that’s what a lot of AR-15s are sold for as well–to be built into something that only the builder can make sense of.

            • The guy gets points for the title of his YouTube channel, too:

              Michalek.com: The Leaders in Gun Control

        • Winter, as an American Liberal who sometimes looks to Europe, I’m going to try to explain/translate: Americans have an ideal of the armed citizen who stands up to government tyranny. It’s damn-near genetic, possibly one of the psychological hallmarks of having become a “genuine” American. (I believe it as sincerely as any other American, though I’m not infected by the hysteria on either side.)

          That being said, there are some ugly pieces of reality/history involved with all this, one of which is that gun ownership is very dangerous to all involved. The other is that gun-control is mostly aimed at minorities – I know one old, Republican, White lady who has several unregistered guns in her garage, and ZERO worries that she might be arrested for owning them. The last is that we have a problem with right-wing grifters in this country, and they have so inflamed the fears of a large subset of American males that the worry about having their guns taken is damn-near all-consuming…

          This could all be settled very peacefully with some intelligent compromises. But it won’t be. And that’s (cause and effect, not in-head narrative) why Jay is angry, and what you’re not getting.

          • It is refreshing to hear a sane voice. Contrary to all the heat in this debate might make you believe, my position on gun control is one of public health. Like tobacco and alcohol, guns have a dangerous effect on the health of all involved. They should be regulated to protect the health and safety of the population. You do not smoke near children, and you should not let guns come near children.

            • Firearms are not petri dishes of anthrax. They are not a pathogen. They have no negative health effects…unless, perhaps, you were to lick off the gun oil – that might give you the squits ;)

              Nobody was harmed when I legally bought all of my firearms. Nobody is being harmed as they rest in storage. Nobody is being harmed by the pistol on my hip.

              Leaving loaded firearms lying around for kids to encounter? Yes, that’s criminally reckless and should be punished…but it is not an indictment on the 80-100 million lawful gun owners that spend their entire lives doing nothing wrong.

              But never letting guns near children? Nonsense. Well educated, trained children under adult supervision are commonplace over here…there have been a few very tragic incidents due to various factors, however….again, not an indictment of the overwhelming majority.

          • “gun ownership is very dangerous to all involved.”

            I’ve owned guns for about 15 years. When will it start being dangerous?

            • Could only be said by, or believed by, someone with no actual familiarity with firearms, or the culture and habits of actual legal firearms owners.

    • “Modern”.

      What valuation are you (unconsciously?) attaching to that word?

      Is this simple historicism/progressivism, such that “modern is better because it’s modern”, utterly bankrupt as that position is?

      (PS, if you need me to tell you why “36 countries totalling 3.8 billion people”, but breaking it down by “count” and “number of countries” is obviously BS statistics, well, I’m not going to bother, because I’ve seen this sort of thing before from you.)

    • Thank you for revealing your naked bias with the comment about ‘nutjobs carrying around AR-15s.’ As to your revealing statistic, per the actual statistics the US stands either 11th or 12th in per capita mass shootings, in a study including only the US, Canada, and Europe: https://crimeresearch.org/2015/06/comparing-death-rates-from-mass-public-shootings-in-the-us-and-europe/ . I suspect that if they had included the mideast and far east, we would have had trouble breaking into the top 20.

    • Constitutions are amended all the time all over the world. Doing so in the USA will not destroy the USA, just like it did not destroy other countries.

      The times they are a changing. At one time, the constitution recognized and protected the right to own slaves.

      And it took a civil war—with effects still recognizable a century-and-a-half later—to get that to change. Efforts like https://cicilline.house.gov/press-release/cicilline-introduces-assault-weapons-ban-2018 or attempts to more explicitly roll back Second Amendment protections may very well trigger another civil war, only worse.

    • “>Whether it is traffic accidents, preventable diseases, homicides, or mass shootings, living in the US is more dangerous than any other country in the developed world.”

      You are a liar doing so for the purposes of promoting civilian disarmament. CRIME related to narcotics and gangs is the primary problem in the USA. Most of the USA is extremely safe when it comes to murders. Then again, someone like you cannot differentiate between criminal use of weapons and righteous use.

      https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-01/51-murders-us-come-just-2-counties

      • “CRIME related to narcotics and gangs is the primary problem in the USA.”

        Traffic and preventable diseases kill orders of magnitude more people in the USA than CRIME. Bad health insurance destroys more lives in the US than guns.

        “Most of the USA is extremely safe when it comes to murders.”

        Wrong! London, UK, is a city of 8 million people. It has a homicide rate below 2 per 100k. There is not a single city in continental USA with more than 300k inhabitants that has a homicide rate below 2 per 100k. The one city in the USA that does is Honolulu, which is far from the North American continent.

    • Bah, the study is behind a paywall! But I have the suspicion that it compares countries in Europe with the entirety of the United States.

      The funny thing is, though, is that doing so is comparing grapes with a cluster of grapes. It’s easy to forget that the United States is a country of countries, and that there are plenty of States that haven’t had school massacres as well. School massacres, and mass murder events in general, are rare.

      It would make far more sense to compare the US with Europe, or to compare States with European countries.

      And we would also do well to remember that not all mass murder events are committed by guns. Why should a mass murder event be ignored, if it’s committed by, say, a car running into a crowd?

    • >Data, rather than anecdote:

      Missing crucial data. Where’s the scatter chart of defensive gun uses? Where’s the plot of crime rates per thousand versus percentage of legal civilian gun owners?

      Never mind, I know why they’re not included. It would harsh the narrative.

      • They’re also focusing on “gun violence”, as if it’s somehow better to be murdered by some other means. I’d go so far as to say that the mere use of the idiotic phrase “gun violence” is a foolproof tell that the source is not to be trusted.

        Actual data: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-11

        Note that more people are killed with hands and feet than with any kind of rifle (“assault” or otherwise). Rifles account for only about 2.5% of the killing.

        • I said: >I’d go so far as to say that the mere use of the idiotic phrase “gun violence” is a foolproof tell that the source is not to be trusted.

          Seriously, it’s like making a website about “foot violence” that focuses solely on people who have been kicked to death.

          • Especially if half of all kickings-to-death were suicides, because suicide and murder are morally identical!

      • Most defensive gun uses will never appear in any statistics, because the gun isn’t even drawn, much less aimed or fired, and since no one got shot, and no “brandishing” of the weapon occurred, nothing was reported to the authorities. The mere fact that a potential perpetrator thinks his potential victim may be carrying can be enough to deter him. Pulling aside a jacket to reveal the handle of a gun protruding from a holster may be necessary, or an NRA Member decal on a window might be all it takes.

        You’ll probably recognize this as an instance of the class “Batistat’s ‘seen and unseen’.”

    • >Charts breaking out incidents to various categories are here:

      Just by looking at them I can tell some of the ways they’re biased. To be fair, it may be that not all of this bias is intentional. “Defensive Gun Uses”, for example. We’ve known since Kleck’s research in the early 1990s that at least 5 in 6 DGUs involve no discharge and therefore don’t tend to show up in the UCS numbers.

      • “Just by looking at them I can tell some of the ways they’re biased.”

        That is always the accusation. But then there is never “unbiased” data that corrects these mistakes.

        And all those self-defense cases? When someone is shot in “self defense”, the victim cannot defend himself anymore against the accusation. And, anyway, who will believe a dead man? It is like all those “terrorists” that are killed in the Middle East. If you died, you must have been a terrorist, because else you would not have died.

        • Read Eric’s message again. If 5 in 6 DGUs result in no shots being fired, there’s no dead victim who can’t defend himself, is there?

        • Wait, are you seriously denying that they are terrorists?! What sort of evidence would you need before accepting the obvious facts? A posthumous f—ing trial for each one?!

          • “Wait, are you seriously denying that they are terrorists?! ”

            Journalists, children, and random wedding guest are not terrorists unless there is definite proof.

      • “Defensive Gun Uses”

        We see defensive gun use regularly when yet another unarmed man is shot by a police officer in self defense. Victims are shot in the back while running or lying on the ground with their hands in the air. All in self defense, mind you.
        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/21/florida-police-shoot-black-man-lying-down-with-arms-in-air

        Oh, and police officers also draw their guns in self defense against teenage girls.
        https://news.vice.com/article/video-shows-texas-cop-drawing-gun-and-pulling-teenage-girls-hair-while-breaking-up-pool-party

        • We see defensive gun use regularly when yet another unarmed man is shot by a police officer in self defense.

          Another example of an irrelevant criterion thrown into the debate in order to muddy it. Whether the person threatening someone is armed or unarmed is irrelevant. The legitimacy of self-defense does not depend in any way on this. So the moment that word is introduced we know the person doing so is dishonest and arguing in bad faith.

          The same applies to “teenaged girl”. The right to self-defense does not magically become inoperative just because ones attacker happens to be female and/or less than 20 years old.

          Victims are shot in the back while running or lying on the ground with their hands in the air. All in self defense, mind you.

          Lies. That does not happen, and you can’t cite an example of it happening. Your link is to a story of a person accidentally shot by a policeman who was trying to save him. The policeman did not shoot at him but at the person he was wrestling with and trying to restrain. Whether he was right to do so will be determined when he is tried. I don’t know when that will be; he was scheduled to be tried last October but I can’t find any reference either to it being held or postponed, so I don’t know the status of the case.

          • And let us assume for purposes of argument that Winter’s view of American police is true:

            Why in the name of all that is sane would you tilt the balance of power towards the police?

          • “Another example of an irrelevant criterion thrown into the debate in order to muddy it.”

            That was esr’s argument, not mine.

            • No, it was your argument. Search the page for “unarmed”, and you won’t find ESR using it. It’s your dishonest contribution to the debate; own it.

              • From esr’s comment:
                “To be fair, it may be that not all of this bias is intentional. “Defensive Gun Uses”, for example. We’ve known since Kleck’s research in the early 1990s that at least 5 in 6 DGUs involve no discharge and therefore don’t tend to show up in the UCS numbers.”

                • Um, how is that relevant? Seriously, how do you see anything in that quote about unarmed people (or armed ones for that matter) being shot by policemen?

                  The fact that some people shot in legitimate self-defence, whether by police or anyone else, happen not to be carrying weapons, is completely irrelevant. It’s a red herring, deliberately designed to insinuate, without explicitly claiming so, and therefore without having to defend it, that this somehow makes the self-defense claim less legitimate, as if an unarmed person cannot pose a threat.

                  And you, not ESR or anyone else, are the one who introduced that red herring, so have the decency to own it.

          • “Lies. That does not happen, and you can’t cite an example of it happening.”

            We have video recordings of these things on line.

        • Shootings by police officers are not relevant, because the people who want to disarm the general population are not proposing to take away firearms from the police. And shootings by police or other government employees when they are on the job cannot rationally be counted as part of “gun violence” by the civilian population.

      • add the trailing “l” to the “htm” and it’s found.

        speaking for myself, i’m disavowing it not because of its publisher, but because it compares statistics across international, legal, and cultural borders. the confounding factors are too many and too severe for me to think such comparisons to be valid without extraordinary, even heroic, efforts on behalf of the statisticians to try and adjust for them all. absent those, it’s far too easy to cherry-pick statistics to get any result you want. here, let me pick an alternate report comparing mass shooting statistics across borders and finding the USA is actually pretty darn safe:

        https://crimeresearch.org/2015/06/comparing-death-rates-from-mass-public-shootings-in-the-us-and-europe/

  7. I think anyone with basic practical thinking can see how banning stuff is strongly dependent on culture, it is not the kind of thing where lessons from one country can be carried to another. Like, banning alcohol works for Muslim countries without many problems. In America it failed but only slowly as the predominant Protestant culture was only kind of lukewarm to booze anyway. In France trying that would have meant instant revolution, because not letting them take wine away is absolutely a hill to die on for the average Frenchman.

    It is just obvious how much guns are a hill to die on for Red Tribe America. Even a second alcohol prohibition would go down easier, on them at least.

    Frankly this sounds like the mother of all Schelling points. People who think resisting the government with guns is theoretically an option, but not sure when, not sure if things are bad enough to do so, surely see the attempt to take away this option forever as a big NOW sign.

    • >Frankly this sounds like the mother of all Schelling points. People who think resisting the government with guns is theoretically an option, but not sure when, not sure if things are bad enough to do so, surely see the attempt to take away this option forever as a big NOW sign.

      Right. You get it. I never thought of it as a Schelling point before but it has that nature.

      Those of us who have studied history think about how the Nazi gun-confiscation laws were a critical step on the road to the death camps, and shudder. Never again. Never again!

      • Those of us who have studied history think about how the Nazi gun-confiscation laws were a critical step on the road to the death camps, and shudder. Never again. Never again!

        While I haven’t read Halbrook’s Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State” which has the details, the Wiemar Republic’s gun control was itself a critical step on that road, by largely disarming the populace in the face of escalating violence between the Communists and the Nazis. The Nazis didn’t even see an initial need to change the gun laws (as I recall that happened around 1938), they just changed the enforcement to disarm their targets, that’s what may issue of gun ownership permits (as Massachusetts and NYC do for all guns) and registration lists will get you.

        • If what you said is accurate, it reveals another interesting feature: the gun control laws were initially aimed at groups (Communists) that were not the groups they were later used against (Jews, gypsies, et al.).

          In other words, an argument that a ban is okay for you, because it’s really aimed at Those Actually Vicious People Over There, has an important counterexample.

          • >If what you said is accurate, it reveals another interesting feature: the gun control laws were initially aimed at groups (Communists) that were not the groups they were later used against (Jews, gypsies, et al.)

            I have read Halbrook’s Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State” and I confirm this is accurate.

            One of the deadly ironies of the situation is that the drafters of the Weimar’s republic gun-registration laws actually anticipated that the records might be abused by extremist groups, and took what they thought were careful precautions to prevent this – among other measures, they were decentralized to local police stations rather than being centralized in the national capital. They did not foresee a democratically legitimate takeover of their own government by an extremist group.

            The world should have known that once gun confiscation began, repression and genocide would almost certainly follow. Sadly, that lesson has still not been learned. American gun owners get it, though, yes we do.

          • >In other words, an argument that a ban is okay for you, because it’s really aimed at Those Actually Vicious People Over There, has an important counterexample.

            Ah, I forgot another one. Gun control legislation in the U.S., post-Civil-War, was often explicitly aimed at disarming blacks and hispanics. Even when that was not explicit, it was passed under the assumption that it would not be applied to whites.

            See The Racist Roots of Gun Control for details. Everyone then understood that the actual goal of “gun control” was to disempower and subjugate; we are less honest today.

            • That’s definitely a big part of the picture. IIRC we saw major gun-control efforts after the Black Panther party made the news.

              • Signed into law by Ronald Reagan. Likewise for the Brady Bill. I have no idea why he is Republican Jesus. He’s more like Republican Judas.

                • The Brady Bill was signed into law by Clinton in 1993.

                  Reagan is the “Republican Jesus” because he saved the Republic economically at a time few thought that was possible, and ended the Cold War peacefully. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but he was pretty damned good. Also signed the Firearm Owner’s Protection Act of 1986, without which the BATF might very well have extinguished our gun culture through brutal thuggery.

                  • Actually, Carter saved the economy after inheriting massive inflation from Nixon and Ford. (Does anyone remember Nixon’s Phase 1-4 Price Controls? Or that inflation was around 11 percent in 1974?)

                    Carter brought in Paul Volcker, who made major changes in monetary policy, resulting in the end of massive inflation by 1983 – which meant that Reagan got credit for Carter/Volcker’s policies. Note that Volcker was in charge of the Federal Reserve until 1987 – after being renominated for the post by Reagan in 1983.

                    • Try that on someone who doesn’t personally remember Nixon’s betrayal with his wage and price controls, which were themselves a response to LBJ’s “Guns and Butter” policy which almost liquidity bankrupted the Federal government ~1967.

                      Carter gets great credit for appointing Volcker, but none for appointing Miller before him, and for starting/going along with the deregulation (ICC, CAB), but otherwise was running the country off the cliff with his energy policies (which continued the remnant of Nixon’s controls), general disdain for the market (he completely bought into the Limits to Growth nonsense) and did he cut tax rates at all? Remember his demagoguing “Windfall” profits, further suppressing domestic oil production and our balance of trade?

                      Reagan, as you noted, didn’t replace Volcker, and you’re of course completely discounting his supply side tax rate cuts, suppression of overbearing unions (PATCO, as the first and only President who was a card carrying union member he had a special status there), and general support of business.

      • You haven’t studied your history closely enough. Germany today has stricter gun-control laws than it did under the Nazis — many of those passed soon after the Nazi regime fell — and it is, in effect, freer than the USA. The globe is lousy with free countries that severely restrict the ownership and use of firearms. The USA is unique in its leniency towards arms proliferation — and it has a gun-death rate commensurate with far less free countries. (Remember your “Switzerland and Swaziland” analogy? Well, actual Swaziland has a lower gun-death rate than the United States as a whole.)

        • >Germany today has stricter gun-control laws than it did under the Nazis

          Which will continue to look like a good thing – to idiots – until the day that future Nazi-equivalents are busting down the doors of disarmed Jews. (Actually I expect they’ll be yelling “Allahu Akbar”, this time.)

        • >Well, actual Swaziland has a lower gun-death rate than the United States as a whole.

          The phrase ‘as a whole’ bogofies your comparison. Extract the big cities – the ones run by progressives, I must note – and the math changes drastically. Neither the guns Americans own, nor the violent crime involving guns that some Americans suffer, are evenly distributed. We are the most heavily armed nation on the face of the Earth, but the violent crime is concentrated in a subset of our cities and in specific areas of those cities.

          As to your contention that Germany is more free than we are, their rights to free association and free expression are very tightly proscribed in certain respects. It is legal to be a Communist here. It is not legal to be a Nazi there. If this is what you call being more free, I want no part of it. The Republic would be just as dead if we were to discard the First Amendment as it would be if we were to discard the Second.

          • On the contrary, the whole point of Eric’s “Switzerland v Swaziland” analogy was that most of the US is like Switzerland while some parts are like Swaziland. Therefore if Jeff Read’s claim were true, it would be a solid point for his side. If even the US taken as a whole had a higher murder rate than Swaziland, then its “Swazilands” must be higher still.

            Of course he wrote “gun deaths” rather than “murders”, which is an irrelevant and therefore dishonest metric. Even if it were true that Swaziland had a lower murder-by-gun rate than the US, it would merely mean that Swazis were killing each other by other means, so what difference would it make?

            But as it happens it isn’t true. Not about murders, and not even about “gun deaths”. In fact Swaziland’s rate of both is far higher than the US’s, and often even higher than Chicago’s.

            • >On the contrary, the whole point of Eric’s “Switzerland v Swaziland” analogy was that most of the US is like Switzerland while some parts are like Swaziland

              Another point is that I want to shock people with that simile – make it hard not to think about just how much the murderously dysfunctional culture of inner Detroit or the Chicago South Side resembles a third-world tribal shithole.

              Idiots, or racists (he said semi-redundantly) are so blinded by the obvious but unimportant skin-color similarity that they miss the important one: cultures constrained by low average IQ and high time preference, then driven deeper into pathology by dependence of largesse from the surrounding state.

              Any group of white people with the same IQ/time-preference distributions and the same “help” landed on them for a couple of generations with would be just as utterly fucked up. But the actual IQ/TP distribution of American whites probably wouldn’t save them from welfare degradation for much longer.

              • Hey let’s implement the UBI!

                (to be fair UBI is not quite as virulently pathological as the current system)

              • My family pretty much embodies that. First generation were typical immigrants. One of the second generation was a gangster. The third generation included an MD and a Ph.D. Some of this involved changes in the level of prejudice against the nationalities/religions involved, other parts involved a growing sophistication about living in the U.S.

        • > The globe is lousy with free countries that severely restrict the ownership and use of firearms.

          This sentence completely contradicts itself.

  8. @TheDividualist:
    “People who think resisting the government with guns is theoretically an option, but not sure when, not sure if things are bad enough to do so, surely see the attempt to take away this option forever as a big NOW sign.”

    If all is said and done, the argument always boils down to the fact that Americans want high powered guns to kill other Americans, mainly, federal agents. Because, “protection against the government” is simply shooting federal police officers and US army personnel. You “need” the guns to shoot Americans. And what do we see? They are used to shoot Americans. Thousands of them, every year.

    • >shooting federal police officers and US army personnel.

      It’s actually unlikely we’d have to shoot a lot of Army guys. Most of them are us. That is to say they come from the demographics that are most strongly pro-2A, and their officers tend to be strict Constitutionalists who would take a very dim view of fighting avowedly Constitutionalist patriots.

      If I were J. Random Gungrabber-Politician, I’d think twice and then again before trying to order the military out of barracks to suppress a pro-2A revolt. The odds that I’d end up with them hanging me from a lamppost instead…well, not going to say they’re overwhelming, but they’re well over statistical noise. The military and ex-military guys here will confirm this.

      Police? They’re pretty solidly pro-2A too, even the Feds. The exception is large cities where it’s variable with who runs the local political machine. The rule is true even in wealthy coastal blue-zone exurbs like mine; if the Malvern police chief were ordered to confiscate my guns, it’s even odds whether the results would be “Yessir” followed by silent noncooperation or a hearty “Fuck off!”

      I keep saying that if the 2A-repealers were to “succeed” they would bring hell on themselves. This is part of why. The people they think of as their safe, conformist prole attack dogs to be used on the other proles…aren’t. A lesson they may learn the hard way.

      • > The exception is large cities where it’s variable with who runs the local political machine.

        Even in those cases, there’s often a marked disparity of opinion between the politically-appointed chief of police and the officers on the street (which you said, more or less, but I think it needs to be explicitly stated).

      • I’ve always understood it as the Army having actually gamed out how they’d handle an order to conduct a large-scale confiscation of firearms owned by law-abiding American citizens, and between desertions, mutinies, and casualties, concluded that the mission was impossible to achieve. Because of that, my understanding is that the US armed forces would outright refuse such an order, and base their refusal on the order being illegal and unconstitutional, even in the face of a repeal of the Second Amendment.

        • Given that the Bill Of Rights was originally deemed unnecessary as the Federal government had no power to enact anything it protected against, the Bill Of Rights sure does seem to get a lot of use in the Courts.

        • >If people start firing on the police and army soldiers, they will fire back.

          Duh. Don’t you think everybody knows that? If it’s a case of some dude throwing down in the street, hard to blame them. Even if you’re on the other side.

          On the other hand…if they’re shot by people defending their homes against mass invasive search, the moral equation – and the consequences in popular opinion – will be very different. That shit won’t stand.

          Actually, you might do less morale damage shooting your own troops rather than put them through what would come next. U.S. military planners know this. It’s why some officers who might be politically Loyalist themselves wouldn’t come out of the barracks – they know what it would do to the men under their command.

        • If people start firing on … army soldiers, they will fire back.

          With what? Base commanders live in perpetual fear of a negligent discharge resulting in a less than perfect Officer Efficiency Report ending their career, so they frequently don’t even allow their sentries to have ammo, or at least ammo loaded in their rifles. True from the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing to post 9/11, at least outside of the sandbox.

          As Nidal Hasan demonstrated at Fort Hood, CONUS bases are largely Gun Free Zones, and base commanders are known to forbid men living off base to posses guns in their homes….. In the context of a shooting civil war, if they’re on the side of our betters, I don’t see them issuing weapons and ammo unless under tight supervision, for all the reasons discussed here.

          As for the police shooting back, you’re assuming the rebels will play by a rulebook that guarantees they’ll lose, which hasn’t been true since the American Revolution. Those police who follow their anti-gun paymasters won’t be fired upon when they’re in sufficient numbers to effectively respond, or at least the effective rebels will simply shot them at a distance when they’re going to or from home or the like. One rifle round, hard to aurally locate due to the supersonic shock wave of the bullet, one hit and it’s largely or entirely game over for that officer. Of course, they can retreat to Green Zones, but that allows its own set of logistics based tactics.

          • There is a 3rd potential group: SWAT teams organized by random agencies e.g.., the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Education Department, etc.

            • There is a 3rd potential group: SWAT teams organized by random agencies e.g. … the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

              And don’t forget NOAA’s Fish Police! Tracked them down when InfoWars et. al. got alarmed by a clerk’s miscategorization of an IDIQ ammo contract as being for the National Weather Service. I could see a number of them turning into government death squads, although I’d expect an effort to centralize them under the Department of Fatherland Security.

              If their OPSEC is bad, 4chan style weaponized autism might be helpful, otherwise there’s the same answers, e.g. you harden your localities so a death squad has a fair chance of taking flanking and rear fire from neighbors, assuming they get that far when the roll into your 2nd Amendment Sanctuary town, and you go after their paymasters, who will of course freak out and demand all these people be tasked to protect them.

              • Given that the anti-gunners are heavily concentrated in large cities, the way the Second Civil War plays out is really simple.

                Where is the food produced that feeds those city folk? What happens when no semi operator will risk driving into DC, because most of them are pro-RTKBA and the rest are afraid of them? How many country boys know how to render a section of railroad (chosen to be in plain view of well-defended sniper positions that can discourage repair) unsafe for operation?

                The average US metropolitan area only has a few days’ food supply within its borders at any given time. Hydro and nuclear power plants tend to be far from cities because NIMBY. (Coal plants are dependent on those fragile rail links.) Without power, water treatment and distribution stops working, as do electric-powered mass transit systems and the pumps that fill the fuel tanks for other vehicles (including police and military).

                Very few shots need be fired in a siege war like this. Just wait a few days and accept the surrender.

                Reconstruction will be a bitch, though. It always is.

      • Which is why the last 2 (D) Presidents went to some great trouble to fundamentally transform the military.

        That includes actively purging the officer corps, and changing the rules governing day to day military life, to make it as an institution, more friendly to an anti2A rank and file, and as unpleasant as possible for a pro2A rank and file.

        Those efforts have actually had results. The Pacific Fleet isn’t even competent to run their own ships anymore.

        Reversing that garbage is one reason why traditional military types (pro2A, gun friendly, strong believers in the civil religion, etc) feel so very strongly about Mattis, and to a much lesser extent, Trump.

        • The Pacific Fleet isn’t even competent to run their own ships anymore.

          This was an alarm bell for me too. I’m a former Naval officer, as was my father; he, and a couple of friends of his with similar background, all agreed with my assessment.

      • @Doctor Locketopus
        “323 is not “thousands””

        Indeed, if you limit it to known riffle murders, then it is 323.

        In 2016, there were 17,250 murder and non-negligent manslaughter cases in the U.S. 70% of murders were committed with a firearm. In your statistics from 2011, the FBI reported 12,664 murder victims of which 8,583 was the total involving firearms. Just Riffles were 323, and unknown/not stated was 1,684.

        Americans use firearms to kill other Americans, thousands of them each year. But hey, only hundreds are murdered using riffles.

        • But that’s the point: people are targeting those nasty eeeeevil “assault weapons” – even though they’re used in a tiny number of actual cases.

          Complaining about AR-15s and then citing the total number of murders committed with all firearms is moving the goalposts.

        • Winter: Americans use firearms to kill other Americans, thousands of them each year. But hey, only hundreds are murdered using riffles

          And hundreds more are murdered using hands and feet. What’s your point?

          And thousands more are murdered by knives, clubs, baseball bats,and motor vehicles. Shall we ban all of those things too?

          • “And hundreds more are murdered using hands and feet. What’s your point?”

            70% of murders in the USA are committed using fire arms. Guns matter. Looking for reasons why the USA has a murder rate five times that of other developed countries, there you have one.

            • > 70% of murders in the USA are committed using fire arms. Guns matter.

              Nearly 100% of mass murders in the 20th century were committed by socialists. Socialism matters.

              So, we’ll be banning socialism when?

              • “Nearly 100% of mass murders in the 20th century were committed by socialists. Socialism matters.”
                1) This is irrelevant for this discussion.

                2) That is what you get if you define Socialist as Mass murderer. So, Suharto is a socialist because he murdered 1 million Indonesians. The same for the Rwandan Interahamwe.

                It is always funny to see uninformed Americans who know nothing about fascist politics to claim they were Socialists because, hey, they used the name. Which means they will also claim North Korea is a democracy and a republic, and, therefore, democracies and republics are all about murderous labor camps.

                • No one I know has ever claimed Suharto was Socialist, or anything but a dictator. The same is true for Rwandians.

                  However we note from Wikipedia that Suharto was a founder of Pancasila, and that he claimed it to be:

                  Therefore, we hold that Pancasila is a socio-religious society. Briefly its major characteristics are its rejection of poverty, backwardness, conflicts, exploitation, capitalism, feudalism, dictatorship, colonialism[,] and imperialism. This is the policy I have chosen with confidence.

                  I see nothing about his/their economic policies, so it could be anything from a third world kleptocracy to your standard variety Fascist organization.

                  Given the huge cultural gap between 1940s Indonesia and today, some of the founding principles SOUND an awful lot like communist propaganda, but a little looking around suggests that he was just your basic average dictator.

                  > It is always funny to see uninformed
                  > Americans who know nothing about
                  > fascist politics to claim they
                  > were Socialists because,

                  It think that’s probably something you should be pretty careful spouting, given your own ideological tunnel vision.

                  It’s usually VERY hard to pin down when a particular ideology or movement flips from being popular to unpopular. Usually it happens over years or decades.

                  But with Fascism and Nazism we have a VERY fixed date.

                  23 June 1941. The day the rest of the world found out about Germany invading Russia.

                  Prior to that the dispute between the Communists and the Nazis/Fascists in Italy and German were mostly seen as an inter-family squabble, the Communist party in the US was attempting to get dock workers to strike and refuse to load ships as part of the Lend-Lease act, Fascism was highly though of (hell, look at President Wilson. He and Hitler had a LOT in common). FDR thought Hitler had some good ideas. The American Press was pretty fond of what was going on in Europe.

                  But the second Hitler turned on Stalin and the GLORIOUS USSR Fascism became RIGHT WING.

                  Now, part of this problem is that for leftists the notion that the government should control the economy is like the taste of water, or the smell of one’s house–it’s such a part of their mindset that they can’t conceive of anything else, so the only differences they notice are that Fascism/Nazism emphasizes *tribal* differences while minimizing *economic* differences.

                  See, that was Mussolini’s “big breakthrough”. International Socialists believe that economic class is the most significant identifier for people. Fascists and Nazis believe it is ethnic affiliation. Hitler added a gloss on top of that about Aryans and glorious futures.

                  Which, frankly means that in any rational society both would be shot on sight.

                  People are individuals, and should be treated as such.

                  But this is a fight over who gets to control the government, which to BOTH sides means that they get to control the entire economy.

                  Even for a tiny little country like the Netherlands, that’s a fair bit of cash you get to vector to your friends and family, right?

                  The stone cold historical fact is that the FOUNDER of Fascism was a “international socialist” back when “international socialist” meant “had connections with the USSR, and that his economic theories were *entirely* in line with socialism.

                  The only significant difference between *fascism* as built up by Mussolini was that he switched the order of class and tribe. Note that Russian Communism (which was basically the root and source of international socialism in the 20s through the 80s) was pretty down on anyone who wasn’t Russian, they pretty were pretty brutal to the Ukranians (Holodomor anyone?), they weren’t particular nice to the little brown peoples of the Steppes either. So it wasn’t like Socialism ignored ethnic differences–it just talked a lot about class first.

                  Socialism (of the time) invented it’s own “working class” mythology, while the Fascists reshaped (if needed) the inherent cultural myths. Socialism has always opposed religion (well, other than statism), but Fascists and Nazis embraced and co-opted it.

                  So there are some differences between Fascists/Nazis and various flavors of socialists.

                  But it’s kinda like the difference between Black Metal and Death Metal. If you’re a metal guy you can go on for days about it.

                  If you’re into Jazz, it’s all just Metal.

                  • Communism explicitly places the means of production in the hands of the state. Fascism provides the legal fiction of private ownership, but under such control of the state as to be a purely cosmetic distinction. To those who live under either, there is no practical difference.

                • > 1) This is irrelevant for this discussion.

                  Not when you keep preening about how much more civilized and non-violent you Euros are, it isn’t.

                  • This is not about us being more civilized, that is another discussion. This is about you claiming we are mass-murdering barbarians.

                    • Wasn’t there this whole wwi and wwii thing about Europe? Don’t you go oh, say fifty years without a genocide, ethnic cleansing, rape gangs with victims in the thousands? Sounds civilized to me. Barbeque tonight in France, bring the ribs, they’ll supply the car.

                    • Winter, *humans* are mass murdering barbarians. That is why the US has the second amendment: mass murdering barbarians are less likely to act as such if their would-be victims are armed. If there were any group that wasn’t a bunch of mass murdering barbarians, you could just hand them all the weapons and everything would be fine, but you can’t trust anyone, so everyone has to have the option to arm themselves.

                • > who know nothing about fascist politics to claim they were Socialists because, hey, they used the name.

                  I know a great deal about fascist politics and the history of the fascist movements and they were absolutely socialists.

                  Fascists are only “right-wing” if you’re Stalin. Perhaps you should reexamine the political indoctrination you’ve received.

                  • “Prior to that the dispute between the Communists and the Nazis/Fascists in Italy and German were mostly seen as an inter-family squabble,”

                    You are all confusing Nationalists and Socialists/Communists. This is very odd as Socialists/Communists are “globalists”. I know that for an American Libertarian all these distinctions seem pointless, but to the other 99% of humanity, they do make a difference. And even an American should know the difference between a Nationalist and a Globalist.

                    • > You are all confusing Nationalists and Socialists/Communists.

                      “Nationalist” and “Socialist” are unrelated terms. One can be a national socialist or an international socialist.

                      The Nazis were both nationalist and socialist. It’s right there in the name, dude.

                      Actually, so were the Soviet Communists, in practice.

                    • @Locktopus
                      “One can be a national socialist or an international socialist.”

                      No. Socialism and Communism are both based on international labor. Individual people can be a nationalist and a socialist like they can be both a Catholic and a Witch, but like Catholicism and Wicca, nationalism and socialism are incommensurable.

                      It just shows you really do not know what you are talking about.

                    • This thread has been a fun read.

                      Someone points out that Fascism explicitly called itself a form of Socialism; Winter says not to go by names but by actions. (And when it’s pointed out just how Socialist in practice Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany were, 🙉 “I can’t hear you.” 🙉)

                      Someone else points out how extremely nationalist the nominally-Socialist USSR was; Winter says, oh, no: the definition of Socialism is incompatible with nationalism.

                      Look at that caveman goal-post go…

                    • > No. Socialism and Communism are both based on international labor.

                      Yes. You clearly don’t understand the difference between socialism and Marxism. Marxism is a kind of socialism, but it is not the only kind.

                      You are brutally ignorant.

                    • Marxism is the “father” of socialism (history teaches you a lot). Socialism weds Marxism with democracy. They are still international in outlook.

                    • No. Socialism was around for eons before Marx.

                      Modern socialism first reared its ugly head in the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who died long before Marx was even born.

                      There are numerous other flavors of socialism which either predate Marx or owe nothing to him. Christian socialism, Fabian socialism, Fourierists, Chartists… the list of those who have fallen victim to the murderous philosophy of socialism is long. Marxism is merely the most successful one when it comes to racking up a high body count.

                      As I said before, you are just brutally ignorant of history.

                    • “International Socialism” was (largely) run out of Moscow, and it’s goal was not Marx’ Utopianist nonsense, but the acquisition of power and wealth for the leaders of the USSR.

                    • “Socialism was around for eons before Marx.”

                      Sorry, but Socialism as a political movement with political parties is from the 19th century. That humans are humans and have tried in various constellations to care for each other has little to do with Socialism as a political movement.

                      What you are claiming is like arguing that crayfish are a group of fish because they are called fish and live in water. And whales are fish too because they live in water too, and look like fish from a distance. Therefore, whales are a kind of crayfish and should be treated as such, and blame the whales for the crayfish that bit your toe.

                      I am seriously wondering whether you have actually encountered socialists and fascist? You do sound a lot like some armchair philosopher speculating based on what he read on Breitbart and saw on Fox news.

                    • Whether or not socialists want to own them, the Nazis called themselves socialists, and advocated for all the parts of socialism that free market advocates oppose.

                      That said, the most socialistic elements of the Nazi party were eliminated in the night of the long knives, but that illustrates a big part of the folly of assigning Naziism to either side of the political spectrum: As time went on, Naziism became more and more about Hitler, and what Hitler cared about was not any political ideology. Hitler cared about Hitler.

                  • > Sorry, but Socialism as a political movement with political parties is from the 19th century.

                    Sorry, you don’t get to make up your own definitions for words.

                    You’ve been indoctrinated with the ideas that “socialist == good” and “nazi == bad”, and therefore are simply incapable of recognizing that national socialism is, in fact, socialism.

                    > You do sound a lot like some armchair philosopher speculating based on what he read on Breitbart and saw on Fox news.

                    You sound like a pig-ignorant, lying communist. Because that is what you are.

        • > Indeed, if you limit it to known riffle murders, then it is 323.

          Rifles are what you were talking about. Stop spinning before you get dizzy.

          > Americans use firearms to kill other Americans, thousands of them each year.

          Europeans murder each other by the millions. Regularly. Throughout all of recorded history.

          • That’s unfair from a variety of standpoints, one of which is that the average European country has a written history 4-5 times as long as ALL OF U.S. history. The second is that Europe is not one unit. If you look at cases of, for example, British people killing French people you get lots of casualties. You get far less casualties, by any measure, when you consider French killing other French, or British killing other British. We’re one country and they’re 30-40 countries (depending on how you count) so comparisons like yours simply are not appropriate.

            • > You get far less casualties, by any measure, when you consider French killing other French

              Reign of Terror? St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre? Albigensian Crusade?

              > European country has a written history 4-5 times as long as ALL OF U.S. history

              So what? Even if you look at just the last century, orders of magnitude more Europeans have been murdered than Americans.

              • But not orders of magnitude more French by French, or more British by British. Germans are a little different, I suppose, but Belgians? Danes? Swedes killing Swedes? Don’t be silly.

                That 7-8000/year gun killings in th U.S. (too tired to look up the number) add up after a century. Americans kill many more Americans than most European countries killing fellow citizens/residents… probably by an order of magnitude.

                • > Germans are a little different

                  To put it mildly. Also Russians. Also Yugoslavs (to the extent there ever was such a thing).

                  You’re assuming that the state of affairs which has obtained since the end of WWII (thanks almost entirely to the Mexican standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union, which no longer exists will continue to exist in the future, contrary to the constant, repeated modes of behavior of Europeans over the last, say, 2,000 years (probably before that, but records start to get a bit scanty before then).

                  Personally, I expect to see the map of Europe to get all “flaggy and arrowy” (as someone put it) within a decade. Two at the most.

                  The EU is going to fall apart, and it’s not going to happen peacefully.

                  What do you expect to happen when the PIGS countries say “HAHAHAH!1!!!!! FU FRANCE AND GERMANY!!!1!!! WERE NOT PAYING FOR DICK! PWNT, SUCAZ!”

                  • “To put it mildly. Also Russians. Also Yugoslavs (to the extent there ever was such a thing).”

                    And in the American Civil war, roughly 2% of the population was killed. In modern times, this is equivalent to 6 million American and 8 million European causalities.

                    If you take Europe as a unity, then WWI and WWII are a protracted civil war killing a record number of people (upto 5% of population in France and Germany).

  9. >[…millions of armed Americans will regard it as their moral duty to rise up and kill >those who threw it in the trash. I will be one of them…]

    So if I understand your sentiments correctly, to you it doesn’t matter if this change comes about as part of a legal, democratic process ? If it doesn’t go your way, you are willing to kill fellow Americans for simply exercising their democratic right to vote on an issue that is important to them ?

    All I can say, as a non-American, is if that is the way that “millions of Americans” feel, then your democracy is really in trouble, and in no way or form, sustainable… :-(

    • The United States is not now, nor has it ever been, a “democracy”. It is a constitutional republic that was designed to protect the rights of minorities against the tyranny of the majority. It has not always succeeded in that goal, but by the standards of the rest of the world it’s done a better job than most.

    • >If it doesn’t go your way, you are willing to kill fellow Americans for simply exercising their democratic right to vote on an issue that is important to them ?

      No, not for exercising their right to vote. For exercising force against me. For infringing on my liberty.

      In the American way of thinking, the “legal, democratic process” is not an end, not a moral good in itself. It is a means for the protection of liberty. To the extent that it ceases to protect liberty, it is pointless. If it reverses into a mechanism to deny liberty, it is illegitimate.

      In that case, it is the right of Americans to resist by means ranging from speech through civil disobedience up to revolutionary violence. And not just a right, a duty. I’m an atheist, but this phrase is appropriate: a sacred duty, bequeathed to us by the founders of our country and everyone who has since suffered and died to defend it.

      The boundaries of the liberty that Americans hold sacred are variable with the individual. That there is such a duty is not. Until you grasp this, you will fail to understand us.

      • I think you are not writing clearly enough in this case. Of course you are not going to shoot random brainwashed fools just for voting for the wrong way. Of course it is about the literal physical violence of men in uniform knocking on the door and wanting to take the guns. If I know your way of thinking and I think I do, you consider it their sacred duty to immediately resign their jobs and quit once ordered to do something like that. Or turn on the people who gave the order. I mean, I remember you writing how you think obedience caused Auschwitz, that it was the “I was just following orders” aspect was the most rotten of them all. You don’t seriously think if there is a ballot for banning guns, some hippie voting the wrong way deserves to die. You do think the men in uniform who enforce it instead of resigning their jobs do, because they broke a very important oath. Sheepdogs are to be held to much higher standards than random sheep. I think that is what you really think and you just wrote it in an unusually unclear way, as he was specifically asking about voters, common everyday people.

      • It is amazing to me how many of those who want to change the Constitution have obviously never bothered to understand, or perhaps even read, the Declaration of Independence.

        The DoI spells out the natural rights of a free people quite well.

        • Including our right to alter or abolish any government that becomes destructive of the ends of protecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The statists pretend the Declaration doesn’t even exist. It’s literally the founding document of the USA. Prior to DoI, there were United Colonies subject to the British Crown. After it, there were the United States of America. (And yes, I said “were”.)

      • >In the American way of thinking, the “legal, democratic process” is not an end, not a moral good in itself. It is a means for the protection of liberty. To the extent that it ceases to protect liberty, it is pointless. If it reverses into a mechanism to deny liberty, it is illegitimate

        But this is rather ‘fungible’ motivation, isn’t it ? This could as easily serve as a justification for the extremist for his actions against fellow citizens, if they refuse (democratically), to follow his ideology, then rather than convince them via debate, just force them into submission with terror or other means… It just seems to me a very slippery slope.

        In my part of the world (Southern Africa), similar arguments are often used by those that would seek a justification to grab power by non-democratic means…so a number of us are highly sensitive to these arguments when we hear them (not enough of us, sadly..)

        > In that case, it is the right of Americans to resist by means ranging from speech through civil disobedience

        I can agree with this.

        > up to revolutionary violence. And not just a right, a duty. I’m an atheist, but this phrase is appropriate: a sacred duty

        But not this. I see a lot of danger in this type of thinking… Once you start down this road, it is difficult to exit. Many decades of never-ending revolutions have essentially delivered Africa nothing but violence and poverty. I sincerely hope that this is not the route you choose to follow. I commonly see ‘sacred’ = ‘non-rational’ as it is almost like an appeal to a higher authority (usually religious) to justify a set of actions that cannot be otherwise justified.

        Simply put, if you cannot convince and bring your fellow citizens on-board with your views (even if you have to compromise), then you have already lost. You may subjugate them temporarily with violence, but it will only ever be temporarily, this is also why some try to resort to genocide as a ‘final’ solution.

        This is only a personal opinion, but for me the end can never justify the means..I’ve seen the results of the opposite way of thinking, and I cannot reconcile myself with it.

        >The boundaries of the liberty that Americans hold sacred are variable with the individual. That there is such a duty is not. Until you grasp this, you will fail to understand us.

        You are probably right. No offence intended in any way or form, I hope I express this correctly, but I also think that when you are essentially ‘spoilt / blessed’ with a rich economy and relatively long peaceful period, you do tend to over value some things and under value others (from my subjective point of view), whereas if you lived in a country not as blessed, your priorities and views on these matters may be different.

        >It has not always succeeded in that goal, but by the standards of the rest of the world it’s done a better job than most.

        Fair enough. I am not really disputing that. However, a good track record does not mean you are immune to the same ‘cancers’ as the rest of the world.

        • I think you may not be seeing the difference between a credible threat of violence used to make others not subjugate you vs. using violance to subjugate others.

          I think South Africa’s case is actually very instructive. Whites hoped that voting down the Apartheid will lead to a normal democracy. It led to a corrupted government taking their lands without compensation, doing nothing with the brutal and clearly ethnic hatred motivated violence committed to Boer farmers to the extent that it is starting to look like genocide or at least serious persecution and there were serious discussions of the possibility of thousands of Boers seeking asylum in Eastern Europe.

          This is largely missing from the global media, but brave souls like Katie Hopkins are drawing attention to it on, say, Twitter. #plaasmorde and all that. But sure you know a lot about it.

          Maybe time they showed some teeth. Not to re-subjugate blacks but to be left alone to farm in peace.

          BTW in my mind Boers and Bantus trying to form a democracy together should have been seen as an unworkable idea from the very beginning. It is exactly like how Serbs and Croatians could not live in a Yugoslavian democracy together. Democracy requires strong ingroup feeling. It does not create it, it requires it as a prerequisite. It should have been clear the only solution is divorce. The Apartheid was one country, two nations. This current thing, one country, one nation is a crazy lib pipe dream, putting the cart before the horse, hoping democracy will create one nation. It will never. Two country, two nations. Nothing else will work. (True the terms of the divorce, especially the border, gonna be real hard to work out.)

          • >Whites hoped that voting down the Apartheid will lead to a normal democracy.

            Not really. The situation was just becoming untenable. Between the suffocating sanctions and the security forces’ increasingly fragile grip on safety and security, there wasn’t really much of a choice, to be honest. It was a pragmatic choice for most whites, not even a moral one. For anyone paying attention, it was clear that the situation was heading for disaster.

            > It led to a corrupted government taking their lands without compensation, doing nothing with the brutal and clearly ethnic hatred motivated violence committed to Boer farmers

            Again, this has some elements of truth but is not the whole story. It was more of a case of trading one corrupted government, which turned a blind eye to one set of atrocities, for another corrupted government, turning a blind eye to another set of atrocities. Both governments have done an excellent job of looting state resources for individuals’ personal gain. I know some of my fellow white South Africans would like to believe that it was somehow ‘different’ back in the day, but it wasn’t…there was only the facade, and only the power players changed. If anything, the situation has improved, because we have a level of transparency and due process in government that was simply not possible before. (See for example how difficult it was to get P.W. Botha out of power, he literally had to have a stroke…)

            As for the farm murders, it is heartbreaking…unfortunately something my own family have not escaped.

            A lot of the violence against farmers are due to the inflammatory rhetoric by various political leaders, which distorts the facts and makes a precarious situation worse. But in the same breath, you also have idiots that engage in overt racism (see recent ‘farmer coffin case’ in South Africa) that also fans these flames…these are essentially people that ‘piss in the drinking fountain’ making the situation worse for everyone.

            >Maybe time they showed some teeth.

            It’s not the farmers are not attempting to defend themselves, but you have to realise that farmers are an extremely soft target due to the fact that they are typically isolated, on a large section of land, with law enforcement typically an hour away or more. The only way you are going to survive is by building relationships with the communities surrounding you (lots of rural communities around these farms), where they feel the need to look out for you. No matter how many guns you have, you cannot be vigilant every second of every day…you absolutely need the community’s protection. From a law enforcement perspective, you also have to realise that there are as many murders etc in the cities, and that the law enforcement is typically underfunded, and under-paid. So the protection and investigation you are going to receive from law enforcement is limited at best, irrespective of your ethnic origin.

            >BTW in my mind Boers and Bantus trying to form a democracy together should have been seen as an unworkable idea from the very beginning

            You seem to think that there was a choice….? Where would either community go ? It is as unrealistic as stating that California should secede and become its own country, as its liberal views are irreconcilable with America’s right….Sometimes you have to just accept the circumstances and make the best of it. Also, neither community would ever accept a partitioning of the country.

            (Just a note, you probably are not aware, but the word ‘Bantu’ is offensive to many South Africans due the apartheid connotations etc, even though it may be acceptable in other parts of Africa.)

            >The Apartheid was one country, two nations.

            Not sure where you got that from, but it is not correct. The apartheid government created homelands, with the intention to ‘contain’ the blacks there, and attempting to legitimise the system of apartheid, by showing that they were giving the blacks ‘self determination’ in their own so-called homelands. This was never going to work, and it didn’t. It’s always been one nation, one country, ever since the country managed to gain independence from the British.

            >(True the terms of the divorce, especially the border, gonna be real hard to work out.)

            Impossible, is more likely. See the situation in Palestine re negotiation of borders…how many decades now, and still no solution in sight ? Idealism doesn’t cut it in these situations, only pragmatic solutions, leaving emotions at the door.

            Just to be clear though, the situation in South Africa may not be perfect, but no one can doubt that the situation has improved for the vast majority of its people, and that we have avoided a bloody civil war, which would have left no victors, only ruin. So yes, we have corruption, we have crime, we have a huge disparity between the haves and the have-nots, but we still have the most robust economy in Africa, one of the most stable democracies in Africa, we have functional institutions (even though the Zuma presidency did its best to subvert it, but ultimately failed), and the middle class still have a fantastic lifestyle, even when compared to European or American standards…This is not an easy feat in Africa, given its history. So yes, I think (largely) that the right choices were made.

        • > However, a good track record does not mean you are immune to the same ‘cancers’ as the rest of the world.

          Ah, yes. As the old saying goes, fascism is always descending on the United States, but somehow it keeps landing on Europe (and Africa, and Asia, and South America, and…)

          • It has only been a 153 years since your civil war, a relatively short period from a historical perspective…I don’t think it justifies your dismissive stance. I also think it is foolish to take your democracy for granted.

            • What democracy? As Americans, we pledge our allegiance to the Republic, not some fictive democracy. Our Constitution guarantees to each state a republican form of government. Ignore our media and at least half of our elected politicians. Read our Founding documents instead. There is no American democracy. There never was. We have a Republic of Republics. When we say ‘democracy’, anyone who paid attention in civics class knows we really mean ‘representative government’.

              We don’t take our system of government for granted. We’re trying to save it.

            • Oddly, our current system of government is vastly older than that of anyone talking about our lack of history.

      • Voting in the colonies and early United States was often done by dropping musket balls in jars–a visceral reminder that voting isn’t some sort of human right (and never should have been treated as such), but is a compromise wherein citizens recognize that certain political questions are not worth physical combat and that the downsides of a disliked policy are smaller than the benefits of predictable peace.

        This compromise is predicated on the concept that only a limited amount of power is delegated to the collective and backed up by the understanding that in the case of trying to overstep that power, the compromise has been breached. Having mutton for dinner is not within the scope that the electorate has agreed to.

        (It’s also why relentless expansion of the franchise is so toxic–the majority of voters now have no Skin in the Game™, and between dynamiting civics education and adding lots of agitators to the rolls, we took a system wherein voters understood this compact and its boundaries and replaced it with democracy.)

        • Indeed, the use of the word “right” in the Constitution to describe voting was a horrible mistake. A right is a personal liberty, something you don’t need permission from someone else to do, or something others need permission from you to do to you or your property. Voting is the exercise of political power, and as the Declaration of Independence clearly delineates, the just powers of government are those that protect the rights of the people. Calling a power a “right” allows it to be considered on the same level as rights, but powers are subservient to rights.

          The right involved in voting is similar to the right involved in serving on a jury: No one has a right to do either of those things. We all have the right to have our disputes resolved by a jury of our peers rather than Lords and Ladies dispensing “Low Justice” to serfs. That includes the right to have that jury judge whether the law itself violates the rights of any of the parties to the dispute, and the right to have the laws enacted with the consent of the whole of the society rather than some special elite class.

          But no individual person has an inherent “right” to wield political power over others by voting or serving on a jury, no matter how often people abbreviate the logic of the above paragraph to “right to vote”.

    • American democracy is indeed in trouble, but not for this reason. The real reason is that the votes are solidifying. That is, fewer and fewer people even think about whom to vote for, there are fixed voter blocks, typically the not overly educated white man and his wife are R, and the D are the nonwhites, feminists, gays, and intellectuals.

      This is not a good thing for a democracy to have. Recall how a hundred or two years ago people who could still think clearly about political systems instead of turning democracy into a religion thought just like the weakness of monarchy is that sometimes you get a tyrant, the weakness of democracy is that it can result in civil war. Essentially democracy means that you are willing to lose with grace, and willing to accept things you don’t like brought to you by the process.

      Yes, this is somewhat similar to what you said. Notice how it is on both sides. Liberal cities are actively resisting the executive orders to deport illegals immigrants, ordering their local forces to not cooperate with feds. This is very much the same kind of thing. They don’t care about the process or legality. Libs openly see Trump as illegitimate. ESRites would see that change as illegitimate.

      But all this is the result of the solidifying of voter blocks. As I wrote above democracy is all about being willing to lose, not win at *all* costs, and put up with stuff you don’t like, and this, in other words, requires a *respect* for each other.

      And solid vote banks erode precisely that respect. When people deliberate before an election, when they think about whom to vote for, it is precisely this deliberation that they respect in each other. If all tall people vote for one party and all short people for another, and there is not much deliberation, this respect evaporates. They start seeing each other as enemies, and more drift towards winning at all, even illegal costs. Or at least not losing things that really matter for you at all, even illegal costs.

      This is precisely why back then people saw democracy as a tool with its strengths and weaknesses and not a religion, they understood that only a very strong ingroup feeling, civic nationalism and the respect for each other that that means can make it work. If you have a country where various groups of people hate each other, you have two solutions, either some kind of divorce or an authoritarian leader holds them together in a Titoist Yugoslavia style. You cannot have democracy on these grounds. Democracy is how you run a club on the inside. It is not something between clubs. You don’t just merge two hostile clubs and make a vote in common, thus guaranteeing the larger club wins and you get a tyranny of majority. The loser will not accept losing and there will be violence.

      Of course, constitutionalism, largely, limiting the merged-club governance and letting the clubs make most decisions could also work. The problem is, in my opinion, with the concept of “Constitutional Law”, consisting of previous SCOTUS decisions. Why was the power of less important courts and proceedings limited by citizen juries and this most important one not? A jury based consitutional law could even work. But I think when you have constitutional law based on how the Harvard elites of the legal profession go into the SCOTUS, you are just ruled by Harvard. If Harvard thinks same-sex marriage is okay, they somehow interpret constitutional law that way. If Harvard thinks guns are not okay…

      • And it’s worth noting, in the context of your discussion, that many of us see the #Resistance as being about overturning the results of a legitimate election – in other words, a refusal to recognize that they lost, and instead imposing their result on the rest of us.

      • >Libs openly see Trump as illegitimate.

        And I’m in a caught between-two-fires position on that one, Dividualist. You can probably figure out what they are.

      • Note the error is not between Democracy and Monarchy, but between small and large government.

        I would prefer a Nero that taxed me only 5% and generally left me alone than a Democracy that taxes me 50%.

        The shift both on the democratic and oligarchic sides is to have one Federal Government standard for everything. There is no reason Abortion, Gay Marriage, etc can’t be treated differently in Salt Lake City v.s. San Francisco.

        People voted first with their feet. Federal supremacy makes that impossible.

        What has happened is the Right generally was NOT about using federal power, but would simply ostracize those who were sinners – they weren’t criminals. The Gay Rights movement made the Christians the criminals for not accepting the lifestyle.

        Trump is the Right’s response. Okay, you want big militant force it down your throat government? You got it baby!

        Liberty and tolerance is the only way to avoid civil war, but I don’t see it on the left that wants to make the entire USA a San Francisco, and the right will not allow themselves to be slaves. The left either has to retreat and be satisfied with their debauchery and safe spaces in their own deep blue areas but let the flyover states be different, or there will be war and the left is not going to win.

        • The left either has to retreat and be satisfied with their debauchery and safe spaces in their own deep blue areas

          This is not entirely satisfactory when humans, and, say, pooled blood products cross state/political lines. California recently decided that the LGBT crowd has a civil right to donate blood, which is OK because they consider AIDS to be “treatable”, but….

    • You demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of American political theory. The Bill of Rights enumerates and guarantees (as Eric points out, not grants; there is a critical difference) basic rights that are inherent in being a free citizen of a free country. (The Founders called them God-given rights, but no deity is required.) They are rights which no government may abrogate and remain legitimate.

      It doesn’t matter how many people, or how large a majority, attempts to impose a change that would take away an inherent right. (And it would take a very large majority to repeal the Second Amendment, to the point it’s essentially impossible in the absence of a broad national consensus. To start with, if the legislatures in just 13 states were to disapprove such a change, it would fail.) Even a serious attempt to do so would demonstrate to many of us that the government had become illegitimate and in need of replacement.

      Americans speak of four boxes to defend liberty: soap, ballot, jury…and ammunition. So far, the first two have pretty much done the job. All four may well be needed at some point, however.

  10. I have long believed that the Second Amendment, in addition to recognizing an inherent right to keep and bear arms, also imposes a duty: the duty to decide under what circumstances one will take up arms. One need not decide to ever do so if one does not wish. Nobody should be forced to carry arms, just as they should not be denied the right. But it at least needs thinking about.

    In particular, it is the duty of every citizen to decide whether the government has crossed the line into tyranny, and thus to invoke Jefferson’s dictum about watering the tree of liberty. Practically speaking, that decision must be made regularly, as it’s impossible to imagine in advance all the things that a government might do. But some things are both imaginable and clearly over the line.

    An attempt to disarm American citizens en masse would be one of them. I have no doubt at all that it would start a shooting civil war, as opposed to the cold civil war we are now waging. And I would be one of those taking up arms in the name of freedom.

  11. Obviously someone who hears the voices of demons and attacks children should not be allowed to keep and bear arms. Nikolas Cruz clearly should have been locked up, he had given plenty of just cause to take him off the streets, and if he had not obtained a gun, was doing plenty of damage by other means.

    I assume you would agree that Nikolas Cruz forfeited the right to keep and bear arms by his misbehavior. That is current law,(which it seems was not enforced) and I don’t see anyone calling to change that law. No one thinks that the likes of Nikolas Cruz should be allowed to keep and bear arms – or indeed allowed liberty.

    But, if no right to keep and bear arms for Nikolas Cruz, then no universal human rights at all. Rights are not for all humans, most of whom are too wicked or incompetent to exercise rights well, but for the better sort of people.

    • I assume you would agree that Nikolas Cruz forfeited the right to keep and bear arms by his misbehavior.

      I would phrase it differently. He didn’t “forfeit the right”, he has problems which make it such that he *can not* exercise that right. We don’t grant children all the same rights we do adults because they don’t have the ability to rationally exercise them. This is the same with certain mental illnesses.

      That is current law,(which it seems was not enforced) and I don’t see anyone calling to change that law. No one thinks that the likes of Nikolas Cruz should be allowed to keep and bear arms – or indeed allowed liberty.

      Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong.

      A significant part of the problems we have today are a result of:
      1) Really horrible conditions in mental hospitals up through the late 80s (and in some cases even today)
      2) The invention/development of SSRIs
      3) The Welfare state and the expansion of the government.

      Prior to the Reagan administration when someone had a psychotic episode we put them away for a while. We couldn’t do much of anything to “fix” them, or even to normalize them. But we could warehouse them. Unfortunately this led to a LOT of abuses, and some pretty horrible places and stories.

      Then in the late 1970s SSRIs came on the market. As marketing departments do, these were sold as miracle “cures” for psychosis/schizophrenia/etc. All of the sudden the activists who wanted people out of these horrible conditions had a answer. This answer ALSO meant that governments at *every* level could save money by letting these people go. Note that this money didn’t get back to the tax payers, the governments just blew it on other things.

      So we emptied out the asylums. But it turns out that even IF the SSRIs help you, they need to be carefully titrated, and they’ve got some horrible side effects (including death. A friend of mine came home to find her boyfriend dead because he was schizophrenic and his medication caused serious medical complications). But “we” (this was both the democrats and the republicans here, blame ALL AROUND) wanted the cost savings, and we did a HORRIBLE job of making the changes.

      Now we know better how to handle these things (or we should), but because we’re spewing money all over the place we can’t afford it.

      And because of abuses (including Communist in other countries), and prejudice against mental illnesses we have a really hard time labeling people as “mentally ill” in a legal way.

      But, if no right to keep and bear arms for Nikolas Cruz, then no universal human rights at all. Rights are not for all humans, most of whom are too wicked or incompetent to exercise rights well, but for the better sort of people.

      Not at all. Mr. Cruz doesn’t lose*all* of his rights just because we THINK he’s mentally ill. Just being *labelled* nuts isn’t enough. The State has to present it’s case to a judge, in a public court, and Mr. Cruz has the option to be represented by consul.

      Mr. Cruz *has* all of his rights until he is *adjudicated* by a court as not being mentally competent to exercise them. And even then he only loses specific rights (right to vote, bear arms etc.). If his problems are bad enough he may be remanded to a facility where he can get the help he needs. If (and this pretty much doesn’t happen with things like schizophrenia) he gets better, he can petition the courts to get his rights back.

      This is exactly the same as a criminal.

      If you can control your actions, you do not have a problem. If you cannot control your actions you are a threat to those around you. Those around you have a *right* to defend themselves and an obligation or duty (depending on your mindset) to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

      Shooting someone in the head *might* be better than 40 years of SSRIs in a mental institution, but we as a society don’t believe that.

      • >So we emptied out the asylums. But it turns out that even IF the SSRIs help you, they need to be carefully titrated, and they’ve got some horrible side effects

        I think it’s worse than that. I have a very strong suspicion that SSRIs suppress short term symptoms at the expense of an irreversible long term loss of mental stability. I even have an informed guess at a mechanism – your brain stops reliably making the neurotransmitters for which the SSRIs are substituting.

        This is especially dangerous if you go off them or change meds. A disturbingly high percentage of gun freakouts appear to have this in the background.

        I have talked with clinicians about this. If you can get them to open up you will find that this suspicion is widespread. But they don’t stop prescribing the drugs, because there is no actual aternative to them.

        There is a person close to me with mild exogenous depression. She knows it, but won’t see a doctor about it because she knows he’d almost certainly prescribe SSRIs or similar drugs with similar hazard profiles and she’s frightened of them. I believe her fear is wise.

        • But [clinicians] don’t stop prescribing [SSRIs], because there is no actual aternative to them.

          Do you mean anti-depressants in general? Because there are a lot of alternatives to the SSRIs, the earlier generation tricyclics are fairly safe and not all that nasty, and there are some fairly low side effect ones, and there are a number of non-SSRI 3rd generation anti-depressants, or ones that hit other reuptake receptors in addition to serotonin.

          But all have the effect of increasing the circulation of one or more neurotransmitters, and that would fit with your general thesis. Certainly abrupt discontinuation is strongly discouraged unless one suffers really bad side effects, that happened with a former girlfriend who developed suicidal ideation shortly after being put on one of the 3rd generation ones.

          Note also that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a good alternative for depression, and strictly speaking doesn’t require a lot, or any time with a mental health professional.

          • The problem is that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy costs a grip. Which then raises the ugly spectre of health care in America and how broken it is.

            Any way you slice it, school shootings happen in America because the system in America is irredeemably flawed. Making America more like western Europe would be an almost unmitigated win.

            • As it happens, I have a friend who’s (hopefully) going to be signing up for CBT in Canada…on April 1/2. She missed the last window on December 1. The few available slots fill up in less than a day.

              Tell me again how wonderful Canada is?

            • The problem is that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy costs a grip.

              Where “a grip” starts at $5.66 plus shipping. Or per my standing policy for the last 30+ years starting with the first paperback edition, $0 to the couple of people I’ve given copies to in the last 6 months, both of whom found it very useful.

              Making America more like western Europe would be an almost unmitigated win.

              Seeing as how this entire discussion is how we’re sharply moving towards an European level bloodletting, it looks like you’ll get you wish.

        • Wait. SSRI’s for depression don’t actually have side effects like that. For psychosis or schizophrenia they may have, but frankly this is the first time I hear that they are used for that purpose. It psychotics and schizophrenics who shoot schools up, not the depressed.

          Serotonine has about nothing to do with stability in that sense. Yes, it is possible that your brain stops making it and when you go off them you get super depressed and maybe even kill yourself. But you will feel no urge to go on a rampage. You will be literally too depressed for that. Depression is a low energy state. You don’t even want to get out of bed.

          And then there are the cases where people go off them without any problems. Like Scott Alexander. Um, except asexuality. Anyhow in those cases it looks like the extra energy enables one to actually fix the problem (go to therapy, exercise, eat better, whatever) and then no more need it.

          Let’s not confuse psychosis with depression, they are entirely different animals and terms like “stability” muddle the issue, because there are different kinds of “instabilities”.

          My personal experience with SSRI’s is that they seem to do nothing at all, and with SNRI’s that they just sort of help focusing. I don’t see that hazard profile at all. Except the hazard of asexuality. They really do tend to suppress libido albeit by not much. Orgasms are better, though. However, I am probably not depressed in the classical sense, just kind of not good at being a hedonist.

          • >SSRI’s for depression don’t actually have side effects like that.

            How do you know that?

            It is an empirical fact that both antipsychotics and antidepressants like SSRIs seem to be lurking in the background of a lot of spree killings. The people who do those killings frequently have behavior that resembles a psychotic break.

            You may think you know what the short-term effects of SSRI’s are and are not, and you may be quite right to think that; it’s a well-studied area. But this is not grounds to wave away the field evidence hat something very very bad may be happening in the longer term to at least some people taking SSRIs.

            I don’t know of any simpler way to explain the spree-killing correlation that seems to be out there than to propose that SSRIs and these other drugs are short-term symptom suppressors but long-term psychoticizers. They don’t fix the brain’s ability to self-regulate, they substitute for it. The substitition is fragile.

            I have to keep pointing out whenever this comes up that every doctor I’ve bounced this off finds this theory frighteningly plausible. Some confess to having thought of it themselves but kept their mouths shut because the implications would blow up the mental-health system as we know it and what is the alternative?

            • But was it so that they were only depressed, took SSRIs, and then became psychotic? Or maybe they were both psychotic and depressed and took SSRIs for the second? Or only psychotic but for some weird reason docs tried to treat that with SSRIs? Why is your Bayesian prior the medicine, and not the illness itself that it intends to treat?

              Many of these rampages look like suicide by proxy, basically asking for a bullet? So suppose someone is psychopathic and also depressed, and gets SSRIs and does this, what caused it? It was the combination of depressed suicidalism and a psychopathic disregard for others.

              • >Why is your Bayesian prior the medicine, and not the illness itself that it intends to treat?

                Because if these people were psychotics to begin with you’d expect psychotic symptoms in their past to be more common than they actually seem to be. I mean delusions, prior psychotic breaks, etc.

                Yeah, there’s a subset of spree killers who have a long history of being in and out of mental institutions. But it’s not most of them, if only because with that kind of history you’re likely to fail a NICS check. Much more common are people who have never had psychotic symptoms, have never been institutionalized, but have been in low-grade trouble all their lives and have poorly-characterized symptoms that cluster around depression, borderline personality disorder, and autism. they have trouble forming
                and sustaining relationships, trouble holding down jobs, trouble *engaging*. Misfits. They get SSRIs because “depression” is the easiest and cheapest diagnostic bin to throw then in. Next patient, please!

                When you get people who already have histories of overt psychosis having psychotic breaks with weapons, that doesn’t tell you much. It’s the *rest* of this miserable crew I’m focusing on. There could be such a thing as undiagnosed asymptomatic psychosis that takes its own sweet time to pop out, but that notion seems like rather a panchreston, doesn’t it?

                No. It looks like the drugs start by helping these people and in at least some cases end up by damaging their already fragile or broken neurochemistries. And I think that’s what’s happening.

                • The overprescription of SSRIs by *doctors* not psychologists was one of the biggest pet peeves of my Pysch Prof in college. He said that in the literature, very, very few people needed or should be given the pills and it should only be as part of a more complete mental health regimen.

                  The docs did it to both get people out of the hair and to profit from the pharmaceutical corporations pushing down the meds. Why to get out of their hair? Figuring out a broken leg is easy. Figuring out complex medical symptoms for weird issues? That’s far more trouble than it is worth, and the easy answer is to declare it is all in the patient’s head. Give him a happy pill and move on. I know because they did that to my father for a while. SSRIs screwed with his personality and had exactly zero to do with helping solve his medical issues.

                  • OK I didn’t know in the US family doctors, general practitioners are allowed to prescribe specialist medicine. I got it from an actual psychiatrist but yes the diagnosis was not much more than “you seem bitter, here, pills”, because it was just an observation while discussing something entirely different.

                    However I must say I experience no side effects. Not much in the way of effects either. They aren’t happy pills. You know what would be happy pills? Dopamine and related stuff. Ritalin, and similar ADHD meds, basically meth-like stuff. I don’t know what kind of brain chemistry one needs to really feel Lexapro and suchlike are happy pills. They aren’t even similar to recreational drugs. No kids steal them to crush and snort them.

                    All I really feel from them is less likely to be angry. Not losing my shit and chimping out at people. That is a good thing.

                    OK I don’t know what they do t people who have already serious problems.

                    • My father went through very weird mood swings. He would be maniacally happy for a bit, and then break down crying for no reason. It was completely unlike him.

                      SSRIs are marketed as an antidepressant. Thus, happy pills. Whether this is all of them or their primary purpose is irrelevant because that’s what they are used for. This person doesn’t have a mood we like, here’s a pill.

                      Because of that, my first question when someone says they use the things, is why were you put on them? The whole POINT of an SSRI is to adjust your brain chemistry, which is an extremely complex beast with a whole web of interactions. You’re editing the meat computer kernel code and recompiling on the fly. Has seratonin been identified as a problem specifically in your brain? Or are attempting to adjust behavior by twiddling things?

                      If it’s behavior, that’s why you want a psychologist involved. Why do you get angry? Is it a legitimate reason, or random, have you learned coping mechanisms and worked to strengthen your willpower, identified underlying causes in your environment? We don’t break our arm and then pop aspirin the rest of our lives instead of setting it.

                    • SSRIs are marketed as an antidepressant. Thus, happy pills.

                      As discussed elsewhere, they’re “less unhappy pills”, they don’t make you feel happy per se.

                      The whole POINT of an SSRI is to adjust your brain chemistry

                      A better analogy is that we’ve discovered that if you poke a depressed person’s brain with a stick who’s end is shaped like X, they tend to get less depressed. The “adjust your brain chemistry” is after the fact rationalization, we don’t know why they work, just that statistically they do.

                • > they have trouble forming and sustaining relationships

                  From my experience on the Boo Boo bus, a lot of people with mental health disorders primarily need someone to talk to in their life. Unfortunately, these people are also not always enjoyable to deal with. So the only people who will voluntarily listen to them are the mental health professionals.

                  How about mandating that all gun-restrictors spent at least 10 hours a week as a friend to someone with non-hospitalized mental issues?

        • > I even have an informed guess at a mechanism – your brain stops reliably making the neurotransmitters for which the SSRIs are substituting.

          I had the same thought about drugs in general, after observing how my ex seemed to entirely lose her ability to feel love after diving into the world of recreational drugs. Also when I sampled Melatonin for my insomnia in my 30s, it screwed up me up miserably for period of time where it seemed I was producing no serotonin naturally.

          Most of my formative life I was supercharged with dopamine and this was to great advantage for example in sports wherein I could summon extreme surges in adrenaline seemingly at-will on a moments notice, but this also lead to periods of depressive recovery.

          Reflecting on some the rough borderline delusionary (coupled with rollercoaster short-term highs and longer bouts of depressive lows) periods of my life, I presume further upsetting this balance could have spiraled further out-of-control if I was on any sort of medications.

          Now later in life with numerous cysts on my liver and thus much less capable of the highs and lows, I’m wondering if this was not perhaps related to a hyperactive liver or endocrine disease given that I was born with jaundice. Couple this with a broken family at age 5. As others have said, very complicated to sort out.

          Eric I remember reading about your experimentation with a drug to improve your concentration if my vague recollection is not mistaken. I hope there’s not some long-term adverse effect. I’m more into natural remedies now such as more sunshine and spinach.

          Edit: ah wait I remember you were taking it to improve some symptoms of your palsy. Apologies.

          • Satoshi, I am extremely protective of my brain cells. A major reason I qualified modafinil as safe to take is that the military has been feeding it to SpecOps troopers and pilots for decades, monitoring for long-term effects. They’ve found none. And in case you’re inclined to wax cynical, those guys are really expensive to train, so the DOD has a strong incentive not to ignore anything that might break them.

            Besides, I’m not taking it because my neurochemical regulation is broken – said regulation seems to be in fine shape, thank you.

            • > DOD has a strong incentive not to ignore
              > anything that might break them.

              A very large number of them are taking some sort of “performance enhancing drug”.

              The DoD has a strong incentive not to do anything that might break them IN THE SHORT TERM. Very, very few of them go much beyond 20 or 25 years in the military anyway (even with the right drugs the job beats the snot out of you) and once they are out they are out.

              This isn’t to say Modafinil is problematic, but that it’s not “safe” just because it’s Delta Force “safe”.

              • >This isn’t to say Modafinil is problematic, but that it’s not “safe” just because it’s Delta Force “safe”.

                Funny you should mention that. One of the tings I turned up in researching his is that SpecOps people, once they make the nut, seem to have a longer dwell time in the military than regular line troops. Thus, I concluded that Delta Force “safe” was probably about the most reassurance I could possibly get – DOD has the most to lose on at least two levels if those guys get fucked up.

                • That is generally true, but the average military enlistee gets out after his first hitch and MAYBE does some reserve time.

                  SOC guys generally stick around longer, but longer is 20-25 years. It takes a real freak of a freak to do what they do for as long as they do it, much less into their late 40s and 50s.

      • Prior to the Reagan administration when someone had a psychotic episode we put them away for a while. We couldn’t do much of anything to “fix” them, or even to normalize them. But we could warehouse them.

        The US deinstitutionalization effort started in the 1950s when we got effective anti-psychotics, and was enshrined in the 1963 Community Mental Health Act. California governor Reagan signed onto to that, but after the ACLU et. al. made it all but impossible to hold people against their will or force them to take their meds, there was no point in keeping so many mental hospitals open.

        Nowadays someone has to commit a serious enough crime to get a disqualifying for gun ownership involuntary commitment, although our betters are all too eager to “adjudge” people “mental defectives” (Gun Control Act of 1968 words of art) if they assign someone else to handle their financial affairs, and/or in the case of vets starting with the Clinton administration, admit to having PTSD.

        Then in the late 1970s SSRIs came on the market. As marketing departments do, these were sold as miracle “cures” for psychosis/schizophrenia/etc.

        The first SSRI [who’s trade name clearly triggers this blog’s spam filter] entered medical use in 1986, and started the 3rd generation of anti-depressants, many of which are not SSRIs, following the unsafe 1st gen MAO inhibitors and fairly safe 2nd gen tricyclics. They’ve never been primary treatments for schizophrenia, and are generally not useful for biopolar disorder, these two being the severe mental illnesses that frequently required long term institutionalization prior to effective medications for them. For bipolar, after lithium in 1970s, some anticonvulsants, and somewhat later the safer 2nd generation “atypical” antipsychotics.

        The SSRIs are remarkably safe drugs when it comes to physical effects, the drugs for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are much nastier, much less safe, and do indeed kill people.

        • I apologize–I had pulled information from several different areas into one, and got some of the details disordered.

          Thank you. Much clearer now.

          However the larger pattern is still there–we started to de-institutionalize seriously mentally ill people because (a) mental wards/hospitals were shitty places to be, (b) a new class of drugs “promised” we didn’t need to keep them locked up and (c) it was going to save money.

          Of those only (a) was true.

          We could, and should do better.

          • However the larger pattern is still there–we started to de-institutionalize seriously mentally ill people because (a) mental wards/hospitals were shitty places to be….

            Of those only (a) was true.

            Not usefully true since the only alternative the ACLU et. al. offered was for many of them homelessness on the street, the objection was to coercion in the mental health system altogether, with mental wards only being the strongest example of that (of course, some went so far as in a notable court decision to declare that unmedicated insanity was as “authentic” a way to live as being normal).

            Your “(b) a new class of drugs ‘promised’ we didn’t need to keep them locked up” could have worked for a large fraction of these patients if the taking of medicine could have been coerced, use the TB observation protocol, with the threat of locking them back up if they failed to observe it (which would result in some staying locked up).

            The (c) of saving money likely would have happened if enough could be maintained in “the community”, but we can make no confident projections since this era of government programs became as much public work ones as what they ostensibly were for, see NASA post Apollo, the Great Society, etc.

            We could, and should do better.

            That prospect died when “the homeless” were first used as a cudgel against President Reagan.

            • We could, and should do better.

              That prospect died when “the homeless” were first used as a cudgel against President Reagan.

              No, it didn’t.

              Just because the leftist assholes don’t *care* about the mentally ill, and the conservative assholes don’t understand it doesn’t mean that the conservative assholes can’t be educated into understanding it, and then beat the leftist assholes with their own lack of care.

              Sidetrack: There’s this notion called “theory of mind”, and it seems (I’ve not done a deep dive on this, it just came up briefly in some child development stuff I read when my daughter was younger) that early on in a child’s development they don’t understand that there are really other people with their own internal minds.

              At some point in their maturation process most[1] realize that these other things are “people” like them with thoughts and emotions etc.

              I believe[2] that there is a second stage in this process. For people who really think this through you realize that not only are there other people with their own minds, but those minds are *different*, they have different values, different experiences and beliefs.

              This is a YUGE problem with leftists–many of them seem (by their outward statements and actions) to believe that “we” (non-leftists) have the same values and beliefs as they do (largely) but stymie what they want to achieve purely out of partisan power politics.

              But anyway I think that the problem with mental illness issues is one step past that–realizing that not only do people have different “minds”, but that a small minority of people have significantly different *brains*.

              The stereotype is that Conservatives say that mental illness is “all in your head” and you should be able to overcome it by hard work etc.

              This might be true of some mental problems, but those aren’t the problems that lead to long term homelessness[3], and they certainly aren’t the problems that lead to mass killings.

              When 12 percent of your prison population, and virtually all of your long term homeless[4] have VERY similar psychiatric problems, and almost no one with those problems makes it into the middle class on their own, it’s probably not a problem of discipline and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.

              [1] There are some exceptions. They become serial killers, Actors/Actresses and successful politicians.
              [2] “Believe” means personal evidence, but not any studies I’ve read.
              [3] There are a subset of on-again-off-again homeless caused by other things. I could go on for days about how “concerned’ politicians, usually of the progressive sort have utterly screwed the poor, the homeless and the rest of us.
              [4] Not every problem has the same cause, and not every cause/problem has the same solution.

      • Not a mental health problem. Racial problem

        The problem with Cruz was not that he was hearing demons, but that he was obeying demons – he was assaulting people and suchlike.

        Medicating people has some success at preventing people from hearing demons, but Singapore has near 100% success at stopping people from obeying demons by hitting them with a stick.

        If he had been non Hispanic white, Child Protective Services or the FBI would have been onto him like a dingo on a baby, but the trouble was someone had noticed that too many blacks and hispanics were being restrained from bad behavior, so “Broward schools became a leader in the national move toward a different kind of discipline” Meaning that the School district had quotas against restraining blacks and Hispanics from bad behavior.

        • “Broward schools became a leader in the national move toward a different kind of discipline”

          Including not reporting “non-violent” misdemeanors to the police starting in 2013. Which would appear to include his bringing bullets to the school and I forget what else, before they took the rare act of expelling him.

          • It is probably worth noting the fact that in this case we actually have a concrete example of a law enforcement organization deriving financial benefit from CONCEALING crime. In effect, protecting criminals.

            We might want to study those incentives, and that failure mode. Before we become more like the UK in that regard.

  12. I’m an NPR junkie, and I haven’t been hearing any calls to repeal the second amendment. I was in the belly of the beast (a political discussion group with surprise topics) for an hour yesterday– the topic was why aren’t we as sensible as the (northwestern) Europeans, and I didn’t hear any calls for repealing the second amendment, though there may have been some mentions of not liking it.

    Here’s an argument I’ve been using against expanding gun control– that especially atrocious group of Baltimore police were tasked with enforcing victimless crimes– gun ownership, drug possession, and running from the police.

    I brought this up on my facebook and at the discussion group– I got no pushback, but very little response.

    I’ve been think about what people mean when they say “we don’t want to take away your guns”, and I’ve come to the conclusion that they really don’t– they just want the guns to disappear, or possibly be given up voluntarily. They aren’t thinking about what it would take to have as few guns around as they want.

    • >I’ve been think about what people mean when they say “we don’t want to take away your guns”, and I’ve come to the conclusion that they really don’t– they just want the guns to disappear

      I think you’re right. Many want someone to sprinkle fairy dust on the problem so they don’t have to make or even think about the hard choices and the force involved. The problem is that they enable people who will use aggressive force on a massive scale; they’re accessories before the fact of the crime, objectively if not in intent. Like “good Germans” looking the other way as the death trains rolled by.

      If the shit actually hits the fan, I will try not to kill such people – I’m not a monster, I don’t think life is or should be cheap.

      But I won’t forgive them for following, aiding, and abetting the crypto-totalitarians who really do think they’re entitled to deprive me of my guns and my liberty, either. If stopping the totalitarians requires that I kill fairy-dusters, I won’t allow it to bother me much. I can’t; excessive tender-mindedness on this score would be a failure of duty, a betrayal of the future.

    • I remember that for years I was unable to figure why otherwise relatively smart people are so incredibly dumb about politics, that is, they are simply “for something” or “against something”, and not asking precisely those kinds of questions. Are they really so magically thinking that they just want the not wanted things go poof disappear in a magic cloud and the wanted things just poof conjured into existence? We are talking about people are not stupid at all as programmers, teachers, etc. I used to think maybe big government triggers a certain psychological regression to a toddler age where dad/mod can just make anything happen, easy and without costs and side-effects. Or something of that sort.

      But recently the darkly enlightened discussions about virtue signalling and suchlike offer a far better explanation. Basically, there is a very strong subconscious human drive to make others have a good opinion about us. And when we say something about something, it is very often not about that thing, but about ourselves, what mind of message we want to send about ourselves. This is not conscious lying, this is subconscious.

      Basically it is the subconscious sniffing an opportunity to make others think we are good people. So we go and righteously declare that bad things are bad. Bad things loosely associated with bad things are also bad, which is not logical but it is not about logic but emotional messages about ourselves. Killing people is bad, I am against it, because I am good. Murderers are bad, I am against them, because I am good. Murderers use guns so guns are bad, I am against them, because I am good. It is not *really* about making guns disappear in a magic cloud, it is just sending those signals.

      This is a universal motivation, not exclusive to lefties, just maybe more visible, because they tend to more depressed, having more self-esteem problems so their subconscious works harder on sending out love-me-already messages.

      I fully admit it: on the right it is often a different signalling pathway: signalling toughness, courage, masculinity. I am absolutely guilty of this. And without pointing fingers, I think you can smell some subconscious “I am a brave, tough guy” messages on this discussion as well? Women are generally good at smelling this because they consider it either sexy or ridiculous.

      The two are not equivalent. These signals are more personal, about you personally gonna do, the leftie signals often carry no personal promise. My favorite is Soros’ “don’t let me pull questionably ethical stuff on the financial markets, regulate it already”. But having said that often the leftie signals are also personal, they really do give up enjoyable things like meat and even cars sometimes.

      Full disclosure: neurotypical, socially well adjusted people with good social skills “get” this thing (that what people say about X is often more about themselves than X) but not consciously, as fully consciously this sort of thing sounds very cynical. And nerdy, somewhat autistic people often don’t get this for a long time. But when we do, we can explain it consciously and accurately.

      To give you an example, when someone goes “X is the best football team in the world!” the inexperienced nerd, Dwight Schrute takes it literally and checks its truth value. The experienced nerd gets fully consciously that it is not meant like that, it is just meant like “I am with those guys”. The socially well adjusted neurotypical got the message all along, even in childhood but not fully consciously.

      Again, this is not conscious lying. It is not putting an effort in trying to mislead people. It just the lack of that truly respectable deep honesty when people really try to self-reflect and truly sincerely mean what they say. This is sometimes called the nameless virtue, as it is the virtue counterpart of the vice of hypocrisy but it has no name. The only way I know how to push people in that direction is skin in the game.

      So that is where this magical thinking is coming from. Just ignore no skin in the game talkers. People having actual skin in the game are a whole lot smarter about it.

      • >So that is where this magical thinking is coming from. Just ignore no skin in the game talkers. People having actual skin in the game are a whole lot smarter about it.

        I agree with most of your analysis. And you just taught me something.

        I carry a gun for practical reasons. I tell people that I carry a gun as a way of establishing that (in your terms) I have skin in the game. If and when the violent shit fits the fan, I have power by being armed and I accept the responsibility that goes with that power. (I did write about this years ago, but from a more political and less psychological angle.)

        This is different from masculine posturing, and you have helped me understand why I get so fscking pissed off when people confuse the two.

        What I want to signal is not that I have an imaginary big dick or something, it’s that I prize what you call the nameless virtue, and aspire to it. Maybe it’s not coincidence – in fact, now I’m sure it’s not – that in idiomatic American English the most common phrase used to describe a man who is namelessly virtuous is – wait for it – “a straight shooter”.

        • I could joke about having foreskin in the game which would bridge both alternatives.

          But this is the key difference between the intellectual libertarians and real lovers of freedom. The former write thousands of scholarly papers, but liberty’s foes won’t be detered by 1000 paper cuts. The latter buy guns and make liberty personal. I will defend my rights. I will provide for me and my family.

          The intellectuals just want to replace big government with big private corporations which also become just as corrupt, incompetent, and bureaucratic, and are often as if not more powerful. They don’t want to be free, merely able to pick their masters.

        • I wrote:

          >This is different from masculine posturing, and you have helped me understand why I get so fscking pissed off when people confuse the two.

          I think I peeled back another layer of the onion just now.

          The nameless virtue is different from masculine posturing, but they’re related in something like the way romantic love is related to lust. Partly commitment strategy, partly interiorization so other peoples’ fake detectors won’t go off, partly social construction.

          Hmmm. Jordan Peterson probably got there ahead of me and has a lecture on this.

          • I think Kipling could have given you a name for that virtue.

            I bet Peterson can too.

            I’ve seen a lot of his lectures, and I don’t think he’s gotten that precise. Although in one or two he does say “You have to be dangerous. If you’re not dangerous you’re dead”.

            And in at least one other he talks about becoming a monster and then civilizing that monster–so it’s handy but under control was what I think he intended to imply.

            • If it’s capable of violence, it must be a terrible evil monster!

              Yes, sarcasm. I loathe the imbeciles who claim ALL violence is bad. Violence is a tool, its moral value is what purpose it serves.

              Adults have always known this. Why do we have to keep independently ‘discovering’ this all the time?

              I suspect it has to do with the effects of accumulated obfuscation by the truly evil.

            • >And in at least one other he talks about becoming a monster and then civilizing that monster–so it’s handy but under control was what I think he intended to imply.

              This is how I interpret proper masculinity. Have an animal in you, but mostly suppress it by being a civilized gentleman, yet the animal energizes that gentleman. And the problem with society and younger men these days is that their civilized gentleman somehow replaced that animal instead of taming it.

              It is customary to blame feminists for that… but I don’t know if that is the full story. Even without feminists an adolescence spent sitting on your ass in school then sitting on your ass playing videogames won’t awaken that animal. I mean we might as well blame capitalism, saying that it wants workers who sit on their ass all day in the office and obediently crunch numbers in Excel. Or maybe not focus on blaming feminists, capitalism or anything else but on the solution. We should just spend every boy to one month summer training camps out in the woods where they would do all kinds of competitive, strenous, and fun stuff all day.

              • > Have an animal in you,

                Not animal. Monster.

                Generally (with some exceptions) an animal will only kill as much as it needs to eat (domesticated cats are one exception to this), and will only fight to the death if backed into a corner.

                A monster will kill for any reason at any time.

                Very different.

            • Perhaps the word we want doesn’t exist in English. There’s a Greek word, praotes (or in the adjective form, praus), that means something like ‘power under control’. It is used that way in the New Testament I think Aristotle uses the same word when discussing temperance and anger. His idea, at least as far as I’ve read in the Nichomachean Ethics, is that it’s unwise to be either too easily provoked or too passive.

            • This is also known as the distinction between wolves and sheepdogs. Both are capable of doing damage, but the sheepdog has disciplined himself to do that damage only to those who attack his sheep.

              Much of civilization is the taming of dangerous male behavior and channeling it into the proper paths.

      • TheDividualist: you and perhaps ESR would find it profitable to look into r/K evolutionary theory as applied to humans, you’ve already stumbled onto a great deal of it with your recognition of these different signaling pathways. It’s particularly useful in explaining why the Left has been so successful in the last N decades or couple of centuries: r selected behavior, particularly in-group/out-group games, are superior methods of competition in times of plenty. While he’s monomaniacal about r/K and a proposed brain mechanism for how these pathways work, the Anonymous Conservative’s writings are a good place to start.

  13. @Nancy Lebovitz “I’m an NPR junkie, and I haven’t been hearing any calls to repeal the second amendment.”

    A few seconds of googling will bring plenty of reading material. My various news sources have been filled with such calls for the last few months. As others pointed out, they’re now bold enough to actually state their true intentions instead of hiding it in euphemisms like “reasonable”. But we knew this all along.

    But I will remind everyone of this quote from California Senator Dianne Feinstein from February 5, 1995: “Mr. and Mrs. America, Turn Them All In”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffI-tWh37UY

    This isn’t new, but it was a rare moment of honesty from a leftist.

    “They aren’t thinking about what it would take to have as few guns around as they want.”

    It’s been my observation that leftists of all stripes are utterly incapable of or unwilling to consider the long term consequences of their endless feel-good policies.

    • As others pointed out, they’re now bold enough to actually state their true intentions instead of hiding it in euphemisms like “reasonable”. But we knew this all along.

      There is a very thin line between boldness, and panicked desperation.

      So thin that from the outside one can be mistaken for the other. The tests are “Can I speak up without utter destruction?”, and “What happens when I poke them with a stick (read: meme)?”

      The answers to those questions reveals that it is panicked desperation.

  14. I strongly recommend Republican Like Me— an ex-CEO of NPR realized he wasn’t meeting his liberal standards of inclusiveness in regards to Republicans, and spent a year talking with Republicans and studying them and their claims. He became an independent as a result.

    In particular, he became less trustful of gun regulation than your average second amendment absolutist.

  15. They will not blow up the Constitution. That would require 34 STATES to agree (something like the electoral college feature, not bug).

    They will subvert it. The Supreme Court.

    The 9 men doomed to die will get out their secret decoder rings from the land of Mordor, where the shadows, emanations, penumbras, and rainbows lie and declare the 2nd Amendment as merely saying states can have Troopers, just like they found an absolute right to abortion and Gay marriage and for the IRS to discriminate on public policy (Bob Jones).

    Clarence Thomas dissented in not taking an excessive waiting period:
    https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/02/20/justice-clarence-thomas-issues-a-scathing-dissent-after-supreme-court-declines-2nd-amendment-case

    On both Abortion and Gay Marriage, the debate is not ended, nor is the law settled, but is a constant thorn the politicians don’t want to deal with, mainly because it forces red state people to adopt blue state policies at the point of a gun. On the other side, Citizens United – Corporations are “persons” even if babies in the womb aren’t – allows unlimited political contributions, another thorn given the corruption.

    If the court tries to ban guns, there will be a new amendment that allows states to nullify federal laws, or a new civil war – and the gays and trannies in the army aren’t going to win on US soil, and it will be as divisive and bloody as the early 1860’s. Remember Dredd Scott and the Fugitive Slave laws?

    • On the other side, Citizens United – Corporations are “persons” even if babies in the womb aren’t – allows unlimited political contributions, another thorn given the corruption.

      Corporations are necessarily made up of people, who don’t lose their rights when they combine together for political action. These corporations include Citizens United, which as Wikipedia puts it was prohibited by the D.C. District court “from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries.” In oral arguments, Obama’s Deputy Solicitor General said (Wikipedia again, but they’ve got it right):

      the government would have the power to ban books if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and were published or distributed by a corporation or labor union. In response to this line of questioning, Stewart further argued that under Austin [v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce] the government could ban the digital distribution of political books over the Amazon Kindle or prevent a union from hiring an author to write a political book.

      If you can’t see a problem with that, circling back to the topic of this discussion, the NRA was one of many corporations which submitted amicus curiae briefs, because among other reasons one of their most effective political tactics is to send out postcards with candidates’ scores before an election. If McCain-Feingold had been upheld, it’s ban on core political speech and what would have inevitably followed from butthurt politicians like McCain after he lost the 2000 Republican Presidential primary … well, see what ESR is saying about how and why we hold the Bill of Rights sacred….

      • The flip side of this is essentially the issue of “volume.” It is true that I have free speech. But the “volume” of my free speech is radically limited by such issues as finances, free time, need to earn a living, etc. On the other hand, Big-Corp can literally spend billions trying to convince the public that basic scientific facts are wrong.

        Having made the comparison between myself and Big-Corp on the issue of free speech, I’ll note that corporations are one of the big oppressors* who keep Americans from having more freedom. So the level of “volume” allowed to Big-Corp is something worth debating.

        * The others are government, religion, ideology, and ignorant/irrational people.

        • This use of “corporations” is referring to a specific subset, and not to the entire class of corporations that were referred to in Justice Kennedy’s statement of the decision.

          A lot of people wear this set of blinders; you say “corporation” and they think of Microsoft, or Ford, or Disney. But the legal concept of “corporation” includes all kinds of small businesses, sometimes as small as one person. It includes nearly all labor unions. It includes churches, and charities, and universities, and all manner of other nonprofits, from huge to tiny. Very specifically, it includes almost all newspapers and other media. What they have in common is complicated, but it includes (a) the ability to continue existing even if specific people withdraw from them (unlike a partnership, which is typically dissolved when one partner leaves) and (b) limited liability, meaning the participants cannot be compelled to use their personal assets to pay debts or damages incurred by the organization.

          Citizens United was not a huge business enterprise, or any kind of business enterprise at all. It was a group of people who opposed Hillary Clinton’s Senate candidacy, and made a film expressing their views, and incorporated to protect themselves personally from lawsuits. And I think that was prudent; the Clintons had insanely deep pockets for hiring lawyers, and could all too easily have hit the people involved with lawsuits that would have taken away their businesses, homes, and/or retirement funds. That’s about as perfect an example of the “chilling effect” that’s talked about in First Amendment cases as you could ask for. In today’s lawsuit-obsessed culture, if you don’t allow people to shield themselves behind limited liability, you have effectively silenced anyone with assets to protect.

          Unless you are saying that every organization with limited liability is an “oppressor,” it doesn’t make sense to attack corporations qua corporations.

          I’d also point out another point Justice Kennedy made: If you take away freedom of expression from corporations as such, then you have licensed the government to censor every newspaper, magazine, broadcaster, and online publisher that has incorporated. Of course you could say that recognized news media aren’t subject to this denial of corporate rights. But then you’ve established a licensed official press, and taken away freedom of the press from everyone else, which is certainly not going to limit the powers of large enterprises. And Kennedy pointed out that “freedom of the press” does not mean the freedom of businesses that own newspapers or the like; it means the freedom of anyone who has the technology of mass communication to use it to express their views to a larger audience than they can reach on a street corner with a soapbox—for example, Eric Raymond’s freedom to write about his political views.

          • We had “Freedom of the Press” and “Free Speech” for everyone, including corporations, long before Citizens United decided that “Money is Speech.”

            It’s the “Money is Speech part that bothers me. A billionaire, with his spoiled demands that he be taxed less, is by that definition, a whole lot louder than me, with my request that my children’s schools be well-funded. His “Money as Speech” buries my “Money as Speech” to the point that I can’t be heard at all. That’s what campaign limits were all about – the idea that just maybe a candidate would get as much backing from a million individuals all requesting better-funded schools (for example) and have a chance to be heard over the single spoiled individual who demands less taxes for himself and his rich buddies.

            • That’s what campaign limits were all about

              Nope, they were always about limiting the pool of candidates to those acceptable to the establishment.

              And they just plain don’t work, because while “enough” money is required to get a hearing, beyond that it doesn’t buy much. Otherwise we’d be discussing President Hillary’s gun grabbing, she outspend Trump by around 2 to 1. Same for many other races.

              But, yeah, keep whining about those billionaires (do you include Bloomberg?), you’ve already told us you’d prefer starting a nuclear war with Russia than have Trump be President.

            • The Citizens United decision was needed because a group of people, who had made a film opposing Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, and incorporated to protect their personal assets from politically motivated lawsuits, were specifically forbidden to make their film available BECAUSE they had incorporated. And Justice Kennedy’s verdict addressed that specific issue. I recommend that you read it; it’s available online.

              If you’re going to worry about “money as speech,” I point out that the Clintons had campaign funds far exceeding those of the people who set up Citizens United. So it seems that Hillary Clinton’s Senate victory was an example of exactly the thing you say you oppose: money as speech. Or, in this case, money as suppression of speech, which I think is far more dangerous and which you ought to find more alarming.

            • What billionaires are you talking about? They all seem to be liberal more or less excepting the Kochs.

              I heard both Gates and Buffett complain that they are not taxed enough.

              “Billionaires demanding to be taxed less” seems a total straw man.

              • Mercer and the De Voses, for starters. Also, many billionaires aren’t “conservative” exactly, but are very spoiled and very inclined to vote their wallets, which is frequently not good for people who are not billionaires.

            • If you *really* have 1 million people who want better-funded schools (which, as a tangential note, is a stupid desire — Americans generally already pay more for schools than anyone else in the world, and have lousy results to show for it), why don’t you gather those 1 million people, and form a corporation? As a corporation, you can organize yourselves, seek for donations, and put out “scorecards” announcing to anyone who’s interested, which candidates are in favor of your cause, and which candidates oppose you.

              There is precedence for this: one billionaire named Michael Bloomberg has decided to make a pet cause to ban guns; he spends millions, and even has several sock-puppet organizations, devoted for this purpose.

              The NRA, however, is made up of millions of people who wish to keep and bear arms, and is supported by millions more who are allies, but for some reason or another, won’t become members. As an organization, they can’t donate a lot of money — a typical candidate gets about $2,500, and a cause (say, to defeat a ballot measure) *might* get $100k — and Michael Bloomberg can (and does) outspend the NRA every day of the week, and twice on Tuesday. Nonetheless, the NRA still manages to hold their own, most of the time, when it comes to protecting gun rights.

              So this “individual voice vs the billionaire”, while on the surface sounds horrible, in practice, it’s not as bad as you make it out to be — and your reforms would make it worse, because those individuals will no longer have the power to incorporate to amplify their voices, whereas the billionaire (being an individual, and NOT a corporation) will still be able to do as he pleases.

        • Corporations are the only reason you’re able to talk to thousands of people right now, without paying a dime.

          Peasant artisanal collectives don’t build planet-spanning data networks, nor do they build supercomputers that can fit in your pocket.

        • [T]he “volume” of my free speech is radically limited by such issues as finances, free time, need to earn a living, etc. On the other hand, Big-Corp can literally spend billions trying to convince the public that basic scientific facts are wrong.

          There’s a huge drawback to Big-Corp doing that, that you left out:

          Big-Corp’s billions would have to be actually spent.

          Next time you’re facing BigCorp in a press war, try looking at it this way: sure, BigCorp, spend another million on another 30-sec ad. I’ll bide my time, meanwhile, and post yet another Tumblr meme in a week, for the cost of ten minutes of my free time.

        • This is why ordianry people can’t relate to leftists.

          I’m just a working class slob myself and the idea that I’m being oppressed by corporations just seems dumb.

          All the corporations and factions pushing and pulling it balances out.

        • How much money would the other candidate have had to have spent in order to change your vote, personally?

  16. I do not consider revoking the 2nd as mainstream liberal thinking. Examples of mainstream thinking can be seen in James Fallows Notes (for example, ‘A Veteran on the Need to Control Civilian Arms’) and also in Kevin Drum’s blog (for example, ‘We Should Ban Semi-Automatic Firearms’).

    Liberals I know would enthusiastically vote for a politician who campaigns on (quoting from Kevin Drums writing) ‘semi-automatic weapons should be banned for civilian use. Basically, shotguns, revolvers, and bolt-action rifles would remain legal, and that’s it.’

    If there were a wave election in 2020 which swept liberals into power, and they passed laws equivalent to that sentiment, which not only banned sales of such weapons but also required jail time for ownership (after a reasonable turn-in time), would that be cause to take up firearms and march on political power centers and shoot people?

    • Trouble is that recent killings look awfully like Democratic party constituencies murdering Republican party constituencies. Taking away legal gun owners guns during a drift towards civil war is menacing.

      America is supposedly an idea, and not a race. Taking away people’s guns means taking away that idea, which is preparation for racial democracy, where people vote on the basis of race and religion, and the losing race gets physically removed.

      • And a couple years back the mass killings went the other way, with Dylan Roof murdering a bunch of black people and the Muslim guy who shot up the Gay nightclub. I’d guess that both the Black Church and the Gay nightclub trended heavily Democratic/Liberal.

        So which political faction gets killed in mass shootings doesn’t seem to be a major issue, just a random thing depending on whether the crowd nearest the crazy dude happens to be listening to country music or disco.

        • Aren’t you the guy who’s claiming that all the Muslims and Gays will band together against the oppression of the racist white crackers in the forthcoming civil war?

          The Pulse nightclub looks like a Left on Left shooting from where I sit. Roof was a disaffected loser who couldn’t get any friends, and while I get why the Left keeps trying to lump neo-Nazis in with free market conservatives, they’re still not part of our coalition.

          • Hypothetical civil war. For a variety of reasons I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. Also, the starting assumption for that prediction is that the farthest, craziest part of the right either starts the civil war or co-opts it fairly quickly. Obviously the starting conditions for the civil war are vitally important to understanding who will win.

            If someone on the left started the civil war, I’d expect a different outcome.

    • It is so kind of them to allow us our wheel guns, scatter guns, and deer rifles! It’s positively progressive!

      Except that it wouldn’t end there. Bolt action rifles grandfathered today would be demonized as ‘high-powered sniper rifles’ tomorrow. Pump action shotguns grandfathered today would be described as street-sweepers tomorrow. The Imperial Germans were very indignant when American Doughboys brought Winchester 97s into the trenches of the Great War. It was considered uncivilized.
      The Indian Wars were fought with lever guns and revolvers. There’s no gun of practical tactical use that the progressives can’t label as a weapon of war.

      Who said anything about marching on the centers of power?

  17. Threats are weak for many reasons including:

    1. Telegraphs a shot to the adversary (and why forfeit the element of surprise?)

    2. After its condition has been satisfied, a binary operation unfolds: either the threat must be carried out or one’s word loses its value (failure to fulfill a promise).

    I could go on and list out the other reasons why threats are weak, but i think you get the point. Anyway, personally I would rather surprise all those shallow liberals versus letting them know what’s coming. :)

    • It’s not a threat, it’s a warning.

      In a pluralistic liberal representative republic there is a specific order these things go in, “soap box, ballot box, cartridge box”.

      It is only fair to warn people that that last one is NOT a bridge to far for many of us.

      > Telegraphs a shot to the adversary (and why forfeit the element of surprise?)

      Calling your shots demonstrates skill and power.

      > After its condition has been satisfied, a binary operation unfolds: either the threat must be carried out or one’s word loses its value

      I’d rather you didn’t try us, but as I’ve explained to my daughter, people make choices and choices have consequences.

      • You left one out:
        Soap
        Ballot
        Jury
        Cartridge

        The elite law-making class has done its best to emasculate the right to trial by Jury by having judges and attorneys instruct juries that they have no power to nullify unjust law. To the extent they’re successful, they effectively “put a penny in the fusebox” and left us with one less box to use before we get to the one this post is about.

        Idiots.

        • Yeah, sorry, I thought one was missing.

          I’m not so hip on jury nullification though–I get it in principle, but in practice it means that a defendant who presents nicely is going to get off on charges that a poorly presenting defendant would go to jail for.

  18. This is pretty hilarious – both that there’s a movement aimed at repealing the 2nd amendment worth talking about, and that there’s any possibility of an armed revolution of gun aficionados in response to that or any other constitutional change.

    There are plenty of huge increases in the level of gun control that can be implemented without violating the 2nd amendment – it’s not like the stricter regime of a couple decades ago was unconstitutional, or even close to it.

    • it’s not like the stricter regime of a couple decades ago was unconstitutional, or even close to it.

      “Shall not be infringed.”

    • Actually in some cases it *was*.

      See District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. There are other cases winding their way up as well.

    • > There are plenty of huge increases in the level of gun control that can be implemented without violating the 2nd amendment

      Existing levels of gun control violate the Second Amendment.

      • I always like to point the AR-15 banners at the Miller decision from 1939. Where are my newly-minted machine guns?

  19. > If there were a wave election in 2020 which swept liberals into power, and they passed laws equivalent to that sentiment, which not only banned sales of such weapons but also required jail time for ownership (after a reasonable turn-in time), would that be cause to take up firearms and march on political power centers and shoot people?

    This has already happened at sub-federal levels in the US (e.g., Connecticut), and the result seems to have been mass silent civil disobedience, not violence.

    The physical guns aren’t going anywhere without a massive use of force that even the deepest-Blue metroplex police departments would refuse to do.

    • >This has already happened at sub-federal levels in the US (e.g., Connecticut), and the result seems to have been mass silent civil disobedience, not violence.

      We have historical precedent to draw on for instruction. After the “long train of abuses and usurpations” that preceded it, what actually triggered the colonists into revolt was a British attempt to forcibly confiscate arms.

      The American Revolution II after a 2A repeal wouldn’t happen the instant the confiscation laws are passed. But there will be a Bunker Hill, and it will be triggered the same way.

      • I don’t disagree, but I was responding to the non-2A-repeal scenario suggested by Kirk upthread. I didn’t use the reply button on that like I should have.

  20. Pingback: Let's Review 44: Bumped Stock Edition - American Digest

  21. Something I’m concerned about is that I think American Civil War II could go very badly for everyone involved; much worse than most people seem to think.

    There’s a fantasy on the Left of, “Oh, we’ll have some federal agents roll up, confiscate all of the guns, and, for the few die-hards who fight back, we’ll blow them up from a mile away with aircraft and/or tanks.”

    And there’s a fantasy on the Right of, “We have guns, of course we’ll crush the Left almost immediately.”

    There’s a lot of gun owners, but – other than former military personnel – I wouldn’t expect many of them to be able to fight as a large unit, or even just as a fireteam, effectively. The Left can pretty reliably turn out large groups of people and, more importantly, provide them political cover. On the Left, you can be a former domestic terrorist leader, and later get a job as a law professor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardine_Dohrn

    With the possible exception of the March for Life, I can’t think of any Righty political organizations that can reliably organize a large group of people and get them all to show up in the same place, at the same time. And they’re not getting former abortion clinic bombers out of jail, with good jobs. (Not that they should; I’m just thinking in terms of capabilities.)

    If a shooting war broke out, I’d expect it to be dominated by irregular warfare. Coordinated violence from the Left, decentralized violence from the Right, and a whole lot of collateral damage.

    I don’t think we’re close to a civil war, but unlike, say, 5 years ago, it seems like non-trivial possibility. This worries me enough to where I think we should start working out how to peacefully split up the country; just to have the option on the table before things really go to hell.

    • For more on Joshua Brulé’s thesis, check out the Days of Rage book and essay by the same name on the book and it’s subject. The latter starts out with this telling quote:

      “People have completely forgotten that in 1972 we had over nineteen hundred domestic bombings in the United States.” — Max Noel, FBI (ret.)

      Which I can personally attest to being true, albeit without so much of the “forgetting” part. But I forgot, or more likely the MSM avoided making a big deal about how the FALN was active into the early 1980s, and to underline how strong the Left’s institutional support for their paramilitary wings is, note how bot Clinton and Obama commuted sentences for these violent domestic terrorist. Then again, Obama launched his political career in the living room of the infamous domestic terrorist Brulé names. Back to Brulé:

      If a shooting war broke out, I’d expect it to be dominated by irregular warfare. Coordinated violence from the Left, decentralized violence from the Right, and a whole lot of collateral damage.

      Which should give the Left pause, since decentralized violence from the Right is entirely capable of killing the big Blue cities that most of them live in and that are its political power base. We really don’t want to go any further down this path.

    • >If a shooting war broke out, I’d expect it to be dominated by irregular warfare. Coordinated violence from the Left, decentralized violence from the Right, and a whole lot of collateral damage.

      I’d say that’s close to correct, if in “the Right” you include libertarians like me who don’t consider themselves “Right”. The “Right” would win – there are more of us, and we’re better armed and have a much larger cadre of military/LEO types – but it would be a grinding, bloody, long process.

      Lefty group discipline would actually work against them. Formations built on that erode quickly in irregular warfare; guerillas are the opposite, they thrive on it but don’t handle stand-up battles well.

      But you’re ignoring something that makes that premise, in the context of this thread, absurd. Armed civilian lefties fighting to disarm all civilians…the absurdities are manifold, too much so even for the mainstream media’s best effort to spin into oblivion. If the lefties won, they’d be making the exact point their opponents centered the pro-2A case on all along!

      I don’t think Americans are stupid enough to miss that contradiction, especially not when any “Right” propagandist with two operating brain cells would be yelling it from the rooftops. No: if the left were going to win the ideological struggle behind the shooting one, they’d have to do it with troops they could present as legally or morally privileged in the ways they claim civilian “gun nuts” aren’t.

      This reductio does not apply to a left/right civil war over anything other than 2A, but that is the case we are discussing in this thread.

      • > The “Right” would win

        Depends on your definition of win.

        We’d kill a LOT of leftists and their bootlickers.

        But that war will be a singularity.

      • The double quotes around “Right” are especially apt considering how many American liberals are themselves gun rights advocates. Some of them rather staunchly so. The Blue America that is also anti-2A is almost certainly clustered so tightly in certain urban centers that the rest would have practically free reign over most of the terrain.

        (Which is another concern if a 2A repeal were on the table. When conflict turns physical, land suddenly gets to vote.)

    • Something I’m concerned about is that I think American Civil War II could go very badly for everyone involved; much worse than most people seem to think.

      It will. But it will not be worse than if it was not fought at all.

    • > Something I’m concerned about is that I think American Civil War II could go very badly for everyone involved; much worse than most people seem to think.

      I think civil war is likely and necessary, and will result in Khmer Rouge style, Holdomor style, and Ethiopian style famine in the countryside, and the coastal areas will get nuked.

      The problem is that what is coming is a racial and religious war (everything that minorities want, whites are supposedly preventing them from having, plus superior social justice holiness is demonstrated by being more venomous to those insufficiently holy than the next social justice warrior) And racial and religious wars tend to be resolved by genocide and frequently can be resolved in no other way.

      esr thinks the solution is that we all buy into the original deal. Well the original deal mutated a long way in the civil war. So esr thinks the solution is that we all buy into the original deal as mutated by the civil war.

      I am sure he sees the problem with that as clearly as I do.

    • Look at demographics and geography. Where are the Democrats massively clustered? In highly concentrated, non self-sustaining logistically unsupportable (should the peace break down) death traps. We call them cities.

      I know folks on both sides who are like ‘Civil War 2? Bring it on already’. I think such people are, at best, unwise. If it happens, it will be terrible. And it is almost certain that if it happens and it doesn’t end quickly, the cities will die. Oh they’ll empty out, but it won’t be enough. Because places the city folks would want to run to are already full of people who really fucking hate city folks, for good reasons that have only built over time, and want city folks to die.

      • The American public had by turns ignored and ridiculed its cassandras: city planners, ecologists, demographers, socialists, immigrants, who had all warned against our increasing tendency to crowd into our cities. Social stress, failure of essential services, and warfare were only a few of the spectres we had granted only a passing glance. We had always found some solution to our problems, though: often at the last moment. Firmly anchored in most Americans was the tacit certainty that, even to the problem of nuclear war against population centers, there must be a uniquely American solution; we would find it.

        The solution was sudden death. A hundred million Americans found it.

        Dean Ing, on page 48 of the appropriately titled novel Systemic Shock.

  22. The left can get people to show up for demonstrations. I see no reason to think the left can do organized violence effectively.

    There are some militias (attempted militias?) on the right, but I don’t think there’s much compared to the whole right wing, the general population, or the federal government.

    I have no idea which way the military will go. My bet is that they will follow orders from the government unless the government has become astonishingly awful– probably much worse would be needed than to just repeal the second amendment. Trying to confiscate all the guns *might* be enough.

    Excuse me if this is a distraction, but what do you make of the government not acting on warnings about Cruz? It seems like a serious failure of ordinary governing without a lot of theoretical implications.

    • >I have no idea which way the military will go.

      Ask the ex-military types here. William O’Blivion has already been pretty clear about it, and his response matches what I know from other exposures to that culture. My first swordmaster, the ex-SpecOps guy, apparently thought of himself as a New York liberal about most things – but I heard him cursing the gun-banners after the Virginia Tech killing and I can safely predict he would cut a huge swathe if shit got real.

      We already know that a significant minority of American troops will kill their own officers if they’re forced to fight an unwinnable war against people they don’t hate, even when it’s 5000 miles from home – you are old enough to remember what “fragging” means. Extrapolate from that to what will happen if anyone tries to make them fight Americans on American soil to abolish a right their own training schools told them is fundamental.

      Yes, I know how the military would come down. It won’t be immediate, and it won’t be without blood and fraggings and possibly actual unit-on-unit combat between Loyalists and Constitutionalists. But to the extent the U.S. military culture is designed, all the axioms except “obedience to civilian authority” point at pro-2A rebellion. Under enough pressure, that obedience will break.

      I think one of the most likely consequences of such a war would be something like the end of the Spanish Civil War or the usual result of a pronunciamento in South America – a military junta repudiating a traitorous civilian leadership and installing itself under the banner of restoring Constitutional legitimacy. With a promise to hand off to an elected civilian government ASAP.

      This being the U.S., the odds that they might actually be serious about the last part are higher than anywhere else barring maybe Great Britain, Australia, or Canada. Tradition matters, and the Anglosphere tradition about the proper relationship between a military and its society is quite strong.

        • Because of helicopter rides to communists. But while that is usually called a coup/junta, I am not 100% sure as these things generally mean taking power purely by force, with no legal claim. But Pinochet’s case is different because the Chamber of Deputies declared the government’s actions unconstitutional and asked the military to restore constitutional order at 22 Aug 1973. That, given that the executive is supposed to be responsible to the legislative branch, is some fairly strong legitimacy. I mean, how else can a legislative branch spank a misbehaving executive branch if they refuse to step down?

      • esr:

        > a military junta repudiating a traitorous civilian leadership and installing itself under the banner of restoring Constitutional legitimacy. With a promise to hand off to an elected civilian government ASAP.

        That would be a really bad idea – since handing power back to an elected government is handing power back to single women on welfare and child support, foreigners imported to live on crime, welfare, and voting Democrat, and so on and so forth. Which elected government would in due course break whatever promises it made to the military and the junta.

        The Pinochet experience shows that the military cannot hand power back to an elected government. No matter what promises it makes, it will break them.

        The politicians have successfully elected a new people, and the new people are fundamentally hostile to America and Americans.

        • > The Pinochet experience shows that the military cannot
          > hand power back to an elected government. No matter
          > what promises it makes, it will break them.

          I vaguely remember that the Egyptian Military did it something like 2-3 times.

            • I vaguely remember that the Egyptian Military did it something like 2-3 times.

              That isn’t accurate. We (I’m Brazilian) had 3 dictatorial periods.

              First the military junta that overthrew the Monarchy and lasted from 1889 until 1894, when power was handed to an elected government.

              What we now call the Old Republic lasted until the 1929 crash.

              In 1930 we entered out second dictatorial period under the government of Getulio Vargas. This one is well liked by most everyone to this day, both on the left and on the right. It lasted until 1945 when another military coup, the 2nd one, deposed him.

              Then we got our so called 2nd Republic, which went from 1946 to 1964. During this period, funnily enough, Vargas was elected president again. So, yeah, people really liked him. He only didn’t govern more because he committed suicide in 1954.

              Then, from 1964 until 1985 we got our 3rd (or 4th, depending on how one counts) dictatorship, this one led by another military junta.

              Since 1985 we’re in our so-called New Republic. But there are many people asking for another military coup, so who knows how longer it’ll last. Maybe it’ll last, maybe it’ll end sooner or later.

              Interestingly enough, in the period 1888-1889, when the military were quite angry at the Monarchy due to, among other things, their ending slavery, there were conservative and classic liberal political thinkers urging them to not do that because, due to the characteristic they perceived in Brazilian culture, they said we weren’t ready for a Republic, and thus that Brazil’s history in the 20th century would likely be a succession of republican periods alternating with dictatorial ones. They were right. That’s how Brazil still rolls.

              EDIT: When the most recent military junta handed power back to elected governments, the made deals so as to let the past in the past. For the most part the elected government did exactly that, except for going after the most blatant cases of torture during the period. Even the socialist governments mostly respected the deal, refusing to go very intently after the military and only paying lip service to the most radical among their ranks asking for a full on crackdown. Both side knew pretty well that, if this were done, a military government would be reinstate pretty fast, so better safe than sorry.

              • PPS: Sorry for the typos and the misquote. The timer went out before I managed to fix them.

                PPPS: Brazilian history is a good counterpoint to US history. Both countries were economically very similar around the end of the 18th century, with Brazil being slightly ahead economically. Then we both had our break ups with our respective metropolis. The US went the federalist path. Brazil went the centralist path. 200+ years later and, yes, the American choice was definitely the correct one.

    • I have no idea which way the military will go. My bet is that they will follow orders from the government unless the government has become astonishingly awful– probably much worse would be needed than to just repeal the second amendment. Trying to confiscate all the guns *might* be enough.

      The Posse Comitatus act says that regular military troops can not be used for law enforcement inside the boarders of the US.

      I guarantee you that James Mattis would tell God himself to pound sand if he attempted to order US troops to go door to door.

      I suspect Ashton Carter would have been more polite about it, as it’s *incredibly* illegal (although there were allegedly military pilots flying the Apache helicopters at the Siege of Waco and no one got jailed) and his joint chiefs, as political as they are, know it.

      Essentially *any* use of the Military for this sort of thing is the USG declaring war on it’s citizens.

      Let me reiterate something here, There is NO firearm that is useful for hunting or self defense that is not also useful as a weapon. None.

      The only way you could significantly reduce *gun violence* (not criminal violence, specifically GUN violence) would be to round up EVERY handgun, and any rifle except .22 rimfire. AND you’d have to put a statutory limit on the power charge for them. And it’s even doubtful that that would work.

      Men and boys *like* weapons, it’s part of what we are. Women sometimes, but men? Even the leftist anti-gun types are often fond of Archery, kendo or HEMA, etc. Most of us know (see Eric’s comments above) that when the bear comes, we get et first, our wife next and the kids last. We’d rather that not happen, so we want the best tool we can find. We don’t worry about bears so much any more, but there’s other predators out there.

      So you not only have to ban anything *useful*, you have to ban anything that would even be interesting, because you need to kill that *culture*.

      There are four possible scenarios where such an order might be given:

      1) A constitution amendment that changes the 2nd, either greatly restricting it or eliminating it.
      2) A law is passed in congress and signed by the president that stomps all over the 2nd
      3) 2 happens and then the SCOTUS declares it constitutional.
      4) The president gets WAY too big for his britches and uses his pen and his phone.

      In the case of #4 he’s going to get replaced in short order. You can’t have anyone that unstable as president.

      #2 by itself will not trigger anything as it will immediately be challenged.

      If you get #2 and #3 then any sort of door to door confiscation the US Military would not be involved, however state governors could direct national guard troops to assist. See below.

      For #1 to happen there would have go be such a sea change in attitudes towards firearms, and even if it happened it wouldn’t immediately change the LAW, so we’re back to 2 plus 3.

      There are somewhere north of 80 million gun owners with north of 300 million guns in the US. Legal ones that is. There are 750k sworn police, a little less than 350k NG troops, and a little more than 100k Air NG troops.

      You’re going to have to find every gun owner, and check the house of EVERY ONE, even those who’ve already turned one in. Why? Heck, I *might* decide to give up this crappy little AR7 I have laying around so I can say “Hey, I turned my gun in” and get off the “gun owner ” list.

      Oh, and there is NO reliable registry of gun owners. None. So you’re going to have to grid and search *EVERY SINGLE HOUSE*.
      https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/34738-and-how-we-burned-in-the-camps-later-thinking-what

      Now, lets assume magic mind control that ONLY works on reservists and full time military folks, so you get 100 percent turnout for your gun confiscation. And you get no police deserting you. You’ve got roughly 1 million people looking for and searching the houses of 80 million gun owners.

      Our NG troops aren’t all math/stats majors, but in the words of the philosopher Ron White “I didn’t know how many of them it was going to take to kick my ass, but I knew how many they were going to use. That’s some valuable information right there.”

      So let me ask you, who is going to be policing the streets on day 2?

      The reality is that there us a YUGE overlap between “gun owners (including want to be gun owners) and National Guard troops. Ditto police. So there’s not going to be a LOT of confiscating going on, but were there is, I’d guess one out of 100 gun owners will have nothing to lose, or will have a philosophical disposition such that “it’s time”.

      So no, the US military won’t get involved–they can’t and the SecDef will be informed of that by the Joint Chiefs. Plus the military has war-gamed this, and they KNOW they face sufficient desertions and mutiny that they would cease to be an effective fighting force, which means China, Turkey, Iran et. al. would start to strut their stuff, NATO would implode etc.

      And if the Joint Chiefs were so stupid as to not believe that?

      It’s all over.

      • There are somewhere north of 80 million gun owners with north of 300 million guns in the US.

        The 300 million is an old estimate, that was realized and the updated figures based on the government’s tax and import records are 450 at a bare minimum, could be as high as 600 or even 650 million.

        • Honestly the number of owners is more important than the number of guns.

          I believe that the number of owners is now well north of 100 million.

          That is the critical number.

          • Honestly the number of owners is more important than the number of guns.

            Indeed, but with the demonization of gun ownership, surveys devolve to how many people are willing at any given time to tell a nosy stranger on the phone that they own guns.

            So I consider the number out there as one of the best proxies, something the gun grabbers’ fear since they claim existing gun owners are buying all these new guns, which a back of the envelope calculation told me averaged out to armories worth $100K.

      • As I have commented previously, there has been extensive modeling of these types of civil disobedience scenarios. In the vast majority of sensitivity cases, militia-based armed conflict dies out rather quickly and is replaced by asymmetric non-standard targeted attacks from anonymous actors. The modalities of these attacks are usually not lethal attacks on other humans, but much more directed at the functionality of government at all levels. Once trust in government institutions is seriously undermined, it’s game over.

        • > Once trust in government institutions is seriously undermined, it’s game over.

          You mean like the FBI abusing FISA courts to wiretap the candidate of the opposition party?

          • The DOJ/FBI corruption is due to internal rot and the politicization of these government departments, not as a consequence of revolutionary countermeasures. In a future civil conflict to reestablish Constitutional governance, hackers will play in important role in exposing malfeasance and the key power players that are the backbone of tyranny. This war will be fought between diffuse versus focused combatants. One in the shadows and one in the spotlight.

    • Oh, and

      Excuse me if this is a distraction, but what do you make of the government not acting on warnings about Cruz? It seems like a serious failure of ordinary governing without a lot of theoretical implications.

      I have a quote in my .signature file by John Perry Barlow (RIP) from Crime and Puzzlement that says:

      Despite almost every experience I’ve ever had with Federal Authority, I keep imagining its competence

      See also “Geller-mann amnesia”.

      • I believe that Cruz was Spanish, not Latin-American. If you look at the pictures, he is clearly of European descent.

        Note the following:

        “Confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz repeatedly ranted against minorities and once bragged of writing to President Trump, according to private Instagram messages obtained following Wednesday’s massacre in Parkland, Florida.

        Mr. Cruz, 19, espoused racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views in a private group chat conducted on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service in the months before this week’s rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, CNN reported Friday.”

        https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/17/nikolas-cruz-school-shooting-suspect-espoused-raci/

        • Cruz was adopted; at this point, aside from what we can guess by looking at him, we have no idea what his ethnicity was.

  23. There’s a reason I call it American Civil War II: Guerillas In The Midst.

    The geographic distinctions between the sides (multiple) are not at the states level. If we go to Civil War, it’ll make the Balkans look like a pie fight with a limited number of sides. We will pray for warlordism before we’re done.

    • I should have posted something about the video, though I think it’s better unspoiled.

      Na rneyl grfg bs n Fgne Jnef tnzr. 30 zvahgrf bs tnzr cynl jnf cynaarq, ohg bar tebhc oynfgrq guebhtu va 12 zvahgrf orpnhfr n yvrhgranag sebz JJ2 gbbx punetr. Nsgre nyy, ur xarj fbzrguvat nobhg svtugvat fgbezgebbcref naq gur erfbheprf jrer nanybtbhf gb jung ur unq hfrq.

    • I enjoyed the video. Interestingly enough, I’ve also heard that role-playing experience can work the other way, too. At a convention, a mother once described how, in basic training, the sergeant divided up the soldiers into two groups — role-playing gamers and non-gamers — and played capture the flag. The side with the role-players dominated the side without….

      • Given current educational standards, these kids know a hell of a lot less than you actually did know at 17. Bet you actually had some history classes and maybe some real science under your belt at that point, not politically correct either.

      • They are at the receiving end of the bullits. Kind of concentrates the mind. And why are you so sure you have better answers?

    • You are 16.

      You are presented with two choices, hang out in school, or go for a walk with your school mates. Your (largely left wing) teachers don’t really hid their position.

      There is no down side to going and no upside to staying.

      Nice day outside, isn’t it?

      • Nice how the Alt-Right denies other people agency. That is how tyrannies are build: Just claim any opposition are manipulated by the “Evil Ones”.

        • And I suppose them calling for all whites to be killed has anything to do with it.

          And like all lefties, their solution to every problem is to impose their will by force on the others.

        • These are minors, too young to be trusted with a vote, precisely because they’re so easily swayed and manipulated. But in this case the manipulation is even more blatant — CNN outright scripted everything they said, and explicitly told them to “stick to the script, kid”.

          • “Crisis actors” as that bit of extremely effect rhetoric gains traction. The MSM has been doing this blatantly for decades, but this time we’ve got factions on the Right that actually want to win, and thanks to the Internet the have a voice.

          • Folks, “they’re just kids, too young to be trusted” is not a hill I care to die on, and it ought not be for all of you, either. Just argue on what they said.

            After all, I know far too many kids who would pick up a gun and use it responsibly.

    • Why are you only paying attention to the kids who want to ban guns? There’s a lot of kids who support gun rights, and who even protest — but they are largely ignored by the Mainstream Media.

      Ironically, the two most vocal against gun rights from the latest school shooting were in a different building when the event happened…while one of the kids who just got out of the hospital (who had been shot five times) is on the side of gun rights.

      So it’s not just “who’s on the receiving end of bullets” determining what side these kids are on.

  24. “Repeal” of the second amendment could take one of two forms, effective repeal or actual repeal. Effective repeal, while the 2A is still part of the Constitutional text, could happen in the short to medium term through a Supreme Court decision and I think Eric has correctly described the effects of attempted gun confiscation under such a regime. In this scenario resistance to gun confiscation would be boosted by the fact that people would be defending not just a natural right, but a ‘stolen’ constitutional right.

    If we were to see actual repeal (which would only be a possibility well into the future) I think it could only happen in a US where views of gun rights have shifted so much that the number of gun owners willing to engage in armed resistance would likely fall short of the critical mass needed for that resistance to be effective.

  25. Some people seem to have misunderstood what I represented as mainstream liberal thought about guns. The comment string seems to believe that laws will be passed requiring a house-to-house search for guns. That’s nonsense, as we all know, for the many reasons already articulated.

    No, the proposal goes as follows: ‘semi-automatic weapons should be banned for civilian use. Basically, shotguns, revolvers, and bolt-action rifles would remain legal, and that’s it.’ My presumption is that there would be a legal period to turn in those weapons (or sell them to arms dealers who will hustle them off to foreign war zones).

    There’s nothing there about searching house-to-house. If you own such weapons and decide to keep them, you will. And bully for you, except you can’t take them to the range to shoot, else you risk being arrested . And if there’s a fire at your house, and the authorities arrive to assist, and find your trove, you may be spending months in a small room making friends with your cellmate Lucky Deuce, and pay a sizable fine. Maybe you’ll want to store your hardware under the cement floor like John Wick? (And what happens when you need to move?) At any rate, you won’t be able to sell your illegal hardware at gun shows or on the private market. Well, you could, but you’d be taking the same risks currently taken by those selling illegal recreational drugs.

    So, that’s the proposal. Is that reason enough to march on political power centers and start shooting people?

    • So, that’s the proposal. Is that reason enough to march on political power centers and start shooting people?

      Yes, except of course the “march on political power centers” is playing the game by the other side’s rule, which we’d be stupid to do. People like us in them … I don’t envy them, but the people outside will ignore them, or kill them by taking out their extremely fragile electrical distribution systems etc. (guess it wasn’t smart to NIMBY all those power stations, was it? I can remember Willie Brown back when he was mayor of SF musing after a nasty blackout that, maybe, after all they shouldn’t shut down the last clean power plant in the city. Of course, Newsom did in 2011).

      Those of us outside them, if our polities declare themselves to be 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Zones, we’ll stay locally peaceful, otherwise we’ll start hunting.

    • As others have noted, massive civil disobedience would be the more likely outcome.

      We have a data point in the California ban on “assault rifles”. While it is difficult to get a hard number, one estimate that I’ve seen is that about 10% were turned in.

      If such a law can only scrape out 10% compliance in California, what do you suppose the compliance level will be in Texas?

  26. — millions of armed Americans will regard it as their moral duty to rise up and kill those who threw it in the trash —

    Would they? There are certainly some who make claims like this but can’t hold down a job let alone win a revolution… There are others who wisely avoid trash talk that are ready to fight. But in the eyes of a media entranced public; white males are simultaneously the sole root of oppression, and the incompetent buffoons they see on family sitcoms like Modern Family. So are the armed masses an actual threat? Or is most of this talk mere adolescent fantasies of mostly resentful and powerless men? Tim the tool man can’t even get through an episode without nailing himself to the table, what good will he be in a gun fight?

    I support the 2nd amendment, but a few minutes considering the competence of our armed forces, the power of technologies like drones, and jdam’s is enough to make most rational people pause before they get all premature mouthing “viva la revolucion”. Yes a good deal of those troops and munitions would come to the aid allying themselves with a reasoned militia defending the constitution from a tyrannical domestic force… but they would need to see that tyrannical force as the aggressor. The “reasoned militia” isn’t going to be winning hearts and minds with “yall can pull my bumpstock from my cold dead and calloused ‘Merican Hands”

    Come on intellectual dark web, we can do better then this.

    • Please explain how one would use a JDAM effectively in a guerrilla war. I’m fascinated.

      “Talk is cheap”, indeed.

      • Going to dodge the “how to use a knife in a gun fight” by simply stating that you do not always get to set the terms of every engagement. If you can only use guerrilla tactics because your outgunned, its easier to brand the resistance as “domestic terrorists” and it will be harder to recruit without risk being infiltrated by the establishment.

        My implicit point which I’ll make explicit, claiming the support of “millions of Armed Americans” joining a resistance is the equivalent of saying “we can recruit a resistance insurgency at least 25% larger than the current standing active and reserves across the entire US armed forces”. Or saying “we have more people behind us than the 3rd largest army in the world”. It’s certainly in the realm of possibility, but it reeks of hyperbole.

        You can’t just get millions of people to “want” to show up, they actually need to show up and put their ass on the line. Look no further than the early days of the American revolution, the revolutionaries were considered radicals and most rational hard working people were loyalists. There is a stronger case that the crown lost the war through a series of public relations blunders that bolstered the ranks of the patriots. Such is the power of a free press, but now fast forward to the age of fake news, the patriots would need to convince their loyalist brothers in the wake of a powerful disinformation campaign waged by expert propagandists… If the 2nd Amendment revolutionaries could do that, well we wouldn’t need a freaking revolution would we?

        Thus if you want to be taken seriously by most moderate Americans (lets call them the silent majority), you need to play the game of risk without flipping the game table over every time you have a bad turn. If you want people to support the 2nd amendment, don’t argue with them make a friend and take them to a gun range. Battle ignorance with friendship and experience, the guy in the room saying “we’ll start a revolution if we don’t get our way” is always the jackass… maybe its the jackass history favors or maybe its the jackass that gets kicked out of the gameroom and is the butt of everyones jokes.

        • > Going to dodge the “how to use a knife in a gun fight” by simply stating that you do not always get to set the terms of every engagement.

          In other words, you were talking out your ass.

          > wake of a powerful disinformation campaign waged by expert propagandists

          “Expert propagandists” like the Hillary Clinton people who lost to Donald Friggin’ Trump, despite spending twice as much money?

          Yeah, okay. Whatevs, dude.

          • Yep right out my ass; Just like everyone else talking about war over ideologies from a climate controlled room with indoor plumbing, electricity, computers, and internet access. We can theorize all we want from our cages, threats from caged animals aren’t taken seriously.
            https://youtu.be/l1OqbwtIPy4?t=15s

            You mistakenly think I’m talking about the “Left”. The left and right are just bullshit echo chambers, a game to amuse shit talkers. The real American values are disseminated via advertisements between entertainment programming. This red dawn fantasy is just a marketing ploy to sell you long-term food storage, 2nd rate tactical gear, and make you feel empowered. Ever wonder why the commercials run during these programs are for erectile dysfunction?

            The crazy 2nd amendment wackjob threating revolution is a stereotype that permeates all of American pop culture. Anyone using its language immediately typecast themselves into a category of unreasonable people who should never be taken seriously.

            • > Yep right out my ass

              (arrant nonsense elided).

              Indeed you are. You are a D List troll, at best. I saw better before you were even born. You are a sad, sad little man.

        • you need to play the game of risk without flipping the game table over every time you have a bad turn

          That you can turn the prospect of the Left ending the 2nd Amendment’s acknowledgement of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA) into “having a bad” turn shows you are not taking this argument seriously, or honestly.

          There is a stronger case that the crown lost the war through a series of public relations blunders that bolstered the ranks of the patriots. Such is the power of a free press….

          Under the British??? Are you under the impression the 1st Amendment predates the Revolution? The colonial press was anything but free, but the Committees of Correspondence et. al. managed to get the word out anyway, and that’s a lot easier today, call it samizdata per the name of that European group blog where they don’t enjoy freedom of speech or the press.

          Thus if you want to be taken seriously by most moderate Americans

          Once it gets to the point the RKBA is officially over, why would we care? They didn’t matter in our Revolution 1.0, and they won’t matter in a 2.0. If it gets bad enough, as discussed elsewhere, if they live in big Blue cities they’ll cease to exist altogether.

          Which again gets to how we can set the terms of the engagements that really matter, although of course we’d start small. Heck, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn put it in The GULAG Archipelago, we don’t even have a real choice in the matter:

          And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?

          Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?

          After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria [Government limo] sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur — what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked.

          The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!

          But I’d rather go hunting; Black Marias sound like an easy target for a centerfire rifle, which of course the Bolsheviks made sure to confiscate.

          • — shows you are not taking this argument seriously, or honestly. —

            “turn the prospect of” – I feel that the actual repeal of the 2nd is solid grounds for revolution. But threating revolution at “the prospect of” is on par with the gameroom temper tantrum. And recall that the point I’m making is about gaining public support for the cause/revolution and this means controlling perception and appearances.

            — impression the 1st Amendment predates the Revolution? —

            I’m under no such illusion, but (for example) the Boston Gazette did cover the Boston massacre in a way that bolstered support. Perhaps I meant “rebellious press” rather than free press, but the net effect is the same.

            — Once it gets to the point the RKBA is officially over —

            I don’t think that point is going to ever be clear enough on a timeline to coordinate a response; much like Solzhenitsyn’s recollection people are going to look back in retrospect; thinking about what they could have done differently. There was a time when talking was still an option, and then there was a time where that opportunity had passed.

            Remember my point is not to say that you won’t (or even shouldn’t) have revolutionaries rallying to this cause. Specifically, my top level point is that I’m calling BS on “millions” with emphasis on the “s”. To enlist a force that size you must recruit quite a few rational moderate people to the cause, and that means (in the earliest phases) that we can’t afford to alienate moderates with extreme language like revolution, gun grabbers, SJW’s, lefties and the other divisive language the right uses to distinguish themselves from members of the “other” tribe.

            Fatalistic predictions that quickly descend into fantasies of armed conflict are all too common among 2nd amendment advocates, but its terribly unconvincing rhetoric to nearly everyone who doesn’t already support the cause. In fact it drives a large number of people away from the shooting ranges and NRA.

            You can’t combat the ignorance of poorly conceived and reality-detached gun control with threats of revolution as if 2A supporters are a bunch of rabid dogs ready to bite. Even within this comment section, there are brilliant insights into the school shooting problems, that need to be brought to the national conversation; but the truth is mentioning revolt and revolution will get most normies to check out of the conversation immediately (and for damn good reasons). This whole debate is culture… a city culture where guns are weapons used by thugs (gangs/cops/mass shooters) to terrorize streets, and country culture where guns are tools that protect the homestead, put food on the table, and level the dangers of untamed wilderness. Guns are just tools, most tools can be used as weapons – We don’t ban tools, we hold people accountable for their use.

            • Specifically, my top level point is that I’m calling BS on “millions” with emphasis on the “s”. To enlist a force that size you must recruit quite a few rational moderate people to the cause…

              On what do you base this claim? The usual metric is “3%”, going back to the percentage of useful people in the American Revolution. That yields about 10 million with our current population … although a better question might how many would be needed. The PIRA gave the U.K. hell with a few hundred members, while severely hampered with weapon and ammo procurement limits and having to travel to places like Libya for training.

              But the idea we want, let along need moderates is ludicrous, at best these squishes are useless, at worst they’ll betray at the drop of hat, as we see all the time in the current political context, lest they be called racist, sexist or whatever.

              You can’t combat the ignorance of poorly conceived and reality-detached gun control…

              We’re way past that point, anyone who wants to know already knows (although of course the young have to be taught, or rather deprogrammed), there’s every sign we’re closing on A Time For Choosing as Reagan’s famous video address put it in the 1964.

              • “We’re way past that point, anyone who wants to know already knows”

                I have literally been hearing this comment made for 30 years. Often being repeated by the same person who was proven wrong by reality the last 10 times they made dire predictions. If they keep saying it, one day it will be right.

                “The usual metric is “3%””
                So 9.6 million of the US population, roughly what the NRA estimates its current voting influence is. For simplicity, let’s say that that the majority of 2A defending revolutionaries would be recruited from this pool (you’ll have stragglers but they’ll be inconsequential). Let’s assume that 1-5% of NRA voters are already engaged in revolution 2.0. And another 20% of NRA voters are ready to be engaged in revolution 2.0 as soon as they feel it’s “socially acceptable” or “winnable” -> you have 2.4 million. This is the 20% “moderate” base I’m talking about, moderate vs extreme, not moderate politically. The 5% is surely enough to start something, but you’ll need that other 20% to finish it. To get that 20% it’s all about perception, and its a mistake to assume your opponents would take any immediate action that would mobilize this force. Any attempt to draw them into such an action could backfire on the cause. So you have 500k, nothing to sneeze at. You’ve got a war

                What do you need? At least 2 million to merely defeat your opposition or it’s utterly hopeless. 1.8 to match the current standing army, another .2 to match the criminal elements that will also be competing for a slice. Lots of peices will switch sides on the chess board in the fog of war.

                You also need to give countries like China a damn good reason to think they are going to get their 1.2 trillion back, they’ll back whoever will. Another defeat condition to consider, America loses its sovereignty in the process. We’re fully entangled in alliances that are not served by a sudden shift back to isolationism.

                • I have literally been hearing this comment made for 30 years.

                  Not from me, I think we reached this point about half a decade ago, a while after Wisconsin and Iowa were the last states to voluntarily go shall issue concealed carry and “Dodge City” failed to materialize.

                  So 9.6 million of the US population, roughly what the NRA estimates its current voting influence is.

                  Citation? Because their membership is over 5 million, and they know on average each member influences way more than 1 other person.

                  For simplicity, let’s say that that the majority of 2A defending revolutionaries would be recruited from this pool….

                  No, let’s not.

                  What do you need? At least 2 million to merely defeat your opposition or it’s utterly hopeless.
                  1.8 to match the current standing army, another .2 to match the criminal elements that will also be competing for a slice.

                  That’s mindless WWI era or earlier thinking, raw numbers don’t matter in “4th Generation Warfare”, for that matter didn’t in 3rd Generation. And you’re assuming the US military will entirely side with the government, which as has been discussed is very questionable.

                  China?? There ability to project power across the Pacific is nil, aside from brute force like threatening to nuke us. Presumably we’ll maintain enough nukes to make that a doubtful proposition. And … you think they’ll care about 1.5 T in debt, when this would cost them most of their biggest market? They’ll have bigger problems to worry about, not that they won’t stir up mischief, as Michael points out they’ll be selling, or I add maybe even giving all sorts of goodies to one or more sides.

                  In general, you, and I, ESR etc. are not living in the same reality. If worst comes to worst, we’ll find out which has a better grasp on the truth, something we devoutly hope won’t happen. Until then it’s pointless for us to argue.

                  • Thanks for making me cite 9 million. It was actually 14 million people who have at one time been a member of the NRA (bad reading, misleading representation), and then 14 is extrapolated from an original source survey of 3 million gun owners. #fakenews #liesDamnedLiesSelfReportedStatistics (Perhaps with biased sampling) -> http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/22/key-takeaways-on-americans-views-of-guns-and-gun-ownership/

                    “4th Generation Warfare”
                    In this case both sides have the fighting for the homeland advantage, both sides are fluent in modern tactics, both sides have decentralized command and control. Some training, intel and infrastructure advantages to the standing armies and some guerrilla advantages to the 2.0 rebels but overall this can easily decay into a war of attrition that will look new, but headcount still matters. (Non-linear ISIS style IED’s and terrorist acts will be off the table for guerrillas because using them will bolster the ranks of opposition). Which way individuals like Jim Mattis go could easily decide this whole thing; which is my point about the importance of messaging. You can’t just be in the right you have to be perceived as being in the right.

                    China was a named example dropped in to represent “outside interests”. Material support mattered in the first US revolution.

                    “not living in the same reality”
                    Fake news and ideological echo chambers are a grave threat to liberty and its a knife that cuts both ways. But I think in this case it is a mere optimism/pessimism thing, I’m more optimistic that in the short term radical actions that would trigger an armed conflict can be avoided. I’m more pessimistic in how many people will show up to the first year of the fight… we all seem to be on the same page about the long term all out assault on the 2A.

            • > — Once it gets to the point the RKBA is officially over —
              > I don’t think that point is going to ever be clear enough on a timeline to coordinate a response;

              So your complaint is that it’s too early to talk about it now, but if we wait until it’s definitely already passed, it’ll be too late to do anything about it.

              Is there ever a right time to stand up to tyranny, or is it always too early or too late?

              • It’s too early to start shooting people.

                It’s not too early to start introducing new people to the various sporting activities in the gun world.

                • This, I argue, is one of the best things a gun-rights advocate to ensure the future of that right. Well-crafted, sound arguments can be convincing, sure, and I don’t think we should abandon them. But lived experience is even more convincing. Someone’s who’s personally seen that they can handle a gun without any of the gun-grabbers dire prophecies manifesting is less likely to be swayed by gun-grabber arguments. Absent that experience, gun-grabber arguments are more likely to sound reasonable and sensible.

                  • Hmm, I seem to have lost the ability to edit. I guess I’ll just have to call attention to my sloppy writing instead.

                    >This, I argue, is one of the best things a gun-rights advocate to ensure the future of that right.

                    It’s one of the best things a gun-rights advocate *can do* to ensure the future of that right.

                    Also, “gun-grabbers” was supposed to be possessive.

        • No one is going to “show up”. It wouldn’t be the Civil War with soldiers lined up rank and file. It would be deer hunters making sure that certain people will simply be unable to show their face above ground for the duration.

  27. “It’s not taxation; it’s my choice to buy social trust.”

    Suprise! All it takes is some nativism for our host to give up on laissez-faire. *dies laughing*

  28. I do not know if abrogation of the 2nd Amendment will trigger a major hot conflict within our country, but if that scenario should ever arise, I sincerely believe that hackers will become a preeminent force in the revolution to reestablish constitutional governance. There exists today a very robust array of modeling tools that forecast societal evolution and the consequences of an emergent tyranny here in the US. These tools have a subset of analysis that essentially amounts to war-gaming analysis and optimization. As you might expect, these models largely predict that hackers will become a fatal disease forcing the demise of tyrannical governments.

  29. I always thought I was a conservative. But lately I think I am more of a nationalist.

    Like what ESR was saying about the need to tighten the labor market. America first.

    I remember Bernie Sanders saying open borders was a Koch brothers idea. He was right.

  30. Pingback: Working on Something – The Last Redoubt

  31. ESR, I’ve long respected your work for the open source community and your eloquence in support of your principles. I have a genuine and honest question for you. I don’t know anything practical about guns, and I don’t think I have the right mindset to use one on another person even if I did. What policy(-ies) would you recommend that I support and advocate for if I wanted to reduce the occurrence of school shootings?

    I would also be happy to hear from any other commenters with recommendations for me; I understand there isn’t only one person here with good ideas. Thank you all in advance.

    • >What policy(-ies) would you recommend that I support and advocate for if I wanted to reduce the occurrence of school shootings?

      Abolish “Gun-free zones” and signs. They might as well be saying “Get your tasty victims here.”

      Support teachers and school staff to be armed and carry concealed on the job. Give them incentive pay for carrying. Pay for their training.

      Allow students who are legally eligible in their jurisdiction to carry concealed. If you think the jurisdiction’s filters for which under-21s are allowed to carry are too loose, fix that problem; there’s no good reason to discriminate against students at school and an excellent reason not to – you don’t want bad guys to know where all the defending guns are.

      End the overprescription of SSRIs and other antidepressants (oh, and stop drugging boys with Ritalin while you’re at it). This will require us to bring back involuntary commitment for those judged to be an imminent danger to others. So be it; deinstitutionalization was tried and failed.

      Embargo the names and images of school shooters for a limited time (say, 90 days) after a shooting.

      Recognize that at bottom this is a mental-health problem with causes different from superficially similar terrorist attacks. Apply epidemiology to identify risk factors. Use them to identify kids who are not actively dangerous yet but at substantial risk of becoming so. Apply heightened scrutiny.

      • Abolish policies (such as the current welfare system and endemic feminist entryism) that incentivize family and societal patterns that leave young men adrift and without guidance and upbringing from mature men.

        • Man are so weak, they have to be protected against those evil women who can easily take over society. So, force all those women back into the kitchen.

          • “Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little” – Dr. Johnson

          • Wrong *again*.

            Men are so strong that you cannot leave them adrift. They need to learn self control, self discipline, and respect. They learn these best from other men–especially men who are physically powerful *and in control*.

            You don’t raise boys, you *civilize* them.

      • Thank you very much for your response.

        Your points about mental health and the overprescription of various drugs seem completely reasonable to me, as do the points about reducing the notoriety of shooters and eliminating “gun-free zone” signage.

        However, your other points seem to indicate that teachers, school staff, and students should be armed at all times. I apologize if I seem naive about this, but that sounds completely implausible to me. (And if I have misunderstood or mischaracterized your response, I apologize for that as well.)

        For one thing, it seems to imply that people who are unwilling or unable to complete firearms training and maintain an armed response in their classrooms should not be qualified to be teachers. Are you suggesting that, in order to be a teacher, one must be both educated as a teacher and sufficiently trained to use a gun in a live combat situation? Wouldn’t that lead to a substantial reduction in qualified teachers?

        Also, when I was a young man, there were very few, if any, of my peers who would have been able to handle a gun with the appropriate level of maturity and respect. I am completely willing to believe that there are young people who are so able, but I don’t understand how to build a general regime of school safety on the back of unusual and exceptional young people.

        I am not trying to be difficult; I really just want to understand how best to protect my kids. I have friends who have served who shared how difficult it is to keep a calm head in a combat situation, and they received a lot more training than any teacher or school staff member would presumably get. I don’t understand how expecting teachers and young people to be armed at all times will _reduce_ the incidence of school shootings; it seems to me that it would increase the incidence, at the very least because of accidental shootings or poorly-guarded guns being stolen and misused.

        Thank you again for your response and for your patience with me.

        • >However, your other points seem to indicate that teachers, school staff, and students should be armed at all times.

          Teachers staff and students who so choose should be armed. I don’t propose to make it mandatory, though part of me is severely tempted to make it so for teachers – good filtering to exclude the moral cowards and weaklings from the profession. I would prefer that our children be taught only by people with the psychological and moral strength to accept responsibility for the use of lethal force.

          But…I don’t need us to make it mandatory because not everyone needs to be armed for the deterrent to work. We need only crazies to estimate a high enough likelihood of being shot so that schools change from soft targets to hard.

          >that sounds completely implausible to me.

          Been tried in Medina, TX. Seems to be working out exactly as anyone who isn’t a hoplophobe would predict, which is to say quite well.

          It’s also common practice Israel. Last I checked it had cut Palestinian attacks on schoolchildren to zero – they were formerly favored targets. The overwhelming majority of all terror attacks in Israel are stopped by armed civilians, not law enforcement.

          >I don’t understand how expecting teachers and young people to be armed at all times will _reduce_ the incidence of school shootings

          Maybe you should ask the Israelis. It’s working for them.

          >Also, when I was a young man, there were very few, if any, of my peers who would have been able to handle a gun with the appropriate level of maturity and respect.

          Young men learn responsibility by taking its weight. They stay immature when we put too little on them.

          If you show boys and young men that can be proud defenders, most will step up. Yes, you want to filter for some indicators of unfitness – fatherlessness, drug or alcohol problems, a history of torturing animals or fire-starting or bedwetting – but these broken boys are the exception, not the rule.

          There’s a surviving letter from Thomas Jefferson in which he urged his nephew to carry a gun while out walking because it builds character. Jefferson knew something today’s self-panickers have forgotten

          • These are sane and effective prescriptions for minimizing school shooting incidents, but is it probable that our society will find the will to implement them? At the macro-societal scale, we have transitioned from a robust pioneer American archetype (hardworking, self-reliant, resilient) to an affluence-weakened drone-mentality archetype (specialist/dependent, hive-minded, fragile). Compare our current political class in DC with the Founders, and you can imagine how much we have changed.

          • >>Also, when I was a young man, there were very few, if any, of my peers who would have been able to handle a gun with the appropriate level of maturity and respect.

            >Young men learn responsibility by taking its weight. They stay immature when we put too little on them.

            I can confirm this from my own personal experience. When I bought my rifle, I got it home, took it out of the case, and proceeded to take it apart to figure out how the hell it actually worked. I moved the various parts through their motions, building a mental model that corresponded with my observations. Once I was satisfied I had a basic understanding of its mechanisms, I sat there, holding it, and was struck by a very sobering realization:

            “If I handle this with recklessness or malice, someone will die. I have got to get my shit together and become more responsible.”

            A concern about a bunch of infantile man-children with guns isn’t unreasonable. So, as a society, perhaps we should probably stop making infantile man-children, and start helping the current crop of man-children become men. A good way to do that will be to start teaching them how to handle firearms safely, giving them the opportunity to have the same realization that I had.

          • > Young men learn responsibility by taking its weight. They stay immature when we put too little on them.

            Once upon a time, a young man at the age of 13 would stand before the congregation and declare “Today I am a man.” And he’d be out in the fields behind a plow, or in the mines, or in a shop, or whatever, accepting the responsibilities of adulthood. Millennia have passed, during which time girls’ age of menarche has fallen, and boys have shown they’re reaching physical maturity earlier by other measures. But it is considered necessary for childhood to be extended to 16^H8^H^H21^H6.

            What have we actually accomplished by this? We’ve created “adolescence”, a period of not-child-but-not-adult, during which people are expected to act immaturely. And they react accordingly. Lord of the Flies is apparently a documentary.

        • > Also, when I was a young man, there were very few, if any, of my peers who would have been able to handle a gun with the appropriate level of maturity and respect.

          When I was a young man, the high school parking lot was full of student pickup trucks, almost all of which had occupied gun racks in them.

          It wasn’t a problem.

        • Also, when I was a young man, there were very few, if any, of my peers who would have been able to handle a gun with the appropriate level of maturity and respect.

          I mean no offense by this comment…

          But I find this to be an absolutely astonishing thing to say.

          When I was growing up *every* boy above the age of about eight handled firearms and hunted. Most only required supervision on the first few outings. Many had killed deer by the time they were 10, using high powered centerfire rifles (i.e. much more powerful than the puny AR-15). Every house had firearms. Every boy used them. Most of the girls and women also.

          My parents wouldn’t have given the slightest notice of me walking out of the house carrying the scoped .30-06 semiauto or the M-1 carbine with 15-round magazine. My mom might have said something like “be home by dark!”.

          The idea that young men cannot handle firearms and other weapons with “the appropriate level of maturity and respect” is not the norm. It is an aberration of our current perverse age.

          BTW, the situation I described above was during my growing up years in the 1960-70s. But for rural folk today, it is still the norm.

          • Hm, then our cultures diverged earlier than I thought! I read European hunter writers. Sometimes they write about their childhood back around 1900 or so, even earlier, 1890.

            Already in 1890, 10 years old in Europe is small game with a Flobert gun: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallery_gun nothing higher powered allowed. Maybe bird shot, rabbit shot but even that rather at 12. 14-15 fox, or the rare and highly prized otter.

            OK we have to factor in game was already far, far more scarce here. One could think adults were mostly just selfish, wanted to keep the valuable stuff to themselves. Still my impression is we already trusted kids less. Maybe it can be explained with a higher population density. Easier to accidentally hit someone gathering firewood.

            There was also a very, very strong ethical focus on never letting wounded animals go away alive and suffering. I think they didn’t really trust kids to accurately shoot to kill or if not follow the blood track through the thorny bush and all that and finish it. But it is merely speculation on my part.

          • Yep, your experience matches mine. Roughly age 6-8 for firing guns with supervision, maybe 8-10 for getting one’s own gun — typically a bolt-action .22 rifle, a .410 shotgun, or, for the lucky kids in my peer group, an “over and under” configuration that fired both.

            And yep, when I was about 10 my friend and I used to grab his family’s WWII surplus Lee-Enfield and go out to have some fun. The (also surplus) ammo was dirt cheap at that time, as I recall. His mom’s reaction? Much as you describe.

            That was a rifle and caliber that is a strong contender for all-time champion for highest number of human beings killed.

            That’s why I laugh when gun grabbers start up with their idiotic “weapons of war” rhetoric with respect to AR-15s and the like. Real weapons of war like the Lee-Enfield and .30-’06 have put a whole lot of meat on people’s tables over the years. The idea that there’s any meaningful distinction between a “hunting” rifle that will kill medium-sized mammals such as deer and a “weapon of war” that will only kill human beings (who are, of course, medium-sized mammals) is just absurd.

        • If the student attacks a teacher with sufficient ferocity as to qualify as a threat to his life – the legal standard for the use of deadly force in most jurisdictions, and a standard that will serve in all of them – then the teacher will be justified in killing him. Just as he would a white student.

          Or are you saying that teachers should be fair game for murderous students?

          • I’m saying that eventually, a teacher will make the wrong call and an innocent student will wind up dead. And that fhe probability of this happening will be inversely proportional to the number of photons reflected by the skin of the student.

            • >And that fhe probability of this happening will be inversely proportional to the number of photons reflected by the skin of the student.

              I ran the numbers on this once when thinking about suspect shooting by police. Differences in propensity to criminality by population (measured by commission of serious crimes) mean that a black high-schooler is about eight times more likely to be violently dangerous than a randomly selected non-black high-school student. (It’s actually worse than that; I was making interpretive assumptions as generous as I could towards lowering the number.)

              Wake me when armed teachers shoot black students more than eight times more often than non-black students. Above that ratio the response to melanin starts to look disproportionate and you might have a case.

              • This question is, have you run the numbers on White people living in similar circumstances as the Black people you describe; similarly both financially and in terms of their circumstances – drugs in their neighborhoods, broken homes, etc.?

                If you haven’t, you don’t actually know anything about the problem.

            • Anyone paying attention can see that blacks in America, on the whole, don’t care in the slightest about the well-being of anyone who is not black. Please explain why I should not return that level of concern.

          • If you think that’s bad, check out the link where he explains all the hate mail he got for writing it. This guy’s like the Martin Shkreli of the left.

        • So basically you’re saying that black kids are violent and cannot control themselves.

          Racist much?

        • One of the major things that has characterized Black politics at least since the time of Martin Luther King is non-violence. There are outliers, but they are both unusual and significant. (Not gonna have a debate; read the next paragraph.)

          Let teachers start shooting Black kids and I suspect the non-violence goes out the window with significant force and speed.

          • Not so with respect to the non-violence. Like any population with a strong Scotch Irish influence politics out of the southern United States has been consistently violent with a tinge of hypocrisy. Just as Nehru was the violent right hand of Gandhi so too Deacons for Defense was the violent side of the avowedly non-violent Martin Luther King. There were and are of course any number of violent groups not affiliated with Martin Luther King (Jr.).

            Any number of people have already raised the issue that events have led to any number of teachers already being terrified in our schools – going back to Blackboard Jungle and drawing a line forward. Return in the form of educated graduates for money spent in Washington D.C. implies the process could stand radical change. Herewith an example from the popular media on the same general issue. Notice this argues that training is essentially useless and wasted effort.

            “…..But there’s one more problem that I’m sure most white people haven’t thought about yet: arming American teachers will directly result in students of color being shot to death at school.
            I know that because the only other group of public employees that is armed at the behest of the state shoots unarmed people of color on the reg. The cops actually receive extensive training on how to use their firearms, how to assess threats, and how to deescalate situations, and yet they still murder innocent civilians all the time.
            Giving a teacher a gun is ASKING them to be afraid. It makes poor judgment a homicidal offense. And that danger will be borne by black and brown students. The students who make teachers “afraid” just by their very existence.
            We’ll be telling teachers to shoot armed terrorists breaching the school. What’s really going to happen is an unarmed black truant loitering in a hallway he’s not supposed to be in who gets shot eight times by the jumpy choir director.

            Oh, she’ll feel just awful about her mistake. But a jury of her peers will never convict her of a crime…….”.By Elie Mystal
            Feb 22, 2018 at 5:03 PM Above the Law
            CF Clint Smith on not being afraid because he has gun rather than being paranoid.
            Just maybe a society in which teachers are afraid has major problems demanding a better solution than we saw with Mr. Cruz. The instant issue is easily solved by arming the PTA/PTO.

          • You mean like the Black Panthers?

            You mean like the Nation of Islam?

            Martin Luther King and his antecessors got as far as they did for two reasons:

            1) Most people, however they felt personally about people of another race/color recognized the basic fairness of equality under the law.

            2) The alternative was the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam.

            Also, much like dirtbag Ghandi, King used violence, he just used the violence of his opposition against them by leveraging the power of photography and film. If the police in the south had just let the marchers walk and run off at the mouth people in the rest of the country would have maybe felt a twinge of sympathy for their plight, but hey, I gotta make the rent…

            But sic’ the dogs on them and turn the hoses on a couple hundred well dressed, polite black folk who are just asking for an *equal chance*, and it’s pretty media-pathetic. Gets you ALL KINDS attention.

    • There’s one more thing that nobody here seems to be mentioning, but strikes me as blindingly obvious:

      School shootings will only end when no kid wants to shoot up a school.

      We’re outright terrible at dealing with those who are outcasts at school. Fatherlessness is a part of this, since an outcast kid whose family has disintegrated doesn’t have that as a bulwark to fall back on. But there’s more to it than that. Some are dealing with true mental illness; others are simply so alienated from their peers, and treated so cruelly, that they see no end to their suffering but to lash out and destroy.

      Schools don’t deal with that problem at all. Far too often, they blame the bullied for their troubles, and the community backs the school up in this. There’s a case right now in the next town over where a kid was beaten and injured by bullies outside the school, and is moving out of state because the community backlash against him – not the bullies! – got to be too much to take.

      This is not a new phenomenon. I was pulled out of public school in the 8th grade because I kept getting bullied and the school suspended me instead of dealing with the problem.

      We’ve got to do better by our kids, folks.

      • >School shootings will only end when no kid wants to shoot up a school.

        Or we switch to online education.

      • I’d say pull the kids out, shove the bureaucrats in and lock the doors, then unleash a steady stream orbital bombardment until we hit magma. But some might say that that is slight overkill (which doesn’t exist).

        Most of our civilizational problems can be traced either directly to the school system, or are using the schools as a meme-propogation system.