Gratitude for Beto

Beto O’Rourke is a pretty risible character even among the clown show that is the 2020 cycle’s Democratic candidate-aspirants. A faux-populist with a history of burglary and DUI, he married the heiress of a billionaire and money-bombed his way to a seat in the House of Representatives, only to fail when he ran for the Senate six years later because Texas had had enough of his bullshit. Beneath the boyish good looks on which he trades so heavily, his track record reveals him to be a rather dimwitted and ineffectual manchild with a severe case of Dunning-Kruger effect.

Beto’s Presidential aspirations are doomed, though he and the uncontacted aborigines of the Andaman Islands are possibly the only inhabitants of planet Earth who do not yet grasp this. Before flaming out of the 2020 race to a life of well-deserved obscurity, however, Beto has done the American polity one great service for which I must express my most sincere and enduring gratitude.

In September 12th, 2019, at third televised debate among the Democratic aspirants, Beto O.Rourke said “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15”. And nobody on stage demurred, then or afterwards. And the audience applauded thunderously.

At a stroke, Beto irrecoverably destroyed a critical part of the smokescreen gun-control advocates have been laying over their intentions since the 1960s. He put gun confiscation with the threat of door-to-door enforcement by violence on the table, and nobody in the Democratic Party auditorium backed away.

It’s that last clause that is really telling. Beto’s own intentions will soon cease to be of interest to anyone but specialist historians. What matters is how he has made “Nobody is coming to take your guns” a disclaimer that no Democrat – and, extension, any advocate of soi-disant “common-sense” firearms restrictions – can ever hide behind again.

His talk of “military weapons” was, of course, obfuscatory bullshit. The AR-15 is a civilianized rifle the lacks exactly the capability to fire full auto or bursts that is essential for a battlefield weapon. Over ten million AR-15-pattern variants are in civilian hands; it’s the single most popular sport and hunting rifle in the U.S. or for that matter the entire world.

Every single AR-15 owner is on notice. The Democratic presidential candidates and their audience are down with the concept of LEOs raiding your home and forcibly confiscating your guns, even if you’re a model citizen with no criminal record or red flags. The fact that you, your family, or your pets could get shot dead through malice or incompetence does not really signify to them. Got to break a few eggs to make that omelette, comrade!

Hell, if you happen to be white or male today’s Democrats might consider it – what’s the currently fashionable phrase? – “redistributive justice”. No worries though; there are statistical reasons to expect that blacks and Hispanics will be over-represented in the actual body count.

This is horrible – it’s a nightmare and a bad sign for our republic that advocating police-state behavior like this doesn’t get politicians driven from public life – but it’s also very clarifying.

Consider registration and licensing laws, background checks, and other requirements that allow the government to identify and target gun owners. Our civil-rights advocates have been saying for decades that these were intolerable because they have the corrupt purpose of enabling future confiscations. In response, we’ve been treated to endless condescending repetitions of “Nobody is coming to take your guns”.

We knew that was a lie, that forcible confiscation was always the endgame once lesser restrictions had shifted the Overton Window far enough, but way too many people outside the gun culture were fooled. The great service Beto O’Rourke has done is that the pretense will now be very much more difficult, and perhaps entirely impossible.

Thank you, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. You did not intend it, but you have provided a teachable moment for which everyone who takes the Second Amendment seriously should be grateful.

EDIT: Now lightly altered to reflect that at least one Democratic legislator has demurred. Senator Chris Coons said he disagreed with Beto: “We need to focus on what we can get done.” This of course is code for “You idiot! You let the mask slip! We need to continue with the slow strangulation!”

914 thoughts on “Gratitude for Beto

  1. The irony of him saying this on September 12th; the day after the anniversary of Let’s Roll Day, makes it even better.

    • There’s a good chance he could double down by flogging confiscation on the anniversary of the Battle of Gonzales. We can hope, anyway. It’s only a few weeks from now.

  2. Well, Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) did say:

    “I frankly think that that clip will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations that try to scare people by saying Democrats are coming for your guns,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “Newsroom” Friday morning.

    Asked if he’s supportive of O’Rourke’s pledge, Coons responded, “I am not.”

    “I don’t think a majority of the Senate or the country is going to embrace mandatory buybacks. We need to focus on what we can get done,” Coons added.

    The “focus on what we can get done” today of course gives the game away. Clicking through, the source article says Senator Joe Manchin, (D-West Virginia), long the face of “moderate” Democratic gun grabbing, agreed on Twitter, but they didn’t link to it and it’s not currently in his Twitter feed.

    While you’re at it, you might comment on the conceit embedded in the label “buy back”, of something the government never owned, except to these people….

    • Indeed, I too have wondered how someone can “buy back” that which they never owned. That they insist on using this terminology suggests to me that they think a “buy back” polls better than a “buy out” or “just compensation for property required by that pesky 5th Amendment Takings Clause, dammit!”

      • I was going to let them “buy back” my guns, but I didn’t think they would pass the Background Check….
        Or even the credit-check…

  3. I don’t understand why this one gaffe will make the rhetoric of gun moderation unusable. Anyone who bought into it was already ignoring an overwhelming amount of evidence; why would one slip snap them into reality? Maybe my view of the modern “well-meaning” Democrat is too pessimistic, but I imagine that most of them would ignore this incident and continue to live in fantasy land.

    Is the idea that all candidates on the left will now need to explicitly support confiscation explicitly to remain politically viable? That result seems plausible, but I would also expect the Democrat’s eventual nominee to code-switch and lie like hell after winning the primary.

    • The difference is that Beto’s statement was an open threat. Previous anti-gun statements by various and sundry Democratic Party politicians were, or could be passed off as, mere statements of desire.

      The idea is that candidates can no longer express their desires for anti-gun policies without implicitly endorsing Beto’s threat, and that makes the rhetoric of “moderate” anti-gun policies unusable.

      • Huh? Wasn’t all the moderate anti-gun rhetoric *already* implicitly signaling support for confiscation? Beto’s threat doesn’t seem like anything new to me but for its appalling frankness. I don’t understand why the frankness matters; who would it sway? It validates my map of the territory, which is nice, but I don’t see why else it matters.

        I’m having trouble visualizing someone simultaneously smart enough to support guns, stupid enough to believe the Democrat’s motte-and-bailey tactics, and open-minded enough to change their mind when presented with evidence contrary to their tribal beliefs.

        (I think I’m still missing Eric’s point, somehow… thank you for trying to help me achieve enlightenment.)

        • I can’t find it at the moment, but someone had compiled a two-minute montage of politicians and pundits saying “No one wants to take your guns!”; the very first person saying this in the montage was Beto O’Roark himself. The montage ends with Beto saying “We’re coming for your AR-15s and AK-47s.”

          To be sure, gun rights activists never believed anyone who said “We don’t want to take your guns”, but this montage highlights the fact that yes, these people *would* take our guns, if given the opportunity. It is a refreshing break from their gaslighting!

  4. I’m astonished at how far left the Democrats have gone. At least in part it can be explained by the tendency of activists and progressives to keep pushing in the “correct direction.” They can’t lead us into the future if they say “OK, that’s far enough,” so there’s always a new cause. But it keeps sounding like the absurdities of 1960s dope-smoking hippies. “Yeah, man! [takes toke] Health care should just be free!” Bernie recently said that there should be no co-pays, no deductibles. In the first debate, all the candidates agreed that illegal immigrants should get free health care. More current Democratic Party positions (from one or more candidates) include abolishing ICE, emptying all detainment camps, tearing down all existing border walls, abolishing cash bail, nobody ever jailed for non-violent crime (Bernie Madoff approves!), free college for all (including illegals), banning internal combustion vehicles, the federal government should be the only ISP….

    That all sounds practical, affordable, and popular with voters, right? What could possibly go wrong?

    It feels like more than the standard progression of leftist activism. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I think it’s some of these things. 1) Leftism is reaching a sort of crisis point, trapped in its own internal contradictions. 2) Trump’s trolling is driving them crazy. He makes them think he’s a fascist dictator, so they think the proper response is (essentially) communism. 3) I am starting to consider an idea from the sometimes insightful, sometimes wacky Thomas Wictor. Trump is known to be a fan of Sun Tzu, who wrote about the use of spies. Wictor thinks Trump has Judas goats in the enemy camp, giving intentionally bad advice. I’m not sure that is necessary to explain what we see, but it sure looks like that. Combined with Spygate and the other counterattacks Trump will unleash in the next year, I think the Democratic Party will be a smoking crater by November 2020.

    • An excellent observation, but there’s a much simpler explanation, this is a repeat of 1972 due to rules changes based on the previous disastrous election. Although this time as far as I know none of the candidates played a major role in drafting the new rules as McGovern did back then.

      The new rules to be and stay in the game of these catastrophic debates (whether the party wins or loses in 2020) demand playing to the activist base, they require scoring well enough in blessed polls, and donations following a certain wide shape.

    • Wictor also thought I was lying and blocked me on Twitter when I told him that I lost a brother to a drunk driver, because he couldn’t square that with my position that either the drinking age should be lowered to 18 or the voting age increased to at least the drinking age. [I consider voting an exercise of power, not of individual liberty, and the standards for wielding power over others should be at least as high as for enjoying liberty. That’s why I want a middle option for cops accused of bad behavior, that takes away their badges without also incarcerating them, when they’ve shown they shouldn’t have power over others, but also haven’t shown they shouldn’t have personal liberty.]

      So “sometimes wacky” is appropriate, to say the least.

    • Cross-party corruption risks a one party system that effectively abolishes voting! That’s called fascism.

      We need more parties and more ranges of ideas, not fewer. Treating politics as a team sport harms humanity in general.

  5. I thought the preceding discussion was just as telling:

    MUIR: … Biden saying, “There’s no constitutional authority to issue that executive order when they say ‘I’m going to eliminate assault weapons,'” saying, “you can’t do it by executive order any more than Trump can do things when he says he can do it by executive order.”

    HARRIS: Well, I mean, I would just say, hey, Joe, instead of saying, no, we can’t, let’s say yes, we can.

    BIDEN: Let’s be constitutional. We’ve got a Constitution.

    HARRIS: And yes, we can, because I’ll tell you something. The way that I think about this is, I’ve seen more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you. I have attended more police officer funerals than I care to tell you. I have hugged more mothers of homicide victims than I care to tell you.

    And the idea that we would wait for this Congress, which has just done nothing, to act, is just — it is overlooking the fact that every day in America, our babies are going to school to have drills, elementary, middle and high school students, where they are learning about how they have to hide in a closet or crouch in a corner if there is a mass shooter roaming the hallways of their school.

    So we have one candidate who’s against a self-coup, and one who’s in favor; I really wish they’d asked the rest to get on the record either way.

    • I’ve seen more autopsy photographs than I care to tell you.

      “Bitch, you tried to murder a man by withholding the DNA evidence that sprung him from death row. Don’t even try to pretend that you care about human life, you lying, power-grubbing whore.”

    • Brilliant. Of course the fact of someone having died somewhere under some circumstances is a completely legitimate reason for removing the rights of the remaining citizens.

      But why stop at the pesky Bill of Rights? The existence of theft, say, should be an inarguable justification for abolishing property rights.

      • We have some cities in the US that are working on that; the police won’t take a report or even respond unless a theft exceeds some dollar value. Which the local skeevies figured means you can steal anything you want without reprisal, as long as it doesn’t exceed that value.

        As “police resources are stretched” I’m sure we’ll see those dollar limits rise…

        • In 2014 in Los Angeles County, I could not get the sheriff’s department to even take a report for $15,000 worth of theft. Nor could I get them to investigate, even tho some of my stolen property was lying in plain sight where the culprit was living at the time.

          Their lame-ass excuse was, “Well, if you can’t prove it’s yours…” (expecting a receipt from 20 years ago).

          So, yeah, I can tell you where at least one threshold falls.

  6. Pingback:

    Vote -1 Vote +1Nice post. The cat is indeed out of the bag.

  7. It’s tempting to buy his “HELL YES WE’RE GOING TO TAKE YOUR AR-15” T-shirt and start wearing it to my Gun Club. . .

    • I think we need shirts in approximately the same style, font, etc, that say “????? ????, motherfucker.”

  8. Did you miss the part about his Twitter fight with a Texas state assemblyman?

    O’Rourke posted one of his “Hell, yeah, we’re taking them!” posts. Briscoe Cain told him his AR was waiting for him.

    Wannabe tough guy O’Rourke immediately ran shrieking to the FBI.

    O’Rourke: “There’s a new sheriff in town. And his name is–oh, I forget, but it was some dude on the FBI hotline.”

  9. This from a guy who nominally represents the state in which a commune of religious families were arson-ated by Bill Clinton’s attorney general Janet Reno. Hell, yes. Fire and brimstone. If we think you are building a bunch of rifles in there, we’ll set fire to you, your wives, your kids … Hell has little more to offer than the BATF.

    • Nit, but it was the FBI’s death squad that finished off the Branch Davidians the BATF didn’t kill, as they did Randy Weaver’s wife after a similar first contact screwup with the US Marshals killed his son. They were also caught shooting, and lying about that, in the only death to come out of the Oregon National Wildlife Refuge occupation.

    • On the subject of guns, what do we do? I’m all for Eric’s plan of better mental-health treatment, but that’s only a partial solution.

      That will only work if we return force as a tool to keep the severely mentally ill medicated and/or locked up, and that’s a non-starter in an era where our betters are declaring us to be mentally ill and worthy of being Red Flagged and SWATted because we own guns or vote the wrong way.

      I can’t think of anything we can do in the current environment. I mean, armed citizens have stopped more than a few mass murders before they got started, but allowing and encouraging more people to go armed is unthinkable to our betters.

      • Beto testing.

        I don’t have any AR-15s, just uppers, 80% Lowers, and a Ghost Gunner 2 from Defense Distributed…

        Mental Health – I’m waiting for them to end Typhus (and maybe the upcoming Plague) in the west coast deep blue areas. I can only hope the outbreak causes an election day quarantine.

        Also note how the Left goes ballistic when there is any proposal to requrie ID to vote – A license, or something!

        Here is a simple test – you should be able to buy a gun or vote on the same basis, or moreso with Guns as it is the 2nd amendment. Prove who you are? Save records?

        • I’m no leftist, but I’m strongly against
          requiring ID to vote. Or to work, or to
          open a bank account, or to travel, or to
          enter a federal courthouse. Or to buy a
          gun. Millions of Americans have no
          government-issued picture ID. They lack the
          papers to get the papers. The transition to
          “REAL ID” will add millions more.

          • I’m no leftist, but I’m strongly against
            requiring ID to vote.

            So how do you make sure the voter is who he says he is? This is not a hypothetical. There are inner city precincts with >100% turnout.

            • You don’t. But that’s the beauty of a federal system, you don’t have to, because you don’t have to care how other areas decide who gets to vote. The people in states with a large urban population center are the ones who should care, but the solution there is to split those states down to more reasonable sizes.

              I think it’s also worth noting that, while the constitution now requires (via several amendments) states to allow all citizens who have not been specifically disenfranchised, and are over the age of majority to vote, it does not restrict the states from allowing others to vote. Historically, the requirements varied from time to time and place to place. In many cases, the requirement was owning land, in other cases, mostly in the west, the requirement was ‘show up’. Obviously, that was in addition to other requirements (be male, look white), but the point is if a state wants to say anyone who physically shows up can vote, that’s a matter for the people in that state to handle.

                • Aye, and they ought to be able to. Of course, there is the question ‘what are the feds gonna do about it?’ Sure, the feds can say they aren’t allowed to, but that’s also something that falls outside the purview of the general government, so the states ought to ignore them. At the end of the day, the feds don’t have the resources to force states to let people vote without ID, at least if enough states decide to require it.

              • >You don’t. But that’s the beauty of a federal system, you don’t have to,

                Unless that silly national popular vote compact happens.

                • Unless that silly national popular vote compact happens.

                  It’s a non-starter unless and until Purple states join it, and it’ll die very quickly the election season a Republican candidate wins the national election and California et. al. are forced to vote for him in the Electoral College or renege on it.

          • Millions of Americans have no government-issued picture ID.

            See, this is a very clever lie.

            It is quite literally true–there are millions of Americans–probably about 65 million of them–do not have government ID.

            This is, of course, because they’re CHILDREN, and until they turn 16 or travel outside the country they have no need of government ID.

            There may be “millions” of Americans without IDs, but with roughly 250 million adult Americans, that’s less than 1 percent, and they do it by choice.

            ibiblio is REALLY flaky.

            • There is a difference between not having ID at all, and not having ID on your person. Of course, even having it on your person is no guarantee, as the people ‘detaining’ you can easily lose it… Why on earth would you trust the same people who regularly lie to us, who want to take our guns, who run the post office (et cetera, et cetera) to wield the power to expel anyone they want? And yes, it’s already happening (1).

              Also note that, while naturalization is a federal issue, immigration is noticeable in its absence from the constitution, which means it falls under amendment 10. In fact, it was managed exclusively by the states until about 1870 (2).

              1: https://mises.org/wire/us-immigration-enforcement-guilty-until-proven-innocent
              2: https://mises.org/wire/american-immigration-policy-160-years-ago

              • Um, immigration is effectively a federal issue unless you plan to set up border controls along state borders.

                • Except it *wasn’t* until about 1870… Just because something has been done a certain way doesn’t mean it *must* be done that way, especially when the conservative position was to oppose the current way of doing it so recently. If technology or geopolitics require borders to be controlled by the general government, that would take a constitutional amendment. You can’t be consistent in demanding a return to the constitution and then ignore it when it’s inconvenient.

                  Kevin Gutzman argues that, had the feds not assumed the power to regulate immigration, the states would have continued to do so themselves. I have no reason to doubt his analysis, nor am I saying that there should be open borders because the feds lack the remit to close them.

                  The fact is that, under the constitution, as written, the sanctuary cities are resisting federal overreach. That’s a problem.

                  And no, there’d be no reason for inter-state borders, for the same reason there isn’t now. First, the logistics don’t work well. Second, most of the border states actually would happily control the border, probably better than the feds do (as a general rule, if it’s something not done by the feds, it’s something done better than the feds can do). See Arizona’s law from about 10 years ago. California is a bit of a problem, but honestly it’s not like native-born Californians are much better when they move elsewhere.

                • > unless you plan to set up border controls along state borders.

                  Like California? I’ve been stopped and searched by California’s own version of Checkpoint Charlie before, as they looked under the seats in in my luggage for… contraband fruit?!

                  But apparently people have already taken them to Federal court, which ruled it’s totally okay, because fruit trumps Federal law, by some reasoning they don’t bother to explain.

              • BS. (I like Ilya Somin, but he’s wrong on this.) Article I, Sec. 9, Para. 1 is clear:

                The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

                If this meant to deny Congress authority over immigration, there wouldn’t have been an expiration date on this limitation. The obvious intent, therefore, is that effective 1 Jan 1808, Congress has the authority under the Supremacy Clause to control “Migration and Importation of Persons”. And in that very year, Congress prohibited the importation of slaves, long before 1870. That Congress chose to allow states to exercise a lot of concurrent power does not mean it didn’t have the constitutional authority to take exclusive control over the matter when it chose to do so. That courts didn’t rule against state power during the time Congress saw fit to allow them to exercise concurrent power tells us nothing about the limits of Congressional authority over immigration.

            • No, I meant that millions of *adult* US citizens don’t have current
              government-issued picture ID, and can’t get it, at least not for
              a reasonable amount of time, effort, and money. Plenty of adult
              Americans don’t drive, don’t travel overseas, and have never been in
              the military. How and why would they have gotten an ID before 9/11?
              And after 9/11 “loopholes” such as having people vouch for you under
              oath were closed. The Washington Post estimated that 450,000 people
              would be disenfranchised in Virginia alone.

              Yes, there’s a risk of someone voting twice if the state doesn’t purge
              the polls of dead people, though it would become obvious when the
              second person with the same name, address, and birth date tries to
              vote. Is that such a terrible thing that it’s worth disenfranchising
              a thousand people to prevent each wrongful vote? Ten thousand?

              I’m puzzled by the negative votes on my post. How can people strongly
              support gun rights but strongly oppose voting rights? The only
              explanation I can think of is that those are both Republican
              positions. I am not a Republican or a Democrat since both platforms
              are random collections of unrelated and inconsistent ideas. Not
              to mention that the current president holds ideas that no previous
              Republican president has ever held.

              • No, I meant that millions of *adult* US citizens don’t have current government-issued picture ID, and can’t get it, at least not for a reasonable amount of time, effort, and money.

                Things you need an ID for:

                alcohol
                cigarettes
                a bank account
                welfare
                Medicaid
                Social Security
                a mortgage
                buying or renting a car
                air travel
                renting a hotel room
                hunting/fishing license
                picking up a prescription

                You’re telling me there are millions of voters who do none of those things? Absurd. And they are not that hard to get.

              • >No, I meant that millions of *adult* US citizens don’t have current
                government-issued picture ID, and can’t get it, at least not for
                a reasonable amount of time, effort, and money.

                Keith, that’s just silly. At the county courthouse nearest me, in Westchester PA, you can get the police to issue you a PA state photo ID for 15 minutes’ investment of time and a nominal filing fee. They don’t even insist on a birth certificate – a current utility bill verifying your address will do. For ID purposes it’s as good as a driver’s license – in fact it looks so much like one that it’s hard to tell the difference without close scrutiny. They don’t run your prints or anything.

                Pennsylvania is not exceptional. Cops everywhere like people to have photo IDs, it simplifies their lives when they do things like traffic stops, so they make it easy to get one. Democratic huffing and puffing about this being a huge barrier to minorities and the poor is bullshit emitted to protect their vote-fraud machine.

                • > nominal filing fee

                  It’s $5 in my state.

                  Not only that, if somehow $5 is beyond someone’s ability to pay, the Republican and Democratic parties(*) have announced they’ll not only pay for it, they’ll also provide transportation to the DMV office.

                  (*)there are three other parties recognized by the state, but last I heard they were cheapskates who couldn’t be bothered…)

                • REAL ID is gonna either shut that down or make it a useless ID for most purposes.

                  It’s actually harder to get an NJ Driver’s License/photo ID (despite not being RID compliant, NJ has had the “6 points of identity proof” since sometime around 2002-03) than it is to get a passport; to the point that I’m seriously considering getting a passport card rather than go through the rigmarole necessary to get the Gold Star on my DL.

          • If you’re an American, you have the papers to get a gov’t issued ID, because you have either a state-issued birth certificate, or a whatever-they-call the certificate of Naturalization.

            Anyone lacking both had better have a durn good story to explain why. I think the most likely explanation is that they’re illegal aliens, and even then there’s little excuse:

            I have personally seen obviously-hispanic Spanish-speakers with NO papers being issued ID/DL at a California DMV. Pretty much that’s all it takes — “No hablo Ingles.”

            And under CA state law, anyone who is issued an ID is also registered to vote.

            • “A birth certificate exists” != “person has a copy they can use to get an ID”.
              (And ignores the issue that it’s not that hard to fraudulently obtain someone else’s birth certificate if one is so inclined)

        • > Also note how the Left goes ballistic when there is any proposal to requrie ID to vote – A license, or something!

          Here in racist, *phobic, hillbilly Arkansas, a state-issued photo ID is required to vote. My concealed carry permit almost always gets a positive comment from the election workers.

          I also have to vote at my assigned precinct, and they locate my name in a big stack of fanfold printout and cross it out with a ball-point pen before I get to vote.

          While people from “enlightened” states fair swoon with the injustice of it all, we’re rather fond of our ignorant and hateful ways.

          • Just out of curiosity, do your State’s laws oblige you to disarm in order to cast your vote? Here in Texas, polling places are on the CHL no-go list, as are public schools and government buildings.

            • As I understand the current law (things have been changing rapidly here) a normal CCW may not bring his gun to a polling place if it is posted “no guns”, but people with the Enhanced CCW are free to ignore that. Ordinary schmucks with no license can do as they please.

              Yes, the CHCL *restricts* your RKBA… but you only need one if you plan to carry out of state, and we’re working on it. [it’s law, not common sense, you know…]

              The last bits of Constitutional Carry were signed by the Governor earlier this year. The anti-gun lobby apparently missed the whole Constitutonal Carry thing, which went through the legislature and was signed off roughly in parallel with the Enhanced Carry permit, which is what they were losing their collective rag over.

              As usual, “internet information, worth what you paid for it.”

      • It does seem to me that there’s a symptomology of mass shooters, but I don’t know whether this is so common a pattern among gun-owners that it’s actually non-diagnostic (and maybe someone can advise me on this.) That’s the combination of certain kinds of purchases, particularly the whole “bullet-proof black tactical” thing, lots of guns, extremism (either left or right,) a presence on the very worst kinds of social media, a belief in some kind of oncoming race/class/ideological war, the belief that this war is desirable, plus maybe some kind of military-ish training (but not actually being a soldier.)

        The fact that the gun-lobby would prefer that we not study this kind of thing is not necessarily good in the long term for gun people.

        • particularly the whole “bullet-proof black tactical” thing

          Meh, tacticool isn’t even limited to gun owners.

          lots of guns

          6 guns is rookie numbers.

          I suppose if you looked at ammo purchases…. the guy who only makes a small purchase (<1000rds) might be planning something. Or far more likely doesn't have the money/space/etc to buy a decent chunk at once, or is just starting out and doesn't know what to get, etc, etc, etc.

          extremism (either left or right,)

          Defined by whom? Fox News is extreme right wing propaganda according to one narrative, milquetoast centrist according to another.

          a presence on the very worst kinds of social media

          Not being a leftist extremist (or keeping your mouth shut if you aren’t) is a good way to get shunted off of the ones you don’t consider “the very worst”.

          a belief in some kind of oncoming race/class/ideological war

          In $CURRENT_YEAR is there anyone who doesn’t at least worry that we are heading in this general direction? That is if you don’t count what is already happening as a war.

          the belief that this war is desirable

          The only people on the right who believe this do so because they think it is inevitable, and they want to fight Hitler in 1938. Most are hoping that the left will calm the fuck down and stop forcing everyone closer to the edge.

          plus maybe some kind of military-ish training

          Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that going to the range every week would count in your definition? Guess what: the mass shooters are LOSERS. The number of times they manage to screw up basic operations like, oh I don’t know, having a functioning gun, is appalling (though welcome). There is a reason I’ve started referring to these shootings as “Loser Pride Events”. And why I hope the term spreads.

          • >Most are hoping that the left will calm the fuck down and stop forcing everyone closer to the edge.

            That includes me. But optimism on this score gets more difficult to sustain pretty much every time a Democrat opens his mouth.

          • @Ian:

            >The only people on the right who believe this do so because they think it is inevitable, and they want to fight Hitler in 1938. Most are hoping that the left will calm the fuck down and stop forcing everyone closer to the edge.

            Heck, I think it’s next thing to inevitable, and I’d sure as hell like to fight Hitler in 1938, but an awareness of history shows one thousands of Hitlers in 1939 who thought that they were getting ready to fight Hitler in 1938, including most of the current crop of leftists in this country, a good chunk of the right, *and* the original Hitler, for whom Stalin was his “Hitler in 1938”.

            It’s an unfortunate fact that those who study history still find themselves repeating it: The ignorant repeat the mistakes of their fathers, the students of history repeat the mistakes of their grandfathers.

          • >In $CURRENT_YEAR is there anyone who doesn’t at least worry that we are heading in this general direction?

            To be honest, I thought we were closer in $CURRENT_YEAR-1…six months of escalating tit-for-tat violence culminating in the Hodgkinson/Charlottsville events was a scary period.

            Fortunately, President Trump’s famous call for peace seems to have calmed things down a bit.

        • The fact that the gun-lobby would prefer that we not study this kind of thing…

          You sure ’bout that? I haven’t seen any opposition from “gun people” to searching for real solutions to mass shooters & violent crime in general.

          (I do see plenty of appropriate opposition to the assumption that the presence of guns is the cause and therefore the people that own them are obviously the problem.)

          • https://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-gun-research-funding-20160614-snap-story.html

            In the short term this is probably good for gun owners. In the long term it is likely to fuel a backlash because we haven’t figured out what makes a mass shooter (or even someone who simply shoots a spouse) tick. The problem is a stance like Beto’s: We know we can take your gun, but we have no other ideas about how to solve the problem of gun violence, so we’re just going to take your gun.

            Studying the problem gives gun-enthusiasts and anti-violence-enthusiasts the possibility of finding some common ground.

            • That article is just a hit piece. You won’t learn anything from it.

              The reason CDC studies were so widely opposed is because it was purely a leftist ploy to sell policymakers on gun control. It wasn’t science, it was politics.

              That article makes lots of hay with the infamous Kellermann gun study. Google it and you’ll find plenty of debunking of that bit of political junk science.

              As regards “common ground”, I wish you were right, but I believe you are naive. The left does not want to find solutions to mass shootings or criminal violence. They want gun confiscation. They will consider no other solution. And any other solution no matter how harmless is vehemently opposed as it might show that gun confiscation is unnecessary.

              TL;DR: Their motives are not honorable.

              • “The left does not want to find solutions to mass shootings or criminal violence. They want gun confiscation. They will consider no other solution.”

                Here’s the thing. If you’ve got a decent bone in your body the El Paso shooting made you sick to your stomach. So did the Scalise shooting. And so on.

                Getting rid of guns is the “OBVIOUS” solution to that sick feeling in your stomach.

                Here’s the problem. The “OBVIOUS” solution is not necessarily the “CORRECT” solution. But positing some kind of “conspiracy to take our guns” doesn’t help either. It’s the “OBVIOUS” response. (Cue Dana Carvey: “Could it be… Stalin?”)

                But assuming that people who disagree with you are in the possession of some undead Russian’s ghost doesn’t help the situation either. The “non-obvious” questions are “why was that guy so fscked up?” and “What could we have done to make sure he couldn’t take his fscked-upness out on other people.” If it’s naive to assume that we can cooperate on that basis, I’m happy to be “naive” and hope others will join me. IMHO A “third way” on gun issues has a lot of political possibilities.

                • When Dianne Feinstein’s protected-by-federal-and-private-gendarmerie ass gets on ABC News and says she wanted a complete gun ban, “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in” — as she did in the 90s — you lose hour basis on which to pronounce as crazy those on the right who fear a leftist gun grab. And this was well before Beto’s slip of the mask.

                    • I don’t disagree with Jeff. It’s tough to have any credibility with that position, any more than a “pro-choice Republican” has credibility. If you’re pro-choice, why did you join that particular party?

                    • I am a pro-choice Republican. I joined the party because abortion is lower on my list of priorities than having a strong economy, a strong defense, and the right to keep and bear arms.

                    • There was an old Chris Rock routine in which he said of OJ Simpson: “I’m not saying he shoulda done it… but I understand.”

                      I’m not saying that American gun culture, or the easy availability of guns it has enabled, are good things for the country as a whole. But if you grew up in that culture, particularly in the rural parts of the country where your gun may be your best bet to protect yourself and your property from criminals and natural predators, I can see where you might be a teeny tiny bit peeved that powerful, well-respected Democrats like Feinstein would seek to take that protection away. (And let’s not kid ourselves here, Feinstein didn’t lose any credibility by taking that position. She still gets elected for term after term, and she’s still influential within the Democratic party.)

                • You seem to miss the OBVIOUS that there IS a conspiracy to take our guns. That conspiracy is widespread, mainstream, and has real power. What “doesn’t help” is to bury one’s head in the sand about it.

                  You also seem to miss that it is the non-left that wants to examine the mental health (etc.) angle of mass shootings. We’re all for that “third way”. Our enemies are not.

                  Show me real willingness of the left to cooperate on that and I’ll gladly retract my “naive” accusation.

                  • The left doesn’t want the mental health angle investigated because:

                    1) over 95% of mass shootings are committed by leftists.

                    2) consistently, in surveys in which party affiliation and mental health are investigated, over 50% of those calling themselves Democrats, Socialists, or otherwise to the political left ALSO admit that they are either recieving psychiatric treatment or in need of psychiatric treatment.

                    They can’t admit that the only “common sense gun control laws” (i.e that focus on the mental health of the person) would disarm them.

                    Also, note that those of Irish descent are very very big on gun control (as is Ireland). Why? Because people with a genetic and cultural predisposition for alcohol abuse wisely decide that having guns around their own home is probably a bad idea. So they project THEIR “alcohol abuse+guns=bad” problem onto everybody.

                    • >1) over 95% of mass shootings are committed by leftists.

                      Source? I’ve studied the epidemiology of mass shootings in some depth and I don’t believe this.

                    • I noticed, back when I was regularly reading SJW type blogs, that a staggering number of the commenters admitted to having an anxiety disorder. Many a discussion would devolve into a comparison of Lexapro vs. other prescribed drugs.
                      I’m not so sure about your last point. Finland, for example, has a big alcohol problem, lots of guns and very few shootings.

                  • The problem here is that you don’t actually have to commit a crime to be entered into a gang-database. Police track people and talk to people then “decide” they are gangbangers without an arrest or conviction in sight.

                    • You don’t have to actually commit a crime to be targeted under “red flag” laws, either. That’s what makes them unconstitutional.

                  • Cuz it might show that 95% of “America’s gun problem” is actually a black and latino gang problem. (Gangs being in turn almost entirely black and latino.) That, as those who dumped the gang database remarked, would be racist.

                    I recall seeing an analysis that concluded absent gang shootings, U.S. homicide rate would be among the world’s lowest, at 0.3 per 100k.

                    So the obvious solution is to ban gangs, so we can concentrate our manpower on catching crazies, and perhaps those suffering from Sudden Jihad Syndrome.

                • The fact that the anti-gunners always go to the snarky “Gun owners have small dicks” meme, and the fact that they always eventually end up using phrases like “redneck,” “toothless,” and “inbred” while discussing the issue indicates to me that they don’t have a sick feeling in their stomachs about mass shootings. If anything, they probably get an erection from it.

                  (See, I can go to sex jokes too! Wow, I thought all pro-2A types were frightened Christians who had to pray to Jesus to get aroused!)

                  Every one I’ve ever seen has had a sleazy bohemian lifestyle, and even if they wouldn’t say it, they mostly wanted to get back at gun owners for having wives and kids. Yes, I know I’m overgeneralizing.

                  • I think that’s more broadly true — I’ve never seen a leftist argue their position (or rather, argue against the opposition, since leftists seldom actually argue the *merits* of their position) without resorting to that style of insult.

                    I’ve concluded it’s less about us being wrong than about them getting off on how wrong we are.

                • >Getting rid of guns is the “OBVIOUS”
                  > solution to that sick feeling in
                  > your stomach

                  No more than getting ride of cars is an “obvious” solution to me getting sick to my stomach when I was 12 years old and saw what was likely my first dead body–a kid who had tried to cross the street and been hit by a car and had a rather large puddle of blood coming out of his head.

                  If you want to stop violent crime stop focusing on the *guns* and focus on the *crime*.

                  That you don’t tells us a lot about your motives.

                • Our host has blogged about this before.
                  After decades and decades of bad faith argumentation by confiscationists, by them using persons such as yourself as a mask to hide behind, and always coming back for more when previously proposed measures didn’t work, those who correctly intuited sometime between 50 years ago and today the actual end-goal of confiscationists are quite frankly done with their shit.

                  I do mean it when I say using you as a mask, Troutwaxer. It is hard to tell whether you are genuinely reaching for a solution to the horrible problem of mass violence, or cynically standing upon the dead bodies of the victims to demand that Something Must Be Done, because you know that those victims will let you play the emotions of others and gather support for your real or ostensible position.

                  In the post linked above there is a key remark in the comments section, which I will quote here, but you really should go read the linked post in full, and meditate it upon it for a while.

                  >I dislike the idea that we have to react to extremists by jumping down the throats of moderates.

                  I’m not a big fan of it either. But reality is what it is; if you can’t tell the venomous snakes from the non-venomous ones, you have to treat all snakes as venomous. The fact that your inability isn’t the non-venomous snake’s fault is irrelevant.

                  • Interesting that Eric wrote that. Seems to me it could be used against the Pro 2FA side quite easily. If you can’t tell who’s likely to be venomous (i.e. use their gun to kill people) then you have to treat all people who want a gun as though they were (potentially) venomous. Which is, IIUC, the stance of the gun control side in a nutshell.

                    • >If you can’t tell who’s likely to be venomous (i.e. use their gun to kill people) then you have to treat all people who want a gun as though they were (potentially) venomous.

                      The difference is the prior probabilities. Very, very few people who want guns want to kill anyone; given the number of civilian weapons in circulation in circulation, this has to be true otherwise the streets would run with blood.

                      On the other hand, the track record of the gun-grabbers is that lying about their intentions is very, very common. A good index is the frequency with which they’re caught saying different things to different audiences. They routinely fundraise on Ban All The Things, then pretend for public consumption not to be confiscationists.

                  • I don’t have a particular agenda, and wouldn’t claim any brilliance in my search for solutions – I think my brightest idea is probably about band-aid level. I’m not a gun-grabber, just a guy who’s appalled by some of what I’m seeing these days.

                • Troutwaxer,

                  Why do you think any more data would better inform these policy position? As Michael pointed out the anti-gun crowd has not been honorable about this.

                  Following the ’94 assault weapon ban Fed studies show it didn’t have an applicable affect on crime, yet here we are again.

                  The US is at historic, 30 year lows in crimes of all kinds, gun crimes included.

                  Over that same time period, laws for owning and carrying firearms have become less restrictive, and the raw number of privately owned firearms has certainly increased.

                  There is already plenty of evidence that more firearms don’t result in more firearms violence, but this is consistently ignored.

                  • We’re definitely at a 30-year-low for crimes, gun and otherwise. But it’s hard to read about a guy going to a border city and “defending” his country from people shopping at Walmart…

                    I think what appalls me is not so much the deaths, but the utterly sick toxicity of that thinking and the hope that it won’t spread. Sometimes the question isn’t the amount of violence, but who it’s aimed at and why.

                    • How about the utterly sick toxicity of the thinking that law-abiding gun owners and the NRA are hte problem and need to be slapped down, hard and permanently, and that gun owners need to be punished and tiehr firearms taken away? Doesn’t that appall you at all?

                    • Then why do you want to aim the punishment (taking away guns) at the widest possible target (gun owners) ??

                      This is like saying — a few dogs went rabid and bit someone, so let’s kill all dogs.

                    • Jay and Reziac, how many times do I need to tell you that I’m not a gun-grabber. It’s both contrary to the 2nd amendment and a political impossibility, and if I were in office I wouldn’t waste any time pursuing the idea.

                      I’ve got a couple ideas about how to fix stuff that might be useful, but I haven’t posted about them because I don’t think they’re remotely brilliant or a far-reaching as necessary.

              • Want to see the bad faith of the statists? https://youtu.be/dfYdocZppmY?t=1268. The guest is a professional firearms instructor. He offered free basic firearms safety courses for all the kids in Saint Louis (basic course, no firearms present), only required someone from the city, or the media, to provide a venue. Wonder of wonders, none of them were willing to furnish a venue to teach kids how to avoid killing each other.

            • > we have no other ideas about how to solve the problem of gun violence

              Sure you do. It’s just that they are less appealing to your side. Two solutions (with synergistic possibilities!):

              1) Ban all media coverage of mass shootings until at least 90 days after the event.
              2) Deport all poor inner-city black folks.

              They are at *least* as reasonable as stripping rights from 100 million citizens because of the acts of a handful.

              • Reversed Stupidity is not Intelegence. There are better options than burning the Constitution to save it.

                1. Stop treating boys like defective girls.

                2. Stop treating every male trait as evil, and every female trait as perfect.

                3. Stop promoting the hellishly evil post-modern / Marxist hybrid view of the world as anything but a failed cesspit of omnicidal destruction.

                Funnily enough this can all be fixed very simply (in terms of actions taken, not difficulty getting people to accept it): Get the government out of the school system.

            • There has also been the cynical use of anti-gun “Scholarship” by the courts. ESR has written about Michael A. Bellesiles Arming America. It is worth remember that Bellesiles’ fraudulent research was cited in a gun restrictionist decision in the 9th Circuit.

              When it was demonstrated that this was based on a fraud, the decision wasn’t revisited, the 9th circuit simply removed the footnotes.

              This is not a case of policy following the research wherever the facts indicate. Rather its Anti-gun jurist using any convenient ‘study’ as a cover for their cause, and the facts be damned.

        • Someone who was getting into 3 Gun competition would buy at least 3 guns, one of which would be an AR pattern rifle, all at once.

          So that would be diagnostic only of someone having a fat bank account.

        • > It does seem to me that there’s a
          > symptomology of mass shooters,

          Remember that a “mass shooting” is anytime 4 or more people get killed INCLUDING THE SHOOTER. This puts the murder-suicide of a family in the same bucket as the Aurora Theater shooting and Chicago land Drive-by.

          There isn’t one. There’s at least two:
          1) Psychotic break.
          2) Turf wars/gangland

          I have trouble putting “work related” shootings in the same bucket with a father shooting the whole family then himself, but both of those to me seem like mental health issues.

          > The fact that the gun-lobby would prefer that we not study this
          > kind of thing is not necessarily good in the long term for gun people.

          Yet another fucking lie.

          The “Gun Lobby” is and was against the CDC “studying” this issue because (1) It’s not the sort of “disease” the CDC was founded and funded to study, and (2) Because when they WERE using taxpayer dollars to do it was was politically motivated hit job, not competent science.

          • Remember that a “mass shooting” is anytime 4 or more people get killed INCLUDING THE SHOOTER. This puts the murder-suicide of a family in the same bucket as the Aurora Theater shooting and Chicago land Drive-by.

            For newer readers, note that this is according to Mass Shooting Tracker. It’s their definition, and it isn’t objective; at least three other major sources have their own definitions. FBI doesn’t even have a definition (which surprised me); they just have the raw data. See table here:

            https://www.rand.org/research/gun-policy/analysis/essays/mass-shootings.html

            That table also shows how much difference a definition can make. In 2015, MST counted 371 mass shootings. Mother Jones used their own definition: 3+ fatal injuries, not counting the shooter, and motive was indiscriminate. Their count: 7.

            • One other note: some organizations are not above outright lying. A Federal government study I looked at, maybe from the GAO?, on “white nationalist” or perhaps just non-Muslim domestic “terrorism” murders, vs. Muslim terrorist murders, lied to achieve its results by scoring on the former people who were completely nuts and had no coherent political position, and for the latter ignored several notorious cases, like the one that really activates almonds when in Oklahoma a black Muslim convert radicalized by the usual suspects of foreign origin beheaded a coworker, and was brought to heel by a company executive who kept an AR-15 in his office.

  10. One definitely gets the idea that Beto isn’t very bright, and he did just render himself unelectable – at this point getting a left-leaning gun-owner to hold his nose and vote for the man will be damn-near impossible.

    If he were a right-winger, he’d have just told the crowd, “throughout America, any abortion will lead to a federal first-degree murder charge,” with the clip being played at Democratic fundraisers for the next ten years.

    Electorally speaking, this is how we separate the adults from the children, I guess.

    On the subject of guns, what do we do? I’m all for Eric’s plan of better mental-health treatment, but that’s only a partial solution.

    (Eric, Ibiblio is acting up again. If this turns out to be a double or triple post, please erase all-but-one of them.)

      • If not being very bright rendered one unelectable, Congress nor the Senate would have a quorum today.

        I fail to see the downside.

      • If not being very bright rendered one unelectable, Congress nor the Senate would have a quorum today.
        Um, that makes little sense. Someone has to win every election, unless there are no candidates. Even if it were the case (and I very much doubt that it is) that in the majority of contests no bright candidates bother entering the race, our hypothetical would radically change that.

        • > Someone has to win every election, unless there are no candidates.

          My local county government, which styles itself as the “quorum court”, seldom has all its positions filled, as nobody can be bothered even to run unopposed.

          I have yet to decide if this is most excellent, or rather alarming…

          • Probably alarming since it means anyone who wants and is willing to spend a little money to could easily take over. For example, Bloomberg, et al., have been trying to get pro-gun control people elected to various positions. They could easily take over your county.

    • >> “Eric, Ibiblio is acting up again.”

      It never really stopped as far as I can tell and it’s been going on for over two weeks. I’m starting to wonder if it’s even going to get fixed.

    • First, you must accept the fact that there are some problems government cannot solve and some crises that governments can only exacerbate by their involvement. The problems we have as a society must be resolved by private action and cooperation among citizens not answering any mandate of the State. We do need to find a way to undo the Long March through the Institution, but no government can do that.

      As a step 0, you must accept the fact that the United States does not, in fact, even have a “gun violence” problem. Certain localities are war zones, but on the whole, the very notion that mass shootings are on the rise and that therefore, we must Do! Something! is a lie peddled by the powerful to disabuse us of our rights. Places not governed by democrats are generally free of the murder and mayhem that accompany the Doing! of the Something! that they insist we must make universal. Likewise, discard as an insult to your intelligence the notions that gun ownership is uncivilized, or a risk factor, or a public health issue, or evidence of latent homicidal tendency, or anything of the sort.

      The simple truth is that those who would rule us are trying to solve a problem they have – our ownership of guns useful for making criminals flee, bleed, or die – by pretending to solve a problem they would like us to believe we have, which they call “gun violence.” Gun control laws create second-class citizens. They are racist, sexist, class-ist, able-ist, and evil. They are a violation of our national charter and the principles that underlie it. They must all go. All of them.

      • >The simple truth is that those who would rule us are trying to solve a problem they have – our ownership of guns. . .

        That’s an insightful way to look at it.

        • Here’s a good bit of recent rhetoric along those lines: “If you need a disarmed society to govern you suck at governing.

        • More accurately, they have a problem with the fact that we own guns. And they’re in denial, so the fact that it’s their problem has not sunk in.

    • A closer analogy would be if a right-winger were to say “Hell yes, if you’re black, if you’re a woman we’re going to take away your right to vote, to make contracts, and to be treated as an adult. We will not let your fellow Americans continue to suffer from your inherent childishness and criminality.”

      • You’re saying I’ve underestimated the level of extremism with which Beto’s statement is viewed by the right?

        • Yes. Robert Francis O’Rourke has gone full Redcoat and full jack-booted thug. And the crowd in Houston cheered. Of those two facts, the second is the more disturbing by far.

          • And let’s be honest: every one of those cheering had a raging hard-on thinking about all the “rednecks” and their wives and children getting killed during the confiscations.

            O’Rourke was implicitly calling not just for confiscation, but for mass murder. And every last parasite in that crowd knew that damned well.

        • By several orders of magnitude.

          As far as we are concerned he should have been arrested by the end of the night for high treason.

          • It’s also prima-facia evidence that any elected official who agreed with him had defaulted on their oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.

        • Yes. Or possibly I’ve underestimated the level of extremism with which your abortion statement example would be viewed by the left.

          • To the left — no, scratch that, to virtually all but the most religiously conservative women — banning abortion is step one toward denying women their rights and full personhood. Kinda like how the right feels about banning AR-15s being step one towards full gun confiscation.

            • For any single-party voter A (not necessarily even close to “extreme”), “all but the most X in group B”, where X is a trait that predicts some position that A’s party disagrees with, generally includes all members of group B that vote for the Scary Other Party, as well as most or all swing voters and non voters.

              There’s not actually that much difference between women and men on actual position on abortion: the real difference is on the salience of the issue either way: women are more likely to be at one extreme or the other.

              The thing is, women on the left have some valid concerns about abortion bans on issues that conservatives actually are fairly sympathetic to, if there was a shared vocabulary for that to be communicated. To name a few: concerns about procedures being banned because of a high risk of fetal death (prior restraint targeted at abortion impacting other procedures), medical providers fearing to perform such procedures lest they be prosecuted (due process, presumption of innocence, medical liability issues), or women being unwilling to request such procedures for fear of prosecution (due process, presumption of innocence).

              To put the issue to rest, a Constitutional amendment something like the following would likely need to be adopted:

              1) Abortion affirmed to be homicide.
              2) An automatic pardon for the mother, without exception, in all abortion cases, only abortion providers to be prosecuted.
              3) When a threat to the life of the mother is evident, abortion does not constitute a crime, no medical personnel shall be prosecuted in such cases.
              4) Presumption of innocence reaffirmed, medical personnel not to be prosecuted for any fetal death in which intent to cause fetal death cannot be proved.
              5) Prior restraint against abortions forbidden, no crime occurs unless and until an abortion actually takes place. No vague blanket provisions for the government to protect the life of the fetus. Actually, it would be great to constrain prior restraint across the board, not just in the matter of abortion.
              6) Affirmation of the complete control of patients in general over their own medical care, and of expectant mothers over their pregnancies in all matters but abortion.

            • >>”To the left — no, scratch that, to virtually all but the most religiously conservative women— banning abortion is step one toward denying women their rights and full personhood”

              To the left, yes. To women, no. In this country women are split for/against abortion at roughly the same rates as men, but are more polarized. An extreme anti-abortion law would have more defectors among republican men.

            • That’s you not listening to or understanding the position of people on the other side of the argument from you.

              I am lukewarm[1] on the abortion thing because I “get” both sides at a fundamental level.

              The “pro-choice” crowd–most of them–really sees this as an autonomy issue–and like most on the left, to one degree or another they want to be able to do whatever they want and minimize or eliminate the consequences. You can see this playing out in the arguments over late term abortions. It is absolutely INSANE to be killing a baby **AS THE HEAD IS CROWNING**.

              The “pro-life” crowd–most of them–sees this as a *life*. As long as you refuse to accept or understand that in *their* minds they are fighting for ANOTHER HUMAN BEING that just happens to not be born yet, then you’ll sound like a post-modern neo-marxist jackass when you say things like “denying women their rights and full personhood”.

              Also note that right now it’s the *Republicans* who want to make birth control an OTC thing, and the *democrats* who are making birth control more expensive for poor women–mostly to continue to fund Planned Parenthood. And it’s kind of funny how PP’s eugenics origins are off limits as a criticism, but EVERY OTHER institution in the country is being attacked as racist because of something that happened 150 or 200 years ago.

  11. So…

    The Democrats are a bunch of murderous, totalitarian Communists.

    The Republicans are a bunch of useless, do-nothing morons who couldn’t govern the local Quilting Club.

    Fine mess we’re in.

    Remember … despair is a sin, but cynicism is a way of life.

    • You forgot one party: Trump. He is none of those things.
      We don’t deserve him but I’m very grateful that we have him.

  12. Is there a way to only get your updates on coding and Linux? You’re so incredibly full of shit on every other topic, but I still want to read updates on things you actually know something about.

    • Let me see if I can spare ESR the trouble of having to speak to your disgustingly rude ass.

      At the bottom of each post is a line that notes which categories the post is in. Avoid the ones that appear in categories like “politics” or “firearms,” such as this one.

      Happy now?

      • >Let me see if I can spare ESR the trouble of having to speak to your disgustingly rude ass.

        In case anyone wonders, the reason I often let comments like this pass without response is that I think the author already sounds like enough of an idiot that anything I said would be superfluous.

        Occasionally I poke one of these hapless nimrods for the entertainment of watching them sputter. But it’s a low form of amusement that I’m trying to give up.

    • Stacy: you sound like someone who doesn’t know anything about coding or Linux either. With that attitude, you’re probably someone who writes SJW Codes of Conduct instead of contributing anything of value. I’d gleefully kick you off any project I found you on.

    • Wow.

      You just kicked open the door, stomped into the house, dramatically put your hands on your hips, threw back your head and haughtily announced to all and sundry
      “I AM AN OBNOXIOUS TWAT!”

      Bravo!

  13. More than anything else, Progressives fear an armed citizenry in revolt against the insidious implementation of socialism once they regain political power. Firearm confiscation is the preferred preemptive remedy to armed revolution, but in our modern technological age, this tactic is a fools errand. First, most local LEOs will not comply, and even if a new federal jackboot corps is created in order to enforce it, most people will simply hide their firearms and then report them stolen. This nonsense will also have many unintended consequences (can you say epidemic black-market manufacturing?) You will also change the mindset of the majority law-abiding citizens that normally respect and aid law enforcement institutions. Even if confiscation is overturned by the Supreme Court, no one will ever again trust a Fed. That is no trivial thing.

    • The left is now saying, “what are you going to do murder the cops when they come for your guns?”

      What they fail to grok is that there will be a ton of law enforcement agencies that will refuse the order to confiscate weapons.

      If the order goes out to confiscate weapons there will almost certainly be situations where a Sheriff’s office is under siege from federal officers trying to take over and make the confiscations happen. These battles will end up as really really ugly skirmishes in a new Civil War.

      • You could get a bad case of whiplash watching the Left oscillate rapidly between their “Fascists Pigs!” and “You can’t point guns at cops!” talking points.

      • I wish that were true. But law enforcement officers are now licensed by the federal government, so anyone who refused a confiscation order (once it’s a Dem administration, or now if Trump actually does sign such a law) would lose his law enforcement career.

        I expect to see more repeats of that guy getting killed in Maryland with no consequences to the bad cops involved. For the good guys to win, when we have no way to predict who would be “red flagged” next, would require forming a rebel army and pre-empting the cops by taking the fight to them. Unless we first see conditions as in Venezuela, I doubt gun owners would do this. And of course if conditions do get that bad the confiscations will happen beforehand for just that reason.

        • Well, the left says all our immigration laws are optional, so why not their LEO licensing laws. Either all laws matter or none of them do.

          We will have more Law Enforcement Officers on our side resisting confiscation than you think.

          Although I also think I’m right that the Feds will try to kill them for it.

    • You assume that most people trust the feds now. The reaction to Epstein’s ‘suicide’ should put paid to that notion.

    • I haven’t trusted a Fed since Waco. Probably should have learned from Ruby Ridge, but the reporting in my home state was so skewed, it wasn’t until the trial that I realized just how corrupt the Feds were in that case.

  14. >”This is horrible – it’s a nightmare and a bad sign for our republic that advocating police-state behavior like this doesn’t get politicians driven from public life – but it’s also very clarifying.”

    It is exactly what the religion known as “America”, which long ago banned men from marrying pretty young virgin girls, deserves.

    Once America is gone, men will live the life of the Islamic Prophet, or Gaelic Warrior descendant upon Rome, again.

  15. >”This is horrible – it’s a nightmare and a bad sign for our republic that advocating police-state behavior like this doesn’t get politicians driven from public life – but it’s also very clarifying.”

    (Also) what do you expect men… sorry… males to do? Kill these people? And go to prison forever? And if somehow they rise up and have a revolution instead what will be the reward? No white-american man will award other white-american men young girls as brides (the traditional wage of a man). White men are all enemies to eachother.

    When the republic falls, men can be free to do what they actually want to do again: whether the fathers like it or whether they don’t. It will be man vs man, not man vs man+state.

    Some Proud White Staunch American men might convert to the new way after a time, defecting from their old religion of Americanism, being smart enough to sell their daughter for a bride price to a person they like. Very few though: most white men will simply be murdered by other men since white men do not want ANY man to be happy.

  16. Two minutes of clips from Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) claiming that nobody wants to take your guns away, followed by Beto doing just that, causing cheers to erupt from the debate audience.

    BOOM. That ending is the persuasion knock-out punch. Nobody can say that “just one” Democrat wants confiscation after watching that audience erupt in cheers in favor of the federal government violating part of the Bill of Rights. That should send chills down the spine of anyone who believes in the Constitution. I can imagine the Republican commercials. “Democrats want to take away your Constitutional rights. Don’t let them. Don’t vote for any Democrats. Not even [insert local name]. They want your guns, your trucks, and your hamburgers.”

    In a selfish, desperate, and doomed attempt to get on the ticket, Beto has sent a torpedo into the side of his own party. Now, they have to either 1) support him and alienate vast numbers of centrists and blue-collar Democrats and some donors, or 2) repudiate him, but alienate their leftist/activist base and even more donors. Tough choice! As Hillary learned in 2016, it’s hard to appeal to both wings. Meanwhile, Trump captures the center and wins bigly in 2020. Prepare for world flip-out.

    • Facebook very helpfully pointed out that the Babylon Bee story headlined “Trump Campaign to Simply Air Clips of Democrats Talking” was false, but at this point I don’t see how it could be a losing strategy.

      I’m sure they’re operating under the assumption that the media will simply ignore everything they say once they’re the nominee, allowing them to tack back towards the center and pick up the independent vote, but times have changed and the media’s ability to hide information from the electorate isn’t what it used to be.

      • >I’m sure they’re operating under the assumption that the media will simply ignore everything they say once they’re the nominee,

        Alternatively, their strategy focuses on ‘turning out the base,’ not ‘convincing undecideds.’ IMHO, it wouldn’t be a stupid choice (for the D’s). Their base remains the more engaged.

      • > Facebook … Babylon Bee

        It’s interesting how the Bee has become the bugbear of the Left, with everyone from Snopes to the Facebook getting their panties in a wad over Bee stories.

        It must be terrible to be born without a sense of humor *and* too stupid to tell the difference between “news” and satire.

        • It’s much more sinister than that in terms of their censoring the Bee as Fake News. Seriously, the first major incident of the sort Jeff Gauch mentioned above is when Snopes fact checked their article claiming CNN had bought an industrial washing machine to “spin” the news, and Facebook acted on that.

          They know Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals, number 5 is “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” They realize the Bee is an existential threat.

          A number of us are wondering how much of the web will still be operating as such by this time next year.

        • It’s actually very difficult to tell satire from reality in many cases these days. Who would have imagined that we would see the New York Times celebrating the Deep State? That sounds like a Babylon Bee article but it is all too real.

          • >Who would have imagined that we would see the New York Times celebrating the Deep State?

            Me. I wasn’t even a bit surprised.

        • I think they are aware; they just don’t care. No one but no one must be allowed to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.

  17. Your site is intermittently failing with 404-not-found error pages. Whenever that happens I’m always fearful you’ve been “canceled” by a rage mob, as is the fad of the moment.

    • >Your site is intermittently failing with 404-not-found error pages. Whenever that happens I’m always fearful you’ve been “canceled” by a rage mob, as is the fad of the moment.

      No, it’s affecting all WordPress blogs on ibiblio. I can see the message traffic from other bloggers about the issue on their answers forum.

  18. The problem is that this *will* happen eventually unless something changes. One effect of the demokrat clown show is that all of the also-rans are spouting so many far-left talking points, that they’re accelerating the Overton shift to the left. This is enabled, of course, by those two loyal branches of the demokrat party: the media and the academy.

    It’s fun to joke about nuking Hollywood, but maybe it’s time to stop joking and push the button.

  19. Another “not so fast Democrat”, “Buttigieg: Beto’s new catchphrase plays into the hands of Republicans“:

    CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked the South Bend, Indiana, mayor Sunday morning if O’Rourke’s new catchphrase, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” is “something that’s playing in the hands of Republicans.”

    “Yes,” Buttigieg answered. “Look, right now we have an amazing moment on our hands. We have agreement among the American people for, not just universal backgrounds checks, but we have a majority in favor of red flag laws, high-capacity magazines, banning the new sale of assault weapons. This is a golden moment to finally do something.”

  20. “Beto O.Rourke said “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15”. And nobody on stage demurred, then or afterwards. And the audience applauded thunderously.”

    That was good sense of the candidates as a majority of the voters actually would support such a ban:
    https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/07/poll-most-voters-support-assault-weapons-ban-1452586

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/most-americans-support-stricter-gun-laws-new-poll-says

    So, supporting such a ban will actually get you more votes. It shows again that the Democrats are closer to the voters than the Republicans. Hence the GOP’s strong reliance on gerrymandering and voter suppression to win elections.

    • And the Democrats have an extra 50 seats in the House because the Census counts illegal aliens.

      We get it, the Constitution is dead, we’re in the “Who, Whom?” stage. Do you think that favors your side?

    • >So, supporting such a ban will actually get you more votes.

      The history of past elections in which the Democrats ran on gun control does not support this theory.

      Bill Clinton, who whatever his other failings was the most effective practical politician of my lifetime before Trump, famously told the Democrats that the “assault weapon” ban of 1994 cost the Democrats control of congress, giving the Republican their best national electroral result since 1952. That pattern has been repeated since in both national and local races. Outside of a handful of coastal urban D strongholds, to run on an aggressive gun-control platform is to lose.

      We have two observable facts here. One is those poll numbers. The other is that politicians who believe them almost always find that to be a error they keenly regret. I don’t know for sure how to reconcile them, but I have some guesses.

      One is that people for 2A rights are much more likely to make that a deciding factor in their vote than antis.

      Another is that the pollsters’ sample is seriously skewed. A lot of gunfolks have come to think of the pollsters and the press as the enemy and won’t talk to them.

      • Another is that the pollsters’ sample is seriously skewed. A lot of gunfolks have come to think of the pollsters and the press as the enemy and won’t talk to them.

        Also that even if we ignore the political dangers (a bad idea), some random calling you up and asking if you have guns could easily be a criminal.

        But to see that possibility one would first have to accept the idea that criminals are afraid of armed citizens. And that is seriously heretical on that side of the divide.

        • But to see that possibility one would first have to accept the idea that criminals are afraid of armed citizens. And that is seriously heretical on that side of the divide.

          Note that there’s a step left out in-between those two sentences, they don’t want criminals to be afraid. In anarcho-tyrannical fashion, which is less and less hidden, criminals are allies to people on that side of the divide. See this very recent example tied to the current push for gun control:

          Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee amended the measure during a Wednesday mark-up to authorize the federal government to issue extreme risk protection orders in some instances, but they rejected an amendment that would have red-flagged anyone who law enforcement lists as a gang member.

          Note they’re going beyond bribing states to enact Red Flag confiscation laws to give the Feds the ability to SWAT anyone who gets on their wrong side. The threat is already being widely used in American politics, from Trump on down, of course including Beto as mentioned by Ken above.

        • >Anyone expressing gun control ideas will see a LOT of money put against them.

          You have that backwards. The big money is on the anti-2A side, through people like Michael Bloomberg, who funds Everytown and several more obscure groups. They’re pretty notorious for pumping money into House and Senate races to swamp whatever their pro-2A opponents can spend.

          The money imbalance used to worry me until I noticed that Bloomberg gets very little return on his investment. Again, I’m not sure why this is. But it is a fact that the number of constitutional-carry jurisdictions has been increasing pretty fast – not the result the gun-grabbers want.

            • >The NRA is well known to play this game very well,

              The article you cite includes this:

              But experts have caution that the relationship between contributions from pro-gun groups and Congress’ reticence to change the nation’s gun laws is complicated at best. The NRA accounts for just a fraction of the contributions lawmakers receive, and the group doesn’t crack the top 50 in terms of spending to the lobby the federal government.

              The NRA gets its money from small-dollar donors – firearms manufacturers are terrified of bad optics if they were to fund pro-gun political lobbying, and the NRA doesn’t try to get then to do it. Thus NRA-ILA can’t match the volume that a Bloomberg or Soros can put on the table, and doesn’t actually try to.

              What really makes it powerful in DC – the way it plays the game – is that it has a briefing book ready on every firearms-related issue. Overworked Congressional staff rely on these heavily.

              • What really makes it powerful in DC – the way it plays the game – is that it has a briefing book ready on every firearms-related issue. Overworked Congressional staff rely on these heavily.

                And a reputation for honesty according to no less than the American Library Association. In my own experience, they only lie about themselves, e.g. the internal corruption that’s recently had bright lights shined on it. But basic facts about guns, gun owners, crime I’d assume? No need to lie about that, the facts are on our side, which is why the gun grabbers are 99% Fake News and bloody shirt waving rhetoric.

                But don’t forget something McCain-Feingold specifically targeted: before elections, the NRA sends out postcards with their ratings of candidates. And members and their friends and family pay attention, are often single issue voters. For politicians who care about staying in office, votes trump money.

                This is 10X at the Presidential level, where for example the NRA on the cover if its membership magazines printed on a black background Michael Dukakis’ infamous statement that “I do not believe in people owning guns. Guns should be owned only by the police and military. I am going to do everything I can to disarm this state.

                BTW, Bloomberg alone promised to spend at least $50 million on the 2016 election cycle….

              • “The article you cite includes this:”

                And the NRA have 5 million members. Many of which are willing to get involved with money or otherwise when their guns are threatened.

              • The Left hates the NRA. They want it gone. What they fail to realize is that the NRA isn’t effective at fighting against 2A encroachment because they have some kind of scary power. Their effectiveness is entirely a result of the voters who will punish anyone they perceive as “gun grabbers”. If the NRA would evaporate into thin air today in a Thanos-Snap of the Left, tomorrow there would be just as many pro-RTKBA voters willing and able to keep voting the same way, and the day after tomorrow, the Left would figure out who had taken over the NRA’s position as primary pro-RTKBA lobbyist, and dream of Snapping them out of existence too.

                Lather, rinse, repeat.

              • The NRA gets its money from small-dollar donors – firearms manufacturers are terrified of bad optics if they were to fund pro-gun political lobbying, and the NRA doesn’t try to get then to do it.

                There are a lot of firearm manufacturers that *do* support and donate to the NRA, but most of them are small, almost boutique manufacturers/small machine shops in the more “contested” spaces–AR lowers, 1911s, AKs etc. They have small margins and cutthroat competition, and just can’t afford to give a lot.

              • I have felt for years now that NRA is a cowardly, sellout organization which is not very effective for two reasons. (1) NRA has pre-decided to always endorse Republicans regardless of their, or their opponents’, stands on gun issues. The endorsement lists they issue before elections contain “report card grades” that bear this out. In particular they will never endorse an independent or Libertarian candidate even if both the Democrat and the Republican in that race are die-hard gun grabbers. (2) In all the major gun-rights court cases (McDonald, Heller, others) NRA not only wouldn’t contribute funds, but tried to get the plaintiffs to abandon their appeals, because NRA’s lawyers were scared to death that a loss could worsen gun owners’ legal position (even though it was already about pessimum). At least that’s the reason NRA’s people gave; I wouldn’t be surprised if the real reason is that NRA’s leadership is long since infiltrated and/or corrupted by anti-gunners.

                Whatever the real reason, I urge pro-gun folk to join and contribute to GOA and CCRKBA (the orgs behind the lawsuits) instead of NRA.

                • Remarkably, the NRA’s opposition to Heller was entirely reasonable if you’re not an accelerationist. At the time it was started Sandra Day O’Connor would have provided a 5-4 majority vote against it, it took her getting replaced by Alito in the middle of the case to get us the weak sauce of Heller.

                  As it is, since McDonald the Supremes have let the lower courts run amok on guns, except for this latest case which can be decided on the narrowest of grounds (that a polity can’t forbid its subjects from transporting their guns outside it). Unless you live in a very few places like Illinois and D.C., the two decisions have not changed the facts on the ground.

            • The power of the NRA isn’t in the amount of money it has, it’s that there are between 5 and 6 million members.

          • I could probably write a wall of text about this, but for the sake of brevity, I think it comes down to this: they have no earthly idea who we are or how many of us there are, so they spend money making laws we blithely ignore, say things that prompt us to load our rifles and double-check our magazines, and then respond with shock and disapprobation when we indicate that we do not intend to comply and indeed “aim to misbehave.” Even rural Southern progressives, who should understand how deeply rooted the gun culture is in our society (even if urban, left-wing Yankees who’ve never even met a gun owner don’t), don’t understand how thoroughly they’ve misunderstood us. They seem to think that because they’ve won, as it were, the Long March, that the battle-space is prepared for active operations, not realizing that the America they see in the media is no more than a projection out of their own minds. Perhaps they literally don’t know that the NRA is the tip of the iceberg and accounts for no more more than 5% of American gun owners, that it now constitutes the squishy end of the RKBA movement, or that we don’t take our marching orders from it.

            It is as if they are trying to push the North American Plate across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge by tilling salt into the soil in Nebraska.

        • “US elections tend to be won by the candidate with the most money.”

          Tell that to President Hillary Clinton, who outspent Trump two-to-one.

          • To be fair, “tend” doesn’t mean “always”

            Sometimes the better candidate wins despite campaign funds and media slander.

        • “Anyone expressing gun control ideas will see a LOT of money put against them.”

          I am completely unsurprised that you have bought into the Eurosocialist gun-grabbing narrative.

          The NRA gets at most half of its money from gun makers and the like. The rest comes from individual NRA members. You know, regular guys like me.

          The NRA doesn’t have piles of money. What it does have piles of is individual voters who get very unhappy at candidates who sound like gun grabbers – which, after Beto’s gaffe, includes every single Democrat running for President.

          • The NRA didn’t buy enough guns to make Bozo the Clown the greatest gun salesman of all time.

            The NRA didn’t keep the entire country’s ammunition production tied up for years at a time either.

            • To put some perspective on your last comment, the US civilian industry makes over 12 billion rounds a year, only 3 billion of that rimfire like .22LR. That was before Remington broke down and bought more equipment to make centerfire rounds, companies didn’t know how long it was going to last.

              That’s not including the seconds and canceled orders that come from the US government’s Lake City plant, which has a very neat contract with the company that runs it, win-win-win for the government, taxpayers, and civilians buyers of military types of ammo. We civilians bought everything that could be made and imported for a total of 6 years.

              We haven’t been buying all these rifles of military utility and ammo to surrender them to the likes of Beto for no doubt a pittance of what they’re worth.

        • > the most money

          Yes, the mythical “undecided voter.”

          How much money do you figure the Democratic Party would have to spend to get ESR to vote for Beetle O’Rourke or Kamala Harris?

          I doubt even an Occasional-Cortex budget would have enough zeroes for that.

          • The only way I can imagine Eric voting for a Democrat would be if it was clearly and obviously proven that Trump was… idunno… taking bribes from space aliens or something, and it became clear that he had to be removed from office by any means necessary. But the situation would have to be truly dire.

            • >The only way I can imagine Eric voting for a Democrat would be if it was clearly and obviously proven that Trump was… idunno… taking bribes from space aliens or something,

              I was a centrist Democrat back when that was a meaningful term. I volunteered for Henry Jackson’s Democatic presidential campaign in in 76 because I saw his attempt as the last gasp against the New Left takeover of the party. It failed.

              Since then I normally vote Libertarian, except on the occasions (two in my lifetime) that I thought the Democratic candidate was so toxic that I had to vote for the alternative with the best chance to win – a Republican in both cases, alas.

              To get my vote back, the Democrats would have to become the kind of party that would put repeal of the 1934 and 1968 National Fireams Acts and the restrictive portions in the 1986 Firearms Owners’ Protection Act in their platform. It’s not exactly that I don’t have other larger issues with the platform, it’s that I’m going by symptomology – the Ds would have to undergo a philosophical reversal and want those bad laws to go away again before I’d trust them about other things.

              I don’t expect this to happen. Department V’s ideomania is now fully in control there.

              • I was a centrist Democrat back when that was a meaningful term. I volunteered for Henry Jackson’s Democatic presidential campaign in in 76 because I saw his attempt as the last gasp against the New Left takeover of the party. It failed.

                To my memory, Henry “Scoop” Jackson (did I ever know his real first name? :-) was the very last sane Democrat of any standing, the very last who my family and I might vote for, although I was a few years too young for 1976. Gerald Ford vs. Scoop Jackson would be a lot like 1960 was made to appear by our betters, neither decisively better or critical to keep out of the Oval Office (my Catholic mother still bitterly regrets voting for JFK).

                Since then I normally vote Libertarian, except on the occasions (two in my lifetime) that I thought the Democratic candidate was so toxic that I had to vote for the alternative with the best chance to win – a Republican in both cases, alas.

                Sorry, but that effectively makes you a Democrat, especially given that you’re a Pennsylvania resident. By my count, considering the Republican opponent, that should have been at least 6 votes, against Carter in 1980, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, and Hillary. On the other hand, every one of those candidate lost, and all but two lost Pennsylvania.

                To get my vote back, the Democrats would have to become the kind of party that would put repeal of the 1934 and 1968 National Fireams Acts and the restrictive portions in the 1986 Firearms Owners’ Protection Act in their platform.

                There’s no way a Republican super-majority would ever do that, and if the President were a Republican, we’d get more gun control. I suppose that allows for a very theoretical pro-gun Democratic party, but they’ve been a party of gun control since before our first Civil War.

      • So, is Winter simply trolling? Or is this a really distorted English-as-a-second-Language problem?

        He makes sweeping and outrageous claims about the politics of a foreign (to him) nation that really don’t affect him. For proff, he links to an article that undermines his own statements.

        I keep hearing about how great the heal system in the Netherlands is, but seems Winter is off his meds. How do you get a mental health check on someone over there?

      • Can’t find it again, but while back I saw an interesting paper on how poll results are crafted to reinforce the political opinion that the poll supposedly shows ascendant.

        Basically, to show the public that “everybody’s doing it and you should too.”

        • Unfortunately that sort of thing is common with *any* hired-gun polling. The pollsters tend to select for what they think the client wants, because they want to get repeat business, or at least not blackballed. It’s related to the Consultant Problem; people really don’t like to pay money to get bad news.

          • I really like the old BritCom Yes, (Prime) Minister. One of my favorite clips is about opinion polls:

            Bernard Woolley: Well the party have had an opinion poll done and it seems all the voters are in favour of bringing back National Service.

            Sir Humphrey: Well have another opinion poll done to show that voters are against bringing back National Service.

            Bernard Woolley: They can’t be for it and against …

            Sir Humphrey: Oh, of course they can Bernard!

        • Make the case that you shouldn’t be Red Flagged for your unwillingness to accept the legitimately of your political opponents, which is a reliable step in the path to enacting violence upon them, as we’re already seeing in the US.

          If you own any guns (40% of those Red Flagged in Florida don’t), you can spend $15,000 trying to get the first level judge to give them and your RKBA back. $25-100K for the inevitable appeal, since what judge is going to take a chance on giving guns back to someone who clearly might use them for ill?

          • “Make the case that you shouldn’t be Red Flagged for your unwillingness to accept the legitimately of your political opponents, ”

            I have no idea what you are talking about. I do not live in the USA.

            • I’d appeal to your empathy, if you had any ability to put yourself in the shoes of a typical American. Instead, your vitriolic obsession with US politics tells us that if you’re not lying you’re genuinely mentally ill, in which case you need to be reported to the authorities of your current residence, who hopefully haven’t given up on forcefully treating the severely mentally ill. And if you’re ever planning on visiting the US….

              • He lives in the Netherlands, a country whose government actually manages to get shit done without the clownshow that’s part for the course in the USA.

                Again, right up there with “never get involved in a land war in Asia” is “never argue the merits of big government with a man who would literally be underwater were it not for a strong, effective state apparatus”.

                • This is the “strong, effective state apparatus” that legalized euthanasia…and just acquitted a doctor after killing a woman that did not wish to be euthanized and actually had to be held down by her family to administer the deadly cocktail?
                  AKA “murder”
                  The Dutch are welcome to all that…just keep it the hell over there.

                • “He lives in the Netherlands, a country [with an area less than the 41st largest US state, and with a population slightly larger than the 4 largest US cities combined] whose government actually manages to get shit done without the clownshow that’s part for the course in the USA.”

                  Assuming that conflicts in a group scale roughly with the square of the size of the group, one would already expect about 400 times as many such conflicts at the national level in the US as the Netherlands.

                  But even ignoring both that and the particular countries involved here, if a candidate for the highest office of a nation openly calls for nullification of a portion of the constitution of that nation, what then remains as the basis for the legitimacy of the office they intend to hold? What remains of the process (or at least their own candidcay) but a clownshow?

                  If a candidate for Netherlander high office were calling for the complete removal of the dyke and pump systems, calling them outmoded artifacts of the past that should be eschewed in a modern society (“oh those bitter pumpers”), would I be justified in calling the resulting political discussion a clownshow? Do I get to call it a clownshow if said candidate is immediately ridden out on a rail before finding any platform for their proposed pump-grabbing? Or can I still mock their clownshow if the Netherlander population politely allows said candidate to participate in the process while hoping that they won’t actually succeed in generating actual support? (I gotta admit part of me really likes the idea of being able to snidely chuckle at their “clownshowery” regardless of which candidates are actually proposing what platforms and how much support they’re getting from whom.)

                  (from Dan)
                  “a woman that did not wish to be euthanized and actually had to be held down by her family to administer the deadly cocktail”

                  Well at least they did it without a clownshow. You gotta give ’em points for that.

                • This is sophistry. What matters is largely whether what a government does is good or not, and not whether the government or someone else does it. Building dams is good if done well. Governments or anyone being strong and effective in doing good things are entirely okay.

                  Strong and effective is a different thing than big government. A big government is something that does something bad, like engaging in systematic voter-bribing for vote-buying aka welfare meanwhile also maintaining a large bureaucracy to also buy the votes of the educated but uncompetitive by giving them jobs.

                  Strong end effective is something entirely different. “Big” is something like “fat”, strong and effective is “lean”. Strong and effective would be the Netherlands’ government if they would declare martial law and kick all the Moroccan gangs back to Morocco. Not doing so is the lack of effective strength and a violation of social contract that the government should defend the citizens from violent outsiders. Evil.

                  A government banning guns in a country that is already peaceful and low-violence is not evil. A government banning guns in a society that has a well identifiable large violent criminal element who will never give up theirs is evil as it prevents the rest from defending themselves. Now that formerly peaceful and low-violence European countries have also managed to import a large well identifiable violent criminal element now in this situation allowing guns again would be good.

                  Granted, it is not entirely a libertarian argument. Because I am not entirely a libertarian. My impression is that libertarians tend to see government as an actor itself bad because they don’t want to make value judgements and I don’t do this because I do want to make value judgements. Socialism is evil not because the government does it but because it is inherently evil. Building dams for reclaiming land is good does not matter if the government does it or someone else. Depriving people living in a dangerous situation of self-defense without being able and willing to protect them is evil. Depriving people of self-defense in the presence of a well-functioning law enforcement or lack of danger e.g. Japan is not evil. Does not matter who does it, government or someone else.

                  Moving further right from libertarianism is for me largely a process of discovering that it is not “unintended consequences” but evil, being more straightforward with value judgements. We are actually seeing more and more extragovernmental evil lately, from SJW mobs to the trans industry telling confused young people that mutilating themselves is fine and an open wound is somehow a vagina, and then they end up killing themselves. It is pure evil and has little to do with the government.

                  I was recently watching some Tucker Carlson and it seems exactly the same thing happened to him. Moving rightwards from libertarianism largely through being more straightforward with calling things good and bad.

                  • A government banning guns in a country that is already peaceful and low-violence is not evil.

                    Without perfect foresight, it’s axiomatically evil. The authorities might turn evil, as we’ve seen in the US in a scant few decades. Or the country may face a true external invasion. Maybe “from Mars”.

                    And “low-crime” doesn’t mean “no crime”, banning guns will always put the physically weak at a disadvantage. The Instapundit has expressed a principle that it is necessary for old men to be dangerous.

                    Another thing we’ve noted from the experience of England is that to create in some number of centuries, and enforce such a “peaceful” regime, the society has to execute or exile 1-3% of its population every year. Maintaining such policy indefinitely, for centuries, seems improbable, and in the UK a steadily decreasing rate of interpersonal violence starting in the 1300’s was reversed in a scant 2 to 6 decades.

                    • >in the UK a steadily decreasing rate of interpersonal violence starting in the 1300’s was reversed in a scant 2 to 6 decades.

                      That reversal exactly tracks the suppression of civilian firearms. As restrictions increased, so did violence.

                  • This is based on the research of Joyce Lee Malcolm, a non-activist historian, and the correlation is unmistakable. Although the other inflection point is first the judicial nullification of effective self-defense in the 1950s, followed by Parliament outlawing it in the 1960s. One search that’ll find independent confirmation of this is on proposals to enact “have a go” laws that would allow e.g. bystanders to intervene to stop a crime.

                    Now, this week, the so called Church of England is demanding a ban on cooking knives with a point.

    • Sure, a bunch of people who mostly don’t care very much about gun control laws, polled immediately after a mass shooting, vaguely support a “ban” on “assault weapons” without knowing in detail what the ban would cover, what it would do, or how it would be implemented.

      On the other hand, the 700,000, 640,000, 600,000 and 590,000 deer hunters respectively in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan are going to be entirely aware that when someone says “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15”, that guy’s talking about taking away the most popular deer rifle in America. Even if he doesn’t personally use an AR-15, he knows that his deer rifle isn’t different enough for it to make any sense to seize the AR-15 but not his, so any seizure effort will wind up expanded to include his. And taking it away is the sort of personal impact that motivates a man who usually doesn’t vote, or usually votes Democrat, or even usually votes Republican but stayed home in 2016 because he didn’t like Trump, to go out and vote to prevent it.

      Which means that doesn’t translate into “supporting such a ban will actually get you more votes”. It translates into “that makes it massively harder to win in four states representing 12% of the Electoral College that were each decided by less than 45,000 votes in 2016”.

      • I know a lot of jurisdictions have removed restrictions that require a minimum .30 caliber for deer, but just how widely used are .223 in general, and the AR-15 in particular, for deer hunting?

        • “AR-15” doesn’t axiomatically mean .223/5.56 NATO. There’s everything from AR-15’s scaled back up to AR-10 sizes with battle rifle or hotter cartridges, to the fact that what’s legally the gun is the lower receiver, so you can swap uppers and maybe magazines and fire all sorts of rounds that fit the AR-15 physical form factor.

          Seriously, look at that list of around 50 calibers to gauge how popular it is in the US, much like our adopting bolt action military rifles long ago prompted a huge move to them for hunting rifles (pretty much every design is a “weapon of war”). Plenty of which are close enough to various traditional deer calibers like .30-30, and modern bullet technology also makes .223/5.56 NATO adequate for white tailed deer and probably some larger species, although laws and regulations haven’t necessarily caught up.

          The concept can also be very appealing as a single rifle which is good for both hunting and self-defense, I know one person who bought a Remington Model R-15 for that reason (plus a F-you to Obama, which is also what prompted my first “assault rifle” purchase).

          • Yeah, I knew about the different calibers (though any AR-15s I may own are in .223/5.56). How common are they, though? Of the 15 million or so AR-15s in civilian hands, how many are in other calibers than .223/5.56?

            • A major characteristic of the “Barbie Gun” is that it comes apart into an “upper” and a “lower.” The lower is the “gun” part according to the ATF, but the barrel and action are in the upper.

              It’s not unusual for someone to have two or three lowers and half a dozen uppers they can swap around into various configurations, like a Mr. Potato Head toy.

              Heck, I just bought a .50 Beowulf upper from Bear Creek. It was $239. That’s less than some people pay for a pair of ugly sneakers.

              • What does it take to make an AR-15 shoot .50 Beowulf? Or .300 AAC, or 6.5 Grendel? More than just an upper and a magazine?

                • It would depend on the cartridge. 6.5 Grendel has a larger case diamater, and so requires a different bolt in addition to the barrel. Case length is the same, so you can fit it into the standard magazine for an AR-15, granted at a slightly reduced capacity (25 vs 30). Same goes for .50 Beowulf.

                  .300 AAC just needs a barrel; its brass can be formed from .223 brass by trimming down the neck.

                  So realistically, all you need is an upper configured for the caliber. But, since all the rounds can fit in the same magazine, don’t forget which magazine contains which round!

        • I’m not sure it matters. It won’t be long before my .280 bolt action becomes a “high powered sniper weapon.”

          • In California, my little .22 varmint gun is legally an “assault rifle”, because the tubular magazine holds 13 rounds. (Defining limit is 10.)

          • If it’s a .280 Ross, it *is* a high powered sniper weapon!

            Canadian snipers made good use of the .280 in WWI. The .280 is pretty much a curiosity now, though some specialty loaders make it, but it was hot stuff a century-plus ago, and can still run with the big dogs.

        • Good stats on what rifles are used for actually hunting deer are pretty much nonexistent. So, my characterization of “most popular deer rifle” is based on 1) the fact that it does get used as a deer rifle, 2) that it is credibly called the most popular rifle in America based on sales estimates, and 3) an anecdote-level impression of how the gun mix has changed among deer hunters over the last 30 years.

          As far as .223 in particular, it’s not as forgiving as larger rounds when it comes to long-range and badly-placed shots. But it works, and AR-15s in larger calibers aren’t all that rare IME.

        • Any “.22 centerfire” and larger is legal in my state, and deer tend to be 125-175 pounds. Plus deer favor brushy areas where 25 yards would probably be an average shot. A .223 AR would be “enough gun” despite the more modest origin of the cartridge.

          During the 1960s many states began banning the use of “.22” caliber no matter what the ballistics were. PO Ackley tried to organize opposition to that, with ballistic and live-test data, but the bureaucrats simply ignored him. So he came out with his own “.23” caliber cartridge to replace his beloved .220 Swift…

          A few states regulate by “muzzle energy”; in at least one, .30-30 Winchester doesn’t make the grade for deer. Others have restrictions bordering on the bizarre; like Ackley, I think some of them are simply to mess with hunters.

  21. So, Bobby the Burglar, the hit-and-run drunk driver, the snotty little leftard prick who’s never done an honest day’s work in his life, announces his intention to violate his oath of office if he’s elected.

    This is EXACTLY why we need guns. It’s to protect ourselves from power-seeking scumbags.

  22. My reply disappeared. Second try
    “And the Democrats have an extra 50 seats in the House because the Census counts illegal aliens.”

    Fairy tales&Myths.

    These are 9 seats according to this Testimony prepared for the House Subcommittee on Federalism and the Census. And they were not all going to the Democrats.
    https://cis.org/Testimony/Impact-NonCitizens-Congressional-Apportionment

    Furthermore, the number of illegal immigrants peaked in 2007 and has since declined.
    https://reason.com/2019/07/08/would-counting-illegal-immmigrants-make-the-census-pro-democratic-party/

  23. A “procedural” question. I have been away for some time and now I see “Vote -/+” links next to comments. Is there a place where I can find information about that?

    • I’m not sure I’d trust Breitbart’s numbers; they tend to be much further to the right than even Fox News. However, your post brings up an interesting issue, which is that people aren’t applauding gun-grabbing. They’re applauding the simple solution. Or maybe I should say “they’re applauding the simplistic solution.”

      Assuming that we plan to keep the Second Amendment, we should find a way to reduce gun violence without confiscation. And that’s going to require thinking much more complex than “I haz grabbed U gun” and “No U can’t haz my gun.”

      I don’t particularly want a Republican. I don’t particularly want a Democrat. I want someone who can successfully engage with all the complexities. My personal take on things is that the Democrats are currently more ready to take on the complex problems, which makes Beto a real disappointment. The person above who wrote that “Beto has sent a torpedo into the side of his own party” definitely wasn’t wrong. He didn’t just provide exactly the wrong kind of publicity, he made the Dems look stupid.

      • >Assuming that we plan to keep the Second Amendment, we should find a way to reduce gun violence without confiscation. And that’s going to require thinking much more complex than “I haz grabbed U gun” and “No U can’t haz my gun.”

        How about “no”? How about “you don’t get to handwave away my fundamental civil rights in a cloud of mumblety-mumble-that’s-complicated bafflegab”?

        “Assuming that we plan to keep the Second Amendment”. Those are the words of an arrogant ass. The fundamental Constitutional covenant of the American Republic is not yours to fuck with. Not in principle, and not in practice because a lot of angry and heavily armed people, including me, will stand to defend it.

        • The fundamental Constitutional covenant of the American Republic is not yours to fuck with.

          Well, they can. But they will then need to answer a bunch of questions about why they have any legitimacy and all that. Recent history says they would be dumb enough to say “because we can kill you you fascists”, at which point all bets are off.

          • Do you think the correct response to “because we can kill you you fascists” is “come on if you think you’re hard enough”, “don’t tread on me”, or “I don’t intend to start this fight, but I do intend to finish this fight.”

            I mostly favor the third. It’s been a long time since the losing side of an intra-American conflict was exiled from our shores, but there’s precedence with the Loyalists after the Revolution and if this comes to bloodshed, I wouldn’t object to the worst of the Democrats being exiled to Europe.

              • We aren’t saying Europe has to take them. We are saying we are putting them on ships and sending them in your direction. You are free to use sea mines or sell them as slaves.

          • The point of saying “because we can kill you you fascists” is that afterwards, when the “fascist” kills the LE or Antifa coming after him, they can say “look at the violence committed by the fascist”. At which points conservatives including the NRA and quite possibly our host fall all over themselves to hang him out to dry insisting that they’re not “fascists” like that guy.

            • You obviously know nothing about our host.
              I have known him for many years, and I can say that he wouldn’t hang anyone out to dry for resisting actual fascism.

        • “Assuming that we plan to keep the Second Amendment…”

          Sorry, I should have thrown a /snark tag on that one. I don’t own guns myself, but definitely feel it should be legal right.

      • Those aren’t “Brietbart’s numbers”. It’s a Gallup poll which is sourced in the article and included in the article title.

        • Gallup’s web site:
          “Gallup sampled landline and cellphone numbers using random-digit-dial methods.”

          Gallup wardials random phone numbers and asks questions from the subset of people who are willing to pick up on a time-wasting spammer.

          Entirely sidestepping how questions can be tailored to slant answers, and whether people will answer truthfully or with whatever they think they “should” say.

          “Seems legit…”

  24. Actually I’d suggest that the US Second Amendment is one which specifically allows individual Americans the right to military weapons. After all, it grew out of a revolution in which individual ‘minute men’ turned out to fight formed British troops, and I would suggest that was the kind of scenario that the authors were planning to deal with.

    • Small but important detail: it forbids the government from interfering in that.

      Too many people forget that the BoR exists to tie up the government and shove it in a box, because nothing else can make it remotely safe.

      • My “stock” response to people who seem to think the BoR grants rights to Americans is this: “I want you to name one right listed in the Ninth Amendment. Now, this isn’t a trivia question — so feel free to check the wording online — this question is really the core about how should we, as a country, understand the Constitution.” Because quite honestly, the only unacceptable answer — the one which requires mind boggling levels of failed reading comprehension and lack of self-reflection — is “none”. (Note I don’t say “wrong” and I don’t mean that, either — because if my interlocutor had a whisker’s grasp of the traditions which led to the 9A, they wouldn’t be arguing that position. It’s a practical certainty that anything they say from their 21st century perspective is quite likely to be technically wrong, but acceptable to at least advance mutual understanding.)

        • Because quite honestly, the only unacceptable answer — the one which requires mind boggling levels of failed reading comprehension and lack of self-reflection — is “none”.

          I have a worse one: “The right to a living wage/free healthcare/free money”. And an even worse one: “The right to not be offended”.

          • While those are bad answers in the sense that I would not agree with them, perhaps I was insufficiently clear that I don’t have this conversation to change minds away from any given policy position. What I’m really looking for is maximizing the chances that they will recognize that there are “acceptable” alternative viewpoints.

            Limiting myself to just your one example: the “right to free healthcare” is pretty much the perfect example of not pushing back or trying to change their mind directly. I haven’t heard that one in a while [not since before Obamacare], but I expect it to start making a return and my response now might look like: “Right now, Obamacare subsidizes healthcare, rather than it being zero charge whatsoever at point-of-care. The government also currently subsidizes housing and food for the needy in a very similar manner. If ensuring total coverage of healthcare requires a zero-charge design, shouldn’t we be thinking about doing the same for food and housing?”

            Note that where I must “argue”, I’m very careful to not “raise the hackles” of my interlocutor by saying anything which could be heard as saying they’re dead wrong [even when, as with this example, my actual (agorist) political philosophy ranks the position I’m taking as soundly unethical, if not nonsensical.] I prefer to think of this as “veering two steps off the path” — that is, starting off just barely different from the typical talking points, then veering into a suggestion that should simultaneously sound semi-plausible but completely alien.

      • The federal government. The Bill of Rights didn’t apply to state governments until the Supreme Court decided it liked the idea of UNLIMITED POWER.

  25. In addition, I do consider the AR-14 a quite decent military weapon: I trained with the FC C1 which was strictly semi-automatic. Aimed fire was considered extremely important in the day.

    We now use the AR-15 (C7A2), and I’m unsure of our standard of marksmanship (:-()

    • AR-14?

      > FC C1

      Do you mean FN C1?

      > We now use the AR-15 (C7A2), and I’m unsure of our standard of marksmanship (:-()

      Depends on what you mean by that.

      If you mean “at what level are the troops trained to”, it depends on the unit. Traditionally US Marines are expected to have a higher level of proficiency with their rifles (generally) than other services, and my experience (I served in 3 of the 4 branches, considering active and reserve time) bears this out.

      In all five branches (counting the Marines separate from the Navy for this, and including the coast guard) the *individual unit* will matter more than the branch. Generally the Navy doesn’t think much of small arms, preferring to use guns measured in inches, and distances measured in miles, but the Navy Special Warfare Units miss a *LOT* less than most. Air Force is similar, but again mess with their Security Forces, and they DO know which end of the rifle goes where. Maybe not as well as a Marine Raider, because Marines, but probably better than your average Army clerk.

      If you mean “how accurate is a rack grade M16″ the standard for acceptance is 5” at 100 yards with iron sights. In my experience all but the most heavily used ARs will do a LOT better than that if you do.

      • Yes, I meant to type FN C1 (FN FAL). Thanks!

        I was speaking about ordinary reserve- and regular-force training standards. I was a second-class shot, and could deliver aimed fire at 200 yards with an ordinary peep sight. First class shots were effective around 300 yards, and sharpshooters were effective at silly ranges and at snap-shooting, all in the day.

        Automatic fire was considered, in my terms, “first round aimed” with non-bipod arms (;-))

  26. Also, let us remember that gun violence , like all violence in the USA, is at Historic 30 year Lows. The “Do Something” crowd want to imply that this is not the case.

    Among other lies that are being spread around, is that the Left are the only ones offering “solutions” and that the Gun-Rights supporters are blocking the only suggestions that have proposed. The Cruz/Grassley bill would improve the background check system by auditing the data submitted by Federal agencies. It would also direct federal agencies to pursue persons who failed a background check due to lying on the form.

    This would focus on already prohibited persons who lie on their background check- a Felony, without new restrictions on lawabiding gun owners.

    Of course, Democrats opposed this bill when it was proposed.

    • The level of disagreement between parties, even in Canada, verges on insane.

      We’re seeing what *may* be a move from noisy-quite-left to cooperative-centrist: PEI just saw a huge shift to the Green party, who are now “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition”

  27. Pingback:

    Vote -1 Vote +1RantOmatic #12:Eric Raymond types for me in “Gratitude for Beto”

    • Good read, thanks.

      “…and the sad truth is that 95% of the problems we have in this country could be solved tomorrow, by noon… simply by dragging 100 people out in the street and shooting them in the fucking head.”

  28. Here’s an article that describes the Briscoe Cain incident:

    https://victorygirlsblog.com/newsflash-beto-steps-on-own-crank/

    “Beto is an unoriginal, boring dolt who glommed onto Swalwell’s ‘give up your guns, or the government will nuke you’ platform and ran with it like a demented, flailing wildebeest. He thinks that having government force behind him will prompt Americans to just hand over their property, and when challenged on that assumption, he runs crying to mommy (Twitter) and daddy (FBI).

    “After Beto’s proclamation, a Texas GOP state legislator responded with a challenge that basically amounted to ‘Come and get it, bitch.’

    “Beto’s response was typical of every whimpering, pusillanimous fuckpouch who realizes that he’s a pathetic nothing without jackboots and leftist Big Tech standing behind him.

    “’That’s a death threat!’ Beto whined and immediately lodged a complaint with Twitter, getting Briscoe Cain’s reply removed from the platform. And then, to prove just what a brave soy latte-sipping furry he is, he complained to the FBI (who probably laughed at the pathetic, squealing, bucktoothed snowflake). First, he threatens violence against millions of innocent, law-abiding Americans who own the most popular rifle on the market today (and if you don’t think that isn’t a threat, ask Robert Francis what happens when Americans refuse to give up their property to the government), then when said defiant, freedom-loving citizens respond accordingly, he howls that they’re threatening him and runs to his enforcers for support.

    “If Beto had any balls at all, he would not flinch at a sarcastic response to his pathetic little diktat. But since he is a pants-shitting, force-worshiping, sniveling, petty shitgibbon, he does what any other pathetic bully does when challenged – runs back to mommy and daddy and hides behind their backs while sticking his tongue out at his would-be victim.”

    You know, they were talking about having O’Rourke challenge Jon Cornyn, who is somewhat of a so-so senator. Why not have Briscoe Cain challenge him in the GOP primary?

    • Hey! Quit slamming furries. There’s a sizable contingent of them who are ardent Second Amendment supporters. Including me.

      • Jay is correct. While it is true that the furry fandom leans left in the main, there are plenty who are strong supporters of the 2nd Amendment and shoot regularly. Offhand, I can think of half a dozen in my local area, and know I will find plenty more if I get off my ass and start actively looking.

        Sadly, stereotypes are not without a kernel of truth at their core. There’s plenty more furries in my local area who range from useful idiot to avowed confiscationists.

  29. Off-topic, but related to politics. The new Red Guard got another head today. RMS has resigned from MIT and the FSF.

    • I just saw that before coming over here to see if our host had commented on it. Just to think: of all the controversy he’s caused in the past few decades, *THIS* is the thing that get’s him kicked out?

      I have not read the mailing list discussion that got him canned, but I did read the summation of the issue on the Register (which handled it quite fairly, I think).

      • *THIS* is the thing that get’s him kicked out?

        So, at the end of the day, he’s just another leftist surprised to discover that leftism tends to through its own under the bus, and that this applies to him.

      • Somewhat ironically, there’s even a possibility that he’s _right_ about the original object-level issue, i.e. that Minsky did not commit any sexual assault. Because apparently Giufre (a key witness in the case) claims that _she_ was in fact directed to have sex with Minsky, _and he (quite sensibly) turned her down!_ Unfortunately, that’s not quite what Stallman said. And, for whatever reason, his subsequent clarifications so far have sounded (to many) hollow and ineffective.
        IMHO, he can still turn this around, and without even renouncing the bulk of his views on the matter – but only by publicly demonstrating a _crystal-clear_ understanding of the _exacting_ ethical standards that any involvement with sex (and, for that matter, with plenty of other things as well! Including serious relationships, etc.) obviously requires of us. Consent and willingness aren’t _everything_ in the real world as we know it – no matter how much we might wish they were!

      • *THIS* is the thing that get’s him kicked out?

        WRT to MIT, this was a supremely bad time to say anything about Epstein, since the corruption in taking his donations after he was officially listed as an unacceptable donor runs all the way up to the President of MIT himself, per the latest report about the internal investigation. The extension to the FSF … perhaps a domino, including no doubt some people in the FSF who are tired of dealing with him? He’s pretty good as exhausting your patience.

        • I don’t understand what’s supposed to be so bad about accepting
          donations from convicted felons such as Jeffrey Epstein, when there’s
          no allegation that he got the money from his crimes, or that the money
          the recipient received will be used to somehow further his criminal
          career. (The last I heard, the MIT Media Lab doesn’t research how to
          get away with sex crimes.) Especially these days when it’s widely
          known that a large proportion of criminal convictions are, and always
          have been, wrongful.

          I was falsely convicted of burglarizing an office 42 years ago. My
          record is otherwise perfectly clean before and since. There has never
          been any allegation that I received any money from my alleged crime.
          Is my money somehow permanently tainted? Should I stop donating time
          and money to charitable causes? Should I warn recipients before I
          offer to donate? Thanks.

          • Epstein’s financial business was apparently directly linked to trafficking young girls. He’d take rich men on a ride with girls, acquire dirt on the men, and then suggest that they’d do well to invest money with him. Then there were some men that he targeted because of their position rather than money (Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew etc.). Epstein was smart enough to invest the money very conservatively, so the men he blackmailed did quite well with their investments (as did Epstein, of course), and therefore had that much more of a reason not to rock the boat. This explains how Epstein’s business grew the way it did, without him doing business with investors on Wall Street in conventional ways.

            So, there’s some reason to consider all money from Epstein dirty. He played this game for a long time, and it’s likely impossible to separate his ‘clean’ business from the trafficking of the girls, without actually knowing all the dirt he had, and the transactions he got because of it.

    • I’m starting to think this was all an intelligence operation that happened to employ SJWs, instead of a bunch of SJWs engaging in espionage-like activities… Was RMS actually guilty of something? Possibly something unrelated to accusations…? Did he make a deal to retire with cover or face prosecution? These events aren’t looking natural. :/

      • Well, he’s been creeping on women at MIT for decades, to an extent that would get anyone else fired several times over…

        • >Well, he’s been creeping on women at MIT for decades, to an extent that would get anyone else fired several times over…

          While this is probably true, it’s not grounds for canning him unless he had some sort of authority over the women in question and exerted it to get them to play. Which is absolutely not how RMS rolls; I know him well enough to be sure of that.

          • In the USA, literally anything is grounds for canning you except membership in a protected class, retaliation for whistleblowing or certain other narrow reasons. If a man in corporate America had been showing female coworkers the bed in his office, telling them he’d suicide if they didn’t date him or any of the shit Stallman has been up to for DECADES NOW, he would be shown the door, irrespective of his org chart position relative to the victims. Stallman got a free pass because Mr. Famous Guy, now that’s come to an end. What I’ve learned is that because of this history of toxic behavior, the FSF and MIT had been wanting to get rid of him for quite some time; the Epstein thing just provided the context to do so without bad optics.

            It doesn’t matter how good you are or what you’ve done in the past. If you’re toxic, you’re out. Values have changed since the 80s and 90s. We’ve since grown in our awareness that women are people.

            • “Values have changed since the 80s and 90s.”

              No, they had Will to Power in the 80s and 90s.

              “We’ve since grown in our awareness that women are people.”

              In a similar fashion as Maoist China grew in its awareness that peasants were people. Female suicide rates keep going up; eventually we will reach the great and glorious age where women blow their brains out at the same rate as men.

              Think of what that means! Less back strain for the people who clean up bodies. More equal sex ratios in nursing homes. More tattoos around the wrist to hide scars. Truly each of this is a sign of progress and our advance into the great and glorious socialist future!

            • If a man in corporate America had been showing female coworkers the bed in his office, telling them he’d suicide if they didn’t date him or any of the shit Stallman has been up to for DECADES NOW, he would be shown the door, irrespective of his org chart position relative to the victims.

              Yes, and Stallman wasn’t a corporate guy. In fact, he had set himself up as an anti-corporate rebel.

              Stallman got a free pass because Mr. Famous Guy, now that’s come to an end.

              No, he got a pass because he was a leftist rule-breaking rebel. Thus, leftist gave him a pass on “breaking the rules”.

                • Utter bullshit, Minksy wasn’t protecting him in the early 1980s when he was committing today’s mortal sin of a low Sexual Marketplace Value (SMV) man approaching women, and Minsky died in January 2016, that’s 3.6 solid years where it was literally impossible, as cancel culture became an ever more terrible thing in our community.

                  I’ve also noted in the various discussions I’ve skimmed that no one has specific accusations about RMS, just rumor level claims they can’t even vaguely back up. If he’s been such a problem, they and you ought to be able to name some specific incidents.

                  • >low Sexual Marketplace Value (SMV) man

                    You didn’t know RMS in the early 1980s. I did, and you have this wrong.

                    RMS was actually rather good-looking before he retreated deep into his prophet persona and started looking like an icon of some shaggy Eastern Orthodox eremite. He pursued and successfully bedded two women I was close to back in that day – and mind you this was before he was really famous, so he didn’t have the hypergamy thing going for him yet.

                    That’s how I know that “low SMV” is too simple. Some women are attracted to intelligence the way most women are to muscles, and RMS can be quite charismatic. I know exactly what kind of women find him attractive, in part because the same sort of women (and in a few cases the same individual women) orbited me.

                    RMS is nobody’s idea of a smooth operator, but I’ll give him this: I’ve never seen him come on to a woman when it was ludicrous to suppose she might be interested. He has some sense of which the right ones to chase are. Or at least had; I haven’t observed him in that kind of interaction for quite a long time, basically since he stopped going to SF conventions.

                    • You didn’t know RMS in the early 1980s.

                      “…”

                      He was in my social circle then, to the point that we were roommates when he launched the Gnu project.

                      Although I should note that “low SMV” doesn’t equal “no SMV”, we perhaps have a difference of opinion on where to rank him.

                      Anyway:

                      […] I’ll give him this: I’ve never seen him come on to a woman when it was ludicrous to suppose she might be interested….

                      I guess you didn’t spend enough time in the Boston area. He was bad enough about that to the point that before we became roommates, every time a particular girlfriend of mine and I were walking together and RMS met us in passing, he hit on her. The single notable exception was when she was flanked on the other side with her other boyfriend, and I guess we projected enough caveman or whatever attitude he didn’t bother her.

                      By today’s SJW standards, that’s sexual assault. Back then it was just annoying, one of the least objectionable behaviors of his.

                    • >He was in my social circle then, to the point that we were roommates when he launched the Gnu project.

                      Correction accepted. You’d know more than I would, then, at least after 1985 or so.

                      Did you and I ever meet back then?

                    • The closest we’ve ever been in Real Life was a large outdoor party a few years later in the middle NJ community, the social circle including Mikki Barry for example. You were doing your Eric the Flute thing with a real flute, and we didn’t converse (obviously not while you were playing :-).

                      By 1985 RMS was decisively cutting ties as best he could with Software Hoarders like myself, so my deep knowledge predates that year.

                • >Actually he got lots of passes largely because Minsky was protecting him.

                  I think it was mostly Abelson and Sussman running interference.

                  The reason I know this is something I’ve never disclosed before. Back around 1992 RMS nearly got canned for a different kind of misbehavior – towards me, which is how I know about it. The details aren’t important except that sex had nothing to do with it, just hideously bad management that called his ability to continue leading FSF into serious question. Sussman was so pissed off that he was ready to drop RMS, and I think Abelson was too though I never spoke with him directly.

                  I didn’t want RMS canned over the matter, and said so. I just wanted some adult to slap him upside the head and tell him Not To Do That Thing. I think that is what happened, out of sight of me. RMS didn’t get fired and his behavior did (somewhat) improve.

                  Anyway, Minsky wasn’t involved at any point. And when Minsky and I met FTF about six years later there was no tension in his behavior to suggest that he remembered anything unpleasant.

                  I will note that Minsky paid me at that time what I considered a much higher complement than heaping praise on my work. He just treated me matter-of-factly as a peer colleague. It’s one of my more pleasant memories from my Mr. Famous Guy years.

                  • There should be no question that RMS’s professional behavior is so bad it should be disqualifying for governance of entities like the FSF and the Gnu Project. One example I know for an absolute fact pertains to his theft of Gosling Emacs IP, which he forked to create Gnu Emacs.

                    Unipress had licensed the rights to it from James Gosling, and published a shared source commercial version. They had every right to sue RMS and company into the ground, but the two owners who I personally knew at a relevant time were mensches who realized that would harm them a lot more than any gain they’d get it, and that Gnu Emacs increased the market for their commercially supported version.

                    (That their company’s founding was mired in a ludicrous lawsuit when they broke off from Whitesmiths, which one of them cofounded, was also likely a factor. They won that case when the opposing counsel was caught burglarizing their office….)

                    To add insult to injury, RMS was extremely nasty towards Unipress and its employees, who were “software hoarders”.

                    • >One example I know for an absolute fact pertains to his theft of Gosling Emacs IP, which he forked to create Gnu Emacs.

                      In evaluating RMS’s actions I do not think we can forget that he was the original author of Emacs. He probably thought he had what the Berne Convention calls a “moral right” over design derivatives, and maybe the UniPress guys agreed.

                      What do you believe he stole? As it happens I worked on both codebases – one of my very first open-source contributions (maybe the first) was a rewrite of the mailreader mode in Unipress Emacs. It wasn’t at all similar to GNU Emacs internally, or at least the core interpreter was quite different. UniPress Emacs was written in an oddity called M-Lisp that lacked a true cons operation. I always thought GNU Emacs was a reimplementation of Greenberg’s Multics Emacs, which had a real LISP.

                    • Nope, he insisted he had received an email from James Gosling authorizing a fork from an old version, but James denied that, and somehow RMS was never able to produce a copy of the email….

                      Also, while he may have felt he was the original author of Emacs, that’s flatly not true, see e.g. the relevant albeit offline Daniel Weinreb blog topic that touched on that. I knew very well the other beta tester for ITS Emacs, so I can confirm the story, I think I commented in that blog topic.

                      RMS played a role in the birth of ITS EMACS, and is the guy who took over and made it truly great, but that’s a different thing.

                      And my work on Gosling Emacs was at a lower C level, e.g. the gap buffers. There the code bases were effectively identical, he had a very solid base on which to replace the extension language.

                      And let’s not downplay the extreme risks he took, if commercial software vendors were as evil as he claimed they were then. “Free Software” could well have ended up a historical curiosity, having the connotation of stolen software (which it’s gained anyway, see the attempts at adverse possession of OpenBSD code).

                    • >Nope, he insisted he had received an email from James Gosling authorizing a fork from an old version, but James denied that, and somehow RMS was never able to produce a copy of the email…

                      OK, that’s not good. I didn’t know that.

                      >Also, while he may have felt he was the original author of Emacs, that’s flatly not true

                      I think I’d be cautious about contesting any one of several different peoples’ claims to that, not just Richard’s (I think of Bernard S. Greenberg on particular). There’s a definitional issue about what was named Emacs vs. what was first continuous in design with what we now think of as Emacs. Some incompatibly different positions could be argued in good faith.

                      >And my work on Gosling Emacs was at a lower C level, e.g. the gap buffers.

                      Heh. I remember looking at that code sometime around ’83-’84 and thinking “I do not want to touch this”. I wasn’t a skilled enough C programmer yet, and I knew it.

          • At least he didn’t do something fall-on-your-own-sword horrible, like wearing a wrongfun shirt at a media event…

    • >Off-topic, but related to politics. The new Red Guard got another head today. RMS has resigned from MIT and the FSF.

      That’s terrible. He should have fought this.

      • To what end? Maybe he quite sensibly knew he had lost once he became a target and wanted to leave in this way, before SJWs bring in the heavy artillery and he’d be accused of rape?

        • >To what end?

          Oh, I dunno. Maybe to stand up for the free-speech and free-inquiry principles he’s been so insistent on since forever?

          I’m disappointed in him. I would have been deeply ashamed to fold so quickly, if it had been me.

          • Has RMS ever been the target of a rage mob before? I’m only aware of people taking cheap shots at him one at a time.

            I’m not going to knock him for how he dealt with a completely novel situation, but it’s true that if he’d just told them to go fuck themselves this whole thing would have blown over in a day or two.

            As for the SJW twat who drummed up the rage mob, she’s unemployable as far as I’m concerned. She might as well drop her engineering studies and major in feminist tantrum theory, and try for a tax-funded faculty spot in some marxist infested shithole.

            • Let’s not focus on the SJW that drummed up the hate mob, it’s not like those people deserve our attention in the first place. They’re garden-variety social predators with severely impaired empathy; goblins to be kept as far away as possible. RMS’s comments were indeed tone-deaf in a way that made him vulnerable to such a predatory attack, and this is what created a problem for him.

                • Nope. Social dynamics (including online hate mobs) deserve our attention. Political claims might, as well (see ESR’s post from some time ago, where he took the time to debunk some dangerous claims about the Epstein case). The people involved, though? They aren’t interesting in the least – you aren’t going to change their minds, that’s for sure. We all know the type, and that’s plenty enough.

                  • Ideologies are not stand alone existences . They reside in the minds of individuals.
                    You must certainly pay attention to *what* people say and think, but *who* is just as important. Trying to oppose a ideology, social dynamic, movement, cult, etc. without knowing the participants is like trying to fight a cloud.
                    Opposing the Klan is just fine. But doing so without removing hoods is futile.

                  • Social dynamics (including online hate mobs) deserve our attention.

                    Yes, and the way to change social dynamics is by focusing on the people involved.

              • >RMS’s comments were indeed tone-deaf in a way that made him vulnerable to such a predatory attac

                While I don’t know if RMS is on the spectrum (looks like), tone-deafness is what people on the spectrum do, because they simply have a disability of not getting the “tone”. This IMHO is absolutely well documented and could be proven at any court by expert witnesses.

                So can’t these issues be fought on disability grounds?

                I don’t know the actual extent of US law, but from a broader perspective: people on the spectrum are attracted into software development jobs, because their overly literal minds really match the overly literal minds of computers. They do a great job at it, this disability actually becomes an advantage, and everybody else should accept and in the past did accept that they have terrible social skills. As the joke in my corner of Europe said: “Just lock the programmers in the back room, slide specifications and pizza in under the door and never ever let them talk to customer.”

                Also addressing @Jeff Read here. I don’t even want to get into the politics of toxicity as it would just make me angry. Let’s accept your version of it for now as a working hypothesis. The point is, people on the spectrum act toxic not because they are morally bad people but they have a disability that prevents them from realizing what behavior is toxic and what not. And these people make great programmers. So why not just figure out a way to deal with it?

                Our old way of dealing with it was pretty much like that joke. Isolate programmers from every employee, customer etc. Their contacts, could also say: handlers were a few system designers, the kinds who wrote the specs as back then people used to write specs, not anymore, anyway, they tended to be older maler with thick skins.

                Although my friend still managed to tell a customer’s COO right in the face “In the user interface design I did not anticipate that your users are a horde of quarter-wit prosimians.” :D Isolation failed.

                Things definitely changed into the more neurotypical direction lately here, too. To quote another joke: “These younger groups of IT specialists are all watered down. Some even have girlfriends.”

                • The attempted purge of the improbably named Rod Vagg from Node.js was prompted by his bringing up exactly this issue, the part not captured by that archive (the Wayback Machine has it) is a link to “The Neurodiversity Case for Free Speech” at the unforgivable Quillette. First graph, the real article has lots of links to back up the points made:

                  Imagine a young Isaac Newton time-travelling from 1670s England to teach Harvard undergrads in 2017. After the time-jump, Newton still has an obsessive, paranoid personality, with Asperger’s syndrome, a bad stutter, unstable moods, and episodes of psychotic mania and depression. But now he’s subject to Harvard’s speech codes that prohibit any “disrespect for the dignity of others”; any violations will get him in trouble with Harvard’s Inquisition (the ‘Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’). Newton also wants to publish Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, to explain the laws of motion governing the universe. But his literary agent explains that he can’t get a decent book deal until Newton builds his ‘author platform’ to include at least 20k Twitter followers – without provoking any backlash for airing his eccentric views on ancient Greek alchemy, Biblical cryptography, fiat currency, Jewish mysticism, or how to predict the exact date of the Apocalypse.

                  Our betters believe that Codes of Conduct can never allow for this.

                • The problem here is that in the discussion of RMS the writer of the article which “got him fired”* deliberately misquoted RMS, and what they didn’t “misquote” they quoted out of context. I don’t usually take paranoia about SJWs seriously, but this was a clear and obvious case of lying.

                  So discussions of neurodiversity probably aren’t very relevant here, though they might be pertinent in another case.

                  * Assuming that we know everything there is to be known about the case.

                  • The thesis is that if he were “neurotypical”, he wouldn’t have gone off on a pedantic rant about exactly what “sexual assault” was, which context aside did no one any favors or pointed out anything anyone who can think didn’t realize. Some people just don’t get that many if not most people can’t be reached by dialectic, although I don’t how much if an understanding of that and the place of rhetoric maps onto the “neuroatypical”. But probably a fair amount.

                    He’d also probably follow the news enough and have the sense to not touch with a 39 and 1/2 foot pole the topic of Epstein at the same time the Institute was being convulsed with illegitimate donations from Epstein, ones they knew were red hot because going all the way up to the President they decided to hide them as being anonymous.

                    • I thought about this after I posted above, and something stands out at me. If I worked at MIT and liked a neurodiverse colleague, I’d probably have a talk with them about keeping their head down and their mouth shut right now, particularly if they had a respected mentor who was involved with Epste!n. It’s mildly interesting that nobody did so in the case of RMS.

                    • The thing is, RMS didn’t get to be the prophet and leader of the free software movement by keeping his head down and his mouth shut.

                    • >The thing is, RMS didn’t get to be the prophet and leader of the free software movement by keeping his head down and his mouth shut.

                      I didn’t get to reform the movement and successfully sell it to the mainstream by worrying about who I offended, either. So, yeah, “RMS should have been more diplomatic” is an argument with at least one serious error in its premises that I understand very well.

                    • The stark change in social climate is a primary reason we won’t have new nice things like FOSS in the future. Take a look at the former Silicon Valley. Where’s the next FPGA level of advance thing going to come from, as opposed to polishing existing concepts like RISC-V (actually anti-polish as a New Jersey/Worse is Better design).

                    • “I didn’t get to reform the movement and successfully sell it to the mainstream by worrying about who I offended, either.”

                      True, but you know how to pick your battles. RMS tilts at every windmill he comes across.

                    • And Jay Maynard for the win, well out ahead of the other competitors. Nicely done Jay!

            • That initial SJW twat is the daughter of an Ethiopian man and Chinese woman, and she went to an elite university in the U.S… Doesn’t all that sound implausible?

              • Conditioned on their being (1) at an elite U.S. university, (2) specifically, in some high-powered STEM program (explaining the indirect interest in CSAIL list) and (3) clearly involved in SJWish politics/activism? Not at all, actually – they’re just the random person we would _expect_ to do something like this. No tinfoil hat necessary, sometimes reality is _that_ boring.

          • If it had been you, you _wouldn’t_ have said the same things, much less in the same way. We know this, because it has actually happened. All-in-all, I’m not sure why you disagree with his choice. It seems like the best response to a pretty bad set of circumstances.

            And yes, I do know that his words have been severely misquoted and misinterpreted. But it’s hard to make that defense in the midst of a full-blown moral panic.

            • Actually Eric made a very similar distinction (to Stallman’s) between (rape) pedophilia and (rape) statutory/ephebophilia in the “The Rectification of Names” a couple weeks ago. Fortunately, he seems to be off everyone’s radar and isn’t employed by MIT, where I suspect that coming anywhere near a discussion of Epstein is the kiss of death.

              • Eric was cancelled long ago. Every time he writes something and it bubbles up to Hackernews, threads grow on the story about his “batshit insane politics”, and his views on guns and race dominate the discussion.

                Eric has nothing left to lose.

                • >Eric was cancelled long ago.

                  And yet, whenever I’m face-to-face with actual hackers, I get treated like a rock star.

                  Case in point: Sunday night Cathy and I went to a Slate Star Codex meetup in Philly, because Scott Alexander himself was going to be there and we’re personally friendly with him. Scott is an introvert and I thought he’d be grateful for some familiar faces. (He was.)

                  The SSC crowd being what it is, at least half the people there were software engineers or in adjacent jobs. I got recognized a lot, and improved a number of peoples’ evenings by being approachable and friendly. I do not have the kind of ego that would drive me to upstage a man at his own event even if he might actually be rather grateful to be relieved of performance stress – but if I had wanted to steal the spotlight I could easily have done it.

                  My point here is that the SJWs do not appear to have the social power they imagine they do.

                  • What’s the Real World status of NTPsec, including adoption? On Hacker News, it’s hated with a burning passion because of your involvement with it. One person went so far as to say your theoretical essays on converting some of its code to Golang axiomatically made the whole project legally fraudulent….

                    • What’s the Real World status of NTPsec, including adoption?

                      Well Cisco paid us money to implement a feature for them. Dollars weigh on the bank account more than haterbux.

                    • A huge company like Cisco isn’t subject to the same political pressures as FOSS projects today. Different ones, especially since they’re still headquartered in Silicon Valley (how much of their work force is still there)?

                      How many other Official adoptions has it gained, in any domain?

                    • >How many other Official adoptions has it gained, in any domain?

                      How would we know? People looking for a more secure solution often don’t advertise the fact…

                    • I can understand you and those you work with putting up a brave face, but to the rest of us this looks like you’ve been Canceled so very hard no FOSS project you contribute to will be accepted by the FOSS community, those who by definition “advertise” their secure software solutions.

                      I’d really, truly like you to prove me wrong in the next 1-5 years, but in the meanwhile, I think I’ll focus on FOSS carried out through a parallel Internet made from e.g. dark web, mesh net, point-to-point telephone, and shortwave radio.

                    • >to the rest of us this looks like you’ve been Canceled so very hard no FOSS project you contribute to will be accepted by the FOSS community

                      Like I said, not compatible with my face-to-face experience. There can’t be a shortage of ESR fans out there, otherwise I wouldn’t trip over them every single time I go to a social context where open-source people are likely to be found.

                • Be aware of the sampling bias on Hacker News. HN is not the whole of the tech world; it is heavily weighted by Silicon Valley, which very much leans Left. So, while there are a few hackers (e.g. Thomas Ptacek, Matthew Garrett) who consider ESR to be an unperson and are quite vocal about it, they’re not the whole of hackerdom. I’d guess there’s plenty more hackers who are too busy focusing on their hacking to care about ESR’s supposed thoughtcrimes. Or if they have, they’ve looked at what ESR actually said/wrote, in its original context, and decided for themselves that said thoughts are perhaps not as criminal as portrayed by others.

          • At what point would you like to fold?

            I think it’s useful to compare this to the Kohfield case. You say he’d have been justified in fighting the feds. Worst that could have happened to him in doing so would’ve been to die defending his principles in a way that is very hard to misinterpret. In doing so, he’d for his part have created a small but still existing disincentive for the feds to follow orders to confiscate guns.

            Worst outcome for fighting SJWs is having your career and reputation destroyed and getting yourself labeled as a sex offender. People reasonably differ on which outcome they consider worse. Not resigning in itself also does nothing to discourage future attacks, so the only thing gained is being able to fold at some “honorable” point, maybe at rape conviction?

            It isn’t helpful to just say he should have fought, unless you know how he should have fought to either incur losses to the enemy or to reduce his own?

            • >It isn’t helpful to just say he should have fought, unless you know how he should have fought to either incur losses to the enemy or to reduce his own?

              You fight this sort of thing to try to hold MIT to the standards of protection for freedom of speech and academic inquiry to which it still at least nominally holds. You fight for one of two outcomes: you shame it into remembering those values and exhibiting better behavior, or to damage a reputation it no longer deserves by showing that it has failed its own best traditions.

              I think I owe it to my civilization not to back away from this kind of fight. I’m disappointed in RMS that he backed away. I would have expected better of him.

              • MIT’s standards for freedom of speech are based on social acceptability. As the left has changed what is socially acceptable, MIT has changed their standard. You can complain he isn’t fighting against the change, but since no one is fighting for the previous standard, why should he bother?

                Fighting to shame them doesn’t work. You can’t shame people who define what is socially acceptable. Since MIT’s free speech is based on social norms, you can’t damage its reputation by showing it follows social norms.

                MIT isn’t a cornerstone of civilization. Civilization is based on the human ability to cooperate. College’s rationale is education but we have textbooks, online courses and other alternatives.

                • RMS is nominally on the left – this is quite clear from even a cursory look at his personal website. And the ongoing retreat from norms of free speech and free inquiry is _not_ universally “socially acceptable”. Let’s not cede that ground to our enemies – _especially_ when those enemies persist in displaying sociopathic and authoritarian tendencies that become clearer and clearer by the day. We simply cannot afford to.

                  • You forget that as Iowahawk put it, “College: an oasis of totalitarianism in a desert of freedom.” A research university like MIT? They’re at the mercy of SJW infested funding organizations, public and private. They play the game unless they’re willing to shut down most of their operations.

                    That said, they’ve been enthusiastically playing the game since at least the beginning of the current outsider president’s tenure which started in 2012. It’ll be interesting to see if he can keep his position after the revelations that he was directly and personally involved in accepting and hiding Epstein contributions.

                  • >nd the ongoing retreat from norms of free speech and free inquiry is _not_ universally “socially acceptable”

                    There is an important principal/agent problem here: for any individual in $ORG’s leadership, it’s more important to stay in the good graces of their peers than to advance the interests of their institution. Peer reputation is the factor that opens up new opportunities, etc….including letting them ‘fail upward’ from the wreckage of their former institution.

                  • RMS is nominally on the left – this is quite clear from even a cursory look at his personal website.

                    This. He’s used to fighting against Microsoft and being celebrated by all his far leftist friends as a cool rebel sticking it to the Man. He’s not at all used to having said far leftist friends turn against him.

                • Fighting to shame them doesn’t work. You can’t shame people who define what is socially acceptable.

                  Boy howdy. There are known paedophiles among the SJW ranks, people who have actually abused actual children. Yet they enjoy the relative safety from public and media scrutiny that comes with having the right politics. Occasionally, one — like that Ars Technica guy — gets nailed by the cops, after which his protectors quickly close ranks and perform the proper prostrations to morality and justice, the better to avoid their role in protecting the paedophile being examined.

                  • One of the many reasons I stopped reading PZ Myers’ blog some years back was because his horde, as he calls his fanbase, were actively protecting a pedophile in their ranks. One who had admitted in writing that he’d assaulted children, as an adult. They lied about this, said he was to be pitied because he’d been abused as a child himself and basically did the whole ‘he’s in my tribe so rules don’t apply’ thing. Retch-making.

                  • Am I wrong to be entirely unsurprised that paedophiles (and not of the unwilling sort, to be even clearer about that) might be repeatedly found within a ‘political’ movement that is easily seen to be actively selecting for outright psychopathy? It’s no secret that the SJWs can and do eat their own, at least on occasion. Who do you think expects to ‘survive’ and maybe even thrive in such an environment?

                • “And the ongoing retreat from norms of free speech and free inquiry is _not_ universally “socially acceptable”. ”

                  This would be more meaningful if the university system didn’t purge conservatives post 1960s. Only the tempo changed. There is a line all right thinking people are not supposed to cross that has been moving faster and faster.

              • MIT has bigger problems than freedom for a whiny, protected manchild to continue whining on the Institute’s nickel — like ensuring women can study and work in relative safety from being harassed. Something the Institute has been neglectful of.

                • >MIT has bigger problems than freedom

                  There is never any bigger problem than freedom. Ever.

                  if MIT canned RMS for sexual harassment, let them say so straight up. But right now there’s a pretty strong appearance that he was fired for expressing unpopular opinions. That is unacceptable and MIT should be held to account for it.

                  • There is never any bigger problem than freedom. Ever.

                    Freedom for whom to do what? Rather than thinking in simplistic absolutes like “freedom is good”, borrow a page from Allison Parrish and ask yourself whose freedom you’re supporting and whether granting them that freedom limits or curtails essential freedoms of other, innocent parties — in this case, the freedom of women at MIT and elsewhere to conduct their work without fear and disgust of being hit on by a creepy old man.

                    Stallman wasn’t fired (technically). He resigned under pressure from MIT and the FSF. We only have his say so as to why, but it looks like both organizations reached a breaking point in terms of bad optics that result from keeping a creep like Stallman in a position of prominence. The people who called him out for his Epstein opinions have been calling him out for sexual misconduct for years while MIT and the FSF did nothing (in part because of Minsky’s protection). The Epstein stuff and Stallman’s “unpopular (read: odious and horrifying) opinions” are just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

                    Expect an entirely new board for the FSF as well, as the current board is populated by Stallman sympathizers, and pressure is mounting against them to resign.

                    • > the freedom of women at MIT and elsewhere to conduct their work without fear and disgust of being hit on by a creepy old man.

                      Only a totalitarian leftist could come up with something so silly as freedom from fear.

                    • And “safe spaces”. Some people should read “today” Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” or get or make a printed copy, so they’ll better understand the currently circulating joke, “What did socialists use before candles? Electricity.

                      Because those are exactly the stakes as termites like Mr. Read blindly gnaw on modern civilization’s technological infrastructure.

                    • >whether granting them that freedom limits or curtails essential freedoms of other, innocent parties

                      That’s idiotic. Freedoms never conflict, because freedom just means nobody can use force on you to compel your (non-aggressive) behavior. Richard being free to speak does not compromise the freedom of women. Women have the freedom to call out his behavior as unwanted and unpleasant if he hits on them. And that is as it should be.

                      Note that I have at no point said that Richard should be exempt if he has coerced others. There’s certainly a line he could have crossed in dealing with female colleagues or students that would merit firing, but at this point we don’t know that occurred and there is substantial reason to suspect that MIT canned him out of being embarrassed by his speech. Thomas Lord thinks so and he has more on-the-ground knowledge of events than I do.

                      MIT, having accepted money from Epstein under the table, does not have clean hands in this matter. From where I sit its behavior looks pretty shabby, reminding me of how Aaron Swartz was hung out to dry.

                    • MIT, having accepted money from Epstein under the table, with the full knowledge and complicity of its President, does not have clean hands in this matter.

                      With the above addition, I think we have all the explanation we need. One of MIT’s highest “principles” is “don’t make MIT look bad”, in the 1980s this was the best way to keep SJWs at bay, by threatening to go to the press. RMS was supremely unwise to say anything about Epstein while MIT’s President desperately tries to keep his position, in today’s context of Cancel Culture which is explicitly targeting all heterosexual male FOSS figures.

                      reminding me of how Aaron Swartz was hung out to dry

                      Why should they have acted any differently?? Aaron could have tried his aggressive stunt at his home in Harvard, but he snuck into MIT and its network to place a computer that hammered a 3rd party’s website, causing the latter to entirely cut off MIT. Maybe if he was a member of the MIT community, but….

                      And people who are depressed should avoid blatantly committing legitimate Federal crimes. The myriad attacks on MIT are just displacement from blaming the Officially sympathetic true villain … who’s attitude towards copyrights and The Greater Good curiously resemble RMS’s in the 1980s….

                    • “the freedom […] without fear”

                      And, to drag this forcibly back on topic, “the freedom to go about our lives without the fear of being shot: is one major justification for destroying the Second Amendment. It’s as silly there as it is everywhere else.

                    • >and ask yourself whose freedom you’re supporting and whether granting them that freedom limits or curtails essential freedoms of other, innocent parties

                      Who, whom in a nutshell.

                    • Expect an entirely new board for the FSF as well, as the current board is populated by Stallman sympathizers, and pressure is mounting against them to resign.

                      To be followed shortly by them throwing out the Free Software Definition and replacing it with one based on Codes of Conduct.

                    • I suspect at this point there’s more to come out where Epstein and RMS/FSF is concerned. It might be the path of wisdom to simply stop discussing the matter, depending on how much anyone has to lose and how dependent they are on outside resources.

                • MIT has bigger problems than freedom for a whiny, protected manchild to continue whining on the Institute’s nickel

                  The manchild in question in question revolutionized the way software is written in addition to writing a lot of important software himself.

                  Leftists like yourself now insist we must all play along with the delusions of people who will never accomplish half of what Stallman did.

                  • RMS may have made significant contributions in the past. However, continued accolades and support in the face of unpleasant behavior should require continued contributions. And I’m uncertain about what major contributions have been made by him recently. A quick look at projects on FSF, etc., doesn’t show any major new projects or rewrites. The last one I can think of is the grub2 rewrite over a decade ago.

                    My initial comment was going to be: “he may have revolutionized the way software is written, but I’m not certain he’s improved it”. But I’m not certain that point is that critical.

                    • RMS may have made significant contributions in the past.

                      So basically, what has he done for us lately?

                      However, continued accolades and support in the face of unpleasant behavior should require continued contributions.

                      Well these days leftists now insist the delusions and unpleasant behavior are themselves worthy of accolades.

      • My question is this: Can we say with any reliability that Epstein, who apparently donated to MIT and MIT-aligned organizations like the Media Lab, did not make some kind of anonymous/proxy donation to the FSF? If so, that would explain an awful lot.

        At this point, if I were in RMS’s shoes I might go down as quickly and quietly as possible, and maybe take a long vacation someplace without an extradition treaty. I say this not because the public record contains anything that’s remotely criminal, but because I suspect that his quick fade has to do with whatever RMS knows that we do not. It might have to do with the FSF or may involve other things; this is not the time to be a Commie who’s received donations from a guy rumored to have been running some kind of honeypot – and if those rumors are true, who was Epstein running the honeypot for? Us or someone else?

        • >I say this not because the public record contains anything that’s remotely criminal, but because I suspect that his quick fade has to do with whatever RMS knows that we do not.

          Oh, shit. What if Epstein threw one of his girls at RMS, and RMS wasn’t as smart as Minsky and didn’t dodge?

          I can easily imagine that having happened. It was within Epstein’s M.O. to entrap people that way. We already know that RMS believes that calendar thresholds for age of consent are silly and arbitrary (and to be fair that is not even a crazy position given that they vary so much across jurisdictions). And Richard is…well, he hasn’t had a lot of nubile women throwing themselves at him. He’d be vulnerable.

          This is uncomfortably plausible, dammit.

          • “This is uncomfortably plausible, dammit.”

            I wasn’t even thinking about sex, but you’re certainly not wrong to consider the possibility. But also consider that this is uncomfortably plausible even if it’s “only” money.

            Slightly aside to all this, (and right to the heart of all this) I find myself wanting to reread Le Carre’s “The Honourable Schoolboy.” The well-written description of pretty-much-everyone in the story going down hard on the basis of their psychological weaknesses and inabilities to process the agenda of another person just seems so appropriate these days…

          • He’s autistic as all bugfuck, and his skills at how to girl are just a notch above Christian Weston Chandler, but I’d be willing to give him more credit than that. Hint: He also thinks copyright laws are silly, yet he obeys them fastidiously because he knows that even the slightest hint of impropriety is ammo to his opponents.

            I’m gonna call this scenario unlikely, in the absence of supporting evidence.

          • > well, he hasn’t had a lot of nubile women throwing themselves at him. He’d be vulnerable.

            Gah. If _that’s_ what he has to deal with, MGTOW starts looking like a sensible position. And I say this as someone who is as far from _that_ overall memeplex as it’s possible to be. But yes, it seems like RMS might have been actively misled by the _dangerous_ culture of so-called ‘sexual liberation’ you denounced in your post on Epstein. Not to the point of engaging in _highly_-regrettable behavior, of course – but he _was_ at risk of falling for something shady in a lesser sense. Let this be a valuable lesson to others: ‘sexual liberation’ is a crock. “Sex positivity” (a better way of framing that attitude, anyway) is a _really, really_ hard _moral/ethical_ problem that shouldn’t be left to the whims of activists playing politics.

              • “Men Going Their Own Way”

                Which is just a fancy way of saying “Surrender of everything that actually matters”.

              • Heh. Yes, they’re quite a fringe faction in the broad Dark Enlightenment (wiki has the details). Not ordinarily very interesting. The point is that even _they_ (as clueless as they are) would’ve served RMS better than the sexual liberationists on the left may have.

            • > MGTOW starts looking like a sensible position.

              MGTOW IS a sensible position, especially for young men, and will remain so until the legal/social situation as it currently obtains stops acting like women are the new aristocracy with special rights and privileges to be wielded over men with impunity.

              Pretending like this isn’t the case is foolish in the extreme, and sets up countless men for destruction at the willing hands of the state, all over some pussy. Ridiculous.

              • Only if you consider seceding most of the disputed territory to the enemy to be a win. It’s only redeeming value is that it gives the enemy half of what they want instead of all of it.

                “We hate families and want to rule over men”

                “Fine we are going to abandon trying to have families and do our own thing”

                “REEEEEEEEEEE, we also wanted to rule over you!”

                Kind of like the “compromises” around guns, to bring the topic back around.

                • > Only if you consider seceding most of the disputed territory to the enemy to be a win.

                  I reject your collectivist reasoning, because it’s the exact same rationale that pushed men over the top and into certain death in no-man’s-land. C’mon boys, once more into the breach! Maybe you’ll get lucky and not end up with your head on a pike! Do it for God and Country! Yeah, no, fuck you.

                  It’s not ceding territory, it’s starving an enemy of its resources. Women only get so many years of reproductive capacity; men do not have this limitation. Time is the core resource, and until, at a societal level, we fix our broken shit, it’s Perfectly Rational for young men to protect themselves AND drive change via what amounts to a general strike.

                  It’s not the ONLY way. But it is a sensible one in the current climate.

                  • I reject your collectivist reasoning

                    Unlike the feminists or MGTOWs I’m not the one pushing the idea that All Women (or All Men) are a hivemind.

                    And I’m not even condemning the guys who got burned and then walked away; everyone has their own limits of what they can handle. In fact most of them were probably set up to be victims from the start because somehow they reached adulthood having never heard the warning that there are scummy people in the world and you need to avoid them.

                    Of course I’m also betting that a decent chunk were not in fact innocent victims, but instead the kind of human trash that has no interest and never had any interest in planting trees who’s shade they would never sit under. No less trash in fact than the women who screwed them over. How many weren’t interested in starting a family, but just wanted a hot lay that night, and it turned into an alleged “marriage” for no discernible reason?

                    All of the endless advice about dangerous women that they have… And no one has the lightbulb go off and realize that what they are building is in fact a database of Things To Avoid. The very thing their parents were supposed to teach them as children.

                    • > Unlike the feminists or MGTOWs I’m not the one pushing the idea that All Women (or All Men) are a hivemind.

                      You don’t seem to have a problem pushing that all feminists and all MGTOW are hiveminds, though. C’mon, haha!

                      I get the sense that you simply find (your perception of) MGTOW offensive on its face and are throwing shade just to throw shade. If so, that’s fine, I’ll bow out.

                • Only if you consider seceding most of the disputed territory to the enemy to be a win. It’s only redeeming value is that it gives the enemy half of what they want instead of all of it.

                  I think you’re looking at MGTOW the wrong way. It’s not conceding territory; it’s calling that part of feminism’s bluff. There are feminists that insist that sex is everything to men, and that if they want it, they’re gonna have to have it on feminists’ terms. MGTOW are saying they didn’t really need the sex that badly.

                  Family has nothing to do with it.

                  The irony is that this might enable those men to have family lives that actually work. Think Bill Burr. (Or, my mom, who had a notorious reputation for getting bargains on things for our family. When I asked my dad how she was able to do that, he answered that it was because she was willing to walk away from any deal.)

                  • MGTOW are saying they didn’t really need the sex that badly.

                    Not exactly. What they’re saying is that they’re not putting their heads on the chopping block for a vague promise of regular pussy. MGTOW isn’t about celibacy, it’s about refusing to enter into any personal and especially any LEGAL entanglements with women in this society.

              • > MGTOW IS a sensible position, especially for young men

                In general, no it is not. I feel sympathy for men who have been burned by family courts (etc.) but women are plenty capable of showing love and loyalty to their husband and the father of their children regardless of what legal options they may have available to them.

                • You’re right: by and large, people are plenty capable of showing love and loyalty even in otherwise terrible circumstances. And we do see many examples of this, e.g. far outside of the modern West. But let’s not pretend that such loyalty is necessarily commonplace or to be expected! Particularly when some extremist political groups are constantly and _overtly_ seeking to destroy it.

                • ” but women are plenty capable of showing love and loyalty to their husband and the father of their children regardless of what legal options they may have available to them.”

                  Well, except for the adultery and divorce. That is what- 50%?

                  • Varies heavily by social class, though. Social capital (“soft” and “fuzzy” norms, traditions etc. of the informal and uncodified sort) still matters quite a bit. Of course, this stock of valuable social capital is precisely what the SJWs hate the most. (They got their wish in China already, courtesy of the Gang of Four. We’ll see how the West fares.)

                  • You’re looking at the stats wrong. Only 20% of *first time* marriages end in divorce. The people who divorce and re-marry usually do so more than once, skewing the odds.

                    Also, it does depend upon your social class and particular sub-culture.

                • > In general, no it is not.
                  > women are plenty capable of showing love and loyalty

                  MGTOW does not claim that women are incapable of this.

                  It’s much more like acknowledging that some non-trivial percentage of humanity (men AND women) are horrendously destructive, and thus making a first-pass attempt at a protective structure to defend against the female side of that, which has been either downplayed or outright denied as existing for quite a long time.

                  If one hasn’t grown up in a social environment that endlessly screams “women are all goodness and light” and takes any criticism as evil, it might not be obvious why MGTOW’s views are useful to many men.

                  • > It’s much more like acknowledging that some non-trivial percentage of humanity (men AND women) are horrendously destructive

                    Unfortunately, neither MGTOW nor the likes of MeToo are even _close_ to reaching such an eminently sensible position. The “raised by N’s” folks are getting there, though! Add a useful database of “here’s _how_ to spot narcissists, sociopaths and toxic people of all sorts”, and we may actually have a _useful_ social movement on our hands. (And no, our parents never taught us this, either. It’s one thing to be aware that sociopathic people exist somewhere; being able to proactively spot them and even know what makes em tick is quite another!)

                  • If having a family (or at least a partner in life) is a terminal goal for you, then MGTOW is not useful. By “going your own way” you preclude yourself from ever achieving those goals.

                    Whatever the state of the culture, I do not condone encouraging men, especially young men, to give up on the hope of marriage and family.

          • What’s in it for Epstein to compromise RMS like that, though? It’s not like RMS, even given his exalted position in the hacker community, is useful to Epstein in the circles he travels.

            • It’s above the level of rumor when the former Federal DA who was involved in Epstein’s initial slap on the wrist explained in the process of become a Trump cabinet member that “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone.” Intelligence goes way beyond figuring out what X dictator is going to do, to include economic and technical things, for example we can be very sure this community should be trying to gauge the magnitude and knock on effects of the “pig ebola” that’s sweeping the PRC. Having a hold over RMS could conceivably be quite valuable.

            • >What’s in it for Epstein to compromise RMS like that, though? It’s not like RMS, even given his exalted position in the hacker community, is useful to Epstein in the circles he travels.

              You wouldn’t think Marvin Minsky would have been either. And yet…

              Maybe he just collected geniuses.

              • >Maybe he just collected geniuses.

                I could see Epstein playing the long game; who knows where famous tech people might end up?

              • I would guess that someone like Epstein got a kick out of seeing just how many people, and just how different types, he could trap. It’s an obvious power trip, and he was at it for a long time. Plus, the practice of collecting lots of various influential people in his pocket, just in case, certainly paid off for him when he finally did get in trouble (2008).

            • >What’s in it for Epstein to compromise RMS like that, though?

              Demoralization? Target the philosophical leaders of powerful and vocal liberty-minded groups to sow FUD within and without, leading to increased social fracturing that can be exploited to further disrupt and discredit opponents of current and future authoritarian power grabs?

              Doesn’t even have to be a directed attack; ideological damage seems to have this going on autopilot now. Memetic berserker.

              • There’s a whole section of society which believes that anything you can’t make profit from must be destroyed or coopted. Killing/damaging the FSF would look like a major victory to such people.

                • Uhm…you’re channeling Jeff Read again. This belief is only held by the far left looking to paint those to the right of Che as eeeeevil capitalist scum.

                  I mean, I’ve opposed the FSF for years, and yet I grant that it has a place in our discourse.

                  • Nah. It’s not a large segment of society, but you see it frequently in the intelligence services. It’s not capitalists, but their self-appointed guardians.

                    • Make up your effing mind:

                      Is it “a whole section of society”?

                      Or “not a large segment of society”?

            • > What’s in it for Epstein to compromise RMS like that, though?

              Passing around his women cost him almost nothing. And RMS is famous. Why *not* collect him into the obligation net? You never can tell when someone might turn out to be useful.

    • Here’s the woman who got him fired. At least there’s some pushback in the comments to her Medium piece.

      It has been pointed out that Microsoft benefits every time open source takes a hit. Interesting that Torvalds got hit with the same sort of “insensitivity” charges. Meanwhile, Bill Gates had a much closer association with Epstein and even (through employees) with child porn and abuse (e.g. “Microsoft Peter” Bright), but it doesn’t seem to start any SJW crusades.

      • “This was not, actually, all that much about Richard Stallman.” Well, it was not _about_ this person, either. And again, let’s not _ever_ pretend that it was. We simply live in a political Mad Max world where even entirely off-handed, casual aggression by a random self-described activist can have rather extreme consequences. Then again we kinda knew that already, didn’t we?

        • It’s beginning to feel like we’re not experiencing either government from the right or government from the left, but government by moral panic and hysteria.

          • Says the man who recently was snarling that Brendan Eich totally should have lost his job and indeed should have suffered much worse.

            • The misunderstanding is this: I believe that Richard Eich should have lost his job.* But I don’t think Linus Torvalds should have. Or Richard Stallman, or the guy who made a very British joke about women in STEM fields and got kicked to the curb. I don’t think Eric should lose control of his projects because of the politics. (IIRC Eric and I are actually fairly close on the subject of feminism.)

              When it comes to stories about “ebil mens in tech” I actually read multiple news stories and try to make my decisions on the merits. In the case of Brendan Eich* I didn’t think the “Mozilla” part of our infrastructure should be under the control of a fundamentalist (of any religion.)

              * In the case of Brendan Eich, I also have a close LGBTQ relative, so I am probably more passionate than I should be – the guys a menace – but the risk case for allowing him to continue is poor even without my feelings.

              • I didn’t think the “Mozilla” part of our infrastructure should be under the control of a fundamentalist (of any religion.)

                The hell? Do you have evidence that his personal beliefs affected his job performance in any way? Because you seem to be jumping from “he is icky” to “no can work!” in an awfully cavalier manner.

                In the case of Brendan Eich, I also have a close LGBTQ relative, so I am probably more passionate than I should be – the guys a menace

                Wha… what? “I have a friend of $ProtectedClass, therefore my opinions should make sense.” Really?

                • Indeed. My understanding is that Eich never allowed his beliefs on the legality of same-sex marriage to influence his job performance or behaviour towards his employees in any way. If there is solid evidence to the contrary then it should be put forward. Otherwise his dismissal is just as wrong as if he had been kicked out for supporting same-sex marriage.

              • > In the case of Brendan Eich* I didn’t think the “Mozilla” part of our infrastructure should be under the control of a fundamentalist (of any religion.)

                His position on gay marriage is not *fundamentalist*. It is *orthodox* (small-o) within the broader Christian faith. Either you need to define fundamentalism more narrowly (which would likely exclude Eich) or own the claim that no person of religious faith should have a leading role in our infrastructure (goodbye Knuth! goodbye Fred Brooks!).

                Also, this assumes that people who are “fundamentalist” differ psychologically somehow from “non-fundamentalists”. This may be true in a broad statistical sense, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything when we have the opportunity to actual evaluate a specific person. You’re just engaging in classic bigotry: judging a person by the group they belong to rather than on their own merits.

                Finally: a key strength of FLOSS is the fact that it provides a neutral ground for otherwise hostile parties in the hopes of creating something valuable to everyone. If try and claim culture war victories in said neutral ground you’re just going to make everyone mad and threaten the shared value creation.

    • /me puts on tinfoil hat
      Between this and Brendan Eich, any chance this is an industry play to eliminate DRM opponents?

    • @ESR – I’d really like to hear a long-form response from you on the subject (when you’ve thought it over).

      Thomas Bushnell’s take: https://medium.com/@thomas.bushnell/a-reflection-on-the-departure-of-rms-18e6a835fd84

      Thomas Lord’s take: https://twitter.com/thomas_lord/status/1174433645110513664

      Bushnell essentially argues that while the specific accusations against Stallman were false, his firing was nonetheless justified for other reasons.

      My response is in two parts:

      1) If there are truthful reasons for firing* him, then let that be the reason. The timing of this, and the fact that the firing itself was based on lies, suggests that it was done more to distract from MIT’s complicity in the Epstein debacle than to actually rectify anything.

      2) This whole “this is a time for empathy, not for debating the meanings of words” (paraphrased) is little more than just a flimsy justification for moral panic. If you want justice, real justice, then precision in our thoughts and are words becomes more important.

      *well, whatever word you want to use to describe the fact that he was forced out.

      • On Bushnell. Funny how they are always talking about institutional this and systemic that, yet they always hurt persons, not institutions. If MIT as such is guilty at something, why not MIT as such is getting punished.

        I have observed something like this long ago but never really understood it. Back when Marxian socialism was really a thing, the story was always that the problem is not that capitalists are bad guys. It is that capitalism is a bad system. Hate the game, not the player and all that. Sounded like they don’t have any personal problems with capitalists. And yet, looking at the death toll…

        There must be some kind of trick in this but never really figured out why if someone wants to hurt other persons, why not just says down with those guys, instead of systemic this and institutional that.

        • Alinsky rule #13:

          “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

        • The early days of the SJW movement, 7-10 years ago, were like that too. Lots of disclaimers about how they weren’t against such and such a person, just what he/she said or did. Once they achieved critical mass, however, all pretence was dropped and they now are openly against the person. If they can find one thing to convict you, then you’re out forever. There’s no such thing as reprimands, correction or rehabilitation. Apart from the fact that they just appear to prefer being dishonest, I assume the prior pretence of not being personal also permitted them to build up their ranks by appearing less harmful.

          • Ah, but SJWs are good at showing mercy and forgiveness when one of heir own falls into one of their traps. The feminists did a quick 180 when Bill Clinton got outed as a sexual harasser. Blackface is a racist costume choice, but somehow not that big a deal when a leftist does it, even repeatedly. Etc.

            • Sometimes. They’re also perfectly willing to eat their own. Exactly which will happen in any particular instance isn’t entirely predictable, which is partially the point. However, it appears to depend on thing like how useful the individual in question currently is, how powerful he is, and the dynamics of their internal power struggles.

  30. You like to talk about how confiscations would lead to armed rebellion, so here’s a hypothetical question:

    Suppose Shane Kohfield rather than giving up his guns had shot the FBI agents sent to take them, what do you think the genral reaction of the fire arms community would have been? What would your reaction have been?

    • >Suppose Shane Kohfield rather than giving up his guns had shot the FBI agents sent to take them, what do you think the genral reaction of the fire arms community would have been? What would your reaction have been?

      I’m not going to make any projections about the general reaction. I think Kohfield would have been justified in shooting them – the Second and Fourth Amendment violations and the conspiracy to violate civil rights under color of law are very clear here.

      • Much ink has been spilled writing about the inevitable failure — and massive backlash — of any attempted mass confiscation. For all the idiot Blue foot-soldiers who will still say “what good is your AR-15 against a drone?”, I think by now everyone who matters realizes this.

        This implies that the most dangerous scenarios going forward are not the imposition of single massive new bans with full confiscation in the teeth of the entire gun culture, but rather frog-boiling tactics that will play out over decades. They will be aimed at pressuring gun culture from all sides, making it culturally anathema, inconveniencing its members as much as possible, and destroying prominent exponents whether via legal or extralegal means. We can already see this happening with the Obama “Chokepoint” pressure exerted against banks, and other payment processors banning gun transactions. On the cultural side, see Youtube and other major Internet platforms working to push guns off.

        Red flag laws are a major step forward in the frog-boiling strategy. They allow the state to build institutions around gun-confiscation operations and inure ordinary law enforcement to carrying out those operations; they provide an avenue for harassing gun advocates, therefore pressuring outspoken advocates to shut up; and they make confiscation raids into an ordinary law-enforcement practice in the eyes of the broader population. A long series of steadily-escalating red flag laws imposing lower and lower thresholds for action are just as capable of eventually becoming a full ban as a series of gun-type bans.

        It’s not entirely clear how is best to proceed here, but it seems clear to me at least that any gun confiscation based on “red flag” complaints with no conviction in court is just as illegitimate as a mass confiscation from all civilians in general, and any law enforcement officers carrying out such raids have similarly declared themselves enemies of liberty and the Constitution, and violence against them is self-defense.

    • It would have been
      -outrage
      -organization
      -defeat
      -“things have always been this way and anyone who implies otherwise is a bad person who should be ignored”

  31. Dear ESR;
    The SFConservancy just attacked RMS, should they “go to hell”*, as described in this message:
    https://lkml.org/lkml/2019/9/18/279
    ?

    > Software Freedom Conservancy
    ?>Verified account @conservancy
    >
    > The fight for diversity, equality and inclusion is the fight for
    > software freedom. Our movement will only be successful
    > if it includes everyone. RMS does not speak for these values.
    > twitter.com/conservancy/status/1173603417769545734

    *(That is; should the “legal hell” described there-in be unleashed?)

  32. @personwholooks: That LKML posting is recognisably the latest sockpuppet posting account of notorious loon MikeeUSA. Even those who share his general views tend to be smart enough not to take legal advice from him.

  33. Hmm, this comment keeps going off into oblivion. Trying another variation:

    I see Eric’s original blog point is getting swamped by the Stallman story, about which FWIW I did on several S.F. Bay Area LUG mailing lists when that news broke (e.g, balug-talk and svlug).

    Getting back to Pretty Boy O’Rourke, no matter the volume of applause in that audience in Houston, I think it very, very unclear his opinion can be extrapolated to aggregate Democratic Party voters, let alone suggesting any significant nationwide political will to do as he wishes. (Note that polling data showing a shift in opinion about new registrations of so-called ‘assault weapons’ are interesting but not the same thing as support for confiscations.) So, I see noisy sizzle, but nothing they’d call a steak in Abilene or elsewhere.

    Eric, you may recall my telling you that my going on a few of the early Geeks with Guns outings from VA Linux Systems to Targetmasters in Milpitas helped me analyse these legal matters more precisely and with improved realism, and I was glad to thank you for that. I do my best to share that realism with local voters, as I tried for example three years back: web.archive.org/web/20170825202449/http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/election-2016-11-08.html#prop63

    (As you will see in the ‘outcome’ comments, that measure passed despite the damning flaws I mentioned, but also was a NO-OP for the reasons I cited.)

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

    • >no matter the volume of applause in that audience in Houston, I think it very, very unclear his opinion can be extrapolated to aggregate Democratic Party voters, let alone suggesting any significant nationwide political will to do as he wishes.

      I have no doubt you are correct on both counts. When I referred to “the Democrats” in my post, I intended to point at the party apparat, not its base.

      • By party apparat, you might mean either or both of two things (or a third if I’m being a dolt and missing something). The first is party committees, comprising the DNC (national) and various state and county ones. The second is the collective corpus of elected politicians participating in Democratic Party caucuses. Bear with my Stallmanesque distinction-drawing, please, as I’m nearly to the point:

        During the 2017 figurative beauty contest for DNC Chair, many innocent electrons were slain decrying how horrible the ideological influence of Keith Ellison (Minnesota) would be if anointed. In the end, it was establishment politico and lawyer Tom Perez — but, before that happened, I found myself talking to some people flogging the claim about Ellison and Viewing It with Alarm: They inevitably seemed stunned when I said ‘Er, aren’t you aware that the nearly sole function of a party national chair is fundraising?’ Mr. Ellison’s political convictions, in that regard, would be (as we say out here) something that, combined with $2.50, gets you a ride on S.F. Muni.

        So, I would suggest that the party apparat in sense #1 doesn’t have plans or intentions or a particularly cunning plan, just a budget and a frequently reloaded Web link to the Cook Report. Party apparat in sense #2 doesn’t have those either, just mostly a devotion to JFK’s two rules of politics. (Rule #1: Get elected. Rule #2: Get re-elected.)

        Rick Moen
        rick@linuxmafia.com

        • >By party apparat, you might mean either or both of two things (or a third if I’m being a dolt and missing something).

          I intended something more like the union of (a) Democratic party employees, (b) Democratic politicians in office, and (c) the party’s activist cadre – harder to define, but I know them when I see them poll-watching on election days, organizing demonstrations, and being motivated enough to buy tickets to be in the audience at a primary-contenders’ debate. On days when I am feeling particularly cynical I would add (d) almost the entirety of the Acela-corridor press corps.

          This group certainly does have opinions. If they were really focused on winning elections first and foremost, they would notice that a significant core of these opinions are losers outside the coastal metroplexes and a handful of interior university towns – but they do not in fact notice this, being seemingly ideologically blinded and under some compulsion to dismiss those who disagree with them as deplorables/nazis/racists/white-supremacists.

          • Don’t forget Chicago and some other Blue cities mostly in the upper middle of the country, like Kansas City, St. Louis, and let’s not forget Saint Buttigieg’s South Bend, Indiana. And this article reports that Austin is following the LA and San Francisco path to perdition.

            As for the wing of the party that gave it some ideological and geographic balance, the so called Blue Dogs of Clinton era fame? Their remnants were sacrificed to enact Obamacare. Which may turn out to have been a mistake since it didn’t actually and irreversibly “nationalize” our healthcare, while immediately harming a lot of people and displaying the gross incompetence we’ve come to expect when our betters actually have to execute on their wild promises.

            Obama, only caring about himself, and certainly having nothing in common with them compared to say Bill Clinton, didn’t see a need to revive them, and didn’t need to “triangulate” like Clinton did to get reelected. Which tells us lots of thing.

        • > Party apparat in sense #2 doesn’t have those either, just mostly a devotion to JFK’s two rules of politics.

          They *PASSED* an “Assault weapons ban” in 1994. and this year: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/66

          No, it won’t pass the house and it won’t even be heard in the Senate if it was, but there are enough of them that live in places like San FranShithole or NYC that literally don’t know anyone with a gun that isn’t for trap or skeet or some other paper game, and increasingly the Ds from the rational parts of the country seem to be getting *just* as cloistered and are drinking their own ink.

          • The party has really gotten itself into a fix on guns. They no longer have any operatives who understand guns, gun safety, and gun culture, 1.0 or 2.0, so when they try to make a commercial for a candidate at any level actual gun owners immediately note they’re posers. For an earlier more noted example, a Republican running for some state agriculture? office in the South as I recal, who was holding a level action rifle, his keeping his finger inside the trigger guard told voters all they needed to know, he lost his election.

            • They think they are facing a mixed sea of 1.0 and 2.0. They have no inkling of gun culture 3.0. That there could be a large and growing contingent that take “Repeal the NFA” as their starting point is incomprehensible to them.

              Or put a snarkier way: Let them destroy the NRA, and while celebrating find out what a real 2A-rights organization fights like.

              • Oh my. Despite talking a lot about gun cultures 1.0 and 2.0 (born in the first, am mostly in the second), it didn’t occur to me that the changes we’re seeing, in part to irredeemable gun grabbers, are creating a gun culture 3.0.

                • >are creating a gun culture 3.0.

                  I think it’s actually possible I’ve had a minor hand in that. Through this.

                  When I wrote “Ethics From The Barrel of A Gun it was around 1996-1997 – first decade or so of 2.0. By 2.0 standards the content was pretty radical. and I knew it was when I wrote it; today it reads like a 3.0 manifesto. I’ve gotten enough email and linkage since to think it quietly influenced a lot of folks.

                  • I’m outside of gun culture myself but considering arming up in case all hell breaks loose after the next election. This is the first I’m hearing about different, numbered versions of gun culture. Is there a good guide explaining the differences anywhere?

                    • >This is the first I’m hearing about different, numbered versions of gun culture. Is there a good guide explaining the differences anywhere?

                      I looked and didn’t find one. Here’s a summary of what I think I know – other gunfolks on the thread may correct me.

                      1.0: Focused on hunting and recreation, weapons mix dominated by traditional wooden-stock hunting rifles, has existed since time immemorial. Not very political, often indifferent to issues of 2A principle as long as nobody went near their hunting guns. Heavily rural. The NRA was a 1.0 organization before the 1977 palace coup by Harlon Carter and associates. 1.0 holdovers are sometimes referred to as “Fudds”, think Elmer Fudd hunting wabbits in a Warner Brothers cartoon.

                      2.0: Focused on self-defense and concealed carry, weapons stock dominated by handguns. I think it started to be distinguishable from 1.0 in the early 1980s soon after the NRA coup, but that was before I was involved and I’d accept correction from those with experience going farther back. More political, increased focus on 2A rights, demographics reaching into suburbs.

                      3.0: Still practically focused on self-defense and concealed carry but with common talk of the role of civilian armed revolt in the U.S. Constitutional system and skyrocketing ownership of AR-15-pattern “black rifles”. Emerged in the early 2000s, I think, though you can certainly find the tendency in earlier 2.0 – if I had to date it to one event it would be to Clayton Cramer’s exposure of the Bellesisles fraud in…2002, I think. Very political, very hard line on 2A, widespread disdain for the NRA as too accommodationist. Gun culture 3.0 dreams not just of holding off new gun-control laws but repealing existing ones.

                      The 1.0/2.0 and 2.0/3.0 transitions were both marked by large increases in gun sales and a widening demographic base.

                      The 1.0/2.0 distinction is widespread and even used by academic observers of the gun culture. However, many people who recognize the 1.0 vs. 2.0 terminology do not yet recognize or agree that 3.0 is distinct from the “extreme” wing of 2.0.

                    • Some additions and nit correcting, as I started in 1.0:

                      1.0 is also very big on conventional bullseye target shooting, and safety rules that preclude a “hot” range, where guns are loaded when you’re not on the firing line. The coup was the Cincinnati revolt in 1977, reversing the NRA leadership’s decision to abandon the political field (they were quite active in this in the 1960s when gun control for all races became a big thing, but their political activity WRT to gun control goes back to at least the 1920s).

                      That resulted in the creation of the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), its formal lobbying arm, which is a different type of 501 non-profit than the NRA proper. Since then, the Winning Team has made very sure another coup is impossible, by any means necessary including physical violence.

                      2.0 also included rifles for self-defense, and the “survivalist” now “prepper” strain was important. Note how attacks on civilian semi-auto versions of select-fire military battle and assault rifles started in earnest in the late 1980s. I would place its real start with Jeff Cooper and his Modern Technique (of the pistol) in the 1950s, see also the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) founding in 1976, they do non-bullseye competitions.

                      3.0, which I’m still conceptualizing, was sparked more than anything else by the US authorities’ response to 9/11, they told us citizens who they view as subjects our only duties were to shop (literally) and snitch on our neighbors, and they stated way too many times that white domestic terrorists were a greater threat than Muslim (in truth it’s the crazies as we’ve been discussing, but see also Ruby Ridge and Waco, and the OK City reply).

                      I.e. it became crystal clear we were on our own. Many things including the Official Story of the government’s response to Katrina emphasized this (and the civilian authorities really did multiply screw up, but to attack W the reporters ignored the thundering sound of Chinook heavy-lift (and smaller) helicopters delivering the rescued to that football stadium a block or so away, and made up a Lord of the Flies tale about the conditions of the rescued. There too the authorities were too often a worse threat than nature).

                    • >Some additions and nit correcting, as I started in 1.0:

                      H, that was tremendously helpful. You’ve clarified several things in my mind.

                      I’n now prepared to pin the birth of 2.0 to either the founding of IPSC in 1976 or the NRA palace coup in ’77, acknowledging that its roots are in Jeff Cooper’s Modern Pistol Technique. That’s a great insight, because it explains how internal discoveries in the gun culture synergized with the needs of an increasingly non-rural population. 1.0 long guns simply aren’t practical in cities and suburbs – when how often do you have a long enough sight line to use their range?

                      I’m going to pin the birth of 3.0 not to the U.S. government response to 9/11 but to Fight 93. To a pretty good first approximation I think we can say that 3.0 was born when a bunch of pissed-off 2.0 gunfolks (including me) asked themselves “Why were Todd Beemer and the men who fought back disarmed?” and didn’t like the answer they got.

                      I should also note that a lot of younger 3.0 recruits got their start in first-person shooter and war-sim video games before they picked up physical guns and joined the actual gun culture – Ian is a good example of this. The difference this makes is that these kids got a pretty good grasp on tactics and movement before they learned actual gun handling.

                    • >> “Here’s a summary of what I think I know”

                      Thanks Eric, that helps. Based on your descriptions I find that my own attitudes have been shifting more and more towards 3.0.

                    • Birth strikes me as too much of a mathematical singularity to use for demarcation of these versions of US gun culture. For example, the official endings of both strategic and civil defense, and the 1960s urban riots, focused people powerfully on the need for self-defense, and not just with handguns.

                      In a riot in US rectangularly laid out cities, and/or from the top of a building like the Roof Koreans, you’re going to have sight lines much longer than you can shoot accurately with a handgun, a rifle is much, much easier to shoot accurately. If you’ve got an opponent with a shotgun and you only have a handgun, or rifle and you only have a shotgun, you’ll be outranged.

                      The best way I’ve found to put it is from Mel Tappan in his Survival Guns, who you might want to check out for influence in the 1970s, is that a handgun is like a first aid kit. Not your first choice if you know you’re going into combat (I add: aside from situations where weapons retention is a really big issue), but like a first aid kit it’s something you can have with you a lot more often. It’s a tool to get you to a rifle.

                      As to the type of rifle, the classic 1.0 lever action .30-30 with its ~AK-47 round ballistics would not be a terrible choice, and you can feed a hunter style bolt action as quickly. Note also that handguns are what gun grabbers have first gone after starting with the antebellum crusade against concealed handguns, so it was and still often is much easier for many city dwellers to legally own them. Cooper’s also very big on rifles; overall, I have to say your 1.0 analysis is largely wrong.

            • The flip side of this is that the Republicans don’t have anyone who’s capable of understanding exactly how at least half the nation feels about things like the El Paso shooting. Or Dylan Roof. Or even Scalise. If the very best thing your politics has to say in reply is something like “Mr. Roof’s victims are in our thoughts and prayers,” there’s something deeply wrong with those politics.

              I have no amazing insights about how to handle this – the best ideas I can come up with are band-aids – and I personally am not a gun-grabber, but if your politics can’t do better than “thoughts and prayers” when confronted with some crazy person shooting up a mall, you’re probably going to be replaced by someone who is first of all, not a gun-grabber – the politics are definitely against it – but second of all, not you!

              I don’t know what advice I would give to a politician on either side, but for god’s sake, fix something!

              • “Something must be done, this is something, therefore we must do it!” may be politically popular, but it isn’t good policy.

                But if you want a policy from the hard pro-gun side, there’s: “Reduce and eliminate the number of places where ccw permit holders can’t carry – especially when those places already have a special exemption for cops. These spree shootings tend to be overwhelmingly concentrated in such places, to the point where they can be considered ‘attractive nuisances’ for spree shooters.”

                • CCW? Why? Even a couple tactical vests and baseball bats in every classroom might be enough to keep spree killers out of high-schools. You have drills every month where the two biggest kids in any classroom stand next to the door with their vests and bats. You don’t have to raise the bar very high before most people will decide that attacking isn’t worth the consequences.

                  • baseball bats

                    Why use sub-standard equipment? Shotgun or rifle would be far more effective, and far more likely to stop a threat when used by someone who doesn’t have fighting experience.

                    • True, but I’m deliberately aiming for a minimum here; if I was carrying a gun around a high-school campus, thinking about shooting someone, would the possibility of opening a classroom door and getting brained by a kid with a bat and a bulletproof vest convince me to go elsewhere? That’s the thought experiment, not “what’s most effective.”

              • >If the very best thing your politics has to say in reply is something like “Mr. Roof’s victims are in our thoughts and prayers,” there’s something deeply wrong with those politics.

                The best thing libertarian and conservative politics has to say about these shootings is “Arm yourself and stop being a victim. Stop dreaming that someone else is going to solve the problem. It’s on you.

                • In my current circumstances, I don’t see any need to own a gun. (If I ever do I’ll go out and buy one.) But your answer is light-years ahead of “thoughts and prayers.”

                  • You’re missing the point. Our answer – that you can and should take responsibility for your own welfare – is morally sound, while the “Do Something” tribe’s answer – ban the thing used to commit the mayhem in the vain hope of preventing the next one – assigns agency to objects and strips it from people. It dehumanizes everyone involved, including those calling for the Something-Doing. It is morally reprehensible. We are therefore right to refuse to comply with immoral and impossible demands, even if they are made through tears.

                    Have you ever considered how the blithe and arrogant dismissal of “thoughts and prayers” plays in fly-over country? Perhaps the ruling elite are all too clever for all this faith stuff, and too busy with their fundamental transformation of these United States into the European Union of America, to offer sympathy and solace to the grieving, but out here in Red State America, a whole lot of us actually believe that prayers have power and offering comfort to folks in pain is right and good. We usually aren’t close enough to bring them a month’s supply of casseroles and fried chicken, or the local equivalent, but we can pray, and we can try to share their sorrow. That’s just common decency. I guess the aristocrat party doesn’t have time for anything so common.

                    Trying to use the grief of the sorrowing as a pretext to steal anything that isn’t nailed down doesn’t make progressives good people. It makes them heartless jerks with an agenda.

                    • >Have you ever considered how the blithe and arrogant dismissal of “thoughts and prayers” plays in fly-over country?

                      See, this is where conservatives lose me. Petitioning a nonexistent sky spook solves no problem except making the petitioners feel like they have done something useful. But they haven’t.

                    • Do the causes you believe in, the RKBA in particular, gain a single thing from your publicly expressing disdain for the deep held beliefs of the vast majority of your allies?

                      As always, “No friends to the right, no enemies to the left.

                    • Now, Eric…I, like you, don’t believe that prayers have any sort of real effect.

                      Nevertheless, I do not disdain them, for the same reason that the copy of the Book of Mormon a mutual friend gave me occupies an honored place on my bookshelf: I recognize it as an expression of deep caring and friendship, the most profound way they know how to express it. I appreciate their concern for my immortal soul even if I do not, myself, share it.

                      Similarly, those who pray for others in extremis are expressing the deepest caring they know how. While I do not share their belief in its efficacy, I nevertheless appreciate and accept their best wishes.

                    • >Now, Eric…I, like you, don’t believe that prayers have any sort of real effect.

                      Unfortunately, they do have an effect. They substitute for taking action in the real world.

                    • Unfortunately, they do have an effect. They substitute for taking action in the real world.

                      I’d expect a neopagan to at least know better than to repeat this canard.

                    • >I’d expect a neopagan to at least know better than to repeat this canard.

                      When you can compose a magical working that affects people who aren’t present for it, I’ll be impressed.

                      To be fair, there are some tenuous theories about how this might work that aren’t supernaturalist nonsense – Isaac Bonewits thought, for example, that humans leak into each others heads telepathically at low bandwidth. But I ain’t going to lean on them without better evidence.

                    • “They substitute for taking action in the real world.”

                      For some folks, that is definitely true. But for others, it’s along the same lines as “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition”: bringing every force they believe in to bear to achieve their goals.

                    • > But for others, it’s along the same lines as “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition”:

                      There’s a whole new sector of the private security industry focused on training and licensing armed church security teams. I grew up in conservative evangelical churches and can say authoritatively that no one was thinking about doing that when I was young.

                  • Someone may not share your religious beliefs, or you may find “Thoughts and prayers” inadaquest, but for millions of Americans they are a sincere attempt to share a small amount of comfort and healing in the face of these terrible tragedies.

                    The disparagement of “Thoughts and prayers” has also been part of the cynical exercise by gun grabber leadership, who know they have the best chance to pass legislation based on outrage rather than wisdom. They are willing to dance on the bodies of the victims and use grieving Americans to sow division and to score political points.

                    Look at how many times we end up discovering that legislation quickly proposed would ultimately not have prevented any of these tragedies, the leaders proposing these actions know it.

                    Its monstrous to exploit these grieving families and then to suggest, falsely!, that their loved ones could have been spared if this or that piece of legislation had been passed.

                    • I’ve been pondering what you and Mr Maynard have said about prayer and action, Mr Raymond. I plan to respond by popping out, because we’ve reached maximum reply depth again.
                      Before I do that, I want to apologize for miscommunicating. I had no intention of proposing that we should pray and call it a day. The folks who usually insist that “prayers are working, so let’s do something” almost invariably mean “pass new gun control.” That’s where I’m digging in my heels. I’m not rejecting the notion that there are things we could and should and indeed must do. But more about that presently.

      • >no matter the volume of applause in that audience in Houston, I think it very, very unclear his opinion can be extrapolated to aggregate Democratic Party voters, let alone suggesting any significant nationwide political will to do as he wishes.

        Another way to look at this is “How many Democratic Candidates on that stage spoke up to reject Beto’s position?”

        None, as I recall.

        It seems like all of them are promising to run against one element of the Constitution or another and if elected, to rule as autocrats.

        • And I don’t see any Republicans going out and making big pro-choice speeches either, or contradicting those who are anti-choice. Sometimes you have to live with the party you’ve committed to.

          • The Republicans have glommed onto one side of a modern issue the founders could not physically have conceived of, and arguably might have considered outside the scope of the Constitution (“women want to do _that_? ok, well, that should be up to local law obviously, right?”) even if they had conceived of it.

            The Democrats have glommed onto the idea that they can by fiat say “Hell yes let’s say yes” to simply eliding whole sections of the Constitution itself.

            Personally I see a significant difference there, but if someone else doesn’t, I confess I have no idea how to make it more clear to them.

          • Troutwaxer I have serious doubts this is being asked in good faith, the comparison is silly. No one suggested the Dems would make a “pro-gun” stance, although in the last cycle Bernie did at least try to defend his record as less gun restrictive since Vermonters tend to be pro-2nd amendment.

            Still,

            1.) Citizens Keeping and Bearing arms is explicitly called out in the Constitution in a way abortion is not.

            2.) I don’t know of any Major Republican Presidential aspirant who made a restrictive claim about abortion that parallels Beto’s on guns. However, I’ll grant “No one is saying X” may not be convincing on any side after Beto’s performance.

            3.) Even in the among most caricatured , Firebreathing, Bible-thumping, Mysoginist , Strawman version of the conservative position on abortion, no one has suggested sending Federal agents to seize abortion providers, or to jail women seeking abortions. To the extent conservatives have taken any action to restrict abortion, they have done so within the legal and legislative structures we have in place in this country, by trying pass legislation and through SCOTUS nominations, as abortion-as-a-right has been enacted via SCOTUS ruling.

            With regards to Gun Rights, Beto is not proposing a Constitutional Amendment, nor trying to move such legislation through Congress. I’d disagree with that type of proposal but it would at least be under color of law.

            Beto and Kamala Harris have expressly stated that if elected to the Presidency, they will not be constrained by the Constitution or the law on this issue. Thats the difference. If the Right wants to restrict abortion, they aren’t will to trash the Constitution to do so.

            • >If the Right wants to restrict abortion, they aren’t will[ing] to trash the Constitution to do so.

              True, though now that the Left has put court-packing on the table I wonder how long it will take for social conservatives to pick it up as a tactic against Roe vs. Wade.

              • Conservatives reject any tactic that could be effective as immoral, even when perfectly legitimate.

                They won’t touch this with a 100′ pole.

                • I disagree: if the Left does succeed in packing the Court, then social conservatives will do likewise.

                • > Conservatives reject any tactic that could be effective as immoral, even when perfectly legitimate.

                  IDK about that Ian Bruene. Refusing a hearing for Garland was playing hardball. And despite whines from the left, perfectly legitimate separation of powers.

                  Also, surprisingly effective.

  34. http://www.unz.com/anepigone/gun-city/ has absolutely blown my mind. Everybody on the Internet talks about gun control in universal, as in: everywhere-in-the-US terms and of course it is a hugely divisive issue. But the article showed that the idea of controlling guns in the city (Swaziland…) while leaving them alone in the suburbia and country (Switzerland…) has overwhelming support across all demographics, Republican, Democrat, White, Black etc. I suppose the “Independents” includes principled Libertarians, hence their support is “only” 73%. And Republicans have the HIGHEST, 81% approval to controlling guns in the city and only in the city.

    So you put the question this way and a huge divisive issue just stops being divisive at all. Mind-blowing.

    So here is the compromise everybody would agree with and yet it cannot be done because it implies that the real problem are, well…

    Is this a good idea? Well, you decide, I don’t live there. But I think if it was stable and would stay that way forever, it would be good. Democrats want gun control and Republicans not, so you do gun control in places where Democrats live and you don’t do gun control where Republicans live. And everybody who disagrees with the local majority can just move. What would be more perfect than that? The real issue is that largely it would be just a step towards full confiscation everywhere. So that there is no assurance that it would keep being stable that way. But if you could cast it in stone, it would be perfect.

    This… is a very damning evidence against democracy. That there is an idea that would absolutely win in a referendum where people vote in secret but nobody dares to propose it in public because they would be torn a new one. That is, democracy fails at the level of what policies people actually want vs. what policies they dare to support publicly, what policies they actually want vs. what kind of image they want to project about themselves.

    As neoreactionary blogger “Anomaly UK” noticed, the problem is precisely the lack of conspiracies. You cannot be a hypocrite anymore and that is bad. That everything happens in the open now, due to social media. So elites can no longer virtue-signal and hypocritically project politically correct images about themselves in public, while privately agreeing to do the sensible opposite thing. They have to be honest, and that is bad, as it does not mean they will publicly say their real opinions. That is suicide, does not work with the human species, too much social competition. Rather, they become honest by actually following the policies suggested by their publicly virtue-signalled bullshit ideas, and more or less even come to believe in it and believe their own propaganda because there is no longer this bulwark that secretly they can say it was just propaganda. Pragmatic hypocrites become true believer fanatics. And it leads to disastrous policies.

    Although of course if it would be just a step towards full confiscation everywhere then maybe it is better so.

    Still, you have to think that if democracy fails to implement popular ideas, that is a core bug in it. Formerly it was only said nondemocratic polities are better when good ideas are unpopular but worse when they are not and then you can argue how often this or that happen. But if nondemocraties polities are also better at implementing popular ideas of this kind because such a sovereign can afford to look like an asshole, while the people in general cannot afford to look like assholes even if secretly they agree…

    • >Although of course if it would be just a step towards full confiscation everywhere then maybe it is better so.

      There is no such thing as any gun-control measure that isn’t “a step towards full confiscation everywhere”. That’s how the anti-2A people operate; they are conscious incrementalists with a long-term plan, in which every individual move is intended as much or more to set up preconditions for the next one than it is to address any actual problem.

      “Assault weapon” bans are a case in point. The use of so-called “assault weapons” in crime is statistically negligible; banning them doesn’t actually solve any problem. The move is intended to set a precedent that any category of firearms deemed “sufficiently bad” can be banned and confiscated, and you can bet that this category will always expand and never shrink until a total ban in place. That’s the actual plan! The gun-grabbers admit it to friendly audiences.

      One reason gun control in cities only is politically radioactive is that in practice it would amount to “disarm the blacks”. Statistically this would actually be an extremely effective and well-targeted intervention, reducing gun crime by almost 90% if it could actually be accomplished, but the screaming about structural racism and disparate impact would never end. I myself would have to oppose it on equal-protection grounds.

      The other reason this will never be proposed is that gun control in the U.S. has a strong component of class warfare, a way for urban elites to express contempt of and control over rural proles. Making those gap-toothed deplorables surrender their weapons and forcing them to their knees is, for many gentry liberals, a large part of the point.

      • And let us note they also define as an “assault weapon” any gun which has or into which has been inserted a magazine with more the 10 rounds, 7 for the New York SAFE act (remarkably squashed by a Federal judge), or 1 round per Biden. They really want all semi-automatics gone, before they perhaps focus on evil sniper rifles AKA bog standard hunting rifles.

        One reason gun control in cities only is politically radioactive is that in practice it would amount to “disarm the blacks”. Statistically this would actually be an extremely effective and well-targeted intervention, reducing gun crime by almost 90% if it could actually be accomplished

        I seriously doubt that 90% metric. Guns are just a tool for good or ill, and a lack of guns will just result in substitutions, like the steadily increasing “knife crime” epidemic in the U.K., which is now seriously straining their wonderful nationalized health system while ruining their kitchens.

        The other reason this will never be proposed is that gun control in the U.S. has a strong component of class warfare, a way for urban elites to express contempt of and control over rural proles.

        Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds, a law professor in Tennessee, i.e. flyover country, often comments on this. This is one of his best that I’ve saved:

        FEBRUARY 25, 2018
        THEY CAN’T EVEN GET PEOPLE TO COMPLY IN CONNECTICUT: What Will Gun Controllers Do When Americans Ignore an ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban?

        But since the point of gun control is to humiliate and grind down flyover people and demonstrate that the Ruling Class is ultimately the, well, Ruling Class — not to control crime — the appearance of submission is probably enough. Plus, a seldom enforced and often ignored law is ideal if you want to be able to target troublesome individuals later.

        This is one of the reasons the current very successful push for “Red Flag” laws is so dangerous. They’re massively abused, for example 95% are after the fact approved in Florida, while 40% of the targeted individuals don’t even own guns. Ignoring how our highest death toll mass murders are from arson, explosives, or planes, they’re inevitably going to be used to target gun activists. And history tells us that people who can’t own guns don’t get very excited about politics that are purely theoretical to them.

        • >I seriously doubt that 90% metric.

          I didn’t say it would reduce violence by 90% – you’re correct about the substitution problem. Just gun crime, 85% of which is associated with the inner-city drug trade.

      • One reason gun control in cities only is politically radioactive is that in practice it would amount to “disarm the blacks”. Statistically this would actually be an extremely effective and well-targeted intervention, reducing gun crime by almost 90% if it could actually be accomplished, but the screaming about structural racism and disparate impact would never end.

        By “if it could actually be accomplished” you mean if it actually *worked* and managed to disarm the gangs, drug dealers and ex-cons who are carrying for protection IN ADDITION to the otherwise law-abiding inner city denizens, and wasn’t replaced by knives, bats etc.?

        • >By “if it could actually be accomplished” you mean if it actually *worked* and managed to disarm the gangs, drug dealers and ex-cons who are carrying for protection IN ADDITION to the otherwise law-abiding inner city denizens, and wasn’t replaced by knives, bats etc.?

          That’s right. The usual reasons these attempts always fail still apply.

          • I would guess that even in the inner city, 80-90 percent of the gun owners behave lawfully* (at least in terms of what they do with their guns) to the extent that they can afford it.**

            * As opposed to maybe 98 percent of gun owners in a middle-class neighborhood, but even at 80-90 percent, still a huge majority.

            ** Law requires a gun safe, but someone can’t afford a gun safe, or something like that.

            • >I would guess that even in the inner city, 80-90 percent of the gun owners behave lawfully* (at least in terms of what they do with their guns) to the extent that they can afford it.**

              Probably. It depends on how much the inner cities concentrate the 3% high-deviant cohort that commits almost all violent crime. If that cohort were in the same proportion there as the general population your figure would hug 97%. But it probably isn’t – blacks are overrepresented in the criminal population by about 4:1 and disproportionately low-IQ. The simplest possible model consistent with this (high-deviant 3% cohort overrepresented by about 4x) would therefore predict about 88% lawful-behavior, which is right in your ballpark.

              • However, those inner city gun owners, for that very reason, NEED firearms to an extent that suburbanites don’t (not that those suburbanites shouldn’t have them too).