“Stop Ruining My Slogans With Your Logic!”.

Heh. I wonder if this tactic will work after the Presidential primaries are over:

Dilbert strikes again!

Would the Sixteen Regular Readers of This Blog…

…please go vote in the poll at azcentral.com? It won’t last much longer. The question is:

Do you think allowing guns on college campuses is a good idea?

As of this posting there have been 3646 votes, and “Yes” is losing 33% to 67%.

NOTE: Scroll down. It’s near the bottom of the page, and you may have to refresh the page to get the “vote” button to show up. I did.

GBR III Dates Set!.

Mr. Completely informs us via email that the dates for the third annual Gunblogger’s Rendezvous are now set – October 9, 10, & 11, 2008. This year’s meet will be a little different with no Saturday night banquet. Instead, we’ll have a pizza buffet in the hospitality room, which is just fine by me. The hospitality room will, in fact, be open each night INCLUDING Sunday, for those staying over and traveling on Monday. Now that I’ve made the Tucson/Reno run in one fifteen-hour stretch, I may stay all four nights.

That Was a BLAST!. (No Pun Intended)

Sunday morning I shot in my first action shooting match, the Steelworker’s match at Pima Pistol Club. Prior to this, my only competition experience had been steel silhouette matches, which are run at a different pace entirely. In this match each shooter shoots five stages, each stage consisting of different quantities of steel targets at various ranges, and from various locations on the range, sometimes with obstacles to shoot around. Each shooter competes against the clock, with unhit targets counting as penalties that are added to your time. This is a “fun” match – it’s not like IPSC or IDPA where there is at least a nod given to “honing your defensive firearms skills,” this is putting lead downrange and smacking steel for the sheer fun of it. To be honest, I think it’s set up mostly for creaky old guys who aren’t too good at kneeling and laying down rapidly, much less getting back up again, so it’s fine by me.

I shot my Kimber Classic using my preferred handload of 200 grain Speer Golds Dot over 7.0 grains of Unique, and I think I did pretty well for a newbie though the scores are not posted yet. About 25 people turned out for the match, and I’m hoping I finished in the middle of the pack for Stock pistol. I only made one really stupid mistake. The fourth stage was “El Presidente” – a fairly common stage at most pistol matches. Three roughly IDPA-shaped targets are set up about 10 yards downrange. Facing downrange, the shooter “makes ready,” by loading and holstering his gun. Then, the shooter faces away from the targets and puts his hands in the air in the universal “surrender” position. At the sound of the buzzer, the shooter turns, draws, engages each target with two rounds, reloads, and again engages each target with two rounds for a total of twelve. If you miss, you may continue to fire until each target has been hit the requisite number of times. This stage is run twice, with the fastest time being the one recorded for score.

My pistol magazines hold eight rounds, so I drew, shot, dropped the magazine, inserted a fresh one, and shot again. At the end of the stage, I took out the second magazine (which now held two rounds) and put it back into a magazine pouch on my belt. A fresh magazine was inserted, and I was ready for round two. After the second run, I cleared my pistol, picked up my dropped magazines, reloaded them, and proceeded on to stage five.

Stage five was four steel targets of various sizes behind a barrier with two windows and a pair of swinging doors. The instructions were to shoot each target twice from the first window, from the swinging doors, and from the second window. Four targets, two shots each, so assuming I didn’t miss that was one magazine per position. Loaded and ready, I awaited the buzzer. At the sound, I proceeded to the window, drew, and put eight rounds on steel. Moving to the doors, I changed magazines and dropped the slide.

Two shots, and I was empty.

I’d drawn the magazine from the end of the first run of “El Presidente” that I’d put back in the mag pouch and hadn’t reloaded. Out of five magazines on my belt, I drew the ONE that had two rounds in it.

Needless to say, my time on the fifth stage was not stellar.

Still, I had a great time, and I’m looking forward to the next match, which will unfortunately be in April, since the fourth Sunday of March will be Easter.

Oh, while I didn’t do a precise round count, I do know that at least 125 rounds of my ammo went down range, and damned near all of them hit what I intended them to.

I’d Like to Thank My Loyal Readers…

All sixteen of you.

According to Google Analytics, between Jan. 23 and the time of this post, TSM has received 23,129 site visits by 9,461 absolutely unique visitors. Of which 9,445 have visited exactly one time.

Which means, (carry the one…) I have sixteen visitors who have visited more than once in the last month.

And one of them is Markadelphia.

Boy, do I feel special! 😉

UPDATE: It would appear that not only is Google evil, but it is capable of error. I feel like Nomad at the end of The Changeling!

Human Reconstruction, the Healing of Souls, and the Remaking of Society

From Hugh Hewitt’s seventy minute interview with Jonah Goldberg discussing his new book Liberal Fascism: the Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning:

Hugh Hewitt: Jonah, at the risk of doing something that will have program directors across the United States screaming at me, I want to talk about Rousseau. This may in fact be the first time…

Jonah Goldberg: (laughing)

HH: …ever on talk radio that Rousseau has been brought up. But I don’t know how you get to fascism unless you cover Rousseau to the French Revolution, and then on to the branches in Europe and America. And basically, it’s Rousseau’s radicalism which unleashed the whirlwind on the West.

JG: Right, I mean, and there are two ways to talk about this. There’s the intellectual history, which I think is what you’re getting at, where basically it goes French Revolution… the French Revolution, I argue, is the first fascist revolution. It merges nationalism with populism. It tries to replace God with the state. You have these intellectual revolutionaries who use terror and violence to remake society and start over at year zero. They create a secular religion out of politics, where they change the traditional Christian holidays to state holidays. And all of this gets replayed in Nazi Germany, and fascist Italy, and in the Soviet Union. But I think there’s an important point to be made, which is that this, it’s not necessarily that the fascists of Nazi Germany were inspired by Rousseau, it’s that the same thing was happening again, that they were following the same sort of Rousseauian path. And Rousseau, as a philosopher, he basically gives word to a desire that beats in every human heart, to create a tribe out of society, to create, to impose this notion of the general will, where anybody who deviates from what the collective thinks he should do is a heretic or a traitor, to sanctify politics. And that’s what inspired the French revolutionaries. That’s what they took from Rousseau. And in many ways, that’s what people like Mussolini and Hitler took from the French Revolution, is this same sort of burning desire to create a religion of the state. And we see the same thing that happened in the French Revolution replay itself in Germany, and to a lesser extent, replay itself in fascist Italy.

HH: And you know, it’s the same temptation over and over again, and it’s one abroad in the land right now, which is why I want to pause on this, which is Rousseau believed that man was good, you know, that the state came along, or that society came along and screwed things up, but that actually, that men were innately good. And that’s simply not a conservative view, Jonah Goldberg. It’s anti-conservative. It’s also anti-theology in most senses.

JG: Right. I mean, I think the fundamental difference, the difference that defines the difference between American, Anglo-American conservatives and European welfare states, leftists or liberals, is Locke versus Rousseau. Every philosophical argument boils down to John Locke versus Jacques Rousseau.

HH: Yup.

JG: Rousseau says the government is there, that our rights come from the government, that (they) come from the collective. Locke says our rights come from God, and that we only create a government to protect our interests. The Rousseauian says you can make a religion out of society and politics, and the Lockean says no, religion is a separate sphere from politics. And that is the defining distinction between the two, and I think that distinction also runs through the human heart, that we all have a Rousseauian temptation in us. And it’s the job of conservatives to remind people that the Lockean in us needs to win.

I emphasized those bits because I believe they are at the heart of the difference between the Left and the Right in this country and the world. Hugh Hewitt is accurate in his assessment that Rousseau believed that man was inherently good, and that society – more accurately “civilization” – was at fault for the corruption of Man’s nature. You see it most explicitly in the mythos of primitive tribal cultures being “at one with nature” (as opposed to modern civilizations “rape” of it,) and so on. It is the belief that if Man was just restored to his inherent goodness, we would all live in a fair and free society where each would give according to his abilities and would receive in accordance to his needs.

But as Tony Woodlief once put it (I paraphrase), anyone who espouses a belief in the inherent Goodness of Man has never stood between a toddler and the last cookie.

Jonah mentions that Hillary Rodham in her commencement address at Wellesly in 1969 said this:

What does it mean to hear that 13.3% of the people in this country are below the poverty line? That’s a percentage. We’re not interested in social reconstruction; it’s human reconstruction.

She didn’t want to fix society, she wanted to fix humanity. Michele Obama tells us:

We have lost the understanding that in a democracy, we have a mutual obligation to one another, that we cannot measure our greatness in this society by the strongest and richest of us, but we have to measure out greatness by the least of these, that we have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done. That is why I’m here, because Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that, that before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.

Yes, you see, society has altered us from our inherent goodness, and if we could just…

If we can’t see ourselves in one another, we will never make those sacrifices. So I am here right now, because I am married to the only person in this race who has a chance of healing this nation.

I guess “fixing our souls” is a form of “human reconstruction.” Michele Obama believes that her husband has that power, the ability to “heal the nation” by “fixing our souls” and returning us to our inherent goodness. She continues:

We say we’re ready for change, but see, change is hard. Change will always be hard. And it doesn’t happen from the top down. We do not get universal health care, we don’t get better schools because somebody else is in the White House. We get change because folks from the grass roots up decide they are sick and tired of other people telling them how their lives will be, when they decide to roll up their sleeves and work. And Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism, that you put down your division, that you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones, that you push yourselves to be better, and that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

What hubris.

But it is Rousseauian. As Donald Sensing put it, both parties now lurching Leftward

have a foundational philosophy that is the same:

America is a problem to be fixed, and Americans are a people to be managed.

Slightly altering that sentiment, Americans are a problem to be fixed, and America is a society to be managed.

Neither side has chosen a Lockean candidate for the office of President. John McCain has stated that he believes that rights are essentially creations of government. On the question of free speech, he said on Don Imus’s radio program:

I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government.

“Quote ‘First Amendment rights.'” He says this as a Senator who must swear this oath upon assuming office:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

But the First Amendment apparently doesn’t count – which makes one wonder which other parts of the Constitution he’s willing to put “scare quotes” around.

Still, McCain doesn’t seem interested in fixing humanity, just legislating for our better behavior. It is Hillary and Obama that worry me the most, as they are uncomfortably close to the levers of power, and their philosophical counterparts may hold sway in both houses of Congress after the next election.

Donald Sensing continued in his piece:

A friend of mine emigrated here from Romania after Ceaucescu’s regime fell. He told me the other day that Americans are over-regulated. Think about that; a man coming from a communist country believes that Americans are over-regulated. It chills.

A long time ago Steven Den Beste observed in an essay, “The job of bureaucrats is to regulate, and left to themselves, they will regulate everything they can.” Celebrated author Robert Heinlein wrote, “In any advanced society, ‘civil servant’ is a euphemism for ‘civil master.’” Both quotes are not exact, but they’re pretty close. And they’re both exactly right. Big government is itself apolitical. It cares not whose party is in power. It simply continues to grow. Its nourishment is that the people’s money. Its excrement is more and more regulations and laws. Like the Terminator, “that’s what it does, that’s all it does.”

I do not believe Bush’s domestic policies are in the best interests of our long-term freedom. I do not think that Bush’s domestic legacy will, in the long run, be good for the country.

Hence I cannot urge anyone to vote for Bush in 2004.

Which is not to say that I endorse any of the Democrats running for president; they are more strident big-government activists than Bush, and won’t protect us from terrorism to boot. So I feel caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free.

As Tam put it yesterday, things have gotten worse:

If you’ll excuse the geeky metaphor, we’ve come to the Kobayashi Maru election scenario.

The founding philosophical document of this nation, the Declaration of Independence, is absolutely Lockean. The founding legal document of this nation is Locke’s philosophy made law.

And now we’ve abandoned Locke for either Rousseau or… I don’t know what, but it isn’t Locke. Jonah Goldberg concluded on the Locke/Rousseau topic:

(I)t is a natural human desire to want to recreate that sort of religious, spiritual tribal feeling. And we constantly are looking for it in our politics. The problem is it’s fool’s gold. You can never get it. And so we constantly are following these false prophets. And that’s why in my view, all of these people who sell this stuff… Marxism was essentially selling this, that we’re going to create a Heaven on Earth. Fascism was doing a thousand year Reich. All of these guys sell the same thing. That’s why I think they’re all reactionary, because they’re all trying to recreate this feeling that we got when we lived in caves. And the only true radical, revolutionary, inspiring revolution of the last thousand years was the Enlightenment Revolution of Locke, Rousseau, the American founding, which said our rights come from God, and that government is our servant, not our master.

But it will become our master, because we’ll let it in our desire to chase false prophets who can heal our souls, reconstruct humanity, remake society and create Heaven on Earth.

UPDATE: Read this associated post by the Geek from Election Eve of 2006, too.  (Link broken.)

For that matter, re-read my own Tough History Coming from November of 2005.

CNN – The Most Busted Name in News.

Nothing like accuracy in journalism. Reader “homeboy” emailed me a link to a CNN report on YouTube designed to inspire PSH among the citizenry over “painted guns.” Yes, the “Hello Kitty” AR-15 and various other firearms refinished in Gun Kote and other finishes. They even get a spokesman from Law Enforcement to inform the public about the dangers of pink guns. As SayUncle put it, “if you see a gun-shaped object then it is in your best interest to assume it is a gun and act accordingly.”

But the point of this post is CNN’s legendary accuracy. It’s real, but it’s NOT a Glock:

But they think it is.

Hey, why not? CNN believed that a post-ban AK couldn’t destroy cinderblocks, and pre-ban AK’s were fully automatic.

There’s not a single recreational shooter working at CNN, is there?