I’m Often Glad I’m a Pessimist by Temperament

This way I’m very seldom disappointed but often pleasantly surprised.

Today I’m not pleasantly surprised.

My rifle was dropped off at a FedEx facility on Wednesday for shipment on Thursday and delivery on Friday by 3:00PM local time. I even received an automated phone message from FedEx yesterday telling me that a package was coming requiring an over-21 adult signature to receive. It’s currently 4:42. Do I have my rifle? No, I don’t.

I’ve been checking FedEx all day. According to their computer system it was “picked up” in Medford OR yesterday. From that point, it never went “in transit.” I called customer support just a few minutes ago. Apparently it’s on a flight NOW, but it was “missed” yesterday. They’re going to try to upgrade it to Saturday delivery, but if not I won’t get it until TUESDAY.

I took the day off to receive it today. I can’t take Tuesday off. My wife may (I emphasize may) be home to receive it.

We’ll see if it comes tomorrow, but (being a pessimist by temperament) I’m not holding my breath in anticipation.

UPDATE: Yup. Tuesday. No shooty goodness for me this weekend.

“Federal Express: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight, we’ll screw it up!

Industrial Equipment

Want to know what I did while I was out of town last week? Here’s a (very unflattering) shot of me standing next to a 2200Hp slurry pump. (No, I’m not that fat, it’s the way that damned safety vest hangs with my computer bag hanging off my shoulder.)

There were four of those at the site, all run on large variable-speed drives. I used to apply and sell those drives. Now I specify them, and then make sure they’re installed properly.

Intentions and Results

Back in January when I wrote What We Got Here Is . . . Failure to Communicate, essentially a book review of Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, I quoted extensively from that work. One of those excerpts was this:

Where in Adam Smith moral and socially beneficial behavior could be evoked from man only by incentives, in William Godwin man’s understanding and disposition were capable of intentionally creating social benefits. Godwin regarded the intention to benefit others as being “of the essence of virtue,” and virtue in turn as being the road to human happiness. Unintentional social benefits were treated by Godwin as scarcely worthy of notice.

To which I added:

So in the Constrained vision human nature is flawed, and while some flaws in some – even most – men can be ameliorated with time and teaching, this does not hold true for the whole of mankind. We are imperfect, and being imperfect the systems we establish, the institutions that we build, the traditions, laws and rituals that we practice carry along with them vulnerabilities to our inherent flaws. In order to achieve social benefits those institutions, traditions, laws and rituals must offer individuals some incentive. But more, those institutions, traditions, laws and rituals must also carry protections against abuse by those in which the flaws are extreme. In the extreme Unconstrained vision, intentions are more important than results, and results without intention are “scarcely worthy of notice.”

I was reminded of this when I read that the Dalai Lama proclaimed himself a Marxist, because:

(Marxism has) moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits.

Marxism has moral ethics.

However, he does admit:

(Capitalism) brought a lot of positive to China. Millions of people’s living standards improved.

But those improvements were unintentional, and apparently don’t count, because capitalism is only about how to make profits.

In Bill Whittle’s most recent PJTV piece We are Iron Men, Bill has a clip from this series of YouTube videos of Milton Friedman being interviewed by Phil Donahue in 1979. I invite you to watch all five pieces, but here’s the point that’s pertinent to this post:


Thomas Sowell authored another book that I think should be mentioned here, Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulations as a Basis for Social Policy. Perhaps the Dalai Lama should read it.

Communism, the “real-world” application of Marxism by the flawed humans we of Sowell’s Constrained Vision recognize, has resulted not in an improved standard of living for millions of people, but the deaths of millions of people at the hands of their own governments.

The Dalai Lama proves that the beautiful lie of Marxism truly does lodge deep in the hopes of some men.

But I wouldn’t trust even the Dalai Lama to organize society for us. I trust capitalism, self-interest, and Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.” We have the track records of both, and I KNOW which one works.

He ought to, too. Because he’s seen which one kills.


We were greeted at Customs by the agent singing “José, Can You See . . . ” No, I’m not kidding – and he was Hispanic. Apparently it’s a running joke between him and one of the pilots, (the José in question).

That was a LONG seven days. Mining towns are not “touristy” even in the States. In rural central Mexico, there’s no pizza, much less a Domino’s. (Considerably better than Domino’s is on its way to me right now.)

I just got off the phone with Ted Brown. My M14 is done. My LaRue Tactical rings were waiting for me when I got home – along with a LaRue Tactical hat, a ‘Dillo “Beverage Entry Tool,” a pocket edition of the Constitution of the United States, and two “God Bless Our Troops… Especially Our Snipers” bumper stickers. LaRue knows how to treat its customers! If I’m lucky I’ll have a range-ready rifle in my hands in time for the long weekend!

UPDATE: Pizza’s here! Nom nom nom . . .

Regular blogging to resume shortly.

Well, I’m Here

As expected, internet access is very slow, so not much surfing or blogging will get done for the next six days or so. Sorry.

Is it “charming”or “quaint” to hear braying burros outside your hotel room in the evening?

The Free Ice Cream Machine is Broken

Sorry, y’all, but I have to travel on business, and I’m going to be in central Mexico for the next seven days. Those days promise to run about 12-13 hours, and I suspect I’m going to have neither the time nor the inclination to write much after work. I’ll be lucky to keep up with the blogs I follow daily.

I’ve got to get up at 4:00 tomorrow to get to the airport by 5:30 to catch the 7-passenger plane to the job site, so tonight I’ve got to pack and get to bed early.

Later, everyone.

Quote of the Week – Illegal Immigration Edition

(P)oliticians often argue they’re just too busy to read all these bills they’re voting on and commenting on. Busy doing what, though? Don’t they get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to make laws and enforce laws? Wouldn’t you think part of that generous salary would be maybe reading those laws? What exactly do they do all day to earn their money? They already have these useless jobs where just sit around and talk and occasionally vote; is it really so much to ask they do some honest work and read these important bills? The Arizona one they’re all freaking out about isn’t even that long.

Maybe we should write all our bills in Spanish. Then we can hire illegal aliens to read them since apparently that’s yet another one of those jobs Americans won’t do.

— FrankJ, Reading is Hard at IMAO

That’s 49 in Blog Years

Seven years ago today I hit “Publish Post” on my first entry here at The Smallest Minority.

It’s been an interesting seven years.

I’ve been unemployed once, changed jobs twice, gone to two NRA conventions, watched two fronts of a war unfold, gotten three Instalanches, been to four Gun Blogger Rendezvous, met nearly a hundred other bloggers, gone from less than a thousand hits a week to over a thousand hits a day (closing in on two million total), written 4550 posts, collected something on the order of 50,000 comments, saw the Supreme Court finally declare the right to arms to be an individual right, watched the continuing march of “shall-issue” concealed-carry legislation across the nation take us from 33 “shall-issue” states to 39 – including two, Arizona and Alaska going from “no-issue” to “no permit required” . . .

As I said, it’s been interesting.

And it’s been ego-boosting. Some of the compliments I’ve collected from here and around the web over the past seven years:

Not only does your essay hit on all the major points of self defence, it is crafted with a type of cold, hard, scientific logic that I have seldom seen from anyone in my, albeit inexperienced, 19 years of existence. This logic is what sets your essay apart from other writers on the subject, as they often do not hit on very important defining details that allow logical links to be made.

I’ve argued the case for gun rights many times using information I got right here.

I don’t always agree with you and I have no illusions about whether you have all the answers or not, but you bring a unique perspective that always makes me look at things from a different point of view. You inspire me to think just a little bit deeper and analyze just a little more thoroughly and for that, I thank you.

I’m now forced to reconsider my position on religion, now that I realize you share it.

Wow… Reading your takedowns of this drivel is like watching Barry Bonds play tee ball.

It’s an easy target, but it’s still damned impressive.

Entertaining and witty, your occasional fiskings of the anti-gun whackos is marvelously entertaining.

You seem to be doing O.K. without their help. Madison, Jefferson and all the rest may slumber peacefully in their graves because men such as you have proved themselves to be competent caretakers of our political liberties.

I’m going to print out a copy of this and use it on my liberal history professor. Probably best online synopsis of the various important 2A court cases I have read.

“What has been your best blogging experience?”
Arguing with Kevin from The Smallest Minority over religion and philosophy.

I don’t read as many blogs as a lot of other people do so I can’t say he is the best philosopher on guns and freedom. I can only say he is by far the best philosopher of the bloggers I have read.

I warn you, The Smallest Minority is (a) addictive and (b) almost invariably “Geek Length”. The difference being, of course, that Kevin can put more concept and information into his writing than I do, he is a better writer, and a much better researcher.

I don’t know if you read Kevin Baker’s, The Smallest Minority but if you don’t, you should. There is no finer way to spend an evening than with your feet up in front of the fire, a large glass of something dark & peaty close to hand as you read one of his Uberposts in which he will methodically & in great detail argue his position & deconstruct the opposing view.

Your blog is one of the few I read daily. Thanks for your tireless efforts on behalf of our rights, both on your own blog and in the comments sections of others. You are far more persuasive and far more tolerant of ignorance, stupidity, emotional reasoning and bad faith than I could ever be.

I really like the way you tackle these issues – it appeals to the (software) engineer in me. More than that, your posts are incredibly effective in getting lefties to think about guns and crime. Most profess themselves open to alternate viewpoints, so on several occasions I have pointed people at your posts – not as facts per se, but as a place to start because you always attribute your sources. One friend will now simply no longer talk about guns in any context; I’m sure that given a little more time he’ll accept that “more guns please” is the only logical step to take.

This is one of my key sites, where I consistently see stuff I can find nowhere else.

Watching one of your debates is like watching a episode of Mission Impossible, you know the IMF is going to pull it off, but it’s great fun to watch the process.

Seriously. I am going to print this out and carry it in my wallet.

Deep down inside, you knew all this. But it is very nice to be able to read an extensively research post on the topic so that you don’t start believing you’re the only one.

. . . it’s interesting to me that a media, namely blogs, that have long been associated with personal spleen-venting, are increasingly becoming sources for polished, focused commentary. Some of the work (e.g. Kevin Baker’s uberposts) being done on them is downright scholarly.

In theory, controversial subjects are best resolved through a dialectical process of argument and counterargument, arriving at a conclusion. Threaded discussions are the perfect medium for this kind of debate, because they allow a topic to be broken up into component parts, and each part to be addressed individually. This should serve to simplify and clarify complicated debates.

In practice, few people (anywhere) have the discipline, patience, or intellectual honesty to carry such a debate to its conclusion. Fewer still combine these traits with sufficient subject-matter expertise to be useful in such a debate. (Kevin at The Smallest Minority keeps coming to mind. He combines an extraordinary knowledge of gun control case law, with Sisyphean patience.)

It took me an hour to read (it is a classic Kevin Baker post) but I found the enlightenment worth my time.

As Uncle says, I do this to entertain me, not you, but stuff like this really makes all that effort worthwhile.

Thank you all for being my audience. I will continue to strive to be worthy of your time. Quite often, a LOT of your time!