Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Civilized people worldwide must demand to be armed, or become slaves

The Belfast Telegraph reports (link below) the comments of a reporter who witnessed the shootings in the Mumbai train station.

Armed police stood by and did nothing while people were being shot. The photographer expressed a wish to have had a gun rather than a camera.

I think he has the right idea. The nice, reasonable, civilized people of the world have, to far too great an extent, played along with the notion that legally owned guns in private hands are a vice to be restricted or banned, rather than the great (I would say indispensable, in a democracy) force for social good they actually are.

It is a mark of the genius of the criminal and dictatorial classes of the world that they have managed to convince millions that the instrument of their individual freedom and security is actually something to be feared. Freud would undoubtedly have had something to say about this.

In those few countries that permit wide legal ownership of guns (which does NOT include India), crime rates tend to be low and shootings rare. In the US, shootings are frequent and crime is high only in those few jurisdictions (such as NYC, Chicago and LA) where guns are tightly restricted. In those jurisdictions, as in Mumbai, criminals have free reign to abuse and shoot whom they please, with a high likelihood of getting away with it.

There has been talk, long before John McCain mentioned the idea, of an international League of Democracies. I would say that a requirement for membership should be that those countries grant their citizens the legal right to gun ownership and carry (pending a background check, as is the case in most US states), and to bring those weapons along when traveling between those countries.

The initial membership would be small. It would include Norway, Switzerland, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, the USA, and perhaps a few others.

It would be nice to think that England, and perhaps India, might someday aspire to be full members. It's a bit sad to reflect that England would once have led the club, in days when gun ownership in the UK was wide and crime numbers a tiny fraction of today's.

If just a few UK and Indian victims of the Mumbai shootings had been armed, many lives might have been saved.

And perhaps the terrorists might never dared to have mount the attack to begin with. The best crime is the one that never occurs, because of quiet deterrence. That deterrence was not permitted to operate in Mumbai, and we have seen the results.

Until and unless the reasonable, civilized people of the world demand their governments get the hell out of the way of their right and means to effective self-defense, I fear we will see more cases like Mumbai.


But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."

"What is the point if having policemen with guns if they refuse to use them? I only wish I had a gun rather than a camera."


The Oberoi Group employs many plainclothes security officers in its hotels, but these are unarmed, Oberoi said. Obtaining a license for even a single officer to carry a gun is extremely difficult in India, which has tight gun control laws.


Gun Ownership in India, by Abhijeet Singh

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." -- Mahatma Gandhi


When will we see someone like Dr Susanna Gratia Hupp on the international stage?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Twilight of the slow suicide of Liberalism in the UK

When reasonable, fair-minded people render themselves defenseless, and sociopolitically prostrate before thugs, sooner or later they end up dominated in all aspects of their lives by those thugs.

Sharia law should be introduced into legal system, says leading barrister

And what does this brave man have to say about such minor issues as the treatment of women under Sharia?
Sharia law has been criticised for its prevention of some rights for women. Mr Hockman reportedly conceded: “The position of women is one area where the emphasis is, to the say the least, rather different.”
Do tell. And what do you propose to do about that, exactly? Offer to keep women at home, barefoot and pregnant?
He said: “I am also sometimes confronted by those who point out that there are elements within the Muslim community who pose a threat to our very security. My answer is not to dispute them but to suggest that it is for those of us forming part of the majority community to address such problems.”
By choosing to submit to a system that is promoted and administered by the most extreme representatives of that community?

This person reminds me of those German Jews who cooperated with Hitler in the rounding up and ghettoization of their co-religionists, in the belief that by cozying up to a murderer, he might treat them more mercifully. Or the collaborators at least.

These disgusting collaborators ended up in the camps like everyone else.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Who the "Fairness Doctrine" is really for

The Fairness Doctrine isn't about making sure all ideas are heard equally. That tends to happen naturally in a society with free speech AND where people can feel free to speak without something bad "unofficially" happening to them afterward.

What it's really about is "fairness" to people who are saying things that can't stand up to scrutiny, or who are doing things that are indefensible -- things that no one could credibly justify or defend verbally if people knew what they were doing.

Consider this. If someone's doing something they'd be ashamed of and for which they have no justifiable explanation, or which is explicitly criminal and would get them arrested, the only response they have is to try to shut the person up who's spotlighting them.

As we know, the "fairness doctrine" in some countries (and a few US cities) is that journalists or others who point out unflattering things about the powerful simply end up dead or in mental hospitals.

But come on! That's a small price to pay. Consider the self-esteem of the person doing the unjustifiable thing in question.

Can you imagine how embarassing it must be for them to be doing something indefensible, and to have someone point out both what they're doing AND its indefensibility?

Why, it's just not FAIR. The poor little dears.

We just can't have that kind of unfairness. So we need the Fairness Doctrine to make sure it doesn't happen.

Of course, some people might suggest those people could avoid this embarassment by not doing things that are indefensible, or saying things that don't stand up to scrutiny.

But that suggestion would be judgemental. And God knows, people being judgemental is simply the worst thing that can possibly happen in a society.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The true causes of terrorism?

The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Terrorists
Bruce Schneier
Abrahms has an alternative model to explain all this: People turn to terrorism for social solidarity. He theorizes that people join terrorist organizations worldwide in order to be part of a community, much like the reason inner-city youths join gangs in the United States (or some other parts of the world, like rough Muslim neighborhoods in France).

The evidence supports this. Individual terrorists often have no prior involvement with a group's political agenda, and often join multiple terrorist groups with incompatible platforms. Individuals who join terrorist groups are frequently not oppressed in any way, and often can't describe the political goals of their organizations. People who join terrorist groups most often have friends or relatives who are members of the group, and the great majority of terrorist are socially isolated: unmarried young men or widowed women who weren't working prior to joining. These things are true for members of terrorist groups as diverse as the IRA and al-Qaida.
It makes sense to me. If joining the "official establishment" means you and your family have to grovel before thugs, either in the government or the local crime world or both, and therefore there is, from a certain point of view, a limited number of honorable or respectable ways to advance in that model, there will be a lot of pressure to join an alternative "social group".

For example: If, in a place like New York City, you grow up in any but the most luxurious neighborhoods, you and your family have essentially no right or means to protect yourselves or any business you own, unless one or more family members are connected to a local gang.

Kids will be under pressure from gangs to join the gangs, or else. If their parents try to interfere, they may be beaten or killed, and/or their homes or businesses sabotaged. The businesses will need to pay "protection money" to the local gang in any case.

There is no way to move ahead OR to have any kind of "respect" or protection except to join the gang. And even then, if a senior gang member wants to go out with your sister, or steal your wife, there's not much you can do about it, unless you want to take him out and take his place.

Why should standing up for honor or principle need to be such a dangerous and expensive choice?
We also need to pay more attention to the socially marginalized than to the politically downtrodden, like unassimilated communities in Western countries. We need to support vibrant, benign communities and organizations as alternative ways for potential terrorists to get the social cohesion they need. And finally, we need to minimize collateral damage in our counterterrorism operations, as well as clamping down on bigotry and hate crimes, which just creates more dislocation and social isolation, and the inevitable calls for revenge.

And part of that is not so binding and enslaving civilians in their own societies, and making them absurdly defenseless before the ruthless and lawless, that the only way out for them is for their families to associate themselves with gangs and similar organizations, or to grovel before them and hope for the best.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Say the wrong thing, end up in an EU jail?

The EU courts have ruled (in the Marta Andreessen case), and EU officials have asserted publicly, that criticism of the EU is in the same league as blasphemy and therefore not necessarily protected speech.

I have frequently criticized elements of EU and UK law online. Would I, like the Australian citizen in this article (whose opinions I repudiate) be risking arrest by visiting the EU?

It seems we must all start asking ourselves this question.

Dr Fredrick Toben's arrest should alarm us all

The right to voice unpopular, or even untrue and unpleasant, opinions is essential to free speech - and free speech is one of the most basic values of any liberal democracy.

Free speech cannot flourish when the individual may express only those opinions which the state has decided it will permit. Once that happens, it evokes George Orwell's nightmare of the Ministry of Truth, in which the state throttles all independent thought and destroys free expression completely.

His opinions are wrong and offensive - but error and offensiveness are not grounds for banning an opinion, still less for imprisoning the individual who expresses it.
No wonder the "democratic" West is at risk of being overwhelmed by "undemocratic" hordes.

In many places, and for a long time, it's been transforming into faux democracy (not to mention faux adulterated capitalism) for a long time. Go far enough down that road, and there is no enthusiasm, cultural strength or even economic strength to resist collapse.

Who has enthusiasm for defending a slave pen with a democracy sign hung on it? Who has the energy or ability to fight when they are half-starved with a shackle around one ankle?

Furthermore, whatever happened to "I disagree with what you have to say but will fight to the death to protect your right to say it"?

Is that gem no longer considered a jewel in the crown of European culture?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beat up the good students and steal their stuff

Kremlin's heavy hand triggers foreign exodus

What? Surely not!

Give skilled capitalists and/or foreigners free reign for a while to get things working, then kick them out or kill them, and steal the results of their labour.

When things are a mess again, repeat the cycle.

It's an old trick of kleptocracies the world wide. The wonder is that some of us keep falling for it.

Beat up the good students, get them to do the maths homework, then steal their lunch money.

In the freer countries, the good students are working rather more for themselves, and rather less for thieving bullies (the efforts of the Brownites notwithstanding, so far).

Needless to say, the kleptocrats and bullies hate this. Who do those good students think they are, running around un-owned? Someone needs to put them in their place!

And there, in a nutshell, is the basis for the anti-Western attitudes and rhetoric of kleptocratic leaders worldwide. What else would we expect?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

On rites of passage to adulthood

Some have commented in recent years that something missing from modern upbringing is an official "rite of passage".

There are some unofficial modern rituals which are not without meaning, perhaps one of the more important being obtaining one's driving license. At the age of 16 or 18, society is entrusting you with the correct piloting of a ton of hurtling metal in public spaces.

However, for many children growing up in recent generations, there is little beyond that, unless the children invent their own, a bit like Lord of the Flies. Hazing, drinking contests, drugs, sex, games of chicken with cars, crime.

Other times, people endure harrowing life experiences that are more of a true "rite of passage" that anyone could ever think up on their own, and have earned "adulthood" more surely than most who've gone through such rituals.

Other people, never having had either kind of experience, may constantly make trouble for themselves, and realize only many years into adulthood that it was those experiences that served, perhaps with far too much pain and expense not only to them but to those around them, as their own rite of passage into adulthood.

It is thought that such rituals and experiences are necessary to the human psyche, hence their frequent independent invention in place of (or sometimes in addition to) more formal rituals a society may observe.

But what is the purpose and use of such rituals? I think it's as follows.

In most societies, no matter how primitive or advanced, when children are infants and preteens they are (ideally) at all times in the bosom of their mothers, families and the community. There is a bright, warm campfire at night, and a warm blanket to sleep under. Society provides for the needs of the child. The child gradually learns that there is a bigger world out there, but essentially they come to think it's normal and expected that there is light, warmth and food everywhere, and that such things are, and should be expected to be, provided automatically as part of life.

I think one thing adult initiation rituals do, is illustrate clearly and starkly, and possibly painfully and frighteningly, that there is darkness outside the firelight, and that possibilities for pain and even death lurk among life and in the bright daylight. They see how close the precipice is even to daily life.

And most importantly, they learn that the campfire, the blankets and the food don't maintain themselves. It will be up to THEM to keep the campfire burning, to find the food, to protect the village. If they weren't viscerally aware of that before, they will be after the ritual.

They then return from the ritual back into the community, who celebrate their accomplishment, mourning a bit for the passing of childhood, but cherishing these new fledgling adults whose eyes are now more fully open, and who, through their travails in the ritual, have earned the right to be truly considered adults.

I think that in most cases, the human mind wants to learn, and the human soul feels the need to engage and awaken. Where society or family fail to provide official channels for these things, it seems the mind may serve the yearnings of the soul and, for better or worse, create its own methods.

I think one of the really sad things about badly broken social systems is that children are likely to go through harrowing experiences at very young ages, "unofficial" rituals that are heavily negative and which carry few positive connotations. And coming as they do early in childhood, those individuals are deprived of the chance for their minds and souls to develop peacefully in the bosom of their family and community, until they are old and tough enough to endure the ritual without the more humane parts of their personalities being shattered and stunted by the experience. This is what it means to be robbed of childhood.

So much better to be shown and guided through these fearsome things by caring elders who'll let them see the precipice but not fall over it... or so it seems to me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Questioning Michelle Obama

As most of us know, Michelle Obama has been pretty vocal with her opinions during her husband's campaign (sometimes even undercutting the "official" message he's telling us).

However, now we are told by him not to question what his wife says.

Huh? Why not?

If someone enters a debate, then it goes without saying that their statements are subject to being questioned or challenged, just like those of anyone else in the discussion.

Otherwise, they are insisting on the right to slam other people and their opinions, without those people having the right to respond. In what way is that fair or reasonable? I find that attitude worrisome in someone who aspires to civic leadership.

It also suggests that we are to treat Ms Obama as we would a small child who hides behind an adult, occasionally sticking her head out from behind his legs to make rude comments or stick her tongue out, and that the only proper responses to the things she says are
  • Tolerant silence
  • Saying "that's nice" and patting her on the head
I mean, if we're not to challenge or question what she says, aren't those the only alternatives? In what way is this respectful of Ms Obama... or, for that matter, of the topics under discussion, which of course is the real issue?

There is one way that this twisted attitude makes sense, and that is if the intent is to allow the Obama campaign to make statements that no "reasonable or polite" person would challenge.

IMO it's sad and revealing when a candidate feels he needs to stoop to this level of petty, and sophomoric, attempts at manipulation.

Michelle, like Hillary, is a big girl who can take care of herself. If she wants to speak publicly, let her (and him) be expected to deal with the resulting discourse like the rest of the grownups.

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" -- Harry S Truman, Democrat

Friday, April 25, 2008

More laws we can ignore a la Mayor Nutter

Defying the law by restricting guns in order to "do something" about crime makes as much sense as....

... defying US civil rights law by reintroducing Jim Crow laws, in order to "do something" about improving race relations

... taking the vote away from women and forcing them to stay at home, in order to "do something" about womens' rights

... putting children into the care of known pedophiles, in order to "do something" about child abuse

Apart from the fact that Nutter, in passing these putative laws, is defying the laws of the state of PA, as duly passed by its elected legislature, there are these things to consider:

Either Michael Nutter hasn't done his homework on the effects of "gun control", or he's so terrified of the Philadelphia criminal community that he feels compelled to introduce measures that empower them further (of course, there couldn't possibly be any other possible reasons).

It's inconceivable that Nutter hasn't done his homework on this topic. If he's so terrified of the local criminals that he's willing to subvert the laws of PA and the rights of its citizens, then perhaps it's time for the national government to send in the US Marshals or National Guard to help him clean house.

It worked with George Wallace when he defied the law of the land in favor of bigotry, and I'm sure it can help with the Philadelphia of poor, helpless Mayor Nutter.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Philadelphia passes restrictive local gun laws in defiance of state law

Erm... why, exactly?

Murder rates in Philly have for over 10 years been lower than they were before the city was obliged to honor PA’s concealed carry law in 1996. Some years they have been up to 30% lower (something Mayor Nutter and his police chief never seem to want to discuss, for some reason).

Why, then, does Philly need new gun laws at all?

Maybe what Philly really needs is an administration that is less anti-gun.

Given John Street’s anti-gun tirades during his mayorship, and now Nutter’s attitude, I can easily imagine that crime bosses in the city might, following those tirades, have gotten the bright idea of ordering their guys to shoot people randomly whenever possible. Why not try to make the mayors' words into reality, and help bring forward the day when their victims might once again be generally unarmed?

The city’s stance on guns is irresponsible, dangerous, and goes against every real-world example, historical and recent, of the true effects of gun restrictions. They enable criminals, and they enable political intimidation of defenseless serfs, sorry, constituents.

The city’s stance is also cowardly and despicable, since it goes after the law-abiding (even those under a protection order!) and does NOTHING substantial to hinder criminals. God knows, criminals are dangerous people. I guess we shouldn’t expect the city to actually tangle with them. Better to go after the law-abiding wives, husbands, grandparents, mothers, fathers, gay, crippled, minority and small business owners who’ve done nothing wrong, except dare to protect themselves and their loved ones with an effective deterrent to criminals.

I posted the content above to, an online Philadelphia paper which does not generally agree with the viewpoints above. I wonder how long my post will stay online:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Returning the abused to the care of the abusers

Some years ago, I watched a fact-based miniseries that told the story of a Catholic school in Nova Scotia, which in the early 70s was involved in a paedophilia scandal.

Some of the children tried to resist the advances of the "brothers", and some of the older teens tried to openly defy them, at the cost of terrible physical abuse.

Eventually, word got out by way of an outside worker who saw one of the injured teens, and heard some of what was going on, and despite much effort on the part of the "brothers" and the local Catholic authorities to silence and intimidate the children, and to put pressure on local authorities to drop the case, many brave children (and at least one of the Brothers who was innocent) risked punishment and defied the intimidation, and gave depositions and testimony.

What finally happened was that pressure from the church resulted in the police working on the case being intimidated into emasculating their report, the guilty parties went free (though they left the area), and the school was placed back into the control of other "brothers" who were, seemingly, little different in their views and actions than the previous bunch.

In other words, the abused stood up for themselves and defied the abusers, at considerable risk to themselves, and sought help from other powerful groups and institutions in their world.

And the end result was that they were betrayed by by a lot of smug, craven apparatchiks and suck-ups, many of whom had connections to the abusing organization. The victims were patted on the head, told everything would be just fine, asked to smile bravely, and sent back to the very same group who'd been abusing them to begin with (and the results were not good).

I thought of that story again today, while reading this news story, about NATO's treatment of Georgia and Ukraine.

Nato bars ex-Soviet states in win for Russia

Nato, led by Germany and France, wilted in the face of a sustained campaign of pressure and intimidation by the Kremlin, which has argued that the two former Soviet states must stay within Moscow's sphere of influence.ties with Europe.

If tensions persist, Nato's capitulation will be seen as short-sighted and futile.

The alliance has already been accused of breaching its own constitution, which calls for membership to be conferred on any European democracy that wants it.
The "Great Powers" throwing smaller democracies to the wolves? I'm sure we've never seen anything like THAT before on the world stage.

When, in modern times, did we start openly deciding the fate of countries based not on those countries' aspirations, but on whose "sphere of influence" they are in, and what that "somebody" might think about it?

If that's the current model, then let's make Cuba a US territory again. Or is George W Bush not actually a big enough dictator after all, for other countries to want to grovel at his feet?

Shame, NATO. Shame.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Surrendering to Sharia law in the UK

Sharia law already enforced in 10 courts (UK)


I'd be willing to bet that if one of these Sharia courts sentenced a Briton to death, amputation or lashing, and carried out the sentence, they'd be permitted to get away with it.

First of all, Britons are almost completely defenseless, by law and in any practical sense. You can go to jail there simply for punching someone who's invaded your home at night.

Secondly, the police can't be everywhere at once, and since (as in many US cities) they can take hours to show up at the scene of a crime, they're not going to be any use protecting anyone.

Thirdly, the "official" police and courts are probably terrified of the people who make up the Sharia power base in the UK. After all, the police, court officers and bureaucrats, and their family members, are as defenseless as everyone else in the UK (who's law-abiding).

This is the sad and inhumane end state of a society whose members have been unwilling, or unable, to defend themselves or their way of life from thugs of any sort, for a very long time.

It's not about disliking Muslims (or anyone else). It's about keeping a system alive that brings out the best, not the worst, in all of its citizens whatever their religion or background, and is able, in its strength, to welcome new members whatever their origin or creed.

I would say that if this trend continues, England as we have known it will in a generation or two be as extinct as Ionian Greece. And it's worth noting that some other European countries are in a not dissimilar position.

A sad, shameful, needless, harmful and entirely preventable loss.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Koans For Our Time

A man had moved to a new town, and went to the butcher shop there to buy meat for his dinner.

After the butcher wrapped the meat and the man paid him, the butcher said, "I see you're new in town. Would you like to come to my neighborhood for a barbeque, and meet some of the other townspeople?"

"I couldn't possibly. You're a butcher. The butcher's trade is an unclean one", said the man, as he walked out with his steaks.

A woman said to an armed policeman (who earned far less than she), "Why do you not catch more criminals?"

The policeman responded, "we'd like to, and we do our best, but we can't be everywhere at once. Have you considered purchasing a gun?"

"Certainly not", said the woman. "The use of guns is immoral, and people who use them are contemptible. I expect people like you to protect me."

"At the risk of my own life?", asked the policeman.

"Of course!", exclaimed the woman.

The policeman laughed, and walked away.

"I think it's terrible how little respect the police have for people!", the woman complained.

A woman sought to pass a law in her town that would limit where military recruiting offices could be located, a law similar to those limiting pornographic bookstores.

A soldier asked the woman, "Do you think our country should have no soldiers?"

The woman responded, "Of course we need some soldiers. But they can be conscripted when our government wants them. People should not be presented with the choice of becoming a soldier."

The soldier laughed and walked away.

"That reminds me. It's terrible how little respect the military has for my favorite political party", the woman reflected.