Killing as a Moral Good

A comparison of Just War arguments.

Ten Seconds to Midnight

Unconfirmed reports indicate Turkey may have shot down a Russian fighter that violated its airspace. If you've been watching the news, there have been two recent reports that Russian fighters (or possibly Syrian ones -- it is unclear that Russia is operating MiG29s in the area) had locked on to Turkish fighters for extended periods this last week. Turkey's patience with such antics may have worn out.

Turkey, where bombs targeting pro-democracy protesters killed at least 97 today, is dangerously unstable and can ill-afford to appear weak. Russian provocation may have run up on a target that has less to lose from fighting back than from not fighting back. Still, Turkey is a NATO "ally" -- in fact, they've stabbed us in the back several times -- and we are at least in theory obligated to respond to an attack on Turkey as we would to an attack on the United States.

Oh, by the way, remember how we discussed a few months ago how the US would be without an aircraft carrier in the region for the first time in recent history? That aircraft carrier just left the area. Russian naval vessels have been pouring in, however.



We're all on the same hook

Kevin Williamson on why there's no such thing as "raising taxes, but only on the rich," or "increasing regulation, but only on Big Business."

Setting the record straight

So I saw this on my social media today:

And it's cute, but completely wrong.

“We pledge our blood. We will not comply.”

The largest civil disobedience rally in American history just happened.
“This isn’t just a protest. We are here to openly violate the law.” Attendees publicly transferred their guns to each other in violation of I-591’s background check provisions, and some even bought and sold guns just a few feet away from law enforcement. A fire pit blazed throughout the rally, and at the conclusion, gun owners lined up to burn their concealed weapons permits. A petition was circulated affirming gun owners’ refusal to follow I-594, which ended with, “We pledge our blood. We will not comply.”

As the RSVPs in advance of the rally grew to over 6,000, the police – most who probably detest I-594 – decided not to enforce the law.
Gun control advocates need to understand that this is different from other issues. Immigration, free exercise of religion, all the rest of it: violations of those things can be solved later at the ballot box, or sometimes in court. When you demand that we surrender our arms, we understand that to mean that we will never again be able to set the violations right.

In the fantasy of gun control advocates, they'll just be able to order it done -- Second Amendment notwithstanding -- and their agents, the state, will enforce their rule. In practice, they should take on board that there is absolutely no guarantee that the police will enforce unconstitutional laws in the face of armed resistance. For one thing, a lot of the police are on our side. The sheriff's office that responded to the last mass shooting is on the record that they will not enforce unconstitutional orders to disarm the public. The Oath Keepers, which contains military, police, and veteran members have listed orders of this type as first among the sort they will regard as criminal and will not enforce. While it is unclear how many actual members they have, if a crisis came and they stood firm, many who sympathize would be forced to take a stand one way or the other.

How high do you suppose the percentage would get of servicemembers and police who reject such an unconstitutional order? I don't have any way to guess about the police. Among the military, though, it seems like a real probability that it could break fifty percent. More than forty percent of the military is Southern, where gun-rights sentiment runs strongest. Assuming that they broke 75/25 against the order, that would get you to better than thirty percent right there. If the right leaders -- and respected, retired leaders -- were to endorse the refusal as a violation of the military oath, it might get well above fifty percent.

Even if they didn't refuse to comply, but elected to "obey orders in the least likely way to bring about the intended result," there would be enough of them to foil the order. There's a reasonable chance that an order like this could provoke a genuine mutiny, because it would be so clearly a unilateral attempt to overwrite the Constitution by the will of a single political figure. If it didn't produce a refusal to obey orders, I might even say, it would be to the enduring shame of every one who took the military oath. Each one swears: "I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; [and] that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same." What clearer example of a domestic enemy of the Constitution could you ask? What clearer example of tyranny? What does true faith and allegiance to the Constitution mean, if it does not mean refusing to participate in its violation?

D29 in Georgia

I had an opportunity to sit down for lunch with our own D29. We met at a pizza joint that happens to share a birthplace and year with me, the "Mellow Mushroom." I think it's the best pizza in Georgia, although you can now get it in many cities in other states.

I was somewhat amused because he was worried that it would be hard for us to recognize each other. I told him, "You won't have any trouble recognizing me. I'll be the biker with the big beard, and the jacket painted with my coat of arms." Though I make no attempt to stand out from the crowd, I've noticed that I have only the smallest potential to blend into any given social background.

The conversation was pleasant, treating not only religion and politics but history and places worth visiting across the United States. It was good to meet one of our long-standing companions over a good meal, and on a fine October afternoon.

Old-fashioned kids' books

A lazy day of Gutenberging allows me to relish 19th-century juvenile literature.  This one, "Lion Ben of Elm Island" (Rev. Elijah Kellogg, 1869), is about a small early-American community in Maine.  Not much plot or suspense, just families and towns, a more primitive Mayberry RFD, including details of how people build their houses, make their livings, and raise their kids:
He was neither in his own opinion, nor by profession, a religious man; but the teachings of a pious mother had laid deep in his young heart the foundation of faith and love. When torn from her by the savages, in the solitude of mighty forests, he had pored and prayed over them, till they ripened into a heartfelt love for Him "who causeth the grass to grow for cattle, and herb for the service of man."
His teachings were therefore of such a nature, that while divested of the stiffness generally connected with all attempts at advice or instruction, they deepened every good impression, and stirred the young heart to the quick.
A most silly and hurtful notion, often entertained by young people in respect to religion, is, that it has a tendency to make people narrow-minded, or, as they phrase it, meeching. Such a feeling was effectually repressed, as they listened to ideas of that nature from one who hesitated not to grapple with the fiercest beasts of the forest, and bore on his person the scars of many wounds. His influence over them was very much increased, for the reason that he seemed anxious to make them happy in this world, as well as the other; inculcated with great earnestness those principles which lie at the bottom of thrift, competence, and the well-being of society.
Religious discourse from their parents, the catechising of the minister, advice in respect to their conduct in life, might be quite dry and uninteresting; but with what power to attract and move were the same ideas invested, as they fell from the lips of the hunter and warrior, on a wild sea-beach, amid the roar of breakers; in some sunny nook of the hills, with the rifle across his knees, made juicy and attractive by his graphic language; not thrust upon them against the stomach of their sense, but, like the teachings of the great Parent of nature, in harmony with bursting buds, the springing grass, shading into a deeper green, or mingling in their ear with the brook's low murmur, and the music of summer winds among the foliage,--thus imperceptibly, as the increase of their strengthening sinews, growing up with, and moulding the very habit of their thoughts!

Eaten Alive

Senator Cruz on the hunt.

Headline: "Homeowner Stops Three Robbers By Pleading for Mercy."

"Just Kidding. He Shot Them."

Yay, A Tyrant To Rule Us!

Ezra Klein's shark-jumping website explains that emailgate tells us that Hillary would be perfect as President: she wouldn't let her exercise of power be controlled by anything at all. "Liberals need an iron fist in the White House to make progress."

Not big fans of the Founders, their idea of separation of powers, checks and balances, or the Constitution? Vote H!

"Globalization" = "human cooperation"

Kevin Williamson digs into Paul Theroux for his smug and ignorant economics:
Theroux may not have picked this up this tidbit while growing up on the mean suburban streets of Medford, Mass., but the fact is that given a choice between a) picking cotton and b) almost anything else, the vast majority of people choose b. (Or at least they used to; picking cotton is a pretty good job now.) They didn’t lose their jobs to mechanization — they were liberated from them by new economic development.
It is emphatically not the case that the South, or the United States in general, engages in less manufacturing today than it did in the so-called golden age of the postwar era (during which years a lot of poor people in the South, members of my family included, supplemented the wages they were earning during the manufacturing boom by . . . picking cotton, by hand, and being paid by the pound). We manufacture much more today than we did in the 1950s, and we grow a lot more cotton, too — and both enterprises require fewer workers today than they did back then. When one worker can produce what ten workers used to produce, or a hundred, wages go up, which is why you can make $100,000 a year harvesting cotton today, massive capital investments and innovation having turned what was once the work of slaves into a fairly lucrative skilled occupation.
* * *
Just as the gentlemen of the Times were putting the headline on Theroux’s daft little tantrum, the World Bank published its estimate that this year — this year, not at some point in the happy-happy future — the number of people living in extreme poverty on this planet will dip below 10 percent for the first time in the history of the human species. Change will always inconvenience somebody, it is true, and those great jobs sewing underwear in Southern factories for $100 a week no longer exist. Famine no longer exists and several million formerly poor people get to eat, and the terrible tradeoff is what? A fellow who used to work in a sneaker factory has to go hustle real estate or become a restaurant proprietor? Meanwhile, the poor people of Mississippi, still our poorest state, on average have to get by on a mere 118 percent of the median income in France.

What "coming out" looks like now

This article caught my eye because Johnny Depp's 16-year-old daughter, who is enjoying a burgeoning career as a model, looks almost exactly like her father in his youth.  (Not a bad thing; she's beautiful.)  But then I was arrested by this throwaway line:
The budding model, whose mother is French actress Vanessa Paradis, is also taking part in the Self Evident Project, which is an accumulation of 10,000 Americans who place somewhere on the LGBTQI spectrum. The teenager revealed in August that she falls somewhere on the spectrum.
Well, who doesn't? At least, I've forgotten what "Q" and "I" stand for, but whatever they are I imagine I'm in there somewhere. Even if you're at one extreme, aren't you still on the spectrum?

Harsh Truths

It is rare that there is any other kind.  But those who willfully ignore facts will find the truth harsher than most.

You Know What Happens If You Talk Too Much

I can't answer for the visuals on these videos. But turn up the sound.

30 Ways to Be a Modern Woman

After Grim's game with the topic of the modern man, I ran into and posted a link to a fisking of the original NYT article on the blog Cedar Writes. The main author there, Cedar Sanderson, has put up a commenter-suggested list of 30 ways to be a modern woman, including such things as:

6. How about “The Modern Woman has a gun, because the Modern Man is apparently too much of a wuss to protect his family”? — Tom Knighton

30. A modern woman is confident in her ability to defend herself but will allow men to defend her if they have superior firepower. — Karen D.

There is kind of a theme going on over there.

Turns out Cedar Sanderson is also an Air Force brat turned novelist.

In Which We Wholeheartedly Support Bernie Sanders

The TPP has to die. You've heard me rail against it before. The fact is, though, after the Iran deal none of us can support any treaty this administration has negotiated. Because of the secret deals in the Iran deal, we simply can't have any faith that we're being admitted into the confidence of the administration. As citizens, we have to regard that as an affront to the basic trust on which the Republic is based.

No secret deals. No deals at all by this administration. Run it on the rocks. You can't be sure what it says, but you can be sure that's better than it deserves.

Gird Your Loins

A how-to guide.

It reminds me of the different ways of wrapping and tying the Scottish great kilt.

Didn't It Rain?

It sure did, Sister Rosetta.

"It is no flippancy to say of the god Pan that he soon showed the cloven hoof."

In which the 21st century continues its conspiracy to prove right a host of early-20th century British conservatives. Yesterday it may have been Kipling or Lewis. Today it's G. K. Chesterton.
Augustus Sol Invictus, Floridian former lawyer and current Libertarian candidate for Senate, once described himself as “of genius intellect,” “God’s gift to humankind where the English language is concerned,” and “everything you ever wanted to be.” Critics describe him as “a self-proclaimed fascist” and “absolute insanity.” One time, he killed a goat and drank its blood.

Other members of the Libertarian party, in an effort to disown Invictus and his calls for open revolt against the government, have repeatedly brought up rumors that Invictus participated in a pagan sacrifice. And now, according to the AP, he’s owned up to it: “I did sacrifice a goat. I know that’s probably a quibble in the mind of most Americans,” he said. “I sacrificed an animal to the god of the wilderness ... Yes, I drank the goat’s blood.”
Chesterton wrote:
All the same, it will be as well if Jones does not worship the sun and moon. If he does, there is a tendency for him to imitate them; to say, that because the sun burns insects alive, he may burn insects alive....

Nature worship is natural enough while the society is young, or, in other words, Pantheism is all right as long as it is the worship of Pan. But Nature has another side which experience and sin are not slow in finding out, and it is no flippancy to say of the god Pan that he soon showed the cloven hoof. The only objection to Natural Religion is that somehow it always becomes unnatural. A man loves Nature in the morning for her innocence and amiability, and at nightfall, if he is loving her still, it is for her darkness and her cruelty. He washes at dawn in clear water as did the Wise Man of the Stoics, yet, somehow at the dark end of the day, he is bathing in hot bull's blood, as did Julian the Apostate.
I suppose we all know enough Latin to know the translation of "Augustus Sol Invictus."


An audit of mass shooting events finds that the ones stopped by police average twelve more dead than the ones stopped by citizens on the scene. Not that the police are bad at it, of course. They're just further away. When citizens are there who have the capacity to stop these shootings, the average death toll is only 2.3.

UPDATE: Interesting point raised by Glenn Reynolds. In response to a post by Volokh called "Do civilians with guns ever stop mass shootings?" he wrote, "Of course, if it’s stopped early, it’s never a mass shooting. . . ."

Turns out that the FBI definition requires four victims to achieve the "mass" standard. The average death toll when civilians stop it is 2.3. More, the author of that piece notes:
I found only one example of a shooter stopped by civilians who killed more than 3 people. Jared Loughner killed 6 people in Tucson, Arizona before he was tackled by two civilians. Maybe it’d have been less if one of those two men were armed.... If you compare the average deaths in a shooting rampage stopped by armed civilians to unarmed civilians you get 1.8 and 2.6, but that’s not nearly as significant as the difference between a proactive heroic civilian, and a cowering civilian who waits for police.
So, do civilians stop mass killings? Almost never -- since when civilians stop them, they usually don't rise to the level of mass murder, and thus don't end up in the same statistical category.

Carson Has a Sense of Humor

Or at least the people who design his campaign apparel do.

For the Ace of Spades crowd: I got a fever, and the only prescription is more Carson

For the Chive On crowd: Keep Calm and Carson On

For the kids: Future Neurosurgeon & President

And for those who recycle: It's not brain surgery

Having a Daughter?

Consider one of these awesome Anglo-Saxon names for girls. If I had a daughter, I might well name her "Blaedswith."

Speak the Truth

Consider a young man who has, since the shooting in Oregon on Thursday, shared every pro-gun-control theme that came across his desk. Last night, he told me he was thinking of getting a gun and a carry permit. It's safe to tell me this, and to seek advice on how to do it and what models would be wise. In public, though, he clearly feels he must aggressively signal his "virtue" on this and other liberal agenda issues. One gets the sense that he's doing it largely to try to appear attractive to young women of his generation. It's not at all what he really thinks, deep down. It's what he feels is safe to express.

This was brought to my mind this morning when I read this heart-felt article from a young woman who is a little ashamed about how much she loves being a mother. I know a young woman, about the same age as the young man I started with, who has similar feelings. She is a feminist philosopher, but came to me a few times after the birth of her sons to express a sense that being a mother was better than everything else she'd ever known. She wanted to ask someone who would hear the question with understanding: was that wrong for her to feel?

Of course it's not wrong.

It makes sense to be circumspect about your political views in polite company: religion and politics are the perennial topics to avoid at a dinner party. That's not what is going on here, though. They are talking about their views all the time in public. They're just committed to signalling support for views they don't really hold but are afraid to question, or even not to affirm loudly and publicly.

Herodotus tells us that the ancient Persians raised their noble sons with only three kinds of education. They taught them "to ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth." Obviously I think that is shortsighted: many more things should be known, so that you can explore the walls of the world, understand the mathematics that will let you track the leading edge of physics, peer into deep metaphysical wells, contemplate the limits of language and thought.

Yet the first lessons should not get lost. That there is much more to know does not change the fact that the Persians were right about the core of a good and noble life. Ride. Shoot straight. Speak the truth.

Rearden metal

Interesting Popular Mechanics article about a new, lighter, stronger steel.

Unarmed guards

From "There's a Bear in the Sand":
Official US position: Don't worry because Putin won't be any more effective at waging war than we are. That sounds like a winning line. And may not, in fact, be true.
* * *
Putin says something of value here: "The people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb" - which happens to be correct. Obama's just mailing in a Hallmark greetings card for Happy Geostrategic Analysis Day: "You can jail your opponents, but you can't imprison ideas." Whichever overpaid speechwriter came up with that, the President of the United States is the one who agreed to utter it. It's a superficial credentialed twerp's idea of "smart" - when you're in a room full of hard-faced men from Russia, Iran, Syria and France, but you think the same cute lines that work on "The View" will see you through. As Putin no doubt assured the mullahs et al in private, the people you are dealing with in Washington are not cruel but they are dumb.
I see Hillary is proposing a no-fly zone over Syria, but why stop there? Surely Obama could declare the Middle East a gun-free zone and put that unarmed security guard in charge.

The Sons of Murphy

Good luck to all of you building arks down South. We've seen more rain than a feast of Springs, this last week. Looks like we'll be blessed with a little more rain tomorrow. Keep dry, brothers and sisters.