Thursday Highlights

Well the Midwest has been having a spate of T-storms. Last night’s flight suffered a few delays, but eventually I got home.

  1. Entropy is the clue, I’d think.
  2. Heroism.
  3. Echoes of that seminal Ratzinger/Habermas debate (the debate text can be purchased as a book, btw).
  4. Professional students, literally.
  5. If you intentionally misunderstand and then pretend insult … that’s a form of lying.
  6. Liberal academics on employment push the “do what I say, not what I do” tactic it seems.
  7. Much of this post might be right, but it ends with an absolute falsehood, “The widespread availability of high-powered military-grade weaponry does not keep us secure from tyranny ” … uhm. Hello? high powered military grade weaponry is illegal, scarce, and anything but widespread and available. Sorry. Fantasy doesn’t help you make your point.
  8. The actual trademarks you can freely use now.
  9. Cyber-warfare, electoral variety.
  10. 2 against 55.
  11. He probably regretted both.


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  1. buddyglass says:

    Re: #7: I recall my gun-collecting boss from a few jobs ago calling me into his office to see his new purchase, which happened to be set up on his desk. An M82 sniper rifle. “They use them in Iraq!” he told me, grinning. “Yeah, but why do you want one?” I ask. Him: “It’ll be worth a fortune when Obama makes them illegal!”

    Don’t think that ever happened. He certainly seemed to think it was “military-grade”.

  2. Mark says:

    Mr Howard,
    “readily available military grade hardware”. So, ask him to show you (and find out how readily available) you can find assault weapons (hint: assault weapons are defined, contrary to the claims by Congressional Democrats and their stoolies, as automatic fire carbines), RPGs, anti-tank weapons, and … need I go on? For example, show me where and at what price you can get a FGM-148 Javelin? How about an M16A2? You can’t? I guess military grade hardware isn’t quite as readily available as you pretend. Look at a list of what hardware is used by our military. How much is available? How much is legal? The claim that these items are readily available to the public is a joke.

    Guess what, you can also buy a “military grade” M9. Guess what. That’s not the sort of thing being touted in the article. The point is that a some of the non-automatic fire and a restricted set of non-automatic fire weaponry are available for civilians. You know that. I know that. Almost certainly the author of the piece knows that, he is just telling fables in his essay. Why? Perhaps he wants to discredit his argument. It worked for me.

  3. Boonton says:

    Nonetheless, ‘well armed citizenry’ doesn’t work as a guarantee against tyranny. Throughout history most regimes have been what we would define as tyrannies. Yet almost all of them had nothing like gun control. If you lived in the Roman Empire nothing would have prevented you from owning a sword, a shield, a knife or just about any weapon that any person in the Roman army would own. Yet that ability of the citizenry to be armed did not prevent the gov’t from being tyrannical.

    It’s only recently that military weapons have expanded in firepower to the degree that you have real ‘force multipliers’ in effect. In 1700 an army worked because it had lots of men in it. If you were well armed, that wouldn’t help you much against 100 men with equal arms.

  4. buddyglass says:

    “The claim that these items are readily available to the public is a joke.”

    I agree. But that isn’t the claim he made. The entire article was about guns. Not RPGs, anti-tank weapons, etc. His claim is that, within the sub-category of guns, military-grade stuff is readily available to the public. He makes it clear what he means by “military-grade weaponry” in the paragraph two up from the one you quoted:

    Mexican cartels intimidate law enforcement by displaying superior firepower. One of their favorite tactics is to send commando teams, armed with AK-47s and the like […] Without these military-grade weapons …”

  5. Mark says:

    Mr Howard,
    That point (about guns) worked until you quoted the article …

    One of their favorite tactics is to send commando teams, armed with AK-47s and the like

    .. you do realize that AK-47s and the like aren’t actually either legal or readily available.

    Look. If you’re going to try to have an insurrection in the US against our military, you’re going to need more than military grade handguns and a few sniper rifles (for the latter there is not as much difference between those and ordinary bolt-action big game hunting rifles which are legal and not military grade for the purpose of sniping, say, Congress-critters at the golf course). That sort of hardware is not available. It’s like how the recent gun control nuts have decided to rename “assault” rifle as any semi-automatic rifle which “looks scary” instead of what it really stands for (automatic repeating carbine).

  6. Mark says:


    Nonetheless, ‘well armed citizenry’ doesn’t work as a guarantee against tyranny.

    I don’t disagree. I said the author has a valid point which he doesn’t help by putting outlandish untruths at the conclusion.

  7. Boonton says:

    I’m glad you almost agree, but I would go a bit further, there’s no evidence IMO that tyrannies need anything like ‘gun control’ to assert their power. Gun advocates can point to cases where it was illegal for a regular person to own a firearm in the USSR or Nazi Germany but in truth those restrictions were not relevant for those tyrannies to hold onto power.

    If you want to know how they stay in power go back to Hobbes. One man may be stronger than another man but even the strongest will not trump a group of average men arrayed against him. This applies to men armed with handguns or other weapons too. Essentially there are no Supermen in any given society….no man or men so strong that they are immune to attack by a sufficiently large group. Private firearms do not change that fact.

  8. Mark says:

    Two points, a tyranny can hold onto an armed populous in ways a oligarchy cannot. It is easier to defend the life and safety of a tyrant. It is less easy to defend the lives of half-a-thousand Congress-critters. The cost of defending the life of the President from errant snipers by driving him to-and-fro in a tank which looks like a luxury sedan is something which is likely cost prohibitive if extended to House and Senate.

    Second, you are the economics guy … the cost of keeping down an armed citizenry is higher than keeping down an unarmed one. Right? It doesn’t stop the tyranny, it may slow it by raising the cost of outrage (or at the very least, as is arguably happening here, forcing the tyrant to play the “heat the frog slowly in the water (instead of tossing him in boiling water … where he will jump” game and take years or decades to steal your freedoms).

    Those who attempt to kill our Presidents and leaders are, typically, not mentally fit. However, when you start getting assassination attempts by those who are sane, then what do you do? That might look a bit different.

    A slight cross-thread notion, why are today’s tobacco users not incredibly angry at the punitive tax on their consumption of same? My only explanation is that they are, by and large, not so unhappy in their life and prospects that this doesn’t outrage them. Or to put it another way, in the Middle East you get 100k+ guys gathering to protest that “outrage-of-the-day” … these guys aren’t playing hooky from their job and aren’t missing out on a day’s wage. You only get these uprisings and gatherings where unemployment is very very high.

  9. Boonton says:

    #5 on the other hand, George Will has not had a worthwhile thought happen in his brain since, maybe, 1992. Yet amazingly he seems to have lifetime tenure in the pundit circuit, a type of tenure which is stronger than anything ever achieved by any teacher’s union.

    I suspect anything that causes even a tiny bit of turnover among the punditocracy is a good thing.

  10. buddyglass says:

    you do realize that AK-47s and the like aren’t actually either legal or readily available.

    And that’s just the first page of google results.

  11. Mark says:

    Mr Howard,

    You do realize “actual” AK-47s are automatic rifles? You need special licensing from the US Treasury department to own one. 240,000 licensed automatic rifles have been so licensed. Two. Two!!! have been associated with crime in the US since 1934!!!.

    Readily available automatic “military grade” weapons are all semi-automatic not repeaters.

  12. buddyglass says:

    The author didn’t specify that the AK-47’s he mentioned, which he termed “military grade”, were fully automatic.

    In any case, it doesn’t follow that if the AK-47’s for sale in the U.S. are gimped that that disqualifies them from being considered “military-grade hardware”. Especially if they can be converted to fully automatic without much trouble, which is apparently the case.

  13. Mark says:

    Mr Howard,
    So, let’s see … your contention that AK-47s are easily available and military hardware depends on illegal modifications of gear our military doesn’t use (and no first/second world country uses), that isn’t being used by criminals in the US, and if an AK-47 isn’t automatic it isn’t useful as a “military grade” weapon as while dependable it isn’t highly accurate. Who needs yet another inaccurate semi-auto rifle, except perhaps the thrill of owning the weapon used by rapists, mass murders, and child killers in Africa and South America (which may have a appeal among a certain set). Citing that Mexican cartels (!?) use them isn’t proof of anything in the upper 48.

    The point is most military grade personnel hardware isn’t available to the public even if you consider only rifles (and as noted above, in an actual insurgency you’re going to need grenades, mines, RPGs, anti-tank weaponry and so on and these things are not “readily available”). Ergo, the contention that military grade hardware is readily available isn’t true. On his main point, I think a better case might be made that Saddam’s Iraq had readily available high explosives in known caches throughout the country, that their people did have in their possession automatic weapons and grenades, but that Petreaus managed to defeat the insurgency. A modern well armed military can defeat a well armed unpopular people. That is the proof. You don’t support arguments like that by ending with conclusions that border on wing-nuterry.

    I suppose the author could have taken the tack that because the weaponry required for a defense against tyranny aren’t available to the public, by the Constitution we as citizens should have access to claymores, grenades and so on.