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Reliable sources

Reliable sources

Postby cyranorox » 08 Apr 2009, 18:44

II want to discuss the divergence of views regarding the reliability of sources on news, history, politics, hermeneutics, and the Church. For example, the Jesus seminar workers do not think of the Evangelists as reliable sources, but as spin doctors, manipulators, etc, pretending to honesty but acting out of base motives.

I often hear that the poor can be expected to vote for their benefits, thus forming an illegitimately self-interested polity, who ought not to be allowed to vote, at least on matters of their own income. However, the same writers [e.g., the Touchstone/Treaders gang] hold that the rich can be trusted to vote on matters of their own self interest, because, well, because. They are not expected to act on their worst motives that you can posit. Of course this is sheer nonsense: human nature is constant across wealth classes.

I've heard that liberals 'really' want all sorts of bad things, such as complete leveling [no], indoctrination of children in atheism [no], absolute socialism [no], utopianism, ie, chiliasm, or intent to create a perfect secular society at whatever cost [no]. These ideas are drawn from what are clearly, to me, interested, self-serving, unreliable comment and propaganda. The problem here seems to be selection, choosing the silly fringe as the center, choosing the worst as representative, etc.

I find that the other side sets up false questions, eg, Obama, America-hater or not? And then stirs up a back-and-forth, asks for a middle answer, or states the question must remain open. In fact, there never was a real doubt, and there is no reason to move from the firm position that he is a patriot, whatever you think of his judgment. That can’t be the template of decision making.

I read the second amendment to mean that, as long as a militia is needed, citizens may bear arms; such arms, evidently, as are suitable for militia work. This always struck me as the most antiquated and narrow of the Rights, but I encounter people who claim it is the foundation of the rest, because they believe citizens with small arms might overthrow the Federal Government. Horsefeathers; you can overthrow it, but a general strike is the citizen power to do it. Again this diversity is grounded in deeply divided sources of opinion, going back to, in some instances, opposing claims about what seem like basic facts of history and basic modes of reading.

I find that the liberal view is closest to the Gospel, fittest for a decent conscience, and best reflective of reality; others here don’t. But they go to sources already muddy for support; never to anything I’d call objective. Further, much that I call normal, central, neutral, they call liberal, such as the press generally [when it’s not rightwing in fawning on advertisers, avoiding offense to the military, avoiding muckraking on money issues etc]; so they endorse a spread between the liberal [normal] and rightwing [partisan]. That does serve to shift the center, for those who accept this arrangement.

So how do you discriminate the self-serving from the genuine? Or, how did you determine whom to trust? I know we mostly start with answers that reduce to ‘they confirm my bias’, and most of us see through lenses already tightly fitted on; I’m asking about the origin of the bias. It would make the discussion more valuable if you can cite one hostile/opposing source that you consider honest and reliable.
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby rusmeister » 09 Apr 2009, 02:43

I think GK Chesterton most correctly identifies the true nature of "liberal/conservative", the ideas and forces behind them in his book "What's Wrong With the World." http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/boo ... wrong.html
A lot of modern paradigms turn out to be just plain wrong or at least misleading (and so responding to them turns out to be useless).
I came to most of the conclusions GK came to a few years later in life than he did.
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby Bluegoat » 10 Apr 2009, 21:41

I find it so strange to watch this problem across the border, and from this side it does seem to be as you describe. Here in Canada, I can easily think of reputable news sources on all sides of the political fence. It worries me a bit, I don't think it is healthy for people to feel that those with a different political affiliation are actually traitorous, untrustworthy and stupid. It is certainly not charitable. It just seems so terribly unlikely that it would be the case.

We have in recent years seen a tendency for some in politics to be much more partisan, which I think they have learned from the US, but there are actually few Canadians who think this is a good thing. It seems to be something that exists within the party, though I could be just naive about this. But I can't picture even most party members here accusing members of the other parties of deliberately trying to destroy the country.

I think perhaps what I find most disturbing about this phenomena is that I am pretty sure those in the highest echelons of power don't actually believe this either; they say it because it is politically expedient.
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby deadwhitemale » 12 Apr 2009, 02:26

Cyranorox, you said a great many things, most of which I do not feel qualified to answer without much study. I myself regard virtually all of the so-called Mainstream Media (print and electronic) as so biased as to be unconscious of its own bias ("A fish don't know it's wet"), with a very definite ideological axe to grind and agenda to advance, and therefore unreliable in nits reporting on any matter pertaining to the advancement or hindrance of that agenda.

For instance, a very big and imprtant part of that agenda is the disarmament of the populace, giving government a complete monopoly on all use of armed force, or almost any force. Therefore, virtually all Mainstream Media reporting pertaining to 2nd Amendment rights is grossly slanted. It has been for decades, generations.

Deliberate disinformation has long been and continues to be pumped out non-stop. See: Josh Sugarmann's 1988 or '89 remarks on the subject.

" The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons." --Josh Sugarmann, "Assault Weapons and Accessories in America," 1988


At least 99 percent of the deliberately disinformed public believe "semiautomatic" means "machine gun." (I can probably furnish a more accurate definition if asked.) A similar percentage think the "assault weapons" banned by the 1994-2004 ban were machine guns. Very few people know that so-called "cop-killer" bullets could be best described or defined as "the kind of bullets no cop hs ever been killed with."

By now the "90 percent myth" has been thoroughly debunked and discredited," but no organ of the Mainstream Media has broadcast or printed a correction or retraction, though they know the truth very well by now. On the contrary, the Mainstream Media, and the politicians it willingly shills for, continue to promote the myth with all their might.

As for the argument that the poor cannot be trusted to vote for anything but their own selfish economic interests, the leadership of the American Left commonly expresses condescending astonishment that many among the working/starving class DO NOT strictly vote their pocketbooks -- that they are just too dumb to know which side their bread is buttered on, and instead persist in stubbornly clinging to their God and their guns and their cultural traditions and values.

They are baffled and infuriated when we DON"T repond to their class warfare rhetoric, when they can't buy us off with some benefits program, when we are too stupid to be bribed into abandoning our values -- "the ashes of our fathers and the temples of our gods." (See Footnotes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.) They remind me of "Komarovsky" (the Rod Steiger character) in Doctor Zhivago bellowing in baffled indignation: "WHO ARE YOU TO REFUSE MY SUGAR?!" Or Mason Verger in Hannibal snarling, "They should have just taken the chocolate."

They persist in seeing us all through a lens of economic and class Determinism. In their Ivy League classes they were indoctrinated that people are merely Deterministic mechanisms, "clockwork oranges," who can all be programmed, just like computers, to think and act in a predictable, predetermined way. And they always think we just don't understand. They just need to package their message better -- just dumb it down for us a little more, since their earlier pitch went over our heads.

As Harry Hopkins, right-hand man to FDR is supposed to have said, "The people are just to d*** dumb to understand." As Larry King declared on his show recently, "Somebody's got to think for the masses!"

***************************************************************************************************

I believe I can address the following remarks in a more comprehensive way:

"I read the second amendment to mean that, as long as a militia is needed, citizens may bear arms; such arms, evidently, as are suitable for militia work. This always struck me as the most antiquated and narrow of the Rights, but I encounter people who claim it is the foundation of the rest ..."

Compare the Second Amendment with this grammatically similar or identical statement:

"A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books, shall not be infringed."

Now, would you read that to mean that only the well-educated -- say, those holding advanced university degrees -- who are also registered to vote, may keep and read books? Or that the only reason even those well-educated voters (as opposed to the people as a whole) may keep and read books is because the government, the State, considers a well-educated electorate to be necessary for its security -- and that, thgerefore, if the State should ever decide that a well-educated electorate is no longer necessary to its security or survival, the State can abolish the right to keep and read books?

My understanding of the Constitution, and particularly the Bill of Rights, is that it does not list or outline what rights and freedoms the government shall allow the people to have and exercise -- what the people may do, only because the government allows them -- but, rather, it lists and outlines what the government may do, because the people allow it.

What the government may do is explicitly limited and circumscribed. Certain rights and liberties of the people are explicitly placed off-limits to any sort of majority. That is, no one is allowed to vote certain rights away or into irrelevance.

This is not even supposed to be a pure democracy, which is nothing but majority rule. In a pure democracy, five people adrift in a lifeboat could vote to kill and eat the other four. Benjamin Franklin is supposed to have said, "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to havefor diner. Liberty is a well armed sheep contesting the vote."

The First Amendment states flatly that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"; the Second Amendment states flatly that the right of the people to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed." It doesn't say it may be infringed when whatever politicians happen to currently be in power decide in their infinite wisdom that the right is no longer necessary or meaningful or useful to the State or the ruling class.

The rights of the people enumerated and implied therein are not created by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but assumed by it. The rights of the people -- not just people who went to Ivy League schools, not just people in uniform, not just people on the government's payroll, but the people as a whole -- are not granted to them by the government. On the contrary, they are endowed by their Creator with those rights. There's some Supreme Court rulling about that, but I can't quote it off the top of my head. I'd need to look it up.

Footnote 1. [Chris] WALLACE: Governor [Howard Dean], you'll be happy to know we're going to move on to another subject now. I want to ask you about a line you use in your regular stump speech. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[Howard] DEAN: I am tired of coming to the South and fighting elections on guns, God and gays. We're going to fight this election on our turf, which is going to be jobs, education and health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: What do you mean by that, when you say that you don't want to talk about guns, God and gays?

DEAN: What the Republicans have been doing since 1968 was actually the subject of a speech I'm about to give in a couple of hours here in South Carolina, is dividing us along racial lines by talking about quotas, dividing us about abortion or guns or other issues like that.

Well, let me tell you something about South Carolina. There's 102,000 children here with no health insurance. Most of those kids are white.

White people and black people in the South have a common interest. Their jobs are going offshore. They haven't had a raise because health-insurance premiums have eaten up all their money. They need -- $70 million was cut, got cut out of public health insurance -- public education here, because the president's economic program has been such a disaster.

Everybody deserves a break -- not just in the South, but everybody else. And working people, no matter what color they are, need to vote together, because their economic interests are not served by the Republicans. And I think that's why the election needs to be about health insurance, economic opportunity and jobs, and better educational opportunities for everybody.

WALLACE: Governor, I don't think anybody would deny that those are very important issues, but why take the others -- abortion, guns, God, gays -- off the table? I mean, it sounds like you're uncomfortable talking about values.

DEAN: I'm very comfortable talking about values, but we're never going to agree on some of these issues. I actually have a more conservative positions on guns than many Democrats, although I do support the assault-weapons ban and background checks and all that. But...

WALLACE: But aren't those legitimate issues, whether it's a woman's right to choose versus right to life, whether there should a national ban on assault weapons, gay rights?

I mean, aren't those issues -- I have to say, I remember back in 1988, because I was covering the campaign, when Michael Dukakis said that the campaign is about competence, not ideology, and the Republicans killed him on that.

Don't American voters care about values?

DEAN: They care about values. And there are a lot of different kinds of values. My attitude is, each state's going to make their own kinds of decisions about these difficult issues that we're -- you know, the social issues that divide us.

My question is, what we have in common is what we ought to look at. This president ran as a uniter, not a divider, and that was a complete falsehood. What he has done is use words like "quota" to send race-coded words to folks, talking about scaring them into thinking somebody from a minority community is going to take their jobs. On and on it goes.

What about what we have in common? What we have in common is we need better education for everybody. We need health care, health insurance for everybody. Every industrialized country in the world has health insurance except for us. We don't have to have a complicated government-run system. But we ought to have it, like we do, for the most part, in Vermont, at least for all our kids.

So why can't we talk about jobs, health care and education, which is what we all have in common, instead of allowing the Republicans to consistently divide us by talking about guns, God, gays, abortion and all this controversial social stuff
that we're not going to come to an agreement on?

I really believe that states ought to have a role. My gun policy basically is let's keep the federal laws, let's enforce them with great vigor, and then let's let every state make additional laws if they want to. You're going to have states that want gun control making more, and you're going to have states like my state saying, look, we'll enforce the federal laws and leave it at that.

Why can't we take that kind of an approach to these issues and stop getting exercised about them? That's what cost this election. Why can't we look at what we have in common: economic opportunity, educational opportunity, health insurance? Those are the things that I think are value-driven.

And I think that's where this administration falls short on values. They don't seem to care about ordinary people. They'll do everything for corporations. They give $26,000 in tax cuts to the top 1 percent. The rest of the people get $304 and a big property-tax increase, big health-insurance increases and big college-tuition increases.

That's where I think that the battle about values is in this country and in this election. (From a December 2003 TV interview)

Footnote 2. (Coming soon.)

April 13, 2008 12:25AM
Obama: 'They cling to guns or religion'
Barack Obama is backtracking on remarks he made about working-class voters.



Sarah Pulliam
A political storm is brewing over Sen. Barack Obama's recent statements. Last Sunday, Obama was explaining his difficulty with winning over working-class voters in Pennsylvania and the Midwest, saying they have become frustrated with economic conditions:

"And it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," Obama said
.

The comments were posted Friday on The Huffington Post, creating a wave of criticism from Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. John McCain, and other politicians as the April 22 Pennsylvania primary draws near.

“The people of faith I know don’t ‘cling to’ religion because they’re bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich,” Clinton said at a rally in Indianapolis.

Now, Obama is spending time explaining his remarks.

“Obviously, if I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that,” Obama said in a phone interview on Saturday with the Winston-Salem Journal. “But the underlying truth of what I said remains, which is simply that people who have seen their way of life upended because of economic distress are frustrated and rightfully so.”

He continued, "People feel like Washington’s not listening to them, and as a consequence, they find that they can only rely on the traditions and the things that have been important to them for generation after generation. Faith. Family. Traditions like hunting. And they get frustrated.”

For a candidate who has been outspoken about faith, religion has created hurdles for his campaign. Just a few months ago, he was squelching rumors about whether he was a Muslim and in March, he was defending his pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It'll be interesting to see whether he addresses these recent remarks at Sunday's Compassion Forum at Messiah College.

The audio of his Sunday statement is available below:'

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliv ... _clin.html


Footnote 3. (Coming soon.) “The hard-right, which still believes in traditional values.. strong foreign policy.. all that’s over." -- Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)

http://seeingredaz.wordpress.com/2009/0 ... hats-over/


Footnote 4. (Coming soon.)

http://nicedeb.wordpress.com/2009/04/08 ... an-nation/

http://www.theminorityreportblog.com/st ... y_are_over


Footnote 5. (Coming soon.)

United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 551 (1876)

[Cruikshank and others were tried under the Civil Rights Act of 1870 for lynching two blacks. The Act barred people for conspiracy to "prevent or hinder [a person's] free exercise and enjoyment of any right or privilege granted or secured to him by the constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having exercised the same." The charges included, among other things, that the defendants conspired to interfere with the victims' rights to peaceably assemble and to keep and bear arms. The Court threw out the indictment, saying:]

The first and ninth counts state the intent of the defendants to have been to hinder and prevent the citizens named in the free exercise and enjoyment of their "lawful right and privilege to peaceably assemble together with each other and with other citizens of the United States for a peaceful and lawful purpose." . In fact, it is, and always has been, one of the attributes of citizenship under a free government. The right of the people peaceably to assemble for lawful purposes existed long before the adoption of the Constitution of the United States

It "derives its source," to use the language of Chief Justice Marshall, in Gibbons v. Ogden, "from those laws whose authority is acknowledged by civilized man throughout the world." It is found wherever civilization exists. It was not, therefore, a right granted to the people by the Constitution. The government of the United States when established found it in existence, with the obligation on the part of the States to afford it protection. As no direct power over it was granted to Congress, it remains, according to the ruling in Gibbons v. Ogden, subject to State jurisdiction. Only such existing rights were committed by the people to the protection of Congress as came within the general scope of the authority granted to the national government.

The first amendment to the Constitution prohibits Congress from abridging "the right of the people to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." This, like the other amendments proposed and adopted at the same time, was not intended to limit the powers of the State governments in respect to their own citizens, but to operate upon the National government alone. It is now too late to question the correctness of this construction. As was said by the late Chief Justice, in Twitchell v. The Commonwealth, "the scope and application of these amendments are no longer subjects of discussion here." They left the authority of the States just where they found it, and added nothing to the already existing powers of the United States.

The particular amendment now under consideration assumes the existence of the right of the people to assemble for lawful purposes, and protects it against encroachment by Congress. The right was not created by the amendment; neither was its continuance guaranteed, except as against congressional interference. For their protection in its enjoyment, therefore, the people must look to the States. The power for that purpose was originally placed there, and it has never been surrendered to the United States.

The right of the people peaceably to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a redress of grievances, or for any thing else connected with the powers or the duties of the national government, is an attribute of national citizenship, and, as such, under the protection of, and guaranteed by, the United States. The very idea of a government, republican in form, implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs and to petition for a redress of grievances. If it had been alleged in these counts that the object of the defendants was to prevent a meeting for such a purpose, the case would have been within the statute, and within the scope of the sovereignty of the United States. Such, however, is not the case. The offence, as stated in the indictment, will be made out, if it be shown that the object of the conspiracy was to prevent a meeting for any lawful purpose whatever.

The second and tenth counts are equally defective. The right there specified is that of "bearing arms for a lawful purpose." This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress. This is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government, leaving the people to look for their protection against any violation by their fellow-citizens of the rights it recognizes, to what is called, in The City of New York v. Miln, the "powers which relate to merely municipal legislation, or what was, perhaps, more properly called internal police," "not surrendered or restrained" by the Constitution of the United States.

http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/2amteach ... .HTM#TOC13


Footnote 6. (Coming soon.) ' On February 1, 1993, The Washington Post got into a heap of PR trouble after reporter Michael Weisskopf wrote in a news story that followers of the Christian Right are "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command."

On Sunday, Los Angeles Times editorial page editor Michael Kinsley revisits that infamous quotation, but gets it wrong. Kinsley first confuses "followers of the Christian Right" with "evangelical Christians" (they are not interchangable) and then gives the quote (twice, and in quotation marks, no less) as "poor, undereducated and easily led." '

http://www.nationalcenter.org/2005/07/p ... mmand.html


Of course, a great deal depends on how "education" is defined. The "anti-intellectualism" -- the problem with "education" many on the ideological Right are so often accused of -- stems not from any objection to knowledge and learning per se. The question we have is, what are they teaching in the schools these days? To us, a lot of what passes for "education" now is just indoctrination, propaganda, nearly all of it anti-American and anti-Western and anti-Christian.

Much of it is informed or saturated by a denial of the validity and even existence of human reason, and even a denial of the existence of any sort of objective reality at all, much less any absolute truth or moral absolutes. "Two-plus-two-equals-five, if the Party says so"-kind of stuff. "Don't confuse us with mere facts. Facts, reason, truth, reality -- those are all outmoded patriarchal concepts, clung to now only by embittered racist-sexist-homophobes and xenophobes."


I'll bet they still think the only problem we of what Schumer calls the "hard Right" had with (Bill) Clinton was that Monica Lewinsky business. I'll bet they all think we'd be fine with everything Obama is doing or proposing to do, if only he were a white guy. :brood: Yeah, that's why we elected for Al Gore and John Kerry (not).

Well, if they want to believe we little people are stupid, simple, easily swayed, led, and bought off, maybe it is to our advantage to let them go on thinking so. As Mephistopheles said to Dr. Faustus, when Faustus said he thought Hell as a fable: "Aye, think so still, till experience change thy mind." (I refer here to the 1590s Christopher Marlowe play, not the Goethe novel, which I have not read.)


DWM
"It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun." -- Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim(1899?)
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby friendofbill » 12 Apr 2009, 21:26

II want to discuss the divergence of views regarding the reliability of sources on news, history, politics, hermeneutics, and the Church. For example, the Jesus seminar workers do not think of the Evangelists as reliable sources, but as spin doctors, manipulators, etc, pretending to honesty but acting out of base motives.


I am curious: why do you say this? I have read extensively in the work of the Jesus Seminar, and do not find this to be so; you must be referring to some documents I have not read. They hold (I think correctly) that the authorship assigned to the Gospels is questionable: this is because they were written so long after the fact that the persons identified as the authors were probably dead by the time the books were written. They are thus compliations of oral tradition, subject to the same laws of variation and change as any oral tradition, or for that matter anything that all passed down by word of mouth. Until very late -- proabably 80-90 AD -- the only writings were the letters of Paul. The early church saw no need for written Gospels, believing as they did that the return of Jesus would happen within their lifetime.

However, no Jesus Seminar scholar has ever suggested, that I know of, that the intent of the Gospel writers was "pretending to honsety but acting out of base motives." For clarification on this, you might study the introduction to The Five Gospels, in which the JS scholars explain exactly what they are doing and by what principles they operated in translating and commentating upon the Gospels.

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Re: Reliable sources

Postby cyranorox » 13 Apr 2009, 17:36

RE: Gospels. you make my point: OC scholars and some western ones do accept John's authorship.
Moreover, JS or other scholars, considering these documents to be products of social elements, subject to the vicissitudes of oral transmission, silently assert that the supernatural content is invalid.

While I do not hold that these are divine dictations in the manner of the Quran, I do believe, as does the Church, that the writings are those of men with prophetic sight [able to see some future events], thus knocking out arguments for late dating based on historical knowledge.

I have certainly read articles or passages wherein the JS people mark Dominical saynings as probable, improbable, impossible [or similar words for these categories] based on their assumptions about the Incarnation and the possibilty of the miraculous. The pieces marked as invalid, impossible, etc, are then assessed as editorializing. Since this represents a choice and a decision, it must be the editors'; since it is not original, it must be made up. At points they go farther; it is made up in order to support some point of doctrine they hold on other evidence. This is the dishonesty to which i referred, and the basis of my assertion that they treat the writers as unreliable sources.
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby cyranorox » 13 Apr 2009, 18:06

RE:
:: A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books, shall not be infringed."

Now, would you read that to mean that only the well-educated -- say, those holding advanced university degrees -- who are also registered to vote, may keep and read books? Or that the only reason even those well-educated voters (as opposed to the people as a whole) may keep and read books is because the government, the State, considers a well-educated electorate to be necessary for its security -- and that, thgerefore, if the State should ever decide that a well-educated electorate is no longer necessary to its security or survival, the State can abolish the right to keep and read books?::

Both statements are forms of If a, then B. Is it a fair analogy? some states have banned certain books. But all rights are not equal.

::would you read that to mean that only the well-educated -- say, those holding advanced university degrees -- who are also registered to vote, may keep and read books?::

You actually misread your example: it says that, because a well-ed electorate etc, we will not ban books, but it does not say who the electorate is, nor who has the franchise, nor what education consists of.
I take the parallel you want is that if only well-ed etc should have books, gun ownership s/b limited to some qualified group; if everyone s/b allowed the books, everyone s/b allowed the guns. Since I dont think you've written this to limit books to a group, I don't buy it. It would provide that if and when a well-ed electorate was not found to be necessary to the security of a free state, that government might restrict the right to have books. For books, that is a bad idea, but that does not bear on the question about guns.

Guns are not like books. They are more like cars, drugs, or brake work, for which you need licence, registration, tests, insurance, maintenance, etc. Not everyone may drive a car. Not everyone can prescribe a drug; not everyone can work on your brakes. Not everyone should have a gun. Those who want to set up as militia [with appropriate governance from the real military] may, insofar as they need to, bear arms. The business about machine guns, automatic guns, etc does not matter much to me. The issue for me is concealability: I am actually quite liberal on the issue of ownership of long, unconcealable weapons.

I've often said that men who feel the need for concealable guns, not in the course of their work, feel an excessive fear of their fellow man. Therefore, cards s/b issued permitting such men to carry concealed weapons. The card should be clearly marked Coward. I don't have as big a problem with women carrying concealed weapons, though it's a bad idea, so their cards could say Fearful. Only card-carrying Cowards and Fearful would be allowed to carry concealed weapons.
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby archenland_knight » 13 Apr 2009, 19:19

Cyranorox wrote:I've often said that men who feel the need for concealable guns, not in the course of their work, feel an excessive fear of their fellow man. Therefore, cards s/b issued permitting such men to carry concealed weapons. The card should be clearly marked Coward.


I was going to stay out of this because it is so obviously argumentative. But you can't just go around calling people "Cowards" because they don't share your views any more than you can call them "traitors" because they don't vote for the same party as you.

You say that such people "feel an excessive fear of their fellow man". What gives you the right to determine how much fear is "excessive"? There are some neighorhoods in some cities which are so dangerous that to enter them unarmed is not "courageous" but merely foolish.

What you call "excessive fear" they would see merely as being "realistic". The attitude you have they would see as "pacifist". What makes you so all-fired certain your attitude is the correct one that you feel you can call those with a different view "cowards". And what makes you think their desire to pack heat is motivated by fear rather than a simple desire to see that evil not be perpetrated against themselves or others.

In fact, to me it seems that what you are suggesting is, in fact, Pacifism, not "courage". And to my mind, Pacifism is the position of lesser courage. Pasifism is the fear, not of being killed or injured, but of making a hard choice, making the hard choice to decide to harm or kill another human being. The pasifist fears making that call, fears always that he will be wrong in doing so, and therefore can not make it.

There is a difference between "fear" and determination to see that evil people are stopped. And you have no evidence whatsoever that merely packing a little heat constitutes "excessive" fear.
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby deadwhitemale » 13 Apr 2009, 21:00

"Guns are not like books." -- Cyranorox

‘Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?’
-- attributed to Josef Stalin

"Behind this mask is not a man but an idea, and ideas are bullet-proof." -- V (in V For Vendetta)


How to define cowardice and courage is an interesting line of study.

Once, before going out on the town in late-1940s or early-1950s Los Angeles, a man (not a policeman) tucked a heavy pistol inside his waistband. His father-in-law became aware of his armed condition, and made an issue of it. Upon being asked why he was going armed, he replied that, well, L.A. was a tough town, and it was better to be safe than sorry.

"You must be terribly afraid," said his father-in-law.

"On the contrary," came the reply. "Now I am all set."

Raymond Chandler's fictional private detective Phillip Marlowe (aso a denizen of L.A.), upon being asked why he carried a concealed revolver, replied "It's mostly just part of my clothes. I hardly ever shoot anyone with it."

Some people -- mostly fictional characters ( e.g., Batman, Rorschach, Dashiell Hammett's San Francisco private eye Sam Spade, et al.), but I suppose a few in real life -- are so naturally gifted with strength, quickness, and ruthlessness, or so well-schooled, that they really can cope with a reat deal of personal violence with their bare hands or whatever happens to be lying about, perhaps reserving a heavy stick for the real hard cases. I imagine Mike Tyson, or even George Foreman, maybe even Chuck Norris, could still defend himself pretty well against any one or two ordinary muggers, without recourse to a pistol. So could the late Bruce Lee, probably. Most of us are not so gifted, and must occasionally seek technological asistance.

I myself am nothing special physically. I suppose I was reasonably fit once, thirty-odd years ago. At least I was good at doing exercises. But I was never very good at boxing or wrestling or any sort of Asian unarmed fighting system. I had no special natural talent or knack for pistol-fighting either, but after much study and practice, occurring over a preposterously long period of time, I eventually became reasonably competent, at least good enough to pass a police qualification course easily, and perhaps a bit better than that. And I was not a policeman either. Nor was anyone paying me to do it (except for a time or two when someone hired me to stand guard over a tent full of souveneirs or something).

I find this remark curious:

"I've often said that men who feel the need for concealable guns, not in the course of their work, feel an excessive fear of their fellow man."

I often encounter the conscious or unconscious assumption that only being paid to do a thing makes that thing legitimate. "But it's not your job!" (to do this or that), they cry. On this reasoning, the only legitimate sex would be prostitution.

Anyway, I do have a little plastic card issued by my state of residence (and provisionally recognized in some other states with "reciprocity agreements") which doesn't say "COWARD" on it, but does say I am licensed to carry concealed weapons. Not just a concealed pistol, but any of a variety of non-firearms as well, at least in my own state. The other "reciprocal" states tend to limit the privilege to handguns only, not recognizing the license as covering edged or blunt impact weapons, though one can usually get away with a stout cane or walking stick. I even have a special "unbreakable" umbrella I paid too much for.

But though it is generally legal for me to do so (within certain limits), I virtually never go armed in public anymore. This has nothing to do with the law or with any conversion to pacifism. It's mostly because of certain "lifestyle" factors I have had to contend with in recent years, chiefly what might be called "wardrobe issues." More simply, for some time it has been impractical for me to routinely "dress for concealment." I mean I just can't normally wear enough clothes anymore to do a good job of concealing a serious weapon while retaining reasonably quick access to it. For a while I continued to sport a heavy walking stick or cane, but have even had to give that up, on account of there being no good way to transport the thing in the car I've had for two years now.

I am very far from being one of those people who think "I need not watch my step because God would never let anything bad happen to a good person like me." But, for the time being, I have no choice but to rely on God's protection, or what some might call luck. This makes me uneasy. For one thing, I don't remember God ever promising to be my personal bodyguard, no matter how good I might be. Besides that, I'm not very good.

But, back in the day, when I was in constant practice, and did go armed almost routinely, though I was not (usually) employed to do so (at last not by any government), was I a coward? Any more than before or since, that is? I honestly couldn't say. :undecided: I make no claim to any more courage than the next guy. I may even have a bit less, if one factors in a set of odd phobias (guns not being among them; my usual reaction to having guns pointed at me is more annoyance than alarm).

I do indeed perceive the world as a dark and dangerous place. I think I came by this view honestly, not only from experience and direct observation of many dastardly things, but through considerable study of the matter as well. (Probably no one person's direct experience is extensive enough to base his entire philosophy of life on.)

I am inclined to believe that the line between what might be called heroism and what might be called cowardice is a fine one -- that "there's not the thickness of a piece of paper between them." And that the same man may waver back and forth between the two at different times. Even a man who is not a coward in general may have his particular fear or fears.

I fear that I did not make another point of mine clear: that natural rights are something people just inherently have, rather than something the government can grant or withhold, create or abolish. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights were designed to limit the power of the government, not the people. Those documents did not create our rights; they assumed them -- assumed that they pre-existed the Constitution and did not depend upon that document for their existence.

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." - V (in V For Vendetta)

A sentiment which seems to paraphrase something Thomas Jefferson said: "When the people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty." (That may be a slight misquote, but it's pretty close.)


"One can never have too many books, too many wines, or too much ammunition." -- Unknown, but probably the late Jeff Cooper (1920-2006) (he had a great deal to say about these and other subjects) Here he is again, circa 1996:

"The conclusions seem inescapable that in certain circles a tendency has arisen to fear people who fear government. Government, as the Father of Our Country put it so well, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. People who understand history, especially the history of government, do well to fear it. For a people to express openly their fear of those who are afraid of tyranny is alarming. Fear of the state is in no sense subversive. It is, to the contrary, the healthiest political philosophy for a free people."


DWM
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby archenland_knight » 13 Apr 2009, 22:10

Excellent post DWM. I too, seldom go armed in public, though I have been known to pack heat on my own property when there was reason. Funny thing about Virginia and several other states though:

While getting a concealed carry permit is not unreasonably difficult, Virigina (and other Southern States) don't actually require such a permit to carry a handgun. As long as your firearm is clearly visible from 3 sides, you may carry it without a permit. Of course, certain buildings and facilities may still prohibit them.

In other words, tucking a .22 caliber pistol in your pocket without a permit is a crime. Strapping a .45 semi-auto to your hip where everyone can see it and walking down the street is not.

In Virginia, it is the concealment without a permit, rather than the actual carrying, that is the crime.

I believe TN and WV are the same.
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby cyranorox » 13 Apr 2009, 22:22

Well, you see I don't agree with Stalin, so that's a start. The Coward card is just a thought experiment, and I do think that carrying concealed firearms is evidence of excessive fear. That's an opinion, of course.

I carry no weapon, and am not a trained fighter, but I have faced deadly force and lived to tell, without using a weapon. I did face three men at once, one fine evening; I've faced a gun; I've been followed by a pair of thugs on foot all across town; my car has been bumped and pushed on the road, actually an assault with deadly weapon. I do know some defensive moves, but most of it is keeping control of the geometry, not being trapped by one's habitual openness, etc.

I never try to shoot ideas.
You may note that in V, the government is brought down by, not bullets, not explosives, nor even knives, but by everyone showing up at a given time, in the same hat, in silence: effectively, a general strike, albeit a more poetic one than usual. governments are right to fear that; here and now, if most of us show up one monday at nine on the streets, in quiet, the govermnent will wet its pants.
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby archenland_knight » 13 Apr 2009, 22:47

cyranorox wrote:if most of us show up one monday at nine on the streets, in quiet, the govermnent will wet its pants.


It didn't work so well in Tiananmen Square. The government may or may not have wet it's pants, but then it proceeded to bust heads and knock the populace back into place.

If we all show up one Monday at Nine, what's to keep them from simply gunning us down ... unless of course we posess the means to shoot back?
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby JRosemary » 13 Apr 2009, 23:57

Hey AK,

You may get a laugh out of this. A friend of mine moved from Jersey to Virginia a couple of years back. Like a good Jersey boy, he called up the proper authorities to register his reproduction Rev. War muskets.

"You want to register black powder weapons?" the official asked in disbelief. "You're in Virginia now, boy!"

Then the official hung up on my friend. =P
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby cyranorox » 14 Apr 2009, 00:24

No concealed guns might have saved the Tienanmen protesters; what are you going to do against tanks? But against that, consider Rachel Corey, who stood unarmed against a killer machine driven by a killer. Pacifism, done right, does require courage, because it expects to take casualties.

There is not currently a political position for which I am ready to die. If there were, it's likeliest to be standing up for the city or nation, against the sorts of people likeliest to point a gun at it. If you were to want to enter city hall, with a gun, and I to stand before the door unarmed, forbidding it, what would you do? If you had sat in the tank at Tienanmen, what would you have done? the man with the gun is the brother of the man unarmed; as the culture moves, he must move a little, unaware. If he is moved enough to be unwilling to fire, enough of him, enough of the time, then the unarmed have won.
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Re: Reliable sources

Postby archenland_knight » 14 Apr 2009, 04:25

Cyranorox wrote:who stood unarmed against a killer machine driven by a killer.


No, he did not. He stood unarmed against machine which had the potential to be used for either good or evil. To refer to a construction of metal and fuel as a "killer" is foolishness. A machine does only what it's human operator instructs it to do. A tank, a gun, or a hammer can be used to take life or to save it, depending on the human operating it.

And to call the man driving it a "killer" is not only offensive, but obviously a lie. Had the man been a "killer", he would not have applied the breaks and stopped the tank. The mere fact that he did not just run the unarmed man over proves beyond any doubt that he was, in fact, no killer. Just because someone belongs to a military force does not make them a killer and to suggest other wise merely demonstrates predjudice and bigotry.

In fact, it is the driver of the tank I credit with courage, for surely he feared that court-martial awaited him, that his family might suffer for his actions, and that he might face punishments that made death look like leave time in Shanghai. But he decided, in defiance of his orders, not to take an innocent human life. To call him a "killer" is grossly unjust and slanderous, and frankly you owe that man an apology.

cyranorox wrote:Pacifism, done right, does require courage, because it expects to take casualties.


Sure. It expects to take physical casualties. But the worst thing a pacifist has to face is death or pain.

But there are things much harder to decide than whether or not to die. The signers of the Declaration of Independence made that decision when they decided, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

They were willing to loose far more than just their lives. Pacifists never have to make that decision.

Cyranorox wrote:If you were to want to enter city hall, with a gun, and I to stand before the door unarmed, forbidding it, what would you do?


Well, since guns are forbidden in most city halls, I would thank you for reminding me that I was carrying one, locate the proper place to secure my gun, and then enter unarmed. If, however, I were trying to enter a building where my gun was permitted and you did this, I would simply inform the local police that someone was breaking the law by obstructing entry and allow them to drag you out of the way, probably in cuffs. After all, what business do you have violating my rights in this fashion.

To violate someone else's rights in the way that you suggest clearly puts you in the wrong.

I will warn you that if you try such a thing in SouthWestern Virginia, or anywhere in Alabama, you are very likely to get the stuffing beat out of you by one ... or more ... angry rednecks. Honestly, my sympathies lie with with my fellow rednecks. If I see some "good ol' boy" beating you senseless, I will attempt to pull him off of you, mostly to keep him out of jail. But some of these farm boys are strong. I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull him off of you.

Of course, I won't use my gun on you. To shoot someone, or to use any other type of lethal force, requires that the other person pose a geniune threat to someone else's life or well being. In Virginia, you are allowed to use lethal force to prevent sexual assault, and I would have no problem doing that. Clearly, none of your proposed actions fall in those categories.

But, to prevent someone from entering a building which they have a legal right to enter is clearly against the law, and makes you the one violating the person's rights. Don't expect me to bail you out of jail.

But I am letting myself get distracted on a tangent. You are probably asking what would a genuine criminal with genuine murderous intent were to attempt to enter the courthouse or other building, and you did you did your pacifist act for him.

I'll tell you what such a person will do. He will shoot you. He will, in the vernacular of the streets, "Pop a cap in yo' insert another word for donkey here." If, however, I am there, and I have my gun, I will do my very best to shoot him before he shoots you.

Cyranorox wrote:There is not currently a political position for which I am ready to die.


Just wait. There will be soon. I'm almost certain.

cyranorox wrote:If you had sat in the tank at Tienanmen, what would you have done? the man with the gun is the brother of the man unarmed; as the culture moves, he must move a little, unaware. If he is moved enough to be unwilling to fire, enough of him, enough of the time, then the unarmed have won.


It worked in for the fellow standing in front of the tank because the fellow driving the tank was already sympathetic enough to the cause not to flatten him. The soldier didn't "move" ... he was already in a place in his heart, had most likely been all his life, where he simply could not squash an unarmed man. The civlian survived because a descent human being, a hero willing to defy his commanders in fact, was driving the tank.

But what do you do when the man driving the tank really is a killer, when he is the sort who is not troubled by running over an unarmed civilian? Had one of those been driving the tank, the name of that unarmed civilian would never have been known. He would have been scraped off the pavement once the protest was crushed.

cyranorox wrote:No concealed guns might have saved the Tienanmen protesters; what are you going to do against tanks?


Precisely why the Second Amendment exists. A "well-regulated militia" is supposed to be a group of armed citizens which operate seperately from the military and are capable of opposing it if necessary. Which means it must be legal for them to own more than simply small arms. It need not be rocket launchers (though, technically, I believe them to be covered by the Second Amendment). Those are really "too much" to use in an urban environment. You wind up trashing the very city you mean to save and/or liberate. However, a .50 caliber machine gun with armor piercing rounds should do the job nicely. If you're lucky, you might even be able to repair a tank you've disabled and get it running for your side. Although, with the electronics on an American tank, this is highly unlikely.

A Chinese tank though ... that you can repair with a ratchet set and a welding torch. I think I own almost everything I need to work on a Chinese tank. And yes ... my ratchet set has metric sockets. :wink:

cyranorox wrote:If you had sat in the tank at Tienanmen, what would you have done?


I believe that the worst thing a nation can do is to deploy military force against it's own citizens. I would accept court-martial before I manned a tank against my own countrymen. (Which is why I consider Lincoln's actions in the Civil War to have been absolutely deplorable.) I realize that at times The National Guard has been needed to stop a riot, but the goal there is to use non-leathal force to prevent violence, not to perpetrate it.

But we're not talking about what would happen if I were manning the tank, because I am not likely to be that fellow. To ask what I would do is irrelevant and pointless. If everyone manning the tanks were like me and we were ordered to attack our own countrymen, we would be more likely to use our tanks to overthrow the government giving the order ... or die in the attempt. (The latter is more likely once the Mig's show up.)

We are talking about what happens if someone else is manning that tank because there are many people not like me. The unarmed civilian in Tienanmen was very fortunate. There are many people who would have simply run him over. The question that should be asked is what would have happen if one of those people had been manning the tank.

cyranorox wrote:If he is moved enough to be unwilling to fire, enough of him, enough of the time, then the unarmed have won.


Unless, of course, the "he" in question is not a person who can be moved to be unwilling to fire. Then he simply gets fed up and kills all the unarmed pacifists. It's happened before. It will happen again.

Make no mistake, what happened in Europe in the 1930's and 40's can happen again. And the more people who believe it can't ... the more people who believe they can stop evil with butterflies and flowers, the sooner it will happen again.

JRose wrote:"You want to register black powder weapons?" the official asked in disbelief. "You're in Virginia now, boy!"


Do you mean that in New Jersey you have to register black powder weapons! :stunned: :brood: That is soooooo wrong. :angry:

So, the first time he saw black powder weapons in Wal-Mart, what was his reaction?

In fact, I don't know what Wal-Marts are like in New Jersey, but all the Wal-Marts here have pretty fair selections of rifles and shotguns, not just black powder. They don't sell handguns though.

I have never bought a gun there, but I have bought a fairly significant amount of ammunition.
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