Liberals, since liberals began, have expected progress: that the world our children enjoy will be better than the one we enjoy. Throughout the western world (where liberalism thrived) they were right (with temporary setbacks in times of war).
In North America, this liberalism was associated with the political left. In Canada, the dominant leftist party even calls itself Liberal despite the fact that its economic policies (some combination of Socialism, Progressivism or moderate compromise) are never liberal. Somewhere along the way American “Liberals” lost the optimism of liberalism. The progressives began to deny that progress was possible.
By 2010, the world had lived through 40 years of material progress like the world has never known. The secret was not revolutionary. All that was required was a time when most of the world experienced peace, free-ish trade, and a rest from the tyrants and communists.
In 1978 Alexandr Solzhenitsyn delivered a most famous speech at Harvard commencement. As a famous soviet dissident, he was expected to criticize the Soviet Union. He did: in a way that leaves few of us innocent.
Defensive gun usage (DGU) is about 30 times as common as the commonly cited NCVS figure. You’ll often hear that there are 70,000 DGU per year. Gary Kleck challenged that claim as far back as twenty years ago. Now we see that the CDC had major survey data dating back to 1996 from which we can infer that Kleck was too modest. 2.5 million DGU per year is more likely.
How can a study by a reputable organization be that far off? The linked article explains it well enough: it was never intended to be a study of DGU. It lays out three or four reasons but the one I find most memorable goes like this: the majority of DGU (and the best ones) are where the intended victim pulls a gun and the attacker leaves the scene with no violence and no retribution. But because the only crime is too minor to report, it never enters the statistics.
The graphic to the left links to a Huffington Post article that takes this fallacy to the cartoonish extreme. (paraphrased)
“[DGU] is rare”! Criminals kill people with guns 37 times as often as an innocent DGU goes horribly wrong and the intended victim actually kills the attacker.
Left unremarked is every interaction where no-one dies (and a good number of scenarios where someone does).
(longer, fuller fact-filled gun policy article here)
(Apr’19) defensive knife usage that doesn’t make the HuffPo criteria: “That’s not a knife.”
(July’19) A couple of illustrations of defensive uses.
Posted in Uncategorized
People rightly ask, how could I make the world a better place? And them sometimes people despair of the world we currently have and instead ask, if I could design from scratch a society of my own, how would I design a community that would make a better world? High social cohesion? Shared goals? Powerful motivation?
Every time I think through the problem, it seems that the most important factor is the will of the participants. The whole project looks futile unless I can get people who are willing to do for others the good things they wish others would do for them. The thing is, even the Mormons couldn’t make it work. Neither could the Puritans.
Jonah Goldberg argues that the healthy, modern civilization is unnatural, not far from Hobbes’s assertion that the natural life is nasty, brutish and short. Civilization is unnatural and corruption, like rust, is what naturally happens to every good institution. Something happened about 300 years ago that gave us an unnatural world of full bellies, sanitation, medicine, and human rights which he calls “the Miracle”.
When people say that the government or the nation is — or should be — like a family (or a military unit or any other microcosmic group), they argue for erasing everything that enables the Miracle. But that is what people crave today.
This is all to introduce his new book, “The Suicide of the West“. He says large factions on all sides are like the farmer who killed the golden goose.
When the goose politely demurs, he kills it out of a sense of entitlement — the opposite of gratitude.
The Miracle is our goose. And rather than be grateful for it, our schools, our culture, and many of our politicians say we should resent it for not doing more. Conservatism is a form of gratitude, because we conserve only what we are grateful for. Our society is talking itself out of gratitude for the Miracle and teaching our children resentment. Our culture affirms our feelings as the most authentic sources of truth when they are merely the expressions of instincts, and considers the Miracle a code word for white privilege, greed, and oppression.
This is corruption. And it is a choice. Collectively, we are embracing entitlement over gratitude. That is suicidal. I did not call my book “Decline of the West” or “Death of the West,” because suicide is a choice.
A quick overview of double standards: left and right.
J Ishiro Finney has a message for young men:
The bodies aren’t even cold yet and already you are being blamed. …
…We don’t solve problems anymore. We cry, we pray for, we seek to find closure, and then finally, slaughter a sacrificial lamb for our sins. … the lamb America has chosen to sacrifice is you. …
“Toxic white masculinity: The killer that haunts American life”
… to the boys and young men of America, believe me when I say it isn’t you who should be apologizing for the state of our world today. This mess was set in motion long before you were born.
You are not bad.
You are not broken.
You are not inherently evil or a sexual abuser in waiting.
You are boys who were robbed of your right to be men.
All your life you’ve been told to act, think, and behave like women. To suppress your passions, your pride, your need to compete and drive to achieve.
Now society is crumbling around us.
Feminizing boys didn’t make better men. It’s resulted in…
It’s a meditation on the problem and a word of encouragement.