Archive for the ‘History’ Category

D-Day

Posted: June 6, 2014 by ShortTimer in History, Music, United States Army, US Military

70 years ago.

Midway

Posted: June 5, 2014 by ShortTimer in History, Music, Navy, US Military

72 years ago.

Or for a much shorter power metal summary:

It would seem that no advanced civilization has yet developed without a government which saw its chief aim in the protection of private property, but that again and again the further evolution and growth to which this gave rise was halted by “strong” government.

Governments strong enough to protect individuals against the violence of their fellows make possible the evolution of an increasingly complex order of spontaneous and voluntary cooperation.

Sooner or later, however, they tend to abuse that power and to suppress the freedom they had earlier secured in order to enforce their own presumedly greater wisdom and not to allow “social institutions to develop in a haphazard manner” (to take a characteristic expression that is found under the heading ‘social engineering’ in the Fontana/Harper Dictionary of Modern Thought (1977)).

- F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism

Hayek

He begins this discussion in Chapter 2 of the book and references classical antiquity and the trading societies surrounding the Mediterranean as a prime example of nations that went through that rise and decline, but as noted, modern society is going through much the same thing.  The Anointed, to borrow Thomas Sowell’s phrase, know better and begin to “nudge” society where they want it to go.  As Jonah Goldberg noted, American totalitarianism and government control comes with a smiley face, though they’re making pseudo-erudite academic arguments for more outright thuggery.

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”

- Thomas Jefferson

Mikhail Kalashnikov Dead at 94

Posted: December 24, 2013 by ShortTimer in Guns, History
Tags:

mikhail kalashnikov

Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the Avtomat Kalashnikov rifle, dead at 94 on Dec 23, 2013.

The former Soviet tanker was quoted at one point as saying:

“Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer.  I always wanted to construct agricultural machinery.”

He was also often quoted for saying that he didn’t mind having designed the world’s most prolific rifle as he did it to keep his homeland safe.

Remember

Posted: December 7, 2013 by ShortTimer in History, Never Forget, US Military

uss arizona pearl harbor

The Cost Of Defeat

Posted: June 21, 2013 by ShortTimer in Afghanistan, Government, History, US Military
Tags:

Afghanistan has pretty much now become the sequel to Vietnam.

We won every battle in Vietnam, had the NVA on their heels, utterly destroyed the North Vietnamese during the Tet Offensive, but it went down in history as a loss due to the political will to fight disappearing.

In Afghanistan, we did the same – victory after victory until politicians started meddling with the war and hamstringing rules of engagement until the political will to fight evaporated.

And now we’re leaving.  We got a little bit of payback and some experience at the cost of lost lives and limbs and blood and years that we can’t get back.

And now we’re leaving behind $7,000,000,000 worth of equipment.

The end of a war brings its own logistical challenges.  Getting the troops home from the theater of war takes plenty of planning, especially in an environment still significantly unsecure, as in Afghanistan (and in Iraq, for that matter), but the question of retrieving heavy equipment is even more complicated.  With the drawdown date set by Barack Obama approaching, the Pentagon has decided to scrap billions of dollars in equipment rather than deal with the logistical and economic consequences of retrieval:

Facing a tight withdrawal deadline and tough terrain, the U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of vehicles and other military equipment as it rushes to wind down its role in the Afghanistan war by the end of 2014.

The massive disposal effort, which U.S. military officials call unprecedented, has unfolded largely out of sight amid an ongoing debate inside the Pentagon about what to do with the heaps of equipment that won’t be returning home. Military planners have determined that they will not ship back more than $7 billion worth of equipment — about 20 percent of what the U.S. military has in Afghanistan — because it is no longer needed or would be too costly to ship back home.

Not only is it a waste in lives, but now it’s a waste in materiel.

We’ve done this before after WWII, and it was a waste then (though at least we recycled some of it).

destroyed p38s after ww2

Here’s an idea – let private industry bring back that equipment.

Humvees and MTVRs sold on the open market may pay the cost of shipping back to the US, as well as quadcons and empty hescos and the piles and piles of equipment that are still worth something.

Since we ignored MacArthur’s maxim “There is no substitute for victory” and decided that some kind of withdrawal without victory is acceptable, at least we should take the time to bring back our stuff.

Otherwise we may as well just run this photo again:

fall of saigon helicopter

Making it viral from The Right Scoop:

From the description:

Louisiana Senator Elbert Guillory (R-Opelousas) explains why he recently switched from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party. He discusses the history of the Republican Party, founded as an Abolitionist Movement in 1854. Guillory talks about how the welfare state is only a mechanism for politicians to control the black community.

I’m in the process of reading Michael Lee Lanning’s “Inside the LRRPs – Rangers in Vietnam”.  It’s a good book, and nestled in the middle of Chapter 6: The Men With Painted Faces, where he discusses how LRRPs recruited their men and officers, is this quote:

While colleges and universities were a prime source of officers for all of the services, they also were a haven for those more interested in maintaining their draft-exempt status than in education itself.  The length of the Vietnam War and this draft loophole produced America’s most-educated generation, as students stayed in college past undergraduate level to earn masters, doctorates, law degrees, or anything to remain deferred until the magical age of twenty-six, when a young man was no longer draft eligible.

It’s stated so succinctly that it encapsulates and explains a major leftist swing in academia.

Those who stayed on for years and years in college were often those who sought to elude the draft, who hated the war (though many were fine with war for their own causes), and who thought they were more intelligent than those around them.  Certainly years and years in academia resulted in increased knowledge, even if it was devoid of wisdom or experience necessary to frame that knowledge.  They hated the war, yet they would ultimately side with LBJ and his “Great Society” social experiments as they became the educated ruling class.   They decided they knew, and now know, what’s best for everyone else.

With degrees and experience, they could get into government jobs, with their education – a luxury just a few decades before, they could now take the lead in society with their papered cleverness.  Those who stayed in academia then set the tone for future generations of leftist academics.

It becomes crystal clear in retrospect that so many of our nation’s current problems and things that make traditionalists’, conservatives’, and libertarians’ eyes roll – like a toy gun buyback in California – stem from the fact that our nation’s education system was demographically remade in the late 1960s and early 1970s by people whose defining trait was cowardice.

While it may not be a new revelation, and of course exceptions existed and remain, that trait has stayed dominant into the present day, and permeated education, society and culture.

The preface to this is an article in Salon:

Why are there no libertarian countries? If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?

Short short answer is tyrants, and enabling of tyrants.

It’s the reason why there are still monarchies ruled by hereditary kings, dictatorships, and countries ruled by warlords in the 21st Century.  If we were to look at other countries as examples, then one rapidly finds there are plenty of regimes across the world that, by their existence, then must be “better” by this standard.

It’s not as though there were a shortage of countries to experiment with libertarianism. There are 193 sovereign state members of the United Nations—195, if you count the Vatican and Palestine, which have been granted observer status by the world organization. If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it? Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?

Here’s the problem – a peaceful libertarian state would have to overthrow its old government or have it dissolve.  Or it would have to be left alone.  Or throw off its old government and be left alone on the other side of an ocean.

The United States for roughly the first hundred or so years of the nation was a libertarian nation.  It was a Constitutional republic formed on classic liberal ideas from the enlightenment – the value of the individual and the rights of the individual.  One country did try it, and it succeeded wildly.

Kowloon is one more modern, (if bizarre) example, and it worked, despite being in an area not known for libertarian ideas.  Until China destroyed it.

The welfare state and public education are both schemes cooked up by those who wish to be masters of men – types like Bismarck in Germany who decided that he would bring people closer to the state.  The state that he ruled.

Criminalization of drugs is a decision by rulers to tell people how to live, and impositions on trade are attempts by government to steer economies.

As far as open borders go, no libertarian nation can survive truly open borders, and few libertarians actually want open borders.  A nation without borders is not a nation.  A nation without borders is subject to the political whims of migration as new arrivals bring old ideas and change the political landscape.  You can’t invite in tyrants as full partners into a libertarian world any more than a monarchist could invite a follower of Robespierre.

When you ask libertarians if they can point to a libertarian country, you are likely to get a baffled look, followed, in a few moments, by something like this reply: While there is no purely libertarian country, there are countries which have pursued policies of which libertarians would approve…

He didn’t ask someone who understands what they believe and why.  (As a fun contrast, if you ask someone why they voted for Obama, you’ll get some much more interesting answers.)

And from here the pro-collectivist anti-liberty hit piece descends mostly into drivel.  Why?  Because leftists don’t understand other points of view.  Those who wish to conserve American liberty (Constitutional conservatives, classic liberals/libertarians, and more open-minded traditionalists, even) understand the left, the left does not understand the right.

Lacking any really-existing libertarian countries to which they can point, the free-market right is reduced to ranking countries according to “economic freedom.”

Wholly, totally, completely wrong.  The US up until the advent of socialism’s import around the 1900-1910s is the libertarian country.

And to the “Achilles’ Heel” by EJ Dionne at WaPo:

The ideas of the center-left — based on welfare states conjoined with market economies — have been deployed all over the democratic world, most extensively in the social democratic Scandinavian countries. We also have had deadly experiments with communism, a.k.a Marxism-Leninism.

The Scandinavian countries have been having some major problems with their welfare state as of late.  They also prospered, like all of Europe’s socialist paradises, under the protection of the US’s guidance of NATO.  Otherwise, they’d have all been Soviet satellites, or starved from defense spending to prevent the Soviets from invading.

Libertarians can keep holding up their dream of perfection because, as a practical matter, it will never be tried in full. Even many who say they are libertarians reject the idea when it gets too close to home.

Wrong.  It already has been tried, and it succeeded wildly.

The problem is that a truly libertarian state has to acknowledge that it is a libertarian state, and it does have to make sure its people understand that the benefits of their society come from their freedom.  Politicians who serve decades in power are not eager to tell people that they need to live without the politician.

There used to be politicians who were leaders and who would stand up for the fact that the nation is one created in liberty.  For example – Democrat Grover Cleveland, discussing giving federal disaster aid:

Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character. . . .

- President Grover Cleveland

Such men existed, and such do exist, but it requires breaking the collectivist nonsense that has been spouted for decades and decades by both tyrants who spout it as a means to power, and individuals who bleat it as a means to security at the expense of their own liberty and dignity.

Those who desire to encourage paternal care, or even coercive paternalism and government force against the citizen, actively desire to weaken the sturdiness of national character, because it makes it easier for them to put themselves in power.

But Dionne lines up another swing that misses the point.

…tea party members, as the polls show, are older than the country as a whole. They say they want to shrink government in a big way but are uneasy about embracing this concept when reducing Social Security and Medicare comes up.

They payed in to a system they were forced to pay into.  Government took from them for decades “on their behalf”.  There’s a reason they aren’t keen on shedding programs they paid into.  But younger Tea Partiers would be willing to forgo so-called “Social Security” and live free with the extra money they have – investing it as they wish.

But this inconsistency (or hypocrisy) contains a truth: We had something close to a small-government libertarian utopia in the late 19th century and we decided it didn’t work. We realized that many Americans would never be able to save enough for retirement and, later, that most of them would be unable to afford health insurance when they were old.

Wrong.  “We” didn’t decide that.  Politicians decided that.  Politicians acting outside the scope of the Constitution – in violation of the Constitution – went out and created a program out of whole cloth.  Politicians who promised security told people to trade their liberty, and it worked because the politicians created crises they knew they could exploit.  Politicians worked to weaken the national character for their own ends.

And when the Great Depression engulfed us, government was helpless, largely handcuffed by this anti-government ideology until Franklin D. Roosevelt came along.

And here is the great fiction again.  The Great Depression was caused by the New Deal and FDR.  FDR exacerbated what would have been a jarring market correction, but a market correction nonetheless.  He and his retreads from the Woodrow Wilson administration decided to “mold the world nearer to their heart’s desire” by exploiting a crisis they helped to manufacture.

fabian window

The weakness with libertarianism and the end of the libertarian United States was through the expansion of politicians willing to give people things “for free”.  It was a cultural weakening of national character.  Things like the Curley Effect may be effective, but it’s also destructive.

It just means that a formerly successful nation can be destroyed through manipulation and political dealing.  Just like an athlete can be laid low by a disease, it’s not necessarily the athlete’s fault.

The reason the United States succeeded was because people understood why it succeeded in large part.  The yeoman farmer took pride in his nation, and did his best for that nation, and understood the makeup of that nation.  The welfare recipient who’s been told for generations that their nation is the worst in the world and that it owes them doesn’t care to defend it.

Individual character matters, and individual character creates an free nation.  Individual character that succumbs to collectivism and the misery it produces will create a collectivist nation.

Much of this nation is still libertarian, and succeeding wildly.  Part of this nation is collectivist, and seeking to destroy the rest and control it.

A friend of the blog sent this news story a few days back – from the UK Register:

Plans for fully 3D-printed gun go online next week
The Liberator pistol causes political panic

Defense Distributed, the pending non-profit that plans to make 3D-printed weaponry available for anyone with such a printer, will release the blueprints for a fully-working plastic firearm next week.

The UK Register is pretty open about their bias in the story, which they at least try to make funny, but it’s on the level of McNugget jokes.  But they do point out that Democrats have never seen anything they don’t wish to control.

“Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser,” said Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) in a statement.

“When I started talking about the issue of plastic firearms months ago,” Israel said, “I was told the idea of a plastic gun is science-fiction. Now that this technology appears to be upon us, we need to act now to extend the ban on plastic firearms.”

HotAir today has a story citing that ol’ Chuck Schumer, who’s never met a ban he didn’t like, and demands total control over you groveling peasants who need to kneel before his Ruling Class dictatorial power – because it’s what’s good for you – also wants to ban it.

defense distributed liberator complete via defcad

Bloomberg’s own pet news agency even criticizes Schumer and thinks they need to forget about plastic guns and ban the rest first.

Should we light our hair on fire about plastic guns made with 3D printers?

Too late for Senator Charles Schumer. The combustible New York Democrat is encouraging hysteria over the prospect of criminals using 3D printers to manufacture firearms, possibly to assassinate the president. “We’re facing a situation where anyone—a felon, a terrorist—can open a gun factory in their garage ,and the weapons they make will be undetectable,” Schumer said. “It’s stomach-churning.”

Bloomberg’s own people don’t care about actual criminals, though:

…If you’ve got the skills, you can already make a gun in your basement, and there are less complicated ways to do it than using a $10,000 3D printer and computer set-up. Why would bad guys bother making comic book firearms when they can go online and order anything from a Glock 9 mm pistol to a Bushmaster military-style semiautomatic rifle with 30-round ammunition magazines?

Perhaps the evil doer wouldn’t want to leave a credit-card trail. Then he pays cash at a Main Street gun shop, a weekend gun show, or to the criminal down the block who sells black market firepower from the trunk of his car. Or the crook steals or borrows his gun.

Point being, ban real guns first.  Get the “dangerous ones”, then ban all the rest.

-

The plastic Liberator pistol is a very interesting thing, and not just in its mechanics.

defense distributed liberator parts

Perhaps the most interesting is what’s in the name.  A Russian professor of mine that taught Chekhov explained that Chekhov’s names always were indicative of the character; and names are often very, very important.  Going a very long way back in history, true names were a method to power over someone – either due to knowing someone and being able to identify them in a time before pictures, or out of a very early belief in names as a form of magic.  Here, too, in a very fascinating way, the name was chosen for a reason, and is very indicative of what this pistol really represents.

Here with the plastic Liberator, we have all that liberty and liberation connotates, that this will free the information and free the people to have the tools to arm themselves against tyranny.  We also have its historical antecedent, the FP-45 Liberator pistol:

M1942 liberator pistol

It was made on the cheap, and made to be distributed to resistance fighters.

m1942 liberator pistol with directions

It had abysmal accuracy, but the purpose of the pistol was very specific.

It was made to shoot occupying forces up close and personal.  It was made to shoot Nazi dictator thugs at extreme close range.

Some computer geeks at The Verge yammer on about the convergence between “crypto-anarchists” and guns, but for them, history doesn’t exist before the Palo Alto labs, apparently.

Cyberculture icon Stewart Brand’s famous notion that “information wants to be free” has been an almost ubiquitous refrain ever since utopian-minded hackers began populating computer networks in the 1980s. Today, 3D printing has given the phrase a whole new meaning, allowing raw data to become real world weapons with the click of a button. Cody R. Wilson, the antagonistic founder of Defense Distributed, is taking that idea to its logical — and hugely controversial — extreme.

Except it’s not an extreme at all…

(DefCad’s) his reasoning, he claims, isn’t really about the Second Amendment at all — it’s about technological progress rendering the very concept of gun control meaningless.

“It’s more radical for us,” he told Motherboard in “Click Print Gun,” a recent mini-doc about the dark side of the 3D printing revolution. “There are people all over the world downloading our files and we say ‘good.’ We say you should have access to this. You simply should.”

If this all sounds very similar to the good gospel spread by Brand and advanced by progressives and activists like the late Aaron Swartz, you’re hearing it right. But even without the context of Wilson’s operation, firearms and freedom of information share a strangely similar history, an oft-overlooked ideological confluence between hackers and gun advocates that seems to be gaining momentum.

Except it’s not extreme at all, as guns existed well before computers…

oleg volk before 1934 machinegun by mail

If you go back before 1934, there were no restrictions on guns except if you were black or another wrong color/status.  There were restrictions on people, and that’s what was understood.  Guns aren’t dangerous, criminals are dangerous because they don’t restrict themselves to any laws or social mores.  Guns weren’t dangerous to the people in power, freed black former slaves with guns were dangerous, because guns are tools of power.  Today, as then, it’s not the guns that are dangerous – Schumer and his ilk are surrounded by security with guns and send their kids to schools with guns and will come after you with guns – it’s you being armed that’s dangerous to his power.  Guns are just a tool, as they always have been.

Guns used to be made by smiths, but anyone with access to some basic tools and a bit of skill can make them.  Zip guns have been made out of virtually nothing for decades.  Submachineguns are relatively easy to make, and some famous SMGs were even made in facilities as simple as bicycle shops.

oleg volk sten smg illegal guns will be cheap quiet

The next leftist dictator-tyrant argument is then to control ammo and powder, which has a few major flaws.  Namely, their enforcers use them, and their enforcers provide criminals with guns and ammo, so the criminal argument goes right out the window.  Of course it isn’t about criminals, it’s about making you into a criminal so they can tell you how to live and make you live the right way.  It’s never about the guns, it’s about the control.  Components to make ammunition aren’t impossible to come by, and conventional ammunition is only needed once – until an armed instrument of the state has his tools liberated.

The entire concept of homemade guns isn’t extreme.  Going back a few decades, not only could you buy a machinegun by mail, no matter who you were, but you could build whatever you liked.  There was a great heyday of gun manufacturing in the early 20th century before regulations started becoming overwhelming.  John Moses Browning was designing his greatest works in the early 20th Century – from pistols to machineguns, many of which are still in use today.  Consider that the M2 heavy machine gun is something that’s been in service for nearly 100 years.  It’s not that there aren’t more designers for weapons with better ideas, it’s that government regulations have limited the marketplace and made it more difficult to experiment.  Government has stalled technological development – developments that used to be made in mechanic shops when designers and engineers and skilled craftsmen got together and designed new tools.

There were virtually no regulations or restrictions on firearms for a hundred years or more, with the exception of those laws meant to target blacks, American Indians, and other specific groups that the majority wanted to oppress; and a few local laws.

Defense Distributed to some degree is just bringing things back to how they were for generations.  Before, the government trusted citizens and so it didn’t restrict citizens, soon, the government simply won’t be able to restrict citizens; and if they do restrict enough, there will be tools of liberation available.