The Definitive Firearms Thread

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what to do
jdye51 wrote:

Wow. I just happened upon this testosterone-fueled thread. It's interesting to read the viewpoints expressed here. It feels a bit risky to comment here since the opinions expressed all seem to agree with one another, but I will gather my courage and have a say.

I respect that they are thoughtful and passsionately held views even if I  disagree with some of them. I'm sure they arose as a result of life experiences, many of which I haven't had. I am coming from a viewpoint those on this thread may have little experience in either. So I offer what I have to say with the understanding that we represent differing world views  - and that's OK. I think communication about and between world views is a good thing.

As human beings we are a part of the natural world and its evolution and thus continue to evolve over time. What once served us and enabled us to survive may not be so useful now that we face the likelihood of our own extinction through our thoughtless and selfish exploitation of the natural world. Look all around you at the consequences of our ignorant and/or uncaring attitude towards the very planet that nourishes us. Nature is about balance/equilibrium and as a species we have upset that balance to the point that we are altering the global climate in irreparable ways. No amount of masculine protective energy (which I do value) can save those you care about when  larger planetary forces take over. It's out of our hands then.

Another way our world views differ is that I see us as spiritual beings having a physical experience. This may seem like so much nonsence to you but it is my perspective. Though I don't follow any particular religion, I value the counsel Jesus gave us to turn the other cheek and to love one another. He was a man of peace who could have taken up weapons against the Roman empire and become a man of power but chose not to. He said the kingdom of God is within. I have observed that many who claim to follow his teachings behave in opposite ways.

If you see violence as inevitable, it is. If you think that our time here is only about survival of the fittest, then it is for you. I believe we are more than flesh and blood beings and have the power of choice unlike other species who behave purely on instinct. We don't have to be this way, we are choosing it. We deny our power when we say we are victims of "human nature" and that's just the way things are. The climate situation may be too far gone now to prevent most of us from dying off (if not all). I would hope that those who may survive the great changes ahead evolve into a less aggressive and self-centered species who see the value in our connection to the planet and to one another as a strength far greater than bow and arrow or bullet.

I know I am off topic . I guess my own need for balance prompted me to write this post. There is value in what we each bring to the discussion whether or not we always agree. I'm sure much more could be said by others more knowledgable and articulate. I appreciate being able to have my say.

By your first statement, am I correct in assuming that your comment is estrogen and progesterone fueled?  Forgive me for making that impertinent comment but is the particular point I'm making by making it clear?

I applaud your courage in commenting here.  And by and large, I agree with most everything you say.  But I also struggle with one part of it.  Here's the reason ... a scenario, extracted from real life.  You and your daughter are accosted by four marginally human humans.  Forgive me for being crude here but these things do happen in real life.  Your daughter is bent over a car and each is prepared to have their way with her.  Would you prefer to turn the other cheek (no pun intended) and allow your daughter to be violated or would you prefer to be armed and capable of addressing the situation?  Ecclesiastes 3:3 may need to be considered.  Jesus was a man of peace but he was also a man of action when action was called for (such as in driving the moneychangers out of the temple with a rope whip).  Also, check out Revelation for Jesus's behavior when he makes his second appearance.  Likewise, passive Buddhists and Taoists developed martial arts to keep themselves from being abused and annihilated.  Morihei Ueshiba was Christ-like in developing aikido so that he would not allow an attacker to sin by hurting him nor would he sin by hurting the attacker.  But regardless of the particulars, a human must have the capability of defending themselves and their loved ones or they will eventually be eliminated and by their lack of action (or, in some cases, lack of courage couched in pacificism), they will allow evil to grow even stronger and spread.  The choice is not an easy one and as I said, it's one I struggle with, more so as I get older and realize the preciousness of all life.  Personally, I could live with having my life extinguished ... but I could not live with watching a loved one suffer the same fate because of my failure to act. 

 

 

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And I appreciate your views jdye51
jdye51 and Tycer wrote:

Wow. I just happened upon this testosterone-fueled thread. It's interesting to read the viewpoints expressed here. It feels a bit risky to comment here since the opinions expressed all seem to agree with one another, but I will gather my courage and have a say. I am a bit surprised that you feel threatened by the posters on this thread. Please help me understand where any comments or debate in this thread would lead you to that conslusion.

I respect that they are thoughtful and passsionately held views even if I  disagree with some of them. I'm sure they arose as a result of life experiences, many of which I haven't had. I am coming from a viewpoint those on this thread may have little experience in either. So I offer what I have to say with the understanding that we represent differing world views  - and that's OK. I think communication about and between world views is a good thing.

As human beings we are a part of the natural world and its evolution and thus continue to evolve over time. What once served us and enabled us to survive may not be so useful now that we face the likelihood of our own extinction through our thoughtless and selfish exploitation of the natural world. Look all around you at the consequences of our ignorant and/or uncaring attitude towards the very planet that nourishes us. Nature is about balance/equilibrium and as a species we have upset that balance to the point that we are altering the global climate in irreparable ways. No amount of masculine protective energy (which I do value) can save those you care about when  larger planetary forces take over. It's out of our hands then.

Another way our world views differ is that I see us as spiritual beings having a physical experience. <----Here I believe you are wrong thinking. I will hazard a guess that the majority of the members posting on this thread are aware and embrace that view. IMO, simply acknowledging that we are spiritual beings in a physical body does not give us the experience that perhaps we need to have to move forward. If we all suddenly achieve nirvana, what is the purpose for continuing the earth dimension. I see nothing wrong on a spiritual level to attempt to balance my male human animalness through all my hormonal life cycles by embracing and enjoying the physical and soaking that joy into my soul. Parts of that joy include paternal protectionism, watching my food grow from seed, naming and taming fears, loving my wife, family and community on different levels, candle-lit dinners and poking dead things with a stick. This may seem like so much nonsense to you but it is my perspective.

Though I don't follow any particular religion, I value the counsel Jesus gave us to turn the other cheek and to love one another. He was a man of peace who could have taken up weapons against the Roman empire and become a man of power but chose not to. He said the kingdom of God is within. I have observed that many who claim to follow his teachings behave in opposite ways. Amen!

If you see violence as inevitable, it is. Very true. Do you believe the opposite to also be true? Does not seeing violence make it not?  If you think that our time here is only about survival of the fittest, then it is for you. Again true. Do you believe the posters on this thread are discussing inevitables and onlys? I believe we are more than flesh and blood beings and have the power of choice unlike other species who behave purely on instinct. Yes, but why were we given instincts? To deny them? We don't have to be this way, we are choosing it. Yes. We deny our power when we say we are victims of "human nature" and that's just the way things are. Yes. Is it a wrong to defend one's self or another against a human who lacks what you and I believe to be the true human nature of spiritual being? Does it do damage to our spirit? The climate situation may be too far gone now to prevent most of us from dying off (if not all). I would hope that those who may survive the great changes ahead evolve into a less aggressive and self-centered species who see the value in our connection to the planet and to one another as a strength far greater than bow and arrow or bullet. Hope is not a good strategy for change. And thinking and acting and preparing for various scenarios is not necessarily driven by testosterone, fear or agression. It can be loving and caring and an attempt to pass on those virtues to future generations. Look deeper into the other posts on other threads to garner a more rounded opinion of the men and women who have posted on this thread.

I know I am off topic . I guess my own need for balance prompted me to write this post. There is value in what we each bring to the discussion whether or not we always agree. I'm sure much more could be said by others more knowledgable and articulate. I appreciate being able to have my say. And I appreciate your views.

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The JIT system and the credit

The JIT system and the credit that citizens need not only for firearms and ammo but also to maintain a middle class lifestyle is made possible by Big Business and government that works for it. In return, the same citizens vote for one Reagan clone after another to in exchange for tax cuts and to deregulate, those allowing the same BIg Business to provide easy credit and to profit.

 

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Ralfy, I fail to see how your

Ralfy, I fail to see how your post is applicable to this thread. If I am correct that this is a partisan politic jab your ignorance as to who in our society purchase arms and ammunition. 

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agree wirh tycer

Ralfy,
Please keep the conversation here directly relative to the topic.
You're Waaaay out on the periphery now.

Humans that are successful go forward, reproduce and teach their offspring how to be successful.
As modern Americans, our methods of success are wildly different (and greater) than the citizens of Mogadishu. But because our methods don't include violence doesn't mean a less successful culture will not try and take advantage of less violent ways.

Therefore, until there is no evil, it is prudent to channel all tips "testosterone" into meaningful and culturally beneficial avenues. Teaching children about the responsibility our forefathers understood and we are busy trying to discard is the surest way to maintain both the integrity of our rights, and our martial capability.

Aaron

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ao

Thanks for responding ao. I agree that there are times when it is necessary to defend ourselves. Evil does exist and there are times it is obvious and necessary to stand up to it. But if we are honest with ourselves, we can see and acknowledge that we each have the capacity for bad behavior. It is our individual choices every day that creates our world. If we only point to others, we lack an understanding of our own shadow. One of my favorite movies is "Forbidden Planet" a classic sci-fi film. A dead race, the Krel, disappeared from their planet mysteriously just after they reached the exalted state of nonphysicality. Turns out they forgot about their "Id" despite all of their progress and it was their own shadow that destroyed them. The movie was made at the beginning of the cold war and reflected the dangers and fears we faced then and that we still face. It is our own out-of-control aggression along with modern technology that has brought us to the point where we are in danger of destroying ourselves and the other lifeforms on the planet.

The evolution I spoke of is one of consciousness - yes we are flawed but we are also intelligent and capable of insight and change. We can do and be better if we choose it. It sounds like you agree with that view.

Thanks for taking the time to reply with your thoughts and concerns, ao.

 

 

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Goof

Sorry.  Hackers jamming up the net!

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My Favorite Blog Post on this topic

I re-posted this blog post on my website because I felt that it best stated why I carry a firearm everywhere I go (almost).

Here's the link: http://munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/2007/03/23/why-the-gun-is-civilization/

Here's the post:

 

MARCH 23, 2007
MARKO KLOOS

 

why the gun is civilization.

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weightlifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation…and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

 

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Error

Yep.

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Its OK, we are here for you. . .

I see your point of view, but I don't appreciate the "testosterone fueled" comment.  It assumes too much knowledge about us, and proves that you have no real experience in these matters.  And that's OK.

There are three kinds of people in the society: sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves.  Most of the time the sheep live their lives and eat grass.  Once in awhile a Wolf rips their throat out and they are eaten.  The same is true in our world, whether you know it or not.  That is why God made men like me; to protect those he made like you.  Hoping that the nature of man will change is not a strategy for survival.

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jdye51

Yoy said:
"The evolution I spoke of is one of consciousness - yes we are flawed but we are also intelligent and capable of insight and change. We can do and be better if we choose it."

Could you qualify the second sentence with some historical examples where good overcame violence?
I might be "off", but I can't think of a single example where passivity stopped naked, unchecked aggression.
Im not talking about Ghandi. Im talking about the Persian expansion, the Egyptian enslavement of the Jews, the crusades (this one should be fun, since it was Christian Anglos who perpetrated the violence), the European expansion into the Americas, the Bismarkian domino effect of world war 1, the Nazi or Stalinist efforts in Europe or the effects of radical Islam today.

Where would "turning the other cheek" land us in those situations?
Bottom line: people don't change their nature.

Aaron

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Tycer

Thank you for your comments Tycer. Also see my response to ao regarding the need for defense.

First, for me personally, it took some courage to speak my truth when it appeared to me to differ so much from that of the the most recent posts I read on the thread.

I have only read a small number of posts on this thread and responded only to those. You may be correct that there are others here who do share more of my world view than I realize. If you have followed this thread for some time, you would know more about that. Thanks for pointing that out.

What I'm saying is not about denying our instincts or our violent tendencies. It's about choosing to go beyond them to what might be called the 2.0 version of homo sapiens.  I'm saying, IMO, we need to go beyond narrow self-interest and violence because look where that has taken us. It is anti-life behavior that is killing us. So it is really quite practical and vital to look at this and what needs to change. If we keep doing the same thing, we get the same result. So when I speak of hope, it is in the context of the wish that survivors will learn from our mistakes and not repeat them in an endless cycle. I hope that instead of extinction, we can learn and become more peaceful beings who actually show more love and respect for this material home and for one another, if for no other reason than it means our physical survival.

Qualities like cooperation, compromise, tolerance and good communication skills are neither  masculine nor feminine but human. The desire to protect is also. And when it is out of love so much the better.

I hope I've answered your questions. Thanks for the input.

 

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"Qualities like cooperation,

"Qualities like cooperation, compromise, tolerance and good communication skills are neither masculine nor feminine but human. The desire to protect is also. And when it is out of love so much the better."

Is this to suggest that they are uniform?
Once again, I disagree. Cooperating and communicating with a man is very different that cooperating and communicating with a woman.
I think intergender communication is something that has puzzled us all at one time or another. Its because, as was discussed earlier in a testosterone fueled tirade, the genders are naturally different. The attempts to homogenize human interest is a nice thought, but its badly out of sync with both nature and reality. The desire to protect for men isn't out of love. Not usually. Its out of a sense of moral obligation. This is, again, an example of the differences, and further supports raising boys into men with a strong sense of right and wrong.

I can't imagine why people reject the notion that natural processes are unhealthy and need to be beat into submission.
That's fared poorly for mankind for a long time.

Aaron

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I see your point of view, but

I see your point of view, but I don't appreciate the "testosterone fueled" comment.  It assumes too much knowledge about us, and proves that you have no real experience in these matters. 

I think it only means that I was responding to the posts on the most recent page on the thread which I thought (perhaps incorrectly) were solely made my men. If I was wrong in that assumption, then I stand corrected. I meant no disrespect towards testosterone. 

And that's OK.

There are three kinds of people in the society: sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves. 

Most of the time the sheep live their lives and eat grass.  Once in awhile a Wolf rips their throat out and they are eaten.  The same is true in our world, whether you know it or not.  That is why God made men like me; to protect those he made like you.  Hoping that the nature of man will change is not a strategy for survival.

That certainly reflects your world view to which you are entitled. It doesn't necessarily reflect that of everyone. See my responses to ao and tycer regarding my view which states that we all have the capacity for good or evil within us. We are all part sheep and part wolf to use your example. It is our unwillingness to acknowledge even the existence of our own shadows that causes havoc because then we project what we don't own onto others. As I said to tycer, when I speak about the survivors it is really quite practical. It is my opinion, and I only speak for myself, that it is only by changing/evolving that we as a species will continue to exist on this planet. When I look at the global economic mess and environmental destruction we have wrought, it tells me that what we've been doing isn't working very well. It is life-destroying. If we want a future, we need to take a good hard  honest look at ourselves and what we need to change. And then we need to do it.

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Aaron

See my replies to the others.

You make my point that if we don't change, we die. We have repeated the same behavior over and over and over and it has led us to our current global crisis. So maybe we'll die off. Maybe we are incapable of change as you suggest. You may be right about that. If we believe we can't change, then there is no hope is there?

 

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Be A Sheep, Be Slaughtered

Evolution happens on much larger time-scales than the few generations we've had since the last world war. Changing oneself individually, or even a group of like-minded individuals collectively, serves only to change their current mindsets. It does little on a genetic level - even at the epigenetic level - to do anything to change the human nature. It will not change the millions and billions of other ordinary human beings alive and yet to be born.

We are thinking, communicating, social animals who can rise above who we are, but history shows that we are capable of both individual and institutional aggression. Because of that, facing aggressors with open arms (as opposed to well-loaded firearms) will merely lead to one-sided slaughter.

The Conquisadors were brutal, but effective. 91% of all Latin American men have DNA indicative of European male ancestry. The Mongols were also brutal, but effective. About 8% of the men in a large region of Asia share distinctive Mongolian Y-chromosome. Whole nations of people today pray to deities that their ancestors fought against - conquered by armies seeking to spread their particular forms of worship across vast swathes of land and across continents.

There will always be an evolutionary competitive advantage to aggression and theft, domination and war. With apologies to the Native Americans and other indigenous groups, but the only reason we even have a First World to enjoy, where we can even contemplate and debate and surf the web at leisure, is because we have set up coercive wealth pumps from the Thiird World.

Poet

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Adding, to wit

Poet,
Not only what you said, but were only looking at macroscopic warfare.
We have said nothing of the tremendous amount of intrasocial violence that came from unequal armament.
Could the English during the dark ages turned the cheek to the Vikings?
Could the peasants fight back against the knights? (who more often than not just served to subjugate serfs and claim their land for their lords)
Does benevolence ever really last? Is it ever really gone?

People, we are on the verge of something that could literally bring about a modern dark age.
Now isn't the time to wax philosophical about what we could be if we could just embrace peace. None of us are ready for what could happen. But one historical constant remains:
The unarmed demand •nothing• of the armed.
parenthetically, the armed can demand whatever they want from those who can not defend themselves.

A man (or woman) who is both armed and compassionate is capable of matching kindness or aggression.
I find this to be a much more sensible station in life.

Aaron

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sheep, wolves, sin, and saving the planet
jdye51 wrote:

That certainly reflects your world view to which you are entitled. It doesn't necessarily reflect that of everyone. See my responses to ao and tycer regarding my view which states that we all have the capacity for good or evil within us. We are all part sheep and part wolf to use your example. It is our unwillingness to acknowledge even the existence of our own shadows that causes havoc because then we project what we don't own onto others. As I said to tycer, when I speak about the survivors it is really quite practical. It is my opinion, and I only speak for myself, that it is only by changing/evolving that we as a species will continue to exist on this planet. When I look at the global economic mess and environmental destruction we have wrought, it tells me that what we've been doing isn't working very well. It is life-destroying. If we want a future, we need to take a good hard  honest look at ourselves and what we need to change. And then we need to do it.

jdye51,

I don't think any one of us here deny that we each have the capacity for both good and evil.  If you look at past posts, you'll see I've made such references myself (including one relating to a famous statement made by Mother Theresa).  In fact, this belief is a major tenet of most of the major religions of the world.  It has to do with a concept called sin.  For example, Judeo-Christian religious belief says that all humans have a sinful nature.  Obviously, the degree to which that nature is expressed is the point of concern, not the existence of the nature nor the willingness nor unwillingness to acknowledge it nor the projection nor lack thereof unto others.  

In so far as all of us being part wolf and part sheep, the percentage of wolf and sheep within each member of the human species varies.  There are significant genetic (and not just environmental) determinants of criminal behavior, on the order of 70% according to the latest studies.  So there are those individuals who are far more likely to be wolves than sheep or sheepdogs.  Plus, the 5% of the population that is sociopathic is also far more likely to be wolf like. 

Truthfully, we can only ever really change ourselves and no one else (unless they are seeking change themselves).  In so far as man eliminating himself as a species, I see that as highly unlikely.  Cull the herd a bit?  High probable.  Completely annihilate?  That'd take some work.  It's generally other species or events beyond a species' control that eliminate a species, not the species itself.  So I do the best I can and don't worry about it too much.  And ditto for the environment and the planet.  Ever see a big volcano?  When you do, you realize that humans are just dust motes that can be removed from the surface of this planet in the wink of an eye.  A bit of humor of the subject:

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Tycer wrote: Ralfy, I fail to
Tycer wrote:

Ralfy, I fail to see how your post is applicable to this thread. If I am correct that this is a partisan politic jab your ignorance as to who in our society purchase arms and ammunition. 

Since you were already talking about far-off topics such as evolution and the natural world, and how violence is inevitable (never mind the fact that anthropologists studying hunter-gatherer communities reveal the opposite of what you argue), then I decided to add to what you wrote and show what the effects of that violence will be.

And I'd say that what I shared can only be a "partisan politic job" if you think that ammo and other supplies do not require a JIT system, etc.

That's all.

 

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A. M. wrote:Ralfy, Please
A. M. wrote:

Ralfy, Please keep the conversation here directly relative to the topic. You're Waaaay out on the periphery now. Humans that are successful go forward, reproduce and teach their offspring how to be successful. As modern Americans, our methods of success are wildly different (and greater) than the citizens of Mogadishu. But because our methods don't include violence doesn't mean a less successful culture will not try and take advantage of less violent ways. Therefore, until there is no evil, it is prudent to channel all tips "testosterone" into meaningful and culturally beneficial avenues. Teaching children about the responsibility our forefathers understood and we are busy trying to discard is the surest way to maintain both the integrity of our rights, and our martial capability. Aaron

Your preamble refers to types of guns, etc. In this post, you now come up with "way out of the periphery now" points about "going forward," "reporoducing and teaching," and what your forefathers taught, so I don't understand why my views are off-topic even as your points are even more "way out" than mine.

All I said is that the current culture described in

http://lewrockwell.com/orig12/shield2.1.1.html

not to mention a JIT system not only raises more questions about the "integrity" of "our rights," let alone "martial capability," but reveals that "Americans" have more in common with "the citizens of Mogadishu" than they realize.

So, why don't you follow your own advice, i.e., apply the same "prudence" and realize that guns and violence can work in many ways, and in some ways that you don't or won't want to hear?

 

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See, there's even a message

See, there's even a message about guns equated with "civilization," based on a view that naively ignores the fact that guns can be used by anyone. There's your "equalizer."

This is not to say that one should not use firearms. Rather, it leads us to conclude with: "What else can I do?," which ironically can be seen in light of the Carlin video recently shared.

And when things hit the fan, which includes a just-in-time system needed to keep not only ammo supplies but even fuel, food, medicine, etc., available failing, then I don't discount the phenomenon of citizens turning on each other, with police and military using armaments to secure supplies for their use. There's your "civilization."

And if anyone argues that this is merely some "politic partisan jab," then all I can say is that you are completely naive concerning this issue

 

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Topic diversity

Ralfy,
There are better venues for your rants.
There are whole new threads you could start about JIT delivery. If you want to talk about how guns can protect or debauch - cool. You're welcome to it. The post I was referring to had literally nothing to do with this topic, and you've made posts in the past that seem more "aimed" towards blaming a political or economic system than discussing the pros and cons of firearms ownership.

Further, you made some assertions that lacked any sort of backing and tied information together using conjecture and opinion. Again, this is fine for your own, new thread, but I think that your offerings to this dialog have been tangential.

As to my tangent, it is entirely relevant to the mindset that creates, or retards the growth and cultivation of capable young men, and a core component of that is: can these men defend their lives, families, communities and countries?

That's a question that opens a lot of doors (is that for the best? Do we want a warlike society? Do we already have one? Are the directionless aspects of these things causing more firearms related crime?) but still directly relates to the role of arms in society.

Your efforts seem to revolve around drawing the conversation more towards the broken international model of governance, economy and distribution. That's fine and valid - but please keep in mind that this isn't the place to break that phenomenon down. In any case, your posts are fine, but they're a bit out of place. Doesn't mean they're not important, just maybe trying clarifying your intent and how it ties back to the topic.

Aaron

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Aaron M
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Hunter-Gatherer Utopia

"Hunter-gatherer communities reveal the opposite of what you argue), then I decided to add to what you wrote and show what the effects of that violence will be."

Anthropologists are totally pseudo-scientists and offer only opinion on how they "think" things are, and Jared diamond more than most.
HG civilizations have almost ZERO resource scarcity and almost zero competition for those resources.
A quick study of the Native Americans' pre-agricultural (which for many of them was still a viable lifestyle when Lewis and Clark came paddling down the Columbia) had significant amounts of intersocial war.

Granted their communes were less troubled, but again, this could be attributed to a number of qualities, and is hard to substantiate through verifiable or empirical fact. Our society fosters a detached connection with death, and ideates and on it continually without much risk of actually dying. Native American culture was wildly varied, but tended to rever and respect life, taking what they needed alone, and looking at death as an important transition.

Doesn't mean they didn't have spears, and tomahawks, though, does it?
Cheers,
Aaron

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Poet
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Hunter-Gatherers Fight, Too

I wonder what the headhunting cultures in Papuna New Guinea would have said if you had happened upon them...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headhunting#Southeast_Asia_and_Oceania

Or war amongst the Yanomamo:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yanomami#Violence

Now you might argue that it is "Western influence" that has led to war amongst hunter-gatherer societies. Well, since "Western influence" is all over the world now, it's too late. Pandora's box has been opened.

Poet

ralfy wrote:

Since you were already talking about far-off topics such as evolution and the natural world, and how violence is inevitable (never mind the fact that anthropologists studying hunter-gatherer communities reveal the opposite of what you argue)...

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gillbilly
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Question...

Enjoyed the back and forth on this topic. I have a couple of questions...

Aaron wrote:Anthropologists are totally pseudo-scientists and offer only opinion on how they "think" things are, and Jared diamond more than most.

Just wondering what else we have to try and make sense of the past? If not anthropologists, who? Diamond does use scientific facts and discoveries to form his opinions. Any non"psuedo scientist" would have to do the same since they would be trying to interpret what things were like. Why would any other type of "real scientist" opinion be more credible? I don't have an answer...just asking.

Also Ao, I've read the same thing about genes and behavior, but those genes also need to be triggered to be expressed? Right? Aren't they finding that those triggers are both environmental and social? 

The other thing I find interesting is what they are finding in neurological research on the brain and the extent of its plasticity. The fact that our brains are constantly rewiring to adapt to our experience, isn't absolutely impossible to know how people thought and related to each other in the past, especially those societies before writing? Their brains were literally wired differently than ours.

Ao, I've had a sociopath target me for a year...very scary experience. I have read that they have found sociopathic personalities may be due to lack of care during specific times in infancy. A must read on the subject is "The Sociopath Next Door." It helped me get rid of my sociopathic stalker. 

Anyway, interesting posts, and I appreciate any responses and answers. 

 

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Gillbilly

"Just wondering what else we have to try and make sense of the past? If not anthropologists, who? Diamond does use scientific facts and discoveries to form his opinions. Any non"psuedo scientist" would have to do the same since they would be trying to interpret what things were like. Why would any other type of "real scientist" opinion be more credible? I don't have an answer...just asking."

I don't like Jared diamond because he's pompous and presents waaaaay too much opinion as fact, and is quite frankly, anti-Anglo, when there is no need to be. His core contentions in "Guns, Germs and steel" were:

Anglo Europe was "lucky", and would still be bark eating savages, were it not for the learning in the middle east.

Okay, well, by the time the dark ages had set on, the middle east was contributing little to nothing. Some of it was still a part of the eastern Roman empire, which didn't collapse with the rest of the European empire. The rest of the Arabian peninsula and Persia were doing almost nothing. This era was decidedly "unlucky" for Europe, but nevermind that... Facts, quit interrupting am agenda. Further, the Arabian peninsula owes everything from architecture to geometry to the Egyptians! Were then, the Arabians who flourished ~1000BC with vigorous trade, ocean harbors, advanced medicine and mathematics just "lucky"?

No, of course not. They took what was worth taking from north Africa and built upon it. The Europeans did as well. If anything, it shows great resilience on behalf of western Europe that they were able to ultimately outlast both the plague, and hundreds of years of Scandinavian raids after being cut off from affluence. We are all standing on the collective backs of social successes over the millennia.

To say that Anglos simply conquered by germs and steel which they inherited from more benevolent cultures is absolute bullshit, and Diamond claims as much. Europeans used old technologies and improved upon them. They ploughed under a great deal of "primitive societies" (my anthro professors hated my using that phrase, but its true - cutting still beating hearts from the chests of human sacrifices is primitive), and now we view that as imperialistic, and bad. I say it is what it is. The scandanavians did the same thing to early christians in Europe who were busy wasting their time with things like reading and writing. My point is, if you can't defend yourself from Vikings, why know how to read?

You can't reason with the bastards, and that ties back into my point here - the unarmed demand nothing of the armed.

To return to Jared Diamond's nonsense, ALL races have committed atrocities. And to those of you who think humans have fundamentally changed, here's a list of things to google:
- Hitler, concentration camps, "Wansee minutes"
- Stalin, Gulag, diaspora
- Kimjongilia
- Bosnian civil war/Croat civil war
- Mogadishu, Somalia (whom we have nothing in common with save human nature)
- Afghanistan Soviet war, Afghan American war, mullah Omar, "The lion of Panjshir"
- Iranian authoritarianism

These are ALL examples from my grandparents lifetime forward. And we call medieval Europe the "Dark Ages"?! Mr. Diamond is ignoring the elephant in the room - the rest of the world WANTS an American style of life or hates it on ideological principles. Its was created from an anthropological composite of HUMANS, not Anglos, same as the failings of every other society on earth. To target the last 400 years of historical injustice and say "look what these sonsabitches did" without looking at the context, contributions to the arts and sciences (Diamond conveniently forgets the renaissance, DaVinci, Rembrandt, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Issac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Nikola Tesla, Robert Oppenheimer, Linus Pauling, and dozens of other brilliant Europeans) is comically based on his own racist foregone conclusions.

He blasts Anglo imperialism - but we've fought for liberty in Viet Nam, Korea, and stepped up for human rights in Bosnia and in Somalia. Had we done nothing, what then? We ignored pol pot. We ignored darfur, and rowanda.
So are we the bad guys for NOT stepping up? Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Further, he quoted Dr. Albert Bartlett, use his material verbatim in a presentation and claimed it as his own thoughts. Charlatan, much?

So to answer your question: Dr. Albert Bartlett is a good place to start.
He won't try and blind you with racism and speculation. The "human plight" is part of is the human - it exists in all of us. Diamond is a hack, a megalomaniac and a fraud.

Cheers,
Aaron

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gillbilly
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Perspectives.

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for the lengthy reply. I guess I hit a nerve with Diamond, and I get what you're saying. I'm not defending him or anyone else, it's just when I read people like Diamond who is writing with a particular bent, I just recognize the bent and try to keep that in perspective. I just assume he's writing for a particular audience... i.e. the audience that is looking for an alternative view from many of the traditional history books that paint Europeans in a mostly positive light. So yes, I see that bent too but it doesn't mean his bent doesn't have any legitimacy because he's subtracting out that which has already been extensively written on. My thought was... here is another one of those authors that's trying to give a different perspective. I remember the first time I read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the U.S." for the first time. I thought wow, this is a completely different perspective. It didn't negate the other commonly accepted views, but it got me thinking that there are many perspectives when interpreting history and people's actions...people's actions in the past can have both positive and negative reasons and implications. Even those that try to write "without a bent" are in the end writing with a bent.  I've Bartlett's writing on exponential growth, and if Diamond didn't cite his work I would guess it's probably an oversight, or some of it was already common knowledge. Again, I'm not defending his bent as the be all and end all, I just see it as yet another perspective among many.

I agree with you in regard to military actions...you are damned if you do and if you don't. My thoughts on Vietnam, Korea, etc. is that there were many many reasons that determined our involvement, some good, some bad. So yeah, you can't win either way. War is something that people will always wonder what could have been if a military had or had not gotten involved. Most of the time it's unbelievably complex, even the most clear-cut wars such as WWII are not as straight forward as they might seem.

I guess I was asking the question because when you have two authors with very different perspectives, it may be that both perspectives have merit for different reasons, especially if they are both respected scholars. I often see many different sides, and so I have a difficult time finding one viewpoint more credible than another. Anyway, thank you for the reply.

 

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Aaron M
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Gillbilly

I gotta work on my communication, really - you didn't hit a nerve at all.
I really wanted to like "Guns, germs and steel". I really wanted to like Prof. Diamond.

But its difficult when someone makes some seriously flawed assumptions while scapegoating a racial demographic. I dont subscribe to the notion that Europeans are to blame for their colonial mentality. If the shoe was on the other foot, we might see such traits in any other demographic. That's what I can't get passed with Diamonds work - he claims were all equal as humans, then lays the blame (without awarding credit) for all earth's treachery at the hands of Anglos. Very flawed argument.

In any case, he does make some very interesting points about longitudinal/latitudinal transport of ideas and cultures, as well as available livestock. I just find it shameful he can say that Europeans had an advantage with beasts of burden, but neglects to mention that close proximity to livestock is what caused the black plague and smallpox epidemics.
Was that luck? Well, yes, in some ways now. But I bet it didn't feel lucky to middle ages Europe.

To further my point, the native Americans didn't have guns. Never saw a need for them. They got destroyed by conquerors who did. Do we really want to make that same mistake?
This could, and does, apply equally (if not greater) to cyber security now. A foe intent on ruining the US would need only cripple our information network.

The arms race is ugly. Its sad its a part of our species' heritage. But that doesn't change the fact it is.
Cheers,
Aaron

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Rector
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This is not a "World View"

My little metaphor is not a "World View", it is a metaphor.  Yes, we all have capacity for good and evil, but that wasn't the point.  Man is only capable of change through a "renewing of the mind" that comes from an honest understanding of the nature of man, a desire to be something more, and someone (worthy) to pay the price.  That's another conversation for another time.

Violence as a matter of fact exists in spades in this society.  A firearm allows all people parity or near parity with regards to the use of force.  It prevents the evil ones from unrestrained access to the innocent.  That is a simple moral equation.

Waxing on about how the nature of man must change, and how our future depends on it, is the kind of thinking best conducted under the protection of the sheepdogs.  Those who understand that mankind is corrupt - now and into the future until the end of time, and will use force to protect the innocent, don't need the appreciation of the sheep.

Wise up!

Rector

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Tycer
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Posts: 617
Diamond and Pinker

I also wanted to like Guns, Germs and Steel. I wanted to like Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature: why violence has declined. I disliked them both for similar reasons. 

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