Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Docent's Memo (Nov. 10, 2021)

Bartitsu Lab / Defendu Gutterfighting & Moore (26 min.)


    While the science behind rifling twist is extensive, the fundamental principles behind it are fairly straightforward. Without rifling, a bullet would not generate sufficient gyroscopic stability and would simply tumble downrange in an uncontrolled manner.

    While many articles reference bullet weight as the determining factor in twist rate requirements, overall bullet profile and composition also play a role in defining the location of the center of mass (the point where the bullet balances its weight in flight), and the center of pressure (the point where aerodynamics act upon the bullet).

    The further apart these two points lie from one another (this distance typically increases with longer bullet profiles), the more the bullet needs to spin in order to remain stable. While many of the classic bullet designs may remain stable with SAAMI twist specifications, newer, longer bullet designs with a higher ballistic coefficient may require a faster rate of twist.

If this is a topic that interests you, be sure that you read the whole thing because it continues with an interview of Mitchell Demand, a Ballistician at Sierra Bullets.

  • A few for my readers who handload .45 ACP:
    • "45 ACP Fast Loads" by Brad Miller, Ph.D., Shooting Times. The .45 ACP is not considered a fast moving cartridge. Miller notes that most commercial loadings push the bullet at 800 to 850 fps, and +P loads will push past the 900 fps barrier. He writes:
The usual way to get more speed is to add more powder. This also means more pressure. At some point you reach the pressure limit, and that's where +P comes to the rescue. It raises the pressure limit, allowing more speed. The .45 ACP has a SAAMI pressure limit of 21,000 psi; the +P version raises the limit to 23,000 psi.

But, he adds, "[t]here is one powder that will push 230-grain bullets to near .45 Super velocities [i.e., ~1,100 fps] yet remain within standard .45 ACP pressure limits. That powder is Ramshot Enforcer" made by Hodgdon. The remainder of the article is about reloading with that powder, including some recipes.

I do have one comment to add. In the photograph above, you will see that the thumbs are curled and pulled in. I have found, however, that I can get better control by using an abbreviated thumbs forward grip, where I keep the thumbs pressed against the frame below the cylinder--but not forward enough to get burned from escaping gases from the cylinder gap at the front of the cylinder. This seems to help mitigate some of the twist or pull you might experience with the firearm when shooting a heavy double-action trigger. It also allows basically the same grip between revolver and semi-auto pistol.
  • Another article on how to learn to be a better shooter: "Accurately Calling Your Shots" by Frank Melloni, Shooting Sports USA. Melloni explains that in the shooting context, calling your shots means that "you’re telling yourself and your spotter where the round went after you fired, without being able to see the impact on the target. I introduce the concept to my students by telling them, 'It’s okay to miss, just as long as you can tell yourself how you missed and eventually learn what you need to do to stop the issue.'" 
  • "A letter to the American public: There is no such thing as 'the least' amount of physical force" by Kyle Sumpter, Police 1.

When responding with force, peace officers throughout the state of Washington are required to “use the least amount of physical force necessary to overcome resistance….” [1] In the past year, New Jersey reportedly imposed a prohibition against any use of physical force except as a last resort. While last resort refers to timing and least refers to amount, the ideas are born of the same mother and are, therefore, closely related. This article focuses on the least amount, but many of the principles apply equally to the last resort.  

I don't know how courts will deal with these new definitions, but I doubt that it will be much different than the reasonable use of force standard to which citizens are subject; although it may eliminate the fleeing felon rule that allows police to shoot a dangerous felon fleeing from police. 

    In addition to mapping out their national strategy, NRA leaders can also be heard describing the organization's more activist members in surprisingly harsh terms, deriding them as "hillbillies" and "fruitcakes" who might go off script after Columbine and embarrass them.

    And they dismiss conservative politicians and gun industry representatives as largely inconsequential players, saying they will do whatever the NRA proposes. Members of Congress, one participant says, have asked the NRA to "secretly provide them with talking points."

* * *

    Hammer and LaPierre are also among the NRA officials who can be heard disparaging some of the group's membership. In the aftermath of the shooting, McQueen reasons that "normal" members would stay away from the site of the tragedy — leaving only the group's most extreme members as attendees. "The hair on the back of my neck stood up" when this thought occurred to her, Hammer says.

* * *

    "You know, the other problem is holding a member meeting without an exhibit hall. The people you are most likely to get in that member meeting without an exhibit hall are the nuts," says LaPierre.

    "Made that point earlier. I agree," says Makris. "The fruitcakes are going to show up."

    Says Hammer: "If you pull down the exhibit hall, that's not going to leave anything for the media except the members meeting, and you're going to have the wackos ... with all kinds of crazy resolutions, with all kinds of, of dressing like a bunch of hillbillies and idiots. And, and it's gonna, it's gonna be the worst thing you can imagine." 

    The ATF in fiscal year 2021 processed 54.7 million out-of-business records, according to an internal ATF document obtained by the Gun Owners of America, a firearms advocacy group, and provided exclusively to the Free Beacon. When a licensed gun store goes out of business, its private records detailing gun transactions become ATF property and are stored at a federal site in West Virginia. This practice allows the federal government to stockpile scores of gun records and has drawn outrage from gun advocacy groups that say the government is using this information to create a national database of gun owners—which has long been prohibited under U.S. law.

    The ATF obtained 53.8 million paper records and another 887,000 electronic records, according to the internal document that outlines ATF actions in fiscal year 2021. Gun activists described this figure as worryingly high and said it contributes to fears that the Biden administration is trying to keep track of all Americans who own firearms, in violation of federal statutes. The procurement of these records by the ATF comes as the Biden administration moves to alter current laws to ensure that gun records are stored in perpetuity. Currently, gun shops can destroy their records after 20 years, thereby preventing the ATF from accessing the information in the future.
  • For the firearms history buff: "The Krag-Jorgensen: America's First Bolt-Action Service Rifle" by Bruce N. Canfield, American Rifleman. While the Krag-Jorgensen is probably remembered best for its poor performance during the Spanish-American War against Spanish troops armed with Mausers, leading to the development and adoption of the Springfield 1903, the rifle saw extended service in the fight to put down Philippine insurrectionists (mostly Muslims that simply changed their fight from Spanish troops to American troops).

  • "Civil War 2.0 Weather Report: Are We There Yet? (Part II)"--Wilder Wealthy & Wise. In his 10-point scale, John still has us at the borderline between 9 ("Common violence that is generally deemed by governmental authorities as justified based on ideology.") and 10 ("Open War"). There is a lot of debate in the comments, however, on what constitutes a civil war. I posted a comment on that subject, but let me briefly go over the issue. Most of the disagreement seems to be between the common definition of the term "civil war" and a military/diplomatic definition. Merriam-Webster defines the term simply as “ a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country.” And when most people think of civil war, that is what they have in mind.
    The military/diplomatic community have a much stricter and narrower definition because if a conflict is a "civil war" under their definition, the combatants are subject to the Geneva Convention, including captured combatants being considered "prisoners of war" under international law. But if it is merely "civil disturbance," "uprising," "insurgency," "terrorism," or genocide, then the rules of war do not apply. 

    The Final Record of the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva of 1949 (Volume II-B, 121) does not specifically define the term "civil war." It does, however, describe the criteria that separate any act committed by force of arms (anarchy, terrorism, or plain banditry) from those qualifying as "armed conflict not of an international character," which includes civil wars. Among those conditions listed are these four basic requirements.

The party in revolt must be in possession of a part of the national territory.
The insurgent civil authority must exercise de facto authority over the population within the determinate portion of the national territory.
The insurgents must have some amount of recognition as a belligerent.
The legal government is “obliged to have recourse to the regular military forces against insurgents organized as military.”
    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) further clarified Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. They stated that the nature of these armed conflicts, not of an international character “generally refer to conflicts with armed forces on either side which are in many respects similar to an international war, but take place within the confines of a single country.”

The same article relates:

 The U.S. military has adopted the principles set by the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva for their definition of civil war. However, it does include an additional requirement for identifiable armed forces. The December 1990 version of U.S. Army Field Manuals (Military Operations in Low Intensity Conflict) defines a civil war as:

A war between factions of the same country; there are five criteria for international recognition of this status: the contestants must control territory, have a functioning government, enjoy some foreign recognition, have identifiable regular armed forces, and engage in major military operations.

Finally, the article observes that NATO does not have a definition of "civil war," but it does have a definition of what is not a civil war: "The manual states that 'civil disturbance' is defined as 'group acts of violence and disorder prejudicial to public law and order.'"

    Scholars that research in that field have yet other definitions, one of the most common being: "Civil war refers to a violent conflict between organized groups within a country that are fighting over control of the government, one side's separatist goals, or some divisive government policy." However, even in that context, academics require a minimum kill count of 1,000 (although there is debate on whether this should be 1,000 total or 1,000 per year), with at least 100 on each side. This distinguishes a "civil war" from a country's leadership simply terrorizing and killing its political opposition or engaging in genocide. Scholars also exclude from the definition of civil war those conflicts driven "by revenge and hatred rather than by political goals."

    At this point, we are in a conflict that has crossed the threshold into low level violence as demonstrated by the violent riots of the last several years. But the violence has been one-sided, aimed by the Left, where it has the backing of the government, against whites and conservatives. So perhaps the better question is not whether we are in a civil war, but if we have entered a genocide.

    Remedying the earliest stage is often as simple as relocating the victim to a warm place (heated vehicle, cabin, tent or sleeping bag), getting them out of the wind or adding coats and blankets for extra insulation. The odds are good they'll be able to bring their core temperature back up in mild cases. Remove wet garments and make sure they are wearing a hat. Warming by a fire is a viable option in the early stages, but bear in mind that the victim is losing coordination, so we don't want to complicate things with third-degree burns. If possible, rotate slightly warmed blankets onto the victim until you're confident of their recovery. You can offer them a warm beverage like hot chocolate or apple cider for that sugar kick-not coffee or alcohol-but it's critical that it is not extremely hot. Test it before serving and only fill the cup halfway. Those involuntary shivers are unpredictable.

    If the victim's hypothermia is more pronounced, slow warming is still the recommended procedure until help arrives. Again, clothes and shelter are first and foremost. If they're unconsciousness, or slipping in and out of consciousness, never dispense food or drink. Warm water bottles (or products similar to HeatMax), wrap them in blankets to avoid burning and add them in the sleeping bag with the victim. Place them close to the victim's head, neck, chest and trunk to warm the body's core temperature first.

    If that's not an option, strip down to your long johns and join them in the sleeping bag. Your body heat will slow the hypothermia.

For an advanced case, you can try slow warming but professional medical attention will be required. Sagi also provided a link to a CDC pamphlet (PDF) on protecting yourself from cold stress which covers hypothermia, frost bite, trench foot, chilblains, and general cold weather considerations.
  • "How To Fix a Flat Tire in the Field"--Petersen's Hunting. The author covers basic tools to have: tire pressure gauges; jack, lug wrench and spare tire; mini-air compressor; tire plug kit; emergency valve stem (optional); tire deflaters (optional). Some specific recommendations for equipment are a Colby Valve for the spare valve stem, and Staun Tyre Deflators. The tire deflator is used to vary your tire air pressure, e.g., to lower the tire pressure to provide better traction, or to give a smoother ride over washboard roads. Of course, you need to pump the tires back up before returning to improved roads. He recommends a $20 plug kit that he bought from Amazon, but doesn't provide a link or a specific name. It appears to be the Handfly Kit here.

The Decline of Civilization:
  • "The Age Of Antichrist Is Here" by Rod Dreher, American Conservative. Dreher's thoughts were kicked off by a piece he read by Paul Kingsnorth, an English writer living in rural Ireland with his wife and kids. Kingsnorth noted that he'd had some friends from England visit him recently, and recounted the little rituals they now needed to get through customs:
This time they had to have their photo taken, and show their digital proof of vaccination. They also, for some reason they didn’t understand, had to recite a string of numbers into a recording device. If I were being paranoid – and these days I usually am – I would guess that this was part of the creation of an embryonic digital voice recognition system, which will be used in future to supplement the eyeball scans, passport chips and smartphone-enabled health certificates which are already forming the basis of our glorious future of freedom and plenty.

Kingsworth then moves on to his thoughts concerning the great "Machine" that surrounds and enfolds us:

    I see the Machine, humming gently to itself as it binds us with its offerings, as it dangles its promises before us and slowly, slowly, slowly reels us in. I think of the part of it we interact with daily, the glowing white interface through which we volunteer every detail of our lives in exchange for information or pleasure or stories told by global entertainment corporations who commodify our culture and sell it back to us. I think of the words we use to describe this interface, which we carry with us in our pockets wherever we go, as we are tracked down every street and into every forest that remains: the web; the net.

    I think: these are things designed to trap prey.

This then leads Kingsworth into a discussion by Jacques Ellul, in the 1960s, of the same phenomena, but for which Ellul uses the term "Technique" instead of "Machine." 

Finally, technique causes the state to become totalitarian, to absorb the citizens’ lives completely. We have noted that this occurs as a result of the accumulation of techniques in the hands of the state … Even when the state is liberal and democratic, it cannot do otherwise than become totalitarian. It becomes so directly or, as in the United States, through intermediate persons. But, despite differences, all such systems come ultimately to the same result.

    By using the word ‘totalitarian’, Ellul was not suggesting that all nations would become dictatorships, let alone adopt an ideological framework like Nazism or Marxism to guide them. In fact, he said, such ideologies interfere with the direction of technique, which seeks efficiency rather than ideology. ‘Totalitarian’, in this context, simply meant that it would be impossible to escape the Machine and its assumptions. Everywhere you looked, there it would be: staring you in the face, directing your actions, digging into every facet of your life, giving you fewer and fewer escape routes each year.

    I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the times we are currently living in would be regarded by many of our ancestors as apocalyptic. The degree of control and monitoring which we endure in ‘developed’ societies, which has been accelerating for decades and which has reached warp speed in the 2020s, is creating a kind of digital holding camp in which we all find ourselves trapped. The rising paranoia that extends now across the political spectrum and across the Western world – the anger and confusion; the sense of promises broken and established systems gumming up – all of this, I think, can be traced to the rise and consolidation of the Machine, this great matrix which strips from us our understanding of what a human life is, and makes us instead lonely cogs in its drive for self-creation.

Dreher concludes: 

The Age of Antichrist is not about Ozzy Osbourne and pale Goths [adopting Satanic imagery]. It’s about nebbishy Lin Jinyue [lead designer of China’s social credit system], the head of Human Resources at major companies, and Silicon Valley. And it is here. They are going to use their power to establish a reign of virtue. There will be no room for non-compliant Christians in it (or non-complying anyone else). We were warned 2,000 years ago. We are warned once again by Paul Kingsnorth, whether he knows it or not.

    That fact [his being the man who invented gender] ought to trouble gender theory proponents because John Money was, among other things, a fraud and an abuser. Along with more conventionally degenerate views — his advocacy of open marriages and group sex, for example — Money was also, as a not very critical article in Salon puts it, “ambivalently supportive” of pedophilia. Drawing a distinction between what he called sadistic pedophilia and affectional pedophilia, Money held that a relationship between a grown man and a child who really love each other should not be considered disordered.

And then there is this:

    Jumping ahead, now, to 1965 and the birth of twins Bruce and Brian Reimer. The boys are born healthy except for a condition called phimosis, which affects the foreskin. It was decided (incorrectly, it turns out) that the best way to treat the condition was circumcision. But Bruce’s procedure went horribly wrong and his penis was essentially burned off. After several months of grasping for answers, Bruce’s parents eventually decided to take him to John Hopkins in Baltimore to see the renowned Dr. John Money. The good doctor, eager to prove the legitimacy of his theory that gender is a product of environment and culture, recommended that Bruce undergo sex reassignment surgery. Before the boy turned 2, the deed had been done. His testicles were removed, some crude approximation of female genitalia were formed, and Money instructed the parents to raise him as a girl from that day forward, and never to tell him about his real identity.

    The Reimer parents tried to follow Money’s advice, but they found that Bruce was still Bruce, even if they called him Brenda and did everything in their power to preserve his fragile and false female identity. Gender is a construct, they were told. Why should a boy raised as a girl still have boyish tendencies? But his boyishness came through, in spite of Money’s theories. The boys also attended regular therapy sessions with Money. For “therapy” Money sometimes instructed the boys to disrobe and inspect each other’s genitals. Sometimes they were made to simulate sex acts on each other. Money explained that this was meant to be healthy sexual exploration. On at least one occasion, nude photographs of the boys were taken. Ultimately, Money was convinced that his project had been a smashing success, and he bragged of his triumphs in many published works.

    It was not a success.

    The female identity never took hold for Bruce. He was confused and miserable and on the verge of suicide, until, as a teen, his mother finally told him the truth. Bruce chose immediately to transition back to a boy, taking the name of David. He underwent another reassignment surgery, this time to try and reclaim his true self. He felt better for a time, but neither he nor his brother lived happily everafter. Their experience as John Money’s lab rats and playthings had damaged them both irrevocably. ...

Walsh reports that both of the twins eventually committed suicide, but adds that "in my opinion, they were both effectively murdered by John Money, the father of modern gender theory."

    • More: "The True Story of John / Joan"--Healthy Place.  This is a reprint of a Rolling Stone article by John Colapinto published in December 1999. Colapinto had tracked down and interviewed one of the twins.

    However, our analysis proved that these numbers were extremely misleading due to the fact that of the 827 completed pregnancies, 700 / 86% of the women had received a dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine during the third trimester of pregnancy, meaning it was impossible for them to suffer a miscarriage due to the fact they can only occur prior to week 20 of a pregnancy.

    This meant that just 127 women received either the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine during the first / second trimester, with 104 of the woman sadly losing their baby.

    Therefore the rate of incidence of miscarriage was 82%, not 12.6% as presented in the findings of the study, and the authors of the study have since admitted that they made a mistake, issuing a correction six months too late, because the study has been used to justify Covid-19 vaccination of pregnant women and new mothers around the world.

    Gov. Jared Polis signed two executive orders on Sunday, giving the state control of hospital admissions and transfers and laying the groundwork to authorize crisis standards of care as Colorado hospitals continue to get crushed by a wave of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

    The order pertaining to hospital transfers authorizes the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to order hospitals to transfer or cease the admission of patients.

    Under the order, hospitals must still stabilize the patient before transferring them to another facility and “shall not consider a patient’s insurance status or ability to pay when making transfer decisions,” the order reads.

I presume that this will wind up forcing patients from urban areas onto the smaller hospitals serving rural areas. 

    The [low definition] FBI footage was shown to the jury during the testimony of one of the agents who captured the footage with the drone, FBI agent Brandon Craimin. However, the FBI allegedly testified, in private, that they were in possession of another version of the video in HD that they did not supply the members of the defense, according to Human Events. When asked for a copy of the tape, the FBI allegedly denied the defense’s request, saying that the video no longer existed, according to the report.

    After prosecutors questioned Craimin about the aerial footage, the defense cross-examined the witness and asked for the tail number of the FBI plane. However, prosecutors objected. Judge Bruce Schroeder then asked to sidebar the issue and discuss the aerial footage, and jurors left the courtroom.

    The lead lawyer representing Rittenhouse, Mark Richards, then said he believed that there was other video footage, captured by the FBI, that was no longer available. Richards reportedly said it is “preposterous” that the FBI allegedly lost the footage.

    Thomas Binger, the lead prosecutor, then told Schroeder in regard to the FBI’s plane footage, that “the federal government is not under our control.” Schroeder reportedly balked and said, “I beg your pardon,” interrupting Binger.

    “I don’t get this,” Schroeder reportedly went on to say. “This is a criminal prosecution … if there is going to be cloak and dagger stuff. What’s going on?”

    Schroeder later told prosecutors to call a different witness, and that they would come back to the issue of the plane.
    George Floyd’s friend, Cortez Rice, who is sometimes referred to as Floyd’s nephew, released a video on Twitter in which he claims he knows people gathering photos and other information about the remaining 18 men and women in the jury pool.

    Cortez issued the video as an apparent warning to the jury. In it, he says he didn’t even “want to name the people that I know that is in the Kenosha trial. But there’s cameras in there. There’s definitely cameras up in there and there’s definitely people taking pictures of the juries and everything like that. We know what’s going on. So we need the same results, man.” He then began listing people he believed needed “justice.”
    Marriage is on the rocks in America, and redefining it only seems to be hastening its decline. The redefinition of marriage has not stopped with same-sex relationships. After winning that fight, The New York Times has been enthusiastically pushing polyamory. This means polygamy is back, baby! All it needed was a quick makeover. America’s elite are happy to embrace polygamy—so long as it is relabeled as polyamory and waves the rainbow flag.

    This effort is having an effect. Just look at Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the local government voted to recognize domestic partnerships of three or more people. This is not some obscure hippie hamlet, but the home of Harvard University, and the law was developed with the help of the Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic. As coal-mine canaries go, this is a big bird.

    All this indicates yet again that the social conservative Cassandras were right in their predictions. During the same-sex marriage debates, LGBT activists professed outrage at the suggestion that polygamy might be next. Now, less than a decade later, they are vigorously pushing us down the slippery slope they insisted didn’t exist. Rod Dreher’s law of merited impossibility has an obvious corollary: “That will never happen, and it will be awesome when it does.”
  • Increased "complexity" as Tainter would have phrased it: "College costs increase 169% since 1980 to between $27,000 and $55,000 per year but salaries for graduates increase by only 19%"--Daily Mail. The disparity would have been even worse if they had started at 1970, as the Pell Grant program had already started the inflation of the cost of college by the time 1980 rolled around. Per the article, "Researchers at Georgetown University say the disparity is stagnating the chance young people have for economic independence and social mobility."
  • "We Lost The School Fight Fifty Years Ago" by Declan Leary, The American Conservative. The author argues that parents lost their control over local schools when bussing, supposedly to desegregate schools, began in 1975. After discussing the desegregation fiasco in Boston, Leary moves to the current school battles and concludes:
    Though I don’t live in Virginia, I live close enough that the television ads for Virginia elections have been inescapable these last few months. Ten times a day for the last couple weeks—and mind you, I don’t watch much TV—I’ve been confronted with Terry McAuliffe’s ham-fisted remark that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” a blunder that transformed long-shot GOP nominee Glenn Youngkin practically overnight into a serious contender for the governorship of a major state that’s quickly turning blue.

    McAuliffe’s answer was moronic, but more importantly it was entirely unsurprising. We already had the debate, decades ago, over whether the state or the parents should be the primary decision-maker in a child’s education. We lost. Where we are now—not just McAuliffe’s campaign, but the nationwide status quo of education in service of the regime’s ideology—is merely a predictable consequence of the battles of the 1970s, in which Goliath knocked David down and kicked him in the face, all the while denouncing him as a racist.

    History repeats itself in interesting ways. The most prominent critics of the busing regime—most notably Hicks and the (later legendary) state legislator William Bulger—were city-dwellers themselves, and parents. Those pushing forced busing, meanwhile—Garrity, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, outgoing Governor Frank Sargent, former state legislator and incoming Governor Michael Dukakis—hailed from suburbs that were disproportionately white, disproportionately wealthy, and almost entirely insulated from the repercussions of their own radical policies. McAuliffe, himself a keen supporter of educational progressivism, likewise made sure his own kids were safe from the consequences, sending all four to expensive private schools.

    I’m certainly no opponent of private schooling, but skin in the game matters. It’s worth asking why the champions of these radical reforms never seem willing to subject their own children to them. But they’re perfectly happy to test things out on your children. In 2021 as in 1975, American children of all races are needlessly disadvantaged by the interventions of the Ted Kennedys and Terry McAuliffes of the world.

    The difference is that 50 years ago you could just move out of the city, if you were willing to uproot yourself and your family. Now the new generation of limousine liberals are taking the fight from the cities to the suburbs, and anywhere else they have to. The further we retreat, the further they’ll advance. Eventually we’ll find ourselves with nowhere left to run.
  • "The Future Of Capitalism" by Milton Friedman, Hoover Institute. This 2017 piece looks at how far the supposed "free world" has moved toward collective capitalism (e.g., socialism and communism) and away from "free trade". Looking to the future, Friedman wrote:

    Where shall we go from here? There are two possible scenarios. The one (and I very much fear it’s the more likely) is that we will continue in the direction in which we have been going, with gradual increases in the scope of government and government control. If we do continue in that direction, two results are inevitable. One result is financial crisis and the other is a loss of freedom.

    The example of England is a frightening example to contemplate. England has been moving in this direction. We’re about twenty years behind England in this motion. But England was moving in this direction earlier than we were moving and has moved much farther. The effects are patent and clear. But at least when England moved in this direction and thus lost its power politically and internationally, the United States was there to take over the defense of the free world. But I ask you, when the United States follows that direction, who is going to take over from us? That’s one scenario, and I very much fear it’s the more likely one.

    The other scenario is that we will, in fact, halt this trend, that we will call a halt to the apparently increasing growth of government, set a limit, and hold it back.

    There are many favorable signs from this point of view. I may say that the greatest reason for hope, in my opinion, is the inefficiency of government. Many people complain about government waste. I welcome it. I welcome it for two reasons. In the first place, efficiency is not a desirable thing if somebody is doing a bad thing. A great teacher of mine, a mathematical economist, once wrote an article on the teaching of statistics. He said, “Pedagogical ability is a vice rather than a virtue if it is devoted to teaching error.” That’s a fundamental principle. Government is doing things that we don’t want it to do, so the more money it wastes the better.

    In the second place, waste brings home to the public at large the fact that government is not an efficient and effective instrument for achieving its objectives. One of the great causes for hope is a growing disillusionment around the country with the idea that government is the all-wise, all-powerful big brother who can solve every problem that comes along, that if only you throw enough money at a problem it will be resolved.

    Several years ago John Kenneth Galbraith wrote an article in which he said that New York City had no problem that could not be solved by an increase in government spending in New York. Well, since that time the budget in the City of New York has more than doubled and so have the problems of New York. The one is cause and the other effect. The government has spent more but that meant that the people have less to spend. Since the government spends money less efficiently than individuals spend their own money, as government spending has gone up the problems have gotten worse. My main point is that this inefficiency, this waste, brings home to the public at large the undesirability of governmental intervention. I believe that a major source of hope is in the widespread rise in the tide of feeling that government is not the appropriate way to solve our problems.

    There are also many unfavorable signs. It’s far easier to enact laws than to repeal them. Every special interest, including you and me, has great resistance to giving up its special privileges. I remember when Gerald Ford became president and he called a summit conference to do something about the problems of inflation. I sat at that summit conference and heard representatives of one group after another go to the podium—a representative of business, a representative of the farmers, a representative of labor, you name the group—they all went to the podium and they all said the same thing. They said, “Of course, we recognize that in order to stop inflation, we must cut down government spending. And I tell you the way to cut down government spending is to spend more on me.” That was the universal refrain.

    Many people say that one of the causes for hope is the rising recognition by the business community that business enterprise is a threat to the free enterprise system. I wish I could believe that, but I do not. You must recognize the facts. Business corporations in general are not a defense of free enterprise. On the contrary, they are one of the chief sources of danger.

    The two greatest enemies of free enterprise in the United States, in my opinion, have been, on the one hand, my fellow intellectuals and, on the other hand, the business corporations of this country. They are enemies for opposite reasons. Every one of my fellow intellectuals believes in freedom for himself. He wants free speech. He wants free research. I ask him, “Isn’t this a terrible waste that a dozen people are studying the same problem? Oughtn’t we to have a central planning committee to decide what research projects various individuals are to undertake?” He’ll look at me as if I’m crazy, and he’ll say, “What do you mean? Don’t you understand about the value of academic freedom and freedom of research and duplication?” But when it comes to business he says, “Oh, that’s wasteful competition. That’s duplication over there! We must have a central planning board to make those things intelligent, sensible!”

    So every intellectual is in favor of freedom for himself and against freedom for anybody else. The businessman and the business enterprise are very different. Every businessman and every business enterprise is in favor of freedom for everybody else, but when it comes to himself, that’s a different question. We have to have that tariff to protect us against competition from abroad. We have to have that special provision in the tax code. We have to have that subsidy. Businessmen are in favor of freedom for everybody else but not for themselves.

    Whenever I inform students of Smith and Friedman’s unflattering opinions of the business community, they are invariably shocked. But their eyes start opening when I point out that large established businesses don’t actually like competition, aren’t wildly excited about other people’s new ideas and products threatening “their” market share, and are quite happy to hop into bed with complaisant legislators to use state power to make life difficult for new and potential competitors. At this point, students begin realizing that to be pro-market is not the same as being pro-business. The two are at odds in some very important ways.

    This is one way of understanding the phenomenon of “woke capitalism,” and it features in Vivek Ramaswamy’s Woke, Inc: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam. For if there is anything that characterizes woke capitalism, it is the desire—like the mercantilists of old—to exclude (ironically, in the name of tolerance, diversity, equality, etc.) particular individuals and groups from “their” markets and corporate America in general. In the case of woke capitalists, the excluded is anyone who doesn’t embrace all the usual progressive orthodoxies or who won’t play the woke game to go along to get along.

    But Ramaswamy provides other insights into the underlying rhyme and rhythm of the woke capitalist phenomenon that have long needed wider attention. Part of it is about profit—or at least near-term profit—and locking in political support against potential market competitors to achieve that end. Yet corporate wokeness is also fueled by some serious self-righteousness on the part of prominent business leaders. In many cases, this reflects their embrace of the Gospel of sentimental humanitarianism. Of course, they are hardly the only adherents of the new faith. But woke capitalists, thanks in part to their impeccable connections with the political class, are able to marshal considerable resources behind their beliefs. And it’s not just consumers who pay the price. It’s the American body politic as well.

VIDEO: "The Universe is Hostile to Computers"--Veritasium (23 min.)

  • Diversity! "Knifeman 'shouting religious slogans about the Prophet' is shot and wounded after attacking police in Cannes who were saved by their bulletproof vests"--Daily Mail. The suspect has been identified as 37-year-old Algerian member of the religion of peace. "Police said he was an immigrant to France who arrived from Algeria via Italy and 'wanted to kill a cop'." "It comes a week after another knifeman shouting 'Allahu Akbar' and 'France belongs to Islamic State' was shot at Saint-Lazare station in Paris." The suspect feigned needing information from police officers in a vehicle in order to get them to roll down a window, when he started stabbing one of the officers in the chest. The officer escaped serious injury because of a metal stab plate behind his vest.
  • Speaking of the Religion of Peace: "The Greatest Murder Machine in History" by Mike Konrad, American Thinker. When atheists try and paint religion generally, and Christianity in particular, as the greatest killer in history, I always like to retort that it is, in fact, atheistic regimes that are the greatest mass murderers, thinking of the French Revolution, German National Socialism, and Communism. But perhaps I'm wrong. The author here, Konrad, claims:
    When one thinks of mass murder, Hitler comes to mind. If not Hitler, then Tojo, Stalin, or Mao. Credit is given to the 20th-century totalitarians as the worst species of tyranny to have ever arisen. However, the alarming truth is that Islam has killed more than any of these, and may surpass all of them combined in numbers and cruelty.

    The enormity of the slaughters of the "religion of peace" are so far beyond comprehension that even honest historians overlook the scale. When one looks beyond our myopic focus, Islam is the greatest killing machine in the history of mankind, bar none.

Konrad notes that it is believed that the Islamic conquest of India resulted in 80 million deaths, and that "the death toll from 1400 years of Arab and Muslim slave raids into Africa could have been as high as 112 Millions." And this doesn't include the untold millions of Christians killed by Muslims in Europe, the Near and Middle East, and Northern Africa, and the millions of Buddhists killed by Muslim conquests in South East Asia. Oh, and "[d]on't forget the 1.5 million Armenian Christians killed by the Turks during WWI." He believes that Islam has been responsible for in excess of 250 million dead.
    Elaine Marie Thomas, 67, of Auburn, Washington, was the director of metallurgy at a foundry in Tacoma that supplied steel castings used by Navy contractors Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding to make submarine hulls.
    From 1985 through 2017, Thomas falsified the results of strength and toughness tests for at least 240 productions of steel — about half the steel the foundry produced for the Navy, according to her plea agreement, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. The tests were intended to show that the steel would not fail in a collision or in certain “wartime scenarios," the Justice Department said.

Per the article, Thomas did not fake the results because of greed or fraud, but because she had taken shortcuts, including omitting some tests that she thought were stupid.
    In 1960, Science published a paper by Heinz von Foerster predicting that on Friday, 13 November 2026, the "human population will approach infinity if it grows as it has grown in the last two millennia." Just a few years after this preposterous doomsday alarm, the annual growth of global population peaked at about 2.1 percent and immediately began to decline. By 2020 the growth rate stood at just a bit more than 1 percent, the result of the steadily declining total fertility rate (TFR), the number of children born to a woman during her reproductive period.

    In preindustrial societies this rate stood commonly at 5 or higher; during the United States' baby-boom years (1945–1964) its rate peaked at about 3.2. The replacement rate in developed countries is roughly 2.1 children per woman. Some affluent nations have had below-replacement TFRs for several decades (Germany since 1970, Italy since 1976), but this fertility retreat has now deepened to such an extent that substantial population declines by 2050 are now inescapable in at least a quarter of the world's nations.


    The decline has been underway for some time in villages and small towns, where the sequence is much the same everywhere: First they lose their school, then the post office, gas station, and grocery store. Finally, a settlement is administratively amalgamated with its similarly fated neighbors. You can see what is left behind without leaving your room by taking Google Street View tours of desolate mountain villages in Tohoku, the northern (and the poorest) part of Japan's largest island, where almost every third person is now over 65 years old. Or look at the forlorn places not far from Bucharest, Romania's capital, where all but a few young people have left for Western Europe and the TFR is below 1.4.

    This process can be found even in certain parts of countries that are still growing, thanks to immigration. The United States is losing people across much of the Great Plains, Germany throughout most of the former German Democratic Republic, Spain in Castile and Léon and in Galicia. Shrinking population together with a higher average age erodes the tax base, raises infrastructure costs, and leads to social isolation, as settlements dwindle and die. It is all very depressing to contemplate.

Undecided with Matt Ferrell (16 min.)

And Now For Something Completely Different:
    A home cook has revealed her simple method for reheating cooked rice in the microwave without drying it out even further.

    Mon Mack, from Brisbane, placed one ice cube on top of her leftover portion of rice before covering the plate with a scrunched up sheet of baking paper [waxed paper].

    After heating the salmon dish in the microwave for 30 seconds, she removed the baking paper and the ice cube, which appeared unmelted.

    The method works because the baking paper helps the steaming process in the microwave, leaving rice perfectly steamed, fluffy and fresh.

    John W. “Jack” Hinson was born in 1807. A wealthy Scots-Irish farmer in Stewart County, Tennessee, Hinson was known as “Old Jack” to his friends. He was a prosperous slave owner who attempted to remain neutral in the face of the brewing Civil War. He lived on his tobacco farm with his wife and ten children and was known for his temper.

    When the Federal General U.S. Grant rolled through the area with his army, Jack welcomed him into his home. In February of 1862 Grant moved on to attack Fort Donelson and Fort Henry. As he departed, however, Grant left a Federal garrison behind.

    “Bushwhackers” was the term applied to unconventional guerilla fighters who attacked Union forces from positions of concealment. In the fall of 1862, Hinson’s sons 17-year-old Jack and 22-year-old George were out deer hunting near their homestead. They came across a Union detachment that mistakenly took the two boys for bushwhackers. The Federal soldiers tied the two young men to trees, shot them to death, paraded their bodies around town as a message to others, and then stuck their heads on the gateposts back at the Hinson homestead. This turned out to be a really bad idea. ...

    At age 55 Jack Hinson sent his family away to safety and contracted with a local gunsmith to build him a very special .50-caliber Kentucky Long Rifle. This custom-built weapon sported a 41-inch barrel as well as set triggers and weighed a whopping 18 pounds. Hinson used this weapon to engage in a one-man sniper war against the occupying Federal troops. He sniped Union soldiers both in garrison as well as in military columns and transports. He also engaged Union gunboats while they were slowly plying the waters of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. His first two victims were the Lieutenant and Sergeant responsible for murdering his two sons, both shot cleanly from ambush.

* * *

    Using that obsolete muzzleloading long rifle “Old Jack” Hinson accumulated more than 100 kills. He sniped Union naval personnel off the decks of their warships and shot men out of the saddle as they passed by in supply convoys. His longest confirmed kill was nearly half a mile. Ultimately units from four different Federal regiments tracked him unsuccessfully.

Hinson was never apprehended by Union forces. He died at home, of natural causes, on April 28, 1874.

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The Docent's Memo (8/15/2022)

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