Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sunny delight.

In talking with various smart people over the last few years, I have developed a pretty bleak view of the immediate future of our republic. I really don't think it's going to get better in my lifetime. I really think the system is irretrievably broken. I really think that my declining years are going to be spent in a European-style surveillance-ridden nanny state; a giant England with NASCAR and slightly better gun laws.

We can't vote our way out of this mess; it's voting that got us into it in the first place. As long as the prison cell has cable TV, high-speed 'net access, and four bars of signal from Verizon, most folks are happy there. The only freedom you will enjoy is what you can eke out as a stainless steel rat in the meager interstices of a concrete and steel world.

There are some who think an apocalyptic pro-freedom revolution will occur when the true patriots will rise up and throw off the oppressive chains of the evil overlords. How that will happen in a land where a majority of folks expect to be bailed out of bad mortgages and have discounted digital TeeWee tuners provided for them by the .gov is only fuzzily explained.

Others remain guardedly optimistic.

I wish I could.


Anonymous said...

Stainless Steel Rat for President?
Rey B

Kevin said...

I think you misinterpret.

I am not "guardedly optimistic." I think we're headed for collapse and chaos, myself.

I'd love to discuss it further at Blackwater.

Alan said...

I always liked Slippery Jim.

Richard Bruns said...

I too remain pessimistic about culture, but that is balanced out by an optimistic view of technological progress. By the time that people become truly hopeless, we will have the ability to create a great deal of wealth without much human effort required.

Even if 90% of humanity is incapable of generating wealth, the remaining 10% will have the tools to keep things running. And eventually, we will have robots and computers capable of handling everything.

Most people will allow themselves to be turned into Eloi in such a world, but the rest of us will probably have a decent amount of freedom. If all else fails, we can hike into the mountains with a team of robot servants and ignore the rest of the planet.

the pawnbroker said...

well, golly, that is a sunny outlook...is it the air in knoxville?

i agree the path ahead is pretty crooked, but disagree that voting won't help...

much of what we see now parallels 1980, and what we thought was apopalyptic then wasn't, mostly thanks to the vote...this time there's no rr to ride to the rescue, but we'll have to be content with a lesser of evils...this time.

and at your age, you probably have another ten or so election cycles;
there is no choice but to prevent the agents of "change" from making the changes that could do irreparable damage once the pendulum swings again.

btw, tam, i like the "keep the change" taunt well enough to have quoted it in a letter to a local editor; i knew it had a familiar ring, but with a different context...today when looking at my bankofamerica account online i realized that they use it...and have trademarked it...for some sort of goofy savings plan; don't know if it's an issue for you or not, just fyi...


Robb Allen said...

If I may, I'd like to quote a great person who once said
I think you misinterpret.

I am not "guardedly optimistic." I think we're headed for collapse and chaos, myself.

We're on an upswing in the gun rights community right now, that's about it. Most people want nice, padded yokes with nano-carbon-fiber chains that are both light and surprisingly strong.

The problem is that, temporarily, slavery can be comfortable. Sure, you have to work a bit harder to earn less but Dancing with the American Idols is still on and in High-Def, so it's not THAT bad.

Until the system is no longer sustainable. Which unfortunately, due to the nature of capitalism, will hobble along for quite some time (there's always money to be made, even at the expense of liberty). But eventually, it will collapse, and the generations that had it "ok" won't suffer the consequences of their actions - hence, it's hard to explain why guarding our liberties and rights is a good thing. There's no immediate return on investment and it cuts into the latest Celebrity Reality Show.

Is it possible to turn back the tide? Well, it's possible to build a bridge out of toothpicks. But is it probable? I don't know.

I remain guardedly pessimistic.

Robb Allen said...

"I too remain pessimistic about culture, but that is balanced out by an optimistic view of technological progress."

Sorry, but the very existence of Daily Kos, DU, and FreeRepublic have abused me of that notion.

Ahab said...

Shockingly, we're actually going to be discussing something much along those lines on tonight's show.

www.blogtalkradio.com/gunnuts at 11pm eastern time. Not to spam your comments or anything, but it's relevant.

docjim505 said...

Wow. Bummer.

I often feel this way, but I think about all the other rotten times our country has faced... and survived. The Articles of Confederation. The War of Northern Aggression. The Great Depression. The Cold War. Jimmuh Cahtuh. Slick Willie.

I think that the American people on the whole are a lot smarter than anybody thinks. Yeah, we make dumb collective decisions now and again (see Jimmuh Cahtuh), but we usually manage to fix them sooner or later. Evidence of the inherent wisdom of the American people can be found in our courtrooms every day. Juries sometimes f*** up in a most spectacular manner, but, in general, all those little groups of twelve common Americans manage to get it right.

I also think that most people, as much as they value a "safety net" (i.e. nanny state), only do so because of their concern for OTHER people. Look at how libs pitch their socialist schemes: they don't say "YOU are suffering and I'll fix it for you"; they talk about some unknown other person, plucking on our heartstrings and taking advantage of the common decency of Americans who want to do the right thing by their fellow man when they can.

Think about the fact that libs don't dare let abortion stand for a vote: they have to get a judge to RULE that it's a "constitutional right". We've had welfare reform because Americans got tired of paying people to sit on their asses; even libs pay lip service to the value of work. Unions have had to resort to paying off politicians to pass laws that force workers to join their shoddy and diminished ranks. We execute criminals. Libs have to lie to get their way, or they have to get a judge to rule liberal desires "constitutional". The America of 2008 looks quite a lot different - and quite a lot better - than the America of 1978.

This doesn't seem to me to be evidence of an America in decline.

I don't discount the danger that liberalism poses. It's a seductive thing to think that The Government can solve all your problems and that somebody else - "the rich" - will pick up the tab. But I think that most Americans still believe in hard work and doing things themselves and NOT in becoming the objects of charity. Americans are winners, not deadbeats.

SAWBONES said...

Tam, I'm afraid you're spot-on. Or at least your summary view of the future matches mine.

Joe said...

I would suggest that with regards to this http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2008/08/freedom-hope-outrage-bright-lines.html
what we need is a lot more tracking of stuff like this http://www.softgreenglow.com/wp/?p=6182

If we are to get people mad we need to mine the stuff to be outraged about, and make it widely known

B&N said...

"We can't vote our way out of this mess; it's voting that got us into it in the first place"

What Billy Beck has been screaming about for, well, ever.

Jayson said...

It's called "live free or die".

They either live as free men, or they die. We'll give'em a choice.

staghounds said...

Britain and France and then Italy are our future. They are quite as intelligent as we are, and they chose the Eloi route.

First, who are you going to shoot? What actual living human fellow citizen? Which spouse will you widow, which children will you orphan? And you will die, and orphan your own children.

And here's a thought experiment:

You're home asleep at dawn on a Sunday. Ring Ring goes the telephone.

"Hello, Mr./Ms. Yourname. I'm Agent Friendly of the BATFE. Last night, as you may or may not know, President Whoever signed an executive order requiring the confiscation of all civilian firearms in the United States. No criminal charges will be brought against you and you will be compensated at a rate of $1000 per gun or actual value, whichever is greater.

There are currently six armed BATFE agents surrounding your house. We also have a remotely controlled bulldozer.

Our records show that you possess several firearms. We cannot leave until we have either confiscated your guns or neutralized your house as a potential threat.

Because of the risk to our officers, we will not break into your house.

Unless you and all persons inside the house exit, and we are permitted to enter and remove all firearms and ammunition, we will have to insure that no one remains alive in the house.

You have one hour to make your decision. During that time, I encourage you to use your television, internet, and telephone to confirm that the order was signed, is valid, and that I am who I say I am."

Plan to come out shooting? With your family behind you?

How many of your fellow citizens would say yes?

mts said...

I just want my digital teewee tuner. The gov ought to pay for some of it; if it wasn't for them changing the rules, my teewee won't be obsolete.

Camry said...


Just drink your Victory Gin and you will feel better. The Obamessiah is coming to take us all to the promised land.

docjim505 said...


Frightening scenario because I can see many of our current politicians (on both sides) perfectly willing to take those kinds of measures. It's for the children, you know.

Most people would NOT come out shooting; you're right there. But I submit another scenario:

"This is Agent Smith of the BATF. We know that your town has many guns in it. We're sending a few hundred agents in to collect them all. They'll be wearing red, so you will know who they are. If you resist, you'll suffer the consequences."

I seem to recall Americans choosing resistance in this scenario at one time.

As it stands right now, few Americans are eager to shoot at the police, not only because it's suicidal but also because most Americans respect the police as (more or less) honest public servants and fellow citizens. God grant that we never reach the point where we have cause to view them as tools of an oppressive government.

OldTexan said...

I don't see things exactly that way. I live in Dallas, Texas, USA and most of the law enforcement people I know here are also part of our gun culture. I would also think that in a lot of neighborhoods the number of gun owners might be in the majority and as you leave the metro area there is a higher ratio of gun guys to non gun guys.

Another consideration is that in smaller communities hunting is a huge economic factor. September 1 is Dove Day down here and you won't be able to find a hotel room from Fort Worth to Abilene unless you made reservations months ago. At 4:30 in the morning huge convoys of hunters will start moving on every country road getting set. As the sun rises in the East you will start hearing gun shots that follow sunrise-time across the state and it baffles the heck out of newcomers who just moved here from sissy states and bought a house in the country to get away from it all.

In small communites the Newguys might call into the local Sherrif's Department and get the response that Deputy Joe Bob Wayne will come take your statement as soon as he gets his limit.

It is also fun to see all of the gun hardware the hunters pull out to plink and play with during the day when the doves are not flying. Lots of pistols and rifles of every shape and size get shown off at dove hunts in Texas.

If the Game Warden comes along and asks why you have a .44 magnum on your belt the answer is simple, snakes. Of course that nice little M15 works well on hogs which are always in season. Most of the people I have shot with are not just a bunch of Fudds and they like their guns and people who own guns.

So, I don't think it will be too easy to get our guns in the near future but we do have to work hard to maintain and grow the gun people culture. Otherwise you are right and we might just vote ourselves into Eurotrash II.

perlhaqr said...

Staghounds: That's a crappy situation to be in, but there aren't 6 of them for every one of us.

First, who are you going to shoot? What actual living human fellow citizen? Which spouse will you widow, which children will you orphan?

The one who has chosen to live by oppression. I didn't make that choice for him, all I want is to be left the fuck alone.

I have never hurt anybody. How dare you imply that I'm the bad guy for refusing to be pushed around?

And you will die, and orphan your own children.

I won't. I haven't brought any children into this miserable world. Though you're right, I probably will die. Better to die free than to live as a slave. (And yes, better still to live free, but that doesn't look like much of an option these days.)

Sam Adams said...

I'm not "guardedly optimistic" about technology - I'm ecstatic about some of the stuff coming down the pike. I'd advise anyone with any interest in the direction and magnitude of technological change to peruse this site: http://nextbigfuture.com/

As for guns, I don't see how (esp. in light of Heller) there will be an attempted seizure - short of our government literally being taken over by foreign agents (not real likely, IMHO). Oh, and then the JBTs will have to contend with 80 million gun owners and their quarter of a billion guns. If only 1 in a thousand fight (and it'll be more, IMHO), how can they win? 80,000 well-equipped, highly motivated, resourceful and trained people won't go away without doing enormous damage to their oppressors. Food and fuel shipments to large cities may be substantially cut off. Remember what 2 idiotic criminals did in the DC Metropolitan area a few years back? Think about it happening all over the country. Ain't gonna happen, and with every year that passes there are millions more guns out there.

What worries me is what we'll have to go through to defeat the Socialists - it is a mult-generational fight, and lots of cultural and economic damage (on top of what's already occurred) is in the offing.