Thursday, November 28, 2013

Random Musings: Gun-Free Zones and the Cargo Cult

There have been a number of commentators comparing Liberal thought to Cargo Cults, the mistaking of the trappings of a condition for the causes of the condition. An example of that is the pushing of home ownership as a means to middle class affluence. The plan was to reduce the barriers to owning homes rather than to develop the traits within people to overcome the barriers. The resulting housing bubble that resulted popped and with echoes that still must be reckoned.

Back to gun-free zones, I think that there is a cargo cult thought pattern at work. The purpose of carrying weapons for virtually everyone who does is to be ready for self-protection at a moment’s notice. That speaks of a sense of insecurity, because if one truly felt secure then one would not bother lugging around multiple pounds of metal on their person. It is the rare individuals who comprise the “virtually” qualification that drive the perceived need. A safe place could be defined as where the perceived need for a weapon would disappear as no aberrant individuals could possibly be about. A place that truly felt secure to all present would de facto be a gun free zone.
So a safe place is a place where people don’t have a need for weapons. For a long time we in America have been accustomed to that sense of safety and security, even to the point of feeling violated when reminded that it is not absolute. Some refer to that feeling of violation as hoplophobia, the irrational fear of weapons and those who wield them. People crave the security we have when weapons are not necessary. True security is difficult and even show security is intrusive (looking at you, TSA). So why not cut to the chase and mandate de jure acting as if a place is secure. If you don’t allow guns, then no one will see guns and not be reminded that there is a reason to feel insecure. They’ll never see the gun until they come face to face with a person who is not part of “virtually everyone”. Not feeling insecure is a far cry from being as secure as possible, and that is the failure of the cargo cult reasoning at work.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Not an Inducement to Compromise

Supposing that President Obama were to attempt another item on his legislative agenda, a big if considering his current cellar dwelling poll numbers, it strikes me as impossible that Republicans in Congress would have any reason to deal with him. I’m looking beyond the usual Donkey/Elephant games and at the balance of power between the Executive and Legislative branches.

President Obama has decreed delays to the enforcement of portions of the Affordable Care Act despite the clear letter of the law setting the dates. He cites his enforcement discretion to essentially say that the letter of the law has to come second to his assessment of what is necessary to accomplish the intent of the law. Most everyone knows the moves are more in the spirit of ameliorating the political blowback he and congressional Democrats are experiencing now that the long foreseen realities of the law are coming into effect.

The kicker for me in all of this is that his actions are about avoiding what have proven to be the politically unfavorable aspects of his crowning achievement passed on a pure party line vote. But imagine that some Republicans had broken ranks and sold their votes in return for some compromises in the law. You know, classic politics. Say it was something like “No plans covering elective abortions shall be eligible for subsidies.” The President’s poll numbers would have dropped even faster as much of his far left base would have thrown back their heads in howls of indignation. Even safe district Democrats would feel the breath of primary challengers on their necks.

So what would a far left originating President do under such political pressure. Probably what he is doing already: exercise enforcement discretion and let the Republican backers wail and gnash their teeth at his sudden yet inevitable betrayal.

We’ve already seen that he is willing to ignore messy requirements when they are of his own making. Can anyone doubt that he wouldn’t do the same to provisions that he didn’t want in the first place?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Playing with the New Tool

Writing is one of those things that you either talk about doing or actually do. I have written in the past, both on this blog and in the full on novel sense. The novel writing includes having "won" National Novel Writing Month a couple of years ago. Having done that I no longer feel the need to repeat the experience now that I have stripped myself of the excuse.

What I intend to do is set myself a certain amount of what JC Hutchins refers to as word herding each day. I have just gotten myself a new computer (a Surface 2 with type keyboard) for the express purpose. It doesn't feel too bad currently, and we will see if it does or does not promote carpal tunnel syndrome. I sold the idea of getting it to my wife as holding myself to a minimally expensive mid-life crisis, far cheaper than a sports car.

So whether the words show up here or through, I promise to be getting the words out. For smaller bits and news, you might consider checking out my Twitter feed @Tedwade73.

Now to keep myself honest on this.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Polite Suggestion to Peter Jackson

During the course of expanding the Hobbit to three movies, Peter Jackson is drawing from various appendices and histories. As a fan who has seen much of the controversy over the ending of The Lord of The Rings, I wish to offer an ending scene for The Hobbit that might resolve the outcry.

Following a Council discussion that decides to send scouts into Mordor to see if Sauron has truly returned, the scene fades in to a high view of the blasted lands of Mordor. A giant eagle soars into the shot. The camera angles low over its shoulder, and on the horizon the Tower of the Eye can be seen. Cut to the Tower and the burning, lidless eye, perhaps not as magnificent as later. The eye turns its gaze upward, the spotlight of its attention seeking and finding the great eagle. As the gaze lands on the eagle, the bird bursts into flame and falls to the ground extra crispy to feed the growing orcish hoard.

And that would settle once and for all why the giant eagles didn't just fly Frodo to Mount Doom in the first damn place.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

A quick thought on resolutions

This year I have resolved to exercise more. I had been on a calisthenics program that was working well for me (I was doing honest to God push-ups for the first time in my life) but I had let it slide for all the typical excuses. Yesterday I started back up again and today I have the anticipated soreness.

Something I did not do was resolve to diet. I won't be going crazy eating whatever, but I an not making special pains to go beyond moderation. The way I see it, I want to get into shape to better enjoy life.

The short way off putting it: I would rather force myself to do something unpleasant for an hour a day than to keep myself from NOT doing something all day.