I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Welfare

A friend posted a rant to Facebook that warranted a response. The general theme as I won't copy paste the whole thing was 'I'm tired of fortunate people complaining about welfare. It seems selfish to complain about helping people living in third world conditions. Socialism isn't inherently bad, it merely has been used for bad.' I responded thusly:

This is where I start to sound callous, but I hope you will understand the context of the fact that I do care about the plight of those far less fortunate than I am, that I put my money where my mouth is and donate money, and that I do recognize two things: I am very fortunate in the way I have lived, and our country is not in an awful state yet. That being said, there are three things I would like to mention.

First, a lot of the debate revolves around "lets stop it at bad point a so it doesn't get to horrific point b." Socialist states outright murdered somewhere between 80 and 100 million people in the 20th century. The average standard of living dropped significantly in most of those states. Economically and realistically, socialism will not raise the bottom up to a decent standard, it will drop the top to an indecent standard.

Second, this country's social contract is based on guarantee of fundamental rights. Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Property. This guarantee does not mean that anything will be provided for you, but merely that no one can take away that which you have. Can you tell me on a fundamental level what the difference is between a government claiming ownership of the product of your labors and slavery? 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' is the perfect model of slavery.

Would you want to be enslaved? it's generally considered fairly abhorrent, yes? Yet some African Americans post slavery expressed a wish for it back, because they were better off as slaves than left to their own devices. That is essentially what we see today. There are some who, left to their own devices, have failed. A life of servitude in exchange for the daily bread sounds far better than what they have, so they wish everyone to be in those straights so they can have theirs. It's equally selfish to that which you deride, but this time, the product in question hasn't been earned.

The most fundamental of rights is the right to fail.

Third point, then I'll shut up since this is nearly as long as your post at this point. Can you look me in the eye and tell me most welfare recipients are grateful for the help? That they have no desire to be on welfare, and wouldn't be if they could work for their way instead? Some are, of that I have no doubt, and to them I hold no distaste. I would prefer to see them helped through a mechanism a bit more stable and efficient than the US Government, which bleeds inefficiency and loss at every turn, but I have no problem with them being helped. The trouble comes in the people who feel that they deserve the products of someone else's labor by merit of nothing more than being. The people who are content to sit on their butts eating twinkies and watching satellite tv while someone else's money comes in. The people who express hatred for the Bill Gates' and Warren Buffets of the world, simply for the fact that they have something.

If you don't believe these people exist, go through the south or west sides of Chicago. See the slums with satellite dishes on every roof. See the cars and the appliances and the fridges. The poor in this country are NOT like the third world. Third world has people digging through trash piles for something to eat. Third world has backbreaking labor the only way to survive, and not well at that. The standard of living in this country for all but the extreme bottom is far, far better than the well off in the third world.

Believe it or not, conservative and libertarian philosophies are not about selfishness. They are not cold and callous. They are legitimately the best efforts of the people involved to make sure everyone is treated right.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

To all those men and women through our nation's history who have paid the ultimate price, I thank you and salute you.

We live, and always have lived, in a dangerous world. We are able to have our three day weekends and barbecue cookouts in no small part because of the sacrifices of our armed forces. To forget that is to open the door to evil.

How you spend your day and how you honor the fallen is your business, and I will not presume to tell you what to do, beyond this. Please, do something to honor them, even if it's just a moments quiet personal reflection.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Skimmer spotted at NRAAM!

 OK, so it's not actually a skimmer:


4. a stiff, wide-brimmed hat with a shallow flat crown, usually made of straw.

But it is a straw hat, and has become one of Scribbler's trademarks.

ScribblersDad here, for my second-ever post. One of Scribbler's nicknames, bestowed upon him by the ever present bevy of young ladies who seemed to miraculously materialize around him whenever I visited him at school, was "Hat-Boy." He has a fondness for hats, and a not inconsequential collection of same. One, a light colored straw hat, has pretty much become a trademark for him in the gunny community:

 Last year, we went to Houston with press passes arranged by Scribbler. I got to go along as the official photographer. Despite my shortcomings as same, he nonetheless invited me back this year.

What a kid.

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who remembered Scribbler from last year, and many remembered the hat. Not surprisingly, none remembered his trusty sidekick, but it did lend an aura of legitimacy to our efforts that so many recalled Scribbler.

I hope to have a number of posts up reflecting the plethora of gunny goodness that is NRAAM (or is it "the" NRAAM?), but Scribbler asked me to post an overview of this year's convention.

My overall take? Yes, there were nine acres of surprise, delight, craftmanship, and innovation mixed with JAARMs (Scribbler's term for "just another AR maker"), but what continues to float my boat is the sheer number of REALLY nice people in this community.

We saw friends old and made friends new, and I can honestly say I have never met a gunblogger I didn't like. As a dad, the way this community has welcomed, embraced, and supported my son is nothing short of wonderful.

I am grateful for you all.


Friday, May 2, 2014

All The Goodies

Finals are now (essentially) over for me, so I can crawl out from under my rock and actually write something.

I have a hard time coming up with places to start writing on this one. The NRA Annual Meeting is three days jam packed full of guns, gear, and great people. It is all but impossible to remember everything, and the photos taken are most all on Dad's camera in Chicago.

For now, some highlights.

Remington has all sorts of interesting stuff going on right now, to the point that they'll get a full post a bit later. For now, the R51 is neat, I like airguns, the Ultimate Muzzleloader intrigues and confuses me, and their commemorative 1911 won my drool-worthiest gun in show.

MGI's Hydra modular AR15 is both the most innovative thing I've seen in the AR platform in, well... ever, and just plain neat too. I'd love to play with one. Ambulance Driver has a good report here. Even though he stole the term JAARM from me.

Dan Coonan has come out with a commander length 1911 in .357. It's a truly beautiful piece of engineering, and is actually substantially different than the full size. Mr. Coonan was kind enough to give us a rundown of the pistol, and I feel safe in saying that in addition to doing really neat engineering, he's just a flat out nice guy.

Nemesis Arms has taken their standard Vanquish model and rendered it fully ambidextrous in the Valkyrie. It's a very simple change, but very interesting in a bolt action. The Ives' are interesting people and quite fun to talk to as well.

More specific guns and gear will follow. These are just the new things that caught my eye.

One of the best parts about NRA of course is the people. Both behind the booths and walking the floor with us, there are interesting, fun, and nice people. I got to reconnect with a number of faces from last year, as well as putting faces to some familiar names. Linoge of Walls of the City, Midwest Chick of Non-Original Rants, and Dennis of Dragon Leatherworks all stopped by to chat, and will be going onto the blogroll as soon as the editing tool works like it's supposed to. If I met you at NRA and I haven't noted it, please know it's me being forgetful, not you offending me! If your name should be up there, shoot me an email at scribblerscrawls (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll get that fixed.

That's all for now. More (with pictures!) in the next few weeks, largely being when I get hands on the pictures.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Post NRAzzzz

Well, that went well. Another NRAAM done, with many guns pawed at, vendors chatted up, friends reconnected with, new friends made, and good food eaten.

The trademark Panama hat seems to have worked out better even than anticipated.

I've got a whole world of stuff to write about, but for now, I'm utterly bushwhacked. More to come.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Chuck Norris' Phobia

Overheard at NRA. "Before he goes to bed at night, Chuck Norris checks under his bed for OldNFO."
-Ambulance Driver

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hoisted, I say

So, Bill Maher, who I am none too fond of on principle, has managed to redeem himself very slightly in my eyes after a perfect gotcha moment to his panel.

Go read and enjoy the video.

I think this pretty much speaks for itself. In a just world, this would be a crushing blow to anyone who lays false claim of racism against an opponent. Cries of "Racism!" would be met with cries of "Projection!" and we could forget that this ridiculous obsession with melanin content was ever a part of our national dialogue.

Unfortunately, we don't live in a just world so for now I'll jut laugh at Mr. Bell.