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The Populist Backlash & Transnational Respectability

We’re pretty clearly in the middle of a global nationalist populist backlash against transnationalism.

If you had to boil the current political climate to one sentence, I think that would be it. It’s not just true in the United States, but across the whole western world. Fighting against globalization is a fool’s errand. Eventually, globalism will win, because it’s technology that’s driving it. The real fight is over whether the global order will be arranged by those who wield economic and political power for their own benefit and for the benefit of people like them, or whether the global order will be democratic and driven and arranged in such a way as to benefit the most people. In either system, the nation state probably becomes less important. In the former system, transnational institutions become less democratic and more powerful as nation states become weaker.

Currently few of our transnational institutions are democratic. The UN certainly is not. The EU has some window dressing that’s democratic, but the EU at its core it’s an undemocratic institution. The transnational corporations at the heart of the global order are not democratic at all, and have hardly any accountability.

People pretty much everywhere are voting the people who have arranged this order out of power. The United States is not immune to the populist backlash, as we learned in 2016. Trump basically took office on a promise to restore strong nationalist institutions in order to check transnational institutions that a large portion of the population believed were stacked against them. Victor Orban of Hungary is cast from the same mold. All Trump’s rhetoric on trade, the wall, immigration, etc, fits that model. It also fits with trends that we see in Europe.

All this nationalist populism is extremely threatening to the people who are arranging transnational institutions to benefit themselves. Everything you’ve been seeing in the gun issue lately fits that. Google censoring pro-gun views? Facebook doing the same? Big transnational companies like Levi’s donating large amounts to gun control? Financial institutions refusing to do business with gun makers, the NRA, etc? NRA not being able to obtain basic business insurance? That’s all been the people who control these transnational institutions attempting to put the brakes on populist sentiment using the institutional power they maintain control over. You didn’t see this happening a decade ago because a decade ago a lot of these institutions didn’t exist, or hadn’t cemented power. Facebook literally went from nothing, to a transnational corporation that can and possibly does decide national elections in 13 years. Think about that.

Very little is more threatening to an established order than the idea that they might be the targets of an armed revolt. Despite what many people think, it’s not because transnational elites want to kill you. Few of them are potential mass murderers, and most of them really do believe the order they are establishing is kind, civilized, and will benefit humanity. In fact, mass murderers have more often been from populist movements. Nazism and Bolshevism were not movements of elites. What transnational elites want to maintain first and foremost is the acceptance and respect of other transnational elites who are like themselves.

In most countries, the established order can keep their thumb on the peasantry to maintain an order to their liking and still maintain respectability. In the democratic countries of Europe, ordinary people can still complain, and still participate in their democratic institutions, but they can’t complain that much. In authoritarian states like China and Russia, ordinary people can’t complain in any meaningful way at all. While China might be fairly concerned with respectability, Russia is not really at all.

It’s a different story here. Our peasantry can complain: with guns and bullets. It’s almost happened a few times recently in the US, so this isn’t some abstract possibility, only applicable in theory. We’ve seen it. And the people who did it are, for the most part, still alive and not in prison. Some people will argue this is a bug. I think it’s a feature. It’s a feature because while I believe in democratic institutions, I don’t worship at the altar of majority rule. We’ve seen that democratic institutions can be coopted. We’ve seen it’s possible for an indifferent and entitlted majority to ignore minority interests completely.

Whether some want to admit it or not, having an armed population is a significant check for minorities against the depredations of the majority. I’m not speaking only of racial or religious minorities necessarily here, though it’s true for them too. It goes back to the old quote from Al Capone: “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.” To the kind of people arranging the transnational order, this is the Worst Thing Ever. Not necessarily because it threatens their power in the immediate, but because it threatens their respectability with other people like them.

Cliven Bundy and his family are still alive. Is there any reader out there who thinks Eric Holder couldn’t have given an order to ruthlessly crush the Bundys and anyone who came to their aid? Almost certainly he could have. Whether that would have set in motion a chain of events that would have escalated toward a much wider conflict I think is debatable, and I think it probably would have. But in the immediate, Holder could have wiped them out. There would have been bloodshed on both sides, but in the short term, Holder would have won. But he didn’t give that order. Why? Because he would have lost all respect from other transnational elites. Ruthlessly crushing rebellions isn’t a respectable business these days in those circles. That kind of thing might get you respect in Moscow, but not Davos.

They hate your gun because your gun is a threat to their respectability. They can never be the equal to the European transnationalists, because no matter how carefully things are arranged, as long as you remain armed, you get to have a say. You can force them to risk their respectability by behaving more like Tsar Vladimir, or having to actually listen to you and take your interests seriously. They find both options distasteful. Most pro-gun people intrinsically understand this. And yes, many anti-gun folks do as well. Bloomberg, I’m convinced, understands this completely.

Draw From Holster

With club elections now behind me, a new system to manage prospective members in place and seemingly working, I’ll have some more time now. I’m interested in bringing a Steel Challenge match to my club. The only problem is we don’t allow drawing from holster. Maybe I could get an exception for the match, but I think that’ll be a tough climb. The fact is there are some risks associated with letting any yahoo draw and fire from holster, and I’ve seen enough sloppy gun handling there to be wary of it even myself. But I’m also finding people will rise to the competence that’s expected of them… in other words, as I’ve been running matches, I’m seeing gun handling practices get better.

If I were to run a Steel Challenge-like match, I’d probably need to get people’s gun handling skills up before we could do anything like draw-from-holster. I’m curious what other people might have done in this situation, and how other clubs that allow draw from holster or allow limited draw from holster manage it. If you run a Steel Challenge match, which means it’s an open match, how do you know the shooter showing up actually knows how to do a safe draw? Is there ever any safety check? Pre-qualification? Do you police equipment? I’ve looked at other clubs in the area, and some allow it, but only for qualified people.

Tech Open Thread

It’s Friday, and I’m writer’s blocking trying to write up something persuasive defending the concept of Immutable Infrastructure in DevOps. Really, the client in question has at best Semi-Immutable Infrastructure: updates can be applied via the deployer for the systems that are now working under that paradigm. They don’t tear down the and rebuild their VMs for patches and security updates. And they still have a lot of stuff that works under the traditional “mutable” model.

But we are pushing the idea of eventually having all IT infrastructure adopt DevOps principles. For major OS or software releases, or in the event of a security breach or other problems with the system, tearing the system down and rebuilding it should be done. I approach DevOps from a traditional IT background. Most of my colleagues approach it from developer backgrounds. I’ve found that traditional IT folks are more resistant to DevOps principles than people with developer backgrounds. So I feel like when IT people exhibit skepticism, having “come to Jesus” myself from the same heresy, I should be the one to preach to them the DevOps gospel.

I’m curious if anyone out there has worked in this area. My current focus is doing a large, legacy database system as Immutable Infrastructure. Or at least Semi-Immutable Infrastructure if you’re a real purist (which I am not).

I Kept Saying This to Bitter All Week

Kavanaugh was really the “safe” pick for Trump. The Dems are running a real risk of galvanizing him beyond what he would have been if they had treated him no different than the GOP treated Sotomayor or Kagan.

I just went back and looked at my high school yearbook, and I can find multiple things I would never want spun in the court of public opinion in this political climate.

I was the exact opposite of a wild child. I was so tame I think I disappointed my mother.

Based on what I heard today, Kavanaugh was probably a harder drinker than I was at 18, but maybe not at 21. The most I could be accused of at 18 is raiding mom’s wine supply in the fridge, or sneaking a beer from dad’s stash. I didn’t attend wild booze parties in high school. By my early 20s I might have done some questionably legal things that involved young men, too much alcohol, flammable gases, fresh produce, and a large body of water. And for this I would never be able to serve on the Supreme Court today, by current standards.

I watched the spectacle today, and it was a disgrace. If the Dems wanted an FBI investigation they could have brought up the allegations when they became aware of them. But they didn’t. They held them until it was politically useful as a delaying tactic… and they kept pushing for the delay.

I agree completely with Glenn Reynolds: “Had he received a normal confirmation, I suspect Kavanaugh would have been a bit of an establishment squish. I rather doubt that he’ll be that now.

Ollie North Has Graduated from Angry Dana School With Flying Colors

New video from NRA defending Kavanaugh:

The commenters at Instapundit love it, which should show you I don’t really know crap about populist propigandizin’. But I’ll still throw in my $0.02.

At least it’s related to the gun issue, since getting Kavanaugh on the court will make or break the 2nd Amendment. This is the most important battle we’re going to have with our opposition. It might not be the most intense (I expect that will be the fight to replace Ginsburg or Breyer) but this will give us a much stronger 5th vote on gun cases. I don’t want to roll the dice with another pick of Trump’s. I’ve been saying to Bitter all week: “Can we hold a vote now? Why do they keep falling for these delaying tactics. Just hold the damned vote.” Also, this should be the last confirmation hearing ever. They are three ring circuses. This is one area I’m OK agreeing to now, because I don’t really feel like I’d be giving anything up not holding them for Dem nominees either. It’ll be better for everyone.

Anyway, my issue with this latest ad is that you could replace Ollie with Dana and the writing and delivery still work. I’ve heard Ollie North speak off the cuff. I know he’s capable of humor. I’d go even farther and suggest he’s actually a good and engaging speaker. It’s like NRA’s PR firm has two or three chords they know how to play, and somehow they’ve made a band out of it. Can they message around an individual’s strengths, weaknesses and quirkiness? If they could pull that off, it’ll humanize the person delivering the lines. It’ll make the message stronger.

Maybe the issue is you hear the songs for the first time and you like them. It’s only when you listen to the whole album you realize the band only knows three chords. But maybe that’s enough?

Wilson Out at Defense Distributed

The company is being taken over by Paloma Heindorff. This is very good news, because Defense Distributed continuing to exist as an entity will preserve the lawsuits that are at the heart of this whole matter. This is a huge issue for me because it touches on both the hacker, maker and gun subcultures. We have a right to tinker! There certainly is some right to be able to make and modify arms as well. But most importantly, we certainly have a right to share information, and CAD drawings are nothing but information.

The free exchange of information and ideas is the basis of a free society, and being told we can’t because some people like our Governor and Attorney General deem said information “dangerous” is a more dangerous a road to travel than any they imagine they can try to avoid.

I don’t understand all the people who think this is a setup. Why is it so hard to believe that a self-described crypto anarchist young man likes himself some hookers, frequented a site where it’s known you can find that kind of action, and either intentionally or accidentally solicited a girl who was underage? This is a known risk with soliciting prostitutes, especially in states where age-of-consent is a strict liability crime. Wilson certainly won’t be the first guy to get in trouble under these kinds of circumstances. Based on the evidence the police claim to have, I would not want to be in Wilson’s shoes.

Red Flag is Back in PA

NRA is alerting members on PA bill HB2227. This is the “Red Flag” bill that the GOP has started loving so much.

Under House Bill 2227, a law-abiding gun owner could lose their right to own or possess a firearm and then have the burden placed on them to prove the false nature of the petition in order to have their firearms returned.  This legislation does nothing to improve public safety, and allows for an extremely broad definition of who can petition to remove someone’s Second Amendment rights.

I know other groups are also opposing HB 2060. This basically mirrors federal law on PFAs, which is probably why NRA isn’t opposing it. If you want to throw opposition to HB 2060 into your letters, it couldn’t hurt. It’s not like I think gun control works worth a damn.

Cameron Kasky Leaves “March for our Lives” Board

He hasn’t done a 180 on the issue, but it looks like he’s capable of humility, which is a personality trait that will serve a person well their whole life and career. That’s my big issue with Hogg: I doubt you can tell that kid anything. At 17 he already knows everything he needs to know, and you’re just a dumb adult who won’t accept his truth. I can pretty much guarantee he’ll be the same at 40.

When it comes to politics and other social topics my position is increasingly becoming, “There are no easy answers, and if you think there are, you’ve either been duped by someone, or you’re a fool who doesn’t think things through.” What bothers me on social media is not that people overshare their political opinions… it’s that the people who tend to overshare their political opinions only see things in only black and white, and have generally closed their minds that The Truth might not be so cut and dry, or might not exist at all.

It’s never as simple as “we’re right, they’re wrong” and it definitely isn’t as simple as “we’re good, and they’re evil!”

It’s not that I don’t believe in right and wrong, and good and evil: I’ve spent more than a decade defending gun rights and trying to convince people I’m right about this. But when you start talking to real people you quickly realize there’s a lot of nuance, and none of this is as easy as you think.

Through the gun rights issue, I’ve discovered I’m a poor grassroots organizer. I tried it, but I think I suck at it. I’ve come to understand that my personality and intellectual traits are better suited to logistical support than leading troops in the field. The best organizers are actually people who believe, 100%, that they are engaged in an epic struggle between good and evil, but who are more concerned about getting a team moving forward than they are about their own self-aggrandizement. The types of people who are good at organizing will tend to struggle with that balance. Certainly most great generals have. I think Hogg will flame out, if he hasn’t already, because he trends too much toward self-aggrandizement.

Cameron Kasky is starting a new podcast “Cameron Knows Nothing.” It’s a good title. If I were starting another blog now, I might have to borrow it. I’d like to tell the kid that it’ll get better with age, but if you’re the kind of person who looks around and sees shades of grey, I’m afraid that’s only going to get worse with age.

Wilson on the Lam?

Seems Cody Wilson has fled to Taiwan. Hey bud, thanks for opening up this whole can of worms and leaving the gun community holding the bag. I appreciate it. I’d say careful who you hitch your wagon to, but often when people warn of that they are working on an understanding that you can help that. Sometimes someone hitches his wagon to you, and I think that was the case here. Then your only choices are to stop pulling, or keep pulling and try to make the best of a bad situation. In politics, if you do the former, you lose. The latter is usually what ends up happening.

Apparently the girl is 16-years old, and if the investigating detective is to be believed, she looks younger than she is. They say they have video of the two at the hotel, which corroborates the victim’s story.

There are two things about Cody Wilson I have believed: first that he’s a narcissistic egomaniac who thinks the rules that apply to ordinary mortals don’t apply to him, and two that he’s a brilliant showman and provocateur. Sadly, all this fits within my understanding of him, so I’m not liable to believe this was a setup. I think events have caught up with him. There is no escaping this issue. It will come up again, hopefully with a different plaintiff. Maybe DD can hang on without Wilson, but I’m doubtful of that. My impression is that if Wilson remains on the lam, or even if he doesn’t and goes to jail, it will greatly complicate the lawsuit to defend 3D printing and sharing of technical documentation, CAD drawings, and plans. While SAF is also on the lawsuit, DD is at the center of the controversy. SAF’s standing is based on: “SAF members reside in the Defendants’ jurisdictions and seek to receive the computer files that Defense Distributed seeks to publish on the internet via its website.”

Looks Like Cody Wilson Could be Going to Jail

Breaking news, it seems:

The affidavit said a counselor called Austin police on Aug. 22 to report that a girl under the age of 17 told her she had sex with a 30-year-old man on Aug. 15 and was paid $500.

In a forensic interview on Aug. 27, the girl told authorities that she created an account on SugarDaddyMeet.com, and began exchanging messages with a man who used the username “Sanjuro,” the affidavit said.

The pair messaged online, then began exchanging text messages.

“During this conversation, ‘Sanjuro’ identified himself as ‘Cody Wilson.’ Victim said that ‘Sanjuro’ described himself to the victim as a ‘big deal,’ ” the affidavit said.

Sanjuro? Really? Even Anthony Weiner came up with better names for his alter egos. If there’s anything that all sides can agree on, it’s that Cody Wilson has more panache than using a name like Sanjuro.

According to the document, Wilson sent the girl images of his penis, and she sent him nude photos of herself.

Why does everyone and their mother send dick pics these days? You know what I’ve never ever done? Send a dick pic. If this is true, he could be screwed on the pictures alone if she was under 18. The age of consent in Texas is 17, and federally the pictures are a problem if she’s under 18.

This is disappointing. There are very serious First and Second Amendment issues at the heart of what Cody Wilson is doing, and this will seriously complicate things. But this issue is bigger than Wilson, and it will come to the front one way or another.

UPDATE: Just as SAF announces they are expanding their lawsuit to include Pennsylvania’s AG and Governor, among other state pols as well.

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