Off into the sunset

Today marks the blogging retirement of Kim and Connie du Toit, people who I have been reading for upwards of five years. It’s been a treat to wake up every morning and read what he had to say, and it will be very wierd, to say the least, seeing that “Other Side” folder in my RSS feed sit at zero. Their farewell posts are up and comments on their site are open until midnight, so if any of you have been affected by their work, as I have, now is your chance to say “thank you” on the record.

To the du Toits, Kim especially, I can only say thank you, a thousand times thank you. For everything. You’ve given me some great advice in the forums and through email over the years, helped me learn a lot about our government, about guns and my rights, and about the world in general. To this day I still refer people to excellent posts of yours from years ago that articulate thoughts better than I ever could. There will be a large, empty hole where your voice was, and while I know you’ll never be replaced, I do look forward to finding your successors.

The Remnant

Mrs du Toit has a brilliant post up regarding the unnamed men in history, the “Remnant” as she labels them, and how they play into the flow of history. Along the way she brings up some brilliant insights not only into our nations history but also into our perception of it, and how it is reflected in many of the current political ideas and proposed solutions being offered today.

It is the Remnant that carries the baton, differentiated from everyone else (as Nock describes) by quality, rather than numbers or circumstance. And as Nock further detailed in his essay, we have no idea how many there were, how they accomplished what they did with any certainty, but those of us who spend time looking at the great Gantt Chart of man’s existence know that they had to be there.

They’re the ones who taught their children to say please and thank you. They’re the ones who made up the fairy tales to soothe a child’s nightmare to help a child transition from awake to sleep. They’re the ones who showed up for the barn raisings, carried fire buckets to a neighbor’s barn fire, blew the horn or beat the drum when the Barbarians were at the gates, and didn’t think twice about leading other men in a charge up a hill, into a stream, or over a barricade to keep the Barbarians at bay. They muddled along, not as individuals, but as members of a kind of collective or secret society, bonded, and well aware of their duties and responsibilities to others, fully recognizing that they were not important as individual, autonomous persons, but only as a member of a greater community of humane-kind.

Her stuff is always good, but this one left me gasping for breath.

Sex, Violence, and Politics

So Obama got endorsed by the Kennedys, I see. Pretty much puts the kiss of death on any conservative appeal he had because of his charisma, but the guy’s really just another new-school socialist anyway. Having him in the White House would be a nightmare, but I suppose it’d be less bad than Hillary…

Via Kim comes the reminder that Mardis Gras is child’s play:

Five days of frenzied festivities kick off on Friday, with the biggest parties in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Recife.

Latin America’s largest country stops work and indulges in a riot of drinking, dancing and parades accompanied by often licentious behavior.

The Health Ministry launched its annual safe sex campaign on Sunday under the slogan “Good in bed means wearing a condom.”

I find it just bizarre in general that these festivals exist, but never underestimate the stupidity of large groups of people. And there are people genuinely confused about the wildfire spread of STDs? I know I’m not anything remotely close to normal, and maybe my logic is just too abstract for most people, but if anonymous sex has all these negative consequences why not just… not do it?

Also from Kim is this heartwarming tragic tale of neighborly love senseless violence:

A father of three was murdered after going to a neighbour’s house to retrieve his son’s football. David Martin was allegedly stabbed with a samurai sword and a knife then bludgeoned round the head with a golf club. His wife and two youngest children watched in horror as an argument broke out and Mr Martin collapsed in agony.

Emphasis mine. “Hey guys, I was just wondering if I could get my son’s football back…” gets you beaten to death? What kind of insane world are we living in? What makes it even worse is that Mr. Martin’s father died in the exact same way – beaten to death trying to save his son from a group of misunderstood youth gang that should have been hung on the spot all those years ago. But they can’t do that, and with no death penalty to worry about, it’s pretty obvious that people aren’t worried too much about the repercussions – especially when the repercussions for said crimes are 6 years in juvenile for one offender while the others walk away.

This where I have to refer to LawDog’s excellent post on self defense. It’s becoming increasingly the case that criminals don’t fear the repercussions of what happens AFTER the crime, which I can easily attribute to our sluggish and ultimately ineffective justice system. This leaves you to provide him with fear on the spot. As LawDog points out,

Joe Critter does his first mugging. He is probably almost as scared as his victim, he’s not sure he wants to do this — but … hey! He got ten dollars (or sex, or a feeling of power, or whatever) but more importantly: he didn’t get hurt.

The next time, he’s a little less scared. He’s a little more sure. He gets five dollars (or sex, power, whatever) — and he’s not hurt. He feels his activities present less risk to him each time he has a successful (he didn’t get hurt) attack.

Twenty or a hundred victims later, Joe Critter not only doesn’t think mugging is risky, but the lack of risk has caused him to consider other, more violent actions. Because these actions don’t get him hurt.

On the other paw, suppose Joe Critter is in a place where self-defence is expected and encouraged. He figures the reward of wallet money is worth the risk of Rehabilitation Through Reincarnation, or Bodily Injury and attempts a mugging. The victim defends him or her self, and let us postulate that Joe scrambles away with powder burns and a bloody furrow along the ribs.

In contrast to the above example, for mugging number 2, the Risk part of Joe’s Risk/Reward assessment climbs, rather than lowers. Death — instead of being a philosophical possibility of his actions, is now a very real, concrete fact.

Go read the rest.

In happier news, new episode of House tonight. Holy crap, I’m actually excited about a TV show.

Rethinking conservatism

Kim has a great post on the lack of actual conservativism in “conservative” politics, and suggests a few basic ground rules:

Axiom #1: All capital (i.e. money) belongs to the indivudals who earn it, and not to the State.

This seems to me so self-evident that I hardly know how to explain it. Suffice it to say that in countries where capital has been considered the property of the State, those countries have generally collapsed, and been saved only by other countries where capital is not the property of the State.

It gets better. Go forth, and read.