31 October 2009

Shield Phalanx

The only units that use the tactic of a shield phalanx today are "Riot Police".

For some reason my mind was thinking about how the leftards always end up throwing down with the "riot police" (normally just regular police who are kitted up in riot gear) and they can't break the riot shield Phalanx.

The leftards must really be stupid, because some wine bottles filled with gasoline and some road flares would break that shield wall pretty damn quick. As the wall advances break the bottles on the ground in front of you, and toss a couple lit road flares onto the mess as the police advance. Of course the tactical counter to this is have fire extinguishers in the second or third rank of police, but for some reason I've never seen this.

The reason why this won't work with the leftards is that too few of them are real killers. However, the ones that ARE real killers more than make up for it. Too many hippies believe in "non-violence" to ever put up more than token resistance.

Which is why the peacefulness and cleanliness of a Tea Party protest should really scare the crap out of the Left. What happens when you push somebody who has self control too far? I really hope we don't find out.

29 October 2009

Camo

So the Army did some tests in 2006 on the camo it adopted in 2004 and found out that *urp* MultiCam is in fact better. http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/09/army_camo_test_091509w/

Well butter my biscuits. I guess that relying on printed camo for force protection is why we've had such astronomical casualties in the War on a Noun.

Truth be told the color pattern of the uniform is not as important as the skillset of the wearer. If you are relying on printed camo patterns to hide your ass, you are in danger of receiving a "sucking chest wound" which is nature's way of telling you your fieldcraft sucks.

Could a better camo pattern save lives? Possibly. Is it anything more than a feel good measure to make politicians feel like they are doing "something"? Probably not.

Warfare in the current environment doesn't really have a lot of stealthy "snoop and poop" operations going on right now where printed camo is the deciding factor in success or failure.

Besides, after a few good rolls in the mud or dust, any pattern blends in pretty good.

27 October 2009

Wishful thinking...

Wouldn't it be nice if American kids were as happy to see US Soldiers as Iraqi children?

23 October 2009

Oath Keepers and the Law

Over at the Slimy Puss Lie Center there was yet another "expose" on the "Oath Keepers" and "Three Percenters".

Yawn.

However, in the comments someone by the handle "L and M" only posted this excerpt.

TITLE 18 U.S. Code - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART I - CRIMES
CHAPTER 115 - TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
Sec. 2387. Activities affecting armed forces generally
(a) Whoever, with intent to interfere with, impair, or influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United States:
(1) advises, counsels, urges, or in any manner causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United States; or
(2) distributes or attempts to distribute any written or printed matter which advises, counsels, or urges insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United States
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

Now I may be a dumb grunt, but it seems that "L and M" are implying that someone who is an "Oath Keeper" and who encourages service members to become "Oath Keepers" is guilty of vile treason.

Now ain't that something?

First off lets take a look at the "10 Order We Will Not Obey".

1. We will NOT obey any order to disarm the American people. 2nd Amendment
2. We will NOT obey any order to conduct warrantless searches of the American people, their homes, vehicles, papers, or effects - such as warrantless house-to house searches for weapons or persons. 4th Amendment
3. We will NOT obey any order to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to trial by military tribunal. 5th Amendment

4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state, or to enter with force into a state, without the express consent and invitation of that state’s legislature and governor. Posse Comitatus

5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union.
6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.

7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext. 5th Amendment, Due Process

8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control” during any emergency, or under any other pretext. We will consider such use of foreign troops against our people to be an invasion and an act of war.

9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies, under any emergency pretext whatsoever
. 5th Amendment, Due Process
10. We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances. 1st Ammendment

You will notice that I used bold and italics to highlight some of the orders. Those that are in bold are rights guaranteed to the people by the Bill of Rights. And we all know that depriving a US Citizen of their civil rights is a felony. Nothing wrong with declaring that you won't commit a felony when ordered.

Those that are in italics are Federal Law under Posse Comitatus. A little piece of legislation that keeps the FedGov from beating the states with the big stick of the military. It turns out that there are only 3 "orders we will not obey" that are not clearly defined by existing Federal Law. Those remaining three come down to the President using the "Insurrection Clause" of Posse Comitatus in order to enforce Federal Authority. Basically those three orders mean that "we won't fight a Civil War on behalf of the Federal Government." Considering the bloodshed of our last Civil War it seems good sense to me to not fight another one.

However, the insurrection clause was put there to ensure the supremecy of the FedGov. Since my identity here is a not so well guarded secret I'm not going to state what my choices would be if I recieved an order that violated one of the three rules not already illegal by Constitution or Posse Comitatus. But in a situation like that, I'd have to ask, "What would Malcom Reynolds do?"

21 October 2009

Weird Dream

The other night I had a dream so strange that I wrote it down when I woke up

In my dream I ended up with a group of civilian volunteers heading out to fight for some cause. They were armed with an assortment of civilian rifles. Them men ranged from middle aged to late teens, and one of them purposely brought a rifle chambered for a wildcat cartridge and called it his “infantry buster”.

My real life Fire Support Officer and I were there and watched them train and when we offered to train them we were told “Nah, that's ok, we got this.” with a smile and a nod. The “training” consisted of engaging targets at the range of 25 meters from the back of a slowly moving pickup truck.

After the training was complete, meaning those with rifles had a turn shooting the four targets from the back of the truck, we traveled by car to a staging area near a major port. We passed war memorials along the way, pieces of aircraft carriers and battleships from wars past dotted the road to the hotel where we would stay the night before moving on in the morning. We checked in and for the first time the entire group came together.

The leader of the group was a slightly overweight man, the kind with a face that reminds people of a favorite uncle or very young Santa Claus. A horrible part of this dream were the women. All of them young, 18 or 19, none of them with any life experience but sold on this idea that they could make a difference by serving with the men and picking up a rifle when the time came.

The worst was when the leader got everyone into an auditorium and someone began to chant an overtly religious theme, something along the lines of “God will win the day”. The voices joined in and grew louder and faster until the words flew by almost faster than the mouth could form them, and then silence from the crowd as the leader struck a tuned rod. A single tone reverberated through the hall, and the leader held everyones rapt attention. This man was going to get most of them killed through his charisma, and I would only be able to save a remnant if I was lucky, and only after the truth of warfare had shown the leaders vision to be a lie.

In my dream I felt helpless rage as I tried to explain the bitter truth of fighting and warfare. The enemy will come at you from much further than 25 meters, and sitting in the back of a slowly moving pickup truck makes you a tempting and easy target. I rushed to the stage to silence the rod but the leader took that opportunity to pass it around the hall, having audience members throw it to one another, ringing the tone anew as it flew from hand to hand, and the tone drowned out my words. I couldn't stop the slaughter to come, I could only follow along and try to keep a few alive.

I don't believe that dreams are anything more than the assorted collection of memories randomly coming together as you sleep. But this one was strange, and sometimes strange can be interesting.

20 October 2009

The role of the Sergeant Major

A good Sergeant Major can really set the mood for a unit, have a huge impact on morale. A poor Sergeant Major can do the exact opposite.

During my few months in the sandbox I've seen that job of Sergeants Major is to: deny forwarding a mission packet because some unfilled cells on a printed Excell sheet were not "dark enough" and he wouldn't put a packet that looked "unprofessional" on the LTC's desk, chew out a stop lossed Sniper team leader because the blousing on his trousers fell below the "3rd eyelet" of his boots, and look at the word "Avalanche" and pronounce the word "Apache" not once but five times.

For a brief period of time my Infantry Company was task organized underneath the Brigade Support Battalion, and it was a straight up batshit crazy nightmare. One single mission packet required 14 sheets of paper. Normally it takes three. The extra work was simply extra work, not necessary for my platoon to function and it took away from my checks, inspection, and rehersal time.

For a while I have debated whether to leave the Infantry and transfer to the Signal Corps. Yesterday I was explaining to a friend how miserable it was working under the BSB and all the anger and frustration about the petty rules and insane policies came back to me. Having the approval authority for an Infantry platoon be a Quartermaster Light Colonel if the fucking E9's who work for him don't kick back my 14 page Magnum Opus for some format discrepency is absurd. Why is a cook who made Sergeant Major even reviewing my mission packets after my Infantry Company Commander approved them?

But the good news is that we have since been task organized back to an Infantry Battalion, where a mission packet is a trip ticket and concept of the operation (BN doesn't need the whole OPORD to understand what we are doing and battle track) and I have the time I need to actually prep for the mission.

There is plenty of stupid in the Army, and I truly hope that some Sergeants Major can get each other to use a little common sense before they frustrate even more soldiers to get out, like my Sniper team leader in my old Company. Like I said at the beginning, a good Sergeant Major brings up the morale of the unit, ensuring discipline without shaming, encouraging without flattering, and correcting with firm kindness.

19 October 2009

My blog is my vent...

There was a sci-fi novel that I read where a subplot was about how the internet changed human behavior. An example in the book was that a wife recorded her husband snoring all night long so she could play it back to him the next day. And when she died she played it every night to lull her self to sleep. The internet became to "always listening ear" of a therapist and changed the nature of counseling to a more specialized field.

I will be honest, I read a lot of science fiction. Getting lost in a good novel is one of my most relaxing hobbies. Military history has also been a focus of mine, but that is for professional development instead of entertainment. But there are lot of biographies that reach out and keep you turning pages well into the wee hours of the morning.

One of the books that I have re-read this all expenses paid vacation to the middle east was John Ringo's "Emerald Sea" from the Council War series. While the story is entertainment, the lessons about being a good officer and leader are the very sort of things that are passed down by seniors to subordinates. Evidently 4 years with the 82nd Airborne served him well.

David Drake, served with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Black Horse) in Vietnam. Robert Jordan served two tours in Vietnam as a door gunner. William C. Dietz served as a corpsman in the Navy. Dave Freer served in the South African army (where else would he get the idea of conscription for "Rats, Bats, and Vats"?).

As far as fantasy goes, both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein served with the British Army as officers in WWI. Louis L'Amour served as a Transportation Officer in WWII. Even the famous survival blog and Patriots author J.W. Rawles served as an Army MI officer.

I guess picking out some of my favorite authors and pointing to their military experience is cherry picking the data, but when I read these authors the realities of hope, despair, fear, of conflict come off the page and paint vivid portraits in my mind.

Some day I hope to write that well, putting what experience I've gained in my life into words that even in fiction hold the truth of the human experience. And just maybe putting experience into words acts like venting to the always open ear. Who knows?

17 October 2009

Cleopatra's nose....

Historians sometimes postulate on different outcomes of key points in history, an activity dubbed "Cleopatra's nose". For the example goes like this:

If Cleopatra's nose had been one inch longer, she would have been ugly instead of beautiful. If she was ugly Marc Antony would not have fallen in love with her. If Marc Antony hadn't fallen in love with her, the Roman Empire would not have split. If the Roman Empire hadn't split, it wouldn't have fallen. All because of Cleopatra's nose.

But let us do the same but with President Carter and the Shah of Iran.

If President Carter hadn't tried to pressure the Shah of Iran to reform his government on human rights issues then the Shah would have been able to get overt support from US to support his regime during the troubles caused by Khomeini. With US support the Shah would not have fallen from power (Carter refused phone calls from the Shah). With no Ayatollah Khomeini no petro-dollars would have flowed to terrorists targeting the US and Israel. Also there would have been no Iran/Iraq war. With no Iran/Iraq war there would have been no need for Iraq to invade Kuwait. With no Iraqi invasion of Kuwait there would have been no Gulf War. With no gulf war there would have been no sanctions, weapons inspectors, or "Oil For Food" scandal. With no WMD "threat" from weapons inspectors there would have been no justification for GWBush to push for the current war in Iraq. Which means I wouldn't be here.

All because President Carter wouldn't take phone calls from the Shah of Iran.

Considering the tone of the current administration and how it echoes Jimmy Carter's "soft diplomacy" I wonder what wars are going to come from it for my son to fight. I hope he has peace in his time, but if not peace may he fight like King David.

16 October 2009

Society and Marriage

Marriage is both a religious and societal structure. Whether it was religious before it was societal is a debate only for those who want to engage in fruitless mental exercises.

The societal structure of marriage was the original support network for humans, and it is what I'm going to focus on (mostly) today. The societal purpose of the dowry is an excellent example of the economic impact, if a man will support his wife and family, is it not appropriate that she bring something additional to help the relationship? In some cultures the man provides payment to the woman's father, showing that he is wealthy enough to take care of his wife and future family.

The death of so many followers of Mohammed during the jihads lead by the "prophet" led Mohammed to declare that a man could marry up to four wives if he could treat them all the same (an economic restriction), solved the problem of "what to do with all the war widows?" and set up a system that exists to this day.

One of the main purposes of the welfare state is to step in and replace a husband and father in the economic portion of marriage. Women routinely make the choice to have children out of wedlock, and turn to government assistance to either force payment from the sperm donor or in the direct form of wealth redistribution. The societal cost of these policies has been shown over and over again in increased crime rates for children raised in single parent households. It may not take a village to raise a child, and two dysfunctional parents are probably not as good as a really good single mom, but even two moderately functional parents are going to have an easier time keeping their kids out of jail than a single mother.

Time and time again the success stories of single mothers really turns out to be the success stories of families stepping in to help fill the gap (although there are a few lucky souls who really could do it on there own). Barack Obama would probably not be the President today without the care of his grandparents.

This got me to thinking about polygamy. The only prohibition against polygamy in the Bible comes from the Apostle Paul when he outlined the requirements for the office of Bishop in the Church. That's it. If you don't want to hold the office of Bishop then you don't need to restrict yourself to one wife. The teaching of Jesus about divorcing one wife in order to marry another being the same as adultery has nothing to do with having multiple wives, it has to do with a man breaking his covenant with his wife (the legal act of divorce).

Right now in the Black community there is a shortage of "quality" men. One of the popular statistics is that "there are more black men in prison than in college". I've heard that one over and over again so it must be true, right? Some black muslim communities in the U.S. practice polygamy as an answer to this very problem. The muslim faith prohibits giving muslim women in marriage to a non-muslim man (again restricting access to a "quality" mate). The very same problem that Mohammed had to deal with during the very beginnings of Islam.

As far as Christian tradition goes, monogomy is only that, a tradition. How it has encroached into our legal system is easy to understand. The interesting perspective comes from the feminist viewpoint, that marriage is a male dominated institution (historically true) and that legalizing polygamy would allow our society to swing back to a more patriarchal mode and lead to the disenfranchisement of women (a "doomsday" scenario that isn't likely). So as much as the feminists hate marriage, women are still getting married to men. And if polygamy was legalized, women could STILL choose not to marry a man.

I believe that it would be better for our society to allow men to marry multiple wives because it would provide a multiple parent home for children who would otherwise not get that opportunity. And as more children grow up with two (or more) parents they will be statistically more likely to become productive members of society instead of prison inmates.

The flip side of this is that the benefits of marriage or polygamy will only work for those who reject the answer of the welfare state. If one party in the marriage decides that he/she is better off alone, then the whole system fails. However, right now the whole system HAS failed. I don't mean to trap women into abusive marriages, after all if a woman divorces one husband there is no law saying she can't marry a different man, or even a woman. The issue of same sex marriage is a different one, but since I am on the subject I have to state it one more time, I don't care who marries who, we live under a secular government and in matters of faith God will know his own.

The idea of "secular polygamy" just seems like it could have a place in our society.

15 October 2009

One day at a time.

Living in the "here and now" is easy when the there is no time for reflection. That is what makes this part of the war in Iraq so different, right now there is plenty of time for reflection.

One of my NCO's was wounded in the arm by bullet fragments ricocheting off of the armor of the vehicle in which he was riding. The doc at the Troop Medical Clinic (TMC) removed a few slivers of copper and patched him up with a single stitch and a "Hello Kitty" band-aid. And yes, we are only waiting on his Purple Heart to be approved, along with his and his drivers Combat Infantrymen's Badge (CIB).

For days afterward he didn't go on any missions, simply because there were no missions for him to go out on. He got to sit and stew about how close he came to death, even wearing a helmet and kevlar vest he head was less than a yard from the impact. There weren't any psych counselors available, but the Chaplain was on hand (one of the functions of a Chaplain that many do not appreciate fully).

For myself I have to ask what I could have done differently, and the answer is nothing. We were all doing our jobs, and nobody can prevent the enemy from taking potshots at you. I would have been devastated had he been seriously injured or killed, and I am thankful beyond words that he was not.

The old joke is that Army life is long stretches of boredom punctuated by brief moments of sheer terror. And the only thing that makes Army life prefferable to the farm is the punctuation. But I still don't know if the more relaxed mission pace is helpful for healing the wounds to the spirit, or if it only serves to let my boys stew over their own mortality while they wait to tempt fate yet again as we head outside the wire.

I do not know what happens next, but there is no point worrying about it. Even though I have the time.

14 October 2009

The problem with philosophy

While I have moved eastward in Iraq (got a picture of myself along the border with Iran today) I have also temporarily changed room mates.

My last room mate has a BA in Philosophy. What we found when we argued was that he argued from a point of "what is right and just" and I argue from facts and figures.

This is the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives in the U.S.

In the health care debacle debate we have heard "It is shameful that the worlds most prosperous country doesn't take care of it's least fortunate" and similar sentiments for years now. The conservative answer has always been "how do you plan to pay for it?".

Every time I would bring up a fact, study, or figure, we would have to go to Google so that he could see for himself that I wasn't pulling things from thin air. We argued about media bias, I was right. We argue a lot about history, and I am right (turned out that we were rehashing the discussion from the night before concerning Keynesian economics in the Third Reich with the National Highway Act under Eisenhower and a mutual friend of ours backed me entirely).

It isn't that liberals are foolish, far from it. My former roomie was educated at a prestigious university, but he didn't study history, finance, or phsyics, he studied philosophy. It is my opinion that his four year education was misspent.

My current roomie is more liberal than I, but when we talk of economic policies he understands how the Clean Air Act destroyed the American steel industry. His hometown of Buffalo, NY has miles of warehouses that used to employ thousands working for Bethlehem Steel. But when it came time to build a new bridge, the steel was ordered from China, even though Bethlehem Steel was literally a stones throw away from the construction sight.

That is what you get when liberals are allowed to dictate. But it is what it is. Is it wrong of me to be weary of trying to force the knowledge of history into one unwilling head at a time? It is made worse that my friend really does want to expand his knowledge, after all he is checking the points I bring up.

Lesson learned? Study something in college that will cram a real discipline into your mind. Math, physics, chemistry, engineering of some sort. But four years of philosophy disconnected from the reality of history, advances in science, the cause and effect of different economic schools of thought on the world economy. That makes me sad.

13 October 2009

Back home....

The old Simon&Garfunkel song "Homeward Bound" has been a favorite of mine for years. While the lyrics don't particularly apply to me, having never been a poet and a one man band, I do know the longing of home.

Home isn't necessarily Washington state, the west side of the mountains with the tall evergreens and months of gray skies and rain. I grew up there, but it is home because that is where my heart is, with my wife and son in our little "starter home" that we paid too much for but couldn't pass up because of the location.

Hunting season is here, and my friends and family will go out to the tree farms and forests looking for blacktail and mule deer. The hunting rifles come out of the safe (normally we shoot 22's or scary looking paramilitary rifles for fun) and the zero is confirmed. Then we drive out and plant ourselves over a clearcut, the damp early morning mist chilling our face. Hot coffee from an old green thermos ready to heat us up in the truck.

After a few hours of that I'll volunteer to "beat the draws" and see if I can't push something out into the open. Usually I'll find a bedded doe or fawn. For lunch we usually have cold cut sandwiches, and in the afternoon we'll swap out who beats the draws and who is in overwatch, waiting for a buck to break from the treeline.

And then the sun will start descending over the western Olympic range, the sky will turn a dark purple. At the fading edge of twilight we will get back in the vehicle and head for a hot meal. Hot tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches are delicious beyond words after a day spent hiking through the thick brush.

Right now I'm in Iraq, and the rainy season will soon come. But it won't be home.

07 October 2009

Political Defense

Going from purely physical terms of defense to political terms of defense, especially in the realm of gun control in the US, takes us to the Pragmatist verses Threeper debate once again.

There is no way to say that the NRA draws a line in the sand. What the NRA has done is attempt to minimize legislation as it is being drafted, and support legal challenges to existing gun laws (there are other entities at work here such as SAF, but the NRA is the major player). The "give and take" nature of this approach is very pragmatic, it works within the system and enjoys limited success such as including the sunset clause in the AWB and the Heller decision.

On the other side the Three Percenters claim that restrictions will never be loosened and that ground lost will never be regained. That a line in the sand has to be drawn and when it is crossed there is no turning back.

This is a very good way to frame the argument, the two extremes exist and most people fall somewhere in the middle. Perhaps the most vocal Threeper, Mike Vanderboegh, still regularly contacts public officials as a private citizen advising them to not infringe further on the rights of the people. On the flip side there are members of the NRA that do nothing more every year than pay there dues and read the magazines.

A true dynamic defense is one that is a flexible response and credible threat. The framed argument, Prags verses Threepers, are the answers for flexibility through the existing system, and a credible threat through armed force. If you write letters, make phone calls, and train in the martial skills, then you are as effective as you are going to be.

But don't tear down the other side for not doing things your way. The enemy of my enemy may not be my friend, but he's still my enemies enemy. We couldn't have won in WWII without the commies on the Eastern Front, and we won't keep our liberties if we don't fight the oppressor.

Remember; ballot box, soap box, and cartridge box. Use the first two at every chance, and the third when you have to.

06 October 2009

Patton on Defense

"Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man." - GEN Patton

Notice that he specified "fixed" fortifications, which given the time period were things like the French Maginot Line or the German Atlantic Sea Wall.

The bottom line is that there is no "impenetrable fortress".

That doesn't mean that fortifications are stupid. What is stupid is to be so invested in a piece of terrain as to give up the ability to maneuver trying to hold it. The Russians have twice used a campaign of defensive action to good effect, first against Napoleon and second against the Third Reich.

The first problem with fixed fortifications is that they give the enemy an exact location of where you will be, and most likely when you will be there. This means that the enemy chooses the time for the battle even if you chose the place.

The second problem is that a defensive posture is inherently passive. How many men do you have guarding the others for the guard rotation? An old trick is to send small probing parties to bring a fortification to 100% alert for two or three days in a row, denying the defending force sleep while the attackers rest up for a massed assault.

In Vietnam the idea of mutually covering firebases took hold, and still the enemy was able to overrun several due to environmental factors such as weather making the use of air support and artillery impossible. The Soviets in Afghanistan (and the US Military in Iraq) congregated on large bases (GEN Petraeus used the troop surge to push combat power off of FOB's and into neighborhoods with good effect).

Infantry doctrine calls for an "offensively minded defense" meaning that the goal of the defense is still to close with and kill the enemy. Such an example would be to have an Engineer squad prepare dug in fighting positions along a route of egress so that the covering forces can slow the progress of a pursuing force. The Prussian "discipline of the spade" followed the Roman example and made the infantry dig in whenever stopped. A sound tactic for staying alive.

Now how do we apply these lessons to the American Militia? Well first don't get cornered in compounds or houses. The inevitable result is Ruby Ridge or Waco. To be effective you have to maintain the ability to maneuver, even if you don't have freedom of maneuver. After all the city fighting in Stalingrad saw entire regiments moved one man at a time through holes and tunnels single file.

To sum it up, always have an escape route. Better yet, have two or three. Because if you make it REALLY hard for the enemy to get in, you make it really hard for yourself to get out.

02 October 2009

What the hell is "Social Justice"?

Social Justice is a buzzword for the left in the US. What it really boils down to is the redistribution of wealth. Even wikipedia has a section article on social justice. The sad part is that the ideas of social justice are already found in our society. Allow me to quote from wikipedia (which is not a scholarly thing to do, but what the hell this is my blog and I'm not always going to be scholarly).

Social justice is a term, generally applied by the left, to describe a society with a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution, policies aimed toward achieving that which developmental economists refer to as equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.

We already have progressive taxation, and a welfare state to redistribute income (social security, medicare, medicaid, etc), and the Kelo vs. New London decision has shown that Government can take any property that they want (although the redistribution of property in that case wasn't to the poor and needy). We have strict laws on equal opportunity, and we already have high schools and universities lowering the graduation requirements for minorities to make the "equality of outcome" a reality.

But none of this is what a Leftist means when they talk about "social justice". What they really mean is taking MORE from those who already pay the most to GIVE to those who pay the least (or nothing at all). In the book
God and the Welfare State by Lew Daly (what is it about guys named Daly always being on the left?) he writes "In 2000 the top one hundredth of one percent of the income scale- a mere 13,400 households- had nearly as much income as the entire 100 million people at the bottom. These evils scripture makes plain." Lew also writes about Americans living in "barbaric poverty" and in "extreme poverty". Being rich isn't evil, being dishonest to get rich or richer IS evil.

I'm in Iraq. From here to the end of my days I will have an entirely different opinion about "extreme" or "barbaric" poverty. As a side note Lew Daly picks at the scriptures that condemn evil rich men, and ignores the righteous men that God has made wealthy. He ignores the apostles arguing about Mary washing Jesus' feet and perfuming them with expensive oil, saying amongst themselves that it should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus taught "the poor will be with you always." The Bible DOES teach to be charitable, provide for the poor, the orphan, and the widow, but it is a personal command to each believer AND a command to the church structure. NOT a command to a secular government. While the free market can put people into poverty, it is also the vehicle by which people work their way out of poverty.

The more I read about Lew Daly the more frightened I become of the "Religious Left" who have ideas here is Lew Daly discussing another book Unjust Deserts:

Most people do not consider inherited wealth or property to be something people really and fully “deserve” to enjoy, even if they are legally entitled to it. We never think the rich heir really “deserves” to be rich. At the same time, we tend see the wealth and income people get from the market as something that’s “deserved”—because the market, we assume, usually rewards people in rough proportion to their contributions. The problem with this is that a significant portion of what people get from the market has nothing to do with what they individually contribute. Take away the inherited knowledge we use in our work and daily life, and productivity will go way down along with income. So in accounting for the knowledge we inherit we have to ask ourselves if we are so much more deserving than the rich heir lolling about on daddy’s estate. Obviously what we add is important and has something to do with the differing economic benefits people enjoy, yet the difference between what the high-tech CEO contributes and what the janitor who cleans out his waste basket contributes is ultimately very small compared to the share of everyone’s gains that comes from inherited knowledge.

We’d like to retire that word [redistribute] from the political vocabulary because you can’t redistribute something that is already highly socialized, and wealth and income in the “era of knowledge-based growth” (whoever ends up “owning” it) is indeed highly socialized. Most importantly (and more to the point), individual productivity is increasingly dependent on what can only be described as a collective good, a common inheritance of knowledge. No one deserves to benefit from this common inheritance more than anyone else, by moral definition, because it’s not created by any individual. So, to the extent that inherited knowledge (“technical progress in the broadest sense,” as Solow termed it) is increasingly driving economic growth, the fruits of knowledge—the wealth being generated by knowledge—should be more equally shared. Wealth that is commonly created should be equally, or at least more equally, shared.

His basic premise is that we inherit knowledge and it is a "communal" inheritance and therefore any fruit of that inheritance should also be a community asset. This is fundamentally wrong from a biblical perspective, Jesus taught the parable of the three stewards, each given a talent. One earned a profit of 9 talents and was rewarded, on earned a profit of 4 talents and was rewarded, and the one who stored the talent and only handed back what he was given was punished. Warren Buffett acknowledges that his wealth is largely a matter of being in the right time and place, but that is true of EVERY person who has earned wealth, from Andrew Carnegie to Bill Gates (although I believe Gates earned his wealth in a much more moral manner than Carnegie). Steve Jobs contributed to the market a very modest idea, a "user friendly" computer. The idea that the bulk of their personal wealth really belongs to all of us is asinine. I may benefit from the same "common knowledge" but I didn't DO anything with it other than advance my military career.

The position that we all deserve a piece of someone else's success because we all have the same education is patently bizarre.

01 October 2009

The basic argument about Govt. spending

My room mate says "Shouldn't we help people who need help because of bad luck?"

My reply is always thus, "How do we pay for it?"

The idea of a social safety net is the very basis for modern "liberals" or "progressives" or whatever the codeword is for the creeping Nanny statists these days. Instead of taking a look at revenue available and using that revenue to satisfy the most pressing needs of the country, "libs" look for needs and spend before counting the cost, which is why the mandated federal budget dwarfs the discretionary budget.

In my ideal world there would be a 10% flat tax on ALL income brackets. This along with tariffs would give the government ALL they could spend for a year and NO deficit spending and no mandated spending.

In his ideal world the people who have "the most" give up the most to pay for those who have "bad luck". The only problem is that eventually you always run out of other peoples money to spend.