13 November 2012

Weekend musings...

I recently had a chance to attend a Saturday of Appleseed.  I did not pass up the chance, mainly because I would like to see improvement in the two years since I last attended.  I wasn't able to make it to the second day of instruction, and no qualification tables were shot on Saturday (a Boy Scout troop filled most of the shooting line, and getting new shooters into the culture fundamentally grounded is pretty cool to watch.)

In two years I have come a long way.  I received one correction from an Orange Hat instructor, my firing side leg was not high enough in the prone position.  My groups were consistently in the 1 inch square at 25 yards, all day long.  I miscounted on the opening redcoat target and didn't put three rounds into the 400 yard silhouette, and I put 4 rounds into the 300.  At the end of the day I didn't make the same mistake and cleaned the target.

Fundamentally I'm getting better.  But I've been on the line with an older gentleman who, from the standing unsupported position, managed to maintain a tighter group at 100 yards.  Shooting next to an NRA High Master is always a bit humbling for me, and reminds me that being the best shot at Appleseed is like being the tallest midget at the county fair.

I don't know if the difference in the history taught at appleseed has undergone a script change in two years, but there was definitely a greater sense of urgency in the instructors as they covered things that I don't remember hearing last time.  The massive die offs at the Jamestown colony when they worked, "each man according to his ability, and each according to his need" verses the prosperity of property rights.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/He_who_does_not_work,_neither_shall_he_eat

Later on the instructors described the massive mobilization of militia, one instructor put out the number 14,000 strong, all moving towards Lexington/Concord in response to the 80 riders who went out to warn the citizens.  I don't know if that is true, but it is generally agreed upon that the British Regulars were outnumbered by the end of the battle.

If 700 men marched on your town, could you call up enough Patriots to make a difference?  The militias of the day were organized, they had riders, they had officers, they had drill, they had a network.  They even had a shadow government.  They were ready.  They had also been participating in a low level political and economic insurgency for YEARS before the first shot was fired.

That is a model for success.  Vanderbough is correct that the Founding Fathers and the militia model of minutemen is a valid model for success.  Where he is shaky is the timeline, gathering popular support, and the "no free Waco" idea.  People don't mind the government going after crazy cults or racist former Special Forces guys in Idaho.  People do mind when they go after the local security of a town, which is something I don't see happening in our immediate future.

The Founding Fathers issued the Declaration of Independence over a year after Lexington and Concord, well after they authorized the Continental Army, Navy, and Marine Corps (to be counted part of the Army).  Men were signing their names on the enlistment parchment before the Declaration had even been drafted.

But the structure was there.  It was local, and it was 13 colonies wide, and those agitating for Canadian colonies to join as well.  The Appleseed instructors may have been preaching to the choir from where I sat, but surrounding me were people who were clearly unfamiliar with a rifle, young boys still in school working towards a marksmanship merit badge.

Following Appleseed I stayed with a friend, and we discussed the concept of "Economic Liberty." The American Revolution was largely about taxes, "no taxation without representation" should be a familiar theme (I think that "No Representation without Taxation" is a pretty catchy theme for justification of disenfranchisement of a large portion of the unproductive).  The current troubles in America are also largely economic, and reverting back into the early Jamestown model, where the output of everyone goes into the "common store" model.  Government knows best has never worked.  Not in Jamestown, not in Russia, not in China, and not in America.

My friend and I did not agree on a workable solution between the two of us (two Patriots, three opinions sometimes) but we did agree that having a single fiat currency controlled by a central bank is definitely NOT the model for economic liberty.  If you work for wages, and are paid in a fiat currency, the central bank/government mandated inflation makes your life increasingly worthless as time goes on.  Your time is worth less and less in terms of real property.  The Founding Fathers were right to insist that coins be minted in gold or silver.  Without that standard currency can NEVER be "wealth" over the long term.

We've seen how different towns across the world have adopted a local currency to keep wealth in the community.  http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2012/0505/Greek-town-creates-its-own-alternative-currency  I am convinced that this is the model for economic liberty in the future.   Some nationally or internationally recognized currency, and a basket of more local currencies to suit local economies.  Right now your Visa or Mastercard works in France or Russia, and they do the conversion for you when you make a purchase.  Add a few more currencies to the recognized basket and it is just as simple as being a guest in a sovereign state (although interstate as opposed to international).

So why would a basket of local currencies promote economic liberty?  By keeping the national fiat currency from becoming so worthless that it is utterly abandoned.  If you get paid in Ohio BuckeyeBucks and the Dollar is dropping like a stone because of poor management by the central bank, your local economy can still manage as there are farms, mills, bakeries, etc, all in Ohio.  Different states would have different economic strengths, but as long as the exchange rates are fluid, a viable alternative to the dollar can promote economic liberty.  One of the ways you can spot a good idea is when Libs pooh pooh it.

Also the idea of an "income tax" on wages is really "slavery" rehashed.  There is really no economic liberty when the first half of your workday goes to pay someone else.  Not that I'm an anti-tax nut, taxes are a legitimate and necessary function of government.  However the ponzi scheme associated with FICA, Medicare and other payroll taxes is really morally repugnant.  I may be heartless for saying that it is morally repugnant to require the healthy and fit to pay for the sick, lame or lazy (to be honest I really don't mind paying for the sick and the lame, but the lazy really get my goat).  I don't have a problem with charity, I do have a problem with the .gov using coercive force to make it happen.


Old Top said...

Well, Skipper, I said a while back,
"I think I'd enjoy workin' for you."
I'm pretty sure I KNOW I'd enjoy workin' for you now.

Anonymous said...

Agree with at least 98% of that.

Frankly love the idea of 5 or even 50 state currencies, but there are two flaws:
That pesky Constitution (Art. I Sec. 8) regarding coining money seems to give pre-emption to the feds. Of course, that begs the question on what the hell the Fed is doing, but that's a different clambake.
Say we could get over the Constitutional hump, in short order we'd have the EU trebled. MA, NY, NJ, NJ, IL, and CA would soon have currencies which, inevitably, would value as Monopoly money, while Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Texas would be sitting on the gold-backed version of Swiss francs.
"Yehaa!" they'd say. "That'll teach those damned social welfare liberals!"
And then the social liberals, being stingey SOBs with their own labor, would move to Texas, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming, foul the highways, screw up the laws, and bury those sensible folks at the polls, eventually turning their formerly sound currencies to the same sort of crap.
So in a generation, probably less, we'd be right where we are, again. Probably worse.

As to the Continental model, as you've pointed out, had those in favor of political organizing the cohesion necessary to bring it off, we could have staved off the election of the last 3 statist bastards from both parties, and undone 20 years of mischief by never letting it happen. But they can't even sustain a separate identity for 2 years at this point. Sharper focus, better organization, and a strategy that sees beyond "Throw the bums out" would seem to be in order.

Absolutely lastly, the organs of the current machine posses the means to detect and suppress dissent for which George III, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao would have salivated visibly.
The Continental model is a good outline, but the requirements for simultaneous discretion and transparency will be far more challenging when the tyrants aren't separated by a two-week ocean voyage, and there are 150M quisling would-be Tories already in the king's pay, with more than a passing interest in the failure of our enterprise. Hence the 138% turnout to vote out one poor Congressman, and the near absolute lack of mainstream remarks upon the occasion.

While I'd certainly support the efforts you outline, I think to insure long-term success will require a transformation of the culture of a type seldom seen, and I suspect both efforts will be overtaken by drastic events long before either approach can bear much fruit.

Random curiousity: what particular instrument were you using at Appleseed?

Best Regards,

Joe in Reno said...

If you are getting your hits , it doesn't matter where your legs are. Consistency counts not a specific position.I watch NRA Master & H_Masters shoot all the time. Some are leg up, some cross their ankles, some spread wide, etc. The key is they do the same thing the same way each and every time.
I think highly of the Appleseed program, but a lot of their instructors have little if any experience outside the program and follow the "book" by rote. It works well until you get above the fundamental level, and then you have to find what will functionally improve you.

Anonymous said...

You know, Ron Paul had an interesting point on competing currencies, but right now I'd be ec-freaking-static if we could go back to a Constitutionally printed, commodity backed currency. Constitutional changes can wait until after we've kicked the Fed and fiat currencies to the curb.

Besides, the last time we had competing state currencies, it worked out similarly to what Aesop said. Some were valuable, others were essentially worthless, and we ditched the idea along with the Articles of Confederation. Going back to a standard of precious metals would open up the economy to common non-cash transactions, and effects a lot of the same benefits of competing currencies.


Anonymous said...

In support of Appleseed, you've got to remember that the program is primarily designed to: 1) provide the basic concepts of rifle marksmanship in a short period of time to mostly inexperienced shooters; and 2) use marksmanship training as a "hook" to stimulate a greater understanding of our American history and heritage that existed when the Colonists finally rebelled against England on April 19, 1776.

Anonymous said...

I think you meant 1775.

I also doubt anyone has a quibble w/Appleseed.
Their basics are the same as taught by the NRA, the Army, & the USMC. Pretty good company.

AM said...


Article 1 Section 8 authorizes congress to create currency, you are thinking of Article 1 section 10 that prohibits the states from creating currency and "bills of credit" which didn't stop California from issuing "vouchers" instead of money for state tax returns. Nor has it stopped the various state/local bonds from being issued (although bonds must be redeemed before being used to pay taxes, therefore are constitutionally a bill of credit, it is semantics for sure).

Nor has the Constitution stopped various cities from issuing a local currency for local use (the city not being a state it meets the strict requirement for constitutionality, once again, semantics).

Think of it this way, if the Ohio State Reserve (a private entity) issues a currency backed by some commodity, and Ohioans volunarily use that as a means of trade in Ohio, I can think of no Constitutional violation. Think "Free Lakota Bank" but on a much larger scale.

And remember that "No Representation without Taxation" slogan I talked about? That would keep the slothful from voting and destroying the economy of Texas or Wyoming. That would take a bit of tinkering with state laws though, tough but doable.

Think about Europe, people can live in another country and not be able to vote as they aren't citizens (which is why the French haven't moved and wrecked the Swiss economy). In America, move anywhere you want (or if you a politician, own a vacant lot somewhere to use as an address in your supposed district) and immediate residency.

Anonymous said...

I meant the section I mentioned, but thanks for the reminder about section 10.

At any rate, I assume somewhere a lawyer would be able to figure a way around things, and separate currencies could exist. It's an idea worth pursuing. Bronx Bucks would fare poorly, but Dallas Dollars would be a sight to behold.

For the rest, I don't think you'd be able to restrict the franchise. There's that nasty caselaw all around the 14th and 15th Amendments. IIRC, poll taxes or any other financial or property restrictions as a condition of being allowed to vote are specifically unconstitutional. Being 18 and a non-felonious oxygen-sucker are about all that anyone can require. Residency requirements would only buy you 30 days, once. So once 2M/3M/whatever from somewhere else move to TX and tip the balance, the entire state is New Orleans after Katrina.

That wouldn't destroy a currency overnight, but eventually...
I used to live in a red state. It isn't one now, and I haven't moved.

I think the best you could do would be to make fornicating things up a much more difficult process, and most especially stop all manner of handouts that simply feed the pigeons, encourage them to land and breed, and eventually crap everything up.
Workfare more akin to chain gang service like filling sandbags in the winter rains and shovelling asphalt in the summer sun have much to commend them as a means to eliminate freeloaders. Food assistance should require a minimum commitment of working in community gardens, canneries, and/or food bank warehouses, or equivalent services to private employers who'd receive tax credit from the state for donating the ____ food commodity in question. (As a side benefit, the formerly lazy have the opportunity to learn entry-level skills, build a resume, and make potential employer contacts based on their acquired reputation. Even if not, they still earn their keeping.)
And an influx of able-bodied workers at no cost to industry shuts out illegal aliens working under the table. Boo frickin' hoo.

For anybody crying about single mothers, the state agrees to pay market price for childcare, provided the childcare agencies hire 100% former welfare moms able to pass a background check. They further agree to operate as non-profit from state funds, and only get to keep any non-state funds earned from providing childcare to private customers.

Toss in quarterly drug tests, 5 year suspension of benefits for drug use or misdemeanors, and lifetime assistance ban for felonies, and you'd drive the deadbeats out in a month, and businesses would be on waiting lists to find space to move in.

And while I'm at the store, I'll pick up peace on earth and goodwill to all men.


Anonymous said...


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