Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Those Were the Days....

I posted this last year and the year before. Here it is updated.


On this day at 02:56 UTC 48 years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to leave one of these on the surface of another astronomical body. Three years and five months later, Eugene Cernan became the last man to do so, so far.

The last Space Shuttle touched down for the last time six years and one day ago.

Elon Musk of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX fame has said that the impetus behind the development of SpaceX came when his son asked him, "is it really true that they used to fly to the moon when you were a boy?"

Now there are two-dozen or more private space ventures around the world. There is a plan to capture and retrieve an asteroid for commercial purposes. Two companies want to mine the moon. One plans on landing a probe by the end of the year.

If we can just hold it together for a couple more decades, humanity might get off this rock, and we might do it in my lifetime.

But it's looking less and less likely to me.

As someone posted on Facebook, "They promised me that by now we would have colonies on the moon. What did we get instead?"

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We got an electorate that put Barack Obama in the Oval Office - twice - and then gave us a choice between Felonia von Pantsuit and The Big Cheeto.

I hate to say it, but the nation peaked in 1969, Viet Nam and all.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

I LOL'd. No, Seriously.


Interesting Data from the Trenches

While Form 4473 Background Checks are still at all-time highs, things seem to be shifting for firearms retailers and wholesalers out there. Dennis Badurina of Dragon Leatherworks owns a brick-and-mortar gun shop and reports on Facebook:
I've gotten more calls in the past two weeks by folks asking if I buy guns.

When they tell me what they are selling, and I give them a ballpark of what its worth to me, they start bitching about how much they paid, and my offer is an insult, blahblahblah...

Anyone tries to tell me that the gun industry isn't in freefall, they'll be told to go away. I don't give a rats ass about how many NICS checks are run in a given month, or gun show attendance, or other such meaningless bullshit.

Firearms industry is slowing exponentially, both manufacturers and distributors are dumping their inventory through sites like CDNN, Buds, Grab-a-Gun, etc., and folks can buy a brand-new gun for 30% less than they did last year on those same websites, and even last year those prices were low.

--

I had a customer come in and ask me to price out Wolf steel case ammo. I actually logged in to my dealer portal, he watched me put the stuff in the cart from my distributor, and saw what the ammo would cost as if I were buying it. I was going to simply have him pay me $10 over invoice, and he would WITNESS the fucking invoice being created.

He logged into SG Ammo, and the EXACT SAME FUCKING AMMO in the EXACT SAME FUCKING QUANTITY was $70 cheaper than what the distributor sells to the little mom-and-pop. He saw it with his own eyes.

The distributors are dumping inventory so as to not be left holding the bag on the long-term purchase agreements they have with the manufacturers. They entered those agreements because everyone was certain that Clinton was going to go skipping down Pennsylvania Ave. with 99% of the vote.

Now the distributors are sweating bullets (pun intended) because they bet on the wrong horse.
I sent that info to my local favorite Merchant O'Death and asked him if he was seeing similar things. His response:
That FFL is spot on.

We are buying more firearms right now (the "down season") than we have in the previous eight months. Usually the shop is damned near a morgue come summer time. We are turning people down more often than not when they bring stuff in for sale simply because we can't take another one of what they are trying to sell.
ARs are pretty much dead as are most of the other tacti-cool types of rifles

Several manufacturers have extended promos that were only supposed to last a couple months at the most by a further couple of months. S&W has a $75 dollar mail in rebate on M&P Shield pistols that has been going on since this spring and has been continued until September.

The FFL is also right about the election outcome. I have heard more than one person selling stuff to us remark that they don't need said firearms "cuz Hillary didn't win". Apparently the family vacation to the Free People's Democratic Republic of California is more important than hanging on to the firearms they already own.

Part of the problem with people bitching about low offers from dealers (at least in our experience) is that they are spending way too much time on the internet. When we make the offer, the response is often: " well, on the Internet it is going for [insert random amount of money here]). The other part of that is that they whine and snivel when we tell them we just can't but what they have because we are over stocked as it is. They whine some more and come up with some hard luck story about why they have to sell. We tell them again that we just can't do them any good. Then the same question is asked almost verbatim, almost every time: " can you offer me anything?".

That being said, we are selling quite a bit more than usual but it is largely used stuff. Anything remotely considered "collectible" disappears from the racks in short order. I am still amazed by the number of people coming in looking for Mosin Nagant 91/30s.

Nope. Nobody expected the election to go the way that it did.
Over at AR15.com the recommendation is "Stock up on ammo while it's cheap."

YMMV.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Automotif

Went to Tucson's version of Cars & Coffee this morning.  Here's some of what I saw.  First up, the unique:

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The rare:

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And the damned near unobtanium:

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And a personal "grail" car for me:

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I really have to try to get to the next one by 7AM.  By 9AM a lot of the cars had already left because the temperature was pushing 100°F. Good show anyway, though. I figure there were at least 125 cars there. Followed a C7 Vette into the parking lot with the license plate "HER401K". That was pretty amusing. Didn't see it long 'Vette Row though:

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Monday, June 26, 2017

A Tale of Two Cities

So, Seattle's minimum wage is now $13/hr.  What effect has that had?

According to one story, nothing bad:
The city of Seattle is in the process of gradually phasing in a $15-per-hour minimum wage: It has now reached $13 for workers at large companies and will move up to $15 in 2021 for all workers. As the wage rises, the city is providing a lot of data on the effects of the policy, and that data is continually proving helpful to activists as they work to raise the wage in other cities, states, and nationally (and embarrassing to the economists who sounded alarm bells about how damaging a living wage would be for the city).

One common critique of higher minimum wages is that they also raise the cost of living. But last year, an initial study from the University of Washington found that retailers, despite having to pay their workers more, weren’t raising prices. Another is that higher pay will lead to fewer shifts and fewer jobs. And while those same UW researchers are analyzing the data, other researchers at UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) used an innovative model to prove that the city’s increased minimum wage has had no negative effect on job availability.
According to another, nazzo fast, Guido:
In January 2016, Seattle’s minimum wage jumped from $11 an hour to $13 for large employers, the second big increase in less than a year. New research released Monday by a team of economists at the University of Washington suggests the wage hike may have come at a significant cost: The increase led to steep declines in employment for low-wage workers, and a drop in hours for those who kept their jobs. Crucially, the negative impact of lost jobs and hours more than offset the benefits of higher wages — on average, low-wage workers earned $125 per month less because of the higher wage, a small but significant decline.
$125/month is $1,500/year or about a 6% drop for a full-time minimum wage worker at $11/hr. Not to mention that "steep decline in employment for low-wage workers."

Which story do you believe? The one sourced out of a UC Berkeley report, or the one sourced out of a University of Washington report?

And how many jobs were lost due to closed businesses related to the minimum wage increase?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Your Moment of Zen - Seagoing Edition

Check out the work of photographer Ray Collins. For images like this, I'll forgive him the top-knot:

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Quote of the Day - Jay Hafemeister Edition

Responding on Facebook to this Redstate story about Seattle's firearm and ammunition tax neither improving revenue nor reducing gun violence in that city:
Gun Control isn't supposed to reduce crime. It's only supposed to reduce gun owners.
See also this.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

And Now for Something Completely Different ... GUNSTUFF

I've been collecting pieces for this for several months now. I bought the Encore frame back in 2008 right after The LightBringer™ was first elected to office, and I put a .260 Remington pistol barrel on it and took it to Boomershoot 2009. But I've been wanting an Ultra-Violent Rodentblaster for quite some time now, so when I stumbled across a sale on 26" .204 Ruger barrels for the Encore I snapped one up. A 26" barrel doesn't play well with a pistol grip, however, so I needed a rifle stock. And, of course, I needed glass, since this is a 300+ yard rifle.

I ordered a fixed 12x 42mm SWFA Super Sniper scope with the Mil-Quad reticle, a set of 30mm Burris Zee rings, a bubble level and Butler Creek flip-up caps, then I went hunting for a stock maker. I found Tony Gettel, and had him make me this custom thumbhole set to my dimensions out of fiddleback maple. The stock set arrived yesterday.

Not bad, huh?

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Now to build some ammo and get out to the range.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Friday, June 09, 2017

Quote of the Day - Daniel Greenfield Edition

Daniel Greenfield, Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, aka "Sultan Knish" has a piece up on Frontpage Mag entitled The Civil War is Here.  QotD:
We can have a system of government based around the Constitution with democratically elected representatives. Or we can have one based on the ideological principles of the left in which all laws and processes, including elections and the Constitution, are fig leaves for enforcing social justice.

But we cannot have both.

Some civil wars happen when a political conflict can’t be resolved at the political level. The really bad ones happen when an irresolvable political conflict combines with an irresolvable cultural conflict.

That is what we have now.

The left has made it clear that it will not accept the lawful authority of our system of government. It will not accept the outcome of elections. It will not accept these things because they are at odds with its ideology and because they represent the will of large portions of the country whom they despise.

The question is what comes next.
Yes it is.

RTWT.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Quote of the Day - Be Careful What You Wish For Edition

Third QotD from Hillary Versus America: Knowledge Is Power. Seriously, read the whole thing:
All of this points to a basic, obvious truth of contemporary American politics: the Republican coalition is going to lose. Republicans are clumsy with power; they can’t seem to hold it for long, or ever use it to achieve any vision that fundamentally opposes the Democrats’. Republicans have been fatally outmaneuvered, flanked, and divided. The key institutions, the high ground, belong to the Democrats. Therefore, the Republican base is not going to get what it wants. The Democrats may offer a few expedient compromises along the way, but the state is well and truly caught up in the engine of “progress.” The total transformation of American social and civic life to align with the Democratic vision of the common good is a foregone conclusion.

And this basic truth, in turn, points to another. It’s this second truth that has become my singular political concern in the last several years. And this truth is one that the left has studiously ignored, because if they admit it, they will have to let go of their beloved vision of the common good. The truth is this: the right is not going to accept the left’s victory. The left has treated politics like a game, like a matter of points and position, like a matter of scoring goals and blocking returns. It isn’t a game. There are neither rules nor referees. At its base, the Republican coalition is furious, outraged, boiling. They will not quit the field gracefully. We are not heading into the fourth quarter. We are heading into an explosion. We are heading into civil war.

Everyone who is paying attention to politics knows this, by the way. It’s just something we don’t speak of. But if we want to survive, this silence has to stop. Each side has reasons for staying quiet, but it’s the left’s reasons that matter most. The left remains quiet about the civil war we all know is coming … because they think they are going to win it.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Quote of the Day - America's Ruling Class Edition

Second QotD from Hillary Versus America: Knowledge Is Power, and it echoes Angelo Codevilla's "Ruling Class" thesis:
The reason the Democratic coalition’s Final Solution is nigh is that it was superbly incisive strategy on their part to capture the knowledge-management institutions of mass media and higher education. There can be no serious argument over whether they have captured these institutions, which is why I have only glossed over the evidence here. Everyone knows these institutions belong to the left. Everyone has known it for a long time. But there are implications of this capture that are not as clear to everyone.

First, the left’s capture of higher education, combined with our cultural tilt toward credentialism, means that the only people qualified to hold upper-level positions in the civil service bureaucracy are those who have spent thousands of hours earning those credentials — in institutions of higher education that already belong to the left. As a result, especially considering the Ivy League is the unofficial headquarters of the Democratic coalition, the upper reaches of power in American government are much easier to access for those who have deep roots within the Democratic coalition’s establishment. It was no accident that the 2004 presidential election was between two of Yale’s C-students, both of them members of its most elite fraternity.

Second, the left’s capture of mass media means that every issue, every controversy, and every candidate will be presented in a way that favors the Democratic coalition’s agenda. Even though it is well known in the Republican coalition that the media are compromised, the rhetorical power of “framing” issues remains formidable in the extreme. Even if every Republican ignored the media’s framing, the centrists and undecideds that finally decide every issue can still fall for it, and they do. By holding the high ground of these key institutions, the left has managed to advance its agenda, with a few minor setbacks, virtually without opposition, for more than a century.

One further aspect of the left’s domination of key institutions must be understood before moving on. That is: the Republican party is part of the Democratic coalition. The Republican base, the mass that forms the heart of the Republican coalition, when it is paying attention, has nothing but contempt for the Republican party leadership. It has been paying attention more and more often lately.

The leadership of the Republican party went to Andover and Yale, just like the leadership of the Democratic party. Thus, top Republicans and Democrats share the same general worldview, the same manners, the same values. There are differences, but, from the perspective of the Republican base at least, these are slight. For example, on foreign policy, both the Republican leadership and the Democratic leadership are interventionist and globalist. The difference is that the Republican party tends to favor a global community with the United States of America as its undisputed leader. The Democratic party favors a global community ruled by transnational corporations, non-governmental organizations, and bodies like the United Nations. It’s a difference of emphasis, not essence. And the Republican base knows it.
Drop by tomorrow for the next excerpt, or just go read the whole thing. Strongly recommended.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Quote of the Day - Higher Education Edition

The GeekWitha.45 sent me a link to a piece published two days before the 2016 election, Hillary Versus America: Knowledge Is Power which as readers of this blog I recommend you head over and read. I wish like hell I'd written it.

I'll get more than one QotD out of it, but in reference to other recent QotD's, this one jumped out at me:
From the Republican coalition’s perspective, the left’s dominance of the major media is repugnant. But far more worrisome, for those Republican-types who pay attention to these things, is the Democratic coalition’s dominance of higher education. That’s because higher education hates America, and everyone knows it.

When a college freshman starts attending classes, his general-education curriculum, in almost every school in the country that still has one, will have one over-arching theme: The United States of America Is Evil, and your Duty, once Higher Education has made you ready for it, is to Right the Wrongs of this country by dedicating yourself to Progress.

Many students tune this propaganda out, because, as is well-known, young people don’t go to college to learn. The agenda the left pushes in the university system goes right past many students. Nonetheless, the better students tend to pay attention. And every student who does pay attention is going to get this message.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Obviously, They Need to Spend More Money

According to this 2016 Baltimore Business Journal story:
The Baltimore City Public School System spent the fourth most per student during the 2014 fiscal year out of the 100 largest public school districts in the country, according to a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The city's school district, which is the 38th largest elementary and secondary public school district in the country, spent $15,564 per pupil during the time frame. Maryland has four of the 10 highest per pupil spending public school districts, with Howard County Schools rounding out the top five with a per pupil spending of $15,358.

--

Maryland came in at 11th out of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C., in average per pupil spending across the state at $14,003. New York spend the highest per pupil at $20,610 and Washington, D.C., was second at $18,485.

Utah had the lowest per pupil spending at $6,500.
This source provides this chart:

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So it would appear, dollar-wise, that Baltimore schools are sufficiently funded. 

And yet:
6 Baltimore schools, no students proficient in state tests

A Project Baltimore investigation has found five Baltimore City high schools and one middle school do not have a single student proficient in the state tested subjects of math and English.
Does the article blame lack of spending? No:
We sat down with a teen who attends one of those schools and has overcome incredible challenges to find success.

Navon Warren grew up in West Baltimore. He was three months old when his father was shot to death. Before his 18th birthday, he would lose two uncles and a classmate, all gunned down on the streets of Baltimore.

--

Despite his tremendous loss, Warren is set to graduate this year from Frederick Douglass High School. It’s a school where only half the students graduate and just a few dozen will go to college. Last year, not one student scored proficient in any state testing.
(Italics my emphasis.) Hey, he put in his time, give him a diploma! He can't read or do math to the level of a high-school graduate, but what does that matter?

But wait! It gets better!
High school students are tested by the state in math and English. Their scores place them in one of five categories – a four or five is considered proficient and one through three are not. At Frederick Douglass, 185 students took the state math test last year and 89 percent fell into the lowest level. Just one student approached expectations and scored a three.

Despite the challenges at his school, Warren found a path to higher education. He’s the reigning Baltimore City 50 and 100 freestyle champion who competed at the junior Olympics, finishing in fourth place. In the fall, he will leave the streets of Baltimore and head to Bethany College in West Virginia, where he will swim.
(Again, italics my emphasis.) So this kid, completely unprepared for college, will travel to West Virginia on a swimming scholarship (which won't cover everything, you can bet) and will rack up a year or three of student loans before dropping out because he can't do math or read at a high school level.

And he obviously isn't alone.

UPDATE:  6/3 - Instapundit steals my schtick.

Quote of the Day - Sarah A. Hoyt Edition

Common core is trying to do to math what whole word did to reading. They found that fast readers read "whole word" instead of sounding out, so they thought that everyone should just cut to reading "whole word." Of course, the problem was that fast readers had done the work to get there. Just treating English as a pictographic language, simply left the kids unable to read NEW words (and none to good with the old, because the word shapes aren't distinctive enough.)

Common core tries to take the little tricks that people who love math do in their head (because we got bored and worked it out in our heads when we didn't have anything to read) and reverse engineer them, so everyone does these math tricks. The problem is if you haven't done the work to internalize these tricks, you're actually just doing three times the work and never learning the simplest route to the solution.

This is exactly like realizing people who own homes are more stable financially and tend to be more prudent, etc, and deciding the remedy is to make it possible for everyone, no matter how addled, to own a home. It's taking the virtue required to do something, and thinking it accrues automagically if you do the thing.

It's one of current leftists' most persistent and pernicious illusions. They consistently put the cart ahead of the horse.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Quote of the Day - Malcolm Muggeridge Edition

In keeping with the light and uplifting QotDs I post here*, another:
So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilizations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over--a weary, battered old brontosaurus--and became extinct.

Malcolm Muggeridge, Vintage Muggeridge: Religion and Society

(*j/k)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Quote of the Day - Jerry Pournelle Edition

We have always known that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. It's worse now, because capture of government is so much more important than it once was. There was a time when there was enough freedom that it hardly mattered which brand of crooks ran government. That has not been true for a long time — not during most of your lifetimes, and for much of mine — and it will probably never be true again.
We voted our way into this.

We won't be voting our way out of it.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The New Soviet Genderless Person

Warning:  Überpost.  I don't know how big this thing's gonna get, but it woke me up at 4AM insisting that I write it.  It is, however, a rehashing of ideas and observations previously made here leavened with some new supporting links, so if you think you've read it all before, you probably have.  At least most of it.  After fourteen years of blogging, "new" is hard to come by.

According to Wikipedia:
The New Soviet man or New Soviet person ... as postulated by the ideologists of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was an archetype of a person with certain qualities that were said to be emerging as dominant among all citizens of the Soviet Union, irrespective of the country's cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity, creating a single Soviet people, Soviet nation.
And they give an example of the idea via Leon Trotsky:
Man will make it his purpose to master his own feelings, to raise his instincts to the heights of consciousness, to make them transparent, to extend the wires of his will into hidden recesses, and thereby to raise himself to a new plane, to create a higher social biologic type, or, if you please, a superman.
If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you'll note that this concept was not original to Communism. Thomas Sowell in his seminal work, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (which I covered in a previous überpost) discussed William Godwin and his book An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice dating back to 1793 and the French Revolution:
Where in Adam Smith moral and socially beneficial behavior could be evoked from man only by incentives, in William Godwin man's understanding and disposition were capable of intentionally creating social benefits. Godwin regarded the intention to benefit others as being "of the essence of virtue," and virtue in turn as being the road to human happiness. Unintentional social benefits were treated by Godwin as scarcely worthy of notice. His was the unconstrained vision of human nature, in which man was capable of directly feeling other people's needs as more important than his own, and therefore of consistently acting impartially, even when is own interests or those of his family were involved. This was not meant as an empirical generalization about the way most people currently behaved. It was meant as a statement of the underlying nature of human potential. ... Godwin referred to "men as they hereafter may be made," in contrast to Burke's view: "We cannot change the Nature of things and of men - but must act upon them the best we can."
If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you'll know which side of this argument I believe to be the accurate one.  See Kipling's The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

Throughout history, one thing sticks out:  No civilization, no society, no political body survives forever.  The causes for this vary - war, resource exhaustion, internal revolution, etc. - but nothing lasts.  However, as Robert Heinlein wrote, the worst thing about living in the declining era of a great civilization is knowing that you are.

I first came across the phrase "Cold Civil War" in 2005 in a post at The Belmont Club linking to a Syrian blog Amarji and a post titled "A Cold Civil War!"  The author of that blog seems prescient now:
While neocons and liberals, or however one categorizes one at this stage, argue over wagging dogs and other fine assortments of beasts and monsters, and while the debate over the merits of real politick vs. salvation politics rages on, there are parts of the world that are going to hell in a hand-basket, reflecting the new cold war climate created by this internal debate. It looks as if America is having a nice cold civil war by proxy over its own identity and future.

The ideological components of this war might be taking place in the halls of academia and the congress and through US and international media, but the physical aspect is taking place in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, etc. Each camp here is producing, wittingly and unwittingly, its own allies there, both ideological and tactical. And like in all proxy wars, these allies are quite capable of furthering their own particularistic agendas by stoking the debate here.

The point:

Well, despite the seemingly irresolvable challenge that a presence like the Syrian regime seems to pose, in truth, solutions can actually be found. But first, this new American civil war, no matter how cold it happens to be at this stage, has to come to an end. Otherwise the war on terror can never be won and Iraq will be followed by Syria, then Lebanon then Sudan, then Saudi Arabia, then… You get the point.
The "Cold Civil War" concept has since spread. Do a Google search on the phrase. In 2012, just before the November election Michael Walsh at PJ Media wrote:
Now we are engaged in a great Cold Civil War. But the decision American voters will make in November is far more than merely an ideological clash about what the Constitution meant or means. For that supposes that both sides are playing by the same rules, and have a shared interest in the outcome. That presumes that both sides accept the foundational idea of the American experiment, and that the argument is over how best to adhere to it.

That is false.

For some, this is a difficult notion to grasp. To them, politics is politics, the same game being played by the same rules that go back a couple of centuries. The idea that one party -- and you know which one I mean -- is actively working against its own country as it was founded seems unbelievable.

But that is true.

Don't take it from me, take it from Barack Hussein Obama who famously said on the stump in 2008: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
Peter Robinson, in one of his many interviews of Thomas Sowell for Uncommon Knowledge asked in 2014:
How’s my generation’s project of holding on to liberty coming along?

Thomas Sowell
: Not well. One of the reasons I’m glad to be as old as I am is that it means I may be spared seeing what’s going to happen to this country, either internally or as the result of international complications.

Robinson: You think that America’s greatest days are gone? Full stop? That it’s irreversible?

Sowell: Nothing is irreversible. But I think that we’re like a team that is coming to bat in the bottom of the ninth, five runs behind. We can win it, but this is not… I wouldn’t bet the rent money on it.

Robinson: Last question. What would you say – talking about Milton (Friedman) talking to my generation – what would you say to the next generation, to your grandchildren’s generation about the America for which they should be preparing themselves?

Sowell: Since I don’t know what that America is going to be, I don’t want to say anything to them. By the time they get here I think the issue will have been settled one way or the other.

Robinson: By then it will be irreversible.

Sowell: Either we will have pulled out of the dive, as it were, or else it will be all over.
I'm on the record stating that the 2012 re-election of Barack Obama convinced me that the country could not save itself.  We'd passed the point of no return.
 
In April of this year Angelo Codevilla, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University published another very important essay titled The Cold Civil War.  Previously he had written America's Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution, from which I took several Quotes of the Day and got an essay or two back in 2010.  Read that, if you haven't, before you read The Cold Civil War.

I have ruminated on the idea of a second Civil War (or a second American Revolution) since the inception of this blog - Pressing the "Reset" Button, But What if Your Loyalty is to the Constitution?, While Evils are Sufferable, Freedom's Just Another Word for "Nothin' Left to Lose", Confidence, Part III, and most recently Pressing the "Fuck It" Button, just to list a few.  My take on the question has been that there's too much apathy and ignorance in the general population to support an all-out "hot" war, but that - should things really go pear-shaped - we're going to get "asymmetrical warfare" like we're seeing in the Middle East right now.  As I've said, we didn't buy those millions of firearms and billions of rounds of ammunition in anticipation of handing them inOur "austerity riots" are going to be spectacular.

Here in the U.S. the problem is - once again - human nature and Sowell's conflict of visions.  In America's Ruling Class Codevilla identifies the schism:
Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.

Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.

The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century’s Northerners and Southerners — nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, “prayed to the same God.” By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God “who created and doth sustain us,” our ruling class prays to itself as “saviors of the planet” and improvers of humanity. Our classes’ clash is over “whose country” America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark’s Gospel: “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
“Saviors of the planet and improvers of humanity." The unending quest to build the New Soviet Person.

In a speech he gave some time back Bill Whittle explained the Three Legs of Liberal Philosophy, the third leg of which was "Let us help you!"
Let us help you.

Let us help you!

You need health care? Fantastic! Let us help you.

You need job training? Let us help you. You need unemployment insurance? Let us help you!

Let us help you, let us help you! What's wrong with these Republicans and Conservatives? We just want to help you. Why won't you let us help you? All we want is all of your money and all of your freedom, we'll help you all you want!
A little later on he explained the three legs of Conservative Philosophy, one of which was "Leave Me Alone."
Raise your hands out there if you're the kind of person who likes to be left alone. Most of them do. Now raise your hand if you're the kind of person who likes to tell other people what to do.

Now some people really do want to tell other people what to do, but I'll tell you one thing about young people, there's not a twenty year-old college student - not one - who will raise their hand in a group of their other fellows and say "Yes, I want to tell other people what to do!"

That's a really uncool thing, man. It's really uncool to tell other people what to do. So they won't do it.

So you say, "OK, you want to be left alone?" "Yeah." "I do too. I want to be left alone too."

Most of the time I want to be left alone. That means, if I want to start a business, leave me alone. If I want to go into a lemonade stand, leave me alone. If I want to be skateboarding, leave me alone.

We're the party that says "Leave us alone." We're the party that says "Let us do what we want to do, let us keep what we make." We're the party that's about being left alone. They're the guys trying to tell you that you can't have a big Big Gulp. They're the guys telling you how warm your house has to be. They're the guys telling you what kind of car you have to drive. They're the guys telling you what kind of things you have to wear, what you have to do, who you have to be, and who you have to hang out with.
But I have a bone to pick with Bill here, and that excerpt from Codevilla's essay above illustrates it. Robert Heinlein put it more pithily:
The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
Frank Herbert expressed it in Chapterhouse: Dune thus:
All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted.
With apologies to Bill and Michael Walsh, the Ruling Class is both parties, and they all want to tell us what to do.  That's why they end up in government.  Daniel Webster back at the beginning of  the 19th Century observed:
Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
And in today's world the subversion of the Constitution is justified because they're the saviors of the planet and improvers of humanity.  They know better.  They need to reconstruct humanity.  They want to "fix our souls."  They want to use the Rule of Law to bring "human redemption."

Terry Pratchett has an appropriate quote. From Night Watch:
There were plotters, there was no doubt about it. Some had been ordinary people who'd had enough. Some were young people with no money who objected to the fact that the world was run by old people who were rich. Some were in it to get girls. And some had been idiots as mad as Swing, with a view of the world just as rigid and unreal, who were on the side of what they called "The People." Vimes had spent his life on the streets and had met decent men, and fools, and people who'd steal a penny from a blind beggar, and people who performed silent miracles or desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses, but he'd never met The People.

People on the side of The People always ended up disappointed in any case. They found that The People tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or obedient. The People tended to be small minded and conservative and not very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so, the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people.

As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up.
But, per William Godwin, they mean well and that's what matters.  Ignore the piles of human bones!

Founding libertarian Isabel Paterson in her 1943 book The God of the Machine wrote:
Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.

This is demonstrably true; nor could it occur otherwise. The percentage of positively malignant, vicious, or depraved persons is necessarily small, for no species could survive if its members were habitually and consciously bent upon injuring one another. Destruction is so easy that even a minority of persistently evil intent could shortly exterminate the unsuspecting majority of well-disposed persons. Murder, theft, rapine, and destruction are easily within the power of every individual at any time. If it is presumed that they are restrained only by fear or force, what is it they fear, or who would turn the force against them if all men were of like mind?

Certainly if the harm done by willful criminals were to be computed, the number of murders, the extent of damage and loss, would be found negligible in the sum total of death and devastation wrought upon human beings by their kind. Therefore it is obvious that in periods when millions are slaughtered, when torture is practiced, starvation enforced, oppression made a policy, as at present over a large part of the world, and as it has often been in the past, it must be at the behest of very many good people, and even by their direct action, for what they consider a worthy object. When they are not the immediate executants, they are on record as giving approval, elaborating justifications, or else cloaking facts with silence, and discountenancing discussion.
Rush Limbaugh was vilified for stating, after Obama won the Presidency the first time, "I hope he fails." Right now we're watching the Ruling Class and its enablers in the media do absolutely everything they can to pull off a coup d'état because the man who won the White House this go-around isn't one of them.  He's not one of the New Genderless Persons who mean to Do Good, who Care About You, who just want to help.

Codevilla from Cold Civil War:
America is in the throes of revolution. The 2016 election and its aftermath reflect the distinction, difference, even enmity that has grown exponentially over the past quarter century between America’s ruling class and the rest of the country. During the Civil War, President Lincoln observed that all sides “pray[ed] to the same God.” They revered, though in clashing ways, the same founders and principles. None doubted that those on the other side were responsible human beings. Today, none of that holds. Our ruling class and their clients broadly view Biblical religion as the foundation of all that is wrong with the world. According to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.”

The government apparatus identifies with the ruling class’s interests, proclivities, and tastes, and almost unanimously with the Democratic Party. As it uses government power to press those interests, proclivities, and tastes upon the ruled, it acts as a partisan state. This party state’s political objective is to delegitimize not so much the politicians who champion the ruled from time to time, but the ruled themselves. Ever since Woodrow Wilson nearly a century and a half ago at Princeton, colleges have taught that ordinary Americans are rightly ruled by experts because they are incapable of governing themselves. Millions of graduates have identified themselves as the personifiers of expertise and believe themselves entitled to rule. Their practical definition of discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, etc., is neither more nor less than anyone’s reluctance to bow to them. It’s personal.

On the other side, some two thirds of regular Americans chafe at insults from on high and believe that “the system” is rigged against them and, hence, illegitimate—that elected and appointed officials, plus the courts, business leaders, and educators are leading the country in the wrong direction. The non-elites blame the elites for corruptly ruling us against our will, for impoverishing us, for getting us into wars and losing them. Many demand payback—with interest.

So many on all sides have withdrawn consent from one another, as well as from republicanism as defined by the Constitution and as it was practiced until the mid-20th century, that it is difficult to imagine how the trust and sympathy necessary for good government might ever return. Instead, we have a cold civil war. Statesmanship’s first task is to prevent it from turning hot.
One would hope.

Statesmanship, however, seems to be pretty much absent these days, replaced with overbearing arrogance - "Shut up" they explain.
Well-nigh the entire ruling class—government bureaucracies, the judiciary, academia, media, associated client groups, Democratic officials, and Democrat-controlled jurisdictions—have joined in “Resistance” to the 2016 elections: “You did not win this election,” declared Tom Perez recently, the Democratic National Committee’s chairman. This is not about Donald Trump’s alleged character defects. The Resistance would have arisen against whoever represented Americans who had voted not to be governed as they have been for the past quarter-century. It is a cold civil war against a majority of the American people and their way of life. The members of the Resistance mean to defend their power. Their practical objective is to hamper and otherwise delegitimize 2016’s winners. Their political objective is to browbeat Trump voters into believing they should repent and yield to their betters. This campaign might break the Trump presidency.

In the meantime, however, it exacerbates the spirit of discontent in the land. In 2016 the electorate, following the pattern it had set in 2010 and 2014 (and even in 2012, except for the presidential election), voted Republican to show its desire to reduce government’s intrusion in American life, to get out from under the ruling class’s socio-economic agenda and political correctness.
"Leave us alone!"
But the Republican leadership did not and does not share the electorate’s concerns. Cycle after cycle, Americans who vote to “throw the rascals out” get ever more unaccountable rules piled on by the same unelected bureaucrats; and even modest attempts to hold back capillary intrusion into their lives get invalidated by the same judges. They come to believe that the system is rigged. In short, they want to drain the swamp.

Yet such revolutionary sentiments do not amount to a coherent program to reverse the past century’s course. Donald Trump’s promises with regard to the swamp and to restoring America’s greatness would be extraordinarily difficult to keep even were they matched with due understanding and forceful execution. But the ruling class is so big, so pervasive, and so committed to its ideas, that sidelining it, and even more so, undoing its work, would require at least matching its power, pretensions, and vehemence. In other words, it would take raising the temperature of our cold civil war’s right side to match or overmatch the temperature of its left side. Statesmanship’s task, however, is to maximize peace, not strife.

American society has divided along unreconcilable visions of the good, held by countrymen who increasingly regard each other as enemies. Any attempt by either side to coerce the other into submission augurs only the fate that has befallen other peoples who let themselves slide into revolution.
There's that "conflict of visions" again. As David Horowitz observed:
(I)f you believe that social institutions can change things by getting enough power, then when you look at your opponents, who are the people who are not going along with the program? You see yourself as the army of the Saints. Who are they? They are, YOU are the party of Satan!
And there's no Statesmanship in the world that can overcome religious fervor.
It follows that the path to peace must lie in each side’s contentment to have its own way—but only among those who consent to it. This implies limiting the U.S. government’s reach to what it can grasp without wrecking what remains of our national cohesion.
That is what the Ruling Class will not allow. Power, once seized, is never yielded easily, and the Ruling Class sees itself as being made up of New Persons who are bringing us, the Great Unwashed, kicking and screaming if necessary, into their Utopia.

And all Utopias are just one mass-murder away from being achieved.

Always.