A simile is like a metaphor

Massachusetts Ban on Most Self-Defense Firearms Violates Second Amendment | Cato @ Liberty

The trial judge followed the lead of the Maryland case of Kolbe v. Hogan (in which Cato filed a brief supporting a petition to the Supreme Court), misconstruing from a shred of the landmark 2008 Supreme Court opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller that the test for whether a class of weapons could be banned was whether it was “like an M-16.” Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (in which Cato also filed a brief), conjured up a complex interest-balancing test that boiled down to a much simpler question: is it like a handgun? If not, the weapon is not sufficiently “well-suited” to self-defense in the home and can be banned. Both tests contravene the core holding of Heller that all weapons in common civilian use are constitutionally protected…

Although the courts have uniformly looked to statistical data of some form in establishing common use, they have been unable to agree on what the relevant statistic is. The total number of the banned weapons owned, the percentage the banned weapons constitute of the total national arms stock, and the number of jurisdictions in which the banned weapons are lawful have all been used to determine the breadth of constitutional protection. By any metric, however, the weapons banned by the Massachusetts law are clearly in “common use.”

We all need to do our part for “common use” by buying a variety of firearms, making it easier for the leftwing legal clerisy to recognize “common use.”* Creating gun bans by simile is overtaxing their imaginations and stamina.

SCOTUS’ District of Columbia v. Heller decision opened the simile door a bit more in this infelicitous bit:

[T]he sorts of weapons protected are the sorts of small arms that were lawfully possessed at home at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification, not those most useful in military service today, so “M-16 rifles and the like” may be banned.

Ratification of the Second Amendment was in 1791. The small arms possessed at home in 1791 were identical to those “most useful in military service.” In fact, a large proportion of those small arms possessed at home were in military service. The term ‘militia’ comes to mind.

The “lawfully possessed at home” in 1791 interpretation doesn’t plausibly cover the mechanism of the vast majority of firearms in use today. Percussion caps were just being prototyped by 1807. And, if that’s how a judge chooses to interpret District of Columbia v. Heller, you can grab your flintlock.

The left has argued exactly this: “The Second Amendment only applies to flintlocks.” That they are disingenuous in this is shown by the fact they won’t accept the corollary argument that “The Press” means hand operated printing presses based on moving bits of lead around, and that the internet should be shut down despite the First Amendment. Well, OK, they are arguing speech on the internet can be banned. But not because it’s technology invented since 1791.

Still, potential for banning modern firearm technology is not the most egregious part of that snippet. That distinction belongs to the phrase “and the like.” We’ll look at why that is momentarily. First we need to note some characteristics of an M-16.

An M-16 is a magazine fed automatic weapon (of which civilian possession has been severely restricted since 1934). It is rifled, breech loading, and uses brass cased ammunition with a primer ignited by a firing pin. Those are characteristics you could use for saying it’s ‘like’ something else. Just about any semi-automatic firearm, if we’re honest about it.

If the Progressives knew anything about how guns work they could have a field day banning technologies invented after 1800. Rifling (1498) and breech loading (16th century) are safe. Not much else is.

Under “common use”-1791, firearms capable of holding more than one cartridge (Magazine – 1860) could be banned. Firing pins (1840) could be banned. Primer fired brass cased ammo (18xx) could be banned. Oh, revolvers (1836) could be eliminated entirely. Forget your 1911.

There’s more, but we don’t need it to make the point: “And the like” bans based on 1791 technology would eliminate 95% of guns commonly in civilian use today. That’s actually how they approach it. I know it’s said that gun bans are often based on cosmetics, like adjustable stocks, pistol grips, and flash hiders. Mostly true, but the cosmetics would be much different without, for example, that scary normal capacity detachable magazine. This is a way to attack the technology using appearance.

Yet even that’s less nonsensical than California’s attempt to specify nonexistent technology as a means of banning firearmsmicrostamping casings.

The state argued that a law should not be struck down simply because it is impossible to implement.

“Like, impossible Dude.”

Consider the word ‘like.’ It doesn’t mean ‘identical,’ and it depends on what you select to compare. An apple is like an orange; if you focus on shape, size, nutritional profile, and even which end of the spectrum skin color tends toward. A whale is biologically more like a dog than it is a frog. ‘Like,’ lets you cherry pick the comparators fitting your desired outcome.

A frog is like a Granny Smith if you consider internal temperature, skin color, and dependence on insects.

The differences between a handgun and a rifle have nothing to do with the irrelevant criteria the Massachusetts court must necessarily have applied. Which outside of those various cosmetic features and size (having excluded automatic weapons – 1883), boils down to the capability of using a detachable magazine and/or with a capacity higher than 10 rounds. Modern firearms are all like each other.

And tell that bit about “is it like a handgun” to the pregnant woman who used an AR-15 to defend her family last week – that it wasn’t “well suited” to self defense. An AR is more accurate, easier to use than a handgun, and can hold more rounds – rounds you might need in a one on many firefight. The only question is, “Can it be used for self defense?” Not relevant is, “The court would like you not to have a gun for home defense, but if you do, use a handgun we won’t let you carry outside the home.”

Looks ‘like’ an M-16 does not compute. ‘Like’ a handgun includes machine pistols.

The Progressives have been struggling to define “assault weapon” for decades. The fact they focus on cosmetics is reason enough for the jurisprudent to discard this ‘like’ business.

*”Common use” is ‘like’ everyone else has, so it’s a collectivist standard for an individual civil liberty. And I think it might prohibit rail guns, as one example. Not that we have any man-portable rail guns yet, but we will.

Rainbows everywhen

87983-poppyIf Ye Break Faith With Us…
-Mark Steyn on 11/11/2001

[T]hough we can scarce grasp what they symbolize, this year the poppies are hard to find. Three Canadian provinces had sold out by last Monday, and by the time you read this the rest of the Royal Canadian Legion’s entire stock of 14.8 million will likely be gone.

Canada today…
Former Conservative party candidate apologizes for viral rainbow poppy tweet

The apology was mistaken:

Rather than having been suspended for rejecting the poppy during choir practice as Bird’s initial tweet read, Natalie outlined that she had been suspended for “rejecting the idea” of the rainbow poppy…

It’s worse that Natalie was suspended for “rejecting the idea.” The idea is the problem.

I do know why Cyara Bird apologized: Unless you enthusiastically support the appropriation of Remembrance Day at SJW whim, and embrace compelled speech, YOU are a bigot.

The LGBT+ folks already have a plethora of their own days, weeks, and months – with parades and celebrations.

Every other occasion for reflection or pride does not require fealty to a group of aggrieved, narcissistic activists who occupy the space at the very edges of the Bell curve of human sexuality.

Single-nayer

What We Call National Health Care or Single-Payer Is a Crime Against Humanity

Wait times are rationing. The payer just says “nay” to timely treatment. The Other Club has been writing about wait times in Canada’s single-payer medical system since 2005. Click the tag below.

Elizabeth Warren’s plan would be worse than Canada’s.
The math for Warren’s health-care plan adds up if you accept its ludicrous premise

Don’t be doubleplus-ungood

An interesting article at Wired, by Nitasha Tiku:
Three Years of Misery Inside Google, the Happiest Company in Tech

It is sympathetic to leftist Googlers, and that sympathy seems justified in the case of the doxxing described. However, it fails to mention that among the first things to happen to James Damore was doxxing and defaming from the left. It should be remembered he wrote his common sense, scientifically grounded memo in response to “sensitivity training” mandated for all employees. That the memo couldn’t be tolerated tells us all we need to know about Google culture.

The article ignores the deplatforming and/or demonetizing of numerous center-rightists who offend leftist sensitivities (Dennis Prager, for just one example). That Google can’t see this as a negative reflection on their culture tells us more than we need to know about their culture. Tiku doesn’t discuss harassment of conservatives by the left, which I must imagine constituted a “hostile work environment” long before this SHTF. We get little from her in that regard. We’re meant to think the majority of Googlers were harassed by a tiny group of conservatives, with little to no provocation.

It is further obvious that Google’s culture skews rigidly left based on political donations, its executives’ assistance to Barack Obama, and who the internal activist stars are. It’s clear from their push to hire based on sex, sexual orientation, skin color, and ethnicity that they agree with SJW tropes.

Still, this is a very interesting peek behind the Google curtain. Let’s look at some outtakes.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the former Montessori kids who founded Google as Stanford grad students in the late ’90s, had designed their company’s famously open culture to facilitate free thinking. Employees were “obligated to dissent” if they saw something they disagreed with, and they were encouraged to “bring their whole selves” to work rather than check their politics and personal lives at the door. And the wild thing about Google was that so many employees complied.

Complied???? “Complied” is fulsome BS. They were selected via policies guaranteed to ensure their willingness to complain about any social or political issue that made them want to run to their “safe spaces,” and then sensitivity trained. It isn’t possible for the SJWs to check their identity-group politics at the door in the first place.

The culture was, and is, far from “open.” It is characterized by internecine tribal struggles between privileged, brilliant people with generally very poor social skills, whose idea of free thinking is mostly modeled after 1984 leavened with touches of Rules for Radicals.

[T]o a remarkable extent, Google’s workers really do take “Don’t Be Evil” to heart. C-suite meetings have been known to grind to a halt if someone asks, “Wait, is this evil?” To many employees, it’s axiomatic: Facebook is craven, Amazon is aggro, Apple is secretive, and Microsoft is staid, but Google genuinely wants to do good.

Well, for a given definition of “good.” And that is The. Whole. Problem. “Evil” is whatever does not toe the Progressive line. The motto should have been “Don’t be doubleplus-ungood.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, members of one mailing list brainstormed whether there might be ways to “leverage” Google’s search results to surface ways of helping immigrants; some proposed that the company should intervene in searches for terms like “Islam,” “Muslim,” or “Iran” that were showing “Islamophobic, algorithmically biased results.” (Google says none of those ideas were taken up.)

Didn’t take them up. But they openly considered substituting their opinions as reality because they are so sure of their righteousness and so drunk on their power. No one with a grounded definition of evil, and a gram of introspection, would have dared bring that up unless it was preceded with, “One thing we cannot do…”.

For this article, WIRED spoke with 47 current and former Google employees. Most of them requested anonymity.

Wouldn’t need anonymity if “Don’t be evil” meant anything, would they?

I hate that argument because it’s often applied to fee speech: “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve got nothing to hide.” It’s quite clear from Google’s example that it’s other people who decide whether you have anything to hide. And a lot of those who work at Google want to decide to hide your opinion, or prevent you from forming it, and, at all costs, stop you from expressing it in the first place.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and head of communications Jessica Powell urged their colleagues to consider how they would have reacted if Damore had applied the same arguments to race, rather than gender. That persuaded them: The engineer had to go. In a note to employees, Pichai said he was firing Damore for perpetuating gender stereotypes.

If all else fails, play the race card. I don’t know Wojcicki’s or Powell’s race, but is smacks of cultural appropriation, doesn’t it?

Stereotypes can be valid, or we would see many more whites in the NBA, and many women’s world weight lifting records completely smashed. But, you can’t say those biologically male lifters doing the smashing aren’t really women. The same type of rational arguments DO apply to race. This is not how free thinkers react when there is scientific evidence, presented without vitriol. It is just a replay of the reaction to Murray’s The Bell Curve.

Pichai tried to assure the left without alienating the right. “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,”

Well, nobody said that. But claiming someone did indicates management’s attitude, which had to be double-reverse engineered from a faulty understanding of the word stereotype, and a “la la la, I can’t hear you” inspired ignorance. Ostriches.

Two days after Damore was fired, Milo Yiannopoulos, the former tech editor at Breitbart, shared the Reddit collage image with 2 million Facebook followers. “Look at who works for Google, it all makes sense now,” he wrote—as if these eight employees had been the ones who made the decision to ax Damore.

“As if?” They WERE the ones who forced that decision!

At the time, Google was run as a triumvirate, with CEO Eric Schmidt playing the role of resident grown-up. Schmidt argued that if Google stopped censoring search results, it would never get back into China.

The “grownup” is the one who wants to knuckle under to totalitarian demands to suppress information. I.e., to betray Google’s mission: https://about.google/
Google mission

It doesn’t say “except in countries with totalitarian dictatorships, that put millions into re-education camps because of their religion, and want to destroy the capitalist system that made Google possible.” I guess it’s not evil to interpret it as “useful to despots,” though.

“The legacy of the China decision was a giant dose of goodwill from Googlers around the world,” Schmidt wrote in How Google Works; it reaffirmed the company’s principles “governing how all tough decisions should be made.”

Schmidt takes credit for a policy he opposed. If you aren’t evil, it’s an easy decision.

As Google seemed to close in on winning the [Maven] contract, executives from the cloud team pondered how a deal with the Pentagon—especially one that could be linked to autonomous weapons—might reflect on Google’s non-evil brand. In September, a few weeks after the meeting with Mattis, they discussed spinning up some positive PR that would focus on the “vanilla cloud technology” aspects of the Maven contract. “Avoid at ALL COSTS any mention or implication of AI,” wrote Fei-Fei Li, a Stanford professor and Google Cloud’s chief scientist for AI.

Censor search in China and object to a US military contract. Fit those ethics together for me, will you? An ethical approach might have been not to do either one.

HR had become “weaponized,” they said; Googlers on both sides of the battle lines had become adept at working the refs—baiting colleagues into saying things that might violate the company’s code of conduct, then going to human resources to report them.

And what did they expect would happen after the cancel culture they encouraged became commonplace and was rewarded?

In early June 2018, Pichai finally published the AI principles that Google had promised its employees. They included a list of four applications of AI that Google would not pursue, including weapons, technologies that gather and use information “for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms,” and technology “whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.”

“Don’t be evil” notwithstanding, they entertained a project to co-operate with the Chinese Communists that would shove human rights under the jackboot, and surveillance violating internationally accepted norms. They had to write that down. I guess it depends on your definition of “norms” and “principles.” Is it a norm because China does it to a billion and a half Chinese?

Google asked for chaos, I’m glad they’re getting it. The moral is don’t let a bunch of middle school mean girls run your company via internal social media.

More like Jihad

The Children’s Crusade
By the inestimable James Lileks

The Climate Panic Movement is all about saving the children who walked out of school to protest and got a three-day weekend. If you argue with the children, you hate science and want them to die when melting seas push a tsunami of hungry polar bears into Nebraska.

Well. The “deniers” need a manifesto to read to these children. Something along these lines.

It’s great. RTWT