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  • Mass Shootings: What can we do?

    Posted on March 25th, 2021 Finster No comments
    I originally posted this to my facebook feed on August 5, 2019. I’m reposting it here because it’s still relevant. 
    I understand why people are upset and angry after another round of horrible mass shootings. I also understand the impetus to blame something, anything for what has happened. I’ve heard video games, guns, Quentin Tarantino, Trump, Fox News, CNN are all to blame.
    My belief is that even if we ban all of these things and pass draconian restrictions on 1st and 2nd amendment rights, we are only treating a symptom of a much bigger problem.
    The problem is an entire generation (maybe multiple generations) of young (usually white) males are giving into nihilism and fatalism. Confronted with the horrible unending suffering that typifies human existence, the importance of finding meaning in our lives becomes ever more important. My heart goes out to not just young males, but young people of all races, genders, identities, that struggle to find meaning and solace.
    As a society and as a nation, we’ve failed them. We’ve done our best to destroy and tear down the institutions that previously provided meaning. We’ve replaced them with counterfeits. We’ve replaced them with an educational system that rejects outliers and for the price of admission, rewards young people with a lifetime of indentured servitude to student loans. We propped up celebrity and whataboutism instead of hard work and personal responsibility.
    When young men reach out for help, they are slapped away, sometimes bitterly. “Check your privilege!”
    In generations past, the antidote for these problems would’ve usually been a church, any church. Unfortunately, like Neitzsche said, “God is dead.” We’ve killed him. So now what?
    Well, they go to those places that are so easy to find in this new age of social media and acceptance. White supremacy, Mens’ Rights Activisim, Antifa, Proud Boys and all the other dark corners of our culture that are more than willing and able to provide a “meaning” for our nation’s wayward souls. Failing that, they turn to suicide and mass homicide.
    I don’t know a good solution to this problem other than for those of us who have found even a shred of purpose in this absurd circus of suffering we call life, to share why we think life is worth living. I think that we need to teach people how to beautify something, anything, in their life. Take something, even if you are the only one who ever sees it or knows it, and beautify it. I think if we do that, and teach others to do it, we can maybe… *maybe* turn back the tide of violence and nihilism that is currently drowning so many.
  • Was the Republican party the Progressive party in Reconstruction America?

    Posted on March 9th, 2016 Finster No comments

    Actually, the GOP in the 1860’s and 70’s was NOT Progressive. If you trace back the philosophical underpinnings of Progressivism, you hit Wilson, of course, but going even further back a real linchpin of the Progressive movement was Calhoun’s defense of slavery in 1837, where he argued that slavery was a positive good.

    “I hold that in the present state of civiliza­tion, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good-a positive good. . . . I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one por­tion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other.”

    This notion that prosperity can only be the product of taking something from someone else is writ large in Marx’s Communist Manifesto (1848), Lenin’s writings, and in the political ideals of Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Johnson, and up through the modern Democrats.

    Hand in hand with this argument and another linchpin of Progressivism is summarized in Calhoun’s and Fitzhugh’s rejection of Natural Law, which is required if you are to make any argument about the positive goodness of slavery.

    This is echoed when Obama, before running for POTUS, laments that the Constitution doesn’t say what the government can do on your behalf, but instead restricts government action. This belief emphasizes the importance of the government in granting rights and welfare, rather than believing those rights to be self-evident and inherent to our nature.

    I believe that the following principles are fundamental to Progressive thought:

    1. Wealth can only be redistributed. Prosperity must come at the cost of someone else.
    2. Men and women do not have inherent natural rights. If a man is free, it is not because he is born free, but because a government or state has declared him to be free.

    On the other hand, these ideals are polar opposite of the ideals of Conservatism, and what classically used to be called Liberalism (before the term was stolen by the Progressives.) The Conservative Ideals are:

    1. Through honest trade, wealth can be created. Prosperity can be attained for all parties involved through the ideals of Capitalism and the Law of Comparative Advantage.
    2. Men and women possess certain inalienable (i.e. cannot be granted or taken away) rights such as the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • BYU’s Campus Gun Ban

    Posted on July 21st, 2014 Finster No comments

    This is a letter to the editor I recently wrote in response to a ridiculously one-sided front page “story” about BYU’s campus-wide ban on firearms.

    To The Editor:

    In light of recent college shootings, as BYU students and employees, we will naturally wonder, “What if that happened here?” A completely one-sided July 15 article on the cover of The Universe addressed some of the fears and concerns around allowing guns on campus and provided one view of what is not just a question of basic Constitutional rights, but a very real question of protecting life.

    Some common arguments were used by BYU Police Lieutenant Arnold Lemmon and the BYU students who agreed with The Universe’s opinion that armed citizens must remain persona non grata. Unfortunately, those arguments rely on fear, misinformation, and misrepresentation.

    Billy Hagee, a psychology major, said, “I have much more confidence in the police. . . . It seems there is so much risk involved in a situation with untrained shooters.” There is a fear, likely held by many, that an armed populace is inherently more dangerous than armed law enforcement officers.

    Lt. Lemmon said, “If you were an officer walking into an active shooter situation and you saw people with firearms drawn, what would you do?” A valid question, but the sad fact is that private citizens are more often on the right side of that question than the wrong side.

    Newsweek reported that 2% of civilian shootings involved an innocent person being shot (note: that is shot, not killed). The error rate reported for police was 11%, which counted innocent people killed–not just shot. In other words, the error rates for law enforcement are substantially higher than they are for typical, armed citizens. A University of Chicago study found that in 1993, 330 innocent individuals were killed in police shootings in Chicago, while about 600 alleged criminals were killed. That means that for every two criminals killed by trained police officers, one innocent person was killed by law enforcement.

    This is, by no means, a criticism of any police force, let alone BYU police. Police officers routinely are on the front line of danger and naturally encounter difficult circumstance. But when it comes to feelings about who you trust with firearms, people ought to be aware that common, armed citizens–statistically speaking–have a far better track record than law enforcement when it comes to shooting the wrong person.

    I could go on for many more paragraphs detailing study after study after study that shows that there is a correlation between gun ownership, concealed carry permits, and lower violent crime rates. The fact of the matter is, common perception of this subject is wrong: the statistics support confidence in an armed citizenry. Permitting concealed carry, in light of statistical evidence and in spite of what certain people seem to “feel,” would make everyone on campus safer.

    A gun owner and concealed carry permit holder

  • AP: Youtube Knowledge Fail

    Posted on April 9th, 2009 Finster No comments

    In response to this, I am posting the following:

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Democracy for the win!

    Posted on March 7th, 2005 Finster No comments

    I saw this pick posted over at Ace of Spades HQ.


    A lot of people criticized Bush’s Iraq plan because they claimed that Democracy would never work in the Arab world and that the Middle East did not want freedom.

    To quote Halo 2: “There are those that said this day would never come. What are they to say now?”

  • According to Robert “KKK” Byrd, I’m a Nazi

    Posted on March 3rd, 2005 Finster No comments

    I’m a conservative Republican, which in Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-WV) book makes me analogous to being a member of Hitler’s Nazi party.

    In case you haven’t seen Sen. Robert Byrd before, here’s a photograph:


    Need I say more? I think not.

    Jackson’s Junction has a GREAT post with video of Byrd’s comments, and also response from Bill Press.

  • State of Fear

    Posted on February 18th, 2005 Finster No comments

    I recently picked up State of Fear by Michael Crichton, that one guy who wrote Jurassic Park. I’m not very far into it yet, but it’s a pretty informative book. A small introduction reminds us that characters and organizations are used fictitiously, but anything marked with a footnote is real, and the book contains an appendix citing sources for all of the footnotes. I wish all authors would do this.

    As a sidenote, I was browsing around on and noticed an interesting speech he gave establishing that extraterrestrial aliens are responsible for global warming.

    Also, in light of today’s articles about “a new study comparing 7 million real world datapoints with several computer models of global warming,” I agree with Crichton’s take on this. I’ll take a computer climate model seriously when it accurately predicts future trends for the next ten years. Twenty would be preferable.

  • Liberal conniption fits: Budget 2006

    Posted on February 7th, 2005 Finster No comments

    The Bush administration released the details of their budget today. Almost simultaneously, several Democrats died from severe trauma brought on by severe head explosion.

    The MSM has begun its campaign against the budget. The big problems that the Dems are having seem to fall into these categories:

  • The President hates kids because education is getting cut.
  • The President hates poor people because health care for poor people is not included in the budget.
  • The President hates farmers because he’s cutting farm subsidies.
  • The President is spending more on defense because bombs are more important than people at home.
  • The President hates the environment because he’s cutting funds to the EPA.
  • Let’s take a few moments today to examine the FACTS.
    Read the rest of this entry »

  • UN releases land mine awareness ad

    Posted on January 31st, 2005 Finster 2 comments

    The UN released an ad campaign to get us to be more aware of the problem of land mines worldwide. I think the original UN commercial is in really really bad taste. Let me give you the version that the UN released.

    And an alternate version that appeared on the internet some time later.

    I swear, this must’ve been taken straight out of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

    WARNING: These videos do depict a simulated land mine blowing up a teenage girl as she plays soccer. I guess the UN figures such grotesque depictions will make me want to give them a billion dollars or something.

  • Barbara Boxer: Want some cheese with your whine?

    Posted on January 24th, 2005 Finster No comments

    This is stupid.

    “I gave Dr. Rice many opportunities to address specific issues. Instead, she said I was impugning her integrity,” Mrs. Boxer said.

    BECAUSE YOU WERE. This is what she said to Dr. Rice:

    “I personally believe — this is my personal view — that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth,”

    If you accuse someone of putting honesty and respect for truth behind ANYTHING else, that is what normal people would refer to as “impugning her integrity.”

    Does California have a law that allows for the recall of a senator? Between this and being the ONLY senator to vote against certifying the 2004 electoral college returns, I don’t think I can take 6 more years of her shenanigans.