Thursday, March 29, 2018

Defending the indefensible

This may be the worst thing written in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

The lesson of the 'Broward Coward'
A myriad of journalists have said many stupid and dishonest things in the wake of the shooting. Leave it to the Boston Globe to defend the School Resource Officer who refused to intervene and then double down by mounting a full-throated defense of cowardice in general.
He begins by using discredited research which he then distorts to defame the Greatest Generation.

IN 1947, SAMUEL Lyman Atwood Marshall published a small book with shocking findings about the citizen-soldiers that had just helped save the world. Only one in four infantrymen in the Greatest Generation had actually fired their weapons during combat, the journalist-turned-soldier declared in the book "Men Against Fire." The book set off a scandal: Why were there so many cowards?
So much dishonesty in one short paragraph.

To begin, SLA Marshall was a fraud who falsified his research. (Kingsbury admits this far down in his column but then treats it as no big deal). Second, Marshall's famous "1 in 4" factoid relates to individual engagements not the entire wartime experience of the soldiers involved. Lastly, not even Marshall and his acolytes ascribed the failure to shoot entirely, or even largely to "cowardice".

While he has a soft spot for cowards, Kinsbury really, really hates the idea of an armed citizenry.

Indeed, if the country's weapons makers had their way, we'd all carry guns that we might - or might not - bring ourselves to use if the moment came. Maybe students, too.

Would universal lock-and-load empower heroics? Surely. But would the fear of being labeled a coward compel reckless shooting? Just as certainly. Trump's plan would also make it the duty of classroom teachers to open fire, with the implicit threat that they'd be branded cowards if they did not.

Arming teachers or average citizens forces them to sign the same social contract - protect society or die trying. Should it be the duty of every teacher to shoot down an armed intruder if the situation arises? Would teachers be heroes if they succeeded in their counterattack? Would they be cowards if they wouldn't or couldn't?
Like so many in the MSM Kingsbury condescends to those who believe in armed self-defense. They are not rational men and women who have made a considered decision to be armed. No, they are dolts who are at the mercy of gun-makers and their advertising.

He also presents a false choice. Ending the "gun-free zone" absurdity does not compel teachers to become nascent SWAT operators who must " protect society or die trying." It simply allows teachers so inclined to have the option of defending themselves and their students if trouble finds them. Fewer defenseless soft targets. More hard targets.

And note that he cites that favorite trope of the Eloi - more armed citizens will mean more "reckless shooting." They've been trotting this idea out since Florida started the renaissance in CCW back in the 1990s. And yet, as the number of CCW-holders increased over the decades, the violent crime rate dropped.

A few observations from David Gelernter:

This is from his 1997 book Drawing Life:

History is inspiring. Bravery is inspiring. It is shameful we no longer teach this to our children.
These quotes are from a 1998 article in the Weekly Standard, "Unresolved Evil":

What matters is our communal response to the crime. Evil is easy, good is hard, temptation is a given; therefore, a healthy society talks to itself.

Such ritual denunciations strengthen our good inclinations and help us suppress our bad ones. We need to hear them, and hear good acts praised, too. We need to hear the crowd (hear ourselves) praising good and denouncing evil.

Goodness is unnatural, and we need to cheer one another on.

Mass Murder: What can be done?

Monday, March 26, 2018

The MSM succumbs to mass psychosis

Or, perhaps, shameless propaganda. It’s hard to be sure.

The Trump/Russian collusion narrative is an odd thing. It is sustained by screaming headlines and breathless tweets. Most of the time the substance of the stories fail to live up to the hype.

And then there are those stories which seem irreconcilable. While each may be plausible, they seem to contradict one another. That is, while either may be true, it is absurd to believe that both can be true. Yet outlets like CNN expect us to do just that.

On one hand we are supposed to accept that Putin is a bloodthirsty totalitarian who has brought High Stalinism back to the Kremlin. He is a rogue autocrat so bent on political murder that he is willing to kill defectors in the West despite the inevitable repercussions to East-West relations.

At the same time we are expected to believe that people high up in the Russian intelligence apparatus are eager to blab about secret active measures. Despite Putin’s brutal record, these “deeply knowledgeable sources” display so little fear that they are happy to help foreign spies and ex-spies compile dossiers that reveal these active measures.

Those spies, ex-spies, operatives, and ex-operatives also manifest a cavalier disregard for source protection and operational security.

From PowerLine:

Steele reported that the friends of Vladimir Putin apprised him of Russia’s efforts to intervene on behalf of Donald Trump in the presidential campaign. Why, you might ask, would the friends of Vladimir Putin entrust Christopher Steele with the goods on Russia’s alleged efforts to intervene on behalf of Donald Trump in the presidential campaign?

I have not seen a good answer to that question and Mayer doesn’t really offer one other than that everybody loves Christopher Steele like she does. And of course there are obvious reasons why knowledgable Russians would not deliver true intelligence to Steele. As Eric Felten puts it in the excellent Weekly Standard article “A doozy of a dossier”: “Given the relative trivialities that can get one beaten to death in a Russian prison, these senior officials would seem to have exhibited an extraordinarily cavalier attitude toward their own health and well-being.”
Does anyone at the WaPo or CNN think about issues like this before they start hyping their latest scoop? Do they care about the truth?

Or have they succumbed to the Cult of Truthiness in their Trump Derangement?


The problem of the press in five tweets

Monday, March 19, 2018

Strategy and management

A brief article on a subject dear to my heart:

Two Worlds of Strategy
There are two worlds of strategy and most people are only aware of one. There is the world of corporate strategy articulated and taught in places like Harvard Business School. There is the world of military strategy articulated and taught in the various service war colleges. These two worlds never interact in any meaningful or sustained manner.
One of the primary reasons why so many people are unfamiliar with both worlds of strategy is that intellectual leaders of both worlds studiously ignore each other. Scholars who live in the mainstream of the field of management ignore military strategy. To illustrate this assertion, all one has to do is look at one year’s worth of Academy of Management Review, one of the most prominent management journals. In 2006, for example, Academy published fifty-nine different articles on a broad variety of management topics and these articles cumulatively contained 5,288 citations that were derived from a wide range of academic fields. .... What is interesting in this case is that not one single citation of more than five thousand citations derived from the field of military strategy.
I've tackled this topic a few times.....

Strategic problems and the problem with strategy

Waiting for our Clausewitz

Clausewitz (II)

The Gawker story and our decadent media

This edition of the Federalist Radio Hour is a revelation. I can't wait to read the author's book.

Unraveling The Insane Story Of Gawker, Hulk Hogan, And Peter Thiel: Author Ryan Holiday examines the nearly unbelievable conspiracy of how Hulk Hogan and few secret individuals were able to dismantle the infamous Gawker.
Also learned something newsworthy while listening:

The lawyer who got the hush money for Stormy Daniels also tried to shake down Hulk Hogan.


Just the Daniels camp is using CNN right now against Trump.

More here:

The Insane Backstory Behind The Lawyer Who Shook Down Donald Trump (and Hulk Hogan)
This would be a great topic for Reliable Sources. But I doubt we will ever see that.