Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

The mysteries of TENS (Theory Of Evolution By Natural Selection)

By Vox Day at Vox Popoli:


 Dr. James M. Tour of Rice University confesses he simply cannot grasp what everyone at Scienceblogs and the Panda's Thumb and Richarddawkins.net just knows to be true. Because science.
I will tell you as a scientist and a synthetic chemist: if anybody should be able to understand evolution, it is me, because I make molecules for a living, and I don’t just buy a kit, and mix this and mix this, and get that. I mean, ab initio, I make molecules. I understand how hard it is to make molecules. I understand that if I take Nature’s tool kit, it could be much easier, because all the tools are already there, and I just mix it in the proportions, and I do it under these conditions, but ab initio is very, very hard.

I don’t understand evolution, and I will confess that to you. Is that OK, for me to say, “I don’t understand this”? Is that all right? I know that there’s a lot of people out there that don’t understand anything about organic synthesis, but they understand evolution. I understand a lot about making molecules; I don’t understand evolution. And you would just say that, wow, I must be really unusual.

Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science – with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. I have sat with them, and when I get them alone, not in public – because it’s a scary thing, if you say what I just said – I say, “Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?” Every time that I have sat with people who are synthetic chemists, who understand this, they go “Uh-uh. Nope.” These people are just so far off, on how to believe this stuff came together. I’ve sat with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. Sometimes I will say, “Do you understand this?”And if they’re afraid to say “Yes,” they say nothing. They just stare at me, because they can’t sincerely do it.

I was once brought in by the Dean of the Department, many years ago, and he was a chemist. He was kind of concerned about some things. I said, “Let me ask you something. You’re a chemist. Do you understand this? How do you get DNA without a cell membrane? And how do you get a cell membrane without a DNA? And how does all this come together from this piece of jelly?” We have no idea, we have no idea. I said, “Isn’t it interesting that you, the Dean of science, and I, the chemistry professor, can talk about this quietly in your office, but we can’t go out there and talk about this?”

If you understand evolution, I am fine with that. I’m not going to try to change you – not at all. In fact, I wish I had the understanding that you have.

But about seven or eight years ago I posted on my Web site that I don’t understand. And I said, “I will buy lunch for anyone that will sit with me and explain to me evolution, and I won’t argue with you until I don’t understand something – I will ask you to clarify. But you can’t wave by and say, “This enzyme does that.” You’ve got to get down in the details of where molecules are built, for me. Nobody has come forward.

The Atheist Society contacted me. They said that they will buy the lunch, and they challenged the Atheist Society, “Go down to Houston and have lunch with this guy, and talk to him.” Nobody has come! Now remember, because I’m just going to ask, when I stop understanding what you’re talking about, I will ask. So I sincerely want to know. I would like to believe it. But I just can’t.

Now, I understand microevolution, I really do. We do this all the time in the lab. I understand this. But when you have speciation changes, when you have organs changing, when you have to have concerted lines of evolution, all happening in the same place and time – not just one line – concerted lines, all at the same place, all in the same environment … this is very hard to fathom.

I was in Israel not too long ago, talking with a bio-engineer, and [he was] describing to me the ear, and he was studying the different changes in the modulus of the ear, and I said, “How does this come about?” And he says, “Oh, Jim, you know, we all believe in evolution, but we have no idea how it happened.”
Smells like quality science. And before the usual science fetishists leap in to assert the obvious and declare: "yeah, well, that doesn't prove God exists," I will readily admit that it does not. But, (and here is the point), it does prove that there are very rational reasons to doubt the unevidenced assertion that "evolution is a fact".

As I have repeatedly pointed out, I am an evolution skeptic, not an evolution denier. I do not judge the truth of the belief by the behavior of the believer, although if I did, the behavior of the evolutionary true believers would be sufficient to convince me that the existence of unicorns, fairies, and leprechauns combined is considerably more likely than fish magically turning into monkeys over time due to beneficial mutations taking advantage of the multitude of changes in the water.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Has Christianity held back the progress of science? What about Galileo?

By Wintery Knight :


First, here’s an article from the peer-reviewed journal Nature, probably the best peer-reviewed journal on science in the world.

The article is written by James Hannam. He has a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge and is the author of The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (published in the UK as God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science).

Excerpt:

Few topics are as open to misunderstanding as the relationship between faith and reason. The ongoing clash of creationism with evolution obscures the fact that Christianity has actually had a far more positive role to play in the history of science than commonly believed. Indeed, many of the alleged examples of religion holding back scientific progress turn out to be bogus. For instance, the Church has never taught that the Earth is flat and, in the Middle Ages, no one thought so anyway. Popes haven’t tried to ban zero, human dissection or lightening rods, let alone excommunicate Halley’s Comet. No one, I am pleased to say, was ever burnt at the stake for scientific ideas. Yet, all these stories are still regularly trotted out as examples of clerical intransigence in the face of scientific progress.

Admittedly, Galileo was put on trial for claiming it is a fact that the Earth goes around the sun, rather than just a hypothesis as the Catholic Church demanded. Still, historians have found that even his trial was as much a case of papal egotism as scientific conservatism. It hardly deserves to overshadow all the support that the Church has given to scientific investigation over the centuries.

That support took several forms. One was simply financial. Until the French Revolution, the Catholic Church was the leading sponsor of scientific research. Starting in the Middle Ages, it paid for priests, monks and friars to study at the universities. The church even insisted that science and mathematics should be a compulsory part of the syllabus. And after some debate, it accepted that Greek and Arabic natural philosophy were essential tools for defending the faith. By the seventeenth century, the Jesuit order had become the leading scientific organisation in Europe, publishing thousands of papers and spreading new discoveries around the world. The cathedrals themselves were designed to double up as astronomical observatories to allow ever more accurate determination of the calendar. And of course, modern genetics was founded by a future abbot growing peas in the monastic garden.

But religious support for science took deeper forms as well. It was only during the nineteenth century that science began to have any practical applications. Technology had ploughed its own furrow up until the 1830s when the German chemical industry started to employ their first PhDs. Before then, the only reason to study science was curiosity or religious piety. Christians believed that God created the universe and ordained the laws of nature. To study the natural world was to admire the work of God. This could be a religious duty and inspire science when there were few other reasons to bother with it. It was faith that led Copernicus to reject the ugly Ptolemaic universe; that drove Johannes Kepler to discover the constitution of the solar system; and that convinced James Clerk Maxwell he could reduce electromagnetism to a set of equations so elegant they take the breathe away.

Given that the Church has not been an enemy to science, it is less surprising to find that the era which was most dominated by Christian faith, the Middle Ages, was a time of innovation and progress. Inventions like the mechanical clock, glasses, printing and accountancy all burst onto the scene in the late medieval period. In the field of physics, scholars have now found medieval theories about accelerated motion, the rotation of the earth and inertia embedded in the works of Copernicus and Galileo. Even the so-called “dark ages” from 500AD to 1000AD were actually a time of advance after the trough that followed the fall of Rome. Agricultural productivity soared with the use of heavy ploughs, horse collars, crop rotation and watermills, leading to a rapid increase in population.

I hope this will set the record straight – Judeo-Christian monotheism created the enterprise of experimental science.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

  • The kalam cosmological argument and the Big Bang theory
  • The fine-tuning argument from cosmological constants and quantities
  • The origin of life, part 1 of 2: the building blocks of life
  • The origin of life, part 2 of 2: biological information
  • The sudden origin of phyla in the Cambrian explosion
  • Galactic habitable zones and circumstellar habitable zones
  • Irreducible complexity in molecular machines
  • The creative limits of natural selection and random mutation
  • Angus Menuge’s ontological argument from reason
  • Alvin Plantinga’s epistemological argument from reason
  • William Lane Craig’s moral argument
  • The unexpected applicability of mathematics to nature
  • Arguments and scientific evidence for non-physical minds
  • Friday, February 21, 2014

    Causes/Reasons For The War Of Southern Independence

    One of the major causes of the War Of Southern Independence, and among the chief motivating factors behind the deep Southern commitment to the fight evidenced by the widespread volunteerism of the so-called "Southern yeoman" who owned no slaves and had no stake in slavery, was the smug presumption to moral and even spiritual superiority of so many in the North, abolitionists and New Enlganders in particular. The stench of condescension and hypocrisy was particularly foul to Southerners of the day, which is not surprising since so many of them were of "Scots Irish" descent and within at most three generations of having escaped the grinding poverty and horrific political oppression of a Great Britain which reviled them. So the South as a whole tended to have a chip on its shoulder about anything which smacked of the establishment, entitlement or the upper class. In short, the North. You can't continually insult a man - or a region - and pretend surprise when he wants to step outside with you.

    This is a casus belli which has been routinely overlooked by Northern commentators, many of whom today persist in the same offensive, contemptuous behavior which came so naturally to their forbears, particularly academics. As self-identified members of the elite and claimants to membership in the intelligentsia, they were representatives of that entitled class which led the North, and as such were simply incapable of recognizing their own egoism, prejudice and presumption. These representatives of the Northern elites were far more likely to understand Swahili than they were to grasp what it meant to live a Southerner's life, and to understand the factors which formed his character and personality.

    As I noted, that same egotistical presumption and condescension is today routinely seen in the intellectual heirs of those elites who were so contemptuous of the South both prior to the North's military invasion and afterwards, when the South was crushed and humiliated for generations, unlike any other foe defeated by the United States. The most smug and condescending attitudes often come from academics, who rely on the same insulting behavior and presumptuous attitudes when speaking of today's South and its inhabitants. Often these academics retain the same smug pretensions of moral superiority as did their forbears. And, just as their forbears, they can exhibit a truly breathtaking hypocrisy and shocking degree of willful moral blindness, by praising as military geniuses and heroes men who intentionally made war on civilians, which included the same acts of barbarism, brutality and outright terrorism for which Nazi and Imperial Japanese generals were ignominiously hanged. Just think of the vanity necessary to accomplish such a neat intellectual trick.
    Yes, such attitudes are still encountered today, when the same kind of moral egotists speak in terms of "lies" and "myths" on which Southerners "loudly" "insist". Because Southerners don't just have a different opinion - they're not even merely in error. No, they're perverse. Immoral. Evil. The familiar smug, scornful and patronizing words. And informed by the same narcissism and moral blindness which afflicted those who went before them.

     Via one of the best liberty/Southron aggregate blogs, a multi-daily must read:
     Free North Carolina

    Saturday, February 8, 2014

    Your child belongs to us already…

    Battlefield USA posts this often:  

    When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already…. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.

     – Adolf Hitler

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

    Bracken – Dear Mr. Security Agent

    By way of Western Rifle Shooters Association:

    to protect and serve
    For widespread distribution, more cutting-edge commentary from Matt Bracken, former SEAL and author of the Enemies Foreign and Domestic trilogy, along with his most recent novel, Castigo Cay:

    Dear Mr. Security Agent,

    Federal, state, or local. You, the man or woman with the badge, the sworn LEO or FLEA and those who inhabit the many law enforcement niches in between and on all sides. This essay is directed to you, because in the end, how this turmoil about gun control turns out will depend largely upon your decisions and actions over the coming months and years.

    I sincerely wish that members of Congress—who may soon be voting on new gun control measures—would read this essay, but I realize that’s a pipe dream, considering the impenetrable bubbles around those exalted entities. So I’ll settle for you, Mr. (or Ms.) Security Agent, since you already gobble up everything on the internet, and I don’t have to seek you out.

    A decade ago I wrote the novel Enemies Foreign and Domestic, a tale about how tragic events involving the misuse of firearms can be used by an evil administration to misinform and mold public opinion to support its malign anti-freedom policies.

    No, my novel was not predicting “Operation Fast and Furious” a decade before that covert policy of “pursuing gun control under the radar,” (which was President Obama’s explanation to Sarah Brady for his lack of overt political action). That inter-agency gun-walking policy, remember, resulted in the deaths of over four hundred Mexicans and two U.S. federal agents, murdered in an effort to discredit the Second Amendment and lead to more restrictive gun control laws in America. (If Nixon—or any Republican, for that matter—were in office, the intentional bloodbath would be called Murdergate, but today’s collaborating Woodwards and Bernsteins are in on the cover-up.)

    Instead of gun-walking thousands of AK-47s to Mexican drug cartel assassins (who would believe that?), Enemies Foreign and Domestic begins with a sniper opening fire on a packed football stadium. A thousand innocent fans die, some from the ninety bullets fired but most in the ensuing panic stampede. In a traumatized America, the fictional stadium massacre results in the banning of all semi-automatic rifles, with no buyback, no grandfathering of weapons already owned, and no sunset clause. Citizens had to turn them in for destruction or face years in federal prison.

    The page-one stadium massacre was simply a plot device chosen to launch the story in high gear and set the stage to immediately and fully explore the main theme of the novel: the calculated transformation of our Constitutional republic into a socialist police state. Since I prefer to write tightly wound fiction transpiring at a rapid pace in a compressed time period, I examined the imposition of totalitarian controls over the course of just a few weeks, not years or decades.

    1. The TSA: On the road to the American police state

    Consider: The TSA was born in the panicked backwash of 9/11, which is understandable given the events of that day, when Muslim maniacs screaming allahu akbar murdered 3,000 Americans and others in the name of Islamic global jihad. But a decade after 9/11, due entirely to political correctness, it’s completely out of the question to profile Mohammed at the airport yet absolutely necessary for that bloated agency to “randomly” select your pre-teen or teenage daughter for a body search performed by a government matron in a TSA uniform. This frequently under-the-clothes and against-the-skin complete body search may done in full public view, or in a hidden back room, solely at the discretion of the TSA agents involved.

    Meanwhile, Mom and Dad stand off to the side where they have been directed to wait, saying nothing, scarcely moving, avoiding random eye contact lest a TSA security agent catch a wayward smirk or utterance of protest. To pull out a cell phone camera at this time would surely invite arrest. To walk over and grab the matron by the arm is out of the question. Defending your child from the indignity would lead only to your being Tasered and handcuffed on the cold airport floor. After that, your entire family may wind up in some TSA airport detention cells, conveniently located right on your concourse and unknown to you until then. Better to stew in silence, let the incident pass, and try to forget it.

    So in the year 2013, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we stand with our eyes averted, burning with humiliation, while our spouses or children are groped above and below the waist by blue-gloved government prison guards—only we are in an airport in a free country, and not in a prison!

    Or are we? A virtual open-air prison, where government security agents can pat down ordinary citizens at will is the accepted “new normal.” Did that happen often in East Germany, I wonder? In the Soviet Union? Does it happen today in Cuba? Officially sanctioned crotch groping in the name of “security?”

    (Why, again, was it that the TSA was created? Oh yes, Islamic jihad terrorists destroyed some big buildings and killed thousands of people in New York City on September 11 way back in the year 2001. It was because of that very bad day in lower Manhattan and many other acts of bloody Muslim terrorism around the world going on for decades, especially hijacking and blowing up lots of airliners full of people. It’s so easy to forget why exactly it is that we need to become a police state for our own safety.)

    And now we read that the TSA is yet again expanding and branching out, like an octopus on steroids. This suddenly gargantuan federal agency is not only running routine checkpoints and stop-and-frisk operations in airports, but at bus and train stations also. Eight thousand times in 2010, if you can believe the government’s own accounting figures. Your papers, please! These checkpoints and mobile searching stations are called VIPR Teams, a telling acronym for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Teams.

    Folks, you cannot make this stuff up. Well, actually, you can. Way back in 2002 in Enemies Foreign and Domestic I invented FIST checkpoints, for Firearms Inspections Stop Terrorism. I leave it to you as to which sounds more coolly ominous and plausible in fact and in fiction—VIPRs or FISTs.

    The advance word is that at the next stop on this express lane to tyranny, we will be seeing the TSA on our highways, setting up roaming vehicle checkpoints. For our “public safety,” of course. Watch the recent YouTube video of the Texas state trooper digitally raping a mother and daughter by the side of a Texas highway to see law enforcement checkpoint authority run amok, and wonder at the future of our nation and our hard-won legacy of individual freedom. If you can stomach to watch it.

    Welcome to the USSA, comrades! How in the world did this happen? When did we wake up to find our freedom stolen in the night—and all in name of “homeland security” and “public safety”?

    2. Nobody needs an assault weapon!

    And now in the wake of yet another disgusting example of the worst human depravity, this time in an elementary school in New England, we are told by the government that some firearms are simply too dangerous for citizens to possess. We are told that limiting or removing these firearms from private hands will increase the general public safety. We are told that it is a small thing to give up semi-automatic rifles, which the political and cooperating media elites will dutifully call “assault weapons,” even though nobody can quite define the term. In any case, we are told, nobody needs an “assault weapon” with a thirty-round magazine.

    Well, actually, almost nobody needs them.

    Apparently, Mr. Security Agent and his comrades need them, lots of them. Tens of thousands of new “assault weapons,” enough to shoot all of the billions (with a “b”) of .223 and .40 caliber hollow-point bullets recently purchased by our federal law enforcement agencies in unprecedented new acquisitions. Are we suddenly expecting a foreign invasion I missed reading about? Wouldn’t that be the job of the military? Why do our federal law enforcement agencies suddenly need tens of thousands of “assault weapons” and billions of new hollow-point (not training) bullets, many times more than in previous years?

    Evidently, it’s very dangerous on the Homeland Security front, and Mr. Security Agent needs a lot of firepower to be able to put down all of the assorted troublemakers and problem children out in the “uncontrolled spaces” of America. You can’t have too much firepower if you work for our government law enforcement agencies!

    But in the name of public safety the government is going to whittle your allowable firearms down step by step, first eliminating semi-automatic rifles, then pistols, and eventually on down to the last bolt-action hunting rifles and shotguns, which may be kept at a government armory, and signed out for an approved day of hunting with a few shells. (Make sure to retrieve your empty brass for the counting.)

    So, step by step, the government is going to take away any ability the average citizen might have to resist a rampaging mob or roving gangs of bandits during a breakdown in law and order, or any demands at all made by a tyrannical government sometime in the murky future.

    3. Trust us, we’re from the government.

    So at the historical moment that our nation is turning into a police state, with no expectation of privacy, even of our private parts in public airports or on public highways, we are commanded to grant even greater trust in our government’s perpetual future benevolence, to have blind faith that at no point in the future will our government turn tyrannical.

    But in the year 2013, has the government already earned our trust, or our disgust, with its current abuses of its police powers? In this environment of steadily creeping tyranny, should we comply with government demands for our increasing disarmament?

    I wrote Enemies Foreign and Domestic a decade ago with the hope that eventually anti-gun liberals would discover it and it would provide them with a virtual road map to understanding conservative thinking about firearms and their place in society. Additionally, I wrote the novel hoping that if it were successful, it might provide me a platform and a microphone to discuss these issues at some dangerous time in the future.

    That time is now. Well-meaning, gun-loathing liberals need to understand that they are blindly tossing matches into a dynamite factory with their threats to severely limit and restrict the Second Amendment. They must understand the other point of view in order not to send America careening into a deadly minefield, the existence of which they are, evidently, blissfully unaware.

    4. The gun nuts

    To many liberals, the popular American hobby of collecting and shooting guns is a bizarre and shameful vice. Three or four pistols and long guns and a few hundred rounds of ammunition are routinely described in the popular media as an “arsenal.” Perhaps in a Manhattan walk-up studio apartment, where that handful of guns had to be smuggled in and hidden, it would be considered an “arsenal.” But out past the urban beltway, out in Red State America, that is what many folks I know keep in their car or truck for roadside emergencies, or impromptu plinking, or varmint-hunting opportunities. And hell, isn’t that why we have guns out in Red State America? Damn sure is. Among other reasons.

    Millions of firearms aficionados in their later years have purchased a rifle, pistol or shotgun every year or two for decades. In millions of cases, these add up to dozens of firearms per household. A round dozen firearms of all types might be a good average. Some are hunting arms, some are military antiques, and increasingly, many are defensive pistols and modern sporting rifles, and yes, both are semi-automatic. For example, millions of AR-15 rifles have been purchased in just the last few years. Note that I did not say modern hunting rifles. That is a separate category, but the important thing to understand is that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, and anybody who says it does is telling a lie.

    Those of us who enjoy firearms feel it deeply when some lunatic misuses one to slaughter innocents. Shooting ranges are virtually churches of gun safety, with safety rules posted everywhere, taught to one and all, and enforced strictly. Passing down our tradition of safe and responsible gun ownership from generation to generation is considered a sacred trust. When a firearm is misused by a criminal, our greatest wish is always that we had been present with our legally concealed pistols to stop the slaughter of unarmed, defenseless innocents. And more frequently than you might imagine, this actually happens.

    Consider this: the average number of victims per incident when the shooter is stopped by an armed civilian: three. The average number of victims when the shooter is stopped by a policeman: fourteen. Why? Because when every second is a matter of life and death, the police are still minutes away. Think about those numbers. Eleven people die needlessly if the shooting takes place in a “victim disarmament zone,” where legal firearms are prohibited. This is why deranged shooters head for schools, malls, and theaters, where signs forthrightly proclaim that guns are forbidden. A “no firearms” sign draws such a person the way that a starving wolf is attracted to a pen full of helpless lambs.

    But when the killer is stopped by an armed civilian, the mainstream media rarely or never mention that fact, because it goes against their propaganda template: the inherent evil of guns in civilian hands. So those stories are spiked and the typical American never hears of them. Did you know that shortly before the tragedy in Connecticut, an armed civilian stopped a maniac in a packed shopping mall after he had killed only two victims, instead of twenty-seven?

    5. If it bleeds, it leads: The media love maniacs.

    The same media that pointedly ignore frequent life-saving defensive uses of firearms consistently pours hours and days and weeks of attention upon the latest maniac who chooses a firearm as his tool of mass murder, so that the next potential insane villain cannot fail to notice the easy path to fame and immortality that the misuse of a gun can bring. But the greatest fame will only attach if they can beat the previous body-count record, a number constantly and loudly broadcast, so that no one can fail to hear it.

    The message to the unstable is clear: Come on, you crazy guys, can’t you at least murder your way to thirty? The Virginia Polytechnic Institute madman is still leading the lone-wolf pack, but college students might resist, so maybe find an easier target to rack up higher numbers. Find a killing zone with younger and more helpless victims. The media’s lesson was clear, and it was well learned by Adam Lanza when he set out to slaughter helpless little lambs instead of bigger and tougher sheep.

    The mainstream media pour a Niagara of crocodile tears over the most recent child victims, after doing everything for the killer but sign his name to their pre-written script. With such fanfare, is it any wonder that there is no lack of new monsters playing “beat the kill record” on a regular basis? It’s almost become a recurring television reality show.

    Meanwhile, liberal politicians scheme about how to leverage the latest human tragedy into new gun control laws, laws that by definition will be obeyed only by the law-abiding, not by criminals. “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” to paraphrase Obama confidant Rahm Emmanuel. And no better opportunity to trim the Second Amendment fangs and claws of their ideological enemies than in the immediate aftermath of another massacre wrought by a madman with a gun.

    But conservatives have also considered this phenomenon of grief exploitation for political ends, although from a very different ideological perspective. We look back a century and even longer, and see other nations and peoples that were also on the march forward toward “social progress” when the need for mandatory gun registration suddenly became an urgent national priority.

    6. So what’s the matter with gun registration?

    To say that Turkey did not enjoy a smooth transition from being the seat of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, through World War I and into the modernist Ataturk era, would be a massive understatement. In those turbulent times, ethnic Turks, Muslims composing the vast majority of the population, considered their Christian minorities, especially the Armenians, to be disloyal and treacherous.

    In 1911, a national gun registration law was passed in Turkey, with no apparent ill intention beyond increasing public safety. In 1915, during the Great War, these gun registration lists were used to disarm the Armenian and other Christian populations. Army battalions cordoned off entire towns and did gun sweeps. Once disarmed, the official state violence visited against the Armenians ratcheted up to murderous levels. Typically, on town-wide sweeps, all of the men and boys were taken away by the Turkish soldiers, never to be seen or heard from again.

    Only after these Armenian “enemies of the state” were disarmed and completely helpless to resist did the final step begin: the officially sanctioned, ordered, led and conducted wholesale “deportations” of the Christian minorities from Turkey. These “deportations” were in reality forced marches into fiery deserts, accompanied by pervasive sadistic cruelty comparable only to the Japanese “Bataan Death March,” and the less known but much more deadly death marches of the last surviving Jews in Nazi hands as the Red Army closed in on Germany.

    Three decades earlier in Turkey, rape, roadside torture sessions ending in death, and the entire worst catalog of human abuses were standard procedure while the Christian Armenians were being marched into the deserts to die of thirst, hunger, exposure, and sheer brutality. The stragglers who could not keep up with the columns being force-marched without food or water by Turkish soldiers were killed with bullets, bayonets, swords and even crueler means (for sport and variety), until the columns were no more and the missions were complete.

    Between 1915 and 1923, one and a half of the two million Turkish Armenians were murdered, along with a half million Christians of other sects. The rest escaped from Turkey in one of the first great diasporas of a genocided people in the modern era. There is no need to build gas chambers or slave-labor gulag death camps in a country with ample deserts. In Turkey there is no Dachau or Auschwitz to memorialize the dead, just bones scattered in the sand and rocks a century ago, a model of efficiency that Hitler might have envied. (The Turks deny to this day that it happened, just as some deny the later Nazi holocaust.)

    But even after conducting this first modern mega-death holocaust, with diplomats and reporters covering the genocide with daily wire reports, Turkey was not expelled in disgrace from the community of nations. There was no Western boycott of the new Turkish state. Adolf Hitler noticed this 20th-century indifference to genocide, and so did Lenin and Stalin and other despots. After the horrors of the First World War, the West had little gas left in the tank for do-gooder intervention just because some ethnic minority or other had been wiped out in Turkey.

    A new low standard had been set. A nation’s leaders could commit genocide against a despised minority, murder two million living souls in full view, and the world would not give a good damn. It was an important lesson for future dictators, leading to even greater mass murders under the Nazis and Soviets.

    And the German Nazis and the Soviet Communists learned another crucial lesson from the Turks: national gun registration laws could be passed easily in the name of dubious “public safety,” and the registration lists could be used later to disarm selected minorities and then subsequently to arrest, deport, and murder them by the millions after they were helpless to resist.

    In the Turkish case, only a small clique understood the true purpose behind the gun registration and gun control laws of 1911. If average Turks thought about the gun laws at all, they probably believed they would actually lead to greater public safety, as advertised. That was also generally the case with the Russians, Germans, Chinese, Cambodians, Guatemalans, Rwandans, and all the rest who were required to register or even turn in their firearms for “public safety,” and who accepted the demand at face value as a “reasonable” gun control measure, to their later regret.

    American liberals who would like to see the Second Amendment torn out of the Constitution as a problematic relic of a bygone era generally do not know—or pretend not to know—this well-established historical pattern. But American Constitutionalists, who are more often than not students of history, understand the pattern very well.

    So, directly behind the insane faces of contemporary villains like Loughner, Holmes and Lanza, we see the smirking faces of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, tyrants who did not murder individual victims by the fives and tens, but entire populations by the tens of millions.  And in each case, these national genocides were preceded by gun confiscation that was made possible by national firearms registration laws sold to a gullible population in the name of “public safety.”

    (Interestingly, during the bloody French Revolution’s “Great Terror” of 1793 to 1794, it was the “Committee of Public Safety” who condemned tens of thousands of French men and women to the guillotine or other forms of summary execution without trial. After previously being disarmed, of course.)

    7. The case of Switzerland

    Let’s look at another foreign country for a positive perspective on gun ownership. Although surrounded by sometimes hostile neighbors, Switzerland has maintained neutrality for centuries. It is an armed neutrality: nearly every adult Swiss male serves a short period of active military duty and thereafter is a member of the home guard militia. The inactive reservist keeps his military-issued fully automatic battle rifle at home, with plenty of ammunition and magazines, for the rest of his life. If Switzerland were ever invaded, the invaders would immediately find themselves taking accurate fire from many directions. Beyond personal rifles kept at home, field artillery, heavy machineguns and other crew-served weapons were hidden in disguised barns and other public and private buildings across the countryside, among the very citizen-soldiers who would man and fire them.

    An interesting story, but what does it have to do with this essay? Over those same centuries that Switzerland has not been invaded by a foreign enemy, it has also never been taken over internally by a dictator. Any would-be Swiss tyrant would face the same dilemna faced by an invading army: a citizenry armed to the teeth with the latest military-grade, full-automatic-capable true assault rifles, plus jointly operated crew-served weapons. A citizenry dedicated to preserving its freedom from any tyrant, foreign or domestic.

    Liberals might cite the example of Great Britain or Australia as countries that have created national registration lists and then later disarmed their populations through confiscation, but without a subsequent genocide. That’s true, but there is often a long delay between the stages of the registration-confiscation-extermination progression. For example, national gun registration in Germany was implemented in the 1920s, without any immediate dire consequences. Then Hitler was elected and took dictatorial powers under the Enabling Act. Beginning in 1938, Hitler used the gun registration lists to first disarm and then exterminate his enemies, primarily the Jews.

    8. The Scapegoat Express

    Scapegoating an unpopular group is standard operating procedure for budding socialist dictators wrecking once-free economies. For the Soviets, it was the Kulaks; for the Chinese it was the so-called “landlords.” I could list more recent cases to include Cambodia, Uganda, Guatemala, Rwanda and others. Once disarmed and helpless to resist, the hated national scapegoats are slaughtered by the millions.

    Probably few Turks, Germans or Russians gave a thought to the ultimate aim of their new gun registration laws, passed quite plausibly in the name of public safety. But national gun registration is a slow-acting poison, sweet and easy to swallow, but potentially becoming deadly only years later, when a tyrant takes the reins of power and inevitably sends for the list. He begins with his most dangerous enemies and works his way through the list, marching the helpless scapegoats into deserts or gas chambers or gulags after disarming them.

    In America today, we are seeing the beginning of an insidious scapegoating process, with older conservative white Christian males designated as the national Lucifer du jour, fair game for any vicious attack. Famous black movie stars joke about murdering white folks and white liberal media stars laugh along with them, conveying elite acceptance of the prevailing “evil whitey” meme.

    Filled from birth on a steady diet of the pervasiveness of white racism in America, rage-filled urban youths across the nation play “the knockout game” with often fatal results for their randomly selected white or Asian victims. Meanwhile, the elite liberal media fail to notice the national scope of the almost weekly occurrences. Google “the knockout game” and start reading the dozens of local stories that the media refuse to connect or identify as part of a dangerous national trend.

    And it doesn’t stop with knocking out random passers-by with sucker punches and then kicking them in head until they are dead, disfigured for life, or in comas. Have you ever heard of “The Knoxville Horror”? How about “The Wichita Horror”? Google them, read the local news articles about them, and ask yourself how much national media attention those cases and others like them would garner had the races been reversed.

    When alternately trumpeting or ignoring crime stories based entirely on the races of the perpetrators and the victims isn’t enough to convey the media’s full slant, they will invent stories or lie freely, as we saw in the Trayvon Martin case, with video footage edited and spliced to deliberately portray “white-Hispanic” George Zimmerman as a racist killer. Selectively covering or ignoring crimes depending on the races of the victims and perpetrators is a vital part of the process of scapegoating. The unspoken message is clearly conveyed: crimes against disfavored groups just don’t matter. The violence prone absorb the lesson, and the result is a wave of racial attacks such as those described under the rubric of “the knockout game.”

    Or consider the types of cartoons that are considered acceptable today in mainstream publications, portraying prototypical older white Christian men—presumably filthy-rich conservative Republicans—as hate-spewing maniacal villains, complete with fangs, Confederate flags, prominent Christian crosses and gigantic, threatening guns. Compare these viciously racist cartoons to the vilest anti-Semitic cartoons created by Nazi propagandists before and during World War II. I am not speaking of cartoons drawn by nobodies and posted on obscure fringe websites, I am talking about cartoons printed in mainstream newspapers, cartoons that would be condemned if the targeted group was any other than the scapegoat.

    Cartoons are not serious, you say? Then how about a paper in an approved and sanctioned semi-official U.S. military publication, written by a War College professor in good standing. Serious enough for you? Google the “Small Wars Journal” piece entitled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A Vision of the Future,” by Colonel Kevin Benson, USA (ret), 2012. The “full spectrum operations” envisaged for the Army in the homeland are not made against hypothetical hostile drug cartels in the Southwest, or urban gangs, or the traditionally ambiguous and vague “Pineland Liberation Group,” or “Orangeland People’s Front,” hypothetical stand-ins named to offend no one, not even by accident.

    This long-standing neutral naming protocol is tossed aside in “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland,” where the new domestic enemy that the U.S. Army must crush is a neo-KKK, a white racist “Tea Party terrorist” organization, headquartered in, of all places, Darlington, South Carolina. Yes, the NASCAR Darlington. Anybody who has been in or near an actual Tea Party event or rally knows the crowd is made up mainly of an older white population, a quiet group that leaves no mess behind, not even a stray poster, and causes no fuss.

    Yet “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland” postulates that these white grandpas and grannies will be the very group that the U.S. Army will be called upon to crush in its first major battles on American soil since 1865. The message this paper sends throughout the upper ranks of the War-College-trained military, actually naming an ethnic group—Southern whites—as the national enemy to “hypothetically” be crushed by the Army in the year 2016, is simply mind-boggling.

    The path forward that is indicated by the media’s growing acceptance of these vile and outrageous anti-white celebrity rants, cartoons, and articles is the same path that in previous eras led to the guillotine, the gulag, and the gas chamber for the scapegoated populations. But the final solution—genocide of the scapegoats—is only possible after the mob is sufficiently inflamed with hatred toward them by the mass media, in collaboration with an evil government. And time after time, it works.

    We are seeing the opening stages of the scapegoating of white conservatives today, as the last election seems to demonstrate to the left’s satisfaction that a crucial political and demographic tipping point has been passed, and the ultimate power equations of raw tribal loyalty have changed in a fundamental way—and now it’s payback time.

    We have seen this play out before in other countries and times, and it is deadly serious. Once the scapegoating gets far enough under way, it can pick up a life and a momentum of its own. For example, if the economy ever truly crashes, and the EBT system that feeds fifty million Americans goes down hard, leading to hunger, looting, and riots, (or we suffer other unforeseen problems of similar crisis proportions), the scapegoats will always be dragged to the forefront as the pre-designated patsy, to deflect blame from the government.

    “It’s the traitorous Armenians! It’s the greedy Kulaks! It’s the filthy Jews! It’s the oppressive Rwandan Hutus! It’s the white-racist rednecks! Let’s go get them, and make them pay!”

    The end result of disarming a scapegoat population is as easy to follow as 1-2-3:

    1. Registration. 2. Confiscation. 3. Extermination.

    And in this cultural and social climate, with class envy and racial hatred being stoked by the government and its willing partners in the liberal media against white conservatives, our socialist-leaning administration now wants us to surrender our most useful and effective self-defense tools, in the name of “public safety”!

    9. Dear Mr. Security Agent…

    Why is this essay titled Dear Mr. Security Agent, when it dwells mainly upon the media and coastal-dwelling urban liberals and their utopian belief in the benefits of new gun control laws in the United States? Mr. Security Agent will protest that he is no liberal, he is ex-military, he’s a cop, he’s a fed—he’s one of the good guys! He took the same oath to defend the Constitution that you did, Buster! He doesn’t need any lectures on defending the Constitution! So why single him out in this essay?

    Why? Because liberal bliss-ninnies in San Francisco and Boston are not issued flash-bang grenades, battering rams, body armor, flex-cuffs by the gross, and MP-5 submachine guns. No, the dirty end of the confiscation job will fall upon the shoulders of sworn law enforcement officers and gold-badged federal law enforcement agents. The LEOs and the FLEAs. That’s you, Mr. Security Agent.

    We really don’t want a problem with you, believe me. And there is no reason for us to have a problem, because we both can read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and neither of us requires a team of black-robed mystics to translate its plain English into Newspeak for improved comprehension. You and I both understand what “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” means, without requiring five out of nine politically appointed Supremes to tell us that it does not mean what it very plainly states in black and white.

    Now, as long as Mr. Security Agent remembers that he swore the same oath that millions of Americans swore, to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, he will certainly not permit himself to take part in gun confiscation raids. But if he does, well, let’s be frank: tens of millions of Americans would then consider him to be the very domestic enemy that they swore to defend the Constitution against.

    But Mr. Bracken—I can hear it now—this is the United States of America! Abuses like the ones you hypothesize simply cannot happen here. Gun registration does not always lead to confiscation, much less to extermination. We are not Germany or Russia or any of those other countries you mentioned. This is the 21st Century. America is different, and it can’t happen here. You must lay your irrational fears aside and place your trust in your government. It cannot, it will not, ever turn in the dark and tyrannical direction that you imagine.

    Oh, really? Google “wrong-address SWAT raids” and read any of the dozens of articles you will find. We should trust the government not to abuse us even further, once we are disarmed and helpless to resist them? Thanks, but I don’t think so.

    In 2002, in Enemies Foreign and Domestic, I wrote a fictional account of future government agents waterboarding American “detainees” in a clandestine “interrogation center.” In 2013, I think that we are many steps closer to that reality. Today, we already see genital groping by federal agents and at least one Texas state trooper who was caught on film. Their goal is not “public safety,” but public humiliation, intimidation, and control. Cowing the peasants into meek obeisance to unchecked authority. Can waterboarding American “detainees” in clandestine torture centers really be that far behind?

    We have recently learned, Mr. Security Agent, that your law enforcement comrades can read every email we send or receive with no need for a pesky and outdated warrant. Today, our cell phones come complete with undisclosed “back doors” for law enforcement use, allowing them even to be switched on remotely, to serve as no less than a secret police microphone in our very own pockets.

    Next year there will be drones patrolling the skies above America, keeping a watchful “Gorgon Stare” (Google it) mega-eye out for our “public safety.” Please read “The Coming Drone Attack on America,” by Naomi Wolf, to understand the grim implications of this development for what remains of American freedom.

    Facial recognition cameras are going up everywhere. Nearly all public and corporate video camera networks have their feeds directed to dozens of new law enforcement “fusion centers,” whose very existence is kept secret from the American people they were supposedly built to protect. (Google “fusion centers” as well. Discover more news that the liberal mainstream media don’t think you need to know.) Data-mining and Social Network Analysis by our “protectors” edges steadily toward the “Department of Pre-Crime” foreseen in the science fiction movie Minority Report.

    Next, project a decade ahead to what may be considered routine law enforcement behavior in 2023, after millions of Americans refuse to comply with new firearms registration and confiscation laws. Action will beget reaction. SWAT raids will spur armed resistance, which will spur “death squad” reprisals by “off-duty” agents, exactly in the way I wrote in “Enemies Foreign and Domestic.” It is a natural, almost organic progression, once started—and it has started. Secret detention centers will proliferate like mushrooms in the night. The media will not report on them, even if screams are heard around the clock by neighbors. Particularly brave reporters who break the media silence to report on police abuses will disappear, or be found headless, as they are in Mexico today.

    For that is what a modern “dirty civil war” looks like, in country after country, from continent to continent. If present trends continue, America is going to experience a very old witch’s brew on her home soil for the first time since the Civil War. This is my own very dark “vision of the future” (to quote the subtitle of Colonel Benson’s piece) if new and restrictive gun control laws are passed.

    So now we’re back to you, Mr. Security Agent, and your unique role in this high drama. Let me state this very clearly, both for you and for the liberal agenda-setting elites who might accidentally stumble upon this essay. Let there be no doubt about this. Let no one later say, “But we were just trying to improve public safety. We had no idea that all these disastrous unintended consequences would happen.”

    I am telling you now that disastrous unintended consequences will happen if Congress passes new laws banning presently legal firearms. To make it very easy to remember, and in the spirit of our beloved Department of Homeland Security’s old color-coded security threat levels, let me spell out three lines of demarcation.

    The Yellow Line:

    The yellow warning line will be crossed with national gun registration laws, including laws forbidding private gun sales without government permission. When that law passes, millions of Americans will feel that they have been pushed directly to the edge of the abyss above the mass graves of history. Defenders of the Second Amendment know what happened in Turkey, the USSR, Germany, China, and other nations that fell under totalitarian rule: in every case a necessary preliminary step on the road to genocide was national gun registration, followed by confiscation. The Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust say, “Never again!” And so do we.

    The Red Line:

    The red line will be crossed with the passage of laws mandating that currently owned weapons, ammunition magazines, and ammunition quantities above a certain number must be turned in to authorities or destroyed, and thereafter their simple possession will be a felony. At that point, the nation will be on a hair trigger, with a thousand flaring matches nearing a thousand primed cannon fuses aimed directly at the next Fort Sumter.

    The Dead Line:

    The next line requires a bit of history to explain. In some primitive Civil War POW camps, where lack of funding or logistical constraints did not allow the construction of proper fences, a knee-high continuous railing of wooden slats encircled the prison grounds. Guards with rifles were positioned at the corners and in crude towers. If a prisoner so much as stepped over the narrow plank, he was shot dead without warning, obviating the need for a real fence to contain him. Hence the term “dead line.” Cross the line and people die, right now.

    And this is what liberal utopians must understand: after passing the yellow line with national gun registration and transfer requirements, and the red line by making possession of currently legal firearms felonious, the dead line will be breached with the first SWAT raids upon citizens suspected of owning legal firearms made illegal by the new gun control laws. People will die resisting confiscation, in large numbers.

    Confiscation crosses the dead line, make no mistake about it.

    So this essay is really for you, Mr. Security Agent, because it won’t be elite Manhattan or Malibu liberals or Ivy League professors or politicians or columnists who will be ordered to strap on the sweat-stained body armor and enforce the new gun control laws at gunpoint. No, that grim task will fall to you.

    But as long as you are an honorable agent of the people while an employee of the government, and as long as you honor your oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, then you will encounter no problems at all with gun owners. Why? Because you will refuse to take part in gun confiscation raids. Period. End of sentence, end of paragraph.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the leading American law enforcement agency, at least in terms of its long history and high prestige. Dear Mr. Security Agent, please consider that F.B.I. also stands for Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity. Soon, your fidelity to your solemnly sworn oath may be severely tested. It will take a lot of bravery to make your personal integrity a higher calling than following illegitimate orders, simply to maintain your steady paycheck and benefits.

    On the other hand, if you no longer resemble the upstanding and honorable federal agents I have known in the past, if that whole oath-to-the-Constitution shtick was a big fat joke to you and you would accept a transfer to the old Soviet KGB or East German Stasi for a ten percent pay raise…then we are definitely going to have a problem. So that oath you swore really matters, one way or the other, and so does your personal sense of honor.

    Dear Mr. Security Agent, let me spell it out. If you find yourself in the sub-basement of an annex to a secret intelligence center on the far end of town, waterboarding citizens into revealing the locations of suspected “illegal caches” of firearms, ammunition or ammunition magazines that were legally owned in 2012, then know this one simple fact: tens of millions of Americans will most surely consider you a betrayer of your sworn oath and a traitor to your country.

    And so, if you find yourself silently dismounting a covert SWAT vehicle at zero-dark-thirty, dressed all in body armor, counting down to the time-coordinated explosion of battering rams and flash-bang grenades, on a raid against a sleeping household intended to result in the confiscation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition magazines that were legal to own in 2012, millions of Americans who also swore an oath to defend the Constitution will consider you their domestic enemy, and they will resist you with force of arms. Just as the soldiers of King George were resisted on another notable gun confiscation raid on April 19, 1775. It used to be called “The Shot Heard ’Round the World.”

    You may consider the sentiments expressed above to be absurd, hyperbolic, dangerous, ridiculous, or simply wrong-headed. But please understand that tens of millions of Americans feel this way to their cores, and they will not be disarmed without a fight. Well-meaning but naive liberals should understand the certain-to-follow consequences of new gun control laws intended to disarm their fellow citizens in the name of “public safety.” LEOs and FLEAs should understand the dire consequences of participating in gun confiscation raids, in direct violation of their sworn oaths to uphold the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.

    The unintended consequences of this misguided utopian fool’s crusade to ban guns would include a second civil war as agonizingly painful as the first one, if not more so, since there would be no front lines and no safe areas for anybody, anywhere. Every sane American wants to prevent such a calamitous outcome as a “dirty civil war” on United States soil.

    But know this: those tens of millions will never be quietly disarmed and then later forced at government gunpoint onto history’s next boxcars. If boxcars and detention camps are to be in America’s future, then you, Mr. Security Agent, will have to disarm them the hard way first. Not Piers Morgan, not Michael Moore, not Rosie O’Donnell, not Dianne Feinstein, not Chuck Schumer.

    You.

    Matt Bracken was born and raised in Baltimore, and graduated from the University of Virginia and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training in 1979.

    He has written four novels about defending freedom in an era of steadily encroaching tyranny.

    Excerpts of his novels, and all of his recent essays, may be found at EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com.