Jan 02 2009

Self-defense is your duty and a form of community service

Category: education,national security,societyharmonicminer @ 10:43 am

When you don’t defend yourself from attack (when that option is available to you), you are a co-dependent with your attacker, and bear at least some responsibility for the fate of future victims of your attacker. Doug Giles has an interesting article about giving his daughters martial arts lessons here. It’s all very interesting. The money quote:

If you decide to attack your aggressor, do so quickly and with complete conviction. Attackers are most often cowards and prefer to attack easier and more submissive targets.

In the article, Giles interviews the martial arts trainer of his daughters, and it’s all pretty good advice, not Hollywood unrealistic, just straightforward common sense, highly recommended.

I think this is something most parents should consider providing for their children. And parents should teach children to be aware of their surroundings, by sharing with their children what they are thinking when they’re out and about. Sadly, most parents have been taught to be victims by schooling and television/movies, where any sort of weapon waived around is thought to be a magic wand causing complete paralysis in the victim, and where only heroes with black belts can successfully defend themselves.

If you can possibly do so, put your kids into training in something that is not oriented to “dojo ballerinas” but is more practically oriented to getting the job done, without what Bruce Lee called “the flowers”, i.e., moves that look pretty but are complicated, hard to remember, and depend on your opponent doing what you expect in order for your counter to work.

My personal recommendations: 

1)  JKD (Jeet Kune Do), Bruce Lee’s “system” (it isn’t, exactly) that borrows the most practical aspects of many different arts

2)  Krav Maga, an Israeli adaptation with enormous amounts of real world experience backing it up

3)  Jiu Jitsu –  a Brazilian adaptation of Judo and other arts

These are all “current generation” arts, i.e., they are not essentially the same as they were 300 years ago (or 1300!), but represent evolutionary adaptations and blending of multiple streams and traditions, a blending that took place in the last few decades, and represents the best of the best.

My kids study JKD.  We were lucky enough to live near one of the few students of Bruce Lee.

And, to requote:

If you decide to attack your aggressor, do so quickly and with complete
conviction. Attackers are most often cowards and prefer to attack
easier and more submissive targets.

This has a certain bearing on foreign policy and war-fighting, does it not?  I have wondered more than once what would have happened in Iraq if we had shot looters from the beginning, and responded forcefully to the first couple of terrorist acts, especially in Fallujah, Mosul and such.  Our weak initial response to these events left the populace feeling that we would not or could not protect them, and left the Islamofascist cretins with the impression that we could be had.  And that was very nearly true, before the surge.  If we had taken early, very stern action, showing we just would not tolerate looting, terrorism, or people who provided safe haven for terrorists, we would have been criticized for harshness, but consider the tens of thousands of lives, mostly Iraqi, that would have been saved.

When your enemy (the one who has decided HE is YOUR enemy) is allowed to think, even for a moment, that he can proceed with minimal resistance, you have just multiplied your problem by an order of magnitude.  It is still possible to defeat a confident enemy who thinks victory is assured…  but it’s lots harder, and costs more.

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Dec 31 2008

The demise of the university

Category: education,higher education,societyharmonicminer @ 10:43 am

Victor Davis Hanson

Until recently, classical education served as the foundation of the wider liberal arts curriculum, which in turn defined the mission of the traditional university. Classical learning dedicated itself to turning out literate citizens who could read and write well, express themselves, and make sense of the confusion of the present by drawing on the wisdom of the past. Students grounded in the classics appreciated the history of their civilization and understood the rights and responsibilities of their unique citizenship. Universities, then, acted as cultural custodians, helping students understand our present values in the context of a 2,500-year tradition that began with the ancient Greeks.

But in recent decades, classical and traditional liberal arts education has begun to erode, and a variety of unexpected consequences have followed. The academic battle has now gone beyond the in-house “culture wars” of the 1980s. Though the argument over politically correct curricula, controversial faculty appointments, and the traditional mission of the university is ongoing, the university now finds itself being bypassed technologically, conceptually, and culturally, in ways both welcome and disturbing.
Continue reading “The demise of the university”

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Dec 26 2008

Exporting California

Category: government,societyharmonicminer @ 10:18 am

It used to be common to see signs in California, bumper stickers, etc., that read, “Welcome to California. Now go home.”

This was back in the days when Americans from all fifty states were moving to California in record numbers, not just coming for vacations. Californians were fearful of losing the quality of life that they cherished, because of the enormous influx, and so the signs were quite popular. If you live in California, you haven’t seen one of those signs lately, have you?  In the current politically correct environment such a sign would not be seen as being aimed at Americans from other states.  Rather, it would be seen as being aimed at illegal aliens from our wannabe 51st state, just south of the border.
Continue reading “Exporting California”

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Dec 18 2008

Institutions of our Ancestors

Category: societyharmonicminer @ 11:46 am

“Since private and publick Vices, are in Reality, though not always apparently, so nearly connected, of how much Importance, how necessary is it, that the utmost Pains be taken by the Publick, to have the Principles of Virtue early inculcated on the Minds even of children, and the moral Sense kept alive, and that the wise institutions of our Ancestors for these great Purposes be encouraged by the Government. For no people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.”

–Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 4 November 1775

The “institutions of our Ancestors” would have been understood to include the church, education (not mere indoctrination), systems of law, social institutions like marriage, etc.

We’re in for some interesting times.


Dec 13 2008

Transplanted San Fran loons

Category: left,societyharmonicminer @ 10:02 am

Here’s how it is in Washingon state this Christmas:

Just in time for the Christmas season, Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire has insulted Christians all over the world. Inside the state Capitol building in Olympia there is a traditional holiday display featuring a tree and the Nativity scene; perfectly appropriate since the federal and state Christmas holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

But this year Gregoire decided to add another item to the display. Standing alongside the baby Jesus is a giant placard designed by atheists that reads: “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

Continue reading “Transplanted San Fran loons”

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Dec 07 2008

And this is news exactly how?

Category: societyharmonicminer @ 10:43 pm

Women admit their sympathy for ‘man flu’ victims runs out after five minutes – Telegraph

Women’s sympathy with husbands and boyfriends who complain of having a cold runs out after just five minutes, a survey claims. And almost a fifth of women say they feel no sympathy at all for their partners’ “man flu”.

But men, by contrast, say they are prepared to take time off work to care for their suffering wives or girlfriends, cooking meals and cleaning the home.

A poll found that women were far less likely to sit by their man’s bedside mopping his brow than the traditional stereotype suggests.

More than half (52 per cent) of women polled said that they lose sympathy with their husband or boyfriend within five minutes of his first complaint about feeling under the weather.

Some 18 per cent said that they start from an unsympathetic point of view, according to the survey carried out for carried out for the makers of Lemsip Max Stength.



Dec 02 2008

On compulsory service

Category: education,higher education,societyharmonicminer @ 1:39 am

That brilliant observer of society, Thomas Sowell, on “service” requirements.  The whole thing, as usual, is worth reading, but this part stands out to me:

The most fundamental question is: What in the world qualifies teachers and members of college admissions committees to define what is good for society as a whole, or even for the students on whom they impose their arbitrary notions?

What expertise do they have that justifies overriding other people’s freedom? What do their arbitrary impositions show, except that fools rush in where angels fear to tread?

What lessons do students get from this, except submission to arbitrary power?

Supposedly students are to get a sense of compassion or noblesse oblige from serving others. But this all depends on who defines compassion. In practice, it means forcing students to undergo a propaganda experience to make them receptive to the left’s vision of the world.

I am sure those who favor “community service” requirements would understand the principle behind the objections to this if high school military exercises were required.

Indeed, many of those who promote compulsory “community service” activities are bitterly opposed to even voluntary military training in high schools or colleges, though many other people regard military training as more of a contribution to society than feeding people who refuse to work.

In other words, people on the left want the right to impose their idea of what is good for society on others– a right that they vehemently deny to those whose idea of what is good for society differs from their own.

The essence of bigotry is refusing to others the rights that you demand for yourself. Such bigotry is inherently incompatible with freedom, even though many on the left would be shocked to be considered opposed to freedom.

As with many such issues, it’s what you call it that matters. If instead of service, we substituted “compulsory performance of duties other people think someone should do”, we’d be in better shape on this one.

Is it any less “service” to participate in the creation of a useful product that society would not have as much of without your efforts? I don’t think so.

Those who think serving in soup kitchens is more laudable than growing wheat tend to be people who think motives matter more than results, and for whom only certain results are acceptable.

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Nov 26 2008

Foundation of our nation

Category: religion,societyharmonicminer @ 10:00 am

“It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.”

–James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785

There are very similar quotes from most of the founders.  It’s pretty simple.  This is not a chicken or egg question;  precedence is clear.  They knew what came first.  They believed that if you lack a fundamental foundation for moral behavior, it is far less likely that you will be a citizen who ever looks much beyond immediate short-term self-interest, to what is good for the society as a whole.

Events have not proved them wrong.

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