“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hunting Season

Across the United States, around Thanksgiving, is the beginning of hunting season. As a boy, it was a time bigger than Christmas. It was a holiday and a right of passage, a time to be a man in every sense of what a man is and a man does.

It began weeks ahead with the ritual preparation and cleaning of your weapons, guns and oil, arrows and quivers, neatfooting oil on leather.

It was the conversations you had with other men, your father and uncles, friends and brothers, discussing the where and whens of hunting season. The discussions would be about the farms that permitted hunting and those that did not. Almost all did. It was about the planning and buying of a license and ammunition. There was never a discussion about being for hunting or against it, no more than you would debate whether supper was necessary or not. It was an accepted part of a cycle of life. A ritual as old as humanity any yet it would soon change.

Sometime later, somewhere in the seventies a new guard of societal police decided to set new standards not just for themselves but for all. Male self reliance and the things men did became a thing of derision. Derision became practice. Practice became law. A concept of a new enlightenment would trickle through society and rose over the footing of every aspect of modern life, schools and education, smoking and not smoking, politics, entertainment, music, manufacturing and litigation and yes even hunting.

But we did say that hunting was a season. It did not last but was part of a cycle, a rhythm in time. A time where it came and went and came again. With time, the ugly season of political correctness, group think, cultural sensitivity, even the hideous of uglies, diversity, will all pass from the tongue and the scene. Time for coffee.


  1. Deuce,

    Absolutely first rate!

    This cold morning in the South and your beautifully evocative piece, overwhelm the mind with memories of dads, uncles, cousins, camps, American Hunter, ABC's Wide World of Sports, and a thousand of whispers of golden days long passed.

    Thanks, my friend!

  2. Anybody care to take on woman on woman warfare?
    No cycles there, it seems.
    A constant, always with us.
    Remembering Nasiriya

  3. Michael Rubin wrote a great piece back in '04, I think, that confirmed my gut feelings that Shiite hatred and resentment stemming from the Bush I Powell betrayal would not be easy to overcome, and then our wrongheaded Sunni policy has exacerbated it.
    "Kris Sargent" linked it the other day, I'll find it, probably in the morning.

  4. Catherine and why it all should be anon.

    We "lost" Catherine last night.
    Perhaps if she had been anonymous all the time her feelings would not have been hurt.
    Unless there is great effort or a true reason (ego) to be other than anon in the blogsphere you can do or be anybody, or not. Even if you are identified by a nome de b'sphere makes you no more "real" than your imagination and tools available on the net.
    Mostly however it is ego. We want recognition for our ideas, our predictions ,our insights, when in reality they are a illusion. Or is it?

  5. Good point anon.
    But I think instead we'll go the other way and eliminate anon. That way the band of brothers can remain impervious to outside intervention, remain hard for lurkers to penetrate and keep our egos fully inflated.

  6. doug,

    No disrespect intended, but this guy is dead wrong when he writes, “[T]here is a limit to what armor and technology can do against a people with faith and who fight because they feel their country has been violated.” This is what the Poles of 1939 thought as well, for example. Truth be told, any weapon not used to full effect, will not achieve full effect.

    Mr. Pritchard fails to take a very important lesson from the commentary,

    “At one point, a Marine commander came across a gruesome scene: young marines, standing over a pile of Iraqi corpses, taking photos of each other, thumbs up and grinning inanely to camera.”

    The lesson, Doug, is that the Marine commander(s) was as green as his troops. For better or worse, troops fresh from the rush of battle, and very often years later, enjoy displaying the harvest of combat. While in Mesopotamia and environs, Mr. Pritchard ought to have a look at some Assyrian martial monumental art. He would discover, straight away, the nature of man does not change on whim.

    I take a backseat to no one in my unrelenting criticism of the handling of the Second Iraq War, but Mr. Pritchard has, like the Administration he challenges, missed the right lessons; among others, that a sword might as well be a plowshare if it remains firmly sheathed and that war is not the venue of the Peace Corps.

    Thanks for the link and an interesting read, all the same.

  7. Agreed,
    Did you read the Rubin piece?

  8. The main truth from the Pritchard piece is that the hugs and roses that were were a fantasy.
    Rubin expands on that.

  9. Still no trashcans!
    Try 2
    The main truth from the Pritchard piece is that the hugs and roses that were EXPECTED were NOT forthcoming.
    Rubin expands on that.

  10. Over at the BC, Anointiata Delenda Est has linked to a Spengler piece that is a must read.

    Civil wars or proxy wars


  11. Whit, you know how to fix the trash cans? i am on a mac using firefox and safari. I have them.

  12. Yes, it must be true, using the nom de plum and avatars makes it all rhe harder for others to join the discussion. Yep, that's it.

    The expanded id of those here drive away any faint heart from even attempting to participate.

    Those so faint hearted as to have ther avatar, nom or idea challenged. Perhaps it is really that they do not want to hear that their teeth needing straightening or their genetic background denigerated.

    But hey, when intellect fails, cut, paste and insult.

  13. doug,

    I just finished the Rubin piece. It is fair, although critical of the handling of Iraqi Shi’a since the betrayal of 1991. While not his thesis, Rubin obliquely makes the point that it has been hard for Americans to deal with the Muslim world because, after all this time, ranking members of the Administration have no idea what it means to be either Shi’a or Sunni.

    Thanks for a great link.

  14. Catherine, What type of architecture work do you do? Any thoughts on beach front cluster tropical vernacular design, eco friendly, non-road designs, email me.

  15. Rat, Tue Dec 05, 08:30:45 AM EST,

    Well, whit and I know who it is and we both ask that it stop. Pick a name, use it and post your piece. If used for humour and it is funny, no one objects but if it is meant to disrupt, insult or intimidate, just stop it.

  16. Will someone get Doug a trashcan, for heaven's sake! And, while your at it, he may need a fresh Depends.
    We old guys have a lot of trouble sitting around all day.

  17. My trash can remains in place, so it must be that there is no garbage in HI.

    In a topic related to the Telemundo broadcast from Venezuela being "precensored" the Iranians have a different technique for limiting the free flow of information
    Iran's Web Crackdown Shows Ease
    Of Government Internet Censorship
    A short piece in the WSJ:
    "Iran's campaign to shutter popular Web sites and curtail text-message traffic reflects the growing ability of governments to control online content inside their national borders.

    The crackdown, reported earlier by Britain's Guardian newspaper, is part of a broader offensive against what authorities consider immoral Western culture. ..."

    Venezuela, Iran, Germany or China. Why expect less or more of them?
    They are the norm, the US the exceptional city on the hill.

  18. Be sure and look in on instapundit this morn. Big string of links to ideas on OIF, region, Iran, the whole cloud. Lots of rat and mat type stuff being talked up.

  19. I don't know what to think about Spengler's thesis on Iranian internal weakness. Sometimes I wonder if Spengler isn't a false-meme floater.

  20. I read it. It is a lot of very wishful thinking. He is mistakingly forgetting that Iran is Persian before Islamic and the old habits and ways are a part of the culture and not a sign of anything new.

  21. Deuce & Whit,

    That was supposed to be ABC's American Sportsman. Curt Gowdy, Bing Crosby, and Phil Harris - what shows!

  22. I trashed IE three years ago. I require everyone who works for me to use a mac on the internet. Use their wintel machines for whatever else they have to do. I require all PC's to be backed up daily on separate backup. When a PC gets barnacled with viruses, I direct them to disconnect it and thrown in the trash and put up a new machine. I have only every lost one mac and that was to a root beer. Not something I would drink.

  23. Thanks for the instapundit lead, buddy. Mostly stuff I'd seen before but comes down to two ideas
    1. Hit Iran in the oil fields and bankrupt 'em.
    2. Go Long small and native in Iraq.

    Doubt that we hit Iran, says:
    "... But the Iraqis can't "step up to the plate," and they can't "pull up their socks." The plan envisioned that they could do so whenever they chose. The plan said their political progress would be the way for them to reach the plate and reach their socks.

    The plan failed.

    So we need a new plan. But the Baker-Hamilton advice isn't a new plan. The Democrats don't have a new plan. The only plan that will work is a plan to face the tripartite enemy - the Saddamists, the foreign terrorists and the Shiite sectarians - and bring them to heel.

    Kill as many bad guys as we can, with as many troops as we can muster.

    If this is unrealistic, then Iraq is lost.

    If we can't win, then we lose.

    Political change doesn't win wars. That's what we've learned, painfully and horribly. Only winning wars wins wars.

    President Bush needs to decide, as soon as possible, that he is going to win this war - that the bad guys are going to die, that we are going to kill them and that we will achieve our objectives in Iraq. That is the only way forward for him if he doesn't want to end up in ignominy.

    The clock is ticking. He has only a week, maybe two, to change course dramatically. To choose to win, and to direct the military to do so.

    Or we are sunk, and so is he.

    So Mr Podhoretz does not think, obviously, that the natives are ready. Or that Mr Bush has the time to rebuild the Iraqi Army.
    From the incident described in the LA Times piece, yesterday, the interface 'tween US and Iraq Army needs a lot of work.

  24. Right--to say that Iran is demographically and natural-resources-wise probably screwed in the long run, is the perfect idea to float out to those whom you hope will continue to dither for just a wee bit longer.

  25. 2164th wrote, "When a PC gets barnacled with viruses, I direct them to disconnect it and thrown in the trash and put up a new machine."

    I love people who treat PCs as disposable. I have a laptop and a desktop I scored for $200 each, installed Debian "Etch" on them both, and I'm happy as a clam.

  26. These were posted many months ago, without much follow-up commentary.



    Oil, oil, everywhere

  27. Sooner or later God'll cut you down

    Go tell that long tongue liar
    Go and tell that midnight rider
    Tell the rambler,
    The gambler,
    The back biter
    Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down

    by J. Cash

  28. Mat wanted to take the oil fields inside the box for years now, since before he was mika.

    It was always coming "soon", he hoped, and he seemed so sure.

    Would we be liberating the Arabs there, or conquering Iran?

    Lessons learned, or not.
    Who really knows, today?

    Neither Mr Poderhertz nor Mr Klien.
    That's for sure.

  29. The first map can be enlarged by a couple clicks.

  30. Cal Thomas, he's ready for hunting season:
    "... Iraq's dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vows to obliterate Israel and U.S. diplomats recommend we talk to him.

    Whatever happened to "if you touch us, it will be the last thing you touch"? Ah, but that was before political correctness and sensitivity training. Now, the only thing the thugs have to fear is fear itself. They certainly don't fear us.

    And that's my "memo."

    But he's afraid it's been canceled, and the animals know it.

  31. DR,

    Money and oil have no ethnicity, in my opinion. Therefore, I do not scruple the liberation of either. We can sort out deeds later.

    Of course, the Strait must remain clear, at all costs. It may need liberation as well.

    The first map shows a highly fragmented Iran. Among these various factions must be some willing to assist in clipping Iran's wings.

    Mr. Putin has given every signal that he prefers hardball.

    Just sayin'.

  32. Looks as if Her Majesty’s government is starting to really warm-up to that whole free speech thing.

    This year the BBC’s “alternate” Christmas speech

    Who is going to deliver the alternate Ramadan speech? Thing a Yank would have a chance? Of course, merely as a precaution, this Yank would want a pre-speech pardon.

    H/T LGF

  33. I've advocated for fracturing Iran with carloads of cash & funs, buddy told me it was right out of the 1950's position papers.

    Funding proxies, warlords and other unsavories, as needed to commence the gelding of the Mullahs.

  34. Relying on a Steinbeck quote, Chester offers his unvarnished opinion of the Baker Boyz.
    The entire article is worthwhile.

    “‘. . And it is also generally understood that a party hardly ever goes the way it is planned or intended. This last, of course, excludes those dismal slave parties, whipped and controlled and dominated, given by ogreish professional hostesses. These are not parties at all but acts and demonstrations, about as spontaneous as peristalsis and as interesting as its end product.’”

    The Iraq Study Unconference

    Why are the peacemakers always surrounded by armed men? And how about the rest of us?

  35. Sam Colt would have said, "Blessed are the Peacemakers."

  36. The 1st Amendment Is Not a Suicide Pact: Blocking the Speech That Calls for Our Death
    by Newt Gingrich
    Posted Dec 04, 2006

    I must have hit a nerve.

    In New Hampshire last week, at a dinner hosted by the Loeb School honoring our 1st-Amendment rights, I called for a serious debate about the 1st Amendment and how terrorists are abusing our rights -- using them as they once used passenger jets -- to threaten and kill Americans.

    Here's part of what I said: "Either before we lose a city, or, if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up [terrorists'] capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech [protections] and to go after people who want to kill us -- to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us." Click to listen.

    Free Speech Is Not an Acceptable Cover for Those Planning to Kill

    Since I made those remarks, I've heard from many, many Americans who understand the seriousness of the threat that faces us, Americans who believe as I do that free speech should not be an acceptable cover for people who are planning to kill other people who have inalienable rights of their own.

    A small number of others have been quick to demagogue my remarks. Missing from the debate? Any reference to the very real threats that face Americans.

    There was no mention of last week's letter from Iranian leader Ahmadinejad that threatens to kill Americans in large numbers if we don't submit to his demands.

    There has been little attention drawn to any of the many websites dedicated to training and recruiting terrorists, including a recent one that promises to train terrorists "to use the Internet for the sake of jihad."

    No mention of efforts by terrorist groups like Hezbollah to build "franchises" among leftist, anti-globalization groups worldwide, especially in Latin America.

    Words as Weapons

    The fact is not all speech is permitted under the Constitution. The 1st Amendment does not protect lewd and libelous speech, and it should not -- and cannot in 2006 -- be used as a shield for murderers.

    Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy put it best: "With an enemy committed to terrorism, the advocacy of terrorism -- the threats, the words -- are not mere dogma, or even calls to 'action.' They are themselves weapons -- weapons of incitement and intimidation, often as effective in achieving their ends as would be firearms and explosives brandished openly."

    We need a serious dialogue -- not knee-jerk hysteria -- about the 1st Amendment, what it protects and what it should not protect. Here are a few baseline principles to consider:

    We should be allowed to close down websites that recruit suicide bombers and provide instructions to indiscriminately kill civilians by suicide or other means, or advocate killing people from the West or the destruction of Western civilization;

    We should propose a Geneva-like convention for fighting terrorism that makes very clear that those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction and those who would target civilians are in fact subject to a totally different set of rules that allow us to protect civilization by defeating barbarism before it gains so much strength that it is truly horrendous. A subset of this convention should define the international rules of engagement on what activities will not be protected by free speech claims; and

    We need an expeditious review of current domestic law to see what changes can be made within the protections of the 1st Amendment to ensure that free speech protection claims are not used to protect the advocacy of terrorism, violent conduct or the killing of innocents

  37. Consider this ticket for the Democrats in 2008:

    President Barack Hussein Obama
    Vice President Keith Hakim X. Ellison-Muhammad

    Is that a presidential ticket made in heaven, or what?

  38. desert rat said...
    I've advocated for fracturing Iran with carloads of cash & funs, buddy told me it was right out of the 1950's position papers.

    Funding proxies, warlords and other unsavories, as needed to commence the gelding of the Mullahs.

    Tue Dec 05, 10:54:42 AM EST


  39. Note to Anon:

    If you post anon the chairs get vacant and the cigar smoke no longer chokes the room. These are people who face things head on and relish in the give and take.
    Deuce, it is a beautifully evocative piece,overwhelming the mind filling the ear with a thousand whispers of yesteryear. I'm all atwitter with prose.

  40. Well Tanto, our work here is done.

    Yes kimosabe, the men have all scattered,leaving only stains.

    Well Tanto, some days are like that.

    But why kimosabe they leave, they could just ignore you.
    No tanto, my medicine is too powerful for them. The can not fight the stars.

  41. anonymous, you magus, plying your fiendish puppetmastery on the unsuspectorating.

  42. more Winslow Homer, the great American painter:

  43. Hey Deuce,

    Great post.

    I'm alot younger than most of ya'll at 33. Growing up, my Dad never took me hunting. He took me camping, taught me to fish, and basically taught me how to survive on my own in the wild. He gave me my first rifle when I was 5 or 6. Saftey and marksmanship were equally important to him. He drilled into me the importance of being able to shoot from multiple positions and with either hand.

    But he never took me hunting. When he was in high school he shot a kid while quail hunting. The boy lived - I'm not sure how badly he was hurt, but that was it for my Dad. He vowed to never hunt again - and he never has.

    I was taught to hunt in much the way 2164 relates it - through the coming together of young and old. See, Dad didn't hunt anymore, but he didn't want to deprive me. I learned from uncles, my Grandpa, friends and their fathers. It was, indeed, a social event. And it was something that I looked forward to year 'round.

    I still look forward to it. Both our general gun and duck seasons comes in this weekend. Saturday morning, I'll be in a tree stand an hour or so before sunrise. I'll take it all in. Alone.

    While most of my friends and acquaintances hunt, hunting is not the social event it was. I will attend the occasional dove shoot that takes me back to the time I was a kid, but by and large, it is now a solo-activity. Hunting land is becoming scarce and the ability to run dogs is fast becoming a thing of the past. The camaraderie is missing. Duck hunting is as close as it gets anymore, but even that is usually only 2 or 3 of us at any one time.

    I've two boys - 1-1/2 and 3-1/2. I took my oldest with me once (the only time I made it out) during the archery season. He's still too young to sit still for very long. His constant questioning of "Where's the deer Daddy" doesn't help either. Still, the day will come when I'll place both my boys beside me in a duck blind. Together with one of my labs, we'll make the memories that will shape their attitude towards this way of life.

  44. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  45. Rem870, thanks for your memories. It is good to have you on board.