Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Last Chase From 1981

Extremism in the defense of virtue is no vice.”

Back either in the very late 80's or very early 90's I remember running into a movie that was playing on a weekend afternoon that had Lee Majors as a former race car driver in a world where oil and gas were all but gone. I have since discovered that the movie is called “The Last Chase.” It was released in 1981.

The complete movie is at the youtube link above.

Essentially the plot revolves around Lee Majors character. In a voice over sequence at the beginning of the movie, he explains about the unexplained disease that runs havoc across the country. Drastic changes were made throughout society and that twenty years later no private transportation was allowed. He explains how you “learned” to keep part of yourself hidden from everyone else. The computerized, camera tracking Police State is everywhere. It is not a nation of laws, but a people ruled by bureaucrats, totally believing that what they are doing is right.

Lee Majors' character escapes in his race car that he had hidden away from confiscation. The government sends a old pilot, CPT Williams, played by Burgess Meredith, to find him and stop him. Meredith's character has an interesting exchange with the real villain of the film, an uber-bureaucrat by the name of Hawkins:

Hawkins: What do you see there, Captain?
Captain J.G. Williams: I see a car and two people. Wow! Look at that... son of a bitch!
Hawkins: Much more than a car and two men.
Captain J.G. Williams: Well, that's all I can see.
Hawkins: This man's dangerous. This little joyride he's on is undermining the entire balance of this country.
Captain J.G. Williams: Sir, this is just one car... I mean, a little exhaust isn't going to upset the whole balance of the universe.
Hawkins: You are missing the metaphor.
Captain J.G. Williams: There's a meta-who?
Hawkins: I am talking about our entire way of life, Captain. We live in a society that has the greatest tranquility ever created by man. Furthermore, this society is more protected than any other in history. And do you know why?
Captain J.G. Williams: Well, I figured...
Hawkins: Because of the system. The system of our existence which has been worked out so perfectly. In fact, it is that system which dispelled the desperate quest for the impurities contained in mobility. The mobility which had driven this nation like rats, scurrying in every direction that led us nowhere. Nowhere! Now, we have removed that addiction and brought order and tranquility... the two most fragile flowers in any civilization. And this man, this fool, is defecating on those flowers! Staining the natural hygiene of our society and tampering with the world's most perfectly balanced system.
Captain J.G. Williams: Sir... what do you want me to do about it?

Honestly, the movie is really not that memorable, except for the fact that we are still seeing the same old totalitarian BS being shoved down our throats by means of the bureaucrats and by regulations of all sorts and not by law. We are living with cameras and our smart phones tracking our every move, for our own safety of course. I could spell out more area where governmental regulations invade our lives, but I will not. We see it everywhere. This is how change is made. Bit by bit. Line by line.

It is interesting to note that many script writers right up to the 2000s that California would somehow always be a bastion for freedom from Tyranny (depending on your definition of tyranny). This is a common theme with many Hollywood Dystopian films like “The Postman” and others. Reality, at least in the urban centers, is far from that.

The Barry Goldwater quote at the top of this piece: “Extremism in the defense of virtue is no vice...” was used by the Hawkins character in the movie. I had to do some research about this quote. I did find out that it was attributed to Barry Goldwater. However, just by the wording alone I initially thought that it would be attributed to Robespierre, the leader of the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror in France. Many liberals today seek a “purity of virtue” that Robespierre would recognize and approve of. Many readers of the blog will probably roll their eyes and say, “there he goes again about Robespierre.” I think in many ways, Robespierre is the prototype for today's totalitarian radicals. The ideals that he championed are the same that are championed by many of today's leftists. Times may change. Human nature does not.

Still, it was a fun movie to find. A lot of scenes with a F-86 Sabre flying. I have always had a soft spot for that bird. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Some Heavy Reading for the Thanksgiving Day Weekend. By The Way, Happy Thanksgiving!

Another Thanksgiving away from family. All of my soldiers had plans so we will have a rather quiet Thanksgiving again this year.

Some linked reading from WRSA. All of it related to the bigger picture surrounding Ferguson. Remember the days of the Intifada in Israel? We may soon be seeing similar images here.

Fergusons in Perpetuity: Fred really touches on some VERY sensitive subjects in this article. 

Do you really understand the full implications of the POTUS's recent executive orders? There is a scene in John Boorman's excellent film "Excalibur", Arthur is explaining to Guenevere the reason why he could not champion her against the accusation of infidelity between her and Lancelot (which had not occurred yet in the film). The idea is that the law must apply to all, from the King down to the lowliest peasant (fitting considering how the elites view us). It can be successfully argued that we have entered the era of Without the Rule of Law (WROL) in this country. There is a very popular meme lately asking the question if the highest person in the country can pick or choose which to follow, why can't we do the same? 

I have long argued that political correctness and FORCED diversity will be the undoing of this country. I have nothing against diversity. I study other cultures. But when elites (see the trend?) force change because THEY think it should be changed, there will be conflict, both overt and covert. (HERE and HERE) Something to consider here is how culture forces change. If we want change, we have to change the culture. The political process takes to long. Change the culture, change politics. We have been witness to this over the past 50 years. Robert Heinlein was remarkably prescient in this regard. 

"Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms as you have named… But a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.
This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength."

Consider the popular culture today with the above quote in mind. Then consider the following:

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.

It gets harder every year to try to find things to be thankful for. At work we are told to "hunt the good stuff." Well, that hunt gets longer and longer all the time. There are things to be grateful for this year. I am alive, My family is alive. We are under a roof. We have food in the larder. We have family and friends that love us. We can still practice our faith.

By the way, I see that I am next to 100 posts. What should I do to celebrate? Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Little Change Of Pace. The Art of Edmund B. Leighton.

My wife and I have this print on the wall in our bedroom. It has been a constant reminder of the small gestures between loved ones upon times of parting, especially for those either in the military or the law enforcement professions. 

I have long enjoyed the art of Edmund B. Leighton. His realistic and colorful style allow us a window to peek into the small private moments of the subjects of his art. Leighton was an English painter of historical scenes, primarily of the medieval and Regency periods of English history. Many of his paintings formed a lot of the current clothing and armor images that most call to mind when thinking of those periods of history. While many of his works are highly romanticized, the real beauty for me are the expressions of faces in his paintings.

I have included several more examples below of more of Leighton's works that I particularly enjoy.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Things Have Truly Not Changed For 2000 Years.

"We have been told, on leaving our native soil, that we were going to defend the sacred rights conferred on us by so many of our citizens settled overseas, so many years of our presence, so many benefits brought by us to populations in need of our assistance and our civilization.

We were able to verify that all this was true, and because it was true, we did not hesitant to shed our quota of blood, to sacrifice our youth and hopes. We regretted nothing, but whereas we over here are inspired by this frame of mind, I am told that in Rome factions and conspiracies are rife, that treachery flourishes, and that many people in their uncertainty and confusion lend a ready ear to the dire temptations of relinquishment and even to vilify our actions.

I cannot believe that all this is true, and yet recent wars have shown how pernicious such a state of mind could be and to where it could lead.

Make haste to reassure us, I beg you, and tell us that our fellow citizens understand us, support us, and protect us as we ourselves are protecting the glory of the Empire.

If it should be otherwise, if we should have to leave our bleached bones on these desert sands in vain, then beware the fury of the Legions."

-Centurion Marcus Flavinius, Second Cohort, Augusta Legion (probably the VIII Legion) to his cousin Tertullus in Rome. No Date Given

It really is amazing how people and organizations truly do not change. This could have been written in the last 13 years and meant pretty much the same. The plight and challenge of the Soldier has never changed from the days of the hoplite, the legions, the bowman facing the French at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the members of Napoleon's Old Guard, right up to the today.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Somebody Did It. Interesting Mating Of Gun And Parts.

Last year I had a discussion with a fellow soldier about the H & R Partner Pump shotgun and whether it would accept the Magpul Shotgun Kit. This guy did it with great results and no mods required. I am sure that there are those out there that would scream "heresy and blasphemy." I am one that says, "If it works." I like the look of what Tacxlife did.

Too many people get caught up in brand names. It must be nice to afford all the best stuff. I cannot. Yet, with a little research, you can find workable solutions. After all, the bad guy does not know if you shot him with a $3500 system or a $500 system.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Yet Again, Back From The Field. Hopefully, For The Last Time This Year. Some Quick Thoughts.

Back from another five days in the field. Lots to discuss.

The Election: I am reserving judgement. Actions before words. Do what you were elected to do. I do not want to be cynical, but until the Republicans start their counter revolution in the senate and the house, I will not be jumping up and down.

A Failure of Civility: The copy I ordered from Defensive Training Group arrived my first day in the field. I have already read into the first couple of chapters of the book. This is great stuff people. Watch carefully for when more copies become available.

Virgin Galactic Crash: The dream of space, like any other dream of exploration, comes with risk. We have become such a risk adverse society (especially the military), that I hope that the timeline for VG does not get pushed back indefinitely.