I’m starting to lose my cool a bit with those in the Coalition of the Sane, who keep referring to the radical militants who have seized an Oregon federal bird sanctuary station (THEY MAY TAKE OUR LIVES, BUT THEY’LL NEVER TAKE… OUR WATERFOUL!!! WOLVERINES!) as terrorists. They’re not. As I explained on Monday, they are seditious conspiracists. This isn’t simply a pedantic matter (though we do love our pedantry!). The definition pretty much nails these bozos to a T (boldface mine):
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
These particular bozos haven’t terrorized anyone yet. They’re not threatening to shoot random people as they walk down the street ( I think once these halfwits run out of Slim Jims and start getting constipated, they’ll skulk on home–at which point, they should be arrested for seditious conspiracy).
I also don’t think the Coalition of the Sane wants to start bandying about terrorism. Not only is that term used far more often against the left than the right, in many people’s mind, terrorism is something associated solely with Islamic militants, so it doesn’t make sense.
What is worth discussing is their ideology. Extreme doesn’t begin to describe it (boldface mine):
Lenz says Bundy supporters relied on a convoluted conspiracy to justify their aggression against the BLM in Nevada. The conspiracy was based, Lenz says, on a web of premises that simply aren’t true: that the BLM isn’t part of the government but is rather “a private corporation employed by the federal government to enforce federal rules;” that the BLM introduced non-native desert tortoises in the early 1990s in a deliberate effort to justify closing the land for grazing and recreational use; and that Sen. Reid orchestrated this closure in order to make possible a profitable deal to sell the land to Chinese developers seeking to develop solar farms on the land.
While Lenz acknowledges the room for legitimate policy debate about the BLM and public land policy in Clark County and elsewhere, he says such conspiratorial beliefs and the taking up of arms undermine any possibility for productive discussion.
“It’s no longer just a debate about policy,” he says. “The debate is null and void, because you believe the debate exists on a premise that’s a lie … and that’s where things get really complicated, because this issue about federal lands being managed by the BLM and being managed poorly, that’s one for those who debate policy to discuss. But once the militias come in and threaten violence to the federal government if they dare do anything, the discussion is over. The debate is done. What happens at that point is, the only debate that’s going to be had is going to be had at the barrel of a gun.”
…Payne came to believe the latter, that the government uses regulations to deliberately undermine the average American, “that they are purposely destroying industry, they are purposely taking this land from people.” The more he looked, the more he saw a deliberate and nefarious plan being orchestrated by a small number of people wielding enormous power. He saw a pervasive conspiracy to control all aspects of the media, the financial system, the entertainment industry, the military and the government.
More specifically, he came to believe that slavery never really existed in the United States and that African Americans in the antebellum South “didn’t view themselves as slaves.” He came to believe in “an effort by some Jews to control the world.” He came to believe the founders of the United States intended for the states to act as sovereign countries. He came to believe taxes are a form of “legal plunder.” He came to believe names are spelled in all-caps on driver’s licenses because U.S. citizens are actually “corporate entities.” He came to believe U.S. courts are actually foreign admiralty courts. He came to believe that “in most states you have the lawful authority to kill a police officer that is unlawfully trying to arrest you.” He came to believe when a newborn child’s footprint is made on a birth certificate, that child is effectively entering a life of servitude to the U.S. government, which borrows money from China based on that child’s estimated lifetime earning potential.
He came to see all aspects of government, culture and society as mechanisms of control. “And they’ve set everything up so they can maintain that control,” Payne says, “because they believe they are God.
While this gang of idiots are more likely to harm themselves than others, their ideology is utterly reprehensible–and that’s what we should be focusing on. It is every bit as noxious and as predicated on lies and phantasms as the Nazi concept of herrenvolk or the belief in the need for an Islamic caliphate are. Worse, because it is superficially draped in time-honored traditional complaints about government*, it bamboozles some well-meaning people into thinking these radicals are just angry about legitimate causes.
And it’s worth noting that terrorism, while not the sole outcome of this set of beliefs, is one potential endpoint–one that the citizens of Oklahoma City know too well. We hear about heart and soul battles abroad; it’s time we faced the reality that there is a small, seditious population in our midst–and they act illegally.
*As a D.C. native and current resident, I understand how people can feel that an unaccountable government makes decisions over which they have no control. Not only can Congress overturn at a whim, any law passed by D.C.’s government (such as providing funding for abortion or gun control), but many federal agencies not only control large swathes of D.C. (many parks and traffic circles are run by the federal government, and they almost uniformly look like shit compared to the D.C.-funded parks), but they also have governance powers (e.g., commission seats, etc.). The latter means any protest against these agencies in one area can potentially lead to retaliation in others. If these assholes were serious about this stuff, D.C. statehood–or at least voting Congressional representation–would be on the issues list. Oddly enough, it’s not…