As the absurd militia rush to be given “free stuff” – including land that doesn’t belong to them (and they complain about the social safety net and that’ only groceries!) demonstrates, rebellion is in the air, and it might be worse than you think.
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) tells us that in their annual count of militias, released yesterday, they have identified “276 militia groups – up from 202 in 2014, a 37 percent increase.” It has been argued that just ignoring these guys will lead them to go away and conveniently be forgotten.
I argued the other day that the government must take firm action. As it happens, I am not alone. The SPLC says the Oregon insurrection was “entirely predictable”:
“We believe these armed extremists have been emboldened by what they saw as a clear victory at the Cliven Bundy ranch and the fact that no one was held accountable for taking up arms against agents of the federal government,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.
And if we ignore them here, they will be further emboldened. How many federal properties can be occupied? We might soon be in a position to find out. Can the government ignore one? Two? Three? Five or more? How about a dozen or a hundred?
“When the federal government was stopped from enforcing the law at gunpoint, it energized the entire movement,” Beirich said. “The fact is, Bundy is still a free man and has not paid the money he owes to the federal government – and the militiamen who aimed rifles at federal agents have gotten away with it.”
These guys masquerade a “patriot” groups but there is nothing patriotic about treason and armed rebellion. These guys aren’t champions of liberty. They’re champions of free stuff for themselves, and that free stuff happens to be other peoples’ property, whether Native tribes or the American people: you and me.
Of course, you can justify anything, and Republicans frequently do, but isn’t it just a little bit worrisome that Ammon Bundy is aping George W. Bush in claiming that by an illegal invasion he is somehow bringing freedom to somebody? You know, rather than wealth to his own and his friends’ pockets?
Maybe that’s all Bonnie and Clyde were doing. Bringing freedom.
Look, even Megyn Kelly asked Ammon Bundy, “How is what you are doing not lawlessness?” and he answered, after a dull stare, “Well…um…”
Bundy claimed to Kelly that the federal government does not have a legal right to control the land and its resources. But if the states do, what is Ammon Bundy, who lives in Arizona, doing in somebody else’s state, Oregon? Isn’t there a Tenther issue he can rebel over in Arizona?
Apparently, he believes that authority somehow belongs to him. Because he has a gun?
He seems to have missed entirely the United States Constitution, which established this country. He seems to have missed entirely Congress and state legislatures and local government bodies. Not to mention Native tribes and entities. You know, treaty rights. Treaties. Legally binding agreements.
Not to put too fine a point upon it, but the law. Courts. The whole apparatus of government. In fact, Kelly pointed out that the Supreme Court denied the Hammonds’ appeal and she asked point blank if that “isn’t the way it is supposed to work in our country when it comes to the rule of law?”
This is Fox News asking this question.
Ammon Bundy’s answer is something less than inspiring. From Patrick Henry’s “Give me Liberty or Give me Death,” we somehow arrive at Bundy’s sputtering, “Well…I’m not here to die. I’m here to defend my liberties.”
The Republican Party has bred an unreasoning hatred of all things American since 2008, when they discovered that all things American can get a black guy elected to the highest office in the land. This unreasoning hatred has led to Donald Trump, and it has led to an exponential growth of hate groups and armed militias itching to settle a score with the government on the basis of gripes that, as Bundy showed Kelly, make no sense at all.
She thanked him, and we should thank her, because even her far from probing interview exposed the complete intellectual vapidness of the so-called patriot movement.
We can’t expect his movement to collapse on its complete lack of merit. It won’t do that. Hatred doesn’t have to be justified to be hatred. If you think attacking the Constitution is defending it, or imposing religious tyranny is religious freedom, you are past any ability to be reasoned with.
Cliven Bundy said, during his own 15 minutes of infamy, that “I abide by all of Nevada state laws. But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.”
The Constitution of the United States begs to differ. You can’t reason with people like this. It would be like trying to explain things to a particularly dull child. And a hypocritical one at that.
His son Ammon told Megyn Kelly he has a business and employees. That federal government his father doesn’t recognize (and he seemingly does not either) gave him a small business loan – $530,000 – in 2010.
This isn’t about principles. This is about greed.
The ironic thing is that the states – including Nevada – had a chance at the land now being fought over and rejected it, back in 1932. They didn’t want the economic burden.
The charge of being particularly dull children applies to Republican presidential candidates as well. Congress passed the Federal Land Policy and Management Act in 1976, but according to Ted Cruz the Cliven Bundy insurrection was “the unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government on.”
So now Obama is to blame for what Congress did in 1976, when he was 15 years old.
How do you talk to people this dimwitted?
Thing is, Ammon Bundy may have the intellectual acuity of an overdosed bunny rabbit, but that doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous.
In a perfect world, we would not have to deal with people this maddeningly, catastrophically stupid, but we do. And ‘dealing with’ doesn’t mean ignoring, because as the SPLC has shown, that hasn’t for us so far. For now, let’s hope cutting off their free power has some affect even on the lame-brained.
Image: Screen Capture, NBC News
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.