4 Jan 2016

What's Happening in Oregon Is Nothing Less Than Armed Sedition

"If three years ago any person had told me that at this day, I should see such a formidable rebellion against the laws & constitutions of our own making as now appears I should have thought him a bedlamite—a fit subject for a mad house."
George Washington to Henry Knox, on the subject of Shays Rebellion, February 3, 1787
You have to give Captain Daniel Shays this: When he launched his armed sedition against lawful authority, he at least was invited in. Overnight on Saturday, in an obscure corner of the Oregon wilderness, and contrary to the law, and in defiance of democratic authority, both federal and local, another act of armed sedition was committed. It seems to me that this ought to be a bigger story than, say, the belated prosecution of Bill Cosby, or whatever most recently came out of the mouth of the vulgar talking yam. In a small place in Oregon, the essential compact of the United States of America has come apart. 
(This is also something you have to give to Captain Daniel Shays. He put a little more of his ass on the line. His act of armed sedition aimed a little higher than the occupation of the vacant headquarters of a bird sanctuary.)
Before moving on to the larger issues, it's important to note that the local authorities, and the local citizenry, want no part of this noisy claque of armed meatheads.  It is popular among these people who apparently have brains wired like short-wave radios broadcasting from upper Michigan to say that the real constitutional authority in this country resides in its local sheriffs. Well, the local sheriff in this case would like it very much if this particular invasive species would abandon his jurisdiction and go back to freeloading on federal lands in Nevada. 
Hell, even the convicted arsonists on whose behalf this action allegedly was undertaken have distanced themselves from these clowns. 
This is an act of armed sedition against lawful authority. That is all that it is, and that is quite enough. This is not "an expression of anti-government sentiment." Flipping off the governor as he drives by is "an expression of anti-government sentiment." What Alex Jones does every day is "an expression of anti-government sentiment," and god bless them all for it. That's what the Founders had in mind. This is not an "occupation" following "a peaceful protest." That would be all those folks who got bludgeoned and pepper-sprayed out of Zuccotti Park a couple of years back. (And when exactly did ABC News decide it wasn't a news organization anymore?) These are men with guns who have declared themselves outside the law. These are men with guns who have taken something that belongs to all of us. These are traitors and thieves who got away with this dangerous nonsense once, and have been encouraged to get away with it again, and they draw their inspiration not solely from the wilder fringes of our politics, either. Ammon Bundy and his brothers should have been thrown in jail after they gathered themselves in rebellion the first time.
This is another step down the road that leads to the broken shell of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. There are respectable people in our respectable politics who have been shamefully silent on the subject, and there are respectable people in our respectable media who seem terrified of calling this what it is. You want an example of the deadening effect of "political correctness" in our politics? Watch what the people running for president have to say about this episode. Look at how it is being framed already—or ignored entirely—by the elite political media. There is a constituency for armed rebellion in this country that is larger than any of our respectable political and social institutions want to admit. It is fueled by reckless, ambitious people who engage in reckless, ambitious rhetoric.
It did not begin in Burns. It did not begin on the Bundy Ranch, either. In its most modern form, and in the form most relevant to recent events,  it began, as so many noxious elements of our politics did, with the Reagan Administration. It began with a man named Ron Arnold, and a Secretary of the Interior named James Watt, and in something called the Wise Use movement with which the Republican party (and the conservative movement that became its fundamental life force) allied itself for its political advantage in the western part of the country. 
That was the respectable—if undeniably destructive—part of the movement. Its philosophy, however, was embraced by the growing militia movement in the same part of the country. Its philosophy ran in poisoned tributaries to all points of the political compass until it gathered itself into a great reservoir of toxic fantasy, and that is where the essential compact of the United States of America was encouraged to break down.
There is no actual tyranny in this country against which to take up arms. There is bureaucratic inertia. There is pigheaded bureaucracy. There even is political chicanery. But there is no actual tyranny in the Endangered Species Act, or in the Bureau of Land Management, or in the Environmental Protection Agency, or in the Affordable Care Act, or in IRS dumbassery, or even in whatever it is that the president plans to say about guns in the next week or so. Anyone who argues that actual tyranny exists is a dangerous charlatan who should be mocked from the public square. Anyone who argues that there is out of political ambition, or for their own personal profit, should be shunned by decent people until they regain whatever moral compass they once had.

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