12 January 2016
Bomb bomb bomb, bomb Oregon -- or something like that
As the local community grows increasingly hostile towards the self-styled patriots and militiamen occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, and as the news reports that the occupiers are stealing government documents in an attempt to expose allegedly unfair government practices, I find myself increasingly impatient for something to be done about those people. As a rule, I'm not a violent person or an advocate of violence, but the federal government's dismissive attitude toward the spectacle in Oregon annoys me. I understand the reticence, as I've said before. The government is less afraid of this handful of gun-nuts than it is of a backlash should it kill any of them taking back the building. Sure, there should be negotiations before an assault is ordered, but there should be no negotiating the requirement that everyone in the building now has to go to jail. If that sounds like unconditional surrender to the yahoos inside, let them understand that the alternative is death. The decision makers probably know full well that if they have to take decisive action, someone is going to say the big mean old government and its jackbooted thugs will have suppressed dissent -- and the sad part is that some of the decision makers probably believe that themselves at some level. Yet it should be self evident that armed dissent ceases to be dissent in the sacrosanct liberal sense of the word. Dissent armed becomes either revolution or crime, depending on success or failure. The limits of dissent in a liberal society can only be drawn with some show of force against the occupiers. We shouldn't have to wait until this criminal gang fires their guns before the government takes action, or at least shows its force. The government's reticence is especially tone-deaf given the open speculation about how it would behave differently had the occupiers been other than angry white men. I'm not sure this particular government would have acted much differently, though I'm more certain that more ordinary Americans would demand more decisive action under such circumstances. Regardless of anyone's inconsistencies, there's clearly a demand for stronger leadership that will hold more people to account for more things in the years to come. Any failure on the part of an allegedly liberal and progressive regime to show such leadership on this occasion will ironically strengthen the position of those on the other side who project strength and promise decisiveness, yet most likely agree with the Malheur occupiers on the principles motivating their uprising, i.e. knee-jerk uncomprehending hatred of all government regulation. At the very least, Clinton, Sanders and O'Malley should be asked what they would do with the men in Oregon, and potential voters should listen closely to how they answer. What Sanders has said so far isn't very encouraging, but it shouldn't be the last word. Meanwhile, wouldn't it be droll if the locals settled this matter, decisively, for the feds? That is, wouldn't it be best if these thugs were brought down by a real militia?