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March 31, 2010

Are Left/Right Wingers Prone to Violent Extremism?

I looked at that question twice a few months back. The results may surprise you.

Post #1 looked only at terrorist attacks committed during the last decade.

Post #2 looked at major terrorist attacks going all the way back to the 1960s. That's about half a century's worth of attacks, and you need to look at several decades to get a grasp of just how many different kinds of movements have risen and fallen over time:

Last night, egged on by [TPM Cafe blogger Josh] Marshall's steadfastly non-divisive, non-fear mongering divisive fear mongering, the Editorial Staff opted to take a more comprehensive look at terrorist attacks over the last 50 years. Aided by our trusty staff of itinerant Eskimo typists, we went back to 1960 and categorized terrorist attacks and failed attacks. The first thing we found (quelle surprise!) is that it's not always easy to neatly categorize the motivations of murderous whack jobs.

Since, unlike Josh Marshall, we didn't engage in this little exercise to confirm our pre-existing fear and loathing of the Left, this wasn't exactly a shocker. A few observations before presenting our results:

Terrorism data is both incomplete and heavily dependent on the bins one puts an attack into. For instance, how do you categorize a righty terrorist who kills from some twisted notion that he's protecting the unborn by murdering abortionists? Is he still a right winger if it turns out he also violently opposes mainstream Republican doctrine? Come to think of it, is it really surprising that if you're crazy enough to kill folks for the crime of disagreeing with you, there just might be a few screws loose in the old brain housing group? Likewise, Lefties are supposed to hate war and eschew violence. Isn't there a conflict, then, in dubbing someone who uses organized violence to protest organized violence, "Left Wing"?

Hey - no one ever said these folks make sense. That's why they call them criminals.

It feels good to play the "us vs. them" game and conclude that "we" are the good ones and "they" are the bad ones. There's just one problem with this. The facts don't support it, whether you're Josh Marshall or someone who finds folks like Marshall unbelievably tiresome. People on both sides really need to calm the Hell down. Using a target or a bulls' eye on a map does not an incitement to murderous rage make.

People who are whacked enough to believe that violence is going to win hearts and minds generally don't need a whole lot of encouragement. They're already getting all they need from those little helium-sniffing voices inside their heads. The rhetorical trick lefty bloggers have adopted is daft enough to take on a downright spherical quality: if you define "violence" as a right wing trait, then every murderous whack job out there must be a right winger! And there's more of this "logic": if you can find one or two "violent" right wingers at a Tea Party rally (conveniently, you don't need actual violent acts here - just find a couple of scary signs and repeat your hysterical accusations over and over while sobbing into your chai soy latte) then the Tea Party must be inciting those awful 'wingers to acts of violence!

Such incandescent stupidity ought not to require a rebuttal. But then this is the Internet:

Of all the asinine sentences in Frank Rich's latest people-who-disagree-with-me-are-neo-Klansmen column, this one jumped out:

How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn't recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht.

Kristallnacht, you will recall, was a spasm of anti-Jewish-property violence suggested, orchestrated, and largely perpetrated by the leaders and organs of a sitting federal government, run by a guy named Hitler, who had been systematically trampling on Germany's Jewish minority for years. Two hundred synagogues and more than 7,000 other Jewish properties were destroyed, and 91 Jews lost their lives. Tea Party protesters, meanwhile...wait, what?

This isn't the first time Frank Rich has pivoted from anti-totalitarian-hyperbole to totalitarian accusations in THE EXACT SAME SENTENCE; here he is from five months ago:

Though they constantly liken the president to various totalitarian dictators, it is they who are re-enacting Stalinism in full purge mode.

Dear God. Stalin killed millions of people.

And criticizing Barack Obama is just like genocide.

Posted by Cassandra at March 31, 2010 09:17 PM

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Comments

Well, let's not give too much away.

The left has been guilty of more violence; but the right has been guilty of better violence. There are things I would fight for, and that should be true for any good man. I hope it will not come to it, but if it does: may God defend the right.

Posted by: Grim at March 31, 2010 10:56 PM

I'd suspect that the violence-prone would be made up of people on the two far ends of the political/social spectrum who feel disenfranchised and lose hope that society is moving toward the change they want to see, and that being socially and psychologically isolated they are missing an inhibition that would retrain their antisocial behavior.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 1, 2010 12:33 AM

That would be a reasonable presumption. The danger will be if we start seeing reality in strong divergence from that: if you start seeing normally responsible men ready to fight, for example.

The problem, of course, is in maintaining our sense of what constitutes 'normally responsible men.' It's very easy to let that slide, so that men that last year you would have considered responsible become 'extremists' merely because they are now ready to fight.

We have to be sure to remember that America was founded on violence, and everyone who took that fact with his mother's milk will believe that violence is sometimes permitted. We can't define 'extremism' by 'being willing to resort to violence.' We have to define it otherwise, recognizing that any good American should be willing to resort to violence under the right circumstances.

Posted by: Grim at April 1, 2010 12:55 AM

Well said, Grim (IMHO). It occurs to me that the idea that violence is always extremism is a cousin to the belief that war is always wrong...

Posted by: FbL at April 1, 2010 01:11 AM

We can't define 'extremism' by 'being willing to resort to violence.' We have to define it otherwise, recognizing that any good American should be willing to resort to violence under the right circumstances.

Agreed - but this is true for all mankind, no?

Posted by: I Call BS at April 1, 2010 01:38 AM

... and shouldn't violence be the last resort, after a reasonable effort to determine whether something less than violence will work? In this country, one would normally try discussion, reasoning, the law ... but if the other is bent on violence to oneself or another, one does not have to wait to respond with violence, IMHO.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 1, 2010 01:42 AM

The problem, of course, is in maintaining our sense of what constitutes 'normally responsible men.' It's very easy to let that slide, so that men that last year you would have considered responsible become 'extremists' merely because they are now ready to fight.

Are you suggesting that there is something going on in American politics now that warrants resort to violence?

Posted by: I Call BS at April 1, 2010 01:44 AM

...it is they who are re-enacting Stalinism in full purge mode.

Don't forget, there's still a residual "Stalin was Progressive, so he wasn't all bad" in the Left's institutional memory. Their heroes are heroes because, in their minds, they killed millions of people in order to make life *better* for millions of people.

That didn't happen, of course, but the Left firmly believes that it *must* have happened, because if it didn't, it would mean they were enamored of monsters.

Hitler and Stalin *combined* didn't kill as many people as Mao did, and Mao was Ernie Guevara's role model. And the Left lurves them some Che...

Posted by: BillT at April 1, 2010 02:57 AM

"That didn't happen..." referring to improving the lives of millions of people -- lest anyone doubt where I'm coming from.

Posted by: BillT at April 1, 2010 02:59 AM

The left has been guilty of more violence; but the right has been guilty of better violence.

So what you're saying is that they can't even get violence right? :p

Having watched this crew in action, I find that easy to believe.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 1, 2010 08:02 AM

Are you suggesting that there is something going on in American politics now that warrants resort to violence?

No. My sense is that the stripping of the enforcement mechanism out of the individual mandate removes the danger of justified revolt. There were several years to fix it anyway, so even if the law had passed with the 'buy a private product just for existing, or face fines or prison' provisions still in place, it would not have justified violence now.

However, if nothing was done, and four years on people starting being slapped with stiff fines -- or imprisoned for up to five years if they refused to pay the fine -- I can certainly see how at least some 'reasonable men' might construe that as justification. Patrick Henry certainly would have seen it as such; it's useful to imagine what he would have said about a government that did such a thing.

Posted by: Grim at April 1, 2010 08:45 AM

I think that the definition of terrorism needs to be stated again, even though I don't always get people to agree with me. But if we don't start with a common understanding of the word, the word gets misused time and time again.

Terrorism is quite simply the intentional targeting of innocent civilians. Note that I leave "killing" out of this definition. Targeting alone should suffice, even though most terrorism involves killing.

And note that this definition eliminates the problem of calling collateral damage "terrorism", because as those of us in the military know, collateral damage refers to ANY unintended damage but which happens anyways. Collateral damage usually applies to physical property and not people, because in "normal" wars, innocent civilians are not on the battlefield. It's only the leftists who think that collateral damage means the killing of civilians.

Now, how to make this definition square with modern and not so modern events? Well, first off, the word "innocent" invites a lot of discussion. Were the German civilians "innocent" in WWII? Arguments could be made both ways, but historically, if a state is at war, all its citizens are at war, and therefore not innocent.

WTC bombings were terrorist acts, but the Pentagon bombing wasn't, except for the innocent civilians on the airplane. Pentagon is military even though civilians work there.

Anti-Abortion activists killing an abortion doctor? Is an abortion doctor an innocent civilian? That's a little harder to decide. Is it an act of terrorism or simply an act of murder? I can see reasonable minds coming down on both sides of this one. So maybe my definition needs a little work, such as adding the phrase "to influence others." In that case, killing an abortion doctor is definitely terrorism instead of simply murder.

Any thoughts on this?

Posted by: Rex at April 1, 2010 10:12 AM

"Extremism in the defense of Liberty is no vice, and moderation in the defense of Justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater, 1964.

So this is not just something that rolled into view last year when Obama was inaugurated. The eternal struggle (even pre-dating America) of the individual versus the collective, will continue.

Politics is war by other means, to turn a phrase on its head. I think we all have too much to lose to resort to violence and destruction of property, and there is not the regional "sectionalism" that characterized the Civil War of 1861-65. We are all mixed up together.

But the friction of personal interactions will be increased due to the "cold" Civil War that we are now into. Just last night, I was engaged by someone I know about how he had "no use" for Obama, etc., etc. I didn't want to be drawn into another argument about "what's wrong!" with America today.
But I tend to agree with him up to a point, and as we discussed this, we both agreed that the political pendulum swings, and this too shall pass. Our problems we have today were not born on Jan 20, 2009, and will not pass with a new congress or president.

The real enemy is not the possibility of violence, but it is fear. Fear by the middle class that they will lose what they have. Fear of losing your job. Fear of no "health care". Fear of Tea Partiers. Fear of ACORN. Fear of the other..
Ace at "Ace of Spades" had a good essay yesterday about how the Media portrays its friends and enemies. "People like you" are portrayed in a friendly manner, with the right adjectives, etc. Bad people (those nasty Tea Partiers, for example) are not "people like you".
There is the root of fear for you.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at April 1, 2010 10:19 AM

I think the best definition I've heard of terrorism is the deliberate use of violence to terrorize or coerce non-combatants.

I don't have time to flesh that one out, but I think it works. The object (whether it is people or property that are threatened) is to intimidate and sow fear and anxiety. What differentiates terrorism from regular crime is that the acts of terrorists are generally tied to achieving some kind of political goal.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 1, 2010 10:21 AM

Anti-Abortion activists killing an abortion doctor? Is an abortion doctor an innocent civilian? That's a little harder to decide. Is it an act of terrorism or simply an act of murder?

So long as abortion is legal, I don't think we want people arbitrarily murdering law abiding citizens simply because they disagree with the existing law of the land. If you defend the murder of abortionists on "defense of others" grounds then anti-war activists should be allowed to murder any soldier or Marine they see. After all, the military does kill people so on some level they could always say they were defending others.

By that rubric, I could kill anyone in this administration simply because I disagree with the law and that idea is offensive on so many levels that it's hard to know where to start.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 1, 2010 10:28 AM

Rex,

There are several things going on.

1) Even in a war, the military is obligated to take reasonable measures to prevent noncombatant -- N.B., not "innocent" -- casualties. There are limits on this: essentially, causing civilian deaths or injuries is permissable in war as long as (a) it's not your end, and (b) it's not the means to your end. In other words, if I bomb something I need to destroy for legitimate military reasons, any civilians killed aren't my end (I needed to destroy the factory, say); and they aren't the means (if no one is killed, my end is still satisfied).

2) Targeting civilians on purpose is therefore a war crime regardless of whether you are a terrorist or not; but it can be several different crimes. It can be genocide, for example (the Holocaust was not terrorism, as the point was not to terrify Jews into compliance, but actually to wipe them out). It can be ethnic cleansing (as in Rwanda). Or it can simply be murder.

3) What makes it terrorism is if you are doing it in order to scare a population into compliance with your agenda.

4) The hard question is whether a plot like the one recently broken up by the FBI constitutes "terrorism." The target was allegedly security forces (police, in this case). Police are normally considered legitimate targets in war, not 'noncombatants.' Mass murder is still a capital crime, but it's not clear that it's a war crime. (Using civilian clothes while placing the bomb, however, might be -- hiding among civilians is a separate, and quite serious, war crime because it limits our ability to respect noncombatant immunity.)

This may be one occasion where we really are better treating these people as criminals rather than enemy combatants: the law, in this case, is stronger. It happens that we're required to do so, but this once, it's also fortunate.

Posted by: Grim at April 1, 2010 10:31 AM

"Are you suggesting that there is something going on in American politics now that warrants resort to violence?"

No, at least not yet. There are things happening that bear watching, as they appear to be moving in that direction. The capability and willingness of the citizenry to take up arms against the government is the ultimate check on government power, and in order for that to work, the citizenry must maintain the ability to pose a credible threat. It's a lot like our military's modern philosophy on defending us against foreign threats: if we maintain a sufficient capability and demonstrated willingness to use it, we actually forestall a lot of attacks, because the enemy sizes up the odds and realizes that their chances of winning are remote.

I'm wondering what will be the end game if, come 2014, several states have passed Obamacare nullification laws and civil disobedience is widespread. Will the President order military force to be used against citizens? I've got to believe that no President would be that stupid. However, consider this: suppose a President, backed by a rubber-stamp Congress, gets a law passed nationalizing the banking system so that the individual mandate can be enforced. In other words, if you don't buy insurance, the federal government does it for you and then simply takes it out of your bank account.

What happens then? It's not all all clear to me that any Federal court would accept an argument that this is obviously unconstitutional. After all, there are already all kinds of circumstances today under which the federal government can gain access to your bank account. Would courts see this as simply a new application of existing powers? They might, especially if the judiciary is under subtle (or maybe not-so-subtle) threat from the other two branches. What now, Mr. Citizen? To be honest, I don't have a ready-made answer.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 1, 2010 12:07 PM

I'd suspect that the violence-prone would be made up of people on the two far ends of the political/social spectrum

Yes and No. The idiot who flew a plane into the IRS building in Texas was anti-IRS which is generally associated with The Right, but was also upset at a lack of socialized medicine, which is generally associated with The Left. He's upset with bailouts, Right, but anti-capitalism, Left. Thinks the laws are too cumbersome and intrusive, Right, but that organized religions are monsters, Left.

This guy wasn't far Right Wing and he wasn't far Left Wing. He's a Moderate Crazy. :-)

It also happens to be a good example against Rex's definition of Terrorism, which isn't really different from (Mass) Murder. What, exactly, are we supposed to be terrified about, now that that moron is dead?

Nothing. The buffoon is just another murderer with a gripe.

Terrorism is the intentional use of fear (typically through the ongoing threat of violence) directed against a civilian population for the purpose of effecting political change.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 1, 2010 12:23 PM

Having watched this crew in action, I find that easy to believe.

If we were *really* in action, you wouldn't have seen us.

Posted by: BillT at April 1, 2010 12:40 PM

This guy wasn't far Right Wing and he wasn't far Left Wing. He's a Moderate Crazy. :-)

... whose moderation was overpowered by his craziness.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 1, 2010 01:56 PM

This post was hard for me to read. Not because of the disillusionment of the right doing illegal things, but because we are supposed to be above it, and when we take steps to 'punish our own,' it seems that things get better...but not by much.

Posted by: Cricket at April 1, 2010 02:13 PM

So, a jihadist uses terror to get their way, and the left applauds that. Seems like more anti-establishment rhetoric to me.

On the other hand, we make our thoughts and wishes known, and Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and
others blithley ignore the majority in favor of the few who do not have insurance for whatever
reason.

Slavery, anyone?

Posted by: Cricket at April 1, 2010 02:22 PM

And in November, it will be our turn to blithely ignore the wishes of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, et ilk, and hope they see the folly of their ways.

Don't go volunteerin' for any cotton-picking excursions, yet, Mizz Cricket...

Posted by: BillT at April 1, 2010 03:01 PM

Grim at April 1, 2010 08:45 AM suggests (asserts ?) that armed insurrection against the United States would be justified to the extent that the individual mandate enforcement provisions of the recently enacted healthcare bill (a) were "operative" and (b) were in fact being enforced (in the face of some non-compliance).

The precise logic underlying this declaration of Revolutionary Zeal is left principally to one's imagination, but one is left with no doubt but that some vague (but manly) analogy is being made to the political state of affairs in late Colonial times (and . Patrick Henry himself (it is asserted) would see such rebellion as justified.

Is this risible or what? First off, why Patrick Henry, and which Patrick Henry (revolutionary, anti-federalist, federalist?)? Presumably, the only sensible "Patrick Henry" is one who has been transported to this age and thereupon spent some time studying the intervening American and world history, economics, and politics (etc.) so that he might approach the issue with an educated mind. Obviously, it is rather futile to make any sensible assertions as to what a reasonably educated Patrick Henry would make of the healthcare act or its sub-paragraphs, and why one should care what this hypothetical personage would opine remains a mystery in any event.

Obviously, many conservatives have their undies all in a bundle about "universal healthcare" and the impending/continuing socialization of this fair land. America will, however, survive -- as she becomes (at long last) part of the world of democracies / industrialized nations which have such universal coverage. (And forget not that Republican governor Romney wrought a similar healthcare plan in Massachusetts).

On the other hand, to see in "Obamacare" the seeds of "justifiable" rebellion, that is a sad and frankly troubling mis-reading of history, politics, and the rule of law.

Posted by: pond at April 1, 2010 07:15 PM

The purpose of the Constitution was to spell out the structure of the federal government, to enumerate its powers, and to reserve powers not expressly given to the federal government to the states.

We have so far departed from that, that federalism (in which the states were to have most of the power so that government would be local and responsible to the people living in the state) is all but dead.

The fact that Massachusetts (a state) passed universal health care says precisely NOTHING about whether the federal government is empowered to impose universal health care on all 50 states.

If Congress refuses to abide by the limits set out in the Constitution, then the people absolutely are justified in seeking redress - first (as Grim has said repeatedly) through the system. But if that doesn't work, I guess we're all just supposed to pretend the Constitution doesn't exist?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 1, 2010 07:49 PM

If Congress refuses to abide by the limits set out in the Constitution, then the people absolutely are justified in seeking redress - first (as Grim has said repeatedly) through the system. But if that doesn't work, I guess we're all just supposed to pretend the Constitution doesn't exist?

I appreciate that your state representatives may not have voted for [whatever legislation we're discussing at the moment] but if it carried a congressional vote, you must admit that at least the result is the will of a majority of the people according to the system in place.

I sense some revolutionary fervor building here. I also have noted the propensity of some of your human readers to resort to firearms at the slightest hint of an occurrence not to their liking, such as, for example, the innocent chirp of a squirrel whose ancestors, let us not forget, were indigenous to the neighborhood before the aforesaid humans. Thus, I find myself considering whether a report to Big Brother might not be in order, so that VC and its readers are given the DHS consideration they may deserve.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 1, 2010 08:04 PM

Cassandra - the whole thrust of the suggestion/assertion of Grim's presumes that the "law has spoken" (and still, rebellion is "justified"). Laws passed by Congress and signed by the President are presumed to be constitutional. Challenges to the constitutionality of federal laws are reserved to the Courts (ultimately to be decided by the Supreme Court). This is the constitutional system (and has been for quite some time). I don't get the final word on what's constitutional, nor does Grim, nor Cass, nor Harry. The Courts. Love it or leave it, that's the set-up.

Frankly, from such a staunch (one might say doctrinaire) "law and order" gal, your comment surprises me.

Posted by: pond at April 1, 2010 08:07 PM

I appreciate that your state representatives may not have voted for [whatever legislation we're discussing at the moment] but if it carried a congressional vote, you must admit that at least the result is the will of a majority of the people according to the system in place.

You are utterly missing the point, ICBS. First of all, this is NOT the argument I'm making:

...your state representatives may not have voted for [whatever legislation we're discussing at the moment]...

The point is that if Congress doesn't have the authority to force individual citizens to buy a service, it doesn't matter who voted for what. The law is just as null and void as a law passed by the Springfield, IL stitch-and-bitch society would be :p

The point I'm making is that Congress derives its authority and powers from the Constitution. If they exceed that authority, I don't give a rat's ass if 80% of Congress voted for something, nor is it germane to infer that anyone who voted for a representative who voted for the bill can be "deemed" to have supported the bill. Voters don't vote on just one issue.

All 3 branches of the federal government are bound by the Constitution. It is the supreme law of the land.

Period.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 1, 2010 08:12 PM

Laws passed by Congress and signed by the President are presumed to be constitutional. Challenges to the constitutionality of federal laws are reserved to the Courts (ultimately to be decided by the Supreme Court).

Actually, all three branches of government are charged to uphold the Constitution. The Supreme Court arrogated to itself the role you describe (the Constitution does *not* give them the power of judicial review). A little case called Marbury vs. Madison did that.

However, I am not really interested in defending Grim's position as I'm not sure I know what it is in full, much less whether he and I agree in full. I made a point and will be happy to defend it.

Unless you've decided that the Declaration of Independence and much of the Preamble to the Constitution are a bunch of BS, our government - in the final analysis - derives its power from the consent of the governed.

One or two enraged Republicans are unlikely to overthrow the federal government which has over 1 million heavily armed soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen at its disposal. Therefore, the only ind of uprising that would pose a serious threat to the stability of the fed would be a massive one - one in which literally millions of Americans said, "enough".

Not sure on what grounds you would rule such an event "illegitimate" :p

The point I made, was made in refutation of ICBS's argument. However, I must say that I am quite daunted by his threat to report Grim's squirrel harassment to the authorities and consequently I think I'd better stand down, lest I get poor Grim in trouble...

Posted by: Cassandra at April 1, 2010 08:22 PM

...such as, for example, the innocent chirp of a squirrel whose ancestors, let us not forget, were indigenous to the neighborhood before the aforesaid humans.

Eating the fuel line on one's vehicle is not an innocent chirp, nor is gnawing a hole in the side of one's house. Let us also not forget that squirrels are just rats with extra-hairy tails.

Laws passed by Congress and signed by the President are presumed to be constitutional.

Unless they are blatantly *un*-Constitutional, such as Goldwater-Nunn's restrictions on freedom of speech. The Court *ignored* the wording of the Constitution and insisted that a "greater good" took precedence over it.

Challenges to the constitutionality of federal laws are reserved to the Courts

Challenges to the laws are *not* reserved to the courts -- the court rules on Constitutionality *after* the challenge by an interested party.

This is the constitutional system

And it works, so long as all parties abide by it.

They *haven't* been, which is what the ruckus is all about.

Posted by: BillT at April 1, 2010 08:25 PM

so much to say ... so little ... brain-power ... and yet, we try:

The point is that if Congress doesn't have the authority to force individual citizens to buy a service, it doesn't matter who voted for what. The law is just as null and void as a law passed by the Springfield, IL stitch-and-bitch society would be :p

SCOTUS has upheld lots of Federal legislation that forces individuals to do things they might not choose, because the end result is deemed supportive of the greater federal good.

The point I'm making is that Congress derives its authority and powers from the Constitution. If they exceed that authority, I don't give a rat's ass if 80% of Congress voted for something, nor is it germane to infer that anyone who voted for a representative who voted for the bill can be "deemed" to have supported the bill. Voters don't vote on just one issue.

You've gotten your one vote, and if you donl;t like what your local representative did with your implied suppot for her choices, you can discuss it with her at the next election.

[i'm sensing a deep-seated antipathy he towards our rodent brothers and sisters - separation of a rat from its posterior is something too gruesome to even think about. also to the demure traditional, stay-at-home-and-wield-needle-and-thread crowd]


The Supreme Court arrogated to itself the role you describe (the Constitution does *not* give them the power of judicial review). A little case called Marbury vs. Madison did that.

Maybe some of your laawyer readers can advise you about this (privately, under cloak of attorney-client privilege), but I doubt you'd find much enthusiasm for tilting at Marbury v. Madison at this late date.

Therefore, the only kind of uprising that would pose a serious threat to the stability of the fed would be a massive one - one in which literally millions of Americans said, "enough". [¶] Not sure on what grounds you would rule such an event "illegitimate" :p

I think most of us are too busy popping beer cans, shooting at squirrels, watching real skanky broads of New York and Guidos of Joyzey, visiting our personal trainers and using our in-home eliptical machines to get off our poeteriors to do much of anything civic. But I suspect that most of your readers have sworn to uphold and defend the Union against fanatics, jihadists and terriers.

So, a jihadist uses terror to get their way, and the left applauds that.

Example, please, preferably of someone who is not already universally regarded as a whacko.

I'm sure that Grim is perfectly capable of getting himself into (and out of) trouble, but I appreciate your nanny-state concern about inciting a squirrel-fryin' riot - it must be the womyn in you, trying to nurture him.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 1, 2010 09:19 PM

Cassandra at April 1, 2010 08:22 PM wrote that "I made a point and will be happy to defend it." This assertion immediately followed her express rejection of any "interest[] in defending Grim's position as I'm not sure I know what it is in full, much less whether he and I agree in full." In so writing, she was, presumably, responding to me in that paragraph, because the immediately preceding paragraph obviously refers to my 2d post ("The Supreme Court arrogated to itself the role you describe (the Constitution does *not* give them the power of judicial review). A little case called Marbury vs. Madison did that.")

So, what is that "point" that Cassandra made (in responding to my *first* post), and which she "will be happy to defend"? One presumes that it is embodied in the final paragraph of her response, where she wrote (Cassandra at April 1, 2010 07:49 PM):


"If Congress refuses to abide by the limits set out in the Constitution, then the people absolutely are justified in seeking redress - first (as Grim has said repeatedly) through the system. But if that doesn't work, I guess we're all just supposed to pretend the Constitution doesn't exist?"

Her "point" however, seems to strive to avoid being a point. In the face of unconstitutional" acts, the people can "seek redress" "through the system". But if they find no satisfactory redress there, Cassandra does not plainly state that violence against the state is then justified (though she strongly invites the implication). [Talk about having your cake, and eating it too]

The "constitutional system" (which includes Marbury, of course) has been in place for quite some time. What, exactly, is your point, Cassandra? Do you disagree that Marbury is the law of the land? If so, is it your position that a citizen or group of citizens is justified in violently opposing the government, on the grounds that the governmental action is "unconstitutional", even where such action is presumtively constitutional or (indeed) has been held by the highest court in the land to be constitutional? What, precisely, is your point?

Posted by: pond at April 1, 2010 09:24 PM

I don't elevate a judicial decision to the same status as the Constitution. Not hard to understand.

I'm not going to defend Grim's position b/c I don't know at what point he thinks armed resistance is justified. Now maybe you think it makes sense to defend a position when you don't even know what it is, but I don't. That's not "having your cake and eating it too".

It's just plain common sense.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 1, 2010 09:40 PM

SCOTUS has upheld lots of Federal legislation that forces individuals to do things they might not choose, because the end result is deemed supportive of the greater federal good.

Again, that's beside the point. The point is what the Constitution says, not what individuals might "wish to do". You still have not addressed my point regarding Congress' authority to pass laws that conflict with the C. Saying "they've gotten away with it in the past" (if that is, in fact, what you have said) is not an argument for allowing them to do it again. People have gotten away with murder and rape in the past too. Is that a serious argument for not upholding murder and rape laws?

Christ. I hope not.

You've gotten your one vote, and if you donl;t like what your local representative did with your implied suppot for her choices, you can discuss it with her at the next election.

That is not a remedy for Congress exercising powers not granted by the Constitution.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 1, 2010 09:45 PM

You still have not addressed my point regarding Congress' authority to pass laws that conflict with the C. Saying "they've gotten away with it in the past" (if that is, in fact, what you have said) is not an argument for allowing them to do it again.

Touche, madame: you caught me. Congress has passed a number of laws that I think are unconstitutional. When SCOTUS says that they are constitutional, I shed a bitter tear for truth, justice and the American Way. When SCOTUS says they are unconstitutional, I shed a tear of joy for truth, justice and the American Way.

In the first instance, though, it is the duty of the legislative branch to legislate; it is the duty of the executive branch to carry out the laws; and it is the duty/province of SCOTUS to say whether the legislation passes constitutonal muster. And I thank Gaia daily that I live in a country that has a SC that most always does the right thing (as I see it). I expect that it will do MORE of the right thing when some of these old guys and gals pass on into the quiet chambers of the afterlife and make way for the future rulers of the world to take their places on the bench.

I am opposed to murder and rape and in favor of laws against murder and rape.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 1, 2010 10:02 PM

Cassandra -

Am I then correct in my understanding that your response to my repeated queries as to what exactly/precisely your "point" was, that that point was no more (informative) and no less (informative) than:

"I don't elevate a judicial decision to the same status as the Constitution."

Curious. On several levels. But, alrighty then. Thanks for expressing your "point" so "precisely".

Posted by: pond at April 1, 2010 10:03 PM

Thus, I find myself considering whether a report to Big Brother might not be in order, so that VC and its readers are given the DHS consideration they may deserve.

I realize you say this in jest, but you should be aware that I have been quite thoroughly investigated by Big Brother. It's necessary for the line of work I've been in this last few years. They know everything! I've signed away access to my credit rating and all financial information, my (nonexistant) criminal records, given them lists of everywhere I've ever lived and people I knew there who could speak to my character, every job I've ever had (most of which jobs were working for them), my fingerprints, medical records, etc.

I'm not the least bit afraid of Big Brother, being something of a partner of his. Now, on the other hand, I am very much afraid that the Federal government may drag the Republic -- which I am oath-bound to defend -- into an insurgency. People who read David Kilcullen's The Accidental Guerrilla as a critique of our adventures in Afghanistan or Iraq only have missed the wider point.

The wider point is that you can provoke an insurgency anywhere, if you aren't careful how you exert power. Good governance is the key to successful counterinsurgency; by the same token, bad government is the key factor in provoking an insurgency. This can be "bad government" in the sense of "no government," which was the problem in Iraq (and remains the problem in parts of Afghanistan and Africa); but it can also be "bad" in the sense of "refusing to limit its use of power to that which the people are inclined to view as legitimate."

For example, that new Robin Hood movie coming out? Robin Hood, as a myth, fought King John, who famously provoked an insurgency in just this way. But King John actually fought the barons, who resisted his incursions into their traditional, and deeply felt, ideas of what their liberty entailed.

The result of that insurgency was the Magna Carta, which is one of the roots of our view of liberty; as indeed the revolt against another English king produced the Declaration of Arbroath, which is another; and the revolt against a third English king produced the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.

Such things do come up from time to time. And we might avoid this one, without too much difficulty, through simple wisdom and care. There is, I think, plenty of time to avoid disaster; but that does not mean there is no chance of disaster.

Posted by: Grim at April 1, 2010 11:31 PM

Selectively quoting small parts of my comments and ignoring the ones that answer your questions doth not a compelling argument make (unless, of course, one considers "because I said so" a compelling rebuttal).

I made quite a few points, "pond". If you are having trouble understanding them, I doubt further explanation will help.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 2, 2010 05:32 AM

Bill Ayers seems pretty popular on the left, but he was a “revolutionary” not a jihadist. And yes that was back in the 60’s, but there is your one ICBS. Pretty weak bringing gender into a discussion on politics (Lame as well). Since ICBS and pond seem to understand the Constitution so well maybe they can explain the ”unique” way it was passed by Congress.

Posted by: crazy mike at April 2, 2010 05:33 AM

The result of that insurgency was the Magna Carta, which is one of the roots of our view of liberty; as indeed the revolt against another English king produced the Declaration of Arbroath, which is another; and the revolt against a third English king produced the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.

Grim, Grim, Grim... there you go with that whole "consent of the governed" nonsense again :p

Stop reading subversive documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The social contract is a strictly unilateral bargain - you give up some part of your freedom in return for whatever benefits Congress thinks you need. Whether or not you think you need them is irrelevant.

And don't try quoting from the contract. It no longer matters.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 2, 2010 05:38 AM

"So, a jihadist uses terror to get their way, and the left applauds that.
Example, please, preferably of someone who is not already universally regarded as a whacko.

Does the name "William Ayers" ring a bell? How about "Bernardine Dohrn"? Maybe JoAnne Chesimard"?

Got an "Ernesto Guevara" T-shirt handy?

Posted by: BillT at April 2, 2010 05:54 AM

I expect that it will do MORE of the right thing when some of these old guys and gals pass on into the quiet chambers of the afterlife and make way for the future rulers of the world to take their places on the bench.

And that right there explains a lot about the differences in how the right and the left view the court.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 2, 2010 09:55 AM

...the future rulers of the world to take their places on the bench.

The Lefties are *huge* fans of Judge Dredd...

Posted by: BillT at April 2, 2010 10:13 AM

"Bad government leads to insurrection" -- and a good thing, too, or bad governments always would become permanent. I grew up in the shadow of the Iron Curtain, reading books like "1984," and I always assumed that once creepy governments got power they were there to stay. Thank Heaven that in my coddled youth and inexperience I didn't understand that there are human beings who will fight back even when things seem quite hopeless. I'm even more grateful that there are people who will fight back before things get that bad. And they're not likely to be scared off by arguments about what other people consider irresistible legitimate political authority. What authority is "legitimate" is something every free man decides for himself.

Of course we may be getting way ahead of ourselves here. On the specific issue of ObamaCare, it remains to be seen what can be accomplished at the ballot box. Even CBS, which polls "breathing adults" (not likely voters) and heavily skews its numbers toward Democrats, admits today that Obama's pop/unpop ratio just slid to 44/41. On healthcare in particular, he slid to 36/54. In November we may begin to see what can be accomplished entirely peacefully to dismantle this latest and most egregious addition to the Nanny State. And maybe my affordable catastrophic non-employer-based health insurance policy, which I've carefully maintained for many years, won't be legislated out of existence after all.

Posted by: Texan99 at April 2, 2010 10:44 AM

"Now, on the other hand, I am very much afraid that the Federal government may drag the Republic -- which I am oath-bound to defend -- into an insurgency."

Attitude check, Mr. Grim: I've probably signed the same papers as you, and like you, I've been fingerprinted so many damn times I'm surprised my prints aren't on the Internet somewhere. The oath that you swore obliges you to defend the United States. Not any specific iteration of its government.

"Of course we may be getting way ahead of ourselves here. On the specific issue of ObamaCare, it remains to be seen what can be accomplished at the ballot box."

Well yeah, we're still a looooooong ways away from any actual revolutionary scenario. There are still many non-violent paths to be tried first. On the other hand, we are not quite as far away from it as we were two years ago.


Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 2, 2010 11:25 AM

Technically, the oath sworn is to defend the Constitution of the United States, not the government, not the land, not even the people (per se... I'd accept any argument that the Constitution is the people's will made into document form, but that's a discussion for another time.

Let me ask our more Progressive commenters the following:

Assume a law is passed which states that Evangelical Christianity is not just the national religion, but that every citizen of the US must convert to that religion or face fines/jail time for non-compliance. Clearly this is un-Constitutional, but let's also assume the Supreme Court (populated with 5 sympathetic members by corrupt Administrations previously) either refuses to hear the case or worse yet, signs off on the law citing some "greater good" served by it which justifies ignoring the First Amendment. What solution do you propose then? Should you meekly accept the law as written and wait for the next election cycle to "express your displeasure"?

I know what my answer would be. And yes, given that law and approval by the SCOTUS, I would in fact engage in armed rebellion against that (illegitimate) government. Because any government that blatantly ignores the contract between itself and the American people has itself abrogated it's legitimate source of authority. In other words, it has ceased to be legitimate and must be disbanded.

It does NOT matter if the un-Constitutional law was passed and approved by Constitutional means, it remains a violation of that contract. And any government willing to ignore the limits on it's own power (no matter how well intentioned that violation may be) not only should be overthrown, but will likely NEED to be overthrown, as if they will ignore any attempt to legally remove them from power.

Posted by: MikeD at April 2, 2010 12:19 PM

What the Left has is a logistical infrastructure support system in the US. Any right wing, like abortion politics, that seeks to do the same, KKK or white supremacist or separatist or whatever, will lack such support structure.

Even if you equalize the motivations of both sides, the primary funding and resources have gone to the Left. There has been no superpower, such as the USSR, funding the KKK for a long time now. Assuming they ever were funded in such a fashion after the Civil War.

You want to talk about facts, the facts of beans and bullets are easily defined.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 01:28 PM

*waiting patiently for the first head to go pop!*

Posted by: BillT at April 2, 2010 01:29 PM

As I've said before and elsewhere:

Soap Box, Ballot Box, Jury Box,..........................Ammo Box.

The first is in pretty good shape and pretty much everyone is taking and giving beatings by it even as much as the FEC and the FTC would like to stifle it. The institution is well intact.

The second is really in better shape than it ever has been in our history. We've just taken a beating by it recently. It's happened before, it'll happen to Democrats again. (As bad as the DoJ rolling over on the voter intimidation by the Black Panthers it's still an improvement over the systematic disenfranchisement of blacks through poll taxes and literacy tests). The institution is well intact.

The jury box is looking a little rough though. And emininemt domain and the commerce clause abuse are clear examples of the damage. When "public use" is defined to mean some other private person will pay more taxes, property rights become near meaningless. If the gov't can take your stuff and give it to another simply because it's more profitable for the gov't, who really owns it?

And when "To regulate Commerce...among the several states" is defined to include non-interstate non-commerce the phrase has simply lost all meaning. (To regulate, in late 1700s english meant "to make consistant, uniform, regular" not "beset by laws and rules")

But while the jury box is a little out of square and wobbly, I think Heller, Kuck v. Danaher and I'll bet you McDonald are evidence the it's not quite ready to collapse any time soon as the court is willing to tackle the gov't infringment of it's citizens 2A rights.

But should those things change and the ballot box and the jury box collapse as institutions (not that they function but you lose, but that they cease to function) then the ammo box becomes the only manner upon which change can be made. And given that an armed insurrection of only 0.0001 or even 2-3% of the population would (as Don Diego de la Vega would say) fight very bravely and die very quickly, if you can manage to piss off 20-30% of the country so bad that they are willing to start shooting, you probably did something to deserve it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 2, 2010 01:31 PM

".. and shouldn't violence be the last resort, after a reasonable effort to determine whether something less than violence will work?"

How is someone who doesn't know which end of the gun the bullet comes out of, going to decide what is 'reasonable' or not in this venue? Epistemology problem here. People are getting ahead of themselves in their rush for 'smartness'.

""That didn't happen..." referring to improving the lives of millions of people -- lest anyone doubt where I'm coming from."

The day I'm convinced you defected to the Left, is the day God comes unto Earth and nukes every metropolitan center in a Deux Ex solution.

"but if it carried a congressional vote, you must admit that at least the result is the will of a majority of the people according to the system in place."

This is what happens when people learn in public education that democracy, majority rules, is somehow the purpose of the Constitution and good government.

Alpha leaders are not under the delusion that the loyalty/interests of the people are equivalent to the majority vote.

One might as well adopt a Japanese ethic of duty, something Grim can speak more on, that sees loyalty as only going one way because that is "according to the system in place". That did work, for awhile.

"Actually, all three branches of government are charged to uphold the Constitution. "

The Constitution, as we all are aware of in some form or another, doesn't exist for some people. So why keep bringing it up with them.

"Does the name "William Ayers" ring a bell?"

Who the hell is Billy Ayers? I don't know any Bill Ayers. Do I know any Bill Ayers, Grim?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 02:03 PM

"I sense some revolutionary fervor building here. "

Undergraduates shouldn't be talking about whether a PhD.'s second thesis is good or not.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 02:08 PM

"I also have noted the propensity of some of your human readers to resort to firearms"

Mind filling me in on when you started trafficking in non-human readers, Cassandra?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 02:13 PM

*snort* :)

Well, there are all the squirrels...

Posted by: Cassandra at April 2, 2010 02:15 PM

Fewer now.

Posted by: Grim at April 2, 2010 02:20 PM

Stop bouncing squirrels, Grim. It's not like you can use em to make the horse go faster.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 02:25 PM

That's a serious crime against nonhumanity.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 02:26 PM

Ymar, you are killing me :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 2, 2010 02:28 PM

And we might avoid this one, without too much difficulty, through simple wisdom and care.

Grim makes it sound as there is realistic, present possibility that we are approaching or in the midst of a present insurrection. Y’all are scaring me now.

"William Ayers" ring a bell? How about "Bernardine Dohrn"? Maybe JoAnne Chesimard"? Got an "Ernesto Guevara"
The lunatic fringe, one and all. You are kidding yourself if you think that “liberals” or “progressives” of “Democrats” are in favor of any of the people you mention.

... future rulers of the world ...

“future rulers of the universe” is the term I use to refer to people born after about 1990 – young people, not incipient despots. Sorry I did not previously define my term.

Assume a law is passed which states that Evangelical Christianity is not just the national religion, but that every citizen of the US must convert to that religion or face fines/jail time for non-compliance. Clearly this is un-Constitutional, but let's also assume the Supreme Court (populated with 5 sympathetic members by corrupt Administrations previously) either refuses to hear the case or worse yet, signs off on the law citing some "greater good" served by it which justifies ignoring the First Amendment. What solution do you propose then? Should you meekly accept the law as written and wait for the next election cycle to "express your displeasure"?

Armed insurrection would be in order. But again, I think you are kidding yourself (to the point of paranoid delusion) if you think this will ever happen in the USA.

On a more sober note, frankly, I am concerned about the demands of growing Muslim populations in various places around the country that the courts recognize Sharia as a factor in judging Muslims involved in civil or criminal disputes. I think this phenomenon is a very dangerous one, and one to watch.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 02:33 PM

He is on a roll today, isn't he?

Posted by: Grim at April 2, 2010 02:34 PM

“future rulers of the universe”

Obama is the perfect foil for such self-aggrandizement, isn't he.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 02:38 PM

"if you think this will ever happen in the USA."

That's why high school students always believes they are invulnerable. When they actually get into a confrontation, like Gates there, they overreact, explode, and maybe a WACO or two happens. Then the cycle of violence proceeds while the high school students try to figure out what happened.

The fact that they had convinced themselves nothing was going to hurt them, makes them hysterical. Not a model people should be impressed with. Especially given the height of the bodies stacked up like cord wood because of it.

"I am concerned about the demands of growing Muslim populations in various places around the country that the courts recognize Sharia as a factor in judging Muslims involved in civil or criminal disputes."

How's London these days.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 02:43 PM

Grim's the shooter here. I'm just a bystander. I have nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 02:49 PM

Grim makes it sound as there is realistic, present possibility that we are approaching or in the midst of a present insurrection. Y’all are scaring me now.

ICBS:

While not in favor at present of insurrection, I don't think Grim is out of line to admit there is a real possibility of such.

I am the last person on earth to want to see that happen. A military wife knows only too well what that entails.

That said, I think he's right to face it squarely. Reality doesn't go away b/c we don't like it.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 2, 2010 02:50 PM

You are kidding yourself if you think that “liberals” or “progressives” of “Democrats” are in favor of any of the people you mention.

You are aware our current president considers Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn polite political company, yes?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 2, 2010 02:52 PM

Y’all are scaring me now.

That's good, because there are some signs that it's time to start being alarmed about that possibility.

For example, this poll from February:

"The founding document of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, states that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Today, however, just 21% of voters nationwide believe that the federal government enjoys the consent of the governed.

"A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% disagree and say the government does not have the necessary consent."

Or this one, from this week, in which 58% of independents (v. 86% of Republicans) considered the passage of the health care bill "an abuse of power."

These are signs that a majority of Americans don't believe the government is abiding by the appropriate limits on its power. That's the kind of environment that produces dangerous situations.

We should realize that we need to defuse this particular problem. Some on the Left would like to ignore it. Others on the Left would like to solve this by saying, "Everyone should realize that rhetoric questioning the government's use of power is contributing to this dangerous situation." Yet chilling speech is not likely to cause anger to subside: telling people who are already angry that they should not express their (political) anger will only make them more furious, as that is one more traditional liberty being suppressed.

The most imporant thing is to impose new limits on the exercise of Federal power, in a constitutional fashion. We need to restore the balance that the Founders intended, for example by limiting the commerce clause to something like its originalist scope; imposing clearer limits on the Congress' ability to force states to spend money and write unfunded mandates; and of course, preventing Congress from delegating legislative authority to the Executive branch, which has led to an explosion of punitive regulations.

That means that people will have to give up on the idea of using the Federal government to push the whole country Left or Right; it won't be as powerful that way. In return, though, both Left and Right get a lot more authority to craft the kind of lives they want for themselves within their states. Because it would return us to a closer reading of the Founders' constitution, too, it should defuse a lot of the tensions.

Now, I've been making that argument for renewed Federalism since at least 2004, when I had hoped that the recently re-elected Right might choose to respect Federalist doctrine. That didn't happen, but I still believe it was right; and I have only come to believe it more as the years have passed. At this time, I think we ought to ask our state governments to request a constitutional convention, to rebalance the powers between the states and Federal government more as the Founders intended.

Posted by: Grim at April 2, 2010 02:52 PM

" Y’all are scaring me now."

Oh, come on. How are you going to decide what is 'reasonable' in terms of taking the last 'resolution' called violence, if you feel such reality distorting emotion sitting safely in your place reading something off the internet?

Jeez. Talk about undergraduates.

People's judgment sucks these days. Replaced by empty slogans that sound nice, but can't be implemented. Last resort my squirrel.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 02:57 PM

Hm. My archives seem to be broken; but the post is on this page, for 4 November 2004.

Posted by: Grim at April 2, 2010 02:59 PM

I don't see a post on Nov 4, just Nov 5 and Nov 3.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 03:21 PM

" ... for example by limiting the commerce clause to something like its originalist scope ..."

You really think you'll be able to get American voters to pay attention to this idea? I'd bet close to 90% don't even know what the commerce clause is, fer crissakes.

aside: " ...and of course, preventing Congress from delegating legislative authority to the Executive branch ..."

I thought you right-wing types liked having Dubya acting like he made the laws.

That means that people will have to give up on the idea of using the Federal government to push the whole country Left or Right

I personally prefer my country closer to the center. You'll have a lot of persuading of your fellow travellers to do if you want to wean them off the dream of using the Federal government to push the whole country ... Right

At this time, I think we ought to ask our state governments to request a constitutional convention, to rebalance the powers between the states and Federal government more as the Founders intended.

See comment above about the "commerce clause is, fer crissakes".

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 03:29 PM

Grim's exactly right with those chilling statistics about the consent of the majority. The only way a government can rule without violence and despotism is to command the voluntary cooperation of nearly all citizens. A government that opposes even a large minority of its citizens, let alone a majority, cannot fail to degenerate into a tyranny -- and people WILL fight back.

Nevertheless, we have free elections in this country, for the time being. The challenge is going to be for people not to let their votes be bought for an illusion of temporary security. You can't successfully rebel (peacefully or otherwise) if you're lining up every morning to receive all the necessities of life from your benevolent government.

Posted by: Texan99 at April 2, 2010 03:33 PM

" Y’all are scaring me now." Oh, come on. How are you going to decide what is 'reasonable' in terms of taking the last 'resolution' called violence, if you feel such reality distorting emotion sitting safely in your place reading something off the internet? Jeez. Talk about undergraduates.

It is a figure of speech, dude. OTOH, I am frankly surprised at all the seemingly serious talk about insurrections going on in this thread.
This place used to be (within normal limits of what was) fairly reasonable - but all this talk about imminent insurrection is making me thing y'all are drifting toward the "lunatic fringe".

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 03:34 PM

The challenge is going to be for people not to let their votes be bought for an illusion of temporary security.

This is how I felt things had gone during Dubya's reign.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 03:35 PM

... 'er, I mean Cheney's reign.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 03:36 PM

While not in favor at present of insurrection, I don't think Grim is out of line to admit there is a real possibility of such.

Possibly, but given the self-proclaimed leader of the one-more-than-two-one-less-than-four percenters (we do not want the infestation that would come by spelling out the name) call for breaking the windows on Democratic office's windows has been no more than the number of windows broken of republican congressmen I don't know how big such an insurrection could be.

Does it really count as an insurrection if you only get 5 people to act?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 2, 2010 03:37 PM

The Side of Light:

In a comment at that post, someone mentioned that Bush wasn't able to fix Iraq.

Besides the normal arguments in 2004 over this, there was something else going on. The idea that a Supreme Leader can "fix" anything by themselves, through dictate or feat, is the problem in itself.

For you to convince people in this country of the benefits of Federalism, Grim, you first must convince them to compromise on their demands plus discarding their faith in Strong Men solutions.

Given the natural human tendency to gravitate towards leaders when crisis happens, that's not easy. As demonstrated by Obama's reign.

If a Constitutional convention can break the back of the power of major cities over their serfs, that alone would push back irreconcilable differences by several decades, perhaps a century even. While the oppression of the federal government in DC is extreme, it is supported by the local oppression of individual citizens in crime infested neighborhoods and failed regimes (New Orleans, Chicago, LA).

A dramatic overhaul of the federal government may be too much for Americans to take, with resistance increasing exponentially the more solutions are put on the table or debated. The fact that those solutions would work to renew the Republic, would in itself be a danger to several power factions. If you can break the foundations of those power factions first, it would make things easier. What happens in a single city probably won't concern most American's, but it would free up several million people and empower them to change their local government for the better.

Changing just a few cities would dramatically change the power balance in DC alone.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 03:39 PM

"It is a figure of speech, dude."

How is it a figure of speech that you are shaking in you boots?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 03:43 PM

Just to clarify my comments on terrorism earlier, I used the word "murder" in its technical legal sense, and not as a substitute for "homicide" or "killing." (That's what I get for being a lawyer!)

And it also became clear to me that my definition certainly does need the addition I proposed, "to influence others."

Thus, terrorism becomes the intentional targeting of innocent civilians to influence others. I think this definition accords with the other commenters' positions, too.

Posted by: Rex at April 2, 2010 03:44 PM

I guess it's on 3 November, which means my memory about the date of the election six years ago was wrong. How odd.

You really think you'll be able to get American voters to pay attention to this idea? I'd bet close to 90% don't even know what the commerce clause is, fer crissakes.

Technically, I don't have to get any voters to pay attention to this: the mechanism doesn't involve voters at all. The state governments originate the call for a constitution, as outlined in Article V; Congress is required to convene one once 34 states have called for it.

32 states called for a balanced budget amendment, to put that in perspective; thirty-six states have or are considering lawsuits or laws opposed to the Federal mandates in this health care law. Given the effect of the law on their budgets, at a time of economic crisis, and the fact that the process would be designed to improve state powers and authority, and protect them from future Federal incursions, I don't think it will be that hard to get 34 states to sign off on this.

So, while I don't share your opinion of the education or intelligence of the American people... in a sense, even if you're right, it won't matter.

Posted by: Grim at April 2, 2010 03:46 PM

...I am frankly surprised at all the seemingly serious talk about insurrections going on in this thread. This place used to be (within normal limits of what was) fairly reasonable - but all this talk about imminent insurrection is making me thing y'all are drifting toward the "lunatic fringe".

What "imminent insurrection", ICBS? What I've seen is a lot of people saying that we're a long way off, and moreover that armed resistance isn't justified at present.

If that's your idea of what a "lunatic fringe" looks like, you're right to be scared. Because we are all out to get you.

Oh, and we hate America.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 2, 2010 03:49 PM

This place used to be (within normal limits of what was) fairly reasonable - but all this talk about imminent insurrection is making me thing y'all are drifting toward the "lunatic fringe".

You seem to be forgetting the distinction between noticing something and approving of it.

Do a google search for the group mentioned above and see if that doesn't really scare you. They scare *me*. I don't like those guys and I've already told you why I think we're a long way from legitimate armed rebellion. They take a results not process view of things and I wonder what exactly they plan to do with the 53% or so that wanted the Democrats in office. But to act like attitudes such as their's don't exist isn't smart either

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 2, 2010 03:52 PM

"I don't know how big such an insurrection could be."

Most of the active components are either without an organization backing them or are in reserve.

The logistical pipeline first needs to be set up and leaders chosen. Currently, that would not be the Republican party, since they are notoriously low on active propaganda branches and wet work wannabes (SEIU), but the Tea Party itself.

Currently the Tea Party amass their support through the unified belief that Constitutional methods are still likely to succeed. Should they change their minds, should the alpha leaders of the Tea Parties, numbering in the thousands, change their minds, all their followers and dependents will change their minds as well.

Active insurgencies cannot survive without a native or dependable external logistics aupply. They can survive in a sort of stasis effect by melting into the population, going sleeper, and in reserve, but to conduct active operations they need organization, leaders, funds, and safe houses.

Without the Tea Party or an equivalent organization's support, any insurgency in America that fights for similar goals against the Left, would be absent at least 3 out of the 4.

Having fighters isn't enough to win even a battle, let alone a war. The thing is, the Left already has much of the infrastructure in place. It hasn't been battle tested, but that's probably due to some external considerations.

The fact that they do have such structures in place, however, implied a power imbalance to me, which the Tea Party has addressed in large parts. To use Grim's battle analogy, whenever one side thinks the other side is too weak to defend themselves, the notion of attacking gets larger and larger in their heads. One can see Obama as a representation of that. The American people that just wanted to live their lives and work their dreams, didn't have the structure in place to defend themselves, while the Left had the logistics ready to attack. That's not a situation that will preserve anybody's liberty.

First and foremost, I wanted to disarm the Left's organizations, such as unions, SEIU, lawyer lobby groups, and various other national (Fannie-Mae) or even trans-national organizations. Events proceeded past my initial ideas and created a reaction in America, where instead of these organizations taking a hit, counter-organizations developed. Instead of disarming the Left, as I wished, the Right armed themselves. And now here we are.

That's peace for ya. Doesn't look like the slogans really.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 04:00 PM

Perhaps this is why while I'm not happy with Obama's actions, I am at the same time not as shocked or traumatized as many other Americans at the sight of Obama.

A mutually assured policy of mutual destruction is still better than a Left armed to the gills with totalitarian organizations vs an American populace that is slowly being turned into slaves and wards of the state.

In some senses, I actually feel more optimistic than 2007.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 04:12 PM

http://brillianter.com/2008/12/more-3-percenter-nonsense/

This is a good discussion of a lot of the more notorious players or types of players in this scenario.

If they are dangerous, it doesn't really make me feel that there is a threat. There are lots of dangerous people. Some are even listed as commenters here.

Whether people or organizations are dangerous isn't a problem to me. Whether their goals conflict with mine, however, is. At the same time, I certainly understand that they have their own goals and priorities, ones I shouldn't try to interfere with unless I want a fight.

The fact that the federal government either doesn't understand this or pretends that it isn't their problem, is a big problem. In any situation, if one side wants a war, they can get it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 04:27 PM

Don't you agree that these statements by Grim suggest that we really have something to worry about now:

That's good, because there are some signs that it's time to start being alarmed about that possibility.

These are signs that a majority of Americans don't believe the government is abiding by the appropriate limits on its power. That's the kind of environment that produces dangerous situations.

If not, then I am misunderstanding his words and the views being expressed here. But - enough of this for the moment. I'm off to watch American Idle and Real Skanky Broads and Guidos of Joisey.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 04:30 PM

"These are signs ... dangerous situations" should have been italicized to show that they are Grim's words. My bad.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 04:31 PM

"Don't you agree that these statements by Grim suggest that we really have something to worry about now:"

Grim is one person. Words aren't reality. This isn't Obama land.

Whether Grim says it is true or not, doesn't make it true. When people are at a boil, it doesn't matter if the King thinks things are okay or going to hell in a hand basket. Reality is independent of a person's emotional state, except in cases where one's emotional state motivates one to affect external reality.

If I say something that agrees with what Grim says, if somebody else agrees with Grim's assessment, that means we have done our own independent analysis and have come to similar conclusions.

Following Dear Leader isn't really the product of a free society.

"That's the kind of environment that produces dangerous situations."

Did you just notice now?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 04:34 PM

Oh okay, you didn't realize it just now.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 04:35 PM

Grim, your time stamp may not have been set to -5 GMT. Although that large a divide does seem suspicious.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 04:57 PM

Well, the problem with them Ymar is not their goals. The problem is that the reason the gov't has as much power as it has and is doing most of the things it does is that *we the people* generally want it to.

We voted for the people that made gov't this size and there's no reason to suspect that should those lunatics succeed that they won't go right back to doing it. They only way to prevent that is to not let those people vote.

Freedom oriented dictatorship is a contradiction in terms.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 2, 2010 05:03 PM

"We voted for the people that made gov't this size and there's no reason to suspect that should those lunatics succeed that they won't go right back to doing it. They only way to prevent that is to not let those people vote."

Voting is only a means to tyranny or freedom. Votes, by themselves, mean nothing.

So it doesn't matter if people voted for Obama or not. Because that's not the source of power, really.

However, the issue of corruption in government isn't that people voted in bad leaders. It is more the case that they can't distinguish good leaders from bad, because the people themselves have lost sight of personal virtue, strength, good judgment, and independence.

Slaves do not react well to freedom, no matter who they are. Free men do not react well to demands that they bow down and put their pride in the dirt, either. No matter who they are.

Votes, no votes, doesn't really matter. Democracy isn't actually the only path to liberty.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 05:18 PM

The problem Ymar is that whole consent of the governed thing. Like it or not, and current polls to the contrary, we are where we are exactly because the governed have consented to them.

And so long as that remains the case violence is illigitimate and given our current institutions if it changes violence is unnecessary.

That group (again, we do not want the infestation that would result in naming them) is decidedly in the former category.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 2, 2010 05:29 PM

As long as I feel the ballot box is the way to control these ass-holes in DC (and within my state) I'll play nice.

IF the ballot box is kapput, the gloves come off and there is NOTHING sacred; anywhere.

(conservative republican)

Posted by: Punkindrublic at April 2, 2010 05:40 PM

"Like it or not, and current polls to the contrary, we are where we are exactly because the governed have consented to them."

That assumes people know what they want, and that what they want is the same as what they need.

The Constitution tries to ensure people's interests are protected, much as any alpha leader would do. That means not giving people what they want, but what they need. Not the same in the end.

Especially in a Constitutional Republic, what people want varies, but what they all need remains the same. The Constitution has already said that what people have voted for, they do not need. Some wanted it, some didn't want it, and it doesn't really matter. Because they only have a right to what they need, and no rights to desire more at the expense of what others need.

People want entitlements, but what they actually need is a self-supporting job, career, and strong personal relationships. People can try to 'vote' themselves these things, but the system under the Constitution was never designed to try to give people happiness. What people need is only an opportunity to achieve such, equal to all others.

The system of lobbies, lawyer groups, judges, public education leading to bad jurors and idiot voters, that's not something people voted for, wanted, nor needed. It's something a small group engineered over a long time.

"we are where we are exactly because the governed have consented to them."

Slaves and serfs can't consent. Neither can minors, wards of the state, or mentally handicapped people.

By making the American people into these things, that small minority has achieved what they sought out to achieve. That is not the same as the consent of the governed.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 06:07 PM

Dr. Peter Venkman: This country is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together ... Grims and Ymarsakars and Punkindrublics and Yu-Ain Gonnanos conspiring and cleaning guns together ... mass hysteria!

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 06:10 PM

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 06:10 PM

Cassandra: you're right to be scared. Because we are all out to get you. Oh, and we hate America.

Now you're just being silly.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 06:11 PM

You never did answer that question from before, IC. How's London?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 06:20 PM

Now you're just being silly.

Not nearly as silly as telling people who are merely discussing a topic you don't like that they're "drifting toward the "lunatic fringe"".

Posted by: Cassandra at April 2, 2010 06:30 PM

Grims and Ymarsakars and Punkindrublics and Yu-Ain Gonnanos conspiring and cleaning guns together ... mass hysteria!

No, a gun-cleaning party is normally pretty sedate. Makes sense, too -- figger the cost of bore-cleaner and lube, split four ways...

Posted by: BillT at April 2, 2010 06:33 PM

""drifting toward the "lunatic fringe""."

He just wants some company.

Moon bats and lunatic fringes, you see.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 06:40 PM

If somebody, who is cleaning guns, sees a 'mass hysteria' episode, then somebody better knock everybody else unconscious. Cause if they don't.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 06:41 PM

"However, the issue of corruption in government isn't that people voted in bad leaders. It is more the case that they can't distinguish good leaders from bad, because the people themselves have lost sight of personal virtue, strength, good judgment, and independence."

No, no, no. There is a certain amount of truth in the latter part of the statement. But the people overall are not stupid -- if they were, there would be no rational basis for representative democracy. The people may be slow to catch on to things sometimes, but they are not stupid.

I think a big part of the problem is that few American voters have any first-hand experience with either machine politics or socialism. We tend to regard machine politics as quaint, a relic of a bygone era. Most people don't realize that the old Daley machine is still alive and well in Chicago. American voters outside of Illinois had never come across a candidate like Obama, wrapped and packaged by machine politics. They didn't realize that Obama regards campaign promises as just something you use to get elected, and then ignore afterwards. That never occurred to most of them. Now they are learning. The specific tricks that Obama used on the voters won't work again anytime soon.

Since the election, I have been telling people "everyone needs to experience a bit of socialism, so they can see why it's a bad idea." I've been saying that in jest, but I'm starting to think that it's really true.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 2, 2010 06:50 PM

One more thought: Yu-Ain hit on the meat of the argument by bringing up the Commerce Clause, the current interpretation of which constitutes a blank check for Congressional power. There's a big discussion of this going on over at Volokh, and earlier today, I asked the question over there: "Other than the powers that the Constitution explicitly denies Congress, what powers does Congress *not* have under the Commerce Clause?" So far, the only credible answer I have is in regard to the 1994 Safe Schools Act (United States vs. Lopez), by which the federal government estabished "gun free zones" around all public schools, under the rationale that guns in schools impacts education, which impacts interstate commerce. It is true that the Supremes ruled against the government in that case and said that the Commerce Clause didn't extend that far. However -- the majority decision in that case also told Congress how to work around the decision. That being the case, the precedent set by United States vs. Lopez will never come up in a federal court again, because Congress knows how to write the laws to bypass the Lopez decision and exercise the Commerce Clause without restraint.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 2, 2010 06:59 PM

I meant to finish that thought, darn it: The SC will soon get hit with a Constitutional challenge to the insurance mandate of Obamacare. The government will doubtless mount a Commerce Clause defense. And this will be an absolutely critical, history-turning case. Because if the Court upholds the individual mandate on Commerce Clause grounds, then the concept of enumerated powers laid out in the Constitution is dead. Until, that is, the citizens make it their business to revive it.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 2, 2010 07:03 PM

That's why were having this conversation (much to ICBS's consternation) Dave.

Because if this is upheld, there will be no meaningful check upon the power of the federal government. I commend to you Justice Thomas' dissent in Raich:

The majority’s rewriting of the Commerce Clause seems to be rooted in the belief that, unless the Commerce Clause covers the entire web of human activity, Congress will be left powerless to regulate the national economy effectively. The interconnectedness of economic activity is not a modern phenomenon unfamiliar to the Framers. Moreover, the Framers understood what the majority does not appear to fully appreciate: There is a danger to concentrating too much, as well as too little, power in the Federal Government. This Court has carefully avoided stripping Congress of its ability to regulate interstate commerce, but it has casually allowed the Federal Government to strip States of their ability to regulate intrastate commerce–not to mention a host of local activities, like mere drug possession, that are not commercial.

One searches the Court’s opinion in vain for any hint of what aspect of American life is reserved to the States. Yet this Court knows that “ ‘[t]he Constitution created a Federal Government of limited powers.’ That is why today’s decision will add no measure of stability to our Commerce Clause jurisprudence: This Court is willing neither to enforce limits on federal power, nor to declare the Tenth Amendment a dead letter. If stability is possible, it is only by discarding the stand-alone substantial effects test and revisiting our definition of “Commerce among the several States.” Congress may regulate interstate commerce–not things that affect it, even when summed together, unless truly “necessary and proper” to regulating interstate commerce.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 2, 2010 07:13 PM

"But the people overall are not stupid -- if they were, there would be no rational basis for representative democracy."

So the people can live in a lala land being fed false information and because they are 'smart', they can make the 'right' decisions?

These are humans we speak of, yes.

Representative democracies are not always universal franchises. Some are limited franchise. In fact, most start out that way. They have to.

"The people may be slow to catch on to things sometimes, but they are not stupid."

If "intelligence" was the prime ingredient to good government, we wouldn't be in this situation. It's a Leftist conceit that smarts has anything to do with good government.

"The specific tricks that Obama used on the voters won't work again anytime soon."

Obama is just a symptom of the problem. If the American political landscape wasn't the way it was, he would never have gained power. Remove Obama, and you'll just be left with the people that got him into power in the first place.

The people will simply vote in another person like Obama under the current way of things. Human self-deception knows no bounds. Or do you think the way people like IC and Obamacans think will change significantly just because Obama is out of power? Human beliefs were never that fickle.

Dumb voters are actually a vote. They aren't the problem but nor are they the solution.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 07:14 PM

I mean joke.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 07:16 PM

Dave:

This was priceless, too:

Respondents’ local cultivation and consumption of marijuana is not “Commerce … among the several States.” By holding that Congress may regulate activity that is neither interstate nor commerce under the Interstate Commerce Clause, the Court abandons any attempt to enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power. The majority supports this conclusion by invoking, without explanation, the Necessary and Proper Clause.

Regulating respondents’ conduct, however, is not “necessary and proper for carrying into Execution” Congress’ restrictions on the interstate drug trade. Thus, neither the Commerce Clause nor the Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress the power to regulate respondents’ conduct.

Ouch :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 2, 2010 07:21 PM

You never did answer that question from before, IC. How's London? Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 2, 2010 06:20 PM

As Elvis Costello once said "London is full of Arabs".

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 07:46 PM

I understand (I think) your collective frustration and consternation with the state of our national government and the ineluctable encroachment of its tendril-like regulation of life into the far reaches of the hills and dales of the several states. It seems to me, however, that the country is so big, and the states so interconnected and their economies so mutually dependant on one another, and the need for national standards for such things as money, monetary policy, air traffic control, highway control, military defense (and its supporting military industrial complex) so widely felt as a practical matter, that despite the federalist aspirations of our founding fathers, we really are just one big ol' damn country, the individual components of which really cananot be separated from one another. I think that the dreams of the states and of the hardy pioneer and frontier individuals who live in them to be free of national control are no longer realistic or viable. Just sayin'.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 07:52 PM

If that is so, then the Constitution ought to be changed by amendment - not by the Court selectively re-interpreting it to reach whatever end they are in favor of this week.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 2, 2010 08:06 PM

Apparently your understanding is not complete, since every one of the powers you just listed as necessary is an enumerated power under Article I, Section 8. No one has any interest in denying Congress its enumerated powers, which include:

national standards for such things as money (To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;)

monetary policy, (The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow money on the credit of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;)

air traffic control, (an actual "interstate commerce" issue!)

highway control, (To establish... Post Roads;)

military defense (To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;).

The problem isn't that conservatives have some kind of sentimental feeling for a lost America. The problem is that the Left has apparently completely lost the ability to distinguish between what are, and are not, the lawful powers of the Federal government.

Posted by: Grim at April 2, 2010 08:09 PM

The problem isn't that conservatives have some kind of sentimental feeling for a lost America.

Maybe it is not a problem, but it seems pretty clear that conservatives do have some kind of sentimental feeling for a lost America.

I readily admit that I am not presently conversant with the "chapter and verse" of the U.S. Constitution. I may just pull the copy off the bookshelf this weekend, rather than watching some crap on TV, sit down and go through it again. It is great reading and THE thing that separates the USA from just about every other country and government in the universe: it's what makes us free.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 2, 2010 08:32 PM

Yu-Ain Gonnano & Ymarsakar .. Thanks for the heads-up on the "%'s" / brillianter link. Extreme.

That said, the notion that Obamacare likewise carries within it the seeds of "justifiable rebellion/violence" in opposition seems little less extreme. Indeed, from much that has been written so far, it is hard to understand why anti-statal violence is not presumably justified at the present moment. Cass seems to have argued in several posts that the Supreme Court has already breached the covenant and Constitution with respect to the Commerce Clause, to such a degree that its role as definitive arbiter on such issues has already been rendered null and void, for proper Constitutional purposes. How & why would the "Obamacare Commerce Clause Issue" open doors not earlier clearly set ajar (again, on the underlying premise that the Supreme Court would once again "fail in its duty" with respect to its "interpretation" ("re-writing") of the Commerce Clause)?

Presumably, state action in excess of the "true" Constitution "justifies rebellion" by such victims as Raich. [ Perhaps (as part of that justifiable opposition (?)), persons in the position of Raich can (at least as federal law is concerned) shoot dead DEA agents who invade her home to "unconstitutionally" seize her plants. (And be entitled to a dismissal/acquittal on any such federal charges) Perhaps not. As I say, the parameters of this peculiar doctrine of "justifiable violence" (e.g., notwithstanding S.Ct. rulings to the contrary) have not been spelt out with much rigor, so far as I can tell. ]

Extreme. And quite extraordinary to even contemplate the raising of an analogy between Commerce Clause issues such as these, and the issues facing the founding fathers or the barons at Runnymede. (Much less to do actually so analogize, in passing, as it were)

No doubt the Supreme Court has erred on many occasions, and I, for one, am no fan of its all-too-broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause. (Raich, for example, I agree, is clearly horrendously decided.) In a democracy, however, rebellion/violence in the face of such perceived errors is not constitutionally sanctioned. (Well, at least in any remotely real-world scenario; the "state religion/conversion" hypothetical (far) above is so fantasical as to provide little aid in practical analysis, discussion, or direction.)

To proclaim as some here appear to do, seems quite irresponsible, and detrimental to the commonweal. And perhaps the Commonwealth(s) (Federal and statal) would be well-served by a Constitutional Convention called by the States. I have may doubts about that (especially in light of the actual pressing issues facing this nation and its citizens, and those upcoming), but whether or not such an excercise would be a dolorous (and potentially dangerous) diversion from such issues, at least it would be in conformity with our form of government and the rule of law.

Posted by: pond at April 2, 2010 08:39 PM

All things considered, gentlemen, I'd say that is a fairly civil place to leave off. I'll see you at the Convention.

Posted by: Grim at April 2, 2010 10:29 PM

"Indeed, from much that has been written so far, it is hard to understand why anti-statal violence is not presumably justified at the present moment."

Probably because so much bad information floats around concerning what violence truly is.

It is hard to understand. Because it's like relativity. It's relative.


"To proclaim as some here appear to do, seems quite irresponsible, and detrimental to the commonweal."

Eventually people need to learn how to handle violence by themselves, instead of running to the government for protection. Obviously when one vests power in the government to secure what one can't secure, that person will try to protect the government's mandate and authority.

That's irresponsible on the part of people who want the government to be their reason for existence. The reasoning is that without government power, they don't exist. Philosophically, that contradicts certain ideas of America.

Now, for those shackled to the common cause of the government, there may be no help for the Stockholm Syndrome sufferers, for the time being. But free men and women are not going to tolerate infringement upon what they have, simply because somebody else says they have the force to demand it. The cycle of violence isn't just something that happens on the tv screens of Americans.

"The problem is that the Left has apparently completely lost the ability to distinguish between what are, and are not, the lawful powers of the Federal government."

That stuff is complex, Grim. Why don't we just shrink it down to "the Constitution means whatever I say it means"? Or how about the methodology of some Supreme C judges: the Constitution means whatever international law says it means, and I say what international law means.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 02:26 AM

I am stunned at the turn which this thread has taken. If I didn't know you all better, I'd think you all were planning a military coup and allowing yourselves to embolden by each other. Cassandra - what would your husband say to learn that you had become a revolutionary anarchist?

Posted by: I Call BS at April 3, 2010 03:13 AM

If I didn't know you all better, I'd think you all were planning a military coup and allowing yourselves to embolden by each other.

A military coup? Perish the thought!

A coup is quite different from a revolution in structure, organization, and implementation -- just ask Prince Georgy Lvov.

Oh. Wait...

Posted by: BillT at April 3, 2010 06:31 AM

ICBS, I suspect you are just yanking my chain. If you are serious then I am worried about you.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 3, 2010 07:10 AM

pond:

I don't even know where to begin with your comment. You *really* need to go back and read my previous comments. Especially this:

One or two enraged Republicans are unlikely to overthrow the federal government which has over 1 million heavily armed soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen at its disposal. Therefore, the only kind of uprising that would pose a serious threat to the stability of the fed would be a massive one - one in which literally millions of Americans said, "enough". Not sure on what grounds you would rule such an event "illegitimate".

Then there are the comments about being the last person on earth who would want to see this happen, and the ones about going through the system first. And the ones about our being far from this point (which one of you dishonestly characterized as "imminent insurrection" earlier.)

Hint: "imminent" does NOT mean "nowhere near that yet", except in your overheated imagination.

You do not get to substitute your own wild fantasies about shooting DEA agents for what I actually said, no matter how emotionally satisfying that may be for you. And I am not going to waste time trying to talk with someone who willfully mischaracterizes my comments.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 3, 2010 07:18 AM

Too many undergraduates in violence for the system to subsidize, that's what.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 08:35 AM

This is a slice I pieced off a good resource site on violent conflict. Not something Leftists were paid to know.

"We have a dear friend named Peyton Quinn. He runs the Rocky Mountain Combat Application Training and is one of the pioneers of Adrenal Stress training. Peyton is a curmudgeonly genius who lives in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. As we each approach the subject differently, we've had many a long conversations until dawn's early light with Peyton about crime, violence and what it takes to survive. These conversations aren't "You're wrong about this subject." Nor are they "Yes, but..." conversations, they are more "Yes, AND ..." in nature.

There is however, a major difference between us and Peyton. This difference (and to quote Peyton "God Bless him real good" for it), is that Peyton can take incredibly complex and detailed issues and reduce them down to simple and concise points. He does this for ease of communication.

But just because he can put them into bullet points, doesn't mean they are simple. The fact is, we could write books about why he's right in his assessment and all the factors that go into his 'simple' statements.

Here's the drawback of that though. Peyton's ability to sum up is beneficial only, if you understand
a) the complexity of the subject (then what he says is a brilliant
summation of reality).
b) that his summation is both an introduction and a functional rule of
thumb to guide your future research.

If you don't have those understandings, then it's just another sound-bite. And the problem with sound bites is misinformation, stupidity and fantasy thinking make great sound-bites too. And the kinds of sound-bites are often a whole lot more appealing to the uninformed and biased.

Where Peyton's summations won't do you any good is if
a) you have an agenda.
b) you choose to ignore them in the pursuit of and furthering of that
agenda, your emotions or in the name of personal benefit.
c) you don't have a basic understanding of boundaries.
d) you've overly limited yourself to one social-economic level.
e) you have an overwhelming sense of your 'right' to behave a certain
way without suffering any negative consequences.
f) you allow your emotions to hijack your actions.
g) believe you have to dominate or intimidate a potential opponent

We tell you all of this because what follows is a very concise summation of how people routinely provoke attacks. The above listed points are the most common reason why people violate what we are about to tell you. The absolute worst is the person who after looking at this list says "I know that" and then proceeds to do it anyway! They do this because they think they are achieving something else, but are actually violating these rules.

With that in mind, we'd like to give you what we consider one of Peyton's most brilliant summations, the four causes of violence. 1) Don't Insult Him
2) Don't Challenge Him
3) Don't Deny It's Happening
4) Give Him A Face Saving Exit"


Don't Deny It's Happening
Violence is a rarity. Many people can go their entire lives without ever having been involved in a physical fight. Even in lifestyles where violence is common, violence doesn't happen 24/7. People take breaks from it to eat, sleep and engage in other activities.

There is however, a big difference those two lifestyles. People from lifestyles where violence is common immediately recognize when it is happening and react accordingly. All other priorities fall away. In a very Zen way, they are 'in the moment.'

Whereas people for whom violence 'doesn't happen' or they haven't been in a physical conflict since they were kids, there is huge denial factor. This comes in three main ways:
1) Overwhelming shock and confusion "This can't be happening! Violence

only happens to other people, not to ME!"
2) Telling themselves that a person won't react physically to their words
or actions and proceeding to engage in high risk behavior.

3) They're going waste time trying to find a palatable way out of having
to use violence.
What we've just said is that denying it is happening is going to manifest in one of three ways. One, you're going to freeze. Two, you're going to walk right into it. Three, you're going to get flattened while trying to find some way not to fight.

Now you may wonder how this applies to provoking an attack. First off, this denial encourages attack by someone who is accustomed to using violence to get what he wants. He's ready to go and you're not. But the reason we include it in provoking an attack is that most people choose to do #3 in the form of a threat display. A threat display that they usually end up insulting and challenging him ... oops.

"""""""
Enjoy

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 08:45 AM

"... the four causes of violence.

1) Don't Insult Him
2) Don't Challenge Him
3) Don't Deny It's Happening
4) Give Him A Face Saving Exit"

Wow, Ymar. That goes for so many types of confrontations. Those are the rules I try to follow here, and I think that's why we're often able to have civil discussions on heated topics.

I am not perfect and neither is anyone else but those are excellent rules for getting along with others.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 3, 2010 09:12 AM

"I am stunned at the turn which this thread has taken."

I know. That's your problem. Well, one of em.

Here's some more stuff for people that need it.

We have a saying: Just because your lifestyle takes all your time, doesn't mean that's all there is to life.

Between the two of us we have been in 43 of the 50 United States, been in 15 different countries and three different continents. We've lived and worked in the the largest urban centers in the North American continent and lived in towns so small that they barely register on the map. We have been in corporate high rises and cattle barns. We have been in the mansions of millionaires and squatted in the gutter with winos. We regularly consort with movie stars, truck drivers, politicians, cowboys, artists, scientists, college students, college professors, secretaries, scientists, busboys, CEOs, bikers, criminals, cops, military, liberals and gang members. We have lost count of the number of ethnic/cultural/socio-economic groups we have routinely dealt with not only professionally, but on their terms. In short, unlike many people, we exist outside a very narrow cultural/social/socio-economic/racial circle.

We tell you this because of how often we have seen people mistake how things are done in their niche existence as how things are (or should be) done everywhere. When in another type of situation, they proceed to act according to the 'rules' of their usual circle.

And then they wonder why the other person attacked them.

Customs of Your Tribe
In 'Caesar and Cleopatra' George Bernard Shaw wrote: Pardon him ... he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.

It is ironic that Caesar was speaking about Britannus (a British Celt). We say ironic because:
A) In modern times the British are considered so civilized.
B) It is civilized, educated people who most often make the mistake of
assuming their customs are the laws of nature.

What many people do not realize is that "When in Rome, do as the Romans" works both ways. It is as difficult to shift gears 'downward' as it is upwards -- perhaps more so. Yet you can get in a lot of trouble if you can't do this.

Many 'civilized' people feel themselves to be egalitarian, when in fact, they are very much like Romans. A people who's lifestyle relies on the existence of
A) a working/servant class,
B) a political/business system and
C) police/military
to provide them with their needs and security. These 'modern Romans,' seldom travel outside the comforts of their lifestyle; their particular 'Rome' if you will. (The "Just because your lifestyle takes all your time ..." statement applies here). When we bring this up, those who consider themselves cosmopolitan strenuously object, but understanding this modern Roman analogy is important to grasp what follows and how it can effect your safety. Despite the fact that these 'modern Romans' deal with non-Romans all the time, they don't realize that they are dealing with these people under very narrow circumstances. Circumstances dictated by the 'customs of Rome.'

In short, they are dealing with 'barbarians' who have come to their Rome. And that is a far cry from how barbarians normally play -- especially in their own homeland.

Barbarians in Rome
In 'civilized circles,' the civilized person has the upper hand in interactions because the 'barbarian' is the outsider. An outsider, who doesn't exactly understand the rules of the circle he has found himself in. Simply stated, in Roman circles there are often two sets of rules: that which is stated and obvious and what's really going on. These secondary rules are subtle, unspoken and not immediately obvious ... as are the repercussions of violating them (e.g. a promotion goes to someone else or someone is subtly 'excluded' from events). To really grasp these one must either have spent many years operating in these social circles or born into that social class. In addition to all these unspoken protocols, there are all kinds of subtle nuances that dictate status and power in these circles (this will become important in a bit).

But here's a little reality break ... the barbarians don't care about what passes as power and status among Romans. They don't want to become Romans, they don't want to rule Rome. The barbarian have come to Rome not to invade, but to work. And when they are done, they want to go home again. Therefore, while they'll follow the obvious rules, they do not adopt the subtleties of Roman ways and thought.

This is why we say that most people only deal with 'barbarians under Roman terms.' Usually such a person has come into this different environment in search of his livelihood -- such people usually provide services those in civilized circles are not only unwilling, but incapable of doing themselves. George Orwell said of Rudyard Kipling: He sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them. This arrangement provides a win/win situation for both parties.

While generally beneficial, three issues arise from these circumstances that can become problematic:
1) Many people mistake the choice not to adopt 'civilized' mannerisms as
an indication of mental inferiority.
Although in Western culture "intelligence" is considered to be a
highly valuable trait ... it turns out that intelligence is a more
complex subject than originally believed. It appears there are several
different kinds of intelligence. Just because someone isn't a smart
and adept at operating in your social circles as you are, doesn't
mean that person is not a force to be reckoned with in his circles --
especially in circles where physical violence is commonly accepted as
an option in conflict resolution. Although it is popular to assume that
'intelligent people would choose to live civilized lives,' those deemed
'less civilized' often have a type of intelligence that is not covered by
conventional IQ tests. It just doesn't apply in your social circles. In
his own way, that person is just as competent as you ... perhaps
more so(1).
Understanding this prevents you from making the common
mistake of believing that the person you are dealing with is either
inferior (or not a danger) because he comes from a different social
status than you.

2) In dealing with someone trying to make his livelihood by coming into
'their' circle, many civilized people mistakenly assume the same 'rules'
apply when they are in the other person's social circle and territory.
"Slumming" is a popular past time among younger people from
more civilized circles. It's fun to go out and party in places that
have a reputation for danger. Even more mature people will
occasionally find themselves outside their normal circles and
attempting to function in different social circumstances. This is
analogous to "leaving Rome and ending up in a barbarian long
hall.'
Often this is accompanied with the person outside his/her
normal circumstances making the false assumption that the
unspoken rules of conduct of his/her social circle apply there too.
While usually nothing occurs, when this is assumption is
demonstrated to be wrong, the results are usually traumatic to
the person with the expectation that barbarians adhere to the
same rules of conduct.

3) In the case of conflict, civilized people tend to revert to how things are
'done in Rome.' This is not only insulting to the less civilized person, but
usually provokes violence.
In civilized circles repercussions for unacceptable actions are
usually subtle and down-the-road. For example, you get passed
over for a promotion, someone starts slandering you to others,
etc.. It is not unusual for these repercussions to take weeks,
months or even years to manifest. Even at its most extreme,
civilized conflict are limited to strong emotions and harsh words.
Most of what you see in these circumstances are degrees of
threat display. While often loud and emotional threat displays are
a means to avoid physical violence).
The less civilized tend to take a more direct and immediate
approach. Both in the action and threat display. To them, a threat
display IS the last warning you're going to get before violence
erupts. If you don't alter your behavior, violence will happen.
Furthermore, in those circles, you do not make certain kinds of
threat displays unless you are ready, willing and able to back it up-
especially ones that are insulting or challenging.
Unfortunately, too many civilized people who find themselves in
conflict with less civilized people take the approach that they
would to dress down a rude busboy. While that might work to
intimidate a laborer in Rome, (who is afraid of losing his job 2), in
his own territory he will not tolerate it. This is not Rome, here the
customs of his own apply. And this goes double if the person being
verbally abused is a 'barbarian warrior.' In those circles, if you are
not willing to kill or die over your words, DON'T say it ... because
he is. And right then and there.

For the record, we aren't even talking about dealing with muggers and other criminals. This is how things work in certain socio-economic/ethnic/cultural levels. This is Joe Average and his cousin from the old country, Jose Mediania. Those rules that dictate 'civilized' behavior do not apply where where they are from. The rules and customs of where they live are very different than how they are done in your 'Rome.'

Unfortunately, many modern Romans fail to realize this when they travel into other socio-economic/cultural levels. Therefore they do not recognize when their behavior is both inappropriate for where they are and dangerous to themselves.

An Example of Differences
To show how different social classes can be, we'd like to use something we mentioned earlier, displays of power and status.

Different cultures, different ethnicities, different socio-economic and different lifestyles ALL have different ways of displaying their status to like-kind. Those who know how to 'read' these signs can, at a glance, generally tell what someone's social status is and how powerful a person is in particular circles.

And right there is the caveat. Being powerful in one circle doesn't mean you are powerful in others -- even if the decisions of one circle effect another, that power is not direct.

Here is something to consider, in circles where things do not happen fast, these signals tend to be far more subtle. For example, in business/politics the trend is avoid the crass or overt display of power. The signs however are still there, the Rolex watch, the Armani suit, the silk tie, etc.. You may not know exactly who this person is, but you know he/she is powerful in a civilized context. In an organized system, these subtle displays of power also serve as a 'warning away' signal to social inferiors. You don't deal directly with the CEO, you go through channels.

Realize however, that a great deal of this 'power' comes not from the individual himself, but rather the system. A large group of people have gotten together and decided to grant this person authority. So the signals such a person presents also have to give confidence to those in the system (e.g. he is looking out for us and not going crazy on extravagance). This is a Mercedez Benz would be acceptable for a bank president, but a Ferrarri wouldn't be. Subtle power signals tend to work in stable environments such as systems.

On the other hand, circles where violence can explode, status displays tend to be more overt and obvious. Bling, gang affiliation clothing, tattoos and modes of dress all create an immediate "This is who I am, this is what I am capable of, this is who I am affiliated with ... don't mess with me" signal. These signals tend to be less reliant on a slow system and more about displaying the individual's power and status in a powerful group.

Let's take this from a general idea and get more specific. No one would deny that the President of the United States is a powerful man. But, in a dark alley, a street thug would rob the President just as fast as anyone else. Whereas, a member of a motorcycle gang could walk through that same alley with impunity. The reason for this is that in the world of the mugger, the power and status signals of the biker are recognizable, the President would just be another guy in a suit.

We tell you all of this to frame an explanation. A person from more civilized circles often relies on subtle signals to tell a laborer to either not approach them at all or 'with hat in hand.' Whether this be on the job or when that person has hired a workforce (e.g. housepainters). There is an unconscious assumption that this is how a lower class person will approach you.

This is the kind of situation we referred to earlier as "dealing with them on Roman terms." It is not uncommon for a civilized person to assume that this protocol is how things always work -- because after all this is how an overwhelming majority of interactions occur. In those kinds of circumstances the combination of subtle signals, the system and outrage (until someone else can show up and take that dirty laborer away) IS an effective strategy.

Now add to this that someone from an organized system either expects inferiors to get out of their way OR, in the case of equals to compromise by both of them moving to opposite sides. In short there is an expectation for the other person to keep his distance. The subtle power signals dictate whether you move, he moves or you both move.

The same thing applies in less civilized circles. Inferiors are expected to move, respect is provided by both of you moving. And violation of these standards has consequences.

In case you haven't realized it we have just set up an example of how you can get cross-wired with someone if you leave your social group and are trying to function in another. We're not even talking about with a mugger or criminal, like we said, Jose Mediania (Joe Average). In certain circles, simply expecting the other person to step out of the way can lead to conflict.

Here's how: You, looking at him think he's a laborer because you fail to recognize the signals that display his status and power in that circle. Knowing your status in your circle,you expect him to step around you. In doing so you not only insult him, but do it in front of his peers (a great loss of face). What's adding fuel onto this fire is that he also fails to recognize the subtle signals that you are presenting. In his world, the power of the system is less important and individual power is far more effective. In his eyes, he's not seeing much of that coming from you. So in his world view, you are the inferior who needs to be stepping out of his way.

See how two set of expectations can collide? When you are in Rome, do as the Romans. When you are in barbarian lands, adjust your expectations. It is a foolish person who leaves their 'civilized' circle and goes into less civilized circles expecting the same rules to apply -- especially any misconceptions that someone will not become violent with you over your actions.

Partying in Barbarian Lands
In the HRB page we defined high risk behavior as: Any behavior that puts you into circumstances where violence is probable.

Throughout this page we have been talking about how average people can find themselves at odds with a person from another culture/socio-economic level. And how it can occur by simply walking into another group's territory(3). You may have legitimate business in these places and yet, despite this, trouble can just pop up. The good news is that most of the problems are in fact threat displays and therefore resolvable. Still you must realize that just being there isn't necessarily high risk behavior, that's the difference between possible and probable. Granted it can increase the risk of being involved in a violent situation, but it isn't high risk behavior ... yet.

[Cut]

To begin with there are still laws in effect, but they are barbarian laws, not Roman. ANYWHERE that you go, there are protocols, taboos, customs and laws that dictate human behavior. People who live there abide by these rules or they pay the cost. While in the circles of modern Rome repercussions for violations can be slow and subtle, not so in other territories. Cross a barbarian in his own territory and the repercussions will be swift and brutal.

This can turn a fun and exciting jaunt of 'slumming' into a nightmare.

Furthermore, this situation is made worse by the fact that while the Roman youths have disregarded the obvious Roman laws, they fail to realize that they are assuming the subtle, secondary laws are still in effect. This creates a dangerous paradox, namely while they are breaking Roman law, they are at the same time still relying on it to protect them.

Many both honestly (and drunkenly) believe that they can still talk down to a barbarian who offends them a'la Roman customs. These young Romans fail to recognize the power and status displays of the person they are offending. Then they are surprised when they end up in the hospital.

[cut]

In many ways, young modern Romans are worse than the barbarians when they misbehave in this fashion. This is because unlike their less than civilized counterparts, they believe for them there are no rules while having fun. There is a deep seated and core belief that they can say or do anything they want with impunity and immunity from repercussions. Or if there are repercussions they will be according to upper class Roman standards.

Another assumption is that while there are no rules for them, there still are rules for everyone else. Specifically, the assumption that there is a 'rule' that goes like this: I am a modern Roman and therefore my body is sacrosanct, and no matter what I do, you cannot touch me. When stated out loud, this assumption doesn't just reveal itself to be ridiculous, but a rather skewed and self-serving and rationalization. However, inside the young and intoxicated mind of the young modern Roman, it makes perfect sense.

Now if all of this sounds like hyperbole, we have only three words for you ... Frat House Party. [US Congress, my take]

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 09:29 AM

Post Effect analysis.

I am a modern Roman and therefore my body is sacrosanct, and no matter what I do, you cannot touch me.

This is what almost everybody that participate in the escalation of the cycle of violence, while decrying the cycle of violence, says to themselves. That includes all the Leftists, all the wannabe government petty tyrants and crooks, as well as grassroots, Palestinians, and various other organizations, national and trans-national.

Gates, however, is probably the most infamous example.

This is not Rome, here the
customs of his own apply. And this goes double if the person being verbally abused is a 'barbarian warrior.' In those circles, if you are not willing to kill or die over your words, DON'T say it ... because he is. And right then and there.

If you believe that you won't participate in violence because of the federal dictates, perhaps you are aware of multicultural distinctions, enough at least to understand that others are capable of that which you yourself find alien and incompatible.

What good is it to become a progressive when you can't even understand the viewpoints of other cultures? Is the worth of a soul these days so low to Mephistopheles? At least Faust got some concrete results.


Many people mistake the choice not to adopt 'civilized' mannerisms as
an indication of mental inferiority.

That is the same as what I meant when I said intelligence was a Leftist conceit. The idea that Obama was smart, that because I voted for Obama that means I am almost as smart, is a Leftist conceit. You could also call it their dogma, in line with Master Race ideas of a perfect Utopia.

I don't care if a voter is dumb or not. That's not their problem and it probably isn't even my problem, either. Because, as Sun Tzu once noted, even dumb people can be useful and play a greater part in a grand battle/war if the leaders are capable of utilizing human resources efficiently. Intelligence is, again, relative. A dumb person with the right virtues, say Bush that really looks like a village idiot when making speeches defending Iraq or attacking the Left's treasonous behavior, is much better than a "smart" person like John Fing Kerry that has no amount of virtues, no matter how far up his arse you search.

You should know the part about Bush I referenced, Grim.

Being labeled 'dumb' or an 'idiot' isn't a dis-qualifier in my preferred socio-economic circles. This is besides the point, however. Going back on track.

Many 'civilized' people feel themselves to be egalitarian, when in fact, they are very much like Romans. A people who's lifestyle relies on the existence of
A) a working/servant class,
B) a political/business system and
C) police/military

This is a crucial distinction. When people feel that Congress and politicians and their black/white President is doing things that are out of bounds, they understand implicitly that in the context of American social life, rules have been violated. But in the context of the Political Class, with their luxuries, bodyguards, servants, slaves, police protections, military protections, and patronage/favor system... it is BUSINESS As Normal.

At the same time, the Political Class believes that they will never be harmed, because that's just not done. And they can subdue the rest of America with 'words' and 'laws' and everything will be 'under control'. Alles in Ordnung, wasn't it.

On a more micro level, the incredulous reactions of some people here to the very idea of violence is on the same order. Violence doesn't happen in their life. Or if it does, it is initiated by criminals or thugs. So obviously the same must be elsewhere, right darou? Wrong.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 09:48 AM

"If I didn't know you all better, I'd think you all were planning a military coup and allowing yourselves to embolden by each other."

Denying that it is happening isn't going to help you or your friends out any.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 10:19 AM

Hm.

Your model would apparently have me as one of the Barbarian warriors who was allied with Rome, and happened to defend the Romans against the 'true' barbarians further afield. Which might be right; certainly, like Colan of Caerleon, I have a somewhat divided nature.

Yet it is clear that it is hard for some Romans to tell the difference. What I'm trying to accomplish is a kind of partition that would let them have a territory in which they were fully safe and secure -- Federalism would permit some states to become as liberal as the greatest liberal could desire, while leaving the central government enough authority to do those few necessary tasks to maintain the order of the whole.

It's apparently hard to tell the difference between a barbarian king that is trying to protect you, and one who might be thinking of killing you. If I say, "Violence threatens in this situation; here are some steps that we could take to resolve the danger," I'm apparently heard to say only, "Violence! Danger!"

Posted by: Grim at April 3, 2010 11:12 AM

"Your model would apparently have me as one of the Barbarian warriors who was allied with Rome, and happened to defend the Romans against the 'true' barbarians further afield."

Now that's even more complex ; )

That isn't my model. It is the model of Marc "Animal" McYoung and his wife Dianna Gordon MacYoung. I apologize to the Gods of academic scholarship if I implied that the material I quoted was my own work.

Instead of providing the link, I extracted the material here directly, because it is long and it gave me an opportunity to do some editing. The website itself, I think I linked it here and at your place before, is too large for someone to find their way given the time limited constraints of an internet discussion.

This is real research, as I would term. Something that takes long hours of a person's time.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 11:30 AM

If I say, "Violence threatens in this situation; here are some steps that we could take to resolve the danger," I'm apparently heard to say only, "Violence! Danger!"

Blogging is so much fun, neh?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 3, 2010 11:33 AM

Because that is the sum of what they *expect* to hear.

Acting on the basis of preconceived notions or prejudices in civilian life will usually lead to embarrassment.

Acting on them in a military situation will usually lead to getting yourself killed.

Posted by: BillT at April 3, 2010 11:35 AM

If I say, "Violence threatens in this situation; here are some steps that we could take to resolve the danger," I'm apparently heard to say only, "Violence! Danger!"

While I can't offer any all comprehensive solution to that issue, I can raise the question and point out that while top down solutions may not work for the masses, the potential for individual growth and improvement is there. The Tea Party has demonstrated that. As well as the sting raids on ACORN by O'Keefe and his lovely companion in infiltration.

Individuals can choose to self-improve or not. Even in this climate of Obama induced fear and instability. If they choose not to, then our only strategic options are to wait until somebody else, like AQ in Iraq, makes a mistake. A mistake that then motivates people to change their view of things and act differently.

"Yet it is clear that it is hard for some Romans to tell the difference."

Violence is hard. The costs to use it are almost as high as the costs of it having been used on you. Then again, if people already knew the hard facts of life, they wouldn't have voted to make themselves serfs to the Obamanation via Hope and Change. That's human foolishness for ya.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 11:35 AM

I'm apparently heard to say only, "Violence! Danger!"

Shooting those bouncing squirrels probably didn't help ; )

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 11:51 AM

Well, it's true that I'm willing to shoot things that pose a danger to my family. Part of the damage done -- and indeed, the way I became aware of the damage done -- was that the power steering shut down on the vehicle while I was driving it down the highway, making it suddenly very hard to steer. I managed it OK, though it required the application of the strength of both arms to move the wheel; if my wife had been driving, I'm not at all sure she would have had the strength. It could have resulted in her death, in very slightly different circumstances.

So yeah, the squirrels have to go. It's nothing personal. Someone else would probably put out poison, but where I grew up, every 12 year old boy had a .22 for shooting squirrels; and most boys here still do.

Posted by: Grim at April 3, 2010 12:14 PM

That sounds like a disease eradication program.

I also remember your response to what you would do if your family and the car they were in were surrounded by Critical Mass cyclists and they were beating in the doors and windows and scaring the children.

That was a good answer ; )

The difference in my reaction and another person's reaction, as I see it, is one of personal security. If you were brought up such that you had never known such weakness or it hadn't imprinted upon your psyche, and I think given your history that would be so, you wouldn't be very familiar with the mindset of those that have gone around always relying upon the protection of others, society, government, police, luck, etc.

Thus two issues are brought up. If they encounter somebody like you, there can only be two reactions. They can feel fear and maybe overreact with a threat display. Or they can submit due to the fear that you have overwhelming force and they have no defense, thus creating bitterness and a need to revenge oneself due to 'humiliation'. Or just lack of pride.

So long as they lack the capability and the confidence to take care of things on their own two legs or how many legs they have, that will always exist. While I do not agree that all cruelty comes from weakness, I do believe that kindness, compassion, and mercy come only from strength.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 12:21 PM

This is a slice I pieced off a good resource site on violent conflict. Not something Leftists were paid to know.

Ymarsaker - this was fascinating (but loooooooong) and I thank you for sharing. Will you also share the resource? ICBS

Posted by: I Call BS at April 3, 2010 03:21 PM

Since you asked, here it is.

Link

I haven't cataloged the site, but that last article probably constitutes less than 5% of the totality.

TFT's Unified Triad of violence was able to blender most of the complex extrapolations down to something more concrete for me. The site, as said in the intro, is designed to be navigated by going to the Hub of interest and then pealing back the onion layers. Other areas of interest would more specifically apply to law enforcement, aka LEO.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 3, 2010 05:09 PM

I'm sorry you can't read int[e]rnet web[s]ites, even when they are quoted here.

But nothing I can do about it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 6, 2010 05:01 PM

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