Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sagebrush Rebellion

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but YHWH pondereth the hearts.

Proverbs 21:2

It seems a bit pretentious to call it a rebellion or to call the participants patriots for participating in an armed sit-in as we used to call it back in the day.  "Highfalutin' " you might call it: rhapsodizing about sleeping under the stars and saddlin' up your horse, since one is still quite welcome to do that. Indeed I've done that myself although the horse was iron and didn't need saddling. The event that precipitated the Malheur occupation had more to do with arson of Federal Property than a camping trip or the right to enjoy the great outdoors.  It has more to do with the perceived right to exploit common resources for individual profit.

LaVoy Finicum, said by his family to be a gentle and kind man was killed yesterday in an armed confrontation with FBI agents. Although I don't know the details, I'm rather certain he died in vain, defending a nostalgic idea of freedom drawn from romantic fiction but also drawn from a relic of the days of anti-Communist hysteria. Strutting around with firearms on Federal property is more like something extracted from a Zane Fray novel that a political statement. Fiction, romance, free-range nostalgia and maybe a bit of the Bible thrown it to remind us of a time before government and "every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

You might see it as paranoia, the assertion that our government must by nature abridge our freedom continuously if not wantonly, and that there is no process for addressing grievances except in the old way, the frontier way, the fantasy way of the gun and by pretending that the legitimacy of government is an individual choice and not that of  the voting population.  The sovereign citizen is not part of our law and never was.  The idea of continuous revolution that "speaks from the muzzle of a gun"  is an argument found in the little red books the Red Guard used to carry,  not in our Constitution, but I'm used to seeing the words of Marx and Mao supported by people who think they're opposing Communism and seeing it everywhere.

But attaching noble purpose to the banal and even to the ridiculous is the stuff  of religion and politics, from terrorists "protecting' their almighty God to the claim of immunity to the law conveyed by "belief."  That noble purpose behind the Oregon occupation seems to be supported by a strange edition of the US constitution annotated by one W. Cleon Skousen, an anti-Communist crusader supported it seems by Glenn Beck which makes all kinds of  claims about whom the law pertains to and what the constitution allows and doesn't. You may be old enough to remember that Cleon was one of those loonies claiming Dwight Eisenhower was a Communist agent.  It's a book that's been distributed through Mormon sources and printed by the millions. It's a book carried by Cliven Bundy and others of his ilk

This madness lives on, lures people into a Quixotic epic including heroes with tin-pot helmets making suicidal attacks on the entire concept of Government.  That the United states was never intended to be for anyone but Christians who live as they please and do no more than what is right in his own eyes is at the heart of this "rebellion" and I would sooner call it a fugue, a fantasy and a fraud.  At heart though it's also religion and supported by a religion with separatism as it's legacy and hostility toward "gentiles" as it's heritage. 

Perhaps YHWH will weigh some hearts here, perhaps not, but the law will certainly weigh actions

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