Sunday, January 03, 2016


One of the results of the degradation of language and of journalistic laziness in America is the inability to find words that accurately describe things, and consequently conversation tends to become trapped in the struggle to describe what's going on with a limited choice of words rather than to discuss what to do about it.

"What do we call this" asks the Press.  Is the armed occupation of a Federal building by a group attempting to force the Federal Government to give in to their wishes and to stop due process at gunpoint "terrorism?"  It's hard to answer the question -- as hard as it is to find it relevant.  The question of whether anyone in the isolated and vacant building, or indeed in Washington feels a sense of terror is moot.  The question of whether it's armed insurrection cries out for an answer even if all the journalists lack the vocabulary to give one.

Are these "good guys with guns" "protesting"  unfair actions and policies of the Government or are they an ad hoc and illegitimate militia staging an armed attack on the United States?  The story may be too complex for simple minds, but it includes misappropriation of public resources, arson and destruction of evidence,  and although no shots have as yet been  fired: Rebellion.  We've seen it before: the Whisky Rebellion, Shay's rebellion, the Wilmington Rebellion of 1898 and others are blemishes on the face of democracy and constitutional government, some of which were factors in the drafting of the Second Amendment. Was the attack on Fort Sumter an act of domestic terrorism or an act of war?  Did it suggest the use of policemen or of the Military?

All the rifle rattling of recent years, promoted and praised by various right-wing movements and their lackeys in Congress and the Press has allowed enemies of  civilization to hide behind a screen of misleading rhetoric as the Klansmen hide behind sheets while bypassing law and order for personal gain.  The idea has been promoted that continual rebellion is progress and that revolution, as Mao Zedong told us, speaks from the muzzle of a gun.  "We don't like the results of that election, so warm up the Winchester Bubba, we're gonna take over the courthouse." That's just the kind of patriotism the Founding Fathers had in mind, say the guys in camouflage while the ghosts of the Bolsheviks smile down in Hell.

There's a word for this when the guns are in the hands of a foreign entity:  War.  There are words for it when "sovereign" citizens confront our government with force of arms: Rebellion, Treason, Insurrection, revolution. Choose one, choose them all, but none of them are patriotic. All are enemies of the basic premises of  our government. All of it assumes that the laws that ensure our freedom are the enemies of freedom and that only the armed are free.  It's time to face facts, to stop whimpering, to identify the enemy and deal with him harshly.

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