Public reactions to the standoff between the supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management in the Nevada desert have fallen mostly into two camps: 1) The federal government is overreaching and should leave this hardy individual alone; or 2) Bundy is a welfare rancher who is defrauding the tax payer.
Not surprisingly option 1 is the most common among people who type into comments fields on the Internet and write letters to the editors of newspapers.
Which is very interesting. What we have here is a person who has unilaterally decided which laws apply to him and which do not and is ignoring court orders he doesn’t like. A person who has stated publicly that he does not believe in the federal government. And this individual has now attracted a bunch of like-minded people who apparently believe they are the nucleus of a civil war.
This is the Weltanschauung that led to the Oklahoma City Bombing, a retread of a mindset that’s been around America for a long time, the idea that the federal government outlined in the constitution is somehow the enemy of freedom.
While we put ice packs on our foreheads to soothe the headache trying to parse that particular logic causes, let’s think about the sheer amount of slack these kinds of extremists are given. Remember: You consider the federal government to be the enemy of freedom while you are an American patriot fighting for that freedom. And the people who write letters to the editor of newspapers think you are correct.
Let’s do a quick thought experiment: Let’s say the people of Bunkerville were Black Panthers and that it was a group of black men with military training pointing automatic rifles at federal agents. How would the people writing letters to the editor about freedom and states’ rights feel about that?
Or, heck why not, let’s say it was a group of bearded Arabs in turbans doing the same thing, ranting about not acknowledging the federal government? While pointing sniper rifles at federal agents.
Think about that one for a while. How do you think that would play out?
So why does America cut anti-government extremists a ton of slack as long as they’re white?
After all these years, Nic still can’t understand the American attitude to healthcare.
The Occupy movement, the Tea Party, and now Trump. America is angry.
Nic has never been more worried for the future of America.
The GOP base is searching for a new Evil Empire to fight.
Did you know the U.S. government is planning to invade Texas? Well, it’s not. Nic attempts to explain.
The Republic prints another sad editorial about net neutrality. Nic’s regard couldn’t be any lower.
The Arizona Republic prints a willfully ignorant editorial against net neutrality. It makes Nic unhappy.
Nic tries to understand why people choose to live lives of fear and anger.
The American voting system is stuck in a time warp. This makes Nic sad.
There are ways to fix the illegal immigration problem. They don’t involve yelling at children in buses. Nic explains.
Game of Thrones and The First Law Trilogy illustrate the different ways England and America are dealing with fading empires.
It’s way easier to be an extremist in America if you’re white.
The idea that both the left and the right in America are getting more extreme is false. Here’s why.
The standard right-wing approach to privatizing public goods like education and health care.
The Arizona Republic editorial board thinks the young ’uns are lazy.
If things are in balance, there should be Marxists.
Nic tries to understand the Tea Party. Predictably, it doesn't go well.
Nic immigrated to an America that looks to the future and uses science and engineering to make the world as great as possible. And then there's another America.
The harrassment charges against Cain and the sad kabuki theater of the Republican nominations.
Campaign season is gearing up in America and Nic has some thoughts on the endless primaries ahead.
Political news coverage in America tends to be abysmal. Nic explores why.