Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If You Didn't Mean It, Then Why the #### Did You Say It?

Getting a little sick of people in politics saying one thing and then, when questioned about it, saying "Naw, naw, it's a joke..."

Ted Nugent.  Was totally using a metaphor when he made a direct threat against the President.  Or something.

Kelle Lasn.  Has a publication called "Adbusters" which started the Occupy movement.  Supports overthrowing the US government and publishes articles advocating genocide as a solution to environmental problems.  It's cool, though, that masses of young people find his non-message just awesome.  He's gonna be weird, he's an artist, artists never... Wait, what?
Okay, maybe a little overstated... but then, maybe not.

I have to say I'm getting a little sick of "Naw, naw I was just joking..." from people trying to make nutty things sound sensible.

It came to mind from a "conversation" in my comments section: are neo-hippies as bad as the right who call for war?

And then it hit me: I've been reading some of this stuff for years.  I like to know about edgy political movements, what their beliefs are and how they propose to implement them.  But what Lasn is advocating - and Adbusters, and Occupy - is an overthrow of the government.

Now, whether or not they're serious or just playing around, they are marching the streets saying they want to overthrow the system.

Can anybody understand why someone might be made a little uneasy about that?

Particularly because they don't have any plan whatsoever what they want to do if they do successfully overthrow "the system"?

We've gotten so inured from both the left and right that we keep forgetting that... some stuff is serious.  Take the Teaparty flag below:

Really look at it.  It's pretty, um, serious.  I know it plays a role in our American history, but its role was to encourage people to overthrow the government.

Same goes with the Guy Fawkes masks: when you think about it, it's actually wearing the mask of a terrorist.

Now, maybe I'm totally off.  But seriously, what is up with this?

Why is it suddenly okay and not serious to make a threat against the President?  Why are people suddenly saying "Oh, don't be so judgmental of those people setting up tent cities and calling for an overthrow of the government"?

Am I nuts?  I don't seem to remember people being cool with this stuff as a kid.  I seem to remember that someone saying "I want to overthrow the government" meant... they wanted to overthrow the government.  Or hurt the president, or what have you.

What's the measure for "it is serious"?  Because I view what Nugent said as pretty serious.  I view what Occupy says as pretty serious.

Maybe I'm paranoid and nuts, but this seems pretty off and unusual behavior for Americans to me.


  1. Sure, there are lefty anarchists in the US.
    But if you check with those who track such things, there are a lot more right-wing hate groups, which have grown exponentially under Obama (not blaming him, btw). For every ecoterrorist that burns SUVs, you have a couple dozen militias, "sovereign citizens" (one of whom is a public servant in the Capital District and appeared on the front page of the Times Union.

  2. Part of that, imho, is a strong right-wing base. Compared to the left, the right is very large, and right-winged elements of the government, such as the military and police, are overwhelmingly supported by the public. I had a cite on your blog about this.

    My biggest fears are:

    - Discrediting and alienating people who would be generally supportive of Occupy-type causes, such as a change in banking regs

    - The build-up of small, militant left-wing factions, which can cause worse chaos in a right-wing society than you might imagine. See "Reichstag fire."

  3. But WHY is there a "strong right-wing base"?
    In any case, I'm more worried about "normal" people being sold on loss of freedom based on their concepts of God, guns, and, ironically, freedom.

  4. Wow. Great question. The easy way is to say that we were founded by war, but that's not quite right because Canada is left of us but pretty right wing compared to, for example, Europe. Australia's mixed and a lot like us: cities are much more left, but you get some crazy hard right wing people out in the country.

    It might have something to do with living a rural lifestyle.

    What do you think? Any ideas? Rich people tend to be right wing, but that doesn't take any big explanation (imho) because I think that's because they want their stuff protected. But why are so many rural people right wing?

  5. Well, the Tea Party is (much like the one in 1773) pretty much of a movement of entrepreneurs and small-to-medium sized businesses that are more tax-sensitive than folks getting a W-2 and far less able to hire someone to cope with regulations or have economies of scale in dealing with regulations.

    They want less taxation and fewer regulations because it benefits them, especially in dealing with larger competitors, who benefit routinely from regulatory capture. They have largely achievable goals within the democratic process of our Republic (as witnessed by 2010 election results).

    Occupy is a far more inchoate . . . and far more nihilistic . . . movement. They have no real plan, which decreases the possibility for any success within the democratic process and increases the chance that they might act out violently.

  6. "The build-up of small, militant left-wing factions, which can cause worse chaos in a right-wing society than you might imagine. See 'Reichstag fire.'"

    See also Badder-Meinhof Gang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Army_Faction)

  7. (1) How nicely you file your paperwork doesn't have a lot to do with anything. Nazis, for example, were very good at their paperwork. Most Tea Party are not Nazi-like, but there are undercurrents of things I don't like.

    (2) Yeah, Badder-Meinhof. In our own country, Weather Underground and the SLA. While they are things that we have to watch and protect against, I see them as police matters. I'm more worried about a left-wing group doing something large and violent and our right-wing nation overreacting to it.

    (3) Occupy... "It's about everything - and nothing, man!" For one thing, I think these kids have watched too many movies, most notably "Fight Club." I don't think most are serious and mostly just like causing a problem and getting noticed. However, it's easy for serious people to bump into each other, get funny ideas.

    A good place to look into the thought process behind anarchism is the University of Michigan's Ladabie Library, which is a rare collection of anarchist literature: http://www.lib.umich.edu/labadie-collection