Patriotism and Political Self-Defense
After 41 days, the takeover of the Oregon federal facility by armed militants is finally over as the four remaining holdouts surrendered peacefully this past Thursday. Discretion being the better part of valor, no one went out in a blaze of glory, despite their many pronouncements to the contrary. This is not to say however, that the surrender was without melodrama.
In a long, confusing online rant, 27-year-old David Fry complained of his taxes paying for abortions and his marijuana being taken away. He insisted on one more cookie and cigarette before surrendering and requested that everyone shout hallelujah as he walked out the door. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/3-holdouts-at-ore-wildlife-refuge-surrender-one-balks/ar-BbpngGv?ocid=ansmsnnews11. Nothing says patriotism and love of country like cigarettes, marijuana and a good hallelujah.
Still, the militant movement should be taken seriously. The goals of right-wing?militia groups like the Oath Keepers, the 3 Precenter’s and the Christian Ideology Movement may vary, including anti-tax, anti-immigration, survival-ism, white supremacy, southern restoration, libertarianism and sovereign citizenship. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wikiMilitia_organizations_in_the_United_States. Yet, they all share a common ideology and represent a growing threat to our peace and stability.
Rump militias, so named in order to distinguish them from state sanctioned military forces see the federal government as the enemy. Their theology teaches that as part of a left-wing global conspiracy known as the New World Order the U. S. government is destined for tyranny and that the danger of this oppression is so imminent and evil that it must be resisted by any means necessary, including preemptive armed violence.
This is the doctrine of political self-defense a philosophy that is allegedly supported by the Second Amendment, which guarantees the weapons necessary for armed resistance and the oath taken by the military and police to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, thus how the Oath Keepers derived their name.
It is significant that the rump militia dislikes foreign foes. It is more significant that they detest and abhor those they consider domestic enemies, especially the federal government.
Because of the purity and nobility of their purpose, rump militia believe themselves unbound by legal convention. The Oath Keepers regularly encourages it members to disobey any law that they consider unconstitutional. These courageous defenders of the constitution, these true patriots can therefore break any law they chose and even overthrow the government if necessary. They can threaten and shot law enforcement officials, take over public lands or seize federal compounds. Those who disagree are unpatriotic at best and must also be preemptively and/or violently opposed. We of course see things differently.
We know that America is imperfect. The original birth defect of slavery and other historic wrongs have left us embittered and divided. Some can’t forget the difficult past while others wish to forget it.
We know that justice is unkind. Those in New Hampshire who experience drug addiction need help while those in Chicago deserve prison.
When college basketball star Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose, the reaction was to punish the cocaine ingested by African-Americans?(crack), 100 times more harshly than that preferred by whites (powder), even though the two forms of cocaine are one and the same. This artificial distinction resulted in the mass incarceration of African-Americans while giving a relative pass to white drug users.
We realize that America is changing and empathize with those who bemoan the loss of what they once knew.
However, while the federal government may at times overreach, it is not tyrannical. We still have the right to vote, free elections, trials by jury and a panoply of other legal protections. Our guns have not been confiscated and our churches have yet to be closed.
Moreover, Mr. Fry’s marijuana complaint has nothing to do with the federal government. Rather, it was the Ohio voters who took his weed by last year turning down a bill to legalize the drug. And none have the right to pick and choose how their taxes are spent. If so, we too have a list of demands. This brings us to the point of this essay.
Patriotism or the love of country is not demonstrated by acts of violence and contempt directed against the nation or what it represents. Patriotism does not include the shooting of police, five of whom have been recently killed in the line of duty.
There are many Americans who hate America, including those who call themselves patriots. We are not amongst them. For all it many faults, historic and current, we can think of no better place to be than the good ole USA.
So rather than destroy or demean, we should roll up our sleeves and fix what is broken. Rather than overturn or overrun, let us improve what should be improved and work to make the nation better.
In conclusion, the Oregon militants and those like them are not courageous. They are instead confrontational, even irrational. They are not principled, their many representations notwithstanding. They are instead delusional. And they are anything but patriotic.
Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum