Monday, March 1, 2010


Hazmat Team Called to IRS Building in Utah

Details are still sketchy, but apparently two people were carried out on stretchers from an IRS facility and a Hazmat team was called in.

If this turns out to be another attack, let me reiterate my position: This is foolish. Ask yourself this: Why does it even make sense for the government to engage in "false flag" operations (whether or not you think it actually does this)? Because this allows the government to expand its power over a terrified citizenry.

I grant you, average people are less scared from attacks on the IRS as opposed to, say, the subway. But violence is the government's game. I strongly disagree with the strategy--let alone the morality--of those who think it's time to fight the US government.

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That is my general objection to violence as a solution -- it tends to scare people. And scared people, like cornered rats, tend to strike out in surprisingly vicious ways, in a modern democracy demanding of their representatives that their representatives "do something", which generally results in their representatives "doing something" alright -- i.e., handing the keys to the Caddy to the security services, giving them more power over the citizenry.

And the sad thing is that often the citizenry even celebrates this fact. I recall an incident recounted on Bruce Schneir's blog where a person waiting in a security checkpoint line at an airport derisively referred to it as security theatre. He was immediately confronted by a crowd of people similarly waiting in line, demanding of him, "do you want airplanes to be hijacked again?!" The reality that the 9/11 hijacking was a one-off because passengers will never allow an airliner to be hijacked again simply did not register with the citizenry. They wanted security... and they got it, with Patriot Acts, security theater at airports where goons demand "Your Papers Please", and so forth.

So if you're a Libertarian or anarchist type thinking that attacking a government office is a good idea... stop. Just stop. You're hurting your cause when you do things like that, because the majority of people simply don't like violence, and will give government whatever power government demands in order to stop violence. That's just how it works, folks.
Dr. Murphy, you well may be right about the moral aspect of it. But I do think the founders had armed resistance in mind when they wrote the bill of rights.
As for me, my reason for having serious doubts regarding the armed approach is that the problems which got us here are still in place. Widespread ignorance of civics and biblical morality. This ALWAYS brings me around to wondering what God is (or isn't) doing in this country. Just how accurate are those reports showing the country falling apart after the removal of school prayer?
Anyway, it could all be moot speculation. How many misguided guys does it take...the airplane/IRS guy reminded me of John Brown/Harpers ferry. We could all get caught up in some big thing not of our own choosing.
Bob Murphy said:

"But violence is the government's game."

Add Bob's comments from the IRS Austin article:

"...Is the IRS not going to be able to recruit people? Of course not, it will (if anything) just mean that the IRS has to lower the bar further."

"It is foolish to try to fight the government on their terms, using violence. They are professionals; they thrive on it. You will never be as ruthless as the people employed by the government."

Here is the response posted to that article:

Lower the bar??? Did you read about the IRS Agent that was killed??

His family, who are Christians, forgave the man who killed their father/husband.

Lower the bar????

You went on to say:

"It is foolish to try to fight the government on their terms, using violence. They are professionals; they thrive on it. You will never be as ruthless as the people employed by the government."

Wow. I am very disheartened to read that from you. It is obvious that you do not realize that " the people employed by the government" also volunteer in their community, coach kids baseball basketball, soccer teams etc., are involved in their churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.

Oops, that's right, I forgot, you said that they were "ruthless".

Anon: Any government, regardless of whether it is a democracy or a tyranny or something inbetween, reserves the use of violence against people within its boundaries to the government itself. As such the government maintains a large security apparatus that far outclasses any group of individuals that could ever decide they were going to "fight the power" with violence, and because the USA is a democracy (a representative republic, actually, but let us not split hairs here), this government power operates with a legitimacy in the eyes of the people that applications of government power in an outright tyranny does not have.

This is reality. Object to it all you wish, but this is it. While violence against an illegitimate authority clearly was part of what our founding fathers envisioned, the fact that our leadership was elected by the majority of voters tends to remove those questions of legitimacy as far as the majority is concerned, and if a minority wishes to dispute the majority's decision with violence, we have a term for that: *suicide*. And useless suicide at that.
Bad Tux, I fully comprehend what you're saying, and, with people being so security oriented, you make sense.
OTOH, just what would the FF consider illegit? Would they tolerate this federal gang for 5 minutes? While they set up the apparatus for elections, they also had an armed citizenry in mind. Did they think we would elect a monarch?
OTOH, the elected officials we have are the fruit of this society, I can't see how clearing the lot of them out will have any long term benefits. So I guess the only way to get around an inherent contradiction is to see it as a house divided against itself.
As I said before, I don't know that my opinion matters, how likely is stasis with forces this big at play?

I saw your comments then and I see them now. I don't understand what your point is. I wasn't saying that every single employee of government at all levels is ruthless, I was saying that the people the government would call on in a civil insurrection would be far more ruthless than the people they were putting down.
Jim, you ask an interesting question, for which I do not know the answer. The answer that the civil rights activists of the 1950's arrived at was using non-violent means to reduce the legitimacy of the segregation governments in the South. But this was only possible because the media was dominated by Northerners and was willing to show pictures of donut munching deputies with big bellies whacking well-dressed black men in their Sunday best over the head with their billy clubs, thereby rendering the segregation governments of the South illegitimate in the eyes of most of the North. And I'll point out that when Malcolm X and others turned to violence in the 1960's, it was the end of the Civil Rights movement as a force in American politics -- the majority turned away from the movement, and it basically disintegrated into just another self-entitled special interest group.

I am not sure how that is going to help with your gripes with the current government though. Our government simply doesn't do much brutalizing, with the exception of those in our drug gulags, who by and large are not nice people so it is hard to get people upset about their treatment. Convincing the average American that there are large numbers of peaceful non-violent Americans being victimized by government oppressors and thus the government is illegitimate and people should take up arms against their oppressors is going to be hard, given that, well, our current government just doesn't seem to do much brutalizing of peaceful non-violent Americans. The best bet that I can come up with for your problem, at the moment, is to try to change the public discourse towards a more freedom-oriented discourse and then achieve your goals at the ballot box. But given that the majority have clearly chosen safety over freedom, I have absolutely no idea who you would accomplish that.

- Badtux the Baffled Penguin
I often wonder if firing on Fort Sumter was a really bad PR move. I wonder too if anyone in Googleland has put together a concise list of successful non violent revolutions.

"I shall return"...(Lord willing!)
Yes, firing on Fort Sumpter was a really bad PR move. I doubt the outcome would have been different otherwise though, that was just the first of many many mistakes that unelected President Jefferson Davis (who was never elected President by the voters of the Confederacy) made during the course of the war.

Regarding non-violent revolutions, we have one here in the USA every four years. It's called an ELECTION. Google "Revolution of 1800"...
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