The Tea Party, Anti-Government Militias, and the Mass-Man

There Is No Society Of Snakes
There Is No Society Of Snakes

Prelude

Once upon a time, there was a country, a place of great learning and thought, which underwent many social reforms, including the establishment of universal health coverage.  The government was lead by liberal reformers.  Conspiracy theories abounded, including: foreign powers were attempting to destroy the nation; that minorities had undermined the social structure and laws and were plotting to take over the country from within.  Citizens and former soldiers began to form private militias and political clubs to oppose the elected government and one another, and ostensibly to protect their class interests.  There were economic troubles that went from bad to worse – the citizens were fearful and anxious.

 

This country was called Deutschland – Germany .  The year was 1919, just after the disasters of the First World War, and the government in power was not Hitler’s NSDAP (the Nazi Party), which was little more than a gang of street thugs at the time.  No, it was The Weimar Republic led by the Social Democrats.

 

(A side note for those presently under the influence of the Tea Party propaganda that claims universal healthcare was a Nazi phenomenon – it wasn’t: it was a moderate liberal position established by law in Germany 11 years prior to Hitler’s rise to power).

 

For those readers who have a knee-jerk reaction to the word “liberal,” allow the writer to remind you that, in political terms, these German political liberals had far more in common with the British (after whom they modeled their new government) and the Americans – both with liberal forms of government in the 18th c. meaning of the word “liberal” – than they did with Marxists.  In fact, the German Communists hated them.  The extreme right-wing despised them and gave birth to the anti-Semitic paramilitary movement called the Freikorps, which prepared the way for the rise of Hitler’s Sturmabteilung – Storm Troopers – the Brown Shirt militia that fought in the streets and helped put him in power.

 

The real opposition to “liberalism,” in modern times, has not come so much from some vague thing called “conservatism” – which is truly a problematic term requiring far more examination as American mainstream conservatism itself clings to and depends upon liberal ideas – but from totalitarians, dictatorships, and from people willing to sell their freedom (political freedom is a modern liberal idea) in order to, ironically, be set free from the imaginary horrors of liberal democracy and constitutionally established law through force of arms.

The Problem Of The American Militia Movement

 

In times of crisis, violence is a seductive solution to human problems.  But if only it were that simple, that an appeal to violence was only some abnormal tool resorted to by human beings when they feel threatened.  It would also be an easier thing if we could say humans are simply violent by nature; then we could say, “Of course humans are seduced by violence, we’ve no real choice in the matter.”  Yet, neither of these is the case: Humans often have other tools in their repertoire besides violence for the solution to vital problems and the fact that we have ethics, laws, and civilization to, in part, oppose the resort to violence militates against the idea that we are simply “violent by nature.”

 

There remains for us questions: Why do humans pick up arms?  Are there better and worse reasons? 

 

And, for purposes of this essay, I am interested specifically in the present-day mania in the United States for forming private militias and the political factions which use the language of uprising and revolt for their own benefit.  As mentioned at the outset of this writing, these things have happened in the world before, using Germany of the 1920s as an example, intimating that the outcome was not a good one for that country.

 

What does the formation of militias, then, signify for our own country, our own immediate circumstances and for the future?  What does it say about the times, the dominant beliefs floating in the collective mental atmosphere of our country – their truth or falsity?

 

Our Present Circumstance

“To have an idea means believing one is in possession of the reasons for having it, and consequently means believing that there is such a thing as reason, a world of intelligible truths. To have ideas, to form opinions, is identical with appealing to such an authority, submitting oneself to it, accepting its code and decisions, and therefore believing that the highest form of intercommunication is the dialogue in which the reasons for our ideas are discussed. But the mass-man would feel himself lost if he accepted discussion, and instinctively repudiates the obligation of accepting that supreme authority lying outside himself. [….] This means that there is a renunciation of the common life based on culture, which is subject to standards, and a return to the common life of barbarism. All the normal processes are suppressed in order to arrive directly at the imposition of what is desired. The hermeticism of the soul which. . . urges the mass to intervene in the whole of public life, also inevitably leads to one single process of intervention: direct action.” [Jose Ortega y Gasset, 1930, “The Revolt of the Masses,” pg.74]

Though the philosopher Ortega was speaking specifically about the European situation of his day, he also diagnosed a universal symptom that arises in history when population levels increase and the masses mistake their unexceptional private desires for principles capable of leading societies and running states: they forgo giving reasons and thinking; they leave off reminding themselves why laws and traditions and institutions of all sorts they suddenly feel constrained by were established in the first place; they ignore the obligation to educate themselves appropriately and practice self-control; they support their feelings desires with mythologies and rumors, “what people say”; and, in the end, they resort to threats and the imposition of their collective will by a resort to violence – what Ortega calls above “direct action.”

Our situation in the United States is not, at this moment, as desperate as that of Europe when mass movements eventually led to the installation of “strong men” and totalitarian governments – Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco; no, we are not that far along . . . yet. But how do these things begin, movements that erode, cripple, then topple governments, including liberal democracies and their constitutions? Is that what is happening here, in America, in the early 21st Century?

Last week, we read this:

“OKLAHOMA CITY – Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

“Tea party movement leaders say they've discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers.

“"Is it scary? It sure is," said tea party leader Al Gerhart of Oklahoma City, who heads an umbrella group of tea party factions called the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. "But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?"

“Thus far, the discussions have been exploratory. Even the proponents say they don't know how an armed force would be organized nor how a state-based militia could block federal mandates. Critics also asserted that the force could inflame extremism, and that the National Guard already provides for the state's military needs.” [Sean Murphy and Tim Talley, Associated Press, 12 April 2010, “Okla. tea parties and lawmakers envision militia,” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100412/ap_on_re_us/us_tea_party_militia]

However, there is this most curious sentence in the Constitution of the United States from Article II, Section 2:

“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States. . . .”

So, assuming that, even if the 2nd Amendment did say citizens were to be armed in order to form “militias,” in context, it looks as if these military bodies were intended to serve the United States in times of extreme crisis, and that their one commander was to be the President of the United States – not politicians, governors, and not private citizens from a Tea Party movement. Also, in context, as the AP article states, it has come to pass in our country that the National Guard has now occupies the role of what was intended by the term “a well regulated militia” in the 2nd Amendment.

Yet the Tea Party representative claims that the right to bear arms was allowed by the Founders for the express sake of the various states to defend themselves from the Federal Government – as if the Federal Government, by definition, somehow is worse or less responsible or trustworthy than state governments: Federal Government is equated with tyranny.

“…[W]hen do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?” he asks in amazement. What exactly is it that this man means when he says this? Since the Civil War it has been a settled question in our country that the states are not entirely autonomous, that they may not secede from the union, and that they must abide by federal law. If they have legitimate complaints about federal laws, the states have recourse to the federal courts and must abide by the decisions of the judicial branch like everyone else.

States and citizens do not, under our system, have the right to form a private army independent of the Constitution, free from Federal oversight, to “somehow” “defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.”

Because the “somehow,” the only way such an armed group could achieve their ends, will be by taking to the streets with guns to apply direct action – that is, by imposing their will, not by rational argumentation, which they have foresworn, but by threats and violence.

It is not as if this Tea Party movement has exhausted its rights to free speech or has been prevented from exercising it – even to the point of being allowed to abuse civility and sense in exercising it. It is not as if this movement has been prevented from spreading rumors that: President Obama is not an American by birth; he is a closet Muslim; he is a socialist; he is a Nazi; he is a communist; he is a Marxist; he will enslave us all; he is the Antichrist; he is destroying freedom; he hates America; he is trying to create a one world government; and so forth.

No, these people, with their “Don’t Tread On Me” flags and placards and even racist signs are allowed to gather and march and use the internet and collect monies and run politicians for office. Many people do not like what they say or how they choose to say it. To be perfectly honest, I do not: the Tea Party hasn’t heard a crackpot theory it won’t stoop to adopt to use as fuel for its anger, as far as I can tell. It is utterly irresponsible in its use of political speech, it is uncivil, hateful; its methods of “discourse” – such as shutting down Town Hall Meetings by yelling and making threatening or sarcastic remarks en masse – are not fit for children, much less adults entrusted with citizenship. But no one is attempting to shut them up, least of all the government, federal or otherwise.

Yet, groups of them are bringing out the guns and joining or creating militias. They feel threatened, they say; their freedoms are under attack; America is in danger; the Constitution is being violated; the alleged independence of the states is being molested.

A New York Times/CBS poll of Tea Party activists on 15 April 2010 revealed, among other things:

“The overwhelming majority of supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves. More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public.

“They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.

“Asked what they are angry about, Tea Party supporters offered three main concerns: the recent health care overhaul, government spending and a feeling that their opinions are not represented in Washington.

““The only way they will stop the spending is to have a revolt on their hands,” Elwin Thrasher, a 66-year-old semiretired lawyer in Florida, said in an interview after the poll. “I’m sick and tired of them wasting money and doing what our founders never intended to be done with the federal government.”” [Kate Zernike and Megan Thee-Brenan, The New York Times, 15 April 2010, “Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated,” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/politics/15poll.html]

And:

“Ninety-two percent believe Mr. Obama is moving the country toward socialism, an opinion shared by more than half of the general public.

““I just feel he’s getting away from what America is,” said Kathy Mayhugh, 67, a retired medical transcriber in Jacksonville. “He’s a socialist. And to tell you the truth, I think he’s a Muslim and trying to head us in that direction, I don’t care what he says. He’s been in office over a year and can’t find a church to go to. That doesn’t say much for him.”” [ibid]

Yes, these are older white people, wealthier than most, a group whose members probably attended some college somewhere. What did they study? What did they learn? How much did they forget or reject out of deeply held prejudices? Their answers in this poll and the representative quotes in this article show nothing but irrational fear and a deep suspicion of anyone who pays attention to the racial problems in this country.

They are terrified they are losing control of the nation, frightened they may have to share power, horrified that their taxes may be spent to make society more equitable and more stable for the people as a whole. They are fundamentally angry that they will be made to take responsibility for the problems arising from poverty – they are over 50% more likely to make over $100,000 a year and will be damned before anyone asks them to take on any burdens of living in a society.

Unsurprisingly, they see plots everywhere. Plots to install “socialism,” plots to give power and money to black people and the “undeserving” poor, plots to force them to support Islam, disarm, bow to the authority of some vague “world government.” Speeches by people such as Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, a Tea Party favorite, have even gone so far as to whip up anger and fear of the Census by telling people that the intent of it was to provide the government with information to start a mass round up with the objective of tossing conservatives into concentration camps.

Is it any wonder, according to the poll and reporting on Chris Matthew’s show, “Hardball” on MSNBC, that 24% of the Tea Party believe that violence against the government can be justified?

Given such convictions, the entrance of some Tea Party factions into the militia movement – as in Oklahoma – should be unsurprising.

Though the philosopher Ortega was speaking specifically about the European situation of his day, he also diagnosed a universal symptom that arises in history when population levels increase and the masses mistake their unexceptional private desires for principles capable of leading societies and running states: they forgo giving reasons and thinking; they leave off reminding themselves why laws and traditions and institutions of all sorts they suddenly feel constrained by were established in the first place; they ignore the obligation to educate themselves appropriately and practice self-control; they support their feelings desires with mythologies and rumors, “what people say”; and, in the end, they resort to threats and the imposition of their collective will by a resort to violence – what Ortega calls above “direct action.”

Our situation in the United States is not, at this moment, as desperate as that of Europe when mass movements eventually led to the installation of “strong men” and totalitarian governments – Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco; no, we are not that far along . . . yet. But how do these things begin, movements that erode, cripple, then topple governments, including liberal democracies and their constitutions? Is that what is happening here, in America, in the early 21st Century?

Given such convictions, the entrance of some Tea Party factions into the militia movement – as in Oklahoma – should be unsurprising.

Some Side Notes On The Militia Movement

 

The broader militia movement, groups of loosely associated or independent groups of armed people generally on the far right-wing of the political spectrum, of course, pre-dates the Tea Party.  In fact, many of that movement’s general beliefs seem to be influencing some Tea Partiers, not the other way around.

 

In recent times, relatively speaking, the far left had its equivalents: the Yippees; the Weather Underground; the Symbionese Liberation Army.  The government cracked down on these, at times with good reason since they were committing acts of domestic violence and attempting to foment violent revolution. But the right-wing militias, since their rise in the 1980s out of the survivalist movement, have, by and large, been allowed to gather weaponry, train, and predict a day when the country will be overrun by foreigners, or the Constitution will be suspended in a national emergency by an overreaching president. 

 

Some of these militias are white supremacist gangs, neo-Nazis predicting a soon-coming race war they intend to win (among these are groups such as the National Alliance).  

 

Other groups have some sort of extreme religious, eschatological interpretation of history that predicts a confrontation between the “true believers” and the “forces of evil,” usually identified as the United Nations and the Federal Government.  (Note: The recently arrested Hutaree Militia in Michigan which planned to kill police officers and spark a general armed uprising was of this sort.)

 

Some groups have roots in tax protest groups that arose decades ago, such as the John Birch Society, seeing all taxation as “confiscatory,” legalized stealing, and are preparing to protect their property against government intrusion and redistribution of wealth, which they see as socialism or communism – even though the Constitution gave the Federal Government the ability to tax the populace from the start and was amended in 1913 to allow specifically for an income tax.

 

The particular doctrines of the groups are many and vary widely.  However, all of the militias, regardless of individualized beliefs, share certain features.  They are 2nd Amendment absolutists – they believe there can be no legal restriction on the ownership of any sort of weapon whatsoever: anything else is tyranny.  They see the world in bifurcated terms – it is Us, the righteous, against Them, the infidels, the evil, with no possibility of shades of right and wrong.  And the “Them” are plotting to herd people into some sort of “New World Order” or “One World Government,” leftist/socialist in nature.

 

They see the world as requiring, eventually, armed struggle against government, because government inherently limits absolute freedom to do whatever one wants.  All groups, while praising the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment, seem to have plans to change the Constitution or do away with it entirely should they succeed in their armed struggle, replacing it with “God’s Law” (which only they understand), fascism or Nazism, some sort of anarchistic individualism, or a severely limited national government with power shifted to states, counties, or towns; and so on.

 

These smaller, diverse groups plowed the fields that now bear the fruit of the Tea Party movement; and it is a return to the origins of their faith rather than a new development when Tea Partiers begin, as in Oklahoma, to discuss the creation of anti-governmental militias.

The Character Of Our New Revolutionaries

 “…the mass-man of to-day [possesses] two fundamental traits: the free expansion of his vital   desires and therefore, of his personality; and his radical ingratitude towards all that has made possible the ease of his existence.  These two traits make up the well-known psychology of the spoilt child.  [***] Heir to an ample and generous past – generous in both ideals and in activities – the new commonality has been spoilt by the world around it.  To spoil means to put no limit on caprice, to give one the impression that everything is permitted to him and he has no obligations.  [***] And these spoilt masses are unintelligent enough to believe that the material and social organization, placed at their disposition, like the air, is of the same origin, since it apparently never fails them, and is almost as perfect as the natural scheme of things.

                "[***]Thus is explained and defined the absurd state of mind revealed by these masses; they are only concerned with their own well-being; and at the same time they remain alien to the cause of that well-being.  [***] In the disturbances caused by scarcity of food, the mob goes in search of bread, and the means it employs is generally to wreck the bakeries.  This may serve as a symbol of the attitude adopted, on a greater and more complicated scale, by the masses to-day towards the civilization by which they are supported.” [brackets mine; Jose Ortega y Gasset, “Revolt of the Masses,” pgs. 58-60]

Those who have chosen to take up arms ostensibly to combat the expansion government fit Ortega’s diagnosis perfectly.  The Tea Partiers, older, wealthy, educated, fail to note that it was a very generous society indeed that made their position in life possible in the first place, else there would not be so many of them.  Social stability itself, which arose, in part, in this country by addressing the issues of poverty, and the social and political inequality that exists between the races played a large role in creating the circumstance that made their peaceful existence a reality.  And those things – and others like them – were established by acts of the federal authority, often dragging recalcitrant states, who were acting extra-legally (as in the case of Arkansas during school desegregation in the 1950s), from unjust positions towards more tolerable ones.

 

One wonders how many of the Tea Partiers benefitted from college grant programs and federally guaranteed school loans in the years when they were young.  One wonders how many are now kept alive by medicines that had their inception in government sponsored research.  One need not wonder so much as to how many of them benefit from Social Security or the protection of our legitimate military as the vast majority of Tea Partiers in the survey reveal they support paying taxes for both.  Which would be the height of hypocrisy if this segment of society were conscious enough to understand they are damning a thing out of one side of their mouths while clamoring to preserve it out of the other.

 

I mean this: The majority of the Tea Party are receiving or will receive Social Security benefits and Medicaid/Medicare, and they are satisfied with this, ecstatic, even, and do not support any cutbacks in these programs.  Yet, conservatives for decades, since the inception of these programs have called them “socialism,” Marxist, encroachments on freedom – just as they now call any move towards public health care and universal coverage the same things.  But the benefits of Social Security are such that its recipients are generally quite happy to receive them and benefit greatly from the program: even Tea Partiers, obviously.  But why is Social Security a good thing and no perceived threat to anyone’s alleged sovereignty, yet the new health care law enough to drive the same people to form militias or disrupt normal political discourse with threats and screaming?

 

One wonders, following Ortega’s theory, if it isn’t because these people grew up with Social Security and see it as “natural,” as something that is simply “there” to be relied upon and taken for granted, paying no mind to the thinking and political labor that went into establishing it, and the historical problems it answered.  And universal health care is a new thing and they have witnessed a part of the long effort, debates, negotiations, and fights required to get the bill through Congress – a process few if any of them are equipped to understand fully, in its broader context.

 

And, perhaps, health care reform has not solved many of the Tea Partiers personal problems.  That is one of the hallmarks of the mass-man, as Ortega calls people who place no special requirements or burdens upon themselves: they see the world as at their individual service – they have no conception of others or requirements of any sort from which they do not feel they immediately benefit.  They want to run society without taking on all the responsibilities demanded of genuine leaders: the ability to think beyond one’s personal desires, taking into account the needs of all members of society and the needs of the as yet not arrived generations; a sense of history and why institutions and traditions we have inherited were established in their various forms, and an understanding when these need to be reformed or replaced.

 

As long as he benefits, the mass-man is happy.  But the moment he is handed a responsibility for which he feels no personal need, the mass-man revolts under the pressure of having to bear a burden.  How dare anyone limit my freedom!  Don’t tread on me!  Yet, ironically, he is not content to yell his protests from the privacy of his home, leaving the problems of government and society to people truly equipped for the task.  No – he wishes to dictate how government should be run, how society is to be ordered, and, unsurprisingly, as he has no creativity in this area and has made no effort to educate himself, the mass-man’s loudest demand is that government and social institutions should resemble his own self-satisfied image: they should only benefit him alone and they should never make demands upon him.

 

And if he cannot have his way, he will wreck the institutions, he will scream in the streets, he will perhaps, in the end, resort to threats of violence and end in acts of armed insurrection and secession.

Last Word

 

I have little to say as to whether this will be the outcome of our present political tension in America.  I am no prophet.  Past nations and peoples have not fared well once groups began to choose to act in this fashion.  In the United States itself, we once fought one another in a destructive Civil War due to many of these tendencies – a war whose effects are still reverberating through the militia movement and even in the Tea Party rhetoric. 

 

Or, perhaps, this group and its conservative fellow travelers will come to power.  What then?  How will they rule?  Who will they choose to rule?  Can a movement with such conflicted ideas about power and responsibility do anything with power except destroy the delicate work of years, just as we witnessed the Bush administration bend and break the law, wreck the economy, benefiting a select few, or fight a war in Iraq and conduct foreign policy based on personal motives and desires?

 

I think we are left with some somber questions.  And questions call for meditation.

 

Richard Van Ingram

16 April 2010

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Comments 6 comments

Richard VanIngram profile image

Richard VanIngram 6 years ago from San Antonio, Texas Author

tdarby -- Thank you again for your thoughtful comments. This is the sort of conversation I enjoy most when people read my essays -- a discussion and comparison of ideas and theories. I was on the road last week, or I'd have responded sooner. The subject of government, the limits of government, the nature of ethics, and the extent to which morality may be properly legislated at this point in history constitute, in fact, two essays I have been working on and will appear soon -- hopefully this week. Thank you for the references to Bastiat as I will look up his book -- his work is in the tradition of the laissez faire theorists in economics, and any diiscussion of law in America at this moment will have to address the influence of those theorists on the present situation, which is strong.

The laissez faire theorists, I think, operate under an extremely optimistic vision of reality and humanity and are probably the most utopian of the classical libereral tradition born in the 18th c. Their belif is that markets are completely self-regulating and that society automatically evolves and progresses under necessary laws that are "natural" -- notions I have many problems with as history militates against their complete truthfulness. I will try to address these issues in my essays.

Again, thank you for reading my writing with such thoughtfulness.


tdarby profile image

tdarby 6 years ago

Richard, well written and extremely interesting hub. I agree with your thoughts that the majority of people think the world is "at their service" and exists merely to fulfill their needs. And actually, this is my biggest concern with the move towards more legislated morality by our current and past administrations. Before the 1900's, there was little if anything the government of the United States did in the realm of welfare. All welfare efforts were done by individuals and small groups (ie churches, clubs, etc.) Since the early 1900's, the US has steadily moved towards more "legislated" morality--by this I mean they decide if I am required to help others or not by taxing and redistributing based on the government's belief of who needs it or not. Now, this movement concerns me because when they force (tax is a form of force) an individual to be moral (to share in this case) they begin to lose the strength of character that comes with sharing as a result of one's own volition. The other problem that results from large scale welfare initiatives is that those benefited are more likely to stay a recipient as opposed to becoming a contributor. Let me give an example.

Pre 1900's. I lose my job. My local neighbors pitch in and help me. Or a local church steps in and helps me. I face these people as they hand me support. It is much more difficult for me to continue accepting their assistance if I am not doing everything in my power to get out and find a meaningful way to fulfill my needs by myself because they know me and know if I am really trying my hardest to "find work".

Post 1900's--I lose my job. I begin to get assistance from a government program. It is impersonal. If I meet the requirements, I keep getting assistance. FOR AS LONG AS THE PROGRAM LASTS. There is no awkwardness in accepting the assistance (assistance that actually comes from people's taxes but has been processed through the govt. and has no real personal ties to it anymore) and more people are willing to accept more help for a longer period of time. The more the government gives, the more people will take. But the problem is that the government is taking from us, because it isn't something separate, the government is "the people". Anyone interested in this line of thinking may be interested in a book available for free on the internet. It was written by Frederic Bastiat and is called, The Law. It was written in 1850, a couple of years after the Third French Revolution. I pulled this quote from Wikipedia, it is the second and third paragraphs,

"In The Law, Bastiat states that "each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property". The State is a "substitution of a common force for individual forces" to defend this right. The law becomes perverted when it punishes one's right to self-defense in favor of another's acquired right to plunder.

Bastiat defines two forms of plunder: "stupid greed and false philanthropy". Stupid greed is "protective tariffs, subsidies, guaranteed profits" and false philanthropy is "guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, progressive taxation, free credit, and public works". Monopolism and Socialism are legalized plunder which Bastiat emphasizes is legal but not legitimate."

What concerns me right now is that when you read these paragraphs by Bastiat, what of these things is our government not doing? They are engaged in every single one of them. I believe we need to push out of office those from both parties who continue to spend recklessly and have no legitimate plan to pay off what we are spending as a country.


basic 6 years ago

Opinion Duck lives in obliviousness. Enjoy that while you can - it must be nice...


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

RV

Your points are not convincing.

Torture versus interrogation, even waterboarding is comparable to what people have gone through when captured by these terrorists. Death, decaptitation, real torture.

Wiretapping, thats a biggy.

Where is the proof that Bush lied or was it an interpretation of the intel he had received?

Our history has brought us to where we are today, and that is not a good place to be.

Yes, you are light on substantiation, and heavy on conjecture.

The body of your essay didn't have much more than your comment.

The second amendment is not replaced by the National Guard.

Especially today, where most of the National Guard is not even in this country.

I suspect that you are from Great Britain originally.

:()


Richard VanIngram profile image

Richard VanIngram 6 years ago from San Antonio, Texas Author

Opinion Duck: The courts have found in the past two weeks that the Bush administration's wiretapping program was illegal. The courts and legislature and the executive branch have found that "extreme interrogation techniques," aka torture, are illegal and are now forbiden. The lawyers that drew up the legal opinions making them "legal" were censured last month. Extreme rendition, aka kidnapping, has been found illegal and is no longer part of our policy. The war in Iraq was sold to the public on motives shown to be lies that the Bush administration understood were untrue and unlikely. The Bush administration marginalized and alienated our European allies -- what Rumsfeld called "old Europe" and dismissed as being behind the times -- simply because they would not rubber stamp Bush's doctrine of preemptive warfare (a doctrine completely outside the American position which has historically been one of defence, not aggression). Need any more substantiation?

How about the body of my essay, not the concluding sentence, which was not the thesis of the writing?


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

Bush administration bend and break the law, wreck the economy, benefiting a select few, or fight a war in Iraq and conduct foreign policy based on personal motives and desires?

Pehaps, you might consider substantiating these allegations.

=:()

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