Oregon militia

Jan 7, 2016

Mass attitudes towards the other are influenced by the Media. In this day and age of information overload our brains are struggling to keep up with the demands of the digital age. Moreover, the Media is not a neutral player, but an instrument of the power elite.  Thus, we are ripe for the simplifying power of the sound bite and the Media is more than willing to provide us with a boogeyman .
The neat and sharp-focused World offered by the establishment  – where God is on our side, and The Others are evil Muslims and political correct Marxists conspiring to take away our freedom and wealth-  is compelling and comforting; we have the firepower to do what needs to be done.
While the political ideology of the Tea Party is not an exact match of the European fascism of the 1930´s, there are troubling parallels between the events that lead to the Second World War and the circumstances of the early Twenty-First Century. The Tea Party movement shares with Fascism an obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, and victim-hood, as well as compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants embrace a credo of violence and ideology-driven armed militias .
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants:
Thomas Jefferson.
Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.   It sounds like sedition.  There is a not only idle talk, there is a trail of actual terrorist activity. The Hutterite militia in Michigan was planning to kill police officers but they had not actually done anything violent before they were arrested, and their ultimate goal was to war against the anti-Christ.  Timothy McVeigh in 1995 blamed the US Government for attacks against American citizens at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with our weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed. They see themselves as law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box, and that that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. Fools playing with fire; a fire that will get us all burned.
In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”
Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”
More guns were sold in December 2015 than almost any other month in nearly two decades, continuing a pattern of spikes in sales after terrorist attacks and calls for stricter gun-buying laws, according to federal data released on Monday.
The heaviest sales last month, driven primarily by handgun sales, followed a call from President Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone, according to an analysis of federal background check data by The New York Times.
During the previous record month, December 2012, President Obama called for new buying restrictions after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Several days ago a group of right wing militiamen stormed a building on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. The group is engaged in an armed occupation claiming to be opposing the U.S. government for perceived violations of their rights. They have also made the demand that two rancher brothers convicted of arson, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, be released from prison. The 150-man strong occupation force is being led by three of Cliven Bundy’s sons, specifically Ammon Bundy. As you may recall they were engaged in an armed standoff with the F.B.I. in 2014 over a dispute involving cattle grazing land.

The militia men are arguing that they should own public land simply because they feel the government hasn’t been kind to them. Their goal is to build private businesses on the protected land. They’re trying to take away land that is being held in common for their own exploitation of it.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.” The White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.

“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.

Law enforcement officials said that the occupiers came to the region with a specific goal:

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

Clownish as such stunts unquestionably are, it bears remembering that the activities of such violent abolitionists as John Brown looked just as pointless in their time; their importance was purely as a gauge of the pressures building toward civil war—and that’s exactly the same reading I give to the event just described. The era of rural and urban guerrilla warfare, roadside bombs, internment camps, horrific human rights violations by all sides, and millions of refugees fleeing in all directions, that will bring down the United States of America is still a little while off yet.

Jan 7, 2016

Mass attitudes towards the other are influenced by the Media. In this day and age of information overload our brains are struggling to keep up with the demands of the digital age. Moreover, the Media is not a neutral player, but an instrument of the power elite.  Thus, we are ripe for the simplifying power of the sound bite and the Media is more than willing to provide us with a boogeyman .
The neat and sharp-focused World offered by the establishment  – where God is on our side, and The Others are evil Muslims and political correct Marxists conspiring to take away our freedom and wealth-  is compelling and comforting; we have the firepower to do what needs to be done.
While the political ideology of the Tea Party is not an exact match of the European fascism of the 1930´s, there are troubling parallels between the events that lead to the Second World War and the circumstances of the early Twenty-First Century. The Tea Party movement shares with Fascism an obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, and victim-hood, as well as compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants embrace a credo of violence and ideology-driven armed militias .
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants:
Thomas Jefferson.
Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.   It sounds like sedition.  There is a not only idle talk, there is a trail of actual terrorist activity. The Hutterite militia in Michigan was planning to kill police officers but they had not actually done anything violent before they were arrested, and their ultimate goal was to war against the anti-Christ.  Timothy McVeigh in 1995 blamed the US Government for attacks against American citizens at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with our weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed. They see themselves as law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box, and that that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. Fools playing with fire; a fire that will get us all burned.
In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”
Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”
More guns were sold in December 2015 than almost any other month in nearly two decades, continuing a pattern of spikes in sales after terrorist attacks and calls for stricter gun-buying laws, according to federal data released on Monday.
The heaviest sales last month, driven primarily by handgun sales, followed a call from President Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone, according to an analysis of federal background check data by The New York Times.
During the previous record month, December 2012, President Obama called for new buying restrictions after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Several days ago a group of right wing militiamen stormed a building on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. The group is engaged in an armed occupation claiming to be opposing the U.S. government for perceived violations of their rights. They have also made the demand that two rancher brothers convicted of arson, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, be released from prison. The 150-man strong occupation force is being led by three of Cliven Bundy’s sons, specifically Ammon Bundy. As you may recall they were engaged in an armed standoff with the F.B.I. in 2014 over a dispute involving cattle grazing land.

The militia men are arguing that they should own public land simply because they feel the government hasn’t been kind to them. Their goal is to build private businesses on the protected land. They’re trying to take away land that is being held in common for their own exploitation of it.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.” The White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.

“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.

Law enforcement officials said that the occupiers came to the region with a specific goal:

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

Clownish as such stunts unquestionably are, it bears remembering that the activities of such violent abolitionists as John Brown looked just as pointless in their time; their importance was purely as a gauge of the pressures building toward civil war—and that’s exactly the same reading I give to the event just described. The era of rural and urban guerrilla warfare, roadside bombs, internment camps, horrific human rights violations by all sides, and millions of refugees fleeing in all directions, that will bring down the United States of America is still a little while off yet.

Fascism

Fascism /ˈfæʃɪzəm/ is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. Influenced by national syndicalism, fascism originated in Italy during World War I, in opposition to liberalism, Marxism, and anarchism. Fascism is usually placed on … Continue reading

Fascism /?fæ??z?m/ is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. Influenced by national syndicalism, fascism originated in Italy during World War I, in opposition to liberalism, Marxism, and anarchism. Fascism is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.

Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[12] Following World War II, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is usually used pejoratively by political opponents.

One common definition of fascism focuses on three concepts: the fascist negations of anti-liberalism, anti-communism and anti-conservatism; nationalist authoritarian goals of creating a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; and a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth and charismatic leadership.[25][26][27] According to many scholars, fascism — especially once in power — has historically attacked communism, conservatism and parliamentary liberalism, attracting support primarily from the far right.[28]

Roger Griffin describes fascism as “a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultranationalism”.[29] Griffin describes the ideology as having three core components: “(i) the rebirth myth, (ii) populist ultra-nationalism and (iii) the myth of decadence”.[30] Fascism is “a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism” built on a complex range of theoretical and cultural influences. He distinguishes an inter-war period in which it manifested itself in elite-led but populist “armed party” politics opposing socialism and liberalism and promising radical politics to rescue the nation from decadence.

Robert Paxton says that fascism is “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

The Eternal Return of the Elite

Vilfredo Pareto

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilfredo_Pareto

This monograph first saw the light of day in 1901 and has been understood as a somewhat famous attempt at a non race-based understanding of ‘elitism’. The failure of this attempt to be either genuinely explanatory or entirely successful seems, by almost all accounts, to have been historically verified by fascisms repeated descent into racism. But, given the utter failure of the Fascist movements of the post World War II era to gain traction, one wonders if perhaps now Pareto can, at last, be given a fair hearing. One even wonders if Pareto is fairly characterized as a fascist.

Be that as it may, Pareto still might have much to teach us about the interactions of elites. According to Pareto, elites rise to power, maintain dominance, and then fall; but only if another elite is struggling to take its place. (One is here reminded of Lenin’s remark against Trotsky, I believe, ‘that no state ever fell without being pushed’.) History is, according to this text, a circulation of elites; and for Pareto, the ideologies that these elites represent are only of secondary importance. What one must always keep in mind while reading this book is that, for Pareto, Liberals and Socialists (that is, the leaders of these ideological positions) are equally elites. By the ‘elite’, I should point out, Pareto always means the leadership of a class.

Pareto distinguishes between subjective and objective factors; the latter being real objects while the former are psychological states. Thus belief and unbelief are, for Pareto, equally psychological states. In fact, according to our author, belief is often the sign of a rising elite. Note that by ‘belief’ he doesn’t merely mean religious beliefs; according to Pareto socialism is a belief, that is, it is a psychological state. Indeed, for Pareto, perhaps somewhat surprisingly given his right-wing tendency and reputation, nationalism itself is also a belief. Now, he doesn’t propose to ignore these beliefs; on the contrary, it is the skepticism of the rulers towards beliefs that weakens them in the face of the rising elite. These ‘myths’ are a part of history and need to be explained.

The ‘religious sentiment’ (i.e., belief) of the masses is what leads to revolt. This sentiment is exploited by the rising elite in its attempt to overthrow the ruling elite. (In this matter the ‘skepticism’ of the ruling elite is no small aid to the rising elite.) And what we also need to keep in mind is that logical argument almost always fails in these matters; people believe for non-rational reasons, sentiment must be met with sentiment, i.e. socialism must be countered with nationalism. In fact, in these pages Pareto, over a hundred years ago, by describing the similarity between Christian and Socialist behavior, seems to indicate the possibility of a convergence of Christianity and Socialism vis-à-vis the ruling bourgeois. This possibility is currently being explored, thanks to the collapse of ‘really existing socialism’ in the USSR, by the most au courant leftist continental theory.

Keep in mind that, for Pareto, it is the ‘decadence’ (i.e., it is ‘less apt to defend its own power’) and the unabated rapacity of the old elite that causes it to perish. Indeed, he says of this decadence and rapacity that the old elite “could prosper if one of them were absent.” Scientifically, or so Pareto maintains, there really is nothing to choose between. Speaking of some historical examples of some crimes of new elites Pareto says, “The old elite, when it was in power, did even worse, so that one cannot conclude from these facts anything against one or the other regime…” Pareto simultaneously holds that reform is the most dangerous moment for the ruling elite, and that the waning of power is perfectly compatible with a rise in the use of violence. In fact, one comes away from this book feeling that the things that Pareto held in most contempt were inefficiency and incompetence and, indeed, some of his most contemptuous gestures in this matter are reserved for the capitalists.

In any case, the problem seems to be that the falling class, no longer believing in itself, can no longer attract the best young people to its cause. The rising class has ‘belief’ and hope, the falling one only has its privileges. Persecution seems to be no remedy for this. Indeed, thanks to persecutions, “many people of doubtful loyalty and unsteady character were eliminated and professional politicians kept away.” …Very amusing! But here, in 1901, Pareto sees the best of future generations going to socialism while all persecution does is prune the revolutionary plant.

In fact, if one carries away anything from this book it is that old elites must eventually fall. We learn here that socialism is the heir of Christian ‘belief’. And since Christianity is dying, all the old elite can do is delay the inevitable ‘homecoming’ of the common people (and their ‘religious sentiment’) to socialism. Thus ‘belief’ replaces ‘belief’. Again, there is little rationality in this process; Pareto is at pains to emphasize the ‘subjective phenomenon’. This is why nationalism is the best answer to socialism; one counters one irrationality with another.

This book is really only a long essay, the hardcover edition before me has 75 pages of text, 18 pages of notes, and a 22 page introduction. The notes are quite good and should not be passed up. For example, while nicely playing off his understanding of socialism as but another belief, Pareto, after discussing some socialist ‘sectarians’, writes, “One day we will perhaps have the Holy Inquisition of the socialist faith. (Note 18)” The Soviet ‘show trials’ of the thirties were indeed this Inquisition. This really is a superb book, a worthy companion piece to all the great political realists of history – from Machiavelli to Gramsci.

Vilfredo Pareto

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilfredo_Pareto

This monograph first saw the light of day in 1901 and has been understood as a somewhat famous attempt at a non race-based understanding of ‘elitism’. The failure of this attempt to be either genuinely explanatory or entirely successful seems, by almost all accounts, to have been historically verified by fascisms repeated descent into racism. But, given the utter failure of the Fascist movements of the post World War II era to gain traction, one wonders if perhaps now Pareto can, at last, be given a fair hearing. One even wonders if Pareto is fairly characterized as a fascist.

Be that as it may, Pareto still might have much to teach us about the interactions of elites. According to Pareto, elites rise to power, maintain dominance, and then fall; but only if another elite is struggling to take its place. (One is here reminded of Lenin’s remark against Trotsky, I believe, ‘that no state ever fell without being pushed’.) History is, according to this text, a circulation of elites; and for Pareto, the ideologies that these elites represent are only of secondary importance. What one must always keep in mind while reading this book is that, for Pareto, Liberals and Socialists (that is, the leaders of these ideological positions) are equally elites. By the ‘elite’, I should point out, Pareto always means the leadership of a class.

Pareto distinguishes between subjective and objective factors; the latter being real objects while the former are psychological states. Thus belief and unbelief are, for Pareto, equally psychological states. In fact, according to our author, belief is often the sign of a rising elite. Note that by ‘belief’ he doesn’t merely mean religious beliefs; according to Pareto socialism is a belief, that is, it is a psychological state. Indeed, for Pareto, perhaps somewhat surprisingly given his right-wing tendency and reputation, nationalism itself is also a belief. Now, he doesn’t propose to ignore these beliefs; on the contrary, it is the skepticism of the rulers towards beliefs that weakens them in the face of the rising elite. These ‘myths’ are a part of history and need to be explained.

The ‘religious sentiment’ (i.e., belief) of the masses is what leads to revolt. This sentiment is exploited by the rising elite in its attempt to overthrow the ruling elite. (In this matter the ‘skepticism’ of the ruling elite is no small aid to the rising elite.) And what we also need to keep in mind is that logical argument almost always fails in these matters; people believe for non-rational reasons, sentiment must be met with sentiment, i.e. socialism must be countered with nationalism. In fact, in these pages Pareto, over a hundred years ago, by describing the similarity between Christian and Socialist behavior, seems to indicate the possibility of a convergence of Christianity and Socialism vis-à-vis the ruling bourgeois. This possibility is currently being explored, thanks to the collapse of ‘really existing socialism’ in the USSR, by the most au courant leftist continental theory.

Keep in mind that, for Pareto, it is the ‘decadence’ (i.e., it is ‘less apt to defend its own power’) and the unabated rapacity of the old elite that causes it to perish. Indeed, he says of this decadence and rapacity that the old elite “could prosper if one of them were absent.” Scientifically, or so Pareto maintains, there really is nothing to choose between. Speaking of some historical examples of some crimes of new elites Pareto says, “The old elite, when it was in power, did even worse, so that one cannot conclude from these facts anything against one or the other regime…” Pareto simultaneously holds that reform is the most dangerous moment for the ruling elite, and that the waning of power is perfectly compatible with a rise in the use of violence. In fact, one comes away from this book feeling that the things that Pareto held in most contempt were inefficiency and incompetence and, indeed, some of his most contemptuous gestures in this matter are reserved for the capitalists.

In any case, the problem seems to be that the falling class, no longer believing in itself, can no longer attract the best young people to its cause. The rising class has ‘belief’ and hope, the falling one only has its privileges. Persecution seems to be no remedy for this. Indeed, thanks to persecutions, “many people of doubtful loyalty and unsteady character were eliminated and professional politicians kept away.” …Very amusing! But here, in 1901, Pareto sees the best of future generations going to socialism while all persecution does is prune the revolutionary plant.

In fact, if one carries away anything from this book it is that old elites must eventually fall. We learn here that socialism is the heir of Christian ‘belief’. And since Christianity is dying, all the old elite can do is delay the inevitable ‘homecoming’ of the common people (and their ‘religious sentiment’) to socialism. Thus ‘belief’ replaces ‘belief’. Again, there is little rationality in this process; Pareto is at pains to emphasize the ‘subjective phenomenon’. This is why nationalism is the best answer to socialism; one counters one irrationality with another.

This book is really only a long essay, the hardcover edition before me has 75 pages of text, 18 pages of notes, and a 22 page introduction. The notes are quite good and should not be passed up. For example, while nicely playing off his understanding of socialism as but another belief, Pareto, after discussing some socialist ‘sectarians’, writes, “One day we will perhaps have the Holy Inquisition of the socialist faith. (Note 18)” The Soviet ‘show trials’ of the thirties were indeed this Inquisition. This really is a superb book, a worthy companion piece to all the great political realists of history – from Machiavelli to Gramsci.