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Last year, there was a big flap over this racist guy who didn’t want to pay the taxes he owed for using public land to graze his cattle. It turned into a massive battle about the right to bear arms as dozens of members of rather heavily armed militias descended on his ranch to protect him from the Bureau of Land Management, that oppressive occupying force that politely asked him for twenty years to pay the fees that everybody else was paying according to the (completely constitutional) law that had been passed ages ago.

It was a big deal. The militias were ready to stand up for his rights no matter what, and they had the (completely constitutional) heavy weaponry to back up their words with action. And they won! The BLM wound up backing down in the face of almost a thousand armed and angry freedom fighters. It must have been a proud moment for the libertarians to finally have a chance to prove that guns could be used to fight government heavy handedness, although admittedly a battle over letting a guy use public resources without contributing to the public good and following constitutional legislation may not have been the kind of flashpoint issue that the nation could rally around. But as one of the militia members said, "If we don’t show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere."  

The thrilling conclusion after the fold....

Now, though, there’s an issue ready-made for the libertarian warriors; a case of active government oppression so clear, so brutal, that the nation has already recoiled in horror. Ferguson, Missouri, is a suburb under siege. After a young, unarmed man was shot to death by an unnamed police officer, the town reacted with protests that brought down the wrath of a faceless bureaucracy of heavily militarized agents of the state. Here it is! The government actively oppressing American citizens, literally slaughtering them in cold blood at whim and then laughing in the face of the Constitution as they shut down public roads for no reason and use their military-level gear to prevent freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, let alone the right to bear arms. The police won’t even release the name of the officer who triggered this whole thing. It’s leaps and bounds more oppressive than anything the BLM has ever done.

So… where are they?

Where are the militias ready to stand up for American citizens being corralled like cattle by agents of the government? Where are the libertarian freedom fighters ready to take a stand on the side of justice and individual liberty? Where are the crusaders of the Constitution ready to stand up for freedom of assembly in our own land?

"If we don’t show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere."

Perhaps there was a cattle grazing somewhere out West that needed an armed guard.

Whatever else comes out of Ferguson – and a lot needs to come out of this experience, and fast – we will always know that this was the time when the libertarian movement in the United States betrayed itself, and the rest of us, by betraying the truth of its principles in the face of real oppression. Maybe it’s racism; maybe it’s cowardice; maybe they’ve simply lost the faith. But treating American libertarianism seriously died alongside Michael Brown this weekend.

Cross-posted at my blog.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Being partisan and being right are not mutually exclusive.

    by DynamicUno on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 01:27:19 PM PDT

  •  Remember Ferguson! needs to be the rallying cry... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alypsee1, DynamicUno

    Remember Ferguson! needs to be the rallying cry to henceforth smash the credibility of the Libertarian/Miltia/Tea Party cult.

  •  If those idiots claim to be libertarian its sure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they do not know the meaning of that word or what it implies. Although most Libertarians do not know or understand how society really works and lack the ability to see the complex interactions that do make it work. At least they are thinking and not simply mindlessly reacting as the 2nd amendment open carry crew continues to do.

    Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

    by OHdog on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 01:47:55 PM PDT

  •  Not a new thought (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alypsee1, DynamicUno

    I have said before:


        One who holds that people who matter have the right to do anything that does not harm other people of any consequence in any way that we care about.

    Amusingly, the standard form of this sentiment without the exclusions originated with Anarchist theorist Pierre Joseph Proudhon, who inspired Karl Marx.

    A Modest Proposal for a Tea Party Utopia

    I have an idea: let's take them at their word.

    Let's cut all the taxes and spending, and save real money

    Just for them, I mean.

    The rest of us continue more or less as before, but without them in the way.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 01:52:43 PM PDT

    •  Actually, no, the libertarianism (0+ / 0-)

      of the anarchist movement has nothing in common with the more recent right wing co-opting of the term.

      Anarchists see the concept of "property" used in production to be authoritarian and exploitative, and thus, wage-labor to be a form of slavery, because workers are treated as commodities, and the fruits of their labor stolen by the owning class.

      Anarchists would create a kind of "state" from the bottom up, using federations of worker collectives. They would abolish worker hierarchy based on class, and abolish central state authority.

      "Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality." - Michael Bakunin (Economic Left/Right: -10.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -9.79)

      by ZhenRen on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 03:53:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In other words (0+ / 0-)

      anarchist libertarianism views capitalism as taking away basic liberty.

      "Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality." - Michael Bakunin (Economic Left/Right: -10.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -9.79)

      by ZhenRen on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 03:57:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  DynamicUno - they are on the way (0+ / 0-)

    The Militia is on the way to Ferguson:

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 05:53:21 PM PDT

  •  Er, Bundy wasn't last year, it was this year. (0+ / 0-)

    In April. Four months ago. The rest of the diary may have been excellent, but it was hard to focus on after running across this big a mistake in the first sentence.

    mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

    by serendipityisabitch on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 06:53:18 PM PDT

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