Thick as a brick

No one could have predicted that the Reasonoids would side with the brick-throwers and noose-faxers:

There’s a lot of hyperbole out there about Mike Vanderboegh, an Alabama militiaman who reacted to the health care bill by urging all patriots to break windows at Democratic Party headquarters around the country — a suggestion that a handful of brick-throwers seems to have embraced. It’s a lousy idea, but it isn’t a sign of racism, anti-Semitism, or any of the similar maladies being diagnosed by some of Vanderboegh’s critics. I’ve been aware of Vanderboegh for a while. His chief claim to fame is being one of the more vocal anti-racists in the militia milieu, a guy who went out of his way to antagonize the neo-Nazi types who tried to hitch their wagons to the movement back in the ’90s.

In fairness, Walker doesn’t mention the noose-faxing and gas-line-cutting. On the other hand, the gas-line-cutting was widely reported before Walker wrote the article, so it’s not to his credit that he chose to ignore it.

I do agree with Walker about this however:

Comparing his brick campaign to Kristallnacht is ridiculous.

Update. And some more (via TPM)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Colorado member of Congress has received threatening calls at her Washington office, according to NBC News. Rep. Betsy Markey’s (D-Colorado) chief of staff confirmed her office had reported two separate incidents to the Capitol police and asked Fort Collins police to step up patrols around Markey’s home and her district office.

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114 replies
  1. 1
    themann1086 says:

    Well, the Bama dude did say “break their windows!” and the first thing that jumped into my mind was “broken glass… at night maybe?” An unfair comparison? True. For now. I hope it continues to be a false comparison.

    I’m legitimately scared on behalf of our Democratic representatives. I hope they and their families have good security…

  2. 2
    geg6 says:

    Radley Balko is gonna be pissed at you and then you’ll be sorry!

  3. 3
    Tim Pawlenty says:

    Guys! I said use a nine-iron!

  4. 4
    Graeme says:

    For once I don’t see an open thread, so I’ll just post this video of W. wiping ‘Haitian’ off his hand and onto Bill Clinton’s shirt:

    http://www.dangerousminds.net/.....ons_shirt/

  5. 5
    geg6 says:

    By the way, Doug, love the new tag. Enhanced protest techniques. Heh. Also by the way, check your spelling on that.

  6. 6
    dr. bloor says:

    It’s a lousy idea, but it isn’t a sign of racism, anti-Semitism, or any of the similar maladies being diagnosed by some of Vanderboegh’s critics

    In fairness, he’s right about this. You don’t have to be any of those things to be a complete, wholly ignorant and mean-spirited asshole.

  7. 7
    kid bitzer says:

    why ridiculous?

    difference of scale, sure, but some similarities, too.

    organized campaign by fascists to intimidate political opponents by smashing their windows–no comparison at all?

  8. 8
    Mark S. says:

    Jeez, when did Reason’s commenters get so fucking crazy? These guys make McCardle’s commenters seem moderate and reasonable.

  9. 9
    Dennis G. says:

    “Reason” is a funny name for a Libertarian magazine as the movement is about hyping a belief system that thinks Markets are Magic. It would be more sensible to plan a career as a unicorn rancher to harvest their wool for ponchos, than it is to believe the fantastical ravings of your average Libertarian.

    “Reason” is such a funny name for these airhead to choose for their deep thoughts about the issues of any given day.

    And yet, they do attract many a fool to their cause. No wonder these idiots can not see what a dickhead Vanderboegh is through their Libertarian sparkle dust.

    Morons.

    cheers

  10. 10
    Zifnab25 says:

    @kid bitzer: The fact that he needs to make this statement is kinda damning. Any time you need to compare yourself favorably to Nazis, you’re on the losing side of the argument.

  11. 11
    Joshua Norton says:

    Comparing his brick campaign to Kristallnacht is ridiculous.

    Riiiight. Because permission to mindlessly compare shit to nazis/fascists/communists/Hitler/Stalin/Marx all in one sentence is solely within the purview of the wingnutz and ‘baggers.

  12. 12
    geg6 says:

    Dennis G. @8: THIS.

  13. 13
    DougJ says:

    @geg6:

    Thanks. I fixed it.

  14. 14
    mcc says:

    The n-word was used in a totally post-racial way

  15. 15
    gil mann says:

    I’ve been aware of Vanderboegh for a while. His chief claim to fame is being one of the more vocal anti-racists in the militia milieu, a guy who went out of his way to antagonize the neo-Nazi types who tried to hitch their wagons to the movement back in the ‘90s.

    So the editorial position over there is what, it’s okay to incite violence as long as you’re not a bigot about it? Yeah, that dovetails well with their longstanding advocacy of increased hate speech legislation. Keep policin’ those thoughts, Reason!

  16. 16
    Fern says:

    @kid bitzer: Kristallnacht targeted a minority group, not the government.

    But wait until the administration tackles immigration reform – the reaction to that might end up being a little more Kristallnacht-like

  17. 17
    SGEW says:

    @Dennis G.: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: “Reason” is named that way under the same mentality that the official mouthpiece of the Soviet regime was called “Truth.”

    See, also, “fair and balanced.”

  18. 18
    demkat620 says:

    See, its really the democrats fault. If they had just sat quietly until the Republicans took over again, it all would be okay.

    Just lie back and think of England.

  19. 19
    Annie says:

    @Mark S.:

    I was just going to comment on that. The comments section is truly scary. Don’t these people understand that if you don’t like the policies, we have something in place called elections…Suddenly they equate dissent with violence, and hold that up as an American principle.

    And, the ultimate irony. Mike Vanderboegh lives off of Social Security disability checks…

  20. 20
    stuckinred says:

    @Fern: vigilance against this kind of shit is no vice.

  21. 21
    Shade Tail says:

    Comparing his brick campaign to Kristallnacht is ridiculous.

    Really? That depends on how you differentiate between different acts of political hatred and terrorism. You could point out, correctly, that we’re dealing with a movement that is on a much smaller scale and much less organized. But it is, none the less, terrorism targeted at a specific group (liberals and HCR supporters).

    And let’s not forget that possible murder attempt against Rep. Perriello, which ended up targeting his brother rather than him.

    If there is any difference here, it is strictly one of scale. This is smaller than the historical Kristallnacht, there’s no denying that. But I don’t think it is so ridiculous to compare them.

  22. 22
    stuckinred says:

    @Annie: Remember that plenty of people on both sides are convinced elections are rigged.

  23. 23
    kid bitzer says:

    @fern

    yup, that is a point of difference. there are probably others. comparisons are like that–they aren’t equality signs.

    i still don’t get why the comparison is ridiculous.

  24. 24
    jl says:

    @Dennis G.: Unicorn ‘wool’ turns into cotton candy as soon as you ‘harverst’ it. Everyone knows that, even libertarians.

    As for extreme libertarians, especially the ones obsessed with economic libertarianism, are a strange bunch, IMHO.

    They remind me of Jefferson’s appraisal of the Northern and Southern temperments. To paraphrase: northerners were complaisant about their own rights and tolerant of others’, while southerners were jealous of their own rights and trampling on others’.

    I think Jefferson’s diagnosis was unfair wrt to southerners (at least the ones of today), but I think it applies to extreme libertarians.

    Sooner or later, seems to me, their core beliefs boil down to economic might makes right, and the drift of the ‘Reason’ crowd does not suprize me. That kind of thuggish attitude tends to seep into other arenas.

    I remember, long ago, when I read consistently informative and well argued (if often very wrong) articles in that rag, but it’s been along time since I could stand to read it, or any of that bunch.

  25. 25
    Keith G says:

    David Foster Wallace in his Harpers essay, Tense Present, gets so many things right, even on our current tensions. Please indulge me as I paste two significant paragraphs.

    Issues of tradition vs. egalitarianism in U.S. English are at root political issues and can be effectively addressed only in what this article hereby terms a “Democratic Spirit.” A Democratic Spirit is one that combines rigor and humility, i.e., passionate conviction plus sedulous respect for the convictions of others. As any American knows, this is a very difficult spirit to cultivate and maintain, particularly when it comes to issues you feel strongly about. Equally tough is a D.S.’s criterion of 100 percent intellectual integrity — you have to be willing to look honestly at yourself and your motives for believing what you believe, and to do it more or less continually.

    He continues:

    This kind of stuff is advanced U.S. citizenship. A true Democratic Spirit is up there with religious faith and emotional maturity and all those other top-of-the-Maslow-Pyramid-type qualities people spend their whole lives working on. A Democratic Spirit’s constituent rigor and humility and honesty are in fact so hard to maintain on certain issues that it’s almost irresistibly tempting to fall in with some established dogmatic camp and to follow that camp’s line on the issue and to let your position harden within the camp and become inflexible and to believe that any other camp is either evil or insane and to spend all your time and energy trying to shout over them.

    Its as if he were still with us. Sorry for the length.

  26. 26
    mcc says:

    @Shade Tail: So as I understand what happened to Perriello’s brother is that someone cut the line between a portable propane tank and grill?

    Did you hear anything otherwise?

  27. 27
    Fern says:

    @kid bitzer: Not saying it’s ridiculous – just a bit of a stretch at this point. The spirit behind them both is certainly similar.

  28. 28
    Mark S. says:

    @Annie:

    Don’t these people understand that if you don’t like the policies, we have something in place called elections…Suddenly they equate dissent with violence, and hold that up as an American principle.

    Good question, let’s ask John from the Reason comments:

    And even if the plan was popular, which it is not you tool, you can’t just tell 45% of the country to go fuck itself we won hear is the poll. You can’t screw with people’s healthcare and tell them they have no say whatever in how it will be done and not expect them to be angry. A bare majority doesn’t make that acceptable you fucking fascist tool.

    (I picked John because he was one of the more polite comments in the thread)

  29. 29
    themann1086 says:

    Ok, I found a better comparison (via Wikipedia):

    In the early years, groups within the PNF called Blackshirts built a base of power by violently attacking soshulists and their institutions in the rural Po Valley thereby gaining the support of landowners.

    Yay accuracy!

  30. 30
    Joshua Norton says:

    A bare majority doesn’t make that acceptable you fucking fascist tool.

    Gee. I wonder if they feel the same about “Bush v. Gore”. Or even Chimpy’s barely being re-elected.

    Suuuuuure they do.

  31. 31
    Camchuck says:

    From the comments:

    Hey! May we remind you John we vandalized ships carrying tea and look what happened!

    This “ugly” “violence” against Democrats, real or imagined, seems to be an emerging strategy. Having done monumental violence against the citizenry and the nation by passing ObamaCare, Democrats–with all the chutzpah of the child who kills his parents and seeks mercy for being an orphan–are now claiming victimhood.

    You’re right people shouldn’t throw bricks. People should march on Washington armed to the teeth and haul every elected official into the streets and hang them from the lampposts.

  32. 32
    themann1086 says:

    Damn it, I used the ‘s’ word. Lemme try again! I found a better comparison:

    In the early years, groups within the PNF called Blackshirts built a base of power by violently attacking soshulists and their institutions in the rural Po Valley thereby gaining the support of landowners.

    There, much better!

  33. 33
    kid bitzer says:

    @mcc–

    when you let a tank’s worth of propane mix with air and go boom, it makes a big boom. whether it was attempted murder or not, it was an incredibly reckless thing to do that could have resulted in serious injury or death.

    this is not just breaking a flower pot or knocking over a mail-box. this is playing with fire. literally.

  34. 34
    Zifnab25 says:

    @Joshua Norton: Elections have consequences, except when they don’t.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    SGEW says:

    @kid bitzer:

    [I] still don’t get why the comparison [between Kristallnacht and Vanderboegh’s window-breaking campaign] is ridiculous.

    I don’t know about “ridiculous,” but, as has been pointed out, there’s a massive difference of scale (less than a dozen windows so far vs. 7000 windows in one night), organization (the Nazis ran a pretty tight ship, while these people can’t even get the addresses right), target (government officials vs. private citizens), and motivation (political protest vs. racial extermination).

    Additionally, Kristallnacht presaged the rise of the Third Reich, WWII, and the Holocaust. Vanderboegh’s pathos presages, at worst (I believe), an increase in domestic terrorism.

    It’s not quite in the territory of “Hey, you know who else was a vegetarian?” sort of false historical examples, but it’s too close for my comfort. To paraphrase Attackerman, it’s a shonda.

  37. 37
    Redshift says:

    @Mark S.: Translation: A contested Electoral College win and a clear popular-vote loss for us gives us the right to tell you to shut up for four years; the largest presidential margin of victory in decades and two successive wave elections in Congress is a “bare majority” that only gives you the right to do things we agree with.

    Yeah, that’s democracy!

  38. 38
    Annie says:

    @Mark S.:

    A bare majority doesn’t make that acceptable you fucking fascist tool.

    Yes, it does, you idiot…Particularly when more Americans will favor HCR when they finally feel the change, get relief, and recognize that they had been lied to by Republicans for over a year…Granny will be the first to break open the champagne…

  39. 39
    Citizen_X says:

    You can’t screw with people’s healthcare and tell them they have no say whatever in how it will be done

    Firstly, I don’t really have any healthcare, except for what I’m barely holding onto via the COBRA extension and the stimulus subsidy (thank you, Democrats).

    Secondly, When I did have it, how much say did I have “in how it will be done?” How much say does anyone in America with work-provided healthcare have? Certainly less than they’ve had with this HCR plan, by virtue of having it written by elected officials. Most people do not live in some sort of Randian fantasy world.

  40. 40
    El Cid says:

    By the way,

    it isn’t a sign of racism, anti-Semitism, or any of the similar maladies being diagnosed by some of Vanderboegh’s critics

    What a pathetic fucking dodge.

    Though there have been incidents of racism, anti-Semitism, or any ‘similar maladies’, they don’t have to be to be incidents of threatening vandalism or right wing authoritarian threats of violence or death threats.

    What, it isn’t supposed to be a bad problem if it’s just a use of vandalism or verbal threats to suggest violence in order to avenge political disagreements if it isn’t racist or anti-Semitic?

    You know, because to right wingers (including their ‘libertarian’ variants) one of the biggest problems in America aren’t incidents of racism but how right wingers are SOOOOOOOO oppressed when someone thinks something’s racist when it’s not.

  41. 41
    CatStaff says:

    When I read some of the nonsense emanating from these drama queens on the right, I can’t help but think of P.G. Wodehouse’s Roderick Spode:

    Spode was at first an ‘amateur dictator’ who led a farcical group of fascists called the Saviours of England, better known as the Black Shorts. Spode adopted black shorts as a uniform because, “By the time Spode formed his association, there were no shirts left.” (alluding to various fascist groups — the black shirts of Mussolini, the brown shirts of Hitler, the blue shirts of Ireland, the Grey Shirts of South Africa, the Gold shirts of Mexico, the green shirts of the National Corporate Party and Social Credit and the silver shirts of the United States). Bertie Wooster dealt with Spode thusly:

    “The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you’re someone. You hear them shouting “Heil, Spode!” and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: “Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?”

  42. 42
    Jim Once says:

    @Proper Gander:

    I can’t believe I clicked on that. I never do that sort of thing. And now I am, literally, sick to my stomach. Eeeh. I’m still sitting here. I can’t get over this. I hate that these kind of . . . people . . . have this effect on me.

  43. 43
    El Cid says:

    And I’m not someone who thinks vandalism necessarily rises to the level of terrorism unless there is truly risk to someone’s life or limb and/or it is in the context of threats.

    Here isn’t just an impulsive breaking of a window, but an at-times coordinated campaign to tie acts of vandalism (not including the reported cutting of the propane line which if true is an attempt to harm people, not just property) to written and verbal threats against office holders.

  44. 44
    SGEW says:

    re: the “Lady Liberty” cartoon.

    James Wolcott had something to say about that:

    Well, whatever one’s feelings about the semiotics of this cartoon and the political sentiments I think we can all put aside our political and philosophical differences and agree that it makes for one crappy piece of artwork.

  45. 45
    Calouste says:

    @SGEW:

    Kristallnacht was in November 1938, Hitler had already been in power for almost 6 years, the Nuremberg race laws had been in place for 3 years, and Europe though they had avoided war by conceding the Sudetenland to Germany less than 2 weeks earlier. It didn’t presage much.

  46. 46
    tripletee says:

    Repost from the other thread cuz I’m lazy:

    Sure, there may have been a few death threats and bricks through windows and racial epithets and nooses and cut gas lines – but sometimes you need to just keep walking. {/wingnut apologist}

    I think these fucksticks ought to be locked in a room with P-Lo and her Giant Gavel of SMASH. We’ll see how tough they are then.

  47. 47
    Mike G says:

    Translation: A contested Electoral College win and a clear popular-vote loss for us gives us the right to tell you to shut up for four years

    And don’t forget, by their own standards we’re still “at war with terrists” (effectively forever). We still “have troops in the field”, so what happened to “you don’t question the President at time of war”?

  48. 48
    Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist says:

    Goodness, just when I was wondering how the Stupid Anger movement was going to get stupider and angrier, they show me.

  49. 49
    RSR says:

    So the arguement is violence against government officals or political party members is okay, or at least tempered, because it’s not specifically racial or ethnically motivated?

    Excuse me, but screw you and the horse you rode in on.

    You don’t get to white-wash the violent reactions of the fervid members of your party, or the tea party, or whatever party you pawn them off upon. They are people rising up against their government and need to be arrested and prosecuted.

  50. 50
    SGEW says:

    @Calouste: Good points, regarding the timing and the “rise” of the Nazis. I suppose I meant “presage” in that it was an integral part of the seemingly unstoppable political and social situation that eventually left Europe in ruins. A better word would have been “reflected,” maybe, or “epitomized,” perhaps.

    However, I still feel that it was the spark (or, forgive me, the “inflection point”) that led directly to the Holocaust; there’s a pretty big jump from the Nuremberg race laws, hideous as they were, to the totality of the Final Solution.

  51. 51
    Jon H says:

    Kristallnacht works… in the farcical sense of “first as tragedy, then as farce”.

  52. 52
    SGEW says:

    @Jon H: “But when the comedy is done, the tragic reasserts itself.”

  53. 53
    mcc says:

    @kid bitzer: At an absolute minimum it certainly seems like a threatening act.

  54. 54
    Jon H says:

    @Fern: “Kristallnacht targeted a minority group, not the government.”

    Okay, then this is more like the beer-hall putsch, when a fringe movement tried to use violence to get their way, and failed.

  55. 55
    Cacti says:

    No, it’s not Kristallnacht, but it does affirm something that’s been well-known since the civil rights era:

    When Right Wingers don’t get their way, they get violent.

  56. 56
    Cacti says:

    Seriously, when did elected GOP representatives become such a group of churlish man-children?

  57. 57
    Jon H says:

    Reason.com: We believe in property rights… for Republicans.

  58. 58
    Proper Gander says:

    @Jim Once

    I’m truly sorry. I, myself, am utterly outraged that someone could put something like that out where actual decent people might see it. But since it is out there, I felt that it needed to be seen, because it’s soooo bad that (if there are any) people who don’t know the sickness and sociopathy which lies at the heart of the teabagging movement should be informed.

    Hope you feel better…

  59. 59
    Jon H says:

    @Cacti: “Seriously, when did elected GOP representatives become such a group of churlish man-children?”

    Birth?

  60. 60
    The Truffle says:

    @Joshua Norton: Do these glibertarians want to be stereotyped as “Republicans with bongs”?

    On second thought, don’t answer that.

    Why are Julian Sanchez and Kerry Howley still hanging around with these people, anyway?

  61. 61
    Jon H says:

    @The Truffle: “Why are Julian Sanchez and Kerry Howley still hanging around with these people, anyway?”

    Nick promised them his sooper kewl leather jacket.

  62. 62
    Cacti says:

    The overheated rhetoric is probably the most amusing part of the right wing tantrum.

    “Rape of liberty”

    “Usurpation of the Legislative Process”

    “Unprecedented Abuse of Power”

    “Betrayal of the President’s Oath of Office”

    Could a single one of these clowns please explain how this process was anything other than a legitimate exercise of authority by a democratically elected legislature and executive?

    Disliking the outcome doesn’t invalidate the process.

  63. 63
    Jon H says:

    It’s amusing that Vanderboegh is on social security / disability, and his son is in the Army.

    Do they have any income at all that is, y’know, from good old capitalist endeavors?

  64. 64
    JasonF says:

    For years, the right has been using “It’s not as bad as what al Qaeda would do” as a justification for their policies regarding the treatment of prisoners, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that they’ve moved to “It’s not as bad as what the Third Reich would do” as a justification for their policies regarding political dissent.

  65. 65
    TenguPhule says:

    So the arguement is violence against government officals or political party members is okay, or at least tempered, because it’s not specifically racial or ethnically motivated?

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and Rove better be pissing their pants about this. Their lives won’t be worth spit if the shit hits the fan.

  66. 66
    Jeff Fecke says:

    @Proper Gander:

    Damn. Just…damn. That’s horrible on so many levels. Not only is it horribly racist, but the insensitivity to actual victims of sexual assault is unbelievable.

    Which is why it’s up at Protein Wisdom, natch.

  67. 67
    TenguPhule says:

    Could a single one of these clowns please explain how this process was anything other than a legitimate exercise of authority by a democratically elected legislature and executive?

    It’s not Bush’s white cock that’s fucking them now, that’s why.

    SATSQ.

  68. 68
    maus says:

    @9

    “Reason” is a funny name for a Libertarian magazine as the movement is about hyping a belief system that thinks Markets are Magic.

    “Objectivists”.

  69. 69
    Jesse Walker says:

    It’s true: I devoted a paragraph of the post to explaining why I think the Kristallnacht comparison, and the efforts to paint Vanderboegh as a racist or anti-Semite, are invalid.

    The other two-thirds of the post are devoted to telling anyone tempted by Vanderboegh’s tactics why they’re wrong:

    Breaking windows at Democratic offices will do about as much to stop Obamacare as breaking windows at Starbucks did to stop international trade agreements. Scattershot vandalism of private property is the sort of polarizing action that turns the people in the middle against you, not the kind that brings them to your side. As I’ve written elsewhere, “Nonviolence makes it harder for the government to demonize you [and] easier to attract popular support. Besides, the government has greater firepower; if you use violence, you’re fighting on its turf.” That applies to violence against property as well.

    If you want to “get their attention BEFORE the IRS thug parties descend upon us each in turn” (the words are Vanderboegh’s), then here are 198 nonviolent — not passive, but nonviolent — ways to get a message across, all drawn from a very smart book about political conflict. The further down the list you go, the more confrontational the methods get. You can put the authorities in the position of enforcing an unpopular law requiring everyone to buy insurance, or you can put them in the position of enforcing a popular law against breaking other people’s windows. One approach will earn public sympathy. The other will earn you a reputation as a public nuisance.

    And here, for those of you who don’t want to scroll up, is DougJ’s summary of the post:

    the Reasonoids…side with the brick-throwers and noose-faxers

    Draw your own conclusions.

  70. 70
    Jon H says:

    Sorry, Jesse, but you’re not wearing a kewl leather jacket.

  71. 71
    MikeJ says:

    Looks like DougJ got it right. Reason (sic) Magazineis on the side of the brick throwers, they just want them to be smarter about it.

  72. 72
    forked tongue says:

    I have a really radical idea: How about if you guys don’t do any of this? Don’t urge window-breaking, don’t urge congressperson-shooting or lynching, don’t make this out to be the End Of Freedom As We’ve Known It? How about if you just say Well, we don’t think this legislation will do what it promises and we think it will be bad for the nation’s fiscal health and it was a mistake and drop it at that and see whether voters agree with you at election time? And then don’t tie yourself in knots over how to spin the nutty violence on the fringe because if you actually responded like rational adults to having lost the last few elections no one would accuse you of having provoked this shit? Huh? What about that???? Fucktards.

  73. 73
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @Jesse Walker:

    His chief claim to fame is being one of the more vocal anti-racists in the militia milieu

    Cool, a progressive voice in the Alabama Militia.

    Kind of like the bank robber speaking out against greed. BTW, from what planet do you reside Mr. Walker.

  74. 74
    mclaren says:

    Aaaaaand cue Kristalnacht. Next up, liberals will be required to wear yellow stars and forbidden from marrying the rest of the population.

    We’re well beyond Godwin now, into truly scary territory.

  75. 75
    jenniebee says:

    Figures. These assholes don’t even know how to burn shit down right.

    Throwing bricks through windows anonymously is the answer to the riddle: “what if they threw a populist uprising and nobody came?”

  76. 76
    Mark S. says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Eh, that’s progress. He is also famous for instituting a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy for the militia.

  77. 77
    Ash Can says:

    @Jesse Walker: Thanks for showing up here, but you have to understand that we think the entire idea of fighting, nonviolently or otherwise, against a successful effort to expand health care to more Americans is just plain fucked in the head.

  78. 78
    YellowJournalism says:

    So it’s okay to threaten people’s lives and property as long as you’re not a racist? Is that the jist of this?

  79. 79
    Uloborus says:

    @Jesse Walker:
    If I don’t agree with you in any other way, I at least strongly appreciate that you’ve shown up to explicitly state that you do not support violence as a political tool.

  80. 80
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    So it’s okay to threaten people’s lives and property as long as you’re not a racist?

    It’s why we have the “Glib” in Glibertarian.

  81. 81
    Jesse Walker says:

    @Ash Can: Oh, I realize that. And you realize that if I were to give my views on the legislation that just passed, I would not describe it so glowingly. That’s a policy disagreement. If Doug had posted Those guys at Reason magazine don’t like the health care bill! What a bunch of idiots! If you put a “g” in front of “libertarian,” you get “glibertarian”! Haw! then that would be one thing.

    But the topic of the post is my alleged support for vandalism and threats of violence. The evidence offered for my purported position is a quote cropped from a post that’s explicitly opposed to vandalism and violence. Because of that cropping, we get comments like #15, #57, and #78. So I’m here to to make my position clear for anyone who trusted Doug’s summary and didn’t click on the link.

  82. 82
    MattR says:

    @Jesse Walker: I just re-read your full article several times and I can’t find anything that says that vandalism or threats are wrong or immoral. I see two paragraphs of text explaining why they make it difficult to get your point across and were not helpful to the cause but nothing that says that those actions were wrong even if they would be effective.

    Color me unimpressed.

  83. 83
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    It’s a lousy idea, but it isn’t a sign of racism, anti-Semitism, or any of the similar maladies being diagnosed by some of Vanderboegh’s critics.

    I can’t recall if Timothy McVeigh was a racist or an anti-semite, but he certainly blew up the Alfred P Murrah building in a completely non-discriminatory way.

  84. 84
    freelancer says:

    @Jesse Walker:

    DougJ is a writer who usually isn’t in the habit of torching strawmen and his criticism is more wide angle, in that institutions like Reason usually tend to err on the side of ridiculous apologist excuse-making for stupid right wing behavior, and while making caveats for the methods, usually end up rationalizing the intentions of the subjects. (This may or may not be the case with your particular article, but you should know, for your own good, that it is quite a common theme with Reason.)

    This is a bit abstract, but at the same time, you should know that the community here appreciates the fact that you showed up to engage in the conversation. Would that David Brooks or Ross Douthat had half the courage you do.

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jesse Walker:

    The other two-thirds of the post are devoted to telling anyone tempted by Vanderboegh’s tactics why they’re wrong.

    No, that’s where you tried to persuade them that they shouldn’t use those tactics because they’re ineffective. You did not say one word about it being morally wrong to try to intimidate your political opponents with violence.

    That leads us to assume that your only problem with people using violence against their political opponents is that you don’t think it will work, not that you think it’s wrong to use violence to try and influence the government.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mclaren:

    What are you so upset about? You’re the one who’s been breathlessly anticipating massive rioting because people are going to hate Obamacare so much. You’ve described it in great detail for us more than once.

    This is exactly what you wanted. Has it only just occurred to you now that the teabaggers are going to turn on you no matter how much you claim to be one of the good liberals who’s on their side?

  87. 87
    Jesse Walker says:

    @Mnemosyne: “Wrong” as in “wrong to be tempted.” You’re quite right that I didn’t get into the ethical side of the issue. My first draft of the post did include a line about that, but I took it out. When I write about nonviolence — something I do quite a bit, though usually not in this kind of context — I find that the hard-nosed Gene Sharp approach is more persuasive when arguing with the violently inclined than the more moralistic Gandhi approach. (If you don’t know what I mean by that, read this.)

    At any rate, if Doug had said, Jesse Walker didn’t write anything about the morality of breaking someone’s window because you don’t like a bill before Congress. I wonder where he stands on the issue? then I’d be happy to give him my answer. (Briefly: Yes, it’s wrong.) Instead I hear that I “side with the brick-throwers and noose-faxers.”

  88. 88
    freelancer says:

    @Jesse Walker:

    At any rate, if Doug had said, Jesse Walker didn’t write anything about the morality of breaking someone’s window because you don’t like a bill before Congress. I wonder where he stands on the issue? then I’d be happy to give him my answer. (Briefly: Yes, it’s wrong.) Instead I hear that I “side with the brick-throwers and noose-faxers.”

    Oy. I don’t think I can find anyone who writes like that. But are you painfully tone-deaf to the content that your organization churns out on a weekly basis.

  89. 89
    BDeevDad says:

    These assholes need to be reminded that payback’s a bitch.

    The man who berated and tossed dollar bills at a man with Parkinson’s disease during a health care protest last week says he is remorseful and scared.

  90. 90
    MattR says:

    @BDeevDad: I don’t know how much I agree with that. If this guy is genuinely remorseful for his actions, it seems like it could be a good teaching moment for how ordinary people can get worked into a lather (by teapartiers, talk radio, etc) and do things that they did not think they were capable of and which they later regret.

  91. 91
    Maude says:

    @Jesse Walker: @ 87
    Nice try.
    By not stating clearly that the attacks on members of the US government are indeed immoral and criminal acts, you are silently condoning them.
    I don’t care why they did it, they are outside of the law and outside of society.
    Stop making excuses for them.
    I’m off to sleep and I don’t argue anyway.

  92. 92
    BDeevDad says:

    @MattR: That’s a big IF.

    Earlier this week, Reichert, 40, denied any involvement in a confrontation featured in a Dispatch video that drew an emotional response from viewers across the country.
    “I wanted this to go away, but it won’t and I’m paying the consequences,” Reichert said.

  93. 93
    MattR says:

    @BDeevDad: Yeah. Agreed. It is tough to tell from the article though I have to admit I was a bit moved by his statement that he would never attend another political rally.

  94. 94
    freelancer says:

    @MattR:

    Agreed, the tone of the article he links to sounds like the events that Bad Horse Filly went through. A right-leaning rube who got caught up in the hype, and has now had his “Oh, Shit! I was an asshole moment” and this sounds like a bit of a reality check. If this is the case, leave the man be. Forgiveness is a virtue, not just for Christians. He really comes across as seriously spooked, and genuinely contrite.

    Just sayin’.

  95. 95
    Ash Can says:

    @Jesse Walker: You’re still “siding with the brick-throwers and noose-faxers” in that you’re condoning resistance to the health care reform law at all. What’s the point to that? Swaying public opinion to support a repeal? Persuading more people to vote for politicians committed to disbanding government and doing away with sevices?

    You’re seeing HCR as a weapon yielded by government against the people, we see it as evidence that the people we elected are doing the job we hired them to do. If you want to argue in favor of resistance to the government providing services to its citizens, and wax philosophical on how to do it most effectively, knock yourself out. But yes, it will mean that we’ll consider you to be on the same side as the less thoughtful and restrained resisters.

  96. 96
    BDeevDad says:

    @MattR: You also have to wonder how freaked and scared the other guy who was yelling must be since they have not figured out who he is and he has not come forward to apologize.
    @freelancer: I’m sure he is spooked, I just wonder if he’d be as contrite if his name weren’t plastered all over the web.

  97. 97
    OriGuy says:

    As others have pointed out, the comparison to Kristallnacht is at the least, forced. In general, when someone, right or left, makes a comparison with Nazi Germany, I think it weakens rather than strengthens their argument. Godwin’s Law has not been repealed.

    If you feel the need to make a comparison to Nazi Germany, try working a bit harder and find something else in history that fits.
    For example, I think a closer comparison for the teabaggers and recent events would be to the Falangists toward the end of the Second Spanish Republic. Not so much the ideology, as the teabaggers don’t seem to have a coherent one, but the close ties to the Church. The Falangists were closely allied to the Catholic Church, while the teabaggers are more diverse, but the religious aspects of the two movements have some parallels.

  98. 98
    LD50 says:

    @Jesse Walker:

    “Wrong” as in “wrong to be tempted.” You’re quite right that I didn’t get into the ethical side of the issue. My first draft of the post did include a line about that, but I took it out.

    So, at no point have you condemned the violence as morally wrong or unethical, which gives us no reason to think you DO regard it as morally wrong or unethical, which makes you just as slimy as the people committing the violence. Bravo.

  99. 99
    freelancer says:

    @BDeevDad:

    I just wonder if he’d be as contrite if his name weren’t plastered all over the web.

    He might not, which makes this kind of a really valuable Road to Damascus moment for him.

  100. 100
    mclaren says:

    The clinical sociopath Mnemosyne once again fails to get the lies and smears right:

    What are you so upset about? You’re the one who’s been breathlessly anticipating massive rioting because people are going to hate Obamacare so much. You’ve described it in great detail for us more than once.

    Go back to karl Rove and ask him to give you pointers on how to Swiftboat a victim properly. You’re not doing it right. The fact that the HCR non-reform will make things worse is unrelated to the hysteria of the teabaggers. It’s going to take years for our health care system to collapse entirely.The current HCR non-reform does nothing about the underlying causes of the skyrocketing health care cost increases:
    The Fix Is In: The Hidden Public-Private Cartel That Sets Health Care Prices

    And it’s true this HCR bill plays cynical games with the uninsured, dumping ’em onto medicaid at the very time the states are slashing their medicaid coverage:

    The fraying of the nation’s Medicaid system has many indicators… Cutbacks, in response to the recession that has eroded state finances even while swelling Medicaid ranks, is the reason Washington’s Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire, is among governors from both parties who fear the implications of the health care overhaul now being devised in Washington, D.C.

    The governors worry Congress will give the states expensive new Medicaid obligations without providing enough new money to pay for them.

    “We can’t afford to have Congress raise the eligibility for Medicaid coverage without paying for it,” Ms. Gregoire said in an interview.

    If anything, the states’ fears were stoked further last week when House lawmakers drafting health legislation reached a cost compromise with conservative Blue Dog Democrats that would force states to take on a greater Medicaid spending burden than an earlier version of the bill.

    “This is profoundly disappointing and makes a bad situation much worse,” said Doug Porter, Washington State’s Medicaid director.

    “Governors Fear Added Costs of Health Care Overhaul,” New York Times, 6 August 2009.

    Withal, America remains a very rich country…so it’s going to take years for health care costs to rise so high, and state medicaid cuts to become so ruinous, that the entire system collapses. And the rioting won’t be confined to kooks like Mnemosyne or the crackpots like the teabaggers — when 70% of people can no longer afford health insurance but are legally required to buy it, that’s when you’ll start to see civil unrest.

    When will 70% of people no longer be able to afford health insurance (they’re already legally required to buy it if they make more than 150% of the federal poverty level)? Ask these experts:
    Experts Warn Of Medical Industry Cartels’ Power

    The AMA acts as ruthless cartel, limiting the number of doctors to keep their salaries 2x to 5x that of doctors in other first-world countries. See:

    The Medical Cartel: Why Are MD Salaries So High? in The Wall Street Journal, 24 June 2009.

    The medical devicemakers manufacture disposable plastic surgical tools for $10 yet charge $1200 to the insurance companies (op. cit., San Francisco Chronicle article above). The insurance companies and busily jacking up rates by 67% per year (Anthem Blue Cross in California, op. cit.). And the toothless state insurance regulatory boards have no power to enforce sanctions, while the federal fine for insurance companies that break the new HCR rules only amounts to $100 per day per patient — chicken feed to the giant insurance cartels. (op. cit.)

    How long do you think it’s going to take for costs to increase to the point where 70% or 80% of the population can no longer afford overpriced private insurance that doesn’t actually cover any illnesses? Not long, at the rate these greedy corrupt medical cartels are increasing prices all along the line, from charging $3200 for a CAT scan that costs $40 in Germany, to charging $150 for a routine doctor’s visit that costs $30 in France, to charing $100,000 for an operation that costs $10,000 in the Netherlands, to charging $1200 for disposable medical devices that cost $20 in Norway or Finland.

    The real killer for the middle class, of course, is the “cadillac tax” which is badly misnamed. It places a huge tax burden, guaranteed to increase constantly over time, on people who for the most part are underpaid civil servants who happen to have excellent medical benefits. The classic example of these kinds of people are firefighters or schoolteachers. Not rich, but they happen to have what is misnamed as “cadillac health insurance” because that’s one of the few perks of working a crummy bureaucratic job for the government. These people are either going to get crushed by that tax burden, or their medical benefits will be savagely completely eroded to evade the ruinous tax, to the point where civil unrest will become inevitable:

    “There is a middle-class tax time bomb ticking in the Senate’s version of President Obama’s effort to reform health care.

    The bill that passed the Senate with such fanfare on Christmas Eve would impose a confiscatory 40 percent excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans, which are popularly viewed as over-the-top plans held only by the very wealthy. In fact, it’s a tax that in a few years will hammer millions of middle-class policyholders, forcing them to scale back their access to medical care.

    [Bob Herbert, “A Less Than Honest Policy,” New York Times, 28 December 2009]

    I’ve now provided four links to documented facts showing that the current HCR non-reform does nothing to contain the skyrocketing costs of medical care in America, and in fact contain provisions that badly hurt both the middle class (who’ll be subject to a brutal tax if they get decent health insurance as part of their job) and the bottom quartile of the population, who will get dumped on medicaid just as the states are slashing medicaid benefits right and left.

    The sociopathic compulsive liar Mnemosyne has, as usual, provided no links to any facts, no evidence, no logic, nothing but lies, lies, more lies, and yet more lies.

    You need to improve your lying skills, Mnemosyne. When Karl Rove created the Swift Boat smear campaign against John Kerry, he was careful to confect fraudulent interviews with Viet Nam vets that superficially sounded as though they were actually providing some kind of evidence against Kerry. If you want to conduct a successful smear campaign, Mnemosyne, you’ll have to create some bogus web pages with phony statistics and made-up quotes and then link to them. That way, you’d at least have a chance of smearing me successfully.

    As it is, you’re just making a fool of yourself, in the same way Senator Joe McCarthy did when he tried to claim the Army was riddled with communist traitors during the Army-McCarthy hearings.

  101. 101
    mclaren says:

    @OriGuy:

    As others have pointed out, the comparison to Kristallnacht is at the least, forced.

    On the contrary — the comparisons prove eerily exact.

    We have eliminationist rhetoric (Glenn Beck) comparing liberals to “a virus” and “a cancer” that “needs to be cut out of the system.”

    Remind you of anything? Say, Josef Streicher’s rhetoric in Germany circa 1935?

    And now we have elected public officials of a minority party openly calling for their supporters to be “armed and dangerous.”

    Once again, reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s.

    Last but far from least, we have paramilitary armed factions who are now starting to commit vandalism against the property of perceived political opponents, along with an escalating wave of terror attacks from the right, documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s recent report “Terror From the Right.”

    What more do you need in order to be forced to admit that kristalnacht is, in fact, a fair comparison?

    If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, at a certain point, you have to be honest and call it a duck. Naomi Wolf’s Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps is now bearing its poisonous fruit.

  102. 102
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @BDeevDad: I’m with BDeevDad. When this guy said he’d never go to another political rally, it smacked to me of, “Well, phooey on you all” for something he, himself, had done. It’s like saying the alcohol made you do it. Alcohol does not turn you into something you aren’t already (sleepy and horny for me); it merely lowers your inhibitions in order to express them. So, for this guy, saying he got caught up in the moment doesn’t cut it. I hope he truly is contrite, but I’m doubtful.

  103. 103
    Michael says:

    Libertarians of the Reasonoid stripe do love their neo Nazis and vice versa.

    I find there to be a big correlation of thought among the two groups on the topic of Strapping Young Bucks.

  104. 104
    kay says:

    @mclaren:

    mclaren, play out your plan over ten years. Go ahead. Play out the Medicare For All over ten years, and use the same assumptions you used with the plan that exists.

    Assume state budgets aren’t ever going to improve, and the economy continues to decline, and health care costs continue to rise at the rate they’re rising now.

    Then play out single payer. Over ten years, including all your doomsday assumptions about the economy, and the rate of growth in health care spending. Let me know what you come up with.

    You cannot make a comparison between something and nothing. That isn’t valid. You cannot make doomsday predictions for the plan that exists and not apply the same rigor to your plan.

    One more thing. Every single time Medicaid or S-CHIP has been expanded in my lifetime, governors shriek that they need more federal money and they can’t afford it. Every single time. This “crisis in state funding of Medicaid” that liberals suddenly became aware of and are all excited about and are seizing on as “proof” of something or other is a constant.

    It’s interesting that “health care activists” never noticed it before, but it happens every time the economy tanks. Governors say they can’t afford Medicaid. But Medicaid is still around, is it not? And there’s additional funding for Medicaid in the reform.

    It is arguably a governor’s JOB to say “I need more federal money”.
    That’s what governors do. They lobby the federal government for money for their states. That you just noticed it and have connected it to an elaborate conspiracy theory to trick poor people doesn’t make it NEW.

    You get back to me on what single payer looks like with all the worst case assumptions you’re making here. Tell me what it costs, and who pays for it. Tell me about the “ticking time bomb” on the middle class if we install single payer and take it out ten years, but include all the assumptions you used with the bill that exists.

  105. 105
    Michael says:

    PS – Since this is a Reason thread and we know Radley is watching, I would also like to point out something that I find terribly interesting.

    Has anybody noticed that the Mavens of the Market are gleeful over everybody experiencing the perturbations and instability of the invisible hand except for themselves? The shit hits the fan, changes and sacrifices have to be made, but the Titans whine like the petulant little bitches they are when it comes to the notion of paying for it.

  106. 106
    kay says:

    @mclaren:

    You’re lobbying for insurance companies. You’re insisting that insurance companies remain the beneficiaries of a HUGE tax break, so employers can convert one quarter of worker’s wages to an insurance policy.
    Who benefits from expensive policies, mclaren? If the average family health insurance policy in this country is worth around 10k, who benefits when the employee is “given” a plan that’s worth 27K?
    You’re defending the status quo. You’re insisting that we continue to subsidize private insurers with a huge tax break, and you’re insisting that employers continue to convert wages to insurance policies.

  107. 107
    Jesse Walker says:

    So, at no point have you condemned the violence as morally wrong or unethical, which gives us no reason to think you DO regard it as morally wrong or unethical, which makes you just as slimy as the people committing the violence.

    Well, I said it was wrong in this very thread, so if you’re really curious about the status of my soul then you actually do have “reason to think [I] DO regard it as morally wrong or unethical.” If you’ve got your own ideological reasons for wanting to believe I’m secretly soft on vandalism, though, there isn’t much I can do about that. You can read my post in a fair-minded way (He’s arguing against vandalism), or you can search for excuses to impose a tendentious misreading on it (He didn’t make THIS argument, therefore he must not agree with it). Your choice.

    The fact remains: Doug did not write, “Jesse, while obviously opposed to brick-throwing, was suspiciously silent on the question of whether it is immoral or just unwise.” That would be pretty thin gruel for a blog post. He wrote that I “side with the brick-throwers and noose-faxers.” Even though it clearly isn’t true.

  108. 108
    The Truffle says:

    @BDeevDad: Awwwwww, poor snookie wookums. If there’s one thing as idiotic as these tea party mouthbreathers, it’s crybaby conservatives.

  109. 109

    […] though, is what infuriates me about the glibertarian response at Reason that DougJ pointed out last night. The entire economic theory of the glibertarian, boiled to its essence, is the belief in the causal […]

  110. 110
    Sheesh says:

    I guess the question really is do you side with the “brick-throwers and noose-faxers.” Are their goals your goals?

    Do you get it yet?

  111. 111

    Vanderbeogh is a “threeper,” the so-called “3%” of gun-owning Americans who have pledged to engage in armed insurrection against the government to fight the “collectivists” should they come to pollute their precious bodily fluids… er, I mean, take their guns away.

  112. 112
    Jesse Walker says:

    @Sheesh: Am I opposed to the bill that passed? Yeah. I think it’s the wrong direction for health care reform — that it entrenches the most dysfunctional parts of the system rather than fixing them. If you’re interested in what sorts of reforms I’d like to see instead, you can read this article; I have my disagreements with it but I’m with him on the big stuff. If you want to know if the brickthrowers agree, you’ll have to ask them.

    Now: Do you really think Doug was simply saying I share Mike Vanderboegh’s goal of opposing the legislation? If so, you might want to have a word with the commenters here who posted things like “So it’s okay to threaten people’s lives and property as long as you’re not a racist?” and “it’s okay to incite violence as long as you’re not a bigot about it?” They seem to have absorbed a different message from the post.

  113. 113
    John Cole says:

    @Jesse Walker: Stop the bullshit, Jesse. You’re a good guy, but just stop the bullshit.

    You all ran rhetorical cover for the lunatic teabaggers screaming and toting guns to meetings all last year, you are simply carrying on today while their antics get worse. Your buddy Welch is today linking to that frothing lunatic Jim Hoft who was one of the nutjobs carrying a coffin Carnahan’s house. Matt’s clear message is that there is nothing going on here, just “there are just two sides to every story.” It’s all just liberal media bias!

    On the upside, that did keep him from ranting about people who actually work for a living and their pension.

  114. 114
    mclaren says:

    In the race to the bottom in the “most disgracefully outrageous lie” contest, Kay wins by a mile:

    You’re lobbying for insurance companies.

    Earth to Kay: I’m advocating nationalized single-payer health care in America. That eliminates health insurance companies. Puts ’em out of business. Shuts ’em down.

    Explain to me how that qualifies as “lobbying for insurance companies.”

    I’m waiting.

    Tick…tick…tick…

    On to Kay’s next lie:

    You’re insisting that insurance companies remain the beneficiaries of a HUGE tax break, so employers can convert one quarter of worker’s wages to an insurance policy.

    Watch my lips move, Kay. I’m advocating nationalized single-payer health care. You’re lying. And everyone knows it.

    Now, on to Kay’s next lie:

    Who benefits from expensive policies, mclaren? If the average family health insurance policy in this country is worth around 10k, who benefits when the employee is “given” a plan that’s worth 27K?

    The insurance companies benefit, but the corrupt collusive doctors who charge $150 for routine exams compared to the $30 charged in Germay also benefit. Doctors in America make an average of $200,000 a year, which is 2x to 5x what doctors make in France or Germany or the Netherlands or Spain or Norway or Finland. So doctors benefit hugely from the current broken U.S. health care system. But nurses also benefit enormously — ICU nurses pull in $150,000 a year, and you don’t see that kind of grotesque overpayment in Europe or in any country with a nationalized single-payer health care system either. But medical devicemakers also benefit fantastically from the current system. And corrupt collusive hospitals that charge $10 per aspirin and $10,000 for a single ER visit and a CAT scan also benefit fabulously from the current broken U.S. health care system. And of course the independent labs that charge $500 for a blood panel (compared to $10 in Europe) and $3200 for a CAT scan (compared to $40 in Europe) benefit fantastically from the current broken system. The problem isn’t just insurance companies, Kay, it’s a corrupt collusive system of price-fixing all down the line throughout the medical profession, from top to bottom, from the simplest blood test to the most complex surgical procedure.

    Now, on to Kay’s next lie:

    You’re defending the status quo. You’re insisting that we continue to subsidize private insurers with a huge tax break, and you’re insisting that employers continue to convert wages to insurance policies.

    Once again…for the very last time…I am advocating NATIONALIZED SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE. What about that simple sentence do you not understand? How does that defend the status quo?

    You’re clueless, Kay. Go back and rejoin the Teabaggers, you’re making yourself look ridiculous.

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