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It is the disposition of the thought...

...that altereth the reality of the thing. 

John Lyly said that, in Euphues, The Anatomy of Wit, in1579.  It came to mind (yes, snippets like that actually do come to mind at times) as I observed this bit of written buffoonery from Frank Rich, writing, where else, in the New York Times.
This uptick in the radical right predates the health care debate that is supposedly inspiring all the gun waving. Nor can this movement be attributed to a stepped-up attack by Democrats on this crowd’s holy Second Amendment. Since taking office, Obama has disappointed gun-control advocates by relegating his campaign pledge to reinstate the ban on assault weapons to the down-low.

No, the biggest contributor to this resurgence of radicalism remains panic in some precincts about a new era of cultural and demographic change. As the sociologist Daniel Bell put it, “What the right as a whole fears is the erosion of its own social position, the collapse of its power, the increasing incomprehensibility of a world — now overwhelmingly technical and complex — that has changed so drastically within a lifetime.”

Bell’s analysis appeared in his essay “The Dispossessed,” published in 1962, between John Kennedy’s election and assassination. J.F.K., no more a leftist than Obama, was the first Roman Catholic in the White House and the tribune of a new liberal order. Bell could have also written his diagnosis in 1992, between Bill Clinton’s election and the Oklahoma City bombing. Clinton, like Kennedy and Obama, brought liberals back into power after a conservative reign and represented a generational turnover that stoked the fears of the dispossessed.
 

Heh.  I daresay I'm far more technologically savvy than Mr. Rich, and live in a world at least as complex.  Doing okay, too.  But still don't care for how things are going - and I'm not pinin' for a return to the good old days of Jim Crow.  I have actual memories of "Negroes Only" water fountains and waiting rooms.  And while I've not sold my soul to the crackberry, I sit in my basement (surrounded by guns, ruh-roh!) typing this on my HP Touchsmart computer hooked up to my wireless network, the outputs from which are being beamed up to the satellite, and, by golly, I bet I could discuss the technical side of all that with more understanding of the details than Mr. Rich.  But, of course, we can't generalize from a population of one, though Mr. Rich is willing to, after a fashion.  At least he's out to make an icon.

Now, Jesse Walker, over at Hit & Run, the blog of Reason magazine, has a nice little poke-fest with Mr. Rich's piece.  You need to read both pieces to get the full flavor - but especially Walker's bit, since it's a bit rude to just post the whole thing...

Needless to say, a provision about foreign organizations would have no effect on any American militias. The reason the ACLU and other "far right" groups raised a stink about that measure was because they were afraid it would criminalize too much. For an example of their concerns, read David Kopel and Joseph Olson's old warning that:
 
"One important distinction between the Clinton and Dole bills was that the Dole bill created an explicit exception to the "material support" statute: "'Material support'...does not include humanitarian assistance to persons not directly involved in such violations." Thus, under the Dole approach, sending a Christmas food package to an I.R.A. or A.N.C. prisoner would constitute material support, but giving money to a fund that assisted the orphaned children of I.R.A. or A.N.C. members would not. The final legislation did not include the proposed Dole exception.

Thus, under the new terrorism bill, a donor to the I.R.A. orphanage would be a federal felon, subject to ten years in prison, as would be a person who spent five dollars to attend a 1980s speech of a visiting lecturer from the African National Congress. If the "material support" language had been law in the early 1980s, persons who gave money to church relief groups in El Salvador and Nicaragua, which opposed American policy in Central America, could have been labeled "terrorist." When pressed about this problem at Congressional hearings, a Clinton administration spokesperson acknowledged that minor support for the A.N.C.'s peaceful activities could have been felonized, but that the American people should simply trust the President not to abuse the immense power which President Clinton was requesting."

 
Heh.  This discussion in Walker's column of the NRA's and other's resistance to the Clinton-era bill, and the Left's resistance to the Bush-era bill brings to mind an Ayn Rand quote:

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws":

*Everybody* should be leery of government creating more and more criminal activity by extending the auras and penumbras of already-criminal behavior (hate crimes, anyone?).

On both sides.  It truly is a slippery slope.

9 Comments

I'm stumped.  I simply cannot come up with a 'red team' position on this one.  I simply can't. 

Must be time for a kielbasa sandwhich.  I'd offer Unk one, but I don't think it'd survive the trip and Lord knows they're best with beer while he can't have any under federal law.
 
A kielbasa sandwich would be a Slim Jim on a saltine by the time it got here...
 
But, it's the thought that counts, right, Unk?

Though I went sans beer while eating one in your honor.  Burp. 

Sorry for 'jacking the thread, BB.
 
Snerk.  No one else was commenting, so... I'm guessing no one cares, either!
 
I'm thinking it's more like they're afraid whatever Frank Rich has is contagious...
 
Who is Daniel Bell and why was he worth quoting?
 
Speaking of Criminalisation Murray would like this

 
Already true in some places around the lower 48...
 
Just a short Google - Youngstown, Ohio.  More interestingly is Atlanta's response.