Majority Report Radio conversation with Michael Brooks on the piece I wrote for the National on the political insurgency in the Republican mainstream.
In America, a new era of insurgency and turbulence has just begun
When Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb that killed 168 Americans in Oklahoma City in 1995, he claimed to be avenging white extremists killed by federal agents at Ruby Ridge and members of a religious cult who died during a government raid on their compound at Waco, Texas.
McVeigh hoped he would spur like-minded “patriots” to rise up and overthrow what he called a tyrannical federal government. No such rebellion materialised in 1995, but “patriots” who share his world view may have reason to believe conditions today are conducive to fulfilling their fantasy.
The election of America’s first black president in the same year that the financial collapse plunged millions more into poverty sparked an ammunition shortage in the nation’s gun stores. The same happened after Barack Obama’s reelection.
Hundreds of new white male “patriot” groups have emerged, their members brandishing semi-automatic rifles on the streets – outside mosques to intimidate Muslim worshippers, patrolling the border areas where migrants cross from Mexico, on the streets of Ferguson, where black protesters challenge racist policing, and in taking control of a state wildlife sanctuary in Oregon to protest against government land-use policy.
No modern state can survive without maintaining a monopoly of force within its territory. Legally permitting citizens to brandish weapons on the streets independent of government authority not only demonstrates the crumbling of state power, it raises the risk of bloody confrontations – and even civil war.