As you have no doubt heard on the shortwave radio set in your guard tower, anti-government militia members took over the visitor’s center at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon yesterday. Led by Ammon Bundy, son of patriot/delinquent grazing account Cliven Bundy, the group massed to protest the arson convictions of Dwight and Steve Hammond, who were sentenced to five years in prison last week for burning several acres of federal land. But that’s bullshit. Federal land does not belong to the federal government; it belongs to ranchers, who have a constitutional right to graze it/set it on fire/shoot does on it while the rest of us pay for its maintenance. Bundy and his supporters are just standing up for their rights. There’s nothing violent about marching through the streets with guns and then seizing a federal building, as the Missoulian reminds us with its headline, Peaceful protest followed by Oregon wildlife refuge action.
Nietzsche wrote that it is meaningless to say this life is good or bad, because we have nothing to compare it to. I feel the same way about people. It seems like the general run of them is infuriatingly stupid and awful, plus proud, and this feeling only intensifies when you get the internet. But to whom are we comparing them? The dead people we know from history are instances of selection bias, and our selves are not exactly paragons. It’s possible that all men are fools, as Boileau says, and with every effort they differ only in degree. You have to love them, though, because your alternative is to be miserable. Today is Friday, and other people pit our honesty against our happiness. Won’t you try to broker a settlement with me?
Let’s say a witch transports you to a mythical country called, I dunno, Furmerica or Harmonica or whatever. The country is nominally a democracy, but everyone you meet agrees that Furmerican politics are a farce. The two major parties are operatively indistinguishable, both in their dishonesty and in their infatuation with rich patrons. The few politicians who sincerely hope to govern by their beliefs—the real Furmericans, if you will—are invariably dumb. The Congress of Furmerica is a long argument between liars and fools, and don’t even get me started on the Hexagonal Office. Ask any citizen, and he’ll tell you that they’re all a bunch of bums, which is why he doesn’t even pay attention anymore. Today is Friday, and we have pinpointed Furmerica’s second biggest problem. Won’t you skirt the root cause with me?