"What is government if words have no meaning?"
Jared Loughner reportedly posed that question to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at a forum two years ago. Perhaps unwittingly, Loughner answered that question himself by murdering six people and attempting to murder fourteen others, including Giffords. In doing so, the young nihilist effectively privatized government's central function.
Shorn of the sophistries that provide it with a moral disguise, pared down to its essentials, political government is the systematic use of exactly the same kind of criminal violence employed by Loughner, only on a much grander scale. This was illustrated the day before Loughner's murderous rampage, when agents of the government ruling us used a remote-controlled drone operated from the safety of an office building in Nevada to murder six people in Pakistan's North Waziristan region.
Americans were not admonished to observe a moment of chastened silence in memory of the victims of that exercise in criminal violence. This is, in part, because observances of that kind would quickly become tedious: Since 2008, Pakistan – a country with which the government ruling us is not formally at war – has endured at least 250 drone attacks, in which roughly 1,400 people have been killed.
According to the most conservative estimate of "collateral damage," only a tithe of those slaughtered through drone strikes are "militants."
Hundreds of civilians have likewise been massacred in the ongoing "surge" in Afghanistan, many of them in nighttime raids by "Special Operations Forces" – that is, death squads – whose behavior is not easily distinguishable from that of Jared Loughner. At least a hundred thousand civilians have been annihilated in the continuing war in Iraq, which was inaugurated for reasons just as delusional as anything that percolated in Loughner's distressed mind.
For those who worship at the altar of the omnipotent State, mass murder of this kind is an exercise in sanctified violence. In a 2009 interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Bill Clinton – who has repeatedly denounced "anti-government" speech as a form of criminal sedition – defined terrorism as "killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority
." (Emphasis added.) What this means, of course, is that "killing and robbery and coercion" by duly authorized agents of the State isn't terrorism, it's....
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