Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Distrain and Oppress

A while back, I argued that the manufactured uproar over Obama's birth certificate might constitute a weird sort of wingnut proceduralism, in which certain legalistic pseudo-measures have to be taken before violence is "officially" justified.

What's fascinating — and frightening — about this idea is that the nightmare illogic of the accusation is its primary strength; if your goal is to delegitimize the courts, what better tool is there than an emotionally attractive conspiracy theory that no sane judge will take seriously? Faced with a totally irrational claim, the system functions as it should, and that's precisely what endangers it. Each time a lawsuit is dismissed or a motion is denied, the true believers become more convinced that the fix is in and an extralegal remedy is the only option left.

Apropos of which, WorldNetDaily informs us that a "citizen grand jury" of 25 people has been convened, and has indicted Obama for being born in the wrong place, at the wrong time, to the wrong people, for the wrong reasons. Since this is a Nation of Laws, certain legal steps must now be taken:

"If the government does not amend the error within 40 days after being shown the error, then the four members shall refer the matter to the remainder of the grand jury," it says. "The grand jury may distrain and oppress the government in every way in their power, namely, by taking the homes, lands, possessions, and any way else they can until amends shall have been made according to the sole judgment of the grand jury."
In other words, someone has rewritten clause 61 of the Magna Carta, and is offering it as a threat against the Obama administration (and, by extension, anyone who fails to grasp that Obama is an usurper, and that multiple governments have been colluding for years to hide the facts of his birth, on the assumption that the GOP would eventually fuck things up so badly that it'd become possible to elect a black guy with a Muslim name).

It's hard to critique this tactic. I can either write 750,000 words to explain exactly why it's batshit crazy even by the standards of modern conservatism, or settle for some form of understatement. Suffice it to say that while I'm as disappointed with representative government as the next gink, the idea that we need to start from scratch, with a new Great Council comprising wingnut conspiracy theorists, sticks in my craw.

It takes money to file frivolous lawsuits, and to appeal unfavorable judgments, so this new "emergency" could simply be another cash cow for the hard right, as well as an absorbing hobby that'll keep the base from yearning after the shiny bauble of center-right pro-capitalist semi-reformism.

But I can't shake the feeling that all this legal posturing really is intended to bring about the Glorious Revolution...or at least, the sporadic outbreaks of violence that herald its coming as surely as earthquakes herald the Rapture. While it probably won't lead to a post-apocalyptic society in which New Magna Carta Barons wielding barbeque forks battle Teabaggers armed with lawn darts for the right to gnaw on the bones of Galt-Goers, it does stand a pretty good chance of getting people killed.


roger said...

i think you've been reading worldnutdaily.

Phila said...

Sure. I even linked to 'em.

I know you're not supposed to take this stuff seriously, but I can't help it. Although 95% or more of these people aren't going to do anything but complain, a bunch of armed crazy people are now convinced, thanks to WND, that they're fighting a socialist monarchy and that the Magna Carta grants them magical powers. It only takes one of them to shoot up a school or blow up a courthouse.

Pablo said...

What these folks don't recognize is that Obama is the revolution Jefferson called for.

Larkspur said...

This quasi-legal shit is straight out of the survivalist/militia playbook. They bury (or used to; I'm not sure how much it's going on lately) county courthouses with reams of Requests for Admission and so forth, all written in bizarre "sovereign" jargon. Out of this crap are built new little Timothy McVeighs. This time, a big section of the press is complicit. Which is basically what you just said. But I'm saying it again, because I grow cranky, I rilly do.

Hey, how about that Hungarian commune?