The Bikecast Episode #4: Oklahoma City and Moral Equivalence

Sound quality in this episode is the best yet. I spliced together both directions of my commute–it’s fairly seamless, though a word or two got dropped by my silence truncation filter (one of the words is ‘it,’ let me know if you notice). This podcast, touches on Episode #3. Here’s the NPR story that got me thinking about it.

Download this episode of the bikecast

Show Notes:
Another wandercast about state and “anti-state” violence. The quotes result from a thought I was having towards the middle of the trip that there is no anti-state violence. Successful anti-state violence is termed a “revolution” and results in a new gang of thugs, bankers, and aristocrats declaring themselves to be the state. In this sense, no violence is anti-state. Rather it’s a would-be ruling class competing for the monopoly of violence with the existing regime. IOZ expresses a similar sentiment: “terrorist” as trustbuster.

All that is around 3 minutes in. Our verbal journey begins with the Oklahoma City bombing–yesterday, 4/19, was the 15th anniversary. Today, 4/20 is the 5000+ year anniversary of people getting high on 4/20, but that’s neither here nor there. The OK city attack was carried out by a U.S. trained, gulf war veteran who claimed to be retaliating for the murder of the branch davidians in Waco the year before.

Blowback isn’t just for Muslim jihadists, it’s a general human condition. On the margins of mental health are people who will, when fucked with, feel justified turning around and fucking up somebody else’s shit–often by blowing them up. Of course, violence doesn’t solve any social problems, but that’s equally true for the thugs that gassed, assaulted and torched the people in Waco.

How can sane people applaud one and abhor the other? What about burning a persons flesh with hot tar? What about napalming hundreds of villages in of south-east asia?

With four events–the siege at Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, the American Revolution, and the genocide in Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia–it would be fairly easy to find defenders of violence in all four, any three, any two, or any one of them. People have extraordinarily convoluted logic to defend their positions in such matters, all backed by rank bigotry and in a disturbing number of cases, religion.

I have high hopes for the future. I believe it’s inevitable that a critical mass of people will reach a level of consciousness that makes state sponsored murder impossible. Preceding this will be an exponential decay in the size and power of religious institutions and an increasing skepticism to claims that flagrant violations of human decency carried out by the ruling class is somehow essential for the cohesion of society. Granted this shit is taking a long damn time.

Updates: James Bovard weighs in mightily: http://www.counterpunch.org/bovard04202010.html
Reviewed by Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque and incorporated into (another) must-read Arthur Silber article.

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