5 Surprising Things I Learned Infiltrating An Armed Militia, Harmon Leon, Cracked, August 03, 2015
The sound of gunfire rang off in the distance. Tense and paranoid, the backroom of the Westside Pistol Range felt like an Alex Jones discussion board come to life. Amalia arrived late with a lot on her mind. She shuffled through a handful of notes from her independent research on a nightmare anti-Utopian vision of America in which citizens are rounded up by their own government and placed in giant concentration camps. “They could just take us — because they kind of own us!” she stated with certainty.
The group listened intently. A large man behind me chimed in, his words accented by gunshots: “When the banks fail, they can confiscate our assets and not pay us back,” he said. Then he added that what Amalia mentioned could be found in a secret military manual called Civilian Management.
The 15 members present were frustrated, and wanted to take control of their lives in an America which they see as spinning out of control. Most importantly, these patriots wanted to hold on to their guns, so as to be armed against “unconstitutional” orders from an increasingly tyrannical government.
These are the Oath Keepers, a nonpartisan (but libertarian-leaning) organization whose members call themselves “Guardians of the Republic.” Founded in 2009 by Yale-educated attorney, former army paratrooper, and Ron Paul staffer Stewart Rhodes, their mission is to defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. The Oath Keepers’ core membership is largely comprised of active duty and retired police officers, firefighters, and military. Since Hurricane Katrina, they’ve feared that martial law will be instigated during future disasters and land every American in a 24/7 FEMA camp. Their motto: “Not on our watch!”
America’s Fragile Constitution, Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic, October 2015
Over the past few decades, many of the unwritten rules of American political life have been discarded. Presidential appointees, once routinely confirmed by the Senate, now spend months in limbo. Signing statements have increased in frequency and scope, as presidents announce which aspects of a law they intend to enforce, and which they intend to ignore. Annual spending bills stall in Congress, requiring short-term extensions or triggering shutdowns.
The system isn’t working. But even as the two parties agree on little else, both still venerate the Constitution. Politicians sing its praises. Public officials and military officers swear their allegiance. Members of Congress keep miniature copies in their pockets. The growing dysfunction of the government seems only to have increased reverence for the document; leading figures on both sides of the aisle routinely call for a return to constitutional principles.
What if this gridlock is not the result of abandoning the Constitution, but the product of flaws inherent in its design?
“Follow Your Passion” is Terrible Career Advice, Bailey Poland, Suite, September 15, 2015
We’ve all heard the same thing from a parade of wealthy white men who went from “nothing” to everything: Find your passion, follow it, and a way to monetize it into the career of your dreams will appear. Follow your bliss, and you’ll never work a day in your life. On the face of it, this sounds amazing: Who doesn’t want to believe the everyday could be less of a grind and more of a joy? The problem is that this advice is simply not practical for the vast majority of people, and promotes deeply unhealthy ideas about what matters in work and in life.
Writing about this topic always feels like a downer, so at the outset, I want to make it clear that I am not discouraging anyone from discovering what brings them joy and pursuing it. Finding a fulfilling life is the most human of activities. However, for people in a position of privilege and comfort to tell those just starting on their journey that their passion should be all-consuming and worked on without recourse in the event of failure or setbacks is dangerous and misleading.
I get food stamps, and I’m not ashamed — I’m angry, Christine Gilbert, Vox, September 16, 2015
My name is Christine, and I get food stamps. I’ve had to apply off and on over the past 16 years in order to make sure my family was fed. I don’t feel the least bit ashamed of myself for this, but apparently some people think I should.
Some people think I, and people like me, am lazy. Or that we’re taking advantage of other (smarter, harder-working) people. Those people seem to have an image in their heads of how someone who “deserves” assistance behaves, and a very narrow idea of how we should feel about it.
Those people are wrong. I’m going to lay out why they’re wrong and also why it’s not shame I feel when I fill out my application — it’s anger.