Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Thursday, April 20, 2006

  Self-identifying as heroes

Dave Neiwert has a characteristically trenchant post on the aggrandizement of the self-styled Minutemen, Oh, those merry Minutemen. His main point is that, whatever face they try to present to the public, they attract large numbers of that kind of overt racist that used to be flocking to smaller, more marginalized militia groups.

To get a sense of the grim and twisted mentality that flourishes under the auspices of this group, you need only listen to their founder Jim Gilchrist hyperventilating on All Things Considered on April 6th.

"A 2000 mile physical barrier would be the last resort for us to survive as a sovereign nation, our nation's final attempt to preserve its prosperity and domestic tranquility. And sadly, it would stand as a constant reminder of the failure of America's political and business leaders to stop an invasion of a magnitude unprecedented in the history of the United States, an invasion that threatens our heritage, culture, prosperity, domestic tranquility, governance under the rule of law, and our very existence as a sovereign nation of assimilated Americans.


In tone and substance, it is crabbed, authoritarian and millenarian, megalomaniacal and diabolically manipulative. It warns that our way of life is under attack, and seems to threaten civil war unless a great wall is built. As wiser men than I have said, "Boogaa, boogaa!"

Stickler for details that I am, I've always been struck by the ways these tin-plated Napoleons self-identify. After all, what kind of a twit would self-identify as a Revolutionary War hero? The answer, I suppose, is a very considerable twit.

Again, stickling some further details: Wasn't it the case that the actual Minutemen were a more or less regular militia outfit, rather than vigilantes? That is, they were an extension of town militias; they were organized precisely so that they would be prepared in case of necessity (rather than going out on frequent patrols); they were created in order to resist the government of the day, rather than to supplement its forces. Oh, and they included all levels of society, rather than just its dregs.

So describe me as puzzled about why this group of weekend saviors on the Mexican border decided to self-identify with an entirely different kind of group from colonial New England. Stop making those sighing sounds. Sure, I understand the psychological imperative of small minds to self-aggrandize. Yet, hasn't the "Guardian Angels" movement fallen into disrepair? Why not just expropriate that name?

Because that is more or less the direction this crowd is trying to move toward. Just yesterday we learned from USA Today that the "Minutemen" wish to become a national movement.

[Executive Director Stephen] Eichler won't release membership numbers but says about 200,000 people identify themselves as Minutemen. By the end of the year, Eichler says, the group expects to have 500 chapters in states across the country, including Minnesota and elsewhere in the Midwest.


That will be a lot of people to have guarding national borders in Kansas and Missouri. Just as well that they're not any longer trying to hide behind trees to evade the redcoats.

The one place I gather they won't be found is at Lexington and Concord.

1 Comments:

  • I suppose we can be thankful that Gilchrist did not self-identify as one of Xerxes' "Immortals". That would be creepy beyond my powers to analyze.

    By Blogger : smintheus ::, at 7:39 PM  

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