Thank you again, Aimai and Yastreblyansky, for filling in while I was away. I owe you.
Every elderly Fox News viewer "knows" that filthy lefty hippies spit on troops returning home from the Vietnam War. Is there hard evidence of this? Little or none. But they all know it's true.
In recent years, the anti-war left has worked hard not to blame the troops for ill-advised wars. But as The New York Times reports today, some war opponents haven't learned that lesson -- and, curiously, they're the one who agree with those elderly Fox viewers on a lot of issues:
... in charming Keene, [New Hampshire,] ... parking officers figure in a philosophical tug of war between a small band of activists who live by the motto "Free Keene," and the great majority of residents who were unaware that their city was in bondage.There are a lot of cops in America who deserve to have this sort of anger directed at them. There's plenty of abusive policing in this country. But officers lawfully handing out five-buck summonses for meter violations don't deserve the emotional equivalent of abortion-clinic harassment. ("How do you live with yourself?")
Keene's two parking officers, both women, are often videotaped by young adults known as "Robin Hooders." They track the whereabouts of the officers by two-way radio, feed expired meters before $5 tickets can be written, and leave a business card saying that "we saved you from the king's tariff."
... They are part of a broader effort by about two-dozen activists, most of them from someplace else, to unshackle Keene from the "violent monopoly" of government and its enforcers....
The mundane matter of parking has become so contentious that a third parking officer, an ex-soldier who served in Iraq, quit last year because, he says, he could no longer take the close-up videotaping and the taunts that "I had condoned the droning of brown babies." ...
This shadowing of parking enforcement officers has received the most publicity by far. Videotapes show the officers being dogged by activists who sometimes goad with pleasantries like: "How do you live with yourself?" ...
"They would try to make comments to bait me about my faith, about my military status," Alan Givetz, the ex-soldier, recalled recently. He said that he tried being nice, then oblivious, then angry, but to no avail.
Finally, Mr. Givetz, who served 22 months in Iraq as a military police officer, quit his job handing out parking tickets. "I couldn't take it anymore," he said. "I didn't see an end in sight."
[Ian] Freeman denied that he and his colleagues have harassed anyone. But he noted that enduring verbal and mental abuse is part of the officers' job description. "If it's too stressful," he said, "maybe it's not the right job for you." ...
These guys (and they're nearly all white guys, as the Times story notes, not that that's any surprise) are affiliated with the so-called Free State Project -- an effort to flood New Hampshire with out-of-state libertarians and then start working to convert the state to a libertarian paradise, whether longtime residents want that or not. The "Free Keene" folks, of course, dispense with the process of dismantling government by legal means and just try to do it by (ahem) fiat. They decide for themselves which laws are legitimate (the pseudonymous Ian Freeman is a Floridian who hasn't paid federal taxes in a decade) and enforce that judgment through intimidation. So they're basically dudebro Cliven Bundys.
This shows up in the Times on the same day the paper gives us a story about full-time presidential candidate and part-time U.S. senator Rand Paul kissing Rupert Murdoch's ring at the Kentucky Derby. News coverage of Washington insiders is generally the worst aspect of the Times, and this story is Politico-breathless about Paul:
For more than a year, Mr. Paul has been the most interesting man in Republican politics. His efforts to expand the Republican Party, and distinguish himself as a presidential candidate, have led him to reach out to constituencies that are not usually in the party’s sights. That, and a confluence of issues that have played to his strengths, have resulted in Mr. Paul being the hottest ticket in politics.A lot of insiders think Kids Today are disappointed with President Obama, and thus are no longer liberal or Democratic -- libertarianism is what's fashion-forward these days. Well, if Rand Paul wins the New Hampshire primary, it'll be with the help of a fair number of kids who feel entitled to decide for the rest of us whether government exists. I'm sure Rupert Murdoch would be cool with that, as he was cool with Cliven Bundy before Bundy starting talking about "the Negro" -- the anarchy isn't going to reach Murdoch's penthouse. Murdoch still wants a muscular foreign policy, and that will be a bone of contention, but if that all gets worked out, maybe this is the future.