Is this the beginnings of a creepy new form of teabagger madness: suicide baggers? It appears that a Tea Party movement sympathizer, Joe Stack, furious over unjust taxation, cracked today and crashed his small plane into an IRS office complex in Austin, Texas. Here’s his “no taxation without representation” comment from his (very) badly written web rant (posted 2/18/2010):
We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.
And in another part of his suicide web note he speaks of getting together with others to read the tax code together. Sounds like a hoot:
My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. . . . Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. . . . The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us.
From what Joe Stack is describing, it’s hard to tell if this was an atheist group opposed to tax exempt status for churches, or if this was some sort of right wing thing. In any case, repeated hard luck on the employment front—and a recent IRS audit—drove him to bitter resentment of government for the rich:
I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.
These are hardly unconventional sentiments. Glenn Beck channels this kind of rage every day. Indeed, Joe Stack sounds a lot like Glenn Beck here:
I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.
He’s mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. But now the logic of this goes to the reductio ad absurdum of the madman—violence:
Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along. . . . Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.
Joe Stack’s web rant ends with a bitterly ironic swerve on Karl Marx. I wonder if Joe Stack made this up himself, or got it from somewhere:
The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.
What I personally find troubling about Joe Stack’s suicide web note is how conventional his sentiments are. They are the “common sense” working man populist views that right-wing radio and Fox News gin up in their audiences every day. And the left tries to tap these sentiments as well (think of Ed Schultz on MSNBC as an example). What this man did was offer a violent extension to the fevered rhetoric that surrounds us every day. It’s a disturbing manifestation of our cultural Zeitgeist.