Austin tea bomber Joe Stack is the canary in the right-wing mental coal mine. His action tells you where the hysterical rhetoric poured from hate radio takes a mind in a moment of crisis.
In anticipation of a crisis, the far right—by calling Stack a patriot and legitimizing things like torture and Birchite conspiracy theories—is softening the country up for a more brash authoritarian and violent ethos.
It’s the Shock Doctrine. In a time of crisis, run to brash moves. In a time when there is no crisis, soften the country up with extreme rhetoric. Get people used to hearing politicians unapologetically bash gays, stereotype Muslims, advocate torture, sympathize with fanatic anti-intellectuals, and disdain liberalism and cosmopolitanism, and when a real crisis comes serve up authoritarian measures and scapegoats.