Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Take up violence to give ideas flight

A crazy man flew a plane into a building after arising anger against tax laws.

Yet, cable news networks were hesitant to call this man a terrorist, including Pete Williams of NBC, who declared he couldn’t be because he’s an American citizen.

Instead, his upper-class white background, indicated by his wealth and the name Anthony Joseph Stack III, along with his nationality, seems to makes him not a terrorist, but just a crazy person. Meanwhile, being a Muslim or having an Arab background immediately makes a violent mass murderer an act of terrorism. So instead of labeling it terrorism, we have to rationally consider whether his grievances had ground in reality, or whether in fact our society is at fault for his horrific act.

          I don’t understand why many fail to see the glaring hypocrisy in this. Then again, as I sit thinking on the American public’s response to the Stack Attack, there hasn’t been that much hypocrisy.  Many blamed American laws or policies for what happened on September 11, 2001 as well, and personally, I consider it an absolute travesty that many voices on my own side of the political spectrum, being the left, now shout that if America had given its favor to the Muslim side in various conflicts, like the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sept. 11 would not have occurred.

          That idea appears to say that terrorism works and that Americans are pathetic cowards who, when they see a number of their own murdered, think about the wrongness of not doing what the terrorists had wanted in the first place. I can already see Republicans putting forth a Stack’s Law bill that will fix the tax-code so that software engineers can pass themselves off as independent contractors while actually working as employees and therefore avoid taxes. The reason for this will be that their new bill could have prevented the tragedy, ignoring the irony in passing a law based on what a terrorist wanted.

          It seems, however, that I’m not the first to observe these facts. The tea-baggers beat me to it. According to David Barstow’s piece in The New York Times, “Tea Party Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right,” many members of this right-wing movement have “gone so far as to stock up on ammunition, gold, and survival foods in anticipation of the worst.”  They’ve also gone to websites like and, the home of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.  In fact, Jones’ latest Internet radio show claims that the Stack Attack could have been staged, possibly by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or the government.  Many tea-baggers have also started forming citizen militias to make sure the federal government can’t impose martial law.

          While Stack didn’t display any actual membership or loyalties to the Tea Party movement, his actions seem to fully represent them. He even added some anti-Catholic ranting to his terrorist note, referring to the Church as “vulgar” and “corrupt.” All in all, he displayed what amounts to an upper-class version of the tea-bagger mentality. He just hated everything about current society and blamed all problems on authority figures such as the government, business, intellectuals and organized religion. With attitudes like these coming out of the ever-vaunted “Middle America,” I have to wonder how long before pogroms come hunting for educated, coastal, liberal New York Jews.

          This is excellent. On one side of me, Islamofascist terrorists want to kill me for being a liberal, educated American Jew. On the other side of me, tea-baggers and their cohort want to defend themselves from me, because as a liberal, educated American Jew (InfoWars says to say “Zionist”), I obviously aim to impose martial law on them for not paying the heavy taxes that my communist political system has imposed on them with a Kenyan, non-American false President. At times like these, I have to say that I feel like throwing my hands in the air, declaring that Rabbi Meir Kahane was right, and choosing violence over nonresistance.

          These days, it seems that the only way to attract mainstream American society’s attention is to leave mainstream society, adopt some sort of insane and violent extremist ideology and then murder a bunch of people. This ideology falls roughly in line with the radical mainstream of the Northeast, like passing universal health-care, re-enfranchising labor, using taxes to make the rich pay the price of civilization and reforming immigration law to stop the exploitation of immigrants as downward pressure on wages.

          But without blood on one’s hands, no one listens. In order to get someone to listen, it seems like one would have to drive down to Washington, march outside the Senate building and attack all the Secret Service men, policemen, soldiers, and security guards. Then hold the Senate hostage, threatening to get rid of a Senator for every day that they fail to eliminate the filibuster and pass universal, single-payer health-care. Then do the same with the House, in case some people still weren’t listening.

          I might think of that as insane, immoral and a total waste of time, but since it’s the only way left to actually get things done in this country, it seems it might just have to do. John F. Kennedy said, “those who make nonviolent revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable,” but I never thought I’d see that slogan taken up by fundamentally regressive, fascist people.

Author Isaac Asimov also, less famously, called violence “the last refuge of the incompetent.” It seems that as fear and acquiescence have made this a nation of cowards and fascism has risen, violence has become more and more of a necessary counterattack not merely against regressive politics but against itself.

Eli Gottlieb is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].

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    muad'dibFeb 23, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I sense the heavy, stultifying, inarticulate hand of the Collegian editors. God only knows what Gottlieb actually wrote now.