Friday, June 24, 2005

Ecoterrorists have the right to make political statements too!

I stumbled upon this gem on the website for the nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham radio show. I'm not a huge fan of miss Ingraham--the bulk of her show involves her utilization of sophomoric jokes, mockery, and name-calling while her two producers snicker a la Beavis and Butthead. The trio is rather clever and when I occasionally listen I do enjoy some chuckles, but don't expect to learn much from them.

However, this particular link is to a San Francisco Chronicle article where convicted ecoterrorist Jeff Luers is interviewed by a man named Gregory Dicum. It is, not suprisingly, a softball interview that is drenched in admiration for Luers, who was sentenced to 22 years for setting fire to three SUVs in Oregon five years ago. If you have the time, I suggest skimming through it in full to see the skewed morality of the ecoterrorism crowd and to observe how sympathetic some media figures are to this sort of violence. Luers' refusal to enter into a plea agreement landed him the harshest sentence in US history for "environmentally motivated sabotage."

I've pulled out a few of the most precious excerpts:

Supporters have organized chapters in 35 cities and 11 countries, and they say
Luers is a political prisoner rotting in prison because of the way he expresses his political beliefs.

Rush Limbaugh famously makes the claim that environmentalism is the new bastion of communism. That's probably not fair to many non-Bolsheviks who are concerned about humanity's impact on the natural environment, but it's certainly true in some cases. These supporters, for example, clearly have no regard for the concept of personal property. Destroying $80,000 of a person's assets is a legitimate expression of political beliefs? I wonder how much carbon dioxide was spewed into the atmosphere from the burning of the vehichle's synthetics, paint, and tires? Probably more than they would have ever emitted being driven for 150,000 miles each.
Q: Did you consider yourself engaged in terrorism when you set fire to those SUVs?
A: No. Really, when you look at the use of the word today, terrorism is nothing more than a way to define armed struggles that you disagree with.
How heroic. Well, I suppose that means we can go ahead and carpet bomb the Sunni Triangle. The bastards there are causing us a lot of trouble, and the US government is in an armed struggle with the Islamo-fascists it doesn't agree with. Have at it boys.
Q: Were you conscious of it being a step in a new direction for you?
A: I was trying to move into the realm of more radical actions. If you compare arson
actions that have happened in the U.S., the majority of them were quite major. That's the goal that I was working toward -- to be more of an underground guerrilla activist. The SUVs were kind of a baby step.
Only 22 years? How much more damage should we expect when this nut is released? Three SUVs appear to be small potatoes compared to what Luers has on tap.

Q: In before-prison pictures, you look like the stereotypical anarchist punk. Do you consider yourself an anarchist now?
A: Yeah, but probably not in the way that most people define anarchist. I believe in autonomous self-rule. My definition of anarchy includes the ability of other people to choose to live nonanarchist lifestyles. I think that people need to choose the lifestyle that's best for them, as long as it doesn't impinge on the freedom of others.
If only he practiced what he preached, he'd be a respectable dissenter, a legitimate non-conformist. But destroying property hurts people economically. Heaping financial burdens on business people does not allow them to live freely. It increases insurance costs, and that results in less cash for the dealership to have available for employment. People are forced out of jobs. That's not freedom either. Uncontrolled conflagrations are exceedingly dangerous. Check out the wildfires raging in the Southwest as we speak. Yet this arson jeopardized the physical well-being of countless people in the Eugene area. There's also the damage he did to the environment by releasing so many toxic fumes into the atmosphere.
Well, education and ethical debate is a powerful force for change, but it can only sway someone whose problem is that they don't know. It can't reach someone who doesn't care... There is no equality between the average person and a corporate entity. Good, solid communication cannot occur when people are not equal, and that's where we find ourselves. We need to take corporations that aren't willing to listen and force them to listen, or hurt their pocketbooks. Losing money is the only thing that ever seems to affect a billion-dollar enterprise.
There's a slew of anti-corporation bromides in the piece. Many corporations are comprised of thousands of employees, hundreds of thousands of shareholders, and millions of customers. Does he expect an equality between one person and several million? Socialism is apparent once again. And of course, there is the richness of a far-lefty rabidly imposing his morality on everyone else, a tactic that the left putatively abhors.

If you don't like the dealings of a corporation, vote with your dollar. Spread your message in a civilized manner. There's a beauty in the capitalistic system that forces companies unable to satisfy the public out of existence. Coca Cola and Yum! Corporation (Pepsi spinoff that owns KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut) have had to respond to these sorts of concerns recently.

One parting question: Can you imagine if Luers had been arrested for torching an abortion clinic or a welfare office? Would the media salivate all over him and trumpet his right to "political expression" with such vigor? Would they suggest he was merely a political prisoner with too harsh a sentence?

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