Ronald Reagan may have had one thing right. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Or something to that effect. The brouhaha over Joe Stack’s suicide attack on the IRS building in Austin, Texas, last month might be dismissed with that old saw. But the debate has deeper significance. While left and right bicker over whether Stack was a “terrorist” or just another angry American, progressives show that, once again, they just don’t get it.
Stack has become a hero manque to large swaths of the American public because he took on the tax system and the federal government in the most direct way possible. Liberals and progressives, leaping to the defense of big government, insist we recognize that Stack’s act was classic terrorism. In doing so they line up as implicit defenders of the “war on terror” and the Patriot Act — so long as the playing field is level: not just Muslims and foreigners but red-blooded Americans, too. That would be bad enough but not unprecedented: it was a liberal president Clinton and his liberal attorney general, Janet Reno, after all, who backed the Anti-Terrorist and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the pre-cursor to the Patriot Act, in the face of another act of domestic terrorism.
Maybe more troubling is the evidence that progressives want to ignore what Stack was all about and why he has won his momentary notoriety. Read the rest of this entry »