Libertarian Face Plant

September 22, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Alt-Right Racists, Harvey Hell

As we’ve been talking about the last couple of weeks, after Hurricane Harvey came through the Gulf coast, a bunch of goofball gun toters from Portland, Oregon calling themselves American Freedom Keepers teamed up with a racist motorcycle club calling themselves the Confederate Riders of America and sauntered into a small flood ravaged community known as Little Cambodia outside of Rosharon Texas.  They immediately informed FEMA that the community “wasn’t ready” for federal help, and took over the recovery efforts for the town.  That’s just what was needed – a bunch of unqualified, anti-government weirdos pushing out the actual experts, getting in the way, and slowing down response for actual help.  Had they just volunteered and cooperated with authorities (as has been done all over the region), it would have been great.  Had they left their guns and body armor at home, it would have been better.  Had they not worn their white supremacist leather it would have been super.  Even not threatening FEMA workers would have been a start.

But NO. These folks announced themselves in charge, and started flooding (no pun intended) Facebook with live videos ranting about how they didn’t need the government and that they could save these poor people with eleventy seven dollars, and a few volunteers.  They then attacked a local television reporter for daring to ask who these people were after telling the reporter that FEMA wasn’t welcome.

The result was easily predictable.  The residents of Little Cambodia were poorly served and the federal response has been greatly delayed – that happens when scary people take over a community and run people off.  But worse, and more obvious, is the absolute failure of the effort.  Have some homes been cleaned up?  Certainly.  Have some people been helped? Yes. But now what?  These “citizen groups” have no resources.  They have no support base short of some Facebook donors who have no money.  These groups are not qualified or trained in hurricane recovery and have kept out those who are.

So, who are these folks?  We’ve talked about the racists who belong to the Confederate Riders of America before, but what about American Freedom Keepers?  They’re a typical shadowy militia group from the Pacific Northwest who call themselves “peacekeepers” and run all over the country protecting racists.  They’ve been seen in scuffles around the country, most notably in Charlottesville Virginia where they went to “protect” the white supremacists during their tiki torch rally on the campus of the University of Virginia.  Their little escapade turned into a rout when one of the racists they were protecting decided to plow his car into a bunch of counter protestors, killing one and injuring dozens.

Militia groups like AFK have flourished since the election of President Obama.  They are fed a steady diet of libertarian bullshit from right wing media and conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, and are brainwashed to believe that government is the enemy.  Most of the time they love to parade around in camo carrying guns “protecting” some preferred class of people, usually racists.  However, when Harvey flooded much of our coast, one group decided they could demonstrate just how their libertarian religion worked and could show the world how government was not needed (with a side benefit of arguing that they’re not really bigots since they’re helping Asian people).

Which leads us back to Little Cambodia.  AFK’s effort to save Little Cambodia came apart this week when their national secretary was accused by an AFK member of absconding with all of the organization’s money totaling a whopping $700.  These folks are now stranded, are begging for money from donors, but are sticking to the mantra that government is no good while worrying about how to get home.  We’ll see how long they last before declaring victory and actually going home.

This is the problem with this kind of libertarian belief system.  It simply doesn’t work – it’s never worked in any society on the planet.  This is the lesson that goofy militia organizations need to learn.  Societies exist for the common good and have rules for a reason.  Ad hoc support or decision making doesn’t serve the society as a whole and therefore doesn’t work.  Putting on camo and slinging a rifle doesn’t put you in charge of anything.  A bunch of you wearing camo and slinging rifles doesn’t make you a militia.  You’re just a bunch of guys wearing camo and slinging rifles.  Period.

While volunteerism is good, vigilantism is not.  The rescue effort after Harvey gave the perfect textbook example of how societies are supposed to function.  Local, state, and federal authorities threw everything they had behind the effort while tens of thousands of Texans (and the Cajun Navy) stepped up and helped.  Let me be sure I’m clear here – they helped. They worked with local authorities. They didn’t try to take over.  They didn’t announce they were in charge and push out other help.  They cooperated.  In other words, they acted like normal people.  And it worked.  Lives were saved and homes are being restored.  That’s called a functioning society.

AFK and the CRA who came to Little Cambodia didn’t do that.  They decided who could come in. They decided the federal government couldn’t come in.  They decided who would get help and who wouldn’t.  In other words, they freelanced, and now their organization is unsurprisingly coming apart, they’re out of money, and the poor folks in Little Cambodia are poorly served.  And the federal government is way behind.  Thanks, guys.

The problem with AFK is that they’re trying to look like a bunch of good guys to burnish their reputations after the Charlottesville disaster.  They also announced they were coming to Texas to protect rescuers which wasn’t needed.  They acted like assholes and got in the way, which is common for militia goofballs.  The lessons here?  Simple: 1) Assist authorities on the ground and don’t get in the way; 2) Help where you can; let the system work where it can and help where it isn’t;  3) Don’t be an asshole.  Oh, and 4) Leave your AR-15s at home.  This is a flood zone, not Afghanistan.

If even one of these guys learn these lessons, maybe some good will come from this disaster.  I’m not holding my breath.

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23 Comments to “Libertarian Face Plant”

  1. They’re begging money so they can go home? Might be worth it to donate for that but give them gasoline, not cash. It’s hard to push a motorcycle very far. They don’t sound like the kind of people who would be carrying functional credit cards.

  2. So where’s the Texas Ranger? You know: “One riot, one Ranger”?

    I totally agree re: being douchebags mooching for money; they did the same thing in Oregon.

  3. e platypus onion says:

    OT- McCShame sez no to Obamacre repeal.

  4. JAKvirginia says:

    Re: The $700 paragraph. That got me to giggling. I guess it’s true what they say; you can’t make this stuff up!


  5. Ms. Juanita Jean and and all the Stylin’ Texan Peeps on this site!

    Just thank you…A great big wonderful, warm, loud and loving THANK YOU!

    For keeping us informed, and doing it in a way that let’s us keep laughing in spite of the crazies. You give us hope.

    From our little progressive gang up here in Montana…we send you a great big basket of gratitude.

  6. I know! We can all donate to them–send them more dildos!!!!

  7. Don’t donate a damn dime. Make then pawn those AR15’s.

  8. Has-beens and wannabes who buy guns because they feel sexually inadequate.

  9. Maybe they can get a FEMA check for gas money to get home!

  10. I’m an Oregonian, and I’m hoping they get lost in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on their way back to the PNW and have to abandon their AR-15s to get out of there.

  11. Isn’t it odd how folks who compalin about unelected officials telling them what to do claim the right to tell folks who didn’t elect them what to do?

  12. I meant “complain”, not “compalin” – but I may claim that their similarity to Palin make the new word appropriate.

  13. I’ve recently engaged with a couple of Libertarians on Twitter, and OMFG, what thickheaded absolutists! For people who are allegedly all about personal freedom, they’re incredibly rigid. They almost make Conservatives seem reasonable in comparison. Con’s might have a totally wrongheaded concept of the social order, but at least they recognize the need for one. Libertarians don’t seem to realize that if you practice anarchy and disengagement, the bonds of a society dissolve. That their perceived autonomy vanishes if the existing society invisibly supporting it breaks down. And that the only way to achieve a better world is to be actively involved in trying to shape it.

    I’ve always considered myself a bit of a noncomformist. And in some aspects, I am. But I’m also acutely aware that such actions are a luxury that can only be expressed within the framework of a relatively stable society. Left entirety to my own devices, I’d probably be dead meat in pretty short order. As would all those allegedly totally independent guys who can’t even come up with enough gas to get back home.

  14. Lunargent: The chest-thumps I did after reading your comment woke up our cat. But never fear, she’s in no danger of sleep deprivation.

  15. Annie,
    Hear! Hear! From bluest of blue New England, thanks JJ for letting us know we’re not alone in this.

  16. Has the world ended yet?
    Cause if I don’t have to do my laundry today……

  17. I’d like to add something to Lunargent’s comment. I’ve dealt with a few “libertarians” too. It seems they always hate th’ gubmint while cashing Social Security or VA disability checks. And those military grade weapons? Those were paid for by their wives/girl friends/mothers who work at Wally World or in some warehouse. And they’re also in arrears on their child support.

  18. Learn? El Jefe, I seriously doubt they can, hence they will persist in being intolerable.

  19. elise from CA says:

    It’s surprising that the kochs haven’t ponied up $$$ to make sure these beacons of freedumb succeed in order to bolster the image of libertarianism and give it the first-ever success in running something.

    Guess even the kochs have standards. Who knew?

  20. elise from CA says:

    Oh, okie-dokie, we must know the same libertarians–your description is spot on for the few I’ve encountered in my neck of the woods. And they hate the gubmint in particular because it makes them pay that back child support. Or at least attempts to do so, with variable success depending on whether they are currently employed.

    And, they owe that child support after being a little too “libertarian” with their lady friends, if you catch my drift wink-wink. Guess Mother Nature doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about their need for “freedom” from family planning.

  21. Where are the police and National Guard? Time get some tanks in there and run those fascists out, so FEMA can do its job.

  22. The idiots are feeling frisky after being allowed to run rampant at the Bundy Ranch, then the Wildlife Refuge. Now this. It will require something along the lines of what maryelle suggested to get their fat four cornered heads back to reasonable size.

  23. I think AFK and CRA have watched too many episodes of Fear the Walking Dead and its ilk.