In today’s polarized society, politicians are increasingly using the term “extremist” to label their opponents. But what is an extremist? Merriam-Webster defines the word as “the quality or state of being extreme,” being the “farthest possible point from the center.”
Now those definitions by themselves are largely subjective; my view of the center and how far something is from it may be entirely different than yours.
But let’s consider an example: you are well within your constitutional rights to peaceably oppose partial-birth abortions. Likewise, someone who peaceably opposes the banning of such abortions would be within their rights. One could argue that this free exchange of ideas, for or against abortion, would be the “center.” Since neither group imposes upon the rights of the other, this is how our civilized society properly functions. Each citizen is entitled to his or her opinion and we empower government to express the will of the majority, provided the majority itself doesn’t interfere with the rights of the minority.
Extremists, those at the furthest possible point from the center, would be people willing to break laws and violate the rights of others in order to enact their goals. Someone willing to blow up a clinic that performs partial-birth abortions would be a perfect example of an extremist, as there is no further point from “the center” than taking the life of another in defense of your cause.
When we hear the term “anarchy,” it brings to mind a society with no laws or structure. In the hands of good people, anarchy can represent absolute freedom. One could argue that Americans would be far more prosperous if we were free of the heavy taxes and regulations that hamper our economy today.
But in the hands of the bad, anarchy represents chaos. There is no rule of law to deter criminals; no police force to protect the people or their property; no military to repel foreign invaders.
But that is only if we consider the citizens of a state. Expand the focus and consider anarchy of government.
Merriam-Webster defines anarchy as the “absence or denial of any authority or established order.” Ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We the people are in fact the rightful government of the United States, and those we have elected are mere public servants chosen to handle the affairs of the state according to our will and within the constraints of our Constitution.
Considering the history of our federal government in recent years – particularly the behavior of this Congress and administration – we can see an escalating trend of disregard for the established order of our Constitution and an increasing denial of the people’s authority over government.
No different than a robot in a science fiction movie that becomes “self-aware” and wrecks havoc on it’s former human masters, our government has also become self-aware: realizing, seemingly, that it is no longer the servant of the people, but the master. No longer bound by the Constitution, but all-powerful.
1770: The little-known but historically significant Battle of Golden Hill erupts in New York City between members of the patriot organization “Sons of Liberty” and a contingent of British soldiers. Several are wounded on both sides and one civilian is killed in what is considered by some historians as the first armed clash of the American Revolution.
1862: Union forces led by Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas defeat Confederates under Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden in the Battle of Mill Springs (Ky.). The engagement marks the Union’s first significant victory of the war.
1783: Diplomats in Versailles sign a treaty ending hostilities between the United States and Britain. After eight long years of fighting, the Americans have secured their independence.
1914: A naval aviation unit from Annapolis, Md. consisting of nine officers, 23 men, seven aircraft, portable hangars, and other gear, under Lieutenant J. H. Towers” arrives at Pensacola, Fla. aboard the battleship USS Mississippi and the bulk-cargo ship USS Orion to set up a flying school. The “Cradle of Naval Aviation” is born.
1944: The U.S. 5th Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, reaches the Gustav Line and clashes with German forces near Monte Cassino, Italy. After four months of bloody fighting, the Allies have Field Marshall Albert Kesselring’s Tenth Army on their heels and in danger of being surrounded.
1968: The North Vietnamese Army tries – and fails – to overrun Marines patrolling the hills surrounding their combat outpost. The Battle of Khe Sanh has begun – the heavily outnumbered and besieged Marines will fight off their attackers for 77 days, shattering two enemy divisions.
1981: 20 minutes after Ronald Reagan is sworn in as president, Iran releases 52 American hostages (including 18 military personnel) after 444 days of captivity.
Continue reading “This week in U.S. military history”
1781: Commanding 1,600 British troops, American Traitor – now a British brigadier general – Benedict Arnold captures and burns Richmond, Va.
1855: A landing party from the USS Plymouth skirmishes with Chinese forces near Canton during the Taiping Rebellion.
1875: U.S. Navy Cdr. Edward Lull leads an expedition to determine the best route for the Panama Canal.
1904: Marines arrive in Korea to defend the U.S. legation assembly at Seoul.
1945: Japanese pilots receive their first order to become kamikaze suicide attackers. At Okinawa alone, 1,465 kamikaze pilots destroy at least 30 U.S. warships and kill 5,000 Americans.
1777: Gen. George Washington sets up winter camp for the Continental Army in the hills surrounding Morristown, N.J.
1861: Florida militia forces seize the Union Apalachicola Arsenal, which is defended by only Ordnance Sergeant Edwin Powell and three laborers. Although hopelessly outnumbered, Powell was prepared to fight if ordered to hold and initially refuses to surrender the keys to the magazines or armory. The militia permits Powell to telegram his command for instruction. Powell reluctantly concedes when he receives no response.
1942: Pres. Franklin Roosevelt informs Congress that he is authorizing the largest armaments production in United States history: 8 million tons of shipping, 45,000 planes, and 45,000 tanks, and 20,000 anti-aircraft guns will roll off assembly lines within the year.
1777: Following the surprise American victory at Trenton (N.J.) days earlier, British forces under Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis counterattack Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army at Assunpink Creek. The British withdraw after three failed assaults against American positions, and abandon New Jersey after another defeat the following day.
1863: Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland defeats Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee in Murphreesboro, Tenn. Losses were heavy; casualty percentages were higher during the Battle of Stones River than during any other engagement during the Civil War.
1943: The 32nd Infantry Division captures the strategic town of Buna, New Guinea and its airfield in the first major land victory against the Japanese in World War II.
1944: U.S. forces – including the 32nd Infantry Division – land at Saidor, New Guinea, isolating 15,000 Japanese troops.
1967: Col. (future Brig. Gen. and triple ace) Robin Olds leads a flight of F-4 Phantoms over North Vietnam, shooting down nearly half of the North Vietnamese air force’s fighter inventory without a single loss to U.S. aircraft.
Adapted (and abridged) in part from “This Week in US Military History” by W. Thomas Smith Jr. at Human Events.