As many people know by now, yesterday a man rammed an aircraft fatally into an office building housing, among other things, an office of the Internal Revenue Service in Austin.
Why did he do it? No simple answer suffices; any fair account would take as a starting point that his mental state made him angry enough to want to kill. But the press has been eager to present him as an “anti-government” extremist. Which, in a sense, he is; anyone who is politically active is so primarily because of discontent with the way the government operates.
But why was he angry at the government? His already notorious manifesto indicates that the root cause of his madness is that he had tax grievances with the IRS going back decades. But the reason in his estimation that the IRS cheated him was that the government is controlled by big business:
Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.
There is nothing in the manifesto to indicate that the murderer was deeply steeped in the canon of anti-corporate literature. Indeed, he only used the word “corporation” once in the entire piece. But
it is clear that he held the belief that big business runs everything, including manipulating the tax code to hurt the little man, and that is why the government cannot do what needs to be done in the public interest, which is a belief both with roots in older populism and which underlies modern anti-corporatism. And so an accurate rendition of his views, for any media organization interested in them, would have to lead with the lead, which is this anti-business hostility, rather than an empty invocation of “anti-government” beliefs. One wonders how widespread this sense of betrayal of the public interest to big business in general and to corporate interests in particular coincides with a willingness to use violence.