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Planet Earth

The Benevolent Tolerance of Fanatics

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJune 28, 2011 4:54 PM

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Mainstream libertarians really don't know how to deal with crazy-ass, anti-government fanatics. The libertarian fall back position is a combination of reflexive sympathy for anyone who distrusts government and a minimization of the threat posed by the curdling of the more zealous, violence-prone militia types. This is evident over at Reason, where one of the writers sarcastically describes recent media coverage of a manhunt in Montana for a former militia leader (who got into a gunfight with law authorities) as "fearful '90s-style nostalgia over 'extremists.'" The Reason writer, Lucy Steigerwald, takes issue with this AP story about a Montana town as "a cradle for sometimes-violent anti-government activity," and this Gawker post titled, "Montana Town Becomes Haven for Angry White People." She has a kindler, gentler view:

These people are a diverse mix of sometimes crazy, sometimes racist, mainly harmless and powerless folks who want to be left alone.

Funny that Steigerwald never mentions what happens when these "folks" are not so harmless.

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