What’s in a name?

The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood

THERE HAS BEEN a lot of wondering out loud about why news outlets are describing the folks holed up in the federal building in Oregon as “militia” rather than “terrorists”. Well, this time I’m with the journalists: apparently the occupiers have a legal name, organizational command structure, and even uniforms (or at least distinguishing markers); they have seized a government building and are only threatening force against government forces that attempt forcibly to remove them from their ensconcement. They are, on this reading, in the strict sense of the term, rebel militia.


We’re in a very bad, dark place right now: when we stop talking with one another, really, really terrible things happen; when we stop talking with one another, we almost immediately start doing terrible things to one another. So, let’s tone down the rhetoric, which, at its present level of fervor is already hastening the hour in which…

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