I think Timothy McVeigh's actions were not an entirely unreasonable reaction to Ruby Ridge and Waco.

And if this thing is not the same as that thing, then it’s possible that we can talk about this thing in a way that does not necessitate holding the same opinion about that thing. Or, indeed, without even referring to that thing at all.

As others have noted, I know that you understand this concept, and have been willing to summon it in the past when it suits your purposes. Or are you the only one who gets to ask Socratic questions rather than making actual arguments on this message board?

If that was not the point you were trying to make, then please elaborate. You mentioned the statue thread and feel that it is relevant to this thread. What is the relevance?

Government ignoring the rights of the citizens, overstepping their powers, flaunting the constitution and violating the Posse Comitatus Act.

We usually agree on most things, but I disagree here. In some circumstances (which I agree are not present here) one can argue that acts of civil disobedience which destroy property are a reasoned measure in response to an injustice. Yes, you have to pay a fine, restitution and/or do some time in jail, but one might morally (not legally) say that the response to the injustice was not “entirely unreasonable.”

Why? Because nobody died. Property can be replaced. Next week we are back at the status quo ante. Killing a daycare full of kids because you think the federal government is too powerful is on a scale so much larger, and so much more evil, as to make your analogy not work. These parents, many of whom may be anti-government conservatives, are still without their children.

I would be interested in the answer to the question posed by the OP as well.

Even if you think the government overreached, how does attacking civilians make sense?

McVeigh didn’t attack a military base or police station. He attacked a government building full of non-combatants.

It clearly doesn’t make sense, but I think it could be said that the building housed FBI and ATF offices and its grandeur, in Oklahoma City of all places, is a testament to the expansion of the federal government into areas not contemplated by the founding fathers.

… and moving forward we’re not seeing this heavy handed action from the government as much … case-in-point is the stand-off at the Democratic People’s Republic of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge …

We’ve learned a lesson as a nation I think …

So you’re raising the statue in sort of the same manner as someone might compare McVeigh to Martin Luther King: analogous in that they were both lawbreakers, but not equivalent.

Question: why is this in GD rather than in the pit? “Timothy McVeigh’s actions were not an entirely unreasonable reaction” is not an opinion worth debating, any more than “What should we do about the jewish question” is a question worth answering or “We should murder every doctor who prescribes vaccines” is a topic worth taking seriously!


Hope you’re all enjoying the Bricker show everybody. Where speeding and murdering hundreds of people is a valid and useful comparison.

No, I don’t ask. Some of us believe that whether an act is legal or not is not the most significant indicator of whether it’s ethical. You privilege legality over nearly everything else (in “Another Thread” you imply that illegal actions are okay in the context of a revolution you approve of, which presumably means a revolution in which X, or Y, or Z conditions appear).

That’s fine, that’s like, your opinion, man. But eliding the arguments you’ve seen over and over and over explaining ways to determine ethics that don’t privilege legality over nearly everything else? That makes it difficult to carry on a discussion with you.

Then you’re done. Your argument is invalid. You now know your previous argument was invalid, so you are welcome to step away from it. :mad:

Huh. When liberals express similar concerns, they get accused of playing identity politics.

Was Timothy McVeigh a liberal? He sure seemed empathetic to people that weren’t him. Granted he was murderous to other people that weren’t him, but there’s good on both sides.

X, Y, Z? Did you learn this in algebra?

Tearing down a racist statue is the moral equivalent of murdering 169 people. MAGA. Got it.

I think you all have:

A) Been led astray by a hijack about moral equivalency

B) Completely missed why McVeigh’s actions were unreasonable.

McVeigh’s actions were unreasonable in response to Ruby Ridge and Waco. Agreed. But they were unreasonable because there was no means by which they could accomplish any useful goal. In fact, McVeigh’s actions led to an American society in which there are more and greater - but perhaps more subtle - restrictions on freedom and a more powerful, all-encompassing federal government.

The problem with terrorists - and McVeigh was clearly a terrorist by any definition - is that most of them are romantics. They believe that by one or few specific actions they can affect change or ameliorate some real or imagined wrong in their lives and their society. Did McVeigh believe that by destroying the Murrah building in OKC that he would magically change the amount of power and authority the US government had over people’s lives? Or did he believe it would lead to a popular uprising that would thwart and restrict that power moving forward? Or was it - and wiki appears to indicate - that McVeigh was just after payback for Waco and Ruby Ridge?

In any event, blowing up one building is an ineffective means of achieving any of those goals. It demonstrates McVeigh’s irrationality - or lack of ability to think an issue through - that he might believe any of those would help.

Now, in his bio, McVeigh says he also contemplated direct assassination of Janet Reno instead of blowing up the Murrah Building. This, indeed, could have sent a clearer message with less dead children. It would have directly connected his issue with the actions he took. I’m in no way advocating assassination but it would have been a clearer line. And the line between the decisions made at Ruby Ridge and Waco are in no way influenced by a bunch of dead people in OKC.

Doesn’t mean it would have worked. But it’s easier to see a vox populi chain of reasoning for it.

There’s a calculus that may be helpful for choosing when to engage in ethical illegal action:

  1. Are you righting a wrong?
  2. Have the legal means of right the wrong been exhausted?
  3. Do you have a specific plan for righting the wrong?
  4. Is your specific plan likely to result in fewer/milder wrongs than the original wrong you’re addressing?

You gotta have “yes” answers to all four.

The problem with that calculus is that three of the four are matters of opinion. I feel certain McVeigh thought he was answering ‘yes’ to most or all of them. He was simply wrong about those answers.

That’s not a problem. There is no completely objective means to determine what you should do. Instead, deciding what you should do is always a matter of opinion.

But opinions aren’t all the same. They can be more or less supported by facts and axioms. They can be debated, defended, attacked.

These principles establish a framework in which that debate can happen.

Still waiting for the person who made the assertion to show up and explain it.