National Park Service, Arendt, and Nürnburg, Oh My
October 9, 2013 3 Comments
If you remember, the other day we talked a bit about Hannah Arendt. The article is here and is worthwhile if you haven’t read it. But one quote struck me as explaining quite a lot of what we are seeing in the United States today.
As governments start losing their legitimacy, violence becomes an artificial means toward the same end and is therefore, found only in the absence of power. Bureaucracies then become the ideal birthplaces of violence since they are defined as the “rule by no one” against whom to argue and therefore, recreate the missing links with the people they rule over.
Think about that for a bit. As a government becomes illegitimate it loses power because power is based on leadership, agreement, and cooperation. It then begins to rely on violence, and the perpetrator is nearly always a bureaucracy because they are the classic “no one” is responsible.
Streiff over at RedState yesterday had something to say about the situation in the country since the shutdown (which is really merely a slowdown)
This could not succeed without the assistance of a corps of facilitators, Little Eichmanns, if you will, who are willing to abuse their fellow citizens in order to better serve their master. The most prominent of these is a yob named Jonathan Jarvis who runs the National Park Service.
Since the shutdown began last week the National Park Service has lived up to its reputation as a churlish, imperious, and unreasonable steward of the nation’s parks and monuments.
- The World War II Memorial was shutdown. This is a memorial that has always had unrestricted access.
- The Vietnam War Memorial, another memorial that has had unrestricted access for decades, has beenshutdown.
- The Lincoln Memorial, likewise open to the public around the clock, has been shutdown.
- The National Park Service has shut down the C&O Canal towpath. This national park has been open to bikers and hikers without monitoring for decades.
- The National Park Service has evicted homeowners from their homes simply because it is on land leased from the federal government.
- The National Park Service has ordered the closure of the privately owned and operated Claude Moore Colonial Farm.
- The National Park Service has closed a privately run hotel and restaurant on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.
None of these facilities need any support whatsoever from the National Park Service. Instead of saving money, funds have been expended over and above requirements in pursuit of this asshattery. More importantly, none of this could happen without the willing and enthusiastic cooperation of bureaucrats whose first allegiance is to a political party and not to the American people
I know many of you think the Eichmann reference is too harsh. But is it, really? Remember Ms. Arendt told us in that article that she really believed that Eichmann really didn’t believe he had committed any crime. He was merely doing his job.
But, you know traditionally, which was brought out strongly at Nürnberg, a commander (or for that matter any executive) is responsible for the acts of his subordinates. The principle goes far back into history, in fact to King Ahab and the killing of Naboth on orders from Queen Jezebel. And further [from Wikipedia]
The trial of Peter von Hagenbach by an ad hoc tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire in 1474, was the first “international” recognition of commanders’ obligations to act lawfully. Hagenbach was put on trial for atrocities committed during the occupation of Breisach, found guilty of war crimes and beheaded. Since he was convicted for crimes “he as a knight was deemed to have a duty to prevent” Hagenbach defended himself by arguing that he was only following orders from the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, to whom the Holy Roman Empire had given Breisach. Despite the fact there was no explicit use of a doctrine of “command responsibility” it is seen as the first trial based on this principle.
This case shows us both sides of the issue. Von Hagenbach was convicted both for his own actions and for his subordinates. Note that this does nothing to shield the subordinates from blame either. They are still responsible for their own actions.
In the case of the United States, all federal (and at least most state and local as well) officials take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not the executive. All officials are responsible to make sure their actions are consistent with the Constitution, not just the courts.
And so each and every person who is inflicting a loss of rights on the American people from the rookie NPS Ranger to the President of the United States is responsible.
Every One of them should be Fired, Now
- Civil Disobedience Greets ‘Illegal’ Closure of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm (pjmedia.com)
- Shutdown: National Park Service Closes Self-Sustaining Colonial Farm It Hasn’t Supported Since 1980 (pjmedia.com)
- Shutdown can’t keep Arizona vets from visiting WW II Memorial (azstarnet.com)
- If There’s One Story That Shows How Ridiculous the Gov’t Shutdown Is Becoming, It Could Be This One (theblaze.com)
- 13 National Parks: How They Were Impacted by Government Shutdown (ijreview.com)
- Shutdown overreach: More guards at WWII memorial than Benghazi; Park Service closes park it doesn’t run (dancingczars.wordpress.com)
- 5 Examples of How the Government Thinks it Owns Everything (townhall.com)
- Hannah Arendt on revolutions, coup’s d’etat and insurrections (angryarab.net)
- New review: Hannah Arendt (thefword.org.uk)
- Pentagon freezes death benefits for fallen soldiers’ families – Fox News (foxnews.com)