Rage and Reaction

Republicmagazine.com ran this report under the headline “Municipal Communism: Norfolk Land Grab Soviet Seizes Land, Censors Protest.” The City of Norfolk, Virginia apparently condemned a number of industrial buildings and sold the properties to nearby Old Dominion University. Among them was Central Radio Company—whose excellent company website can be found here—which responded to the city’s unfavorable compensation offer and their subsequent loss in court challenging the offer with the sign pictured above. The city later cited the business for erecting the sign, saying that it violated an ordinance limiting the size of sign advertisements within the neighborhood to 60 sq. feet. The Republic must have saw this story in the local newspaper and decided to report on it themselves to agitate the readership and foment a little outrage.

The Republic, for those not familiar, is of a class of publication that is in the business of monetizing bile. I hesitate to recount this information as fact for fear that the story may have been distorted to some degree by the writer’s heavy political bias. His writing in the article is larded with indulgent little quips about how the situation is reminiscent of Stalin’s Soviet Union and how the municipal entities involved are crypto-socialist shadow groups. Commenters who responded to the article saw fit to espouse revolution, specifically a kind revolution that is predicated on disobedience:

Paul BpPP says: “The revolution occurs when the victims cease to cooperate.”
– Karl Hess

Alice Ray says: “The end of cooperation is what ended Prohibition. Juries simply refused to convict anyone. Under law, they are not required to convict no matter the evidence, if they deem the particular violated law to be spurious.”

Delia Lopez says: “The Revolution is coming Ron Paul for president a Liberty- Candidates in congress and we can make a difference. Get busy it is time.”

The fixation on revolution is interesting. I left my own comment about how the “victim” hypocritically criticizes the government for eminent domain while at the same time running a business that contracts with the Navy and is largely dependant on government spending for its success. What I was attempting here was to surreptitiously advance a dissenting argument using the tone and political position of reactionary discourse. I wanted to prove the implicit contradictions in the political platform upon which the article was unquestionably predicated. I’m certain now that I failed at this. I failed because his kind of reactionary attitude is not supported by any intelligible platform; rather, it grows out of a basic resentment and frustration with all institutions. Both the writers and the readers of this article are the sort of people who are outraged by their own insignificance. The fierceness with which the message is delivered is compensation for the impotence of the speaker. The practical result is divisive, but I think the underlying dilemma is one we all have in common. In the absence of any real and substantive control over lives and our surroundings our only recourse is bleating complaint.

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