The Joe Stack Manifesto
The Insane Manifesto Of Austin Texas Crash Pilot Joseph Andrew Stack- bussinessinsider.com
…a hate-filled note found on the Internet-abcnews.go.com
I call it a cowardly, criminal act and there was no excuse for it – Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo
February 18th 2010 Joseph Stack crashed his single engine air craft into an IRS office building in Austin Texas. Stack died and subsequently killed one IRS employee, Vernon Hunter, and wounded several others.
Although it is obviously, impossible to consult with Stack himself regarding his motivations on February 18th, he did post a fairly lengthy Manifesto on his website the morning of his attack.
The Manifesto and its contents have been widely ridiculed and largely disregarded as ” the ramblings of a man who was clearly, mentally unfit” however, perhaps there is something more constructive and highly more pertinent to be salvaged not only from this tragic situation but also from the national attitude regarding it as a whole.
Although, I find the events tragic, because they are just that: Tragic and for many reasons, I cannot bring myself to totally condemn the man as a “coward”. It takes a very large amount of personal resolve and will power to crash a plane into a building and knowingly end your own life. In the West, we easily dismiss suicide as the cowards way out, and the concept of suicide attacks or bombings are labeled as cowardly and unfair. Conversely, we have no problem singing the praises of a military man who jumps on a grenade in order to protect his comrades, or of a secret service agent that “takes a bullet” for our president, and rightly so. The question to ask here first is: What’s the difference between these two paradigms?
The answer is Perspective. The difference is an individuals perspective. From Joe Stacks point of you, this was the only way that people were going to listen to him and take his grievances seriously. From the perspective of the men that hijacked planes and crashed them into the towers and the Pentagon on September 11th 2001 that was the most viable means of perpetrating what they and parts of the Muslim world have seen as a counter attack against the USA. To simplify this another degree: If we (the people in control, currently not the majority) do it, it is Heroic. If they (whoever the enemy is at any given moment) does it, it’s cowardly terrorism.
What were Joe Stacks grievances?
According to his Manifesto, there were many. However, I will only address in this post, the points that have resonated with me personally. If you want to read the entire piece, you can find it here.
These days anyone who really stands up for that principle is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.
This is sadly, too accurate. Disagreeing with anyone of the mainstream concepts regarding US foreign policy or domestic actions here at home is often met with nothing short of genuine anger, and is often soon after followed by some sort of assault on ones personal character. The issue that was proposed for discussion is conveniently avoided and your faults as an individual are widely expounded upon. This makes any sort of meaningful discourse tremendously difficult even amongst so-called “Intellectuals” and “The Elite” who are often even more child-like and ridiculous in their attitudes than formally uneducated “normal people”.
I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind.
Adam Smith once said “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”
If this is true, we are seeing very little of it at this time indeed. Peace is a concept so far removed from the American Governments lexicon that it is almost a platitude. Taxes are necessarily high to support a failed Health care system and the monstrous military industrial complex hell-bent it would appear, on world domination and growth simply for growths sake. Finally, the defunct criminal justice system, based on a Gallup poll done in 2008, only 16% of the population has any confidence in the current system to dispense “tolerable administration of justice”.
Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies.
Recently there has been a fair amount of talk about the “Dooms day cycle” that has infiltrated the US economic system. The media makes it sound new and ominous, like some virus we recently caught. This however is incorrect. Economists and Lenders and Banks and CEO’s have known about this for quite sometime, the sad fact is, they do not care. How the proposed “Dooms Day Cycle” works is simple enough and to any layman sounds appropriately absurd.
Essentially “banks use borrowed money to take massive risks in an attempt to pay big dividends to shareholders and big bonuses to management – and when the risks go wrong, the banks receive taxpayer bailouts from the government.”
I have a strong inclination to ask my 83-year-old Grandmother what she thinks about this. I am certain she would shake her head in that accusing way she does and say something to the effect of “Shame on those Banks and CEO’s“.
Yes, shame on them indeed. Joe Stacks anger and frustration at this point requires no more elaboration. I suspect his views are shared by the majority of the American public.
His angst directed toward the world-renowned American Health care system, world-renowned for all the wrong reasons, is easily understandable. A combination of doctors in collusion with massive pharmaceutical companies have designed and implemented a culture of chemical dependency. If you don’t feel well, you need to be medicated. Having bad days at work? Try this pill. The use of Anti-depressant drugs in America has risen to over 12% of the population. This is NOT to help people or cure them, in fact suicides among the middle class have risen. The proliferation of these drugs is all about profit. The list of what is wrong with the American health care system is so vast and abyss-like that I simply do not have the time to address it here today, however, it is intensive. The problems are very real and internationally well-known, even lamented by people who have the compassion in their hearts to feel bad for the state most Americans find themselves in.
…..at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.
For the last 30 years wages have stagnated for the middle class in America. Industry is failing widely due to the absurd policies implemented by those in power to further enrich themselves and their constituency. Policies such as “Globalization”; which essentially has shifted lower middle class labor jobs such as factory workers on assembly lines to developing countries abroad in order to save money and make a profit to pay shareholders have helped along, with the governments other irresponsible financial policies, to drive employment up to 10%. That is double the level it was in 2007.
The deterioration has been consistent and it has been in the open, Americans simply have not responded yet. The average “Joe” in the USA is doing nothing more than treading water at the deep end of the pool, just trying to stay a float. Something Joe Stack apparently became fed up with. When we are all raised to believe that we’ll be famous sports stars or Movie icons or leaders of government and industry but come to find out that the truth is less like the ever promised sparkling golden chalice but something more akin to an old Dixie cup, anger and discontent seem reasonable.
During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time.
Elections in The USA are largely a dog and pony show and this is reflected in the average Americans vast apathy and lack of activity at polling booths on election days. The sad fact of the matter is that even when people try to utilize their voice, it often has no effect at all. In 2000 George W. Bush clearly,with help from his Brother Jeb in Florida and Jeb’s cronies, stole the election through illegal activity. They cheated. Al Gore won the clear majority of the popular vote, but was robbed by trickery, criminal acts and nonsense.
So for one, it is commonly known that the average citizens voting rights amount to to very little legitimate power. Our current economic and foreign policies contrast painfully with what the vast majority of Americans want to see happen. Most Americans support aggressive Health care reform and Government sponsored Health insurance. However, these reforms are not occurring. The public at large are angry, and rightly so, regarding the massive bail outs being given to irresponsible lenders and paying for swollen executive bonuses. What has occurred? Nothing. It’s business as usual on Wall Street.
I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.
I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.
Joe Stack (1956-2010)
Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy Noam Chomsky made a comment in a lecture he gave that I found terrifyingly appropriate for the times, and this situation in particular: “I can remember that during the GREAT Depression, although it was very bad, there was always a sense of hope, a belief that things were going to get better, that we could find a way. I don’t see that (in the American people) now at all.”
If the actions of Joe Stack are any indication, neither does anyone else. One of Joes close personal friends said “I never heard him talk politics, or take a stand left or right. As far as I know he didn’t have a party affiliation.” In actuality, it is more likely that he never bothered to listen. It has become somehow unfashionable to engage in constructive discourse regarding politics, the economy and the worlds situation at large. People seem much more interested in talking about their new iPhone, celebrity gossip or the latest Hollywood twisted misunderstanding of an abortion they label as “Film”. Intellectual conversation seems to come in bouts that are less and less regular. The silence is worrisome. Pressure always finds a way to vent and be released. Cut off from other alternatives and nurturing a festering secret angst, without any one to confide in or any way to find logical, peaceful forms of civil disobedience with which to express your concerns, we can all expect to see more people using the only weapon they feel they have at their disposal: Terror.
I referenced the following websites while writing this, as well as the linked websites above.