Learn how anti-government extremism of the “Bundy Standoff” fits into the current social mood trend
For much of January, you couldn’t avoid the saga known as “The Bundy Standoff” on media outlets from YouTube to primetime television.
It was like an old Western playing out in real time: gun-toting anti-government outlaws holed up in a national park’s visitor’s center, demanding the 180,000 acres of protected land be given back to the ranchers, at no cost or penalty, and upon the dire promise of “killing or be killed.” Which came to pass as the two brothers leading the armed siege of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge — Ammon and Ryan Bundy — were arrested on January 26 and their spokesman, Lavoy Finicum, was shot and killed in the confrontation with state police.
It goes without saying, radical extremists with incendiary ideas have always been a part of social landscape in America. But there are three aspects of the Bundy standoff that make it truly exceptional:
1) – It’s not alone
The ranks of radicals are growing fast. The Bundy clan is part of an outspoken, active movement of domestic right-wing extremists. A January 15, 2016 article in New York Daily News has these staggering stats:
“The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist organizations, found that in 2015, there were 276 militia groups in the U.S., an increase of 37% from the previous year.” (New York Daily News)
“According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, in 2014, 74% of law enforcement agencies found anti-government extremists to be among the three most pronounced terror threats in their area.”
2) – It has allies
Despite being fodder for late-night comedy and dubbed “Vanilla Isis, Y’All Qaeda and “Yee-Hawdists” the Bundy militants have amassed a huge network of social media and on-ground advocates, including over 170,000 Facebook followers and an ever-growing series of pro-Twitter hashtags like #FreeThePatriots and #RanchersLivesMatter.
3) – It’s not afraid to act
As one news source puts it:
“It was a material change that the militants in Oregon moved from mere rhetoric to action, and from action to forceful action. This is a significant milestone because we’re seeing a coalescences of grass-roots organizations which is… trying to influence events through a show of force.” (January 4 Huffington Post)
The question is — why now? The simmering rivalry between the Bundy family (dad Cliven Bundy in particular) and the federal government goes back 20 years and $2 million in unpaid back taxes.
So why did the up-til-now feud escalate into an all-out, violent turf war?
From a socionomics perspective, the timing makes sense. And in our February 2010 Socionomist, we anticipated this very climate of radical extremism and showed how the rise of anti-government action is a sign of negative social mood:
“Major social-mood declines trigger anger that is expressed in social division, disillusionment with government, civil unrest, and, at large enough degrees, war…
“With social mood declining, anti-government sentiment is on the rise. Political commentators increasingly state that the federal government encouraged and participated in recent financial manias. Other commentators opine that Wall Street appears to be the prime beneficiary of the financial crisis so far and point out that despite the current financial mess, the Federal Reserve had its most profitable year in history in 2009. Absent a clear external enemy, the government and its perceived big-business partners are prime candidates for growing bear-market anger…
“A battle is shaping up in Utah, where the federal government owns more than 60 percent of the land. Legislators introduced a bill in the Utah House on February 11 aimed at empowering the state to use eminent domain to take federal lands. One Utah legislator said he thinks their timing is right:
“There seems no question that the federal government would suppress an overt secession attempt by any state. Later battles should move from the courts to the streets and maybe even to battlefields.”
Since then, a recent report shows “at least seven U.S. states have explored, considered, or passed similar measures demanding that the federal government turn over federal lands to the state” — and —
“The land seizure movement has recently regained prominence and political strength not seen since the Reagan administration.” (American Progress Action.org)
Socionomics was able to foresee these events because it tracks and forecasts social mood, the true driver of social changes.
Today, the world has woken up to socionomics and its ability to prepare people for radical shifts in the social, political, and cultural fabric. That’s why this emerging science continues to win the attention of elite scholars, politicians, behavioral scientists, and on across the world.
Many of them spoke at the 6th Annual Social Mood Conference on April 9, in Atlanta, Georgia. The roster was beyond stellar, and included keynote speaker and famed econophysicist Dr. H. Eugene Stanley.
You can experience the entire conference, right from your PC or mobile device, via an on-demand broadcast.