One has to struggle to find any principles or consistency in the ongoing effort at extortion that has involved shutting down government operations and threatening default on the national debt. The most common lines of analysis of what is happening, having to do with such things as gerrymandering and tea party primary challenges and the role of money in politics, have nothing to do with principle. Those lines of analysis are mostly correct and explain most of what needs to be explained. But in the interest of understanding even better what is going on, it behooves us to look for any ideational threads being followed by the extortionists—any even halfway consistent set of beliefs that shows up not only in demands being made about Obamacare or the budget but in other areas, including foreign policy.
There may be such a thread in the form of anarchism, a belief that governmental authority is per se bad and anything that helps to tear it down is good. Some critics have already affixed the label “anarchist” to the extortionists, who naturally do not like it because the word is widely taken to be pejorative. But the labeling in this instance has validity, with regard to both methods and objectives. The method being used is anarchic in that it represents a rejection of long-established procedures for making policy in a representative democracy. The anarchic nature of the objectives is seen in the insouciance with which the perpetrators have brought to a halt functions of government that they don't particularly like, or, more often, that they haven't thought about enough to decide whether they should positively dislike or be indifferent to.