THE OX-BOW GENERATION: 1973-2011
By Michael Moriarty
January 18, 2011
William A. Wellman’s film, The Ox-Bow Incident, is a stunning wake-up call to America, one that I had never experienced as a film until recently. I had, of course, heard of the title, for it has been a legendary movie since its first showing.
The Ox-Bow Incident exposes one of the oldest American traditions of the Wild West: posse justice.
“If a civilization has no conscience, it is not a civilization.”
Those are the words in a last letter from the victim of the Ox-Bow lynch mob, just minutes before he and his friends are cruelly and unjustly executed. Following the cold-blooded and sadistic murder of three innocent men, the “Posse” learn that the man whom these three men were supposed to have murdered is alive.
Three innocent human beings were lynched by an American tradition that, if you read this entire article, might, in some sense, be also described as Libertarian.
One day following my viewing of this film, I watched an excerpt from Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge. During it, the guest, the famous economist, Milton Friedman, defines the meaning of Libertarianism as:
“You should be free to do what you want as long as you don’t prevent other people from doing the same thing.”
Under some interpretations of the Libertarian Party, such as that in Wikipedia, the gestating infant does not qualify as an “other.”