Many on the left have been accusing the ranchers and their supporters of “treason” because this group has dared to question the authority of the almighty federal government.
To me, any and all sorts of productive rebellion is admirable. This sort of rebellion, while it may not be all that productive, is certainly not destructive.
But is it treason?
The textbook definition is wholly insufficient to answer this question. “The offence of acting to overthrow one’s government or to harm or kill it’s sovereign.”
But by this definition, one man’s “treason” may be another’s “patriotic duty.” Entirely a subjective matter. Therefore, I offer a more precise definition: treason is the offence of action to overthrow one’s government or to harm or kill it’s sovereign with selfish intent.
We can say that Macbeth committed treason by killing the king for his own sake; but we don’t say that Macduff committed treason when he killed King Macbeth after Macbeth threw Scotland into confusion and violence. Macbeth committed treason for his own gain; Macduff did so to save his country.
The Oregon protesters are not committing treason, by this definition; they have nothing at all to gain. Except, perhaps the respect of their right to private property – but this is a basic function of government (and if a government does not fulfill this function, we have the right to call them out on it.)
Rather, the Oregon protesters are fighting for “Constitutional Freedom” which is by no means a selfish motivation, indeed on the contrary. We all know what the Declaration of Independence has to say about what the citizens should do when a government does not fulfill its obligations.
Besides, no one has any illusions to overthrow a government.
So no: the Oregon protesters are not committing treason.