The self-named “Freedom Caucus,” composed of roughly 40 far-right tea party-affiliated anarchists “patriots,” has thoroughly mucked up matters in the U.S. House of Representatives. Unwilling to play by any rules of governance and refusing to be governed itself, this merry band has chased off one House Speaker, frightened off the presumptive successor and given pause to any other plausible candidate. Why? Because of its reckless insistence on having things its way, from Planned Parenthood funding to repealing Obamacare to slashing federal spending.

For the “Freedom” crowd, the absence of a veto-proof Senate majority or the fact that a Democrat sits in the Oval Office makes no difference. They’ve demonstrated a willingness to shut down the government or, worse yet, wreck the U.S. and global economies by putting the nation into default. This is governance-by-hostage-taking. As far as these folks are concerned, the main qualification for the next speaker is: Are you man enough to shoot the hostage?