Back in March, the state of Missouri completed a report looking into the nature of multiple militia groups that have sprung up (or moved in) around the state. The report, which was written as an aid to police departments dealing with militia issues, was started under a Republican administration, but it didn't actually go out to the police until Democratic governor Jay Nixon was in charge. Among the findings of the report? Militia members tend to be right wing wackos.
It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitution Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr.
How did the report's authors reach these startling conclusions? By attending militia events and talking to militia members. But despite the fact that the report's statements were: 1) true 2) so obvious that, like the Great Wall of China, they can be seen from orbit, righteous anger flared. Talking about the nature of the guys marking up their copies of The Turner Diaries while stirring cups of protest tea generated howls from the right. The screaming went on until the state first delivered an apology (for telling the truth) and then pulled the report from circulation.
Now it appears that there is a similar level of yowling over a report circulating from the Department of Homeland Security.
DHS' Office of Intelligence and Analysis issued an intelligence assessment last week that said it has no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but right-wing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on fears about the recession and the election of the first African American president. The office called them "unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment."
The mere existence of such a report is bringing on choking outrage from the same people who cheered when DHS issued reports warning of the dire threat from such groups as people who don't like fur coats. They contend that having a report titled Right-Wing Extremism: The Current Threat is picking on them. It's a threat to their freedoms. A threat they didn't feel when the government issued a report titled Left-Wing Extremism: The Current Threat (pdf) in 2001.
What kind of things does the DHS report have to say about the far right?
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
Of course, this has to be just the most extreme of the extreme. Brand name tea baggers like Glenn Beck would never ask people to reject federal authority or stir up antigovernment hatred or fight local authorities. It's not as if they're racists. Not as if they're trying to create a real-life Confederacy of Dunces. It's not as if it has anything to do with the teabaggers.
Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures. Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish "financial elites." These “accusatory” tactics are employed to draw new recruits into rightwing extremist groups and further radicalize
those already subscribing to extremist beliefs.
Because any report that conservatives find offensive demands an apology, here's one delivered in the standard form that was perfected during the Bush years.
I take full responsibility of assessing the blame for whatever it may have been that others did while acting completely out of my control. I’m dismayed about what allegedly went on, and I will get to the bottom of this and find out who is responsible, even if it takes me several silent years of diligent investigating. I am deeply troubled by the turn of events, and only wish that there was some way to roll back the clock, even though, if that were the case, it would only deepen your already Grand Canyon-esque disconnect from reality.
In case you're wondering why the growth of right wing extremism, complete with a slathering of hate speech, a sprinkle of insanity, and two dollops of violent revolution might be distressing to the people who still believe in as the means through which issues are settled, here's a quick review.