The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Right-wing Extremists: Is it okay to admit they exist, now?

Posted by ALmod on June 10, 2009

Remember this?  Remember how shocked and outraged right-wing bloggers were at the mere suggestion that extremists exist who might hold a considerable right-wing stance (albeit “extreme” by definition) on issues?  Remember how that was the reaction despite an almost identical report on extremists on the left and the fact that the FBI’s Most Wanted was soon topped by one such person?

And then there was the last few weeks.  Who could have possibly predicted that an anti-abortion activist with priors who was part of an anti-government group would attempt (and succeed) in a violent act?  Who could have predicted that a military veteran of World War II and a white supremacist would have opened fire in a Holocaust museum?  Why wasn’t our government looking into these things?  Oh that’s right…  They were.  In fact, the descriptions of these two people almost read word for word from the FBI report on what to watch out for.

And if you’re waiting for the conspiracy theory that this is actually an Obama coverup to make the report seem feasible, you need not do so.  It’s already out there. It’s been deleted, but you can still see the page title.

Remember that little bit that Napolitano added that everyone was so upset about?  Let me remind you:

“The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.”

Now considering that the shooter from today is credited with this post, among others like it, does the above statement sound so far-fetched?  Considering that people got so worked up during the 2008 campaign that some actually believed (and still believe) this stuff, was this a shock to anyone?  Really?  Does anyone actually believe that more people like these two are not still out there?  Allow me to enlighten you here, here, here, here, and here, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  That was a good 10 minutes of Google searching that likely put me on a watch list of some sort.

Are these people your typical right-wingers?  Of course not!  Are they your typical right-wing nutjobs?  Of course not!  Are these the typical person who disagrees with the president and/or his policies?  Of course not!  In fact, most of these people will rightly agree that these acts are completely horrific and unjustified and hurt the very message they want to deliver rather than help it.

These are extremists, and just like the left-wing extremists, the fact that they are “extreme” means that they are not even close to being mainstream.  That’s the whole point.  But the fact that they are in the extreme minority doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, and it doesn’t mean that our government shouldn’t be doing all it can to protect innocent citizens from being caught in the crossfire of crazy.

The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific
information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence,
but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about
several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first
African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and
recruitment
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5 Responses to “Right-wing Extremists: Is it okay to admit they exist, now?”

  1. Matthew said

    I understand your point, but think a little harder. The report you mentioned didn’t focus on the real whackjobs, the descriptions it posted and classified as potential terrorists were those of everyday conservatives. If they had really used that report to “identify right-wing terrorists”… i.e. the people who may actually take the actions you’re talking about… well, they’d be rounding up approximately half of America.

    The major complaint against that DHS report was that the descriptions of “right-wing terrorists” were so broad that they included a lot of people who WILL NEVER commit a crime.

    I read both reports, and if I remember correctly the “left-wing” report wasn’t that way… at least, not nearly so badly. Specific groups were identified as examples, as opposed to broad generalizations in the “right-wing” report.

  2. Matthew said

    I also want to look at another statement from your post:

    “Who could have predicted that a military veteran of World War II and a white supremacist would have opened fire in a Holocaust museum? ”

    I’m missing the conservative part, here. I read a few stories about the guy, and nowhere do I see anything that a conservative would identify with. Was a wacko and extremist? Yeah. But conservative? Not that I could see.

  3. BrokeSnake said

    It may not necessarily hinge on the actual verbage of any report that the Executive Brnach releases, but more about the perspectives offered by the punditry of all sides. Offiial reports of all kinds are being spun by both sides to enrage the other and to put ideologies in boxes labeled right and wrong so their particular side can be victorious on whatever issue or election might be at hand.

    Of course right wing extremism exist, as does extremism of all types because there are fringe elements to every society. I think the matter is that the topic itself should not be painted with a broad sized brush, instead it should be inked with a fine tipped pen.

  4. ALmod said

    Matthew, the problem is that the nature of BOTH reports required them to give general descriptions because it’s a form of what you’d call “profiling.” If you actually read the report, and it’s not hard to read as it’s only about 9 pages and very large font, then you see that if you apply one or two factors it COULD describe every day people. However, the report doesn’t read that way, and neither does any other FBI profiling.

    How many “every day” right-wing conservatives are members of white supremacy groups? How many have posted troubling online messages? How many have a prior criminal history? This is the sort of thing that was mentioned in this report.

    For example, most serial killers are middle-aged white men with higher-than-average intelligence. However, the FBI doesn’t stop there and just keep an eye on every single person that fits that description. That would be a draining waste of time and resources. As you’re probably aware, and as common sense would tell you if you weren’t, they look for other factors outside of that, but that doesn’t mean that the first part is going to be taken out of the description as a whole.

    And you might want to go back and re-read both reports. They’re both featured in a link from this write-up. Both feature broad descriptions and specific groups, though they are ordered differently. If I remember correctly, the left wing report lists the general descriptions on the later pages while the right wing saves the specific examples for the later pages. However, what you just said was a widely repeated talking point, nearly word for word, and was aimed specifically at people who hadn’t read it.

    “I’m missing the conservative part, here. I read a few stories about the guy, and nowhere do I see anything that a conservative would identify with. Was a wacko and extremist? Yeah. But conservative? Not that I could see.”

    The problem is that you, like too many others, confuse the words “conservative” and “right-wing.” They are not the same thing. Right-wing is very much NOT conservatism. Ron Paul is and Barry Goldwater was an example of conservatism, but neither one holds/held to the right-wing mentality for the most part. Right-wing is red flavor liberal, as I have often called it. The confusion comes in that the GOP began pandering to the Christian right back in the late 70s/early 80s, but to distract from the fact that it would require them to abandon a lot of conservatism, they started to refer to themselves as “neoconservatives” and later “conservatives.” Sometimes if you repeat something enough, folks believe it. But conservatism is traditionally small government, less spending, low taxes, and strong DEFENSE. Right wing justifies the complete reversal on those qualities and strong military OFFENSE as a means to achieve “moral” ends.

    This guy actually displayed a few extreme examples of both. First, consider that he tried to put the Fed under citizens arrest. That’s an anti-government conservative belief and action, though it is extreme and something you’d never see a normal person do. (Ron Paul has issues with the Fed, but you’d never see him try to do something like this.) He’s also a supporter of Hitler, which means he’d support big government in a genocidal move to support his own beliefs. This is a right wing but not conservative belief.

  5. ALmod said

    I just thought of a good way to describe it… Think of a checklist of symptoms for an ailment. Let’s say you think someone might be bipolar. Simply being a little moody on a couple of occasions isn’t going to be enough to diagnose. However, if you can check off most or all symptoms of bipolar disorder AND a doctor can run tests to verify, then you might just be bipolar. However, that doesn’t mean that mood swings should be taken off the list of descriptors for bipolar disorder.

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