Saturday, June 20, 2009

9 Conservative Myths About Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism


By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America's Future. Posted June 20, 2009.
This is terrorism we're dealing with. We can't afford to let ourselves be distracted by spin. It's time to set the record straight with the facts.

It's been a wild couple of weeks for those of us in the wingnutology business. Our services have been in tremendous demand as the mainstream media try to sort out the meaning of what Scott Roeder and James von Brunn did.

I've done an average of one radio show every day for the past two weeks trying to help various lefty talkers around the country make some sense of it all; and I'm generally gratified at how seriously people are starting to take this.

At the same time, I'm also appalled (though, sadly, hardly surprised) by the conservative mythmaking that's going on around the very serious issue of right-wing domestic terrorism. So it's obviously time to pull together another "Firing Back" piece to give progressives what they need to separate fact from fiction when these talking points start flying.

I've actually had every one of the following myths pitched to me by on-air interviewers, phone-in callers and/or online commenters over the last two weeks. Most of them have come up over and over, which suggests to me that you're likely to encounter them, too. So let's walk 'em through:

1. These are just "lone wolf" psychos who are acting alone. You can't hold anybody else responsible for what crazy people decide to do.

True and false. But mostly false.

It's true that every one of the nine right-wing terrorists who've made the news since Jan. 20 had a history of mental illness, domestic violence, and/or drug abuse. Several were military veterans who were having a really hard time adjusting to civilian life. None of these people could reasonably be considered sane; and, for whatever twisted reasons, they made a personal choice to do what they did.

But it's not true that they were acting alone. People who are dealing with these kinds of demons are often drawn into movements that offer a strong narrative that helps them make sense of a world that never seems to add up right for them. They're usually drawn into organizations like Operation Rescue or the Minutemen that are nominally nonviolent, but which also indoctrinate them into a worldview that justifies and motivates people to commit terrorist acts. They come to believe that they must do this to save the world, to serve God and to be the heroes they desperately want to be.

They're already walking sticks of dynamite. But it takes the heat of that apocalyptic, dualistic, eliminationist, pro-violence narrative to light their fuses and make them explode.

Unfortunately, these groups also make it easy to take that final step over the line, because they often have close ties to other, more secretive groups that do advocate and plan terrorist violence as a solution. Operation Rescue teaches that killing abortion doctors is justifiable homicide, and then feeds its most extreme members into the Army of God.

The Aryan Nations and several other white nationalist groups supplied the nine members of The Order, a racist terrorist group that killed two people (including left-wing talker Alan Berg) and stole over $4 million during a nine-month spree in 1984. Al-Qaida got many of its recruits from the nominally nonviolent (but still radical) Hizb al-Tahrir. Of course, when violence actually occurs, these groups always denounce it -- but they also usually have a very good idea of who was involved, because they've been hanging around with the perpetrators for quite a while themselves.

One of the things the public is finally beginning to understand is that the "lone wolf" story has never been accurate, because these guys are never really alone in the world. Every one of them was well-marinated in large, long-established subcultures that put them up to terrorism and promised to make heroes out of them if they succeeded.

2. These terrorists are really left-wingers, not right-wingers. Because everybody knows that fascism is a phenomenon that only occurs on the left.

False does not even begin to cover the absurdity of this claim.

Fascism has always been a phenomenon of the right. Every postwar academic scholar of fascism -- Robert Paxton, Roger Griffin, Umberto Eco and onward -- has been emphatically clear about this. Benito Mussolini admitted as much. It's part of the very definition of the word.

Jonah Goldberg has gotten a lot of traction on the right for his argument that fascism is somehow a left-wing tendency; but in his badly argued, barely researched tome Liberal Fascism, he gets here by taking logical leaps that no college professor would accept from the greenest freshman.

The worst, perhaps, is the way he conflates "fascism" with "totalitarianism." There is such a thing as left-wing totalitarianism: Stalinism and Maoism both qualify. But they were communist, not fascist, movements. It's only when totalitarianism happens on the right that we call it fascism.

Still, this idea has caught on like wildfire and is being widely promoted by right-wing talkers like Glenn Beck. If you want the full takedown on this, I refer you to Dave Neiwert's exhaustive series of debunking articles, which are linked to in the sidebar at Orcinus.

Sara Robinson is a fellow at the Campaign for America's Future and a consulting partner with the Cognitive Policy Works in Seattle. One of the few trained social futurists in North America, she has blogged on authoritarian and extremist movements at Orcinus since 2006, and is a founding member of Group News Blog.

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1 comment:

Vicente Duque said...

Tom Tancredo in Frying Pan - Gourmet Dish for the Press and Bloggers - The Little Hitler and his Army of Thugs

The Little Hitler Tom Tancredo went for wool and came home shorn. Now the Press can have a feast eating the flesh of a Clown.

Letter of Political Encouragement of Tom Tancredo to Shawna Forde ( Child Murderer )

Hitler used a lot of Racism to arrive to power, he also used Free Elections. In America a Despicable Racist Clown wanted to rule, and he also saw the opportunity of having his private army of thugs. Something like the SA Forces of Hitler ( the Sturm Abteilung or Department of Attack ).

Shawna Forde Organizes Tancredo's Meetings and Rallies :

July 1, 2007, story published by the Everett Herald further placed official Tancredo campaign staff at the event as well as Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist — whose own group’s bitter 2005 internal power struggle led to the creation of the defense corps that eventually spawned Forde’s faction.

Tom Tancredo in Frying Pan - Tancredo's Letter of Support to Shawna Forde and the Minutemen. Relationship of Tancredo to Shawna and the Minutemen

From :
"The Colorado Independent"

Tancredo linked to Minuteman group accused of Arizona double-murder

Littleton Republican sent presidential campaign staff, impassioned letter of thanks to anti-immigrant rally organized by alleged vigilante group but denies connection
By Wendy Norris,
June 18, 2009

Tancredo linked to Minuteman group accused of Arizona double-murder

Some excepts :

Her most recent link to Tancredo, the former Republican congressman from Colorado, occurred at a sparsely attended 2007 Everett rally organized by The Reagan Wing and MAD, a splinter group Forde led that was an offshoot of the more widely known Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. The event featured representatives of Tancredo’s dark-horse presidential campaign and a letter of support from the candidate himself.

In typically fiery tone, Tancredo extended his regrets for being unable to attend the “Illegal Immigration Summit”:

Dear Friends,

"I regret that I cannot tell you in person how grateful I am, but thank you.

Thank you so much for your phone calls, your emails, your contributions and everything you did to help “we the people” kill the Bush-Kennedy-McCain amnesty bill in the Senate last week. The American people have said “no” to amnesty, and now they need a president who stands foursquare with them, not one who will sell out once elected.

I am that candidate! And our campaign is the vehicle to ensure that amnesty NEVER happens!

You’re here today because you understand that every day America is under assault: There are nearly twenty million illegal aliens in the country today and before the next presidential election millions more will cross our borders, threatening our economic security, jeopardizing our national security and undermining our national culture."

The letter follows with more rants against the "Twenty Million Illegal Aliens".

More Info and Important Newspapers about Tom Tancredo :

Vicente Duque