You see, neo-Nazis are “rightwing,” and so are the Tea Parties! QED. (I especially love the fact that CNN purchased a photograph of neo-Nazis from Getty Images to accompany its report. Crack reporting, there.)
The report itself is juvenile propaganda, filled with phrases like “no specific information,” “may be,” “could create,” “could lead,” “likely would,” and so on.
The report considers a “rightwing extremist” one who is “antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.” I myself have criticized neo-Confederate sentiments. The problem with the report is that it fails to distinguish robust federalism, in which the power of the federal government is properly restrained, from unlimited “federal authority.” But exactly what sort of “federal authority” may I oppose without the U.S. Department of Homeland Security boxing me in with violent racists?
We need a Jeff Foxworthy routine for this. “You might be a rightwing extremist if…”
If you dare to question the all-encompassing authority of the Obama administration.
If you have purchased “weapons and ammunition… in anticipation of restrictions and bans.”
If you are a “returning veteran” with “combat skills and experience.”
If you “chatter on the Internet” about “the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.” (I guess that’s everybody with an internet connection.)
If you are “antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms.” (I score only one for three here. I do oppose “expansion of [tax funded] social programs” across the board, but I don’t know whether that makes me more or less “extreme.”)
If you “perceive recent gun control legislation as a threat to [your] right to bear arms.”
If you worry about “Russia’s control of energy resources and use of these to pressure other countries.” (Putin? Who’s worried? Heck of a nice guy!)
I do not mean here to diminish the significance of ugly racism in America. It is possible that the rough economy, in conjunction with the election of the first black president, has slightly increased interest in racist propaganda. If so, that must be opposed in all quarters.
The problem with this nonsense report, though, is that it clumsily — and unjustly — groups together attitudes that are not only logically disconnected but logically antagonistic.
Person A is a violent racist, hates immigrants, and wants to impose a theocratic state that (among other things) bans abortion.
Person B abhors racism, advocates individual rights for all, advocates government limited to that purpose, and believes the Second Amendment means what it says.
These people share nothing in common (except perhaps mutual loathing). Yet both are branded “rightwing extremists.”
According to the report, “Rightwing extremism… may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” That’s just ridiculous. As much as I disagree with those who want to restrict immigration or ban abortion, those folks don’t deserve to be categorized with those expressing “hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups.” (I do, however, hate particular religious groups that advocate terrorism or violence against women, so, darn it all, I am again “extremist.”)
Just remember as you read this moronic “report” that this is the same outfit charged with protecting us from terrorists. How comforting. And what a spectacular use of our tax dollars.
I have no doubt that the Tea Parties will bring out some kooks. Every big rally does that, whether it leans left, right, or other. I’m sure I’ll see some anti-abortion signs and other messages with which I profoundly disagree. People will come with their own agendas. The People’s Press Collective offers some useful tips for dealing with left-wing antagonists and right-wing idiots alike.
My agenda is the same as it has always been. I will advocate liberty and individual rights. Even if some pencil-pushing bureaucrat thinks that makes me a “rightwing extremist.”