Monday, April 20, 2009

The new definition of extremism...

Some of our friends continue to try to move the bar to redefine certain political topics as extremism, connect them with violent actors, and call for government surveillance of ... quite frankly, some pretty ordinary citizens with different political views.

The most recent example comes in a post that labels concerns over recent homeland security reports as

Last week’s manufactured outrage over the DHS Threat Assessments deserves abit more information — especially as the remarkable dishonesty around all of this is being used to not just work the refs but to also try to normalize the violent rhetoric that they so like bullying people with.

But the truly interesting part arrives in a comment (#5) by one of the multiple bloggers at the site [in other words, not a passerby]:

In addition to violent rhetoric, the right wing nut bags are fond of “military” sounding jargon. Take a look at the email I got just this morning:

SCCOR Member -

Do you have an interest in helping the Resistance?

Is there anyone in the Regiment that is able to help?
This would be great exposure for the cause.

If you can help please get in touch with the NE coordinator.
This is your chance to step up and make a differance.


Resistance…Regiment…? I wonder what ever gave the DHS the notion that these nut bags are extremists?

These minor league Delaware lunatics are probably more gullible and stupid then they are violent. Still, one hopes that DHS has them under close surveillance.

These minor league Delaware lunatics refers to, which calls itself The Patriotic Resistance, which is trying to set up a Delaware affiliate.

Let's see what our commenter wants labeled as extremist and one hopes that DHS has them under close surveillance.

Here's the website's definition of the type of resistance they intend to engender:

On behalf of the 57 million Americans who did not vote for President-Elect Obama and do not agree with this leftist ideology, we announced our resistance to Obama's efforts to move our nation away from our heritage of individual liberties toward “brave new world” of collectivism. We will not roll over -- we will resist.

But just as important as the fact that we will resist is how we will resist. That is why we are calling this a “Patriotic, Resilient, Conservative Resistance.”

A Patriotic Resistance
First, we will maintain our patriotism. This is our nation. We love and cherish our country. Many of us bleed “red, white and blue.” We will not act like our opponents who heaped personal attack after personal attack on President George W. Bush and demonized the man. In fact, we will strive to show respect to President-Elect Obama and focus our criticisms and resistance on issues that impact our nation.

Similarly, we will not, like our opponents, reject Barack Obama’s Presidency and dismiss it as somehow unjust, immoral or illegitimate. It is disgraceful that many of our opponents would never accept Bush as a legitimate President. It is despicable that the person who lost the 2000 election could still be heard, in 2008, questioning the legitimacy of that election. Conservatives have too much respect for the Office of the Presidency. Conservatives are not rebellious – we understand authority. This will be a patriotic resistance – a struggle of ideas that will stay with our American “family”.

A Resilient Resistance
Second, we will be resilient. From Day One, we will be there, watching every move, monitoring every action. We will not be chided into silence by the personal attacks on conservatives, our leaders or our motives. We will stand for principle. And we will not back down.

A Conservative Resistance
Third, this will be a Conservative Resistance. Our resistance will not be partisan, it will be ideological. The real political struggle underway is one of a clash of worldviews—collective liberalism and freedom-based conservatism. We are not here to fight for the Republican Party to take over once again – certainly not the Republican Party that failed so miserably on so many fronts in recent years. We will resist on the basis of ideas alone, not political games. We have been stripped of our political authority which actually frees us to stand on principle first and foremost.

I have been through the site, looking for anything besides conservative, social conservative, ultra-conservative views.

No hint of violence. No eliminationist talk. Do they think President Obama is a socialist, leading an agenda that will fundamentally change the United States as they know it? Yep. Right or wrong factually, is it an indicator of rightwing extremism worthy of DHS surveillance to hold and advocate conservative views?

According to our local liberal blogging community: absolutely.

These folks at the Patriotic Resistance are against many of the things I support: gay marriage, abortion rights, decrminalization of drugs.... They would find my social views far enough to the left that the distinction between a liberal and a left-libertarian would probably be lost on them. They would see me as part of the problem, not part of the solution.

But I'm not afraid of them [Voltaire's injunction applies here], and the idea that the government should be in the business of surveillance of non-violent but ultra-conservative groups, the idea that such groups represent dangerous, violent extremism, is indicative of two things:

1) That some of our liberal and progressive friends do in fact envision a new political sphere in which certain ideas and certain viewpoints of other American citizens can be labeled off-limits as dangerous extremism tending toward violence.

[It is interesting that our friends on the left defend the FBI/DHS reports on surveilling military veterans because some of them have joined dangerous organizations. It's not a slander on the military, they say, to watch the small dangerous minority of soldiers who might fall victim to violent extremist recruitment. That doesn't make the military itself an unpatriotic organization just because a few people who served have turned into violent extremists. But they employ exactly the opposite standard toward conservative political groups: if a single person espousing conservative views commits a violent crime, that becomes the collective shame and responsibility of anyone in any group that person ever associated with. Funny.]

2) It is also indicative of the fact that the problem in our society today is not which party is in power, but the reach of government power itself. We are rapidly discovering that many of the same tactics so abhorred by liberals and progressives during the Bush administration [surveillance, warrantless wire-tapping, political profiling] are suddenly legitimate tools to be employed against their political enemies. Lord Acton's observation surely applies here. The election of Barack Obama has done many things, and I fully credit the President with stopping torture and outing the torturers of the previous administration (while still hoping he will acquire the guts to prosecute the people who forever stained our flag by their actions).

But the election of Barack Obama has not slowed or reversed the apparently inexorable drift toward the government's increasing reliance on police-state tactics to silence dissent and consolidate power.

No amount of righteous indignation or distortions about the nature of those police-state abuses can hide that fact.


kavips said...

Someone said we have a right to live in fear..

Our ancestors feared Indian attacks, but the freedom was worth the price...

My freedom is also worth the price..

I'm telling you, this is an issue that has legs... run against power.. that if I am not mistaken, is the source of most of America's anger today.... Wall Street, the government, Congress, etc...

Tyler Nixon said...

Exaggerations, fabrications, mass recriminations, incessantly-shrill demonization, gross over-simplifications, and often just hate and anger-filled distortions of their 'evil' opponents may offer short-term comfort food to partisan vipers masquerading behind a purported ideology, but these are markers of a fundamental corruption of spirit destined to fail in the long haul...

The worst neocon/social-con elements practiced all this to their own blazing discredit and disrepute, notwithstanding their flailing attempts to re-invent themselves and, for the neocons, their apparent influence and welcome in this new administration.

The neo-liberals, similarly lacking any principled or foundational ideology (e.g. it's all about "cool-headed pragmatism" and hardball realpolitick...i.e. selling out for power) have not only come to fully and gleefully embrace this politics of division and destruction, but perhaps practice it more skillfully and unabashedly than any of its purveyors in modern American history.

Joe McCarthy and his ilk look like pikers compared to this crowd.

Tyler Nixon said...

...or perhaps I should say : this mob.

a most peculiar nature said...

It is also indicative of the fact that the problem in our society today is not which party is in power, but the reach of government power itself.Amen, Steve.

nemski said...

What do they mean by keep the powder dry? Bath powder?

So much for non-violence.

a most peculiar nature said...

Nemski, LOL !

"Keep the powder dry" is just like the Boy Scouts saying "Be prepared".

Come to think of it, what do the Boy Scouts really mean by that? Prepared for WHAT, exactly?

More than likely the Boy Scouts of America should be on some DHS watch list as well ... the uniforms, that suspiscious salute, "be prepared", the strict heirarchy of their organizational structure, "merit badges" all sounds like a terrorist group to me.