According to recent reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are clear signs of a resurgence in the virulent “Patriot” movement–a broad coalition of previously autonomous and loosely related anti-government paramilitary militias, anti-tax rebels, “sovereign citizens”, and so-called Constitutionalists–thought to have reached its zenith in the 1990s.
An inverted flag is a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
Catalyzed by shifting demographic trends toward Caucasian minorities and the fringe conspiracy theories that are increasingly disseminated by mainstream media figures like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Michael Savage, and others, the anti-government movement is growing all across the United States. Feeding this extremism are the same usual radical ideologies, radical religious beliefs, pent-up anger, and frustration that can lead to violence-from ‘lone wolf’ hate crimes to acts of mass-casualty domestic terrorism.
Authorities around the country are reporting a worrying uptick in Patriot activities and propaganda. “This is the most significant growth we’ve seen in 10 to 12 years,” says one. “All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”
The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the recent assassination of Dr. George Tiller, and any of the other 75 plots, conspiracies, and racist rampages since, underscore the need to sufficiently focus on the dangers of homegrown extremism. We should be prepared for the possibility that these groups are becoming even more dangerous than those of the 1990s because their surge is spurred by the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, they are becoming more unified around a common cause in their fear of a black president, and perhaps worst of all, their unifying ideology is receiving tacit support from mainstream media and political figures.
The militia movement was born of anger at the government, fear of gun confiscation, and susceptibility to elaborate conspiracy theories. Although white supremacists were certainly involved in the 1990s movement, and many splintered groups and individuals found solidarity with or at least tolerated more run-of-the-mill hate groups, the orientation of the militia movement remained primarily anti-government and conspiratorial.
Today, the face of our government is black, and erroneously thought to be Muslim. This new concoction of Nativist xenophobia, direct racism, and hostile anti-government ideology may prove more toxic than any homegrown threat the decent people of this Nation have yet faced. The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that the election of Barack Obama,
…coupled with high levels of non-white immigration and a decline in the percentage of whites overall in America, has helped to racialize the Patriot movement, which in the past was not primarily motivated by race hate. One result has been a remarkable rash of domestic terror incidents since the presidential campaign, most of them related to anger over the election of Barack Obama. At the same time, ostensibly mainstream politicians and media pundits have helped to spread Patriot and related propaganda, from conspiracy theories about a secret network of U.S. concentration camps to wholly unsubstantiated claims about the president’s country of birth.
As an example, witness yesterday’s frontpage at the Arizona Citizen Militia website, which includes a plethora of WorldNetDaily links and YouTube videos supporting all the latest and greatest conspiracy theories: Birth certificate, FEMA camps, socialist indoctrinations, secret Muslim cabals, New World Order, etc. About the only thing factually accurate on the page was the date.
The threat of Martial Law has increased
A Global Financial Apocalypse is bearing down on us
Foreign military troops are inside the USA for “training”
FEMA Concentration Camps are being readied
We will not go quietly
We aim to misbehave
We have NO FAITH in the Obamunist regime. We have NO CONFIDENCE in the Obamunist regime. We have NO TRUST in the Obamunist regime. We owe the Obamunist regime NO ALLEGIANCE .
We WILL NOT surrender to their Marxist agenda.
We will NOT be “ruled” by Obamunists.
WE WILL NOT SURRENDER OUR ARMS, no matter what paper might be signed by this “pretender to the throne”. If he cannot PROVE that he is a natural born citizen of our nation, he is not a lawful office holder. Nothing that he does while in office will be valid, Constitutional, or lawful. We owe nothing to such a false leader.
We owe everything to our Lord, our families, and our Constitution.
When they come for your arms, give them nothing, but take from them EVERYTHING .
NO FAITH, NO CONFIDENCE, and NO TRUST = NO RESPECT, NO ALLEGIANCE and NO SURRENDER
Incidentally, they also warned:
ALERT – 1515 hours MST 11 September 2009
Unverified Report – 75% probability of a Nuclear device being set off SOMEWHERE in the midwestern USA within the next 48 hours.
CONFIDENCE IS HIGH
All Arizona units are at RIBBON status as of 1530 hours MST 11 September 2009.
Please visit this website every day for updates. May the Lord save our Republic.
If you’re in the midwest, I suppose you ought to get your affairs in order. Obviously, this kind of rhetoric is on the extreme fringe. Perhaps most troubling is the appearance of these same themes entering the mainstream, and the common thread that runs through them all. The effect amounts to a self-perpetuating and concerted effort to delegitimize the office and authority of the duly elected President of the United States. This ‘need’ for ‘revolution’ isn’t exactly subtle in this FOX News promo for today’s live broadcast of Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project:
What’s troublesome are the “respectable” mainstream pundits, writers, and politicos who stoke the fires of these conspiracies in order to keep the base riled up, win the attention of potential supporters (lacking critical thinking skills). From Glenn Beck to Lou Dobbs to Liz Cheney to Camile Paglia to Sean Hannity, all have lent some measure of careful credence to the most egregious of lies about the President, his staff, wife, associates, and his proposed policies.
A more insidious form of conspiracy stoking is the sort of concern trolling performed by “intellectual” hacks like Jim Geraghty, who list and describe the theories, quietly imply that they don’t necessarily believe them, but conclude that there just isn’t enough evidence to be certain. This technique serves to provide cover to the outlandish and most extreme of the lot, by granting tacit support.
The more radical the right-wing fringe gets, the more dangerous they become. “Mainstream” voices legitimatizing their radical beliefs just intensifies their feeling that something needs to be done, because the country is in a crisis. Encouraging people to believe the president is illegitimate encourages them to believe that he needs to be removed by any means necessary. It’s stupid, it’s irresponsible, and it’s remarkably dangerous.
As we move past another anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, we are painfully reminded that United States has enemies abroad. Though foreign threats may not have waned, let us not forget the dangers that lurk within our own borders. We have a responsibility to do all that we can to dispel the disinformation that feed these movements, and hold accountable those members of the mainstream media establishment and the body politic who would propagate the radical ideologies that sustain them.
“We’re again entering some dangerous territory, where violence is a real concern,” Potok said. “But this is not just a law enforcement issue. Americans need to reject the politicians and pundits who aid and abet this movement by pandering to its paranoia and conspiratorial worldview.”
We cannot silence people like Glenn Beck and Michael Savage. Any attempts to do so are likely to amplify their hatful message, making them ‘martyrs’. What we can do is use the indefatigable power of truth to nullify them. A victory for decency can only be declared when we, collectively as a nation, destroy their relevance.