Wednesday, April 15, 2009

United States of Wingnut

Every society has its weirdnesses. Many people inside the society don't even realize how weird they seem to outsiders. A history of homosexual hazing of schoolboys? Isn't that the English way?

Sometimes, a society changes enough within one lifetime that oldsters feel more than normally alienated - or maybe that's a universal, I'm not sure. Within my lifetime - and I'm only an oldster to the very young - the American national conversation has shifted far to the right. Extreme voices that would have been universally condemned when I was young are now defended by mainstream conservatives.

So it is with right-wing extremists. The FBI releases a report on increased activity and recruiting by extremist groups, and conservative Republicans worry that this somehow infringes their free speech rights!

[C]onservative radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock was not persuaded. "If the Bush administration had done this to left-wing extremists, it would be all over the press as an obvious trampling of the First Amendment rights of folks and dissent," he told CNN.
That's just weird. It's their potential violence that the FBI is targeting. It's not as though the extremists are reluctant to talk about the need they see for violence. It's not as though they aren't already armed. Sheesh.

Yet somehow this report is evidence of the asymmetrical victimization of right-wing extremists! Consider this: When was the last time a left-wing extremist killed someone? Does Ted Kaczynski count against the left? If so, huuuge organization - we better worry about the revolution of the Luddite bombers.

Yes, there have been some property crimes, and those deserve a police response, but some deranged right-winger kills someone every few months, and threats are much more common. Yet, big media bends way over backward to adopt conservative questions, even if they won't admit that they asked those canned questions:
A DHS official said the department was not trying to squelch free speech by issuing the report. "There is no link between extremists being talked about in that report and conservative political thinkers, activists and voters," the official said.
As if the DHS official would bring that up on his own!

But here's the best part:
In fact, the Obama administration in January did issue a warning about left-wing extremists. Both reports were initiated during the administration of former President George W. Bush.
In sum, a perfectly reasonable and obviously true report commissioned by a conservative administration squelches the free speech of radicals on the right (but not the left) by noting their propensity for political violence, and conservatives are therefore the victims of the liberal administration that merely releases the report. The media reports this as if it were plausible.

Yeah, this is something really weird about our society.


globeisatrocious said...

ACLU has been banging the FBI for years about using the GWOT as a pretext to investigate left wing opponents of Iraq War. Shoes on the other foot and this is all the outrage you can muster? "Then they came for me..."

lovable liberal said...

So, another conservative defender of Stormfront, I guess...

Listen, dunce, the report - yes, I've read the whole very short report - takes great pains to focus on violence, not on your no-two-brain-cells-to-rub-together ideology.

globeisatrocious said...

Unlike the lefty version, it does not call out specific groups marked by association with violence in the past (the lefty version distinguishes ALF from PETA) but rather smears the innocent (returning vets, anti-abortionists) never associated with violence. In house lawyers objected but Napolitano went ahead. Look for the ACLU to step up and a nice heaping plate of crow.

lovable liberal said...

Ah, another tiresome repetition of talk radio talking points. The right-wing report couldn't possibly name all the groups, as there are too many thousands, where on the left (so-called) there are only a few.

The smears you find just are not there. Go read the thing.

Some anti-abortion groups are far from innocent. Some veterans, ditto. The report is not about the innocent. It's about those who have shown a propensity to shade over into violence.

If you don't think there are right-wing groups or individuals with the potential for violence, you haven't been reading the news even recently. You don't have to go back to the Murrah Federal Building or the abortion clinic bombings to find it.