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.