(H/T: The Other McCain) Via The Liberty Papers we get a doozy of a document: the Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment. It’s supposed to be a Homeland Security document that will be making the rounds pretty quickly: the people reading this may in fact have already gotten an email on the subject. If they haven’t, they will.
Why? Well, it’s a document that discusses the potential threats that we can expect from “rightwing extremists” (no hyphen, for some reason) in the coming months; there’s the usual stuff about guns, illegal immigration, and disgruntled war veterans, plus the new wrinkle of our having elected an African-American President. The report concludes, unsurprisingly, that we have to worry more about “lone wolves and small terrorist cells” than anything else.
Also unsurprisingly, there’s an absence of hard data over just how many people that we’re talking about, here. That particular bit of bureaucratic cover will probably backfire, because of this definition:
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
As both The Liberty Papers and PoliGazette note, the second clause is both far too broad (as it stands, it could be taken to mean anybody who espouses a federalist position*) and downright offensive (apparently, federalists are as bad as racists & anti-Semites). Unfortunately, it’s also written down - which means that intent doesn’t really come into it. Somebody in the government who gets this document isn’t going to try to figure out what the author(s) meant before they craft policy based on it; they’re going to go with what the text says, because that’s how government officials keep their jobs.
All that being said, now that this report has been leaked, expect a ‘clarification’ on it very, very quickly. Not to mention a quiet, yet vicious search for the leaker, but that’s a whole different post.
*Liberals, please note: that includes people who argue that individual states have the right to decriminalize marijuana, permit the sale of raw milk, allow assisted suicide, or recognize same-sex marriages. If you’re one of those people, welcome to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy: here’s your accordion.
Crossposted to RedState.