Definition of ‘right-wing extremism’ dangerously broad

Much has been made of a new report from the Department of Homeland Security concerning the rise of right-wing extremism.

I have no doubt that right-wing hate groups are on the rise. Recent reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center tracking the creation and spread of these groups give credence to DHS’ worry over right-wing extremism and its recruitment and growth.

But, the new DHS report contains this curiously and dangerously broad definition of right-wing extremism:

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.

Under this new definition, groups and associations of people who are proud American patriots will no doubt come under scrutiny and observation.

I take particular issue with the latter portions of it; there are legitimate organizations and associations committed to restoring state and local authority where and when it exists as outlined by the U.S. Constitution, and legitimate, non-hate groups that are committed to addressing abortion or immigration.

The John Locke Foundation in North Carolina, while a group with whom I’d certainly have my disagreements, is also a group that is full of American patriots. Their association could easily fit into this overly broad DHS definition.

Maybe, one day, a third or fourth political party could even become suspect under this new “extremism” definition.

This definition and report from DHS is, perhaps, precisely the reason why there are groups of people who seek to limit the powers of the federal government and respect constitutionally-governed state and local powers.

The one thing I despised most about the Bush Administration was its continual disrespect and disregard for the U.S. Constitution and the principles contained within it. The Department of Homeland Security, under the Obama Administration, is now engaging in similar constitutional disrespect and disregard. The only difference between then and now is where the disrespect is happening, who is doing it and who is being targeted.

It is dangerous for government to issue these types of broad definitions. Just as some LGBT groups were targeted for surveillance under the Bush Administration, have no doubt that continued encroachment into our Constitutional rights and civil liberties will mean continued rises in abuses to American citizens and the continued destruction of the Constitution.

We would all do well to remember and to often reflect on the following: “I do not agree with a word you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.”

(h/t MeckDeck)

6 Responses to “Definition of ‘right-wing extremism’ dangerously broad”
  1. Tom says:

    Actually, I think you’re misreading the definition and the sentence structure. It doesn’t say that all groups that are “antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority” are right wing extremists, rather it states that right wing extremists (start with that subset) can be divided into certain subsets, including the states rights groups. So some states rights groups qualify as extremist, some don’t. Stated another way, not all anti-abortion groups qualify as “right wing extremists,” however some are.

  2. I expect that this will be an issue for a long time to come. The SPLC is a den of vipers and scumbags. Morris Dees is a sex offender according to court records, but he pontificates as though he’s holier than the Pope. Both the ADL and SPLC have been sued for defamation of character/libel/slander. If you look into their long record of fallacy and outright hate directed towards conservatives, you’ll see that they ARE the ‘hate group’ that needs to be watched.

    …If I were to organize a group of gun owners, call it a militia, create a website (this is important; I’ll explain later), and start openly recruiting I can assure you they would label the group as “extremists”. Never mind the fact that if I were to mandate that anyone joining prove that they have NEVER committed a criminal offense, that they believe in God, were Boy Scouts in their youth, served previously in the military, and swear an oath to uphold and defend our Constitutional government – well, in the eyes of these left-wing extremists (the word fits here), you’re still a right-wing extremist.

    In case you were not aware, both the ADL and SPLC have engaged in invasions of privacy and the collection of intel on conservative social movements such as the “TEA party patriots”, “Oath Keepers”, and the “Minuteman Project” (which is not a militia, but according to the SPLC they are just because they use the ‘Minuteman’ as their logo. According to that logic, there is a HUGE right-wing militia out there that needs to be watched because they have machine guns, bombs, landmines, rockets and tanks: the National Guard).

    I know for a fact that if the SPLC, ADL, their supporters and some Hollywood liberals had their way, all gun-owning Americans would be placed in concentration camps, possibly liquidated. Rosie O’Donnell made the comment about camps, and Foxman & Dees hate conservatives so viciously that I have no doubt they would do it too.
    What makes them so scary is that they have the ear of the federal and state governments; everything they say about militias gets repeated verbatim. They made some really outrageous claims about militias getting ready to overthrow the government that were repeated nearly verbatim in the FBI’s 1999 “Megiddo Report”; these claims never materialized. (Talk about a conspiracy theory!!)
    In February 2009, an employee of either the ADL or the SPLC (sorry, I can’t remember which group) was the ghostwriter for the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report that breathlessly claimed that people who vote for Republican Ron Paul or Constitution Party Presidential Candidate, Chuck Baldwin, are potential domestic terrorists; along with people who like to pay for goods and services in silver, fans of Libertarian filmmaker Aaron Russo (“America: Freedom to Fascism”), ad nauseam. It would seem that to these people, you’re a right-wing extremist if your politics falls to the right of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
    They not only have the ear of our government and slurp their twisted political bigotry into the ears of our bureaucrats, politicians and law enforcers, they (as I mentioned already) invade people’s privacy and label innocent people as violent radicals without any documentary proof. They infiltrate right-wing political groups and activities, collect intelligence on the groups and their members, and then give this data (‘massaged’ to comport with their version of reality) to our government.
    It makes me wonder how much longer before the next Ruby Ridge or Waco Massacre happens just because of spun-dried ‘intel’ that has been collected by these groups who clearly are acting as proxies for our Homeland Security gestapo? 35 years ago, a friend of my dad who was a survivor of the Nazi death camps, replete with Yarmulke and tattoo, told us that “America is becoming more and more like Nazi Germany”. Now while you think about the gravity of a statement like that coming from a Jew, let me just say that I think America is heading that way. The ADL, SPLC and their ilk are the modern snitches, ‘collecting tips for the Stasi’.

  3. thats classified says:

    So, from this definition, I could be considered a right-wing extremist for being a minarchist…. oh wait no, it’s probably not negociable for me, because I believe in a severely limited and accountable government at all levels, which is completely at odds with the current trend towards statism.

    This is a scary world we live in. Hey DHS: Kim Jong Il called, and he wants his insanity back!

  4. Ray says:

    Why can’t ya keep it simple:: Right wing extremeist= persons who use violents to preserve the statist que.

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