Mainstreaming Extremism into American Political Discourse – Silverman

Mainstreaming Extremism into American
Political Discourse

Adam L. Silverman PhD[1]

April 19th approaches it is both appropriate and unfortunate to take
a few minutes and reflect on some of the truly outstanding changes in American
political discourse over the past two years. 
April 19th, long remembered as the day that the American
Revolutionary War started, has also picked up a much more negative
connotation.  Several incidents of
domestic terrorism and extremism; most notably the incidents surrounding the
Branch Davidian compound at Waco, TX and the bombing of the Murrah Federal
Building in Oklahoma City.  Much of my
early work on identity based extremism, political violence, and terrorism
focused on comparing and contrasting domestic American extremism (white
supremacists, militia movements, anti-abortion extremists) with its Middle
Eastern counterparts in Israel (the Nturei Karta, Eda Haredim, Gush Emunim and
other settlers, Kach and its offshoots like Eyal), the Territories (Hamas,
PIJ), Lebanon’s Hezbullah, Egypt’s Islamic Group and Jemma Islamiya, and the
violent Algerian offshoots of the FIS – the GIA (Armed Islamic Group), as well
as movements such as Aum Shinrikyo.  I
spent a great deal of time examining those groups that were apocalyptically
motivated, especially those that blended religious and political identity,
which almost always puts them on the extreme right of the political spectrum.

was in Iraq during almost the entire 2008 campaign season (I got back one week
before the election) and repeatedly remarked to my team mates, colleagues and
friends in the BCT, and to colleagues and friends back home, that based on the
type and amount of negative rhetoric that I was observing when taking the time
to follow the campaign coverage I was amazed that there was not widespread
violence.  I stated more than once that I
would be pleasantly surprised, regardless of the election’s outcome, should
then Senator Obama make it to the election without someone actually taking a
shot at him.  Since the election the
rhetoric, divisiveness, anger, and outrage seem to have actually gotten
worse.  Moreover, as was the case when
President Clinton was in office, it did not take long for the loyal opposition
to begin to subtly undermine the authority of the Presidency.  Conservative pundits, analysts, and
operatives steadfastly refused to refer to President Clinton as President Clinton.  Rather they would call him Mr. Clinton
(appropriate, but telling) or William Jefferson Clinton.  Week in and week out I would watch Dr. Will
on ABC’s This Week manage to politely
avoid putting president in front of Clinton. 
At that time extremism watchers were amazed at the proliferation of
extreme right, authoritarian movements and their increased activities.  President Clinton and his administration,
arguably center left if not outright centrist regardless of what anyone thinks
of the man’s personal behaviors, were accused of shredding the Constitution,
destroying liberty, and a whole host of other crimes.  If it sounds familiar it’s because we’re
seeing a repeat.[2]

major difference between the extremist rhetoric and behavior that was
demonstrated as a reaction to the Clinton Administration and now is that many
of the most extremist themes have been mainstreamed into the public discourse
by elected officials of the minority party, political operatives, and
conservative analysts, pundits, and commentators.  And this is what stands out for me as
different.  The messaging that I’m
hearing put forward now, and yes we’ve always had a member of Congress, a
senator, or two (REP Chenowyth-Brown, SEN Craig) who have spouted it, seems to
be coming straight out of various extremist themes and is routinely promoted by
members of Congress, media figures, political operatives, etc.  It should be no surprise that this was the
first year in decades that the John Birch Society was allowed to participate at
CPAC!  Moreover, the language and the
behaviors being promoted are those of the most violent movements of the 1970s
through 1990s: the overlap of the white supremacist, militia, and anti-abortion[3]extremist movements.

recent screams of baby-killer directed at Congressman Stupak, the incorrect
posting of the address of a Democratic congressman from Virginia (his brother’s
address was posted), the vandalism and harassment at political offices, the
death threats, and yes the increase in both the formation of groups and
movements dedicated to extreme understandings of American history, politics,
society, and the Constitution, the conflation of legal and relatively normal
American behavior with that of Nazi Germany, as well as the increase in actual
violence over the past year and a half, including an attack on the IRS (Federal
Office), the assassination of Dr. Tiller, the attempted attack at the Pentagon
(Federal Office), the attack at the Holocaust Museum, attacks on law
enforcement in PA and elsewhere, as well as thwarted attacks, all share one
commonality: the nexus of the white supremacist, militia, and anti-abortion
extremist movements.  Just take a moment
and check out the Army of
God handbook
, the
Nuremberg Files website
with its list of abortion providers, judges, and
politicians who ruled or legislated in favor of abortion rights and where they
can be located, and the Army of
God website
with its links to, and pages about, Eric Robert Rudolph,
Shelley Shannon, Paul Hill, as well as their victims if you can stomach the
graphic, gory language and imagery.  What
stands out, once one gets past the ghastly pictures and images, is just how
similar the language that is used and the behavior that is proposed, lauded, and
justified is to what we have been seen suggested since the start of 2009.  If you’re really feeling brave you can take a
wander over to the National Alliance or the Aryan Nations and then compare
some of what you see on all of these sites with what you hear coming out of the
resurgent militia movements or on talk radio or out of the mouths of our own
elected officials who claim they are in DC as insurgents or correspondents on
the front line of a war.  What we are
seeing is the mainstreaming of identity-based extremism into US political and
civil discourse.  In just under a year
and a half the deadly legacy of April 19th has made a major comeback.

[1] Adam L. Silverman, PhD was the Socio-cultural
Advisor assigned to the 2BCT/1AD from OCT 2007 to OCT 2008 and was deployed in
Iraq in 2008.  The views expressed here
are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the 2BCT/1AD.

[2] For those who think there is an
equivalency that needs to be pointed out regarding how President Bush was
treated, I don’t see it.  Were some
critical of him?  Sure.  Did some question his initial election given
the way the 2000 election was decided in the Supreme Court? Sure.  Did major political and media figures
routinely fail to address him as President Bush or willfully mispronounce the
name of his political party?  No they did
not.  Was the much larger anti-war
protests covered in the fawning manner that the Tea Parties have been?  No, they were not.

[3] I make a distinction here, just as I did
in my research, between being pro-life or holding pro-life views and being an
anti-abortion extremist.  In my
professional work, regardless of personal views, I’m agnostic regarding the
superiority of the pro-life or pro-choice positions in an attempt to focus
solely on the extremism, violence, and terrorism.  If you are pro-life I mean no disrespect to
your views and am referring to those that use intimidation and violence to
achieve their objectives.

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53 Responses to Mainstreaming Extremism into American Political Discourse – Silverman

  1. alnval says:

    Dr. Silverman (Col. Lang):
    Thank you. The pieces have been there for a while. Thanks for putting them together.
    President Clinton reminded us last Friday in Oklahoma City on the anniversary of the Murrah Bldg bombing that words do have consequences.
    Secretary Napolitano tried to remind us of the problem of domestic terrorism in April of ’09 but her official report was quickly distorted and laughed at. Her presentation of similar content at the Nat’l Gov. Conf in Feb of this year also appeared to have received short shrift.
    As Gregory Peck said in Twelve O’Clock High, “I’m chopping but the chips ain’t flyin.”
    A sharper axe? If we don’t get something soon we really are going to run out of euphemisms.

  2. confusedponderer says:

    Dr. Silverman,
    great post.
    I have been following US right wing rhetoric over the last two years, and indeed the divisiveness and viciousness was the one thing that stood out. At the very least since (the obviously latent threat exemplified by the people like*) the guy with the assault rifles at the town hall meetings I have also told friends that it is just a matter of time until someone takes a shot at the president or other, easier to reach, democratic politicians, or proponents of the ‘secular, radical far left’.
    In think that the murder at Dr. Tiller, or other ‘others’, as in the shooting at the holocaust museum or the nutter who flew his air plane into the IRS building are merely expressions of the mindless rage that the various streaks of the American right are, each in their own way, are feeding.
    I also think it is very disturbing to see the right wing undermine the authority of the state (for which their candidates run for office to … do what?) by denouncing it as generally corrupt, tyrannical, incompetent, wasteful etc. pp. One only needs to hear Glenn Becks histrionic hallucinations about imminent government takeover of ‘America as we used to know it’. In the anti government rhetoric the government isn’t just flawed and needs reform of improvement – it is irredeemably doomed and must be abolished. I wonder whether they’d really like liberty, Gingrich, or perhaps Somali style (arguably a government already drowned in the bath tub).
    I fully agree on the fawning reporting on the tea partiers by FOX and the like. Colbert and Stewart have made great fun of that. The bit with Hannity and the fake demonstration footage, or with Griff Jenkins’ assistant organising the crowd for better footage.
    Politicians aside, I think that opinion makers are key to that. People don’t get such silly ideas all by themselves, just like Republicans didn’t get all these, to be charitable, peculiar ideas about torture and prisoners all by themselves. I have read the term ‘crowdmaster’ here. I think it is very apt.
    I hold outlets like FOX News and talk radio and their ‘crowdmasters’ like Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, or special issue movements like Army of God and their easily accessible web sites responsible. I observed a lot of copy-pasting from argument brought forth by FOX or talk radio in my few discussions with self professed American right wingers on the web.
    I argue that the resurgence of radical right groups in times of Democratic rule is no accident but part of the wedge strategies of GOP strategists. I feel that the GOPers consider fanning the rage a low-cost/high-payoff strategy to mobilise if not support for their policies then the next best thing, stark raving mad opposition against a(ny) Democrat president and policy – gambling on it to yield dividends at the next elections. Reckless and irresponsible.
    I think that David Frum (whom I still not have forgiven writing ‘An End to Evil’ which I make available to visitors on the loot) has gotten right the point that this is dangerous for the GOP, and I don’t know if he says that so I will add this: That it is dangerous for democracy itself. Identity politics generate split loyalties of group and group interest over state. The murder of Dr. Tiller is one such example – a murder refusing to obey world’s laws to execute what he considers God’s verdict.
    The point to be made is that such policies are inherently destabilising.
    Add the Armageddonite rhetoric (literal and metaphorical: The end of America as your fathers knew it is at hand now that radical Nazi Leftist Communist Muslim Socialist Obama is ‘changing’ it) into the mix and you have thee element if unbearable imminence that can drive people to commit acts of violence. In the same way, ‘Obama’s radical socialist agenda’ cannot just be reformed through the political process. This world is irredeemably doomed and there is no time waiting! It IMO is no accident that Rick Perry of Texas is intermittently blathering about secession.
    * I argue that bringing an assault rifle to a Q&A about health care reform is about as much encouraging differing views as a neighbour holding watch over his garden with a shotgun is encouraging your children’s light-hearted playing in yours. Just exercising constitutional rights? BS.

  3. confusedponderer says:

    As far as extremist right wing extremism goes, I remember the rather recent case of a swinger club in Amarillo with a local group going on to out patrons at their workplaces, protesting loudly in front of the establishment, approaching patrons at the parking lot, telling them their name and where they lived (after having checked their license plate). Ultimately the club went bankrupt, which was celebrated as a great success on the web page of the group.
    That case was striking for me insofar as it mirrored the methods applied by anti-abortionists against abortion clinic staff and patients.
    One conclusion to draw from that is that on the right the methodology has now not become mainstream but become part of the collective memory and tactics on the right fringe.
    That said, it goes beyond politics of identity. It is personal. Posting personal details and address details of a person on the web, on the shelf for every and any nutter wanting to get physical means it is about politics of intimidation up to the level of personal destruction.
    Inflammatory rhetoric from the ‘crowdmasters’ in combination posting these private informations by activist groups is making the people a target. The murder of Dr. Tiller ‘the baby Killer’ (as O’Reilly preferred to call him) is a point in case.
    FOX must be aware of that. Which suggests they do it deliberately.

  4. Grimgrin says:

    David Neiwert at his blog Orcinus has done yeoman’s work documenting this kind of thing in his series Eliminationism in America and Rush, Newspeak and Fascism.
    A lot of his work has been exploring how the the extreme fringes of the Right were increasingly included in mainstream opinion making for the last couple of decades. It’s worth reading if you want to get a sense of where the Tea Party comes from.

  5. par4 says:

    Great post Dr.Silverman,this divisiveness predates even Lee Atwater.I believe most of it can be pin-pointed to the civil rights movement. Notice the disgraced Republican Newt Gingrich’s recent statement that it wasn’t worth it.

  6. Paul Escobar says:

    Thanks for your analysis Dr. Silverman.
    Alot of intelligent folks seem to be concerned about what’s going on in the American electorate.
    So maybe it’s not a coincidence that on the same morning I read Dr. Silverman’s post, I also came across this recent interview with Noam Chomsky.

    “It is very similar to late Weimar Germany,” Chomsky told me when I called him at his office in Cambridge, Mass.
    “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”
    “The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen,” Chomsky went on.
    “Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response. What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’?”
    “And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.

    I tend to agree with these sentiments, around the edges.
    But then I look at the current UK elections, and it gives cause for some sober second-thought.
    If anything, the politicos in England have messed up more than their American counterparts. The expenses scandal was so widespread & perverse…it might beg the invitation of facism to the island.
    British voters have an outlet for that route, namely the BNP (perhaps the UK’s version of the Tea Party).
    However, the interesting thing is…the BNP isn’t surging.
    Instead, the surge seems to be happening around the mild-mannered third party leader: Nick Clegg (of the equally mild-mannered “Liberal Democrats”).

  7. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Based on three criteria set forth in this essay, Likud Zionism is one of the more glaring examples of “mainstreaming extremism into American Political Discourse”. So, imo, Likud Zionists warrant a mention with the other extremists, as their actions fall into the categories that Dr. Silverman delineated.
    1. Likud Zionism is not racially motivated? Try telling that to the Palestinians.
    2. Likud Zionism is not apocalyptically motivated? Then why won’t the GOI guarantee to the world that it has no intent to take the Temple Mount?
    Furthermore, it is patently obvious that the GOI’s approval of the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, while settlers sing odes to Dr.Goldstein, serves no legitimate security needs. That only leaves the Gush Emunim bent of mind — one of the extremist groups mentioned by Dr. Silverman — to explain the GOI’s actions. Ergo, the GOI in 2010 falls into the category of mainstreaming extremism into American Political Discourse.
    Martin Van Cleveld was one of the first Zionists to see this unfolding nightmare. And he has made a strong argument that the best way to protect the Israeli state is to return to the 67 borders, but it is not happening. (and not coincidentally, Van Cleveld is a pariah in Israel).
    Furthermore, his 2003 interview in which he warns the world that Zionism may result in the IDF lobbing nuclear bombs all over the place strongly corroborates the catastrophe Rabbi Teitelbaum foretold.
    3. And finally, Likud Zionists do not use the Congress to promote its extremist agenda? Look at how Congress just quashed the Goldstone report — a report that concludes that the GOI was involved in extremist actions in Operation Cast Lead. If ever there was an example of extemist action, it is the GOI sanctioned policy of dropping white phosphorus on innocent Palestinian mothers and children.

  8. J says:

    Dr. Silverman,
    I have to disagree with several points of your premise.

  9. Note the Tea Party is divided into two groups: Libertarian and Social Conservative/Fundamentalist.
    Ron Paul supporters in the first, Palin in the second.
    On Libertarians
    The radical Right/religious Right fringes are where the violence would be expected to come from.
    The Libertarians are something like old Bob Taft Republicans, fiscal conservative and a bit “isolationist.”

  10. jan gleeson says:

    I am so glad you are back, and especially discussing this topic..
    If the more highly educated and affluent TeaPartiers fail to realize the degree to which they have swallowed Frank Lutz TalkingPoints nearly verbatim, targeted by their own individual fears and biases, what will be the effect on some of the angst filled, anxiety driven fragile souls…
    especially driven by economic losses the like of which hark back to the great depression…
    It is a very dark game that is being played…
    And so many do not realize that they are merely pawns in the game..

  11. euclidcreek says:

    Over the decades have seen right and left wing parties come and go, from George Lincoln Rockwell’s nazis, Meir Kahane’s JDL, SDS, Minutemen, Nation of Islam, LaRouche, Robert Welch’s JBS, etc. If any of those groups (including the OKC bombers) were not infiltrated by FBI, etc, it would be a surprise. And analysis of these groups based on the work of Eric Hoffstraeder seems to be endless, has become a feel good cliche. Meanwhile there is a low level warfare that has been going on between a subset of certain racial group and the rest of society. Thousands dead, lives ruined and yet not one word of protest. Who is the immediate threat to this country? It wasn’t a teabagger that threatened to blow my MF head off. Just sayin’.

  12. anna missed says:

    There are some interesting comparisons to be made by looking back to the 1920’s, when kkk extremism went mainstream in America. Post WWI was a time of massive industrialization into major/mostly Northern cities that drew upon both a wave of immigrants and a large African American migration from the South to these Northern cities. This triggered a reactionary response in the population that manifested itself in a nationwide embrace of kkk extremist ideology. By 1926 the klan had established itself as a significant political force within the Democratic party – to the extent that an anti-klan plank in the party platform was nearly defeated (in spite of winning a majority of the votes).
    What we see now with the Tea Party is something similar, except it’s the Republican party that is flirting with and exploiting extremist sentiments in the population.
    If the 20’s are any indication of how this current spat of irrationality will end, as it did back then, then there are several possibilities; 1) the Republican party, like the Democratic party did in 29, will publicly denounce extremist elements within the Tea Party, or sever its ties and funding of it.2)There will be a series of major scandals or exposes-es within the movements leaders or activists, that reveal ill-intent, hypocrisy, or corruption (as in the case of Indiana klan leader Stevenson being tried for rape and murder in 25). Or 3) the movement will dissipate due to most of its goals being co-opted or triangulated out of relevance by the opposition (Obama) party.

  13. b says:

    Some elder lefty seems to agree here: Chomsky Warns of Risk of Fascism in America

    “I’m just old enough to have heard a number of Hitler’s speeches on the radio,” he said, “and I have a memory of the texture and the tone of the cheering mobs, and I have the dread sense of the dark clouds of fascism gathering” here at home.

    “The level of anger and fear is like nothing I can compare in my lifetime,” he said.
    He cited a statistic from a recent poll showing that half the unaffiliated voters say the average tea party member is closer to them than anyone else.
    “Ridiculing the tea party shenanigans is a serious error,” Chomsky said.
    Their attitudes “are understandable,” he said. “For over 30 years, real incomes have stagnated or declined. This is in large part the consequence of the decision in the 1970s to financialize the economy.”
    There is class resentment, he noted. “The bankers, who are primarily responsible for the crisis, are now reveling in record bonuses while official unemployment is around 10 percent and unemployment in the manufacturing sector is at Depression-era levels,” he said.
    And Obama is linked to the bankers, Chomsky explained.

    “In 1928 the Nazis had less than 2 percent of the vote,” he said. “Two years later, millions supported them. The public got tired of the incessant wrangling, and the service to the powerful, and the failure of those in power to deal with their grievances.”
    He said the German people were susceptible to appeals about “the greatness of the nation, and defending it against threats, and carrying out the will of eternal providence.”
    When farmers, the petit bourgeoisie, and Christian organizations joined forces with the Nazis, “the center very quickly collapsed,” Chomsky said.
    No analogy is perfect, he said, but the echoes of fascism are “reverberating” today, he said.
    “These are lessons to keep in mind.”

  14. batondor says:

    Dear Dr. Silverman and Colonel Lang,
    Thank you both for this and for those many examples of your enduring service to your fellow countrymen and those beyond our shores who benefit from your candor (whether they accept it as constructive or not – and whether you are always spot on or not – because truth-as-reality always prevails when discussed openly, honestly, and completely…).

  15. walrus says:

    The Tea party movement is a blatant attempt to co-opt the poor and dispossessed victims of Americas economic meltdown to the Republican cause, or any other cause, as long as it isn’t the Democratic party.
    It’s secondary purpose is to deflect attention away from the real culprits and fasten the blame squarely on scapegoats. That ensures that pressure for regulatory reform does not build as high as it should, if it builds at all.
    To that end they appeal, as Hitler did, to the community’s basest and most vile emotions.
    I think it was the historian John Lukacs that said “Nationalism is patriotism coupled with an overwhelming inferiority complex”.
    This is what we are seeing in action when one sees a jobless White person railing at illegal immigration.
    To put it another way, social and racial distinctions are much more pronounced the poorer one is.

  16. John Badalian says:

    Dear Doc Silverman:
    Like Colonel Pat, you are one fine Wordsmith! However Doctor, these right wing-nuts seem more akin to Caliban (please recall Prospero’s dullard servant in the Tempest) than Taliban. Also, I’m very heartened that every 3rd or 4th member of these tin-foil militas appear to be saavy undercover ATF or FBI Agents. Which is the way it should be! The one Gang that does scare the bloody hell out of me are the supposed U.S. Legislative “PEP” members. The “PEP” allegedly stands for House and Senate “Members” of Swiss Giant UBS’s “Politically Exposed People”. These “PEP” “Members” (according to Ken Silverstein of Harper’s notoriety) were US Representatives or Senators with Secret, Swiss, UBS Off-Shore Accounts. The thought of a US Legislator in possession of one of these no doubt significant-sized secret accounts is the scariest thing out there, for now. Best! – JB

  17. Adam L Silverman says:

    Walrus: I think that you have it almost 100% correct. Without a doubt identity -whether religious, political, economic, ethnic, gender – becomes much more important and much stronger under pressure. Even very weak and/or imagined identities. Zimbardo’s prison studies, which were funded by the Navy, demonstrated that as did Tajfel’s school studies in Britain. The only thing I’d argue is that it isn’t so much “when one sees a jobless White person railing at illegal immigration” as it is seeing an employed person, White or otherwise, doing so.
    J: If everyone agreed with me, I’d have no one to respectfully argue with!
    Mr. Smith: I think you have to be careful on this one with the Likud thing. Certainly, American supporters of what Likud is promoting and presenting as courses of action in Israel need to be challenged about whether those make sense for the US and called to account when they use the oppositional language of the Israeli right in discussions of American foreign and security policies. That said, the real extremists would be JDL/Jewish Defense League, the American supporters of Kahane, who are essentially neo-ultraorthodox Jewish militia types. They make up a very small segment of the Jewish population in the US, and while they occasionally do something stupid and violent, its such a small bit of the larger problem.

  18. Paul Escobar says:

    Re: euclidcreek

    “Meanwhile there is a low level warfare that has been going on between a subset of certain racial group and the rest of society. Thousands dead, lives ruined and yet not one word of protest. Who is the immediate threat to this country? It wasn’t a teabagger that threatened to blow my MF head off. Just sayin’.”

    Are you talking about inner city African-American & Latino street gangs?
    If we still lived in the time of the Black Panthers & Young Lords…yeah, you’d have some sort of point.
    But in their current incarnations, they’re busy slaughtering themselves in a civil war over black markets (no pun intended).
    The reason we’re discussing the “Tea Party” is because they want the federal government.
    If you can’t see why that’s more important than some local turf war…

  19. Patrick Lang says:

    Unfortuntely for your theory the tea partyers are white, middle class and college educated for the most part. pl

  20. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Dr. Silverman
    I am trying to be careful, per your instructions, but I am trying to apply your criteria to the Netanyahu coalition and am left with reasonable questions that I ask in good faith.
    From what I can glean, your position is that Likud Zionism, including in particular the Netanyahu coalition, does not fulfill the criteria that leads you to conclude that a group is extremist.
    In other words, you do not find Netanyahu’s version of Zionism extreme.
    So does this mean that you believe Congress was correct to quash the findings of the Goldstone report? Do you believe Likud Zionism is not racially motivated? Do you believe it is ok for the GOI to approve the occupation of Palestinian lands because such an occupation is justified by apocalyptic literature?

  21. I have mentioned the American Liberty League before, a 1930s-1940s organization with post WWII carry over. The right wing-fascist org had both Dems and Reps in it as well as wealthy Gentile AND Jewish businessmen.
    The American Liberty League and its affiliates promoted a number of far right-populist organizations.
    If one takes a look at the anti-FDR themes they used (“FDR is a Socialist” etc.) a comparison could be made to today’s entertainers like Limbaugh and that blond slut and to various politicians. Then a comparison with Continental European Fascist discourse out of Italy in particular and Germany etc.
    In my book, Dark Crusade, I take a look at this org and its activity in pre-War and post-War America particularly with respect to the evolution of the Republican Party.
    It helps to take into consideration the rise of the “New Right”, the “Religious Right”, and the “Neocons” and then examine how they interrelate.
    As for Palin, some point to her membership in the very fringes of the Pentacostal Movement with links to the “Latter Rain” movement and so on. “Joel’s Army” is linked into this fringe and so on.
    Sinclair Lewis got it about right in his classic “It Can’t Happen Here”…look around today.

  22. Fred Strack says:

    Thanks for posting Dr. Silverman’s piece. In comment I would refer back to your own archives:

  23. Jake says:

    Here is my problem. When Silverman cites specifics, he cites a few individuals (not group) cases.
    While the lone wolf is dangerous breed its the group(s) that can do far worse damage.
    I will cite the Hutaree Militia and “parts” of the Tea Party as an example here.
    The Tea Party is decentralized and without proper national leadership. Some of the Tea Party groups are fine, normal Americans voicing their opposition and some are rather not so fine.
    Take the recent arrests of the Hutaree Militia in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The entire group arrested were members of the Tea Party as well. Actually the Hutaree Militia had its own Tea Party Chapter.
    In Arizone John McCain is being challenged by JD Hayworth. Hayworth ( in my personal opinion) is one tree short of a hammock. So are many of his followers. Hayworth is running on the US Constitution as his platform. Rather the 2nd Amendment as the entire US Constitution.
    Individuals and “groups” are backing Hayworth based on their understanding of the US Constitution, which is, in my opinion, dangerous since many people do not understand the Constitution and focus on the 2nd Amendment, forget about the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments.
    I personally believe that the Tea Party will implode but I also fear parts of it might explode and that includes other so-called patriots groups.
    Time will tell and to this regard I “Pray” I am wrong.

  24. Adam L Silverman says:

    Mr. Smith: Some parts of Likud have moved very far to the right and are extremists. However, this column was largely concerned with American groups and Likud, as both movement and party, is overwhelmingly an Israeli phenomenon. This also brings in a topic for another day and another column focusing on ideology. The reality is that how Americans understand where people and movements and ideas fit on the political spectrum is not where people in other places do. For those readers living in Europe, or who have lived there, I think one can make an excellent argument that President Obama is either just on the center (from the European perspective) if not a little right of it.
    Jake: you’ve identified one of the most difficult problems with studying and understanding extremist behavior (and in the general sense this includes the left, what Euclidcreek was referring to were 1960s and early 1970s extremists that were inversions of legit center left movements, just as the ELF and ALF are today in regard to legitimate environmental and conservation movements). What really is going on is a divided identity dynamic. Some objectively identify with a movement, while some subjectively do so. For instance Gordon Kahl, the 1970s Posse Commitatus member killed in a standoff with Federal authorities officially/objectively belonged to this authoritarian movement. Timothy McVeigh subjectively belonged to the same movement in the 1990s, but because he never joined it was impossible to track him. He showed up, very occasionally, on the authority’s radar, but tracking members of the movement wouldn’t have turned him up. The same is true today. Lots of people, for monetary, political, or other gain are courting the Tea Partiers, the folks upset about immigration, etc, but not all of them belong to a specific movement in a formal way. Moreover, the real problem here is that some of the most extreme movements are basically negative representations of mainstream ones. To use the extremist left ELF and ALF example again – they are related to the legitimate environmental and conservation group, but so far removed in action and behavior that they are like a warped caricature. We shouldn’t demonize the legit, mainstream movements, regardless of what side of center they’re on, because of the extremist offshoots or relations. And the Loan Wolf problem has become the overall modus operandi for most movements. This includes al Qaeda. Take a good look at the 9-11 cell: started by a couple of disenfranchised Muslim ex-pats at graduate school in Germany. They decide to act, find a cut out who connects them to al Qaeda. AQ does what its designed to do: provide logistical support for training and funding, helps get these guys ready, and off they go. They were off of the radar largely because they were a Lone Wolf cell. They were motivated by the same ideology, but weren’t heavily integrated into the network. And that’s the real danger because folks like that are hard to track as they don’t show up on anyone’s network and using network analysis has become sort of a magic bullet in trying to track extremist and terrorist networks.

  25. linda says:

    the republicans have been feeding that ‘the government is the problem’ meme for decades and now are paying the price as these extremist elements dominate and destroy the party. the national political media has played its part in promoting the democrats say/republicans say — or the ever useful ‘some people say’ — that no longer requires actual fact-checking and allows the frank luntz/gop talking points to get established (the democrats have no coherent message or an equivalent (evil)genius wordsmith).
    as these people are given more exposure — like the guy on hardball last nite who felt vulnerable without his 9mm within reach — i think(hope) the vast majority will reject their nihilism and profound disregard for democracy.
    there was a wonderful quote at the end of the nyt teaparty piece that suggests that pointing out the obvious might dilute some of that teaparty enthusiasm:
    But in follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security — the biggest domestic programs, suggesting instead a focus on “waste.”
    Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.
    Others could not explain the contradiction.
    “That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”
    along these lines, colonel, i’d be very interested in your opinion on a piece i stumbled across a few years ago:
    ‘the origins of the military coup of 2012’
    (funny how that year keeps popping up…)

  26. Jason says:

    What blather. Of course you don’t see a measure of equivalency concerning the treatment of Bush vs Obama. How convenient for you. You are focused solely on the right. I just wonder how a movie about the assassination of a sitting president would go down right about now? You remember the one that came out about Bush. As for major media figures and mocking criticisms…how many films did M. Moore come out with during the Bush years? I suggest you go back and watch some Colbert, SNL, and Daily Show clips from Bush’s time. Interesting that your studies focused solely on these groups and neglected to look at the SLA, Weather Underground, and Black Panther movements. The social sciences really are regressing.

  27. eusclidcreek and Paul Escobar raise the gang issue which I have pointed to before in several postings over the last couple of years. The real large scale violence in the US which goes on 24/7 across the country is gang violence.
    There is a foreign dimension to gang violence in that Mexican and Central American gangs have now proliferated in the US.
    So while there are some fringy right wing (and left wing PETA etc) types out there in the mix, IMO the gang violence is a more significant internal security issue at this time in terms of orders of magnitude.
    There are also issues which arise should gangs begin to make alliances with foreign terrorist organizations like AQ…
    “Gangs are a threat to public safety in many suburban communities throughout the country, particularly violent urban gangs that have migrated from inner cities to surrounding areas. Gang migration began in the late 1980s and intensified in the 1990s. At present, more than 20,000 gangs consisting of approximately 1 million members exist in the United States. Gangs are present in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories.
    Gangs are responsible for a large number of violent crimes committed each year throughout the country, including homicides. Gang members typically act in concert, planning violent criminal activity to advance their reputation, protect their territory, or expand their operations. However, gang members sometimes arbitrarily commit random acts of violence against unwary citizens. Additionally, planned criminal activities perpetrated by gangs have led to the victimization of many innocent bystanders.
    Gangs dominate retail-level drug distribution across the United States and increasingly are becoming involved in wholesale-level drug trafficking through connections with drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). Mexican drug traffickers affiliated with the Federation, the Gulf Cartel, the Juárez Cartel, and the Tijuana Cartel1 maintain working relationships with at least 20 street gangs, prison gangs, and outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) that operate in a number of suburban communities throughout the country–this has significantly increased the availability of illicit drugs in many areas. Moreover, several major Asian criminal organizations and DTOs work closely with at least eight Asian street gangs that operate within suburban locales.
    Law enforcement officials face unique challenges in confronting gang-related criminal activity in their respective jurisdictions. Consequently, anti-gang strategies must be particularized to each community. Community-based law enforcement initiatives have had an effect on gang operations in many areas. Law enforcement officials in several areas report that gangs in their jurisdictions are reducing the use of violence in an attempt to avoid law enforcement apprehension. Moreover, successful law enforcement and community initiatives have caused gangs to reduce their level of operations in a number of urban and larger suburban areas. As a consequence, some of these gangs have moved their operations into surrounding communities.
    National- and regional-level gangs pose a multi-jurisdictional threat; gang chapters and sets typically maintain cross-jurisdictional connections in multiple states and usually in multiple locations within a state. Gangs are increasingly conducting criminal activity across the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders.”

  28. graywolf says:

    “Extremist” is a subjective, and convenient, word, such as “racist.”
    This essay takes the classic “political class” view of the “rest of us.” If anyone DARE’S to disagree with the conventional wisdom – found inside the beltway – they are automatically an “extremist.”
    Saying that making a movie advocating assasination of a President is not as “extremist” as protesting a takeover of the health system is beyond disingenious; it’s either stupid or plain dishonest.
    I vote for the latter.

  29. BillWade says:
    I believe they are two Tea Party movements, the Ron Paul faction which got the ball rolling and the Sarah Palin faction which jumped on the bandwagon and are trying to take it over, one group is anti-war and the other is very pro-war.
    I don’t get Chomsky’s statement, “The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen”. He then goes on that all charismatic types from the past were dishonest. I see us as being lucky if an honest person comes along, charismatic or not.
    Most Tea Partiers would not vote for Palin. I know a few and they really can’t stand her. They really aren’t against taxes per se but are very upset about how the taxes are being spent: wars and socialism for the already wealthy – that’s a hard pill to swallow.
    You can take the wind out of the sails of a good number of Tea Party types by aggressively going after Goldman Sachs and others and providing some stiff jail time for them.

  30. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Dr. Silverman
    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I have a better understanding now of your intent and a much clearer picture of your essay. I look forward to a discussion of Likud Zionism and whether or not it too is an example of “mainstreaming extremism into the America Political Discourse”.
    I do note that you write: “However, this column was largely concerned with American groups and Likud, as both movement and party, is overwhelmingly an Israeli phenomenon.”
    I cannot tell from your statement if you are suggesting that AIPAC is not home grown and is overwhelming an Israeli phenomenon. If so, then you give us prima facie evidence that AIPAC should register under FARA. But we can leave that discussion for another day, and, again, I appreciate your taking the time to respond.

  31. Adam L Silverman says:

    Linda: That’s a great article, I read it a while back and always recommend it.
    Jason: I’m not asserting or arguing that the Black Panthers or the Weather Underground or other similar groups on the extreme left were not legitimate extremist movements that engaged in violence back in the 1960s or early 1970s. They were. The ability of these groups to actually effect anything, like most on the right, is, fortunately in the US, quite limited. What I’m positing or proposing in this column is that over the past 20 or 30 years there has been a mainstreaming, first in little bits and recently in huge torrents of specific extremist themes – largely coming from the extreme right or where the extreme right overlaps with extreme American religion. I think that it is quite clear that up until late 2005/early 2006 there was tremendous media difference between the treatment of President Bush, what we saw of his predecessor, and what we see with his successor. The threat levels were nowhere close. And the fact that several comedians, and an independent documentarian from Michigan, were rhetorically tough on his administration and its policies doesn’t change that. If you’ve seen any of Mr. Moore’s interviews in the past several months he’s also been quite harsh in regard to President Obama’s policies and approaches.
    Graywolf: I don’t think the two terms are conveniently similar at all. By extreme I mean towards the farthest points from the political center. This is, in a lot of ways, subjective for two reasons: 1) the center is different in different times and places and 2) everyone’s own understanding of the center is different. Being a Republican or a Conservative no more makes someone an authoritarian than being a Democrat or a Liberal makes one a socialist. Though I’m sure there are those on both sides that believe that of the other. Whether we’re talking the ELF or ALF or the Order or the Army of God we’re talking about political extremism. If you can make a good argument for why those movements are in the mainstream, I’d sincerely love to see it.

  32. Jake says:

    Dr. Silverman,
    Thank you for responding, your so kind. Yes I understand the problem with identifying the lone wolfs and the groups.
    But after some 50 to 70 (and I include the KKK in these periods) years of these moments coming and going I am rather surprised that we are still unable to ascertain with some authority the differences between the two.
    Further are we not falling into the semantics of profiling or accounting for these differences? Meaning are we making the issue to difficult to categorize?
    For example Timothy McVeigh. Does it really matter if McVeigh officially held membership? The fact is he identified with the movement and participated in some of its gatherings. Isn’t that enough?
    What do you then do with groups that are are not centralized in membership or rather remain black in that area to cover its members? Many of these groups mimic the status of the NOC as the Agency once did (note I say once did).
    I have to wonder if we are making it tougher to identify the two entities?

  33. optimax says:

    The Tea Party won’t be successful because it doesn’t attract the young people needed to energize it. Middle-agers trying to protect a lifestyle they’ve earned are not a revolutionary force. They go to a demonstration, go to work the next day and take the weekend off to recuperate. I can’t think of an successful authoritarian movement that didn’t have a large youth contingent to enforce and enlarge its power. Look at how young Hitler’s followers are in TRIUMPH OF THE WILL.

  34. euclidcreek says:

    Anonymous, thank you for posting the letter from Young AP3 member and your comments. You hit the nail on the head.

  35. Adam L Silverman says:

    Before preparing this comment, I discussed it with COL Lang and we decided that it needed to go up for informational purposes.
    The letter that Anonymous posted comes from the website of a White Supremacist organization called the American Third Position. Its website can be found here, with a link on the front page to the text of the letter:
    The letter is reprinted in its entirety at this White Supremacist website with a link back to AP3’s posting:
    And a search for AP3 brings up several hits at the neo-Nazi stormfront website, where if you scroll all the way down on this post, you’ll see that AP3 is advertising itself to the Stormfront readership:
    Dr. Sunic, the newest member of AP3’s board of directors, has been positively reviewed by the likes of David Duke:
    and clearly seems to be the classic White Supremacist and a legitimate anti-Semite:
    Just check out the post referencing his work about Jews destroying beauty in art:

  36. Adam L Silverman says:

    Mr. Smith: I do not disagree that something very wrong has happened with the Likud ideology, which was traditionally called revisionist Zionism by its adherents to separate and distinguish it from Labor Zionism, which was, essentially the defacto Zionism of its time and interestingly enough somewhat related to the Bund movement of late 19th and early 20th Century Germany. The revisionists, led first by Jabotinsky, and then several of his top subordinates, advocated a much harsher line against anyone who challenged the rights of the Jewish settlers in the Yishuv (settlement in pre-Mandate and Madatory Palestine). Revisionist Zionism gave us Begin and Sharon, but also the Stern Gang who were clearly, without a doubt extremists.
    In the American context, though, I think we have to be very careful to distinguish AIPAC, and several other Jewish and pro-Israel organizations. As I’ve tried to demonstrate with some of my past postings, these organizations certainly do not reflect the broad majority views of Americans, as well as American Jews, despite their ability to move their political agenda forward. While I’m certainly concerned with the idea creep of the concept of things like a Clash of Civilizations between the West and Islam that comes out of some of the AIPAC crowd, and which is based on some really interesting to read, but ultimately really, really bad scholarship by Samuel Huntington, I think they’re close to the edge, but in attempt to remain mainstream not crossing it. Certainly the flagrant overuse of charging those that disagree with their positions as being anti-Semites or self hating Jews is coming very, very close to the line, but I have the impression that most people recognize that all the AIPAC and Likud supporting crowd do when they use these terms is actually diminish their meaning for when there is real anti-Semitism. Its like when that screaming meemie Bill Donohue freaks out that good Catholics or just good folks, express their strong concern over the actions of the Church in regard to the sex scandals, molestations, and assualts and claims that every critic is an anti-Catholic. Is there a history of anti-Catholicism in the US: without a doubt, just as their is with anti-Semitism, but legitimate and reasoned criticism of either the Church or Israel is neither of those things and simply creates a boy who cried wolf effect.

  37. Adam L Silverman says:

    Jake: the answer to your comment is really the core of a stand alone post dealing with this issue. But fairly succinctly (at least for me, which means at least 3 paragraphs…): the profiling that is being used now is not only ineffective, but it actually makes matters worse. There is NO, I repeat NO, proper behavioral profile of terrorists as politically violent offenders. I know this, because this was what I was working on before I left academia. To establish such a profile one has to adapt Akers’ social behavioral/social learning survey implement, administer it to an experimental population – incarcerated terrorists – and to a control population – a random sample of at least 1240 people in the general population – and then aggregate the results, compare the results from the terrorist surveys to the general population ones, and then build the profile off of that. I have the survey implement! I inherited from Ron Akers, who supervised the criminological side of my doctoral training, and have sought funding from the federal government on three separate occasions to do this. Twice the NIJ lost the application, and then summarily denied it, the third time I never even heard back. What is even more important about using this type of tool to help us get at what we’re looking for in terms of drivers, root causes, etc is that Ron’s survey, when applied to rapists, was actual able to determine the proclivity to commit rape in the general population of males in the control sample! A proclivity score for terrorism would be invaluable. Finally, it would allow us to base our profiling not on do they look like group X or are they flying from location Y, but rather on real, verifiable results.
    And as for the type of profiling most people think of when they hear the term, I recommend that you read this brilliant debunking of the process:

  38. Patrick Lang says:

    Not sure whom you are addressing, but, I do think that European-Americans have become emasculated in the ability to defend themselves and to claim legitimacy in embracing their brethren of color. Read any of my novels? pl

  39. euclidcreek says:

    Anonymous posts a provocative post, asks for comments, all he gets is David Duke, etc thrown in his face. As anonymous said, the problem is serious and needs to be thought out. Does that cause discomfort? Seems folks rather talk about labor and revisionist zionism. Shame…

  40. Jake says:

    Dr. Silverman,
    Why am I not surprised? I thought Turvey’s Third Edition, Kocsis, Criminal Profiling and or even Carter, would at least be a starting point.
    We have a plethora of information on terrorists starting from Hassan-i-Sabbah to UBL, and with the number of behavioral studies already published, you mean to tell me we can’t come up with a decent set of criteria?
    I am also not surprised that NIJ would blow you off. That Institute is not your A-Political institute and the subject your asking for funding is hardly an A-Political subject.
    I am curious though. How would your proposal differ from the normal set of criteria that is currently used and written about as I mentioned prior in both criminal and terrorism profiling?
    I take it that Turvey and the others needed to take Aker’s or similar into consideration?
    Or is this the 2010 version of James Brussel?

  41. Adam L Silverman says:

    Anonymous: I’m not quite sure why pointing out where the source material you shared comes from, and who is connected to whom at that source should cause so much outrage. Did you think someone wouldn’t go and look up where it came from?
    COL Lang is correct that the way a lot of the popular and political discussion involving identity in the US causes problems when Whites raise these issues. There is a far cry, however, between that and claiming dispossession. Last time I checked every president but one was White, over 98% of all of our senators and congressman ever elected (or appointed back when we did that) were White, the head’s of most of our largest corporations are still White. It seems to me that the concern is less about being currently dispossessed and trying to do everything to prevent it from happening as America’s demographics change over time.
    That, like COL Lang’s remarks, are legitimate concerns for discussion. The discussion, though, is how is the transition managed? What are the parameters for the discussion about it? In many ways these issues are actually at the heart of the discussion regarding ideology (also a subject for a full post of its own). Ideology is really about rate of change and the direction of the change. The amount of change, the direction of change, and the type of change are all good ways of understanding where someone will fit on the ideological spectrum. But having a hissy fit when its pointed out that your source material comes from a group that is well outside the mainstream doesn’t advance the discussion you seem to want to have. I’ll happily make another response tomorrow about the substance of the letter your posted from AP3 – I’m in and out all week as I’m at a conference and I’m trying to be diligent about replying to the comments and doing the other stuff I need to do.

  42. Adam L Silverman says:

    Anonymous and Euclidcreek: I’ve now reread (twice) the letter from the young AP3 member. The letter goes through the litany of standard White Supremacist complaints about how non White Americans (aka non real Americans) are destroying America and American society. This is a far cry from what COL Lang was referencing: that there is a problem, based on a lack of conceptual space, for Americans of European descent to talk about and be engaged in the discussion about race and all its complexities. To make sweeping statements, as the letter writer does, that the descendants of European Americans have no ethnic identities or communities is simply false. We seem to play up more and more the hyphenated aspects of our backgrounds, many of them quite mixed, at this stage. Some get more serious treatment than others: Greek Heritage Festivals as opposed to the way we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but in many ways America and Americans are voluntarily more in touch than ever before with their ancestry than they ever were. And voluntary is the key word here: in previous generations when one was identified with a specific ethnicity, and going back to before the middle part of the 20th Century, this often included various European ethnicities, it was often not done voluntarily or pleasantly. For generations various European groups were treated as second class citizens: the Irish, the Germans, the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Italians. Eventually this gave way to the Polish or the Croatian or the Serbian. You’ve gotten upset for my pointing out that Dr. Sunic is a supremacist and an anti-Semite, yet in America in the 21st Century he is free to openly be both, where 50 to 100 years ago he would’ve been part of an identifiable minority targeted for both explicit and implicit discrimination. He might’ve still held his discriminatory views, but no one would’ve cared as he would have himself been part of the alien other that society needed to be worried about! And we shouldn’t forget that much of this discrimination of these various European groups was entwined with rabid anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism. One really has to wonder if the US had not imported slave labor from Africa would a variety of groups that we think of as White and European be thought of as something else by earlier generations? And now we’re getting to the crux here: in American social identity is inextricably tied to economic identity and status (up to a point). Had African Americans, first as slaves and then as citizens, not been in the US there wouldn’t have been anyone lower on the economic pole than???? Certain White, European Americans! And today if we didn’t have cheap, immigrant labor from Mexico, whether legal or illegal, who would be on the bottom of the scale and subject to derision? This is part of the problem with the discussion: we have INVENTED a concept of race in the US like no other, it is tied to economics, and we can’t ever seem to shake it! The Framers, in their wisdom and despite their being flawed humans like the rest of us, established as the national motto “E Pluribus Unum” – From Many One. The idea being that America would draw from all the diversity that the Young AP3 member is angry at, bring it into itself, incorporate it, and make something new and unique out if it. We’re doing a pretty good job of drawing on the diversity, but we still get hung up on how to make all the pieces fit sometimes, let alone how to discuss the ongoing project and way ahead to do so. That is certainly call for concern and it is certainly right and necessary to recognize that their needs to be a fuller, but respectful, discussion. The letter from the Young AP3 member, which is almost an archetypal representation as I have written and video interviews with young supremacists going back to the 1980s that all echo the same themes, isn’t that discussion or its starting point. Complaints about diversity and tolerance, in the name of intolerance and non-diversity always have a strange tone to them and this letter certainly does. The standard canards about Europeans bringing civilization to the benighted darker hued others and now being persecuted for it is just one example. As Disraeli said on the floor of the House of Commons to a parliamentary opponent who attacked him based on his being born Jewish (in an amazing parallel Judah Benjamin made similar remarks in a similar situation in the US Congress prior to the Civil War): “It is true I am a Hebrew and while my ancestors were receiving the word of the Law from the Hand of the Almighty Himself yours were buggering swine in some forest in Europe!”
    I am truly a son of the Enlightenment: rationality, inquiry, and science rule my world, and these are all given to me of Europe, but the Chinese and Indian and Persian and Meso-American cultures, just to name a few, were ancient when Europe was young and many of Europe’s greatest insights are abstractions or additions or expansions or rediscoveries of these older traditions. To argue that Europeans are and were the civilizing power is to ignore that most of the world isn’t Europe and that much of it existed, and often at high cultural and civilizational levels, well before anyone in Europe was doing so. Should we take the Young AP3ers complaints seriously: surely, anyone who is angry should be taken seriously, but much of his argument is lacking in basic history and is essentially a diatribe.

  43. Jake says:

    Colonel Lang & Dr. Silverman,
    I would like this letter re-published its from a close friend and adviser who’s name I have redacted.
    The writer is now a Protestant Ministry and was once a republican county chairman and ran for the US Congress in 1996. He is also a physicist and lawyer.
    Extremism take many shapes and forms. Political extremism is not just physical threats or actions it can also effect law by politico’s who’s only concern is to get elected again, and again and again.
    The Constitutional point made in this letter is really at the heart of the matter.
    April 19, 2010
    Hon. Jan Brewer
    State Capital
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Dear Governor Brewer:
    Please veto SB1070!
    You have achieved a high standing and popularity among many people who claim the mantle I claimed years ago of “conservative,” while also proclaiming the faith in God (through Jesus Christ) that I hope directs my life. I appeal to you to depend on that faith and to speak out to the public that;
    I have no problem with the 2nd Amendment; I trust the Supreme Court will be consistent in the Chicago case with its ruling in the DC case, but it seems that too many of our fellow conservatives forget that there also exists a 4th Amendment.
    Why does this matter? Here in Arizona, self-styled, self-proclaimed conservatives have pushed through our legislature a bill (SB1070) that tears to shreds the type of protection promised under the 4th Amendment – freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, ultimately protection against a police state.
    This law not only authorizes but mandates that not only police (“when practical”) but other public employees must – must – ask for documentation of legal presence in the United States from anyone from whom they (or whoever cares to sue in court to force the employees to do so) has reason to believe is undocumented.
    No requirement to go to a magistrate to get a search warrant, no specification of what reason might be . . . except that we all know what the criteria will be (language of the bill notwithstanding): physical appearance or accent — looking or sounding like a Mexican or Central American.
    It is not the illegal immigrants about whom I am hereby concerned, but the legal immigrants and naturally born US citizens whose bloodlines are from south of the border!
    This law is almost certainly unconstitutional to the extent that it creates such a requirement for public employees, and if it does not constitute creating the type of police state against which at least libertarian conservatives such as I rail, it comes perilously close.
    And as you are aware. it may fail on other constitutional grounds as well (naturalization is reserved to the federal government).
    Please, Governor, try to talk some reason into the unreasoning nature of so much of our discussion of immigration, what Michael Barone recently called “the new third rail of politics.”
    Immigration is a difficult issue, and while I might not agree with the most vocal part of public sentiment today (nor, of course would President Reagan), it appears that some action will be taken to make illegal immigration more difficult. That is the right of any nation, whether it is right or not to do so.
    But whatever is undertaken should be embraced by people such as you and me only if it is consistent with the commands of the God whom we proclaim: When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. (Lev. 19:33-34) The actions and laws must be just and humane!
    It is sad that our economy is in such a state that fear and anger are causing some to feel that jobs are being taken from legal residents of our nation by those who are not legal residents; building a nation not based on transfer payments and entitlements is part of the longer term solution to this issue. But it is also sad that the Statue of Liberty and its declaration are now a symbol of our national hypocrisy rather than of our national character.
    Still, this is the time in which we live, but those who feel called to lead are called to lead in right paths, not to follow unfortunate and often unreasoning sentiment. Oppose open borders if you feel called to do so, but ask our legislators to respect the Constitution and – for those who are people of faith — to respect the presence of Christ in even the poorest and weakest of the illegal entrants: ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you . . .’ then he answered them, ‘Truly, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ (Matthew 25:44-45)

  44. Adam L Silverman says:

    Jake: Here’s what I see as the difference: What Akers approach (and it comes to Ron from a long chain of preceding scholars – Sutherland, Cressey, Sykes, Maza, Burgess – and from Ron to several of us young uns – Cochrane, Sellers, me, etc) is that we’re not working from any one biography. You are absolutely correct that we have a lot of information about the biographies, beliefs, and activities of specific terrorists and extremists; whether Timothy McVeigh, Osama bin Laden, Dr. Goldberg, Baader and Meinhoff. The problem is that that material, as enlightening as it is, is germane solely to those individuals. So while you can go through, and some have done this and gotten some intriguing results, and make each biography a case example, then make lists of the commonalities and differences, and try to create a composite based on the commonalities, you still wind up lacking several things. The first is the rigor of using a proper survey implement. As good as many of these biographies are that we draw from as case studies, they are still biographies and many, if not most are written from afar with the subject, if he or she is interviewed at all providing answers that may well be, and likely are, self serving. Using the behavioral/social learning testing implement we get anonymous, double blind coded answers from the respondents. There are demographic (these include residency areas, religion and adherence, education and level, familial background, etc) and attitudinal sections, but the responses are limited to what can be scaled. So while the respondent is certainly answering subjectively (ie what they believe is their answer to the question), there is no place for embellishment as there is no narrative. Moreover, because use of this type of approach is contrasted with a representative, randomized control sample of the general population we have something to compare against. The way that behavioral profiling, as it is called today is done, does not have these advantages
    To give you an example lets talk about serial killers or as one of my students once wrote “cereal killers” (Snap, Crackle, and Pop had a really deranged fourth brother – he was, apparently not hugged enough as a child): we know, or rather we think we know, that all serial killers are psychopaths. Why? Because every serial killer that has been caught is tested with MMPI for psychopathy and they all blow the top off of it. Okay, how useful is that information? Not much. Why? Because we don’t pretest everyone for psychopathy. Unless there is a reason the MMPI isn’t administered. So while there are estimates of the level of psychopathy among the general population, we don’t know for sure how many we have. Moreover, does the psychopathy contribute to the serial violent behavior or is there something about engaging in serial violence that damages the brain and cause the psychopathy? And no, I’m not trying to be cute. Since we don’t have test results on Bundy or Spinkalink or Dahmer from before they started killing we don’t know if there was a change for the worst, the better, no change, the direction of the change. So going through all the biographies of serial killers and noting that everyone we’ve caught are all psychopaths, that almost all are male, that almost all came from broken homes, etc gives us a checklist, but not a real, empirical theory grounded, rigorously tested profile. Maybe female serial killers are just more careful and don’t get caught or maybe the biographical information is correct and there are only a small handful so we don’t really need to concentrate on women as potential suspects in these cases.
    This is a good summary of the reason why I think a different approach needs to be taken.
    As for the NIJ, funny story. I was writing my dissertation during Fall 2001 (submitted the draft that December). In September I submitted an application for an NIJ dissertation fellowship to fund the writing. All the research and data analysis was done by the time I submitted (the week before 9-11 by the way). Both my dissertation chairs, Ron Akers for crim and Ken Wald for polisci, had to submit letters of support, both of which stated that all the data collection and analysis was done, I was making a major contribution to the field of criminology as the first to apply this stuff to the study of terrorism and doing something unique in political science as up to that point terrorism studies were largely atheoretical and case driven, and that they expected I would be completely finished and would defend my thesis by February or March of 2002. March 2002 rolls around, between Easter (Ron’s a deacon) and Passover (Ken’s Jewish) and one committee member’s desire not to miss any of his daughter’s soccer games (don’t ask, he has issues) my defense was scheduled for 1 April 2002. I defended, Ron recommends me for distinction, which at UF has been done in crim, but polisci doesn’t do, and I’m now Dr. Silverman. Two weeks later I get a letter from NIJ: my funding request has been rejected because the review committee does NOT believe the research as proposed and outlined can be undertaken or completed! But wait, it gets better. That following November, at the American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting Ron, my Dad (also a criminologist), and I were talking with Professor Marge Zahn, who was at that time doing a leave of absence fellowship at NIJ. We were talking about a special conference she was tasked with putting together about violence and terrorism (Ron and I did the theoretical/conceptual piece for it) and she remarked that the NIJ folks were upset that there had been no terrorism dissertations to fund the previous year, the academic year of 9-11, and they hoped they had some to fund this year. We all started laughing and then explained to her that NIJ had declined to fund my dissertation, on terrorism, during academic year 2001-2002, notified me the week after I defended it, and justified it that they didn’t think it could be done. She started laughing too!

  45. euclidcreek says:

    Mr Silverman’s erudite comments show the differences between academia and the street reality of life in the United States. One is concerned with funding a thesis and publishing, the other with survival and creating a future for kith and kin. To dismiss AP3’s comments as diatribe and unworthy of consideration, is to ignore a voice that will not be vanquished.

  46. optimax says:

    Jake, Nice sermon but I believe in the seperation of church and state, and because I don’t care what the Pope or any other religious figure says about illegal immigration doesn’t mean I’m ant-Catholic. I’ll go with Edward Abbey said are the reasons the U.S. will never confront this problem,”The Right can’t pass up cheap labor and the Left can’t pass up a cheap cause.”

  47. MRW. says:

    Dr. Silverman, have you read Major Brian L. Stuckert’s “Strategic Implications of American Millennialism?”
    He wrote this monograph while at the School of Advanced Military Studies (US War College) in April 2008 and it was cleared for public dissemination sometime later. He traces the fact and effect of Dispensational Pre-Millennialliam on US strategic and military policy since the early 1970s.
    If you haven’t read it, you might find it interesting, because it blows the socks off why we are involved in religious wars and court Israel’s version of them.
    You can download it here:

  48. Adam L Silverman says:

    MRW: Thanks so much. I have not read it, but will give it a look.
    Euclidcreek: I’m not saying it should be dismissed, attention should definitely be paid to it. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t carefully consider its source, who and what its source is related to, both historically and contemporaneously, and the implications that follow from that. From Young A3Pers point of view there is no discussion possible: White Americans have lost and now its time to be angry. From less subjective, and extreme view, White Americans still control a large portion of American politics, economics and business, religion, and society. American cultural norms are still based on those of White Americans, and everyone else’s normativeness or deviance is measured against that. We should be concerned that this young man is angry, as others are, but not just because of why they say they are angry. There is a deeper question or root cause to be gotten at: why, when White Americans overwhelmingly have more opportunities, influence, power, and prestige are there White Americans who feel they are either dispossessed or becoming dispossessed? In the end that is the real question.

  49. Adam L Silverman says:

    Jake: There is no need to ask my permission, only COL Lang’s – I’m just a guest here like everyone else and certainly appreciate the place he’s created and the hospitality he offers. The letter itself is both an interesting letter and a real problem. Someone at Eschatonblog, I think, remarked that what Arizona is doing is creating a system to show paperwork, and while we have passports and drivers’ licenses and green cards, we really don’t have papers, specifically allowing for transiting that can be produced. What should be added is that should the Federal government ever recommend having such a thing the same folks that proposed this law in AZ would have a collective freakout!
    Optimax: You’ve hit the nail right on the head, especially about the American addiction to cheap, and, in the past, free labor! Until we turn the issue from a cause of concern to one to be resolved we’re just spinning our wheels. Moreover, I think this is really, in some ways at the heart of the anger and pain in the Young A3Per’s letter. Its not that Whites don’t still set the norms and control the institutions in the US, rather its that there are an awful lot of White Americans, like other groups in America, that seem perpetually locked out.
    Finally: when I was indicating above about what COL Lang was on about with his reply to Anonymous, I don’t want to give the impression I’m speaking for him. This was my take on what he wrote.

  50. optimax says:

    It should be “when practicable,” meaning feasable, not sensible. You say “(language of the bill notwithstanding)” and then say in reality they will be stopping people due to race and language and dress. If a cop ignores the language of the law then the case will be thrown out of court, won’t it. And of course more Hispanics will be questioned about their legal status because of geography–most illegals coming from south of the border. Also the police need reasonable cause to interigate a person, just as they do with an armed robbery suspect or murder suspect. Will the SCOTUS overturn the law? Probably, they gave W the presidency and overturned California’s prop. 187, which was in all likelyhood the states last chance at remaining solvent.
    I can’t find my Bible so I’ll need you to refute my next assumptions with the relevant chapter and verse. The quote from the Bible in your post is good advice on how an individual should treat an alien but is not a legal requirement all nations, or any nation, must conform. In fact, the Bible states that people should follow the civil laws of the nation they are living in or traveling through. It seems to me that the United States has the right to pass and enforce laws that immigrants must meet certain requirements to enter and stay in the country, just as all other nations have that right and actively do so.
    That’s what I remember God saying when I was in Bible School.
    If you and your friend want open borders, change the law, but don’t handcuff the authorities from enforcing our laws and putting the onus on the Border Patrol or ICE to do our dirty work. It isn’t working, never has and never will. It isn’t even meant to work at the Federal level. That is why Arizona, which is on the frontlines, is fed up and doing something about illegal immigration.
    I was watching the debate between the 3 Republican candidates in upcoming primary elections and the toughest one on illegal immigraton was Lim, who came to the U.S. 44 years ago and became a legal citizen. He just wanted to kick the illegals out. I’ve heard the same thing from Hispanic citizens.

  51. jedermann says:

    In re: A3P letter
    When one is a member of the group that holds most of the power in society and yet is personally denied access to that power by being poor or maybe just ordinary, one might be susceptible to developing a perverse envy for the victimization of others who get recognition because of it. Those groups who can claim victimization because of their identity may appear to have an internal cohesion and solidarity the alienated, white male can never connect with in his own. In this age of diminishing prospects in America, the loneliness and hopelessness of feeling like a loser who is supposed to have enjoyed the advantages of being from the dominant social group can be crazy-making, especially when there seem to be so many intent on exploiting it.

  52. Jake says:

    The verse your looking for is (Hebrews 13:17).
    “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you”.
    There is one hitch….We are to obey and respect those who make the laws (so long as doing so doesn’t disobey God).
    This is also a “GOD” Issue. It also means that we Christians are not do anything to make the jobs of legislators any more difficult than necessary to make change.
    I do find your statement here funny…
    “If a cop ignores the language of the law then the case will be thrown out of court, won’t it”.
    Yep that’s just what I want. “you might beat the charge, but you won’t beat the ride” Law Enforcement.
    There is just to much abuse in the system.

  53. optimax says:

    “There is just to much abuse in the system.”
    Are you talking about illegals breaking the law and gaming the system? Or do you mean legal citizens are the only ones who must follow the law?

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