Conservative bloggers must really identify themselves with the most extreme elements of the right wing. The Department of Homeland Security has declassified a report on right wing extremism. (PDF file here). The report is on white supremacists, right wing militias, and those who support violence like Timothy McVeigh. Such extremism is a real threat and it is not surprising that the Department of Homeland Security has seen a reason to describe this threat. After all, this has been the major source of domestic terrorism in recent years. My bet is that somewhere they also have reports on violent extremists of the far left.
I’ve often noted that the Republicans and much of the conservative blogosphere has become quite extreme, but I still wouldn’t lump them in with the type of extremists the report is aimed at. The report doesn’t talk about conservatives, Republicans, or even conservative bloggers. For some reason, however, conservative bloggers seem to identify with them. I first saw mention of this in The Liberty Papers. Michelle Malkin has picked it up with the paranoid title Confirmed: The Obama DHS hit job on conservatives is real. Pamela Geller writes this “is the fascist blueprint to create a police state and legalize gulags.”
There is certainly a lot of paranoia on the right. For an example, see David Weigel’s gun show report. It is certainly reasonable for people in Homeland Security to be concerned about such people should they support violence. A report describing extremists and warning of the risk of violence is far different from advocating suppression of their speech or of rounding them up in gulags.
I fail to understand why the right, rather than seeing the extreme right which advocates violence as a problem, sees this report as being about them. I certainly don’t feel any similar affinity towards extremists of the far left and would have no concerns about a similar report on left wing extremists.
Steven Taylor has the best title for a response on this issue: You’re so Vain, You Probably Think this Report is about You (or, so Paranoid…)
Jonathan Chait also wonders about this:
Conservatives? The report is about murderous lunatics. I kind of figured conservatives would try to define potential domestic terrorists as the fringe right. And, indeed, I’d agree that, for all its rhetorical and ideological excesses, conservatism is an ideology that usually stops short of fomenting violence against lawful authorities. But there’s Michelle Malkin calling potential terrorists “conservatives.”