Diana West

I've got it.

After reading and rereading the surreal Department of Homeland Security intel report on "right-wing extremism" that clearly designates conservative political dissent as part of the threat, I finally figured out why it all seems so familiar.

First, there's the report's leading villain, the "military veteran" returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan -- the "potential lone wolf" terrorist with the lethal capabilities. That could raise goose bumps in anyone, right?

Then there are the "white supremacists" well known for their "longstanding exploitation of social issues such as abortion, interracial crime and same-sex marriage." (I don't get the connection either.) According to the government, we just might see a growing movement of similarly pro-life, pro-law-and-order, pro-marriage ... "white supremacists." Enough to make anyone hyperventilate, of course.

And what about the "right-wing extremist" who "adopts the immigration issue as a call to action"? Or the "many right-wing extremists" who "are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived" -- perceived? -- "stance on a range of issues" including immigration, expanding government programs and gun control? According to the report, such "right-wing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment." Sounds like a GOP voter drive to me. Cue up "Psycho"-strains of shrieking violins.

The fact is, we've seen this cast of characters before -- many times before -- in all of the schlock Hollywood movies that year after year harvest a diseased crop of villains from the American heartland, endlessly returning them to the screen as the "crazed veteran," the "religious zealot" and the anti-immigration "Nazi." These are the stock villains -- all racist, naturally -- who are now similarly demonized in the government's report.

This fantastic worldview that sees the country imperiled by military heroes, traditional values and even border security meshes perfectly with the also-official flip side to such paranoid liberal fantasy: namely, the harmlessness of the Islamic brand of "extremism," which Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently renamed, and with a straight face, "man-caused disasters." Hollywood, of course, doesn't touch such "extremism" either, sticking with right-wingers-gone-wild to the very last reel.


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).



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