Opinion Don't let paranoia guide our response to extremism
GOP in Iowa Believes 'Stolen' Election Theory, Senator Says Amid State Extremism Concerns
Even with President Donald Trump out of office, some state GOP bodies are clinging to his baseless electoral fraud claims.Sen. Jim Carlin—a Republican who recently announced his plan to run for the U.S. Senate—on Tuesday listed several results from November's election that he believes shows there was fraud to help defeat former President Donald Trump.
Radicalization is a real problem in the United States.
Let’s go about fighting it the smart way, then, the opposite of the approach taken by members of the press and left-wing activists.
As U.S. law enforcement officials work diligently to counter right-wing extremism, self-appointed Nazi hunters have indulged themselves in paranoia, wild-eyed handwringing, and enough ratings-driving fearmongering to choke a donkey. Indeed, in their zeal to fight extremism, the press and the Left have gotten so far ahead of themselves that they’re now seeing "evidence" of far-right extremism in everything from set designs to milk.
The Republican Party Is Now in Its End Stages
The GOP has become, in form if not in content, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the late 1970s. I can already hear the howls about invidious comparisons. I do not mean that modern American Republicans are communists. Rather, I mean that the Republicans have entered their own kind of end-stage Bolshevism, as members of a party that is now exhausted by its failures, cynical about its own ideology, authoritarian by reflex, controlled as a personality cult by a failing old man, and looking for new adventures to rejuvenate its fortunes.
On Monday, for example, the events design company that created the stage for the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, responded to allegations it intentionally created the set to resemble an obscure rune embraced by the Nazis (it is obscure; don’t fool yourself).
Design Foundry toldit "had no idea that the design resembled any symbol, nor was there any intention to create something that did."
Of course the group had no idea. Why would the company that designed sets for clients including Google, Target, MSNBC, and the Biden Cancer Initiative torpedo itself by paying tribute to the Third Reich? Furthermore, how does it even make sense to design a Nazi-themed stage whose shape can only be understood from an elevated position? Remember, CPAC’s attendees were seated at eye-level with the stage.
Merrick Garland is right to prioritize domestic terrorism, but he'll need a bigger boat
Right-wing domestic extremism is not just a law enforcement problem to be dealt with by criminal prosecutions, as important a tool as those are. It requires a highly coordinated, well-funded, national cross-governmental initiative that addresses the problem in agencies such as the Defense Department and in state and local police forces, hardens potential targets and - this could be the toughest part - finds ways to thoroughly discredit election denial.The United States has been fortunate even in its worst disasters, as counterintuitive as that may sound. The U.S.
Even before Design Foundry denied it designed the CPAC set to look like a Nazi rune, the allegation that it had never made any sense.
But this is about par for the course when it comes to our national conversation about right-wing extremism and white supremacy.
In 2018, the New York Times ran a real news report titled, “Why White Supremacists Are Chugging Milk (and Why Geneticists Are Alarmed).” The article is exactly what it sounds like.
At the same time, newsrooms ran story after story accusing private individuals who flashed the “OK” hand sign of engaging in coded extremist language. As it turns out, the “OK” symbol that members of the press and activist groups attribute to white supremacists began as a joke. Internet trolls thought it would be funny to trick the news media into believing that a universally accepted hand gesture was part of a secret code used by white supremacists (a 2019 New York Times article accusing West Point cadets of flashing the supposedly hateful hand sign even concedes this fact).
Why labeling domestic extremists 'terrorists' could backfire
It is not clear that an official designation of domestic extremists as terrorists would confer additional benefits that would outweigh potential risks to U.S. civil liberties. Rather, it could exacerbate existing group tensions and grievances. Alternatively, a combined government effort that facilitates mitigation strategies to preempt violence by hate-groups, while also actively stemming the flow of online disinformation, may be a good first step in reducing homegrown extremism.David Stebbins is a senior policy analyst focusing on national security issues at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.
The “OK” gesture then became an inside joke among actual white supremacists, which resulted in activist groups and the press declaring the innocuous symbol off-limits for everyone. In other words, the "OK" sign became bad because trolls tricked newsrooms into thinking it was, and actual extremists later adopted it in response to the news coverage. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We’ve been told by the press and the Left that white supremacy symbols include everything from the Betsy Ross flag, obscure tattoos, Hawaiian shirts, the Speaker's gavel, and even the “SPQR” acronym for the “Senate and People of Rome.” The obvious problem here is that it takes a very real issue (radicalization) and obscures it with confusion and (sometimes) laughable paranoia.
What happens if large numbers of extremists also enjoy ice cream and going out to the movies? Should we expect a New York Times headline that reads, “Why White Supremacists Are Eating Ice Cream (and Why Geneticists Are Alarmed)”? A thing is not part of the white supremacist structure merely because white supremacists use it. Further, by seeing evidence of evil in everyday objects, these people make it harder to focus on actual evidence of extremism. You need to cast a smaller net.
Germany's spy agency has placed the far-right AfD party under surveillance for extremism
The BfV can now monitor the the phones, emails, and finances of Germany's main opposition party and its leaders.The decision by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) was made on February 25 and first reported by Der Spiegel on Wednesday. The New York Times has also reported the news.
Radicalization poses a real threat in the U.S., especially as our communities become more splintered and our politics become increasingly bitter and polarized. Right-wing extremism is real. White supremacy is real.
So, let’s address these problems the right way, cool, calm, and collected. In other words, the opposite of what we’ve seen from the press and the Left these past few years.
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FBI releases new images of DC pipe bomb suspect .
The FBI is asking for the public's help to find the person who left pipe bombs at the RNC and DNC the night before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in Washington. Your browser does not support this video Newly released video shows what the FBI says is the suspected bomber walking with a backpack and carrying what investigators believe are pipe bombs to their targets. At 7:40 p.m. on Jan. 5, the suspected bomber is seen standing in a residential neighborhood on South Capitol Street with the bag, which is briefly set on the ground as a man walking his dog passes by. At 7:52 p.m.