The new “leaner, smarter” Department of Homeland security under Obama’s recent appointee, Janet Napolitano, issued a report last week that identifies a broad swath of Americans as dangerous “rightwing extremists.” The report, which is just a summary of a much larger, classified document, warns that people with certain opinions about abortion, immigration, gun control, taxes, and other issues bear watching by local and federal law enforcement. Perhaps coincidentially, the people holding these suspicious opinions tend not to be Democrats.
You would think the new, lean, smart DHS could come up with a snappy title for their report, but we got the same fat, dumb government work on that: “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” was the wonderfully bureaucratic headline on the 9-page report that went out to law enforcement agencies across the land.
The report warns that veterans returning from Iraq are among those who could be targets for recruitment and radicalization by rightwing extremists. Veterans groups are understandably upset at the idea that they represent a danger to their fellow citizens and are likely prospects to become members of the wackiest groups among us.
Though I haven’t heard yet from the KKK or Aryan Nation, the report places this self-proclaimed extremist solidly in the running for radicalization and recruitment by scary, dangerous groups who must all be watched like poodles on the lawn.
I’ve got all the symptoms and opinions that make me a potential terrorist, except that I’m not a veteran. I hope I can be forgiven that one little flaw in my extremist resume. I prefer legal immigration, oppose government funded abortions, believe people have a right to armed self-defense. I have opined in print that DHS airport security is a steel door on a grass shack, providing Americans nothing more than political theater and obedience training. If my writing on that topic alone hasn’t got me on some special list it is only because of a predictable lack of efficiency at the old fat, dumb DHS.
The report illustrates O’Boyle’s Growing Government Agency Axiom Number One. (OGGAANO). Government agencies, regardless of their stated purpose, have as their first concern the expansion of the agency’s power. This latest report is a perfect example, aiming not at protecting the American public, but rather at expanding market share and influence for DHS. The American public is the target of suspicion. It is the government and its minions who need protection from a hostile populace.
Let’s face it, terrorists are pretty thin on the ground no matter how you measure it. Suicide bombers self-limit their numbers and are hard to recruit. Nobody believes the virgin stories. You are unlikely to find one at the strip search follies in airports (terrorists, that is, not virgins. As far as I know, virgins are a good deal more common than terrorists, and DHS is not doing virginity checks at airports yet. Give it time.).
What this means is that people who don’t fly are in danger of not being sufficiently afraid of terrorism. Unfortunately for the fear mongers at DHS, terrorism isn’t very dangerous. Statistically there would have to be a 9/11 attack every month to make terrorism as risky as driving to work.
OGGAANO dictates that the Department of Homeland Security must expand market share if the organization is to grow and prosper. Fear is all they’ve got to sell us on the importance of what they are doing. Since there aren’t enough swarthy looking guys with accents to justify an ever expanding DHS budget, the American public is the only group that is readily available for ongoing pestering and surveillance.
Thus must DHS propaganda convert large numbers of citizens from dissenters and the loyal opposition, to “rightwing extremists” ripe for “radicalization.” Such dangerous groups will need to be watched by an ever expanding government security apparatus, at the head of which will be the Department of Homeland Security, a fat spider at the center of a vast web of surveillance.
With DHS help, suddenly extremism is not such lonely business. I’m gratified to be joined by large numbers of fellow extremists, even if our extremism exists only in the minds of our masters at DHS. As one whose ideas are generally scorned or quickly classified by liberals as “rightwing BS” it is a comfort to me to know that when they come for me they will also be coming for others whose ideas are not nearly so radical. If nothing else we will be assured of bridge partners in the internment camps.