If You Like Scaring Yourself…

April 30th, 2009at 11:37am Posted by Eli

Check out this post by Sara Robinson about how the right-wing extremists are working themselves into a frenzy over President Obama and his Islamosocialist plot to take away all our guns and money and give them to lazy minorities.  I really hope she’s wrong and reading too much into what they’re saying and doing, but I sure as hell wouldn’t bet on it.

I do think she’s right that if they start retreating into heavily-armed compounds, it’s going to get ugly fast.

It’s pretty long (and you should read the whole thing), so I’ll jump right to the conclusion:

[T]he most likely case is that vast majority of the folks now drunk on right-wing hate talk will ultimately sober up just soon enough not to follow the movement’s emerging leaders down this road. But, if the 1990s were any guide (and the DHS report seems to think that they are), there will also be a small but significant fraction of hardcore right-wingers who will zoom right through the flashing red lights and ride all the way to the bloody end. Without the moderating influence of the saner voices among them, they’ll quickly turn violent — and we could be in for an interesting few years before it all burns itself out.

And, in the end, it probably will burn itself out. In the 1990s, the violence escalated up until the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 — an event so gruesome and dramatic that it discredited the movement even among its own followers. Tim McVeigh’s capture and execution also scared tough-talking movement leaders with the threat of real consequences. And so that round ended.

What we’ve seen the past 100 days strongly suggests that, to at least some degree, we will be going there again. The right wing long ago accepted a foundational narrative that justifies violence. Now, the leaders of the movement are inciting their followers to take many (if not most) of the intermediate steps that signal a group actively gearing up for violence. From this point, it’s only a short slide to further separation, disengagement, and finally confrontation. What we’ve seen so far has been intense and surprising — but we should also recognize it as the first warning gusts of a rapidly gathering storm.

Well, that’s certainly something to look forward to.  If we are fated to live through a bout of scary violent right-wing craziness, I hope we at least get the silver lining of a discredited conservative movement, forcing the Republican Party to start coming back from the fringe.  Not going to hold my breath, though.

Entry Filed under: Republicans

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