A West Point think tank has issued a paper warning America about “far right” groups such as the “anti-federalist” movement, which supports “civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government.
The report issued this week by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., is titled “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right.”
The center — part of the institution where men and women are molded into Army officers — posted the report Tuesday. It lumps limited government activists with three movements it identifies as “a racist/white supremacy movement, an anti-federalist movement and a fundamentalist movement.”
The West Point center typically focuses reports on al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists attempting to gain power in Asia, the Middle East and Africa through violence.
But its latest study turns inward and paints a broad brush of people it considers “far right.”
It says anti-federalists “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. Finally, they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government. Extremists in the anti-federalist movement direct most their violence against the federal government and its proxies in law enforcement.”
If thinking the federal government is corrupt, and often infringes upon our civil and constitutional rights, makes you a terrorist then most Americans are probably terrorists these days. Plenty of recent polls have shown majority support among Americans for the idea that the federal government has too much power, and does too many things. Americans don’t always vote that way, the outcome of our elections is pushing us toward a more powerful and invasive federal government, but America’s political schizophrenia (which I discussed earlier this week) doesn’t detract from the point that skepticism of federal government is a fairly common view in this country.
But this isn’t the firs time we’ve seen such views defined as dangerous. Just last year the Department of Homeland Security issued a report labeling those “reverent of individual liberty” as potentially dangerous terrorists.
One almost gets the idea that the government is beginning, more and more, to define as “terrorists” those who think the government ought to be smaller and less powerful.
In fact, one almost gets the idea that our present government would have viewed our founding fathers as the British government saw them in the 18th century. Not as principled and passionate proponents of liberty, but as dangerous radicals to be hunted down and imprisoned.