Responding to the title of a recent article on the militia movement, America’s best reporter on armed right wing politics says that liberal and progressive activists are unprepared for the impact of ‘patriot’ terrorism.

On his personal Facebook page this weekend, writer David Neiwert argued that the left has largely dismissed these reactionary forces as marginal actors, and thus have failed to understand the “bigger picture.”

Right-wing extremists have a powerful gravitational effect, not just on conservatives generally but indeed our entire discourse. Because the right has become stuck in a constant envelope-pushing mode, both rhetorically and in terms of policy and politics, far-right extremists have for years helped shift the boundaries of what’s acceptable and what’s not by defining them. Ideas (and especially conspiracy theories) that were considered radical forms of far-right extremism in the 1990s have become (largely through the aegis of the Tea Party) perfectly acceptable mainstream-conservative ideas in the past decade. A Tea Party gathering in 2016 is virtually indistinguishable from a militia meeting in 1996.

Neiwert is referring to the Overton Window, a theory of right wing change named for its originator, the late conservative intellectual Joseph Overton. By continually stretching the bounds of acceptability in public discourse, Overton reasoned that increasingly radical ideas could be brought into the mainstream, allowing the conservative movement to permanently alter the course of American political history.

As Neiwert explains, the strategy has not only succeeded in changing America, it has also transformed the conservative movement.

In a word: No.I’ve been writing about the depth of the threat that right-wing extremism poses not just to liberalism…

Posted by David Neiwert on Saturday, January 23, 2016

  • What ‘right wing terror?’
    most American terrorists are radical leftists.
    Do some homework

    • The exact opposite is true. This is not the 1960s. Since 2001, the majority of terrorist acts committed in the US have a clear right wing bent.

      https://youtu.be/FZ0wG8Z7_uM

      • Lies.
        Left wingers going back to the 1880’s have been terrorizing America.

        • Surely what you think happened in 1880 is more important than the, y’know, FACTS about our own time.

          • Leftists have been terrorizing America since the 1880’s
            Thats a fact.
            1886: HAYMARKET SQUARE BOMBING, CHICAGO
            1892: THE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON HENRY CLAY FRICK
            1901: THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT WILLIAM MCKINLEY
            1920: THE BOMBING OF WALL STREET
            1919: THE MAIL BOMBS OF ‘THE RED SCARE’
            1919: THE HOME OF U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL PALMER IS BLOWN UP
            1933: ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION OF FDR / ASSASSINATION OF THE MAYOR OF CHICAGO
            1969 – 1980: THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND’S CAMPAIGN OF TERROR
            1969: CHICAGO, DAYS OF RAGE – A memorial to the cops of the Hay Market Square bombing is bombed. Riots follow, 250 Weathermen arrested
            1970: SAN FRANCISCO POLICE STATION BOMBING – A police man is killed by a Weatherman bombing.
            1970: NEW YORK BOMB BLAST – A massive nail-bomb, intended for an officers’ dance in Ft. Dix, NJ, detonates prematurely, killing two Weathermen.
            1981: NYACK BRINKS ROBBERY – Two guards and two Nyack, NY cops are murdered by Weathermen and Communist terrorists.
            1978-1995: THE UNABOMBER
            2005-PRESENT: NEW BLACK PANTHER PARTY VOWS TO KILL WHITES
            1980’s – PRESENT: ECO-TERRORISM CAUSES PROPERTY DAMAGE AND INJURES LOGGERS

            Karl Pierson, radical leftist Socialist. Brett Kimberlain, Aaron Alexis.
            I could go on but you give me a headache

          • And I could exhaustively list the right-wing morons killing and maiming people since before Timothy McVeigh. Face it, the violence is mostly right-wing at present.

          • Sure.
            Aaron Alexis, Karl Pierson, Brent Kimberlain and more are ‘right wing’

            Rofl.
            Go have a V-8 Or take some speed to keep up with the rest of us

          • Brent Kimberlain? Not only are you incoherent with the goofball conspiracy theories, you can’t even spell his name correctly?

          • Lol @ you.

            Ohio bomb plotters as well. Beltway Sniper, Hasan Nidal, Zale Thompson, plus more.
            Left-wing terrorism (sometimes called Marxist–Leninist terrorism or revolutionary/left-wing terrorism) is terrorism meant to overthrow capitalist systems and replace them with socialist societies (OBAMA)

          • It’s interesting that you list Muslims whose terror was not linked to leftist politics, thus proving that you categorize everything you dislike as “liberal” whether it makes sense or not.

            I don’t see any left-wing terrorists overthrowing the system, do you? All I see is you projecting SOCIALIZZAM! on a president who would otherwise fit the Eisenhower Republican mold. Or maybe you think of Bernie Sanders fans as terrorists, too?

            Updated info for my big Anti-Government Extremist Violence list. http://t.co/QL49KT4SpQ Pic below is tiny sample. pic.twitter.com/Uvvx2kZ2xo— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) October 5, 2015

          • Obama is a leftist and has destroyed this country

          • Funny, I know lots of real leftists who angrily denounce Obama’s centrism. Maybe you just think of him as a leftist because he stands to the left of you, as do 90% of Americans, probably.

          • Muslims ARE leftists.

          • See? You don’t back this ridiculous statement up with any facts, just your own absolute conviction that you are right. But you’re not. Islam is a diverse religion where many different political views have emerged over the centuries. Mashing them all together as “leftists” makes as much sense as me saying that Unitarians, Baptists, and Catholics are all a bunch of right wingers.

          • Muslims for Obama, look it up. Look up Hasan.
            🙂
            Look up Hasan, he was a lefty.
            Have a nice wknd.
            Your politics are failing just like the GOP.
            “Progress” with the times

          • Roscoe

            Sure it is; you can see it at all those Tea Party rallies. Oh wait; those are all left wing loons at world leader events aren’t they? Well you can sure see it at Black Lives Matter events. Oh wait; those are progressives again. Well there are those rallies when vicious right wing cops defend themselves and a black man gets killed. Oh wait; those are progressives in the street burning stores and doing a little free shopping. Those mass shootings; the shooters have all been registered DemoRATZ in gun free zones. Do you consider Muslims to be right wing? If so they are not; they are religious ding bats. Of course what Tim did had nothing to do with Janet Reno and the FBI murdering innocent women and children at Waco by burning them alive did it? That by no means justifies what Tim did but explains what motivated him. Looks to me that the left is far more dangerous that the right, that is till the left starts invading our homes and workplaces with their violence that they think they have right to. Being a conservative on the right I can assure any left wing loon out there that if you invade my home space with mayhem on your mind I will shoot you dead!

          • bla bla bla, right wing bla bla bla.

          • ‘Terrorist’ shot dead by Fed.
            You’re just on the wrong side

        • Bryson Brown

          Would that include the KKK, who terrorized blacks and others, and attacks on Jews, the copper and coal mining companies who hired hit men to kill union organizers and members, and… Or are you going to describe these as ‘leftists’ too?

  • A lawyer went duck hunting for the first time in Texas. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer’s field on the other side of the fence.

    As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.

    The litigator responded, “I shot a duck, it fell into this field, and now I’m going to retrieve it.”

    The old farmer replied, “This is my property and you are not coming over here.”

    The indignant lawyer said, “I am one of the best trial attorneys in the U.S. and if you don’t let me get that duck, I’ll sue you and take everything you own.”

    The old farmer smiled and said, “Apparently, you don’t know how we do things in Texas. We settle small disagreements like this with the Texas Three-Kick Rule.”

    The lawyer asked, “What is the Texas Three-Kick Rule?”

    The Farmer replied, “Well, first I kick you three times and then you kick me three times, and so on, back an d forth, until someone gives up.”

    The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom.

    The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the city feller. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy work boot into the lawyer’s groin and dropped him to his knees.

    His second kick nearly wiped the man’s nose off his face. The barrister was flat on his belly when the farmer’s third kick to a kidney nearly caused him to give up.

    The lawyer summoned every bit of his will and managed to get to his feet and said, “Okay, you old coot! Now, it’s my turn!”

    The old farmer smiled and said, “No, I give up. You can have the duck.”

  • Ed

    The “left” will never have the kind of political power it wants in mainstream America until it learns to stop trying to force people to pay for things that they don’t want.

    • Like what? Obamacare? The mandatory coverage was a Republican/insurance business requirement to achieve all the other benefits, like the fact that you cannot now just be dropped or your coverage refused because of “pre-existing conditions.” For starters.

      • Ed

        I could have wrote the following and it would have been just as true: The “right” will never have the kind of political power it wants in mainstream America until it learns to stop trying to force people to pay for things that they don’t want. Anybody who would force someone to pay for something that the someone doesn’t want is evil. There is too much resistance to evil for evil to ever get the power that it wants.

    • Or maybe you mean like when George Bush forced me to pay for the bombs he dropped on Iraqi women and children?