Daniel Levitas: on militias and projection

I think this passage from Daniel Levitas’s The Terrorist Next Door (about Posse Comitatus) is deeply insightful about the mindset of the Patriot movement. Projection much?!

Convinced [after Ruby Ridge and Waco] the government  was at war with its own citizens by simultaneously trying to kill and disarm them, a broad spectrum of right-wing activists coalesced around the notion that it was time for paramilitary rebellion. Rather than declare themselves outlaw revolutionaries like Bob Matthews and the Order, militia organizers defined themselves according to the language of patriotic constitutional vigilantism that had been popularized by [Posse Comitatus founder] Bill Gale. Theirs was a lawful movement, grounded in centuries of divinely inspired jurisprudence; a defensive movement to protect American values and ideas; and a deliberative movement composed of men arranged in hierarchies governed by order and legitimacy.

In reality, the militias were nothing of the sort. Most were patently illegal or tutored their followers in a litany of crime. Rhetoric about “defending” America was nothing more than a smoke screen for offensive action against agents of the supposed New World Order and other perceived enemies of the Republic. And as for their obsession with order and discipline, the militias were just an anarchic as the Posse had ever been. The only difference was that the militia movement was much larger and involved many more would-be guerrilla warriors, some of whom were eager for violence.

from Daniel Levitas, The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002), pages 301-2.

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