John Olsrud: Questioning The Far Right Fringe

When I was growing up in the 1950s, there were folks on the far right wing of the political spectrum, just as there are now. Back then, the right wing was mostly looking for communists among us. Remember the McCarthy hearings? I think our country learned much from that era, and as we matured as a nation, we got away from those kinds of witch hunts.

Now we are in a new century with new perspectives. Some of those old ways are returning, although there are substantial differences between the 1950s and now. Instead or rooting out communists from Hollywood and elsewhere, people on the far right appear to see our government as the enemy. Another change is the way we interact. Instead of little cells of activists meeting to discuss how to deal with our enemies, modern technology has given us new ways to communicate and bolster our fantasies, including this blog. One of my challenges at this stage of my life is to try to understand what is happening with people at the far right of the political spectrum, and reading this blog, especially some of the comments, is a good place to start.

On these pages it appears some readers are convinced our democratically elected government must be brought down, one way or another. These folks do not appreciate that we have the greatest nation on earth, and our freedoms and our institutions are the envy of the world. Much effort is directed at tearing down our government, especially the federal government. Some people want to eliminate the United States Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, the Energy Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Homeland Security Department (or at least the TSA), and others.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]We should have an ongoing discussion within our political system to continually try to find ways to make our government as efficient as possible…but the goal should be efficiency in the delivery of services, not weakening our government by taking a sledge hammer to certain departments to meet a political agenda.[/mks_pullquote]

We should have an ongoing discussion within our political system to continually try to find ways to make our government as efficient as possible. That may mean consolidating or eliminating some departments, but the goal should be efficiency in the delivery of services, not weakening our government by taking a sledge hammer to certain departments to meet a political agenda.

If we really want to weaken our country, what better way than to destroy the means of raising revenue, so let’s abolish the Internal Revenue Service. Hard to believe, but there are people advocating just that, and I would not be surprised if some commenters on this blog are among those advocates.

Whether or not these folks can dismantle our government or at least greatly weaken it, what is there to fall back on? From these pages it appears that guns play a role in the fantasies of some of the people who see government as the enemy. On this blog we have seen people write that they see their arsenals of guns as their protectors against our government. One reader wrote “. . . if I am going up against the National Guard or especially the Army I want an automatic.”

Part of this fantasy seems to be that these people see themselves as liberators taking on an oppressive government. They see themselves as patriots and heroes. As a former member of our country’s military, I do not take kindly to seeing posts of people fantasizing about using their guns against our armed forces. If these people do anything to live out these fantasies, I think the term traitors will far better describe them than patriots or heroes.

One of the blessings of living in this country is the First Amendment, and everyone is free to say what they want, including expressing their fantasies as described above. We can only hope those who fantasize about taking the law into their own hands will never live out those fantasies.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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