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American Extremists and Right-Wing Militia

Throughout history, humans sought to form communities and gathered around those with different ideas. By effectively cooperating, distributing resources, and caring for each other, people have found a way to establish functional societies. With the developments in a variety of fields, including politics, economics, ethics, sociology, and others, the existing societies have constantly developed and adapted to the needs of the masses.

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With the advent of a myriad of different civil rights movements, people have come the closest to treating each and every individual on equal terms and improving the standards of living for the majority. the wide variety of cultural traditions and history of the people around the world have all contributed to the creation of the modern society which seeks to maximize the happiness and prosperity of the greatest number of people. However, it is important to realize that the way people want to achieve universal happiness can differ. In such fields as politics and economics, widespread debates are held to better understand what pathways are beneficial to society.

People with differing interests argue their cases and promote things that they find to be worth arguing for. Oftentimes, such convictions are expressed in an appropriate manner on topics that are agreeable or at least debatable to the general audience. In some cases, however, advocates for more extreme approaches or those that seek to justify their preexisting convictions and assumptions are found, creating civil unrest and spreading negative ideology.

As far as harm goes, far-right militias in the USA have shown themselves to be especially dangerous to the freedoms and rights of the many people inhabiting it. Their methods are dangerous and their thoughts are extremely harmful to the groups that are especially vulnerable to oppression from the majority. In this paper, I want to explore the topic of far-right militias and groups in America arguing that their presence and continued operation is anti-constitutional and harmful to American society.

Spread and Distinctions

Right-wing most aptly describes a collection of political ideologies Conservative in nature. The politics of America can be divided into the left and the right, represented by the Democratic and the Republican parties of the USA. The left-wing usually stands for progressive ideology focused on diversity human needs and global social reform. The right-wing on the upper hand is more conservative and their views can be often described as. Traditional, and sometimes harmful to people outside the considered norm. This is especially evident in the actions of the far-right or alt-right movements, which usually display racist, nationalist or extremist tendencies in their belief.

In the past decade, right-wing militias have gained both traction and infamy for a variety of actions that can be attributed to them. The infamous Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally (Jackson, 2019). Right-wing members of the rally were seen burning torches to chanting racist slogans and engaging in physical altercations with the counter-protesters. Most notably one of the attendees has gained control of a vehicle and used it to ram into a crowd of bystanders, killing an innocent woman in the process. The event has given the movement mainstream both recognition and public vitriol, putting it on the map is one of the more dangerous parts of the Alt-Right movement.

The rally, however, was only one of the many standout moments for the right, showcasing their worst qualities, and the number of specific individuals and organizations can be put responsible for other events where America has suffered the loss of human life. Public acts of violence and terrorism were used by the far right as retaliation for a number of economic and social policies, put into effect in America, most of them challenging the notion of white male privilege and the status quo. Guns are often seen widespread use, as they are both a symbol of the stereotypical American freedom and an effective source of power (Obert & Schultz, 2017).

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While the threats of terrorism from such groups are widely documented, their prevalence in American Society is still understated as the news media and the government put too much focus on foreign threats and acts of terrorism Enacted by members of minority communities, such as Muslims (Stevenson, 2019). Ideological and cultural differences presented by the Muslim population and its extremist elements are considered to be a dividing factor for the American population, making them a bigger concern in the minds of the majority (Kurzman et al., 2017). As of the recent decades, domestic terrorism has become and remains the primary terrorist threat in the US.

Most Well-Known Events and Cases

Choosing between a Myriad of cases of domestic terrorism in the United States does not present difficulty as several cases happen each year with astounding frequency. The 2019 El Paso Walmart shooting can be considered one of the many crimes of the far right, as the shooter was explicitly motivated by his racist beliefs. in that case, a lone gunman shot and killed 23 people injuring 23 more in the process (Eligon, 2019). A manifesto detailing the shooter’s thoughts was later found, and the themes displayed within were full of anti-immigrant and white nationalist sentiment (Eligon, 2019). The document says cites a similar incident as the main inspiration for this shooting and cites the great replacement as the primary concern of its author. Another similar event, this time in Poway targeted a Jewish synagogue and resulted in the death of one woman.

The shooting was committed by a singular gunman, a white male fueled by racist and conspiratorial beliefs. Just as with the El Paso shooter, the man sought to retaliate against an imaginary threat of Jewish eradication of the white race and posted his hate-fueled thoughts on an online imageboard (Horn & Carlisle, 2019). These two cases are just singular instances of domestic terrorism fueled by ingrained ignorance and bigotry. However, they did not have as much of an impact as the last case I want to explore. The most recent and most devastating display of the far-right ideology could be seen in the 2021 storming of the US Capitol building.

Fueled by the falsified statements of former President Donald Trump, people have decided to take the Capitol building by force in an effort to stop the formal process of approving President Biden’s victory in the election (Barrett & Hsu, 2021). A large mob of people armed with various weaponry has scaled the building shouting out harmful rhetoric and initiating fights with law enforcement. Many of the participants are well-known and noted members of fringe right-wing groups and terrorists noted by the FBI (Barrett & Hsu, 2021). The efforts of the National Guard were used to quell the rage of the mob, and the people were dispersed by the evening.

However, it is important to understand that such an event has had a tremendous impact on both the political landscape and the domestic climate of the United States. The rally was fueled entirely by allies and right-wing propaganda that sought to. Undermine the current order of society and the foundations of American democracy. An attempt to delegitimize the results of the election and harm the rightful president of the United States, chosen by the majority, is a severe threat. The event has shown most clearly the true danger and the impact of right-wing ideology and its followers.

Impact on the American Society

The radicalization of the Youth

Estimating the full impact of the right-wing ideology is difficult, as many of its tenants are well-hidden and stay below the radar of an average person. The often conspiratorial, violent, and bigoted beliefs are often justified and explained to oneself and the others by more modest policies and excuses that seek to cover up the less presentable aspects of the ideology. Right-wing terrorism is especially prevalent in the white young male demographic and they are the most affected by pieces of media that propagate and spread misinformation.

The news articles and videos targeting young adults’ preys on their insecurities and fear of change, trying to pin the blame for their poor conditions on the people even more misfortunate than them. Right-wing ideologues paint a very American-centric picture of the world, stating that any person is shifting the status quo is a threat to their way of life and actively seeks to bring them harm (Piazza, 2016). Many of the minority groups in America are therefore a major threat capable of destroying white people as a race (Berlet & Sunshine, 2019). These beliefs are undoubtedly both harmful and conceited, as even with the current developments in the field of civil rights white people still have the most privilege in society.

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By feeding on the inherent sense of persecution many white men have, ideology spreads, infecting the minds of the youth and shifting the general perception of the world in the favor of the right (Simi, et al., 2016). This, in turn, leads to more domestic terrorism and acts of violence. Young people often do not have the ability to fully understand the world around them and understand their place in it, as well as to distinguish fully between the truth and the lies presented to them by the media they consume. Right-wing ideology trap people in a rabbit hole, limiting their access to truthful information and actively encourages them to reject other points of view.

References

Horn, A., & Carlisle, C. (2019). What to know about 19-year-old Poway synagogue shooting suspect John Earnest. KGTV. Web.

Barrett, D., & Hsu, S. (2021). Dozens of people on FBI terrorist watch list came to D.C. the day of Capitol riot. The Washington Post. Web.

Eligon, J. (2019). The El Paso Screed, and the Racist Doctrine Behind It. The New York Times. Web.

Stevenson, J. (2019). Right-wing Extremism and the Terrorist Threat. Survival, 61(1), 233–244. Web.

Kurzman, C., Kamal, A., & Yazdiha, H. (2017). Ideology and Threat Assessment: Law Enforcement Evaluation of Muslim and Right-Wing Extremism. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, 3, 237802311770477. Web.

Berlet, C., & Sunshine, S. (2019). Rural rage: the roots of right-wing populism in the United States. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 46(3), 480–513. Web.

Piazza, J. A. (2016). The determinants of domestic right-wing terrorism in the USA: Economic grievance, societal change and political resentment. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 34(1), 52–80. Web.

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Jackson, S. (2019). A Schema of Right-Wing Extremism in the United States. International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. Web.

Simi, P., Windisch, S., Sporer, K (2016). Recruitment and Radicalization among US Far Right Terrorists. College Park, MD: START.

Obert, J., & Schultz, E. (2017). Right Wing Militias, Guns, and the Technics of State Power. Law, Culture and the Humanities, 16(2), 236–249. Web.

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