Anti-Government Patriot groups increased from 149 in 2008 to 1,360 in 2012, reports the Southern Poverty Law Center. The dramatic increase in radical anti-government groups is attributed primarily to the election and reelection of President Obama.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), as one of its many activities, tracks hate groups and other extremist groups that tend to have, among other extreme conservative, even reactionary, racially charged points of view, a belief that the government is the enemy. In 2008, it reported roughly 1,000 hate groups, and 149 extremist "patriot" groups with an anti-government agenda. Since then, the SPLC has reported a rapid increase in the "patriot" groups. What happened in 2008 that might account for that? Well, at about the time of the election the US economy was imploding as the world's largest banks, run by men too big to arrest for their thievery, began to collapse as their private mortgage lottery fell apart, leaving the banks uncapitalized and failing.
The stimulus package proposed by President Bush and implemented in part by President Obama seemed to trigger an immediate horde of constitutional experts who claimed that Obama was violating the constitution by using public money to keep the American banking industry from total collapse. And, of course, at the same time Barrack Obama was elected America's first black president, which triggered accusations of "The Kenyan in the White House." The election of a black man as president wasn't going over well with these folks, a fact underscored by their insistence that he wasn't actually black, he was "half-white."
In its Tuesday March 5, 2013, version of its annual report on hate groups and other extremist groups the SPLC noted that radical anti-government groups calling themselves patriots had increased by 812 percent since 2008. From 149 such groups in 2008, the movement has grown since the election of President Obama to 1,360 at the end of 2012, of which 321 groups are militias. The 1,360 is a seven percent increase over 2011's 1,274 identified groups, meaning that 93% of the increase occurred between late 2008 and late2011 -- three short years.
These groups are defined by the SPLC as "...being comprised of conspiracy theory minded individuals who believe the federal government is run by secret 'globalists' aimed at taking away American freedoms and establishing a global world order based on socialist principles; and defines a Militia group as a paramilitary wing of the former."
All well and good, but what accounts for the dramatic increase?
Well, aside from a goodly dose of racism, and an irrational fear that Obama will send foreign troops to confiscate their guns, anti-government patriot groups believe the American government has sold America out to one or another of many secret and powerful organizations. They also tend to equate Democrats with Socialists, and Barack Obama was definitely a Democrat. The mainstreaming by the press and entertainment industry of asinine conspiracy theories about powerful secret organizations trying to take over the world seems to have been a part of it. But the mainstreaming of those theories began well before 2009.
Early in his presidency there was an insistent and ubiquitous accusation that President Obama intended to, by one of several means including a UN Treaty, foreign troops sent through population centers and others confiscate all privately held guns. This charge has recently been reawakened by the President's stand on gun control in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre. Nonetheless, this rapid increase has far exceeded the temporary increase that followed the adoption of the Brady Bill in 1993 and the banning of semi-automatic assault weapon clones in 1994.
Racially motivated hate groups targeting blacks, Hispanics and Jews in general, on the other hand, were not much affected. During the same period, hate groups tracked by the Center remained relatively steady at about 1,000. The color of the President's skin may have swelled their ranks, but it did not precipitate the rampant proliferation of new racially motivated hate groups.
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