Political provocateur David Horowitz is bottom feeding off the tropes of the Trump campaign about liberal “political correctness” in the latest desperate attempt by Horowitz to raise funds for his loathsome foundation. As in the past Horowitz is taking the serious issue of bigotry on US college campuses and using right-wing incendiary language to focus on the issue in a one-sided way. The campaign is part of the “David Horowitz Freedom Center,” an Orwellian self-aggrandizing name for a group that dispenses right-wing propaganda and is supporting the Trump campaign.
Horowitz has announced a fall campaign to expose and shame the “Hamas-loving Jew haters at American universities” who Horowitz says “defy the rules of political correctness.” This latter reference parasitizes a major theme of the Republican Right in the current election campaign—although it is unclear what Horowitz actually means with this rhetorical bait. (Read more about so-called “Political Correctness” as used by candidates Donald Trump and Mike Pence here)
According to Horowitz, it is “liberal academics” who cheer on the “Hamas-loving Jew haters,” “Jew-hating anti-Israel students,” and “liberal progressive allies in academia” who want to “end free speech and humiliate and harass Jewish students.”
The solution is to send money to Horowitz’s Freedom Center, according to a mid-August 2016 fundraising letter signed by Horowitz, who claims “…Jews face hatred like no other group on campus, with anti-Semitic student groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) that torture and humiliate students for their Jewish faith and support for Israel.”
There is antisemitism on US college campuses, just as there is Islamophobia, White racism, and bigotry against the LGBTQ community. Many college administrators are attempting to intervene in acts of bigotry that step outside the bounds of the open debate encouraged on US campuses. It’s a precarious situation balancing free speech and protection for all students.
One national group, The Justus and Karin Rosenberg Foundation, provides model program information to combat antisemitism while defending civil liberties. The foundation explains itself in this paragraph on its home page:
==The Justus and Karin Rosenberg Foundation works to combat – and to increase the serious study of – hatred and antisemitism. We emphasize projects that impact high school and college age students. We also help students engage difficult issues like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and learn how strong passions may influence thinking. Our projects must be consistent with, and ideally should promote, academic freedom.
Compare this calm rhetoric guarding free speech with that of Horowitz:
===Jew-hating professors across the country shut down debate in classrooms, demonize Israel, and push pro-Hamas propaganda in the classrooms. And last year it seemed to reach a fever pitch….We will find out who the student and faculty supporters of these Jew hating, pro-Hamas student groups are on a dozen hand-picked campuses across America – and put their names on posters that we will circulate when classes start in September….Our goal is to force the press to cover our efforts, exposing cowardly university administrators and forcing universities to stop funding hateful anti-Semitic and pro-jihadi groups.
The endless inflammatory and one-sided rhetoric of Horowitz is one reason he was singled out as not a constructive voice in confronting antisemitism and Islamophobia on US college campuses in the report I edited for Political Research Associates.
I fairness to Horowitz, I present below a partial list of his various projects for your perusal, all of which can be inspected at this Freedom Center page:
Conspiracism as a Form of Scapegoating
An Introduction Johnson’s Five Rules of Conspiracism
- Scapegoating as Ideological Weapon
- Dehumanization and Demonization
- The Scapegoat
- Constructing the Enemy as Scapegoat
- Social Psychology
- Scapegoating in Society
- Some Examples
- The Role of the Demagogue
- The Dynamics of Conspiracism
- Conspiracism as Scapegoating
- Conspiracism and Apocalypticism
- Conspiracism and Countersubversion
- Conspiracism and Social Conflict
- Conspiracism and “Secret Elites”
- Conspiracism as Parody of Institutional Analysis
- The Political Assumptions of Conspiracism
- Conspiracism and Right-Wing Populism
- Rethinking Populism
- Agrarian populism:
- Political populism:
- Right-Wing Populism
- Populism as Core Element of Fascism
Propaganda & Deception
- Flaws of Logic, Fallacies of Debate
- Techniques of the Propagandist
The Sucker Punch Series
Visit our other pages relating to conspiracism:
- Zog Ate My Brains by Chip Berlet
- New Internationalist website
- New Internationalist 2004 Page
- New Internationalist 2007 Page
The Complete Interviews
- Michael Barkun
- Brenda E. Brasher
- G. William Domhoff
- Mark Fenster
- Robert Alan Goldberg
- Evan Harrington
- Sonali Kolhatkar
- Lee Quinby
- Penny Rosenwasser
- Holly Sklar
Books by G. William Domhoff
- Domhoff, G. William and Ballard, Hoyt B. 1968. C. Wright Mills and The Power Elite. Boston: Beacon Press.
- Domhoff, G. William. 1969. Researching the Governing Class of America. Boston: New England Free Press.
- Domhoff, G. William. 1970. The Higher Circles: The Governing Class in America. New York: Random House.
- Domhoff, G. William. 1972. Fat Cats and Democrats: The Role of the Big Rich in the Party of the Common Man. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice-Hall.
- Domhoff, G. William. 1974. The Bohemian Grove and Other Retreats a Study in Ruling-Class Cohesiveness. New York: Harper & Row.
- Domhoff, G. William. 1979. The Powers That Be: Processes of Ruling Class Domination in America. New York: Vintage Books.
- Domhoff, G. William. 1980. Power Structure Research. Beverly Hills, Calif: Sage Publications.
- Domhoff, G. William. 1983 1986. Who Rules America Now: A View for the ’80’s. New York: Touchstone, Simon and Schuster. [See 2002 edition].
- Domhoff, G. William and Dye, Thomas R. 1987. Power Elites and Organizations. Newbury Park, Calif: Sage Publications.
- Domhoff, G. William. 1990. The Power Elite and the State
How Policy Is Made in America. New York: A. de Gruyter.
- Domhoff, G. William. 1996. State Autonomy or Class Dominance? Case Studies on Policy Making in America. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.
- Domhoff, G. William. 1998. Who Rules America? Power and Politics in the Year 2000. Mountain View, Calif.: Mayfield Publishing. [See 2002 edition].
- Domhoff, G. William. 2002. Who Rules America? Power and Politics. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill.
- Domhoff, G. William. 2003. Changing the Powers That Be
How the Left Can Stop Losing and Win. Lanham, Md: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
- The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
- Freemasons and the Illuminati
- The Lyndon LaRouche Network
- Justice for Jeremiah Duggan
- Hate and Ethnoviolence
- More on Antisemitism
Systems of Oppression
- Understanding Systems of Oppression
- Christian Right & Theocracy
- Government Misconduct
- Hate and Ethnoviolence
- Heterosexism & Homophobia
- Racism & Xenophobia
- Sexism & Reproductive Rights
- Dynamics of Bigotry
- Apocalyptic Dualism
- Scapegoating & Conspiracism
What to Do!
- Defending Democracy & Diversity
- Building Equality
- Get Involved
There are conspiracies throughout history,
but history is not governed by conspiracies
Conspiracism is a way to view power relationships in the world that does not rely on verifiable facts or logic
It is very effective to mobilize mass support against a scapegoated enemy by claiming that the enemy is part of a vast insidious conspiracy against the common good. The conspiracist worldview sees secret plots by tiny cabals of evildoers as the major motor powering important historical events; makes irrational leaps of logic in analyzing factual evidence in order to “prove” connections, blames social conflicts on demonized scapegoats, and constructs a closed metaphysical worldview that is highly resistant to criticism.[i]
When conspiracist scapegoating occurs, the results can devastate a society, disrupting rational political discourse and creating targets who are harassed and even murdered. Dismissing the conspiracism often found in right-wing populism as irrational extremism, lunatic hysteria, or marginalized radicalism does little to challenge these movements, fails to deal with concrete conflicts and underlying institutional issues, invites government repression, and sacrifices the early targets of the scapegoaters on the altar of denial. An effective response requires a more complex analysis.
The Dynamics of Conspiracism
The dynamic of conspiracist scapegoating is remarkably predictable. Persons who claim special knowledge of a plot warn their fellow citizens about a treacherous subversive conspiracy to attack the common good. What’s more, the conspiracists announce, the plans are nearing completion, so that swift and decisive action is needed to foil the sinister plot. In different historical periods, the names of the scapegoated villains change, but the essentials of this conspiracist worldview remain the same.[ii]
George Johnson explained that “conspiratorial fantasies are not simply an expression of inchoate fear. There is a shape, an architecture, to the paranoia.” Johnson came up with five rules common to the conspiracist worldview in the United States:[iii]
“The conspirators are internationalist in their sympathies.
“[N]othing is ever discarded. Right-wing mail order bookstores still sell the Protocols of the Elders of Zion…[and] Proofs of a Conspiracy [from the late 1700’s].
“Seeming enemies are actually secret friends. Through the lens of the conspiracy theorists, capitalists and Communists work hand in hand.
“The takeover by the international godless government will be ignited by the collapse of the economic system.
“It’s all spelled out in the Bible. For those with a fundamentalist bent, the New World Order or One World Government is none other than the international kingdom of the Antichrist, described in the Book of Revelation.
Conspiracism can occur as a characteristic of mass movements, between sectors in an intra–elite power struggle, or as a justification for state agencies to engage in repressive actions. Conspiracist scapegoating is woven deeply into US culture and the process appears not just on the political right but in center and left constituencies as well.[iv] There is an entrenched network of conspiracy–mongering information outlets spreading dubious stories about public and private figures and institutions. They use media such as printed matter, the internet, fax trees, radio programs, videotapes and audiotapes.[v]
[i] Although they often disagree with my conclusions, my thinking on conspiracism has been shaped by comments and critiques from S. L. Gardiner, Loretta Ross, and Leonard Zeskind.
[ii] Higham, Strangers, pp. 3-11; Hofstadter, Paranoid Style, pp. 3-40; Davis, Fear of Conspiracy, pp. xv-xviii; Bennett, Party of Fear, pp. 1-16; George Johnson, Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics, (Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1983), pp. 17-30.
[iii] George Johnson, “The Conspiracy That Never Ends,” The New York Times, 4/30/95, Sec. 4; p. 5. The full text of Johnson’s rules is longer and far more erudite and entertaining.
[iv] On Christian right fears of a liberal secular humanist conspiracy, see Chip Berlet and Margaret Quigley, “Theocracy & White Supremacy: Behind the Culture War to Restore Traditional Values,” chapter in Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash, Chip Berlet, ed. (Boston, South End Press, 1995) p. 60–61; On growing right/left conspiracism, see Michael Kelly, “The Road to Paranoia,” The New Yorker, June 19, 1995, pp. 60–70; Janet Biehl, ”Militia Fever: The Fallacy of “Neither Left nor Right,” Green Perspectives, A Social Ecology Publication, Number 37, April 1996; Michael Albert, “Conspiracy?…Not!,” Venting Spleen column, Z Magazine, Jan., 1992, pp. 17–19; Michael Albert, “Conspiracy?…Not, Again,” Venting Spleen column, Z Magazine, May,. 1992, pp. 86–88.
[v] Kintz & Lesage, Culture, Media, and the Religious Right. Detailed articles on the general theme of right-wing media can be found in Afterimage (Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY), special issue on “Fundamentalist Media,” 22:7&8, Feb./March 1995; and Extra! (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), special issue on “The Right-Wing Media Machine,” March/April 1995. Jim Danky and John Cherney, “Beyond Limbaugh: The Hard Right’s Publishing Spectrum,” Reference Services Review, Spring 1996, pp. 43-56. For radio conspiracism, see Leslie Jorgensen, “AM Armies,” pp. 20–22 and Larry Smith, “Hate Talk,” p. 23, Extra! March/April 1995; Marc Cooper, “The Paranoid Style,” The Nation, April 10, 1995, pp. 486–492; William H. Freivogel, “Talking Tough On 300 Radio Stations, Chuck Harder’s Show Airs Conspiracy Theories,” St. Louis Post Dispatch, May 10, 1995, p. 5B; David McHugh and Nancy Costello, “Radio host off the air; militia chief may be out,” Detroit Free Press, 4/29/95, p. 6A; Far Right Radio Review online at <http://www.clark.net/pub/cwilkins/rfpi/frwr.html>. For Internet, see: Devin Burghardt, “Cyberh@te: A Reappraisal,” The Dignity Report (Coalition for Human Dignity), Fall, 1996, pp. 12–16;. A regularly updated list of links to web pages of various groups on the right is posted by Political Research Associates. at <http://www.publiceye.org/lnk_dem.html> and by Hatewatch at <http://hatewatch.org>.
by Matthew N. Lyons
Radical politics and social analysis have been so effectively marginalized in the US that much of what passes for radicalism is actually liberal reformism with a radical-looking veneer. To claim a link between liberalism and conspiracism may sound paradoxical, because of the conventional centrist/extremist assumption that conspiracist thinking is a marginal, “pathological” viewpoint shared mainly by people at both extremes of the political spectrum. Centrist/extremist theory’s equation of the “paranoid right” and “paranoid left” obscures the extent to which much conspiracist thinking is grounded in mainstream political assumptions.
Consider a message sent through a computer bulletin board for progressive political activists. Following an excerpt from a Kennedy assassination book, which attributed JFK’s killing to “the Secret Team–or The Club, as others call it…composed of some of the most powerful and wealthiest men in the United States,” the subscriber who posted the excerpt commented,
“We, the American people, are too apathetic to participate in our own democracy and consequently, we have forfeited our power, guided by our principles, in exchange for an oligarchy ruled by greedy, evil men–men who are neurotic in their insatiable lust for wealth and power….And George Bush is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Scratch the “radical” surface of this statement and you find liberal content. No analysis of the social order, but rather an attack on the “neurotic” and “greedy, evil men” above and the “apathetic” people below. If only we could get motivated and throw out that special interest group, “The Club,” democracy would function properly.
This perspective resembles that of the Christic Institute with its emphasis on the illegal nature of the Iran-Contra network and its appeals to “restore” American democracy. This perspective may also be compared with liberal versions of the “Zionist Lobby” explanation for the United States’ massive subsidy of Israel. Supposedly the Lobby’s access to campaign funds and media influence has held members of Congress hostage for years. Not only does this argument exaggerate and conflate the power of assorted Jewish and pro-Israel lobbying groups, and play into antisemitic stereotypes about “dual loyalist” Jews pulling strings behind the scenes, but it also lets the US government off the hook for its own aggressive foreign policies, by portraying it as the victim of external “alien” pressure.
All of these perspectives assume inaccurately that (a) the US political system contains a democratic “essence” blocked by outside forces, and (b) oppression is basically a matter of subjective actions by individuals or groups, not objective structures of power. These assumptions are not marginal, “paranoid” beliefs-they are ordinary, mainstream beliefs that reflect the individualism, historical denial, and patriotic illusions of mainstream liberal thought.
Right-Wing Populism is a blend of the various components listed below:
- Coded Rhetoric
- Propaganda & Deception
A binary division of the world into competing factions: one good and one evil. Also called Manichaeism.
The portrayal of individuals and groups as agents of pure evil, perhaps even in league with Satan. A precursor to scapegoating and conspiracism which encourages discrimination and violence against the target. Acts as a form of dehumanization or objectification.
The social process whereby hostility and aggression of an angry and frustrated group are directed away from a rational explanation of a conflict and projected onto targets demonized by irrational claims of wrongdoing, so that the scapegoat bears the blame for causing the conflict, while the scapegoaters feel a sense of innocence and increased unity.
It is scapegoating whether or not the conflict is real or imaginary, the grievances are legitimate or illegitimate,
or the target is wholly innocent or partially culpable.
The belief in an approaching confrontation, cataclysmic event, or transformation of epochal proportion, about which a select few have forewarning so they can make appropriate preparations. From a Greek root word suggesting unveiling hidden information or revealing secret knowledge about unfolding human events.
In Christianity there are competing apocalyptic prophetic traditions based on demonization or cooperation. The dualist or demonized version involves a final show-down struggle between absolute good and absolute evil.
Central to Christianity, the tradition also exists in Judaism, Islam, and other religions and secular belief structures. Believers can be passive or active in anticipation; and optimistic or pessimistic about the outcome.
From Right-Wing Populism in America:
Canovan argues: all forms of populism “involve some kind of exaltation of and appeal to ´the people,´ and all are in one sense or another antielitist.” We take these two elements—celebration of “the people” plus some form of antielitism—as a working definition of populism.
Michael Kazin calls populism a style of organizing. Populist movements can be on the right, the left, or in the center. They can be egalitarian or authoritarian, and can rely on decentralized networks or a charismatic leader. They can advocate new social and political relations or romanticize the past. Especially important for our purposes, populist movements can promote forms of antielitism that target either genuine structures of oppression or scapegoats alleged to be part of a secret conspiracy. And they can define “the people” in ways that are inclusive and challenge traditional hierarchies, or in ways that silence or demonize oppressed groups.
|Read Domhoff on the difference between conspiracist populism and progressive power structure research CLICK HERE|
US populism drew themes from several historic currents with potentially negative consequences, including:~13
· Anti-elitism-a suspicion of politicians, powerful people, the wealthy, and high culture…sometimes leading to conspiracist allegations about control of the world by secret elites, especially the scapegoating of Jews as sinister and powerful manipulators of the economy or media;
· Anti-intellectualism-a distrust of those pointy headed professors in their Ivory Towers…sometimes undercutting rational debate by discarding logic and factual evidence in favor of following the emotional appeals of demagogues;
· Majoritarianism-the notion that the will of the majority of people has absolute primacy in matters of governance…sacrificing rights for minorities, especially people of color;
· Moralism-evangelical-style campaigns rooted in Protestant revivalism… sometimes leading to authoritarian and theocratic attempts to impose orthodoxy, especially relating to gender.
· Americanism-a form of patriotic nationalism…often promoting ethnocentric, nativist, or xenophobic fears that immigrants bring alien ideas and customs that are toxic to our culture.
· Producerism – (See below).
Producerism is the idea that the “real” Americans are hard-working people who create goods and wealth while fighting against parasites at the top and bottom of society who pick our pocket…sometimes promoting scapegoating and the blurring of issues of class and economic justice, and with a history of assuming proper citizenship is defined by White males.
|See a slide show on how producerism works CLICK HERE|
A conspiracist theory is a narrative that blames societal or individual problems on a scapegoat. Thus we refer to conspiracism. While there are real conspiracies throughout history, history is not a conspiracy. Conspiracism is a parody of institutional analysis.
|See a slide show of a timeline on various conspiracist movements throughout U.S. history, CLICK HERE|
. There are many purveyors of the conspiracist worldview and the belief structure is surprisingly widespread. From the 1960s through the 1990s, conspiracist ideas were promoted largely by two different right-wing institutions, the John Birch Society and the Liberty Lobby.
Both groups used a form of right-wing populism in which narratives such as producerism are common.
The Liberty Lobby is now defunct, but the John Birch Society continues to operate. The antisemitic version of conspiracist narratives is still circulated by a variety of groups.
|See a slide show on how different named scapegoats overlap and create a myriad of conspiracy theories CLICK HERE|
In highlighting conspiracist allegation
as a form of scapegoating, it is important to remember the following:
· All conspiracist theories start
with a grain of truth, which is then transmogrified with hyperbole
and filtered through pre-existing myth and prejudice,
· People who believe conspiracist
allegations sometimes act on those irrational beliefs, which has concrete consequences in the real world,
· Conspiracist thinking and scapegoating
are symptoms, not causes, of underlying societal frictions, and as such are perilous to ignore,
· Scapegoating and conspiracist
allegations are tools that can be used by cynical leaders to mobilize a mass following,
· Supremacist and fascist organizers
use conspiracist theories as a relatively less-threatening entry point in making contact with potential recruits,
· Even when conspiracist theories
do not center on Jews, people of color, or other scapegoated groups, they create an environment where racism, antisemitism, and other forms of prejudice and oppression can flourish.
George Johnson, author of Architects
of Conspiracy, explained that “conspiratorial fantasies
are not simply an expression of inchoate fear. There is a shape,
an architecture, to the paranoia.” Johnson came up with five
rules common to the conspiracist worldview in the United States:
· The conspirators are internationalist
in their sympathies.
· [N]othing is ever discarded.
Right-wing mail order bookstores still sell the Protocols of
the Elders of Zion…[and] Proofs of a Conspiracy.
· Seeming enemies are actually
secret friends. Through the lens of the conspiracy theorists, capitalists and Communists work hand in hand.
· The takeover by the international
godless government will be ignited by the collapse of the economic system.
· It’s all spelled out in the Bible. For those with a fundamentalist bent, the New World Order
or One World Government is none other than the international kingdom of the Antichrist, described in the Book of Revelation.
When you hear someone claim that a handful of secret elites manipulate politics and the economy, who do you think they mean? The Trilateral Commission? Dick Cheney and his pals at Halliburton? Jewish Bankers? With a clever use of rhetoric, a speaker can mean all three, yet never mention the “Jewish Bankers.”
Using coded language to avoid an obvious appearance of bigotry has a long tradition.
When politicians talk about “Welfare Queens” many White Americans first envision a Black mother with ten children, even though most welfare recipients are White.
Dan T. Carter writes about how the 1968 third-party presidential campaign of Alabama Governor George Wallace used coded language:
“With an instinctive sense for language, [Wallace] exploited these racial fears through the skillful use of what soon came to be called coded language. He railed against federal, state and local officials for their timid response to Molotov-throwing urban rioters, but he never referred to them explicitly in racial terms.
“He talked about brutal and marauding criminals who transformed America’s urban streets into war zones. But he did not directly mention race.
“He constantly complained of shiftless free-loaders, collecting their welfare checks—paid for by the hard-working American. But he scrupulously avoided using racial language to describe this new parasitic welfare class.
“Even when he dealt with explicit racial issues, he always insisted that his objections to busing or affirmative action had nothing to do with race, but fairness for white as well as black Americans.”
–Dan T. Carter, “George Wallace and the Rightward Turn in Today’s Politics,” The Public Eye Magazine, Winter 2005.
Read the full article
Wallace welded together populism, libertarianism, and a White backlash against the civil rights movement.
|To see how Wallace did this, read his statement about integration and the federal government CLICK HERE|
The phrase “international bankers” is another example of a coded phrase that has long been used in public discussion. “International bankers” is often used by bigots to suggest Jewish bankers. So has the phrase “money manipulators.” This is complicated by the fact that for some conspiracists, the target is not Jews, but another banking group or family. For example, in the 1960s, the term “internationalists” can refer to Jews or the Rockefeller family, depending upon the author and context. In the early 1960s Phyllis Schlafly wrote about the “Secret Kingmakers” who controlled the Republican Party. Schlafly is referring to the Rockefeller wing of the Party, yet some readers who were antisemitic would assume she really meant the global Jewish elites.
|See a slide show on how different conspiracist audiences interpret statements in different “coded” ways CLICK HERE|
Canovan, Populism , pp. 289, 293, 294; Canovan notes that there are “a great many interconnections” among her seven forms of populism, and that “many phenomena—perhaps most—belong in more than one category.” She adds that “given the contradictions” between some of the categories, “none could ever satisfy all the conditions at once.”
Apocalypticism: The belief in an approaching confrontation, cataclysmic event, or transformation of epochal proportion, about which a select few have forewarning so they can make appropriate preparations. From a Greek root word suggesting unveiling hidden information or revealing secret knowledge about unfolding human events.
The dualist or demonized version involves a final show-down struggle between absolute good and absolute evil. In Christianity there are competing apocalyptic prophetic traditions based on demonization or liberation. Central to Christianity, the tradition also exists in Judaism, Islam, and other religions and secular belief structures. Believers can be passive or active in anticipation; and optimistic or pessimistic about the outcome. Sometimes used similarly to the term millenarianism.
Millennialism: A sense of expectation that a significant epochal transformation is imminent, marking either the end of a thousand year period, or signal its beginning, or both. Two major forms of millennialist response are passive waiting versus activist intervention. Can involve varying degres of apocalypticism. In Christianity, the idea that the Second Coming of Christ marks a thousand year period.
Apocalyptic Aggression: The merger of conspiracism with apocalypticism often generates aggressive forms of dualism. Apocalyptic Aggression occurs when demonized scapegoats are targeted as enemies of the “common good,” a dynamic that can lead to discrimination and attacks.
If premillennialists are waiting for the Rapture, why should they bother getting involved in secular politics?
In 1980 Tim LaHaye published a book, The Battle for the Mind, which amplified on the conservative Christian evangelical critique of secular humanism articulated by popular theologian Francis A. Schaeffer. The LaHaye book is dedicated to Schaeffer (1980, p. 5).
LaHaye writes in a chapter entitled “Is a Humanist Tribulation Necessary?” that the “seven-year tribulation period will be a time that features the rule of the anti-Christ over the world.” LaHaye explains that this “tribulation is predestined and will surely come to pass.” LaHaye claims there is another potential period of tribulation, however, that he dubs the “pre-tribulation tribulation—that is, the tribulation that will engulf this country if liberal secular humanists are permitted to take control of our government—it is neither predestined nor necessary. But it will deluge the entire land in the next few years, unless Christians are willing to become much more assertive in defense of morality and decency than they have been during the past three decades.”
LaHaye warns that adultery, pornography, and homosexuality “are rampant” and reminds readers of “Dr. [Francis] Schaeffer’s warning that humanism always leads to chaos” (1980, pp. 217-218).
More about Schaeffer and LaHaye:
Tim LaHaye, The Battle for the Mind, (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1980). Dedicated to Francis Schaeffer.
Tim LaHaye, The Battle for the Public Schools: Humanism’s Threat to our Children, (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1983).
Tim LaHaye, The Battle for the Family, (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1982).
Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, revised, (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books,  1982).
Francis A. Schaeffer, and C. Everett Koop. Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1979)
This was written in the late 1990s
What do the Heaven’s Gate suicides, the Weaver family shootout, the Branch Davidian conflagration, the Montana Freeman standoff, terrorism against reproductive health clinics, armed militias, theocratic sectors of the Christian Right, and attacks on gay rights have in common? The apocalyptic worldview in the US is greatly influenced by religious and secular interpretations of the prophecies in the Biblical book of Revelation about the coming of a new millennium. Fundamentalist Christians expect that the end of time is preceded by a cataclysmic battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. When evil is vanquished, true believers enter a Millennium of peace and harmony under God’s rule. This period marks the return of Christ.
The prophecies in Revelation have been adapted by many other spiritual and secular philosophers and movements. Popular culture, including films such as Rambo, Mad Max, the Terminator series, and Red Dawn, reinterpret the vision while obscuring its origins. The film Apocalypse Now and the TV series Millennium name the myth while secularizing and mainstreaming it as a paradigm. Law enforcement abuse of power against the Branch Davidian’s in Waco, Texas and other dissidents creates cascading echoes of apocalypse throughout the society.
The Heaven’s Gate group merged prophetic themes with the dynamic of manipulative demagoguery in the setting of a totalitarian group with a charismatic leader. Three roots of key prophetic visions in the Heaven’s Gate group came from:
- The Christian Bible, especially the book of Revelation.
- The prophecies of Nostradamus.
- Science fiction.
A common science fiction theme is the idea that more advanced life forms and beings with higher consciousness arriving from outer space will visit Earth and select humans for travel or transformation. Some of the ideas propounded by the Heaven’s Gate group seem borrowed from this genre. A typical example would be the book Childhood’s End by respected science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. Many people in the UFO movement embrace these fictional ideas as fact.
The Prophecies of Nostradamus
Nostradamus was a sixteenth century prophet who utilized astrological charts and visions to write a pre-history of the world making predictions about world events centuries in advance. The language is obscure and ambiguous, with many published commentaries claiming to unravel their meaning. One major prediction was the arrival of a great comet. Examples of commentaries currently available include Henry C. Roberts (updated by Robert Lawrence), The Complete Prophesies of Nostradamus, 1994 (1947); Stefan Paulus, Nostradamus 1999: Who Will Survive [A Comet is Hurtling Toward Earth…], 1997; and Jean-Charles de Fontbrune, Nostradamus: Countdown to Apocalypse, 1985 (1983). A contemporary version of the comet prophecy is Tom Kay, When the Comet Runs: Prophecies for the New Millennium, published in February 1997.
The Christian Bible & the Book of Revelation
The roots of a remarkable number of myths, metaphors, images, symbols, phrases, and icons used by many mass movements are contained in the few pages of prophecy in Revelation. The themes in Revelation influence diverse current right wing movements such as the new Christian electoral right, Protestant and Catholic theocratic groups, survivalism, the patriot and armed militia movement, Christian patriot constitutionalists, and the Christian Identity religion.
While not all practitioners of Christian Identity embrace racism and naked antisemitism, many believe there are two races on the planet, with White Christians having a more advanced status eligible for the rapture. This is the view of Aryan Nations, for instance.
An offshoot of Christian Identity is Racial Dualism, preached by the late Aryan Nations supporter, Bob Miles, who believed that White Christians were seeded by an advanced alien race from outer space. The vast majority of practicing Christians reject these interpretations, and the First Amendment guarantees the right of fundamentalists Christians, and all spiritual and ethical movements, to hold their beliefs without interference. How to defend the right to hold beliefs while protecting society from actions that are harmful will be a challenge as we approach the new millennium.
There are six key ways the predictions of Revelation influence popular culture:
Omens and Signs of the Times
Revelation predicts the beginning of the end times will start a series of signs warning that judgment is at hand. Believers watch for the signs of the times and seek significance and meaning in natural events such as comets, meteorite showers, alignment of stars and planets, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, crop failures, etc. The Branch Davidians believed the end times were approaching and were studying the meaning of the seven wax seals on a scroll mentioned in Revelation.
Apocalyptic Doomsday Cataclysm
Revelation predicts the end times will include great apocalyptic tribulations and the wrath of God, causing much destruction including famine, natural disasters, and plague. Believers prepare for the chaos of these times in different ways. Some expect all is pre-ordained and they can do nothing but live out their fate, others prepare for the hard times ahead, collecting food and water, fortifying their homes, buying guns, and even moving into communities of other believers for mutual protection. This is the basis for the survivalist movement, and what motivated the Weaver family and the Montana Freemen to withdraw to isolated locations.
Subversion and Countersubversion
Revelation predicts the betrayal of humankind by a world leader who unites all nations in the end times before being exposed as Satan’s agent. There will also be a false prophet who spreads a global religion that supports the world leader. In response, believers look for treason and subversion, paying special attention to those who call for world cooperation and international intervention by groups such as the United Nations. The idea of a global communist menace was frequently seen as proof that the Antichrist was based in the Soviet Union…the evil empire. This is the basis for the Star Wars trilogy. It is also partly the basis for the Montana Freeman rejecting government authority, and is influential in many, though not all, armed militia groups.
Armageddon and Holy War
Revelation predicts a great final battle between good and evil with troops clashing on the plains of Armageddon in the Middle East. Some believers are preparing for this battle. Some have already fired the first shots. Reign and Rule
Revelation predicts the faithful will experience a millennium of living in God’s kingdom, the new Jerusalem. Some say Christ will return at the beginning to reign and rule, but others argue that the godly must reign and rule for one thousand years before Christ returns. Believers argue it is their duty to attack the forces of evil and clean up secular society to prepare for the return of the Lord. Much of the violence against reproductive rights clinics and attacks on gay rights is based on this interpretation. These ideas are called dominion theology, with its most theocratic and authoritarian version called Christian Reconstructionism.
Transcendent Ascension and Rapture
Revelation predicts that some of the faithful will be “raptured” by God in a transformational ascension into the heavens where they will miss some or all of the tribulations on earth. Some millennialist movements in the past have set the date for the rapture, and some have even sold their possessions and waited on mountaintops for the rapture to free them from their earthy bodies.
The Choice is Ours
The millennium provides an opportunity for society to engage in a process of renewal and reconciliation, as well as an opportunity for demagogues, bigots, paranoids, and charlatans to spread messages of division and destruction. If a totalitarian group turns outward its members can engage in scapegoating with the most extreme outcome being homicide. If a totalitarian group turns inward its members can engage in scapegoating with the most extreme outcome being suicide.
In a society where inequality and injustice is creating deep divisions and tensions, we need constructive ways to channel anger and alienation toward demands for social change rather than apocalyptic withdrawal or aggression.
In societies suffering from economic and social stress, backlash movements take several form: racial or ethnic nationalism; religious fundamentalism or spiritual alternative; and right-wing populism and conspiracist scapegoating. These forms can blend and interact.
The more we all discuss the issues of millennial expectation, apocalyptic thinking, and scapegoating, the more likely the outcome will be positive rather than negative.
Conspiracy Theories on the Societal Level are a Narrative form of Scapegoating. Because they demonize an “Other” as evil, conspiracy theories interfere with the ability for there to be “informed consent” in civil society. That is why conspiracy theories are toxic to democracy.
See the Report Toxic to Democracy
- Conspiracy Theory Timeline
- Conspiracy Theory Generators
- A Sample of a Dense Network
- Currency Conspiracy Mania
- The Christian Right’s Grand Conspiracy Narrative
- Ron Paul’s Web of Denial
- Breivik’s Conspiracism: How it was tracked
- Weyrich and the Culture War Conspiracy Theory
- John Birch Society
- Liberty Lobby
The armed militia movement formed as the militant wing of the patriot movement following the government’s excessive use of force against the Weaver family in Idaho and the Branch Davidians in Texas. Patriots and militia members have an anti-government agenda laced with paranoid-sounding conspiracist theories, many of which echo apocalyptic millenialism of Christian fundamentalists. Endnote1
Persons in the patriot movement fear impending attack by government or UN troops and the establishment of a dictatorship as part of the New World Order. They distrust all mainstream media. The patriot movement made aggressive use of alternative electronic media such as fax networks, radio talk shows, shortwave radio, and online computer telecommunications. Endnote2
Much of the information circulated in this sector of the hard right is undocumented rumor and irrational conspiracist theory, some of it merely paranoid lunacy, some based on classic white supremacist and segregationist legal arguments or allegations of secret plots by international Jewish bankers traced back to the hoax text, The Protocols of the Secret Elders of Zion. Endnote3 Print sources frequently cited as having “proof” of the conspiracy include the New American magazine from the reactionary John Birch Society, the Spotlight newspaper from the antisemitic Liberty Lobby, and Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) and The New Federalist from the neofascist Lyndon LaRouche movement. Most of the contemporary conspiracist allegations in the US are variations on the themes propounded in the late 1700’s by John Robison, Proofs of a Conspiracy and Abbe Augustin Barruel, Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, which claimed that the Illuminati society had subverted the Freemasons into a conspiracy to undermine church and state and create a one-world government. Endnote4
One of the earliest examples of the use of online computer networks for mass organizing occurred during the 1992 presidential campaign of independent Ross Perot. Libertarians and populist conservatives, who appear to have strongly influenced the politics of early cyber-culture and the Internet, helped circulate organizing documents and position papers for the Perot campaign, quickly reaching a large audience. Endnote5 Perot’s anti-government themes also attracted support from some persons in the hard right who later went on to promote the patriot and armed militia movements. These pre-exisiting online relationships were a factor in the use of computer networks by the patriot and militia movements, which was apparently the first major US social movement organized extensively via horizontal telecommunications networks. Endnote6
A voluminous amount of information and numerous discussions about tactics and strategy for the armed militia and patriot movements moved across the Internet, appearing in Usenet newsgroup conferences such as <alt.conspiracy>, <talk.politics.guns>, <alt.sovereignty>, <misc.survivalism> and <alt.politics.usa.constitution>. Eventually a militia conference was established at <misc.activism.militia>. Information also appeared online at individual BBS’s set up by patriot and militia technophiles, tossed to multiple BBS’s through FidoNet and other messaging and echoing networks, and appeared in commercial online system discussion groups. Endnote7
Not all scapegoating conspiracist theories originate on the right. Alternative analysts who merge the rhetoric of the right and the left in their conspiracist diatribes include Linda Thompson, Mark Koernke, Sherman Skolnick, Dan Brandt, David Emory, Bob Fletcher, John Judge, and Ace Hayes. In a lengthy article on snowballing conspiracism in The New Yorker, Michael Kelly called this “fusion paranoia.” Endnote8 With the rise of “info-tainment” news programs and talk shows, hard right conspiracism, especially about alleged government misconduct, jumps into the corporate media with increasing regularity. Endnote9 As Kelly observes, “It is not remarkable that accusations of abuse of power should be leveled against Presidents–particularly in light of Vietnam, Watergate, and Iran-Contra. But now, in the age of fusion paranoia, there is no longer any distinction made between credible charges and utterly unfounded slanders.”
A-albionic Research describes itself as “A private network of researchers dedicated to identifying the nature of the ruling class/Conspiracy(ies).” A-albionic and the New Paradigms Project web page, <http:a-albionic.com>, are run by James H. Daugherty, a mail-order distributor of printed matter who believes the Vatican and British Empire are locked in a mortal battle for world control. Endnote10 Daugherty’s anti-Catholic bigotry tracks back to earlier allegations that the Pope was the antichrist. Endnote11
Conspiracist information circulates in online newsletters such as “Conspiracy Nation” by Brian Francis Redman, and “The People’s Spellbreaker” by John DiNardo. Glenda Stocks runs a computer information network pushing even more exotic theories. DiNardo’s The People’s Spellbreaker carries the flag motto “News They Never Told You…News They’ll Never Tell You.” The People’s Spellbreaker sometimes consists of transcripts of radio programs. In the following excerpt, the text is transcribed from “A World of Prophecy,” a conspiracist radio program hosted by Texe Marrs. The title was “New Currency: The Banksters’ Way To Rob Us Of Our Life Earnings.” Endnote12
TEXE MARRS:You know, most investment advisors don’t understand how the money system works. They don’t know of the problems being concocted by the New World Order. They don’t know the Illuminati conspiracies. And they simply cannot address these things. But I’ve got a gentleman on the line, and I’ll bet he has got some exciting information to give you. And keep in mind God’s prophetic word, and see how these things are working out. David Dennis, I’m so glad to have you on A WORLD OF PROPHECY.
Well, I’m certainly glad to be on your show, Tex, and I bring the greetings of Lawrence Paterson. He asked me to say hello.
Well, good. I’m glad to hear from Lawrence Paterson. I get CRIMINAL POLITICS Magazine every month. I love to open that envelope and read that magazine. It’s one of the first things I grab ahold of when it comes in the mail. David, you’re the resident editor there.
One subject of interest is the new currency. You’re sort of ahead of your time. You’ve been warning us about a “two-tier dollar.” I’d like to get into that a little bit later. But what is this new money, this new currency?
The new money actually was introduced not long ago. However, it might come as a surprise to all your listeners that the new money was NOT introduced here in the United States to our public. Rather, it was introduced in Moscow, [Russia] by the United States Treasury Department. And the idea was to have it serve as sort of a trial run, if you will. And, also, to let the Russian People know that the United States currency, which they depend so much on for value, will continue to be of value, even after this new currency comes on-line. So, it’s quite interesting that our new currency would not be discussed [or introduced] here in the U.S. first. Instead, it was introduced in Moscow to the Russian People.
That is just INCREDIBLE!
[rest of text deleted]
The information in this posting certainly is “INCREDIBLE!,” but is typical of the genre. Note the plug for Paterson’s conspiracist Criminal Politics newsletter and the mention of the Illuminati variation of the longstanding freemason conspiracist theory. Marrs is the author of a book on the Illuminati titled Dark Majesty: The Secret Brotherhood and the Magic of A Thousand Points of Light, described in an ad in the John Birch Society magazine as revealing “a secret society of grotesque rituals…whose symbol is the death’s head–the skull and bones…their plot has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.” Endnote13This apocalyptic tone is typical. Consider John DiNardo’s tag line to his posting:
I urge you to post the episodes of this ongoing series to other newsgroups, networks, computer bulletin boards and mailing lists. It is also important to post hardcopies on the bulletin boards in campus halls, churches, supermarkets, laundromats, etc.–any place where concerned citizens can read this vital information. Our people’s need for Paul Reveres and Ben Franklins is as urgent today as it was 220 years ago.
The most zealous sector of the hard right is the far right or ultra-right, which mixes scapegoating conspiracism with open race hate, fascism, and neonazism. Even in this sector their is a vigorous debate over policy. Endnote14 One online skinhead conference is dominated by neonazi skins, but attacked by anti-racist skins. Endnote15 The screed of Holocaust revisionists can be found posted in <alt.revisionism> where they are isolated by the majority of Internet netizens (citizens of cyber space) who wish to preserve intellectual freedom but refuse to allow Holocaust deniers even the smallest space to spread their views on other conferences. In <alt.revisionism> you can find the rebuttals to the deniers posted by online human rights activists such as Ken McVay, Jamie McCarthy, Danny Keren, and others. Ted Frank posted scores of carefully-researched rebuttals to hard right legal arguments on <alt.conspiracy>. Endnote16A few ultra-right participants manage to post messages in discussion groups on the commercial services such as America Online (AOL), sometimes suggesting the purchase by mail-order of specific anti-government books and pamphlets with innocuous-sounding titles. When the material arrives in the mail it is often accompanied with a list of other materials with white supremacist or antisemitic themes. This attempt to hide or encode overt race hate and antisemitism is a common tactic of the ultra-right. The following excerpt from the Pennsylvania-based Christian Posse Comitatus newsletter The Watchman was found on the home page of Stormfront: Endnote17
“Meet the torch with the torch; pillage with pillage; subjugation with extermination.”–Colonel William C. Quantrill
As we enter the fall season, which is incidentally the best time of the year to recruit new people, I feel it necessary to comment briefly on new developments nationally. I received a phone call this morning from an acquaintance who asked me if I would like to receive an interesting fax. I did and it regarded a newspaper article about a “Klanwatch” report. Joe Roy of Klan Watch alleges that more than thirty right-wing extremist groups are gathering information about governmental agencies and so-called civil rights groups. He fears that this intelligence will be used in a future terrorist campaign against these same agencies. This is also evidently the fear of many law enforcement agencies as I have been contacted by such officials who expressed their concern. My answer to them was that public servants are supposed to be afraid of the people, do…us no further harm and all will be well.
I regret that it does not appear that government learned this lesson in Oklahoma City. There is currently legislation pending that will effectively outlaw free speech and classify such organizations as Aryan Nations, militias and the Posse as terrorist organizations.
Prepare for the men and boys to be separated! I personally believe the militia movement to be a bunch of well-intentioned persons who have a bit to learn. It is all well and good to prepare for another Ruby Ridge or Waco but the belief that hundreds or even thousands of conventional soldiers will be able to stand down the United States Army is ludicrous. It also stands to reason that the feds are infiltrating the militias as they did the Klans in the 1960s. Use the militia movement as a place to spread the truth and to meet people but beware the agent provocateur. The militias are also filled with the ridiculous rhetoric about “black helicopters” and even “space aliens” controlling the government from a secret base in the desert and so on. The helicopters were green at Randy Weavers and at Waco and they were sent and operators by White traitors.
While there is yet a little time arm yourselves and prepare to face some very difficult decisions. Knowledge is power, go to the Gun shows and buy the how-to books and learn the art of war. Live free or die!
An average reader might miss the neonazi subtext of this posting. The “Aryan Nations, militias and the Posse” are lumped together and portrayed only as victims of demonization whose free speech rights are threatened. The Aryan Nations and the Posse Comitatus promote Christian Identity, a vicious antisemitic religious philosophy that often overlaps with neonazi beliefs. The phrase “fourteen words” is a coded pro-Hitlerian reference to the phrase “To secure the existence of the white race and a future for our children.” Endnote18 Notice how the author derides the “ridiculous rhetoric” of conspiracism in the militias, but points out a real example of government infiltration. Endnote19The networking through alternative media implied in this text is as interesting as the ideological assumptions. A phone call leads to the receipt of a fax containing a facsimile of a text article. This in turn leads to an article in a print newsletter that is then posted on the Internet, and ends up on the Web home page of a sympathetic group in another state.
The gun shows mentioned are a major meeting place for patriot and revolutionary right activists, and while most attendees and display tables focus on weapons, a handful provide books, magazines, pamphlets, audiotapes, and videotapes servicing the armed hard right. Endnote20 At gun shows different tables have different selections based on ideological loyalty with tables featuring The New American magazine from the John Birch Society, videotapes of militia stars Linda Thompson and Mark Koernke, copies of the Spotlight newspaper, and overt White supremacist and neonazi books. Endnote21
Radio is another vehicle for education and recruitment into various sectors of the hard right. Generic right-wing scapegoating theories are broadcast daily on mainstream commercial AM and FM, with programs featuring Rush Limbaugh, Oliver North, and G. Gordon Liddy, and scores of similar hosts. Much anti-government rhetoric flows back and forth on right-wing radio, and it helped create the mindset that led to the growth of the patriot and armed militia movements. Endnote22 Sometimes there is crossover, such as Colorado Springs AM radio host Chuck Baker interviewing Linda Thompson in August of 1994 about her plans for an armed march on Washington, DC to remove the “traitors” in Congress. Thompson later canceled the march and lost much credibility in the militia movement, but one Baker listener, Francisco Martin Duran, drove to the capital city in October and shot-up the White House. Endnote23
Major purveyors of right-wing conspiracist scapegoating in recent years have included radio personalities Tom Valentine, Chuck Harder, Craig Hulet, Mark Koernke, John Stadtmiller, Norm Resnick, William Cooper, Linda Thompson, Jack McLamb, Tom Donahue, and Bo Gritz. Sometimes right-wing populist radio shows introduce hard right ideologues as innocuous experts. On his “For The People” syndicated program, Chuck Harder once used notorious antisemite Eustace Mullins as an expert on the Federal Reserve. Harder’s newspaper, tied to the radio program, sold several Mullins’ books––including one claiming a Rothschild family Jewish banking conspiracy––for over a year. Yet Mullins did not sound antisemitic on the radio program. Harder stopped promoting Mullins after a listener documented Mullin’s beliefs. Endnote24
Many programs are part of elaborate information networks. For example, Paul Valentine hosts a daily talk show called “Radio Free America” (RFA), that is originally broadcast from WBDN 760 AM in Tampa, Florida. RFA is also broadcast on the shortwave band operated by World Wide Christian Radio (WWCR). Endnote25 The RFA program is also carried by satellite into homes with receiving dishes. Endnote26 Most people are unaware that audio programs can arrive through a home satellite dish simply by turning off the video and tuning in a specific audio frequency. Audiotapes of RFA are sold through the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby’s Spotlight newspaper which carries capsule descriptions of recent RFA programs in every issue accompanied with an order blank. Valentine is affiliated with the southern regional bureau of the Spotlight newspaper, but his on-air demeanor avoids hateful rhetoric.
World Wide Christian Radio (WWCR) carries more mainstream evangelical programs along with hard right programs broadcast on several shortwave frequencies. WWCR played a key role in networking and assisting the growth of the patriot and armed militia movements in 1994 and 1995, airing a program by Linda Thompson and the show “The Intelligence Report” hosted by Mark Koernke and John Stadtmiller, which was pulled off the air after the Oklahoma City bombing. A number of conspiracist radio programs are sponsored by precious metals commodities dealers and those selling gold and silver coins. The pitch is that precious metal is a secure investment to hedge against possible financial chaos and economic collapse that might deflate paper currency or cause bank failures. Endnote27 Shortwave listeners can also hear conspiracism and scapegoating from WRNO based in Louisiana, WINB from Pennsylvania, and several other stations. Endnote28 There are so many right-wing shortwave radio programs that a progressive shortwave radio station broadcasting out of Costa Rica, Radio for Peace International, has a radio program called “Far Right Radio Review” devoted exclusively to monitoring and discussing the rightwing broadcasts.
Another emerging alternative media, fax networks and fax trees, were used extensively by the armed militia movement in its formative stages and continue to be utilized by the hard right including the far right. The Spotlight featured a cover story on how rightwing populists in New Jersey had distributed fliers and faxes opposing a proposed state environmental law. According to The Spotlight, “Virtually overnight hundreds of thousands of copies of the flier appeared as if by magic on bulletin boards, store windows and fax machines throughout the state.” The flier was circulated in part through a fax hotline operated by northern New Jersey resident Franklin Reich. Endnote29
Daniel Junas, “Rise of the Citizen Militias: Angry White Guys with Guns,” CovertAction Quarterly, spring 1995; Chip Berlet & Matthew N. Lyons; “Militia Nation,” The Progressive, June 1995, pp. 22-25; Kenneth S. Stern, A Force Upon the Plain: The American Militia Movement and the Politics of Hate, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.
See Brian E. Albrecht, “Hate Speech,” The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), June 11, 1995, pp. 1, 16-17.
Eric Ward, ed., Conspiracies: Real Greivances, Paranoia, and Mass Movements, (Seattle: Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment [Peanut Butter Publishing], 1996). On Protocols, see Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide, (New York: Harper & Row, 1969).
On nativist roots, Ray Allen Billington, The Origins of Nativism in the United States 1800-1844 (New York: Arno Press Inc., 1974); John Higham, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism 1860-1925 (New York: Atheneum, 1972).; David H. Bennett, The Party of Fear: The American Far Right from Nativism to the Militia Movement, (New York: Vintage Books, 1995, (1988)). Richard Hofstadter, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” in The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965); David Brion Davis, “Some Themes of Counter-Subversion: An Analysis of Anti-Masonic, Anti-Catholic, and Anti-Mormon Literature,” in Davis, ed., The Fear of Conspiracy, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1971), pp. 9-22.
On Perot’s online support, author’s monitoring of political postings on the Internet and various BBS conferences. On libertarian influence on cyber-culture, conversation with Paulina Borsook 11/96 based on her forthcoming book.
Some of my research into the right online was to prepare for an interview by Grant Kester that appeared as “Net Profits: Chip Berlet Tracks Computer Networks of the Religious Right,” in Afterimage, Feb./March 1995, pp. 8-10.
A BBS in its simplest form is a single computer hooked to a phone line through a modem that allows offsite computer users with a modem to connect through a phone line to a menu-driven list of information and messages. More elaborate BBS’s can handle multiple phone lines, and some are networked through systems such as FidoNet or linked into the Internet.
Michael Kelly, “The Road to Paranoia,” The New Yorker, June 19, 1995, pp. 60-70.
Kelly, in his New Yorker article, writes of this seepage phenomenon from alternative to mainstream in terms of conspiracist anti-government allegations.
David McHugh “Conspiracy Theories Grow,”Detroit Free Press, 4/29/95, p. 1A.
Davis, The Fear of Conspiracy, pp. 9-22.
From “A World of Prophecy,” hosted by Texe Marrs, broadcast over WWCR, 5.065 Megahertz shortwave, December 23, 1995, 8:00 P.M. EST. Downloaded in late 1995 from <alt.conspiracy> and posted to private e-mail list of persons studying far right. Original posting by John DiNardo. Spelling corrected as a courtesy.
Ad for Texe Marrs, Dark Majesty: The Secret Brotherhood and the Magic of A Thousand Points of Light in The New American, 10/5/92, p. 41.
Betty A. Dobratz and Stephanie Shanks-Meile, “Conflict in the White Supremacist/Racialist Movement in the United States, International Journal of Group Tensions, Vol. 25, No. 1, 1995, pp. 57-75.
In the US many skinheads are culturally identified youth rebels who are not explicilty racist, and in some cases are actively anti-racist.
Rebuttals to Holocaust deniers is collected globally at <http://www.nizkor.org>.
Newsletter from fall 1995, located and downloaded in early 1996 and posted on private e-mail list for persons studying the far right. Stormfront homepage was at the time: <http://www2.stormfront.org/watchman/watch-on.html>.
According to the Coalition for Human Dignity, the phrase “fourteen words” is a coded white supremacist greeting that originated with David Lane, a member of the neonazi Order. Another coded phrase is “88,” representing the eighth letter in the alphabet as in “HH” for “Heil Hitler.”
Although the FBI infiltrated some ultra-right groups during the 1960’s and ’70’s, it also formed alliances with the paramilitary right to infiltrate left and people-of-color groups which sometimes faced extralegal and sometimes lethal repression not experienced by the right until the 1980’s. See for example: Frank J. Donner, The Age of Surveillance: The Aims and Methods of America’s Political Intelligence System (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980); Ward Churchill & Jim Vander Wall. Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement, (Boston: South End Press, 1988); Kenneth O’Reilly, “Racial Matters:” The FBI’s Secret File on Black America, 1960–1972, (New York: Free Press, 1988); Ward Churchill & Jim Vander Wall. COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States, (Boston: South End Press, 1989); Brian Glick, War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It, (Boston: South End Press, 1989).
Kristen Rand, “Gun Shows in America: Tupperware® Parties for Criminals,” Violence Policy Center, 1996.
Author’s visit to gun shows in Ohio and Massachusetts.
Leslie Jorgensen, “AM Armies,” pp. 20-22 and Larry Smith, “Hate Talk,” p. 23, Extra! March/April 1995. Ed Vulliamy, “Clinton Tackles the Mighty Right,” The Observer (London) April 30, 1995, p. 16. Steve Lipsher, “The Radical Right,” The Denver Post, January 22, 1995, p. 1.
Marc Cooper, “The Paranoid Style,”The Nation, April 10, 1995, pp. 486-492. William H. Freivogel, “Talking Tough On 300 Radio Stations, Chuck Harder’s Show Airs Conspiracy Theories,” St. Louis Post Dispatch, May 10, 1995, p. 5B.
Through 1996 at shortwave band 5.065 kHz .
Satcom1, transponder 15, audio channel 7.56.
David McHugh and Nancy Costello, “Radio host off the air; militia chief may be out,” Detroit Free Press, 4/29/95, p. 6A.
The author monitors far-right shortwave broadcasts on a Radio Shack DX-390. See also James Latham, “The Rise of Far-Right/Hate Programming on the Shortwave Bands,” Vista (Radio for Peace International), Oct. 1994, pp. 2-4. Contact RFPI, POB 20728, Portland, OR 97220.
The Spotlight, 12/11/95, p. 1.