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January 18, 2013

Seems To Me That We Need To Reform The Army And Its Training Institutions

When any element of our military produces a document that makes claims like this one, then it is time for a purge to remind the officers that they are subservient to the populace under our Constitution, not our masters and the arbiters of our rights.

A West Point think tank has issued a paper warning America about “far right” groups such as the “anti-federalist” movement, which supports “civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government.”

The report issued this week by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., is titled “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right.”

The center — part of the institution where men and women are molded into Army officers — posted the report Tuesday. It lumps limited government activists with three movements it identifies as “a racist/white supremacy movement, an anti-federalist movement and a fundamentalist movement.”

Got that? If you believe in the principles of federalism outlined in the Constitution, support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self-government, you are a part of the terrorist threat to America! And lest you have any doubt that the document is intended to discredit and delegitimize the mainstream conservative movement, please note the following. And if you think I’m being alarmist here, I suggest you read the report, which goes to great lengths to link mainstream conservative leaders (both past and present) with the violent groups. At one point, for example, the author goes so far as to link former Reagan Surgeon General C. Everett Koop’s characterization of the struggle against legal abortion as a battle between good and evil to abortion clinic bombers and individuals who have attacked abortionists! That, my friends, is an utter disgrace.

“While liberal worldviews are future- or progressive -oriented, conservative perspectives are more past-oriented, and in general, are interested in preserving the status quo.” the report says. “The far right represents a more extreme version of conservatism, as its political vision is usually justified by the aspiration to restore or preserve values and practices that are part of the idealized historical heritage of the nation or ethnic community.”

Speaking as someone who has spent a career in the social sciences, I have an additional problem with this paper. There is no objective data presented for readers to analyze themselves – no list of incidents that are included in the study, for example. What’s more, the incidents are classified based upon the categories assigned by ideological groups on the left, and so the data itself would be suspect in any event. It is therefore fair to say that the scholarship itself is quite shoddy – or at least vague enough as to make me question its validity. And most disturbing is the way in which the lines between actual violent groups and mainstream ideologies are blurred so as to make it appear that those mainstream views are somehow threatening and illegitimate.

In other words, we have the Defense Department now attempting to define what political views are acceptable and appropriate for Americans to hold and which ones ought to be discredited, rejected, and rooted out of the American body politic. We need Congressional hearings on this one, with the report’s author and senior officials from both West Point and the Pentagon subpoenaed and required to answer questions publicly regarding this matter – with a view towards reforming the United States Military Academy and the DoD so that they cease being a threat towards our the civil activism, individual freedoms, and self-government that are intended by our Constitution to be a hallmark of the American Republic.





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