Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The fruits of hate

Don't you think it's kind of funny that when the rabid right goes a-hunting for people with "a unique hostility toward Western traditional and commonsense attitudes," people whose "true raison d'etre is in practice nothing other than to destroy to destroy utterly whatever allegiance a young person might have to traditional conceptions in morality, religion, politics and culture," they only seem to cobble up relatively insignificant figures on the left?

Because it's also kind of funny how many times the most horrifying cases involving young people whose senses of morality, religion, politics and culture have been monstrously warped by outside forces with a hostility to basic decency turn out, in fact, to involve young people whose beliefs emanate from the far right, like Minnesota teenager Jeff Weise, who just shot up his reservation high school:
Alternately using the online pennames Todesengel_German for "angel of death"_and "NativeNazi," Weise wrote several posts in which he said he believed Hitler and the National Socialist movement that embroiled the world in war and caused millions of deaths got a bad rap.

"When I was growing up, I was taught (like others) that Nazi's were evil and that Hitler was a very evil man ect," he wrote in one posting replete with misspellings. "Of course, not for a second did I believe this. Upon reading up on his actions, the ideals and issues the German Third Reich addressed, I began to see how much of a like had been painted about them. They truly were doing it for the better."

In other posts, he wrote that he believed a National Socialist movement could work on his reservation and planned on trying to recruit some members at school when it started up last fall.

"The only ones who oppose my views are the teachers at the high school, and a large portion of the student body who think a Nazi is a Klansman, or a White Supremacist thug. Most of the Natives I know have been poisoned by what they were taught in school."

This is an unusual case in that it involves a minority, but that only illustrates the larger point: Hateful far-right philosophies poison many wells, and are clearly capable of crossing boundaries. (Another prime example of this is the African-American hate cult calling itself the United Nuwabian Nation of Moors.)

Weise's hostility to multiculturalism was well fed by what he could find on the Internet, the bulk of which was produced by white supremacists, including an outfit called Nazi.org, the National Alliance, and Don Black's neo-Nazi Stormfront organization. You remember: the same folks who broke up Jesse Jackson's Florida appearance in support of George W. Bush in 2000.

Here's a reality check for the mainstream right: right-wing extremism has always been, and always will be, the most vicious proponent of beliefs that destroy the basic fabric of civilization. They worship violence and bigotry and racial and religious hatred. That's as true in the United States as it is in the Middle East.

When you go looking for threats -- and the people who both associate with and benefit from them -- a good place to start might be the American right's own bloody back yard.

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