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Yesterday, Ryan linked to the Department of Homeland Security’s report on the dire threat of rightwing extremists, such as those who promote traditional marriage, subsidiarity, and the protection of the unborn. Anyone who has attended the annual March for Life and seen the hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers—moms pushing baby strollers, teens carrying “Abortion Hurts Women” signs, church groups singing “Amazing Grace”—knows what a force these people can be. Powerful . . . and prayerful and peaceful. (The counter-protesters are easy to spot, because their tone is markedly different.)

Of course, you may object, the report isn’t talking about those pro-lifers [anti-abortion activists]. It’s warning about the dangerous, destructive ones. And how often have conservatives, for their part, pointed out the violence on the left? We need, after all, a balanced assessment.

That would be nice. However, according to the report, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” threat isn’t measured by violent actions but by beliefs within the realm of civilized discourse. Debra Saunders explains on Real Clear Politics :

The assessment reads like a sophomore’s bad political science essay in, for example, noting that right-wing extremism “may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” . . .

Fox News posted a Jan. 26, 2009, assessment entitled “ Leftwing Extremists Likely to Increase Use of Cyber-Attacks over the Coming Decade .” This would suggest equal-opportunity political targeting.

Not so. The “left-wing” assessment named entities—the Earth Liberation Front, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, The Hacktivist, the Internet Liberation Front—and explained the methods used in specific and recent cyber-attacks. It also warned how specific groups—loggers, farmers and named corporations—were or could be targeted. That is, the “left-wing” assessment included information that would be useful to officials investigating crimes.

The “right-wing” document, however, targeted, not activities, but political thought— opposition to abortion, immigration amnesty and gun laws. While the “left-wing” assessment reported on known criminal activities, the “right-wing” document started with the acknowledgment that Department of Homeland Security intelligence “has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.” (The italics are mine.) Then: “The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for right-wing radicalization and recruitment.”

One might well feel threatened. But not so much by the “rightwing extremists.”

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