The Origins of Domestic Extremism

Earlier this year, The Intercept warned that the Pentagon was considering for its Countering Extremism Working Group consultants who hailed from “anti-Muslim and Christian conservative” organizations. The shadows of bigotry would lengthen over the land under the pretense of domestic counter-extremism efforts. 

 That narrative, of course, was fantasy, akin to a political “Handmaid’s Tale,” and porn for progressives. With Bishop Garrison at the helm of these efforts, the Pentagon was bound to continue its hard left turn. 

 Garrison is senior advisor to the secretary of defense on “human capital and diversity, equity and inclusion.” He’s leading the Countering Extremism Working Group and a proud proponent of anti-white racism. 

 Garrison links his support for the New York Times’1619 Project” to his domestic surveillance efforts. According to him, “the totality of the national security apparatus” must unleash on American soil to ferret out extremism among servicemen. 

But why stop with the military? After all, says Garrison, “white supremacy” and “white nationalism” are “the nation-ending threat” of our time. Thus, for him, a kind of permanent racial revolution becomes necessary against this inexorable and omnipotent foe.

 “While pundits clutch pearls and attempt to convince us that the 1619 Project is a lie, that it’s really white society under attack, and that we’re in a post-racial society because we once had a black man as president,” he wrote in a personal essay, “more radicalized white supremacists will shoot up schools, markets, stores, and places of worship to assert their ideology.” Garrison paints an apocalyptic picture of persistent racial terror—an armed white supremacist lurks behind every hedge and in every home. 

 A follow-up report by The Intercept noted that an “extremism steering committee led by Bishop Garrison, a senior adviser to the secretary of defense, is currently designing the social media screening pilot program, which will ‘continuously’ monitor military personnel for ‘concerning behaviors.’” In a libertarian twist, the Pentagon plans on bypassing First Amendment restrictions on government monitoring by outsourcing its dirty work to a private firm. If the government is worried about treading on what few rights and little privacy you have left, it thinks private businesses can get away with stepping a little harder.

 Now the Biden Administration has announced an aggressive blueprint for combating the threat of domestic terrorism and, specifically, mythical white supremacists. 

 Biden’s plan comes with four interrelated parts: increasing the number of prosecutors and intelligence analysts, enhancing the ideological vetting of government employees, upgrading information sharing, and improving cooperation among federal agencies. 

 As part of the plan, the Washington Times reported, “the administration has allocated $100 million in the proposed 2022 budget to increase staffing at the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security to screen existing employees who could pose an insider threat.” 

 Aspects of this are already underway; officials at the Pentagon, Justice Department, and Department of Homeland Security are already working to weed individuals out from the ranks. In truth, this is more akin to cultivating ideological hygiene, framing certain political views—generally right-wing ones—as either red flags or indicators of latent extremism.

 “Defense Department officials will also look at how to define extremism,” the Washington Times noted, “and the Treasury Department will strengthen its probes into whether international terrorist organizations are financing domestic extremist groups.” Garrison is over at the Department of Defense working on the former. 

 The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency creates and recommends “extremism” proposals that may also include left-wing and anarchic threats. But it is ultimately Garrison’s working group that will determine which recommendations are implemented. 

 In the background of the ongoing effort to persecute political dissidents is the news that the Department of Defense sent the equivalent of pallets of cash to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China—the lab from which COVID-19 appears to have leaked. 

 From 2017 until 2020, the Pentagon delivered $6,491,025 in grants to a charity called EcoHealth Alliance through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency for understanding “the risk of bat-borne zoonotic disease emergence in Western Asia.” Though it is difficult to draw a direct line, the EcoHealth Alliance does provide funding for the Wuhan Institute, and the description of the type of research that money was earmarked for matches the kind of work carried out at the lab. In other words, the federal government, including the Pentagon, likely funded research at the lab from which COVID-19 seems to have leaked.

 The funny thing about domestic extremism is that it does not lurk in trailer parks or underground bunkers. Instead, its source is the ruling class and the institutions it controls, and through force, fraud, and terror continues to impose its will over Americans.


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About Pedro Gonzalez

Pedro Gonzalez is associate editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture and an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He publishes the weekly Contra newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @emeriticus.

Photo: Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for MoveOn

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