Saturday, November 6, 2010

Leaders With Facial Hair Are A Bad Sign III

Continuing my thoughts on the Marxism video posted on TheOakInitiative's YouTube channel. Here I'm still addressing the points that Mr. Boykin makes in support of his suggestion that the U.S. is in danger of becoming a Marxist country.

First, my comments on some of the responses from you guys. There is sharp disagreement over Social Security, but I can't say anything about it, because I just don't understand the problem well enough. I challenge all you guys with an opinion about Social Security to ask yourself whether you really understand it well enough to make a sound judgment about it. If you do, then by all means share your knowledge so we can all increase our information-to-emotion ratio.

When I pointed out that it was the Bush Administration that instituted the bank bailouts, some of you responded along these lines: "But the Obama Administration is continuing the same stuff." Absolutely true, you're right: if I understand it correctly, we just gave a couple of trillion dollars to big business. But let's not lose focus. Boykin is claiming that Marxism is coming to America, and as support for that claim he points to the bank bailouts. If the bank bailouts are a sign that Marxism is coming, then President Bush has assisted in bringing it, and I have to assume that his god, being involved in all of Bush's decisions, approves.

Let's move ahead. Boykin provides an example of his claim that the opposition is being discredited.

<clip 01:13 01:31 DHS Memo>

I'm not entirely sure, but I think he's referring to this document. Link in the love bar. It is indeed a DHS memo, dated April 7, 2009. I've read it. The phrase "rightwing extremists" occurs at least 23 times, and various other similar phrases such as "rightwing extremism," "extremist groups," etc. occur another 27 times. The word "Christian" appears once, in this statement, which I've paraphrased for clarity, but do go read the original too: "Antigovernment conspiracy theories and 'end times' prophecies...have been linked with the radicalization of domestic extremist[s]...such as violent Christian Identity organizations." However, the phrase "white supremacists" is frequently connected with the phrase "rightwing extremists". It's truly hard for me to tell whether Boykin would want to distance himself and his fellow Christians from white supremacists. I really just can't tell.

Further, pro-life groups are not mentioned at all; not even does the word "life" appear in the memo. Second Amendment groups are not expressly mentioned, but groups that oppose gun control legislation are mentioned a few times. You might want to say that these are indeed the Second Amendment groups that Boykin means, but again, when it mentions these groups, the memo makes it clear that it's talking about rightwing extremists, not the Average Joe who wants a gun.

Finally, my socially inept ear tells me that the part of this document that causes Boykin to be more angry with his government than he ever has been is the part that impugns "returning veterans". Let's see what the memo says about returning veterans:
  • "...the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups..."
  • "Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists."
  • In a paragraph with the heading "Disgruntled Military Veterans," I read, "...rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills..."
  • "DHS/I&A assesses that the combination of environmental factors that echo the 1990s...including [among other things listed] returning military veterans...may be invigorating rightwing extremist activity."
I can't find anything in there that even remotely sounds like an attempt to discredit or impugn anyone. It sounds to me like a very dispassionate report concerning possible threats to domestic peace. If you guys think I'm misreading it, please let me know. Now let's listen to part of that clip again, where he refers to the gist of the memo.

<clip 01:21 01:25 Future threats to America>

He then lists the threats, and continues:

<clip 01:33 01:36 Not terrorists>

Wow, if a memo about future threats to the U.S. leaves out Islamic terrorists, then the guy has a point, right? What's the title of the memo? It must be "Future Threats to America", right? No. The title is "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment". After the title, how does the memo summarize its purpose in its opening paragraph? It must say, "Here is a comprehensive list of all the future threats to America," right? No. Its purpose is "to facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States."

The memo is a discussion of the factors that are likely to contribute to the flourishing of rightwing extremist groups. I conclude that Boykin has grossly misrepresented the memo. I may be naive, but I remain convinced that the truth needs no help, no finesse. In my mind, embellishments like this discredit the speaker and his message, regardless of his politics or religious beliefs.

That's Part III. Thanks for listening.

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