ADL Special Reports: Rage Grows in America: Anti‑Government Conspiracies
- Index / Summary
- Part One: Anger in the Mainstream
- Part Two: Anger on the Fringes
- Download a PDF of this report (.97MB)
- Press Release: Report: Rage Grows In America Conspiracy Theories Fuel Anti-Government Fervor (11/16/2009)
Rage Grows in America: Anti‑Government Conspiracies
Resisting the Government
Since Obama’s election, an increasing number of people have urged that the government—and Obama—must be resisted, even including armed resistance. These sentiments emerged first among the most extreme sections of the population, such as white supremacists. “Just help start a war,” urged one Texas white supremacist calling himself “88 Charles 88” on the social networking site MySpace.
As anti-government anger grew, however, calls for resistance began to emerge from other quarters, including not only a variety of anti-government extremists, but even from more mainstream circles. In September 2009, John L. Perry, a columnist for the right-wing news Web site Newsmax even postulated a military coup that would limit Obama to “ceremonial speech-making.” “A coup is not an ideal option,” he wrote, “but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.” After readers complained, Newsmax removed Perry’s column.
Hints of this attitude of resistance could be seen when people—some with extremist ties—showed up armed to town hall meetings and other events. But some groups have gone much further, implicitly or explicitly suggesting armed resistance to the government of some sort. Open calls to violent action are rare; what is more common is rhetoric that speaks of resisting the government, “restoring” the government, or using weapons to defend one’s rights from the “tyrannical” Obama administration.
Significantly, many of these groups have appropriated an idealized version of Revolutionary War history for their own purposes, stressing the armed resistance of the American colonists to British “tyranny” and suggesting, in varying degrees of openness, that Americans today should act as their revolutionary forebears did and throw off the perceived shackles of the allegedly tyrannical government.