A West Point think tank responsible for training future U.S. Army officers has released an extensive report warning of a growing domestic threat from “far right” conservative groups it says are prone to violence. The study, authored by Arie Perliger of the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center, is entitled Challenges From the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right, and while much of its focus appears to center on white supremacist and Aryan/“Christian identity” groups, it also targets groups that value the personal liberties guaranteed in the Constitution and emphasize the need to limit the power of the federal government.
These “anti-federalist” groups, as Perliger labels those who embrace a limited, constitutionally defined role for government, “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights,” Perliger writes in his report. Additionally, they “support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government.”
Perliger, whose report was first noted by the Washington Times, makes a broad distinction between Americans who embrace conservative, Americanist values, and those committed to liberal-leftist ideologies, arguing that while “liberal worldviews are future- or progressive-oriented, conservative perspectives are more past-oriented, and in general, are interested in preserving the status quo.” He goes on to charge that the “far right represents a more extreme version of conservatism, as its political vision is usually justified by the aspiration to restore or preserve values and practices that are part of the idealized historical heritage of the nation or ethnic community.”
Among the peculiar characteristics of the “anti-federalist” crowd is a strong belief in the sovereignty of the United States, along with the conviction that “the American political system and its proxies were hijacked by external forces interested in promoting a New World Order in which the United States will be absorbed into the United Nations or another version of global government.”