Morris Dees, the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, says researchers have identified 40 personal profiles of people who list the military as their occupation on the Web site New Saxon.
The site is run by the Detroit-based National Socialist Movement and describes itself as an “online community for whites by whites.” Its leader, Jeff Schoep, says site operators remove any violent comments they find.
Dees sent a letter to four congressional committee chairs asking for an investigation.
I can see why this requires a congressional investigation. Forty members of a racist site claiming to belong to the military represent a serious problem. After all, there are only 1,473,900 active service personnel and only 1,458,500 reservists so if there are 40 white supremacists that means that a staggering 1 in every 36,847 active service personnel is a white supremacist! Clearly, this is a pants wetting emergency requiring immediate Congressional attention!
Okay, it doesn’t.
As the Mudville Gazette points out, the military represent a cross section of American society (except, I would add, leftist intellectuals who are too moral to serve). When you start talking about a diverse population with 1.5 million members you shouldn’t be highly surprised if you find a small (0.0027% to be precise) number of weirdos.
Why the alarm? Firstly, as a revenue-seeking corporation, the Southern Poverty Law Center has every incentive to fabricate an attention generating “crisis” whenever possible. This “discovery” will no doubt generate a lot of money for them. More importantly, this story feeds into a deeply held fantasy of leftists in which fascism is a major factor in American life.
To understand the context of this, you have to understand that most leftists believe that neo-Nazis, Klansmen, Christian Identity etc. are large groups to which a significant percentage of the American non-Left belongs and a much higher percentage is sympathetic to. When they find a web site with “dozens” of (i.e., more than 24) kooks merely claiming military service they see this as confirmation of the vast fascist conspiracy that underlies the American Right.
In the fantasy world of the Left, the neo-Nazis are the distillation of the American Right. They believe this with iron certainty even though neo-Nazis and the like are (1) overtly hostile to capitalism and the free market, (2) hostile to mainstream Christianity, (3) opposed to free trade, (4) opposed the liberation of Iraq, (5) hold Israel to blame for all of the troubles in the Middle East, etc. If you remove the racism from their ideology, you end up with an ideology very close to that of American far-Left.
The need of leftists to inflate their own sense of self-righteousness and self-importance leads them to magnify a tiny, highly marginalized, wacky subculture of racist socialists into this great threat to the republic which only the noble Left can stop. They also like to stigmatize the military whenever possible, so they absolutely believe that such people are common in the military. They see an ice cube floating by and imagine an iceberg.
Conversely, they ignore anti-American extremists on the far Left. Almost all of the large anti-war/anti-democracy rallies during the early part of the liberation of Iraq were organized by International ANSWER, a group founded by leaders of the Stalinist Workers World Party. No one on the Left had a problem with that. Bill Ayers is easily the leftist equivalent of a neo-Nazi. He fantasized about murdering 25 million Americans in gulags after his hoped-for communist revolution. Only his own bomb-making incompetence prevented him from detonating a large anti-personnel bomb at a U.S. Army dance and killing dozens. However, no one on the Left has any problem with him moving for years in the same close-knit society of Chicago leftists as did Obama. Moreover, Ayers and his wife are far from the only unrepentant leftist extremists in good standing with the American Left.
The obsession with neo-Nazis et al is the leftist’s version of Dungeons and Dragons, wher they imagine themselves as heroes fighting some monstrous evil instead of deluded geeks obsessing over another group of pathetic, powerless, losers on the margins of society.
Whatever kills a lonely Saturday night I suppose.
[update (2009-7-12 08:15pm): Some comments of note.
July 12th, 2009 at 9:02 am by Bill Waddell: "The last figures I saw had the African-American percentage of the military at about 13%. That means that there are close to 400,000 black soldiers, sailors and airmen well positioned to assure these 40 nut cases don’t wreak too much havoc."
July 12th, 2009 at 11:25 am by John: "I think the solution is simple: go to this “New Saxon” website and register yourself. List your occupation as “Southern Poverty Law Center”. Voila! Suddenly a huge percentage of Nazis are extreme leftists. Do the math: 40 out of 3 million soldiers vs 1 out of a couple hundred Souther Poverty Law Center kooks. Hell, I think there’s a Nazi epidemic in the Southern Poverty Law Center! I demand a Congressional investigation! The Nazis are coming! The Nazis are coming!