In a previous post about the conservative activists who believe that energy efficiency is a secret government plot aka ‘Agenda 21’ (yeah, I know), I noted a historical parallel:
For those of you old enough to remember the Clinton era lunacy and the militia madness, it’s the same old black helicopter shit (complete with U.N. Mongolian shock troops–I kid you not about the Mongols), just in a new form.
Charles Pierce observes a similar phenomenon regarding the ‘Tenthers’–conservatives who, based on their interpretation of the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution think virtually every function should be devolved to the states (boldface mine; emphasis original):
In 1996, Kenneth Stern wrote a terrific book called A Force Upon The Plain, about the rise of the militia movement in America, particularly in the west. At one point in the book, Stern quotes a militia-connected Colorado state senator named Charlie Duke, who tells a gathering of “patriots” in Indianapolis, that members of Congress “don’t seem to know what the Tenth Amendment is about.” Duke, Stern reports, also was the driving force behind non-binding “Tenth Amendment Resolutions” in 15 states. These resolutions, writes Stern, “exalted states rights over the laws of the federal government.” Recall now that, in 1994, this was the thinking of a guy who also believed that the federal government was implanting microchips into American infants.
Recall it because now, in 2012, every single one of the four remaining Republican candidates for president essentially have signed onto Charlie Duke’s program. Oh, they’ve shined it up. It’s not draped in camo any more, and the four of them are considerably less well-armed than the people who were pushing this 20 years ago, but they’ve all come around to the basic notion. What was once the province of people who were flirting with armed sedition is now a position that any Republican who wants to have a serious chance at national office has to take. Rick Perry based his entire campaign for presidency on this very point, and now he’s heading up a group of Tenther SuperFriends on behalf of N. Leroy Gingrich.
One of the reasons conservatives usually get away with either pandering to these fucking morons or actually believing this shit is because we forget their pasts. We lack context, and so we too often take their statements in isolation and at face value. But as Pierce and I both note, they were crazy twenty years ago, and they are still crazy today.
And, yes, this is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.