Paul A. Ibbetson
The framing of the modern right-wing extremist
By Paul A. Ibbetson
August 13, 2009

The moon landing really happened, Pearl Harbor wasn't staged, no covert organization is trying to control your mind through radio waves, and Elvis is really, really dead. Those are the first conspiracy theories that jump to mind — that I can announce with clarity and pride that I do not believe in. The need to do this is readily apparent when we talk about the Obama administration's current framing of the modern "right-wing extremist," because frankly, if it wasn't an official documented policy, no sane person in America would believe that our Government could hold such a disdain for its own people in this way.

Let's start with what you already know (or what you know but may not have thought long and hard about): for the first time in modern history, vocal dissent in America — over the actions of the government — is no longer 'free' speech. It now comes with a price, which is becoming more expensive by the moment. What's the price you have to pay to disagree with the current administration? The first noticeable change is a swift classification transformation, from being 'patriotic' to being 'potentially dangerous;' from people 'out to get answers' to people 'out of control.' If this seems over the top, turn on your television and watch the DNC's ads, depicting the "angry mob," and a weird thing will happen — you just may see yourself, or at least your beliefs, depicted in what the DNC frames not only as "angry, out of control agitators," but also "paid rabble-rousers for the RNC." These lowly disrupters include senior citizens, military veterans, mothers, fathers, registered republicans, registered democrats (you know, "trouble -makers"). Well, maybe it's just a DNC anomaly — let's not get crazy and blame the White House for some potential overzealous DNC staffer putting commercials over the airwaves without thinking. I mean, that's using restraint, right? The problem is that the White House is officially asking people to turn in U.S. citizens who speak out against the administration's policies (the "mob"), by sending the Obama administration the damaging evidence and the coordinates of these no-good, good-for-nothing, problem-talkers, through the White House's official e-mail system at

May we have some restraint please! Maybe, just maybe, this is simply another badly worded request for general feedback, and not an attempt to punish certain people (or groups of people) who question how their elected officials run their country. No such luck. The recently made public, April 7, 2009, Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA) assessment, titled Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, shows the administration's new framing of the modern right-wing extremist.

In this document (that would most certainly send a shiver up the leg of Joseph Goebbels), the right-wing extremist is depicted as an individual — angry over the decline of the economy and the loss of U.S. manufacturing and construction jobs. This right-wing extremist also harbors unwarranted anger over open borders issues, advancing firearm restrictions, and the expansion of social services to illegal aliens. Other dangerous perceptions, documented in the assessment, include how the right-wing extremist places 'state' authority over 'federal' authority; the right-wing extremist is, in general, antagonistic to the 'historic nature' of the Barack Obama presidency.

The only thing not included in the assessment was any actual evidence of criminal activities by this 'radical' group. A few loose McVeigh-like references from the 1990s are thrown out in very weak attempts to have factual foundations for this version of the new, modern, right-wing extremist. So, in the end, I'm almost sorry to say that this is another conspiracy theory I can put to rest. I'm sorry to say it because it means that we are faced with a true reality as scary as anything ever cranked out of the conspiracy mill. If you believe that, then you must ask yourself, do you fit the new framing of the right-wing extremist, and, what will be the penalties of such inclusion? This new classification of the right-wing extremist will indeed be increasingly hard to categorize, since the components that make up this individual are not found in the modus operandi of the criminal, but are instead found in the operation of free speech, and the lawful deliberation of the people with those that have been elected to serve them. With that said, it appears that the Barack Obama administration is working diligently to address this growing group that they have identified, classified, and demonized as the modern right-wing extremist.

© Paul A. Ibbetson


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Paul A. Ibbetson

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact


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