Friday, June 19, 2009

The Alan Berg Legacy

Here’s an excerpt from a recent article that caught my attention. It’s by Kevin Simpson, Jason Blevins and Karen Auge of The Denver Post and commemorates the death of iconoclastic radio personality Alan Berg:

The murder of Alan Berg in Denver: 25 years later
"In a sense, it was one of the opening shots of a truly revolutionary radical right."

By The Denver Post
Posted: 06/18/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT
Updated: 06/18/2009 12:21:31 PM MDT

DENVER—Even after a quarter century, the violent murder of Denver talk-radio icon Alan Berg at the hands of a white supremacist group reverberates amid fresh reminders of hate crimes.

It has been 25 years since Berg was gunned down in the driveway of his Congress Park condominium, and Thursday's commemoration comes just days after a white supremacist allegedly opened fire at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., killing a security guard.

Berg, who was Jewish, gained a strong following in the early 1980s through talk radio, where his liberal views mixed with a combative and often-abrasive on-air persona. In the process, he ignited the anger of The Order, a splinter group of the Aryan Nation white nationalist movement that financed its anti-government goals with bank robberies in the Pacific Northwest—before turning to murder.

Berg's slaying marked an early signpost on the road that led to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala.

"In a sense, it was one of the opening shots of a truly revolutionary radical right," he said, "perfectly willing to countenance the mass murder of American civilians for their cause."

Groups such as The Order moved the far-right away from its roots as a restorationist movement and into a violent, revolutionary mindset, Potok said…

Notice the use of the words “radical right” and “far-right” in the last two sentences.

These are characterizations that classify people who tend to be violent (rob banks, bomb public buildings and commit murder) and harbor deep resentment for people of the Jewish faith. But why tie these behaviors to Republicans (people on the “right”)?

It’s because our culture expects it.

It is only through the works of people like Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism) that you gain an understanding of how these commonly accepted characterizations reflect our culture.

Take a moment to think which part of the political spectrum embraces Identity Politics? Where do you find groups of people who think they have the right to determine the lives of others?

Republicans embrace freedom. When I think of groups that want to force their will upon others, Republicans don't immediately come to mind.

It’s interesting that Mr. Mark Potok from the Southern Poverty Law Center thinks otherwise.

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