The Scare Cycle

I'm not the only one looking back at the brown scares of the past to make sense of the recent frenzy over "extremism." Over at Cliopatria, Chris Bray (an occasional contributor to Reason) draws on Robert Churchill's recent study of the roots of the militia movement, To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant's Face, to make an important historical point:

Churchill writes that New Deal progressives, offended and frightened by vitriolic far-right opposition to the New Deal, launched "a systematic campaign of public condemnation and state repression." Private liberal organizations "initiated the collection of dossiers on leading figures of the Far Right," while the FDR administration and J. Edgar Hoover's FBI undertook an effort that led to the conviction of dozens of right-wing figures on sedition charges. (Hoover even maintained a "custodial detention index" of right-wing figures.)

Attacking the political right, the political left sawed the floor out from under its own feet. Since "most of those prosecuted during the Brown Scare had not gone beyond the realm of political speech," Churchill concludes, "...at their core these cases involved the suppression of far right political philosophy and the denial of the right of free speech...The institutions and rhetorical tactics of the Brown Scare would come back to haunt the Left after World War II, as a resurgent Republican Party launched a second Red Scare under the leadership of Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon."

In the comments to Bray's post, Jonathan Dresner notes that the cycle didn't begin with the brown scare, pointing to the previous red scare of the '20s. It's a good point. Interestingly, there's one major thread connecting the first red scare, the first brown scare, and the second red scare: J. Edgar Hoover played a central role in all three.

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  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I "love" J. Edgar Hoover's "bi-partisan" efforts. :(

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    They remind me of the equally bi-partisan War on Drugs.

  • ||

    It's kind of mean to use Episiarch's picture without attribution.

  • Liz||

    For a good time call Liz
    (202) 225-3106

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Hold up, you can't spam stuff I see written on bathroom stalls all the time. And...


    Epi can aim his flatulence?

  • Warty||

    Where can I get some trousers like that?

  • Liz||

    "Where can I get some trousers like that?"

    Ask Liz at Congressman McDermott's office

    (202) 225-3106

  • Xeones||

    I would say "Yo, fuck J. Edgar Hoover," but he'd have enjoyed it too much.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Where can I get some trousers like that?

    You have to join a football team.

    I would say "Yo, fuck J. Edgar Hoover," but he'd have enjoyed it too much.

    +1 NTTAWWT

  • alan||

    Liz, you are going to have to put more effort into it than that.

  • jtuf||

    I'm not the only one looking back at the brown scares of the past to make sense of the recent frenzy over "extremism."

    In the 1930's the West had a struggle between two extremist camps, the capitalists and the communists. The Facist and Nazi parties campaigned and won in Europe as the moderates between those two poles.

  • Liz||

    "Liz, you are going to have to put more effort into it than that."

    Name what you want and I'll do it. I can even set you up with Congressman McDermott if your into that sort of thing.

  • alan||

    Speaking of effort, I recall a very gymnanistically inclined Puerto Rican girl at a local nudie club who could do a perfect split upside down on the mirrored cieling while holding on to the the pole. A little thick in the trunk but in such excellent shape it didn't matter. What a gal!

  • Forty-Two||

    Liz,

    there's this guy out west, see, name of LoneWacko. I'd like you to hide in his closet the, after he's gone to bed, pop out shouting, "Sexy mamá está aquí para usted pegar, travieso muchacho!"

    Please tape his reaction, and post it on youtube

  • ||

    Brown is the new black!

  • Liz||

    Forty-Two,

    Call me at (202) 225-3106 and give me all the details and I will do as you ask.

    Liz

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    It's enough to make you miss estonian guy (raivo pommer?).

  • ||

    Gosh, I sure hope ruffled collars make a comeback.

  • ||

    It's not cool to use a different, Warty. Even if you are giving out a phone number.

  • ||

    Epi can aim his flatulence?

    You can't? What's the military teaching you kids these days?

  • Liz||

    "It's not cool to use a different, Warty. Even if you are giving out a phone number."

    ???????What????

  • ||

    Is it a bad sign that the first thing I noticed about that picture was that the disembodied head on the left has some serious Clearasil needs?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    My master sleuthing indicates that Liz lives in maybe the 700 block of H Street NW.

    So, what is the deal with you, Liz? What's with the spamming your phone number?

  • ||

    Tulpa,

    I think he got farted on first, and he's trying to warn the next victim. Flatulence of that era was like getting a face full of Cheney birdshot.

  • ||

    Liz is referring to this article from the other day:
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/anneschroeder/0609/No_namecalling.html?showall

  • ||

    Look, he's farting in the guys' face! Hah! That's so much funnier than the Friday Funnies!

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    Here's a question I'd like to know the answer to: was Weigel the only contributor at this site to link approvingly to the far-left scaremongerers at the Southern Poverty Law Center, or have other contributors done that?

    P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs delivered through sockpuppets, thereby conceding my points and showing the cowardly, childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians. Remember: you're never anonymous on the internet. Write everything like it's going to be the #1 search result for your real name in Google.

  • Dribbles||

    "P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs delivered through sockpuppets, thereby conceding my points and showing the cowardly, childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians. Remember: you're never anonymous on the internet. Write everything like it's going to be the #1 search result for your real name in Google."

    When your disclaimer is twice as long as your post, it might be time for some quiet self-reflection.

  • ||

    If the #1 result for a googling of my real name is "Shut the fuck up, Lonewacko", I will die a happy man.

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