Balancing Security and Liberty

In a nation with a First Amendment that gurantees freedom of speech, how does society balance civil liberties with the need for security and safety? Acts of violence from right-wing groups and perpetrators are a real phenomenon, but has the US government gone too far?



Threat from Radical Right is Real

Real Threat is to Civil Liberties by Government

Department of Homeland Security Report


Read the full report here

Dave Kopel with the rightwing lLibertarian Cato Institute

Dave Kopel, "Repressing Civil Liberties Isn't the Answer - Government: To diffuse the militia movement, acknowledge increasing federal lawlessness." Los Angeles Times, May 01, 1995.

Dave Kopel is an associate policy analyst with the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank.

To respond intelligently to the militia and patriot movements, we must acknowledge that although they are permeated with implausible conspiracy theories, they are a reaction to increasing militarization, lawlessness and violence on the part of federal law enforcement--a problem that should concern all Americans.

It is lawful in the United States to exercise freedom of speech and the right to bear arms. Spending weekends in the woods practicing with firearms and listening to right-wing political speeches is not my idea of a good time, but there is nothing illegal about it.

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Homeland Security: Economic, Political Climate Fueling Extremism


The department's report, dated April 7, was distributed to law enforcement agencies across the country to aid them in combating potential rightwing terrorism. The SPLC cited the same factors as contributing to extremist activity in its "Year in Hate" report issued in February. That report found the number of hate groups in the United States had grown to 926 — a 54 percent increase since 2000.

"This Homeland Security report reinforces our view that the current political and economic climate in the United States is creating the right conditions for a rise in extremist activity," said Mark Potok, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, which monitors hate groups. "As did the rise of the militia movement in the 1990s, this increases the threat of domestic terrorism."

By Eli Lake and Audrey Hudson, "Federal agency warns of radicals on right," The Washington Times, Tuesday, April 14, 2009.

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines “rightwing extremism in the United States” as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the warning says.

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Militia as insurgents








DHS training video depicts gun owners as 'militia members' planning terrorism







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