The Hutaree is sparking headlines around the world (we talked about the group on Monday). But this contemporary militia movement is young compared to two other major right-wing movements that share some similarities with militias, says the Anti-Defamation League. Those two older movements are the sovereign citizen movement (like the Guardians we talked about Tuesday) and the tax protest movement (which we’ll address next week).
What spawned the modern militia? Three catalysts, says the ADL.
Fury was the first one. Remember “Ruby Ridge” in Idaho and “Waco” in Texas? Of course, Waco is a famous city in Texas—the home of Baylor University among other things. For many on the far right, though, just the terms Waco and Ruby Ridge summon fury over a government willing to provoke and murder its own citizens. At least that’s the far-right version of these stories. That fury triggered the formation of the new militia movement—ordinary citizens arming to protect themselves from a ruthless federal government that would stop at nothing to eliminate nonconformists.
Gun love was the next factor. Those first attracted to the militias were fanatics about the right to bear arms. They harbored an abiding fear that their weapons would be confiscated. They opposed any and all forms of gun control.
Conspiracy theory was the final factor. Militia members are fascinated by elaborate conspiracy theories of a new world order in which democracy and freedom have no place. Considerable progress has already been made toward those Orwellian goals, right-wing theorists claim, with the U.S. government aiding the puppeteers who are behind the new order.
So that’s the recipe: Fury, gun love, and conspiracy theory. Mix well.
Is anything missing from the recipe? Those three factors might be necessary, but they don’t seem sufficient to create the militia movement. What else might play in?