Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Matthew Anger - "Watching the Fringe"

A new blog/project by freelance Catholic journalist Matthew Anger - "FringeWatch: A Conservative Resource for Monitering Radical and Extremist Movements. According to the author:
Up to now there has been no full-time conservative resource dedicated to monitoring the "far-right" fringe of the political spectrum. With some exceptions the subject has been the domain of left-liberal journals and think-tanks. An alternative is overdue. Not only do conservatives have much to gain from balanced and insightful coverage of the topic, they have the most to lose if they do not challenge movements which co-opt some of their legitimate issues for opportunistic or subversive reasons. Unfortunately, our increasingly abnormal culture makes this possible with new hybrid versions of extremism posing problems that the old-style Nazi and fascist parties did not.

I have over twenty years experience studying extremist political groups, much of it "up close and personal." Starting in high school in the 1980s, and continuing through college, my views spanned the political spectrum – which is not so strange as it may seem, since the same apocalyptic, messianic and utopian assumptions lie at the back of both Communism and Nazism. My past affiliations are nothing to be proud of. But they have given me invaluable insights and a heightened awareness. Extremism of any kind represents a deviation from sound judgment and morals.

In the American context, postwar extremism was traditionally a monopoly of the left. But after the 1960s the anti-establishment movement became the status quo. In reaction to this, some people at the other end of the spectrum have ventured off into the fringes. It may be due to a lack of sound political or religious direction. Meanwhile, liberals in the "mainstream" use this marginalization to their own advantage. This in itself should serve as a warning to people who opt for drastic alternatives.

As St. Augustine reminds us, misguided souls "imagine that there is something extraordinary in the mishaps of their own time and that they did not happen in other periods" (City of God, IV.1). On the contrary, the evils due to fallen human nature are a persistent condition. They cannot be eliminated by associating them with problems of class or race. Neither can we live in a perpetual "crisis mode," a hallmark of radical ideology which begets desperation and the idea that "ends justify the means." One calls to mind C.S. Lewis' warning that the Devil likes to tempt us by presenting two options – both of them wrong. This is true of the far-left and the far-right.

"The reason Fringe Watch is primarily devoted to neo-nazi extremism is because liberals have never adequately or objectively treated the issue," says Anger. "As for leftist extremism, there are now so many resources discussing it (like David Horowitz's DiscovertheNetworks.Org) that I needn't repeat the effort."

Mr. Anger begins with an investigation into Neo-Conned, a work now being promoted in paleo-conservatives circles. The series is published by John Sharpe (through his IHS Press/Light in the Darkness affiliate) who -- Matthew demonstrates -- has undeniable ties to anti-Semitic, anti-American extremist politics. And lest anybody charge him of being a stooge for the "Warmongering Neocon Cabal" [TM], see his "Anti-War Conservatives vs. Subversives: A Clarification".

A blog well worth watching -- and needed, in my opinion. Stay tuned.

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