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Hard Right and Conspiracy Theories

The Right constitutes the other organized group of malcontents. During the cold war, it feared that a conspiratorial body of Americans, known variously as the Money Power, the Insiders, the Secret Team, or the High Cabal, were ready to sell out their country to the Soviet Union, which would then establish a one-world government. Contrary to expectations, the Soviet bloc's collapse did not end this fear.

A few Rightists still worry about the Kremlin, eyeing the Soviet collapse suspiciously as a charade intended to get Americans to put down their guard. Many more continue to worry about a one-world authority, but changing the object of their worry from the (powerful) Soviet Union imposing communism to the (toothless) United Nations imposing a New World Order. The parallel between these two is quite precise; like Moscow, the U.N. disposes of mechanisms of subversion and an army of occupation.

Rightist groups expect an invasion of the United States by forces under United Nations command, sometimes called the Multi Jurisdictional Task Force. Some imagine the invasion yet to come and interpret the backs of highway signs as embedded with codes for invading troops (for example, in Michigan, blue indicates the presence of water nearby, green a resting place, and brown petrol).

Others think it already underway, with some 300,000 Russian, Hong Kong, and Gurkha troops secreted away in locations around the United States. Reports are sometimes highly specific, mentioning 40,000 U.N. troops in San Diego, 14,000 in Anchorage, and a battalion of Gurkhas in Montana.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), ostensibly established to coordinate government actions in time of disaster, will first oversee the U.N. takeover, then become the "secret government" that runs the United States. As befits a planning agency, FEMA has already tested the waters; for example, it scripted the 1992 riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King trial to test reactions to a gang uprising.

Black gangs such as the Crips and the Bloods will also have a major role in enforcing the new order. Other important institutions include the Environmental Protection Agency (which will keep track of vehicles) and the National Education Association (to ensure that children get badly educated).

And where will the U.S. military be during all this? Off in distant lands, creating a New World Order under United Nations auspices. The placement of U.S. troops under U.N. command in Somalia established the precedent, which was then followed in Bosnia.

The new order will not be pleasant. Immigrants will take over the country, and Americans will lose all their constitutional rights, especially the right to bear arms. Controls will be unprecedented: "it will only be a matter of time before humans are tattooed with a similar mark" to the codes in the supermarket. Or tiny microchips will be inserted into Americans' buttocks to keep track of each person's whereabouts and activities.

(Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, believes the government performed this operation on him during his army service.) Those who step out of line will meet with severe consequences. Dissidents will be removed by unmarked black helicopters to detention camps located at government installations such as air force bases.

Some of these have already been prepared; ominously, barbed wire around an unused airfield in California faces inward. As a last resort, four crematoria have been built around the country, each capable of disposing of three thousand corpses a day, or over four million per year.

To forestall this scenario, the Right has taken a variety of steps. In 1994, it spurred the Oklahoma legislature to pass a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress "to cease any support for the establishment of a 'new world order' or any form of global government." It also takes active measures, with some ten to forty thousand individuals organized into militias that train with guns during weekends in the backwoods of Michigan, Montana, and other states, preparing for the showdown.

They engage in "bluehat spotting," or watching for U.N. troops in the United States, as well as keeping a sharp eye out for black helicopters ("When I see a helicopter without markings, I refer to it as an enemy helicopter"). They also paint over highway signs - and thereby confuse highway crews, which lose their maintenance records. To get around this problem, the Indiana Transportation Department changed its methods of keeping codes, hoping this would "reassure those in the motoring public who had these suspicions."

The militias worry not just about defending the homeland; in addition, they increasingly challenge the government of the United States. To many on the Right, Washington has been irretrievably lost to "real" Americans, and they believe it necessary to destroy the U.S. government. William Pierce, the leading exponent of insurrection, avoids charges of seditious conspiracy by presenting his ideas in the form of novels.

In The Turner Diaries, called "the bible of the extremist Right," he recounts with chilling enthusiasm the story of the Organization, an underground racist white group financed through counterfeiting and robbing Jewish stores. The action culminates in a racial uprising and the "Day of the Rope," when whites who have "betrayed their race" hang from tens of thousands of lampposts. Then follow massacres of Jews and blacks. Ultimately the Organization takes over the government.

In a second novel, Hunter, an admiring Pierce tells the story of a single individual who kills miscegenists, Jews, and others unsuited to live in his vision of America. Pierce does not hide his operational ambitions in writing these novels: "I don't write just for entertainment. It's to explain things to people. I'd like to see North America become a white continent."

One doesn't have to live in the inner city or in Montana to worry about plots; conspiracy theories also flourish among society's favored. Plenty of centrist, rich, and educated people share this disposition, including presidential candidates and important figures in popular culture.

Extract from Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From by Daniel Pipes. Buy the book at Amazon.