United States of Lyncherdom

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Patriot movement and other far-right hate groups have continued to multiply and expand over the past year:

The radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.

The number of hate groups counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year reached a total of 1,018, up slightly from the year before but continuing a trend of significant growth that is now more than a decade old. The truly stunning growth came in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement — conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy.

Apparently the Patriot movement declined under President Bush, but rose again after the subprime collapse and the election of Obama. I had always known that this was the case, but the actual numbers are frightening:

The swelling of the Patriot movement since that time has been astounding. From 149 groups in 2008, the number of Patriot organizations skyrocketed to 512 in 2009, shot up again in 2010 to 824, and then, last year, jumped to 1,274. That works out to a staggering 755% growth in the three years ending last Dec. 31. Last year’s total was more than 400 groups higher than the prior all-time high, in 1996.

It’s almost a rule of history that every revolution sparks a counter revolution, and every advance creates a backlash. The SPLC is blaming that for the rise in the number of Anti-Gay hate groups:

The LGBT community made significant advances in 2011, with the repeal of the “Don’t Act, Don’t Tell” policy on gay men and lesbians in the military, the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage by Americans and the legalization of such bonds in New York state. But it was precisely these advances that seemed to set off a furious rage on the religious right. [...] Overall, the number of anti-gay hate groups in the United States rose markedly, going from 17 in 2010 to 27 last year.

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