We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

So the Big Threat to the USA does not have a Black Flag after all…

… apparently it flies a yellow flag with a rattlesnake on it, rather like the one in the sidebar of this blog.

“The sheer number of people that belong to the movement is probably the biggest concern,” Johnson said. “The fact that you have people across America that believe that the federal government is an illegal entity, that a lot of state governments are illegal, and that the laws do not apply to them is very subversive to our rule of law and to our society.”

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the SPLC, told VICE News that a complete lack of racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric separates sovereign citizens from their Posse Comitatus predecessors, who distinguished their “organic citizenship” from “14th Amendment citizens,” implying that black people have limited rights.

“What has happened that is very bizarre is that very large numbers of black Americans have adopted the sovereign citizens ideology, but without the racist twist,” Potok said. “I would say that if you looked at sovereign citizens today, almost none of them know the racist and anti-Semitic origins of the history. You just don’t hear about it anymore.”

It is only bizarre if you do not understand what drives such notions. Indeed such an approach to the state makes perfect sense given what the state has done to black American civil society. But expecting that to comprehensible by people deeply invested in the modern regulatory state is unrealistic, so of course he finds it bizarre. And I wonder how many Democrats know about the origins of the KKK or the eugenics movement?

23 comments to So the Big Threat to the USA does not have a Black Flag after all…

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    Statists are probably right to fear the wider individualist movement more than Islamism. While Islamism undoubtedly wants to attack the US, it is highly unlikely to actually defeat it. Tea partiers on the other hand have a reasonable shot at reducing the size of the federal government, maybe even axing whole departments.

    Of course, if the police are threatened by this, it begs the question of whose interests they serve. It sure aint the people or the constitution.

  • Regional

    Perry you’re a trouble maker for pointing out reality.

  • Meanwhile, he said, attacks by sovereigns, “especially on local law enforcement, and the media coverage tied to those events, have just impacted law enforcement’s perception.”

    I see, se media coverage is also a threat. I’m sure I’m thinking the same thing they are thinking.

  • (should be ‘so’, not ‘se’ – sorry).

  • Reading further, I don’t know about black flag or yellow flag, but there surely seems to be lots of false flags in that article.

  • William O. B'Livion

    Potok’s first “mistake” (generally one does not ascribe malice to the stupid, but in SPLCs case it’s tough) is asserting that any significant number of tea party folks actually think that the Feds or the states governments *are* illegal. Yes, many of them think, with quite a bit of evidence, that both state and federal governments have exceeded their warrant, and that especially the Federal Government has engage in behavior contrary to the law. But *most* of your “tea party” types (especially those who swelled the ranks in the 2009-2011 time frame) were mostly folks who were (and are) worried about the debt.

    His second “mistake” is assuming that the contemporary “tea party” came out of the other “movements” he mentions (three guys in the back of a denny’s is not a movement, but it makes for good fundraising). Frankly I think he knows he’s lying there, but “whatev’s” .

  • CaptDMO

    Don’t be silly, in northern New England, SOME of “them” have been known to fly a flag with a cute little porcupine on it.
    Frankly, I think he knows he’s lying too. NOBODY could be THAT stupid, RIGHT?
    SOME of…well…*ahem* us are put off by injecting “NEW”, or “REAL”, or even “neo” in front of the original ideas in sheeps clothing, that were co-opted by disingenuous wolves.
    (Yeah, yeah, no crap about “New” England! The entire area is now made up of “states”, with names like New Hampshire, and ….*sigh* oh poop.

  • Laird

    “[U]ntil a sovereign citizen commits alleged criminal violations they are not investigated by the FBI. The FBI does not investigate First Amendment-protected activities.”

    If anybody really believes that, I have a very nice bridge to sell you.

    One has to read with a healthy dose of skepticism any article which uses as a serious information source the Southern Poverty Law Center. That’s a real “paper terrorist” organization. If they have ever told the truth about anything I’m unaware of it.

    That yellow flag (technically the “Gadsden Flag“, originating during the American revolution) may have been adopted by various of these “sovereign citizen” types, but it’s in widespread use among many other small-government groups such as libertarians, Tea Party organizations, even biker gangs. I have a sticker of it on my car; I know lots of people who fly it on their houses. It has also spawned any number of variations, some more clever than others. Associating that flag with a handful of violent extremists is an obvious attempt to taint the others by invented association.

  • Any statement made by the SPLC should be treated with the same circumspection one would treat a statement by, say, Josef Goebbels.

    Now, having got Godwin out of the way, let me add that the SPLC would be a laughable organization if it wasn’t taken so seriously by the ruling liberal class.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    And I wonder how many Democrats know about the origins of the KKK or the eugenics movement?

    The success of the George W. Bush administration in hiding its seminal role in these movements can only be explained by the extremist Right’s hidden control of the corporate media.

    Wheee! ;^)

  • Eric Tavenner

    The Southern Preposterous Lie Center is a major part of the Democrat propaganda machine.

  • jdm

    Already in the second paragraph, the goal of the article is declared: to convince the reader that people (like me, btw) who think government has grown too big, powerful, and corrupt, are, in fact, “a fringe ideology of homegrown radical nutjobs [and] the country’s top terrorist threat”. I appreciate VICE News being so open in their biases, so I can openly ignore them.

    let me add that the SPLC would be a laughable organization if it wasn’t taken so seriously by the ruling liberal class.

    Continuing in the Godwin vein, Nazis would’ve been laughable as well if they weren’t taken so seriously by the Germans. Heck, even more laughable is Islam. There are just too many people taking too many statist/collectivist ideas way too seriously 😉

  • Mr Ed

    The biggest ‘threat’ to the USA is its own debt. All of its own making. Its raising and servicing will devour the basis of economic life in the USA. Why is this not listed as a ‘threat’?

    I find it odd if people say that they ‘hate’ cancer. If you have a cancer, it is you, an integral part of you, but growing beyond control, and devouring you, except that the debt of the US government is a result of the aggregate of the decisions of the Congress and it may devour the host people before the US government lets go. The US government is a parasite like mistletoe, and under its pretty leaves many hope for the kiss of economic death.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Any statement made by the SPLC should be treated with the same circumspection one would treat a statement by, say, Josef Goebbels.

    Kim, be careful here: Goebbels was more reliable than the NY Times about the Holodomor. Surely you don’t mean that the SPLC is more reliable than the NYT?

    (With thanks for getting Godwin out of the way.)

  • Mr Ed

    Your country is not free if its government has more say in your life than you have in its.

  • Paul Marks

    Good post.

    What is bad is Mr Potoc – and the soft Marxism of the SPLA which insists on trying to associate support for Constitutional freedom (for limiting government) with racism.

    As for some black people wanting freedom – wanting to limit government GOOD.

    There has been a lot of talk of “Black Pride” or many years – government dependency is not compatible with sincere pride.

  • Paul Marks

    The Rattlesnake Flag is good – and under such a limited government the vast national debt would not be possible.

    The Black Flag is evil – all versions of it.

    Fascist, Islamist and Communal (anti “capitalist”) “Anarchist”.

  • Laird

    “Your country is not free if its government has more say in your life than you have in its.”

    Mr Ed, I’d like to see that on a t-shirt or bumper sticker.

  • Laird

    In 2009 the Obama Administration eliminated all use of the phrase “war on terror“. Less than one month later it defined “right-wing extremism” as a potential threat to domestic security. A year later it removed “Islam” and “jihad” from all US security documents, effectively eliminating Islamic jihad from our anti-terrorism activities and focusing them squarely on putative “domestic terrorism”. At the same time it accelerated the process (begun under Bush) of expanding the size and paramilitary capabilities of the Department of Homeland Security and showering local police forces across the nation with “surplus” military weaponry. The elevation of “Sovereign Citizens”, a group (using that term very loosely) so miniscule as to be completely irrelevant, to the status of a national security threat is merely the continuation of the process of re-defining America’s enemies as being primarily domestic and almost entirely persons whose political views differ from those of the Administration. Ironically, those alleged proto-terrorists include the very people who volunteered to defend the nation after the attacks on 9-11.

    Does anyone really doubt that the United States is quietly undergoing an autogolpe?

  • It does rather look that way Laird.

  • Paul Marks

    Laird – one of the principle (lying) reports linking pro freedom people with terrorism came from the government of Missouri.

    Yes the shyster lawyer (no offence to good lawyers such as yourself) Democrat Governor and his fellow shyster lawyer Democrat A.G. of Missouri (Governor Nixon was AG himself for many years – he specialised in shaking down businesses enterprises with tissues-of-lies legal cases and then boasting about how much money he had won for the State).

    Now the media have transformed these scumbags (and their fellow Democrat scumbag – the Mayor of Ferguson) into evil conservatives – oppressing “the people”. The people whose votes they have buying (with the money of the taxpayers) for years.

    Much like the Hispanic registered Democrat in Florida (an Obama supporter) was transformed (by the media) into a white conservative – the moment he shot a black man(who was smashing his head against a concrete paving slab at the time).

    “One would have to have a heart of stone – not to laugh” (Mr Wilde – in relation to the pathos of one of Mr Dickens’ death scenes).

    Although laughing is a bit too painful for me at the moment.

  • long-lost cousin

    The sovereign morons aren’t much of a threat on a large scale. More of a decentralized pain in the ass with the occasional violent flare-up. I wouldn’t say that they play in the jihadists’ weight class, certainly not measured in terms of body count.

    The SPLC…I’ve met one of their senior researchers, Mark P. He looked me square in the eye and then spent the next five minutes lying through his teeth. Tells me everything I need to know about them.

    Oh, there is a black SovTard movement in the US. They call themselves the “Moors” and have a bunch of the same goofy theories and ideas about sticking commas into their names and signing papers with UCC references.

  • Ben Dover

    As a former small farm owner and tea party member, I attest to most of this article. Most of the aforementioned comments regarding this issue I could not agree more strongly with. However, being a former federal government employee, my opinion is not as strong on this issue as before.