Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Serious Paranoia

The right wing blogs and alternative media are all abuzz about the passage of H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This site, which rants about the “New World Order”, calls the bill “one of the most blatant attacks against the Constitution yet.” The terminally clueless Devvy Kidd calls it a “a very dangerous bill to liberty and freedom” and notes conspiratorially that the bill passed the House “under cover of fire” – that is, while the country was distracted with the wildfires in California. The reaction is all about the bill allegedly creating “thought crimes.” So what does this bill actually do?

Not much. It establishes a National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism. The commission is empowered to “Examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States” and to “review the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of” academic and government studies on these issues.

This commission will meet for 18 months and then issue a report with recommendations for “long-term countermeasures to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and measures that can be taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence from developing and spreading within the United States.”

Wow, that’s really scary. A government commission to study domestic groups that commit violence to achieve their political goals. Clearly, this is just one step from fascism. Never mind that the bill even requires that the recommendations of the commission “shall not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, or civil liberties of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents.”

This bill passed the house by a vote of 400-6. It hasn’t even been introduced in the Senate as far as I can tell. Clearly the world is coming to an end.