Assessing domestic right-wing extremism using the theory of collective behavior
Baldoza, Arnold C.
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Despite published warnings from the Department of Homeland Security, the current social, economic, and political environment is not likely to lead to a violent confrontation between right-wing extremist groups and government authorities. This thesis applies the theory of collective behavior and examines-in the context of the current health care reform debate-existing conditions and dynamics and their influence on the domestic far right. Although several determinants of collective behavior (i.e., structural conduciveness, structural strain, and ideology) produce a climate within which right-wing extremism can emerge and flourish, the lack of an influential far-right leader and the effective operation of existing social controls hinder the mobilization of the domestic far right. To counter right-wing extremism, the U.S. government should avoid dismissing outright the grievances of the far right. Instead, the government should direct its efforts to reduce the social structures that create an environment in which right-wing extremism can emerge and flourish and to encourage and ensure the effective operation of social controls. Endeavors along these lines are similar to international efforts countering radical Islamic extremism. Further studies are needed to explore how counter-radicalization approaches against Islamic extremists can be tailored to comply with domestic law and be applied to domestic right-wing extremists.
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