From Kevin Carson. Read the entire article.
If you think the anti-government paranoids of right and left are “extremists,” it’s a safe bet you don’t know much of anything at all about the actual historical record of federal law enforcement, the content of legislation like the 1996 Counter-Terrorism Act or USA PATRIOT, or the broad range of “national security” powers claimed by the Executive in the event of martial law proclaimed unilaterally by … wait for it … the Executive.
If you think Noam Chomsky’s a raving anti-American lunatic, it’s a safe bet that you don’t know anything about the role of the U.S. government after WWII in setting up provisional governments staffed by former Axis collaborators, about the things the U.S. government did in Guatemala in 1954 and Jakarta in 1965, about Operation Condor, or about the School of the Americas.
What it comes down to is that the “mainstream consensus” is manufactured — manufactured by the very institutions that depend on it for their survival. One of the most important functions in any society is the cultural apparatus, whose job is to reproduce a population that accepts the system of power as legitimate and as the only natural or inevitable way of doing things. The range of “mainstream” or “moderate” policy proposals, by definition, encompasses only those policies that can be carried out within the existing framework of dominant institutions, by the kinds of people currently running them. Any proposal that requires fundamental changes in the institutional framework or structure of power is, by definition, “extremist.”