The Paranoid Persuasion


With its November-28 cover story, “My Life as a White Supremacist,” Newsweek has published what amounts to an extended press release from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Featuring a flaming cross on the cover and pictures of brown-clad stormtroopers from the National Socialist Movement on the inside, one expects to read a suspenseful tale of intrigue and deception in the heart of America's vast Neo-Nazi underground—a kind of Turner Diaries in which The System is triumphant. What actually emerges is a story of government incompetence, the usual self-interested hyperventilating about a non-existent revolutionary movement, and the deluded actions of a sad old paleo-American, who sacrificed his life for people who hate him.


The story profiles one John Matthews, a Vietnam veteran and “ardent anticommunist” who had “long run in extremist circles.” Matthews, inspired by John Wayne, fought for his country in Vietnam. He returned to the United States, found that the nation “showed no respect for what he sacrificed,” and learned his comrades were contracting chronic health conditions from exposure to Agent Orange. Matthews become a part of the militia network around one Tom Posey, whom Oliver North and the Reagan Administration used to supply the Nicaraguan contras with weapons. Once he outlived his usefulness, however, Posey was prosecuted by the government. (Oliver North went on to Fox News.) Though he was eventually cleared, an embittered Posey allegedly began talking about stealing weapons and blowing up a nuclear plant to start a revolution. Matthews went straight to the FBI, who recruited him as an informant. He would stay an informant for the next 10 years. 

The author of the piece, R.M. Schneiderman, then takes us on a rather boring adventure, as Matthews meets with various self-important militia leaders who talk about elaborate schemes . . . but don’t seem to do very much. Hilariously, Schneiderman notes Matthews’s handler was a Black named Donald Jarrett, who “wore nice suits and kept his hair closely cropped” (as if he’s assuring us that he wasn’t wearing dreadlocks and a hoodie.) Given that the DEA is looking for ebonics translators, I suppose we should be grateful for that. Without much of a story, Schneiderman resorts to a grab bag of various media clichés about the “far right” and simply mixes them all together. Matthews sat in church pews “with would-be abortion-clinic bombers” (no elaboration). A supposed Vietnam vet shows up to a meeting wearing a green bomber jacket, which, we are solemnly informed, “was popular among skinheads at the time.” The story picks up when this man talks about robbing armored cars . . . but unfortunately it turns out that he, too, is FBI agent. For a report about 10 years in the Nazi underground, there’s not much of an underground and seemingly no Nazis.

There is, however, some semblance of the American Right, and there’s always good money for a reporter who can pathologize it. Schneiderman sneers, “Posey went on about the New World Order, which to extremists like him meant the threat of global takeover by an assortment of international organizations including banks, the United Nations, and other elite institutions.” One sighs with relief that such a view has no basis in truth and is only held by “extremists.” Even so, if only Posey had dressed in all black, instead of camo, and taken a shit on a police car, he could have been recognized as a proto-Occupy protester and be getting an adoring interview on Democracy Now as we speak.

Most of all, Schneiderman writes about how Matthews occasionally walked around at a gun show, surrounded by people who had camouflage and firearms. This must be titillating to Newsweek/Daily Beast readers . . . but nothing particularly shocking to any American who has stopped by a gun show in the South or West and found typical Republicans and their small children walking around, buying spare parts for legal firearms along with Israeli Defense Force T- shirts.

MSNBC Affirmative-Action Anchor Tamron Hall practically quivers with fear when she interviewed Schneiderman, moaning how scared she is that people are buying lots of guns. Hall of course, is an attendee of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church, although she is angry at him for not being ethnocentric enough to unconditionally support a Black president. Hall is more dedicated, moderating Congressional Black Caucus town halls in which Congressmen (or those haven’t been arrested for corruption yet) charge that the Tea Party wants to lynch people. Still, the thought of White people having guns is somehow dirty, wrong, and scary; even though it isn’t illegal, it probably should be.

Of course, the militaristic trappings of the groups Mathews infiltrated are a unique product of the reactionary American Right, with its focus on “well-regulated militias” harkening back to Lexington and Concord. Even strategically, American militias have less to do with serious IRA-style guerillas than American veterans and frustrated wannabes using uniforms, elaborate ranks, and farcical “training” workshops to live a fantasy about defending the United States as it once was. American reactionaries can arm to the teeth because it is the one thing they can do legally (for now) without being fired from their jobs, hounded by leftists, or having to do anything.


Even in the most popular fictional presentation of militias saving America, John Wesley Rawles’s Patriots, multiracial militias sit around in their respective rural areas after “The Collapse”; they somehow manage to defeat Big Government forces and implement radical libertarianism without leaving home. The Rambo trappings of the Right belie the conventional and exhausted nature of its ideology. Rather than some dynamic revolutionary force, Posey and his cohorts look more like the militant wing of Howard Phillips’s Conservative Caucus: they arm to the teeth to make sure we pray to Jesus in schools and that brown people around the world don’t suffer under godless Communism. It is less terrifying to fight the FBI than to break with the dreams of the American past.

Anyway, Tom Posey did hatch some kind of plot to attack an armory and nuclear plant, though nothing seems to have come of it. The thrilling climax of this tale is that because of Matthews’s years of work, Posey is eventually arrested and charged with . . . stealing night-vision goggles. He’s sentenced to two years in prison. Fin.

In Schneiderman’s defense, there are Internet reports that a far more interesting original draft of the article was pulled by his editors, because it contained information about FBI mishandling of the Oklahoma City Bombing. Some conservative publications are reporting that the Obama Administration directly pressured Newsweek to remove elements of the story, perhaps because parts of it relate to the ongoing “Fast and Furious” scandal. Regardless, after years of investigation, all the FBI was able to pin on this fearsome terrorist leader was that he found an illegal way to see in the dark.

The real question in all of this is where are all the Nazis?

As you have probably guessed, there are none. Hall bleats about the rise of terrorist groups loyal to “the KKK and right-wing extremism,” but the Klan itself never seems to show up except when Matthews supposedly attended their “dance parties.” Another leader has “links” (the SPLC’s favorite word) to the Klan, but the vast majority of the groups seem to be typical reactionary Americans worrying about Jesus, the Constitution, and sound money. As for the National Socialist Movement (or the National Socialist anything), they don’t pop up at all, though it doesn’t stop Newsweek from using huge pictures of them with typical negative campaign ad-style coloring.

Still, we must be on our guard. Right-wing extremist groups have mushroomed from 149 to 824 since President Obama’s election, as Tamron Hall solemnly informs her audience. These figures come from the credible Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that would never exaggerate or resort to hyperbole in order to make money. According to their list, extremist groups include the Constitution Party (each state chapter counted separately to increase the numbers), the website WorldNetDaily (which somehow is counted in separate states), WorldNetDaily Books (which is counted separately and is currently pushing a book by the noted militia sympathizer and anti-Semite Jack Abramoff), the fearsome Confederate Home Guard (which somehow has a chapter in California), every separate chapter of the John Birch Society, and even something called the “Granny Warriors,” which seems to be a group of old ladies obsessed with Ron Paul. If we aren’t careful, Lebanese/Syrian evangelical Joseph Farah may join forces with the Granny Warriors— DHS won’t stand a chance of preventing the Fourth Reich!

The article, if it can even be called that, is exactly what you expect. It’s simply one more addition to the never-ending hate campaign against traditional Whites, regardless of circumstances, relevance, or facts. There are Nazis everywhere! Hate is always on the rise! But their defeat is always certain. Schneiderman will assuredly go on to add more of the same to his portfolio, taking their place alongside his interview with a Swede fighting “far right extremism,” the art of Haitian children in the Smithsonian, and America’s transformation into a hip-hop nation with the election of Obama. The latter features the political insights of Young Jeezy.

That said, there is a tragedy at the center of this farce. Joseph Matthews himself is now dying from illnesses caused by his own exposure to Agent Orange. Though his son now knows why he couldn’t be around when he was growing up, the lost time can never be replaced. Like Mosey himself, the FBI eventually betrayed him, casually releasing the name of this “secret informer” so that it was out on the Internet for all to see. According to some reports, even now, the FBI is actively trying to muzzle Matthews in order to cover up its own incompetence. The Bureau shows far more concern for its own secrets than the lives of its informants.

Even Schneiderman treats Matthews with contempt. The media takes care to dress up Barack Obama’s speeches for publication, even when he condescends to the African proles by dropping his gs and going into his “Black preacher” voice. When the media occasionally transcribes the reality, people who are Black for a living and are paid to look out for this kind of thing, make sure to call them racist.

With the Newsweek article, we encounter another case in which White Privilege doesn’t apply. Schneiderman makes sure to quote Matthews in full-on “aw shucks,” redneck mode, with the pull quote, “I’d been in two wars, but they was never like the war on domestic terrorism.”

Schneiderman is letting us know that in America’s never ending war against its own people, even Cletus has to do his part. Schneiderman also helpfully lets us know that Matthews occasionally uses epithets, though out of “habit, not hate,” lest we get it into our heads that even one of these Whites are uncontaminated by evil thoughts.

John Mathews

The unfortunately patriotic John Mathews

Militia leaders around America think America can somehow be “restored” by re-enacting Bunker Hill with automatic weapons. This time, for some reason, the redcoats will be replaced by local cops just as powerless and confused as they are. Matthews’s position is even more absurd, in that he thinks the government he served is somehow less extreme or fanatical than the most paranoid would-be warlord. Matthews moans near the end of the article, “All those years I’ve been a good boy and kept my mouth shut.” In return, his government has rewarded him with scorn before he eventually dies from their poison. Even if you are a “good boy,” endanger your life, and sacrifice your beliefs, health, and family, you will be tossed in the trash.

In another age, he would have been a great patriot, a man who put duty before everything. Instead, John Matthews gave his life so that his children can grow up in a country with a Third World underclass and a government geared on socially reconstructing the natives. In America’s long war against her own people, John Matthews helped make victory possible. We can only pray that in the end, he knew not what he did.