“Extremists have taken over and they’re the ones who run the foreign policy and have convinced us to go along with all these wars.”—Congressman Ron Paul
The alleged bogey of “extremism” has become a prominent element of public discourse particularly since the mid-1990s. The assumed terroristic tendencies of ordinary Americans is a preoccupation of many mainstream and liberal intellectuals apparently more concerned with moral guardianship than the growing police state and continued wartime economy. These conditions underline a campaign to promote paranoia that only intensified following September 11, 2001. As the specter of deviant commoners helps validate accelerated repressive measures, the state’s genuine extremism of illegal wars and evisceration of most civil liberties falls from public purview.