gument, expressed to me by Christianrnactivist John Lofton, that if the model ofrnChristian activism is that of the earlyrnChurch, it ought to be clear that neitherrnJesus nor the Apostles nor any of thernChurch Fathers ever advocated violencernagainst the pagan Roman state, nor didrnany Christian ever engage in violence;rnthe point back then was not to stop abortion,rnprevent the worship of pagan gods,rnor improve the sexual morals of the Romansrnbut to convert the Empire, andrnonce that conversion was accomplished,rnthese Christian theological and ethicalrngoals fell into place. In this view, snuffingrnabortionists is simply a distractionrnfrom the main business of Christians,rnwhich is to work for the Christianizationrnof mankind.rnOf course, the irony of politicalrnviolence nowadays is precisely that it isrnself-professed Christians in the pro-lifernmovement who commit it—not neo-rnNazis, Klansmen, tax resisters, gun nuts,rnor defenders of smokers’ rights who, inrnthe paranoid mythology of the left,rnmight be expected to resort to guns morernquickly. Aside from various “haterncrimes,” most of which, even when real,rnappear to be largely spontaneous outburstsrnrather than acts of principled andrnpremeditated terrorism, none of thernmore desperate factions of the rightrnseems to be much of a threat to anyone.rnOnly twice in this country since WorldrnWar II has any part of what might bernconsidered the “right” shown any inclinationrnto resort to tossing brickbats: duringrnthe civil rights war in the South—rnwhen a handful of people were shot orrnkilled by the Klan and a few years laterrnwhen antibusing activists actually set firernto some school buses and on one occasionrnchased Teddy Kennedy—and duringrnthe early 1980’s, when a gang of neo-rnNazis killed a Jewish talk-show host inrnColorado, held up an armored car, andrncommitted divers and sundry acts of uselessrnmayhem. Except for occasional organizedrnnuts and justly outraged parentsrnof bused children, the right in the UnitedrnStates has mainly been a harmlessrnbunch. Given what the right’s enemiesrnhave done to the country over the years,rnthis really does not speak well of thernright.rnThe peacefulness of the Americanrnright is no less ironic than the readinessrnof some pro-life Christians to take uprnarms, and it ought to be the other wayrnaround, especially since the right’s professedrnheroes and models include suchrntrigger-happy warriors as the Minutemenrnof the War for Independence andrnthe Confederates of the Second War forrnIndependence. Yet even the “right-wingrnterrorist” group of the I960’s that calledrnitself the “Minutemen” never did veryrnmuch except stash arms against der Tagrnand issue “communiques” about howrnthe commies they believed were runningrnthe Federal Reserve System had just betterrnwatch out. Even the Ku Kluxersrnmainly restricted themselves to holdingrnbig barbecues beneath the fiery crossrnand listening to uplifting lectures on racernrelations that were probably more interestingrnthan the revivalist sermons theyrnmore commonly attended.rnOf course, there are all sorts of reasonsrnfor the general harmlessness of thernAmerican right, and the ineffectualityrnof its supposedly violent wing merely reflectsrnthe same characteristic of its morernmainstream political side. The mainrnreason, I believe, for the absence of anyrnserious rightist violence in this country isrnquite simply that there is no legitimizingrnmyth of violence for the right here. Therndominant myths are those of the left—rnof the consent of the governed, of naturalrnrights, of progress. Any movementrnthat invokes these myths to justify arncourse of violence is, virtually by definition,rnpart of the left, and any movementrnthat takes up arms to challenge or violaternthese normative American myths soonrnfinds that it can’t think of any good reasonsrnto justify itself. It cannot justify itselfrnbecause its leaders and membersrnhave been raised and educated only inrnthe myths of the left, and the myths ofrnthe left can never serve to justify a movementrnthat seeks to challenge what thernleft demands.rnThus, when the above-mentionedrnright-wing terrorists of the “Silent Brotherhood”rnwere brought to trial for theirrnmurder of talk-show host Alan Berg inrn1984, their defense was that they simplyrndidn’t do it, and it never occurred to therndefendants or their supporters to try tornjustify the killing, as genuine terrorists alwaysrndo. In order to mount a case thatrnkilling Mr. Berg was justified, the killersrnwould have had to reach for ideas, values,rnand concepts that simply are not on thernAmerican intellectual shelf and werernprobably beyond the mental grasp ofrnmost Silent Brothers anyway. Such conceptsrnare readily available in Russia, certainrncountries of Europe, and LatinrnAmerica, but here they just don’t exist,rnand you’d be better off warning aboutrninvasions from the moons of Saturn thanrntrying to explain those ideas in public, letrnalone using them to justify murder.rnBut of course the situation in thisrncountry today is such, or is quickly becomingrnsuch, that those ideas—drawnrnfrom Georges Sorel, Friedrich Nietzsche,rnCharles Maurras, among others—mightrnsoon find a more receptive audience. Ifrnthe ineffectuality of the mainstream politicalrnright has accomplished anything, itrnhas shown that Republicans cannot andrnwill not do what they say they will do ifrnelected. One reason for the emergencernof anti-abortion violence in the last couplernof years is precisely that after morernthan a decade of two right-leaning andrnprofessedly pro-life Republican Presidents,rneach of whom appointed new Justicesrnto the Supreme Court, the pro-liferncause was no closer to victory than beforernand perhaps even farther from it, andrneven several of the Justices appointed byrnReagan and Bush voted against overturningrnRoe V. Wade when they had thernchance. If you believe, as pro-lifers do,rnthat the fetus is a human being and thatrndestroying it is an act of murder, then itrnis clear that the peaceful and lawful politicalrnand legal process has failed, andrnthe logic of resorting to the killing ofrnthose who professionally commit suchrnmurders becomes more and more compelling.rnBut that logic is no more compellingrnthan when it is applied to many of thernother commitments the Republicanrnright has regurgitated repeatedly in thernpast 20 years—to lower taxes, to reducernthe size and power of the state, to enforcernlaws against dangerous criminals, tornprotect Americans against foreign enemies,rnto resist the orchestrated destructionrnof American civilization by publiclyrnfunded schools and cultural authorities,rnto protect the country against the invasionrnof immigration, to abolish or radicallyrnreform and reduce the welfare state,rnto redress the injustice of the civil rightsrnlaws, and on and on. Not one of theserncommitments has been kept, and todayrnit is hard to find a Republican politicianrnor a conservative pundit who even understandsrnthem, though what theyrnpromised action against amounts to anrnonslaught on the American way of life atrnleast as serious and lethal as any invasionrnby foreign armies.rnViolence as a political instrument is arndesperate measure, but it is not so desperaternthat it is unprecedented or unjustifiable.rnThe (original) Minutemen andrn12/CHRONICLESrnrnrn