dressed the problem of nonaccountablerngovernment. If he had followed thisrncourse, it is doubtful, however, that Nortonrnwould have published his book. Andrnthere are occasions when publicizing halfrna case is better than nothing at all.rnPaul Gottfried is a professor ofrnhumanities at Elizabethtown College inrnPennsylvania.rnThe Eye ofrnthe Beholderrnby Philip JenkinsrnA Force Upon the Plain:rnThe American Militia Movementrnand the Politics of Haternby Kenneth S. SternrnNew York: Simon and Schuster;rn303 pp., $24.00rnAForce Upon the Plain is the mostrncomprehensive of the outpouringrnof books inspired by the Oklahoma Cityrnbombing, based as it is upon an elaboratelyrnresearched examination of the radicalrnparamilitary right. However, KennethrnStern is by no means a newcomerrncashing in on post-Oklahoma jitters. Asrna long-established researcher for thernAmerican Jewish Committee, he can legitimatelyrnclaim to have issued a publicrnforewarning that something very bad wasrnlikely to happen on April 19, 1995, thernsecond anniversary of Waco. As will bernknown to anyone who has ever delvedrninto the more bizarre reaches of thernpolitical fringe, the best resources arerngenerally to be found in the archives ofrnJewish groups like the AJC and the Anti-rnDefamation League, and it is notrnsurprising that Stern’s book is so amplyrndocumented. It is at its best when describingrnthe neo-Nazi loons inspired byrnWilliam Pierce’s book The Turner Diariesrn(though even Stern seems not tornknow the almost equally influential textrnHunter, also by Pierce, which portraysrnterrorist activism by lone “berserkers”).rnAs such. Stern’s book is likely to becomerna standard reference work, and to this extentrnit can be recommended.rnEven so, there is much that is troublingrnabout Stern’s approach, and thernunderlying ideological assumptions ofrnthe enterprise. For example, the biographicalrnnote asserts that the authorrnis “an expert on hate and hate groups.”rnExpert, certainly, but what exactly isrn”hate,” beyond a generic psychologicalrnphenomenon? Presumably a communistrnpractices hate when he excoriatesrnclass injustice, just as a radical environmentalistrnmobilizes hate against the corporationsrnand agencies which despoil thernenvironment. The Nation of Islam bothrnpractices and preaches hate of the worstrnkind when its whole political theology isrnbased on hastening the day when whiterndevils will no longer pollute the earthrnthey have corrupted and enslaved. Inrnsome sense, hate is integral to thernrhetoric of any militant or extremistrnmovement, yet today the term is only appliedrnselectively to the politics of the radicalrnright.rnStern evinces little concern for definition,rnhate being an easily recognizablernthing. In the context of this book, thernterm applies to a remarkably wide rangernof groups, mostly united by theirrnextreme suspicion of the purportedrnbenevolence of government; in additionrnto overt Nazis, it includes “WhiternSupremacists,” though most of these arerninterested less in dominating rival racesrnthan in achieving the largest degree ofrngeographical separation. “White Nationalist,”rnwhile more accurate, is presumablyrnunacceptable for not being sufficientlyrnpejorative: it is too objective byrnhalf. The “hate” category also comprehendsrnIdentity Christians, marked by arntheory of racial separation and bizarrernbiological views; in fact, they are nearrnclones of the Nation of Islam, though thernlatter are conspicuous here by their virtualrnabsence.rnA great many people qualify for inclusionrnin this book for expressing skepticismrnof the federal battle honors of Wacornand Ruby Ridge; for their concernrnregarding the surrender of Americanrnsovereignty to supranational entities likernthe United Nations; for their unhappinessrnwith federal land management policies;rnor for holding views about taxationrnand representation similar to those expressedrnforcefully at Lexington on Aprilrn19, 1775. And “hate” emphatically includesrnthe ideas of any group militantlyrnopposed to any further extension of gunrncontrol. After all, “some minimal regulationrnof guns makes sense to the majorityrnof Americans,” and the quite sweepingrnlaws already in place fall far short of thern”quite minimal” standards desired byrnStern. If you have doubts about the logicrnor constitutionality of this position,rnthen you are already well on the road torn”hate.” For Stern, no acceptable legal orrnmoral justification permits an individualrnor group to conclude that in Americanrnlaw and tradition, the right of self-governmentrnis based upon the personal libertiesrnof an armed people.rnWhite supremacists, gun-controlrnopponents, survivalists, theorists of religiousrnor racial apocalypse, conspiracyrnadvocates, radical-right critics of government,rneven some UFO believers: forrnStern, all these groups are thrown togetherrnwith Nazi extremists like those ofrnthe Order, and of isolated militants likernthose who carried out the attack in OklahomarnCity. All are “Patriots,” racists,rnand anti-Semites, and thereby part of thern”politics of hate.” If “hate” is so abominable,rnand so richly deserving of exclusionrnfrom public debate, then we are leftrnwith a remarkably narrow spectrum ofrnappropriate political expression. In fact,rnit runs the whole gamut of ideology,rnfrom A to about H.rnEven if we accept Stern’s expansiverndefinition of “hate,” there is little justificationrnfor thinking it unprecedented inrnits contemporary manifestation, and stillrnless for concluding that we are witnessingrnan “epidemic of hate.” Militia andrnvigilante activity in modern America isrnsparse compared to that in the 19th century,rnwhich embroiled many cities andrnstates in something like civil war (in fairness.rnStern takes some account of thisrnbloody heritage). In the present century,rnparamilitary upsurges have tended tornoccur in the two or three nervous yearsrnfollowing the displacement of a conservativernRepublican administration by arnliberal Democratic President, as witnessrnthe shirt groups and Bund activity of thernmid-193()’s, the Birchers and Minutemenrnof the 1960’s, and, today, fatiguedrnmen in the woods of Michigan and Oregon.rnIn stark contrast, contemporary racernrelations are radically different fromrnwhat they have been in the past, and activernracial hatred today is at an absoluternhistorical low. This might seem a curiousrnstatement given the “surging epidemic”rnof hate crime evidenced by officialrnstatistics over the last decade. Butrnthese figures indicate only altered sensibilities,rnwhile the mere fact of collectionrndemonstrates a state of mind quite un-rn30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn