Rural Radicals


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A historian at Connecticut College, Stock identifies a long-standing strain of extremist rage in the rural heartland of America which informs the current right-wing militia groups, the survivalists, and the Christian Identity zealots. She suggests that ignorance and denial of this cultural are what made the Oklahoma bombing such a shock. She cites examples like Nathaniel Bacon’s rebel group in colonial days, and the uprising led by Daniel Shays in Pennsylvania in George Washington’s time, as exemplars of hatred of federal authority and federal taxes, and of an ugly rural cultural isolationism. In time, fed by economic insecurity, gun craziness, and crude machismo, this would manifest itself in hatred of Indians, blacks, Mormons, Mexicans, and Asians–an enduring contradiction of American idealism.

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