Terrorism Ku Klux Klan: Terrorist Thesis

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That Duke's followers believed it was all that mattered. As always it was easy to believe that the failures of today were the result of interlopers and insidious conspiracies by inferior types. Duke was elected to the Louisiana state legislature in 1989. Though the campaign focused to a considerable extent on his Klan connections it ignored his wider philosophical associations and social and political connections. Duke was heavily involved with the American Nazi party. National Socialism represented possibly the ultimate expression of the Klan's principles of racial hatred, these poisonous ideas being brought to their natural apex in the goal of literally exterminating the supposedly inferior races. Following the methodology of Adolph Hitler, Duke began as a revolutionary but then turned to an appeal to "jobs and bread," thus linking his virulently racist campaign to the most fundamental human needs (Moore, 1992, pp. 94-95). Duke claimed to represent the true, hidden majority. In the end he was driven from office by a coalition of African-Americans and seemingly opposed White groups who saw in David Duke a far greater threat (Moore, 1992, p. 34).

Thus the career of David Duke and the Klan's reemergence as a force behind politics and radical, racist social change in the late Twentieth Century, was based, in a great many ways, and the same ideology that always motivates such groups -- the fear of change and the identification of that change with a nefarious "other." In such a world change is inevitably bad. The past is always represented in idealized terms, and is always somehow stolen away from those who live now. Fundamental things -- jobs, homes, traditions -- are threatened by irrational forces that seek to empower the previously disenfranchised, or even to give power to those who might have been absent before. African-Americans as well as Catholics, Jews, and many other immigrant groups, were in effect absent from the American scene in the Klan's idealized past world.
The Ku Klux Klan appeared and gained strength in response to the felt needs of those who were threatened by the emergence of these new groups. The Klan battled ideas as well as individuals and groups. It used terror to intimidate those that could not be kept down by any other means. It used propaganda to sway the hearts and minds of those who could increase its power, and plus to give force to its racist arguments. Where possible it used legitimate means to further its illegitimate goals. The Klan increasingly operated on the principle of capturing political power within the framework of the recognized political system. With increasing finesse, it packaged its leaders as men of the people, ordinary American citizens who were simply fighting for what was theirs. The Klan thrives on the idea that there are "real" Americans and there are "unreal" Americans. Racism takes life from the exalting of difference and also from the need to eliminate those who are different. Inherently illogical, it lives through fear.

References

Feldman, G. (1999). Politics, Society, and the Klan in Alabama, 1915-1949. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.

Harcourt, E.J. (2005). Who Were the Pale Faces? New Perspectives on the Tennessee Ku Klux. Civil War History, 51(1), 23+.

McGee, B.R. (1998). Rehabilitating Emotion: The Troublesome Case of the Ku Klux Klan. Argumentation and Advocacy, 34(4), 173+.

Mecklin, J.M. (1963). The Ku Klux Klan a Study of the American Mind. New York: Russell & Russell.

Moore, L.J. (1991). Citizen Klansmen: The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, 1921-1928. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

Moore, W.V. (1992). David Duke the White Knight. In the Emergence of David Duke and the Politics of Race, Rose, D.D. (Ed.) (pp. 41-55). Chapel….....

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