The error of Janet Napolitano in her concern with "Right-Wing extremism" is much more fundamental than just a phobia about the huge number of Americans who believe that abortion is morally wrong, that the federal government spends too much money, that taxes are too high, and that too many decisions are made in Washington. Napolitano makes the same mistake that nearly everyone makes on the Left: they assume that they must have some ideological counterpart at the other end of the political spectrum.
They don't. There is no radical Far Right which, if it could, would impose a Fascist government upon America. As I explain in my 2006 book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, and as Jonah Goldberg pointed out in his 2008 book, Liberal Fascism, and as other "conservatives" have been pointing out since then: all the brutal uglies are on the Left. Moving too far in the direction of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, as I have put it, never leads to Gestapo and death camps. The skirmish that Napolitano raised with her oafish ham-handedness is simply an extension of the long, phony war which conservatives and other normal people have been fighting for over seventy years.
For years in my articles, I would simply refer to our self-defined "Left" as "Nazis, Bolsheviks, Fascists, and other radical Leftists" and refer to the rest of us as "conservatives and other normal people." In my 2006 book I go much further: the whole ideological spectrum itself is a myth, a construction of those we typically call "Leftists" who really just yearn for power and for the destruction of Judeo-Christian moral systems. The Nazis routinely condemned the "Right" (whatever that is supposed to be) and capitalists. The very term "Third Reich" was coined by Moeller before the Nazis came to power and it was intended to describe a path which rejected Capitalism and supported a socialist foreign policy. What was true of the Nazis is true of virtually every other incarnation of the so-called "Far Right" everywhere in the world.
What we have come to call "conservatives" are the same people who used to be called "liberal," and who could just as easily be called liberal conservatives today. The only reason why we conceived the terms "liberal" and "conservative" as being in opposition is because our enemies hate both the conservation of traditional values and the liberty of the individual equally. And who invented an idea of inevitable "progress" toward some utopian police state, by whatever name that happens to be called.
Orwell understood this perfectly. In Oceania, the Inner Party had no real ideology except the eternal control of power and the thorough intrusion of this brutal power into the lives of ordinary people. Although Insoc (English Socialism) was the nominal "philosophy" of the Inner Party, Orwell makes it quite clear that it is indistinguishable from supposed "mortal enemies" in Eastasia and Eurasia. Power and power alone was the "philosophy" of all evil regimes.
In America, we place on the mythical "Far Right" such organizations as the Ku Klux Klan, although the overt racism of the Klan is very similar to the overt racism of radicalized black leaders. The Klan was also a passionate supporter of separation of church and state, of "progressive" economics, of mandatory public education, and, of course, the odious "social justice." So while the Klan produced many people who evolved into what we call Leftism or who were simultaneously considered Klansmen and Leftists, no major defender of individual liberty and capitalism ever came out of the Klan.
Woodrow Wilson, the first modern Leftist, also clearly sympathized with the Klan. His son-in-law, McAdoo, who was a strong challenger for the Democrat nomination in 1924, was supported by Klan rallies at the convention. Hugo Black, the radical Leftist who helped transform the Supreme Court into a active legislature of progressive action, had been a "progressive Democrat" and also a member of the Klan in Alabama. Tom Clark, Attorney General under FDR and Supreme Court Justice, had belonged to the Klan and Ramsey Clark, perhaps the most consistent anti-conservative in America, is his son. Harry Truman attempted to join the Klan. Who is most prominent former Klansman today? Robert Byrd, the man Democrats chose to be their leader in the Senate under Reagan. Byrd is not the exception. He is the rule. The Klan itself was essentially the terrorist wing of the Democrat Party for many decades. Why is it then placed on the mythical "Far Right"? Because the Klan was odious, so pretending that it was on the manufactured "Far Right" smears those who oppose the Left too strongly.
What American politicians were most antithetical to the Ku Klux Klan? How about Barry Goldwater, a strong supporter of the NAACP when that was not "politically correct" and a tireless supporter of civil rights for blacks during the 1950s, when Leftist Democrats in the South resisted ending Jim Crow. How about Ronald Reagan, who created the first Jewish Chaplaincy in the California prison system and who resigned from any Hollywood country clubs which excluded Jews? These "arch-conservatives" were also paragons of tolerance and fairness. Janet Napolitano would have us believe that if America moves closer to Goldwater and Reagan, then we fall into some deadly abyss. No. Moving towards liberty only brings liberty.