The takeaway quote from the New York Times profile of Jared Loughner linked by Ed earlier today:
He became intrigued by antigovernment conspiracy theories, including that the Sept. 11 attacks were perpetrated by the government and that the country’s central banking system was enslaving its citizens. His anger would well up at the sight of President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he considered to be the nefarious designs of government.
“I think he feels the people should be able to govern themselves,” said Ms. Figueroa, his former girlfriend. “We didn’t need a higher authority.”
Breanna Castle, 21, another friend from junior and senior high school, agreed. “He was all about less government and less America,” she said, adding, “He thought it was full of conspiracies and that the government censored the Internet and banned certain books from being read by us.”
I am very familiar with this kind of idiot: I saw them all the time at the anti-war rallies I covered between 2003 and 2008. They hate Bush, they hate America, and they “hate war” in that America is usually the dominant combatant in any war and thus it’s an endeavor that tends to solidify American strength.
And yes, they’re also “anti-government,” but not in the way the Tea Party advocates for a smaller, more efficient government; instead, the Loughners of the world want no government; they’re anarchists.
Conspiracy theories run rampant in these circles, 9/11 Truthism being most prominent. But you’ll find these same people ranting about the Bohemian Grove, the grassy knoll, Skull and Bones, etc. At the very fringes of this conspiracy scene, you might find a small overlap with the extreme far-right kook zone, but mostly it’s the domain of leftist crazies.
Not that Loughner was sane, or part of a “scene.” We know that now. But to the extent that he was “informed” by a political worldview, it was that of the left-leaning anarchists — at the exact opposite pole from Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.