The radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.
The number of hate groups counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year reached a total of 1,018, up slightly from the year before but continuing a trend of significant growth that is now more than a decade old. The truly stunning growth came in the anti-government “Patriot” movement — conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy.
Tip: @MichaelShermer on Twitter
Conspiratorial thinking is complex but seems to underlay the foundation of a number of these groups who distrust the government and think that higher forces are organized, with secret agendas, and out to get them.
I highly recommend reading this piece. However, it will scare the bejeezus out of you. Whose afraid of foreign terrorists when the homegrown ones are in your backyard, irrational, and have guns?