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The Decline of Left-Wing Terrorism


Despite the violence fetish of some leftists, the reality is that left-wing terrorism has declined to almost nothing in the United States since 1980. We do face severe domestic terrorist threats, but those threats exist almost exclusively on the right, including recent white supremacist violence against law enforcement. Yet in popular media, the face of scary left-wing terrorists, usually environmentalists, dominate our images of domestic terrorism. While the 1990s saw a rise in radical environmentalists who sometimes engaged in property violence, such as certain cells of the Earth Liberation Front, the idea that “ecoterrorism” means some idiots burning SUVs is absurd.* Yet a visit to the museum at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing is all about ecoterrorism and not about right-wing terrorism at all. It’s a crazy and highly politicized disconnect.

This is a good thing considering that any left-wing violence in the United States would be met with an overwhelming state force and fail miserably. It’d be nice to beat back this damaging mythology though.

* One key lesson from the ELF group based out of Eugene that burned a science building at the University of Washington. If your cell leader is a heroin addict, you might want to reconsider your actions.

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