The "When should you shoot a cop?" flier reportedly floating around Occupy Wall Street protests in Phoenix should give liberal protesters serious pause, but should be of even more concern for conservatives who are anxious to write off the movement as nothing more than a harmless bunch left-wing nutjobs.
As Mike notes, the disturbing anti-police message was prominently published months ago on the website of Larken Rose, a self-described conservative-turned-libertarian-turned-anarchist. This fact not only demonstrates how the allure of anarchy connects the ends of today's political spectrum, but it also coincidentally means Lenin's "useful idiots" can be found on both the left and right.
Take for instance this group, calling themselves "Peace, Freedom & Prosperity." Their basic message of "liberty, small government and individualism" may be enticing to constitutional conservatives, but they actually stand for a decidedly anarchist "anti-state" approach to governing and are lending their full-fledged support to the Occupy Wall Street movement (emphasis mine):
As any modern activist knows, ideas spread quickly and exponentially. Fertile minds are hard to find, but the sheer numbers participating in and paying attention to the Occupy Movement are promising. The Anti-State works in the arena of ideas, teaching people TO think, rather than WHAT to think. OWS is an opportunity not to be missed, and it’s probably spread to a city near you. Get out there. Pour some gas on the fire.
(The obvious irony of the group's name was not lost on me.)
Or how about another group loosely affiliated with Rose, known as "Liberty on Tour"? According to their website, their advocacy goals are three-fold: "self-government, personal responsibility and consensual interactions." Sounds harmless until you learn about how their support of Occupy Wall Street's anti-corporate message is rooted in anti-state anarchist philosophy:
[OWS protesters] are already disillusioned with the Statist Quo. They know things are messed-up. But many (- not all!) focus their attention on berating corporations and banks. ...
If you’re following the Occupy Wall Street developments you understand the protest and its potential. You know that almost without exception those on the ground are driven by noble intentions, to live in a freer, more prosperous world. Through video, communicate to them how that is best achieved.
Both of these groups are linked to Rose's CopBlock.org and their political context is also important as those on the left will try to paint Occupy Wall Street's negative characteristics -- including recent lawlessness and anti-police sentiments -- as the radical residue of supposed right-wingers like Rose.
So even if you consider yourself to be a liberal or conservative, know that groups like "Peace, Freedom & Prosperity" and individuals like Larken Rose do not stand to defend America or her constitution and all it stands for. That's why it's important to know where you stand and stand firm... and once in a while, take time to reevaluate your position to make sure you're still standing where you belong.