Right-Wing Militia Fanatic
The villains are members of an underground extremist militia which believes that The Government is going to declare martial law, seize everybody's guns, cede national sovereignty to the United Nations to form a One World Order, implant everyone with microchips to make it easier to track them, and start sending "patriots" like them to prison camps any day now -- but not on their watch! Particularly unsympathetic examples will have them displaying neo-Nazi sympathies and blaming minorities for all of their country's problems. The methods the fanatics use are typically brazen violence and terrorism, with the government and visible minorities being the primary targets. When they are caught, like their communist brethren, they typically claim to be prisoners of war and appeal to the Geneva Convention, which the prosecutors have to work to shoot down. At the end, if they are convicted or punished, there is a typically an unsettling We Are Everywhere.
While the militia movement has antecedents going back decades (many militias themselves claim the "Minutemen" of The American Revolution as spiritual predecessors), most of these characters appeared during The Nineties in American media, particularly after the Ruby Ridge incident, the Waco Siege and the Oklahoma City bombing, which involved government confrontations with supposed Real Life versions of these characters. The truth about them is a bit more complicated; see the Analysis page for more.
Militias died down after the surge in patriotism that accompanied 9/11 (although some of the more radical groups contended that the whole thing was an inside job), as well as Clinton's replacement with a right-wing president, but the last couple of years have seen militia membership surge to levels not seen since The Nineties. Most of this has been attributed to a bad economy, the election of a black, Democratic President and anger over health care reform and immigration. Once again, debate rages as to whether or not they are just patriotic Americans concerned about the direction their country is going in, violent extremists who desire to overthrow the government, or simply a disparate collection of far-right fringe groups.
Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]
- The PKC in Legend of the Galactic Heroes fits the bill in the case of the Free Planets Alliance. Though it's later revealed that the militia was supported by Trünicht, with at least a good chunk of them members of the Earth Cult.
- Infamously, High School of the Dead has Saya Takagi's parents, who serve as the heroic guardians of their small patch of civilisation during a Zombie Apocalypse.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- The Aryan Brigade in The DCU.
- The Watchdogs in the Marvel Universe. It's not clear how the rank and file members would react to learning that they're bankrolled by an actual Nazi—The Red Skull.
- One of the first stories in the G.I. Joe comic had the Joes infiltrating a non-Cobra-affiliated militia group. Cobra itself began to take on these overtones as the series continued.
- An issue of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series featured the Committee to Restore American Patriotism, a militia group which intended to use a nuclear weapon to begin a war with Russia.
- The Free States in DMZ are said to be a conglomeration of militia-type groups, and are said to be more of an "idea" rather than a geographical entity, much in keeping with the guerilla-style behavior of many militias. The hick element is also mentioned when a former Free States soldier mentions how, while serving with them, he'd never before seen as many "pissed-off rednecks".
- The 2000 movie Militia features a fascist militia stealing anthrax missiles.
- Parodied in The Stuff.
- The Happening. When a news report claims that the events of the film are the result of a CIA bioweapon test gone wrong, a group of obvious militia types with "I Knew It!!" expressions are seen loading an arsenal of weaponry in their garage.
- Von Jackson and his border vigilantes in Machete, even though they're secretly patsies to a Mexican drug lord.
- The antagonists in The Postman, which takes place in a United States that collapsed after a civil war.
- The novel the film is based on makes clear that the government survived and was restoring basic order until the militias broke its back, resulting in the hellhole the story takes place in.
- A right wing militia group is one of the one the bad guys in Blues Brothers 2000 (more or less filling the role the neo-Nazis played in the original film).
- The bad guys in the 1998 Steven Seagal film The Patriot (in which Seagal plays an immunologist!).
- Dead Bang (1989).
- The villains in The Movie of Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears were changed from Islamic radicals to neo-Nazi militia members, as the producers didn't want to inflame racial tensions so soon after 9/11.
- Falling Down: Michael Douglas runs into one as a part of his long walk through L.A. stereotypes.
- Arlington Road: The nice middle-class suburban family next door turn out to be Right Wing Militia Fanatics, and very dangerous ones.
- The unsympathetic comedy protagonists in Canadian Bacon form one of these to oppose the relentless advance of the godless Canadian hordes.
Literature[edit | hide]
- In the Tom Clancy novel Executive Orders, two of these guys decide to assassinate President Ryan with a cement trunk bomb. They make their way across the country, hindered by the virus outbreak caused by the real Big Bad, until they are arrested with no consequence before they even reach Washington. Being generous to Clancy, they might well have succeeded had the Iranian bioterrorism plot not forced them to stop at a motel for days while their bomb "ripened".
- Similarly, in The Sum of All Fears, the Arab terrorists are aided in their plot to detonate a nuclear bomb in Denver by a member of a radical Native American group. Of course, they don't tell him it's a nuke, and they kill him once he's no longer useful.
- Averted in The Survivalist, a 1980's action-adventure series by Jerry Ahern, set in a post-World War III United States occupied by the Soviets. The author goes to great lengths to avert the popular strawman of survivalists being paranoid, fascistic racists.
- The Turner Diaries has the extreme, Strawman Political version of these guys as the heroes, and was written for exactly this audience by a white supremacist leader.
- The Trigger shows one of these on the defensive. The premise of the book is that the U.S. has invented a way to sabotage guns from a distance, and they think this only makes sense if the U.S. is no longer going to rely on its advantages in gun development—which of course means to them that the U.S. is about to hand over sovereignty to the United Nations. They're portrayed as somewhat pathetic, but still dangerous to everyone around them as they try to keep their "freedom."
- The USA vs. Militia series by Ian Slater deals with a full-scale militia rebellion in America, and it was a very well-equipped militia complete with tanks and jet fighters. And to make matters worse, the war is set while World War Three is still raging.
- Harry Turtledove's The Guns of the South has one of these traveling back in time to The American Civil War to supply the South with modern weaponry.
- In The Stand Randall Flagg was a member of some groups like this, though he'll join any organization that he can egg on into causing trouble.
- These are the main villains of the Lee Child novel Die Trying.
- Parodied by Mr. Show with the character of Mountain Dougie, who tries to secede from the United States—and succeeds. He then creates a flag and currency for his new nation of 'New Freeland,' but is enticed by the wonders of America (they have food there) and emigrates to the US.
- When the crew of Voyager travel back to the past, they run afoul of a few paranoid survivalists who they think they are government agents. They get taken out by the Doctor, who stuns them with his phaser after their bullets pass right through him.
- One irony, intended or not, is that the crew members they capture are Chakotay and Torres, who themselves worked with the militia-esque Maquis before the series began.
- Jim Backus (in what must have been a career lowlight for him) appears as the leader of one of these militias in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Angels Revenge.
- Another trope fully embraced by Law and Order—especially during the late 90s. One episode called "Nullification" had a group of so called "American Patriots" claim an armored car heist (in which a guard was killed) was an act of civil disobedience akin to the Boston Tea Party. They managed a mistrial because of one disaffected juror whom McCoy had sniffed out, but refused to dismiss because he didn't want to win by working the system like the defendants were doing.
- The X-Files. When Mulder publically renounces his previous belief in UFO's, saying that it's all part of a Government Conspiracy, he's approached by a radical militia group to work for them. It turns out he's acting as a Fake Defector. But Mulder is not the only one, as one of the group is using them to carry out his own Government Conspiracy.
- A group of these kidnap The President's Daughter in the 1999 made-for-TV movie First Daughter.
- Subverted in Criminal Minds. When they go after one of these groups it turns out that a cult has taken over their compound and when the track down the original leader he's much more reasonable than expected.
- Similarly, although the militia in another episode are portrayed as racist and antagonistic, they also ran the killer out of town for abusing his wife and it's one of them who shoots the killer in the end.
- After Kim Bauer escapes a random cougar on 24, she runs into one of these, who takes her prisoner.
- One episode of Diagnosis: Murder featured a militia group trying to separate the US West Coast into a state for whites, complete with the We Are Everywhere threat and a stolen nuke.
- Leverage: "The Gone-Fishin' Job" features as its mark a debt collector using a list from the IRS to scam people out of cash that he's using to finance his own private revolution complete with possible truck bomb.
- Team Gibbs from NCIS finger a militia group for the theft of military weapons ("Split Decision") in the first season.
- Jim Rockford goes against a group of these in The Rockford Files. When they are arrested for murder at the end of the episode, they behave as though they are prisoners of war.
- Rick Flag of Smallville has definite shades of this, believing the government is out to round up and kill superheroes and masked vigilantes. The comparison is made even more obvious by his constant placement of the American flag on his weaponry, his recitation of the Star Spangled Banner as he prepares to blow up Lois' father, and the huge flag blowing behind his head when he declares war on the government.
- The sad thing, however? His fears are turning out to be justified.
- In Breakout Kings, the runner in the episode "Like Father, Like Son" is a member of a militia, the Patriotic Front.
- Justin Bieber plays one of these in Crime Scene Investigation. The second episode he appears in is rather popular amongst his Hatedom because of a scene in which his character is killed in a hail of gunfire.
- Michael, Sam, Fi and Jesse have to rescue an ailing boy from a militia compoung in the Burn Notice episode "Besieged".
- "The Voice" in the made-for-TV remake of Vanishing Point.
- MacGyver: Mac takes on a neo-Nazi group in "The Seven Per Cent Solution".
- An episode of Jake 2.0 had one such group kidnap the titular character's younger brother by accident. Unfortunately, the group's leader's fanaticism causes the death of his son.
- The Eric Bogle song "Keeper of the Flame" is about the paranoid rantings of a right wing militia fanatic.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features one mission where CJ must sneak on a farm owned by a Waco-esque group in order to steal their combine harvester for The Truth. They shoot at him on sight—although CJ is trespassing with the intention of committing theft, he barely steps foot on his property before they start firing. Also, they shout racial slurs at CJ and clearly enjoy hunting him down. But once you actually get to the harvester...
- The NSF in Deus Ex were this originally, but by the time of the game the organisation has expanded and attracted representatives of every group hostile to the current US government and/or UNATCO, and as a result, their political stance has drifted quite a bit to the left.
- Counter-Strike features the map CS_Militia and the Militia skin, which is only available by chance on the random skin button.
- Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri features the Spartan Federation as a major faction based on this ideology. Yes, of the seven factions (twelve in the expansion) representing what's left of humanity in the future, one is explicitly described as a group of right-wing survivalist fanatics. In a minor subversion, however, their leader is a Latina rather than the stereotypical "angry white man" often associated with the trope.
- Subverted in Syphon Filter 3. Teresa's first assignment was to retrieve stolen satellite data taken by a militia, but the NSA team Teresa helps plans to sell it to terrorists and the militia are just unlucky witnesses.
- The "America Now" terrorist group in the 11th mission of the career mode in the original SWAT 4.
- A group of these appears as enemies in Dead Rising 2. One of them mentions working in border patrol, and they blame the Zombie Apocalypse on liberals, socialists and foreigners (the last one is actually pretty accurate, although it's not like America was completely innocent).
- In Famous 2 has the Militia, a group of right-wing extremists who take over New Marais to purge it of mutants (including Cole) and "deviants". They serve as the chief villains for the first half of the game.
- The upcoming Rainbow Six: Patriots will have these as the villains.
- Left Behind: Eternal Forces has you leading a group of these battling The Antichrist and the Global Community in the middle of New York. There was a fair bit of controversy over this, with some critics claiming that it was promoting religious violence (notably, Jack Thompson cut his ties to Tyndale House, Left Behind's publisher, over the game), though to be fair the game rewards players for pursuing non-violent means of victory—after all, killing your enemies means that you can't convert them, and it also decreases the morale, or "spirit", of your own units ("thou shalt not kill" and all).
- The Conservative Crime Squad (or CCS for short) in Liberal Crime Squad is exactly this.
- Homefront has you meeting a group of these guys in the fifth level, where you and your group are trying to get a helicopter from them. They're probably the only people in the world who can match the North Korean invaders in pure nastiness—they torture and enslave captured enemy soldiers for sport before lynching them and putting their heads on pikes, they try to kidnap your group's female member for "entertainment", and they're not above collaborating with the enemy and turning over resistance members for money.
Web Original[edit | hide]
- In the Alternate History Decades of Darkness, the Anglo-Saxon nationalist movement in Britain leads to the growth of the Gaderung (who are based around agricultural self-sufficiency) and the Fyrd (an alternate version of the Boy Scouts), while the government creates the Home Defence Force to protect against invasion. All of these groups rapidly turn into these, especially when Germany invades Britain and law and order breaks down.
- Dale Gribble from King of the Hill drifts between this, a Cloudcuckoolander, and an Agent Mulder. His Gun-Club buddies definitely qualify though.
- Homer Simpson, of all people, shows signs of this in one episode when he hands Bart money printed by 'the Montana Militia', saying 'It'll be real soon enough'. This is, naturally, a throw away joke which is never, ever referenced again.
- Herman, an occasionally recurring character who sells military antiques, comes close to playing this trope straight. At times.
- What with his talk of the New World Order and trying to secure the MacGuffin for a future war, Silas and MECH of Transformers Prime may be this.
- The Order was a white nationalist militia group that became notorious due to their role in the murder of Jewish radio talk-show host Alan Berg.
- The Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB, or Afrikaner Resistance Movement) is a South African version of this. They had their greatest prominence during the tail end of The Apartheid Era, once it became clear that the system was on life support. During that time, they engaged in a campaign of violence against anti-apartheid politicians, and when negotiations to end apartheid began they threatened to go to war with the government, even storming the building where said negotiations were being held. Oh, and take a look at their flag.
- Linda Thompson, an ex-lawyer who jumped onto the militia bandwagon in the early '90s. She produced multiple conspiracy videos about Waco, the Clintons and American concentration camps, and eventually proclaimed herself "Acting Adjutant General of the Unorganized Militia of the United States", calling for an armed march on Washington on September 19, 1994 in which she and "all militia units" would arrest the entire US Congress for treason unless they repealed NAFTA and the Brady Bill. She later backed off and claimed that the whole thing was just a publicity stunt after even other militia groups called her insane.
- The Ku Klux Klan is arguably the Ur Example within the US, and may be part of the reason why this trope is so associated with racists in the popular imagination. After The American Civil War, they launched a campaign of what would now be described as terrorism against freed slaves and white Northern "carpetbaggers" in an effort to reclaim the Southern US from "Yankee" domination and restore white supremacy. The most frightening/depressing part is that it worked—despite government crackdowns against the Klan, the "Reconstruction" period of reforming postbellum Southern society came to an end just twelve years after the fall of the Confederacy.
The Klan was reborn in the 1910s, this time becoming a nationwide force (they effectively controlled Indiana at one point) and targeting Catholics, Jews and other immigrant groups in addition to blacks, before falling apart in the late 1920s due to a series of violent scandals. A third iteration was born in The Fifties in reaction to the Civil Rights Movement, and is notable for having been villain fodder for the Superman radio show, which reportedly used their actual secret code words and some of their more ridiculous rituals (which they got from FBI informants within the organization). Since then, the name has been used by a whole bunch of separate white supremacist groups of varying degrees of civility, nearly all of them declaring themselves the "true" Klan.
- The Freikorps were paramilitary groups in Germany and German-speaking lands that first emerged in the 18th century and later became symbols of resistance and German nationalism during the Napoleonic Wars. They re-emerged during the post-World War I period in a manner much in keeping with this trope, feeling themselves to be fighters against those who had "stabbed Germany in the back" (specifically, communists), and many had a militantly anti-Slavic ideology, as evidenced by their behavior in the Baltic states and in Silesia. While many Freikorps leaders opposed the Nazis (and were subsequently purged in the Night of the Long Knives), many more supported them and became important members of the notorious Schutzstaffel (the SS).
- These people have been showing up in Hungary recently as a response to the former socialist government ignoring criminal activity among certain ethnic minorities in the name of Political Correctness. The fact that every now and then they actually save people from organized gangs and gain increasing sympathy led to the formation of a slowly growing extreme nationalist wing with neo-Nazi leanings. To make things worse, many socialist politicians were of Jewish origin, which sparked strong anti-Semitic sentiments.
- Which should be easy if they target civilians or better yet, are not wearing uniforms, which would make them spies.
- The real-life Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB, or Afrikaner Resistance Movement); see below