A star-studded lineup of right-wing extremists graced this weekend’s “Liberty Convention” in Montana.
The event — organized by far-right activist Mona Docteur, and her Celebrating Conservatism group — was predicted to attract 5000 conservative foot soldiers. In fact, only around 250 showed up. But what the event lacked in numbers, it more than made up for in the anti-government animus — and sometimes outright wackiness — of some of its speakers. (See a flier for the event here.)
Docteur herself was tied to a recent effort to have local leaders in Montana fill out a “questionnaire” pledging, among other things, to form a local militia and to make federal government employees to get written approval before approaching “any Citizen.”
Here’s a quick rundown on some of the other speakers:
• Red Beckman: A veteran tax protester who has frequently clashed with the IRS, Beckman is also a conspiracy theorist who according to an Anti-Defamation League report has said that the “Federal Reserve Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the so-called New World Order are conspiring to dominate the world.” In his 1984 book The Church Deceived, Beckman wrote that the Holocaust was God’s judgment on Jews for worshipping Satan. He also has spoken at Christian Identity events, which promote a white supremacist version of Christianity.
Beckman told the Liberty Convention this weekend that the federal government was violating the Old Testament commandments about respecting God, and would fall just as the atheist Soviet Union had, reports The Missoulian. “I know the federal, small-g god is going to go down,” he said. “The king I serve says its going to go down.” He also said that under the current administration, “You’ve got to be the scum of the legal profession to get on the Supreme Court.”
• Richard Mack: A former Arizona county sheriff, Mack sued the federal government over the Brady Bill in the 1990s, becoming a featured speaker on the right-wing “Patriot” circuit. Lately, he has been promoting a book, The County Sheriff: America’s Last Hope, in which he argues that county sheriffs are the supreme law officers in the country, and that sheriffs and militias are required to save American from “utter despotism.” Mack also has been working with Oath Keepers, a group of former law enforcement and military personnel that lately has stoked fears of a tyrannical federal government.
Mack said this weekend that a “constitutional sheriff” of the kind he wants to see would have helped Rosa Parks keep her bus seat, but also would have helped “Rosa Parks the gun owner, Rosa Parks the tax protester, Rosa Parks the home-schooler or the Rosa Parks who says I am not taking ‘Obamacare.’ “
• Chuck Baldwin: The 2008 Presidential candidate for the Constitution Party, Baldwin hosted a radio show during the 1990s in which he promoted the militia movement, and also has had ties to white supremacist groups, according to a Montana human rights group. He also has written regularly for a magazine published by the Council of Conservative Citizens, a far-right group that supported segregation.
• Kitty Werthmann: An 84-year-old Austrian, Werthmann has made a career out of giving speeches comparing the actions of the U.S. federal government to those of Hitler. At a conference of conservative activists last year, Werthmann gave a presentation entitled: “How to Recognize Living Under Nazis and Communists.”
You can watch video of excerpts of the event here.
Docteur said the event “is not about right vs. left or religious lines. It’s about educating people about their constitutional rights. Most people don’t understand what their rights are under the Constitution.”
She added: “The government needs to understand that we the people created the states and the federal government. They don’t rule us. We’re reversing that pyramid.”