Michael Weinstein as Subject Matter in AF EO Course
It was noted once here before that Michael Weinstein met a newspaper’s definition for “conspiracy theorist”, though it wasn’t trying to talk about Weinstein at the time. In that vein, Judicial Watch recently obtained training materials from an Air Force Equal Opportunity course, which had a similar unintended subject matter — listing character traits for Michael Weinstein without meaning to.
What was it the AF training was trying to describe?
The following text describes how the EO course inadvertenty describes many character traits that Weinstein displays. While most won’t be interested in such a character analysis, the reason for noting this is to highlight the fact that Michael Weinstein is no run-of-the-mill “religious freedom” advocate, despite his claims. He is, as the course material shows, a religious “extremist” intent on bending the US military to his will — even if it contradicts human liberty and the protections of the US Constitution…and an Air Force training course actually helps explain that.
Quoting from Nazis, communists, Klansmen, and others on the fringe: Political extremism in America by George and Wilcox (1992), the Air Force Equal Opportunity Advisor Course, as of January 2013, listed the following traits and explanations:
According to George and Wilcox, there are a number of specific traits or behaviors that tend to represent the extremist style…
a. Character assassination
Extremists often attack the character of an opponent rather than deal with the facts or issues raised. They will question motives, qualifications, past associations, alleged values, personality, looks, and mental health as a diversion…
That’s a pretty easy one. Look at any article or interview in which Weinstein has talked about just about anyone else. Weinstein has threatened physical violence rather than address the substance of a disagreement, and he has even stooped to anti-Semitism to denigrate those who don’t agree with him. Character assassination is Weinstein’s modus operandi.
b. Name calling and labeling
Extremists are quick to resort to taunts (e.g., pervert, racist, and crackpot) to label and condemn opponents…
c. Irresponsive sweeping generalizations
Extremists tend to make sweeping claims or judgments with little to no evidence…
Weinstein claims a large percentage of the US military is driven by their theology to take over the world. He frequently identifies the private theological beliefs of public figures. His evidence? None.
d. Inadequate proof behind assertions
Extremists tend to be very fuzzy about what constitutes proof for their assertions…
Weinstein claims to have received tens of thousand of complaints, while never actually explaining what those complaints are. When asked who these evil Christians are that he is fighting, he’ll launch into a diatribe about Officers’ Christian Fellowship — without ever explaining how their existence is “proof” of anything. Combined with the mantra of his research assistant, Chris Rodda, who famously demurs that she has the smoking gun but can’t show it to anyone, Weinstein has the perfect, unproveable, 1-2 punch.
e. Tendency to view opponents and critics as essentially evil
Extremists feel that their opponents hold differing views because they are bad, immoral, dishonest, hateful, cruel, prejudiced, etc. and not merely because they simply disagree..
See (a) above, and Weinstein’s claim that his opponents are equivalent to racists and rapists. Weinstein has never publicly had a remotely kind word for anyone who opposed his accusations. (Rodda, Rick, feel free to provide a citation to say otherwise.)
f. Dualism worldview
Extremists tend to see the world in terms of absolute good and evil…with the right and good positions coinciding with their interests…
This is most evident in Weinstein’s treatment of those who support him, but don’t support him strongly enough, like the Jewish Anti-Defamation League.
g. Tendency to argue by intimidation
Extremists tend to frame their arguments in such a way as to intimidate others into accepting their premises and conclusions. To disagree with them is to ally oneself with the devil or to give aid and comfort to the enemy…
When Weinstein claims military Christians are national security threats that aid al Qaeda, he’s daring people to disagree with him and ‘support the enemy.’
h. Use of slogans, buzzwords, and thought-stopping clichés
For many extremists, shortcuts in thinking and in reasoning matters out seem necessary to avoid troublesome facts and compelling counterarguments. Simple slogans substitute for more complex abstractions
In his desire to be quoteworthy and mined for soundbytes, Weinstein lives by these “shortcuts in thinking.” Listen to him speak for just 5 minutes and he’ll quote three different people and four different clichés (and the same analogies he always does: gravity, Starbucks, Hitler’s percentage, etc., etc.). Similarly, when he runs into opposition, it is far easier to call people “bigots” than actually defend or explain his positions.
i. Assumption of moral superiority over others
The most obvious assumptions are claims…[of] membership in a special or elite class and a kind of aloof high-minded snobbishness that accrues because of the weightiness of their preoccupations, their altruism, and their willingness to sacrifice themselves (and others) to their cause
Weinstein’s claims of martyrdom know no end, as he advertises his hate-mail like a badge of honor. His melodramatic claims of self-sacrifice are also the basis for much of his fundraising. In his world, this grants him “legitimacy” to speak with authority and superiority. That’s probably why Weinstein — who left the Air Force as a Captain — addresses US Generals by their first names. It’s his way of demonstrating his own “superior rank.”
j. Doomsday thinking
Extremists often predict dire or catastrophic consequences from a situation or from a failure to follow a specific course, and they tend to exhibit a kind of crisis-mindedness…Whatever it is, it is just around the corner unless we follow their program and listen to their special insight and wisdom..
Weinstein doesn’t think too much of this, actually. He just thinks Christians are trying to take over America to kill Jews by starting a global nuclear war. And they’re trying to execute that plan right now. That’s all. No biggie. And its simple to stop: Just do exactly what he says.
k. Belief that it’s okay to do bad things in the service of a “good” cause
Extremists may deliberately lie or otherwise distort, misquote, slander, defame, or libel their opponents and/or critics…Defeating an enemy becomes an all-encompassing goal to which other values are subordinate…
There is little other way to explain Weinstein’s viscious attacks on his critics, from US troops to Jewish soccer moms. He said long ago he intended to leave “sucking chest wounds,” and he has never seemed to care who his victims were.
l. Tendency to personalize hostility
Extremists often wish for the personal bad fortune of their enemies and celebrate when it occurs…Their hatred was not only directed against ideas, but also against individual human beings.
Weinstein “rejoiced” over the death of Jerry Falwell, but such celebration is not a one time event. He most recently celebrated the apparent demise of the career of LtCol Dooley. It is one thing to celebrate a victory of principle; quite another to celebrate the personal adversity of one’s adversaries.
m. Emphasis on emotional responses, less so on reasoning and logical analysis
Extremists have an unspoken reverence for propaganda, which they may call education or consciousness-raising…Effective extremists tend to be effective propagandists…
Propaganda is an art for Weinstein, and one in which he generally excels — when he has an editor. He can paint an effective picture of treasonous Christians bent on evil, and he has successfully convinced many who either don’t know the truth or do not care to learn. The most common case in point: A veteran who shockingly declares “I was in for 10 years and never saw these Christians bent on world domination…” Rather than be skeptical about Weinstein’s claims based on their own experiences, the vet will say “I can’t believe what’s happened to my military…”
n. Hypersensitivity and vigilance
Extremists perceive hostile innuendo in even casual and innocuous comments…and see latent subversion…and so on in innocent gestures and ambiguous behaviors. Although few extremists are actually clinically paranoid, many of them adopt a paranoid style with its attendant projective mechanisms, hostility, and distrust.
A military officer says “God,” Weinstein sees treason and a plan to start World War III. Clear enough?
o. Use of supernatural rationales for beliefs and actions
Some extremists…claim some kind of supernatural rationale for their beliefs and actions; their movement or cause, they believe, is ordained or looked upon favorably by God.
Rather than religion, Weinstein acts as if he has had a special “revelation” on US governance and the US Constitution. He rules by fiat (or fatwa), declaring what is and is not “right” in America, and woe to those who oppose him.
p. Advocacy of double standards
Extremists generally tend to judge themselves or their interest group in terms of their intentions, which they tend to view generously, and their critics and opponents by their acts, which they tend to view very critically. They would like you to accept their assertions on faith, but they demand proof for yours.
While that is the substance of that EO course section, the list is obviously not exhaustive. Still, many who have followed these conversations over the years will recognize the list isn’t even necessary. Michael Weinstein has demonstrated by his speech and his actions that he “wars” against those whom he considers to be the “wrong kind” of Christians in the US military.
Michael Weinstein would have the US government take action against American citizens who hold religious beliefs he dislikes.
You don’t need an EO course to see the character flaws in that kind of crusader.