I'd like, however, to highlight the jaw-dropping statistical analysis the distinguished author, one Arie Perliger, offers. Jumping to page 96, we're presented with a table ranking states by the number of "far-right attacks" that have occurred in each over the last two decades. Subsequent correlations are then reported. The four variables for which the relationship with the number of attacks in a state are the strongest are Jewish population size (r = .900), state population size (r = .888), Hispanic population size (r = .849), and African American population size (r = .598). By "size", Perliger is simply referring to population and is thus not talking about attacks per capita. The reason California has suffered so many more attacks than Wyoming has suffered (782 versus 6) is because California has so many more people--Jews, blacks, and Hispanics among them--than Wyoming has! I'm not making this up. Take a look for yourself.
Employing this 'methodology' (that would embarrass a freshman in the second week of Statistics 101), Perliger notes that "the birthplace of groups such as the KKK ... is no longer that natural habitat of the far right. ... The two states at the top of the list are California and New York, which are considered liberal--or blue--in terms of their ideological and political orientation. ... It can be determined that during the last twenty years the violence has shifted from the center/South to the coasts and the North (with the exception of Texas)."
To legitimately talk about a shift over time, Perliger would need to include a dataset from the past to compare to the present, which he doesn't do. That is parenthetical to the fatal flaw underlying his analysis, though. He is essentially putting together a ranking of states by population size, using it as a proxy for far-right violence, and then cobbling together something of a historical narrative about geographic shifts and trends in said far-right violence over time. By Perliger's thinking, if North Dakota and South Dakota combined into a single state, the new state, Greater Dakota, would be twice as susceptible to far-right violence as either state was before the merger! Mind boggling.
Perliger subsequently describes the use of "two-stage hierarchical regression analysis" which is "intended for controlling both state population size and density". I'm not familiar with what exactly that means, but whatever "controlling" entails, it doesn't appear to have much to do with controlling for variables. The correlations between violent attacks and black and Jewish total populations remained robust (.47 and .69, respectively), but for black and Jewish population proportions, the correlations were much weaker (.16 and .11). The relationship with the size of a state's Hispanic population and proportion apparently disappears entirely. From this, Perliger determines that "anti-Semitic and anti-African American sentiments and narratives are still emphasized and dominant ... hence there is a delay in the identification of the Hispanic minority as a threat by far-right groups."
Doing a little legwork with Perliger's data, the positive correlation between a state's hate rate and its total population is a moderate .33 (p = .02). While it's notable that such a relationship exists at all, it renders the commentary Perliger offers meaningless. Here's a state ranking of the annual rate of "far right attacks" per 100,000 people over the period covered:
|1. District of Columbia||.303|
|4. New York||.110|
|7. New Hampshire||.096|
|14. New Jersey||.068|
|15. Rhode Island||.066|
|21. New Mexico||.061|
|28. North Dakota||.051|
|30. West Virginia||.049|
|33. South Dakota||.047|
|38. South Carolina||.040|
|40. North Carolina||.038|
For comparative purposes, the national violent crime rate per 100,000 people in 2011 was 386.3. DC--home to so many militia types, as is as well-known as it is well established!--has highest far-right hate rate in the country. That alarmingly high rate is 1/1,277th of the national violent crime rate. Mercifully, the national hate rate is only 1/6,895th of the national violent crime rate. Yes, one of America's most pressing problems is indeed its violent, far-right extremists!
This is all really just a distraction, which I suppose is the point, much like designated "hate" crimes in general are (similarly to what is presented in the preceding table, DC has the second highest hate crime rate in the country, while Mississippi has the lowest--the correlation between Perliger's far-right hate rate and hate crime rates at the state level is a statistically significant .43, and with the South Dakota outlier removed, it jumps to .56). But the fact that tripe like this is being commissioned at the highest reaches of the nation's military establishment strikes me as almost indisputable evidence that we are doomed.
Thanks to an email from a reader who prefers to remain anonymous for pointing out James Bowery pointing out Perliger's report. The reader suggests those scandalized by this shoddy work write to the current commandment of cadets to express their displeasure:
Attn: Brig. Gen'l. Richard Clark
W. Pt Mil. Academy
606 Thayer Road
W Pt., NY 10996