In a powerful first-person essay that draws from both the writer's own experiences as well as his work as one of the country's leading monitors of far-right extremism, Chip Berlet reflects on a 1995, a year in which personal liberties and freedom were increasingly under fire. He writes: "We all need to pause and consider how best to defend liberty and freedom, and what unites us as a nation concerned with democratic values. In doing so, we need to commit to a process that respects civil liberties, and civil rights, and civil discourse." "The armed militia members claim to defend liberty and freedom. They claim to be the new patriot movement, harkening back to the Minutemen who resisted government tyranny at Concord Bridge and Lexington Green. What happened at Waco to the Branch Davidians, and at Ruby Ridge to the Weaver family, must be condemned, but opposition to excessive force by government agents does not imply we should seek alliances with right-wing populists simply because they criticize the government. Militia zealots conflate real acts of repression and injustice with their fantastic conspiratorial scapegoats. Such movements quickly can swing far to the right with murderous consequences, as those who fought fascism in Europe can explain in horrifying detail."