For the grey men of power, little matters but power. Having power and serving power are the primary occupations of their mind. Abstractions like “liberty” are as far from their understanding as red and green are to a color blind person.
The “Law,” whatever that is from one day to the next, is not merely a code, but the ultimate arbiter of morality. All that “liberty” stuff is just something a perp says when he’s trying to beat a rap.
For law enforcement, the primary concern is order. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Societies need some order. The problem comes when order is conflated with morality. For such people, it could never occur to them that there are times when the cause of order is being used for evil ends. Order is ALWAYS good, and those who oppose order are ALWAYS “bad guys.”
Those in power know they can take advantage of this mentality by declaring their ideological opponents “threats to public order,” and turn a political quarrel into a police action. The police may not understand what all the fuss is about, but they don’t like it and they mean to put an end to it. Commie, Nazi, Right or Left, it doesn’t matter whose head is being cracked. Just who is giving the order.
In the 1920’s, the Klan was one of the largest private organizations in the US. Membership rose to around 6 million people and counted prominent businessmen, religious leaders and politicians among them, including Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black.
After the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s however, the US government cracked down on the Klan. They were already in deep decline however as the following table from Wikipedia shows:
By the 60’s the Klan was little more than that a few rag tag groups. After intense efforts by the federal government and local law enforcement, the only Klan that existed was the Klan they wanted.
Today, if you removed all the undercover agents from the FBI and the ATF, not to mention myriad state, city and county law enforcement agents, you might get enough REAL Klan members to occupy a booth at Denny’s.
So how does the Klan continue to exist? Well as I said, it doesn’t. It is a straw man propped up by various groups for their own parochial needs.
For the Government, the Klan is useful for photo-ops and line item budget request. It serves as a great way for training rookie undercover agents for more demanding assignments. It serves as a bureaucratic cover anytime they need positive press cover. But most importantly, it serves as a mechanism for suppressing and riding herd on alienated and disaffected white males who have woken up and discovered that they have been declared a threat to public order.