The world is at a dangerous stage. We are dancing on the edge of a precipice and face the risk that we will be pitched into an authoritarian world that frames itself via extreme racist, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic ideologies. These ideologies are all racist, they are all misogynistic, they are all anti-LGBTQI. They are making common cause with anti-vaccination, and QAnon activists. The mainstream media is engaged in futile both side-ism and remains hungry for all the clicks that dangerous authoritarian ideas can bring it.
We are facing the rise of fascist regimes across Europe and potentially across the US. Russia is also heavily influenced by conservative groups such as the Valdai Discussion Club who encourage their traditionalist thinking. This is important because we are seeing the playing field starting to shift from default democratic ideals and towards a more fascist world.
The times not so long past that where we all in the West held a common perspective on truth, on science, and on things such as public health are now at risk.
At the same time disinformation and misinformation are being deployed against us by state actors who are our enemies and who seek to destabilise both our nations and our civilisation. They seek to sow discord so that we are eaten up from within.
It is a time for us in the West to be very careful with our freedoms and our democracies. And it is time to realise that there are forces who are seeking to destroy the notion of a common sense of reality, of a shared belief in science, and who are against progress and modernity.
Note: I have not provided references here as these matters have been chronicled by so many people, for those interested in reading up you can refer to the list of references below.
36 years of research on the Front National, the Le Pens, & their voters. (2022, April 13). https://www.kai-arzheimer.com/research-front-national-le-pen
2021 Far-Right Conferences: QAnon and Other Extremist Ideologies Dominate Events. (n.d.). Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.adl.org/resources/reports/2021-far-right-conferences-qanon-and-other-extremist-ideologies-dominate-events
Adams, T. (2021, June 20). QAnon and on: Why the fight against extremist conspiracies is far from over. The Observer. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jun/20/qanon-conspiracy-theories-pizzagate-infowars-storm-is-upon-us-mike-rothschild
Algorithmic amplification of politics on Twitter | PNAS. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2022, from https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2025334119
Badham, V. (2021). QAnon and On: A Short and Shocking History of the Internet Conspiracy Cults. Hardie Grant Publishing.
Ben-Ghiat, R. (2020). Strongmen: How They Rise, Why They Succeed, How They Fall. Profile Books.
Ben-Ghiat, R. (2021). Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present. W. W. Norton.
Berg, D. B. C., Alexandra Berzon,Kirsten. (n.d.). Building the “Big Lie”: Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://www.propublica.org/article/big-lie-trump-stolen-election-inside-creation
Bibliographies—C-REX – Center for Research on Extremism. (n.d.). Retrieved May 27, 2021, from https://www.sv.uio.no/c-rex/english/groups/bibliographies/index.html
Bleakley, P. (2021). Panic, pizza and mainstreaming the alt-right: A social media analysis of Pizzagate and the rise of the QAnon conspiracy. Current Sociology, 00113921211034896. https://doi.org/10.1177/00113921211034896
Bloom, M., & Moskalenko, S. (2021). Pastels and Pedophiles: Inside the Mind of QAnon. Stanford University Press.
Conspiracy theories and right-wing extremism – Insights and recommendations for P/CVE, 2021. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/networks/radicalisation-awareness-network-ran/publications/conspiracy-theories-and-right-wing-extremism-insights-and-recommendations-pcve-2021_en
Conspirituality: Alt-health meets alt-right, wellness meets QAnon. (2021, March 6). RNZ. https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2018786402/conspirituality-alt-health-meets-alt-right-wellness-meets-qanon
Davis, J. (2020). The future of the Islamic State’s Women: Assessing their potential threat. https://icct.nl/publication/the-future-of-the-islamic-states-women-assessing-their-potential-threat/
DeSilver, D. (n.d.). The polarization in today’s Congress has roots that go back decades. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/10/the-polarization-in-todays-congress-has-roots-that-go-back-decades/
Donovan, J., Friedberg, B., Lim, G., Leaver, N., Nilsen, J., & Dreyfuss, E. (2021). Mitigating Medical Misinformation: A Whole-of-society Approach to Countering Spam, Scams, and Hoaxes. Technology and Social Change Research Project. https://doi.org/10.37016/TASC-2021-03
Estes, A. C. (2021, February 2). How neo-Nazis used the internet to instigate a right-wing extremist crisis. Vox. https://www.vox.com/recode/22256387/facebook-telegram-qanon-proud-boys-alt-right-hate-groups
Gaming and Extremism: The Extreme Right on Twitch—ISD. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2021, from https://www.isdglobal.org/isd-publications/gaming-and-extremism-the-extreme-right-on-twitch/
Hartmann, T. (n.d.). DeSantis’ Attack on Disney Shows how Fascism Progresses Toward the Later Stages of Tyranny. Retrieved April 24, 2022, from https://hartmannreport.com/p/disney-shows-how-fascism-progresses?s=r&utm_medium=email
ICCT’s Key Publications on Women in Terrorism. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2022, from https://icct.nl/update/iccts-key-publications-on-women-in-terrorism/
Inside the Far-right Podcast Ecosystem, Part 1: Building a Network of Hate. (n.d.). Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2021/09/29/inside-far-right-podcast-ecosystem-part-1-building-network-hate
Kendi, I. X. (2022, April 16). The Danger More Republicans Should Be Talking About. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/04/white-supremacy-grooming-in-republican-party/629585/
Leaked neo-Nazis’ manual reveals they’re manipulating Australia’s media to recruit new members. (2021, April 20). https://www.crikey.com.au/2021/04/20/leaked-neo-nazi-manual-manipulating-media-recruit/
Leidig, E. (2021a, October 26). “We are worth fighting for”: Women in far-right extremism. https://icct.nl/publication/women-far-right-extremism/
Leidig, E. (2021b, October 26). “We are worth fighting for”: Women in far-right extremism. https://icct.nl/publication/women-far-right-extremism/
Lewis, B. (2018, September 18). Alternative Influence. https://datasociety.net/library/alternative-influence/
Meet the woman behind Libs of TikTok, secretly fueling the right’s outrage machine. (n.d.). Washington Post. Retrieved April 19, 2022, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/04/19/libs-of-tiktok-right-wing-media/
Miller-Idriss, C. (2022, April 14). How Extremism Went Mainstream. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2022-01-03/how-extremism-went-mainstream
Mukerjee, S., Jaidka, K., & Lelkes, Y. (2020). The Political Landscape of the U.S. Twitterverse. OSF Preprints. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/w98ms
Nast, C. (2022a, April 20). Inside the New Right, Where Peter Thiel Is Placing His Biggest Bets. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/04/inside-the-new-right-where-peter-thiel-is-placing-his-biggest-bets
Nast, C. (2022b, April 20). Inside the New Right, Where Peter Thiel Is Placing His Biggest Bets. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/04/inside-the-new-right-where-peter-thiel-is-placing-his-biggest-bets
ObradovichApril 25, K., 2022, & Pdt, 12:44. (2022, April 25). Disinformation can be deadly, but what can be done about it? https://flux.community/iowa-capital-dispatch/kathie-obradovich/2022/04/disinformation-can-be-deadly-what-can-be-done-about
“Project Blitz” Seeks to Do for Christian Nationalism What ALEC Does for Big Business | Religion Dispatches. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://religiondispatches.org/project-blitz-seeks-to-do-for-christian-nationalism-what-alec-does-for-big-business/
Roose, J. (n.d.). “It’s almost like grooming”: How anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, and the far-right came together over COVID. The Conversation. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from http://theconversation.com/its-almost-like-grooming-how-anti-vaxxers-conspiracy-theorists-and-the-far-right-came-together-over-covid-168383
Rothschild, M. (2021). The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything. Melville House.
Schreiber, B. (n.d.). The Men behind Hitler a German Warning to the World Geheime Reichssache (H. R. Martindale, Trans.). La Haye-Mureaux; Political Extremism and Radicalism. Retrieved September 6, 2021, from http://link.gale.com/apps/doc/DIIPUP485312460/PLEX?sid=bookmark-PLEX&xid=64277c7c&pg=6
Skin in the Game. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2022, from https://politicalresearch.org/2017/06/29/skin-in-the-game-how-antisemitism-animates-white-nationalism
Snyder, T. (2017). On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Crown.
Snyder, T. (2018). The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America. Random House.
Sparrow, J. (2021). ‘Interviewing the far right is bad, so why do journalists keep doing it?’: ‘No Platform’ from above and below. Australian Journalism Review, 43(2), 177–191. https://doi.org/10.1386/ajr_00079_7
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Watts, M. G. and C. (2022, February 16). Russia’s Propaganda & Disinformation Ecosystem—2022 Update & New Disclosures [Substack newsletter]. Miburo. https://miburo.substack.com/p/russias-propaganda-and-disinformation
Weeks, A. C., & Allen, P. (2022). Backlash against “identity politics”: Far right success and mainstream party attention to identity groups. Politics, Groups, and Identities, 0(0), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/21565503.2022.2065318
What is “religion” for populists? (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2022, from http://www.identitiesjournal.com/1/post/2022/04/what-is-religion-for-populists.html
WilkinsOctober 23, B., 2021, & Pdt, 13:01. (2021, October 23). Twitter study finds social platform favors right-leaning content over left-leaning content. https://flux.community/brett-wilkins/2021/10/twitter-study-finds-social-platform-favors-right-leaning-content-over-left
Zihiri, S., Lima, G., Han, J., Cha, M., & Lee, W. (2022). QAnon shifts into the mainstream, remains a far-right ally. Heliyon, e08764. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e08764
Note – I wrote this post on 24 January 2022 – just published it on 30 April 2022 because it seems apt now