Americas, USA, Opinion, Politics, Editor's Choice

US Right-Wing: Radicalization and Conspiracy Theories

We’ve previously covered the apparent divide in US politics, of left and right drifting further apart on all fronts, creating a dangerous political atmosphere in the country. It doesn’t come from nothing either, with social media aiding the spread of fake news on all sides and a sense of patriotism and revolution in the air one can almost taste. The most worrying aspect of it all is the growing and increasingly radical right-wing that digs itself deeper and deeper into a hole of conspiracy theories that cover everything they don’t agree on, be it mass shootings like Sandy Hook or political opponents like Hillary Clinton.

I’ve taken a look at several right-wing and conservative groups in the past year and it is astonishing how much fake news and just god-awful conspiracy theories are flooding into those people’s minds at any given time. Groups with thousands of members on Facebook, sharing preposterous fake news and validating conspiracy theories, adding their own agendas here and there, totally engulfing themselves and everyone else in an atmosphere of a constant threat. Their enemy: the leftist news media and government prior to Donald Trump. And even though the government is in conservative hands, somehow there is still a conspiracy around every corner.

Radical Views Nurtured by Conspiracy Theories

Looking at what news circulate in those groups, it becomes very apparent why radicalization is such a threat right now. If you were to read every single news story that goes around and take it at face value, you’d rightfully go insane. There is the Hillary Clinton pedophile ring, the faked Sandy Hook massacre, the faked Las Vegas Shooting, and currently, there are also reports about a cover-up at the recent Florida Shooting.

It’s an atmosphere of everything we think is correct is true and everything the leftists are saying is a conspiracy. There are people going further down the rabbit hole with lizard people shape-shifting through government entities, but hey, even the conspiracy theorists have their crazies it seems. But those aren’t the ones creating a problem for the political discourse. It’s the increasing acceptability of right-wing sentiment supported by sometimes crazy conspiracy theories that get picked up and spread really easily thanks to the echo chamber effect on social media.

Last year October, those groups got all riled up and ready for an Antifa revolution that was going to take place on 4th November. There was no fact-based or real evidence to be found on a large-scale violent revolution of any organization or the Antifa, but the right-wing conspiracy corner riled itself up pretty badly having “their guns at the ready” to fight for their country against an imminent Antifa takeover. In the end, there were minor peaceful protests on 4th November, which those same people then called pitiful, though no one but them claimed that anything violent would actually happen. It’s just the constant barrage of fake news and conspiracy theories that induces a sort of fight or flight situation in those camps, being wary and doubtful of anything that goes against their principles, especially gun control.

A Leftist Gun Grab

If you were certain the government, Antifa or anyone could threaten your existence because all you read told you to, you can see why those react even more strongly to attempts of gun control following the aftermath of mass shootings. Shootings they often discredit as a leftist agenda to grab their guns from under them and leave them defenseless. It sounds cruel (because it is) but you just have to search for conspiracy theories in connection with any mass shooting, even the most recent ones, to find a multitude of alleged factual news reports dissecting them. Most of which are fairly easy to debunk. It’s a gun grab. They are victims of fake news and the mainstream media, they are under attack by leftists, by anyone but them. It’s a fertile ground for radicalization beyond repair.

Political opponents get the same treatment, such as Hillary Clinton, which, according to those same conspiracy theories, not only manages a large-scale pedophile ring but also should get arrested any day now. In fact, since Donald Trump’s inauguration, I read at least one new fake news report every month about the imminent arrest of Hillary Clinton by the FBI in those groups, sometimes claiming she was already in custody. They’re engulfed in fear, they dig their own holes, and they are unlikely to get out of it. What used to be a niche subject for a few crazies is becoming political agenda under a President that is feeding into deep state conspiracy theories as well, sending us further down a road that has worrying implications on the political landscape.

Now I’m not saying these conspiracy theories are the norm for Conservatives, far from it, but they are increasing at an astonishing rate and will have a growing impact on US politics in the long run.

About Andreas Salmen

Born and raised in Germany, learned a job in IT and Business and ultimately decided that this wasn't exactly where my life was going to end. Left everything behind to become a writing backpacker instead. The world's crumbling away anyway so why not write about it and get a few good Instagram pics on the way, am I right?

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