Op Ed #2: Modern Far Right Extremism

By Liam McCrorie

The Far-Right has been around for a very long time but lately we’ve seen a rise in new tactics used by the Far-Right which is leading to the rise of the Far-Right groups and to a rise in Far-Right extremism. The Internet has given rise to the ability for people from all over the world to connect and share ideas and for people who otherwise would never have gotten the opportunity to meet one another to form online groups. This has led to a new wave of Far-Right extremists finding groups on social media and websites like reddit and 4chan. This is leading to a much more dangerous version of Far-Right extremism the likes we haven’t seen before.

The Far-Right are very different from what they were, say 20 years ago. It used to be very easy to see who was a Far-Right extremist and who wasn’t. But gone is the Skinhead look of shaved heads, combat boots and swastikas, now replaced by people who dress just like everyone else, dressed in nice suits or dresses, or regular everyday clothes. Brands like Thor Steinar capitalize on making Far-Right shirts that fit in with everyday life, even if their shirt was hateful its so hard to tell with all the secret coded language like having a shirt with ’88’ on it since the 8th letter of the alphabet is H and so 88 stands for HH which stand for Heil Hitler. The Far-Right is no longer a fringe group on the outskirts of politics they are now front and center and gaining a lot of support all over the world.

The Far-Right wants to be as mainstream as possible and always be in the public eye which is why the Internet and its far reach is invaluable to them. With more and more Far-Right politicians and groups using the internet and other platforms to spread their hateful messages the more normalized it gets in society and especially on the Internet. As the Far-Right tries and spread their message online they use many platforms which will pick up parts of their hate speech and will repost or share this message in other forums through the use of memes and various other means. This makes this type of speech seem normal and for some people especially youths this can be enough to persuade them to come to the Far-Right. This normalization of Far-Right hate speech can be very dangerous as it can and has many times led to hate motivated crimes against women or Muslims or immigrants.

Through the normalization of hate and hate filled speech by the Far-Right they have motivated people all over the world to commit horrible hate motivated crimes, fueled by Far-Right conspiracies. Many hateful groups have begun to spring up online all usually a bit different or targeting their hate towards a particular group but they are all essentially the same just following Far-Right conspiracies and using them to justify committing horrible acts. Groups online like Incels mix their sexual frustration with traditional Far-Right conspiracies, such as the Great Replacement Theory, to spew hate against women and immigrants, who they perceive to be taking women from them. People like Elliot Rodger who went on a killing spree in California in 2014, Rodger went on this spree because of his hate for women since he perceived himself to be the “ideal magnificent gentleman” and couldn’t understand why women did not want to have sex with him. Another notable Far-Right extremist is Brenton Tarrant, the man responsible for killing 51 people in two Mosques in Christchurch New Zealand in 2019. Not only was Tarrant’s attack fueled by hate towards Islam which was fostered in online chat rooms, he then proceeded to live-stream the shooting to further promote the hate towards Islam.

There are so many other examples of Far-Right extremists I won’t get into but it just shows how this hate is growing and is growing fastest online, where small groups of people with fringe ideas can meet and discuss and fuel one another’s hate. It used to take large groups of people all with the same ideas to form a strong group with the power to affect modern politics and society, but that’s what’s so dangerous about today, a small group or even a lone extremist can be motivated by online forums and videos of Far-Right politicians and Far-Right mouthpieces, people like Andrew Tate, and these small groups can do unprecedented damaged through domestic terrorism and hate motivated crimes.

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