🔗 How January 6th Started on 9/11
The politics of fear practiced by many officials and leaders in Western countries in the post-9/11 era clearly contributed to right-wing radicalization. By encouraging people to feel that they lacked control over their own lives, to see themselves as vulnerable, and to fear outsiders, this style of politics opened a door for extremists, who marched right through it.
After the election of the first Black president in U.S. history, in 2008, record-breaking numbers of hate groups emerged. The antigovernment fringe that had gone quiet after the Oklahoma City bombing resurfaced, with calls for insurrection and revolution coming from militias such as the Oath Keepers and movements such as the Three Percenters (whose name was inspired by the false claim that it took only three percent of the American colonists to successfully rise up against the British). Starting in 2014, North America also witnessed a spurt of violent attacks carried out by incels inspired by male supremacist ideology, leading to the deaths of dozens of women, including in mass shootings at a college sorority and a yoga studio and in a vehicle-ramming attack on the streets of Toronto. In 2016, the Proud Boys arrived on the scene, engaging in street brawls and claiming to stand in defense of Western civilization.
During the past decade, far-right groups had succeeded enough to move past metapolitics and could embrace more traditional forms of politics, not only by launching political parties but also by putting forward something akin to a grand narrative to unify the disparate parts of the movement: a conspiracy theory about a coming “great replacement” of European and white civilization. Coined by a French scholar in a 2011 book by the same name, the term describes an alleged plot by global and national elites to replace white, Christian, European populations with nonwhite, non-Christian ones. The idea is a kind of greatest hits of right-wing extremism, combining the anti-Muslim ideas of Eurabia, American-style white nationalism, and age-old anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish domination.
The conspiracy theory is powerful because it is remarkably flexible. A right-wing extremist can adopt the framework against virtually any perceived threat, be it Jews, Muslims, immigrants, or even white progressives. In 2019, a terrorist in Christchurch, New Zealand, live-streamed his murder of 51 Muslim worshipers in two mosques after writing a manifesto he titled “The Great Replacement.” Less than five months later, a terrorist killed 23 people in a Walmart in El Paso after posting a hate-filled manifesto that warned of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and that claimed white people were being replaced through immigration.
I am not sure there is anything groundbreaking in this piece, but it’s still a good summary and reminder on how we got here. Also does nice job linking the theories and dogma of hate across the decades. Our response to 9/11 is a pox on our nation and at some point we really need to talk about it. From making hate of the other so mainstream again, starting global conflict, and militarizing police departments the way we reacted to 9/11 did nothing but help the terrorists get to their goal of doing damage to the society in the United States.