Alex Jones and Bannon Down the Drain Means the Far-Right is Weakened?
Update: Since publishing this, it has emerged that Alex Jones must pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of Jesse Lewis, a child killed in the Sandy Hook school massacre. This is in addition to compensatory damages of $4.1 million and legal costs. He is facing further actions.
The last decade or so has been interesting for those who research cultish behaviour. Once cults were largely hidden but the internet created opportunities to grift, spread conspiracy ‘theories’ and peddle hatred, so manipulators have filled screens and infiltrated the minds of those susceptible to malignant messaging.
From Facebook to podcasts to YouTube, to various far-right and conspiracy sites drivelmongers popped up in (having been squeezed from mainstream areas) figures like Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, Tommy Robinson, Richard Spencer and a stream of other grifting hate goblins gained prominence.
Names listed might not be inspiring to teens but there’s evidence that the far-right is finding new ways to break through the online cacophony and into young eyes, ears and minds. So, while we laugh at Alex Jones, and I will definitely laugh on any day Steve Bannon has to replace his sweaty black shirts with an orange outfit, we can’t be complacent. Far-right ideologies can be compared to a virus that mutates and spreads through naïve populations. Many of our relatives fought and defeated Nazis but, tragically, the war did not eradicate the fascism virus.
But significant cracks have appeared in the far-right machinery of the past decade or two, which is perhaps not surprising as it’s akin to an old engine surrounded by incongruous bodywork from numerous vehicles, hastily stuck together. A bit of classical colonialist-era white supremacy here, some KKKing mixed with a greasy dollop of Hitler hair, the toxic glue of antisemitism and Islamophobia, dishonestly glossed over with the internet-era savvy ‘We’re just joking — we aren’t real fascists’, and misogynistic red-meat for Incels.
The diversity of components attracted a broad spectrum of hateful people — which became a vulnerability. The fascist clown car Bannon and cronies have been driving is already falling apart. The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017…