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Sat Mar 16, 2019, 03:31 AM

The Right Has Mainstreamed the Rhetoric of Mass Killers

The Right Has Mainstreamed the Rhetoric of Mass Killers
by David Atkins March 15, 2019

When a person makes the decision to kill dozens in order to draw attention to their political ideas, our first instinct is to ignore them and refuse to listen. Elevating their ideas only gives them what they want and encourages further attacks. But when ever larger numbers of violent incidents arise from the same ideological source, it behooves us to treat those ideas and the people who promulgate them with the appropriate level of attentive alarm.

With that in mind, I have read (or at least skimmed) the manifesto of the white supremacist terrorist who murdered dozens of Muslims peacefully assembled in prayer at mosques yesterday in New Zealand. But you don’t have to, because there’s nothing in it that isn’t already mainstreamed in the discourse of the alt-right at Breitbart, Trump-supporting subreddits, QAnon conspiracy forums, the broader right-wing memeverse, and Fox News programming like Tucker Carlson. The only difference is that while most modern conservatives color their language in the form of vague threats or promises of disenfranchisement, expulsion and political oppression of minorities and people of color, terrorists like the New Zealand killer put those ideas into immediate, murderous action.

While much has already been written about the terrorist’s idolization of various conservative figures from Republican President Donald Trump to Tea Party USA head Candace Owens to alt-right vlogger Pewdiepie, even more important is the rhetoric.

. . .

The preservation of the white race has long been a central piece of far-right ideology, usually expressed in terms of fear of race mixing. Traditionally, white supremacist ideology has been more aligned with maintaining the “purity” and dominance of whatever ever-changing ethnic subgroupings happened to be coded as “white” in a given era. Certainly, in the context of slavery and Jim Crow whites were fearful of slave revolts and labor competition from African-Americans.


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