White Nationalism’s Most Powerful Accelerant

White Nationalism’s Most Powerful Accelerant

All that matters is that this mass murderer, like so many who have preceded him of late, is a young man moved to violence by an international ideology of fascism—exhilarating, purpose-driven, meaningful. Ultimately, intoxicating. This ideology has entered the mainstream over the last decade to a degree unseen in my lifetime, finding adherents at the highest levels of power around the world. And the primary accelerant fueling this inferno is the internet.

Like razor-sharp boomerangs, the glories of Silicon Valley have turned in mid-air and shot backward, slicing through us and hurtling into a dark past. Violent misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, gay-bashing, anti-black racism—you name it, you can find it, in ever more plentiful amounts online. The biggest tech platforms you can name—Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit—serve up this kind of poison on an industrial scale, mushrooming and expanding at a rate that makes catching up with the spread almost impossible. Worst of all, those consuming this hatred, which has exploded into an epidemic over the past ten years, are still mostly boys.

The influencer economy recognizes that the old ways of advertising are not effective in reaching younger people. Today, affinities are based on the perceived authenticity of the speaker. And when these new, trusted internet icons preach far-right dogma, the results are predictably fatal. As put in a 2018 report by the Data & Society Research Institute, it is these “polished, well-lit microcelebrities” and the “captivating videos” they produce that radicalize viewers:

via Truthdig White Nationalism’s Most Powerful Accelerant